book review · miniatures.

Review: The Dark Tower series.

I have had a long and lasting love affair with The Dark Tower series; it is one of the novel series that has resonated with me, and still does so. When I first read it about ten years ago, I was captivated by the characters and world setting, and that hasn’t changed. Periodically, I have gone back and read the first three and a half books, but usually stopped part way through the fourth. Now that I listen to audio books while painting, I found the perfect opportunity to listen to the whole tale again.

Let’s get a picture of The Gunslinger in here, for it is his story after all:

Good points of the story the second time around include how amazingly well written the characters are. From the smallest role to the largest, all the characters have a surprisingly well developed sense of purpose and self. I remember taking nearly three books to decide whether I liked Roland and that when I did, it was a whirlwind. The same applies on the second reading, though perhaps not as intensely. The pace of the first four books is intense and keeps you reading, or listening, even when you know what is going to happen.

What surprised me too is the amount of phrases I use in day to day language that come from this series. Language I had forgotten the source of, phrases like ‘never in life’ and ‘say true?’ just became part of my language. It has a poetic ring to it certainly, and the different accents and nuances contained within the Dark Tower are wide and varied. The world setting is dense, detailed and wide, it is a real treat to read about and journey through. Nothing in this story is coincidence. Everything happens for a reason and the smallest detail in book one unfolds into a big part of the later story. The forward thinking of the author is incredible.

I’m still not sold on Stephen King writing himself into the story.

Everything else about the tale is great, I laughed, I cried and was taken along an emotional journey with the characters; still caught up in their lives despite knowing what happened. If you only ever read one (set of) books again, make it The Dark Tower!

miniatures.

Book Review: Blood of Sanguinius – Darius Hinks

It’s been a while since I have done a book review, though that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. I have indulged in a lot of short stories, which would take forever to review them all. It doesn’t mean they are not good, or engaging and they certainly are worth reading however I would be here forever if I posted about them all.

One group of short stories has led me down a rather delightful path, and those feature the oddity that is Mephiston. Recommended by a close friend, I decided that it was time to venture out if the realms of chaos and see what the Imperium had to offer. I must say I was very well surprised with the two short stories: Eclipse of Hope and Lord of Death by David Annandale, however the character really comes into his own when penned by the capable hand of Darius Hinks.

Technically, the language is beautiful. While reading, there were no clumsy sentences, wonderfully crafted metaphors which were wrought in a careful, considerate way. Hinks’ choice of language complimented the carefully crafted world he created for the story and it was neither heavy handed or awkward. The pace of the novel was excellent and it kept me turning the pages until many a small hour – always a successful point. I was gripped.

What truly seized me however were the interactions between the three main protagonists. After reading a lot of novels set in the realm of chaos, it was a true pleasure to read about characters that liked one another. The dynamic between the young Antros, the older, sterner Rhacelus and the enigmatic Mephiston is expertly executed. The three compliment one another, even if they often do not understand each other. I never felt as though there was deceit between them and it was clear that although there was definite fear of death, none of them would die alone.

I don’t post spoilers in my reviews, but I want to discuss one point at the start of the book that was refreshing. Antros seeks the aid of a guardsman in locating a position in a dangerous place. When the inevitable danger occurs, he is desperate to ensure the guardsman survives. The fact that there are Chapters that still regard mortals as valuable and worth saving was brought into this novel clearly, however it never forgot the elements of Grimdark that are associated with Warhammer 40 000 either.

Darius Hinks has done a wonderful job with this novel, and I do look forward to reading the next one, right after Devastation of Baal, which is what I am chewing through rapidly at the moment.

fan based · fan made · fiction · miniatures.

Black Library Submission – take 2

I was unsure whether I was going to bother entering anything for the Black Library Open Submissions this time around. I’ve been busy getting the commission business all set up and going and I spent the majority of my time painting. It would be a shame not to though, these opportunities don’t come around very often and it would be a waste not to take it while it’s there.

The theme this time is Brotherhood, with a choice of different themes to write within that. They want to see groups of individual working together, and seeing how I like creating Warbands and such, it gave me the kick I needed to flesh out some of my half created characters.

I decided to go for the group who would have made the diorama had I finished it in time. The Ludicrous Seven. They consist of the following character:

Kycius – an Iron Warrior who likes to think he is in charge.

Roushal – A Noise Marine who talks too fast and too much.

Abraxas – A Khorne Berzerker who is surprisingly together when not in a fight.

Festus – A Plague Marine – he needs the most work.

Shabaka – A Thousand Son sorcerer with delusions of grandure

Sarlath – A Night Lord without the ability to speak

Davidus – An Ultramarine Skeleton.

They are an interesting bunch who are slowly taking shape in my mind. I have a lot of work to do on them, but I have a rough outline and a plot that grows each day. I am looking forward to seeing where their tale goes at the very least! For now, have this short scribble and some pictures of the miniatures:

Crouching behind an overly large rock, the three of them exchanged glances. Between them and their target were countless more of the demon things. Kycius sucked in a breath. Before he could stop him, Roushal poked his head up before immediately ducking down. “There’s ten thousand, I counted real quick.” Kycius looked at Shabaka, who rolled his eyes.

 

miniatures.

Black Library Submissions and Other News

I was informed by several people that once more, Black Library are asking for submissions from the general populous. I was unsure whether I should submit anything this time around. I’m setting up the commission business and it is keeping me very busy, which is nothing to complain about for sure, and I wondered whether I would have the time to dedicate to it or not.

A quick discussion with my good friend Stormy however changed my mind. The themes were interesting, based around Brotherhood and it got me thinking about what I might want to write about. Chaos Space Marines is a given, as I feel most comfortable with them. As I was thinking, I remembered I already have several characters with most of a story drafted about them already, I wrote it while I was teaching and quite frankly, if I found the time to write it then, I can find time to finish it off and do some editing and redrafting.

It features Menskera, Kaphiri and Shui, three Thousand Sons Sorcerers and their attempt to steal The Athenean – A Reaver Titan that gets in the way of their mission to plunder a world for hidden knowledge. Of course, there is more to it than that. I remember being pleased with some of the dialogue in the story so far, but I am going to have to give it a re-read to refamiliarise myself with the tale and make the right changes. I do worry that it might be a bit silly, but I will never know if I do nothing and it will give me the motivation to get the tale finished regardless.

I do have a miniature of Menskera that’s finished, and I have the other two build, just not painted. Of course, the Reaver Titan is still in its box – I am a little scared to start that monster project, but that will happen when I am ready. For now, here is Menskera!

IMG_2102 (2)

 

book review · miniatures.

Book Review: Blood Reaver – Aaron Dembski Bowden.

Blood ReaverBlood Reaver is part two of the Night Lords Trilogy, and it has taken me longer to read that I wanted it to. This is not because of the book being terrible, but because of my own time constraints.

I was more than happy to pick up the tale of Talos and ‘friends’ once more and find out about there misadventures. This time, they found themselves at the dubious mercy of Huron Blackheart and his cronies. I am not going into detail about the story itself because I want you to go and read it for yourselves. You should do so, and here is why.

Characters! In this novel there are some fresh, new character to get your teeth into and some old flames back to haunt us. Talos, First Claw and the rest of the Night Lords from the first book are back and in full flow. Bickering and sniping at one another to the point of becoming murderous continues to thrill the reader, but leaves enough room for empathy. Even the character of the Exalted – or Vandred as he was formerly known prior to his possession – offers some choice moments within the story. Added to the violent mix is Variel, an apothecary who belongs to the Red Corsairs, also known as The Flayer, is a new face who is chillingly great. His cold, ruthless and detatched demeanour only adds to the story and the role he plays leaves the reader guessing to the very end.

Alongside the Space Marines is the mortal crew. The new additions are a brilliant foil for those that already exist and the development of the interwoven relationships between them all is well written and feels natural, rather than forced.

As always, ADB’s writing is a delight to read. I am not usually a fan of reading void combat, however the end of this novel, which featured such had me gripped and reading until the small hours just to find out what happened and who survived. Those that did not survive had my eyes prickling. That I was able to connect to the humblest of characters within the novel says a great deal about how the book is put together. The action pacing is perfect, making me need to know what happened.

Go and read this novel, it is a whirlwind and worthy of your time!

book review · miniatures.

Review: Soul Hunter – Aaron Dembski Bowden

Soul Hunter

Several friends of mine pestered me to read this for a while. One of them loaned me the physical copy, another loaned me a digital copy and eventually I relented. I do not get a lot of time to read books, and I do not like to waste my time on bad ones. This book is not a bad book.

This book is in fact, a very good book.

I knew within the first couple of pages that I was going to like the Night Lords due to one incident. One of the characters gets shot in the middle of a discussion and his so called friend had to switch his vox off because he was laughing so hard about it.

The book is full of gems like this. You quickly come to realise that the Night Lords all hate each other. It is the typical dynamic however that as soon as an outsider starts to hate on the individuals, that they pull together and deal with problems – mostly.

I never like to write spoilers in my reviews and I do not plan to start now. Some key players appear in the book, and they are all true to their character. The novel provides another perspective on these characters which is insightful and interesting.

The story is well constructed, cleverly written and easy to read. Some of the fight scenes it contains were so good my coffee went cold as I was so engaged. There is no abundence of overly floral language, though there is no lack of description either. Some of the scenes push the boundaries of what is ‘sensible’ (I know, it’s 40K but…) however, they are not ludicrous and are certainly exciting.

I really look forward to Blood Reaver, and enthusing about this awesome read to those who encouraged me to read them in the first place.

miniatures. · Painting Tutorial · Warhammer 40k · Wh40K

Resin Wash 101

I make a daily to do list on twitter so I can keep myself focused and know I am achieving things. On my list today was wash and assemble the NL guy, and I was asked about how to clean resin. I decided to do so in a blog post in case there are other people out there who don’t know how to do this but don’t want to ask. Here we go, a step by step guide to cleaning up resin:

1 – Equipment: You need the following – A bowl of luke-warm water, an old toothbrush, some washing up liquid and a tea-towel or other type of towel and the mini you want to clean up:

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2 – Put a small drop of the detergent into the water.

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3 – Add the mini to be cleaned up.

4 – Use the toothbrush to scrub over all parts of the mini. Try not to be too vigorous else you’ll end up with breakages and that would be a disaster. There are no pictures of this as using a phone with wet hands is going to be troublesome.

5 – Place clean parts on tea-towel to dry.

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6 – Throw away the water and wash your hands. Resin tasting water is gross and leaves a weird taste in your mouth as well.

I hope this helps. I may well write one on bending miniatures back into shape. Resin is pretty easy to reform and it is oddly satisfying as well.

I also realise that my Reaver Titan is made of resin… it has many, many parts, some large… I need a bigger bowl.