The Turning of the Sons

You…want to know? When it began? When we turned from the Emperor?

I remember when we were loyal.

I remember when we wore the crimson and gold of the Warhawks, the name we used to bear so proudly. I remember when the brightest and best of us fell in battle against that hated xenos, the tau. I remember watching my commanders stormraven blasted out of the sky. I remember the lack of support given to us by the wider imperium; “an insufficient use of time and resources” was the reply to our cry for aid. In shame, we made ourselves nameless, stripped the colours from our armour. We became a crusading chapter, seeking to atone for our weakness and anger at the bureaucracy of the wider Imperium. Even then, we remained loyal.

I remember when we fell upon the Hive of Montesa. Our armour by then was tarnished and aged, barely functioning, its metal sheen a dull bronze in contrast with what we had been. While we bore no name, others called us the Brazen Horde. We bore no mercy, nor fear, nor doubt, in the work we were called to do. Even when we slaughtered our kin, we knew it was for him on terra. Even then, we remained loyal.

I remember when the resting place of the cruiser known as “the Dauntless” was invaded by knights in burnished silver. Pure they were, great warriors who fought not just man but demon as well. But they were led poorly, for they invaded that place which is most sacred to us on the word of an inquisitor who had lost his way. We defended what was ours, though it pained us to do so. Even then, we remained loyal.

I remember when we reclaimed the right to wear the red of our armour once again. On a hateful day the Wolves of Fenris were stirred up against us and, thinking we the enemy, brought us to battle. Even as we rained blows upon one another, parlay was called. They saw honour in our actions, and in the eyes of a 1st founding chapter we felt vindicated. We reclaimed the red of our armour. And we chose for ourselves a new name. But the bitterness of those early days still defined us, and so we were renamed the Parted Sons, for we remained distant from other forces of the Imperium. Even then, we remained loyal.

I remember when Warriors in dark iron with yellow chevrons hounded us, hunted us. We never knew why, but their hand was constantly against us. Eventually though, deep in jungle and mud, we brought them to battle. Even as our tanks clashed with theirs, we knew the outcome. Their armour destroyed, their Warsmith dead, they haunted our steps no more. And even then, we remained loyal.

Even when the night sky was torn in two, when communication with Terra was cut, when all around us went to hell, when we thought we were the last to serve the great throne of Terra, even then, even then we remained loyal.

Until today.

Today, when we held the line in an ancient city looking over the enemy titan we had slain. Today, when Imperial Fists, warriors in yellow, ambushed us, killed us, slaughtered those who followed us. And even though we gained some measure of vengeance, even though we saw their commander dragged from the battlefield dead or as near as, our hearts were still cut to the core. For as they charged us, as they drove us from the titan and picked it clean like the scavengers they are, These warriors in yellow shouted their battle cry at us. “For the Emperor!”

For the Emperor.

They saw us as the enemy.

And we remembered.

When we were loyal, but the Imperium refused to answer our cry for aid.

When we were loyal, but still the Imperium ordered us to kill our own kin.

When we were loyal, but the Imperium ransacked our most holy of places.

When we were loyal, but the Imperium still ordered the wolves against us.

When we were loyal, but the Imperium hunted us using their dogs of dark iron.

No more.

Death to him on the throne, and to all who serve that corpse.

(Transcript of Vox message being broadcast on continuous loop by a beacon placed in orbit above the planet Lupine, former chapter world of The Parted Sons.)

Making a Gaming Table (Pic Heavy)

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Just over a year ago, the DM of my DnD group tagged me in a video she came across on youtube of a guy in America making an awesome gaming table from scratch. Safe to say, I fell in love with the idea – I’ve always wanted a gaming space of my own, and after talking it through with my wife (who is as big a nerd as I am), I got in touch with my friend Peter and asked him how possible it would be to make something similar. The conversation went back and forth – we agreed it couldn’t be as large as the one in the video (5ftx5ft was too big for my humble british home) but I knew it needed to be 4ftx4ft in order to for me to lay out the 4ftx4ft Zone Mortalis board I have for games of 40k. I knew I wanted some kind of TV Monitor set into the table, and that it needed cup holders and dice trays, along with some kind of sound system. Peter also convinced me it ought to have some kind of LED lighting, so as to set the mood for exciting games. We met and drew up plans:

 

The plans were pretty straightforward. 4ftx4ft, central recess with a lid for when it wasn’t in use. Cupholders and dice trays carved directly into the rim, and solid sturdy legs set a little more to the center than to the edge, to enable adequate leg room. For power, we’d run four usb hubs, one to each table edge, and a single powersupply (extension cable with three powerplugs and four usb slots.) So, to begin:

The frame:

 

We picked up four 4ftx4ft sheets of plywood, roughly 16mm thick to provide the wood for the body of the table itself. We measured and cut out a rim of 170mm, keeping the cutout to serve as the table lid itself. The trim (I can’t remember the proper name for it) was then cut out, approx 50mm deep.

Once the trim was put on, it was flipped over the underside given a frame to provide the stability needed. The corners were then trimmed to look neat, and another piece of plywood attached to the underside that had been cut to approx 3ftX3ft to provide a base for recess.

 

The legs, made of 2×4’s, were then fastened together (2 per leg) and cut to size. Finally (and not pictured) thin strips of wood were cut to go around the inside of the recess to provide a lip for the table lid to sit on.

The TV

A spare PC monitor was…uhh…liberated from my office for this. This was centrally placed (with the monitor facing away from the DM’s side and towards the players), and a space cut out using a jigsaw. This offcut was retained, and in a stroke of genius by Peter, was set upon retractable bolts which provided a platform for the monitor and allowed us to adjust the height if the monitor needs replacing.

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Sanding, Dice Trays and Cupholders

Next, we sanded down the table, taking off the top, rougher layer, giving it a lighter tone and smoother feel.

Next, dicetrays and cupholders, and done in a similar fashion to each other. A large borer on a drill was used to carve out the cup holders and then sanded almost smooth (with both the cupholders and the dicetrays, I left them a little rough as a reminder that it was home made). The Dicetrays were made almost the same way – two large circles were carved out with the circular drill bit, and then a jigsaw cutter was used to connect each of the two holes. Each of the players sides have two dicetrays each, and the DM’s side has a single dicetray thats slightly bigger then the players have. Finally, planks cut to size and lined with the same lining material as the recess were screwed under each to provide the base for the dicetrays and the cupholders.

LED’s, USBs and Powerplugs.

 

Small slots were carved out of the edge of each table in the middle to provide slots to place the usb sockets, and the USB sockets hotglued gun into each. A strip of LED lights were attached under the lip of the recess (these are USB powered, so plug into the extension lead). An extension cable was then attached to one of the legs. USB extension cables were attached to each USB socket and the excess length fixed to the underside of the table and run to the extension sockets. Likewise, a hole was cut under the lip in the recess for the LED lights power lead to be fed to the USB socket.

Burning a design and varnishing

 

The best artist I know, my wife, sketched out a design for the lid of the table. The center cross is actually a boardgame design from a medieval game called “Fox and Geese”, so we can play a game whenever we like! The four designs around are simply celtic designs with a goose in three of them, and a fox curled up in the fourth. A small finger hole was also drilled out of the table lid to allow for easy removal. The table was then sanded down again, and then a coat of varnish applied and allowed to dry. This was repeated three times to get a good finish.

Assembly and Finishing touches

On each leg a foot was attached to provide some level of protection to the floor. Under the table, a Bluetooth speaker was fastened and the legs attached. Finally, a roll of table protector was cut to size and laid on the table.

And here are the final pics:

 

So yeah. A labour of love. With the bad weather we had over the winter, it took just over 6 months to complete, and has seen some pretty strong use. Next on my list is to make a simple 2ftx4ft extension so it can be a 6ftx4ft table for big games of 40k!

Finally my thanks to Peter for enabling me to build this monster, to Rebecca for letting me build this monster (and providing the artistry), and to Ann for getting me started in making this monster.

Let me know what you think – M

The joy of painting // not quite Bob Ross

So, these past 15 months, I’ve been coping without a dedicated painting space. Shortly after my daughter was born, work moved us to Nottingham. The addition of a baby has meant I don’t have the same level of room that I have had these past few years. That being said, I’m still painting, even though I don’t have a dedicated space. Instead, I’ve put together a simple painting kit which can be put up on the kitchen table or when I sit and paint at warhammer world. I thought I’d share it with you, as it’s allowed me to keep in the hobby during a period of time when I thought I’d be struggling to keep active. 

First of all, the case:


It’s a “flight case with foam”, which you can buy from Maplin for £34 (And here’s the link). Full disclosure; I have two of these, but they were both given to me by my father-in-law, who initially bought them for trains. I stripped out the foam (easy enough, as it wasn’t stuck in). 


Here’s what it looks like inside. First of all, I knocked up a wooden frame from some off shoots of wood. It was easy enough, partly because I recently came into possession of a band saw, and partly because it’s just a box; how hard could it be? It’s held together by a couple of wood screws, and slots snugly in. This wooden inset serves a simple enough purpose – keep the contents from flying all over the case. 


First to go in is a selection of GW paints, along with two sets of headphones. I tend to listen to music while painting (which makes me appear pretty anti-social, especially if I’m painting “in-store.”) 


Next is a selection of brushes. Nothing too complicated – drybrush, mixing brush, fine detail brush, general work brush, etc etc. I tend to hold the brushes together with electrical tape whilst in transit, as it easier to find them when I go to paint; I don’t get somewhere and find that my detail brush has somehow escaped…


Next, a bottle of water, to be used in water pots and so forth. When I paint at Warhammer world, I don’t tend to take a water pot with me, as the painting area has them, but if I’m going elsewhere I tend to have a small jar packed to use.


This is why I pack the water – to use with my wet palette. My wet palette is as low key as you can get. A small tub, two sponge clothes cut to size, and a pIece of brown baking paper, also cut to size. I tend to add the water once I get to where I’m going to paint. 


Next, an old painting towel, used for drying brushes and wiping excess paint off in prep for drybrushing. 


A daylight lamp. I picked up two these for a reasonable price from Amazon a little while ago, and they’ve really helped improve my painting. I tend to pack both lamps, just in case one fails. 


Next, a small tub of basing material. My current project calls for desert style basing, so this is filled with sand. I tend to stick the basing material on with superglue as it’s sets quickly and gives me good results quickly. 

And last but, but no means least:

A roll of electrical tape, used to keep the brushes together and the lid of the basing material box firmly on in transit. 

So yeah, that’s what I use! How that’s helpful to some. 

#miniaturemonday catching up with the backlog

So it’s been a while since I had chance to share any of my painted minis. Partly, because I’m still learning how to be a dad 14 months in, and partly because finances haven’t been too great. I’ve still not picked up 8th ed, so have no idea what it plays like or what the new fluff is.

But in the meantime, I’ve taken it as an opportunity to work through my backlog of minis. Still a way to go,  but I think this is a good start…


First up are four veterans for my Parted Sons DIY chapter. Nothing special, just kitbashes, some of which are new, and some which have languished in my “to-paint” box for a fair while. 


Next up is a new army commander in termie armour, with a bodyguard of three marines armed with Powerswords and storm shields. The commander I’ve shared on Twitter before, but when I finished him, I decided I wanted a small bodyguard for him. Digging through my bits box, I came across an old metal emperors champion, an old metal iron warriors commander, and the body of one of the marine crew from the quad mortar kit FW (may have that wrong – it’s the model that can be proxied as a thunderfire cannon) which felt right. All received a shield arm from the FW upgrade spru, new swords and backpacks. Nothing complicated (though the emperors champion required a saw), and I’m happy with the results. 


Next is the beginning a mechanicum force. So far just the two you see above. I’m particularly pleased with the plain tech priest from the IG range. It has a wonderful sense of character, and having the model in lead helped me when I accidentally knocked it off the paint table shortly after I’d primed it! 


Next, a few inquisitorial reinforcements – three acolytes. The kneeling acolyte was a repaint of a model given to me a number of years back that had seen a little wear and tear. I replaced the head and the right arm, then just undercoated and painted. I’m pleased with the checked jacket, though where the squares aren’t there as a guide, my freehand doesn’t quite match the standard set by the sculpt. The model with the machete is a pure kitbash, using bits from the old dark vengeance starter set, the scions kit, the empire militia kit, and the head from the old deathwatch upgrade spru (from before the deathwatch were cool.) the final model – the acolyte with the book and flamer – was a pure joy to paint. No conversions, just a beautiful sculpt with a great sense of character. 


I also found the chance to kitbash one more fallen. This brings me up to 13 fallen, plus the two versions of cypher and a dread. I’m still not sure where I’m going with these – from what I gather, there are rules for fallen in the new chaos codex, but I’m not 100% sure they’ll ever hit the battlefield. Considering they initially started out as a tester for a Dark Angel heresy force, I might return to that idea…but I’m not sure. 


Finally, this isn’t a model I’ve completed recently, but one that’s sat in a cupboard for at least a year. I initially painted it up as a test piece for an eldar army. I made one alteration (a new head, taken from Victoria Miniatures), and when it was painted, I made the mistake of sharing it on an Eldar Facebook group. And I got absolutely slated, because the model had a beard. It was enough to make me just put it back in the cupboard and delete the post and leave that group. That being said, with the release of shadow wars Armageddon, I’m tempted to revisit the Eldar…

Anyway, a quick photo dump. Let me know what you think! 

#warhammerworld and social awkwardness

So back on Wednesday of this week, I packed up my paints, a model (the new Bobby G model everyones been talking about) and a pair of headphones, and went and sat myself down at the painting area in Warhammer World. And I’ve been reflecting on the experience since.

First, I think it’s worth saying that by my nature I’m an introvert. Weirdly, I’m in a job that requires me to be an extrovert (I’m a Methodist minister, aka God Squad), and so as a means of recovering from that, whenever I have free time alone, I prefer to spend it alone. Unless theres a reason for us to hang out (such as an event, or a game, or its work related etc etc) I don’t tend to do well with other people. Oh, it’s not intentional. Just that somedays I wake up and just…can’t really face anyone.

As such, I can come off as being socially awkward. I won’t go so far as to call it social anxiety because I wouldn’t want to belittle what some folk have to deal with by claiming to suffer the same, but it means that at times I’ve come across as being on edge, uncommunicative or just plain rude, constantly wearing that “startled rabbit” expression anyone tries to talk to me. It means that at times I’ve missed out on opportunities as I’ve gone to an event and just lost the courage to go into the building, never mind talk to people.

Now, I’m fortunate. Warhammer World is my local Gee-Dub store. It’s big. This means that on Wednesday, when I was having one of these “Low” days, I was able to sneak in, get through the store without being noticed, get a coffee from Bugmans and get set up at the painting area, all with the minimum of conversation. I think that, by the time I went home (I was there from 11am til 4pm), I’d had a total of three conversations; one to ask for a coffee, one to ask the dude across from me if he had a pair of clippers (he hadn’t) and one as I packed up. For me, that was heaven. 

However.

It’s also limiting my ability to get more involved in the hobby. You see, despite being the home of GW, there are no established 40k gaming groups in Nottingham. WW doesn’t run one, most gaming groups are focused on other game systems, and the few times I’ve asked the question either online or in person, I’ve really got no where. Staff at Warhammer World, while enthusiastic, are also unable to help. The best suggestion seems to be that I should just turn up to WW on a wednesday or a friday night when they’re open till 10pm, and see if I can find a suitable opponent to play.

This is not helpful.

Putting aside the fact that I’m of the opinion that pick-up games are the least enjoyable of 40k games, the thought of walking up to strangers and hoping for a game is, to me, the stuff of nightmares. I know, its irrational, but there you go.

So what to do? Well, I’m not going to do what my gut reaction is to do when I’m having a “low” day; to avoid the place like the plauge. Instead, I’m still going to go to Warhammer World to paint, or to read, or to write. For me, the environment is friendly enough that if you do just want to be there, but alone, then no worries. And if you do want (or have built up the courage) to chat to a few people, you can do that as well. The gaming community is on the whole a friendly and accepting one, full of awkward and bizarre people just like me. I’m not expecting to meet the perfect opponent, but maybe, one day I’ll get the courage to chat to a few people there, maybe find a small informal gaming group.

For now though, I’ll be at the painting table. Looking scared, with headphones on, and enjoying the atmosphere as best I can, despite myself.

Second day painting

So following a successful day of painting yesterday, I’ve made a start on another two models that have been in the painting queue for a while. A kitbashed librarian and commander on bikes for the parted sons. I’ve not really put much thought into the rules, built as they are primarily from the ravenguard command box and having little in common with the SM codex. It’ll be a quick and messy paint job, just to get them off the table and into the cabinet. 

   
   
Sadly, this is the last day of my holiday. It’s been strangely productive – the art room is now set up, and the house is almost in some kind of order. Looking forward to doing some more creating! 

Painting at last! 

So, after a month of being without, the art room is set up and finally managed to put some paint on a mini! Eased myself back into it by painting up a new commander for the parted sons. No name as of yet, but the plan is to use him in ZM games, with artificer armour and storm shield, backed up with a command squad armed with storm shields (when I get round to it.)

  

What to paint, what to do?

Morning all,

As it may be clear to those of you who have perused this blog, I have over the past year or so found myself working on a DIY Space Marine chapter called the Parted Sons. As a force, I’m immensely proud of them. This is the first chapter, for me, where my own fluff, painting style and style of play seemed to have clicked.

T?hat being said, I’ve reached the point where I’m ready to do something different. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not looking to part with the parted sons, but rather that I’m looking for something new to do.

I picked up, back in June / July of last year, a whole swathe of Vostroyans. 5 squads, one command squad, and one squad of ratling snipers. As of this moment, 2 are painted, and the rest of the squads have had a multitude of flash removed and glued to bases.

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They are beautiful models, though working on metal again is both a joy and a curse. A joy, because they’re so much more robust. And a curse because, well, they’re so much more robust. Talk about aching fingers…

However, I was distracted the other day by something from AoS. Yes, I’m genuniely as surprised as you are

Over on the Ex Profundis blog, Jake (Bruticus) has done a blog on the subject of Warriors of Malal. 

Now, in the world of 40k, theres a renegade chapter known as the Sons of Malice. Inspired by the same idea of a renegade God of Chaos known as Malal, the name got changed over time for a range of reasons. Black Library printed a short story about them a few years ago, and at the tail end of last year I did a test model for them, using up left over chaos and imperium termie bits.

 

And there this model has stayed, as a test model, a way to prove to myself that I could paint a quartered scheme.

But feeling inspired by the warriors of malal, I am tempted to revisit them…

Time will tell!

A review – Horus Heresy: Retribution.

So currently my house is being demolished.

Alright, a little over dramatic. Basically, as I’ve mentioned in the past, I recently moved to Nottingham due to work. Now, the house I’m in comes with the Job, and as part of the agreement, my employers committed to converting the garage (which is too small to get even a small car in) into a study; or, as me and my wife have taken to calling it:

The Art Room.

Yep, no longer will paints and models have to be packed away into boxes. I’ll have a paint station that I’ll be able to leave set up permanently. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about this.

The work was initially due to be done shortly before we moved in back in August, but there was a delay, and then a series of delays, and now the builders finally turned up yesterday, and the work is finally being done. The draw back though? All my 40k stuff is trapped behind a wall of boxes. So until they finish, and I can begin to empty out these boxes of books onto the shelves that are due to go in there, then I’m unable to do any painting or gaming.

The price to pay, I guess.

Last week, I took my Christmas money and bought a few things to tide me over. I bought the Agents of the Imperium book, a novel about space sharks, and yes, Horus Heresy: Retribution.

Now, I may come back to the other two for a future blog post, but I really wanted to over a very basic review of Horus Heresy: Retribution.

First, I should say I’m a big fan of this book. It’s the first big black book of the HH series from Forgeworld that I’ve bought, purely because of its content. First and foremost, this feels like new fluff. I’ve read each of the previous HH books, and I don’t feel I’m missing anything by not owning them. The red books cover any gaming needs, and Black Library does a good job of giving in-depth fluff. The story wasn’t particularly new to me in the first few books, and so I didn’t really feel I could justify the £74 price tag. But the fluff in this feels new. It gives an update as to where the different legions are at this point in the heresy. It offers new rites of war, including one that allows you to take a primarch as a HQ and run him with the elites of the legion (appealing to me as it offers a chance to do a small Zone Mortalis force with showcase models), and it offers new rites of war for each of the different legions, including ones for the dark angels (might be time to revisit them!), the blood angels and the white scars. It offers two new ways to run a Marine force. First, Shattered legions. Shattered legions allows you to take two different legions and run them as a single force. Not only does this feel appropriately fluffy in the insanity of the Istvaan massacre, it also allows you to round out one force and dip your toe in with another, if you are so minded.

But what I love the most is the second way you can run a Marine force; The Blackshields. For the longest time, I’ve been really annoyed that the only way to run a “renegade” space marine force  is to use the chaos codex. I’ve struggled with the assumption that every renegade force will inevitably fall to chaos. Sometimes, renegades just rebel for the sake of rebelling. This, however, provides me with the opportunity to run a truly renegade force; marines who are repelled by the taint of chaos, but no longer willing to serve under the yoke of the Imperium. In essence, it gives a way for me to write the story of the Parted Sons (my own DIY chapter) not just in the narrative but also in the games I play.

I find this genuinely exciting. It feels that, between this and the cults and militia lists released through HH5, and the campaign creator in HH4, Forgeworld are not just providing a setting within which to play and a more nuanced take on the 40k rules, but are also providing people with the tools to better develop their own narratives and forces.

I generally tend to measure every forgeworld book releases against the Badab War books, which were and still remain my first love when it comes to 40k fluff. And Horus Heresy: Retribution isn’t better then those two books.

But it’s as good as. And from me, that’s high praise indeed.

You can pick the book up from the following link for £74. It’s worth the price, trust me.

https://www.forgeworld.co.uk/en-GB/The-Horus-Heresy-Book-Six-Retribution

A return, of sorts.

So, it’s been a while since I blogged.

Partly, this is because that at the beginning of June, I became a dad for the first time.

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She’s a bit bigger now (5 months old at time of writing), but her arrival put a bit of a crimp on the free time I’ve had. As such, my painting output understandably took a nosedive. It’s not that I haven’t painted anything. I mean, look, I painted a purple marine or two (of unknown chapter)

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I painted some Vostroyans (I still have 5 unpainted squads and a command squad sitting in the 40k cupboard)

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I even tried painting a test model for a possible Iron Warriors force:

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before changing my mind again and painting a salamander:

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You might be able to tell, but I’ve found it difficult to focus on one specific force.

Partly, this is because of the new addition to the family, and partly, because back in August the family and I moved due to work. We now live and work in the wonderful city of Nottingham! Which is great, as my local GW is only 7 minutes drive away. And even better, it’s not just any old store; it’s Warhammer World, which means I’m living the dream. But I thought I’d end up tripping over wargaming groups, but I’m yet to find a gaming group to join; work demands much from me in terms of evening meetings, which limits my availability to game. And the one game I have managed to play ended up sapping my enthusiasm and enjoyment of this hobby for a host of reasons that I don’t really want to go into.

Motivation is at an all time low. I find myself sitting at the painting table, but no desire to paint.

I have a game scheduled for the 17th Dec against a long time opponent; a small game, following a visit to the museum at Warhammer World and lunch in Bugmans. I just hope I’ve recaptured that lost motivation long before then.

Anyway, I’ve got a few days off now so I’m hoping to get inspired; read a few books, look through some old fluff, and just spend a bit of time floating around the hobby. See if that revitalises me.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

M