Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category


As I’ve mentioned a few times, my hobby these last 18 months or so has been focused on The Lord of The Rings/The Hobbit strategy game.

I’ve always been a massive Tolkien fan. But when I first played the game, back when I was on White Dwarf, I wasn’t very impressed, it seemed the key to winning was rolling a lot of sixes − not very tactical. I had to paint a force up to go in the magazine, and nothing robs the joy from painting toy soldiers faster than having to do it. On top of that, I was still on my infamous losing streak. 21 defeats in a row, at every game I tried. Ten years later it still gets brought up. I amassed a small collection of select models, and left it at that.

Fast forward to last year, and I was going through my models, thinking about streamlining my collection via eBay (never go round to it). I was about to box up my LOTR figures when I thought, actually, these are really beautiful models. Completely coincidentally, the guys at my gaming club decided to start a LOTR campaign that very week. I got hooked. I’ve re-read the books again, taking those as the guide for my games rather than the films. (more…)


I haven’t written a general update for a while, but having read Aaron’s post on this matter on Wednesday, I thought I’d do one too. Me, I’m totally original.

So, in brief…

I still haven’t moved yet. I’m still waiting for the conveyancing on my new house to go through (note to non-Brits − in England this takes FOREVER, even in Scotland it’s easier, and that’s part of the same state). This is taking a long time. Help.

My wife went North six weeks ago. Aside from the odd weekend, I have been playing single parent to a large dog and a fractious child. I have new-found respect for single parents, and for whisky.

I’ll write a heartfelt and slightly drunken post about leaving Somerset when it transpires that I can actually LEAVE.

Sadly, it transpires that Doctor Magnus (the big dog mentioned above. He’s not my live-in shrink or anything) has hip dysplasia, which means that I’m probably not going to be able to work him any more (except as a psychiatrist). Life sucks sometimes, but he’s mostly okay.

Work wise, I’ve pretty much sold myself to the Black Library for the whole year. Valedor and The Last Days of Ector are out at the weekend. I’ve been writing lots of BL stuff the last couple of months. Audios, shorts, novellas, and prepping novels. You name it, I’m doing it. I’ve got other stuff on for other people, but it’s either pretty minor or SHHHH! secret.

I’m at the Horus Heresy Weekender from Friday night (tonight, I suppose), so you can guess some of what I’ve been writing (exciting times). But really, I’ve a staggering amount of GW-flavoured stuff on the way. (Well, it seems staggering to me, but probably only because I have to write it. ‘Meh!’ you’ll probably say when you see the list. ‘That’s not staggering.’) If you see me weeping in a corner over my tattered, bloody fingers, buy me a drink. I promise to consider prioritising the favourite projects of those people who do.

I finally finished my work on the big, non-fiction project The Sci-Fi Chronicles I’ve been editing. This is a big relief, as I was going nuts looking at timelines. But it’s shaping up to be a handsome tome.

Hobby wise, I’m still a little bit in love with The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game, and have been painting up a force of Second Age Elves, mainly so I can use them as First Age Elves and play “Fight Morgoth”. When I’m done, I’m going to restage Glorfindel’s battle with a Balrog for laughs.

However, I’ve been adding to my Ork army in dribs and drabs, and am very excited about the new Warhammer 40,000.

And that, yeah, that about covers it. I’m very close to finishing putting all my archive Death Ray material up on this site, which is another minor, yet pleasing, thing. Three issues to go!

Orks, orks, orks

Posted: December 12, 2013 in Gaming
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I’m writing about [REDACTED BY INQUISTORIAL ORDER] at the moment, and that’s got me all fired up, so I painted this Ork Battlewagon. This is my first Warhammer 40,000 model since the spring, as I’ve been painting and playing The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game this year almost exclusively. I just realised, I go through a phase every year where I paint a ton of Orks over winter. Must be the long nights or something. Last winter/spring it was Deffkoptas, a Dakkajet, and a bunch of nobs. Next I plan to do a Forgeworld anti-aircraft gun and some Ork barricades (I got them just before they were discontinued. I even had to ring around the local stores to see if they had any left) to be a defence line fortification.

I doubt I’ll get to play with this battlewagon for a while, as my Ork army is so big it’s difficult to get it to my gaming club (it’s in a pub up the hill. I walk there, so I can drink). Heck, even 1500 points means a lot of carrying. It’ll definitely get an outing next time I fight Jes Bickham’s Tyranids.

This is my second painted battlewagon. I have two Forgeworld models (they used to sell the bottom half of their current Battlefortress as a Battlewagon, before the plastic kit was available). The second FW Battlewagon I’ve had a shameful ten years or so, having received it as payment for an article that featured my (then much smaller) Speed Freeks article in White Dwarf some time before I was editor. I better paint it really. It’s been converted in three different ways over those years, but is currently covered in big guns borrowed from the plastic kit, and will probably stay that way.

Battlewagon

It’s not a brilliant photograph, and I have yet to paint the crew, but I thought I’d share.


To tie-in with Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse (out now!), I was asked to write two short stories and they’ve both been released. The first, “Iron Harvest”, is a follow up to Baneblade, and follows Honoured Lieutenant Bannick as he leaves Kalidar to take command of his own super-heavy tank, Cortein’s Honour. It was great fun to continue Bannick’s adventures, and I got quite carried away, so it’s a pretty long short story. Um, by which I mean twice the commissioned length… So it’s a bargain for you!

The second is “Engine of Mork”, which is hot off the presses today! (Metaphorically speaking, as you know, it’s a digital story). I love orks, and I loved writing this tale of a mekboy mob down on its luck on a backwater world. A nascent Waaagh, Death Skull thievery, mek boy ingenuity and very big guns all feature prominently. Crump!


Today I bring you a link to “The King of Black Crag”, a companion story to my upcoming Goblin extravaganza, Skarsnik. Here’s what the Black Library say about it on their website:

While Skarsnik cements his position as Warlord of the Eight Peaks, a rival broods in the nearby fortress of Black Crag. Gorfang Rotgut, the infamous Troll-Eater, sits uneasily on his throne, unsure whether the upstart night goblin is potential ally or the deadliest of foes. Desperate to discover the truth, Gorfang sets off on a quest to visit the shaman Zarrgakk, whose wisdom will decide the matter. And any dangers that lie in Gorfang’s path will just have to hope that the orc warlord is in a good mood…

The story, about Gorfang and his hapless Overrunt Gabble came out yesterday for BL’s Digital Monday. I enjoyed writing “The King of Black Crag” immensely, and so I recommend it even more than I normally would (what with me having written it and everything, you kind of have to expect that).

More experiments

Posted: May 8, 2013 in Gaming
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After some more fiddling about, I took these pictures of some Ork Nobs I painted a few months ago for my (still unfinished) nob squad. General photo lessons — more light, and a tripod. I may construct a lightbox. Still, I’m getting there.

Camera 010

My Waaagh! Banner nob is made up of bits from the old metal and new plastic nobs boxed sets. I need to get another light source, and a better backdrop.

Orksz 004

One of my favourite models. I’m amazed by the versatility of some of GW’s modern kits. With this one, I sorted out the background (more or less, it’s my sofa in my office), but I still need more light. And the angle’s all screwy, as I haven’t got a tripod. Need to fix that.

Orksz 006

A bit out of focus, and still needing more light. Although my Speed Freeks are Evil Suns in the main, I do plan to add another unit of shoota boys from the Bad Moons clan. It stands to reason that nobs from most of the ork households in a tribe would end up in the nobs mob, no matter their genetically predetermined clan affiliation. If I drop the background chunter and be honest, I actually just fancied a change from painting red!