Archive for the ‘Random wifflings’ Category

Mars Attacks, Uruk-hai and Black Templars.

Mars Attacks (Benny did those, not bad for a six year-old), Uruk-hai and Black Templars. And a random dice I found in a bag pocket, dropped on the floor and then kept painfully treading on. I should just put it in the tin with the others. Lazy.

Here’s the Black Templar I’ve painted this week. I’m quite pleased with this one. My edge highlighting is getting better.


For this first “normal” (is there such a thing?) Space Marine, I thought I’d go right back to the roots of the hobby, and paint a chap in Mark VI armour.

I used the upgrade frame in building my Black Templars.  The parts on it are very cool. I’m especially looking forward to painting my next Space Marine, which has a helmet and chestpiece from the upgrade set. I intend to follow examples from the Forgeworld books, which show a great deal of variation of colour scheme and equipment within each faction, and paintings of Black Templars, which show a lot of personalisation to Initiates’ battleplate. Expect a fair degree of individuality .

As Black Templars have such a contrasting colour scheme I have been undercoating them in pieces. I sprayed the robed torso fronts and shoulder pads white, the rest black. Painting white over black is frankly horrible. Different undercoats give a much smoother finish. To do this I drilled holes in my undercoating “man stick” (a piece of 1×2″ wood I stick my models to for undercoating) and blu-tacked the pieces to cocktail sticks stuck into the holes.

I have also been only partially assembling the models before painting, gluing on shoulder pads and – where appropriate – weapons later in the painting process. Doing rank and file troopers as sub-assemblies might seem like an enormous faff, but I can paint all areas properly and the results are better. Plus it means I only ever play with painted models.

Review: Gilgamesh

Posted: October 14, 2014 in Random wifflings

Gilgamesh by Anonymous
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gilgamesh being one of the foundation texts for all literature, if not THE foundation text, I really should have it read earlier. Originating 4000 years ago as five separate poems and revisited in several versions by generations of writers, it is the oldest known narrative. I’d also like to say that I read it in the original. But I can’t read cuneiform, do not know Akkadian or Sumerian, and I do not have space in my house for dozens of clay tablets.

Handily for me, Stephen Mitchell has produced this fantastic modern interpretation of the epic. Mitchell based his poem on pre-existing translations, taking the best from the differing versions, and smoothing over those bits that are missing. I can’t with any authority gauge how close he cleaves to the original, but he states, “My intention throughout has been to recreate the ancient epic, as a contemporary poem, in the parallel universe of the English language.” In the fairly extensive notes, Mitchell prints various translated chunks of the original verse and from these small examples he seems to have done an admirable job.

What is original anyway? There are different versions of the story, embellished at different times by different people, then translated in different ways thousands (thousands!) of years later. The “definitive” version was written by a priest-scholar by the name of Sin-leqi-unninni. he based his – for want of a better word – classic on “The Old Babylonian Version” which drew the five original poems together. But the exact level of his contribution is unknown. It is from translations of this that Mitchell mostly works, creating a beautiful readable poem that is powerful and haunting. It’s a bit odd that he goes through the poem segment by segment before we get to read it. A shorter introduction would be in order, as the poem really does speak for itself. Otherwise, the book’s great. If your understanding of Gilgamesh is either “Who?” or “Wasn’t he a minor 70s Marvel comics character with a cow on his head?” go out and buy this. It’s as accessible as a modern fantasy novel, and better written than most of those. Here endeth the review part, now comes the thinks. If you’ve no stomach for me musing, you can go away now. (more…)


Today I am very tired, having spent two fun-packed days at Warhammerfest in Coventry. As I repeatedly, endlessly moan on, I don’t get out much so it was brilliant to spend some time with my friends and colleagues for a couple of days.  Equally brilliant was meeting tons of enthusiastic gamers and readers and talking fluent war-geek! If you stopped by for a chat  or attended the seminars I was present at, thanks very much. Meeting people who actually read my books is always immensely rewarding. If I spoiled them for you with my scrappy signature, you have my apologies.

Remember, if you want to ask me about my fiction you don’t have to wait for an event, you are free to do so here or at Goodreads, my Facebook page, or on Twitter where I am, very originally, @guyhaley. I’m keen to chat. I really do not get out a lot. The walls of my basement press in. Hearing human voices restores my sanity a little.

I bought a few extra bits for my Black Templars army, enough to take my overall collection up to about 1200 points. So I will be pressing on with painting that. I’ve not played 40k for eight months, I think, but will play again as soon as I have 1000 points of Templars ready for the tabletop. A Crusader squad is next. I’ll be posting pictures.

Speaking of Space Marines…


Here I am with Daniel Knox, who is dressed as a Crimson Fist in a most convincing manner. I only found his name out when he followed me on Twitter, but I did get him to shoot me with his plasma gun. What an awesome suit of armour! A brief dance on the net leads me to believe he’s part of a cosplay group. Check out their Facebook page here.


In September 2009, Death Ray closed and my career as a journalist/editor began to wind down. Fortunately, weeks before I had secured a book contract for Reality 36. Shortly thereafter came the one for Baneblade.  I had always wanted to be a “writer with a capital W”. Unemployment enabled (forced?) me to try. My current career as a full-time (more or less) writer of fiction started.

Since then, I have written:

10 novels (one still looking for a home, if you’re interested).

Four novellas.

31 short stories (I think).

I have also edited one factual book and six magazines, provided background text for two game worlds and done various other bits and pieces.

I estimate I’ve written about 1.3 million words in that time. Not bad. When I started out on this particular road, I figured I’d give it two years to see where it was going. Initially I worked a variety of roles in publishing, but these days I’m pretty much doing nothing but fiction. Things could go either way still, as  I personally don’t believe I’m established enough to relax yet. In particular, I could really do with a non-Black Library book that sells well. But I’m safe in my basement office for the time being. I have the freedom that I craved, and have been able to bring my son up. We’ve had some lean years, but although I don’t yet think I can say “success”, I’ve moved a long way from failure.

So if you’ve bought one of my books, I must say thank you very much. If you enjoyed it too, that’s even better.

I said earlier this week that I don’t do much journalistic work any more. But I still do the odd spot of editing. The Sci-Fi Chronicles was this year’s big editorial job. As it was released yesterday, I thought I’d write a little about what editors do.

Editing is a loose word for a wide range of roles. I’ve edited special editions for SFX where I’ve been responsible for everything in the magazine bar the subject matter. That is, determining the tone, planning and commissioning the contents, controlling the production process, collaborating with the designers on the look, helping source photography, liaising with the advertising sales people, then checking all aspects of it before signing it off. On Death Ray I was working under an editor-in-chief, so had less overall say and responsibility. White Dwarf was very different, its contents being dictated by Games Workshop’s release cycle. (more…)