Up to Galloway

Posted: June 10, 2015 in Random wifflings
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We don’t get many holidays, mostly because of my lawyer wife’s crazy working hours. But we were lucky enough to go to Scotland to stay with my cousin on Monday 25th May. After an incredibly stressful journey (cracked windscreen, near accident, open door on the motorway) we spent two brilliant nights up in Galloway. Benny caught his first fish (a pike!) we went to the seaside and did a spot of grass sledging.

Anyway, the reason for this is not to tell you the tedious ins and outs of my life, but to furnish you with the latest in my exhilarating series of pictures of rocks on hills. Here’s Benny at Bruce’s Stone in Glen Trool, a memorial to Robert the Bruce’s victory there over the English in 1307. This time, we had to make do with a short hike, but we’ll scale the hills on our next visit. Still, a fine day out.

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Small Viking, medium rock, big glen.

 


My Black Templars fought and lost their first battle last night against my mate Steven’s Eldar (nicely painted they were). I had promised myself not to play with the Templars until enough were painted, but I broke my trust with the Emperor and fielded a bunch of half assembled grey plastic warriors. The lord of mankind duly cursed my dice with his super mutant brain. Drat. Here’s an Imperial Inquisitor. I’m on a mission to paint up some of the many models I’ve accumulated over the years, so I’ll be doing some metal Stormtroopers to go with him which are equally ancient. To me they seem new, but I’ve actually had them for over a decade. I am beginning to feel a little old. I’ve nearly finished an Imperial Priest, you’ll get to see him soon.

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Nobody expects the Imperial Inquisition!


Hello, hello. My, I’ve had a busy few weeks. Been ill. Been away. Been to a wedding. Been working hard. I’m flat out with promotional work for a book right now – you’ll get to hear all about it sooner or later. I’ve had a lot of interest, far more than for any of my other novels and that is very promising, but boy, it’s a lot of extra writing on top of trying to finish my latest 40k. I’ve still got time to paint though. I have to do it, or I’d go potty.

Here’s the Black Templars land speeder that I mentioned. I hope you like it. Number two is on my painting desk right now. I painted an inquisitor the other day. I’ll post that as soon as I’ve done the base.

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I went to town on this – sub-assemblies, weathering powder, the lot!

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Top down view. The land speeder is one of my all-time favourite models.

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Are you looking at me?

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Red rims – they’re assault marines.

 


I finished a pair of Hobbit eagles a week or so ago. Here’s pictures of just the  one because honestly, how much giant eagle can you take?

I’m only just getting round to putting it up today. Busy, and ill. My cold, the one that caused me to lose my voice at Warhammer World (if you find it, please return), has now given me bronchitis. Whoopee. To make up for this slackness, no matter how well justified,  I’ll have a Black Templars landspeeder to show you soon. Won’t that be lovely?

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It’s quite atmospheric, this shot. Totally by accident. I really need to buy a couple of anglepoise lamps so I can do this properly.

 

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A blurry close-up. Need lamps!

 

Warhammer World Weekend

Posted: May 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

Thanks to everyone who came to see me and my fellow writers at this weekend’s Warhammer World Grand reopening. We’ve had a few tweets saying “thanks for signing our books”. We writers are just as thankful that you’ve bought the things and enjoy reading them. There’s nothing like a happy reader to put a shine on one’s ego.

I apologise to anyone who caught the crappy cold I have. I still haven’t shaken it, and am only just beginning to recover my voice. It better come back for tomorrow, as I’m supposed to be doing a talk in a local school. Anyway. Sorry if you have the sniffles.

Warhammer World now sports a fancy new atrium entrance, and three shops – one for Citadel, Forgeworld and Black Library apiece. But the best thing is the new exhibition. There’s been a museum there for years, but it’s been enormously expanded with a dozen or so HUGE displays. To call them dioramas doesn’t do them justice.

I took a couple of pictures.

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Valedor! You’ve seen the display, now buy the novel. (Gav Thorpe not included).

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Cadians on parade.

These don’t come close to capturing the place, and are of two of the smaller ones anyway. Yes! That’s right, the smaller ones! If you love model soldiers as much as me, it’s heaven.

Speaking of which, I’ve a stack of new hobby purchases on my desk right next to me, cruelly tempting me away from my work. I had a three hour nap to drive out the rest of this disease and rest up after the event, so I better get on with it, but not before leaving you with this weird video Nick Kyme showed me on the Sunday. I can’t get it out of my head…


This Sunday gone (26th April), Benny and I ascended Blackstone Edge. My boy’s quite a hardy little walker, although I suppose he doesn’t really have much choice, and he had a great time clambering over the rocks on the summit. He only had one meltdown about how far we had to go, about normal for him. Once he gets over that, he genuinely can go for miles at some speed. In fact, he insists on running large stretches of our walks.

I’d been on my good pal Jes Bickham’s stag-do the night before and had consumed prodigious quantities of booze. So a walk up a wind-blasted hill was just the ticket to reinvigorate my half-poisoned organism.

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The summit of the ridge looking Northwest. The trigonometry point is visible to the right. The dark hill in the far distance is Pendle Hill, about 15 miles away. At 557m it’s the tallest hill in the area, and a candidate for genuine mountainhood.

Blackstone Edge is a high ridge topped by large millstone grit formations. I’ve never been up there, despite growing up in the area. Here the Pennines plunge dramatically down to the Lancashire/Cheshire plain, and you can see for miles. All the towns from Littleborough to Manchester are laid out like models, and in the distance is the grey band of the Welsh mountains. To the north the height of hills round Calderdale obscure the view, but you can see far south into the Peak District. The Pennines stretch off like broken teeth, giving one a firm impression of geographical decrepitude. In these brown stumps are the memories of long dead mountains.

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This is the view to the Southwest. The hills pretty much just stop here, plunging three hundred metres straight down to the plain. Blackstone Edge is 447 metres tall, and affords fantastic views. Hollingworth Lake and Littleborough are in the foreground. Rochdale beyond. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you can see on the horizon a dark bar in the haze. That’s Wales, well over 65 miles away.

This was our second attempt to climb the hill. The first time we were blasted back by a frigid wind that tortured our gloveless hands. A foolish oversight on my part, as I should have known better. The weather in the valleys has been unseasonably clement, and tricked me. Blackstone Edge is, however, terribly exposed, very high and therefore bloody freezing.

If you fancy going yourself, park by the White House pub off the A58. The walk to the top is around three miles. As a note of further interest, there’s an old paved road on the way. For many years this was believed to be Roman, but it’s now believed to be a packhorse route or turnpike dating from the early 18th century.

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A bold six-year-old explorer freezing his nuts off on Sunday 19th April as he surveys the lands of Lancashire. After restorative sausage rolls by the old road, we were forced to turn back for base camp.