28 December 2017

There's (un)life in Deadcember yet!

Good morning, gamers, and a belated happy Christmas to you all. I've had a very deliberate few days away from the internet to try and be totally present (no, not that sort of "present", although theat's been fun, too) with family as I'm so easily distracted. I'm back now, though, and shall be scurrying round FB and G+ and the Oldhammer forum to pull in the last few entries for Deadcember that I know must be lurking out there just waiting for a quick photo against a plain background, and an email to deadcember2017@gmail.com, preferably including a "before" picture too.

Unlike me, some of you have been busy, and in Alex's case really really busy! Here are glimpses to lead you to the gallery to see them alongside the other entries:

By inchmurrin

By Alex Howarth. Yes, it's a video entry - of a whole freakin' army!

19 December 2017

Deadcember update

The end of term has been squeezing so much life from me I'm practically undead myself at the moment!

Fortunately for the Deadcember challenge, some of you are far more in control of your time and there are now a whole bunch more entries in the gallery (see tab at top of page). They were submitted as per the guidelines in this post.

Here's one by Thomas "Zero Twentythree" to whet your appetite that doesn't quite make it in because they were started last month - don't worry, though, Thomas has several other entries that do qualify. Check out that rust!

12 December 2017

Prizes and WIP

I may have mentioned that I was rather unexpectedly voted the winner of the Golden Gobbo this year over on the Oldhammer forum. Not only was that a bit of an ego boost, but Geoff also very generously provided a trophy:

10 December 2017

Deadcember - the horde grows

Rather gratifyingly a flurry of new entries to match the flurries of snow that are making Britain feel more festive have arrived. Bigger pictures in the gallery tab at the top, but here's a sneak preview:

Another from Iain Harrison

An undead unicorn and rider from Chris Kellahan

And an undead champion from Roger Duthie

Good, aren't they? Still plenty of time for more of you to add your own to the horde...

8 December 2017

Deadcember - more entries shuffling in

A couple more undead-ish monstrosities have been submitted to deadcember2017@gmail.com and they're great!

One from Gaz Shaw (check out his Forgotten Dungeons blog)

And one from Stuart Bannister (of The Lost and the Very Damned blog fame)

Both added to the Deadcember 17 gallery. Any more entries out there?

6 December 2017

Deadcember - the first

The first entry for this year's challenge has been submitted, hopefully the first of many! Well done to Iain Harrison whose Nick Lund Grenadier skeleton with mace now graces the gallery accessible via the Deadcember 17 tab at the top of the page.

Remember, submissions to deadcember2017{at}gmail{dot}com.

5 December 2017

Arthurian illustrations

A large part of my interest in the medieval fantasy that can be found in the games I mostly play (WFB, Dragon Rampant, my Averaigne Basic Fantasy/D&D campaign, Knights' Quest and various other dungeon-crawling games) is the combination of folkloric and chivalric legends. In some ways I'm quite Victorian in my enthusiasm for chivalry and its modern incarnations of gentlemanly conduct, while recognising the sometimes restrictive gendering aspects that don't sit well with some. I'm also a big fan of the works of painters such as Burne-Jones and other pre-Raphaelites, with their medievalism. When the two combine, I'm a happy man - and I've discovered a new artist that hits the spot that I wanted to share.

Katharine Cameron, a member of the Glasgow Art School in the late 1890s, worked as a book illustrator (among other things) and for me captures that slightly naive, watercolour/stained glass effect (I'm sure there's a proper artistic term for that). What caught my eye were these illustrations she did for Mary MacGregor's 1907 Stories of King Arthur's Knights that formed part of the Told to the Children series.

2 December 2017

My Deadcember

Obviously I won't be "entering" Deadcember17 as I'm judging it; even by the standards of the sneakiest greenskin, that would seem a little underhand. And anyway, orctober is over.

As I'm sure is quite a widespread issue, I find myself in need of a liche. This fellow will be what I attempt to paint in around the slightly overambitious list of homemade books and journals I've planned for various nearest and dearest. He's a Chaz Elliot sculpt for Rl Partha Europe, 5028 Undead Lord with Sword and he's pretty tall - that's a 25mm base he's on!

26 November 2017

Deadcember - one week to go till it starts

Yes, folks, just one week until the start of the premier annual "paint a dead/undead minature" competition.

I'll start an album here of the entries as they come in, as well as a thread on the oldhammer forum for users to see the subset painted by other forum users.

What you need to know if you want to enter:

  1. This is a painting challenge for 28mm "scale" miniatures painted during December 2017
  2. The theme this year is (un)dead, meaning casualty figures are as welcome as the usual undead monsters and creatures
  3. An entry can either be a single model, or a group - there is no advantage or disadvantage inherent to either choice
  4. Email a photo of your miniature(s) before painting, and no more than two of the finished item, against a plain background so your painting really shines. Send your pictures to Deadcember 2017
  5. You can enter as many times as you like - the more the merrier - but each entry will be independently considered.
  6. The winner will be decided by me and will be based purely on my honest choice of which is my favourite - quality of painting, oldhammeriness, any conversion work, etc. will all feed in to it, I'm sure.
  7. There is a prize! A new Tom Meier zombie dragon and some skeletons, kindly donated by Ral Partha Europe.

I'm really looking forward to what everyone produces! Check the tab at the top of the page for last year's entries.

5 November 2017

Bombadier beetle shells? We're rich!

Yesterday my two boys (9 and 7) asked me to run a roleplaying session for them, continuing the adventures of the dwarven thief and fighter duo (Gremdullim and Emrin) with their trusty NPC comrades, the human cleric Jerard and fighter Geoffroi. I protested that I hadn't prepped anything, they didn't care - "Just make it up, Daddy, isn't that the point of the game, to make up a story together?" How could I resist their old-school wisdom? Back to Morgansfort we went...

1 November 2017

Advance warning for DEADCEMBER 17

With the dust barely settled on Or(c/k)tober, and the photos of ill-advised dressing up still being uploaded from Halloween, it's time to think ahead to a graveyard themed painting challenge - DEADCEMBER 2017!

That's right, this is your one month warning to get your lead pile sorted and unearth those miniature corpses, ready for your brushwork to cast reanimate upon them.

The theme this year will be "(un)dead", so not only are any variety of skeleton or zombie welcome, but also vamps, ghouls, wraiths, ghouls... AND casualty figures. So, even if you're no fan of shambling hordes or things that go bump in the night, you can still participate and paint up something that will add character to your battlefield or display cabinet

PRIZES - thanks to the generosity and support of Paul from Ral Partha Europe (http://www.ralparthaeurope.co.uk/shop/), there will be prizes of a classic Tom Meier zombie dragon and a "little set" of skeletons from their DSA range!

So, get rummaging, get planning, and get ready for painting. Submission details to follow.

29 October 2017

Space ork squad leader

As we come to the close of Orktober, I find that trying to batch paint hasn't quite worked out, for the month-long painting challenge at least! I find myself with ten partially painted orks, and only one painted. I hope I'll get the others done over the next few weeks, but in the meantime here is a squad leader (if you go by the tab), or Ork Nob with Bolter and Bolt Pistol if you go by the 1991 catalogue.

I may add some orange "alien desert" clump foliage to his base, but otherwise I'm calling him done.

28 October 2017

3D dungeons, part 2

Following on from this post...

It turns out that Frank is not just a modelling inspiration for yours truly, but also an open-handedly generous and helpful chap. Within a few daylight hours of me emailing him to ask how much silicon he'd needed for his mammoth project, I'd had two detailed replies and plenty of good advice.

First, it turns out he needed FIFTEEN kilos of silicon just to make the moulds (Side note - mold is the American spelling, mould the British - both are used for the black gunk that grows in damp corners AND the cavity to pour plaster or resin into. Fun fact!). Fifteen! A quick scan of ebay suggested that this would come to about £250. Gulp! Add in Frank's estimate that the resin needed to fill those moulds the requisite number of times (just over 25kg), and that's another £300. Or more. And that's assuming I don't make any mistakes, which is unlikely since it would be my first casting project, and without the cost of making the original masters.


27 October 2017

A Heroquest Orc (my ScaleCreep entry)

First posted on Scale Creep as part of the Heroquest Hero Quest challenge.
Thanks for inviting me to join in, fellas!

The 6th Heroquest Hero Quest orc, or, the THIRD Heroquest orc, as I suppose this post might originally have been called as I signed up for orc number three.

Now the astute among you may notice that this means that orc number three comes after the fourth and fifth orcs, and that this means this orc is both three and six, but that's not a mistake as you might initially assume. Nor is it that I am spectacularly bad at finishing things (like, for example, blogging about a figure that has been painted for months) - what a suggestion! No, it is deliberate because it follows the infamously non-linear, occasionally non-Euclidean, and perpetually non-sensical counting pattern* of orcs themselves. I'd go into this in more detail, except the requisite chemical consumption for it to make sense is not a suitable topic for a family-friendly blog like this one.

[note from the producers : Since herding painters is even worse than herding cats, this will be the sixth orc that should have been third since the third will come later. Please don't ask.]

What's that? You want a picture of a painted miniature, not a monograph on orcish numerological peculiarities? Suit yourself. *grumble grumble* Peasants! Ignoramuses! 

26 October 2017

Dammit, Frank!

Around about this point in the year (October half term for us teachers), I start thinking about what gaming projects and ambitions I want to set for myself for next year. For painting miniatures, I've got three priorities: more progress on my Chaos project, finish the World's Edge Wyverns bloodbowl team, and crack on with all the space orks I bought over the last month (more on them over the next couple of months as well). BUT, that's not the only part of this hobby that I enjoy, I also like to write and refine rules or scenarios (I'm excited about contributing to Whiskey Priest's dark ages mythology skirmish... thing for example), and increasingly to build terrain.

So, there I was, idly browsing t'internet and pondering future projects, when Frank happened.

20 October 2017

A little more progress

My wife had some of her friends round last night, so I escaped to my painting desk in the cellar and splashed a bit more paint around.

17 October 2017

A little progress

My ork horde is slowly getting itself battle-ready, with a little help from a couple of hours in front of the telly. Not ideal lighting for doing so, but colour blocking is coming along nicely.

9 October 2017

Weekend catchup

The overlap between oldhammer and being (or expecting to be soon) a parent of young children was pretty clearly shown yesterday when I posted the picture below from my weekend prepping my recently acquired Space Ork Raiders set (RTB02, I think) and got well over a hundred likes/comments. I guess that puts the majority of online oldhammerers in the late twenties to mid forties bracket...

6 October 2017

Double duty

Because my output has been so low recently, I've double-entered the beastlord below for an Asgard Minatures painting challenge, as well as an oldhammer forum Golden Gobbo thing. Photo sharing was proving a problem, so I'm posting them here to share over there. If that makes sense.

3 October 2017


No matter what I've tried, I just haven't been able to get back into the painting groove since Dad's funeral back in February, apart from a couple of painting challenges. So, maybe, another painting challenge (orktober) will break the funk?

It comes at a good point, anyway, with my impulse idea to run Battle at the Farm for my boys in the new year. Small padded envelopes are starting to drop through the letterbox again, and I've the orks either nice and shiny again or back into the last dregs of my last Fairy Power Spray to get rid of the stubborn bits. I'm using the figures from the RTB02 Space Ork Raiders set:

Picture from Stuff of Legends

1 October 2017

Corrupting the youth - or is it the other way round?

Mini-Rab #1 had just started at a new school and, as a way of getting to know the other kids, has joined almost every club going - a bit like a university fresher, but without the alcohol-fuelled excess. I hope. He is only nine!

Why is that relevant to this blog? Well, one of the clubs he's joined is run by his science teacher and seems to be a general "geek club", including lego robotics... and Warhammer 40k in its latest incarnation. Yes, despite my best efforts, he is desperate to join in as they push hordes of unpainted, badly glued lumps of expensive grey plastic around. Fortunately I had a squad of kroot in a box and his automatic assumption was that he'd paint them "at least a bit" before they saw table time to see if he likes the game. He wants to paint for about an hour each weekend until they're finished, so they're a bit more painted each week as he plays with them. Good lad! Perhaps 8th Ed will float his boat, perhaps oldhammer will keep him - as long as he's playing with his friends, and will indulge me in my oldschool gaming preferences from time to time, and having fun, who cares?

So, he sprayed...

29 September 2017


Well, Japanese stab binding at least, which is a binding style that threads around the spine of the book, making it perfect for single sheets.

Never one to pass up an opportunity to pick up a new hobby, especially if it involves some aspect of creativity, I've been doing a bit of basic bookbinding. Aside from notebooks I've made a couple of sketchbooks, one of which is a thing of beauty if I say so myself and will be a Christmas gift to an artist friend. I also thought that the various pdf modules I've downloaded from RPGDriveThru would be easier and nicer to use if I printed them and bound them.

In order for my printer not to die, I put together my own black and white covers, reusing some of the lovely oldschool artwork from within the modules themselves.

So here we go:

13 September 2017

The red dwarf and the blue dwarf had a race

I've long been an ardent admirer of how Blue in VT paints, in particular the smoothness he gets on his multi-coloured chaos dwarfs. Now, that smoothness is not really my style (and is beyond my current skills anyway), but I did draw on them for inspiration for these two short and wicked fellows.

They are from Clam's Eval Dwergar range and they were a delight to paint, even if they were a bugger to photograph. My chaos dwarf contingent is made up from about a dozen from this range, a couple of old Citadel (pre-big hat), and a couple from CP models. I think they go well together while retaining a nicely chaotic level of variation.

Here are the first two:

3 September 2017

Averaigne campaign - session 39

    Session 39 - in which there is shopping and kidnapping
    The adventurers, including new recruit Gern, re-equip themselves for further heroism and consider just what to do about their original quest, the ailing Lady Montfort.

    NOTE: in order to keep a complete record, but not put off posting these any longer, I'm just transcribing my DM notes. Short and sweet.

    1 September 2017

    Averaigne campaign - session 38

      Session 38 - in which a new NPC, and the necessity for a new PC, appear
      The battle complete, and both the bone-golem and its summoners destroyed, it's time to check pulses and loot the enemy

      NOTE: in order to keep a complete record, but not put off posting these any longer, I'm just transcribing my DM notes. Short and sweet.

      30 August 2017

      Averaigne campaign - session 37

      [The story so far]

      Session 37 - in which they run away and then go back
      The adventurers are hopelessly outclassed by the cultists an their bone golem, so they run away like cowards cunningly withdraw to look for help.

      NOTE: in order to keep a complete record, but not put off posting these any longer, I'm just transcribing my DM notes. Short and sweet.

      28 August 2017

      Two types of Bloodbowl

      Last Thursday I finally (seriously, we reckon it must be two years since we managed it last) got over to antipixi's house to roll some dice. A lot of nonsense and school (it was results day, after all) was chatted first, but then Malc and I got down to a game of standard tabletop BB. I played Chaos Pact while Malc took Slann; the teams ran out to a massive crowd (mostly frogs) as the rain started to pour down on the pitch. Picking up the ball would be an ongoing problem in the wet weather.

      18 August 2017


      The warband I've got planned and am, theoretically at least, working on this year includes an eighteen-strong beastman horde. Every chaos troupe should have beastmen in my opinion, the gibbering and varied (not just goat-headed) pack just screams chaos to me. Of course, they're led by the biggest and toughest of the lot; law of the jungle chaos wastes, innit?

      I chose this brute sold by Viking Forge miniatures in the US as that leader:

      He's listed as "FM-27 Giant Armoured Troll" and was originally an Asgard Miniatures sculpt. Asgard is about as Oldhammer as you can get, or Protohammer I suppose. Founded by Bryan Ansell, Steven Fitzwater and Paul Sulley in Nottingham in 1976, they had Bryan himself, Nick Bibby and Jes Goodwin (I think) as sculptors. Bryan left in 1978 for a little outfit called Citadel Miniatures; you may have heard of them. Several Asgard miniatures appeared in very early White Dwarf magazines.

      History lesson over, you can still buy several of these highly characterful sculpts from Alternative Armies in the UK and Viking Forge in the US. Check out the Chaos and Barbarian ranges in particular, there are some real gems in there. More info here and here.

      On to my take on this fellow, my first paintjob in months. An absolute pleasure to paint, full of character but none of the excessive details that clutter some modern sculpts. One thing that did surprise me was the carefully moulded... equipment... that I discovered just about poking out below the level of his mail skirt. The horror...

      Apologies for the dodgy phone photos with added shine and flattened highlights.

      So, he'll now lead the horde, with three WIP beasts and the banner bearer still bare metal. Getting there!

      17 August 2017

      Cough, splutter

      Wow, dusty in here, isn't it? Nearly three months since my last post... Time to get painting and gaming and blogging again I reckon!

      29 May 2017

      The adventurers revealed

      Sometimes I consider getting appropriate miniatures for the characters of my players in the BFRPG campaign I've been DMing for the last year or so, but finding figures that are  "just right" is pretty tricky. Today, though, I found a site called Hero Forge which lets you design a character and then have it 3d printed. As you might imagine, such a service is rather expensive but the process of design is good fun. You can also export the images, so here is what 20 minutes of fiddling allowed me to produce for the characters:

      25 May 2017

      Pinboard #01

      I spend too much time online to start another platform, but I do want to keep track of/share random pictures that are geek-worthy. So I'm going to dump them on here!
      #RPG #Memes

      24 May 2017

      Averaigne campaign - session 36

      [The story so far]

      Session 36 - Guards, Cultists, and Bone Golems - oh my! 
      Carefully, the party edged down the stairwell, light up ahead of them clearly visible and with a blue tinge. Although old and stained in places with mossy-mold, the steps were clean and freshly swept - there were even a pair of brooms to one side!

      They readied their weapons and advanced grimly.

      2 May 2017

      Peg pirates

      About ten days ago I was playing a new tabletop pirate game with my two sons. Each player had a small wooden ship about seven or eight inches long, with painted peg dolls representing the crew. It felt a bit like a cross between playing an episode of Captain Pugwash, a kid's game of make-believe, and X-Wing (for the movement). We had so much fun, laughing and joking, with outrageous boasting and comedy accents aplenty.

      And then I woke up.

      26 April 2017

      Averaigne campaign - session 35

      [The story so far]

      Session 35 - Paddle power
      After a surprisingly restful night in the little side-passage they'd found leading off from the main sewer, it was time to explore further, starting with the door ahead of them.

      19 April 2017


      I've been slowly getting my painting mojo back, and decided to get out my wet-palette and the matt-medium to have a go with thinner paints and intermediate tones. I use mostly Foundry triads, but the step between the shades on some colours (especially flesh) is too stark for my taste, so a little blending is needed alongside a touch more boldness with the brush, perhaps.

      Anyway, this in-progress minotaur is the result of that fiddling about to date:

      I think he's coming along nicely so far. One thing that surprised me with this sculpt was finding that he's wearing gloves,which I guess I'll paint black or very dark blue with the leather studded armour in black. Opinions are very welcome! The mechanical left hoof will get some classic black'n'white checks and some plain steel.

      Let me know what you think,

      15 April 2017

      How a [boy] shall be armed for his ease when fighting on foot

      Long time readers will know that I have two sons, the Rab-ble as it were. By nature, and certainly by nurture, they have a keen fantastical and chivalric interest - their wooden swords have slain many a fearsome foe and graced many a tournament field. All good stuff.

      When we were at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge earlier in the week (absolutely fascinating exhibition on personal vs. public devotional items in 16th century Italy), they spotted these felt scabbard in the shop and, without nagging, made their admiration of them quite clear.

      14 April 2017

      Averaigne Inkarnate

      Yay for bad puns as blog titles.

      I can't find the post on FB which put me on to Inkarnate as a mapping app, but I'm glad they did. It's free to sign up, takes about fifteen minutes to learn all the controls, and then you're off. There are limitations (available stock art, how much you can scale it, lack of a good road texture), but it's pretty nifty. Apparently there's a proper commercial release on the way that will also allow city and dungeon mapping. Jolly good!

      Here is my first attempt at mapping Averaigne with it. I need to work a bit on intermixing different scale trees, I think, and I need to rough out some more bits to fill in the map, but not bad for the time taken, imho.

      13 April 2017

      Holiday bits'n'bobs

      I always have grand plans for the holidays - all those hours I won't be at work, all that time to get on and do some hobby stuff, rather than just doing it exhaustedly and vicariously in late night internet bursts.



      Those "free" hours soon get filled. Some of it with pleasurable things (actually spending time with my family, going walking, reading, a museum or art gallery or two), and some of it with chores that have built up (I'm typing this with paint-flecked fingers, not from geeking, but from repainting what feels like half the house).

      Nevertheless, some geeking has happened:

      There has been a lot more Talisman from the boys (I've introduced the City expansion, next up, the Dungeon)

      I made some tentative steps forward on my Chaos Army project which rather stalled for personal reasons over the last two months and needs to be radically accelerated if I'm going to get even close to completing it in 2017. I do have a backup plan involving a giant to reach the points target with less painting...

      Actually, that minotaur lord on the left is nearly done now, and I'll post him when he's finished.