Thursday, December 22, 2011

One does not simply walk into Mordor

Go to Google maps, ask for walking directions from the Shire to Mordor...

You have to love the caution...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

15mm buildings from scraps

In December 2010, Wargames Illustrated did an article on how to build 15mm desert buildings. Unfortunately that article hasn't made it onto their website, but they were dead easy. Foamcard for the basic box, some blue foam for bits and pieces, and scrap card for detailing. Oh, and plenty of white glue. I ran masking tape over some of the joins to hide the raw ends, but it's probably not necessary under a coat or two of textured paint. I'm going to make another four of these, then try something similar with corrugated card roofs and walls.

They'll end up being used in 15mm sci-fi games; I have a game of Hammers Slammers planned for the new year so I need to get some scenery together before then.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

More clockwork planets

I have finished off the first hill, built the barricades, and made a start on the second hill. I have dropped the idea of a metal planet; I couldn't make it look right, and fell back on the 'red martian soil' concept. And it gives a contrast with the dark metal, which is also good.

Building the second hill is easier, since I now know that I don't need holes in the base board for the pegs; the lowest cog is tall enough to make a sturdy foundation for the platforms. I simply pushed all the components together, checked for alignment and height with a couple of figures, and
then epoxied the bottom of each cog to the board. The axles slip in easily enough, so I will paint the parts separately, clip the axles to length and assemble afterwards.

Next step will be to rifle the local charity shops for a set of plastic Meccano to make some buildings from...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Clockwork planets (2)

Yesterday's K'nex with some paint on... spray black, drybrush gunmetal and brass. That's a space marine for scale. I am hoping to get time to make another hill this week.

I have ideas for how to make barriers and barricades, too... half a dozen of these based on 3mm MDF.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Clockwork planets

Why do all my 40k games get played on a planet that either looks like a Surrey golfcourse or like Stalingrad?

Here's something different - a clockwork hill for a clockwork planet...

K'nex from Ebay, plastic grating from the hobby shop, all mounted on 6mm MDF. I need to go buy another can of spray black primer and I can get some colour on it as well. Dead easy. The lower cogs are about an inch off the board, the higher one is about 2 inches up. The yellow wheels are about 5 inches diameter...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wooden buildings

I have just spent half the morning de-stressing myself... and I feel so much better now.

This was knocked together from 2'x1' of 6mm MDF and a few scraps of thinner stuff for the floors. The base is a 1'x1' square, the walls are cut from the other square foot. It stands just over 9" high, with floors at 3" and 6". All the windows were cut out with a jigsaw on the workmate.

Once all the glue has dried, I will tile the floors, add a bit of demolition wreckage to the ground, and spray grey. Easy, sturdy, usable.

And I feel relaxed for the weekend...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

15mm exchange programme - part 2

I received a little package from TMP user 'Blambi' in Sweden yesterday morning, and was really pleased with what was in it.

Not only were they really nice looking figures, but he'd sent me the painting recipe as well! Which is great, since I like the figures and I want to add a few more to make up a couple of squads for Gruntz.

So thanks to TMP user ThorLongus for coming up with the idea, thanks to Blambi for sending such a great set of figures, and I'd be very happy to do it all again sometime.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I love Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal... now where's my 12 million points? And do I get an achievement badge with that?

15mm exchange programme

See this page on TMP for the details - send off a painted squad, get the same back. I'll post a picture of what I get when it's over; if you're into 15mm sci-fi, have a look. I just hope I get something 'out of the ordinary'.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Battle for France - Part Deux

A couple of years back at the Warlords, four of us played the Battle for France using the Blitzkrieg Commander rules (BKC). With the release of the second edition, we thought we would re-visit this campaign. Once again, I'm playing the French. We have a set of 30 maps covering the area, and a 'behind the scenes' set of campaign supply and manoeuvre rules run by Phil to keep us on the straight and narrow.

First game up, the Boche are attacking on two fronts. I am defending France with verve and elan (and a lot of horse-flesh), two tables away Mike had his Plucky Belgians™ who were preparing for the onslaught by planting their conscripts in trenches.

This game was played longways along a 6'x4' table. I formed up with a very high line, about 20" from his end of the table. Eight cavalry stands, a couple of cavalry recce, plus a 25mm AT gun, an HMG and a mortar, with off-table artillery support. My reserves were due to arrive from my end of the table gradually through the game, so it was a gamble; the reserves would be unlikely to reach me during the battle, so I had to survive without them, but at least the Germans would be bunched up for when my planned artillery strikes arrived.

Germans arrived, infantry in trucks, infantry guns, mortars, armoured cars and recce, the whole nine yards. The planned artillery did a great job, forcing him to spread out, and even my FAO got in on the act with some well placed 105mm strikes. Unlike the previous campaign, Phil's Stukas were ineffective this time around. In fact, I think all the casualties I inflicted were from artillery except for a single armoured car mobbed by the cavalry.

I over-extended the cavalry on my right flank, getting them well out of effective command range in my enthusiasm to chase down his recce, and had to pretty much abandon them to their fate (i.e. they were running on initiative rather than being commanded). Phil finally got his act (and his command rolls) together, with trucked infantry and armoured cars breaking round my right flank in a grey wave. Time to go...

I started to pull back the entrenched cavalry, with their HMG and 25mm AT gun, and a fortunate double-order let me pull the whole lot back by about half the length of the table, forming up again with the reinforcing R35 tanks and the Panhard that had driven on from my table edge.

Phil jumped his infantry back into the trucks and raced after me, straight into more 105mm artillery fire called in by the FAO. At this point, time was up and we called it. Overall I lost a couple of cavalry stands, recovering the rest of the cavalry under the campaign rules. Although I don't know the Germans' final losses, I suspect they are a bit worse.

So. First game played, French in retreat but still under command; this is an ordered retreat rather than a rout. The next game is likely to be the German assault on the bridge behind me, but I'm expecting my starting position to be dug in and with artillery plotted, rather than to be withdrawing in disarray (which is where I was last time we played the campaign).

A fun game, despite the disparity in troops, I feel I have inflicted some damage and got out with as good an outcome as I could have reasonably hoped for. Maybe next game I will get the tanks early enough to do some damage.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Board gaming - Power Grid

My eldest is back from university, and he brought this one with him. A purely economic-driven game, with players competing to build and power their cities while denying resources to the others. First to seventeen cities triggers the countback, with whoever can power most cities at that point winning the game. I managed to come second, which I was pretty pleased with.

An enjoyable way of filling the evening, though I prefer something like Battle Star Galactica as a more co-operative game.

Limited resources to power your power stations and increasing prices for the more popular fuels make for a close game, with whoever currently has the most cities getting first choice when buying power stations, but last choice when buying fuel and building cities.

Overall - a good game, and well worth another play. Oh, and the board is double-sided, so there are a couple of different challenges in the layout of the country you're populating (Germany or the USA).

(Board Game Geek link -

Saturday, May 28, 2011

15mm sci-fi - update

Over the last week I have painted up another few 15mm tanks for Hammers Slammers...

Most are my own sculpt, but there's also four Brigade Models 'Rhino MTB' as well. I can't remember what the walker is, but it's painted up quick and simple in the same colour scheme. I just need some infantry now...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


So I have gotten myself started on a nice box of 'countryside' terrain now. First up are the woods; I cut 60mm rounds from 3mm thick cork tiles and then glued them to 3mm MDF board. Cut to shape with a jigsaw, a coat of sand, a sealing coat of PVA glue, then household paint and flock. The trees are glued in singles and small groups onto 60mm diameter bases made from 2mm MDF (cheap on Ebay)

And there we are. The trees are good and stable, the area terrain is cleanly defined, and they come off easily for storage. The next piece will be a minefield (difficult and dangerous, offering no cover in 40k terms) made from more 3mm MDF and cork tiles, using half press-studs as mines.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Slow progress

I have finished painting the Space Wolf transport, and got the first bits of colour onto the shop...

I'm particularly pleased with the las/plas turrets for the Razorbacks - I will put together a set of pictures to show how to make them, as they're really easy and rather effective in the game.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Feeling chuffed

Those nice guys at the Overlords podcast ran a competition a while back - finish a story in a thousand words or less - and I got an email from Steve this evening to say I had won! And it's a great prize, too - a signed copy of 'Horus Rising'

The entries can be read here... and this was my short story; the italic section was the 'starter paragraph'...

Sitting in a room that looked little more than a steel box he was shivering, visibly shivering, his teeth snapping together sounded like a drum in his head that accompanied the baseline of his heartbeat rumbling through his ears. It wasn't his flimsy clothing or even the cold steel of the room that caused such visible involuntary movements. No, it was the ice cold eyes. The eyes of the Inquisition. He knew he'd pushed his luck once too often and now he was heading for a whole lot of hurt.

“You look ..............”

“I'm just a bit uncomfortable in this chair”


“I, I, I .....................”

"Uncomfortable is a stone in your boot or a crick in your neck after falling asleep in a chair, maybe a paper cut. I suspect you will soon want to re-assess your definition."

The young man said nothing more. He knew it was his own actions, and his own inactions, that had brought him to this room. He thought about what he knew of the Inquisitor. What was the rule? Be truthful or be silent. The Inquisition know.

He looked up and raised his chin, trying to put a little steel into his posture. The Inquisitor was seated behind his desk, looking for the world as though he did not feel the chill that radiated from the reinforced walls. Long minutes passed as he read through a scribe-written sheet of notes. Tall, youthful (though that was rumoured to be the result of many rejuvenat procedures), lightly built, fair haired; not an obvious candidate for the Inquisition, but it was rumoured that he could wring a confession from a rock.

The Inquisitor leant forward, augmentics clicking softly beneath his skin.

"You visited a shop on the Street of the Holy Bolter."

The young man nodded his agreement.

"You will speak or this will go badly for you. This was your choice. Do not make it harder than it has to be."

"I did. I was just..."

"Answer the questions. We are establishing facts. We may come onto justifications later, if that is necessary. You visited a shop on the Street of the Holy Bolter."

"I did."

"Where you purchased some five hundred lasgun charge packs."


"You then proceeded to Deliverance Way where you purchased two hundred and five standard weights of a promethium based malleable explosive."


"And three hundred variable delay detonators."


"Good. We are establishing the facts quite efficiently. I do wonder, however, whether you are just telling me what you think I want to hear. And that brings us back to the contrast between discomfort and... other feelings."

The Inquisitor reached into a desk drawer and brought out a small box, similar in size to a pistol case. Outwardly it was unremarkable, a standard military grey case stencilled with the sign of the holy Aquila and a yellow circle with a red symbol that he did not recognise. To the young man, even before it was opened, it radiated malice. Malice and the promise of pain.

"Hold out your hands."

The young man hesitated, barely a twitch, but the Inquisitor saw his reluctance.


The Inquisitor did not raise his voice by the slightest amount, but the young man's hands leapt forward without conscious thought; it was as though they had been guided by the Inquisitor's word.

He opened the box and brought out a pair of gloves; dark grey and gossamer thin, they were covered in fine copper tracery that ran through the weave of the material. He handed them to the young man, who put them on unfalteringly.

"Yes, I am controlling your physical actions. I am not controlling your mind. Your thoughts, your fears, your feelings, they are all your own. Now that you have the gloves on, let us try again. And this time, with meaning."

The gloves tightened around the young man's hands, pulling close to his skin, and he felt them begin to insinuate their substance into his flesh.


Time passed.

The young man pleaded.

Time passed.

The young man screamed.

Time passed.

The young man whimpered.

And each time, the Inquisitor was there to ask the questions again.


The young man looked down at his hands. It was hard to believe how much pain had flowed into his body through his fingers; they must be completely destroyed by now. The gloves had inflicted every possible type of pain imaginable. He had felt the gloves draw his nails from his fingers, felt his bones break, felt them crushed to powder within his skin. And still the Inquisitor stood there, asking those same questions in a level voice, as though none of this were happening.

"I believe we have confirmed the facts. Hold out your hands."

This time there was no hesitation. The Inquisitor drew the gloves from the young man's hands. Drew them from his unbroken, straight fingered, intact hands.

"Inductance gloves. Colloquially known as pain gloves. I acquired them from a contact in the Imperial Fists chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, where they are used for training. And this is the contrast. To you, the gloves inflict unimaginable, unendurable pain. To the Astartes, they sharpen the mind. Discomfort, if you will."

The young man slumped in the chair. He knew that he had told the Inquisitor everything. There was nothing hidden, nothing concealed. There was nothing he could do except await the Inquisitor's judgement.

"You may leave"

The words came as a shock, and the young man stumbled as he rose to his feet.

"But you may wish to consider this, Sergeant Barrow. Keep your receipts and next time your expenses claim will be much easier to verify."

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The transport pool

I have managed to get the transport pool for my Space Wolves assembled and primed. Unlikely to have them painted before the game on Monday, but at least they're started...

Three rhinos painted. Four razorbacks primed - one assault cannon, one lascannon, two las/plas. And the slight lingering smell of cheese and spam...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Scenery for 1950s America / Fallout type skirmish game

I was wandering round the boot sale, early on Bank Holiday Monday, and I happened to find a couple of bits from the 'Cars' movie of a few years back. Basically, two Happy Meal promotional cars and a curio shop. Of course, I carry a 28mm figure in my pocket when I go to these sort of things (doesn't everyone?), so a quick comparison later I was shelling out two quid for these bits of plastic.

GW Imperial Guard for scale...
They could be the basis of something like a cross between Fallout, Gamma World and Paranoia...

I'm thinking about whether the Warhammer Historical 'Legends of the Old West' rules could be re-skinned to serve as a set of skirmish rules for post-apocalyptic America in the 1950s. Neil from Meeples and Miniatures has suggested Ganesha Games' 'Mutants and Death Ray Guns' as an alternative; I may have to download a copy of that. Of course, GW's 'Necromunda' may do the trick.

So what would I want to cover a 4x4 table? As well as the shop (which is just a re-paint and a base) I want to make a water tower - there's always a water tower, isn't there? - and a house and barn. Then I need some fencing, some trucks and cars (possibly rusted solid, but you can hide behind them) and a billboard advertising whatever film was big in 1952...

And here's the first part of that work - the shop has been based on 6mm MDF, and the step disguised with torn cork tiles. I will be covering it with sand later, then an overall spray of primer and I can start painting...

And a quick spray of black primer, an overspray of grey, and it's ready for painting. Unfortunately I flipped the top section against the newspaper while it was wet, so I need to tidy up the advertising panels, but it's looking good so far.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Terrain in a box

Last night I was browsing through various blogs and I happened to see the pictures of the tables from Adepticon. One of my dreams is to have a 'table in a box' setup, where I can simply carry a plastic crate into the club, open it up, and pull out everything I need to populate a table - cloth, area terrain and scatter. Looking at these tables, that's pretty much what Adepticon have done.

Picture stolen from

Every table has six pieces of terrain - typically one or two buildings, two or three hills and two pieces of area terrain (such as woods, pillars or rocks). To that, I would add a selection of scatter - a mix of linear terrain such as walls or fences, craters and what-have-you. What I do like is that the area terrain has defined spots for the trees and whatever to sit in, and these are generically based on what looks like 60mm round bases. If I make the area terrain out of 3mm MDF, and glue a second layer of 2mm MDF on the top, with 65mm holes cut into it, that will give me good solid terrain, with removable features.

So... the next painting competition at the club (in May) is 'Terrain'. I reckon I can knock together a complete set for that if I make the effort. I think I will go for an ice and snow theme, for my Space Wolves, which means a white 6'x4' cloth, three white hills, two white areas with evergreen trees and a bunker. Add to that some linear pieces - maybe some of those barricades from the Aegis lines - and I'm sorted. Who knows, they may even be ready for my first game in the 40k tournament...

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Running slow...

I have updated the Salute blog pretty much every day in March; unfortunately that's left no time for anything else!

All I've done for myself in that time is to finish off the Rhino, assemble a Long Fang pack and put a base colour on them. What I do have is the scenario for the first game in the club tournament.

I'm playing Space Wolves - 3 Rune Priests, a Wolf Guard pack with a Razorback, split between 3 Grey Hunter packs with Rhinos, and three Long Fang packs with missile launcher and Razorbacks. So... suggestions on how to go about the mission gratefully received.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rhino rebuild

Back in December (in this post) I started to do some work on an abused Rhino I picked up cheaply on Ebay. Well, it's now pretty much finished, and I'm happy with the way it's looking.

Grey parts are from the spares box, white are plastic card, tan bits are from the original Rhino kit. I'm particularly pleased that the old hatch fitted the new hull as a bolter turret. I just need to think about how to add the hinges to the side doors and I'm about there.

In other news - my Bolter and Chainsword painting challenge is finished - grey hunters, rhino and dreadnought...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Less is more

More exactly, less glue is more options.

In the Razorback kit, you get the whole of the Rhino kit, plus the additional sprue with all the Razorback parts, at exactly the same price. You don't even need magnets to make this work; the hatch is a slot-fit and you have two versions (with and without a storm bolter fitting), and the top doors can drop-swap for the turret mount. Anyway, it all works very well, and my new Grey Hunter pack now have a ride... just needs a coat of gloss varnish and a coat of Devlan Mud so shade it all down.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hammers Slammers - officially!

There is now an article on the official Hammers Slammers site about my Apex Dragoons. Which is very nice... thanks for putting that up, John.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Strike Platoon - completed

Well, I have finally finished these vehicles - a coat of Army Painter Anti-Shine Matt Varnish and they look very much the part.

All the markings are hand painted, as a reverse colour-way of the Apex Dragoons. Bases are 2mm MDF.

Trojan command (right) and Trojan missile launcher (left)

Slingshot MICV

Slingshot calliope

Geckos - not actually in the platoon, but lovely Old Crow vehicles

The whole platoon, plus those Geckos
I may put a coat of gloss onto the windows in the Geckos and the cabins on the others, but that's basically it. Dragoons next...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Painted Strike platoon

I am trying to get an update a week for 2011, so this is my progress. The Strike platoon has been base-coat painted and given a coat of spray varnish. Next up will be a wash of GW Devlan Mud and a gentle drybrush to sharpen up the edges, then I will paint in all the windows. I'm considering adding bases to the vehicles; the wheels are a little uneven and while it's not noticeable on a gaming cloth, I know it's there.

The next detachment will be the Dragoon platoon, which also has some Slingshots; I am considering differentiating between the Slingshots and the Trojans by moving the turrets to the front for Trojans, which would mean I need to replace the two at the front-right of these two pictures. Or at least, I would re-cycle the hulls with new turrets, and the turrets with new hulls - nothing wasted.

And I also picked up this mech on eBay - a 'Robotech Mac II Monster Destroid Cannon' according to the box. It's rather beaten up, but with some Araldite to fix the joints, fine sandpaper, a file and a good coat of primer, it should be recoverable.

And boy oh boy, does it tower over the 15mm figures! I know it doesn't fit the Hammers Slammers universe, but what the heck, it's fun.