Meanwhile, on the Bench: Conan the Unkillable

A rare Inquisitor update for this week’s MOTB; Conan “The Unkillable” – an ex-hive ganger turned mercenary and bodyguard for powerful people the Inquisition have interests in.

Conan started out life as most of my projects do – a pile of parts loosely assembled because I liked the pose, flow or combination, and then left in a tray or bits box for several orbits of the sun because it was missing the Final Piece that brought the model together.

A while ago I began porting some scum and villainy over from our Necromunda, Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader sessions – there are plenty of colourful, interesting gangs and organisations that we play with at 28mm, so why not try and bring them to 54mm?

Conan and TJ Razor

TJ Razor was the first, a member of the Pursers Grim, and then I wanted to bring over a member of the notorious Red Hand Gang – a ubiquitous Orlock gang that originated in our games of Necromunda and appeared in Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader ever since as the go-to miscreants.

The Red Hand Gang tattoo their left hand red as part of their initiation, and get subsequent stripes up their arm for every confirmed kill. This was the only brief – the character needed a red hand.

I like my bangsticks in Inquisitor, and with the creation of the Revised Armoury a few years back by the Inquisitor Community, they became a lot more varied and a LOT more deadly. I wanted to experiment with a character that ‘just’ had a rifle of some kind – I needed more regular mooks, but with a little suttin’ suttin’ that sets them apart from the regular rank and file.

The weapon came from a burst of inspiration when trawling the Anvil Industries website for one of any dozen other projects and found the perfect rifle. I already knew the scale would work fine from previous experiments with Anvil’s line of space marine Exo-Lord scale weapons, and all the spare parts would make choosing the right gun for the job much easier. I know from experience that a dedicated sniper character in Inquisitor is boring to play both with and against, so although this guy was going to be a ranged support character, he was going to have a little bite to him with some fully automatic shootybangs.

Dr Seuss characters also have lots of confirmed kills

Putting him together was simple enough – he is pretty much a straight lift of the Talon Hive Ganger expansion with different legs. Try as I might, I couldn’t find anything else interesting to stick to the model except a backup pistol, he didn’t look right travelling heavy. I reasoned he’s got some brass knuckles in a pocket somewhere that would do in a pinch.

I knew from the get-go I wanted my 54mm gangers to be a league apart from their 28mm brethren, each having a certain trait that helps them play with the Big Boys. I wanted to have a ganger with the Regeneration trait, and after watching THAT scene from Luke Cage, I knew what had to be done. The pin vice came out and holes were drilled everywhere, touched up with some putty to make them look like bullet holes.

When it came to painting, I already had the colour scheme pretty set in my head – I had over a dozen members of the Red Hand Gang to fall back on with khaki green trousers and dark grey clothes – lots of lovely neutral tones to help offset the gang colours and make those red hands really pop.

For a skin tone I wanted a very pasty colour – for someone who spends their entire life away from the sun, they would never have developed much of a tan. I had also re-watched one of the Riddick films recently, and with the goggles Conan was wearing, I could really resist going one step further.

Good grief I hate painting white. This was doubly awful because I have the super-thick foundation white from Games Workshop, which is excellent when you want to paint over a dark colour (which is basically always) but the worst thing when you want to do a bunch of really really thin layers.

I called it quits after maybe the 20th or so watered-down layer of white – it wasn’t going to get any better than it was. I wasn’t a fan of the really chalky texture the skin had picked up by this point, but you’d have to drag me to my table kicking and screaming if you wanted me to strip him and do it again. F that N.

The base was finished off in much the same way as TJ – assembled from bits of weird sci-fi scrap from the rather excellent Chemical Plant box set and painted in drab colours to look like a forgotten section of space station deep in the bowels of Mercy.

And that was him finished! All that was needed was to draft up a character sheet for him including his heavy caliber autogun, regeneration and discomfort in bright lights and Conan the Unkillable was ready to hit the tabletop.

Conan got his first outing (admittedly only in a half-painted state) in a battle report “The Asus Prime Kidnapping”.

Orthesian Herald: session 1 – The Unbroken Resolve and All Those Who Sail Therein

Welcome to the Orthesian Herald, a new segment on Dreadquill dedicated to a brand new Rogue Trader group sailing under the banner of the Orthesian Dynasty. The games are played fairly frequently, and these articles are going to debrief and dissect after each session – sharing some highs, lows, learning points and handouts produced for the game.

This will be the fourth Rogue Trader group I’ve started over two-ish years, so I’m looking forward to utilising what I’ve learned early on to try and deliver a kick-ass game.

The players

Players were given free reign with what characters to pick. Players that were new to the lore and system were gently steered away from some of the more input-intensive characters like the Navigator or Astropath, which can add a whole load of extra rules on top of everything else.

In addition, each player was given 2500 experience to spend, starting them on Rank 2 with 7000 experience ‘spent’.

Lord-Captain Tassa Zacharie Aphesius Orthesian “Notch” (Rogue Trader) – Dan

With a background in the Battlefleet, the Captain was very set on running the ship and crew as an ex-commander might, with military precision and demanding unwavering loyalty. The player had also experienced a previous Rogue Trader game as an Arch-Militant very much playing at the other end of the legal spectrum, so wanted to try being the one giving orders rather than taking them.

The Lord-Captain’s stats are all over the shop; after XP spent he has a Weapon Skill and Fellowship of 51 and 50 respectively, very useful for a Rogue Trader. Unfortunately, even after a bump, his Toughness leaves much to be desired at 32, meaning our Rogue Trader will be starting the grand tour of the Nomad Stars with a whopping 9 wounds.

For his free Acquisition he picked up a displacer field, hoping that will activate enough to keep him alive…

Enginseer Xander Freeman (Explorator) – Hammond

Hammond is a long-standing regular in our games but rarely gets to play the Tech character, so jumped at the opportunity to make a really weird character off the bat. His first request was for his Acquisition to be four robo-legs so he can crawl across ceilings and gallop like a spider-horse, and for the free bionic implant he chose an MIU link with his hellgun, so he can fire it freely while hoofing it across strange alien worlds and brandishing his shiny power axe.

The character comes from an under-resourced manufactory Hive World where he was the Top Dog of running the show. When the Captain was looking to put together a crew, he picked Freeman for his administrative talents of doing a lot with very little under awful conditions. This means that although Freeman is the Enginseer rather than the Explorator, his role on the ship will still be a very familiar one.

Stats rolled were fairly average across the board, the only thing of note was a decent Agility and a Fellowship of 40 – the two skills an Explorator definitely needs. A bunch of XP was pumped into Intelligence and Tech Use, so now the Explorator is testing Tech Use on an 81. Here’s hoping he doesn’t break anything…

Gunther Von Gun (Arch Militant) – Dave

Von Gun is this player’s first foray into Rogue Trader and 40k in any big way as well, so we thought we would start off with one of the easier character archetypes to get to grips with; the Arch-Militant. A cursory glance over the character sheet reveals that Von Gun’s weight, height, age, gender and description are all “GUN”, so I think he’s really gripped the nuances of 40k lore.

Von Gun is rocking the twin bolt pistol look, and rolled above average on every stat. After plugging a few points into Ballistic Skill, he’s sitting comfortable on a 69 to hit (heh) with his bolt pistols, which is great for an experienced character, let along a starting character! This is fortunate, as with this surprisingly frail group, the Arch-Militant will be in serious demand during combat situations…

Gil Virgant (Astropath Transcendant) – Jez

The Astropath career is, in my opinion, the wildcard of the various careers because of the terrifying power and risk they can wield on a regular basis. Whole sessions can be derailed from one failed Perils test as a dinner party with bigwigs goes awry when daemons pour from the psyker’s mouth and try to eat the faces of the other party guests. It’s comforting then, to re-read my notes I made on the character’s backstory during a conversation with Jez:

“Born on a penal world, but not intrinsically criminal. Taken as a child and tortured for the guards’ personal gain – IN HERETICAL WAYS. The more they beat him, the more he became closer to the warp. He reached out to some voices in the warp to help him. These were Definitely Not Chaos.”

So that will be fine then. Most excitingly, even after purchasing two advances, he has nearly the lowest Willpower in the group. He did take a plasma pistol as his free Acquisition though, so at least he can be unstable and unpredictable in two ways.

Xandra Lyoness (Missionary) – Alex

Another player fresh to the group and to the lore, Alex was drawn to the Missionary career as being roughly analogous to clerics and healers from other systems. While not incorrect, the analogy breaks down when you notice the Missionary is also the group’s spiritual compass, daemon hunter, exorcist, interrogator, witch-finder, fiery demagogue and diplomat.

My concerns that a new player might not take to the universe was immediately quashed when she asked “Can I be carried round in a sedan chair and have flamethrowers on everything I own?”. Yes. Yes you can.

Lyoness is a 90-something year old screeching noble-born harridan who is obscenely strong, tough and perceptive. She modus operandi is to be carried round bearing relics from her previous escapades while whipping nearby pilgrims into a religious frenzy (literally and figuratively) with her trusty Neural Whip.

Marai Zilla (Voidmaster) – Andy

The final entrant is the only non-new character – Zilla is being brought over from a previous gaming group that collapsed under logistical problems. As a result Zilla is a slightly higher level than the others, but this will prove to be an absolute necessity as nobody else can fly the ship particularly well…

Zilla’s background is one of service to powerful Dynasties, and gets reassigned as Master of Space as the work calls. He’s an excellent pilot in both voidships and small craft and carries a bolt pistol as a hefty side arm. He also totes a fancy gold autogun wrenched from the bodyguard of a secessionist king in a previous life which has already served him well.

He’s a good all-round character who fills a few vital roles, and when not filling those roles has a good spread of skills to contribute to interaction or combat challenges.

The Dynasty

The Orthesian Dynasty is still in its early stage of conception, and will inevitably warrant a followup post about its trials, tribulations, colours and banners. During our pre-game sessions we did come up with some ground lore for the Dynasty, giving us as much detail as we needed to get stuck into the game while leaving it open-ended enough to fill in any blanks later on.

The Dynasty is a new Rogue Trader lineage, although the warrant itself is quite old. During his time in the Imperial Navy, Tassa Orthesian earned the reputation for being a conqueror and commander without peer, leading reclamation crusades in far-flung corners of the galaxy. These selfless acts of bravery were earning him more favour with the upper echelons of his House, and were earning him what centuries of bickering and political wrangling could not earn them. They did the only sensible thing to remove him from the picture: promote him.

Backs were scratched and brown envelopes were passed between the Powers That Be and a Warrant of Trade was eventually conjured up and “awarded” to Tassa Orthesian in recognition of his accomplishments so far. Such an honour cannot really be turned down, so the now Lord-Captain Orthesian was given the smallest warp-capable ship in the Orthesian garage and sent far, far away across the galaxy to a spit of space called ‘The Nomad Stars’.

The requirements of the Warrant state the Lord-Captain is to being the Nomads to heel, and reneging on that requirement will see assets reclaimed and resources cut off. They expect him to die out in the Nomads, ridding him from that pesky do-gooder once and for all. The Lord-Captain, on the other hand, has other ideas…

The Ship

So with some characters and Dynasty fluff out the way, it was on with building the ship. Our Lord-Captain cast the dice of fate and we began play with a 50 Profit Factor and 40 Ship Points – not a particularly stellar amount of spending power, but we were determined we were going to start at the bottom and work our way up!

For reference, most Raiders (the smallest class of the ship in the game) are around 30 SP to purchase, and the next class up, Frigates, start in the late 30s. If we wanted to fly a frigate, we’d barely be able to put any guns on it to start out with – not a great look for a freshly-minted Rogue Trader looking to cut his teeth on some Nomads xenos scum.

We also agreed to roll the Machine Spirit Oddities and Past Histories before picking the ship. Knowing what additional traits the hull would have would help inform a decision, and perhaps help play to their strengths a bit more. We rolled Resolute and Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, granting us a slight Speed hit in favour of more Hull and easier repairs, and having disguised components and extra sneaky hidey-holes around the ship in case the authorities come snooping at out goods. Nothing overly exciting but nothing particularly crippling either. The +10 to Repair tests will certainly come in handy!

We settled on the Shrike Raider in the end, as it was the perfect balance of speed and power (and to be honest the Shrike so massively outclasses the other ships in the Raider category that it renders any lengthy discussion pointless – it’s a very powerful ship for its class).

Mathhammer

We’ll also be playing with the community-vetted Mathhammer rules for ship battles. The simplest tl;dr is that ship combat favours massive alpha strikes over fights of attrition. You can spend forever trying to break armour, only for one lucky roll to slag a vessel in one hit.

The fix is simple: reduce all ship armour by 12, but don’t compound Macrobattery attacks into one lot of damage – calculate every hit against armour as you would for shooting attacks.

After playing extensively with both, I can say that I much prefer how Mathhammer works for space battles, and we’ll be taking it forwards. Whenever you see a ship armour value on Dreadquill, the number in brackets will be the original un-hammered stat.

The Unbroken resolve

Type: Shrike-class Raider           Speed: 9

Manoeuvrability: +25                  Detection: +25

Turret Rating: 2                              Shields: 1

Crew Rating: 30                             Weapon capacity: 1 Dorsal, 1 Prow

Armour: 4 (16)                                  Hull integrity: 33

Essential components: 

  • Jovian Class 2 Plasma Drive
  • Strelov 1 Warp Engine
  • Emergency Gellar Field
  • Command Bridge
  • M1.r Life Sustainer
  • Voidsmen Quarters
  • M201.b Auger Array

Supplementary components:

  • Cargo hold/lighter bay
  • Brig
  • Mars-pattern Macrocannon (Dorsal slot)
  • Mars-pattern Macrocannon (Prow slot)

We have 2 space and 2 power left over but no Ship Points remaining to purchase anything! I suspect additional components will be high on the Acquisition shopping list when we get rolling, but for now it’s fine.

The Unbroken Resolve shaped up to be a good all-round ship – practical weaponry, good speed and manoeuverability, even a decent defence for a raider! We even managed to squeeze a cargo hold onto her and have some space left over for tweaks later on. We could kit her out from the first port we stop off at, but as a new group (and a handful of those new players completely) we agreed it would be more useful to get a few fights under our belt so we know what she’s capable of and what she’s lacking.

The adventure begins

So what’s next? Our group all live near to each other, and we’ve found a night that is mutually agreeable for all of us. The only thing to do is organise the first game and get Rogue Trading!

We’ll be running a heavily edited version of the sample campaign from the core rulebook – I like the simplicity of it, and if my 2 years and 4 games of running Rogue Trader are anything to go by, the simpler the plot you can put in front of your players the better!

The game will begin with the Explorers getting a very enticing message, encrypted in the Dynasty’s official codes…

 

Meanwhile, on the Bench: Syracuse surface map

From the viewport you can see Syracuse in the distance – a concentration of pinpricks of light in the infinite darkness. It draws vessels from far and wide like moths to a flame. The skies around the planet are polluted with starships of all sizes and classes, from the mighty warships of the Imperial Navy on patrol outside their home dock of Port Sempect, to the bloated Universe-class mega-haulers carrying a world’s wealth of resources and people, to the smaller system ships scuttling about carrying precious cargo between the planets.

Syracuse is a sight to behold. Visible long before you can make out its details, half the planet is shrouded in utter darkness, the other half in burning sunlight. Tidally locked, the planet orbits the Tangenian sun perfectly in time with its own axis spin. Only a thin strip of habitable space runs the equator of the planet from pole to pole, and every inch is covered with a sprawling hive cities

Haloing the planet is a broken ring of drydocks, ports, loading yards, warehouses, space stations and detritus. Syracuse once boasted a proud, unbroken run of orbital docks, but these days it is mostly abandoned, fractured and isolated, left to the devices of scavengers, pirates and reclaimators.

The Grey Halo

Our new Dark Heresy campaign begins in earnest, set on the twilight ringworld of Syracuse. As an oft-mentioned place and the capital planet of the Onus Region, Syracuse needed a map worthy of its stature – not just for this Dark Heresy game but also for any future games I choose to set on the planet. I needed a map that was not only informative, but robust enough to be used in the future with little or no editing.

The entire process was recorded and sped up, in the first illustration timelapse Dreadquill has produced to date. A lot was learned on the technical side of things, but the biggest one being: do a test recording before starting a four-hour drawing process. As a result, we get this weird artifact in the middle of the screen, so apologies for that.

From little acorns

The process started with a hastily scribbled map on some lined paper made on a late-night Megabus journey. I’m a big fan of the Total War series, and I drew a lot on my 300+ hours of Shogun 2, a strategy game set in the Sengoku Jidai, or Warring States period of Japanese history. I had a lovely framework to balance powerful households, civil strife and interesting factions without needing too much legwork up front.

Highly technical cartography

The planet is covered in a strip of hive cities, joined together by fields of slums, so the whole map was only ever going to be a straight line rather than a series of continents, so that made the planning a little easier. I didn’t have too many requirements for what needed to be present either; I needed a ‘Province 13’ for setting the spooky campaign in and I needed a ‘Province Prime’ to introduce the planet at its most opulent, to meet the Inquisitor in, and to build the Kismet Palace – the seat of Inquisitorial power in the region.

I thought it would be interesting if the different major households had suzerain status over different provinces, swearing fealty to an independent province (Prime) where their Imperial overlords were set. This had the potential to set up lovely clandestine operations against different houses and cold wars bubbling over into direct border violence in the slum areas.

As a side note; the campaign is based loosely on one of the written campaigns and astute readers may pick it up, so please try not to spoil it for my players in the comments!

I also needed to emphasize the isolation of Province 13. It is one of the last independent provinces left on Syracuse, and slap bang in the middle of the destroyed, desolate and abandoned provinces ravaged by thousands of years of civil war and neglect.

Province 13, or Syracuse Magna, are fiercely independent despite having no exports or being capable of raising tithes or contributing to the planetary defense force. It is run by utterly corrupt, self-serving nobles who have ruled for generations, and there is no limit to how low they will stoop to claw on to whatever fleeting power and wealth they have left.

The concentration of the sprawl of slums between the provinces begins to thin out the closer you get to Syracuse Magna, roughly on the opposite side of the planet. I enjoy little details like this in maps, as it serves not only as wordless world-building, but also as a valid in-game reason as to why the players can’t just ‘pop out’ to get some help from nearby neighbours. Isolation is the theme of the campaign, after all!

I am very pleased with how the map turned out, and although I learned a lot from the timelapse process I think with all the technical difficulties I had assembling it, very few of them are noticeable in the final cut. Huge thanks to my old chum Frazer Merrick for the sound too, go check his stuff out and throw money at him.

Syracuse Magna has been my most ambitious project to date, with three factions planned for models (The Undertow, the Ash Garrison Enforcers and the at-time-of-writing-unseen Arbites) AND a gaming board, it’s going to be a busy few months for me!

Check out the timelapse for the map on the YouTubes, and give us a follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well – all your support is greatly appreciated!

Meanwhile, on the Bench: The Wobbly Goblin Tavern

We’ve been working with the lovely chaps at Hobgoblin 3D for quite some time now, it’s been a joy and a privilege to watch them grow and paint their stuff.

They currently have a Tavern Kickstarter finishing on Friday 12 January at 23:00 UTC, and after getting my hands on it (and one or two late nights and sticky fingers assembling it) I can say it is absolutely worth the cash. You can get the deets on their kickstarter and drop them a few dollarydoos here.

Come, stay a while…

As part of their Kickstarter, they asked me if I wouldn’t mind splashing some paint around on a corner diorama to indicate what it might be like when it was finished and painted. I can never resist an invitation to a bar, even if it’s a tiny one.

The prints are surprisingly robust. I say surprisingly, because every piece has been dropped at least once, and if it was any other material it would be showing some wear and tear by now.

After getting to grips with the whole tavern when I helped the guys out with a photo shoot before Christmas, it struck me how bleedin’ big it was inside. The actual render was still very much a prototype, one of my main criticisms was that it didn’t have enough character – too many right angles and straight edges. They showed me the 3D render of what the finished article would look like and all my concerns were quashed.

It’s even bigger than the temple!

The sections inside are a nice grid, so it’s clear the whole thing was designed from the ground up with bar brawls in mind. With so many campaigns starting off in a local tavern, it’s a wonder there aren’t more tavern scenics built with the malicious intent of players in mind…

Taking interior photos of the assembled tavern

I used to have concerns with 3D printed terrain with the layering effect potentially making drybrushing a lot harder, but on the few sections the striations are noticeable, it only adds to the effect. An injection moulded flat surface would have no texture to pick up the paint, and this makes it quick and easy to add colour to a big model.

This project has definitely confirmed in my mind that I need to invest in a decent airbrush. Tools and techniques used for painting figures only scale up so far, and when I inevitably paint the whole tavern, I don’t want to be sitting there for hours drybrushing tiny bricks across a million different wall sections.

I also realised mere minutes before I was about to start taking photos that the picture frame hanging above the fireplace was still blank. I despise freehanding at the best of times, and when I’m on a tight deadline and just about to start shooting I despise it the most. Luckily my trusty PC Gamer was to hand, and we now have a very attractive portrait hanging above the mantlepiece of the Wobbly Goblin. Can you tell what it is?

Necessity is the mother of invention

Finally, no MOTB would be complete without a picture of my overly-expensive professional setup. I know, try not to feel too shamed in this opulent display of wealth and arrogance.

A £4 chef’s hat from ebay, a Bic biro and some bluetack formed the perfect diffuser for my bedside lamp, a 5 year old camera and some sheets of A3 paper masking taped to some cans of deoderant is all you need to get started!

I am stoked to see what they’re going to do with the range next, and once I get my hands on an airbrush you bet I’ll be attacking the next tavern they print out.

Check out the Hobgoblin 3d Raghaven Hamlet here.

 

Meanwhile, on the Bench: the Longshore Brassnecks

It’s the new year, and what a better way to celebrate than with a lovely new box of plastic bits to snip out and assemble? Necromunda always had a place in my heart for the somewhat anarchic rules and huge customisation options, and when GW showcased the new minis for the game I knew I had to pick up a copy.

Luckily for me, my supergreat chums bought me it for Christmas, so I can now no longer use the “I need to get other stuff painted first before I buy it” excuse.

So much plastic!

We got heavily into the Community Edition of Necromunda in anticipation for GW’s inevitable re-release a few years back and we’ve clocked up a lot of hours and gang kills, with almost a dozen different gangs between us.

In a cruel twist of fate, none of us made Escher or Goliath gangs, so we’re not able to port over old gangs to the new rules YET. The rumour mill suggests we’ll be seeing Van Saar and Orlock gangs in the next few months, hopefully with a new gang supplement book, and that’ll open up more possibilities for using our older gangs (and lovely photos of our converted gangers).

Happy 20th birthday, blast templates!

The box set is, as GW has repeatedly proven with their latest releases, utterly lovely. There is so much stuff crammed into those carboard walls, and even the bottom box itself doubles up as an arena for some of the tutorial scenarios. I also got a lovely shiny web-only event card, presumably from the web edition of the game.

Lovely card terrain

I’ve never really liked the Goliath aesthetic, they’re very traditional Barbarian archetypes that I tend to avoid in my media as (to me) they don’t offer much in the way of depth or a play style I enjoy. Naturally this changed the moment I laid eyes on the gorgeous miniatures that GW has assembled. Stupid giant revolvers? Massive spanners? A rivet cannon? Yeah okay, I’m in.

I had to enlist the help of a comrade to snip out all the terrain parts, there are a lot of flat surfaces that need their mould lines clearing off, so don’t expect to power through this box particularly quickly.

You get a lot of great generic scatter terrain

I wanted to start with the Goliath gang first, partly because if I screwed them up, I wanted it to be for my least favourite of the two gangs…

I brought the gang books with me over the Christmas break so I could digest the rules and plan the gang in advance. It all looked fairly straightforward, with some lovely streamlining for the more esoteric rules from the previous editions of the game. Once I’ve played a few games of Newcromunda I’ll write a little suttin’-suttin’ up comparing the two, but for now let’s just look at pictures of models.

These guys are *big*

I didn’t have much in the way of a spec when I was designing the gang. I’m not 100% sure how progression/adding new gang members/equipment will work in the long run – the biggest change from a modelling perspective is that you can’t change equipment on a ganger once they’ve been given it, freeing you from the need to keep snipping off weapons on your leader as you acquire better stuff.

This time round, you seem to only be able to put new equipment on new hirelings, but with no games under my belt I can only speculate how that works. To give myself some leeway, I decided to only plan a gang using 8 out of the maximum 10 models for each gang, so I can add extra gangers without needing to buy any new gangs (just yet 😉 ).

The agony of choice

My biggest mistake was not getting properly acquainted with the sprues before meticulously planning a gang. The combinations of parts are so well executed, it’s really simple to put together a radical, unique gang with the box set, but the way the poses are assembled makes it quite difficult to do anything overly specific.

For example, there are knives and axes available for Goliath melee weapons, but neither of which have any representation on the sprues (aside from a sheathed knife), and stub pistols are super cheap and practical but you only get two in the entire set, and even those are posed in a way to make them only really work with one set of body/legs.

Of course, a sane person would simply readjust their gang list to take this into account. I, however, prefer hours of agonising clipping, sticking and slicing my fingers open to a few minutes of maths.

A quick dip into the bits box later…

I wanted to have at least one of everything from the gang list, partly so I could test out the rules for them, and partly so I could make full use of everything available on the sprues. I can worry about min/maxing a gang later on in life once I’ve worked out what works, and when GW inevitably release some conversion packs later in the year.

It was also halfway through construction that I realised I had made another oversight – there is no difference between single and double-handed weapons other than their stats. I had assumed there would be a restriction on using the heavier weapons in melee (improved strength, improved armour penetration etc in exchange for fewer attacks) considering models like the Renderizer (angry skull-axe guy) are using them in two hands.

As far as the rules go, even though the model has a double-handed heft, the off-hand is still free to shank with a knife or pop with a pistol in close combat, earning them an extra dice. This threw me a little bit, and had to reshuffle some credits round to purchase an extra knife on the models I had planned to be double-handers just for the extra dice in combat.

All the weapons are blocked out with vanilla poses, time for conversions

Still, I was determined to build what I’d planned. I just needed to do some jiggery-pokery on the available arms and weapons to make it happen. The big one I wanted to look impressive was my Leader, but I didn’t equip him with the plasma/stub combi-pistol (because holy hell 65 credits), so the default pose was a bit of a waste.

I also had another ganger with a Renderizer and pistol for backup, but after re-reading the rules and realising that would afford him an extra dice in combat, I wanted to model him in a way that I’d remember the guy with the two-handed weapon actually has multiple weapons that he’s juggling like a madman.

Hammers gonna ham

A nice weapon head swap between the Renderizer and Power Hammer worked rather pleasingly.

Renderizers gonna renderize

The Longshore Brassnecks

Some whiskey and a season of Parks and Recreation later, and the whole team is assembled. They’re missing a lot of accessories, but the majority of the work is done and I’m chuffed with how they came out.

Hi mum yeah I’m in a gang now

They’re called the Longshore Brassnecks, a gang of thugs and hoodlums from the exotic harbours of Mercy Longshore, where I was planning on setting most of our games. Not only is it an interesting twist on the setting (Hive City in Spaaaaaace) but gives me a very valid reason to re-use these models as thugs and crims in Rogue Trader.

They get the ‘Brassnecks’ moniker as they run security and haulage for the various defense platforms around Mercy, carting around the ammunition and macrocannon shells for use in the station macrocannons and point defence turrets.

All of their armour will be made of hammered brass from the massive macrocannon shell cases, so the bold black/brass combination should be very evocative on the tabletop.

If I had a gun that big I’d look that happy too

In addition to that, I also wanted to give them a focus on guns rather than fist fightin’. Obviously they’re going to be very good at that, but I wanted lots of large caliber projectile weapons to reflect their obsession with big-ass cannons.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

I found it fascinating that someone took the decision to make the automatic combat shotgun one-handed, and couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a very silly pose.

Double your gun, double your fun

For the Leader (as yet unnamed) I wanted to biggest version of the available accessories to try and make him stand out on the tabletop. There was a particularly fancy shoulder pad on each sprue (so two in total) that worked quire nicely when doubled-up, and an imposing respirator head and gorget body fit the bill quite nicely.

It’s clobberin’ time

He also has a stub cannon slung to his back and a knife sheathed somewhere, but I’ve not got round to attaching those yet.

Can’t touch this

The other weapon swap was the Renderizer-over-the-shoulder pose, which when combined with a stub pistol and the effortlessly cool cigar-chomping head gave the model bundles of personality.

Taking these pictures earlier made me realise I still need to drill the barrels out of their weapons as well, so that’s been added to my to-do list before they get primed.

A goddamn sexual Tyrannosaurus

Time for Juves! They appear to have been changed in a massive way from the Community Edition, as they narratively appear far more important than regular gangers. Gangers have a much more simplified progression tree but get access to better weapons and equipment, so I have no idea how these guys play out in the long term.

They were also planned to have double-handed weapons, but seeing as there was no disadvantage to giving them an extra knife (aside from the measly 10 credits it costs) and the sprues didn’t have enough two-handed weapons, they were all promoted to Guy With Two Knives. 

Once again, trusty Ork parts to the rescue

Big wrench and tiny knife makes for an interesting fighting style, but I managed to squeeze a few extra poses out of the limited ‘free’ arms I had left.

I’m representing these Juves by leaving off any shoulder pads or thigh guards to make them appear a little slighter than their heftier brethren. Despite Juves advancing faster than gangers, and having more varied advancement options, they never ‘graduate’ to becoming gangers like they used to – they stay Juves for their entire careers.

I now pronounce you, man and knife

I had to convert an axe-hand for this guy, the first of the two special weapons guys, made from a Chaos Marauder axe and trimming down the handle of the Brute Cleaver arm from the Necromunda sprue.

Thwump

The second heavy weapon guy was this Riveter. Looks super cool on paper and the model is rad as heck, but I have no idea how it’ll play out in the game as it seems quite short ranged. The skull-faced respirator head was pretty awesome, so that went on as well.

Absolutely riveting

I really enjoyed assembling these guys, even if they did suffer from being strangely restrictive in the poses available. There’s still a bit of extra work to do on them, such as adding spare weapons and accessories, but overall they’re pretty much finished.

I’m looking forward to tackling the Escher gang now!

Meanwhile, on the Bench: Chrono-gladiators

The station-complex of Mercy holds many secrets, accommodates many factions and houses many attractions to the denizens of the Nomad Stars. One such attraction is the infamous Bazaar Arenas, home to all manner of blood sports and high-octane races round its treacherous circuits.

In addition to xenos-beasts, execution victims and gangers trying to prove their worth, the arena fights are dominated by merciless Chrono-gladiators of the Death Clocks guild – cybernetic pit fighters with implanted weapons, vat-enhanced muscles and injectors filled with cocktails of lethal combat drugs. All have a death switch installed – a ticking time bomb attached to the heart that is only set back by the act of slaughter.

For a Chrono-gladiator, death is life.

With an imminent new Rogue Trader game starting up, and a number of games already set on Mercy, I wanted to assemble some members of the notorious Death Clocks guild. Partly to swell the numbers of interesting villains to throw at parties when they go dredging through Mercy, partly because I wanted an excuse to make some super-weird kit bashes.

I didn’t have any goal in mind other than to make half a dozen Chrono-gladiators with unique weapon sets that both highlight their martial prowess and their penchant for style over substance. They’re deadly killers for show, but what use are your showmen if they’re too good at killing?

I also had a strict ‘no new parts’ rule (which I think I’m going to need to start enforcing a LOT more in the new year…), so everything was assembled from bits I already had lying around in my box.

I had quite a few Dark Eldar weapons kicking about from boxes of Warriors and Wyches from assembling my Blood Bowl team, many of them looking suitably bizarre, gladiatorial or downright nasty – perfect for a bunch of cyber-goons.

This first chap was assembled with Wych legs, an old school Space Marine torso, an Ork left arm, a Dark Elf shield and a long chain-whip-sword-flail thing from the Wych box set. It was all finished off with a Skitarii captain’s head to give it a lovely tech-feel.

The bionic arm is actually a bionic leg from Anvil Industry. The current pack I bought is at time of writing no longer available, it seems they are undergoing a bunch of revamps to their old stock. Exciting news! There’s definitely going to be an order put in again next year.

This guy needs some filler work, and some small odds and ends to blend the parts together, but overall I’m pretty happy with how he turned out.

This guy was very much an exercise in answering the age-old bits-box-rummaging question; “What the hell can I use *this* part for?”. I had a collection of Khemri bits from Emperor-knows-where and have been looking for an excuse to use them for some time now. I’m a big fan of their Egyptian aesthetic, and find it suspicious that they’ve dropped off the Age of Sigmar radar entirely…

The body and legs were from a plastic Chaos marauder, bionic arms and legs from the Anvil bionics pack again, and a head from a Skitarii. I love how the power khopesh came out, and I think he’s a firm favourite. A bit of blending work to be done, but considerably less than the first chap.

This bundle of joy is perhaps my favourite pose, using a hooked net from the Wych box set and an original metal Necron Flayed One hand (or it might be from a Necron Lord, not sure…). The legs are from the Wych set again, with a Catachan body and another Skitarii head.

I’m looking forward to releasing this guy on my players the most, as a combination of a stunning, entangling net and poisoned armour-piercing claws sounds like a truly horrifying combination for any poor sod who gets in its way.

For the last angryboi in this batch I wanted something a little less dynamic, a little less subtle. Sometimes you just need a guy with a skull for a head and chainsaws for hands, y’know?

There’s nothing particularly exotic about this build – Space Marine torso, Ork arms and snipped-down Ork choppas for hands, Chaos Marauder legs, an Anvil bionic foot and the skull is from a banner topper.

I like how they all came out, and despite the varying appearances I think they will work well by themselves or as a group. We’ve already had a trial game with the Khemri shield and he was suitably brutal, so I’m looking forward to tidying these guys up and adding them to the painting queue.

Meanwhile, on the Bench: Ash Garrison Enforcers

The planet of Syracuse is the biggest, most sprawling planet our plucky Dark Heresy acolytes will have been to so far in their illustrious crime-fighting careers. It is here they will finally meet their Inquisitor (after 4+ years of real life campaigning) and mingle with other acolytes of the Onus Region Conclave. They will receive their orders, be given a direction and then sent off to the arse end of the planet, Syracuse Magna, to pursue a lead on the potentially apocalyptic Samarra Dynasty.

We’ve already seen one of the factions of Syracuse magna, an organised crime syndicate called The Undertow, and now we’re having a look at their lawful (if not moral) counterparts, the Ash Garrison Enforcers.

A ‘Remedial’ team armed with lasguns with a long rifle or grenade launcher specialist attachment

Ash Garrison Enforcers

On the rest of Syracuse, the Ashigaru PDF, or Ash Garrison, comprise of mercenaries and family members of the Great Houses, refining their martial skills with polearm and lasgun to serve in the largest standing army in the Onus Region. The Ash Garrison are called upon as loyal foot soldiers to tackle uprisings, gang warfare or noble squabbles, and some are shipped off to deal with far away threats where their combined arms tactics of rifle and spear makes for a formidable threat against any foe.

They are intended to support the local laws of Syracuse Magna, maintain order and deal with such common crimes as murder, smuggling and extortion, while the Adeptus Arbites (in theory) deal with crimes directed against the Adepta, such as petty heresy, slaving and corruption that contravene high Imperial Law.

In Syracuse Magna, the Provincial Enforcers are divided, corrupt and unsubtle agents of punishment and social control, and most are little more than state-sponsored extortionists. Their power is granted by the Daimyo and the Quorum, and by extension, they are sanctioned by Magna’s dissolute and corrupt nobility. At their core are the Mandato, a feared secret police force of torturers and killers that exist purely to maintain the Daimyo’s power.

Clad in vulcanized storm coats and conical helmets to deter the worst of the weather, the Ash Garrison are well-equipped and brutal in approach. They operate in 4-man teams, either ‘Disciplinaries’ with stun sticks and laspistols or ‘Remedials’ with lasguns. Remedial teams can be accompanied by either a grenade launcher or hunting rifle.

A four-man “Disciplinary” team armed with stun sticks and lead by a fearsome Mandato officer

Creating the Ash Garrison

The concept art folder and mood boards I had assembled for Syracuse are extensive, and in my travels I stumbled across this rather excellent piece by Keith Thompson and knew I wanted to recreate that flavour in my own foot soldiers.

Doing some digging around, I found these rather excellent heads and shoulder pads from Puppets War that I tacked onto another order, with little thought as to how I was going to assemble them later. Like a big dumb idiot I didn’t order enough shoulder pads either, so although the intention was for big samurai-style shoulder pads on each style, I didn’t read that “x10 shoulder pads” meant literally that, and not “enough shoulder pads for x10 models”. So, lopsided shoulder pads were going to have to happen.

One of my real life comrades was putting an order into Victoria Miniatures  and I figured that was a great opportunity to bang the last nail into the coffin of this project, and had a quick browse through their wares. After taking a few quick screenshots, I bashed together this image to give me an idea of what my Enforcers were going to look like.

I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to get the shoulder pads to work with the moulded capes, but that was a problem that Future Me would deal with. I’m a big fan of the Shogun: Total War games, and have always had a soft spot for the Matchlock Ashigaru units for their aesthetics, so I was going to try and capture that as best I could.

I was 99% convinced I was going with back banners as well, then remembered my utter contempt for painting freehand back banners, and justified it by saying that the Magna Enforcers weren’t as fancy as their upmarket noble brethren in the posher provinces, so wouldn’t have back banners.

Just need a few servo skulls and some Imperial Eagles and you’re away

And then the parts arrived! I had to be strong-willed to not dig in to these as soon as they arrived, as I had a bunch of work I needed to do for Mother of Mercy. With that out the way and some suitable recovery time later, we’re back in the action and assembling cool models.

Is there a better sight?

For their bases, I wanted something a little less dingy than the Undertow, but still equally run down. I opted for a pack of the rather splendid Sector Imperialis bases from Games Workshop, justifying it that I could use the 40mm bases for Inquisitor as well. With the addition of some broken lollipop sticks for wood, and some water effects after they’d been painted, I was hoping to go for a run down manufactorum or derelict fish factory look.

Assembling the masses

Putting the majority of the Ash Garrison together was surprisingly simple. The Victoria parts, as disparate as they were considering I ordered the most awkward combination, went together rather pleasingly. I made a note to pin them through their toes to their bases, as as bouncy as resin is, I didn’t have much faith in my superglue keeping them attached.

The arms and guns slotted together quite nicely, although in once instance I wasn’t entirely sure how the pose of a pair of arms was intended, as it never seemed to match up to the weapon or body whatever I tried. Cue hacking, filing and putty-work and it didn’t matter – it bends to my will.

The first model assembled

Initially none of the models had shoulder pads or thigh guards. I knew this was on the cards, but I didn’t want to start carving parts of my minis away until I had put together the whole team and figured out how I was going to approach this. As I was building them, I knew I wanted to have a range of weapons (similar to the Undertow) for different circumstances and challenge levels, and that was how the idea of different fighting teams came about.

The Disciplinaries were a pain in the butt. As rad cool as the stun sticks from Victoria were, they were extremely bendy and many needed a date with the hair dryer to get them looking less like boomerangs. On top of that, the handles are very thin – not thin enough to be able to remove and replace with a length of brass pole or paperclip, but not thick enough to be able to pin in place. Most had to deal with having a fraction of a millimetre drilled into the hand and base of the shaft and hope I don’t drop them in the future.

And weirdly at this point I  began to notice that many of the left arms didn’t have the little extra shoulder pad, it seemed the ‘melee’ arms were missing them, but the rifle arms all had them. I resigned myself to knowing I was going to need to get the putty out again before this project was over.

After assembling all the bodies, I realised I was going to have to figure out a way of attaching the shoulder pads and doing a little extra on the bodies to being the whole aesthetic together. The masochist in me wanted to sculpt an entire armoured skirt over the trench coat legs, but if I had already trimmed the back banner plans from my list, then this “good idea” could also go and sit in the garbage where it belonged. Nope, I needed a more cunning, time-sensitive solution to this plan.

Very cunning

Cue montage. I snipped a bunch of thick plasticard down into strips and stuck them together with plastic glue, taking care to be liberal with the application but leave one side as mar-free as possible. It all needed to be bonded together for when the inevitable hacking and shaping was to take place, but it still needed to be pretty at the front.

Once it had dried it was a fairly simple, if time-consuming, process of slicing off the desired amount of thigh guard and filing the back down into shape so it would fit against the model snugly.

The first attempt

Although it took a bit of time to prepare each thigh guard, I was happy that the time was well spent, as it allowed me to maintain a consistent look across all the models without hours spent prodding and poking. It was also nice to not have to be concerned about the time-sensitive drying process of modelling putty, which is always a turn-off for me as I know if I have to put the project down (for such weaknesses as human food or waste expulsion) I might come back to a hardened putty and have to restart the process from scratch.

I was happy with the thigh guards – they helped draw the aesthetics together of weird future trench soldier and feudal Japanese plate armour. I wasn’t overly sold on the theme until I started to see several of them together, and along with the cute pointy hats from Puppets War I was really starting to enjoy how they were coming along.

Another issue present was the shoulder pad conundrum. It turned out it wasn’t much of a conundrum, I just didn’t want to address the obvious solution – cutting and filing down parts of the cloak to allow the shoulder pads to fit on the arm more snugly.

Big vulcanised coats to protect them from the shitty rain

Some went on better than others and some needed more encouragement. They all went on eventually, and I think it works as a blend of 40k and ancient east asian aesthetics. I was beginning to feel thankful for my shoulder pad ordering blunder at this point, as I was enjoying the single pad far more than when I draft-built some with both shoulder pads. It gave the models more freedom for poses, and gave it this wonderful lopsided asymmetric look that 40k is infamous for.

Launcher? I hardly knew ‘er

After assembling two thirds of the squad as stun stickers and lasgunners, I knew I needed a bit of variety and specialisation in there. Something to change up the game when they entered the field – some support weapons and an officer class.

The first (an easiest) was a trusty grenade launcher from the plastic Cadians kit. I’m not sure a project goes by where a grenade launcher isn’t added to a group of gangers, house guard or police force, they’re just so pleasingly versatile in the game. From a game balance perspective, these guys would only start turning up later in the escalation of violence. Initially all the Ash Garrison would be armed with flashbangs and smoke grenades, but as the riots step up, they’ll start issuing choke and frag grenades along with the launchers to help break up crowds.

“Boom. Headshot.”

The next specialist was a tricky one to decide on. I liked the idea of a suppressive weapon (like the heavy stubber of the Undertow) but decided against it as it would cheapen them when they did arrive. Flamers were out as well, as that was covered by the Undertow, so I had a dig about in my bits box and found a cool sniper rifle, again from Victoria but something from a previous order. I liked the image of the run-down rain-slick streets of Syracuse Magna being watched over by eagle-eyed snipers from different factions, daring the other to make the first move.

Part of me wanted to do something different with this guy, perhaps add some more camouflage, strip back their armour, make them appear more like light infantry. I decided against it in the end, partly because a) I was feeling hecka lazy and b) I wanted the models to be representatives of character the players would fight on the tabletop.

“Snoipa’s an honest job mate”

These were supposed to be specialists attached to riot squads rather than the pissing-in-bottles snipers that would haunt the doglegs and alleyways of Magna. They wouldn’t need models because, in my head, you would never get close enough to fight them on a battlemap. Those kinds of combats would be handled narratively, with just an indication of where the snipers were. I needed models to represent close-up brawls and add an element of visual wonder to our games.

The final model that needed to be assembled was some kind of leader. I had already established the Mandato, a secret police of torturers and assassins, but had no intentions to have models for them. After all, they wouldn’t be very secret if they had a battlefield presence would they?

I was struck with the overwhelming to try and convert a proper Oni/Samurai helmet. The Ashigaru conical helmets were fine for the footsloggers, but I wanted something impressive for the leader. I initially started looking for a daemonic/chaos head that could become a mask, but found the horns from a beastman and the head from a Tempestus Scion far quicker.

With a little bit of tubular plastic snipped from the end of a paint brush protector, the Mandato field officer had his helmet. While he stood, he would confer bonuses to his minions to help them avoid pinning, so he’s one to try and take out early into a brawl.

Wrap up and painting

I was dead chuffed with how they all came out in the end. From a piece of concept art and a very shaky photoshop mashup that I wasn’t convinced would work, to a bunch of converted minis that I like so much I’m looking for excuses to make more of them in the new year.

I’ve covered a bunch of different elements, giving them a variety of tools to help even the odds in battle, and injected some character into the different kinds of squads.

As for painting, I’m going to be leaning heavily on some Shogun Total War Ashigaru colour schemes, picking out a few that look good in green and beige. I have some Silver Tower minis to polish off first, but with the whole squad currently undercoated and drying as we speak, it won’t  be long before we see some painted minis on the Dreadquill news feeds.

Mother of Mercy – Inquisitor Open Event 2017

Old Mother One-Eye staggered across the conduit platform clutching her dueling wounds. Thin trails of silvery blood seeped between her skeletal fingers, hanging in the air like oil on water.

Her warp portal lay in ruins, carved apart by lance fire from an orbiting voidship. Sickly green lightning arced from the remains of the obsidian pillars that held the portal in place, the impotent rage of the warp venting harmlessly into the dissipating storm high above.

She spat a thick gobbet of black phlegm onto the floor and let out a furious, ear-splitting shriek. The servants of the corpse-god had broken into her home, butchered her children, destroyed her work and secured themselves a fate worth than death.

“Fools!” She cried out, summoning the remainder of her will to push her words into the souls of every being that sullied her home, “Can’t you see what you have done? You have doomed us all! Only I have the power to protect us from my master! You blind, misguided fools!”

Pale green spectres danced around her like a children’s playground game, taunting and mocking. The asteroid shook violently, a hungry stomach anticipating a meal. Warp fire poured from the void in the centre of her forehead as she lashed out at things imperceivable to the mortal eye.

Interrogator Dune slumped against an oily metal ladder. He was as battered and broken, forcing himself onwards despite the daemonic venom coursing through his veins. Above him was the platform the conduit was operating from before it was annihilated by lance fire and a strafing run from an inquisitorial Valkyrie.

He couldn’t take her alone, and the other agents he had encountered couldn’t be trusted to back him up. His splinter pistol was running low, and would it even do anything? He had watched a trained assassin try to take her out, only to recoil in terror and flee for their life.

His hand rested on his belt in exasperation, feeling a familiar shape on his fingertips. Realisation slowly crept across the scars of his face. The gift from his master!

He snapped the psyk-out grenade from its webbing and felt its weight. This had been given to him when he attained his rank, and carried it with him for over a decade. He muttered a prayer of thanks under his breath and activated the fuse rune.

With the last of his strength he pulled himself from the support of the ladder and into the open for a clear throw. The storm raged overhead. The witch was surrounded by warp lightning, screeching in anguish. Chaos spawn bore down on them.

He roared, drowning out the storm; “Mother One-Eye! You have been weighed, and you have been found wanting!”

And the grenade left his fingers.

++++++++

Debriefing

Mother of Mercy was a 1-day 54mm Inquisitor open event held at Warhammer World in Nottingham on November 18th 2017 and ran by the Conclave Inquisitor community.

It followed the potentially calamitous events of a powerful witch trying to cut off two co-dependent sectors from each other with great warp storms. It was set on the station of Mercy, an archipelago of asteroids and docking platforms lashed together with great chains, far away from help or support of the character’s usual network of spies and agents. You can get the whole brief that was handed out to the players on the day here.

Over a dozen people gathered on the day  with beautiful painted warbands, some made specially for the event, and the whoops and hollers of the day attracted dozens more to our tables to stare at the funny sized models and the giant scratch-built 54mm valkyrie. Thanks to the efforts of one of our community we also had leaflets to hand out to onlookers about the game and how they could get involved. If even one person discovered a new passion for the quirky narrative skirmish wargame then it would have been a success.

The day was spread across four of Warhammer World’s “feature boards”, set amid the noisy backdrop of their annual 40k Doubles tournament. It worked out well, with three boards being used for games and the final board being used as the inevitable ‘overflow’ at these kinds of events – a storage for spare models and collections of character sheets.

Next time I’ll make sure not to double book during another busy event so we can snag a few of the ‘plain’ boards. We had the perfect number of people this time, but it would have been nice to have some backup boards to run some extra games on for latecomers.

The day was run across 3 games: two smaller games and a finale on the epic mining facility board. That is a schedule that has worked well for these events in the past and I didn’t want to mess with it. One element that is always a conundrum is how to run the finale game. In some events we’ve had a mega-board with every player present, in some events we’ve had no finale at all,just another opportunity to score points or victory tokens and have a wrap-up in the bar afterwards.

This time I wanted to trial something a little different, using elements I’ve pinched from previous events. Throughout the day, players fought to complete universal primary objectives and were given secret secondary objectives to attempt as well, scoring you Victory Points that would affect whether your warband made it to the finale board or not. Anyone who didn’t make it to the finale board got to play on a satellite board for either control of a valkyrie or the targeting systems for an orbital lance weapon. The idea being you could still affect the finale even if you weren’t placed on that board.  Sprinkled in as well were some resource cards to shake up the early games, such as affecting deployment or rival warbands equipment.

Learning points

It worked well for the most part, and although the feedback we received afterwards was very positive it did highlight some flaws in the formula that would need to be addressed before running a similar event;

  • There was not enough ambiguity. Inquisitor thrives in the uncomfortable grey areas between right and wrong. When writing this event, I concentrated too much on what I wanted to happen rather than present a situation and ask people to pick sides. During many of the warm-up missions, warbands often discovered they didn’t really need to fight over the objective, and many games almost ended up with a mutual stalemate.
  • There were not enough bad guys. Linked to the first point, but I had hoped there would be more outright villains turning up on the day to counteract the lack of ambiguity. In retrospect I should have put out a casting call for baddies to attend the event as well, rather than relying on people mulling over the (not very tricky) moral conundrum of whether to save the sector or not.
  • The finale formula needs reworking. The principle of earning points to a finale board is sound, but the satellite boards finished up much quicker than the overall finale, leaving many feeling a bit let down. One of the suggestions would be to have three simultaneous finales at once, three maguffins that must be stopped to ensure victory, rather than one big maguffin and two helper boards.
The agents who made it to the finale

Final thoughts

All in all I had great fun running the event, and I’d like to think people who attended had fun as well. There are hundreds of pictures still being edited ready for uploading and I’ll be doing breakdowns of some of the scenarios and characters over the coming months to fill these hallowed Dreadquill halls.

Thanks to everyone for coming and keeping the hobby alive, and here’s to seeing you all at the next one!

+++++++++

The explosion had knocked Dune unconscious. The last thing he remembered seeing was the form of Old Mother One-Eye being catastrophically ripped apart in a fury of psychic energy.

He was covered in dust and ash and the lair filled with the shouts of survivors. The air was calm, and although heavy with soot, seemed far easier to breathe in.

It was done. The sector had been saved. The Throat would remain open for humanity to come and go as it pleases, just as the God Emperor intended.

He coughed a mix of blood and ichor onto the metal platform and tried to pull himself up, but his strength had left him.

Stood above him was a blurry figure. Dune’s eyesight hadn’t fully recovered yet, but even blinking through tears and ash he could recognise the silhouette of that damned hat anywhere. The figure extended a hand.

“Howdy!”

Mega Box o’ Bits ebay lot

It’s time to sell off one of my mega box of bits on ebay! (link)

I simply don’t have the space or inclination to hoard any more bits than I have at the moment would much rather they went to someone who can make use of them rather than a dumpster.

The whole haul.
All this stuff has been accrued over 25+ years of hobbying, some parts are well loved, and some parts are still new on the sprue. I like to think I have a decent eye when it comes to identifying models, but even some of these bits baffle me. If you need clarify on anything in this big ol’ box of stuff then just give me a shout!

This list is FAR from exhaustive, but from what I can make out from rooting through the box, we have components from:
  • Imperial Guard/Astra Militarum
  • Warhammer 40,000 Space Orks
  • Orcs and Goblins
  • Heroquest
  • Space marines
  • Chaos space marines
  • Eldar
  • Dark Eldar
  • Tyranids
  • Undead/Vampire Counts
  • Some Forgeworld bits and pieces
  • Dwarfs/Dwarves
  • Lord of the Rings Goblins of Moria and High Elves/Elfs
  • Scenery/scatter terrain
  • Various 1:72 historical and WWII/WW2 figures
  • Lizardmen
  • Some scale parts for a WW2 tank and plane
  • Mantic Avatars of War elf archers on sprues

The Mega Box of Bits ebay lot is available here, and it ends Sunday night (tonight) at 8pm .

Meanwhile, on the Bench: Graveyard scenery

This week I’ve been cracking out some seasonal terrain for my good chums over at Hobgoblin 3D, namely a combination of their Graveyard of Grizliness bundle and the Abandoned Mausoleum kit.

Hobgoblin produce some great models for you to 3D print at home, and although they started out as pure fantasy terrain, they’re starting to branch out into more genre-neutral sets. This is very bad for a sci-fi nerd like myself, as I no longer can continue to make excuses as to why I can’t pick up their sets for myself.

Nyaaa!

Spooky ghoul from Mantic games for scale here, as these pieces are the largest single-piece 3D printed models I’ve painted to date. I’ve no idea how long these would have taken to print, I just get the luxury of painting them without the headache of operating a 3D printer!

The archway in the middle was supplied in four parts admittedly, but they went together very easily and they form a single solid unit when assembled.

Nyaaa!

I’ve painted quite a few bits for Hobgoblin over the past year, but their most recent sets have been the closest thing to tempting me to getting a 3D printer for myself. This set in particular is perfect for the grimdark setting most of our games are set in.

I can just imagine an entire graveyard board scattered with ornate railings and broken gravestones and a big shootout between cultists (up to no good in a graveyard, obviously) and some Acolytes.

Nyaaa!

It wouldn’t be Halloween without pumpkins! I particularly liked the ‘carved’ pumpkin base, there’s lots of nice details on it, and the candles inside the jack o’ lanterns are particularly pleasing.

Nyaaa!

You couldn’t have a graveyard without gravestones could you? There’s a nice variety here, and the nice part about owning the kit is you can print off as many of each as you need, rather than being limited to the ones you buy. Although they look quite nice I wasn’t a fan of the broken headstone pieces, they were a bit too fiddly to paint (and I’m about 70% sure I lost a piece in the painting process).

I can see the appeal, but for me they’d be better off as part of a diorama or scatter piece, such as the pumpkins above or the open graves below.

Nyaaa!

Open graves! I think I had the most fun painting these. They tell a great story and wouldn’t look out of place in just about any different setting. If I had given myself a bit more time, I would want to experiment with some water effects pooling in the open grave and making the mounds of earth around it all soggy. I mean, when else is the best time to go gravedigging if not in the rain?

Oh yes, and it has another adorable feature;

Let there be light! There’s a hollow inside the lantern for an LED and button cell for extra spoopiness, or if you’re cheap like me, a phone light concealed under a sheet of A4.

Nyaaa!

And finally the Mausoleum kit. What a piece! Any doubts I’ve had in the past about 3D printing vs injection/cast moulded pieces have been dashed apart. This is a rather excellent construction that really lends itself to the 3d printing process.

It comes six parts – an upper and lower section of the building so you can remove the top to access minis inside without disturbing your scene, two doors and two hinge pieces (not pictured because I’m a doofus and lost them). The two hinge pieces are glued to the bottom of the door when it is assembled in the building so it doesn’t fall out of its socket.

I hear tell rumours in the tavern that the team might be building an insert for this building with a hex/square grid on it for proper roleplaying compatability, so watch this space for more!

I thoroughly enjoyed painting this kit, and outside of drying times took me far less time than other kits to get tabletop ready. A few choice washes and different coloured drybrushing can go a long way into getting your spooky quota up for your games.