Monthly Archives: March 2015

SAGA Irish warlord

IrishfrontHere is the finished Irish warlord. I think I’ll call him… king Dairmuid MacColl. Seen here with his advisor/wife/sorceress, Brigit.

I read that tartan was very simple before the 17th century.  "Like a tea towel" was how I saw it described. So I tried to capture that on Brigit's woollen cloak.

I read that tartan was very simple before the 17th century. “Like a tea towel” was how I saw it described. So I tried to capture that on Brigit’s woollen cloak.

I planned to paint these models very simply, as I did with my vikings, but I developed an ulcer on my eye that made it hard to concentrate and I messed them up. I then had to go back and do a lot of repair work on the paint job, so they ended up taking ages and being a bit more complex than I wanted. But I kept trying to minimise the work, so now they’re kind of in a middle ground for me: not as much effort as I would normally put into a centrepiece model’s painting, but more effort than I put into the vikings.

Still, I’m happy with them. I’ve been trying to find out what the ancient Irish law code says about colours.  I heard that there were strict social castes in pre-modern Ireland and that only certain groups could legally wear certain colours.  But the research is going slowly.  I got impatient and went ahead with the painting. All I know for certain is that warriors were allowed to wear saffron, so I’m hoping King Dairmuid isn’t wearing a nice shade of pigherder blue…

Till next time,


The Loaded Dice Kickstarter: a bar in a games store

webeditJust a quick post today. One of my excellent local – and recently independent – stores, 3D6, is running a Kickstarter to turn their store into a combination bar/game venue. The bar will be called The Loaded Dice.

I’m starting to feel as though I live in gamer paradise here in Canberra, what with the new Reload bar in Civic. It’s gamer-themed, has a Street Fighter arcade machine, a bunch of PCs, and a big screen with consoles, all of which are free to play. And now there could well be a bar attached to a games store too.

There are less than 48 hours to go on the Kickstarter, and they still need quite a bit of money. I understand that many of you are not in Canberra, or even Australia, but there are some fine opportunities available for companies to sponsor this new establishment. I can vouch that the proprietors are professional and innovative business people who have given a hell of a lot to the gaming community in Canberra, and wouldn’t be doing a Kickstarter if they didn’t have the chops to see it through. So please consider it; or at least have a look. If you’re interested in the business of games, it’s an interesting idea.

Plus the tagline is great. “The Loaded Dice: where everybody knows your game!”

Have a good one,


Cyberpunk table, so far


Hi everyone. Above you can see my cyberpunk-themed table so far. Well, the good bits anyway. I cut off the parts that were just more empty road. This is about 4′ by 4′, and not enough terrain for Infinity, but it’s almost enough for a 6′ by 4′ 40k game already.

It’s coming along pretty well I reckon.  It looks suitably grotty and dark with splashes of colour, but to be honest the whole thing is a bit too dark in real life, I think.  I might take Porky’s advice, and lighten the asphalt. Or maybe buy some light-coloured tiles from the hardware store to lay over it so I have options.

As always Like if you like it (and you can find the damn button), and if you have any questions or comments, shoot away.

Have a good one,


SAGA: Irish Warlord ready for painting

Irishwarlord I had this post scheduled for next week, but since it’s Saint Patrick’s Day, I thought it would bring good fortune to whack it up today. Here you can see my newly-built (and so far un-named) Irish Warlord for the dark ages skirmish game SAGA, undercoated and ready for painting.

The spear-lass behind him is “Boudi” from Hasslefree Miniatures. I did some research and discovered that Irish women habitually fought beside men, until Christianity put a stop to it. Maybe an early example of Christian sexism; maybe early just-war thinking to protect women and children from war.  Maybe both.

My bog-dwelling Irish warband are not pagans, but they’re not far off, so I’m imagining she’s a bit of a throwback, and must be related to the warlord if she can get away with carrying a spear.

Okay so the crop-top may be a tad anachronistic. But I’m being selective with my accuracy here because it’s such a great model. The stone the old fella is standing on is Das air-drying clay. I made a greenstuff mould of an old Celtic knotwork pendant I had as a grungy teenager (still had it in a shoebox, *sniff*), and then pressed the clay into it. His javelins are from North Star.

Like if you like them. Questions and comments are also welcome.



I’m really enjoying casually playing 40k at the moment, among other things. As regular readers know, I have a long and ambivalent relationship with this game. Any decades-spanning relationship has to have its ups and downs I suppose. And I’m in a positive place with it right now, because I feel as though I’ve worked out a way of playing and collecting that is mine and no-one else’s.

What do I mean?  The best way I can think of to succinctly put it is that I have started to think of my 40k model collection as a living three-dimensional story, inspired by, but not restricted to, events in-game. I track the fortunes of my army, and I incorporate or cut models when I want to paint something new or stop using something that I’m finding boring, or that’s not working for me. Where possible I re-paint, re-organise or modify my existing models rather than buy new ones. And then I make up a story to explain the change.  Sometimes the story comes first; sometimes the physical changing of the models. But whichever it is, they go hand in hand.

This all sounds a bit complex, I know. Maybe it’ll be clearer if I just explain what I’ve actually been doing. Continue reading

Cyberpunk terrain: skate park and industrial skip

Here’s some terrain I finished a few days ago.

The skate park:
And the industrial waste skip:

bin bin2

I’m particularly happy with the skate park because it’s modular, so it’s great for setting up a varied table, and at first glance it could just be a bunch of generic urban shapes rather than an actual skate park.

For both of these pieces I did what I usually do: sprayed them quickly with a base colour and a highlight, glued the posters on, then scribbled some pastels and graffiti on and sprayed with my ink/water rain mix. Then I matt-sealed the whole thing. The only new element this time was that I bought a white paint pen from the art store for white graffiti, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Five bucks well spent.

The great thing about scenery is that you can stop wherever. I think these are good enough for the table right now, but I can always come back and add rust, metal chipping, more graffiti, whatever. And I fully intend to – I just don’t want to go too far, and make the scenery as detailed as my models, because then I worry that it overshadows them a bit.

Funny how we variously call it “terrain” or “scenery.” I’ve noticed I switch between the two terms a bit. I suppose “terrain” implies that we’re thinking of it in strategic terms, as an element of the battefield to be considered and contended with during the game. But “scenery” implies its main purpose is to make the game look better, and increase our immersion in an imaginative sense. Those two ways of looking at it are an example of the strange dual nature of miniatures wargaming right there: simulation and spectacle at once.

Until next time,



Back online

Well, that’s a relief.  I’m back online from home, after nearly four months.  Some linesmen came from the phone company and replaced two of the phone lines near our place, and now it’s all finally working again.  The first thing I did was download Shogun: Total War 2 from Steam, which I bought before we moved and never got to download or play.  Now my computer is bogged down with 21 gigs of Samurai goodness.  Whether I’ll get to play it soon is another matter entirely, since I have a bunch of editing to do at the moment and Dragon Age Inquisition is still slowly burning along.

Enough about everyday things!  To blogging! I may have been… hasty about implementing format changes to this blog.  It seemed like a good idea until I actually did it, and then I was wracked with nightmare visions of hunched, hollow-eyed readers muttering curses against me.  All they want to do is comment on your weird post about how Japanese ultra-nationalists sound like 40k Ecclesiarchy priests!  Why don’t you let them, James, why?

Anyway, stay tuned. I have built and painted some cyberpunk terrain using this Tek Dek modular skatepark from Toys’R’Us:


And this odd piece of desk furniture from a dollar shop filled with bits I’ve collected:


Oh, and these artworks I got from around the net:

Pics of the completed scenery coming up soon.

Take care everyone,


Mutant Chronicles Warzone: Resurrection anyone?

So I was at Cancon on the Australia Day long weekend and while wandering around trying to stop my son from grabbing peoples’ models off the tables and going pew pew with them enjoying the atmosphere I saw a couple of tables that really caught my eye. They had SF (leaning toward cyberpunk) scenery, and each player seemed to have some sort of mecha and a few infantry. The silhouettes of the models blew me away, and so I loitered nearby, looking over some poor guy’s shoulder, until the stat cards he had in front of him revealed that the game was Warzone: Resurrection.

Infinity hasn’t worked out to my satisfaction. I’ve bought a bunch of models and really enjoyed painting them, played a couple of test games against my own guinea pigs (and a couple of intro games against actual Infinity players), but further gaming in that direction just never seemed to eventuate. I even sold my Infinity books in preparation for the new edition and… just never bought it. I can’t work out exactly why. I’m thinking maybe it’s that the models are annoying to assemble, fragile as hell, and the rules are a bit on the nitpicky side. I mean, so many special rules and weapon types and situational modifiers. It’s exhausting. When GW does that, people call it bad game design. And it gets a bit disheartening the sixth time you glue your Shinobu Kitsune back on her base. But, I’m seriously keen for a cyberpunk/mecha skirmish game, and much as I wanted it to be Infinity, perhaps I need to accept that it’s just not happening for me, for whatever reason.

Hang on, Warzone has four stars on Board Game Geek? The guys at Cancon didn’t seem to be using many models either, which is always nice. And those Mishima models… I really like them.

Looks pretty nice for 85 AUD...

This is the Mishima starter box. Looks pretty nice for 85 AUD…

They look less like Infinity’s slender modern anime style, and more like some 1980s Star Blazers or Macross kind of aesthetic. In fact I hear it’s based on Mutant Chronicles, an old game I never played that was almost contemporary with Rogue Trader. So maybe that’s why I like the aesthetic. It’s familiar yet not over-exposed the way 40k feels to me these days.

Speaking of 40k, this fellow could easily pull double duty as my mercenary commander or an Inquisitor.

Speaking of 40k, this fellow could easily pull double duty as my mercenary commander or an Inquisitor.

Anyone out there have an opinion on this game? I’ll probably just get a starter pack or two, just to paint. Yeah, that’s a good idea…