Monday 31 December 2018

Guarding Jabba’s Treasure Horde

A few things I painted recently – another Gomorran Guard from the Jabba’s Realm expansion from Imperial Assault and couple of treasure piles from one of Mantic’s Terrain Crates.

I varied the armour colour on the Gomorran a bit from the previous one I painted, but it’s pretty similar. Again, some really wonderful figures, with a level of detail comparable to most metals on the market. With these guys and the Weequays, I think I'm going to have to get a Jabba figure.

I bought one of the Mantic Terrain Crates during a recent shopping trip to Canterbury (from Dice and Destiny). If you are looking to pick up a lot of small scenery cheap, this is probably the best way to do it. That said, I kind of wish I had used the same money to buy a smaller number of higher quality pieces. It’s not that there is anything wrong with the Mantic ones, apart from some awkward bendiness on a few of he pieces, and they do look good painted up, but these days I’d like to focus my miniature buying on quality over quantity. There are so many small manufacturers doing really high-quality resin pieces, and I think I’ll be happier going with them for any of these kinds of accessories. For someone just starting out in the hobby though, its definitely worth a look.

Sunday 30 December 2018

Best Books of 2018

One of the little end-of-year treats for me is the profusion of ‘best book’ lists published on various sites and blogs around the internet. I love to mine these lists for potential reads. This year, I thought I would return the favour and list my own ‘best reads’ of 2018.  I don’t think the past year was one of my best in terms of finding fantastic books, but there were definitely a few really good ones. Here they are, in the order I read them.

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

Everyone who is, or is considering, making their living through an artistic endeavour should read this slim volume. It’s a bit like getting shouted at by a drill instructor, but sometimes that’s what it takes…

Your Money or Your Life – Viki Robin and Joe Dominguez

The most important financial book I have ever read. Maybe the most important one ever written. I wish I had read it twenty years ago.

Nightflyers– George R. R. Martin

Just a really solid collection of science-fiction horror stories.

Lovecraft Country – Mark Ruff

I’m not sure if this book is rightly considered a novel or anthology, but either way it is tremendous collection of weird fiction and an eye-opener for those that have never had to give much thought to systemic racism.

The Fall of Gondolin – J. R. R. Tolkien

All the tales of Middle-Earth are bitter-sweet, and this one is especially so, as it is the last collection of ‘The Professor's’ work that will be edited by his son Christopher. Although this book contains some of Tolkien’s best and arguably some of his worst writing, the good far outstrips the bad.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert Heinlein

A far superior work to his better known Starship Troopers, in this novel Heinlein creates an incredibly detailed, believable, and interesting Lunar culture, populates it with odd characters and then tells a fun and gripping story. It’s not an easy read though, as it is written fully in the odd Lunar dialect!

Day of the Rangers – Leigh Neville

Top-notch military history, Neville retells the story of the Battle of Mogidishu relying heavily on the words of those who fought it. If you have any interest in Black Hawk Down, you will want to add this book to your library.

Saturday 22 December 2018

The Auxiliary Companions

The recently released Rangers of Shadow Deep: Blood Moon includes 4 auxiliary soldiers who serve a multifaceted purpose in the adventure. They are the catalyst for getting the ranger involved in the mission, and they provide support during the fighting. They also, however, form the list of suspects in the hunt for a werewolf.

I thought it would be fun to see if I could make these four companions from some sprues I had lying around, and actually it has worked out rather well.

Orla, the red-headed huntress is made from the new Frostgrave Soldiers II sprue. Okay, she’s got a cap on so we can see her hair, but as the only woman in the group, she won’t be hard to identify.

Nicolan is the guy with the sword and dagger. He is the defacto leader of the group, due to his social standing instead of any military rank. I wanted him to be bit better dressed. His body and arms come from the Oathmark Human Infantry sprue. His left hand comes from the Ghost Archipelago Crew. His head, and the heads of all three of men come from this sprue from Anvil Industries, which I had lying around (£3 well spent, there). The heads are maybe a fraction large, but I don’t think I'll notice once they are painted up and on the table. They are fantastic sculpts though, amazing character in the faces. The join with the neck isn’t quite right, so I had to cut away a little bit, and it is resin, so super glue was required. Still, I think it was worth the effort. He definitely looks the young aristocratic fighter.

On the right is old Covin, with his maimed left-hand. I actually cut a few fingers off – which is why the plastic is scared. We’ll see how it paints up. Another great head though, perfect for an old and tired warrior. The body and arms come from the Oathmark Human Infantry sprue. (I realize now that I should have put 'Missing Fingers' in his notes in his stat-line, but its a very minor omission.)

Last up, on the left is Seb, the lumberjack turned soldier. All his parts, apart from the head, come from the Frostgrave Barbarian sprue. I had a lot of difficulty getting his two-handed axe positioned how I wanted it. In the end, I gave him a two-handed hammer, then cut off the head and glued on the axe head. Probably more trouble than it was worth, but it’s done now.

It's a nice looking cast of characters. Shame one of them is going to turn into a murderous monster…

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Werewolf Wednesday!

Rangers of Shadow Deep: Blood Moon is now available to purchase as a PDF from! 

You can pick it up here

For more information, see the post below.

Sunday 16 December 2018

Rangers of Shadow Deep: Blood Moon (Coming Soon!)

Werewolves have descended on the isolated village of High Rock, leaving death and destruction in their wake. Separated from their usual companions, the rangers must rely on a group of auxiliary soldiers to lead them to the village, help fight the werewolves, and hopefully rescue any survivors. However, as the rangers investigate the scene, it becomes increasingly clear that one of those auxiliaries is hiding a deadly secret…

Rangers of Shadow Deep: Blood Moon is a mini-expansion consisting of a one-scenario mission. It includes profiles for four unique companions, two new monsters, and full rules for becoming infected with lycanthropy.

Blood Moon is designed to be played with rangers level 0-5 or 6-10.

Blood Moon is set to publish in PDF this Wednesday on The PDF will cost $3.50. A print edition is in the works, but likely won’t be ready until the new year; the price has yet to be determined. The print edition will include a free PDF, so if you want both, you might want to wait. I will not be doing a retroactive discount this time as it is just too much work when we are talking about such small amounts of money.

Truth be told, I didn’t plan to write Blood Moon. It all started one day when I was admiring some werewolf models from North Star and trying to come up with an excuse to buy them. This got me thinking about how I could write a classic werewolf horror/mystery scenario for Rangers of ShadowDeep. I developed some mechanics, but realized I would need to include a ‘list of suspects’, which meant I needed to rework how companions would work for the scenario. Also, since I had werewolves, I might as well include some rules for lycanthrope. As it turned out, the project became a great little game-design challenge, and I’m very happy with the results. Thankfully, Barrett was able to help out again with a bunch of new artwork, and Steve once again provided the design.

I’ll post again when it is up for sale.

Friday 14 December 2018

Summoning Heroes!

I've added another figure to my (very slowly) growing forces of Alladore. With the appearance of the Shadow Deep, Alladore is going to need all of its warriors, from all corners of the country. This guy has both answered the call and is calling for others! 

He's an Oathmark figure, from this great pack. Currently working on that wizard as well! 

And, because I know someone is going to ask, the stone comes from the Frostgrave: Ulterior Motives Red Herrings II pack.

Thursday 13 December 2018

Early Christmas Present!

Last weekend we put-up our Christmas tree, a modest, but pretty, five-foot fir. As my wife was winding around the lights, she pointed out that we didn’t have enough to cover it all. Remembering we had a second set, I got a chair and dug around in the back of the super-high shelf in the wardrobe. I found the box, but when I opened it, it wasn’t lights – it was so much better!

It contained three model trees, an unpainted genestealer primarch, and, most important of all, my Warhammer/Tomahawk model! (Warhammer if you are a Battletech fan; Tomakawk if you are for Robotech). I thought all of these things had been lost in the house move over a year ago!

The Warhammer model is one of my all-time favourite big, stompy robots, even if it is a rather cheap (though currently unavailable) Japanese import. I actually painted it up to serve as some heavy support for my 28mm models.

Anyway, I’m glad to have all of these things back, and the best gifts are the ones you don't expect. And, after a little more digging, I did find the rest of the Christmas lights as well.

[Members of my family may be reminded of the favourite family story from my childhood. One Christmas eve were hanging up our stockings when I discovered a small present in mine that had apparently been left, unopened and undiscovered, from the year before. I admit it, I’m a bit absent-minded from time to time…]

Wednesday 12 December 2018


I am continuing to slowly paint my way through the mechs in the new Battletech box set. Most recently I finished this 'Battlemaster'.  If I remember correctly, at one time, the Battlemaster was biggest/toughest mech in the game. These days, I think he has been surpassed by a few even tougher mechs, but, as you can see from the photo, he still stand pretty tall!

It's another lovely sculpt from the box, possibly my favourite.

Monday 10 December 2018

Spellcaster: The Frostgrave Magazine, Issue 4 (Now Available!)

Need a little more Frostgrave fun in the run up to Christmas? Well, here you go. Issue 4 of Spellcaster Magazine is now available!

This issue includes:
* 7 new 'Legendary Soldiers' that wizards can hire for their warbands
* A new solo scenario for Rangifer Warbands
* Rules for Critical Failures and Critical Success on Casting Rolls in Frostgrave
* A solo or co-operative scenario for Ghost Archipelago.
* 8 New Ulterior Motive cards for Ghost Archipelago.
* A 'Big-Game' Frostgrave scenario featuring frost giants.

Issue 4 can be purchased now on DriveThruRPGIt can be pre-ordered on Kindle, where it will be released on Friday.

We are working on the print-on-demand version, but this likely won’t be ready until the new year.

All back issue are still currently available.

On DriveThruRPG

And Kindle

Thursday 6 December 2018

The Dulwich Horror & Other Stories by David Hambling

I must admit, when I first came across The Dulwich Horror, I was wary. The title, being such an obvious play on H.P. Lovecraft’s famous ‘The Dunwich Horror’, put me in mind of the worst Lovecraft pastiches, and I’ve read enough of those in my life.

That said, the reviews were good, it had a forward by S.T. Joshi, who is no slouch when it comes to identifying good weird fiction, and the publisher PS Publishing tends to put out good stuff, so I decided to give it a go. I’m really glad I did.

As it turns out, ‘The Dulwich Horror’, which leads off the anthology is one of the best pieces of weird fiction I’ve read in a long time. It is Lovecraftian, but Hambling puts enough of his own spin on it to keep it from being pastiche. Partly this is achieved by the setting, 1927 London, and the characters, a bunch of newly-graduated Oxford intellectuals, and partly through his particular way of describing Cthulhu and other Great/Old/Ancient/Alien entities. He really managed to convince me that these creatures could be living just outside our reality, almost hiding in the cracks of our mathematics and science. Hambling is a skilful writer.

While it is true that none of the rest of the stories can quite live up to that first one, there is not a bad story in the lot. All of the stories are vaguely connected, but the book is at its best in the three stories that are connected by the central character of The Dulwich Horror. It is unusual to see reoccurring characters in true Mythos fiction (or obvious reasons), but again, Hambling pulls it off, and even provides a believable and unusual ending. In fact, I think the book could have just included those three tales, and I would have been just as happy.

It’s a good anthology and would stand proudly on any weird fiction collector’s shelf.