Friday 31 March 2023

Medical Rhino 'Mercy Me'

Having busted out my old Demon Hunters army to use as protagonists in my games of Space Hulk, I thought it was about time the army got some reinforcements. In truth, with 3 squads of Stormtroopers and 2 squads of Imperial Guard, it doesn't really need anymore infantry, and as I have always seen them as a 'light' force, I don't want to give them any big tanks or artillery. So, after a little bit of thought, I decided I would make a medical rhino. This would go well with the other 3 rhinos that serve as the main transports for the force, but also be unique.

As it turns out, the humble rhino APC is getting a bit hard to come by. Games Workshop isn't sending it out to shops anymore, though you can still order it straight from them. It is truly the end of an era! This version of the rhino has long been my favourite sci-fi APC. Still, the four I've got are probably enough.

After doing the basic assembly, I raided the bits box for stowage. I figured, as a support vehicle, it is more likely to be carrying extra stuff, so I stuck boxes, a tow-cable, a shovel, and a large tarp on it, as well as a few other random bits just to give it a bit of a unique look.

The biggest challenge was the caduceus, the medical symbol. 40K has their own version of the symbol, without the snakes, but kind of like a winged, sharp-edged double helix. For the first time ever, I tried to print out my own decals using the symbol... and it failed completely. Not sure what I was doing wrong, but after I put them in water, they turned to sludge. So, I gave up and decided to hand paint it. Well, mostly. I decided to do my own version. I started with a skull decal I had, and then painted the symbol around it. It's far from perfect, but I think it came out okay, and it certainly stands out on the table top! 

I was originally going to name it the 'Mercy Wagon' and write that in Latin... then I saw the length of the translation and decided to keep it in English. Then I painted 'Mercy' and realized I'd never fit 'Wagon', so it was re-christened the 'Mercy Me', which I kind of like, even if my hand-painting of the name isn't too good.

The plan is to crew the Mercy Me with 4 doctor figures and 4 guard troopers. I've got one doctor in the Army already (pictured). I also have the Vostroyan doctor figure that I need to paint up.  I'd really like to get one of the old, metal, Sister of Mercy figures, but they are a bit pricey on ebay... so I'm holding off. (If you got one spare, please send me a message!).  Since I want to keep the figures in the army 'all metal', I'm not sure what I'm going to do for the last one. There is the Tanith doctor figure, but I'm not a huge fan of it. There are some much older figures, but I'm not sure how well they would fit with the ones from this era. I'll just have to see. Anyway, it's nice to have a new addition to the army!

Tuesday 28 March 2023


I am continuing to work on my first edition Space Hulk set and have painted five of the genestealers. I'm pretty sure these guys set the record for the longest time between buying and painting (I estimate 31 years). Truthfully, I'm astounded by how well these models hold up. They were loads of fun to paint and have some great detail. Okay, they only have one pose, but it's such an 'arms everywhere' kind of pose that it doesn't bother me as much as it would for some figures. Just turning the figure slightly gives it a very different look. The one pose aside, I honestly think these are better figures than the current ones that Games Workshop is selling - and the original designer deserves some big kudos! 

I didn't want to spend too long painting these, so I went for a relatively simple paint job. The main colour is Vallejo Middlestone. I then hit it with a black wash and reapplied the Middlestone. I added a bit of white to the Middlestone for the claws. The colourful bits are painted Vallejo Magenta. This gives some really nice contrast to the models, and I think makes them nice and 'buggy'. This is especially important as I plan on using them in other games such as Stargrave and Operation: Last Train as well.

So, truthfully, I only used 4 colours for these figures (not counting the two for the base).

Five down, 17 to go!

Monday 27 March 2023

Smashy Smurf


My latest blue abomination! Actually, the blue isn't that dark in reality; I'm not sure why it came out so dark in the photo... Anyway, it's a pretty cool figure. It's supposed to be the titan Atlas, and comes from the Mythic Battles Pantheon game. I acquired it, semi-intentionally, as part of a trade. 

I'm not sure why I painted him blue. I think the idea of painting all that 'flesh' just bored me, so I decided to spice it up a bit. For a board game figure, he's got great detail and proved easy to paint. He's the only true 'giant' figure I've got, so he might see play a variety of games. I included the Reaper figure just to show off his size.

Friday 24 March 2023

Inside the Space Hulk

The battlecarrier Black Moab has discovered a lost scientific vessel, floating in interstellar space. Although the ship is swarming with lifesigns they aren't the good kind. Unfortunately, the ship probably contains extremely valuable scientific data that must be recovered. Inquisitor Lord Voulgaris has ordered officers to secure the ship.

The main docking points on the ship have been locked internally. Thus, a single squad was sent over in a shuttle to work their way to the docking control station. If these locks can be overridden (or even destroyed) then a larger assault can be attempted.

Having busted out the Space Hulk the other night, I decided to give the solo rules (found in the Deathwing expansion) a try. Re-theming the game as a mission for my Inquisitorial Stormtroopers (but using the standard rules), I set up the first mission.  

The game started out extremely fortunate for me. The first turn saw only a pair of genestealers enter play. Meanwhile, on the first two turns, I had a total of 11 command points (out of a possible 12). This allowed me to quickly advance the sergeant and the flamer. Although the genestealers got more reinforcements on the second turn, I was able to flame the board section adjacent to their entry point and keep that group pinned there for a couple turns.  

Things still managed to get pretty hairy at the end, as a swarm of genestealers appeared near the top. The sergeant was able to blast his way up past the last crucial turn, allowing the flamer to slip in behind him. However, the only way to secure the victory was to flame the board section containing the sergeant. This prevented any further stealers from stopping the flamer from achieving victory, but also cost the sergeant his life. The only flaw in an otherwise perfectly executed mission.  

The solo rules actually make the game a bit easier, as the stealer blip placement doesn't always make the smartest move. I had to overrule it a couple of times. That's okay though. I've always though the game was a little too hard for the marine player anyway, so this is a nice leveller. 

Mission Report

Sergeant Kastin led the team from the front, with flametroooper Rutiz just behind him. I had the middle position, with Pvt. Traklin behind me, and Pvt. Passenfar bring up the rear. The Sgt. and Rutiz advanced quickly through the corridors while the rest of us covered various side-passages. There was little movement at first, but when the enemy appeared, they did so in force. Passenfar got the most action as he held the rear, gunning down bugs by the handful. Traklin and myself only managed occasional shots as bugs flashed past deeper in the ship. We lost line of sight to the Sgt and Rutiz, so could only follow their exploits on radio. The Sgt. apparently led the charge, while Rutiz laid down flamer fire to stymie the bugs approach. 
    I hate to comment on exactly what happened at the end. As near as I can make out, the Sgt cleared the way for Rutiz to have a clear shot at the objective, but at the last moment, a bug came out of nowhere. Responding instinctively, Rutiz flamed the area... and unfortunately caught the sergeant in the spray. Considering the darkness, the close confines, and the speed of the enemy, the mistake, though tragic, is understandable.

Cpl. Taglon 

After Action

K.I.A. Sgt. Wen Kastin

Confirmed Kills
Sgt. Kastin: 4
Pvt. Rutiz: 2
Pvt. Traklin: 1
Pvt. Passenfar: 8

Thursday 23 March 2023

A Strange Little Time Capsule

I've carried my first edition Space Hulk game with me for around thirty years, including across an ocean, but I've only rarely played it. Hoping to change that, I got it all out last night. Pictured above are all the things that were in the box that aren't part of the game.

First, you've got things that kind of make sense.  You've got two blast templates that were used in early editions of Warhammer 40K, and were probably used as extra or replacement flamer templates in the game. There is also a set of sustained fire dice and a scatter die, again all needed for early 40k. There are also a few model bits that belong to the same game: an original plastic Imperial Guard lasgun, a broke knife (I think from the first box of space marines), and a weapon casing for a vehicle-mounted weapon. 

Things start to make less sense after that. There are two small cards which I think belong to Advanced Space Crusade, a game I am not sure if I ever owned, some broken bits of landing gear from a model that appears much too small to be at 28mm scale, and a small piece of paper, covered in tape, that I think says 'Gondor 1'. There is a counter for Silent Death, my favourite space fighter game

Slightly more interesting is a small card listing some comic books I was looking for back in the day. Remember when you actually had to physically write such things down and carry it with you just in case you stumbled across them in a store? Apparently I was after:

Avengers Spotlight 28 (love me some Hawkeye!)

Kitty Pryde and Wolverine 3 - 5 (I think I've still got those)

Wolverine: Limited Series 1 - 4 

Wolverine hologram card (during my Marvel card collecting phase, I guess).

Finally, there 8 'tickets' of the kind given out in arcades in the 80/90s. If I had to guess, I would say these come from a skeeball machine at Putt-putt. This is where me and my friend, Peter, my main opponent for Space Hulk, spent many a Saturday morning, and skeeball was my favourite game.

Okay, so it's not exactly 'treasure', but it all amuses me and reminds me of some happy times.

Friday 10 March 2023

Knights of the Dinner Tables take the Crown!

I would like to add my voice to those wishing congratulations to Jolly Blackburn. With the release of issue 301, his comic Knights of the Dinner Table has become the longest running comic by a single writer/artist, taking the crown from Dave Sim's Cerberus. Pretty astounding for a comic about a group of role-players where the vast majority of panels are just people sitting around a table. Pretty astounding for a comic book that most comic book fans will have never read and probably aren't even aware of. 

I was actually there at the beginning, reading Shadis magazine when the Knights made their first appearance as a bit of filler. I followed them over to the comics when Jolly made the jump. The first 100 issues or so still reside in my parent's house. Honestly, I can't say that I have read all 301 issues. In fact, I lost track of the Knights for quite awhile after I immigrated to England. I never completely forgot them though, and back during Covid, I found myself searching for them again. I took out a two-year print subscription, despite the painfully high price of getting them shipped across the ocean, and I certainly haven't regretted it.

If anything, the Knights have grown even more enjoyable over the years. The cast of the comic has ballooned, and while the original Knights are still the stars, they are supported by a wonderful cast of extras. Issue 301 continues a storyline I'm greatly enjoying, about a legendary game-master that comes to town and runs a game that gives players a chance to bring a favourite dead character back to life. Needless to say, the players have gotten more than they expected!

If you are an role-player, and have never heard of Knights of the Dinner Table, I strongly suggest picking up the first anthology, Bundle of Trouble #1. You might just make some life-long friends. 

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Rangers of Shadow Deep: Tenebrous Citadel available PDF

I am extremely pleased to announce that Rangers of Shadow Deep: Tenebrous Citadel is now available in PDF (with print on demand to follow in a week or so).

This ten-scenario mission completes the Rescue trilogy. It's the players' biggest opportunity to strike a major blow against the Shadow Deep... but it also contains the scariest monster I have ever included in an a scenario, and its not even that snake on the cover!

You can get the first two parts of the trilogy here:

Across the Wastes

Dungeons Dark

Thursday 2 March 2023



I admit it. Quicksilver is not my favourite Marvel character. In fact, I can't say I have much opinion on him one way or another. Really, I wanted the Scarlet Witch and he came in the box. For some reason though, I decided to paint him first, and I did enjoy it. I painted his suit a slightly darker blue than is usually seen in the comics because I thought it would better contrast with the white. I then mixed a tiny bit of silver in with the white, for no better reason than his name is Quicksilver. The black-lining looks a bit harsher in the photo than it does on he actual figure. 

I'm not sure why they modelled the figure on an exploding rock, but I'm not a sculptor, so I'll accept that it probably looks better that way. So, he's not my favourite superhero, but he's still a nice little addition to the collection.