Monday 25 November 2013

My Skaven Screaming Bell

Following my recent fall into wargames depravity with the collection of a Skaven Warhammer army, I found myself in an odd position, having birthday money to spend and just happening to be in the same road as the Maidstone Games Workshop. It is all rather a sad blur (as are several large chunks of my life) but when I got home I found my self to be the owner of a Skaven 'Screaming Bell'. This is a large war engine that mounts a demonic bell - when the bell rings, tolled as it is by a Rat Ogre, it discharges magical nastiness upon the enemy; well most of the time. It has a bad habit it seems of exploding or turning on its owner!

The model was quite straight forward to put together although despite being plastic some of the many pointy bits are bloody sharp. Nor was it too bad to paint as the serious level of detail, such as deep wood grain, makes things much easier to highlight. The model was to be painted in block colours and washed in Army Painter dip, my usual technique, but the detail screamed highlights. There are actually two highlight colours over the base wood colour, two over the base stone colour and two for the bell. Other areas, such as the plague filled smoke emminating from the bell and the two censers, are just one highlight.

Strangely, the real problem was adding the dip and then the varnish. The dip took almost two hours to apply as there are just so many areas to cover. Being made of timber baulks each piece has four sides and all is woven together with some very tricky to reach bits indeed. My main concern was the dip drying out in places and forming tide marks on areas as I worked around the detail. I had to mentally break the model down into defined areas starting with the bell as this was fairly central and divided the model. I then worked down one side of the carriage, taking care to get between all of the various struts, and the wheels. I then had to get to the inner areas of that side which was a pain. After completeing the second side of the carriage I could work on the Rat Ogre at the back and then work my way along the decking areas. So many times I came across pooled areas of dip between various struts that were on the point of turning into toffee, that almost dried out stage that can realy mess you up if missed. This is what happens when you have to do inner and outer areas of course, and you have to put on a lot of dip to let it do its thing and then take off the excess. This also meant that the model took a long time to fully dry out.

The varnishing was just as bad as the dip application, you really ned to make sure that every surface had been given a good coat of the varnish otherwise you are left with some really obvious patches! This was another two hour stint but rather than toffee like blobs I had to deal with those irritating varnish air bubbles! Back and forth picking up excess varnish before it dried out to much...sigh. I gave this a full day to dry out and I have to say I am pleased with the result, no major patches, no missed bits, no blobbing....and I think the bell itself has come out really well, has that metal look I have had difficulty with before. Highlights before adding dip really does help give the model extra depth and takes so little time.

This model gets its first game on Tuesday against Phil's Beastmen army. We each have 2000 points and if the bell doesn't blow itself up, and me along with it, it might not be such a one sided affair as I fear....hell, we might even win! I have given myself a little extra edge, just in case. I made it myself because you never know, the Great Horned One may be watching! It might also serve to distract Phil too....I will accept any edge that I can get :)

Wednesday 13 November 2013

All For One - and Saucy Boots for me!

Who doesn't love Pirates? I for one am a huge fan of one of the least regarded but probably best Pirate programs on TV, DVD or Blu-Ray, one that almost everyone has missed to their loss. I am talking, of course, of the mighty piece of audio-visual piratical excellence that is 'Yoho-Ahoy'.

Yoho-Ahoy. Obviously, all pirates had to be taught shanties and work songs at some point in their career. Here some recruits are being trained by a music teacher, obvious when you think about it. Notice how few pink pianos you see in other supposed pirate films, makes you cry it really does.

These programs consider the rarely considered aspects of pirate life aboard ship and offer some fascinating insights. My personal favourite was the one where all the washing went missing from the line and it turned out a seagul had used it to make a nest in the high rigging. I had not considered this sort of thing before but it has certainly altered my understanding and cannot but help with game play scenarios; who knew???

Anyway. Last nights club meeting was supposed to have a game where Mark and I tried out the Cutlass rules from Black Scorpion. I spent a few paniced weeks trying to finish of my Royal Navy crew ready to fight Marks Pirates but the time was well spent and I think they came out rather well. Mind you, the figures are very nice and made things easier!

Captain Silas Pugwash (centre) and his two officers. Note the official 'faux leopard print topped PVC thigh length ships boots', standard issue to relieve calf strain apparantly.

Three Marines, the Captains best men.

The seamen, some more able than others!

A close up of Able Seawoman Chelsey...and some other guys.....all of whom are called Bob.

The paint jobs here are my now standard block colours with occasional highlights for larger darker areas, and then a judicious coat of Army Painter Dip; in this case I used the Dark Tone rather than the strong tone. I didn't bother varnishing the saucy boots, just left the dip as it was. The figures come ready for the slit type plastic bases, which I hate. So once the varnish had dried I simply cut off the slot bar from the figures, drilled holes up into the figures feet, added a length if thick wire. I made the decking bases from marine ply topped with lengths of coffee stirer coated with the acrylic version of the Army Painter Strong Tone wash. These were then drilled to accept the pins added to the figures and Bob is your Aunties Live in Lover, sorted.

But then it all went runny. Mark's coach from London didn't get back till late and so by the time he got to the hall nobody fancied trying to pick through a new set of rules. So we used two figures each and played '...And One For All', the Three Musketeers game again, but with pirates! We struggled to remember bits but we got by and had a jolly old time and no mistake...apologies to the rest of the club...

"Two Saucy looking birds walk into a pub....", as the saying goes, and found a couple of geeky looking blokes to push around...who then fought back.

Chelsey and Courtney go for a quiet drink....

...and meet Frodo No-shirt (front) and Fat Alan (back)

You can see where this is going I am sure. An exact game report is impossible given how the games work but, there was the usual stupidity, throwing barrels, twatting each other with benches and a bizaar episode involving a table and trapped toes beneath it. Poor Frodo tried to tip Courtney off the table but each time rolled a disaster (more than two 1s) allowing me to decide upon his fate. Each time I decided that he had dropped the table onto his bare toes and was trapped! This at least meant that I could get Courtney to stroll nonchalantly up the table and kick the stuck Frodo into submission...never quite worked out that way though! There was an alarming number of disaster rolls made...mainly by me, five in as many turns! Each time Cheslsey or Courtney got a boot heel stuck in a floor board or spun like a top into a wall. The fight went on and on with not a single injury, just lots of slapstick and nasty looks. As usual the game caused a lot of laughter but we did decide that it was about time we actually read the rules for ourselves and played it properly.

Chelsey survives being tipped off the table by Fat Alan and prepares a scathing looking before using her nice boots to remind Fat Alan how to treat a Lady....

The meeting also had two other games, a very nice AeroNef game run by Andy and played by Bob C. and a possible new member, Andrew....we seem to be accumulationg a few Andrews in our ranks...Two battles were fought out and considering niether player had used the rules before this was a very good result, testimony to the rules and Andy's umpiring! The last game was a Warhammer bash between Steve and Drew...which Steve won! He was very pleased and not smug in the slightest. Chaos troops seem a tad more effective than the Tomb Kings it seems....although it might just mean Drew was bloody unlucky!

Sunday 10 November 2013



       A roll of thunder..........

              A rain soaked night alive with lightning......

                       A howling wind tormenting the turrets of the obviously evil castle....

                                More crashing thunder and a lightning bolt that splits the very fabric of reality......

A surge of power bordering daemonic in intensity writhes through the incomprehensible workings of the damnable machine, dials spin, screens flash, restraining bolts scream; and then an eerie silence descends. The weary and soulless eyes of the operator, crazed by months of failure despite endless research and new experimentation, look up through the smoke at the now hated but curiously loved focus of his insane devotion. There is a delay, just a second or two, but for the near destroyed mind of the operator age passes age....and it appears! It is there, at last, alive and pulsing with a life born of anguish but so full of hope and potentiality that it towers beyond time and space. Yet all was so nearly lost, but for the change of that solitary line of code.........

It lives! 


The operator checks again, to be sure. There it is. Oh it may look weak and empty now but in time it will grow! It will need care...and understanding of course...but what is that compared to the future it beckons? Life may be a mere Bagatelle, but this? Oh, sweet child of manic and selfless devotion....Oh, sweet child of your peoples hopes and dreams.....of need and desperation....hear our prayers.....

"...please do not get hacked again..."

Bloody websites! Is it me or are they a total pain in the arse? Yet what would we do without them? The MHWC website was killed off, as you may remember, a few months before Broadside 2013. It caused us no end of grief and the help we received from those being paid to offer such help was negligible. In the end the only option left for us was to start again, not something that any of the membership was remotely experienced with. So, as any good chairman should, I took responsibility. I am good at that, when anything goes wrong at home it seems that the responsibility is mine...or at least that I was responsible which adds up to the same thing....apparently.

The new club website  


if you prefer a less snappy address to type, is now back. Ok, its not as full as it once was but I am working on that. I have two very basic pages in place and now an events calendar waiting to be filled in. The front page is a basic Welcome-Mat affair with the relevant info about who we are and what we do. The second page is for Broadside and this has several sub-pages being prepared to cover traders and clubs etc. Soon, I hope to have a links page for traders, the ever popular Polls will return (if I can remember how I got them the last time).

What would you like to see on the new website? I would love to hear from you all about what you think a wargame club website should run....what about what it shouldn't run? Come on Guys, get in touch and give us your ideas and thoughts.

Also, please pass it on that the website is back and that if anyone is interested in Broadside 2014 they now have a place to go!