For Sale (Pt 1)

Hi guys,

So, I've finally reached the point where some of my wargaming stuff has to go. We live in a very small flat, and filling it with lots of wargames terrain (especially when i only play 40K a couple of times a year) is more than my (long suffering) other half can stand any more!

So, Ive got quite a few bits and pieces for sale - Anything that doesnt sell through the blog will end up on eBay eventually, but probably at a slightly higher price. Anyway, prices are listed along with photos for each item. P+P will be at the cost - or if you are in London, UK and want to pick up any of the items, just let me know and I can arrange something. Once you have let me know that you want something I will check with Royal mail how much the exact postage is. I'm happy to ship to Europe or the USA, but postage will obviously be more expensive.

Payment via bank transfer or Paypal, which ever you prefer.

If you want to ask any questions, please leave me a comment or email me at paul [at ] expdigital [dot] co [dot] uk

More items to be listed in the next few days, once I've sorted through and determined what i actually have!

Foam board building 1, painted - £7.50 [UNDER OFFER]

Foam card building 2, painted - £7.50 [UNDER OFFER]

Cities of Death building 1, unpainted - £7.50 [SOLD]

Cities of Death building 2, unpainted - £7.50 [SOLD]

High density foam defense perimeter. Consists of 4 straights (1 smashed), 1 center point, 4 angled sections, painted, flocked - £30 (for the set)

Resin barricades / tank traps + 2x razor wire lengths, painted, flocked - £20 for set or £12.50 for half sets [UNDER OFFER]

High density foam rock outcrops + 3 craters, painted, flocked - £10 for the set [UNDER OFFER]

Citadel plastic hill, painted, flocked - £10 [UNDER OFFER]

Or you can have the whole lot (everything listed above) for the grand sum of £60 (a total saving of £40!)


Space Hulk... cometh...

So, I caved and bought Space Hulk. Even after my complaints about it (in this post). What can I say - I'm weak, and after reading through the stuff GW was putting online each day I decided to take the plunge and place a pre order.

On arriving at work yesterday I found a large box sitting on my desk. Somehow i restrained myself through the day, and then spent a pleasurable evening popping card sections of board out of the packaging!

Some pictures of the "un-boxing" (have i spent too much time on Engadget??!)

So, now that I have Space Hulk, have i changed my opinion about the price and the idea of GW doing a limited edition. Well, yes - GW have done an excellent job with this reissue. The entire package oozes quality from the moment you pop the box lid.

For a start we have the quality of the actual box - its substantial thick card and very heavy. Unlike the older boxes (blood bowl, I'm thinking of you), I have some confidence that this box will withstand being taken to friends houses, on trains and chucked in to cupboards!

Next up we have the models. Im sure by now you have all seen the pictures on the web. Well the models are even nicer in real life. The sculptors really did an excellent job with these models.

Then there is the part that i was the most impressed with - the card components. My experience on GW card components in the past has never been good. I was expecting the card components to be like the old Warhammer card templates, thin card, no thicker than cereal card. But GW have actually done really well on this one using card that is very thick and lustrously glossy for the board pieces. I've included a picture below to show the thickness - That's a 1p piece its sat next to, and I'm sure you can see the thickness of the card!

All the extras are nicely presented and its nice that you get zip lock bags in the box for storing the counters!

The rules are (as far as I can see) the original rules with all of the expansions rolled in. This is good news as it means all the user generated missions available online (of which a lot are available) can still be used! They are presented in two lovely soft booklets (A4 size), one for the main rules and one for the mission book.

I'm not normally one to congratulate GW (indeed sometimes it seems like all I do is complain about GW!), but credit where credit is due, GW have produced an excellent product here, one which I feel is worth every penny of the £60 I spent on it. Every part of the packaging and game appears to have had much love lavished on it, and this comes across. I would even go so far as to say that this is the best "standalone" boxed game that GW has ever done (possible even best presented game all round). So well done to GW. Other manufacturers should take note!


The Raven Priest....

Hi guys,

New model to show you - The raven priest. This is the first of the new Studio Mcvey range of miniatures, and what a model it is! I haven't enjoyed painting a model this much in quite a while.

My model was number 40 of the limited run of 750, cast in a smooth grey resin. The casting was excellent with no defects and only minimal flash (Forge World could learn a few things here...). The only problem that i found was that the sword was so thin that every-time i used my hairdryer to speed up drying time it would bow slightly and would need reheating and pushing back to being straight! In short, this is the best resin casting I have come across, beating my previous favourite resin caster (SmartMax) by a good margin.

I decided to paint the model in very natural colours, and placed the model in a "woodland" scene. The tree was scratch built to go along with it, with the aim of making the tree look wizened (if its possible for a tree to have human qualities!) . I was aiming to give the character the impression of being some sort of native american shaman (well, a fantasy version of...). And yes, painting all the feather tips was an absolute nightmare!

In summary I would highly advise anyone who loves high quality models to pay a visit to Mike and Ali over at Studio McVey - hopefully there will be many more models of this quality. From what i can see on the site, they still have the Raven priest available, so grab it now before they are all gone.

PS - I have to apologise for the quality of the photo's for this model - I finally got a new camera (Nikon D60) and I'm having real problems getting images with natural colours on them - everything ends up bleached or over "coloured". I'm still learning about the photography side of the hobby, so please bear with me! Hopefully you can still see the model through the awful photos ;)


Space Hulk

So the mystery box was announced, and as everyone had been predicting, its Space hulk!
I'm in two minds about this release. The new models look nice, but the price is quite high (£60!). Can anyone confirm if the rules have changed or are they exactly the same old rules? Not sure i can be bothered to buy if its just the same old rules (£60 for some terminators and a couple of genestealers???!).
If they are new rules then its a totally different case and i need to get my order in!

Is anyone else getting excited about this? I've not seen a massive buzz about it amongst the bloggers, which is odd, especially given the "limited" nature of it. Also, is there only me that thinks its a little odd to do a release of a big box like this in limited numbers?


GW, a question of value...

So, I wanted to talk today about Games Workshop. Not focussing on a single product, but on the whole GW ecosystem.

First let me give you a bit of background. I am a long time fan of GW; I've been playing their games since i was 6 years old (some 23 years ago now!). I've played all of their major games systems and owned most of them, as well as building large armies for both 40K and fantasy. I also kept up with all of the smaller systems that they produced (with the notable exception of Dark Future - if anyone has a copy they want to sell me for a reasonable price, please email me). I'm also an ex-staffer of GW, I worked for several years at the Manchester store, then the Warrington store and finally the London Ealing store. I had a lot of fun working at GW, and I've always felt (whether as a customer or an employee) that GW was basically a company that i respected.

Recently though, I've been feeling more and more that I'm no longer the target base for Games workshop, and that the money gouging has got to be too much. I can fully understand why GW has moved over to having plastic armies, in many ways its utterly sensible - no more replication of models, easier to assemble and with the improvements in the plastic moulding process the models have become a lot better than the ones I remember from my youth (anyone else remember the plastic gretchin from the 3rd edition of 40K?). However, in my mind I've always felt that the plastic kits should be a lot cheaper than they actually are. For example the new Cadian squad box has had its price reduced to £11.75, but the number of models in the box has also been reduced, by half - but the price has not been reduced by half (It used to be a box of 20 models). And worse still, to make a full squad with proper weaponry (i.e. without the rubbish grenade launchers!) you still have to go out and buy a special weapons pack at £7.85. So a total cost £19.60 for a single squad. And you need 3 to for a single troop choice.

I also have a bit of a problem with their armour models. For example the new Leman Russ is quite a nice model. But its £30! Now given the cost, I would actually expect that the moulding and construction would be a lot better than what i saw in the store the other day. For example the image to the left - notice that the glacis doesn't fit properly and the two halves of the gun barrel don't join properly. When you compare this to (for example) some of the recent Tamiya models that are roughly the same price, you start to wonder what exactly your £30 is going on. For example, the Tamiya kits generally include etched brass, some include turned brass barrels and many also feature bonus figures or accessories. I understand that there is an issue of scale here (as in I assume Tamiya sell a lot more kits that GW), but even so, I do feel that the value in the Tamiya kits is much higher per £1 spent.

Now don't get me wrong, GW still produce some products that i think are very well priced and worth their cost. Black Library produce some excellent fiction works and Forge World (whilst pricey) sells products that, for me, correspond in quality to the price charged (well, some of the models do. The Titans and a few other things are ridiculous prices!). Some of the paints (washes / foundation) are excellent as well and well worth the money, I just feel that the vast majority of GW's products have lost their value, or rather the price has increased to the point where the cost out weighs the quality.

As a more detailed example, I wanted to talk about the new brushes that GW have started producing. Its been a long time since I purchased GW brushes. I always found that they split, mainly due to the fact that they were synthetics. Over time i found other manufacturers that used Kolinsky sable (such as the Prince August brushes, Windsor and Newton and my favourites em4). However, when I was in the store the other day, the staff told me about their new "hand tied, Kolinksy brushes", which he promised me wouldn't split. I took a look and they looked like reasonable brushes, so I purchased a few to test with. Its a lot easier for me to nip in to GW when i need a new brush rather than the usual internet order, so I really wanted them to be good quality. Again, they are more expensive that the competitors. I got home and started to work on the new McVey miniature. Twenty minutes in, and what do you know, I've got a split brush! Now I'm a painter who takes very good care of my brushes. This brush had had very light usage and already its starting to fray. Given the cost, I would expect better.

Now I'm sure that a lot of people are going to be saying "Well if you don't like the cost, don't buy the products". And I would agree, that's a sensible position to take, and where possible, I try to buy from other companies. But I do fear for the future of GW when it scares away players with 20+ years of gaming experience. Surely we are the lifeblood of the gaming scene? Sure, the hobby needs the younger players coming in, but not at the expense of the old players. I also worry that GW has finally given up any pretence of actually caring about its games, and its all about "the bottom line" these days. It probably sounds very cynical, but I definitely noticed a change at GW when it was floated on the stock market; and that change seems to have continued the drive to the bottom of quality over the years.

Maybe I've just grown out of the GW spoon fed ecosystem and have realised that i can get better quality at a cheaper price elsewhere? Maybe GW has actually changed? I'm really not sure, but i do know that GW will now be getting less of my disposable income, which is a shame as they are a company that i have had a long association with.

As always comments are welcome! I'm really interested to see what other people think on this subject. Am I just becoming a grumpy old man?

PS - Just wanted to add this small point. I think a great example of the GW "rush to the bottom" is White Dwarf magazine. When I started buying White Dwarf (around issue 100) it had a lot of articles about gaming in general, there were small games published (Confrontation anyone?) and was generally an interesting read. Now WD seems to be nothing more than a catalogue that i pay £4 for. I can read it in a single tube journey back from work, and with the exception of Jervis' Standard Bearer article has little of interest. The main focus seems to be selling you more plastics now, and I for one, find this a real shame


Im back!

Well, its been a tough few weeks. On top of everything else, my wife managed to prang the car (in to a stationary metal gate of all things!) and then i broke my airbrush. In the same day the valve went on my double action brush, i broke the feed on my suction feed single action brush and my compressor packed up! All in all it was a bit of a disaster!

So, I've decided that its time to get a new airbrush. My original airbrush (the one that packed up) was a cheap Chinese clone - it came as a set with a double action, a single action and a compressor in a box for about £50 on eBay. Whilst it was good for learning how to airbrush, I did become annoyed with the amount of time I have spent fixing it since i purchased it a couple of years ago. By the end i would avoid airbrushing things because I would have to spend an hour or so taking the entire thing apart to refit parts that would become stuck or would not clear properly.

Although i've been airbrushing for a few years now, I'm not really "up" on what i should be looking for in an airbrush. I know that I want a double action gravity feed brush, but beyond that I'm at a bit of a loss - so I'm asking about for advice from any experienced airbrushers out there.

I've been looking at the Iwata Hi-Line HP-CH airbrush after seeing it on a modelling video - the MAC valve looks very useful, especially given the amount of Armour that i airbrush. Does anyone have any experience of this brush? The other option that i have looked at is the AB-180 Professional Precision Double Action Airbrush Kit (about half way down the linked page). This looks like a cheaper version of the Iwata brush - its about 1/3 of the cost. But I'm a little worried about buying another cheap "knock" off again! Again, does anyone have experience of this brush?

On to a compressor - here is where i am totally lost! My only real requirements here are that the unit is small and *very* quiet. Given the small space available in the flat and my working hours, I often want to airbrush at night, so a quiet compressor is definitely needed! The two models that i have looked at are the AB-AS176 Finespray Pixie Mini Piston type Compressor and the SilentAire Scorpion IW-C. Both provide about the same pressure levels, although I'm not 100% sure what the CFM scales are about (can anyone advise on this one?). The AB Finespray unit is slightly quieter at 47dB (although they dont specify if this is A weighted), but either should be fine given they are both below 60dB. Can anyone suggest a small, cheap compressor that is quiet that would suit me for occasional armour airbrushing?

It's good to be back. Hopefully i can get some more work done on the Tau base for you guys to see!


An update

Hi guys,

Just wanted to let everyone know that the blog is still active, but unfortunately recent family events have meant I haven't had any time to write. My wifes mother has Alzheimer's and unfortunately she has take a turn for the worse in the last few weeks.
Please bear with me whilst we deal with these events. Normal service will be resumed soon :)


Tau Hammerhead Step by Step part 6

So, work begins in this step on the base. In my mind, I imagined the hammerhead emerging from the wreckage of a building that had been destroyed. One thing that i always find with 40K scenes is that there is never enough wreckage! In general WW2 models get it right - lots of rubble and wreckage - for example, just consider how much plascrete and other materials would be in even a simple small building.

Step one was to cut a piece of thick blue foam to the right shape. I wanted the front left to be a shell hole, with the wall / sidewalk and road and a slightly open area towards the back. The highest point was going to be the hammerhead hovering just above the ground. This gives a nice 3 level effect, which, again, is a technique I've learned from the WW2 modellers. The aim is to get three progressive levels of height moving backwards as the eye moves.

Once the blue foam was cut to shape, I then moved on to marking out the back of the building that had been destroyed. This was added with pre printed plasticard. The sidewalk was then added using a piece of scribed plasticard. Dont worry about the fact that there is a gap in the sidewalk, this area is going to be covered in debris!

Next the main wall sides were added. These were made from some off-cuts of plaster that i had left over from when i last tried casting. See here for more on that failure! Once they were stuck in place i stuck on some off-cuts of blue foam to bulk up the areas of rubble.

Finally I started to add the rubble. This is made from again the same plaster as the wall. In this case, I spent an evening in front of the TV breaking up blocks of plaster! Once i had a big box full of broken plaster I started to apply it to the base. Woodland scenics spray PVA was used to fix the plaster in place. I added the plaster in multiple layers spraying the area first, then applying plaster parts, and then spraying again. So far its had about 3 coats, I think it will need five or maybe six.


Check point

Hi guys,

Just a quick post to let you all know that I've just posted the first photos of armour on Heretics Playground. This one is off a Imperial Guard sentinel patrolling a checkpoint. I wanted to give the impression that this particular sentinel has been in service a long time. First model that i've really been happy with the scratch built components (in this case, the sand bags made with Pro Create and the barbed wire, made using the tutorial on Cool mini or not. The barricade is from a set I picked up at Salute a few years ago. I'm afraid i don't remember who made them tho.The sign is custom built from evergreen rods and a sign printed on my computer. The whole lot was then weathered with oil paints, pastels and acrylics until i was happy.
The sentinel itself was painted using an airbrush and Tamiya colours, then weathered with oils, pastels, powders and acrylics.
Enjoy the pictures - there are more over at Heretics Playground!


Tau Hammerhead Step by Step part 5

So, lots has been done for this posting, mainly because I got ill this last weekend and couldn't manage anything more than gently painting!

So, finally the oil washes were dry, so I moved on to doing the black lining - each recess line was fine lined using black oil paint. I find that acrylics are terrible for lining; They dry far too quickly and it means that if you make a mistake, you either have to over paint it, or you are stuck with it. With oil paints this isn't a problem, as the working time is so long. My normal working procedure is to very roughly put the black on the lines - being neat, but not worrying if i slip in the odd place. Then using a cotton bud and some clean turpentine i then run along the lines. If you are careful and have only a small amount of turpentine on the the cotton bud, you can generally get the line perfectly crisp - See the photo to the right for an example.

The main problem with Oil paints (and I urge everyone to go out and get some oil paints and have a play, they are truly wonderful materials to work with) is the drying time. Oils need to be left to dry for 48 hours once painted on (unless you use a drying accelerator, although i can't recommend this method, having never tried it).

So, returning to the hammerhead a day and a bit later (yeah okay, I'm impatient!) the next stage was the application of ink washes to the metallic parts. I use Dr. Ph. Martins Inks - I believe they are meant for calligraphy, but i find they work really nicely on models, especially for the effect i was trying to achieve, as they "crack" slightly giving metal a nicely worn appearance, see photo to the left for an example - here the aim was to make the metal look old, worn and pitted - almost as if the top layer of the metal was wearing away. Generally I mix these inks with Kleer to give a very high reflection finish. Sometimes I find i need to add a very small drop of washing up liquid to get a smoother finish.

Another short amount of time for the model to dry again and it was out with the pigments. As people probably know by now, I'm a big fan of Mig pigments, and they were used liberally for this project. First i dusted all the metal areas with a dark rust, and once that was blended in, I then hit them again with a lighter rust colour.

All the metal areas then had a graphite pencil (2B) rubbed along any prominent surfaces to give the impression of the metals wearing through the rust. Finally I gave them a gentle rub with my finger to bring it all together

The underside was treated with four or five shades our earth pigments, to give a dusty feel - this was carried over the edge and slightly up the sides, as well as the tops of the door hatches (because they fold down and would end up in the mud!). I made sure that the "mud" was firmly embedded inside any seams or hatch edges - these exposed openings just live to collect dirt! The flight feet were included in the mud application and then again had graphite added to them.

Lastly for this stage I painted in the rear lights and the front view port. Again this was done using P3 heart fire. They were painted the same way that i paint gems, shading on the bottom right and lit from the top left

So, at this stage I'm gonna put the hammerhead aside and start to work on the scenic base, which is gonna involve me learning how to create a mold and cast it in plaster! But that's a story for another day!


Tau Hammerhead Step by Step part 5

Small update this time. Once the model had dried thoroughly from the last stage (I always like to give Kleer a long time to dry), I start to apply the "flashes" and colour blocks. Any "light" areas were painted using P3 Menoth White Base in the normal way with a brush. Then i masked off the nose cone and painted the stripes using P3 Heart Fire.

Once these sections were dry, I used a sponge to apply chips in Chardon Granite. There were applied lightly, and once dry, I corrected some parts by using either more granite (where the effect was too light), or the base coat (where the effect was too much). Finally the granite marks were highlighted with white.

For the next stage, I then washed the entire vehicle with various oil colours, but starting from a base of Burnt Umber. These washes were very thin - Basically they were coloured Turpentine. This kind of wash is often called a "Filter" in AFV modelling. The next thing to be applied (once the washes had been left to dry for a couple of hours) was "spotting" - this makes the final surface much less even, and gives nice graduation to the colours (I'm planning on doing a longer post about these techniques in the near future).

All metal parts were then drybrushed with Tin Bitz (or whatever the vallejo equivalent is called), followed by a dry brush with Chainmail. Once those layers were dry, the metal areas then got a dry brush of neat Burnt Umber and Black oil paints, to bring the metallic effect down a bit and to give them a "harder" look. Finally i recoated any areas that wold be solid black on the final model - The intakes for the boosters as the under carriage / landing gear.

The model was then set aside to dry for at least 48 hours before the next stage of weathering could take place