Review: Fifteen Hours

Posted: July 13, 2015 in Reviews
Tags: ,

The Cadian Shock Library

I recently came across a great idea by a blogger going by the name of Cadianshock to give away Black Library books. Essentially, the idea is that if you are the lucky recipient of a free book once you have read it you should also give it away for free. As an English teacher, this idea of sharing books really appealed to me and so I was very honoured to be the first recipient of a Cadian Shock Library book.

In keeping with the rules of the project, I too will be giving away the book to the first person who replies to this post expressing an interest. I will post the book, free of charge, to anywhere in the UK. If you are overseas get in touch and I will look into how much postage will cost you. Full rules can be found here.

Review

Fifteen Hours is the debut Black Library novel by writer Mitchel Scanlon. The book is a tale of a young farm boy who finds himself conscripted to the Imperial Guard and leaves his quiet, peaceful world to confront the horrors of the grim dark universe that is the forty first millennium.

I must say, I have always been a fan of the Imperial Guard and one of my earliest 40k armies was the metal Cadian Shock Troops (sadly, long-since thrown away). It is a point frequently made (although no less true for that), that the guardsmen are perhaps the most relatable inhabitants of the 40k canon as they are normal humans struggling to survive in a hostile universe with little more than their training, faith in the Emperor and trusty lasgun. Scanlon really plays on this and the protagonist, Arvin Larn, is a very likeable character. He is essentially a naïve, Luke Skywalker-type character who leaves a simple farm life and finds himself plunged into a larger and more dangerous universe.

The book is well-written and fast paced and the plot rattles along nicely, following Larn’s home life, training and deployment. As one would expect from a Black Library novel, it is full of action but, where the novel really shines, is the dark humour running through the narrative. This really showcases the uncaring bureaucracy of the Imperium and Larn is sent to the wrong warzone because of an administrative error. This element of the story reminds me of the fantastic film, Brazil by Terry Gilliam and its one of the elements that sets the book apart from the standard military SF novel.

The training section of the novel is the weakest part and is full of clichés such as the angry, insult-hurling drill sergeant and is essentially Full Metal Jacket in space. However, once the novel moves beyond this it really improves and I found myself gripped by the action and hoping things would work out well for Larn (although the opening of the novel hints at his eventual fate).

Overall, this is a nice little novel and, while unlikely to blow you away, will keep you entertained for a few hours.

If you’re interested in reading this book, drop me a comment below and I will post it out to the first person who replies.

oldhammer_ov_chaos_web

Recently, I have enjoyed reading a number of blogs which focus on what has come to be known online as ‘Oldhammer’. This particular moniker seems to have been around a while now and is generally attached to those blogs with a strong, or even exclusive, interest in early incarnations of Warhammer and Rogue Trader. One thing that struck me about these blogs was that they do not merely engage in warm-hearted nostalgia for the good ol’ days of lead miniatures, polyhedral dice and lengthy random-generation tables (although they do do this) but have a strong focus on the narrative element of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 and are witty, mature and eccentric (much like the old GW ranges they cover).

I have added a number of these blogs to the blogroll and would heartily recommend them. Here are my favourites in no particular order.

Oldenhammer in Toronto

Classic Citadel miniatures and the games that use them.

A truly fantastic blog by Oldhammer enthusiast, Matthew Sullivan. The blog is very intelligent and literary and offers amazing insight into the world of third edition Warhammer and other games. Not only that but it show cases some of Matthew’s fabulous collection of vintage models including some great baggage trains. Although I don’t agree with all of his points (I got into Warhammer in the early ’90s and have a fondness for the models from that period), it is great to read a blog by someone with such passion for ’80s miniatures and for wargaming more generally.

The Lead Pile

The adventures of a wargames amateur trying to get stuff painted and the real life that gets in his way.

This is the blog of Whiskey Priest. The main focus of the blog is on pulp sci-fi with a strong emphasis on Rogue Trader.  The blog is well-written and contains a wealth of information on the early days of 40k. A particularly interesting series of articles on this blog covers the myriad influences on the development of early 40k such as Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov. Well worth a read.

Sho3box

Cramped Combatant Contentment.

The eponymous blog of Sho3box. This is another pulp sci-fi blog which, although maybe not an ‘Oldhammer’ blog in the strictest sense, does feature a range of Rogue Trader and Judge Dredd models. Sho3box really embraces the story-telling aspect of the hobby through the use of small warbands and the Pulp Alley rules. The site features some excellent conversions and paint jobs. Check out his Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-inspired ‘Space Tree People’, a truly creative combination of Dryad and Tyranid parts.

Stro’Knor Macekiller

Oldhammer and Rogue Trader by Quindia Studios.

Another fantastic blog which combines old Citadel miniatures with those from other manufacturers. The blog is full of well-painted, colourful miniatures for both Warhammer and Rogue Trader. As well as focusing on the miniatures, the blog is currently in the process of publishing a chapter-by-chapter review of the original Rogue Trader rulebook which is very entertaining and informative. If you’ve never read this venerable tome or are new to 40k check it out, the author really captures the quirky and eccentric spirit of those early days of the hobby.

Realms of Chaos

Realms of Chaos is the blog of old-school gamer, Nico. This was the first real Oldhammer blog I encountered and I was simply stunned by his fantastic Skaven army which really illustrates how well those old ’80s and early ’90s models stand up today with a decent paint job. His Epic models were also a real inspiration while I was working on my own Epic orks. The blog really captures the intense creativity of those early issues of White Dwarf and is a real feast for the eyes.

Oldhammer Fantasy Battle

This blog by Peter seems to have only recently started up again and has only a small amount of content at present. However, it is worthy of a mention for Peter’s amazing Undead army. These skeleton warriors were the first Citadel miniatures I ever owned and I wish mine had looked as good as these.

DSCF4640

DSCF4641

I was very excited to receive this model in the post; it is a Mantis Battle Suit. The model was sculpted by Martyn Wood who is starting up his own miniature company and I have agreed to paint this for his Kickstarter. You can check out his website, The Miniatures Apprentice, for more information about this range.

As you can see, model is made of metal and, I must say, the casting is flawless. Because of the size and weight of the model it does require pinning but other than that went together fairly smoothly. I am very much looking forward to painting this up over the half-term break.

Wound Markers

I decided to make some wound markers for my Astral Claws as a quick Saturday morning project. Basically, the number of skulls/helmets represent how many wounds a character has remaining. The skulls are taken from a number of kits (if you own any GW kits then chances are you have some skulls lying around somewhere) and the damaged helmets were taken from Chaos trophy racks. I could have used regular marine helmets but these had battle damage already sculpted on and so saved me a bit of time.

Wound Markers

The helmets were painted to match my Astral Claws models whereas the skulls were an opportunity to try out my new method of painting bone. Previously I had used Zandri Dust and Ushabti Bone for skulls, however, recently I have moved to using a basecoat of Baneblade Brown washed with Agrax Earthshade and then highlighted Baneblade Brown, Rakarth Flesh, Pallid Wych Flesh and finally White Scar. This produces a much paler, more realistic bone colour than the creamy/yellow look achieved with Ushabti bone. The ground texture was then painted to match the rest of my army.

Wound Markers

Wound Markers

I plan on creating a few more themed gaming aides in the future including some objective markers converted from the Space Marine casualty models. Watch this space.

-Andy.

Lord of the Rings Ruins

Over the last few days I have been working on a number of different projects. I have managed to get these ruins finished for Lord of the Rings and continued to work on my Dark Eldar. I had hoped to get more done with the Dark Eldar but the weather conspired against me at the weekend and a combination of high winds and rain meant that I was unable to prime my raiders for painting. Instead, I took the time to work on Space Hulk and started to paint up some genestealers which have been primed and sitting on a shelf looking at me accusingly for a number of months now.

Lord of the Rings Ruins

Below you can see my raiders in their various sub-assemblies. As I plan on airbrushing these I decided to keep them in a number of separate parts to make this easier. However, even if painting by hand it would make sense to paint them as sub-assemblies because of the number of fiddly components that would make certain areas hard to access with a brush.

Raiders sub-assemblies

Here is my first genestealer which was completed a while back as a test model. As you can see, I have gone with the traditional genestealer colours of blue and purple and tried to paint these in a dark moody style like those seen in White Dwarf. I have also tried to get a contrast in textures between the hard carapace and the softer skin by using sharp edge highlights on the carapace and subtle blending on the skin.

Genestealer test model

And here are four of his mates who I was working on over the weekend.

Space Hulk Genestealers

The raiders are going to have to wait until the weekend before I can airbrush them but hopefully I will get a chance to do a bit more work on these guys throughout the week.

-Andy.

Something a bit different from me today, an Imperial Guard Malcador from Forge World painted in winter camouflage. I used this model to experiment with a number if painting techniques described in Model Masterclass Volume One. The model is for sale so if you are interested check out the ebay auction.

Malcador in winter camoflauge Malcador in winter camoflauge Malcador in winter camoflauge Malcador in winter camoflauge

Dark Eldar Raider

Here is my raider converted to have wych crew. The gunner was simply swapped for the one from my venom while the pilot was made using parts from the wych kit with the original pilot’s arms. All in all a very simple conversion but one which will tie the model in nicely with the squad it transports.

When kitting out the raider I was inspired by the wych’s background. The codex describes them using their reaver jetbikes as weapons when fighting in the arenas of Commorragh and I thought that they would extend this philosophy to their transports on the battlefield. As such I have given it all kinds of aggressive upgrades such as chain snares, a shock prow and venom blades (represented by the spiky, thorn-like rails) to encourage me to use it offensively in games.

Dark Eldar Raider

Dark Eldar Raider

Dark Eldar Raider

Hopefully I will get some time to paint this before term starts again next week.

Andy.

Venom Gunner

Just a quick update to show the finished gunner who will be glued to the back of the venom when it is finished. As you can see, I have used a Kabalite gunner from the raider kit to build him rather than the wych gunner who comes with the set. This is because I plan on switching them around and using the wych gunner on a raider so that it matches the wych squad it will transport.

Wych Cult of Strife

Here is my first completed model for my Dark Eldar army: a test model for the Wych Cult of Strife. Originally she was painted int he red and black colour scheme of the Wych Cult of Domination (see White Dwarf 241) as I wanted my Wych Cult members to have a different colour scheme to the rest of my Dark Eldar. However, the black and red was lacking something and so I repainted the armour green and bronze and added a purple sash.

Close-up

Wych Cult of Strife

Wych Cult of Strife

Wych Cult of Strife

A close up of the glow effect on the sword:

Sword

I have also done a little more work on the venom:

Dark Eldar Venom

Let me know what you think.

Andy.

April Fools!

Posted: April 1, 2015 in Random Musings
Tags:

Citadel Colouring Book

Citadel Colouring Book

This morning the above image appeared on Tale of Painters. It purports to be a leaked image of the new Citadel Colouring Book and is clearly a light-hearted April Fools joke (you can read the full story here). I particularly liked one comment which read: “GW are also coming out with a giant box of Crayons to go with the coloring book. Every Crayon is an exact color match with GW’s paint line! I can’t wait!!” Obviously written by someone familiar with GW’s advertising rhetoric.

This got me thinking about previous hobby-related April Fools jokes, including a couple from Games Workshop themselves (although sadly there is nothing from them this year).

How to Roll Citadel Dice

How to Roll Citadel Dice

Yes, hot on the heels of publications such as How to Paint Citadel Miniatures and How to Build Wargames Terrain it’s How to Roll Citadel Dice, your indispensable guide to the world of random-number-generating cubes!

Multi-Barrelled Citadel Spray Gun

Multi-Barrelled Spray Gun

Another one from GW, this time a multi-barrelled version of the citadel spray gun which can basecoat, highlight and shade your miniature all in one go.

How to Paint Bilbo Wearing the One Ring

How to Paint Bilbo Wearing the Ring

The Citadel Colouring Book isn’t the first April Fools from the guys over at Tale of Painters, last year Garfy put together this tutorial on painting Bilbo wearing the One Ring. Possibly my favourite hobby April Fool.

*Update*

0110110001

Since penning this article this morning I came across this great April fool by GW’s publishing wing, the Black Library. To celebrate the release of the Skitarii they claim to be releasing their first binary novel. You can even read an extract in binary  here.

Are there any others I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below.

Andy.