Archive for the ‘Random Musings’ Category


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.


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.

April Fools!

Posted: April 1, 2015 in Random Musings

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.



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.


2014 has been a busy year for me as I finished my PGCE and embarked upon a new teaching job which has been very demanding. The bulk of my hobby activity recently has been helping to run the G.A.M.E.S. club in my school with friend and fellow teacher Mr Taylor. It has been really rewarding to see the kids enthusiasm at discovering and exploring this great hobby.

In terms of my own hobby, I did manage to get some time to work on my own models. Here’s a quick recap of 2014 on Miniature Miscellany.


January saw the completion of what has definitely been the most popular series of posts on Miniature Miscellany, my Astral Claws Centurions. These were great models to paint and I am really pleased with how each one has turned out; they all have such individuality and character.

Astral Claws Centurions

I also converted a captain for my Astral Claws.

Astral Claws Captain

I also continued with my Dreadfleet set, painting up another three ships. This is a fantastic set and has been a real ‘slow burn’ project for me. The models are fantastically detailed and it has been nice to take my time over them. I tend to paint them up occasionally as breaks between other projects which explains why it has taken so long to get through them.



In February I painted up some dwarves from the Hobbit using quick and easy techniques (silver spray paint, washes  and drybrushing). I’m really pleased with the results of these simple methods. The dwarves from the film have a great design and these are finely detailed sculpts. It’s just a shame that there isn’t more variety to the range, I’d love some armoured dwarves with shields and spears.

Grim Hammers


March saw something of a real highlight for me as one of my models was featured in White Dwarf! A boyhood dream come true.



April saw some retro hobby goodness with this classic model from the Gorkamorka range of the late ’90s. I had planned to paint up more orks and do a write up on how to paint ork skin tones but never quite found the time. Perhaps I’ll get round to this in 2015.



In May I painted up these Dead Men of Dunharrow using quick techniques (spray paint and washes).

LotR Army of the Dead


The summer saw some reinforcements for my Astral Claws in the form of a venerable dreadnought and a drop pod. The dreadnought was fantastic fun to paint although I had a few initial problems getting the colour scheme right. The drop pod, on the other hand, was a real paint to put together as it had to be assembled in lots of sub-assemblies and painted in sections. I’m pleased with the finished result though.

Venerable Dreadnought

Astral Claws Drop Pod


July saw a variety of orcs/orks in the form of some Lord of the Rings uruk hai and my Battlefleet Gothic ork fleet (still a work-in-progress).

Mordor Uruk Hai

Ork Fleet

Perhaps the most ambitious project for me was working on a fully modeled terrain board. In July I finished the first of the board tiles.



August saw some more work on Dreadfleet and some Astral Claws.

The Curse of Zandri

Astral Claws WIP


September wasn’t a very productive month hobby-wise as I started my new job. I’m pretty sure I did paint something but no blog posts.


In October I started work on Shelob.



Who was finished in November.



Which brings us up-to-date with some more Lord of the Rings models and Dreadfleet.

Mordor Orcs

The Mouth of Sauron

Flaming Scimitar

Not bad for a year’s work. There have also been other side projects which have not made it onto the blog but which I hope to bring to you soon including the start of a warband for Inq28 (inspired by the Blanchitsu articles in White Dwarf and a number of fellow bloggers) and the start of my Space Hulk set.


So, what does 2015 hold?

I’m not going to make any hobby plans or resolutions for 2015 as I have seen other bloggers out there do. My free time is very precious at the moment and so I tend to paint what ever I am in the mood for when I do get some hobby time rather than trying to discipline myself and be prescriptive. As I don’t really play games at the moment I am not worried about completing armies for painting up certain units to a deadline. However, I do have a few ideas for  projects I would like to work on.

As I write this I have a Space Marine dreadnought and the Witch King of Angmar primed on my desk and awaiting paint. As mentioned above, I purchased the limited edition Space Hulk set and so I definitely want to get some of those models done. The other day I unearthed three Eldar grav tanks airbrushed red which I would like to finish and which might lead to an Eldar army. I will also continued to work on Dreadfleet. Who knows, perhaps 2015 will be the year in which the set is finally finished. I would also like to continue working on making terrain, an often overlooked but very rewarding part of the hobby.

Hopefully some, if not all, of these projects will make it to the blog over the next twelve months. However, you know how it is with Games Workshop. Their release rate at the moment is incredibly prolific and so no doubt there will be something new and shiny released in 2015 that will grab my attention.

What about you, readers? Do you have any hobby plans for 2015?



Spring cleaning

Posted: September 2, 2012 in Random Musings

I think at some time or other we all let our hobby spaces get a bit disorganised, particularly if, like me, you don’t have a dedicated hobby area but have one that doubles up for other uses. Over the weekend I managed to build up the motivation to do a bit of tidying and get my hobby materials organised. This should make finding what I need a lot easier and avoid unnecessary rummaging through boxes.

Like many hobbyists, I loathe throwing anything away. I once had a purge of old models and unused components and still regret the loss of certain now hard-to-find components. However, keeping all of those spare sprues certainly takes up a lot of room and so I finally decided to bit the bullet and clip all of my unused components from their frames and store them in ziplock bags. After a while snipping components off frames becomes oddly satisfying and I did manage to reduce the big pile of sprues you see here to the components in the bags. Unfortunately I have only just scratched the surface of this monumental task and I still have two drawers full of frames that need organising.

Now, with all that extra space I don’t have to worry about where to store new models :)


Happy birthday Miniature Miscellany!

Today marks one year since my first blog post. Back when I started this blog I didn’t know how long it would last or if there would be any interest in it. I’d previously started a number of threads on forums to showcase my painting and document my progress with various projects. However, as the projects lost momentum these threads fizzled out. Having my own blog has allowed me to keep everything in one place and to show off whatever I happen to be working on at the time. The name Miniature Miscellany was deliberately chosen with this in mind as I rarely work on one project from start to finish but instead flit between projects and work on whatever models catch my attention. Looking back over the last twelve months there has certainly been a miscellaneous assemblage of models.

One of my biggest achievements since beginning the blog was starting and finishing (well, mostly) a whole army for Epic: Armageddon. I still have a few falcons to paint up and I will probably add to the army in the future but the vast majority of the 3,000 point force is done.

I have also started work on a large Mordheim project which will hopefully include a fully modeled cityscape to fight over and two warbands when it is done. This rather ambitious project has been progressing slowly but is still ongoing. I haven’t abandoned the project but it may be some time before I get back to working on the buildings in earnest as finishing my PhD is taking up rather a lot of my time and so working on smaller, more manageable models is far more convenient for me at the moment.

Another big feature of this blog in recent months has been Dreadfleet. I really love the models for this game as they are very detailed and characterful. So far I have managed to get two ships painted and will continue to slowly work on the rest. Because this is such a nice limited edition release I don’t want to rush through painting them.

Along with these larger projects I have also worked on a number of one-off models which I have tried to paint to my highest standard. My favourite of these has been the Bad Moon Nob in mega armour. I’m very pleased with how this turned out and he has inspired me to move on to building an army of orks for Epic.

Looking back I’ve had quite a productive year for miniature painting. One of the nice things about keeping this blog is it allows me to record what I have done and browsing back over the last year’s posts has made me realise just how much I’ve achieved in a relatively short space of time. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed following my progress on these projects because I’ve certainly had a lot of fun working on them.

Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who reads this blog on a regular basis, particularly those of you who have commented or offered encouragement. I’d also like to thank everyone who has added links to MM to their blogs, it really is appreciated.

All the best,


Over the weekend I managed to get a couple games of Dreadfleet against Nick and thought I’d share my thoughts on the game. The rules are straightforward and fairly easy to pick up. Our first turn took a while to complete but after that we quickly got used to the turn sequence and order of play. Initially the way in which the winds works was confusing (I’m not sure if it is explained properly in the book or whether we just missed it) but in the end we decided that the rules intended it to blow from the marker on the edge of the seascape towards the centre of the board.

Our set-up for the game

We played through the first scenario in the book, ‘Corpse Reef’, which pits Jaego Wroth and The Heldenhammer against Count Noctilus and The Bloody Reaver. The objective of the scenario is to place 8 damage cards on your opponent’s warship. We set up the terrain following the example to represent the reef of bone that separates the Galleons’ Graveyard from the rest of the ocean.

The games we played were great fun. One of the things I like about Dreadfleet is the fact that the games uses an alternate activation sequence (much like Epic) where one player activates a ship and performs actions and then the other player does the same until every ship has moved. I’ve already written about how I think this style of play is much more fun and challenging than the you-go-I-go turn sequence of other GW games as both players are involved all the time.

In the first game I took charge of the Bloody Reaver and Nick played as the Heldenhammer. As this was the first game we were still getting used to maneuvering the ships and avoiding running aground against the many obstacles that litter Corpse Reef. An early Fate Card resulted in a Ghastly Fog engulfing the board and limiting visibility drastically, meaning that there would not be much shooting in the game. The Heldenhammer managed to trap the Bloody Reaver in the reef and I had no choice but to engage Nick head on. Noctilus managed to kill Wroth in a duel but, despite putting up a good fight (and Wroth’s crew being distracted by sirens), the Bloody Reaver was no match for the Heldenhammer‘s deadly figurehead and was smashed to pieces resulting in a victory for Nick.

Having learned it's lesson in the first game, the Bloody Reaver avoids a head on confrontation with the Heldenhammer

For the second game we swapped sides and I took command of the Empire’s flagship while Nick took the part of the dastardly count. This game was much quicker and smoother than the first as we had a much firmer grasp of the rules. While the first game was dominated by the boarding action that resulted in the destruction of the Bloody Reaver, this game was much more focused on shooting and the early stages saw a lot of maneuvering as we both tried to line up the perfect broadside. This tactical maneuvering is a great element of the game and made things very tense as we each tried to bring our cannons to bear. I managed to pull up alongside the Bloody Reaver but as Nick had issued the ‘Fire as She Bears’ order he got to shoot first claiming first blood. The Heldenhammer‘s magazine store caught fire, seriously damaging the ship. The fires continued to burn and next turn the magazine store exploded, destroying the ship. We decided to ignore this result and played for a few more turns (we didn’t want to end the game so early on). The Bloody Reaver initiated a  boarding action against the Heldenhammer and, with the aid of a Bone Hydra summoned to Noctilus’s aid, managed to overwhelm the crew and claim another victory for Nick.

The Heldenhammer is attacked by one of the many undead denizens of the Galleons' Graveyard

Overall this is a fun, fast-paced game and we managed to get through two battles in an afternoon. The only downside to the game was that some of the Damage Cards are too destructive, particularly in a game where there is only one ship on each side. In the second game the Heldenhammer was destroyed by the effects of a single damage card (which inflicted D3 damage on the ship each turn). For small games in particular I would recommend removing the more destructive cards from the deck. After all, you don’t want the game to be over after a single broadside. Other than this though, we had two very enjoyable games of Dreadfleet and I’m currently working on the Curse of Zandri in preparation for scenario two.

All the best,



40k on the BBC

Posted: March 13, 2012 in Random Musings
Tags: ,

Is it just me or does Rebekah Brooks look more evil than those Necrons?

The BBC News website has an article on 40k in its magazine section today. It’s quite an interesting and humorous read, particularly the BBC’s concise summaries of the different 40k armies for the uninitiated (‘virtually invincible soulless metal warriors’ and ‘sadistic elfin pirates’ are two examples). Overall the article takes quite a positive approach to the hobby and gives hobbyists the chance to express why they like it. I particularly liked the response to the question of why tabletop wargaming is popular in the age of video games (‘It’s like why theatre remains popular in the age of cinema’ ) and comic-book writer and 40k fan, Kieron Gillen’s comment that: ‘It’s a universe that’s simultaneously nihilistic and joyous. It’s incredibly British in that way.’

It’s nice to see the hobby considered in such a positive way in a mainstream article. Well worth a read.

Well, it’s the end of the year. So what have I got planned for 2012? Next year will bring a lot of big changes to my life. I will be finishing my PhD soon (I’m hoping to submit my thesis around Easter time) and will also be looking for a job. However, I do have a number of hobby plans as well. First of all I have a number of unfinished projects which I am hoping to complete such as my Dreadfleet set and my Mordheim project.

I got a job lot of Mordheim models from ebay recently which included enough undead models for a starting warband. I plan on painting these up for a friend to play with when I start my campaign. Here are the models as they were when I received them. As you can see, they have a very basic paint job which will need stripping and repainting.

Rumors of Chaos

If internet rumors are to be believed, a new Chaos codex is planned for release in 2012. If this is indeed the case expect to see a return to my Death Guard army. My enthusiasm for this project stalled a little as they simply aren’t fun to play with. Hopefully Codex: Chaos Legions will make it possible to play with a fluffy army which is also competitive and fun. I plan on finishing painting my current units and adding a few new models as well. I have my eye on the fantastic  Plague Hulk and Daemon Prince models from Forge World.

An Unexpected Journey

Obviously the big news for next year is the release of the first installment of The Hobbit movies. The first trailer has already been released and looks brilliant. The trailer has been reposted on several blogs so I won’t repeat it here but if you haven’t seen it it is definitely worth a look. It doesn’t really give anything away but it is nice to see Tolkien’s world back on film. As a massive Tolkien-nerd I’m very excited about this and the news that GW will be producing a range of models for the franchise.

Happy New Year!


Yesterday Games Workshop announced the launch of its new ‘Finecast’ line. You can read the announcement here. I was pleased to hear that the rumours circulating on the internet about the change to resin were true. Although I haven’t seen the models in person yet the pictures of the new resin casts on the website look amazing and the detail is very crisp and sharp. Not only do the resin models produced from existing casts look much better than their metal counterparts, this move will allow Games Workshop to produce much more detailed models in the future. I can’t wait to see the models sculpted purposely for the Finecast range.

There has been a lot of negativity about this move on the internet (which isn’t surprising when you consider the mentality of most people who post on forums).  However, personally I think this can only be a good thing. I much prefer working with resin and I also find that it is a more suitable material for wargaming than metal. The paint on metal models has a tendency to chip much more than on plastic and resin ones and I wouldn’t want my carefully painted models to be damaged during a game. Recently I have been considering collecting an Eldar army but the number of metal aspect warriors needed was making me reconsider. However, now this won’t be a problem. I think that the metal Farseer that I am currently working on (pictured below) will remain a display piece when he’s done and I’ll buy a new resin one for gaming.

I’m pleased to see that Games Workshop is continuing to push back the boundaries of what is possible in the hobby. I’m very much looking forward to Saturday when hopefully I’ll be able to see some of these models for myself in a GW store.

I was very excited to hear that today Peter Jackson released a behind-the-scenes promo video for the forthcoming film of The Hobbit documenting the beginning of the filming process. You can read all about it in The Sydney Morning Herald and the video can be found on Youtube.

Of course,the really exciting news for the hobby community is the fact that GW have acquired the license to produce models based on the film. This was announced back in February as detailed  here. Lord of the Rings has always been one of my great loves so I’m really looking forward to delving back into Middle Earth once more in 28mm scale. In the meantime here are some of my LOTR minis.