Category Archives: Miniatures gaming

Just a couple of photos

Since I convinced my friend Steve to play a small game of Warhammer 40K with me a few days ago, I have had a yen to repaint the armies involved – Orks and Chaos Space Marines.

While everything is still in process, I thought I would share a couple of photos.  Right now I am at the shading stage an haven’t started on the highlights yet.

CHAOS 1500(1)

Ork Battlewagon (1)

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Warhammer 40K – Waaagh! Sophie (part II)

Here are two more banners for Waagh! Sophie.  These are for the two HQ choices of the Waagh!, both Big Meks.

I chose Big Meks as both HQ selections for two reasons – the first is because Big Meks allow you to take Dreadnaughts as Troop selections.  The second is because I really wanted Waagh!  Sophie not to be a big Ork horde army.  I anticipate it going up against the Unsung, and Horde vs Horde makes for long and tedious games.  Besides, Ork horde armies have been done to death and I wanted Waagh!  Sophie to be different.  She has a Freebooters unit of Flash Gitz that she loves, and I wanted to make that a centerpiece of the army, so I wanted to save a spot for that Heavy Support unit.  Taking Big Meks and getting the Dreads as troop choices allows me to make Waagh! Sophie into more of a heavy support army and less of a horde army.

Anyway, to the banners!

bigmek banner 1 draftThis is the back banner for the first of my Big Meks.  He’s an outcast from the Blood Axes (eventually I am going to add some camo patterning to the figure).  The glyphs say “Infinite Dakka!”  “Loads of Cannons!”  “Infinite destruction!”  “Lots of ammo”  “Shokk Attack Gun”  “Boss Mek”  “Mercenary for hire – many teef!”

When I figure out a name for the character I will put it in smaller glyphs on the two wrenches.

Bigmek Banner 2draftThis is the back banner for my other Big Mek – Gogduruk Mortuff (“Ancient Feral Godlike Defense”).  Formerly a member of the Snakebites, his bit specialty is protection, defense, armor, and vehicles (no wonder he got kicked out!).  The glyphs at the top translate to “Outcast feral mek boss and warband for hire.”  Glyphs down either side show services available (armor, custom forcefields, grots, boars, building, cybernetics, toughening, speed improvement).



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WAAAGH! Sophie – a preview

Haven’t posted here in awhile, so I thought I would put up a couple of Ork banners I made for WAAAAGH! Sophie.  These are banners for two of Sophie’s Dreadnaughts –


Here’s the first banner, for KILLA OF INFINITE GITZ!  I chose purple, not a regular color for Orks, as a linking color for a lot of Waaagh! Sophie because I wanted it to be a Freebooterz force.  The glyphs in the middle spell out the name (lit. Name lots gitz kill) and the yellow glyphs indicate the weapons on each of the four hardpoints of the dread – two close combat weapons and two shootas.  The glyphs at the top are to remind everyone that this dread is extremely valuable, and worth a lot of teef!


Renegade Shooter/Destroyer/Exploder is the second dread.  Again the name is spelled out at the bottom, and the armament of the dread is indicated by the smaller glyphs (which are currently red, but which I will probably change to a different color for visibility).  Renegade is more of a ranged combat Dread, with only one close combat weapon and a bunch of blastas.

I don’t have all the various additions figured in for these dreads yet, but when I do I will try to indicate them with additional glyphs.

Both of the banners are based on old designs out of Freebooterz.

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The Unsung – the previous post that wasn’t

“For every battle honor won a thousand heroes die – alone, unsung, and unremembered.”

-Catechism of the Imperial Guard

Last night while I was falling asleep I thought about my post regarding the Unsung, and realized that the original post, to which it referred, had been on Facebook, not on this website.  So, here’s the bit on my Imperial Guard unit – the Unsung.

I have always loved the Guard, to way back in the old Rogue Trader days.  The idea of a mass of guys who weren’t superhuman like Space Marines having to go up against crazy alien stuff like Eldar and Orks and Chaos, generally armed with substandard (in game terms) lasguns, a few heavy weapons, and morale that was low enough that failing morale checks was actually possible, intrigued me.  When GW revamped the Guard and turned it into a tank army with a few guys who might occasionally get out of their APC to shoot something, I was very disappointed.  I didn’t want a mechanized Guard army – I wanted a big mass of guys on foot, with maybe a vehicle or two for support.

(ASIDE:  Dear GW – putting out a whole line of artillery vehicles for the Guard was stupid.  Artillery belongs well behind the lines.  If you wanted to do stuff that wasn’t tanks, you should have gone for assault guns and SPGs)

I also very much loved the abhumans.  I had a whole bunch of Beastmen that I had painted up for my old Guard unit.  These had disappeared, along with Squats, Medics, Jetbikes, Thudd Guns, Rapiers, Tarantulas, Commissar Cadet Squads, Robots, and Roughriders with lasguns.  I missed them.

So when I decided to put together a Guard unit again, just to have something to paint, I decided I wanted to add in as many elements as possible.  The unit was for friendly gaming only (I don’t do tourneys because while the vast majority of people are nice, there is inevitably the one who thinks that taunting and trash talking for the entire game gives some sort of “psychological edge”, and I don’t really feel like having my convention experience marred by murder charges) so I figured I could proxy models as I liked, so long as I was clear with my opponent about what they were.

Thus – the Unsung were born.

The Unsung started out as an Imperial Guard Abhuman company.  They happened to be doing a tour in the Squat worlds when the Tyranids showed up*.  The unit got busted up, managed to reform with a bunch of other rag-end refugees, and would have been obliterated along with everyone else had they not been snagged by a mysterious Rogue Trader vessel.  Now they have been claimed as part of the Rogue Trader’s entourage and essentially do what the Rogue Trader tells them to do (I have a figure in mind for the Rogue Trader if I can ever figure out how to include it).  They travel from world to world, obviously looking for something, but are pretty much kept in the dark about their shadowy master’s true goals.

Because of the nature of what they do, who they do it for, and where they do it, they have adopted the name “The Unsung”  They wear no unit badges, bear no unit designations, carry no flags.  They all know that they will die alone – probably outside the light of the Emperor’s grace.

I want the unit to have a very mixed look, and to use a lot of the old GW models.  Tactical squads will generally be human, heavy- and special weapons squads will be squats.  I’ll eventually fill in the abhuman contingent with ratlings and ogryn, and I have what I think will be an absolutely awesome mixed bag of old GW models to use as a conscript unit.  I have plans for a Stormtrooper unit made up of Commissar Cadets, a Veteran unit made up of Beastmen (led by an Imperial Priest modeled from a Warhammer flagellent!), and a few other odds and ends as well.

For now, at the 1,000 point mark, the unit doesn’t have quite the feel that I hope it will have as it gets bigger (the conscript squad will certainly change that, and it should be coming at the 1,500 point level), but I think it is coming out well.


*The somewhat tongue-in-cheek GW explanation for why Squats don’t show up anymore is that the Tyranids came along and ate them all.

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The Unsung – Work Continues

I discovered soon after my last post about the Unsung that several of the models that I was planning on using for various units are still in Seattle.  So I needed to do a little bit of rethinking and redesigning the basic 1,000 point army to go with the minis I had.  Since I had to substitute, I needed to go back to some earlier stages for some of the models, and do stuff like flock the bases, and in a few cases even base coat.  But at least now I have all the models I want to use ready, so that I can catch up with base coating the stuff that I had to substitute, and then get back to line painting the whole army.

The Unsung - Command Squad (Click to enlarge)

The Unsung – Command Squad
(Click to enlarge)

Here’s the command squad.  Left to right, top to bottom they are – Master of the Fleet, Medic (Squat), radio operator, lascannon team (squats), astropath, Master of ordinance (Squat), company commander, bodyguards (one Beastman, one Ratling).  I wanted the Company Command squad to have an ecclectic feel, reflecting what I hope will be the eclectic feel of the army as a whole.  I do have an Astropath figure up in Seattle that I like better than the one here, which I will eventually switch out.

The Unsung - Platoon Command Squad

The Unsung – Platoon Command Squad
(Click to enlarge)

This is the Platoon Command Squad.  It has a couple of squats operating one of my favorite old 40K weapons, the Mole Mortar.  Note also the medic (upper left, and the commissar (lower right).

The Unsung - Infantry Squad

The Unsung – Infantry Squad
(Click to enlarge)

Typical infantry squad.  I have five of these – two with heavy bolter teams, two with autocannon teams, and one with a lascannon.  They all have grenade launchers as well, and the sergeant has a bolt pistol.  I tried to include one old Imperial Guard model in a non-standard pose in each squad.  In this case, it’s the figure upper left.

The Unsung - Special Weapons Squad (Meltas)

The Unsung – Special Weapons Squad (Meltas)
(Click to enlarge)

For this army, I want humans to make up the tactical squads, and squats to make up the Heavy Weapons and Special Weapons squads.  These fellows are carrying old style Eldar melta guns.  I figure I will need them for anti-vehicle work, given the low number of lascannon I have at this point.

The Unsung - Penal Legion squad

The Unsung – Penal Legion squad
(Click to enlarge)

I got these on eBay a long time ago.  These poor bastards are the main maneuver element of my army at 1,000 points!  I am required to take two infantry units, and everything up to this point only counted as 1!  I was going to use a Veteran or Stormtrooper squad, but those have models up in Washington right now.  Hopefully I can get them back by the time I get to the 2,000 point mark.




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Battle of the Ponds

Tonight Sophie and I played the first tabletop minis game we have played in years – a “Warmachine” game.  Sophie played the Pirates of the Broken Coast and I played Cryx.

“Why are these pirates always hanging out around sinkholes?”

– Wraith Witch Deneghra

Cryx                                                                                   Pirates of the Broken Coast

87 pts.  Wraith Witch Deneghra                                  Phineas Shea                              67 pts

63 pts.  10 Mechanithralls                                           10 Sea Dogs                               95 pts

31 pts.   Necrosurgeon and Stitch Thralls                      3 Marksmen                               33 pts

18 pts.   Brute Thrall                                                    Mr. Walls                                   22 pts

113 pts  Reaper                                                           Mariner                                    110 pts

90 pts  2x Defiler                                                          2x Freebooter                          184 pts

76 pts  2x Deathripper

16 pts.  Skarlock Thrall

494 pts.  TOTAL                                                          TOTAL                                  511 pts

Looking at the two armies, it was obvious that I was going to have a clear advantage in Warcaster power  – Wraith Witch Deneghra is seriously powerful, and having a Skarlock Thrall tagging along would juice her up even more.  On the other hand, those three heavy warjacks were a serious threat, and my one helljack and four bonejacks weren’t going to measure up.  Also, as I would discover, the Sea Dogs were pretty tough, especially when bolstered by Mr. Walls and some marksmen.  I was in danger of being shot off the table.

We rolled for scenario and got “Killing Field” – three objectives in the middle of the board, you got one point per turn holding each, play to 7 points.  Casualties weren’t relevant.

Now I really hate how Sophie’s Warjacks can just dive into deep water and lurk there, so I decided that I was going to go for minimal terrain to reduce the amount of water I would have to deal with.  I conceded that I was satisfied as soon as Sophie had put down one pond, allowing her to place one additional piece of terrain…  which turned out to be another pond.  This was probably not the best idea I ever had, as it gave broad fields of fire to the gun on the Mariner and the marksmen with the Sea Dogs – and we only had two pieces of water terrain.

Sophie dropped one of the ponds on top of the leftmost victory objective, and the other one in between the middle and the rightmost victory objectives.


I was player 1, so I got to choose sides and set up first.  looking over the board, I decided to abandon the leftmost victory objective entirely.  My Mechanithralls might have been able to take it, but I didn’t want the unit way off on one side of the board.  Instead I decided on a two-pronged advance – my main thrust would be up the center of the board towards the middle objective with the ‘thralls, the Reaper, and D.  My helljacks would make a run for the rightmost objective, and try to hang on until I could secure the middle and send help their way.  Since casualties didn’t matter, I hoped to use the speed of my army to jump on objectives first, then just hold them long enough to get an unassailable lead.

Anyway, that was the plan.  By turn two it was pretty much shot to hell.

Then Sophie set up. with Shae and the Mariner on my left (her right) going for the submerged objective, the Sea Dogs heading up the middle, and the two Freebooters heading down the right flank towards the rightmost objective.  Seeing those two heavy warjacks going in the same direction as my Bonejacks completely unnerved me.  My plan changed, and I decided to shift right with D. and the Reaper.


Ah, turn 1 – ever exciting.  My M’thralls moved up the middle, my Helljacks sprinted (or waddled) towards the rightmost victory objective, and I kept D and the Reaper headed down the center, but shifted them from the left to the right so they could lend more support to the Helljacks.  The Sea Dogs moved up and shot three of my M’thralls off the table (I had carelessly let them get out of range of the Necrosurgeon), The Mariner headed towards my left, followed by Shae, who dropped a little squall on some of my M’thralls.

And that’s when we realized that there was a big problem – the Freebooters were out of Shae’s control range, and could only walk.


I moved the M’thralls up to capture the middle objective, and the Helljacks got the one on my right.  D. and the Reaper finished repositioning near the edge of one of the ponds so they could support both the M’thralls and the Helljacks.

Sophie’s damned riflemen got a LOS on my Necrosurgeon and blew her off the table, as the Sea Dogs prepared to contest the middle objective.  Shae dumped another squall on me, which would prevent some of my M’thralls from charging next turn.  The Mariner fired, but missed.  The Freebooters continued to walk forward

Victory Points

Edmund:  2     Sophie:  1


I set my Reaper up to take a Harpoon shot at one of the Freebooters.  And that’s when I realized that the damned harpoon was useless against heavy jacks.  In fact the only target that was worthwhile for the Reaper on the whole board was Shae!  Durp.  D. used Tenebrious Exile to make one of the Freebooters incorporeal.  In the center, the M’thralls charged the Sea Dogs, smashing five of them to a pulp with their steam fists.

Sophie snagged the leftmost objective with the the Mariner and Shae, and got the Freebooters into deep water.  A countercharge by the remaining Sea Dogs demonstrated amply the “hammer and eggshell” nature of the M’thralls, trashing all but three of them (plus the Brute Thrall).

Victory Points

Edmund:  4     Sophie:  3


D. spent focus points on her jacks this turn. but much of it turned out to be wasted.  The few remaining M’thralls continued to stubbornly defend the central objective, and the Brute Thrall managed to beat Mr. Walls paper thin.  The Reaper headed back towards the center to hold the objective, since I didn’t think that the M’thralls would be alive the following turn.  D. managed to hit one of the Freebooters and toss it up into the shallows like a speared fish, whereupon all my bonejacks set upon it with a fury, doing it some severe damage.

Sophie’s surviving Sea Dogs massacred my  M’thralls and claimed the middle victory objective.  Shae popped his feat, moved everyone around a bit, then charged the Reaper (and one poor M’thrall), pulping the latter, and doing severe damage to the former.  The Mariner then charged and immobilized the Mariner with an anchor to the knees!  This left the leftmost objective unclaimed, but she still got a point for the central objective.


Edmund:  6     Sophie:  4


I still held one victory objective, and I only needed one point to win, so I knew the game was in the bag at this point.  Still, I thought I would play it out for my turn.  The Reaper tried and failed to pummel Shae, despite making no less than three attacks on him.  D. fed all her Focus points into her bonejacks, which proceeded to gnaw the Freebooter to pieces.  D. and the Skarlock went after the other Freebooter but didn’t scratch the paint.  My last point went in the bank, and the game was over.

Victory Points

Edmund:  7     Sophie:  4


There were a lot of little errors in the game, but really only one big one – leaving the two Freebooters without focus points for the entire game turned a major threat to my right into something that was not nearly so worrisome.   Had Shae left the Mariner over by the victory objective and headed over to back up the Freebooters, their rather nasty claws could have made short work of my Helljacks with a couple of boosted attacks and boosted damages.

On the other hand, I used Wraith Witch Deneghra really poorly.  I should have had her in the thick of the fight between the M’thralls and the Sea Dogs, scooping up corpse tokens and turning them into a factory worth of Focus points.  As it was, I never got a single corpse token throughout the game.

Other small mistakes I made included the terrain set-up, and a) taking a Reaver in the first place, b) having taken one, not sending it after Shae.

I learned that my M’thralls can really tear the living hell out of anything they get into combat with, but they had best do it quick because they won’t last long in a counter-attack.  The Necrosurgeon did nothing, and will need to be more heavily protected in the future.  My Bonejacks performed superbly, as they always do.  Sophie’s Sea Dogs are far more dangerous than I thought they would be, particularly those Marksmen.  Shae seemed to be a bit costly for what you got for him.  His feat was pretty weak compared to D’s, but he did seem pretty lethal in combat – certainly he was having more luck beating up my Reaver than D. was beating up his Freebooter.

Post Script

I made two errors in army design – one actually illegal, and the other one legal but probably a bad idea.

First, I should not have fielded Wraith Witch Deneghra.  As an Epic caster, she should only be available for armies of 750 points or more.  This probably wasn’t decisive, since I didn’t bond her to any of my ‘jacks and used her really poorly throughout the game.

Second, I should have given Sophie the Commodore Cannon.  It isn’t required, but you can only take it with Shae, so in retrospect it seems like a pity not to have fielded it, and given that Shae is an average Warcaster it might have been better to drop one of the Freebooters, or at least downgrade it to a lighter ‘jack, so his Focus points could be spread a little less thinly.

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