Modelling Monday: Warhammer conversion – Boyz to Tankbustas!

Hello dear reader!

On Saturday, you’ll see that we uploaded a little sneak peek of a modelling project I’ve been working on. I get these into my head every now and again. I absolutely love warhammer and lately I’ve had a lot more time to be able to commit to the hobby; as such I’ve been opening my Bitz Box and upgrading my Orkz!

The idea for this build was to make myself some Oddboyz; the Ork specialists who fill in the gaps in your army and allow you some more tactical flexibility, which I love. I looked at my options and there was a massive hole in my anti-armour capabilities for my Orks, so I took a look at buying some Tankbustas, only for my wallet to run away screaming when it found out that they were 25 British Pounds for five…merely half the number I wanted.

So I scoured my horde of Boys, did some likely recruiting and decided to arm them with some Kustom Dakka. It must be said that I did have to strip the unit of 5 Flash Gitz that I have never fielded to the table, but those Freebootin’ Gitz aren’t my style anyway, oh and one of them is now my Warboss (You’ll have to wait and see for him!)

For this build I utilised the above, some cold-weld plastic glue, superglue for the resin bitz, a few WarmaHordes gribblies as counts-as squigs, my trusty pliers and my craft knife. Now I’ll show you the result and talk a little bit about ’em!

We’ll start with the Boss nob for the unit; he’s now looking stylish with a new Rokkit Launcha arm, old-style bosspole from a painboy past and a dangerous looking waspy rokkit to scrag ‘oomy tankz.

This brave Git is one of two I made, he’s armed with a Kustom Tankhammer I made from a heavy ThunderHammer. The Rokkit attached to the end is an upturned power-mace with a sprue tip – tasty!

Look at these cute and deadly little fungus-dogs. We’ve strapped some suitably dangerous-looking SquigBombs to their backs and trained them to run towards Tau Tanks. The Bomb Bitz are made from cut off SnazzGun bitz, a Tau Missile Pod and a Tanbusta Bomb. I’m proud of these little fellaz!

Who deasn’t love Rokkit Pistols?? I conveniently had two Boyz who had been converted previously with two Sluggas, so I didn’t have to do much to these guys to get them looking the part, the Rokkits are from the Flash Gits’ Snazzguns again, so much potential in that kit.

This Lad has a storied history, I originally got him with a Rokkit Launcha that I converted into a Big Shoota. Now he’s back where he wants to be with another inverted powermace Rokkit!

These are the rest of the Tankbustas, just armed with Rokkit Launchas converted straight from the stripped down SnazzGunz. Don’t tell the Freebootas that we Nicked their Gubbinz!

So there you have it, a unit of 10 Tankbustas, salvaged and cobbled together in true Ork Fashun from Bitz and Know-Wotz for less than the price of a second class stamp. I’ll be throwing them towards very large vehicles whenever I can. They can deal out a whopping 200+ wounds in two turns thanks to Ork Stratagems. I cannot wait to see the look on an intrepid Titan-commander’s face when my Gitz Skrag his Shiny!

I’ll be uploading another mini-project next week, so stay tuned!

P.S. As a disclaimer, I know my painting is bad, these were rushed to make them look atleast fieldable, I will eventually clean them up!

Warhammer 40K And The Joy Of Making

Hello dear reader!

I have been busy over the last few weeks. In my previous post, I made various statements about what me and Emma wish to do this year. All of this has been pulled into sharp focus over the last week or so as I have been battling a furious illness, but I’m now on the mend!

What I’m here to talk about is my love of Warhammer, specifically 40K, which has somewhat taken over my life of late. There is a gaming cafe quite close to me that opened midway through last year and for the longest time I have wanted a place to go to play my games, specifically Warhammer. I noticed that while they had a limited stock they didn’t really have a time or place for people to play the game.

So, I approached them at the end of last year to basically volunteer to start a “learn to play Warhammer” session on tuesday evenings and it’s going amazingly well! Every time I arrive with my models, there are more people wanting to learn and to get their models onto the table; to me, it just shows that if you just give people the opportunity, they will show up and participate.

This has led to me investing a bit more time and money into my armies. I collect Orks and for the longest time, this was the only army I did collect, but in the interest of having two armies, one for me to play and one to loan out, I have started a Deathwatch army.

deathwatch army painted undercoated
First pass on undercoating, almost ready to purge the Xenos.

I’ve never collected an Imperium army before and I wanted one that would cater to my needs: low model count(because Orks), high special abilities and lots of customisation options. I also had ten random terminators hanging around so something that would allow me to utilise them would be handy.

I must say, I think Deathwatch are one of the most fun armies I have ever had the pleasure of modeling and playing. Because the lore of the army means that they are special forces with a predilection towards fighting aliens (and equipping stolen alien technology, it gave me loads of scope for kitbashing and making MY DUDES; so I have been having a great time snipping, gluing and tweaking to get them just as I want them. They are so fun to play on the battlefield too.

bitz box crafting custom open toolbox
My box of tricks!

Next, I need to convert one of my terminators into a chaplain, I think I’m going to try and record the process and put it on our youtube channel, follow the link below and subscribe to check that out when I upload it in a day or two!

terminator model conversion project
His devotion will be tested once I snip him into shape!

Until next time, have fun and be happy.

My First Cross Stitch – A Review

I have long been searching for a crafting hobby, a hobby that creates a result that appeals to both me and my family. I like to have a reason for spending time on things, which has limited me in the past (and still), so something that has a use is preferable to me. Last year I decided to get stuck in to knitting. I loved the idea of making jumpers and other items of clothing for both me and John as we as family. But it was not to be. After making a few things, including a blanket you will get to see in one of the following pictures, I noticed that my wrist hurt quite badly. So that put a stop to my knitting dreams.

Next I took a stab at needle felting, but the fibres get everywhere, I couldn’t quite get the hang of creating the result I wanted.

So nearing the end of the year I was feeling at a loss, I love to create things and give handmade gifts but I was just struggling to figure out what I wanted. Until, while watching a TV programme I saw something that tickled my fancy, cross stitch. It was on an episode of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, a contestant was making an advent calendar made of little hoops of cute cross stitch. And that was that, it triggered something and I knew that it was something that I could get my teeth into. But first I had to test whether my wrist was up to the task and that is where this kit comes in.

John, the wonderful husband that he is, took me to Hobbycraft and let me wobble back and forth for a long time between the many kits until I settled on this little Alpaca.

The kit plus an embroidery hoop

The kit comes with the threads (aka floss), a needle, the fabric flag and the wooden rod with which to hang the finished flag, as well as a little booklet containing the pattern and some instructions. Oh, and six little orange tassels to adorn the finished item.

The beginning of the project was a little difficult. Finding the middle proved to be tricky and the chart was a little unclear for me but once I was started it went well (though, I miss calculated the middle and had to shorten the legs!).

alpaca cross stitch in progress
Working on a cross stitch alpaca

Initially I used a hoop, but found it very annoying to use my needle inside such a small diameter and the design was a pain in the arse to get on. So after a little while I went freehand.

The finished Alpaca

It took me a few days to finish the kit, and it was fun. I got a bit excited an popped on the tassels before ironing it so I couldn’t get the ring out but, to be honest, I quite like the placement of it, I might add a ring of flowers along the line at some point.

And the best bit of all was I had no pain in my wrist! Which means that I can get into cross stitch fully! Although the product of cross stitch is decorative, I love the range which can be accomplished and I have ideas for my own patterns.

Now, to the kit as something that others may want to buy, I think that it is a cute design and the idea is great. However, the quality of the kit is a little lacking, well my particular kit. The flag was glued a little sloppily and fraying at points and there was a black mark I couldn’t get off. The outer packaging was also damaged, but that could be customers rather than the kits fault.

For a first kit, I think it would be good for someone who has watched videos on cross stitch and doesn’t mind fudging the design a little if they get it a little wrong. It’s good practise.

So that is my first cross stitch and my first review. I hope that it was somewhat informative and interesting to read. Let me know if there is anything that you would like to see, or format changes etc.

Coming up in 2020 are more reviews, short stories and my adventures into bullet journaling. I’ll see you soon!

Worldbuilding – A Journey Into Scifi

I’ve been working on science fiction stories for a long time, and with that comes the desire to support your ideas with as much flesh as you can. Scifi is a strange genre simply because by its very nature it requires more thought and exposition; the context in which you place your stories can in fact end up being the entire substance of those stories. This means that wherever possible, you need to be able to recall an interesting piece of galactic lore, or try to simulate grand politics in an interesting and engaging way.

This is where worldbuilding comes in. The pursuit of spending inordinate amounts of time on crafting a setting is all about creating a context which can organically make your stories come to life; as a dungeon master for many DnD groups through the years, there is nothing more annoying, or so able to break the flow of a story, as being unprepared for a twist. As a writer, when you’re actually writing your story, you don’t necessarily know where it’s going to go when you’re writing it. This is one of the joys of writing; with your notes you can set little milestones in your story, winding avenues where you know your characters must end up, but it’s those misty in-between parts where your instinct and indeed cunning as a writer must shine through.

Incidentally, you can make yourself seem a lot more skilled and a lot more cunning if you do most of the work in your setting beforehand, and that’s why we’re here; you want a nourishing soup of interesting facts and lore to draw from when you’re putting your characters in compromising situations.

Anyway, I began the journey into my setting a few years ago when I was working nights at my old job. I had some cleaning and restocking to do, I worked on my own, but after that I had atleast 2 hours a night to do whatever. Over the course of a few months to a year, I filled first an A6 notebook with tons of ideas for a history, then an A4 notebook that codified everything for me; in here I went into a ton more detail and actually wrote out the timeline for my setting’s history and fleshed out some of the more interesting ideas I had for the landmark events that really defined the setting.

Something that really stuck with me was a piece of advice I believe said by Jim Butcher – the writer of The Dresden Files. I will now butcher (no pun intended) that advice by paraphrasing it: “Ask yourself when you’re writing your story, whether you’re setting it at the most interesting time in your history, because if not, why not? Why would your reader want to hear second-hand about that interesting event rather than read it?”

The reason I bring this up is because these “interesting events” are what you should be looking out for when you begin worldbuilding; it’s these that should naturally turn into your stories. You’ll know them when you find them.

I’m writing scifi, so I began my setting’s history at the time when the timeline diverged from our own – conveniently, this was around the present time at which I was writing it, so 2017. I then went forward crafting a history which would catapult humanity to the place I needed it to be to have humans in my story. I went back and forth quite a lot on whether I should make humans the focus, or aliens; personally, I love the idea of aliens, but felt in the end that it would end up being more relevant if humans were the “main protagonists”. I actually go back on this later, but this decision paved the way for some really key decisions in my worldbuilding.

So after going through year by year, then decade by decade and eventually century by century, I got the the “present day” of my setting; this is the time in which all of the stories that take place in my setting will happen. At this point, I revised all the history which had been laid down and highlighted some of the more key moments: many battles and tactically interesting maneuvers took place in the huge upheval that brought humans forward and I wanted to make those events reference points from which I could craft exposition later on.

I also finalised who and what will be the main players in my story and every time I inserted another main player or race, I had to go back and quietly slot them into the story, or make a reason as to why they weren’t in it up until that point; it’s all quite a challenge, but incredibly fun when you feel like a decision you’ve made about your setting really clicks and creates some amazing ideas you hadn’t seen before.

For instance, I wanted a robotic race in my setting; I think the idea of AI is being explored more and more, so I’d love to be able to do some of that in my stories. Now, because I had waited until I had most of the history written before I put them into the setting, I had to figure out a reason why they were removed from most of the galactic history I had up until this point (almost 500 years). I did this by coming up with a little conceit – that they came about by accident: humanity, once they had conquered most of the galaxy, sort of began forgetting about most of the pusuits they had undertaken over the years. Humans had so many resources that they could open a huge mining operation for instance, then when it turned out not to be profitable, instead of taking all the robots and machinery with them, they just left it.

A group of scientists were studying a curious type of crystal that only seemed to exist in this obscure system at the edge of known space, the whole team end up dying from a radiation burst from a nearby star; this radiation burst also energises the crystals and kick-starts their sentience. They then access all the records from the scientists, learning earth’s history and also the plans of the scientists, namely that if this experiment were to result in sentience, they would dispose of the crystals and the budding life within. Eventually this crystalline race who are able to interface with technology reach out and discover the robots and primitive AI which had been discarded wantonly by the humans.

I came up with all of this after about 70 percent of the history of my setting was complete and it ended up being a hugely influential part of the story. To me, this just goes to show how having an idea and taking it to it’s logical conclusion, even if you believe that you might be “shoe-horning” your idea into the setting, is worthy and should be pursued.

I hope this little dive into how I crafted by scifi setting was interesting. I’ll be working on all of this for my upcoming entry into NaNoWriMo.

See ya!