Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Belated Return

Greetings, and a very late new year to you all!

Well, I'm thoroughly glad the shit show that was 2016 is over, and I have the semi-blank slate of a new year to look forward to. The back injury and surgery really ruined 2016 for me, and I accomplished almost nothing professionally or personally because of it. But this year will be different...right?

So what's on the agenda? Well, hobby stuff for sure. There are some projects that have been stewing in my head for far too long, and I'm anxious to get them out, and post on a more regular basis. My very first priority though is a figure that is embarrassingly overdue to the ever-generous Brothers Wier:

In addition, 2017 is the year that I return to writing for money. I really haven't written anything meant for sale in a long time, and I think this is the year to get back to it. I have a rather large project in the works, and I'll be supplementing it with some shorter pieces here and on the fiction blog, so keep your eyes peeled.

I'm really looking forward to making this year a successful return to the things I love, and I want to thank all of the old followers of the blog for sticking around, and extend a very grateful welcome to those who have recently joined.

Thanks all!

Friday, June 10, 2016


Just a quick update to fill people in on what's happening with the blog.

The saga of my mysterious leg/hip/back injury is finally seeing a proper end, thus marking a finish to the major impediment to my progress on both hobby and professional work.

To recap; excruciating pain and a sudden inability to walk at the end of January resulted in the wild misdiagnosis of a dislocated hip joint by a doctor who fancied himself a budding chiropractor, when in reality he should have never gotten a license to practice medicine in the first place. A month later, an orthopedic specialist made a second diagnosis that while still inaccurate, was a very likely cause to the pain, and at the time was the right call to try the easy cure first before going too far into more serious treatments. When that didn't work, we went into the heavy stuff, and an MRI showed the actual cause to the previous four months of pain as being a ruptured disc in my lower back that was crushing the nerve cords that ran down my hip and leg.

Well, earlier this week I underwent spinal surgery to fix the problem, and the change is remarkable. With the removal of the hemorrhaged disc material over the nerve, the fire and bone-numbing ache that ran down my leg and hip was turned off like a light switch, and now the only real discomfort I have is from the incision point over my spine, which is minimal. A little bit of a stiff back, but the only thing I need to worry about anymore is the movement restrictions I have to follow to ensure that everything heals up nicely.

The bad news is that those movement restrictions make it really tough to physically do much hobby work (or anything else for that matter), and the constant fog of heavy, but pleasant drugs keeps my head wrapped in a warm cottony haze, and I just don't trust myself to do any sharp-implemented modelling or detailed painting. For me to even be this coherent in a blog post is a struggle. So for now, I'm simply plotting and planning my next moves.

Professionally, I'm taking the time to do as much careful (because of the meds) research as I can for a couple of new book ideas that I'll start in on once my head can clear. One, a lighthearted take on some disturbing occult shenanigans, and the other a delve into a genre of gothic grimdark I haven't seen anyone tackle yet. I'm also looking over a couple of stories to be reworked, and a a couple of old  short story ideas I need to develop to put on the fiction blog.

Hobbywise, my first priority is to finish the Kingdom Death Survivor challenge given to me by the Wier Brothers - I've had this damned figure sitting on my desk for months, and I owe it to them to finally finish it up. Second, is to paint up both the Servo Magos and the Rogue Trader adventurer I've shown here on the blog, and start fleshing out their retinues. After that, I have a longform narrative I'd like to tell through a series of figures and warbands that I think would not only give me more toys to play with, but would be an interesting exercise in storytelling through miniatures.

For now, I'm off to enjoy my afternoon drug coma. Happy gaming everyone!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Index Astartes Apocrypha

Hooray for winning!

Today I got word from the fine fellows at Between the Bolter and Me that I have won their Twitter contest for a free copy of the Index Astartes: Apocrypha book, celebrating almost 30 years of the evolution of the Space Marine.

Seriously, what a joy.

This is an amazing looking book that for some reason I passed up on the day it was released, and I'm overjoyed to have a second chance at owning it thanks to the insane generosity of the Brothers Wier. You'd be hard-pressed to find nicer guys in the Inq community, and that's saying a lot because the Inq community is full of nothing but upstanding hobbyists who truly care about the art and function of both modelling and gaming in this weird corner of the 40K universe we all create in.

I've been playing GW games for almost 30 years, and through all of the White Dwarfs, rule books, and supplements I've collected over the years, I already have the vast majority of what's included in the Apocrypha, but even though my GW library is substantial, there are pages and artwork I've seen in previews of the book that are completely new to me - and that's incredibly exciting. I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

Many thanks to the Wiers, and Between the Bolter and Me, and if you haven't already you should follow their Twitter account to get some great sneak peeks and insight into what they're doing, and what inspiration fuels their work.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Imperial Space Marine 2016 - Rogue Trader

I remember when I first saw the Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader rulebook.

The year was 1988, and a few friends and I had already been playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd Edition, when one of the group pulled out his brother's copy of the Rogue Trader rulebook.

At that point, I didn't have a strong grasp of what the sci-fi genre offered beyond spacemen and aliens, and of course, Star Wars. At the time, I was firmly in the grips of the sword-and-board combat of Warhammer Fantasy, and I remember being offended when my friend said that his single terminator could take out all of our fantasy armies in battle at once. I mean really, who the hell did he think he was?

It only took a quick look through the book, and a sample battle at his house for me to put aside my undead army, and start collecting Space Marines.

The Rogue Trader rulebook was a revelation. It was dirty and mean; a science fiction where there were no heroes, only hard-scrabble adventurers whose existence depended on killing the other guy first. It was the wild-west in space, where anything was possible, including a mystical leader whose body was kept alive by machines and the sacrifice of thousands on a daily basis. It was nothing I had ever seen before. And the artwork? Blew my mind.

While the Space Marines became my bread and butter army-wise, it was the concept of the Rogue Trader that really captured my imagination. A no-holds barred space adventurer, the Rogue Trader was a true pioneer that lived and died by his own rules and cunning ways, eking out a living on the very edges of spacebound civilization. If there had been a good way to represent them on the tabletop, I would have run an RT force all the way, but sadly, to an 11 year old me, if it wasn't on the shelves at the game shop, the idea of creating that force myself just wasn't in my head as a possibility.

Over the years, with the release of Slaves to Darkness, I got a relative taste of what it was like to play with an independent force, although in the form of a chaos warband, and in Lost and the Damned, I got the closest to it with the Sensei warband, which I really wish had caught on stronger with players - so much untapped potential there.

How do you not love those kneepads?

I never had the original Imperial Marine figure, but when I saw the 30th Anniversary Imperial Marine, the retro Rogue Trader throwback styling of the figure rekindled a lot of those early feelings I had with the 40K RT rulebook, and I knew that I was going to buy it. I knew two other things: I was going to finally get the Rogue Trader figure of my dreams, and I was going to chop the hell out this thing.

The Brothers Wier over at Between the Bolter and Me, have done a wonderful job reviewing the figure, as well as making an unboxing video, so if you really want the lowdown in the figure itself, I encourage you to go check out their material on it.

As for my figure, I  began scouring my bits box and the entire range of GW products for inspiration on how to build my own adventurer, spurred on by my favorite piece of artwork related to the Rogue Trader archetype:


With a few bits in hand, a story began to take shape. I wanted a ramshackle, scrappy adventurer, that looked like he had been through the wringer on his travels, but had come out the other side with fists full of treasure. I wanted a legend - an individual, but a true representation of the archetype. A science fiction rogue with a dubious past, and ability without compare. Flash Gordon meets Elric of Melnibone.

A few more scrounged pieces, and some special order bits and I had my Rogue Trader. And...he got kind of weird.

Lost to the shifting timespace of the Warp for countless lifetimes, he reemerged into realspace carrying with him the trinkets, treasures, and trophies from centuries of adventures.

Okay, not exactly the typical Rogue Trader, but he's mine, and I love how insane he got at the end.

My favorite thing about him is the power armor itself. Not only are there some amazing details in the sculpt, but it's also man-sized. When I think of Space Marines now, I think artscale, so this model worked perfectly for the common man's powered armor, and has that look of some arcane pattern of armor made for personal use.

A few more details and some backstory, and I can call him done. Except for paint...I need to get back to painting...

Friday, February 26, 2016

Abandoned In Place

In lieu of hobby progress (Damned leg is still on the fritz, and an altered diagnosis is sending me to physical therapy), I thought I'd a share a bit of terrain, and world-building inspiration.

From his upcoming book, Abandoned in Place, Roland Miller is photographing abandoned space and military facilities around the U.S.

Caught in various stages of decay and industrial-death, Miller has captured some fantastic images that are easy reference for any table-building project for the hobbyist of the 41st Millennium.

Thank you obsolescence -  you've made my toys better.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Just My Luck

So January had seen my productivity and available time spent for hobby increase dramatically, with me not only getting multiple projects modeled, but notes, plans, and pieces collected to start on other projects as well.

I had finished the modelling on the AmmoBunker's January modelling challenge, with my Servo Magos (a figure I'm still immensely happy with), as well as bringing a project for the Brothers-Wier to almost 100% completion.

And then the hammer dropped.

For those following the blog, you may have noticed that I haven't posted for almost an entire month. Unfortunately, I sustained an injury that has brought pretty much everything to a grinding halt.

As I was working on all of the various projects, I started having some pain in my lower back and hip, that I thought was simply a pulled muscle. Over the next couple of weeks the pain increased daily until I finally had to see a doctor when on the final day I could no loner walk or stand up straight from severe pain. As it would turn out, somehow I had popped a joint in my pelvis and had been walking around for two weeks on a dislocated hip - specifically the SI Joint, which connects the hip to the tail bone assembly. What that means in practical terms is that it's excruciating to sit, stand, walk, lift anything, or do anything that makes life tolerable. Even lying on my back can send me into paralyzing spasms. What it also means is that the dislocated joint is prone to irritating the Sciatic nerve bundle that runs across it and down the length of the leg, making it feel like the muscles are being lit on fire and electrified at the same time as your bones are being beaten with a 10lb sledge. Fun stuff.

How is that possible? Well, I've grown up for most of my life doing farm work, construction, wrestled all throughout high school (breaking a rib and leg as a result), and am generally a tough and stubborn SOB who dislikes going to the doctor, and have grown accustomed to working through pain and writing off minor injuries. So, yeah...two weeks walking with a hip out of joint. I have no idea how it happened, but apparently it's more common than you would think for people who sit at a desk for long periods of time - something that I do in the other half of my daily life with office work and writing, and of course, hobby (a cautionary tale for all of us who spend too much time at the hobby desk).

So, I got the joint popped back into place and started taking a large course of anti-inflammatory and pain medication. Flash forward a week and a half later to this morning, and I'm back at square one with having to go back to doctor to have the joint put back in to place AGAIN. Frankly, I know I pushed myself too hard during the first recovery, so the blame rests fully on my shoulders for the relapse. I hate the concept of not being able to do anything and being a burden on those around me, so I know I generally did all of the things I shouldn't have, way too soon.

The Doc had to put the joint back into place twice (TWICE) this morning, and now I'm on an even stronger course of medicine to help with pain and recovery, and I'm essentially on near-bedrest for at least the next two weeks. Oh, and possible physical therapy for some time afterwards. Great.

I'm beside myself that after taking so long to get momentum back into a lot of things in my life (including hobby stuff) after the cross-country move, that now I'm completely stalled yet again. Really, pissed to no end.

Anyway, this isn't some boo-hoo, "looking for sympathy" thing, but for those few of you who follow the blog, I felt like I owed some kind of explanation. As soon as I can sit comfortably again for any real length of time, and my mind isn't totally fogged by strong drugs, I'm going to get back to the hobby stuff, and really try to get things here back on track for the year.

I hope you'll stick with me. Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 18, 2016

WIP - Servo Magos 2

Done with the building phase, now it's on to basing and paint.

I have to say, this model came together quickly and easily, where all of the design decisions just seemed to flow. Very little second guessing on parts, and everything just seemed to fit. Aside from the Cairn Wraith's robes, and a couple of bits from the Skitarii box (the Omnispex face and some hoses from a backpack), most of this was cannibalized from the Tech Priest Dominus model - an expensive figure to chop up, but considering the utility I got out of it, the sacrifice was well worth it.