Office Block

At the start of the month, I posted a photo from a battle with this building dominating the centre. Here’s a bit more about how it was built.

Large building scenery


It all started about 15 years ago with the roof, which is a base for a pair of ERTL tie fighters. I based them up separately, which left this big plastic rectangle covered in interesting detail. Hmm, I thought, that would make a great element for a building. At the time I was into the idea of Cyberpunk era skirmishing, so I decided to do a generic modern building. I built the


Foamboard corners

The walls are all built from 5mm foamboard. The regular sizes of the columns made it very quick – just slice it up with a metal ruler and a scalpel. To make the corners neat, cut one piece 5mm ‘too big’, so it overlaps the other, then cut a strip off the back so just the outer skin remains. This will then cover up the cut edge of the other piece. From the top, it should look like this diagram.

To hide the most prominent cut edges, I used mounting board rectangles for all the window cills. To add a bit of interest I stuck corrugated card on the panels between the windows (you can get this from craft shop – unlike cardboard boxes, it only has a ‘skin’ on one side of the wavy bit.

After I had built the walls, there was then a pause of a decade or more until a few weeks ago when I decided that I’d really like to see it finished.


This is 10mm mesh – you can get it from building suppliers like Wickes. You’ll need a strong pair of sidecutters to cut the heavier gauge like this. It also makes great ladders if cut in a single strip. I’m a big fan of balconies on buildings as they make them much more interesting when used in a battle.

Inside building


The main body of building has a removable floor. This makes it accessible and also means that it can have more scenery stored inside it (I’m always looking for ways to make scenery pack down. The floor is also foamboard with mounting board edging around the central hole.


These stairs are free standing, so they can also be used with platforms etc. The landing is just large enough for a 25mm base, and they are made from foamboard and mounting board. These were the fiddliest part. The stairs themselves have a foamboard ‘ramp’ underneath, then I folded a strip of heavy gauge paper (thinner than card) in a concertina style and stuck it on with PVA, smearing it the full length of each ‘ridge’ so that it was held very firmly to the foamboard underneath. This was much quicker and neater than making separate steps.


The concrete parts of the building were all painted with a textured emulsion. This has a lot of body to it, so it’s good for covering cracks, and it also gives a much more substantial look when painted. Everything was painted with emulsion – colours used were black, very pale cream, brown, turquoise (used on the stairs and interior floor). Emulsion is much, much cheaper than acrylic, and for something like this is just as good.

I didn’t add much detailing – signs etc because I was trying to stick to the bare essentials. and also it makes it more generic. This could serve for pretty much any period from WW2, to post-apocalyptic, to Necromunda. Here survivors deal with a typical zombie infestation. Figures from left to right are: 2 Wargames Factory zombies, 2 Copplestone Castings zombies, a converted GW Delaque ganger and an engineer from my Warfactory range.

Woodcutter’s son

“Make the boy see sense”, she turned to her husband in desperation. “I just want to make something of myself, that’s all”, her son retorted “that Tom from Top Farm bought Betsy ribbons at the fayre. Where am I going to get money like that if I stay here?”.

“At least trees won’t fight you back, or take your fingers with the cold. And Frank’s brother came back, but he’s not been right in the head since. Doesn’t sleep all night or say a word that a person can understand”

Woodcutter’s son

Sometimes when you are painting a model, a story comes into your head, and it was definitely the case with this one. He’s from the Frostgrave soldiers box, and I love this head with the woolly hat – it’s so basic and so real. He’ll serve as a Thug (doesn’t really seem the right term for him). I imagine him in the inn with the hard bitten veterans, trying to keep up with the drinking and waking up with a sore head.

Romans and Goths

Couple of units of Romans with some Gothic cavalry. The spearmen with the spoked shields have been done for ages but they finally got their rear rank of archers. The other unit is newer – don’t think I fancy painting another 70-odd faces for 36 figures! Started these before getting some LBM shield transfers. Think I’ll use those next time. Romans are a mix of Foundry, Gripping Beast and a few West Wind. I have padded the bases to disguise the difference in stature between the manufacturers.



After a lazy few months – health not so good – thought I would finish off a few figures that have been sitting around with a few daubs for some time. I think they are Reaper figures, but could be wrong. Guy with the mace is a bit awkwardly posed – although that could be because he thinks he’s going to trip over the book I’ve put in front of him! Favourite is probably the Half-Orc druid – the tattoo comes from a 4th edition D&D idea, so it shows how long that has been waiting to be finished. Dried green tea leaves make good litter, and the toadstools are made of cocktail sticks and milliput.


My painting rules for 2017 have been bent a little (see New Year post here), in that I’ve been painting a load of Antares stuff for Rowan, that isn’t in the tray.  But I have also finished this unit which was in the tray at New Year. They too belong to Rowan and were a combined effort in that he did three and I did the rest, and to his credit, it’s not easy to spot which his three were, even close up.

Bloodletter Unit

These are from the current Games Workshop kit, which was an impulse buy from a little toy and gift shop called Dizzyware in Bingham (I’m sure they could do with your custom if you live that side of Nottingham). I’m not keen on a lot of the current GW ranges, but there’s a lot to like about these, specifically:

  • They aren’t burdened with enormous guns, massive helmets, skull ornaments etc etc.
  • They aren’t hugely over-muscled, but lithe and swift looking.
  • They have a standard bearer and musician (that one on the right is carrying a big wiggly horn – it doesn’t seem to have any valves, so I don’t think he produces music in the normal sense of the word).

Bloodletter Command Group

The banner is based on the Donnie Darko rabbit – after a sarcastic suggestion that I should paint a ‘bunny’ on it. Well, will a Satanic rabbit do? The film one has characters making up the face, which I replaced with generic faces and a skull, otherwise it’s more or less a direct copy, although I wasn’t as successful as making the faces part of the head as I wanted. Probably a lot easier in Photoshop…

More Bloodletters

They are quite similar models, so to give them some variety and stop a Chaos unit looking too orderly, they were painted in a good range of skin tones, from the almost black one at the front to the brighter reds at the back. Their upper body is covered in small lumps, and these were painted in different colours on different models, some bright red, some the same tone as the surrounded skin and some in a sort of bone colour. The glistening red which you can see on some of the hands and weapons is translucent red paint for glass, which is conveniently water based and gives a much more realistic blood look than ordinary red paint. I’ve tried not to go to mad, with just a few dribbles on the weapon blades etc.

Bob Olley hybrids

Another couple for the growing cult. These are the fantastic Bob Olley sculpts with new plastic arms. The one on the right spent a couple of decades in the corner of the cabinet with the original hybrid arms and an autocannon. Just didn’t suit him and he languished half painted and unloved (albeit with the natty red trousers).

Bob Olley hybrids

As part of the “get all the Genestealer stuff done” drive, I stuck spare Neophyte arms on and was really pleased with the results. The one on the left’s shoulders are perhaps a bit broad, but I think it adds to his air of hulking menace.

I’m not keen on some of Bob Olley’s stuff, but his baroque highly decorated weirdness suits these down to the ground. Look at those crazy metal jacket things at the back – how did Bob come up with those shapes?

Frostgrave worm

“Begone, foul hell spawn”. A somewhat outclassed apprentice tries to see off this looming menace with a newly memorised bit of magic.

Frostgrave worm – model from Ramshackle

One of the more unusual monsters in the basic Frostgrave rulebook is the Giant Worm. I’ve been trying to collect up all the monsters and bits for the scenarios in the original book (yes, I am getting left well behind as more get released, but you have to be realistic).

I painted it purple because that’s what I remembered the book as describing it as, but revisiting it, there’s no mention of colour. I think I must have been thinking of a D&D purple worm.

A lot of people have used more dragon-like creatures, but this maggoty thing from Ramshackle Games is just perfect. The bestiary says “They were originally bred to clean the city’s sewer system, devouring all of the waste“, so a bloated, blind creature, with a mouth like a waste disposal unit, fits the bill, and for £5, it’s good value for something that can tower over a luckless adventurer.

Ramshackle Slag Dragon Maggot


Genestealer hybrid with flamer

Last year Rowan bought a box of Deathwatch Overkill to form the basis of a hybrid army. The Neophyte and Acolyte boxes have further swelled their numbers, but that still wasn’t enough, and there are plenty of spare parts on the sprues. So, to supplement the hybrids in mining gear, we’ve also been doing some cultists – rich purple robes, a bit more ragged and mysterious. This one is based on a spare cast from my own range.

Genestealer hybrid with flamer

I took the head off with side cutters, pinned on a spare plastic hybrid head and then added a green stuff hood to fill the gap. A little bit of ‘genestealer pattern’ in light blue livened up an otherwise fairly plain model. He also had a very normal looking foot protruding from his robe, so I whipped that off and replaced it with a claw.

The original cast

Antares battle at Warlord HQ

Rowan and I went to Warlord Games HQ in Nottingham for their fortnightly Antares games night last night. They are open till 8.30pm and there are four tables available, such as this rather nicely sculpted desert. We played two games, which were against each other as we were first to set up, but all four tables were in use by the end, one for Bolt Action. Ghar seem very popular, being 3 out of the 4 armies on the other tables. In our first game I took 750 points of the store’s Algoryn army and faced off against our newly painted Ghar.

Algoryn prepare for the onslaught

I took the Algoryn, who are heavily armoured, but their base guns use mag technology which isn’t as good as the plasma weapons that Concord have. Critically their penetration is too weak to cause pins on the Ghar battlesuits, so they are reliant on the Ghar rolling a zero on a d10 when hit (not very likely). Rowan fielded 3 squads of battlesuits and a squad of outcasts with a disruptor cannon. His outcasts (being puny goblin creatures) dug in at the back in some rocks, while the Ghar trundled forward, my mag rounds pinging off their armour.

A lucky shot from my command group took down one Ghar on my right flank, but other than that I caused no casualties. In the following turn the command group was obliterated when a Ghar shot deviated from its intended target of the skimmer. The skimmer which carried my only substantial weapon spent most of its time ‘down’ and didn’t do much. The game ended on turn 6 when I lost over half my command dice and my army broke altogether. Total Ghar casualties – just one battlesuit.

Ghar close in on their luckless victims

In the next game Rowan took the Algoryn and I used Concord. This time we played a scenario in which I had to capture at least 2 out of 3 objectives on his back line. I had 4 Concord squads plus two support squads consisting of two light support drones. All had buddy drones – these are spotters which allow you to re-roll any misses, which makes them very useful but they do die immediately if your opponent rolls a 1 (low is good) when firing at your unit. I hung back and used my superior firepower to blast him. Again the Algoryn skimmer didn’t do much. It got pinned and then rolled badly to activate several times. The Algoryn right flank was weaker, so I concentrated fire there, putting just enough fire on the other flank to interfere with their firing. One Algoryn squad was destroyed and another seriously weakened. I had lost the odd trooper and quite a few buddy drones, but was winning the firefight. With time running out, one Concord squad started to rush forward but took a couple of casualties and went down near the Algoryn troops, however, with supporting fire from another undamaged squad, it got back up again and sprinted for the first objective on the far right of the Algoryn line. With one turn to go, I had to clear his command squad and advance the depleted lead squad into the middle of his deployment area. Some lucky shots blew away the two troopers and his general failed his break test, so my squad could sprint to the second objective and secure a last minute victory.

All in all a good game, and we might well be back in two weeks time.


Antares arrives

Not many posts recently – I’ve been busy, so here’s a quick update. I’ve finally finished off a massive building that I started around er, 15 years ago. It could do with more detailing etc. etc. but I thought it was best to just press on and get it finished.

I’ll post a bit more detail on how it was made soon. I’m particularly pleased with the staircases (which can’t be seen in the photo).

Rowan has bought the starter set of Gates of Antares, after being inspired by our visit to the official opening of the Warlord games store a  couple of weeks ago. We’ve already painted the entire contents of the box – 38 models. The style is much more hi-tech sci-fi than the techno barbarity of 40K, so a bit of aesthetic culture shock at first but I’m warming to it. The drones which are used quite extensively for spotting, are a great addition to the usual selection of sci-fi infantry and are very believable as part of future warfare.

Ghar advance

Here you can see two squads of Ghar (degenerate, savage abhumans in primitive powered armour), advancing to crush some luckless Concord (conventional humans) in the distance. The rules play well – they are fast, a small game can be finished in an hour, but there are a reasonable number of tactical options. The turn order is decided by randomly picking dice out of a bag – whichever side’s colour comes out, they can activate a unit. Units become pinned when shot at, making it harder to move them and less effective when firing, and if subjected to enough incoming fire can break even before everyone has been killed. Another neat rule is that a natural roll of 1 (low is good) is always a success and often carries some bonus over and above just succeeding – e.g. if you roll a 1 to hit a unit, you can choose the specific unit member to hit, so you can pick off a leader or heavy weapon. Likewise if you roll a 0 (=10) then you well and truly fail, and may take an additional penalty. This adds an extra layer of unexpected outcomes without too much complexity.

Having been used to skirmish games where scenery is WYSIWYG, and each model manoeuvres independently, Antares, being very much squad based, feels a bit imprecise, but it is just a different scale of battle and at that scale it seems to work very well.