Friday, 25 April 2014

Chain of Command Sale Now On!

TooFatLardies are currently holding a sale on all things Chain of Command. So now is the time to pick up some excellent rules, and the campaign supplement At the Sharp End, at a great price. I bought mine this morning, along with I Ain't Been Shot Mum and the sci-fi rules, Quadrant 13. I am very interested in using these various rules to play with my 15mm World War II stuff, as well as my 40k things. I must admit, I watch some really excellently produced battle reports on YouTube, especially by StrikingScorpion82, but I am convinced that these rules aren't nearly granular enough for me. 

Warhammer 40,000's "I go, you go" mechanism places a premium on gaining the first turn and pounding your opponent with you heavy guns. Winning is therefore a combination of luck and winning the initiative, as the enemy might not have much left after a heavy turn of bombardment. In reality, all action should be near simultaneous, and elements of the enemy force should be firing back or reacting to effective enemy fire by taking cover. If one couples this with the arms race that is Apocalypse, the game becomes horribly one dimensional. In a large Apocalypse game that SS82 recently filmed, a squadron of four Leman Russ battle tanks was destroyed by a single shot. This highlights two things, firstly, weapons can be horrendously powerful, and secondly, the table needs to be larger to allow armoured formations to spread and manoeuvre more effectively, but at 28mm scale the table would need to be far bigger. My advice, just play Epic.

I have said this many times before, but I am a huge fan of the 40k universe. I think it is the most popular Sci-Fi wargames setting for a reason, and as such I am loathe to leave it behind. However, nothing says I have to play using Games Workshop's rules, so I am going to see if I can't utilise the Quadrant 13 rules, and perhaps build my own bastardised ruleset. What I really would like is a more interesting activation sequence, probably card driven, to break the tyranny of the 40k turn sequence. The emphasis that Lardies rules place on "big men" also adds a sort of Rogue Trader-esque role-play element to the game which should make for an interesting narrative campaign. 

Monday, 21 April 2014

HPC 2014: Dark Angel Librarian Turmiel

I've been working away at this figure for a few hours over the last few weeks. The arrival of H's sister F and more recently her cousin J has meant that I have spent more time entertaining than painting. Still, we do what we can. I have now finished the first half of my May commitment for the Hobby Progress Challenge, next up will be Interrogator-Chaplain Seraphicus. 

Here are some shots of Turmiel, all done.

I am happy with the paint job. The robes posed a particular problem because of the heat and humidity here in Brisbane. Normally I can blend to my hearts content without an acrylic retardant, but my pain was drying super quickly. I don't have any retardant, so it was a little bit of a mission. Still, job done, and one step closer to a fully painted army, which is what the HPC is all about.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Rethinking my ACW Project

Lt. Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson, top left Redoubt 28mm, bottom right Perry 28mm.
Many a year ago I bought a Confederate Army pack from Essex miniatures with a mind to building the forces for Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862. My reason for wanting to build the forces for this campaign were that the forces required would be quite small compared to the larger engagements of the Gettysburg campaign, the biggest engagements saw forces of under 10,000 men on either side. This represents a great opportunity for the collector to begin with an attainable target to paint. I think if one settled on building forces for Gettysburg or Waterloo you would spend a lifetime collecting with little sense of accomplishment. Therefore, I decided to focus on a short campaign which lasted from late March 1862 to early June of the same year, with smallish forces that would be easier to collect. I based my build around the Fire & Fury rules in 15mm using the aforementioned Essex miniatures

Opening phase of the Valley Campaign. Wikipedia is useful to get the broad outline and is remarkably complete, but certainly it is worth reading more specialist literature on the matter. This is of course true of anything on Wikipedia.
The Valley campaign has much to recommend it, the smaller engagements being primary as the project aims to build a core of Virginian troops for use later in the war. This was also the campaign that made Stonewall Jackson's reputation, and from my reading on the subject, it is his ability to use the Shenandoah Valley to his advantage that allowed Jackson to distract Union forces away from the Peninsular campaign. So whilst the campaign is interesting in and of itself, its role in the wider conflict is very important. I face one massive problem though, as the years have gone by I have been less a fan of 15mm as a scale, and am enamoured of the stuff the Perrys have been producing, particularly their plastics. The great quantity of little vignettes that are available from the Perrys and Redoubt mean that the armies can be bulked out with nice little dioramas that add to the flavour of the period, such as field hospitals and camp scenes.

Perry Miniatures Ambulance.

Redoubt's Ambulance figure set.
As a result, I think that I am going to rejig my 15mm project for the Gettysburg campaign, I never got around to giving the units flags, so nothing needs undoing. The bigger battles will look good in 15mm, but I will now do the Valley campaign in 28mm with the Perry boxed sets. I simply prefer the look of 28mm on the table and with smaller engagements I think it really works well without looking ridiculous. Given that the Perry boxes give around 40 infantry, I reckon that if I split them in two and bulk them out with some loose metals it should result in units of around 20 odd men, maybe 24 depending on how I do it. What I would ideally like is some loose skirmishers per unit, which we will call regiments as that is how we will "flag" them. The skirmishers will look good in larger engagements and also allow for some individual figures for Sharp Practice games. The aforementioned diorama type figures will help fill out the table as I play smallish raids and scenarios, perhaps a daring group of soldiers attempting to seize back their captured commander from an enemy field hospital?

TooFatLardies even do an ACW supplement for Sharp Practice.
Of course, most of the above remains ephemeral until I actually get home, but I think with my general shift towards 28mm it is only to be expected. The shift in recent years towards releasing plastics to cover line units is a boon for the wargamer, my decision to go with 15mm was largely due to cost, but with army deal bundles of plastics there has never been a better time to start historical wargaming in 28mm. In that same vein, if one considers the fact that one can play TooFarLardies Chain of Command with one box of Perry Afrika Corps and one box of 8th Army plastics, we truly are spoilt. 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Games Workshop Website Relaunch

Games Workshop recently relaunched their website. I must admit that I prefer the cleaner look and the less cluttered feel. Additionally, the website is super responsive, and even features a mobile site. Another surprise was the limited edition figure that you get when you spend over £60. 

Copyright Games Workshop
Furthermore, when you get this chap you also receive a code that entitles you to order another exclusive figure when you next order. The cynics amongst us might snort in derision, "Look at Games Workshop forcing us to buy from them. *Insert rant about corporate greed*." I actually have no issue with this. GW have to compete with other retailers selling their own stuff at a lower price, and their new emphasis on exclusive figures, a no questions return policy and web exclusive figures, is a fresh break from simply trying to smother their own vendors. I suppose it is a more positive approach, trying to win business by offering the customer something that they can't get anywhere else. 

I was also pleased to see the rerelease of the Imperial Guard, or Astra Militarum. The new figures look exceptional, and the bundles on offer actually represent a saving. Well, certainly the Cadian Defence Force at £100 saves the buyer a few pounds. I don't know if it is really enough to stop me from buying from a independent who can probably save me more money, but it is good to see GW trying to understand that their customers expect a good deal from a bundle. 

As an aside, I don't have the new Astra Militarum codex. Firstly, I will continue calling them Imperial Guard, I understand why GW have rebranded them as Imperial Guard is impossible to defend as intellectual property, but the name irritates me. I have a degree in Latin, not the smartest choice career wise but there you go, and if you translate Astra Militarum it means something like "Stars of the Military" which is pure nonsense, in fact Militarum is nonsense and means nothing. I wouldn't be surprised if they used Google Translate. Now, I understand that high gothic in 40k is supposed to be a corrupted version of Latin, much like how Medieval Latin was a corruption of Classical Latin, but this irritates me so intensely that I will simply keep calling them Imperial Guard. 

I already have a large force of Guard, so I don't really need to buy anything. However, the codex is a must have so I will pick that up as and when I find the time. Suffice to say, I like where Games Workshop is going with the new website and the latest launches, they have also been active on YouTube which is really good to see. There are showcases of the new releases and also how to videos, which represents a nice shift away from charging you for that content either through White Dwarf or iBook downloads. Have a look at their channel you might be pleasantly surprised.

And here for good measure is my work in progress shot of Librarian Turmiel for my Dark Angels HPC.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Easter Edition

Another week where I haven't really got that much done. I saw off the radiant Lady H off to Blighty on Monday night, and am now alone in Australia. She has gone early for a whole bunch of work related things, whilst I wrap things up on this end. Hopefully by the end of April I shall board a steamer for Plymouth, and be reunited with her and the dogs, who have been billeted with parents in our absence. I suppose it is a small mercy that we didn't drag them along to Southern climes only to have to repeat the trip again. 
A tired Klongtjie.

Evie looking dashing.

The wolf pack.
Painting progress has been rather slow due to my work schedule which has been immensely busy in the run up to Easter weekend. I must admit that one of the things I miss most about Britain is my usual routine for Holy Week where I am at the Oxford Oratory almost daily. Easter is by far my favourite religious holiday, and I don't even do the whole Easter eggs thing. I suppose it is little certainties like these that we miss when we set off far from home.
The altars are stripped, the statues are covered.
I have managed to get some paint onto my Librarian for the Dark Angels project. Admittedly, he is nowhere near done. I have found it really hard to get his face done, as the gap I have to work with is so slight, but hopefully over the weekend I will find the opportunity to get him done. Once he is complete I will move on to the Chaplain figure I got with the limited edition Dark Vengeance set. He promises to pose a whole new challenge with the predominance of black and the smoke issuing from his back pack. I find that sometimes sitting and staring at the figure helps the brain figure out what to do with it, and for now I am still in that phase with Interrogator-Chaplain Seraphicus. 

Besides that, I am reading away as always, and returning to the Franco-Prussian War wikipedia article more than I should. I have also been thinking about creating some pages, like the excellent Arlequin's World blog, which collect information on completed armies and such in a fashion that is less ephemeral than a simple blog post. The plan is to do this systematically over a longish period, but probably only adding the photographs later when I get back to England so that I can do some decent shoots in a lightbox. Busy hands are happy hands.

The last thing I would like to do is wish you all a happy and holy Easter. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

How To Paint Lots of Miniatures, Quickly

Nothing looks more impressive than painted troops manoeuvring across a tabletop decorated judiciously with terrain. Blue coated Frenchmen facing off against white coated Austrians, with green trees, a shallow blue brook, and a few stone hovels dotted about, makes a game of toy soldiers come alive with colour and really fires the imagination. Conversely, nothing deflates the imagination quite as much as a bare table with little or no terrain, and worst of all, bare plastic cavorting atop it. Certainly, when we all begin we start like this, our keenness overcomes aesthetic qualms as we simply want to play, and no one would dream of curbing our enthusiasm. However, weeks turn into months, and while the horde of grey plastic continues to grow, there might be little evidence of colour creep, and, while highly abstract woods in the form of an irregular piece of white paper with "woods" written on it might have been charming when we first started, no one can doubt that it is starting to all look a little bit lame.

Some people are into wargaming for the games, others for the modelling, but like it or not, we must indulge in both in order to qualify as wargamers. Even if your idea of modelling is to pay somebody to paint your figures for you, you are still getting it painted. I would suspect that one of the main reasons for people leaving the hobby is their apparent inability to get things painted, and thumbing through an issue of Wargames Illustrated or White Dwarf only further compounds the problem as the bar is set monumentally high. The hobbyist paints perhaps a handful of marines, and then comparing it to the beauty seen in the magazines declares, "mine looks nothing like that!" And so frustration. I used to be of a similar demeanour, always berating my own painting skills in the face of a 'Eavy Metal paint job, until I took my first painted army to a Warhammer tournament. It was an Empire army and my palette consisted of whites, blue, red and oranges. There was nothing particularly fancy about it, I did no highlighting, just glazes and washes, and yet strangers were commenting how great it all looked. I was baffled.

It was around this time that I realised that no one actually picks up your models and appraises them under a magnifying glass. They really don't. It gets said elsewhere, in many hobby books, but it does demand repetition, your models are going to be viewed from about a metre away, most of the time. Also, they will mostly be viewed from the top down. By all means, lavish attention on that character stand or model, these are the models that get the attention, but the nameless spearmen, third from left in the second rank of that unit of Viking hirdmen is simply just not interesting enough to be noticed. So let's just get things painted! Admittedly it is a little harder with loose formation figures, like say Space Marines, since we feel that they are more to be appraised from various angles, whereas ranked troops are somewhat hidden from view. However, realistically nobody cares much for a tactical marine, so he just needs to be done. 

Method is Everything

I find that if I approach the painting of a unit in a methodical fashion it tends to get done quickly. I've seen some folks lay out a block of forty troops and paint them up one colour at a time. I must admit I prefer smaller chunks, although I can knock out 24 Napoleonic troops in almost no time largely because the poses and uniforms are so repetitive. 

These Old Guard Grenadiers painted up in no time. 
With the Hobby Progress Challenge this year I have been able to paint up a ten man Space Marine squad in two weekends, with no time spent on them during the week. And this hasn't been a case of spending my whole day at the painting table, but doing smatterings here and there. As you can see by the image below, the results are pleasing and means that in the space of three months, I have painted up three troops choices for my Dark Angels, which means I have the functional "spine" of my army done.

So how do I get this done? Well, firstly I get the ambience right, I've discussed this in a previous blog post. The next thing is to break the process down into manageable parts. These consist broadly of the following steps:

  1. Undercoating: I spray undercoat my figures on the sprue if they are plastics. And I almost always use grey, Army Painter do a good grey. I like grey because it is neutral and all colours adhere to it without the need for many coats. If I am painting miniatures with lots of white, I might use a white undercoat, but grey usually does the trick.
  2. Assembly: I hate this stage, I really do. In my opinion line troops don't need to have customisable arms legs and everything else. That said, it needs to be done, so I just get on with it. I always try and assemble with a view to how I am going to paint the figure. In the case of a space marine I will assemble the whole figure except for the shoulder pads. I know some people like to leave them in pieces and assemble after painting, but as a general rule, if you can't reach it with a paint brush you are not likely to see it. 
  3. Basing: Okay, here is the part where many people laugh at me, but yes, I do the bases before I paint the figures. I like to drybrush my bases, and it can be a little bit messy, the last thing you want is to hit your careful highlights with sloppy drybrushing. I might not flock the base at this point given that sometimes the base gets a touch of the highlight colours which can be cleaned later. 
  4. Basecoats: This consists of applying block colours to the miniatures. Our base colours, once this stage is done the model looks basically complete, if a little flat. 
  5. Washes: I hit almost every surface with an ink wash, this draws out the creases and gives the miniature some depth. With my Napoleonics, I apply quickshade dip at this stage. I know some people view it as cheating, but it really isn't any different from using inks. 
  6. Details: This is where most of the time gets spent, essentially finishing every model individually. At this stage I apply my highlights. I only paint one figure at a time at this stage, applying highlights in various areas continually so that it dries as I paint the next area so that I can return to it. 
That is it. Each step can be as simple or elaborate as you please, but speed is essential. What I tend to find is that up until step 5 everything gets done on a production line as those are the parts of the method suited to it. Once I reach my final step I essentially finish each model individually. If you follow this method, you will get results. I have spent years discovering this for myself. I read all the articles in magazines and on the internet, but splitting my painting process into a group/individual phase just made it all come together for me. 

What I hope to do soon is post an article on a specific example of a unit that I am painting, so that you can see the method in action step by step. However, I suspect this might only happen once I am back in the UK in May, so there will be a delay in all likelihood. However, this article has laid the foundation for our method and the reasoning behind it so that the step by step tutorials will make sense. 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

This Week in the Hobby 12/04/2014 - Donald Featherstone's Solo Wargaming

Titian's depiction of me at work this week.
Another week, and very little progress in terms of painting. I've spent the whole week down on the Gold Coast carrying rocks up flights of stairs. This has meant that I have been away from my tiny toy soldiers and unable to paint. However, time is never wasted, and in the meantime I managed to read Donald Featherstone's Solo Wargaming, which is an absolute must read for any wargamer. I think that even if you don't plan to play solo, most of the ideas in this book are so useful in a broader context that it is still worth reading. The chapters are broken down in such a manner that it acts as a sort of reference manual once you have read through the whole of it, allowing the reader to pillage whole parts of the book for ideas without wondering, "where did I read that?" Ideas such as chance cards, random activations, and randomised formations for reinforcements arriving are pure gold and add to the friction or randomness that make wargames less chess like and more subject to the vicissitudes of human behaviour. We can see Featherstone's legacy today in games like Sharpe Practice and Muskets & Tomahawks

I bought the Kindle edition from Amazon, have a look here.

The authors avuncular, conversational style means that I devoured this book without even realising the pace at which I was reading, admittedly it isn't a large book, but I was surprised by how quickly I got through it. This is a testament to the authors talent, rather than a criticism of length. Another great concept that he has is the idea of the campaign diary, which these days can be substituted by blogs or other online journals, but certainly one can take everything he writes on the matter and simply modernise it. This is the first of Featherstone's books that I have read, and I look forward to reading more. Sadly Donald Featherstone is no longer with us, but he has left behind a dearth of work which will, I am sure, provide me with ample hours of enjoyment over the years to come. I am now onto my next wargaming related read, which I will talk about once I have finished it. 

Beyond reading, I have also begun to flesh out my own "Imagi Nation". After reading back issues of Battlegames magazine and after having a look at some of the blogs about people's creations, I am smitten. The Emperor vs Elector blog is a sort of meta site that unites all the disparate Duchies and Margraviates, and is an excellent resource for an aspiring head of state. The modern period is also blessed with some excellent Imagi-Nations, such as  Bongolesia. VBCW (A Very British Civil War) which is supported by Solway, but has a life of its own, is another fertile seam to mine. Particularly if you would like to see your sleepy Hampshire village become a Free State. I found some rather excellent articles online that offer a great introductions to "imagineering" your own country, Arlequin's World's Imagineering an Imagi-Nation  and The Grand Duchy of Stollen's Bolster your imagi-nation.

I spent an evening dreaming up my little patch of land, with a history and some dramatis personae to fill it. I will probably start writing more about it when I return to the UK, but for now my mind is awash with ideas. Admittedly the element of wargaming that appeals to me most from a gaming perspective is the engagement of my imagination. One of the reasons I enjoy the 40k universe so much is the breadth allowed to players to create within it, but still being a part of something that other people are engaged in. After all, if I create a world that is just mine which cannot play nice with another gamer's, then I am only marooning myself. So I am filling my time away from my paints and brushes with bouts of writing, telling the histories and tales of the toy soldiers that bedeck my tabletop and populate my imagination. I was worried about the quality of this fiction at first, but I soon realised that I was actually just writing for myself. So, even if it is mediocre, or even terrible, that is okay, as long as I enjoy getting to know my own creations better. I hope to begin introducing you to them soon too.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Painting Units Quickly

Those who have been following my recent progress will know that I have been getting a fair bit of painting done. In fact, I was rather chuffed that I managed to get my April commitment for the Hobby Progress Challenge done before April even began. Now, I could write an article about my painting method, which I probably will, later. However, I find that the biggest barrier to getting units painted is in fact not a lack of opportunity or an inefficient method, but a lack of desire to sit there and get it done. The solution is that as painters we need to tackle the root of the problem, which is the ambience of painting.

The Ambience of Painting

Where do you paint?

I sit at this table, on this stool. It is surrounded by a very busy living room space and kitchen where people are always coming and going, the TV is on and it is never quiet. Back in the UK I have a little corner of my bedroom dedicated to hobby time. It has a quiet monastic feel, and I sometimes imagine myself sitting there like the Venerable Bede painting late into the night.

How I imagine I look when I paint.
The reality is that I prefer the peace and quiet of my own space, but I can't have it. So I have to adapt. My number one cheat is to twin actions with suitable ambient noise. When I am painting bases, or doing the initial assembly or basecoats or washes on a squad I tend to put a film or TV show on, something that benefits from my eyes drifting towards it every now and then. This also allows me to be more social and exchange the odd word with my housemates, because nobody wants to be that guy.

However, when I get to the finer detail stage and I am trying to focus entirely on the figure before me, I put my headphones on and choose a suitable podcast or audiobook to keep me company while I pick out details carefully. This has the benefit of locking out external noise, whilst still keeping my mind occupied. I suppose music would work equally as well, but I like to feed my mind while I focus my manual functions. For me painting miniatures is fundamentally a therapeutic exercise. It allows me to unwind and focus my mind, but not the entirety of it. This process is explained well in Robert M. Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" which really explores the virtue of actions like motorcycle maintenance or fishing on the mind. If you haven't read this book, please do.

Painting is systematic, no matter how creative or unique it appears, but the process of base layer, shading and highlighting, arranged in whatever order you choose, remains systematic or methodical. As a result my body is able to go through the process of painting a Space Marine without too much hassle for my active consciousness. What this means is that my active mind is free to roam, and in the presence of obtrusive ambient noise it can easily be distracted, thus pulling me entirely away from my painting. Therefore, to keep my focused on my task, but also to keep the active part of my brain occupied, I listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Here are some of my favourites, in no particular order:

  • The Ihnatko Almanac: Andy Ihnatko's eclectic meanderings across many subjects in his conversational style keeps me entertained for hours. Thoughtful and very listenable, he never fails to make me chuckle. He often talks about comics, films and technology, so things with broad appeal.
  • This Week in Tech: A panel show which does what it say on the tin. Some of Leo Laporte's guests are simply brilliant to listen to, especially Jerry Pournelle and John C. Dvorak.
  • Crippled System: A Warmachine/Hordes podcast. I listen to this largely for the banter, as I am not really dialled into the jargon of Warmachine. 
  • Meeples & Miniatures: I've mentioned this one before. If you like TooFat Lardies games then this is as close as an official podcast as you'll get! Rich Clarke is often on, and the broad range of games and periods that Neil Shuck tackles is a nice change from the narrow field of game specific podcasts. A little Kickstarter heavy at the moment, but that reflects the trend I suppose.
  • Grumpy Wargamers: A lot of grumbling about Kickstarter abuse on this one, I love it. The guests and hosts are really knowledgable, and one episode focussed on the cost of manufacture in wargaming, which I found dead interesting. This is an occasional podcast, but always worth the wait.
  • Fools Daily: These bite sized podcasts are excellent for that quick morning painting sesh, when the house is quiet and no one else is up. Armed with brush and cup of coffee it gives me a little dose before my day begins.
  • Malifools: Undoubtably the king of Malifaux podcasts. Mr. Marshall and his gang of ne'er-do-wells are good fun. The banter is great and the voices of mature wargamers who have been around the block are definitely worth listening to. I don't play Malifaux, though the figures can be sublime, but nothing makes me want to play more than this podcast. It often deals with the tournament scene, but what I like is that it doesn't suffer from the Bad Dice Podcast syndrome of having a highly competitive bent, but is heavily community centric. It pitches the Malifaux scene as a glorious cosa nostra that belongs to all, veteran and beginner alike.
  • Independent Characters: I have been listening to this podcast for a long time now, and love it so much that I listened to all the back issues. As a 40k podcast I was initially sceptical as to whether I would like it or not, but once I dove in I was pleasantly surprised. The hosts are great, they don't pretend to know everything, and their garagehammer attitude with a strong focus on narrative is right up my street. Again, very community focussed, with a very active forum. These guys host the Hobby Progress Challenge that gets people painting so for that alone they deserve praise.
  • Garagehammer & After Ullanor: Hosted by Mr. Witek and friends, these are long podcasts. However, I feel that they are very inclusive and Mr. Witek's rambunctiousness (can I use that?) and loudness is less serious and more fun than many podcasts. These guys are all about the fluff and the character driven game. After Ullanor is a subsidiary podcast which is the Horus Heresy book club. The treatment each book gets is very thorough, and I don't always agree with what the hosts say, but it has an air of inclusion that makes you feel like you are part of the conversation.
Here is just a selection of the "noise" that I use to help me get painting. Of course, I have omitted audiobooks, but those are another great source of brain food whilst painting. I hope that this short piece might help someone get things done with a brush, it works for me and there is no reason it shouldn't work for you.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

This Week in the Hobby 06/04/2014 - The Great Retreat

"If you have worked well - you will have good rest.
Well gentle reader, another week is past, and I have actually taken a little break from painting. One of my major fears, being that I am quite far ahead on my Hobby Progress Challenge, was that I would suffer from "burn out" and simply lose impetus. To combat this I decided to take a week off painting, and focus on reading instead. Mainly about the Seven Years War in North America, which of course leads me to desperately want to paint Canadiens and Provincials.

I also took the opportunity to take the dog for extended walks and go to the gym for longer, trying to make the most of the cooling weather here in Queensland. Which reminds me that I must announce that I am due to return to the UK in the next month or so, after a hunting trip to New South Wales. Basically, when I came to Australia I had a job lined up, that job has subsequently ratcheted down very casual hours, and then to almost nothing. I have tried to save the situation by applying for other work, but sadly that Australian market doesn't seem interested in someone with my qualifications and experience. Furthermore, my visa makes it more difficult to employ me. So, the result is that H and I will be moving back to the little island soon. Of course we are very disappointed that things in Australia didn't work out, but the experience has been second to none.

I feel like Crawford during the retreat from Corunna. Just imagine Queensland in the background.
Anyway, on the upside I will be reunited with my brothers in the Dark Pact, and might be able to get in some game time with those esteemed gentlemen. In the meantime though, I propose to make my May HPC commitment, and carry on painting.

I chose to do two independent characters now as I feel that I have been somewhat lacking on that front, what with three troops choices complete. With any luck I'll smash out a squad of Deathwing Terminators for June to bring the Zone Mortalis force up to 1000 points. Until next week...