14 December 2015

Scotch on the rocks

Ah, scotch on the rocks. That's how we kick back. Sweet.

The final legge

This is the long bit, the rubbish bit before the nice bit, the bit where work will somehow crank up and chuck all sorts of silliness at me before I limp over the line at some point on Christmas Eve. Already I'm due to head north for the first few days of Christmas week to cover annual leave. My hope - and it's a naive one - is that I'll be able to focus purely on what needs doing there, but I'm pretty sure there are going to be a few slippery balls to catch on the hoof, as it were. And this week brings the team Christmas meal. I'm not going to grumble about that as we're off to a wickedly good fine-dining Indian restaurant. I've had to clarify my position (vegan) to them ahead of time and we've managed to make sure I get a  decent bit of tucker. And let's be fair, if the Indians can't cook that stuff well, no one can. So I'm looking forward to that. But there will be a sting in the tail of this week somewhere. I can see it. I dreamt about work last night so it's playing on my noggin.

Anyway, in other news, I have a Slambo miniature being painted for me by a true pro. I'll unveil him when he gets back and give details of the dauber. 

Vegan mushroom pate anyone? I've got a tonne of it. Freshly made by me. And it's almost nice...

11 November 2015

Kafka and Oldhammer

I only popped out for half hour, but it feels like months.

Anyway, apart from dodging painting and collecting like a pro, I've been spending time in the kitchen learning more about cooking like a vegan. Quality stuff - I've got lentil loaf coming out of my ears...

But, in between my kitchen chemistry and real life stuff, I have dived into a bit of Kafka. I picked up two books in a secondhand gaff, The Trial and The Castle, and it's the latter of the two I'm currently reading. What has struck me is the atmosphere of the novel: it reminds me of some of the old WFRP scenarios and bits and pieces from WD published for the game. The basic premise as I see it to date is that the protagonist is called to a village to undertake land-surveying, but there has effectively been an admin error and he needn't have bothered. The snow-shrouded village has a castle in it, but access to it is seemingly almost impossible (not physically, but in principle). Despite not really needing to survey anything he is still able to remain in the village but as an employee of the invisible authorities represented by the castle. I'm about a third of the way through and it's a mind bender - the protagonist struggles to be accepted in the village and even though seemingly employed to the castle is unable to gain access, which itself is becoming a burning desire for him. Again, it's the atmosphere that puts me in mind of the encroaching weirdness of chaos in the Warhammer Old World.

That's all I've got to say at the moment. I'll keep on reading.

13 September 2015

Epic Fails

Had a funny one today. I pulled my finger out yesterday and got going on my Kimril (he of slaying fame) with a black undercoat and some grimy/rusty chainmail. I wasn't sure about the idea of a dwarf not buffing his armour, but let it go having considered the drunken nature of your average slayer perhaps impacting on armour-cleaning time, etc., so went with it. I got to a point from which I could tidy up later to improve the look, so I took a stab at his mohican and beard. I wanted to go for a nice contrasting colour to the silver and orange brown I was expecting to end up with on the chainmail so plumped for a purple to pink to white combo. I wanted gritty so I worked from a dark base. The result was - sadly - utter shite. I have since sent him to the well of eternal dettol and will go at him again once he has repented and/or drunk his way out. Here he is in all his shame prior to his banishment:

Another epic fail today relates to my adventures in vegan cooking. I've been 11 weeks a vegan now and it's been enjoyable. I'm cooking stuff that's completely new to me but cooking well as I'm quite a decent home cook thank you very much. I've realised that Indian cooking is the best way for me, especially as I enjoy learning to cook with different ingredients. Generally speaking, I've been quick enough to realise that the best way of approaching veganism (for me at least) is to avoid substitutes like Quorn and whatever. The main reason is that they're pretty shite, but I also think that such a change is better made by learning new skills rather than cooking the same old same old with a replacement product which is (inevitably) inferior to the original meat product. It's far more rewarding. So I'm a bit pissed off with myself for having my will bent by a desire to replicate BBQ pulled pork. Recently there's a bit of excitement in vegan circles over a pulled pork substitute called jackfruit. This fruit in its young and green state offers a strand-like texture and look, and little or no taste. It is available in tins from Chinese supermarkets for something like a quid a tin. As much I have been pulling away from the old dishes I loved, this one pulled me back in with huge hopes for something that has - anecdotally - tricked meat-eaters into thinking they were eating pork. So I cooked it tonight. And to be fair, it looks massively like pulled pork. And the homebrew BBQ sauce I made is boss. But the initial texture of the fruit, not dissimilar to pulled pork, quickly becomes mush. And apart from holding some BBQ flavour, it's pretty insubstantial stuff. My stepson doesn't like it at all, saying it made him think of mushy fruit. Mango to be precise. I'll have to question him on his sudden expertise on fruit, mango especially, but I can see his point. But his reaction was tame compared to my wife, who almost gagged and had to gob it up into a tissue. Strong stuff that - a definite statement! The worst I ever heard from her about my food before tonight was that a dish had been salty. Perhaps on a couple of occasions we agreed I wouldn't make a dish again, but that's an issue of preference. This was physical dislike. Horrendous 😞. Anyway, I'll eat it tomorrow with nachos and pretend cheese (still kidding myself). The original recipe can be found at I should credit them with a hashtag too: #minimalistbaker. Fair play to the blogger for the attempt, but I see this stuff as the Emperor's New Clothes. Shame. Here's the result alongside a killer BBQ sauce:

Back to the daal and stuff I reckon!

23 August 2015


Realising the remit in my blog intro/description, here's some stuff in general:

5-a-side - we've had a lot of trouble of late; regulars have been dropping out, numbers took an impassioned plea to get everything back on track and all seems to be well again. I'm hoping we're good for another block booking as we've been playing for about 8yrs in different guises.

Rugby - RWC 2015 looms large. Wales are in the same group as England, Australia and Fiji, a stinking arrangement caused by the WRU's greed in insisting on the annual 4th and unsanctioned Autumn International game allied to some poor results, albeit against top teams, in the period prior to the RWC 2015 draw, despite a 4th place world cup finish and 2012 championship win if i remember correctly (lots of commas there - not too many I hope). Anyway, the first warm up game at home versus Ireland went badly for the pack, but we had a developmental team out against them (they did too but were far more canny in the pack selection). We play them again next weekend in Dublin and this time we need to look tidy with a decent team expected to be running out.

Beer - to be fair, as a near 2-month vegan, real ale is off-limits to a degree. I need to check which i can drink as they are often made with finings made from fish. Other drink like wine (sparkling or otherwise) is often clarified with animal products. It's a steep learning curve but scotch is a-ok!

Cooking - I'm loving this vegan lark. Been making ratatouille, falafel, Thai broths, aubergine curries, mexican jazz, all sorts. I miss cheese though. And proper gravy 😐.

Minis - i have been somewhat active of late in the trade business. By which I mean i have traded x3 pieces. But i also got a freebie from a comrade in the north of Wales. In total, for the loss of x1 chaos warrior, x1 Marauder greatsword type fellow and an orc with a spear and a goblin skin hat, I have received the classic Space Wolf captain with the wolf helmet, a skeleton champion with 2 swords and a spike helmet, an Yyrkoon model (Eternal Champion), as well as that freebie I just mentioned: Moonglum, another Eternal Champion piece. I'm one piece up! Can't fault it. Still looking for Elric, Dorian, Erekose and some other bits, as well as moon face Tzeentch feller and Nurgle fly head dude. Feel free to contact me for trade 👍.

Religion/atheism - weirdly, a Polish couple and their kid knocked the door earlier asking if there were any other Polish families locally. They were JW's looking to spread the insidious word. It struck me that the kid had no chance of a normal life and would no doubt have to carry the mental baggage of his parents' belief system all his days, whether happily within the narrow confines of that organisation or else perhaps awkwardly if he is ever able to break out from the belief system his parents have forced upon him. Other than the fact the doorstep evangelisers thought us unworthy of the good news they had for their Polish compatriots, that got me a bit riled this morning. Religion is a choice, so don't force it on your kids. I can only hope the poor feller has a chance to break away later in life, but judging by the rallies we have in Cardiff every year, it's unlikely: there are teenagers and young adults by the thousands lapping this stuff up. As a willing victim of Christianity in my young adult life (I successfully pulled away when I employed logic and free thought, but it was one hell of a wrench - more of that another time) I know the pitfalls and the difficulty of stepping away from a very loving, caring group. It's not easy, and that's an understatement. Good luck to them all.

Piffle - see above.

Nos da...

8 August 2015

6 August 2015

Loose Command Groups and Sundries

Having had a look at what figures I've got I've put them into loose command groups. There are some big size differences, particularly in the undead lot. Here they are, including a few loose ones for the sake of cataloguing...

There's a whole load of collecting and painting to be doing right there. Problem is I'm lazy and tend to prefer cooking over painting most days. But hey, it's not a race. Got falafel to cook right now so they'll keep.

Kimril Untethered

He's out of the Dettol and scrubbed up. Been in there x2 days. Still some black paint residue on parts but with the sort of undercoat he'll receive I'm not stressing about it. Here he be:

And here's a shot of brekkie - Shreddies, soy milk and black decaff coffee:

5 August 2015

eBay Haul and Man v Machine

Been picking up some stuff on t'Bay. One of them is floating around in a jar of Dettol:

He's a classic piece by the name of Kimril, called a Giant Slayer on his tab. I've fancied grabbing him for a while.  He's actually below in all his eBay glory, pre-soaking:

I picked up up a mixture of other stuff too, having great fun with muppetpasterian, the seller. He's quite happy with Best Offer bids, and although I pay slightly over what I'd like it's still a lot better than silly bids on auction pieces (you know what I mean - sometimes it's hard to pull out till it's too late and you've committed loads of cash with oodles of regret) and stoooopid BIN prices. It's the perfect compromise. Here's the rest of the stuff I mopped up, including x2 pieces I'd normally never buy - a Cthuhlu piece (sp?) and a Wargames Foundry Viking.

The gobbo is class.

My overall aim with all the pieces I'm picking up is to be able to make a 4-piece command group. They'll be pretty eclectic rather than traditional, but that's all about choice - I don't game, just harbour painting dreams. If I can get x4 of each race and style I can put them together as I see fit. It's a self-imposed system that prevents me spending too much as well, always a sensible ploy.

I'll start working out the command groups as I flesh out the collection and photograph them. I've probably just about got a couple completed.

On another note I lost my most recent battle with machines, no doubt putting humanity even further behind in the aggregate scoring system. Suffice to say that a hotel room, a work shirt and an iron with a faulty reservoir cap saw me come off second best. The vagaries of travelling with work 😐. Added to hoover issues (can anyone tame a hose tube safely?) and bluetooth glitches in my motor, I'm slipping way behind. I'm not sure what would see me come back into contention, but I'm thinking of Father Ted's Mrs Doyle vs the Teasmade. Google it. It might just do the trick.

Onwards and upwards and all that jazz!

Finally, I'm big game hunting at the moment. I want this piece:

29 July 2015

Ins and Outs and the Bigger V

Sold these:

So far bought this. Outside of the golden era but a classic sculpt:

Got lots of irons in the fire (or pewters in the fire, who knows) on eBay atm. Patience is the key. 

Also been a month since I turned vegetarian which in turn very quickly became vegan. Yes, I've gone the whole (non-animal) hog. I've not suffered from weakness or delirium as yet. In fact I'm eating an incredible amount of quality food. It helps I can cook to a reasonable standard. Cheese is the big miss for me. I love the stuff. Otherwise it's all going superbly well thanks for asking...

8 July 2015

Oldhammer Shields

"Calling all Oldhammer types, calling all Oldhammer types...shields required, shields required!"

Can someone in this wide world push me in the direction of someone or someplace producing those marvellous little plastic Citadel shields that have a hole in the middle to slip onto the moulded boss on my rank and file classic Citadel miniatures?

I'm not going to pay £1 per shield from some robbing git on eBay, and I'm sure some enterprising soul has the capacity and the will to knock them out in their thousands at a fraction of the price. I need undead, human, dwarven, elven, skaven, orcy and good ole chaos ones.

So who's got the wares? Where do I go? Would it be copyright infringement to make them? I'm shit at making stuff so I ask that last bit in the spirit of offering someone else up to make them...

7 July 2015

National 3 Peaks and the Big V

The Friday before last I set out on a road trip that nearly finished me: a drunken agreement in 2014 saw me taking part in the National 3 Peaks Challenge. I set off with trepidation which increased all the more as I realised that the company of which I was part consisted of Tough Mudder types, long-distance runners and general health-freaks. A long delay on the way to Scotland saw our travel time north increase to 14hrs from a predicted 8-9hrs. A few beers in Fort William that evening brought about a hangover situation before commencement of the challenge. To cut a long story short, we managed to get up and down all 3 mountains (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Eryri/Snowdon) in 23hrs. The fact we did so is a testament to the skills of our driver and the fitness of the team (present company excluded - it was hellish keeping up with them). I hated every step of it until we finished, and then I loved it all. One hell of an experience.

And during all that effort I was struggling with turning veggie. It's been an unusual 3wks to say the least...

15 June 2015

All Good Things

So, after 16 days of leisure, it's time to return to one's place of work for a resumption of  the daily grind. What have I learnt during this unparalleled period of rest? Well, I've come to understand that the body can absorb light to moderate alcohol intake everyday for 16 days with only slight psychological, mental and physical wear. I have also learnt that the 9lb of weight that I lost over a period of 3-4 weeks prior to jetting off was pretty easily supplanted by a 10lb gain in little over 2 weeks. Back to the regime...

I learnt the pain that a factory reset to a smart phone causes, especially when contacts are not backed up to a SIM. I discovered a street food event thanks to some returning buddies who rode the Cardiff Velothon, but sadly it was only last night and now I'm feeling the effect of Pipes' Bohemian Pilsner. But most of all, I truly learnt what holiday blues feel like. I'm not a great holidayer in the main, but this time - for the first time - I got really emotional about having to up and off back to Wales, shit weather, hay fever, socks and so forth.

Looking ahead, I am now booked to do the 3 Peaks Challenge next Friday. Dear god, what foolishness! As well as that I'm looking to try to get to Bring Out Your Lead 2015, but my main plan of attack fell by the wayside yesterday. Need to try some other avenues.

Anyway, work beckons. Off I go...

8 June 2015

Ginger For A While

Clipping my hair in the bath tub on hols (enduring image, etc.), I popped out to check on my progress. Upon confronting my now bronzed reflection I was shocked at finding my head looking even more bronzed than the rest of me. Or indeed coppery. Panicking, I beckoned my wife to view the situation, imploring that she find what could only be a little cut or nick that had mingled with the sweat upon my cranial zone and somehow spread all over my head leaving me looking a little like Wes Brown without the footballing talent. There was no injury apparent. So what caused this wondrous transformation? Well, it was rust. My clippers had reacted to the warmth and wetness of these foreign climes and started to suffer for it, leaving me with a completely ginger crew cut. No photos unfortunately, but believe me when I say I lived the dream for a very short while. Not many can say that.

6 June 2015

Hard Times

Life has taken a turn for the worse this past week: I was forced onto a plane at Cardiff International Airport and, after a couple of hours air-time, released onto the party island of Ibiza. It's been tough, but after several attempted escapes I have accepted my fate and allowed the routine to take me over. We swim at 9am, have brekkie, wander down the shops, pop to the beach to bask for a couple of hours, eat lunch at 2pm, return to the beach to sun ourselves and doze, go back to the apartment for a shower and a change and then pop out for supper. It's a brutal regime, but a necessary one as the good lady wife tells me each day. Something about de-stressing and all that jazz. The longer I'm here the more I see her point of view.

Here's hoping the boy hasn't burnt the house down yet 😐.

28 May 2015

Combat Card Joy

Picked up another bit of eBay joy this week in the shape of 8 sets of Combat Cards. I was already flush with Goblinoids, Spacewar and Chaos, but to pick up the rest (including some duplicates of what I already have) plus the newer Space Marines and  double set of Epic Battles (not my bag but gift horses, etc) for £6 is a massive win. There are up to 2-3 cards missing in some cases but I'm no perfectionist. I treat these cards as eye-candy, and for me they are the best way of appreciating the painting of the golden era. My set is the bottom row in this shot. Quite a bargain for the rest:

26 May 2015

eBay Cock-up

Quite hilariously I won an auction for four cute little gobbos the other day. I paid up and sat back satisfied that I'd put it to the man and got a hell of a deal:

All was smuggly brilliant until when looking at eBay again last night I spotted the same ad. Two of them in fact. It was at this point I realised that my £2.50 for four gobbos was actually £2.50 for one gobbo. And it wasn't even my favourite of the four. Gutted. And a lesson learnt.  Here's an ever so slightly advanced shot of my ongoing WIP. It's going pretty badly to be fair. But at least I sat down for an hour or so. These old Skaven are iconic but their garments are utter misery to paint well. For me anyhow:

Adrian Chiles in Utterly Uninsightful Personal Experience Religion Article

I had no idea how facile this guy is until I read this BBC article:

25 May 2015

Homebase Goodies?

Bank holidays are days that require an outpouring of our devotion to Mammon, or so is my understanding. Whilst buying a can opener in Homebase earlier (yep, I'm singlehandedly helping George Osborne and David Cameron get this collection of countries we call the UK back to the good old days) I saw some interesting guff on the paint section. It would be good to give them a whirl, but I'm a cautious man. Anyone ever seen them and regretted/enjoyed doing so?

Also, here's a picture of my niece looking like Elton John:

23 May 2015

eBay Fury

I'm beyond furious. My adventures in eBay have just reached a low point.

It's well documented that prices for old Citadel figures have gone up and up. Or at least it's been well documented that aside from increased popularity in retro gaming, particular individuals have inflated the market through quite ridiculous BIN prices or stupidly OTT postage costs, etc. In spite of this, I've still been able to pick up some odds and sods on auction, though I'm quite resigned to having to pay £4-5 for some items I'd have expected to pick up for £2-3 previously. No great shakes there, and I'm not going to throw my toys out of the pram when I'm lucky enough to live in a lovely house with my lovely wife as funded by our thoroughly decent (and seemingly quite secure) jobs, when the vast majority of the world's folk are a damn sight worse off. So against that backdrop, and to show I have at least a modicum of perspective, my complaint is pretty peevish really. However, it's a point of principle that has got me frothing at the chops, and I think I need to vent it.

Before I go any further, I have to admit to the possibility of a certain amount of hypocrisy in naming an eBay seller (ye_alchemist) in this post. I have previously voiced annoyance at the assassination of alexchattaway on another blog (in fact on THE blog for retro gaming, collecting and painting, Realm of Chaos 80's - long may it thrive) as I felt then as I still feel now that people will pay if they want stuff, so if alexchattaway puts high prices on his items and they sell, then kudos to the man. And that's actually where my gripe is a little different and I'm maybe not all that hypocritical in publishing this post after all.

In brief, I have been watching a Citadel female chaos warrior piece on eBay for a short while, with a BIN price of nearly £15 and postage of £2.50. I can't remember if the piece appealed to me as it's from the McDeath scenarios or as it was a very similar one to a piece from said scenarios. Anyway, whatever the situation, and as there was also a Best Offer option, I dipped my toe in with an admittedly cheeky £1.50 bid. Unsurprisingly, it was rejected. No counter offer came, so I stayed with the cheeky bids and offered £2.50. No surprise when that was also rejected. No counter offer again. So I went back in with an offer of £3.50, or £6 overall when you consider the postage. Not completely unreasonable if the guy wanted a quick sale. So I pressed the confirm button to put that final offer to the seller, but was met with something I've never seen before: a message that said I am blocked from bidding on the seller's items!

So message him I did:

And the proof I've purchased from him before (I assume it's a him - sorry if I'm being presumptuous):

Considering the speed with which the seller responded to my offers and then blocked me, I'm surprised that there has been no immediate response to my message. I left a little time for a resolution, but none has come forth as yet. So I'm taking to the blogosphere to vent my frustration. 

I'm in a few circles on Google+ and I follow quite a few blogs, but I'm not hugely involved as I struggle with time and motivation. But I'm an avid fan of oldhammer and I happily pick up stuff that I'll one day paint, though at the speed I do that it'll be years before I get a substantial body of work. What I'm saying is that I care a lot for this stuff, but today has pissed on my chips mightily. I thought the community to be better than what I've experienced today. I'll keep on keeping on, but this seller has shown me a different side to the hobby. I'd go so far as to say that the seller is an absolute cock. 

Anyway, here she is in all her glory, and I hope the seller accidentally damages her and gets fuck all for her:

Edit: Well here we go, she's not a McDeath personality, but she is definitely enough like her to have caught my attention:

30 March 2015

Also Want One Of These Orcs

Fraser did a wondrous job on it:

But of course that's not Fraser's. This, however, is the real deal:

But £6 for a figure on ebay? It's a toughie. That paint is beautiful and thick, so the metal should be near pristine. Be fair, I'd pay that much for wine without batting an eye lid.

Update: managed to win this wee feller for £5.50. Grand stuff.

I Want One Of These Orc Champs

Really fancy tracking this guy down:

 If you sees its, lets me knows...

Update: Nailed it. £6. Can't get over the current prices on eBay, but them's the markets.

22 March 2015

Mind Blown

Never seen anything like it in my life. Rugby heaven. Don't mind the boys losing a championship like that. Wales had a shot to nothing and almost took it. Ireland and England both superb. What a way to sign off the championship. 

4 February 2015

Millimetre By Marvellous Millimetre

I pinched an hour out of my busy schedule to daub a smidge of paint upon my current miniature, getting a bit of flesh laid on and stuff. He can be seen further down below.

As an aside, last Saturday I was fortunate enough to attend a very enjoyable evening bash at which I found myself sat opposite a man of the cloth. Doesn't happen very often that, so I took the opportunity to ask a lot of questions about the church, faith and doctrine. What boggled my mind was the lack of study in a large Anglican (Church in Wales) parish. I got the impression that high church - whether Anglican or Catholic - doesn't really want to encourage the laity to tax themselves too much with the detail of Christianity. I think that with my background in a non-conformist church, coupled to an ongoing interest since leaving that scene half a lifetime ago, I was able to talk to the guy on a level he doesn't get to talk on too often. As an agnostic/verging-atheist, I would have loved a meatier conversation, but I wanted to reciprocate his tidy attitude. Looks like we'll end up in each other's company for a whole week next year as we're heading off for a family wedding in Cyprus. Interesting times ahead!

13 January 2015

In The Land Of The Unfinished Miniature...

My usual painting efforts involve a snatched hour or two and a photo of a figure I've posted at least a couple of times but with an additional - albeit impossible to spot - daub or two.

In this instance (differing slightly from my usual modus operandi) I have taken my miniatures in progress to a nice round 3. I had a hankering to put some paint on some Skaven fur. Here it is, along with a picture of the workspace and a shot of 5 miniatures that actually have paint on them. Adieu...