Monday 15 April 2024

Salute 51

This weekend was the annual pilgrimage to Salute, to stock up on plenty of miniatures without having to pay for postage, mostly.

There was a wild number of prizes to be won in goody bags in the queue, but alas myself and my companion didn’t win any of them. Here’s a picture of that queue though, in case that is what caught your attention:

As ever, I was very bad at taking pictures, being more concerned with wandering around peering at shiny new miniatures, impressive game boards, and handing over money to traders! To that end, here’s a series of pictures in no particular order:

These dinky little ECW minis were very nicely painted, so me and my compadre spent an amount of time cooing over them even though it’s not a scale or a period I’m into!

This castle was very large. I’ve no idea if there were any minis inside it, or how you’d move them if there were!

I wanted to have a look at Mantic’s new Halo game, mostly to see how the minis scaled up with the old Actionclix minis that I have bucketloads of. If I were a more diehard Halo fan I’d be all over this, but…

Silver Bayonet Egypt! We didn’t get to play this year, as last year we only finished our initial go around of the show at closing time, having played a game at the start…

This was a cool table! I’m sure I’ve got a set of quick start rules for this game in my bag somewhere too…

This picture was mostly to remind me to look up this range, as it’s not one I’d come across before, and they had a variety of Mexican figures on offer…

This was a cool forced perspective display! Not pictured, the working servo skull camera on the table behind this display

Excellent 7tv board that was absolutely surrounded by people, well worth looking up better pictures than mine!

Indeed. Wrong scale for me though, sadly…

Wizard of Oz mass battle game, flying monkeys and all. Must remember to google Wars of Ozz…

Childish fun for all the family!

Just a nice board, I forget what for…

Once we’d finished out initial circuit of the show, we headed over to the Griffcon make and take to spend a pleasant time digging through piles of sprues.

Unfortunately due to the lateness of the day there was a distinct lack of torsos left on any of the sprues, but I did manage to make this skeleton happily tooting away on his spooky horn.

Which brings us to the meat of the day - my Salute haul:

Some Perry Napoleonics and ACW minis, to make into Alamo appropriate minis (although annoyingly I’ve realised that I bought the wrong box of French infantry - I meant to grab the 1807 line box, but bought an elite box instead);

This year’s Mantic Hellboy show exclusive, because at this point in the game I can’t really not buy one;

A set of plastic boardwalks and other cowboy scenery;

TTCombat superglue, because it really is better than the Poundland stuff;

A Mantic sample pack that had some ogres inside;

A bear, because my daughter’s D&D character is a Druid;

A freebie mini from One Page Rules;

A copy of Five Torches Deep;

A Stormcast Eternal mini that came in a mystery bag;

Some Old West types from Foundry, as well as a flesh triad that will hopefully help me paint some Mexicans;

A Doctor with a long scarf and a big boss looking Thing from Crooked Dice;

An Infinity miniature that for some reason came with the base of a Salute 2017 show mini;

A drunk cowboy from Black Scorpion (they’re all lovely, but so much bigger than every other cowboy I own, but I figured the slumped drunk wouldn’t look overly large!);

A tiny Grogu from Diehard minis, because May the Fourth is coming up and my previously painted Mando needed a friend;

A sprue of Ray Guns from Anvil Industry, because I’ve got some minis in pith helmets that are in dire need of increased firepower;

A blister of Japanese Villagers, because Ronin of Shadow Deep needs some civilians;

The Salute show mini;

A copy of Super Tiny Sorcery and some colour in and make foldable minis from Mammoth Minis;

A couple of minis from the Griffcon Make & Take;

A dice tray, since my youngest has a hard time keeping his dice on the table during D&D

And so many flyers, stickers, and quick start rules, as well as a handful of free dice.

Totalling everything up, this brings the Tally to:

7 vs 146 = -139

Unsurprising, as this tends to happen whenever I start a project with a Salute splurge (and will probably take a swing further down if I decide to rebuy the correct Perry Napoleonics box)…

Unusually, I’ve already got about half a dozen minis from this lot cleaned up and stuck to bases, so hopefully that means I can get some things painted up quickly! Part of me wonders if I should write a post where I go back to a previous Salute haul, and work out how much of it I’ve actually painted in the intervening years, and how much just loves in my lead mountain…

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Badger badger badger badger

 Mushroom mushroom:

These mycelium marauders got jumped up the painting queue as I needed them for the family D&D game.

Unfortunately, my family made faster progress than I expected, so they were only basecoated when they made their tabletop appearance, but I figured I might as well still power through and get them finished.

Also, check out that natural light! Too much, some might say… that might be all we have from now on though, as it seems my painting lamp has given up the ghost.

Painting these brings the Tally to:

7 vs 14 = -7

Excitingly, D&D has become a weekly thing in our house now - the party have solved the mystery of why the myconids were acting weird, fought a weird fire snake, levelled up to second level, and on their way back got jumped by some Kobolds, who in turn got jumped by an Owlbear.

We also got the children minis for their characters, and we even converted one at my eldest’s insistence so it more closely matched her character:

What was previously a sword becomes a sling with a bit of ingenuity and some wire! Now we just need to paint them…

What comes next? It’s Salute this Saturday, so I suspect the Tally taking quite the hit. Also, the car ride up will definitely involve a certain number of new projects being planned, as well as definite declarations of how we’re definitely going to get the previously planned projects onto the table this year…

Sunday 24 March 2024

A beardy lad with a big hammer…

Finished last week around the same time as the pair of werewolves from my previous post but only getting posted now is a converted Sapper for my Silver Bayonet Unit:

A beardy lad with a big hammer indeed. I imagine he’s a no-nonsense Scot who survived a vampire attack with the unit’s leader, and ever since has been seconded to him to open doors, as it were.

Terrible photos again due to the lack of natural light, but you get the gist.

He’s made of mostly Perry bits, with a Napoleonic British Command body combined with the hammer wielding arms of an Agincourt archer, a Frostgrave beardy head (as Sappers were apparently allowed to have beards, so I figured that mine should too). The musket on his pack had a hand shaved off of it so that it could be stowed, and although I had originally planned to turn the hammer into an axe (which seems to be the default equipment for most sappers) the idea of a chap wading into a fight with a vampire swinging a massive hammer was too funny to ignore. I haven’t yet selected his special equipment, maybe the hammer is silver, and so good for bashing in monsters but less useful at being used as a… well, a hammer.

For his apron (essential fashion for every Sapper, practical and stylish) I’d originally planned to copy the detail of an existing sculpt, so as to give some nice folds and whatnot without having to rely on my hamfisted attempts at sculpting, but that came out looking terrible every time so I gave up and just stuck a bit of green stuff on and went at it with clay shapers until I had something that vaguely approximated an apron, and it looks… fine, I guess.

Painting him brings the Tally to:

4 vs 14 = -10

Those numbers are a little different to last week, I hear you cry? That’s because I nipped into GW and built a free ghoul:

I was never entirely sold on the ‘new-style’ GW ghouls (‘new-style’ in this case actually meaning ‘released in the last twenty years’ I believe), but in hand they’re actually quite nice, and I might like some more of them at some point…

I also spotted that Arcane Models and Scenery are having a closing down sale (as the owner is retiring), and despite my usual ‘no purchases between Salute and Christmas to save up all my hobby funds for one big splurge’ rule I couldn’t help but treat myself to a few heavily discounted packs of Artizan Alamo minis:

The Alamo obsession seemingly continues unabated, but more on that in a future post…

I also got my copy of the new Frostgrave book Mortal Enemies this week, and set about rolling up a mortal enemy for Tim the Necromancer, which has been interesting, and set me scrabbling through my drawers of unopened miniature blisters when I realised I had the perfect miniature for what I had rolled…

Other than that, I’ve been prepping some VSF minis for an upcoming Alien Safari rule set designed by Titus Painting on instagram, we’ve ordered the minis for the children to paint for their D&D characters (next session this afternoon hopefully, not at my suggestion I might add), and even finished my next Silver Bayonet conversion:

So surprisingly busy on the miniatures front! Now I just need to paint some more! And prep some more. And convert some weird aliens out of kinder egg toys and my bits box…

Sunday 17 March 2024

Were-wolf? There-wolf!

My evening panting sessions have seen me finish another two miniatures, a pair of werewolves primarily for the first co-op Silver Bayonet scenario:

They’re sculpts from North Star, for the game Dracula’s America, and they’re nicely scaled and proportioned. They’d been sat undercoated for far too long, and the promise of being able to actually play my first home Silver Bayonet game if I finished them proved too much to resist.

Alas, I didn’t get to take pictures using natural light, so we’ll have to make do with these slightly washed out ones. 

I also decided to paint them different colours just in case I ever get round to playing the Rangers of Shadow Deep scenario Blood Moon, as I vaguely remember one of the clues in that game being finding some red hairs, hence one werewolf being a redhead.

Finishing them takes the 2024 Tally to:

3 vs 4 = -1

We also played our second session of family D&D on Mother’s Day:

The party made their way to the sea caves by boat to find out why the previously peaceful mushroom man farmers were acting up, and after fighting a fungal octopus made their way inside to get ambushed by the world’s slowest moving mushrooms, much the the dismay of the mushroom farmers. 

I’m quite enjoying running a pre written adventure, as it means we can play with minimal effort and stress, which also leaves more time (and brain space!) for trying to make it fun. We had some cool moments, like my youngest’s character getting gripped by the octopus when he got knocked out, causing a panic when it was killed and started to sink and dragged him down with it. My wife’s immediate reaction was to tie a rope around him, only to find herself getting dragged down too! My eldest also rolled her first crit too, which I was as excited as she was about!

Monday 4 March 2024

Goblin’ my Hob

I mean I’m sure there were worse puns to use as a title, but they’d be hard to come by…

Excitingly, I’ve finished my first miniature of the year:

A Mage Knight mini originally, he’s going to be my hobgoblin for games of Silver Bayonet.

In The Silver Bayonet, Hobgoblins are humans that have been twisted and changed by dark magic, and I felt like his wildly uneven stature (not to mention rows of stitches) fit that theme quite nicely. It’s hard to see in these pictures, but a good dousing of crimson wash around the stitches makes them look pretty raw and uncomfortable.

If I was to do it again, I’d probably not leave the model unconverted - swapping out that big armoured shoulder pad for an epaulette, maybe. But I didn’t, so we can only assume the tricksy fae slapped it on him before using him in some nefarious gladiator battles before they got bored of him and released him back out into the world… I tried to make the shoulder pad looked weird and patina’d, for a little visual interest as much as anything else:

Painting him brings the Tally to:

1 vs 4 = -3

In other news, I introduced my family to Dungeons and Dragons at the weekend:

I helped them make characters and then ran them through the first couple of hours of the adventure in the latest starter box, and let me tell you D&D with children (4 and 9) is a very different beast to what you’re used to. I’m grateful that my wife also tried the game for the first time, so there was at least one player desperately trying to follow what was going on and drive the narrative in between one character constantly offering to play viol for everyone they met, and the other exploiting their entire backstory to everyone they met! If they want to carry on, we’ll have to see about getting them some proper miniatures for their characters…

Wednesday 21 February 2024

All quiet on the western front…

So, having spent a month and a half unpacking, we’re still not done. Not even halfway, potentially. But even so, I figured it was time to pull out some of my miniature bits, as all work and no play makes Jack a full boy, or so it is said.

While I haven’t been doing any painting, I have started prepping some miniatures, which if you look at the swathes of prepped but unpainted miniatures in my house you might think was my actual hobby…

After watching one of the Spider-Man movies with my youngest (as he was insistent we watch the second Andrew Garfield movie, but we thought the Gwen Stacy death scene might be a bit much as he’s only four) I dug out some of my painted Superheroes and some Heroclix mats and whipped up a quick set of rules so that we could play out some four colour tights & fights action:

Opposed rolls, different size dice for different skill levels. More play testing required perhaps, as these were thrown together in about half an hour.

A bin was the first thing I found that could be used as an objective, so Spider-Man, Scorpion and Boom Boom were fighting to recover secret plans that had been dropped in the trash…

After the first game, we added a second character each (as it wasn’t much fun for my youngest getting knocked out relatively quickly) 

My dice rolling remained characteristically terrible though, here’s me using Scorpion’s power attack (allowing him to sacrifice two actions to roll double dice, which against an opponent rolling a single, probably smaller, die, should be nigh on unstoppable) and absolutely whiffing it.

Despite not doing any painting so far this year, the Tally has taken a hit as my wife bought me some miniatures as part of my Valentine’s present:

Half-orcs and Tieflings, as I mentioned that I didn’t have any miniatures of either, which takes the Tally to: 

0 vs 4 

The rain let up enough for me to spray some minis too, so there may even be some painting in my future…

Friday 26 January 2024

2023 in review

As ever, my annual post where I look back at my progress over the previous year, and plan for the year ahead.

Just… wildly later than usual. We moved house over Christmas, which I heartily do not recommend if you can avoid it, and now pretty much all of my time that I’m not at work is spent unpacking boxes and all of my minis and paints are somewhere in here:


Christmas happened since my last post, adding these to my heap of minis:

Add to that not having painted any miniatures since October (again, my evenings and weekends from the end of October were spent frantically throwing things into boxes) it leaves the final total at:

33 vs 227 = -194 

Which while it’s my second worst year for number of painted minis since the blog began (second only to the year I got married) is actually only the third worst year for overall Tally score - what can I say, I’m a sucker for a big box of secondhand minis! Hopefully this year I can spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s the way it’s supposed to be, frantically drybrushing to get my numbers up before the year ends and the Tally resets!

Thirteen years of stats:

2023: -194 (33 painted)

2022: 0 (85 painted)

2021: +16 (52 painted)

2020: -100 (47 painted)

2019: +3 (46 painted)

2018: +52 (52 painted)

2017: -14 (47 painted)

2016: -287 (56 painted)

2015: -96 (59 painted)

2014: 0 (80 painted)

2013: -416 (25 painted)

2012: -103 (68 painted)

2011: -173 (122 painted)

Hmm, only four times have I managed to end the year not in the negative. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned there abou- what’s that, Salute tickets have gone on sale now? Nice, should start making a shopping list really…


I managed at least one blog post every month for the whole year, driven mostly by playing a year-long Last Days Seasons campaign in real time. While a lot of my posts were game reports or me having painted things I was going to use in the game, I did also manage to paint and post a variety of other bits and bobs fairly consistently throughout the year as the fancy took me.

Last Year’s challenge

  • Finish my 500 point Skaven Warhammer army
Failed, but not catastrophically - one day, gadget, one day!
  • Play at least 12 games in 2023 
I actually succeeded at this one, managing to get 15 games in last year!
  • Prep all the monkeys in the monkey box (I mean I couldn’t delete this one after so many years)
This is just a meme now, me actually doing this is probably one of the signs of the end of the world by now…
  • Convert at least one miniature
I thought I hadn’t managed this, but looking back at my posts I was reminded that I converted some zombies for Zomtober and some additional Doctor Who Autons, so that’s another pass!
  • Add to the Monstrous Alphabet project
Alas, another fail, although I did buy some minis for this project last year, so that’s sort of a half step towards success?
  • Do Zomtober posts
  • Do a May the Fourth post
  • Do a festive post
Failure, as no painting at all happened this festive season. 
  • Average at least a miniature a week (so at least 52 completed miniatures across the year)
Failure - I’m usually the most productive at the end of the year as the looming deadline tends to motivate me to get things finished!
  • End the year with the Tally in the positive
A big no - partly due to not getting much painted, but also not helped by buying a load of secondhand Warhammer either…

So overall a 40% success rate - not great in real terms, but compared to most years an outstanding victory!

Projects (according to the last end of year post)


While I didn’t finish my 500 point Skaven army, some progress was made, and I also added even more models to my Undead over Zomtober, so that’s not bad going.


A resounding success, as I managed to hit my target of playing a year long campaign in real time. I started making scenery of the farm that was the group’s home base, so there’s potential for future games with this group in the future…


I played a single game of this, and half painted some of the miniatures that I need for the next scenario, so less than I’d planned to do, but more than I might have done.

Rangers of Shadow Deep

Again, I’m averaging a game of this every eighteen months or so - I was really happy with how the game I played came out though, with specially modelled cocoons, nest trees, and Halloween spider web to decorate the table.

Silver Bayonet

First two minis for my group painted, and parts selected for a conversion for the third member.  Just need to find the box he’s in though…

Star Wars

As is now routine, I painted a single mini for May the Fourth, and managed to largely ignore my friend messaging saying ‘ooh look at Shatterpoint isn’t it shiny’ otherwise the tally would have been even worse…

2024 Projects

Despite messaging my buddy (who I start a lot of projects with, but don’t play a lot of games with because we keep starting new projects before finishing the previous ones) saying that we should focus on one project in the new year and actually get a game in, my 2024 project list looks like this:


Weirdly, with each new bit of information that got released about The Old World, I got less excited for it, but still am in the mood for some Warhammer, so will probably stick to my plan of starting with 500 point eighth edition. Once the Skaven are there, I’ve also got my Zombieslayer Undead project, plus a bundle of Empire ,I is bought at the end of last year - 500 points of them would paint up a lot quicker than 500 points of Skaven I’m sure!

The Silver Bayonet

While I bought the book when it came out and have only managed to finish two minis for this, my buddy played a demo game at Salute with me and then banged out an entire painted unit, so this is very much a possibility for getting a game in! I need to paint half a dozen or so minis for my Unit and two werewolves, and then I’ll be ready to go with the first solo scenario (which I’m assuming can also be played with more than one player - I’ll have to double check when the box with that book in turns up)


The adventures of Tim the Necromancer will continue. Need to make some vapour snakes…

Rangers of Shadow Deep

It’s still on here, but less likely to see play in the near future, as I need to make quite a bit of scenery for the next scenario (a river, a bridge, a ford etc). Ooh, that reminds me, I met Joseph McCullough a couple of weeks back, turns out he’s local to me. I’d like to pretend I was suave and composed, but reader I was a little star struck and fanboyed at him. I managed to throw out the name of this blog though, so if you’re reading this Joe, hi! You’ll notice the majority of my major projects are games you wrote, keep up the good work! 

Also, Ronin of Shadow Deep falls into this category too - it’s not top of the list, but I suspect every now and then a Japanese Fantasy themed palette cleanser might creep into my painting queue.


Having acquired a decent number of stompy robots last year, I’d like to get some of them painted!


I’ll do Zomtober, and hopefully get in another game or two of Last Days, potentially having built their farm in miniature. Fingers crossed I can find some 3d printed toilets and other interior furnishings at Salute…

Star Wars

I’ll do May the Fourth, although I don’t know what I’ll do yet - maybe another Imperial Assault mini, so in a hundred years time I’ll eventually have a fully painted core box!


I got bit by the cowboy bug last year - I forget if I posted about it, but it started with me wanting to do something with magic cowboys, but evolved into me wanting to do something with just regular non-magical cowboys, maybe using the stack of Legends of the Old West books that I’ve got knocking around. I ordered some miniatures, which arrived the day we got confirmation we were getting the new house, so they went straight into a box. As soon as I find that box, we’re back on! 

 Board Games

Our new house is somewhat more spacious than the old one, and means that we could probably have people over to play games without anyone having to sit on each others laps (unless they wanted to), so part of me wants to paint up one of the mini heavy games that I have in my collection like Hellboy or The Umbrella Academy. The realist part of me knows that doing that means I won’t get to play it for a couple of years, but still the optimist thinks it’s a good idea…


Aforementioned horrifically productive chum and I were discussing doing some 28mm Inquisitor, potentially using the Acolyte Kill Team mod, and he’s only gone and painted an entire retinue, as well as the enemies, so I should probably convert and paint an Acolyte!

2024 Challenge

Aiming for a similarly limited challenge this year:

  • Finish at least one playable force for a game (whether that be my 500 point Skaven army, my Silver a bayonet unit, or something else entirely…)
  • Play at least 12 games in 2024 
  • Prep all the monkeys in the monkey box (I mean I couldn’t delete this one after so many years)
  • Convert at least one miniature
  • Add to the Monstrous Alphabet project
  • Do Zomtober posts
  • Do a May the Fourth post
  • Do a festive post
  • Average at least a miniature a week (so at least 52 completed miniatures across the year)
  • End the year with the Tally in the positive

I’m not sure how I’ll do aiming for a game a month without the pressure of a monthly Last Days game (plus, all my stuff is buried in boxes!), but 12 still felt like a good number to shoot for…