Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Big Board's New Home

I've been away from the blog for quite a while.  Couple of reasons for that.  First my computer started dying and for some weird reason it took weeks to get it replaced, something that should have only taken a day or two.  While that stupid saga was being thrashed out, great events were on the move.  The Mouse family is growing and Mrs. Mouse's mother is moving in with us for a time which means less space in the house for me and my stuff.  Up until now The Big Board has inhabited our attic.  I'm giving the room which used to be my library to my son.  There was just no way the attic could accommodate the contents of the library and all my game stuff.  Some sort of drastic action was called for.
There is an old garage on our property which we use to store just about everything other than cars, and above that sits an old apartment, built, I believe, in the 1940s.  Over the last couple of decades or so it had fallen into disuse and had been over-run by bugs and other godawful things, but I could think of no better place in which to establish a new stronghold.  So, armed with several hundred gallons of pine sol, spackle and carpet shampoo I waded into the mess and, over several  weeks, got it cleaned up and somewhat sorted out.  It's still a work in progress, obviously, but I'm actually pretty pleased about the way the little place is shaping up.  Anyway, that's where most of my hobby time has been invested over the last couple of months.
The Big Board, shown here scaled down considerably to fit my new Deep Cuts Studio mats.  (More on them later.)  Nice little floor to ceiling book shelf by the window holds most of my board games, mini rulebooks and my entire collection of Osprey books so that's nice.
Ginormous, cavernous f*%$ing closet actually holds all my painted figures AND...
 ...all my terrain!  It's like it was meant to be.  I worked for it, though.  More sweat and elbow grease went into cleaning this closet than every other room in the place put together.  There was so much dust and junk and so many long deceased vermin in here that it felt like I was schlepping out the Augean stables at times, but it was worth it.

Mrs. Mouse says I should get a decent table for The Big Board to sit on.  She's probably right, but the fact is that the Big Board has been resting on those milk crates ever since my friends The Troll, The Ratboy and I stole them from the college cafeteria for this very purpose, and that was a very long time ago.   The more I think about it, the more I become convinced that I really should get a proper table, but it's hard to let go of tradition.
The Troll, by the way, donated the ginormous tv. Can't play a game without old favorites like Predator, Ran, A Bridge too Far and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean going in the background. Still a tremendous amount of work to do on the place.  The library is going to be on the other side of that white door, and the bathroom needs a hell of a lot of work, but it's coming along.  So anyway, this is what I've been up to for the last couple of months.  I need to come up with a name for the place.  So far I'm torn betwixt Festung Maus and The Jersey Lily.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Rogue Trader: Dead Men Space Marines Tactical Squad #2

From a manuscript discovered in the depths of the Scriptorum, The Emperor's Palace, Terra.

To:  His Excellency, The High Inquisitor Josephes T'Resque
From: Yacobe Scrivenius


Please find here another set of data faxes showing images of 4th Company Marines of the Dead Men Space Marines Chapter.  These particular images were captured during the aftermath of the second 'Stealer war, and show a squad of marines clearing a ruined settlement on Geminion Secundus.
In the wake of the second, or 'Great' 'Stealer war, as it is sometimes known, a great deal of  'mopping up' was required, especially in the ancient ruins and abandoned settlements which the broken remnants of the Genestealer Cults and their despicable allies favoured as refuges.  Here our squad reassembles after having successfully reconnoitered  the ruined facility.  Follow-on forces can be seen moving in behind them.
During the initial advance a missile launcher armed marine and his battle brother over-watch their brethren.  Again we see here the stylized skull motif favoured by many Dead Men painted roughly on one marine's helmet.
Another view of the missile launcher armed marine.  The shoulder scroll bearing the motto 'Mort' clearly identifies him as a Marine of the fourth company.

Armed with a trusty plasma gun, a senior battle brother scans his sector, covering his brothers' advance...

A decorated battle brother, most likely a corporal/assistant squad leader...he has seen his share of action recently, as is evidenced by the traces of what appears to be melta-weapon damage to the lower rim of an improvised left shoulder plate and the bullet-hole near the bottom of his right greave.
Another data image featuring the plasma gunner and the 'corporal'.  Note the 'iron knuckles' worn on the corporal's left hand, held in an even greater readiness than the bolt gun, as if they are the Marine's preferred weapon.  It was men like this who won the Second 'Stealer war.
Interesting image of another battle brother advancing to his next position.  Note the bolt pistol held in readiness in addition to the bolt gun.
The Squad Leader.  Note that he wears no obvious recognized mark of rank, as seems to be so typical with the Dead Men.  Alone amoung his squad, however, he does wear a skull marking, barely discernible in this photo, above the 'Mort' scroll on his right shoulder.  Such devices often denote leaders amoung the Dead Men, although there seems to be no clearly defined ranking system. 

   The final photo in this sequence, showing the battle group reassembling in preparation for their follow-on mission.  Visible are two tactical squads, two chaplains, two librarians, a dreadnought, a robot and two tech marines.  Small but formidable groups like this were often primary maneuver elements in fighting the 'micro scale' combats of the Genestealer wars, where enemy forces were typically dispersed over wide areas and used rugged terrain or the local populations to secret themselves.  I am currently assembling more information on the historical background, customs and beliefs of the Dead Men  Space Marines for you, I would have included some of it here, but my electro-stylus is giving trouble, so I will include it with my next chapter, which will touch upon the Terminator squads of the Dead Men Chapter.   

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Rogue Trader: K'Lurg Ratcha, Renegade Ogryn Cyborg

The product of an experimental brain enhancement operation gone horribly right, Ogryn Sergeant K'Lurg Ratcha emerged from the operating room with vastly enhanced intelligence, vastly enhanced mechanical aptitude and a vastly enhanced predilection and talent for extreme violence.
His Imperial creators were taken very much offguard by the extent of their own success but did not live long enough to regret it.  K'Lurg carved his way out of the facility before the anesthetic wore off and escaped into the surrounding jungle of the death world of Proteus.
The death world was no more ready for K'Lurg than the Imperial facility had been.  The cybernetically enhanced Ogryn soon fought his way back out of the jungle and onto a space ship with which he embarked on a career of piracy .
K'Lurg soon earned such an appallingly villainous reputation that the worst scum the Wailing Reach had to offer flocking to his banner.  For decades the renegade Ogryn terrorized the space lanes.  He became a major thorn in the side of The Dead Men space marines chapter, who were forced to devote ever increasing resources to the campaign to extirpate K'Lurg and his band of criminals.
Over several decades the Dead Men had several near successes in killing K'Lurg.  They poisoned him, shot him, Las-cannoned him, and destroyed a dam in order to flood a small valley on the planet Nepenthe which happened to have K'Lurg holed up at the bottom of it.  K'Lurg always survived.  The Dead Men justifiably believed they had finally succeeded in finishing their formidable foe when Captain Callixx of the 4th company severed K'Lurg's legs with a 2 handed chainsword in a desperate fight aboard K'Lurg's flagship, The Hungry Whore, then flushed the legless Ogryn out an airlock into space. Yet K'Lurg survived somehow, and was back in action within a few weeks, having replaced his lower limbs with an armored tracked chassis, and with his career goals re-oriented away from piracy and toward killing Dead Men.  It is thought that K'Lurg did in fact meet his final end when he was lured into a cottage on Ran by Chaplain. William Pil Grym and marines of the 6th company, who then called in artillery on said cottage, obliterating it with a direct hit from a one kiloton nuclear shell fired from a heavy howitzer.  No trace of K'Lurg's body was ever found, but thereafter K'Lurg's depredations permanently ceased.
K'Lurg shown some time after his brush with Captain Callix aboard The Hungry Whore, with his preferred personal weapon, a heavy beamer, and the armored tracked chassis he loved to use to grind close combat opponents to bloody pulp.
Ambush!  Famed bounty hunter Rufus Kraal, supported by hand-picked troopers of the 24th Geminions Imperial Guard Regiment, attempts to take K'Lurg by surprise.  Rufus barely escaped with his life.  None of his loyal guardsmen were as lucky.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Rogue Trader: 2nd Platoon, 3rd Company, 9th Nepenthe Imperial Guard Regiment

2nd Platoon, 'C' company, 9th Nepenthe Infantry Regiment parades in preparation for a sweep-and-clear of a stretch of farmland in the Tantzich-Poznya region of Geminion Prime, sometime around I.C. 3460.  In the wake of the initial invasion of the Geminion system by the Ork Warlord Bloodsnort Garglephlegm, wide swathes of Geminion Prime and Geminion Secundus remained under Ork control for decades.
Having successfully contained the Ork onslaught, Imperial and Planetary Defense Forces were eventually able to squeeze the Ork planet-heads out of existence, but for many years Ork 'Kingdoms' flourished in the Geminons, and between major offensives border clashes, raids and skirmishes along the edges of these Ork-held zones were daily occurrences.
First Squad, 2nd Platoon, ready to move out on patrol.  The standard weapons configuration for an Imperial Guard tactical squad prevails throughout the platoon.  Seven lasguns, a grenade launcher and a las cannon make up the squad's basic armament.  Evidence that the squad has already seen tough fighting can be found in the cigar-chomping guardsman at front left, whose bandaged thigh and defiant expression bear mute testimony his trevails.
Some variations in uniform and equipment can be found in the platoon's second squad, though the weapons configuration remains the same.  During the Garglephlegm campaigns it was typical for Imperial guard units to replace some losses with volunteers accepted from amoung the Planetary Defense Forces.

This probably accounts for this Sergeant's lack of breastplate and other regulation equipment; note also the lascannon gunner's lack of standard issue helmet and other gear; both men are very likely colonial volunteers serving with The Guard.  And good for them.
The 3rd squad.  The equipment seen here is more to standard.  The red and gold badge of the 9th Nepenthe is clearly visible on some of the mens' uniforms.
The command squad.  The Lieutenant carries a plasma pistol in addition to his alarmingly large chainsword.  Note the blue piping on his cap, mirrored in the platoon guidon; blue is an identifying color for Nepenthian units in the Wailing Reach.
(Aside: A platoon having its own standard seemed a bit silly to me.  I decided to go minimalist and roughly modeled the platoon standard after one of those US army infantry company guidons which I have followed for so many years.  Roman numeral nine is the regimental number, the number at upper left  numeral identifies the company, and the upper right number identifies the platoon...

...If I ever do a company command squad I'll go bigger and bolder, but for platoons, I think this looks quite appropriate.)
Platoon medic, las gun rifleman and las cannon gunner, ready for scrappin' with the Orks...
These guys didn't come out as nice as I'd wanted.  I wish now that I'd gone a little lighter on the grey.
The 9th Nepenthe has a long and glorious history in the service of The Emperor, but it's a helluva yarn and I'm a bit weary to get into it now....
...Plenty of time for that in future posts...
"For the Emperor!!!!"

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Rogue Trader Adventurers: The Bounty Hunters

Bounty hunter Rufus Kraal and some of his cronies arrive on Geminion Secundus in search of the notorious Geminion gang leader Captain Clown.  An extremely hazardous undertaking to say the least.  Rufus and his friends are unlikely to survive their attempt to claim the bounty on The Clown's head, but then, Rufus has been in tight spots before.
Here Rufus is shown with his trusty bolt gun and a curious weapon which resembles a chainsword but which may in fact be some sort of force rod, since Rufus is a sanctioned psyker.
One of Rufus' oldest confederates, Bruno Kash has rejoined his old partner in hopes of getting a slice of the handsome price which has been placed on The Clown's head.  
Squat adventurer Upston Yarbles normally sticks to treasure hunting and salvage operations but the price on The Clown's head was simply too big to walk away from, so Upston has, for better or worse, thrown his lot in with Rufus.  Good luck, Upston.
Well known space pirate, thief, and roadie the Secundus Kid was recruited by Rufus because of his knowledge of Geminion Secundus and its gang culture.  He was reared in one of the planet's worst hell holes, after all.  Bruno Kash isn't too keen about The Kid's presence, however.  He suspects The Kid may be working for The Clown.  And he may be right.
"Alright, Clown!  I'm takin' you in!"

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Warhammer Ancients Chariot Wars: Hittite Spearmen's the newest regiment for my Hittite army.  Not a very successful effort, unfortunately.  From a distance they look okay, up close not so much.  As my eyes get older and weaker, faces get tougher to paint.
The Ral Partha Hittite line did not include any actual Hittite infantry figures other than the Royal Guards.  The troopers in this unit are the "Anatolian ally" figures from the series and I assume they are meant to represent warriors from the ethnic Hittite colonies that dwelt far out in the Caucasus mountains.  These settlements were far enough away from the heartland of the Hittite empire to maintain a degree of independence, but from time to time they did send contingents to fight in the armies of their western cousins.
I've painted them as early Hittites.  Sort of.  I've played pretty fast and loose with it.
My sources for this era claim that the Hittites were the first people in the Mediterranean basin to discover iron, and iron weapons must surely have played a crucial role in the Hittites' successes.  They were also very successful in keeping this technological breakthrough a secret for a very long time.  It was only when the Hittite empire was finally over-run by the Sea Peoples that the secret got out and spread.  I've painted some of these warriors with iron spear heads, while others, perhaps less wealthy, still use bronze.
So.  Although this regiment is a bit underwhelming visually, alas, it at least represents meaningful progress on my Hittite starter army.  I still need to get a general, a heavy chariot squadron and some skirmishers finished.  Then I can wrap it up for now and move on to my Egyptians.
And now...back to work on more Rogue Trader 40k stuff.  I've made a lot of crazy promises to myself about what RT stuff I'd get done before fall.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Rogue Trader: Inquisitor Smyte

The mighty Inquisitor Malleo Smyte arrives on Geminion Secundus as part of the Inquisitorial Team dispatched to the Wailing Reach immediately prior to the outbreak of the third 'Stealer war.
Smyte had made his reputation as a young Inquisitor during the darkest days of the Second 'Stealer war, ruthlessly seeking out and purging 'stealer nests in the Geminions and also on Nepenthe.  He frequently worked in tandem with Inquisitor Julius Byrne, the two making an especially formidable team.
Unlike his comrades Inquisitors Heng and Byrne, who favored the employment of  what amounted to small armies of retainers, Smyte was a brooding and solitary creature.

He was normally accompanied only by a weird biomechanoid servitor and the strange being known as Lazarus Alte.
Alte's frail as wizened appearance belied his true value, for he was a master astropath and sanctioned psyker who wielded powers of appalling potency.
Well, its been fun working on these Inquisitors.  I suppose though, that this means its time I got off my butt and started painting up some genestealers for them to fight.
 So many projects, so little time.
"None can withstand us!!"