Sunday, 26 April 2015

PTS 77 + Anzac Day 2015 + WW100

Justin Roys
Special Edition 77 of Painting Table Saturday. This week the painting table lay bare as I had more pressing engagements. It was the first week back at school and with the teaching came preparation for Anzac day. This year marks 100 years since New Zealand became part of World War I.

I played the Last Post and The Rouse at a service held at Tamahere Model Country School on the Friday morning. Children spoke about their family history and showed treasured photos, medals or equipment. Kerem (one of my guitar students) has a Turkish dad and his story was poignant. The Yaprak family had a castle, lived in a mansion and owned a large estate. When the British arrived in World War I, it was the first castle destroyed (along with the mansion), forcing the Yaprak's to flee.

At 6am on Saturday I attended the dawn service at the Cambridge town hall. One of the hundreds gathered around the cenotaph, there was a choir and brass band. I  recall 'Abide With Me'. The Last Post welcomed the dawn, followed by an Ode, a moments silence and The Rouse. Shots were also fired, ringing out in the silence. Nearby, a young child cried.

Cambridge Cenotaph
The story was told of a local soldier, Billy Beck, the first kiwi ashore at Anzac Cove a century ago. Leaping from the boat into waist high water. His mates laughed as he waded to the beach. As he sat on the rocks emptying his boots it was his turn to laugh, watching his fellow troops make the jump. Not all made it to shore. They were under fire. The Australian soldiers were already on the beach and had suffered heavy casualties. 

Remembering those Anzac soldiers we sang God Defend New Zealand and Advance Australia Fair. Cambridge RSA president Bill McMillan laid a wreath, followed by servicemen and ex-servicemen who laid poppies. Others from the crowd were then welcomed forward. It was a somber experience.

The Girl Guides March in Hamilton on Anzac Day. 
Later that day my wife and our daughters attended the Anzac march and ceremony in Hamilton. Jade and Ella are Girl Guides, Rylee is a Pippin. Meanwhile I at Eventide, a rest home in Tamahere, where I played the Last Post and Rouse for their Anzac service. Sitting in the chapel beside a row of returned service men, I found it to be a remarkably different experience to the school service the day before.

Then I was on the road to Tuakau for a blues gig, picking up my band mates Daron and Chub on the way. La Valla estate proved to be the perfect venue for an afternoon of wine, song and blues music. Before our set, I spoke to the crowd about the Anzacs and then played the Last Post and The Rouse. My drummer Justin (a Corporal in the New Zealand Army) read the fourth stanza of the fourth stanza of the poem For the fallen by Laurence Binyon.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Writing this now I realised we missed singing God Defend New Zealand. My harmonica player Craig Bracken is a descendant of the author, poet Thomas Bracken. Even without this, it was a moving way to begin what was a joyous afternoon of music.

I also had the opportunity to give Justin his present. To say he was moved would be an understatement. I've known Justin as a friend and drummer since we recorded the Don't Hold Back album in 2003. Painting the miniature knight and griffon was a spiritual experience for me. I even had it blessed at St Stephens church. Giving it to Justin was a precious moment I will never forget.

Qua tendis ~ Wither do you steer?

So, not a day for painting. A day for remembrance and good company. The quote for the day that rang true for me was from Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.

God bless you and have a great week.

Friday, 24 April 2015

In the Emperor's Name + Hive World + Warhammer 40k

Hive World. 
This is a battle report by Lewis Morgan of the esteemed Tamahere Officers Club. He is running a campaign using the rather eloquent In the Emperor's Name rulebook, also known as ITEN, for skirmish games set in the Warhammer 40k universe. This was the first game, played a few weeks ago. I'm not sure if he will connect this with the other (Gamma World) campaign he is running...

"It all seemed so easy..."

For our test run of In the Emperor's Name I decided to run a little Hive World scenario.

In the center of the board Phil's hive gangers stood ready to defend their turf to the last man. It might have been an old ruined Rec center but it was theirs!

From further down the table Blair's Guard were approaching on a gang sweep. Their mission; wipe out any hive scum like the cockroaches they are.

Strangely reticent, a squad of Dave's Blood Angels watched on. Unknown to the other combatants their job was recruitment. Any ganger who killed a guardsman would be tranquilized and teleported to the battle barge in orbit around the planet.

However, at the other end of the table a band of Eldar pirates entered, controlled by Marty. Their mission was to locate and close a webway portal that dirty orks had been using to enter the craftworld and steal spirit stones. Unfortunately closing the portal required a special gem which the Eldar had recently procured from a Thark temple. If only the Eldar knew which building contained the portal...

Not far from the Rec center, Greg's orks streamed from a web portal, their grubby mits filled with spirit stones. They had found a buyer for the stones - The hive gang! Although why hive gangers would want spirit stones was beyond the orks. No matter, gangers might be crazy but their money was good.

So as the casual observer might detect, we were in for a full table of jolly japes and scallywag behavior.

And then the Tharks arrive...

Imperial Troopers?

Much maligned Martian greenskins!
Early in the game the Eldar took the initiative and made a fast sweep up one side of the board leaving ganger and guard corpses smoking in their wake.

The gangers traded shots with the advancing guard and the orks milled about generally getting in everyone's way. Like a well oiled machine the Blood Angel marines took the fortified high ground and looked for recruits in the ensuing melee. 

Everything seemed to be going swimmingly until one particularly curious Eldar pirate entered the Rec center. Imagine his surprise when he discovered the Gangs leader, a pure strain genestealer!

His surprise was short lived, as was the combat.

Now the real threat had been revealed everyone when to battle stations!

As one, the Marines and Guard focused their attentions on cleansing the Xenos. How ever the marine commander was shocked to see that the Imperial Guard's idea of cooperation was to let off a suicide grenade in the marine's bunker and then follow this up with a flamethrower burst.

Unfortunately the guard had been infected before the battle.

Scratch half the marines force.

The orks milled about generally getting in everyone's way.

Cunning as usual, the Eldar pirate captain avoided the whole mess, and approached one of the last remaining unsearched buildings.

It was at this moment Darcy's Tharks chose to deploy from this very spot. Three tharks gutted the captain, recovered the gem and exited the table in one easy maneuver.

"Holy mother of shit!" or it's Eldar equivalent was heard spoken.

Meanwhile the remaining marines decided to make a break for the surface via a rail line. Their fate remains unknown...

The Genestealer cult slowly gathered it's gangers and guard to its lair.

The orks milled about generally getting in everyone's way.

All in all a great game!


In the Emperor's Name was an excellent ruleset, especially considering this was our first game, 6 players and the whole thing was over in 2 hours.

Lots of scenario driven action (especially as no one got any victory points for killing anyone) and heaps of secret GM/player conferences.

Final scores:

  • Tharks: 10/10 (although roundly hated for their appearance on the field at all!?)
  • Imperial Guard: 6/10 (for doing a real number on the marines)
  • Genestealer Cult: 3/10 (inseminated one cocky eldar pirate!)
  • Eldar: 0/10 (unfortunately delivering victory straight to the Tharks after such a promising start)
  • Orks: 0/10 (milled about generally got in everyone's way)
  • Marines: -2/10 (after teleporting an ork to the battle barge as a prospective recruit!)

Outrageously good fun. Can't wait to do it all again :-)

Saturday, 18 April 2015

PTS 76 + Morgul Orcs + Lord of the Rings Battle Game

Note the classic circa 1985 Citadel Chaos Knight.
Edition #76 of Painting Table Saturday with not a lot of painting. Mostly basing, as I gather a regiment of Orcs for Lord of the Rings battle games. A recent game with Dave brought up an interesting dilema. I have plenty of dwarves, rangers, elves, etc.

However, when it comes to authentic Lord of the Rings miniatures, I have no orcs! None painted for tabletop play that is. Another case of buying plastic miniatures and not being inspired to paint them! I am so into metal. I like the heft.

So to remedy the situation, this week I weighted 25 magnetic bases with standard washers and began assembly. Each required some super glue and delicate application of sand and stone. A few hours work, well worth the effort. 

A regimemt of plastic Morgul Orcs.

With a metal captain.

After another spray coat, brush work begins.

I endeavour to have these completed for the next game in a week or so. They are superbly sculpted miniatures that deserve a fine paint job and the washer adds the heft I desire.

God bless you and enjoy your week!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

PTS 75 + Reaper Griffon Knight + Roys Crest

Awaiting engraving of the Roys family motto.
Edition #75 of Painting Table Saturday and I have finished painting a gift for my good friend and drummer, Justin Roys. The Roys crest features the mythical griffon. I mentioned this in PTS #74 but I overlooked the Roys family motto, Qua tendis (Wither do you steer). 

This week I dropped the miniature off to my good friend Sandy at Emblems in Hamilton. He is going to mount the miniature and add a brass plate with the family name and motto. Sandy is also a musician, he plays guitar in the band Wolf Wizard.

The Griffon is a multi-part sculpt by Sandra Garrity, from the Reaper Miniatures P-65 Heavy Metal line. I'm not sure if they are currently making these in metal but it's on their website here. You can pick one up from their Bones line in plastic resin. The knight is also a Reaper Miniatures model, sculpted by Werner Klocke, 02422: Sir Michael the Gold. I didn't know the title when I chose the colours! A good match.

Individually they are fine miniatures. Together they are a wonderful pair. If it wasn't for the idea of painting the griffon as a gift for Justin, they would have remained separate. They look perfect as companions, with the bold knight amplified by the magnificent griffon. Putting them both atop a mountain crag seemed cliché, so I tried something new by making water a feature of the base. Perhaps this was me unknowingly connecting the shore to the Roys family motto, Qua tendis (Wither do you steer). Unknowingly because I didn't know the motto at the time I decided to add water.

I am no great scholar. I asked Justin what his motto was and looked it up on Google to confirm it. His translation of Qua tendis over the phone to me was the colloquial "What're you looking at?" We both had a chuckle. We've known each other a long time. It's probable our ancestors knew each other also. The Roys and Perry families were granted lands and titles by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. 

Given that history, the motto will have a biblical root. Perhaps a better translation of "Wither do you steer" would be "Do you know where you are going?" For some the answer to that would be "God only knows!" Anyway, Google proved useful again here. 

"But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."—Job 23:10.

God knows the way that you take, do you? Is this knowledge comforting? There are trials no matter which way you take. Are you confident that God is testing you for your own good? All questions of faith that would no doubt be as much a part of a knight's life in medieval times as they are for us today.

I don't have any fancy water effects products from the likes of Games Workshop or Woodland Scenics. Instead, in good old kiwi number 8 wire tradition, I used Selleys Araldite (5 Minute) epoxy glue. This was more than suitable for the job at hand. As it sets you can add ripples and when it gets tacky an old brush can bring crests to waves. I added some sand after the first layer, along with green washes. I used two green inks. Then after the second layer of glue, a final blue wash, which included the rocks. After everything was dry, some subtle white highlights were applied to the waves and rocks. 

First wash of green water.

Knight is glued to the base with first layer of Araldite.

More green ink washes with a second layer of Araldite.

Dappling with the brush and highlights.

Blue wash over rocks and water.

Photo with flash to show  depth of the water colours.

Almost done. Wing tips and final touches.

After finishing the model I took it outside for some daylight photos. The flash on my Samsung Galaxy S5 is on. Ok, so I'm still an amateur photographer! I'm really happy with how it came out. The water really sparkles. I believe this will really knock Justin's socks off. Feast your eyes on the magnificent results.

Rob is on the right.
Before I go... a shout out to my good friend Rob in Wellington. He is currently enjoying an amazing experience in Weta Workshop, helping prepare Sir Peter Jackson's 10m x 4m Gallipoli diorama that will feature in The Great War Exhibition, opening in the old Dominion Museum building in Wellington, the week before Anzac Day.

To check out the project from a Waikato perspective click the Gallipoli WW100 link on the right.

God bless you and have a great week!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Shadow Battalion + Anzac Spirit

The ANZ and RSA is honouring a century of the Anzac spirit through an innovative online remembrance project, aiming at engaging young Kiwis in New Zealand’s World War One commemorations.

Enter the site:

Through the Shadow Battalion site, you can choose to stand for and remember a WWI Anzac. Using information from the Cenotaph Database, the site will suggest an Anzac, or you can search for one by name to find your forbears or others who are important to you.

Once you choose to honour an Anzac, your name and the Anzac you’ve chosen to remember forms part of an online ‘Shadow Battalion‘ gallery. You can share this through social media to encourage others to take part. At the end of your online journey you’ll have the opportunity to further support remembrance by finding your local Anzac Day service on theRSA site, or making a donation to the RSA online.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

PTS 74 + Reaper Griffon Knight + Roys Crest

Reaper Griffon.
Edition #74 of Painting Table Saturday and the final week of painting 54mm Anzacs & Turks (sculptured by the Perry twins) for Sir Peter Jackson's Gallipoli diorama that will feature in The Great War Exhibition, opening in the old Dominion Museum building in Wellington, the week before Anzac Day.

To check out the project from a Waikato perspective click the Gallipoli WW100 link on the right.

Now that I have completed my mission and sent all the miniatures to Wellington for installation, I really need to book flights for my family to go and see the diorama in all it's 10m by 4m glory.

The jar lid base proves useful.
Meanwhile I'm back at the painting table with a Reaper Miniatures knight and griffon. Both of these were purchased separately from Trade Me. After deciding to paint the griffon as a gift for my drummer Justin Roys, I got the idea to include the knight which also has a griffon crest. Together they look magnificent.

Leaving room for the knight.
I'm not an expert on heraldry. Justin had mentioned his family crest only once, when he spotted another griffon painted by Bobby Grindrod on my shelf in the man shed. So when it comes to the colours I am using my own imagination. Justin is a blue eyed blonde kiwi of Irish Catholic descent. The surname Roy belonged to families from the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada, known for their red hair.

A bold knight for Justin Roys.
Thus I chose blue, red and gold for the knight. They stand out brilliantly against the huge griffon and are bold primary colours.

I hope to have the griffon and griffon knight ready to give to Justin when I see him at our next gig, on Anzac day.

God bless you and have a great Easter holidays.