Wednesday, 27 August 2008

039 Tanks for the Memories

A recent spate of superb articles (Pathfinder and Master Darksol) has inclined me to try to pen my own ramblings, and having wondered what I know about, (most of my 'experience' being - as it is - theoretical and bound by a limited knowledge of xenos forces,) I figured I could document some of my more recent musings on the use of the Imperial Guard battle tank in 5th Edition. More accurately, the pros and cons of seven different Leman Russ (LR) battle tank (that is, with a traversing turret) variants.

In order to structure my insane ramblings, I'll first note the basic price of each of the variants and briefly discuss the merits of their main weapons. Next I'll prattle on about secondary armaments and upgrades (those I care about); and finally I'll spout my misguided conclusions about which are best for each of three roles: anti-tank, not including light vehicles (A/T); anti-personnel (A/P) and general, all-round usefulness.

Okay. Here are the seven variants I plan to discuss - each one listed with its basic (read 'cheapest') weapons configuration, in all cases, a hull-mounted hvy bolter. Those marked with an asterisk are particularly Forgeworld (FW) variants:

LR Main Battle Tank (MBT) = 145 pts
- Main weapon = battle cannon - 72"/Str8/AP3 Ord 1/Blast;
LR Demolisher (Demo) = 155 pts
- Main weapon = demolisher cannon - 24"/Str10/AP2 Ord 1/Blast;
LR Exterminator (Ext) = 125 pts
- Main weapon = T-L autocannon - 48"/Str7/AP4 Hvy 2 (T-L);
LR Annihilator* (Anni) = 135 pts
- Main weapon = T-L lascannon - 48"/St9/AP2 Hvy 1 (T-L);
LR Vanquisher* (Vanq) = 180 pts
- Main weapon = vanquisher cannon - 96"/Str8/AP3 Ord 1/Blast (or special);
LR Executioner* (Exec) = 170 pts
- Main weapon = plasma destroyer - 54"/Str7/AP2 Hvy 1/Blast;
LR Conqueror* (Conq) = 150 pts
- Main weapon = conqueror cannon - 48"/Str7/AP4 Hvy 1/Blast.

Notes on the different main weapons:
  1. The battle cannon is a reliable all-rounder: the ord. template is great against troops, but if you're firing it at a tank, it's a bit of a gamble. Str 8 isn't ideal against heavy armour, and helps if that tank is fairly big, as it's a shame when these things scatter off the mark. Very useful range.
  2. The Str10 demolisher cannon is simply great against anything (always minding the drawback of scatter, above) but its 24" range is crippling. Great in small games, but a potential liability in Apoc. or maybe even if coming on from reserve.
  3. T-L autocannon are rubbish against proper armour, but great against troops. Yes, MEQs still get their saves, but then every man and his dog gets cover saves now anyway. And luckily, I don't fight marines much!
  4. T-L lascannon are simply great against armour, and the 48" range is respectable enough to snipe at tanks.
  5. Vanq cannon = everything about the MBT battle cannon, but with a greater range. A/T shells also allow you to roll 2d6 and add them for penetration - in addition to it being Ord (see note, below).
  6. A plasma destroyer should be better than this, really: it's a good range, but the small blast template really lets it down - even with the new template rules. Str7 is rubbish against proper armour, but AP2 is great against any well-armoured troops.
  7. The Conq cannon was designed for 4th Ed, so it could move and fire (being hvy, not ord). This was achieved by weakening it to a Str7 hvy wpn. Now all tanks can fire ord on the move, it's really obsolete. More of that below.

A note about ordnance and heavy weapons on vehicles:

Ordanance is great because when penetrating armour you get to roll 2d6 and pick the highest, but you can't fire anything else simultaneously Also, when they blast, they use the big ol' 5" template. Heavy weapons, on the other hand, penetrate normally but you can fire other weapons too: all weapons if you didn't move, and defensive weapons only if you did. More on using secondary weapons later. Heavy blasts only use the 3" template, sadly.

Hull weapons, sponsons and upgrades:

In a nutshell, all my models have sponsons because I-think-it-looks-cool-and-I-built-them-before-I-realised-magnets-could-make-them-optional. I'll keep this simple: in my mind, heavy bolters are a great A/P weapon, lascannon are essential for A/T roles and plasma cannon and multi-meltas are only for those who can afford them (more of which later). Hvy flamers seem wasted; especially now that the tanks are less manoeuvrable and really vulnerable in close assault.

Smoke launchers should be free. What tank would ever go anywhere without them? And who on Earth wants to pay 3 pts for something? 3 pts? - Why round up everything else to end in a '0' or a '5', eh? it's not like they make a huge difference now anyway, given the cover rules. But they are good to have. P-M hvy stubbers can be useful in an A/P role (they're a good psychological edge too, especially on a laden Exterminator!) and extra armour's always good if you've 5 pts to spare. H/K missiles have been known to do damage in the A/T role, but are expensive at 10 pts, especially given the BS of the IG clowns firing them. I don't bother with anything else - too expensive.

CONCLUSIONS:

Right then. Here are my thoughts for which tanks (with which essential equipment) are best (not necessarily cheapest!) in each role, in 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions. What follows each, in brackets, is any useful secondary armament - upgrades are not included herein:

A/T Role:

  1. Vanq w. hull lascannon (H/K missile)
  2. Anni w. hull lascannon (H/K missile)
  3. Demolisher w. hull lascannon (H/K missile; multi-meltas if you're feeling flash!)

A/P Role:

  1. Ext w. 3 hvy bolters + P-M hvy stubber [NB: that's a lot of shots when stationary, and the stubber counts as defensive, too. Because it's rubbish. It has a good range though...]
  2. Demo w. hull hvy bolter (against heavily armoured troops, plasma cannon in the sponsons would probably be good too, although they're not cheap, and remember: you cannot fire them with the main weapon.)
  3. MBT w. hull hvy bolter (hvy bolter sponsons are tempting, but again, can't be fired simultaneously, so you may as well keep it cheap).

General Role:

  1. MBT w. hull lascannon + sponson hvy bolters
  2. Demo w. hull lascannon + sponson hvy bolters
  3. Ext. as presented above.

The Executioner's plasma "destroyer" is by no means destructive enough to warrant its hefty points cost; especially when compared to the MBT with a greater range, larger template and a respectable AP3, and the Conqueror is simply obsolete now. Don't get me wrong: both of these are great FW models and superb for the fluff...just not so hot on value-for-money. It's a pity.

It only remains for me to note three things. Firstly, although I am biased toward the Exterminator (or 'gun platform') variant, which I love despite its drop in manoeuvrability in 5th Ed, I did chart all this stuff out and think long and hard to reach these misbegotten conclusions; secondly that it's genuinely good to note the standard Leman Russ MBT made it into the final cuts, and thirdly, that...

...the Demolisher seems to be a really good investment, making all three of my Top 3s (despite me only ever fielding one once and converting the two of mine into Annihilators). Its Str10 weapon is a real bonus, and its range can at least be bumped up by 36" range secondary weapons. IN ADDITION TO THIS, the Demo has the HUUUUUGE advantage of having better side and rear armour values than any of the others; designed, as it is, for close-quarter battle. As a reminder, the standard LR armour is 14/12/10, whereas the Demo has a stonking 14/13/11! As all assaults against tanks are now resolved against the rear armour, that's gotta be a boon, right? Right.

Ladies and gents, please: let's hear it for the Leman Russ Demolisher!

This was intended to be food for thought, rather than scientifically accurate, but I'm very interested to hear any of your thoughts, guys...

Cheers for making it through,

- Drax.

Monday, 25 August 2008

038 Sentinels, Powerfists and Lions?

Three things, briefly.

1) Check out Pathfinder's awesome treatise on the plight of the sentinel - the nail has been hit squarely on the head there...
2) Check out A Kiss with a Powerfist when you get a chance: my friend and erstwhile opponent has joined the blog world in the hope of becoming more prolific within so nurturing an environment, and
3) Pop over to the friendly chaps at Scarylionsucksat40k: at the moment they're experimenting with washes...

Oh, and I've made a start on those snipers. They are pretty boring though...

That is all.

- Drax

Saturday, 23 August 2008

037 Poll Vaulting

Well...it's not like I was going to turn down a heading like that now, was it? - More on the poll below. But first...

Shout-outs! There are some new folks in town, and I'd like to "show them some love" (a phrase I've come to rather enjoy)! Please check out the links on the left, and amongst them you'll find...:

  1. Master Darksol, over at All Things 40K - simply fantastic, and with a great dose of humour. Check out the step-by-step for his terrain set of an Eldar maiden world. Sadly, because I'm not much of a fluff-bunny I don't really know what a 'maiden world' is...but then I think I can pretty much guess!
  2. Devilin, over at Pathfinder - so far he's been pretty damned prolific: Lord knows when - or even if - he sleeps! There's a good range of cool models on display there as well as some home-made rules with an humorous edge and I've particularly been enjoying his thoughts on tactics and models - particularly the Guard stuff!
  3. Lord General Gordon, over at 20th Praetorian - I can't really understand a word of it as my German is only very basic, but again, there's some cool models (another expanding Praetorian regiment) and Gordon's kind enough to write in English when he comments elsewhere. There's some sort of hugely ironic post-colonial link there, but I can't quite place it...! Check out the awesome names of some of his models, e.g. Staff Corporal Oswald Baxtrey-Martin, General Commissar Isidor Nemrod and Kommissar Jephta Kairi. Cool.
  4. Crusher Joe over at Ultramarine Blues (great blog name, too!) - passing thoughts and simply smashing battle/tournament reports. Read it.
  5. Last but never least, my (comparatively!) old friend Brian over at The Inner Geek. He's a sterling supporter of this burgeoning blog community, but more importantly, he's documenting his Herculean efforts at building his shiny, new Reaver Titan. And jeepers, there are a lot of bits (see pic of leg bits, below)!

THE (moderately successful) POLL:

Yes, the poll results are in, and thank you to the 17 viewers who voted (I kicked-off myself, to see if it worked!). The thing is, of course, that I've already finished the Armoured Fist squad, so I figured I'd work on the next two most popular concurrently. They are:

1st, my snipers,
and
2nd, my basilisk and griffon (both currently WiP).

I have to say, it'll be good to work on some vehicles again (and no, I haven't forgotten the great suggestions you gave me for the Veterans' shoulder pads) - I'd actually finished the basilisk, but decided to repaint it solid green. Despite how good the camouflage looked, I wanted it to fit in better with the other chimera-based light vehicles.

And as for the snipers? Well, I think you might be a little disappointed. I made a start on them a couple of years ago (when I worked out the DPM camouflage you can also see on the Vets) but the models really aren't too interesting. Ah well, at least they should be relatively quick to paint.

Now let's see how much I can get done once I start work at my new school on Sept 1st!

- Drax

036 Light Infantry 1500pt Army List

Hi! I'm going to do some shout-outs soon, but before I forget, here's the full 1500pt army list* from my game a few days ago (for my shorthand, please refer to the glossary on the right):
[All troops equipped with lasgun unless otherwise noted. Also, please excuse the double spacing: sometimes the post editor does this when I return to a draft and I cannot work out how to stop it - can't even decode the html. If anyone knows how, please advise!]

HQ:

- Heroic Snr Officer w. P/wpn, bolt pistol, ID; Vet Medic; 3 pax - one w. M/vox; one w. plas. gun = 122pts

- Commissar w. P/wpn, bolt pistol = 46pts

- A/T Squad A: 3 lascannon = 110pts

Troops:

- 1 Platoon:

---- Pl HQ Sect: Jr Officer w. P/wpn, bolt pistol, ID; Vet Medic; 3 pax - one w. vox; two w. gren. launchers = 83pts

---- 1 Sect: Sgt w. laspistol, ccw; 9 pax - one w. vox; one w. plas. gun = 75pts

---- 2 Sect: Sgt w. laspistol, ccw; 9 pax - one w. vox; one w. meltagun = 75pts

---- 3 Sect: Sgt w. laspistol, ccw; 9 pax - one w. vox; one w. gren. launcher = 73pts

---- 4 Sect (r): Sgt w. laspistol, ccw; 4 pax - one w. vox; one w. flamer = 41pts

---- Total for 1 Pl = 347pts

- 2 Platoon:

---- Pl HQ Sect: Jr Officer w. P/wpn, bolt pistol, ID; Vet Medic; 3 pax - one w. vox; two w. gren. launchers = 83pts

---- 1 Sect: Sgt w. laspistol, ccw; 9 pax - one w. vox; one w. plas. gun = 75pts

---- 2 Sect: Sgt w. laspistol, ccw; 9 pax - one w. vox; one w. meltagun = 75pts

---- 3 Sect: Sgt w. laspistol, ccw; 9 pax - one w. vox; one w. gren. launcher = 73pts

---- 4 Sect (r): Sgt w. laspistol, ccw; 4 pax - one w. vox; one w. flamer = 41pts

---- Entire platoon given Light Infantry Doctrine @ 10pts/sub-unit = +50pts

---- Total for 2 Pl = 397pts

Heavy Support

- 1 Fire Support Platoon:

---- F/Sup Pl HQ Sect: Jr Officer w. P/wpn, bolt pistol, ID; Vet Medic; 3 pax - one w. vox; two w. gren. launchers = 83pts

---- A/T Squad B: 3 missile launchers = 95pts

---- A/P Squad C: 3 autocannon = 95pts

---- A/P Squad D: 3 h/bolters = 80pts

---- Total for F/Sup platoon = 353pts

Fast Attack:

Hellhound 'Helios' w. extra armour and smoke launchers = 123pts.

Total points cost = 1498pts.

...So there you go. Worked for me!

- Drax.

*Please note that although I'm billing this as an infantry list, (comprising the cream of 2/24th Cadian,) and it was originally planned as such, the hellhound was included in the game to give my opponent some armour to shoot at. For those who might be wondering, before I swapped to the hellhound, I had a mortar squad, and more units had the Light Infantry doctrine.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

035 Victory to the Footsloggers!

Okay, so I know the title gives it away a little, but I WON! This isn't a battle report, but I think it'll still be a long post, so if you're like me, and tend not to read these, please skip to the photos at the end!

NB: You might find the glossary (on the right) useful in parts...

Allow me to present the majority of the IG participants - the brave men of the 2/24th Cadian Light Infantry:
This game was:
- The first game I've played against an actual opponent in months (usually play against myself to try ideas out - how sad is that?!);
- The first I've played against a non-Guard enemy in years (usually my opponent uses my collection);
- The first proper game I've played with 5th Edition rules;
- The first I've ever played with an almost entirely painted force (and boy, does that make a difference!);
- Rather good fun, and (within reason) surprisingly fluffy!

Game stats:
1500pts
Imperial Guard Vs Daemons
Mission: Capture and Control
Deployment: Pitched Battle
Terrain: 6'x4'; outskirts of blasted Imperial habitation (incl. four 'Cities of Death' ruins)
1st deployment / 1st turn: IG (Opponent's choice)
No. of turns: 4 (Opponent graciously conceded defeat at end of daemons' turn 4)

Things to note:

(a) My opponent was superb and is always sporting. He has an encyclopedic grasp of 40K fluff and enjoys cinematic gameplay. These aspects combine to make a very enjoyable adversary. Challenging too, as he's often beaten me in the past; not least with identical ('blue-on-blue') forces!
(b) He was fielding a Daemon force, but most of this was proxied as he's only just started collecting daemons, and he wanted to try out various troop choices.

(c) Kate very kindly set out the terrain for us, and even baked one of her yummy apple pies whilst we played. It's great having a third party lay out the table, and she always makes it look believable, which I never can. More about Kate's contributions anon...

(d) My force comprised the following (the 1500pt breakdown will be posted separately; units are hyperlinked):
HQ Sect w. Cmsr;
Lascannon F/Sup sect;
1 Pl. w/o. LI;
2 Pl. w. LI;
1 F/Sup Pl w/o LI;
Hellhound 'Cerberus'.

(e) Sadly I can't go into detail about the daemon force, but it was led by a bloodthirster, and included 4 units of bloodletters, 2 units of plaguebearers, and a unit each of flamers, screamers and pink horrors. As you can tell, my opponent was trying dfferent troop types out for the first time.

(f) He kindly allowed me use of a bunker, as I wanted to see how good they were now...

(g) The game in a nutshell: The Infiltrate skilll granted by LI allowed 2 Pl to deploy around the daemons' home objective and in the surrounding ruins, which forced the daemons (arriving piecemeal by deepstrike) to fight on two fronts and the Guard to fight defensively - had they had to go on the offensive, they could only have scraped a draw, as they would've been slaughtered wholesale in the open ground. As it was, they took a fearsome toll of the daemons.

(h) Unusually, the Guard aquitted themselves superbly well! Each unit did exactly what it was supposed to do, and the (surprisingly) few who died sold their loves dearly. Casualty rates were very low indeed (eg: 1 Pl lost only 1 man out of 40!) and would've been much higher had the daemons carried more missile weapons - they had very few.

(i) There were a couple of good 'last stands', but the Best Bit simply had to be when the Bloodthirster deepstruck in a few yards in front of the infiltrating 2 Pl's 2 sect in turn 1, only to be cut to ribbons by their short range lasgun fire (yes - lasguns!) and finished off by 1 sect's sergeant... with his laspistol! How the mighty are fallen, eh? Mr. Bloodthirster's really gonna feel the burn of that shame!

(j) Finally, the daemons' compulsory deepstrike really is a double-edged sword. Even in a small-ish game on a large-ish table, my opponent was obliged to be cautious in his deepstriking. Given his complete lack of fatal errors, we agreed he probably should be less cautious in future; but apparently, appearing in front of a gunline is a pretty dangerous occupation for any warp creature - even fearless ones with invulnerable saves!

PHOTOS:
NB: Sorry about the kitchen (esp. the bowl of oranges) in the background!

This is 1 Pl still in position around their defended bunker at the game's end:
The IG command section is in the bunker (naturally, although they did sally out to pummel one deepstriking unit - six 'pink horrors'). Note the F/Sup sections in place at the top of the ruins, covering thier arcs: These are two views from the ruin next to the Daemons' home objective: 2 Pl HQ sect were - against the odds - still making a stand here at the end of the game.

These are two views of Kate's wonderful Ruined Memorial Fountain centrepiece - I love this piece of terrain, and in another post I'll try to showcase more of the stuff she's done for me. Anyone recognise the statue?Finally, here's Kate herself, in the middle of whipping some cream. She'll probably ask me to remove this one if she discovers it's been posted, but hey - I love her and it's only her patience which makes these games days possible, right? And her awesome apple pies!Thanks for tuning in...army list to follow anon.

The Emperor Protects.

- Drax

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

034 Armoured Fist Squad 1

First pic:
Well... I'm not going to wax too lyrical about these lads. It was supposed to be a side project whilst I did other stuff, but because these old metal Cadian models are so shoddy (seriously: some of these guys have hands like moose antlers!) and because I do like at least a tidy finish on my models, I've actually had to expend effort on them in the closing stages. Damnit.

Some of the few things to note (the 3rd pic is slightly different!) include:

(a) the blue-white-blue insignia and identification flashes. Yes, I know blue looks awful against dark green, but it goes with their Chimera transport (you'll note their fatigues are also predominantly Dark Angels too, like the transports). So there.

(b) the Cadian '1' transfer on their left shoulder pads: again, this ties in with the four Chimera transports;
(c) the hastily (if fairly effectively) converted vox on one guardsman; and

(d) the awesome old plasma gunner model. I've a story about one of these...but it'll wait.
Strangely, they actually look better after being varnished - that really didn't fill me with love for these models!

Oh, and these were the Guinea pigs for my patented new Indian Ink Basing Formula-X (I think that's what I'll call it!) - which worked like a dream.

The old order changeth / Yielding place to new.

- Drax.

WHO'S ACTUALLY GOING TO PLAY HIS MATE'S DAEMONS TOMORROW!
and, doubtless, lose!

Monday, 18 August 2008

033 Minor Revelations in Basing

Success! Viz:

I'll explain. When basing (which I dislike), one of the things which annoys me most is the fiddly processes of
(1) applying glue around the feet;
(2) dipping the model in the gravel etc. and trying to ensure an even coverage;
(3) waiting (overnight) for it to dry;
(4) basecoating it all black, which is fiddly;
(5) drybrushing it grey;
(6) edging the base in black, and
(7) applying the identification flash.

Now obviously, had I not already undercoated all of my models, I could apply the gravel and then spray it black. But 'tis too late, as always.

A while ago, I tried emptying the contents of some ink cartidges into the tub. This worked, but not too well. The coverage of the gravel was uneven and rather watery.

BUT TODAY...I got into the bright lights of the local town and bought a pot of Indian Ink from a stationer's shop. Genius! It works so well that it'll negate the whole fiddlyness of step (4)! Hooray!

That only leaves steps (1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7)!

Incidentally, the gravel I use is a mix of GW's and some other stuff.

- Drax.

Friday, 15 August 2008

032 Fire Support Platoon 1

[21/06/09 - Please note: 1 Pl has now been superceded by the new codex version 'tactical' platoon. Follow this link for more details.]

And here it is: D Coy's Fire Support Platoon 1:
So, the idea of these F/Sup platoon is that the poor bloody infantry platoons are freed-up to slog around the board catching bullets and shooting their special weapons whilst these chaps provide covering heavy weapons fire and attract tons of fire in return. It's expensive points-wise, but it does mean that I don't have to make the call between infantry sections either firing en masse at troops (ineffectually) or standing still in order to fire one missile launcher at a tank (again, ineffectually).

The platoon is in the Cadian 24th's D Coy, along with another identical F/Sup platoon and a mortar platoon for indirect fire support. It comprises the following sub-units, each of which has a hyperlinked subtitle:

HQ Section - NEW!
A/T squad B
A/P squad C
A/P squad D
I've explained briefly before, but in case you were wondering: each F/Sup platoon's A/T squad A (equipped with lascannon) is on permanent detachment to the two commanders of B Coy and D Coy (these being the two companies I own). These squads are not painted yet (27/01/09 - one of them is now!).

I'm pleased with this unit, even though some of the older painting jobs are a little ropey!

Cheers...

- Drax

PS: Kate's put photos of the new cottage up onto her
blog now. Hurrah.

031 F/Sup Platoon 1 - HQ Section

[21/06/09 - Please note: 1 Pl has now been superceded by the new codex version 'tactical' platoon. Follow this link for more details.]

At last I've finished them - the first unit to be finished in The Shed!

This is the command section for the first of two fire support platoons - the rest of the platoon has already been posted as finished: you'll find links below. Here's the usual front and back views...

...and (although the photos didn't come out at all well, damnit) four close-ups of the medic - a model of which I'm quite proud. He's made of FW Cadian upgrade bitz, and I have to say was surprisingly enjoyable to paint:

Here's the whole of F/Sup Platoon 1, above;

Here's A/T squad B;

Here's A/P squad C;

And here's A/P squad D.


You'll find further details on the post with the whole platoon.


- Drax

Thursday, 14 August 2008

030 Emerging Third Columnist

Hey! Just a quickie today - I've a nice post for later, but I ran out of time earlier* and the daylight will start to fade soon, so finishing and photos will have to wait til tomorrow.

Wanted to extend my thanks to Running from the Law and Tips for New Bloggers for enabling me to go to a three-column format!

Here's a WiP sneak-peak for later:

- Drax

* Being absent-minded and unfamiliar with local bus routes I got on the wrong bus earlier, and had to walk about 5 miles up hill and down dale to get home, armed with nothing other than a quiche I couldn't eat and two bottles of carpet shampoo! Happily, Kate and Cadfael came out to meet me and walked with me: I'm a lucky fella.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

029 Shed and Scenery

I'm back. And I have the internet in the cottage. Result!

I feel like I have some catching up to do. Still, here are some pics. Firstly, here's my homemade painting/modelling tray in The Shed, along with a wider view of the inside. Honestly, it's a little cramped, but I really like the quiet and lack of distraction:
And here's the outside view of The Shed. We've had torrential rain here recently, so that made painting in there late last night particularly atmospheric:
This is something I'm quite proud of: one of my pieces of vehicle wreckage/scenery. I like two things about it - (1) it's my first successful decorative airbrushing effort (sadly my mate's taken the airbrush back now); and (2) it is - I think - the only piece of scenery I've got that's actually in a finished state. I work on the other bits and bobs piecemeal. It's the port track cowling of the Belgranos:
Finally, although I've loads more scenery similarly unfinished, here are two of my three 4th Edition-style bunkers. I've been using old paints and sand to (fairly successfully) texture them. Bunkers are rock solid in 5th Edition, and I can't wait to use them. I might even make more. What I'd like to do is build some fortifications to link them for a Guard defensive battle:It's good to be back in the game - can't wait to see what you lot have been up to!

- Drax

Monday, 4 August 2008

028 Life without the Internet

Thanks for your patience everyone: I should have had the internet by now but the bloody company had some sort of crisis, so I've been stuck in an isolated village with no Internet. Luckily, today I managed to get into the local town to buy stuff, and I'm on the library computer.

Which has a horrible keyboard.

GOOD NEWS THOUGH: Kate has given me the full run of the Garden Shed in the new cottage, so I now have an entire room dedicated to my hobby, and I can pootle around out there until the early hours without fear of disturbing my sweet slumbering wife. If only I didn't have to share it with quite so many moths and spiders...!

Hurrah!

Getting lots done, by-and-by - photos soon; hope all's well with you...

- Drax