Sunday, 26 December 2010

242 Christmas Freestylin' Freehand

Hope you all enjoyed Christmas!

Just a little idea I've been working on, and I managed this bit of freehand yesterday - internet points if you can identify its intended location:
If you're wondering why I was painting on Christmas Day, it's because I was marking time whilst Mrs. Drax was feeding Baby.

If you're in Blighty today, enjoy Boxing Day!

- Drax

Saturday, 25 December 2010

241 Merry Christmas!

To all my dear readers,

Have a lovely Christmas - if you celebrate it - and all the very best for 2011!

Thanks for coming back...

- Chris.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

240 Alternative Uses for Guardsmen #23


After three years, we've just reorganised the living room in the cottage, and - having got rid of the ancient sofa - we realised we've no longer got anything between the roaring oil stove and the toddler.


Cue two cases of Drax's toy soldiers:

If you're interested, the one on the right contains my entire infantry company plus a bunch of other stuff [it also has a busted lock from when I arrived at the games club without my key]; the other one contains most of my chimera-chassis vehicles.

There endeth the lesson.

- Drax.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

239 Service with a Smile

Hi All,

GOOD NEWS: I'm pleased with my latest painted miniature - a servitor (below);
BAD NEWS: the treasured mini I sent in a package to The Inner Geek has not yet arrived - Aaargh!

Here's that servitor though. He goes with my Techpriest (though I'm unlikely to use them unless it's Apoc or a special scenario).

I'm particularly pleased with the wires and pipes and the hazard markings. Those hazard markings with the bright red servo arm are a nod to my old 2nd edition days...
This is a real unsung gem of a model, I think.


- Drax.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Yeah, I know it's lame, but...


Pics first then joyous ramblings.

This is the view over the start of the deserted tidal road when we went out for a Drax family walk:
And here is Baby Drax exploring the snow in the evening (only about 4:30, but it's getting dark early here at the moment):
NB: The snowsuit she's sporting first belonged to Mrs. Drax in 1979 and is - I think - made in part from asbestos.

Right then.

Seriously: I know this is nothing to most of you, but let me fill you in here...

I grew up on the South coast of England and I had a decent snowfall only once - ONCE - in my childhood. Nowadays, I live even further south - in beautiful South Devon. It really is gorgeous down here - Hell, I live in a designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' and last week a colleague described his commute to work as "Just like driving through Narnia"...but we never ever expect to get a snow day down here.

Now? Not only did I get a day off in February, but I got one last week too. The reason? About an inch of snow. That's all. They're getting feet of the stuff up north, but down here a single inch is enough to send the rural community (and, more importantly, the network of school buses) grinding to a halt. Brilliant!

Having got the news by text from my assistant, I donned the ol' wellies, slid downhill from the cottage to the bus stop and gave the jolly news to all the pupils waiting there. For five minutes, I was a god. Then I gathered wife, child and dog and we all went for a lovely walk before heading back to the roaring fire and hot chocolate (with the last of the Thanksgiving marshmallows).

Interesting side-note: Mrs. Drax was born and raised in Chicago, IL, and consequently feels (in her words) "Like a superhero" in snowy Britain, because she alone can walk on snow and ice without going arse-over-tit. She's right.

Here's another great picture of my awesome little girl being awesome:
And here's a pic of the corgi loving the snow. He too is from Chicago, and despite his fourteen years, he still loves being able to romp through the white stuff:
On a final note, I'll be back to 'proper' 40K blogging this weekend, as the time has now arrived for a couple of projects...not least of which are my deal with the Inner Geek and finally basing that regimental mascot...

Cheers for your indulgence,

- Drax.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

237 Blogging in the World of Drax


I exchanged a brief email with Col Corbane the other day, and – amongst other things – I noted that our particular corner of the blogosphere has changed somewhat in the last year or so; maybe in the last year-and-a-half. Here are some of my thoughts on blogging since May '08… Where did it start?

Well, when I started blogging, many of the other blogs that I was aware of were relatively basic and relatively disparate. They were also fewer and further between. Now there are blogs everywhere, and most have the good wit to be affiliated to one of the ‘hubs’, like BoLS or the excellent From the Warp.

For those of you unaware, there was a moment when Ron almost stopped FtW, and I believe that would’ve been a sad loss. As it stands, I’m sure he’ll forgive me embarrassing him by noting the superb way in which he binds our corner of the web together. Kindness to strangers and generosity of time are two of the things which make this such an enjoyable way to waste time on the internet.

There were a number of fellow bloggers who were very encouraging in the early days, not least the early ‘Flylords’ over at BoLS. BigRed seems a personable chap, and I enjoyed being allied to the BoLS Alliance, but – alas – I found the hosted ads during the US presidential campaign rather distasteful. Not the Flyboys’ fault, but not something I didn’t want to be linked to.

I was blogging for a month before I got my first comment – from Brian over at See My Inner Geek, and then (like many bloggers) I spent months chasing comments and blog traffic. With fewer blogs about though, it was easy, and a rather rewarding validation of my holiday time.

How did things start to change?

Mostly, things with my blog started to change when I got bored of (grew out of?) chasing comments. I realised that the blog was becoming simply a means of logging my work and – just as importantly – tracking my progress. This was helped by life changes too, like moving across the country and getting a new job. Moving away from my very occasional games also forced me to focus more on the [painfully slow] completion of my Imperial Guard.

A lack of funds helps, too!

It’s probably worth noting that new IG Codex fired a bit of life into the old girl, too.

Where am I now?

Now I’m increasingly aware that my blog is something of a dinosaur. The format is basic, the content unglamorous and my miniatures rather quotidian. The good news is that despite all of this – and despite the Technicolor temptations of newer, shinier blogs – I have a core of readers who still seem to enjoy my work and (apparently) 180 followers: thank you, followers. It’s startling to think that 180 strangers in the world are even remotely interested in my ramblings. Cheers.

I’m not likely to change. There’s a chance, I suppose, that I may at one point cease: I certainly don’t imagine I’ll be doing this in a few years’ time – real life or Mrs Drax may yet put the kybosh on that.

The most recent thing to give my hobby some new energy is of course the fact that I finally joined a gaming club – a very friendly and welcoming place where I’ve enjoyed a series of great games, on great tables against great opponents.

Finally, why do I keep doing it?

I enjoy it.

I love the fact that I’ve managed to meet up with stalwarts like Col Gravis, Suneokun and TSINI – and what absolutely cracking chaps they are! Hell, I even managed to get a surprise game in with Suneokun, and some fish and chips too.

In addition to this, a number of other bloggers have been immensely generous; immensely – both with words and with material. I have, for example, had a number of freebies sent through to me, including bits, miniatures and (in one case) enough parts to make my most recent salamander conversion. Thanks to (among others) Col. Corbane, Zzzzzz, Fallen 73rd and Kevin (or The Other Kevin – I for get which, I’m afraid).

For those of you unaware, my 'Admiral Drax' header at the top there was in fact created gratis by Suneokun: top bloke.

Most important of all though, are the relationships I’ve been able to strike up. Readers and fellow bloggers have been absolutely great, and the comments after I posted about the birth of my little baby daughter last year were indicative of the marvellous spirit there is out there. Now I'm also pleased to be on a wavelength with the likes of Col. Hessler, Hal'Jin, Rasmus Olesen, Loquacious, The Antipope and Rogue Pom (amongst others).

Kind words; kind people.


- Chris.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

236 "She Rides!"


Not much to report, hobby-wise, as Swiss Family Drax have all been ill with man-flu of late. Still, there are two things of note.

Firstly, I finially have a new car! This isn't it, but it's one very much like mine:
"Why is this good?" I hear you ask - well, far more importantly than finally being able to transport my wife and child around again, I can get back to gaming regularly at my local club again! Plus, it means I don't need to spend a bloody fortune on the bus journey home from work any more.

BUT in bad news, I was very sorry to see a bit of 'blog-rage' over the past week. I won't say where, but I know many of you may have noted it. In the two-and-a-half years I've been blogging this is the first example of nastiness I've seen - in the form of a rather aggressively worded and personal comment, which was subsequently deleted. I felt sorry for the original blogger concerned, but sorrier still that the scourge of many forums (and the main reason I tend not to frequent such) had finally made the leap to a gaming blog other than BoLS (BoLS being, as it is, some weird sort of blog-forum hybrid).


Thanks for being a great, kind and decent readership, by the way. I think I may just post on this topic over the course of the coming week...

- Chris.
PS: I have a huge respect for the guys over at BoLS, but if any of you have ever wondered why I'm not affiliated to their excellent site, well I suspect that might form a part of my post later on this week...

Saturday, 6 November 2010

235 Converted IFV/Salamander Finished!

I finished this baby a few nights ago, but I only saw daylight in which to photograph her this morning. I'm very happy with how she's turned out - mostly for the reasons given here. Here she is - notes below:
I'm very happy with the way my first attempt at shading fabric turned out, and I'm pleased with some of the modelled details (the gas can on the spare wheel; the winch and the turret and gun shield). Also, although it doesn't show in these photos at all, I spent quite a lot of time on the rusty wheel rims and weathering (specifically, fine brown and grey dust sprayed from the wheels).

Thanks to so much great advice (from the likes of The Antipope at 122nd Cadian and Rasmus over at The Deathworlders - both excellent blogs) I tried out lots of other details too, like rust-style weathering from rivets and some chips from the paint: thanks, chaps - I'm really pleased with how it turned out (although you can't see it all here, alas).

Only problem? The final wash went a bit swirly and mottled. It looks a bit pants at first, but I've come to the conclusion that it's just where the crew tied to swab her down quickly...though why they'd want to is anyone's guess!

Thanks for looking...

- Drax.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

234 Armoured Infantry - Warriors and Chimeras

Hey All,

I love my Armoured Fist platoon, and (although they're finished) I was pleased to find a book in the local library about the chaps who do this stuff in real-life to help me find out a little more.
Dusty Warriors: Modern Soldiers at War is a detailed account of 1PWRR Battle Group's 2004 deployment in Al Amarah and Basra. Written by Prof Richard Holmes (who was at the time the Regimental Colonel of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment) it's a lavishly detailed account based mainly on the testimonies of those serving in the battle group.
A Warrior IFV from 1PWRR

Like many of you, I enjoy military histories, and Holmes's style mixes quiet humour with gentle authority to great effect. That said, Dusty Warriors is far more personal and subjective (if not quite biased, per se) than his previous comparable works, such as the excellent 'horse and musket'-era Redcoat and Tommy - about the Great War. This perspective is openly acknowledged and explored, and I believe it adds significantly to the enjoyment of the book.

What did I learn from it? Well, I think the following were my main lessons, some 40k-related:
  1. The British public were (and remain) largely unaware of the ferocity of the fighting in Al Amarah, as there was very little media coverage for some considerable time;
  2. The personnel of the 1PWRR battle group routinely demonstrated feats of extraordinary physical and moral courage (Pte Johnson Beharry won his VC in Al Amarah);
  3. The role of an armoured infantry unit is more fascinating than I anticipated;
  4. Life aboard the Britsh 'Warrior' IFVs seems intense and the cameraderie simply awe-inspiring;
  5. The rules, role, reliability and weaknesses of an IG Chimera make it a wonderfully comparable beast to the Warrior;
  6. I've been mis-naming my mounted infantry detachment (1st battalion, Cadian 24th) as 'mechanised' where 'armoured' is more appropriate. Henceforth they shall be redesignated '1/24th Cadian Armoured Infantry'.

Pte Johnson Beharry with his Victoria Cross

I've also decided to use an extract from the book in class with my Year 9s next week!

So there you are. It's not to everyone's taste, but I found it highly engaging, and although I'm not prone to posting things like reviews, I was so moved by some of the accounts I thought I'd share.

Thanks for reading.

By the way, my converted Salamander-proxy IFV is now completely finished (hooray!) but I've not been home in the daylight all week, so I can't photograph it (boo!). Pics soon.


- Drax.

Friday, 29 October 2010

233 Converted IFV Almost Finished

...and here's how it looks:
My salamander/HQ chimera variant's not finished yet (still needs some washing, highlighting and a little weathering) but little features to note include following:
  • the little winch under the flamer
  • the optical unit above the driver's port
  • the new addition of a gun shield (although it seems maybe a little bare)
  • there's rust on the wheel hubs which I'm quite happy with
  • I like the petrol can on the spare wheel
  • the wheels rotate
  • I'm useless at painting lights
  • the front-left mud guard still looks a little bare
  • I've tried to use red as a sort of 'spot colour'
  • strangely (it being a vehicle) this is the first of my models on which I've ever tried to shade and highlight fabric: I'm fairly pleased with the result, but it's not something that comes easily to me.

More pics:

Cheers, guys!

- Drax.

Monday, 25 October 2010

232 Back in the Saddle Again (ish)

Well now,

Last night I bit the proverbial bullet and got back into some 40K basecoating my command IFV - to be used as a proxy for either a commander's chimera or (more appropriately) a replacement salamander command vehicle:
Some of you may have seen its earlier stages...well not much has changed since then, but I really really needed to paint something enjoyable, and though my vehicles' colour schemes are pretty dull to paint, the variety on this one should at least pep it up a little.

Thanks as aye to Zzzzzz for the generous donation of the main bits.

Drax out.

PS: The Dad-Car is going into the garage this week to see if they can't make her all better so I can start back at the club again. Resurgam! Live, damnit, live!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

231 Still Sluggish

Thanks for the moral support after my last post, guys.

I'm still devoid of transport, but the kindness of friends and colleagues means there is now hope on the horizon that I'll be back to gaming soon...and with that comes the rekindling of my painting fire.

Strangely, I have managed to paint some 'Epic' Space Marines that my mate left round my house. Crimson Fists, but I think they'll need some basic highlighting. The photo's rubbish:
Until next time...

- Drax.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

230 In the Doldrums

Ahoy, Blogland!
Drax is in the hobby Doldrums. Not hobby burn-out - far from it - but just as I've got 'in' with a great and very welcoming gaming club, my car has officially died and (with no money to fix it at all) I am, therefore, pretty stuck in my village and utterly unable to make the drive to the club.
My village is so isolated even the road out has given up and drowned itself

Obviously, no-one else from the club seems to live in my direction, and there are no busses anywhere near it after the early evening, so I haven't a chance: having already missed two planned games I'm now certain to miss another this Thursday.

Damn and blast.

Plus it's now too cold to paint out in the shed, so I'm going to have to get back to the elaborate old get-all-my-painting-stuff-out-after-Mrs-Drax-has-gone-to-bed-and-I've-finished-all-my-planning-and-marking-then-paint-for-an-hour-if-I'm-lucky-THEN-clear-it-all-up-again-AND-do-the-washing-up-before-finally-stumbling-into-bed-in-the-early-hours routine.


- Drax,

Sunday, 3 October 2010

229 Competitive Mech Guard List - 1500pts

Hey, All.

A week-and-a-half ago I managed to get to the club and play a game at short notice against a very nice chap called James. He wanted something competitive, so I brought a fairy cheesy competitive Mechanised force - 1500pts. Here it is:

HQ: Primaris Psyker (70)
HQ: Coy Cmdr w. 4x plasma guns (110)
Chimera (55)

EL: Psyker Battle Squad [x10] (110)
Chimera (55)

TP: Vets 1 w. 3x plasma guns (115)
Chimera (55)
TP: Vets 2 w. 3x melta guns (100)
Chimera (55)
TP: Vets 3 w. 3x grenade launchers (85)
Chimera (55)

FA: Hellhound w. smoke (135)
FA: Hellhound w. smoke (135)
FA: Devil Dog w. multimelta + smoke (140)

HS: Hydra (75)
HS: Griffon (75)
HS: Griffon (75)

= 1500pts
I played James's Space Wolves, and his list was made in response to mine, given his choice of models. We thought it'd be fun to play a game from 'Battle Missions', so we did, and we rolled up 'All-Round Defence' meaning the marines were in the middle defending a central objective and I was attacking from all sides. My HQs and HSs had to stay in reserve.

James's list included the following (I think):

15 Bloodclaws w. Wolf Priest in a Landraider Crusader
Dreadnought w. plasma cannon + stormbolter in drop pod
Long Fangs w. 4 lascannon and a missile launcher
Long Fangs w. 4 hvy bolters (I think)
15(?) Grey Hunters in a drop pod.

To cut a short story shorter, I won first turn and had tabled him by the end of my turn two. Here's my post-match notes - in no particular order - as I'm wont to do...:
  • James was unlucky with his rolling at times; that is, he certainly wasn't lucky.
  • It would've been far more even if he'd won first turn
  • He was a tremendously nice and knowledgable opponent
  • My first shot = Str9 AP1 large blast on target from my psykers (although all marines except 1 made their cover save)
  • My second shot = Devil Dog melta cannon short-range shot on the landraider: one-shot-one-kill.
  • I must remember to keep psyker battle squad more than 24" away from psychic hoods or equivalents
  • The Primaris Psker annihilated the dreadnought after coming in behind him from a reserve rule
  • The rules for deployment really made my job easy.
  • Templates and blasts worked very well, even when considering cover saves.
  • From five scatter-able shots I made, four were on target!
  • The runepriest was killed by a griffon shell!
  • My hydra didn't get to play
  • I ran out of targets: James conceded rather than bring on his reserved Grey Hunter drop pod.

A top opponent, and I was genuinely sorry for giving him such a tonking. The emperor was with me that night.

Cheers all,

- Drax.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

228 Surprising Discovery

Hi All,

Just a quickie...

I was idly pondering my sprawling mass of Imperial Guard in the shower this morning, and I came to a startling conclusion: I could - if I wanted to - field ALL of my main units* in just two legal FOC army lists!

Please note that (A) this requires my Armoured Fist platoon to act as chimera-vets: something I'm toying with to allow others to spar against mech-Guard at the club; and (B) the second (blue) detachment comprises almost wholly original or converted 'classic' models. The hydra is an exception*.
...and here's the painting chart as it stands at the mo:

- Drax.

*NB: I own everything on there, now, apart from the manticore, which I'm thinking of getting next...although "next" won't be for a while yet. Obviously that won't be a 'classic' model unless I convert it...

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

227 Vox Un-Populi: Whatever Happened to IG Radios?

Hullo, All.

Just thought I'd share my disappointment at the understandable lack of vox-sets in Guard armies these days...including my own.
I'm happy to admit that in the last incarnation of the Codex, the vox-caster was over-powered. Being able to use the commander's Ld from across the board - whilst a nice nod to battlefield communications - made Guardsmen too steady in the face of casualties. the current Codex they are seriously, seriously rubbish. I get the 'Orders' process, and (whilst it's a little fussy at the start of the shooting phase with a lot of infantry) it's fun and works at the right 'level'. I get that the range is 6" or 12" and I'm happy for that to represent an abstraction of the effective range of officers' shouts/charisma/authority. But what on Earth do voxes do these days?
They offer you a re-roll on an orders check.

So...if the squad's within 6" of the issuing officer, and they don't quite catch his yells of "Shoot the buggers! Fire by ranks! Kill them! Kill them all!" then they can call him up on the vox net and clarify just what it is they so urgently need to do. But only if they're already within shouting distance.
Bloody ridiculous.
And it costs 5pts per squad.

What's more is that - for the most part - the troops you often really want to issue the juicy orders to aren't allowed vox sets (heavy and special weapon squads; maybe snipers). The only notable exception is veterans, who have the potential to really benefit from almost every order.

I'm fairly sure I'm not alone in enjoying many of the various Guard vox miniatures, and I'm still using mine, but even though I like to try and make my forces fairly fluffy, I'm still not wasting points on vox-sets.
If I had the ability to re-write the rules, I'd do it very simply: orders have a 6"/12" range unless both units have a vox, in which case there's no range limit. Y'know, like what they designed radios for.*

Any other thoughts on the matter?

- Drax.

*It's worth pointing out that British Army radios traditionally seem to have a real-life working range of only about 12". On a 1:1 scale. But only whilst the batteries work.

Friday, 10 September 2010

226 Combat Patrol Reflections

Hi, All.
Just a short post to outline my Combat Patrol force for my recent tourney and share a few thoughts - I always make notes after each game.

Combat Patrol 400pts (fluffy):

Pl HQ w. 3 grenade launchers (45)
1 Sect w. plasma gun (65)
2 Sect w. melta gun (60)
3 Sect w. grenade launcher (55)
Heavy Wpn Sect w. 3 autocannon (75)
Spec. Wpn Sect w. 3 grenade launchers (50)
Spec. Wpn Sect w. 2 grenade launchers; 1 flamer (50)

Post-Tournament Notes:

  • great missions; great variety of terrain, too!
  • two particularly great opponents (Andy and Jay)
  • in each game - very unusually for me - I used combined squads (2 squads in one game; all 3 in the others!). I think I did this (a) for speed and convenience; (b) for survivability; (c) to intimidate, and (d) to maximise firepower (FRFSRF Vs Blood Angels = carnage)
  • the autocannon were necessary, but pretty rubbish throughout
  • the list was (predictably) rubbish against mechanised Imperial Guard - no surprises there; I need more anti-tank.
  • grenade launchers kill marines (I love grenade launchers)
  • a hedge of bayonets kills chaplains:
(although he weathered seven wounding hits with only one wound remaining!)
  • Space Marine scouts are BS3 (grrrr!)
  • cheap special weapons squads make excellent screening troops
  • mortars (which I also love) really can make a difference: even one in a small game!
  • I really need a tray to carry and organise my forces when gaming.

Cheers, all,

- Drax.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

225 A Great Selection of 40K Scenarios

Hi, All.

I had a great time at my first Games Club tournament (400pt Combat Patrol) last week: I took an infantry platoon, placed third and enjoyed myself thoroughly!

In this post, I'll include photos of the superb missions and a couple of the tables (each roughly 3'x4') as well as a couple of photos and notes from the games. Huge credit goes to a nice chap called Andy who not only penned the missions, but who also organised the tourney and was a cracking opponent for my first game.

NB: Sorry for the picture quality, but the club's in the extensive cellars of a pub, and the lighting's hard to counter.

I didn't play either of these two missions, but trust me, the city terrain looked far better in the flesh. Click on images to expand:

This one I did play, although my opponent was a little sketchy on some core rules...:
Rightly enough, I went nowhere near this little Khornate number:
...But this one (Ash Waste) was superb. Sadly I didn't get a close-up of the mission, but essentially it was Pitched Battle/Annihilation with four poisonous clouds which blew around (2d6 scatter) at the start of each player-turn, dealing out str4 hits to each model touched. I played a very dangerous game here, deploying a mass of infantry a few inches away...but the Emperor was smiling on me: I only lost 3 or 4 guardsmen (more on this later):
This was my last game of the evening; against mech guard, and the eventual winner. Not the most fun game, but at least I took it to a draw (not bad considering how easy a no-frills platoon commander is to kill:
Sadly I didn't get to play this one - it looks awesome(!):
'Tunnels' was my first game (against Andy) and it was absolutley superb! Tremendous in its simplicity - the nightfighting rules and the lack of sightlines meant that our two opposing infantry platoons ended up squabbling with bayonets on the central objective- Great fun!
Here's a post-game pic of Andy's Zombie Guard - great!
Sadly for the Blood Angels Chaplain-led jump-pack squad I was up against in 'Ash Wastes', the Emperor was not shining on them. I demolished them, but Jay (their general) was a proper good sport, and I really enjoyed the game. Here's the Chaplain getting [oh-so-slowly] bayonetted to death:
(Some of the Guardsmen are even facing the right way!)

I'll post the force I took in a new post soon...but I'm back at work now, so blogging will - predictably enough - slow down a bit again.

- Drax.