Saturday, 21 December 2013

Show Us Your Stash: Sprue Cutters Union #22

Greetings Wargamers and Hobbyists, and welcome to this week's Sprue Cutters Union post (#spruecutters). This week, I am getting into the Panto spirit and suffering from acute 'Old Mother Hubbard' syndrome, as we are asked to...

- I'll show you my stash if you show me yours... -

Now as every child may well know, when dear old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to fetch here tyrannical master of a canine something to gnaw on, the stash of snacks was decidedly lacking. When I considered this week's question, I realised that my modelling stash is much the same...

Though I may not have a modelling stash as such, this fact has highlighted to me a distinct difference between wargaming modellers and other modellers. Typically in my experience, the 'stash' is something that is peculiar to 'display model builders'.

As a wargamer, I have always been about the gaming first, and the modelling and painting second, and I have always imagined that the vast majority of gamers are the same. What this means in practice is that most wargamers don't tend to accumulate a treasure trove of unbuilt kits, rather kits are opened and assembled in a mad flurry of clippers, glue, filing, filling, guns and swords, and placed in a stash of units that are ready to see combat, but yet to experience any intimacy with a paint brush.

So then, when this question came about, I had to think about what I could say, and as I don't keep a stash, explaining why was the next best thing. I do however have one thing I could describe as stash, if stash is defined as an 'unbuilt model kit still on the sprue': the kit pictured at the end of this post! This was the gift I received as my Secret Santa present at work, and technically is a model kit. It's a kit that can be assembled as any one of six different constructions, and each uses the motor and solar module in the kit to power it, whether it's the car, boat, plane or dog. 

For me, this is about the closest I get to a stash.

If you would like to read posts about this topic by some scale modellers (and at least one other wargamer), then Ininvite you to have a look at the links below, which will take you to the blogs of other Union members.

And here is the Topic Hub, where members will be posting the url's to their posts.
And finally, if you fancy becoming a member of the union yourself, take a look here for more details. All you need is a blog, and a passion for some form of miniature modelling.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Where the Magic Happens: Sprue Cutters Union #21

Greetings fellow Wargamers and Hobbyists, and welcome to the workshop. Before you, laid out in all it's muddled and almost mythical (well, maybe more than mythical) glory is...the Eternal Workbench (what a farce)!

This week, the Sprue Cutters Union has been asked to pause and remember who we are and why we are here, in a 'Back to Basics'. In a miniature modelling sense, not a philosophical sense.

- Show us your workbench! -
Jon has asked us to talk briefly about the space we have set aside to build models, paint them and to enjoy our hobby. Well in my house there is a destructive cocktail of antagonists which could well result in the perfect storm and see my entire hobby swept to oblivion if it were laid out in the house: A toddler and two clumsy cats. Not to mention a wonderful spouse who might tolerate my hobby, but only as long as it remains in stealth mode. In the garage. Out of the view of mortals and muggles.
So, with the scene set, let me introduce you to my workspace...

Yep, thanks to the restrictions of not having a dedicated space in the house (or time while at home for that matter) for enjoying my hobby, all of my painting and modelling kit fits into an old fishing tackle box. This seemingly Tardis-like vessel contains all the paints I use most frequently, brushes, files, clippers, pinning wire and a pin vice with teeny tiny drill bits, modelling putty, and even the models I am working on at any given moment. Providing they fit in the top tray on the box. But being as I batch paint, this isn't often an issue, unless I'm painting something big. Almost the entirety of the rest of my hobby - from boxes of gaming miniatures to tools and a gaming table - are stored in the garage until such time as they are called upon to serve.

If the models I'm painting just won't fit, I have an old steel-effect make up case which I rescued from it's torture, filled with egg box foam, and drafted into military service carrying around the models I am painting or small gaming sets like my Blood Bowl Team or Necromunda Gang to games nights. I guess it would be nice to have a dedicated modelling and painting area in the house, but having a small child running riot makes such things impractical, not to mention the fact that the hobby isn't something I can yet share with our son, and my wife has an aversion to. Eventually, when (and if) my son begins to take an interest, I will then look at having a space in the house where we can both have 'hobby time'.

At the end of the day, I have an hour long lunch break every day at work, with nothing better to fill that hour with than a sandwich, some painting, and continuous gaming podcasts, so having a 'portable workspace' fits in very well with my available hobby time, and means I can spend up to an hour painting and modelling every weekday, whether that's in my car, or in the work canteen. This suits me just fine at the moment. Now if only my son would grow up a little faster. Or my wife would just eat the damn green pill and turn into an avid Wargamer. Though if that happened, she's probably be better at it than me...

If you enjoyed reading this post (or wonder if anyone else could have done it better!), I invite you to check out the links below, which will take you to the blog posts of other union members. There is also a link to the 'Topic Hub' on The Combat Workshop, which is where members post the links to their responses to this week's topic.

This Week's Topic Hub - any members posting their articles after mine will be found added to this page

And last (but certainly not least!), if you would like to join the ever expanding Sprue Cutters Union, then take a look here for details. All you need is a blog and a passion for miniature modelling, whether it is scale models, your own sculpts, or wargaming miniatures, all are welcome.

As always, thanks for reading...

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Wish List: Sprue Cutters Union #20

Greetings Wargamers and Hobbyists, and welcome to my 'secret planning room'. This is where I make all my secret hobby related purchasing plans, and is perfectly safe for discussion of such plans of hobby expenditure, because my Eternal Wife, doesn't read my blog. I think. I guess I'll find out pretty quick if it turns out she does...don't tell her, will you?

Now just a quick word about Union post #19, which was all about the amazing purchases hobbyists managed to make on 'Black Friday'. You may have noticed (or not - it is still perfectly likely that no one reads this blog except for you), that I didn't write a post for #19 (the first I have missed since this endeavour was born), and this is simply because I didn't make any hobby related purchased as part of the Black Friday sales, because (apart from online from the US) we don't have Black Friday in the UK.

I did consider talking about the purchases I have made over the preceding weeks, or what I wanted to buy, but the post was intended to be about Black Friday deals, not general purchases, and talking about what I wanted to obtain during the festive season would have left me rather stuck for something to say this week, wouldn't it?

So, this week's topic is...

- What are FOUR items on your wish list? -

Now this question relates specifically to what you would like to be able to add to your collection one way or another at the close of the coming festive season. I can only really answer this question properly if I answer it as a wargamer, rather than only as a modeller, to that's what I am going to do.

Well, four items...let me see now. Well, I would be surprised if hobbyists and gamers the world over haven't got a clear as crystal idea in mind of what they would love to receive as gifts from family and friends over the Christmas period, and I am no different. My plans also include my Birthday, which falls in early January, and typically these days a chunk of the gifts I receive are made of paper, have pictures of famous people printed on them, and can be traded for toys!

The plans I have in mind go like this: While listening to a podcast recently (HeelanHammer to be precise), I heard Wayne Kemp talking about the new Fireforge Sergeants models, which would be perfect for using as part of my Bretonnian Warhammer army as Men at Arms, the downtrodden and dishevelled peasant levies that march into battle alongside their noble masters. A number of other blogs have done reviews on these great (and relatively inexpensive compared to GW) models, so I won't blather on about them too much here until I come to starting work on them.

But there's a start. Number 1 on my Wish List is a box of the Fireforge Foot Sergeants.

Number two on my list compliments my number one choice, and is a box of the equally stunning Fireforge Mounted Sergeants, which will make perfect Mounted Yeomen for my Bretonnians, outriders and scouts that ride out ahead of the main knightly army, and harry the flanks of the enemy in battle. Not to mention being shoved 'under the bus' when necessary to disrupt an enemy advance.

Number three and number four on my Wish List are books, and this is where I slide my bar along a bit so it sits about half way between modelling and gaming. There are actually more books than this on my 'hit list' for the coming weeks, but I don't really count books that contain updated army rules because they are something of a given rather than an 'ooo! I'd really love to own that book! That would make my games really exciting!'

The first book I would like to see in my stocking is a new expansion for Warhammer 40,000, one of two out this month. The book is called Escalation, and deals with using 'Lord of War' models that are typically only seen in the huge and massively time consuming Apocalypse games, and putting them in your regular games of 40K. Being as I own a Shadowsword Super Heavy Battle Tank, I would like this book to allow me to blast Xenos and Traitor units off the table with the formidable 'Volcano Cannon'. The other expansion for 40K that is due out is for using vast and beweaponed fortifications, but seeing as I don't own any of the specific fortifications the book covers, that's a book for the future. On the modelling side though, being able to field my Shadowsword means I finally have to paint it, so watch this space...

And finally, a book that covers two things very close to my antiquated clockwork wargaming heart: Sigmar's Blood. Sigmar’s Blood is a campaign supplement for Warhammer based on the war between the forces of The Empire, led by Volkmar the Grim, and those of the Vampire Counts, led by Mannfred von Carstein. I am a life long (maybe life isn't the most appropriate word?) Vampire Counts players and lover of campaigns, so this book is right up my street. Here's to some interesting games for the new year. This will be great motivation to crack on with painting my Vampire Counts models, of which there are a great many.

There we are, my four 'Wish List' items for this festive season (and subsequent birthday), and if I find that by the middle of January I am busy assembling Fireforge miniatures and planning the destruction of the Empire, I will be a contented gamer...

If you would like to read more posts on this topic, then I invite you to check out the links below to the blogs of other Union members. The Union is made up of a varied bunch of hobbyists and modellers with their own individual take on our shared passion. If you would like to find out more about joining the Union (which now boasts twenty seven Members!) yourself, please look here. All you need is a blog, and a wish to share your thoughts on miniature modelling.

As more members post their articles, the links will appear in the Topic Hub on Jon B's Combat Workshop blog.

Thanks for reading...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

MAD Blood Bowl: Egdenberg Undertakers Special Report #4

Welcome Blood Bowl fans, to another special report. I am Bertwold Humpernickle, and this report continues my spotlight on the progress of Egdenberg Undertakers in this current MAD Blood Bowl League season.

After a bout of gut rot delayed the Undertakers planned match against the Lions of the Three Rings High Elf team a month ago, the game was finally re-scheduled and took place last week. Seventeen thousand Egdenberg home fans 'welcomed' nine thousand Lions fans to the Wychwood stadium on a fine evening - perfect weather for Blood Bowl!

Match 4

The Egdenberg fans were in fine 'spirits' as the away team kicked off. A brutal first segment saw the Undertakers struggling to pin the High Elves down, their customary agility really showing against the predominantly slow moving Undead players, though the Egdenberg 'Rapid Reaction Team' - their three Ghouls and two Wights, led by Captain Kratorus the Black - managed to wrestle the ball from the Lions to score in the later stages of the first half. This touchdown did cost the Undertakers however, as their star scoring Ghoul Vishur, was stretchered off.

Enraged after seeing their favourite player injured by the visiting High Elves, it is suspected that an Undertakers fan decided to dispense some rough justice, as a rather chunky rock knocked out Amron, the unconscious Elf also having to be carted off the pitch to recover. The remainder of the first half saw attempts by both teams to move the ball around the pitch scuppered by an unlikely number of trips and falls by the ball carriers. It has been suggested that the match ball - provided by the Lions sponsors I suspect - was in fact cursed, and foiled the Undertakers attempts to extend their lead.
The first half of the match ended without further incident, the score standing at 1-0 to the Undertakers.

The second half commenced with a rush from the Lions, their star Catcher managing to slip through the Undertakers defence and avoid being sacked by intercepting Ghouls to score early on, levelling the board at 1-1. This magnificent play had an unfortunate side effect however, sending Wailing Winifred - the head of the Undertakers unofficial fan club - into a rage, which in turn saw fans from both sides crash through the 'safety barriers' and onto the pitch to escape her piercing screams. The resulting Pitch Invasion saw one Egdenberg Zombie and four High Elves smashed into the bloodied turf before stadium security managed to clear the field with a 'knobbly truncheon' charge. Numbers of fans seriously injured in the riot are unconfirmed but rumoured to be in the dozens.

With play finally able to re-start, the Undertakers took advantage of the holes left in the Lions line by the Pitch Invasion to 'coffin march' the ball up-field, High Elves skirting the procession and darting in to try and break through to the ball carrier, Captain Kratorus the Black, and stalling the Undertakers at every step.

Despite numerous valiant but futile attempts to break open the Undertakers cage, it was the 'cursed ball' that put paid to the Undertakers drive for a second touchdown late in the second half, as Kratorus the Black attempted to break from the cage just one short dash from the Lions End Zone, and fell on his face. The Lions didn't waste the opportunity, and scooped up the ball from under the noses of the Undertakers players, caught flat footed in their processional march formation, and the ball was passed skilfully downfield to Lions players waiting for just such a chance.

The final seconds of the match were a blur of scrambling High Elves, grasping Ghouls and blitzing Wights, as Vermis Kraal eventually managed to bring down the Elven ball carrier just yards from the Undertakers End Zone, but then failed to retrieve the ball for a last mad dash for a winning touchdown. The final whistle blew on a match with copious quantities of ball movement, few casualties on either side, but tremendous amounts of highly suspicious and comical player slippage.

Final Score: Egdenberg Undertakers 1 - 1 Lions of the Three Rings

In a surprisingly gentle match (by MAD Blood Bowl standards), the game saw only one High Elf player Badly Hurt during the match, leading to speculation that the Undertakers Mummy Blockers had somehow been drugged, or that the Lions players had smeared their armour with some kind of slippery substance before the match to make them harder to grab hold of. The speculation is fuelled by the discovery of several empty barrels of squig-based lubricant in the Lions dressing room following the match. The Undertakers star scorer, Vishur the Ghoul, suffered a leg fracture and will miss their next game, rumoured to be against an up and coming Skaven team. This has left Vishur enraged, as the League Top Scorer title slips further out of reach. He will surely be gunning for glory as soon as he is fit to return to the pitch.

And there we have another exciting spotlight report on Egdenberg Undertakers and their progress. I'll be back in a couple of weeks with a report from their match against the Skaven. Until then, this is Bertwold Humpernickle, signing off.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Inspiration: Sprue Cutters Union #18

Greetings once more fellow Wargamers and Hobbyists, to the place I Today, I thought I'd show you my scrap book, if you are amenable. This is not a book in the traditional sense, more a room which is filled with all manner of images and trinkets which have spawned the seed of the hint of the whisper of an idea in the darkest most cobweb ridden recesses of my brain.

This week, the legend that is Jon of The Combat Workshop, and architect of the gathered magnificence that is the Sprue Cutters Union (#spruecutters), has asked a question about where it all comes from. What makes our pistons fire and atoms split...


- Where does the inspiration for your next build come from? -

Now I am sure that we will get a wonderful array of outward pointing and sometimes overlapping thoughts from the Union Members on this topic, because our experiences and interests are so varied, yet at the same time similar. So what does this question conjure up for me?

Well my friends, though I have said it many (many) times before, and will sure say it again before the timer ticks it's last tock and spills its last grain of sand, I am a Wargamer, which means that I play tabletop wargames with toy soldiers. It also means that I am a member of several online forums (May I recommend 'Astronomican', and also encourage you to join the 'Garagehammer' forum), and a local wargaming club: MAD Wargames Club - see my MAD Wargames tab for more info. In addition to being a part of the communities associated with the forums and the club, I also read White Dwarf magazine, Games Workshop's monthly advertising publication which is fluffed out with the odd gaming article.

So: Online forums (and blogs), 'The Club', and White Dwarf magazine...there is one more source that have taken inspiration from recently, and that is Wargaming Podcasts. I currently listen to sixteen different podcasts covering Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer Fantasy and Blood Bowl, and this is yet another source of ideas, news about what is going on in the wider wargaming community, and typically good entertainment.

So what is it about these sources that inspires me to pick up a paint brush, or reach for my wallet, or pen for that matter? Writing background material for an army or campaign is a serious business too!

Well, typically, the projects I undertake are driven by whichever army happens to be my 'flavour of the month', and which army that turns out to be at any one moment is influenced by several factors. It could be that one of the armies I collect has just had a big new release, like a new rule book or wave of models, which has been showcased in White Dwarf, and along with the battle report that always accompanies such releases, this can often inspire me to break the mystical seals on the stasis chamber of that particular army. That army then becomes the focus of my modelling and painting time, as I update models or units and endeavour to field as many painted models as I can.

Alternatively, it might be that I have arranged to play games at the club against a particular army, and want to try playing against them with an army I haven't used for a while, or I could be asked to field an army that my opponent hasn't faced before, which then drags that army into the spotlight for a spell. Our current Blood Bowl league is a good example of 'Club driven hobby', because it required me to dig out my Blood Bowl models, strip my Undead team (Egdenberg Undertakers), and re-paint the whole team.

Online forums inspire me to pick a painting project and stick to it, thanks to the encouragement I get from seeing other people's WIP's (work in progress), and challenges like the Painting Survivor Series I look after on the Astronomican forum, which is a friendly 'Iron Man' style painting contest to see who can keep painting for the most days consistently before their nerves fray and their hands cramp up. A little competition is great for inspiration and motivation. Seeing other people's work and what they can achieve online is always good for inspiration, as well as for sharing tips and techniques with fellow hobbyists, all of which helps to get the creative juices flowing.

Finally, we come to podcasts. I find that podcasts are a great way of staying in touch with the hobby and all the news and rumours, without having to actually do anything, because I can listen while I paint, or while I'm driving.

A good example of recent inspiration I took from a podcast is my current mission to break out my Bretonnians and order myself some Foot and Mounted Sergeants from Fireforge Miniatures, which Wayne Kemp of the HeelanHammer podcast talked about as an alternative model for use as Men at Arms and Mounted Yeomen for his Bretonnians.

I have never owned any Yeomen (though have often thought about getting some), and two thirds of my Men at Arms were represented by plastic Empire State Troops, because at the time I was building the army, the proper Men at Arms were all in metal, and the plastic Empire models were a far cheaper alternative. After taking a look at the Fireforge models on Wayne's Twitter feed and on their website, I found that indeed they were a worthy alternative, so out go the State Troops to a gent who saw them for the bargain that they were, and at the beginning of the new year, I will be assembling my shiny new Fireforge Sergeants.

Here is a sample of the podcasts I listen to. I also enjoy Hitting On 3's, Kiwi Hammer, SkaredCast, A Tale of Four Geeks, The 11th Company, The Dwellers Below, The Independent Characters, The Watchtower and Three Die Block - all are well worth checking out. Those with reason to warn you about language content will let you know in the intro...

So, as you can see, as there are many facets to the wargaming hobby, each of which have their ways of providing inspiration for a project, whether that project is a new set of models, painting models I already own that are crying out for some attention, or completely revamping a collection. There is always something that needs to be done, and all I have to do is decide what the next thing will be...all it needs is a little inspiration.

So, what will you be inspired by today...?

If you would like to read more posts on this topic, I encourage you to check out the links below, which will take you to the blogs of other Union Members, all of whom are worthy hobbyists and bloggers themselves. If you fancy yourself as a Sprue Cutter, then look here for details of how to become a part of this worthwhile endeavour. All you need is a blog, and a passion for miniature modelling. Go on, inspire us.

Mini Painter
Mattblackgod's World
Scale Model Workbench
Yet Another Plastic Modeller

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Go Big or Go home: Sprue Cutters Union #17

Greetings Wargamers and Hobbyists, and welcome once again to my humble hearth. He we are for the Sprue Cutters Union (#spruecutters) topic number Seventeen...

This week, the Union has been asked to think about the amount of effort that we put into our modelling projects over the course of a year, bearing in mind the amount of hobby time each of us is actually able to spend while we shoe horn it in around all of our other 'real world' commitments, and consider...

- If you had the resources, would you attempt one HUGE project? -
My answer to this interesting question, speaking of course as a wargamer, is not immediately obvious. At the end of the day, I could spend a year working on just one army, pushing the painting, conversions, basing and centrepiece models until it was done. Heaven knows it would probably take that long to completely finish one of my many armies. Having said that though, if I were to dedicate a year's worth of hobby time and resource, I don't think this is what would immediately spring to mind. Painting gaming miniatures, rather than being one large project, is more like a succession of small projects - each army or detachment is a project, as is each squad, regiment or squadron, but then so is each and every individual model.
No. Painting gaming miniatures is part of a never ending cycle of birth and renewal, and adding new miniatures as new releases arrive, rules change and tastes alter. ask any dedicated wargamer, especially the veterans, and they will probably all agree that an army is never really finished. I think instead that if I were to dedicate a year to a single project with the intention of that project being thoroughly and officially complete at the end of that year, it would be another 'Holy Grail' project for all wargamers: A purpose built, themed and jaw-droppingly impressive battlefield!
Now, I do have a simple battlefield set up at home, which is comprised of a six foot by four foot grass gaming mat glued down onto three sections of plasterboard for rigidity and easy of storage, and I have also collected sufficient terrain to play all of the games I have models for, be they Warhammer Fantasy buildings, towers and woods, to bunkers, silos and barricades for Warhammer 40,000 and Necromunda, and even asteroid belts and planets for games of Battlefleet Gothic,which are played on the reverse side of the plasterboard which I have painted as a black star field for those games of futuristic space naval combat. These however, though they are perfectly sufficient to allow me to play games across, are not the kind of battlefield project I am talking about.
This week, at least partly due to time constraints brought about by juggling too many projects this week, I am going to cease my otherwise interminable rambling, and let the pictures do the talking. Below are a number of pictures I have taken from various places, though mainly the Games Workshop website, which depict some of the incredible battlefields that have been created either for displays, or as functional but awe inspiring gaming tables for use at Warhammer World in Nottingham. Now this is what I am talking about. This is the single large project I would dedicate a year to...enjoy.

If you would like to read other posts on this same topic from the views of other Union members, please check out the links below. In addition, if you fancy finding out more about joining the Union yourself, please look here for more details. All you need is a blog, and a passion for miniature modelling.
and of course, the lynch pin of the bunch: The Combat Workshop
As always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Forging The Narrative...#1

Greetings wargamers and hobbyists. To borrow a segment title from HeelanHammer, 'Zis is ze war room'...

Forging the narrative is a phrase we are hearing quite a bit these days, printed in magazines, frolicking online, and uttered by show hosts on various podcasts. Though this is a phrase which first saw the light of day in the Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook, I think that the phrase has merit across any war game system. 

At the end of the day, wargames are not just a game with rules to be played and either won or lost, they are a story, and the playing of the game tells the story. By our decisions as commanders, be they sound or otherwise, we allow the story to unfold on the tabletop. Simple wins and losses become stupendous victories and crushing defeats. The game takes on a character and an aura that surpasses anything we might experience playing more light hearted games.

Recently I have been thinking more about campaigns, what they are, what they should be, what they could be, and how they can be successful. A fantastic campaign might be the holy grail of wargaming for many people, but it can also be a difficult thing to achieve. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, if you will. For myself, I think that the single most important consideration is how you can keep all the participants engaged and enthused, and if you can achieve this, it's probably because you've got enough of the other things on the money. The interest in the campaign is the measuring stick you use to determine how well you are running the campaign. That's not to say that what you're doing isn't good, just that it's not pushing the buttons of enough of the players. What one player might think is amazing, others might not.

The purpose of all this pondering and postulation is to analyse my own ability to run a successful campaign, and what ideas I can come up with to support it and make it interesting, because my favourite kind of campaign is one with a strong story to back it up (rather than one that just pushes pieces around a map and adds up area control points), a campaign that epitomises ‘Forging the Narrative’.  

Any of you who have been able to put up with me for a while may remember a couple of posts about the Eye of Morrslieb narrative campaign I started a few months ago at my local group. It's fair to say that this was not the great success I envisaged, though at the same time few events at our club remain flavour of the month for more than, well, about a month, without significant effort. I think the idea and the story were sound, I just couldn't make them work in practice, especially not with eight players.

'Bitten off more than you can chew' might be an apt phrase. I am wondering whether any future events should be based around a small but dedicated core of players, with in-built capacity to allow additional players to join and leave for one off games as they please...

This is the first of what will undoubtedly become a reoccurring topic on the Eternal Wargamer, and for now I just want to talk a little about what I have noted as potentially the most important aspects of creating and running a campaign. This is as much a journey of discovery for me as it is any kind of advice for others wishing to tread the path. Learn from my mistakes I guess. It won't just be a description of a practical system for running the campaign, because there are plenty of those out there that don't need explanation from me. I will however be referring to the foundation that I intend to use, which is one of the systems found in The General's Compendium. What I will try to talk about, the shadows I want to pin to the floor, are the additional elements that not only allow you to run a campaign, but to keep things flowing and keep people interested.

So, this post will just be my initial thoughts on what I think at this stage are the most important things to consider (to save it turning into a multi-page wall o' text):

The Focus:

To provide a setting and premise for a campaign that players actually want to be part of, because it is engaging, exciting and is challenging for all the participants.

Potential Pit Falls:

  • Players getting bored and losing interest.
  • A minority of players being too successful and making the campaign one sided and as a result, taking the fun out of taking part for other players and sapping their desire to continue.
  • The campaign becoming too rigid or too random, so that the players feel that the impact their battles have is too small.
  • The campaign becoming too complicated and difficult to track, making communicating what is happening to the participants.
  • Losing the main plot driver for the campaign amongst trying to placate all participants and trying to please everybody. A strong story should engage the players without the need to keep changing the plan to accommodate their suggestions if this dilutes the focus too much.

Like I said, these are the things I will be thinking about over the next week or so, before laying the basic structure of a campaign and checking that the foundation is sound by bouncing it off a couple of the players at the club (and you guys of course - any feedback is welcome).

Let me know what your thoughts are. Are there any other key things you think I (or anyone else) should look out for when planning a campaign?

Until next time, thanks for reading...

Friday, 8 November 2013

New Miniatures!

Good morning wargamers and hobbyists! It's rare that I get really excited about a new mini (though it's always nice to purchase something cool to add to one of my armies), but I have just ordered a miniature I have had my eye on for some time now: Skaarlys, by Raging Heroes.
Though I haven't taken the plunge and joined their current Kickstarter (Toughest Girls of the Galaxy), I am really impressed by the images of their miniatures. I hesitate to say anything about the quality of the miniatures, because I haven't seen a cast close up yet, but I expect them to match the standard of the rest of their operation. I'll let you know on that score.
In the meantime, here are the pics from the Raging Heroes site. I plan on adding Skaarlys to my Dark Eldar to represent Lady Malys (to lead the army. See, I'm different. I'm not jumping on the Baron's Bandwagon), and the fantasy version of the same model, Skaryaa, will either end up as another character model in my Dark Eldar army, or as an Exalted Hero in my pure Slaanesh Warriors of Chaos army, alongside Kaley and Taxis that I bought from Hasslefree Miniatures... they are.
Thanks for reading.

Preparing for War...

Greetings wargamers and hobbyists. Following up from my earlier post as part of the Sprue Cutters Union initiative for this week, all about the brushes we use, here are a couple of photos of the Dark Angels Tactical Squad I have been working on.
They're now battle ready, so I won't be doing any more work on these guys until the rest of the 4th Company has been painted up to the same stage. Guys, meet Tactical Squad Scivius, 3rd Squad, Dark Angels 4th Company...

Brush Up: Sprue Cutters Union #16

Welcome wargamers and hobbyists, to the art room. This room may look a little dishevelled, uncoordinated, littered with random objects and fresh out of the 1970's, but it's modelled precisely on the room where I used to take my art lessons when I was at school. And before anyone comments, the room was old when I was at school in the 90's. I was not at school in the 70's...
- What is your preferred airbrush/paint brush manufacturer? -
Ok everyone, this week the Sprue Cutters Union has been asked the very simple question above, which for me is especially simple to answer, as I don't own and have never utilised an airbrush...
The reason for this is simple: the wargaming miniatures I paint are generally too small to benefit from the use of an airbrush, apart from vehicles, but I don't have enough vehicles in my generally infantry heavy collection to warrant the purchasing of an airbrush either. One day I might consider one, if I think it would see use, but not at the moment.
This leaves the good old dependable paint brush.
In the begining, there was Citadel. This is the 'paints and brushes' arm of Games Workshop, who's models I collect and who's paints I generally use on my projects. Citadel paints, citadel brushes etc etc etc. I have always found the quality of Citadel products to be pretty good, but like anything, paint brushes wear over time. The tips become less sharp, they lose the odd bristle through copious use, they generally start to look a bit like they have seen battles from the sharp end rather than just the prep end.
When it came to replacing my citadel brushes recently, I decided to have a look around, in shops and online. I wasn't really looking for a particular manufacturer, just a good quality brush that wouldn't lose bristles like I lose Warhammer games, and was cheaper than the now significantly inflated cost of the Citadel brushes. As it turned out, the Citadel brushes were not all that costly for their quality, and many other brushes were at least as expensive. I wasn't in a crazy rush, but the brushes I was trying to eek a little more life out of were getting on my nerves, so I kept looking, every time we went into a shop that sold any kind of art supplies, at the brushes they had and the prices.
Eventually, my wife and I were actually in the local cake and crafts shop in our village, a great little place with some interesting bits and pieces, and talented owner who runs workshops and bakes cakes to order which have some incredible decoration iced onto them. I swear that woman could make any cake I wanted. In fact, I wonder whether I should make a special request for my birthday cake. A Tyranid spore mine maybe...
Anyway, back on topic, the craft shop sells cake decorating brushes, which I guess are intended for painting icing with patterns or colour or whatever, and they came from about size 1 to size 4. I got chatting to the owner and her scale model building husband about the brushes, and it turned out they could order whatever sizes I wanted. After having a good look at the brushes, and finding out that they had been selected by the owner's husband (who knows a thing or two about painting miniatures) ordered a couple of size 1's, a couple of 0's, a couple of 00's and two 000's right there and then.
After I picked up the brushes, I was cautiously pleased with them. They were pure sable, smart brushes, but had only cost me a measly £1 each! For that kind of money I expected to get something that looked nice in the beginning but would quickly wear and fall to pieces. Not so. A few months down the line, the brushes are still good and have kept their tips (most important when adding fine highlights and small details), and I can't see me needing to find another brush supplier anytime soon. Not at that price.
As for the manufacturer, the size 1's were marked as 'Windsor Cake Craft', but whether this is one of the brushes produced by the well known Windsor brand I don't know. The rest are marked as AES, who I have never heard of, so if anyone else has had experience of brushes by AES, I would be interested to find out how you fair with them.
If you would like to read more posts on this topic, especially those written by scale modellers who will extoll the virtues of various brands of air brush, I invite you to check out the links below to their most excellent blogs.
Also, for anyone who thinks they might like to join the Sprue Cutters Union (#spruecutters), look here for details on how to join. All you need is a blog, and a passion for miniature modelling. We would love to have you aboard.
As always, thanks for reading...

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Quickie Basing

Ok Wargamers and Hobbyists, here is a quick step by step showing you how I do the basing on my gaming minatures. I find that this method is quick, and works just as well for big gribbly monsters and smaller individual troopers. It also works fine for both my Fantasy models and my 40K models. This is gonna be real quick...

The base on this Dark Angels Marine (First Legion for the win!) has had a layer of sand glued to it using PVA glue - just plain old sand, though it looks better if you mix a hand full of gravel into your sand container to give some texture variety. After the glue has dried, the base has then been painted with a dark brown. I used to use Games Workshop's 'Scorched Brown' until I realised how much of it I was using for basing, now I use a cheapo dark brown emulsion from Wilkinsons called 'Java Bean'.

After the brown has had plenty of time to dry, the base of the model below has been given what I call a 'heavy drybrush' of GW's Vomit Brown, which is just a pale brown that has a touch of yellow or orange to it.

Next, the base has been given a more measured drybrush with a pale bone colour - in this case, GW's Bleached Bone. This adds a third colour to the base, and picks out all the little stones and bits and pieces, giving it some depth and texture.

Finally, when enough men have died...hang on, that's not right. Finally, I apply a scattering of static grass, This is the short stuff, which has a mixture of grass colours in it to stop it looking like a flat artificial colour.

Really, that's it. A couple of people have commented on my basing, and rather than let people think it was in any way difficult, I thought I'd just post up a quick guide to how it's done. Nothing spectacular, but it's quick and easy and looks alright, whether it's a model with a big base or a small base, and whether there is just a single mini or an army. With Warhammer Fantasy regiments, where the models are all lined up in ranks so you can't see the base edges so much, it works even better. I have often thought that just a little bit of extra work on the bases can make a world of difference, and make a model really look finished. That's it.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Everybody's a Critic: Sprue Cutters Union #15

Welcome wargamers and hobbyists, to the gallery. This is where I come to ogle the incredible artistic triumphs of miniature painting, and curse my inability to reach these same lofty heights of skill and technical brilliance. Pardon me while I pop in my gum shield. I have a tendency to grind my teeth when browsing the gallery...
This week, the Sprue Cutters Union has been tasked with discussing the things that we personally look for in a painted and presented miniature:
- What do you think makes an outstanding finished model? -
As a wargamer, the approach I take to painting miniatures, and therefore what I look for in a model as a comparison to my own skills (or lack thereof), will differ from my scale model building compatriots. I play Fantasy and Science Fiction based wargames, which tend to have fantastically themed and coloured armies. This typically also means that the miniatures that players of 40K and Fantasy paint are very different to scale military models and historical wargaming miniatures.
Where historically based miniatures might well be painted in camouflage and approved colours dependent on nation and particular unit, all of which tend to be functional and display practical merit, my own Fantasy and Sci-fi gaming miniatures lean toward brighter or at least more striking colour schemes, often showing utter disdain for the practicalities of 'environment appropriate' attire.
There are however exceptions to this. My Imperial Guard army for Warhammer 40,000 for example, are not an army of superhuman genetically enhanced warriors, or dead to begin with and therefore unconcerned with silly things like getting killed, and so they do utilise a camouflage scheme for their fatigues and equipment. There are however other armies like Space Marines, who wear their Chapter colours, which can range from black to bright yellow or blood red. The Chapter I collect, the Dark Angels (1st Legion for the win), have their amour in the majority painted dark green, though the famed warriors of the 1st Company, the Deathwing, wear bone white armour, and the tenacious hunters of the 2nd Company wear jet black armour.
There are many armies for players of 40K and Fantasy to choose from, and given that collectors are perfectly within their rights to invent their own military units to take into battle with their own colour schemes, almost limitless potential to develop an aesthetic dependent purely on personal preference limited only by the ability of the collector to first envisage and then apply their chosen scheme, from bright red armoured Ork Speed Freeks, to gaudily clothed Eldar Harlequins, and Tyranid warrior organisms all the colours of the rainbow.
So, having laid out the painting environment that I hail from, what are the things I look for in a painted and presented miniature? I guess what I am asking is 'what impresses me?', and the answer to that is pretty simple really.
When I paint gaming miniatures, there are certain processes I always go through, which may be different from other painters, but this is how I do it:
- Assembly
- Undercoat
- Base coats
- Layering
- Highlights
- Washes
- Final highlights
- Basing
Now I think most painters go through most of these stages, not necessarily in the same order, perhaps there are additional things they do that I don't, but this list establishes my basis for comparison, the only variable between painters being neatness and an ability to blend colours.
I believe that I can paint consistently to what is known as 'battlefield standard', which means a neatly painted miniature with a couple of levels of technical painting, which is just fine for gaming, but won't necessarily win me any painting competitions. I am endeavouring to continously improve my standard, and I develop my technical skill level, and doing this gives me a better appreciation of the level of skill required to achieve really impressive results.
What I am really looking for at the simplest level, is miniatures painted to a standard which better than I can achieve, and uses techniques I either struggle with or have never attempted because I wouldn't know where to start. An example of this would be NNM or 'non-metallic metal', which is a method of painting a section of a miniature to appear metallic, with shine and reflection indicative of metal (or mirrored surfaces for that matter) without the use of metallic paints. Another example is a buzz word in painting at the moment; 'object source lighting' or 'OSL', which is a way of painting the light from a source like a light or glowing weapons so that the light appears to fall on nearby objects by applying a tint to the area around the light source.
I have a general understanding of how these techniques are applied, but am yet to attempt them, so they still hold an air of mystery and wonder. So, I am impressed by miniatures that surpass my own level of painting, which means techniques like OSL and NNM, extreme levels of highlighting combined with colour blending so that you can't see the shift from tone to tone.
Here is a fantastic and well known example of Object Source Lighting by Victoria Lamb, painter and sculptor extraordinaire, who as you can see ran a seminar at Adepticon this year. The image is taken from the Victoria Miniatures Facebook page.

And this photo is of a model painted by Darren Latham, who as I recall pioneered the art of Non-Metallic Metal within the pages of Games Workshop's White Dwarf magazine. Darren is a veteran of the world famous 'Eavy Metal painting team, and now also a sculptor of Games Workshop miniatures. The picture is taken from the Games Workshop website Non-Metallic Metal Gallery.

I also look for extras, like well finished and interesting basing, which usually would tend to be seen on centrepiece or character models, and freehand work like text and images painted onto cloaks, armour plating and banners, which requires both flat painting skill and a very steady hand to achieve on a tiny scale.
The last thing I think I look for is conversion work and sculpting, both of which are an art in themselves. I am impressed by extreme conversions that stand out but don't look out of place, but also subtle work that you don't even realise is an alteration from the original miniature without having the original to hand, or having the changes pointed out to you.

All of the things I have mentioned are the kinds of things that competition winning entries possess, and the runners up for that matter, because these days the standard of painting can reach incredible but not wholly unachieveable with sufficient practice and patience. And talking to other painters is key to getting from the unfathomable to the surmountable in short order.
If you would like to read more posts on this topic from the points of view of other Union members, then please check out the links below. Each member brings something different to the Union, so all worth a read.
If you think you might like to join the Sprue Cutters Union (#spruecutters), look here. All you need is a blog, and a passion for miniature modelling.
Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Worst Part Is: Sprue Cutters Union #14

Welcome wargamers and hobbyists, to my fourteenth Sprue Cutters Union blog post. This week, the Union has called upon its members to discuss the very worst thing about the hobby, the thing that we despise having to do, and hate with a passion. Now these are all strong words considering that this is just a miniature modelling hobby, but the question remains...  
- What do you think is the worst part of the hobby? -  
Now then, given that the Sprue Cutters Union is centred around the hobby of assembling and painting miniatures of various kinds, I will resist the temptation to talk about the elements of the wargaming hobby I have varying degrees of issue with, like hard core tournament play, glory hogging and the unrelenting climb of the cost of the hobby. I could go on for quite some time. No, instead, I will talk about the two things I like doing the least within the modelling side of the hobby:  
1. Wargaming Triage  
Wargaming Triage is the term I use to describe the never ending task of carrying out reconstructive surgery on models that have become damaged, either in transit to or from a gaming location, or during an overzealous assault during a battle, or simply through the momentary cessation of communications between a person’s hands and their brain, commonly known (by me) as ‘oafing’, which often results in varying combinations of breakage and salvos of atrocious language.  
Damaged models is typically one of those things I can't abide. I have to at least know and understand the extent of any damage, and verify that all the components of a miniature are present before I can rest easy.
The three sounds I always dread hearing in the middle of the night are:  
- Our son stirring from sound slumber.  
- Sounds which may or may not be an intruder in the house.  
- The sound of a model (or worse, box of models!) oafed over by the cats onto the floor.  
When I hear the third sound, no matter the time of the night, I can't go back to sleep until I have at least investigated, and often shed a few tears of anguish at the repair job ahead. Tragic. It's not the repairing itself I hate, because I have become quite adept at this necessary skill, it's the knowledge of all the hard work that has gone into a model to see it dashed into several sorry pieces. Some, like my lovingly converted Daemon Prince of Slaanesh, are never quite the same again.  
2. Painting units worthy of the term 'humungous'  
It's not that I dislike painting, because I do enjoy it, but for me at least, it is secondary to the gaming. Two fully painted armies doing battle across a mist shrouded field is a truly inspiring sight. Two armies sporting the latest shades of 'bare plastic grey' and 'bare metal silver', much less so.  
I keep telling myself that I am actually pretty happy that I didn't really start painting in earnest until a couple of years ago, because it means that the majority of my miniatures are painted to a fair standard, or at least much better than they would have been if I had painted the bulk of them as a wet behind the ears painting novice in my early teens. This is a good thing.  
The boggle is (points to anyone that gets that film reference!), I have accumulated so many models in my twenty years in the hobby, I have a truly mammoth task ahead of me, which is compounded each Christmas and Birthday that rolls around, and my collection of unpainted minis is added to. The time it will take to complete the paint job on even a single army is what has me crying into my palette, not the painting itself. I guess I just need to pull my belt up, get my head down, and paint for all I am worth until the job is done. #firstworldproblems?  
So I guess I need to choose between these two bugbears, so...
Winnner of 'most hated task 2013' goes to...Triage! It had to be the repairs really, because painting is a positive action, where as piecing together smashed and broken models is down right depressing.
If you would like to read posts on this same topic by other Union Members, click on the links below. We are a varied bunch, and you will get a slightly different take on any topic from each member, so all are worth a read. Who knows, maybe we will inspire you to join the Union. All you need is a blog, a passion for the miniature modelling hobby, and to click here for the details describing how to join.
The Combat Workshop Thread Hub - links will be added here as Members post them
As always, thanks for reading...  

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Necromunda: Welcome to The Placids

Welcome wargamers. My esteemed club compatriot, Nick, over at the Burning Eye blog, is in the process of embarking on a foray into the Underhive on something of a Necromunda revival. Being as these games are outside the club gaming group, I don't feel like I'm trying to take over his bandwagon by posting some fluff I wrote a couple of years ago for the previous club I attended, to give us some context to our games.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Placids...



The Placids - Necromunda Hive Primus
Underhive Guidebook
The Placids is an area of the Underhive which is well and truly on the borderland between the Underhive and the long dark of the sump. The recent discovery of a number of untapped ore caverns and tech tombs, following a series of minor Hive Quakes in 997. M41, has led to something of a boom for this once shunned zone, as traders, Guilders, guns for hire and worse flock to the Placids in search of their fortune and, ultimately, their ticket to Hive City.
Several new settlements have sprung up, almost overnight it seems, and all the human detritus associated with a frontier town has followed, from the synth bars and brothels, to the workshops and slums, and as the uphive authorities are yet to establish a presence in the area, the law of the gun and the knife still prevail. Lets strap on our armour and flick our safeties off as we head into the Placids to take a closer look. Try not to look anyone dead in the eye, or if you can't help it, make sure you look damn mean! 

Heavenly Heights

‘The Placids' main town and first port of call for newcomers looking to stake a claim on the rich but risky pickings in the area, Heavenly Heights is the longest established and most developed of the Placids various settlements. The many bars, workshops and stores at Heavenly Heights make this town a thriving centre of activity, where someone could easily disappear, either deliberately or by ‘accident'. Gangs find unsuspecting marks on every street corner in Heavenly Heights, as they prey on those freshly arrived in town who have yet to learn who is in charge down here.
'Fresh meat' learn the rules pretty quick out here on the frontier, if they want to survive life in The Placids. Heavenly Heights also boasts the largest fighting pit for leagues in any direction, and some gangs specialise in providing fresh meat to Krank & Son's, who own the arena. Many are the newcomers to Heavenly Heights who have wandered down the wrong alley, only to wake up and find themselves locked in a cell under the pit alongside some truly unsavoury individuals, some more battle-borg than man. 

Sweet Street 

Sweet Street is the most notorious street in Heavenly Heights, and is the preferred hang out of many of the local gangs. This may be because it is the town's main centre of vice, and in Heavenly Heights, that's saying something. Every single building on Sweet Street is either a drinking house, a cat house or a Spook lounge, and some do all three. It is reputed that there is nothing that can't be obtained on Sweet Street, no pleasure that cannot be fulfilled, for the right price. It is even rumoured that the stories of Sweet Street have spread as far as the Spire, high above the Hive City, and that young nobles have paid visits to even the worst reputed holes on Sweet Street, disguised and accompanied by armed guards of course, though there is no evidence to support this and the rumours are strongly refuted by the authorities.
Sweet Street sees some of the worst violence in The Placids, as business owners invest heavily in security, and it's not uncommon for a dissatisfied patron, drunk on Wildsnake and high on Spook, to need to be taught to respect the House Rules. Feuds between businesses owned by rival gangs have seen many gunfights fought across the street and some businesses completely destroyed. This is not a place for anyone with a weak constitution. 

The Emporium 

Heavenly Heights has a large and chaotic trade quarter known as ‘The Emporium', and it is the most disorganised and labyrinthine mess of narrow alleys and multi level buildings of every description that you could possibly imagine. Of all the places in Heavenly Heights, the Emporium is the easiest place for a person to get completely lost unintentionally. Here there are stores of every kind, from guns smiths to food sellers to specialist tech traders to pet stores trading in the most unusual creatures you have ever seen. The centuries of pollution and toxic contamination trickling down through the mighty hive all the way down to the Underhive has given rise to mutated creatures of every description, some all teeth and bad temper which make great ‘guard-tooths', and others which are just downright disgusting.
Anyone who ever needs to obtain something especially rare or prohibited, or equally to get rid of such things, can find the right place somewhere in the Emporium, and for those in the know, the mess and tangle of the winding and criss-crossing ways is a map that can be read by certain signs, and there are treasures hidden in the multitudinous nooks and hidey holes that even their own owners have forgotten about. 

The Slip 

An unstable mountain of scree, metal mulch and general debris, which falls from waste chutes hundreds of meters above which come from the huge industrial sites at the base of the Hive City proper. A lucrative sideline in scrap items retrieved from The Slip has grown up around the mounds of refuse, for those who can find people stupid enough to brave the treacherous slopes to retrieve it for them!
The habit that has developed of gang members throwing enemy gangers off the top of the south side of this treacherous mountain, which is the most dangerous side, and in some areas is just a mass of sharp and twisted metal, has been dubbed ‘Giving someone the Slip', and frequently results in serious and even fatal injuries. 

The Steamers 

Throughout this whole area there are rich harvests of nutritious algae and fungi to be had. Unfortunately, this is due to the warm and moist conditions which prevail thanks to the presence of dozens of large and ancient steam release flues from a huge geothermal power generator below the surface of the ground. One wrong move and a person could be broiled alive by the random release of superheated steam, which no one thinks would be a pleasant way to go. 

Rook's Town 

Rook's Town is the last trade post before the toxic expanse of the Sump. This is where Gangs shop for essentials, where rumours of newly discovered riches are born, and Outlaws from the wrong side of the line conduct their affairs, though they never stay in town long enough to alert the authorities. Maybe just long enough to start some trouble though. The stores are not as grand or comprehensive here as those at Heavenly Heights, but all the important stuff can be found, like guns and ammo and spare parts for O-filters.
Rook's Town is also the place where rare tech finds discovered down below first see the dim light of what passes for day down in The Placids, and so there are many interested eyes in Rook's Town that are on the lookout for something ‘special', trawling the Techmeisters and  Guild Brokers for any jewels in the junk. Needless to say, such establishments are fortified and guarded by hired thugs and vicious guard hounds, so it's either a very foolish or very well armed gang that would try their luck. 


The ramshackle settlement of Tumbledown is where those who have reached the bottom rung of the ladder and dropped clean off end up. Only the dispossessed, the mad and the mutated make their homes here, because it's location is highly unstable, and minor tremors are commonplace in Tumbledown, causing the poorly constructed and ill maintained hovels to shake and ‘tumble down'.
The only cause anyone else has to come down here is if they are on the run from the law, from bounty hunters or from the Redemptionists, as a person can usually only be found in alleys and rat runs of Tumbledown if they want to be found. One thing that Tumbledown has accumulated an increasing number of mutants, and it may only be a matter of time before they decide they want to move to somewhere with a better postal code.   


Deadend is a small outpost on the edge of a vast pit, and is the home of the Last Chance Saloon. There is nowhere to go after Deadend except down into the depths, where some choose to go, either to escape the law or to explore in search of untapped ore wells or tech tombs. Some of these expeditions actually return, though most empty handed and most do not return at all.
Occasionally a single survivor, ragged and bloody, will stumble from the darkness, raving about some terrible beast that haunts the deep places beyond the frontier, though most know well enough that the noxious fumes in the depths can cause vivid and terrifying hallucinations and the claims are considered nothing more than the fevered ravings of unhinged and dehydrated fools. Despite the bite marks.  

The Underspire

At the centre of the ‘Frying Pan' behind a high wall, defended by armed guards and razor wire, is the Underspire. This is the home of the Guild down here in The Placids. In The Placids, just like everywhere else in the Underhive, the Guild are a very influential part of society, controlling much of the movement of wealth in all its forms, and enforcing it's will with any means necessary. All new clams are, or should, be registered with the Guild, and it is the Guild that controls the movement of money and bulk goods from Hive City proper down into the Underhive and back.
The battle for survival in the Underhive is fought as much against the greed of the Guilders as against the inherent dangers of living in such an inhospitable place, and the fickle and self serving favour of the Guild can decide the fate of a person or a family or even a whole settlement as surely as a bullet. It is a very foolish or a very brave individual that does not pay the Guild it's due.

The Frying Pan

The Underspire towers high out of the centre of a waste area known as ‘The Frying Pan'. This area is essentially a plain made up of layers of granular silicate waste, which, due to the surrounding metals and the heavy magnetic properties of hidden ore seams below the surface, is constantly building up a charge of static electricity. This is far more dangerous that a simple snap or a minor shock. Due to the unique properties of The Frying Pan, discharges have been measured in the thousands of volts, and one wrong move out here can see a man blasted to hunks of charred flesh and fused metal in an instant.
The Guild have chosen this natural phenomenon as the location of their Underspire due to the deterrent presented by this formidable defence. The Guilders themselves have nothing to fear, usually anyway, as they travel across the plain aboard specially earthed hover sleds, which are designed to repel the static build up and allow them to cross The Frying Pan unhindered. Many have tried to cross by various means, tempted by the promise of wealth contained within the Underspire, but few have succeeded.

Down Below


In The Placids, ‘Down Below' means just that. The entire region is on the very edge of the Sump, and is one of the deepest areas of Underhive, and everything below The Placids is a dangerous wasteland that is almost entirely unmapped and unexplored. Old maps and schematics are useless, as Hive Quakes and Tremors cause the terrain to alter, sometimes becoming unrecognisable, and old tunnels and shafts become blocked or flooded.
If The Placids are on the Frontier, then Down Below is the darkness of the unknown void beyond. Some set off on expeditions Down Below in search of wealth or ore seams, but many find nothing but chem pits and mutants. Some do return with riches beyond their wildest dreams, so there are always those greedy or desperate enough to try their luck, but no-one would even consider attempting to settle Down Below, because they are entirely untamed and no one knows what may lurk in the darkness beyond the frontier. Once you're Down Below, you have all the ‘safety' and ‘comforts' of The Placids behind. Let's just hope it's not for good.

Daemon Falls


High, high above the Underhive, in the uppermost hab areas of the wealthy and powerful, there was an outflow pipe which carried all of the putrid, toxic filth and effluent of the Golden Spire district away and out of the side of the outer wall of Necromunda Hive. One day, Lord Gilderoy of House Ran Lo decided that to have the outflow exit less than one thousand yards away from his pleasure pad was too much to bear, and once his voice was raised in mild annoyance, the voices of all the other nobles of the Golden Spire district were added to his, and over the next five years, and at great expense in both money and the lives of the unfortunate engineers and labourers directed to the task, the entire waste flow was redirected down, down and yet still further down, until it exited somewhere inconsequential.
Unfortunately, that somewhere was at the very edge of The Placids, where a mighty torrent of sludge of a colour and aroma that utterly defy description, thunder down into a lake of excremental insanity. These are known as the Daemon Falls, mainly because of the smell, but also, and unknown to most right thinking citizens of The Placids, because the unique properties of the foul waste matter combined with the life extending regenerative baths that the nobles of the Golden Spire deludedly spend their wealth on, have given birth to something truly vile in the depths of that lake. It is not unknown for the foul sludge to vomit forth plague ridden corpses, which stumble around in a horrid semblance of life, giant mutated beasts, and even the spawn of Father Nurgle himself. No wonder the Daemon Falls aren't on the tour listings. 

Titan Station


Titan Station. Probably the closest thing The Placids has yet seen by way of civilization. Titan Station is the main arterial transit route between the Underhive areas of The Placids, and the higher regions of Underhive and the Hive City itself, and as such is the bottleneck at which the Law has chosen to exert its authority.
The Enforcers of Hive Necromunda, in conjunction with the Guilders, attempt to control the movement of both goods and people through Titan Station, giving both themselves and the populace a watered down notion of security and Hive authority, and allowing the Guilders to use exorbitant travel taxes to both increase their wealth and prevent those undesirables with insufficient funds from ever leaving the Underhive. In this way, they ensure that the wealth of those who have succeeded in bettering their position in the universe through backbreaking toil in the face of innumerable dangers is channelled up hive and into the hands of the Guild, while the downtrodden masses are kept firmly in the depths where they belong, by the authority of the shot cannon and the suppression maul.
The power of the Law may be almost mythical in the deeper areas of the Underhive, but at Titan Station, flaunt it at your direst peril.

Final Few Words

Now that you have been given the grand tour of The Placids, you are almost ready to venture out on your own. Don't forget the Rules of The Underhive. Never start a fight that you can't be sure of winning, never set foot outside the reach of the glow globes, and never drink out of a an unlabeled bottle, because there's no knowing where you might end up, or what you might be missing when and if you wake up! The very best of luck to you - you'll need it!