Thoughts on the painting of, and playing with, toy soldiers.


Adeptus Mechanicus Thudd Gun Company

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Here is the Light Artillery Company for my Adeptus Mechanicus army. The NetEpic rules say that these units contain both Thudd Guns and Mole Mortars, but mine is just Thudd Guns. The artillery pieces themselves are from the now-defunct Exodus Wars range, the infantry models are forumware.

Troublemaker Games Novan Dictum Command Centre

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The Novan Dictum Command Centre from Troublemaker Games is an excellent proxy for the Imperial Guard Leviathan. Here’s mine. More photos below.


Capitol Imperialis

The casting of this model isn’t perfect (neither is the paint job I gave it) but you can’t deny it’s a got a lot of character! More pictures below.

Kitbashed Adeptus Mechanicus Ordinatus Armageddon

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Here is my kitbashed Ordinatus Armageddon, which has been sitting in my to-do pile for several years. I rebased it (on three Flames of War bases glued together) to match the Orginatus Golgotha and the Capitol Imperialis.


How To Assemble a Capitol Imperialis

The Capitol Imperialis is a monstrosity: old (more than a quarter of a century), heavy (at least half a kilo) and made of actual, proper lead, as in Pb-82, as in, it’s actually poisonous.

Not only that, it dates from an era where assembly of such objects was left to Real Men Who Didn’t Mind Losing A Finger Because The Bloody Thing Is So Blobby That You Need To Take A Dremel To It To Remove All The Excess Metal.

I make no claim to being such a man, but I was able to assemble my own Capitol Imperialis, to my own satisfaction at least, thanks at least in part to (Wargamer) Mike Hobbs. And so for posterity, and the benefit of those who come after, here is how I did it.


The Return to Epic


Here is a small sample of the models from my next hobby project: infantry and armour support for my Imperial Knights. This has been on the To Do List for a couple of years, before I got distracted by Salamanders, the Reaver, and upgrades to my Necrons.

In this photo:

  • Leman Russ tank company
  • Earthshaker Company
  • Thudd Gun Company
  • Deathstrike Battery
  • Gorgon Squadron
  • Ordinatus Armageddon (kitbashed)
  • Leviathan (actually a model from Troublemaker Games)
  • Various knights and titans

Not shown: a Capitol Imperialis, and lots and lots of infantry!

3,000 Point NetEpic Necrons versus Eldar

Back in February I met up with my occasional opponent Pete at Dark Sphere in south London for a 3,000 point NetEpic game. Once again I took my Necrons, while Pete used his Eldar army for the first time. Once again, I lost, due mainly to poor deployment and use of my Monoliths, although since Pete volunteered that he thought that the Eldar knights (proxied using 40K Wraithguard) were overpowered, I’ll use that as my excuse!

Some photos from the game are below. My army was:

  • Venator Legion:
    • 1x Necron Lord
    • 1x Warrior Phalanx (8 stands)
    • 1x Immortal Phalanx (6 stands)
    • 1x Monolith Triceps (3 Monoliths)
  • Immortal Phalanx (6 stands)
  • Monolith Triceps (3 Monoliths)
  • Doomsday Ark Triceps (3 Doomsday Arks)
  • Praetorian Phalanx (4 stands)
  • Praetorian Phalanx (4 stands)
  • C’tan Shard

Kitbashed Epic-scale Necron Skimmer Tank


Years and years ago, someone on the Tactical Command forum posted a photo of a prototype Necron tank, kitbashed from leftover parts from the Lychguard/Triarch Praetorian box. When I saw it, I immediately wanted to build some of my own, but never had access to the parts. But when I bought two boxes of Praetorians for my 40K army, I knew that I’d finally get a chance.

More photos after the jump!


Reaver Round-up

2014-12-16 09.04.07-1I started working on the Reaver in May, and finally finished it at the beginning of December. That’s six months!

I am generally very happy with how it’s turned out. There were a few glitches along the way but as is the case with any hobby project, those problems that did come up were fixable.

The paint scheme is, of course, the same one I have been painting my Epic titans for 25 years. Here’s a quick run-down of how it was achieved:

  • Prime with Vallejo black primer (via airbrush)
  • Mask off armour plates leaving edge banding exposed
  • Airbrush Vallejo Model Air Brass on banding
  • Wash with Army Painter Soft Tone through the airbrush
  • Remove masking and remask to expose quartered sections
  • Spray with Citadel Skull White spray

The exposed metal of the superstructure was primed black as above then sprayed with Army Painter’s Chain Mail, then washed with Strong Tone through the airbrush. Weathering was achieved using Citadel’s Nihilakh Oxide, Typhus Corrosion and Forge World weathering powders.

The base is a simple cake base with a belt of plasticard around the outside. It’s supposed to match the basing scheme I’ve used for my Salamander and Necron armies and the Leviathan. There is a layer of cork on top of the base to allow me to create depressions into which the titan’s feet can be placed (to create the effect of the ground sinking beneath its feet). I added some crushed up aluminium foil and some craters from Amera Plastic Mouldings to add relief. I then painted with PVA and applied sand. once dried, I sprayed the base with a mix of Army Painter leather and Plasti-kote sprays, drybrushed with a few GW paints and then added static grass (GW’s Dead Grass).

Overall, I’d say this project is pretty straightforward, requiring a lot of technique but not much skill: for example, knowing how to pin the leg joints in the most effective way. Since the model was painted almost entirely using the airbrush, the amount of masking required was pretty exhausting and very boring indeed!

A Brief History of Imperial Knights

It looks like Knights are about to return to Warhammer 40,000 in 28mm scale. Before they become the new hotness, I thought it might be fun to run through their history.


Epic Stormblades on Flames of War bases

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Back in January I mentioned that I was painting a company of Stormblades and said I’d post when I’d finished them. Somehow that post never materialised, but since I’ve just rebased these models onto Flames of War bases (which are perfect for Epic models) I thought I’d fulfil my promise.

These super-heavies will (along with the Ordinatus Golgotha) provide the backbone of armour for the Skitarii force which supports my knights and titans. I have a Leman Russ Tank Company and a Skitarii Mechanised Infantry Company also in the works, and the colour scheme on the Stormblades will be replicated on the Leman Russ tanks and Chimeras of the mechanised infantry company. These models will also be based on Flames of War bases.

Updates to NetEpic

Some interesting things are going on in the NetEpic world. Despite the “Gold” editions of the core rules and army books being fully released, Pete Ramos (better know as Primarch), the co-ordinator for NetEpic for more than 17 years, has initiated a new round of updates and improvements.

I’m pleased to say that I have been helping out, and have been nominated to edit the Necron army list. Fortunately, we have Stephane’s fantastic Necron army book to work on. This book actually won the vote to become the “Gold” version, but due to lack of playtesting wasn’t chosen. But as of now this book is now the “official” army list for NetEpic 6.

If you love Epic gaming and want to help make NetEpic as good as it can be, head over to Tactical Command and lend a hand!

The Milk Float, Completed

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Here’s the completed Mk II Warlord “Milk Float” titan I mentioned previously. The right arm weapon is the improved Melta Cannon.

More pictures below the fold.


Epic Battle Report: The Author (et al) vs Dan Abnett

As (possibly) previously mentioned, my home town is lucky enough to have (a) a great independent wargames store, and (b) a High Lord of Terra and New York Times bestelling author, who is also the unofficial patron the aforementioned store.

Last weekend, No Mans Land had a grand re-opening in its new location in a swanky shopping arcade, and Dan came along to sign books, answer questions from the gathered throng, and throw some dice and push some models around a table.

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Dan played two games of Epic – one versus me, and then another (which I GMd) against Darren (also known as The Burning Beard), another store regular, using the NetEpic rules, slightly modified to suit small Adeptus Titanicus games.

In the first game, we took one Warlord, Reaver and Warhound each and squared up against each other. I was able to knock out his Reaver in the first turn. My Warhound survived a strafe from his Warlord and ended up in close combat with the Dan’s Warhound. Meanwhile, our Warlords went toe-to-toe with almost identical loadouts: my titan had twin Gatling Blasters, A Quake Cannon and a Volcano Cannon, Dan’s had twin Gatling Blasters and twin Volcano Cannon. Dan’s only mistake was moving his titan when could have stood still; that meant that I could open up on him in First Fire before he could hit me (he’d won initiative). My Gatlings and Quake Cannon stripped his remaining shields, and the Volcano Cannon dealt the final blow.

For his second game, Dan wanted to do something a bit different, and decided that he wanted to take out my Imperator, Machinator Formidabilis (“Fearsome Engine” in Low Gothic), against a pack of four Warlords, commanded by Darren.

The game began, and the Imperator stood and watched (and saved up plasma in its reactor) as the Warlords approached.

But calamity! In a well co-ordinated (and unexpected) surprise attack, all four Warlords pounced at once, stripping the Imperator’s shields and starting to do damage! First a gun tower was knocked out, then a sensorium. Just when it seemed that the Machinator was going to survive the turn without any serious damage, a deflected shot took out the coupling on the left arm, and the mighty Plasma Annihilator came crashing to the ground!

With Machinator’s most deadly weapon wrecked, and surrounded on all sides, there was little that Dan could do as the Warlords moved in for the kill. One of the Warlords was reduced to slag by the defence laser, but in the same turn, a shot from the rear penetrated the plasma reactor, and KABOOM! For the first time in twenty years of combat, my beloved Machinator Formidabilis was destroyed in a mighty conflagration.

Despite the ignominious defeat of an ancient and noble God-engine, great fun was had by all, and No Mans Land had a fitting and enjoyable (if rather chilly) re-opening.

On Warlord Titans, and Hyperbole

For #MiniatureMonday, I posted this picture with the following tweet:


Here’s the last #Epic Beetleback Warlord Titan that I will ever paint (I hope)

I immediately regretted the above sentence, because I know that it isn’t true: I am pretty sure that at some point in the future, I will repaint all the old Beetlebacks in my Titan Legion, using a different colour scheme so that I have two opposing forces to play against each other.

Even though this is the last Beetleback Warlord to emerge from my bits box, there’s still the milk float Mk II warlord to paint, and a pair of Reavers. So don’t expect the photos of stompy castle robots to dry up any time soon!

2,500 Point NetEpic Ultamarines vs Adeptus Mechanicus

Today was a bit of a first for me: I played an Epic game against a complete stranger. PapaRomeoJuliet (real name Pete) contacted me via the Facebook page after we’d chatted on the Tactical Command forum. We agreed to play a 3,000 point game, which got amended to 2,500 points, when I realised I’d left a pair of Warhound Titans at home!

My army list:

  • Paladin Household
  • Castellan Knight Squadron
  • Reaver Titan
  • Robot Maniple
  • 2 Robot Squadrons
  • Ordinatus Golgotha


  • 2 Battle Companies
  • 2 Land Speeder Squadrons
  • 2 Thunderhawk Gunships
  • Predator Squadron

As before, the result was a convincing victory for the Mechanicus. I lost a handful of robots and a couple of knights, and did substantial damage in exchange. I think Pete himself admitted that he was a bit too cautious with his Thunderhawks, which contained Assault detachments, and should have committed them (and the Devastator detachments which teleported in) earlier.

This was the first game of Epic that I’ve ever played against someone outside my close-knit circle of gaming friends, and it was a most enjoyable experience. I’m looking forward to the rematch!

Pics from the game below.

NetEpic 1K – a simple Epic-scale skirmish game

A couple of years ago, my good friend Steg and I came up with a stripped down version of NetEpic, suitable for fast, casual play, training, or tournaments, based around small 1,000 point armies. A number of normal NetEpic game rules are suspended in order to make the gameplay quick and easy.

More recently, there’s been quite a bit of interest at No Mans Land in starting up with Epic, so I decided to commit the rules of our game to paper, and am calling it NetEpic 1K.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please post a comment! See also the discussion on Tactical Command.

Update: for absolute beginners or people getting back into Epic, Steg and I have produced a number of sample 1,000 point army lists (XLSX file). If you don’t have the army lists handy, this spreadsheet includes the models that make up each unit.

Ordinatus Golgotha

Here’s the Ordinatus Golgotha I previously mentioned as being part of the mechanised firepower that will support my knights. This is an old model of mine that I stripped and repainted.

The paint scheme is simple enough, but I had a real headache with the hazard stripes. There’s just no way to do them neatly at this scale! Fortunately I was able to hide the more egregious examples with some weathering powder.

I am currently working on a trio of Stormblades, and will post photos when they’re done. They are important because the colour scheme I choose for them will probably decide the colour scheme I use for the rest of the Skitarii: a Leman Russ company, and a load of infantry supported by APCs.

Improving a Melta Cannon

Having raided my bits box, I finally selected a Melta Cannon for the previously mentioned Mark II “milk float” Warlord.

The Melta Cannon is fairly plain, but the version created for the Forge World Reaver Titan looks rather cool, so I thought I’d have a go at improving the stock version.

Apart from the arm, which I made from plastic rods of various sizes, there are three new additions. First is the piping on the back – this is from the arm of a 40K scale Necron Destroyer (the arm is discarded when you upgrade to a Heavy Destroyer). Second, I’ve added the muzzles from a Necron Immortal’s Gauss Blaster to the front of the gun.

Finally, the underslung piping and housing is from the powerfist of a Space Marine Terminator.

Here’s the Melta Cannon, attached to the main body of the Titan:

Here cometh the Milk Float!

I have the legs, torso and carapace of a Mark II “milk float” Warlord (the other bits have gone into other models). Despite being quite detailed, this model has a very boring, static pose (example here), so I thought I’d try giving it a more dynamic pose by twisting and bending the legs.

I also raided my bits box, giving it a close combat head and a pair of Exodus Wars Edenite Reaper turrets as Vulcan Mega Bolters on the carapace. I’m still not sure what I’ll be mounting on the right arm.

The new pose means that the feet are no longer flat on the base, so I built up a pile of rubble using pieces of cork to create a stable platform for the front foot. The rear foot is pinned to the base.

Click to embiggen.

How to get hold of Thom’s Robots

Pretty much the most frequently asked question I get is how to get hold of the robots I use as Knight proxies. To avoid having to repeat myself (over and over and over and over!), I’m posting this here.


6,000 NetEpic Game: Adeptus Mechanicus vs Squats at No Mans Land

Earlier this month I took my Knights down to No Mans Land for a 6,000 game of Epic with @StegTheDinosaur, my gaming partner in crime, who used his Squats.

The battle was incredibly one-sided, as you can see from the live-tweet below. This was primarily due to the cheesy nature of my Adeptus Titanicus army, which included ten titans, combined with the relatively inflexible Squat army list which had been designed to deal with swarms of robots.

Here are the pics we took during the game:

Reaver Titan

I recently finished the Reaver titan that I showed you a Work-In-Progress shot of last month. I originally started building and painting it in May, which should give you an idea of how fast I work.

Here are a few shots. You can also see this beastie in the background of my EpiComp submission.

The Epic reaver is Games Workshop’s oldest model still in production, and this item does sort of show it: it’s hard to guess how old the cast is (I bought it off eBay, so it could be two years or twenty years old), but the detail is pretty poor, and the flat surfaces are rather pitted.

Colour-scheme wise, this guy is nothing new. He has the same black and white checked pattern I’ve used on all my titans (one day I’ll do a big family shot so you can see them all), with the additional bronze edging that I’ve given to the “elite” titans (on the Warmonger side of the family).

This is the first Reaver I’ve painted since the mid-nineties, and I have two more to do to complete the second battlegroup. One thing I’ll do differently next time is paint them in pieces and then assemble afterwards: there are a lot of fiddly bits!

EpiComp 2012 – My Submission

It occurred to me that I with a bit of work, I could probably get my knights into a state where I could submit them to this year’s EpiComp.

For those of you who don’t already know, EpiComp is the premiere (ok, probably only) annual Epic-scale painting competition. It regularly brings in some amazing work by the best painters and modellers working in the 6mm scale.

You can see my submission above. I took a load of photos, which, due to the limitations of the competition rules, I can’t submit, so I’m posting them here.

This represents about one third of the models that are going to form the Knight army. I still have another squadron of French chevaliers, two squadrons of Castellans, and a load of Paladins still to paint, not to mention a Leman Russ Company, a Stormblade Company, two Ordinatii majoris, and some Skitarii. You’ll be seeing more of them in 2013. In the meantime, these photos include everything I’ve painted (Epic-wise) in 2012. Enjoy!