Highlights of a Hobby Weekend…and musings about scale!

So, as so happens every few months, my good friend visited from the City again! I tend to treasure these little excursions, as while I may get a good deal of 40k done on my own, it is always nice to sit and watch a good movie the rest of my family has no interest in, all the while building up all the unbuilt stuff in our backlog. Movie night started with Zulu, followed by an episode of Sharpe. The next day, after a short, sharp 40k skirmish, we followed up with America’s closest thing to Waterloo, at least in terms of film; The classic, Gettysburg.

Our hobby area set-up, we started on a small package that had arrived from Artel W, well known for making characters from a certain large British miniatures companies sci-fi books, usually those that haven’t had a model from them before. We all pitched in, and did a nice bulk order to save on shipping, and it was here very quickly, and very crisply and cleanly cast!

Now my gaming group in the city has players of every skill and experience level, and our newest player (and in a fact that makes me quite jealous, is by far the best technical painter in our group!) has little experience with resin. Thus, Artel W’s “Iron Boss”, a large Orc(k) warboss model, was the first on the to-do list.

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He’s a big-un! Fully magnetized for all the weapon options at the suggestion of my friend. A good call too, as it was really simple!
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Here, he’s armed with a massive power-hammer and missile array
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And in this one, a Power Axe and a Grot-Turret
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He’s absolutely massive, easily dwarfing my Guard-sized model here!
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An unfair match-up if there ever was one!

After this, I started on my part of the package; A certain “Hero of the Imperium” and his rather pungent adjutant. Of course, this could only be a model of the great Ciaphas Cain, which to my shame, I actually haven’t read all of his books yet! The smelly Jurgen is well represented too!

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The man, the legend; Commissar Ciaphas Cain, drinking a mug of tanna and holding his saucer like a proper gentleman.
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And holding a tanna pot and napkin, his loyal servant Jurgen. Armed with both a meltagun and lasgun for every encounter…should his stench not shoo them away first!

We finished the night with Sharpe’s Regiment, an oddly political episode of the usually quite action-packed, rock solo type show. The next day, our hobby area cleared off so that we could game on it, we decided to play Hold at All Costs; All I needed to do was survive 5 turns. We agreed on lists prior, but my memory played tricks and me and I must have forgotten to check what he was bringing. Out came the Cadian Steel Tithe, Pask, and 4 of his comrades in Conquerors, backed up by Basilisks, a Hydra, and most worryingly, a Baneblade. I was, if we were playing any other scenario, utterly and hopelessly outmatched with my infantry heavy Vostroyans. But, I had a chance, I just had to tank the shots long enough, provide just enough chaff that he could not possibly kill them all…right?

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It is in these situations you wonder what went wrong…so very wrong indeed…

It was, for the most part, a total turkey-shoot. Of course, this was a turkey shoot of my own design, as I could have brought better units had I remembered what was coming!

We still had fun of course, and it went by rather quickly. Had I been lucky the last two turns, tanked just a little harder, I might have won by the seat of my pants. But as it was, a total and utter military disaster followed. This was followed swiftly by a strong drink, a good cigar and a brisk walk!

I said goodbye to my friend this morning, and spent the rest of the day tidying up. I did get my hobby space sorted again, and primed Cain and Jurgen. It was at this point I thought to see just how big they were…

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Quite tall, even for HEROES OF THE IMPERIUM! Shown in comparison with Commissar Severina Raine from the Black Library event, and a Vostroyan guardsmen. They are all reasonably close though, and I’d have no problem mixing them in the same army.

The answer is, quite tall! They are quite slight and done in a more “true” 28mm then a “Heroic” 28mm, but still stand well above most Guardsmen. It got me thinking; just how big are Guardsmen getting these days?

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Right to left; Praetorian, Cadian(with kilt!), Vostroyan, SLY MARBO, Commissar Severina Raine.

The answer is, quite a bit bigger actually! My poor Praetorians are positively tiny in comparison to the newer models, with both newer GW releases being significantly bigger. The Vostroyans have always been on the large side, a side-effect of the designers wanting to cram as much detail in there as possible. This does worry me a little; the current Guard line looks great and finally the right size compared to the new Primaris Marines, and all that effort would be wasted if Guard suddenly got a lot bigger. We’re supposed to be the average joes, not as big as the vaunted Astartes! Hopefully Severina Raine is not a prelude to the future of Guard models, and merely an aberration.

As it was, a packed weekend with lots of stuff done and it was a nice visit! We did get talking about picking up another “Historicals” game, in this case Blackpowder by Warlord. So in the near future, you will see some 95th Rifles, once my next Tournament list painting goals are achieved. But until then, Ave Imperator, and happy war-gaming, wherever you are!

 

Chaos in the Abyss: A Narrative Project

Hey guys, before I begin I would just like to say the attention I have been getting recently has been great! I was shocked to log in after my last post to see far more viewers then I usually garner. It was a real boost to my motivation! There while be more Praetorian Guard and Vostroyan content in the future, so those who love that stuff are in for a treat over the next few months, as I have quite a surprise for you folks, a passion project that is taking a while to set-up but will be worth it in the end. (A big hint; If you liked Zulu, your in for a treat!)

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Now Easter weekend was quite a busy week for me, between my sister’s birthday and the fact me and three others in the Clubhouse have started a narrative campaign. It is really fun to leave Matched Play for a while, and embrace Narrative for a bit. We are using the Chapter Approved 2018 custom character rules, and building the lore of the Alatheian Abyss, a system I used the Rogue Trader system generator to do the base work; but we are going to build a narrative in the current 40k timeline to give our armies a boost in background fluff. This sort of collaborative world-building is something I really enjoyed as a game-master for Dark Heresy, and its great to to put that experience to use with three other like-minded individuals.

Now, I’m a Guard player. I like massed infantry and artillery to win via attrition and sheer firepower. But for this campaign, had I chosen the play the Imperial Guard, we would have had three Imperial players to one Chaos, and that wouldn’t have been as interesting. Therefore, my Chaos Marine army, a side project, has been pushed into the spotlight. My chosen Warband, the Skulltakers, has very little actual lore written about them, and I have taken a lot of liberties to make them my own. This warband was chosen specifically because their leader, Zhufor the Impaler is such a cool model, if busy with detail, that I just had to build an army based around him.

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Zhufor! I didn’t get a good picture while building him. Those familiar with the model will note he lacks the trophy racks and cape, the cape looked too plain in my opinion and I’m looking for a replacement. The trophy racks didn’t fit well, and made the busy model already even busier, so I chose to leave them off. Finally, I mounted him to a GW Hero Base, to make him more imposing and give him a boost in stature compared to the newer Chaos space marine models.

Of course, for our custom characters, we decided it couldn’t be a named hero, and the Chapter Approved rules forbid it anyway, so I decided to use one of my Chaos Lord on Juggernaut as a “lieutenant” to Zhufor. Karnath the Gore-Chosen was born. My idea behind him is that of a excellent warrior, an overly proud glory-hound, who chafes as an underling and looks to challenge Zhufor for leadership in the near future. I have given him most melee based traits, making him quite powerful on the charge.

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Karnath the Gore-Chosen; A proud warrior and a powerful champion of Khorne.

He still needs the proper round base, but I’m quite happy with the conversion. The use of a power-armor torso and power-pack bring him into the dark future enough for my liking, and he has an air of menace that will be a blast to paint.

The rest of the force consists of the Marines I have shown before, but as a bonus when selling my knights, my friend tossed in a Chaos Rhino from the Conquest magazine. Now, I like Rhinos. I like Chaos. I do not like Chaos Rhinos. To me, they always had too much spiky bits and superfluous detail that didn’t add anything. So when I got mine, I tried to go for a more subtle approach.

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A simple Combi-Plasma conversion, and a bit of Chaos iconography. Of course, playing the Skulltakers means I needed at least a few skulls, so the chains at the front were added. A couple of smaller trophy racks were added, but not the dreaded “picket fence” spikes that are usually put on.
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A chain and skulls plus a Khorne insignia, just enough to add interest.

It should still be recognizably a Chaos Rhino, but more of a worn-out war-machine then a mobile spike factory.

I did get a few photos of our first narrative battle, a minor 50 power level skirmish between my Skulltakers and a mix of Guard (representing Planetary Defense Forces) and Imperial Fists, taking place in an abandoned supply depot as my Marines try to loot powerful weapons!

Now this is the part where I’d have painted models to show you…but, to my embarrassment, I have run out of primer! As I live in quite a rural area, and the fact my local hobby store doesn’t carry the primer I use for both my Praetorians and Chaos, means a trip into the GTA (Greater Toronto Area, for you non-Canadians), and that could be a while. So, at least for the immediate future, it’ll be most Vostroyans getting painted while I try to get a hold of some Army Painter Pure Red. It should be only momentary, and you’ll get your dose of Pith Helmets and Evil Marines soon enough!

That is all I had for today, but I have plenty of stuff to showcase over the next few months, so stick around and I hope you’ll find the future content interesting! As always, Ave Imperator (Or, in present company, Let the Galaxy Burn!) and happy war-gaming, wherever you are!

About Face!(ings)

A bit of a development on the Praetorian front…Whilst they were originally supposed to be just a loyal 32, that idea was shelved pretty sharpish as I fell head over heels for the models. In a move that most saw coming as I never used the blasted things, my languishing Imperial Knights were sold off, to fund, yes, you got it, more Praetorians. I will never be able to run them as infantry heavy as my Vostroyans, the supply just isn’t there. But what, then, to run them as?

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Gone to serve the Emperor in my friends sector of space; May they find better service in the hands of less negligent masters.

The Vigilus Campaign book, Vigilus Defiant, offered a solution in the form the Emperor’s Blade Assault Company; A hard-hitting, fast moving main line of infantry in transports, either in the classic Chimera…or the less then great looking Taurox, backed up by a separate detachment of tanks, using the same regiment as I use to support my Vostroyans, the Pardus Armoured. My Praetorian infantry, all 44 of them, would be used as Mordians for the purposes of the Regimental Doctrine, as this is both fitting to the models heritage, but also the Praetorian lore of them being stubborn men, fighting in immaculate uniforms, in tightly drilled formations. The stratagems in the detachment also encourage an in your face play-style, radically different then my Vostroyan gun-line; with vehicles being able to overwatch even if they were not the target, and to hit on 4’s instead of 6’s while doing so, which apparently stacks with Mordian vehicles hitting on 5’s in overwatch, leading to my transports hitting on 3’s, better then their normal ballistic skill, in the opponents charge phase. I quickly came to the conclusion(perhaps wrongly, if anyone has any ideas on this, please comment!) that while the Taurox is ugly to say the least, it has dual autocannons and the potential for a heavy stubber, for more firepower then a multilaser and heavy flamers on the Chimera. In total, the list would have 2 Chimeras, 4 Tauroxes, 3 Leman Russ Tank Commanders, and a Baneblade. A solid list, I think.

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The MRAP of 40k, looking way sillier with its cute widdle track units…
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Luckily, thanks to Victoria Miniatures, I won’t have to suffer looking at said track units. I’ll be ordering 6 sets of these when the Praetorians get the green light to get started!

With my plan made, and the majority of the Praetorians on the way from distant lands, I decided I needed to do one test figure; and I got hung up on the silliest detail…regimental facings. You see, in the 18/19th century, uniforms had two colors, the obvious one on the outside, and one you’d only see when you turned back the cuffs. These “facings” differed wildly depending on the country, with some having entire branches of the military having the same facings, or in the British example, whatever the founding Colonel thought was a color suitable. I imagine that, even in the 41st Millennium, that more formal regiments follow this idea; You see even the disciplined Mordian Iron Guard in differing uniforms, the Vostroyans with different color turn-backs. I imagine that the Praetorians follow this anachronism as well. The original Praetorians, the 24th Regiment, had dark blue facings and trousers, a quite striking combination that has been emulated quite often. Some others have gone for tan uniforms, some for green uniforms. But the facing colors have always been there, and always a different color. Making mine different was important to me, but it seemed all the good colors had been done already.

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As you can see in this spread, the facing color is a dark navy blue, with the same color used on the pants as well.
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As you can see on my Vostroyan Company Commander, he has “Buff” or cream colored facings; I didn’t give much thought of that when doing these guys, but I did keep it consistent across the army.

In the end, I settled on a light grey, more specifically Ash Grey from the Army Painter line of paints. I figured if it really didn’t look good stripping them would be easy as they are metal. So, here is a member of the 90th Praetorian Dragoons, a mechanized regiment.

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This guy was a blast to paint, as it almost painted itself. The crisp detail was a nice feature of these older metal models. He has a wood-stocked lasgun, grey facings, and the traditional Praetorian red-coat and black boots. The webbing colors I did in class Zulu-era white, as it really pops!
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Quite fantastic facial hair on this guy. I feel he’s too cool to just be a normal Guardsmen, so he may get corporal stripes from my Bolt Action transfer sheets!
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The wash really defines the crisp detail, and is a massive time saver. It also dulls it down, but with me watching the wash and preventing it from pooling, it leaves the model looking rather clean, but still detailed.

It was actually quite an easy paint job, a little under an hour. My whole methodology is that basic troopers get very little time, and I figure I can batch paint these guys to this standard in 2-3 hours in groups of 10. Easy to do, if a little flat looking. I can always go back and try highlighting if my hand-tremors will allow me! Any comments on the colors are welcome and appreciated!

But, that is all I have for you lovely people today, so as always, Ave Imperator, and happy war-gaming, wherever in the world you are from!

Blast from the Past: Praetorian Guard!

So followers of this blog know that I’m a big Guard fan. What may not be as immediately obvious is my love of 18th/19th century warfare. The smell of powder, the sound of musket fire, and bright flashy uniforms are my kryptonite. The Vostroyans fit this bill to a certain degree, but GW rather wisely made them quite distinct from any one historical source, the closest being WW1 era or earlier Cossack’s. This, and their gothic details place them firmly in the 41st Millennium. No one gets their feathers ruffled, and we get an awesome Guard regiment!

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Vostroyan Firstborn; When you need wear the most ornate uniform to battle!

This restraint wasn’t always the case however, and in the 90’s the Imperial Guard was full of models that more or less represented a stereotypical military force of yore. The Valhallan Ice Warriors are easily Soviets or Winter War Finnish in SPAAAACE. Likewise with the Tallarn Desert Raiders, an equal mix of Lawrence of Arabia’s troops and the WW2 north africa campaign. The Mordians looked like US Marine Corps recruitment ideals, but with their Dredd-Pattern frowns and martial demeanor echoing the Prussians. All of these regiments remained on the store page for a while, as their source material wasn’t immediately going to bother too many people, and their lore distanced themselves a little from their historical analogues.

However, there is always the exception to prove the rule. Enter the Praetorian Guard.

(c) National Army Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Like this, but with more lasers and Orks.

The Praetorian Guard were unabashedly Victorian era British Colonial Troops, more specifically from the Zulu War era. They came from a planet called Pretoria, which any student of geography should realize is a city in South Africa. They fought Orks, which were portrayed as something akin to the Zulus, an unflattering comparison if there ever was one. They remained on shelves for a relatively brief period of time, as if GW realized that, holy hell, this could really be taken the wrong way.

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Very little promotional materiel and official artwork exists for these chaps. This two page spread was all I could find!

Despite this, or, in a lot of cases, because of it, they became extremely popular. Many alternate Guard figures websites such as Victoria Miniatures and Curious Constructs got their start making Not-Praetorians for people who missed the boat the first time. Many prominent bloggers, such as Col.Gravis, Col.Ackland and Col.Winterborne made their names with their lovely Praetorian models. And in my case, I bought a few squads of Victoria Miniatures “Victorian Guard” just because the idea of pith-helmeted Guardsmen fighting the gribblies of the week was too cool an idea to ignore.

They do pop up on eBay from time to time, the original models. And they command quite the premium too. Most people used Mordians while they were still available, as body donors for a head-swap to make yet more Praetorians. But once that supply dried up, well, it is dark days for anyone wanting to play Praetorians. However, earlier this week, a huge amount of blisters arrived on one of the eBay stores I frequent.

I almost didn’t want to open them; The packaging was ancient, and it felt like defiling a relic of a bygone era. But eagerness outweighed that feeling pretty darn quick. Opening them up, and letting out almost 2 decades worth of stale air out, and I was left with enough bodies to make a command squad and one infantry squad.

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Looking sharp! I really look forward to painting them!

The models themselves are the Perry Brothers early GW handiwork. Great details, full of character. They are still, essentially, the Mordian models with a head-swap; trading the ever-present frown for 19th century facial hair and pith helmets.

Out of all of them, I believe the Bugler is the only completely original sculpt done for the Praetorian splash release. But they are all full of character, ready to defend Rorke’s…I mean Glazer’s Creek. They look several degrees easier to paint then my Vostroyans too, a nice change of pace. Not a break from the red though…(Why is almost every army I play red? Seriously, it isn’t even my favorite color!)

I do have another squad in the post, leaving me with 24 models total. While collecting a full Praetorian Guard army is almost impossible, I’m focusing on getting at least 32 models to be my “loyal 32”, to run in conjunction with my Imperial Knights I never seem to actually use. And as a collectors piece, these guys are pretty great. Not many people my way have seen these in the flesh, so it should be a treat!

Now almost deafening in its lack here is an officer to lead them. And there is a reason for this; I really don’t like the Praetorian Guard Captain model! I think it just doesn’t look right, too haphazard and not nearly uniform enough to really fit with his troops.

So, a while back I had taken a Cadian Company Commander from the old metal command box, and slapped a Victoria Miniatures Pith Helmet on it!

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Looking suitably aloof and like he payed for his commission, like a proper gentlemen soldier of Pretoria.

I think he looks pretty good, but I might do some more work on his shoulders, to remove the Cadian Gate insignia or to give him epaulets, a task that may be beyond me!

I got a lot of work to do, and I best get cracking! So, as always, Ave Imperator, and happy war-gaming!

Straight Silver and a Hero of Legend!

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“Men of Tanith, do you want to live forever?”-Colonel Commissar Ibram Gaunt

The men and women of the Tanith 1st and Only hold a special place in my heart. When I was just getting into Warhammer 40k, I purchased a copy of The Lost, the third omnibus, on an impulse. The gritty, realistic, yet strangely noble take on the Imperium’s cannon fodder, the portrayal of the life of an Imperial Guard regiment during a crusade was fascinating, and has colored my perceptions on how the Guard operate significantly

Like many before, I sought to emulate the famous “Ghosts” on the tabletop, but hamstrung by the lack of models, I ended up simply making my custom regiment a part of the greater Sabbat Worlds Crusade, using the Cadian models to do so. However, an opportunity arose. During my usual eBay crawl, I found a seller for the original splash release of Tanith Guardsmen. While GW still sold the Ghosts as a stripped down version with just Colonel Corbec, Gaunt, Doctor Dorden, Mad Eye Larkin and a Ghost with a plasma gun of all weapons, as the Ghosts are never seen to have used them. But the eBay listing offered the FULL range, including a rare female guard model, a smattering of regular Ghosts with camo-cloaks.

I purchased them immediately, but the level of detail scared me off painting them. And so, they languished in my to-do pile for almost 6-8 years, occasionally coming out to act as ratling snipers.

Until now.

As always, feel free to click the picture if you want my thoughts on a specific model.

 

 

I’ll admit, I’m not 100% percent happy with them. Trying to emulate the book description and the artwork is difficult work, and with my natural hand tremors, any hope of the detailed blue tattoos they bear was almost impossible. But really, could anything I painted hope to match my minds eye?

Another model on the painting table was a Lord Solar Macharius model, an absolutely ancient piece of Third Edition nostalgia. He is a historical figure in the modern day, long since dead in the current timeline. His fame precedes him; conquering almost 1000 worlds in the span of 7 years, until reaching the edge of the galaxy and his men would follow him no longer. Yes, he is a blatant homage to Alexander the Great, but such things were common back in the halcyon days of Third. He even got a super-heavy tank named after him, the Macharius pattern.

I got his model on pure luck; He was being sold on eBay as a Vostroyan officer, and this was when Vostroyans were easily available. I snapped him up for a song, far less then his usual asking price. Again, like the Tanith, he languished, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to do such a legendary figure justice. But, finally, I have since come to terms with my painting plateau, and figured, as a metal model, if I was truly unhappy I could always strip it and start over.

 

 

As with the Tanith, I’m unsure if I did a good job or not. However, feedback from friends and family has said that he looks great! He certainly is bling and swish, and stands out from a sea of normal Guardsmen.

I did varnish all the models here with Krylon Matte, which is a nice hard varnish, but certainly not matte! I’ll be hitting them again with Army Painter’s Anti-Shine, so I will post an update then to show the difference, if any.

So my ending comments are this; If you have models you are afraid to paint, totally give it the old college try, as your opponents on the tabletop will certainly appreciate the effort! For my part, playing with painted miniatures has really upped my enthusiasm for the hobby, as the spectacle of painted armies going at it is something to behold.

But, until the next update, Ave Imperator, and happy war-gaming!

Posted in 40k

Bolter Drill and Other Shenanigans

It has been a busy few days. My friend in the city hosted a hobby day, and even drove 2 hours to pick me up so I could attend! He has procured a 4×6 gaming table and mat, and was eager to try it out. We played a small game the day I arrived, and boy, was it an interesting match-up. 1250 points, my small Guard force versus Knight Commander Pask and as many Russ’s he could bring.

As well, we stopped at a hobby store in Barrie, and managed to grab the old Munitorum dice pack; as luck would have it, my lasgun power pack is labeled as being from Vostroya! The servo-skull dice holders are going to be turned into objective markers, an unoriginal idea to be sure, but one that works quite well. I will put my own spin on it, hopefully making them stand out.

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But possibly the most useful item acquired from my trip to the city was at last, a pin-vise. Such a small tool, but I can finally pin my models, as well as drill out bolters. I’ve always been afraid of doing so, but I just put that out of my mind and tried it out on my new Chaos Marines.

For the most part, I didn’t need to worry! Most of the models came out great, with only one muzzle being wrecked in the process. I’m going to model that as battle damage on that model, as repairing it could be quite difficult. Despite that little mistake, I’m quite happy with the results.

A much shorter post then usual, but I’m waiting for some interesting stuff in the mail to showcase, and I’m also battling the onset symptoms of new medication that makes me quite unsteady. But until next time, Ave Imperator, and happy war-gaming!