Sunday, 29 March 2009


And so on Monday Ruth and I took a break from boardgames, online TV and tasty rum-based beverages, and headed into to town to see Mr Reginald D Hunter do his stand-up thang.

He was pretty funny. Reginald D Hunter's stand up is mostly just a lot of standing around and talking about stuff; he rambled through a variety of topics, including Hurricane Katrina ("...when I saw my people looting and stealing, just to survive... hell, I'm an educated man, I've read books... but it seems like I'm just one big thunderstorm away from sucking dick for potatoes..."), politics ("I hope he does good things, but I believe that the system will change the man before the man changes the system"), and a bunch of other stuff. Less telling jokes, more telling stories.

The show was held in the Phoenix, an inevitably somewhat pretentious "arts and media centre". Whilst standing around drinking and waiting for the show to start, Ruth and I spent some time debating whether a room full of scraps of wood nailed to other scraps of wood was a partially constructed art installation, or just a room full of crap. (Turns out it was a fully constructed art installation, which happened to take the form of a room full of crap).

I also found this tucked away in a little nook.

In exchange for a mere twenty pence, one could become the proud owner of an original and completely unique example of The Esoteric Miscellany of Hector & Claude. Because I am a sucker, I put in 20p and got this:

Yes, that's right, it's a small clear plastic egg containing a strip of film. On the film are images of an infant sat in front of a slender pair of legs.

I think I shall hide it away for a few years, and then when Hector & Claude have become world renowned and Nobel prize winning exponents of esoteric miscellany I shall bling it on eBay for a million billion pounds.

Unless anyone wants to give me a tenner for it now...

Right, onto the Beastmans. Or, to be more precise, Warhounds; shown here in all their cheap, disposable glory.

These guys are pretty much destined to be annihilated in every battle. Bad dogs.

The Warhounds are useful to have around, but not all that interesting. A Wargor Battle Standard Bearer, on the other hand...

This guy's vigorous flag waving ensures that there is a greater chance of my Warhounds passing their break tests, so allowing them to remain trapped in unwinnable combats against terrible foes that they have no chance of defeating.

What a hero.

Sunday, 22 March 2009


And so this week, I have mostly been playing about with a drainpipe filled with charcoal.

Allow me to explain.

We use a special fluorescent dye to check castings for minute surface defects; tiny cracks which, when subjected to repeated cyclic loading, will propagate and eventually result in the failure of the part. Apparently the days of just giving things a cursory glance and declaring that it'll probably do are long gone (unless you are a French car manufacturer).

The parts are dipped into a gigantic vat of dayglo goop, left to drain for a bit, and then the excess goop is washed off with a water gun. And then all the goop and all the water trickles off down the drain, where it goes on to make fish glow in the dark/die, and gets us in trouble with the environment agency. Clearly something must be done. Fortunately, there are a number of companies that can supply and install specially designed activated carbon filtration systems. So no problem, job done, right?


It's too expensive, they say. Explore other options, they say. And it's at this point that the project gets dumped on me. Looking for a different way around the problem, I notice that the dye has a lower density than water - it floats, and can be skimmed off. Brilliant! So I start researching such exciting innovations as parallel plate separators, draw up a few rough designs, think of ways to regulate the way that the dye is removed, and look up a few mojito recipes on the internets (I'll be needing victory cocktails when my genius plans come to fruition).

But when I present my ideas to the guys from our environmental department, they don't like it. They can't see how it can possibly work, even when I demonstrate using a bottle containing a mix of the dye and water. They want a filter, but they don't want to pay £40,000 for it. Can't we just put the water through a bucket filled with charcoal? That's got to be simple to do, right?

Sigh. Of course it isn't, for reasons too multitudinous and tediously boring to go into here. But they want a trial of our homemade filter to be up and running by the end of the week; and so on Friday I find myself standing in the finishing department with a three foot long piece of drainpipe filled with activated carbon granules, wondering how the hell they can expect this piece of crap to replicate the effects of a £40,000 filtration system.

For the trial, we pour 2 litres of dye and water mix into the top of the "filter". It's about 10% dye; you can tell, because the dye is floating on the surface of the water (grr). At first, it looks like all my cynicism is misplaced as 2 litres of water with little more than a few bits of charcoal in it drains out from the other end of the pipe. I'm feeling a little bit upset by this.

But wait! Another two litres go in, and the water coming out of the other end has just the tiniest hint of green to it.

Another two litres, and this time there's no hint - it's just fucking green. With a fat slice of dye on top. Yum.

Another two litres, and then another two, and the water coming out doesn't look any different to the water that's going in. This means we'll need to change the filter roughly every ten litres; or, to put it another way, fifty times every day. Turns out that the reason why £40,000 activated carbon filtration systems cost £40,000, is that THEY FUCKING WORK. Unlike our Blue Peter piece of shit drainpipe.


Meanwhile... Beastmans.

This week, you get a double whammy of beastmans action; minotaurs PLUS chariots. This is because as attractive as they are on paper, neither is really that much to look at. Minotaurs first.

I run two units of these suckers (in addition to the lesser badasses that hang out with the Black Maul wielding Doombull). Smaller units of great weapon armed death monsters seem to be popular on the tournament circuit, and I can see why; but because I suck, I've never quite managed to get them to work for me.

The chariots, meanwhile, are just a complete no-brainer (until the Beasts book gets re-written and they become special choices, like what they should be).

I recycled the chariots from an old beastmans team for this army. The Ungor drivers were converted from the original (and fortuitously diminutive) Gor crewman, with just a simple head and weapon swap and a minor bit of green-stuffing.

Sunday, 15 March 2009


I made a startling discovery this week.

Ruth has never watched Robot Wars.

This means that she will have never played the three fun games that made Robot Wars that tiny bit more entertaining for thousands of nerds across the nation each week.

Game 1: Determine what roboteer George Francis actually is.

What the fuck are you?!

a) Male.
b) Female.
c) Space lizard.
d) Misc.

2. Try to catch the nerds checking out Philippa Forrester's boobs while she interviews them in the pits.

I find this game difficult, as I tend to be too busy checking out Philippa's boobs to notice what the other nerds are doing.

3. Designing deadly robots in your mind.

I might be wrong, but I reckon that anyone with even the smallest nerdal lobe rolling D12's in the back of their subconscious will have done this at some point. Here's my cunning plans.

The Remorseless Eating Machine

This one's about the size of a tumble dryer, and has massive jaws at one end that allow it to consume other robots (like that space ship in You Only Live Twice). NYOM!

Super Explodo Bot 2000 Deluxe

Essentially, a small explosive device on wheels. I'm sure I don't need to explain how this works.

Listen to Black Sabbath

This robot will basically be a giant speaker on wheels, with "LISTEN TO BLACK SABBATH" written on the side of it. It will have no weapons; it will simply drive around playing "War Pigs" really loud until all the other robots give up. Then it will explode (this one's packed with semtex too).


A V8 engine, only all of the pistons are attached to hammers instead of a driveshaft. The hammers act as weapons and give it something to stand on. You can't control how the thing moves, all you can do is give it more throttle and smash things faster. I don't see how this can possibly fail.

Sunday, 8 March 2009


Tonight's pub quiz was won by The After-Dinner Club Dedicated To The Resurrection Of Bolshevism.




takin' pictures of goat-legged fuckpigs ain't like dustin' crops, boy

When I started this whole gayass blogging thing, I made it a rule that I would never post comments on my own blog.

The reasons for this have long since been forgotten; and frankly, it doesn't make a great deal of sense. But it does mean that I have an excuse to respond to comments with an entire post, thus masking the fact that nothing much else is happening in my life.

The highlight of this week was the purchase of a shirt.

I know what you're thinking; the answer is yes, that collar does have its own postcode. You may well be thinking other things; but I suspect these are less than complimentary, and so I shall choose to ignore them.

So, moving swiftly on...

Last week I posted some pictures of my Black Maul, and the Doombull that hefts it about. And rather than asking about the scratch-built shield, the hand sculpted armour, the carefully blended highlights and the subtle use of ink washes and glazes, the Infamous Willard Foxton wanted to know about photography techniques.


Well, if you're anything like me, you probably have a shitty camera, no idea how to use it, and a penchant for retro shirts that still smell of the last guy that wore/died in them. Accept the fact that almost all of the pictures you take will be massively rubbish; and therefore you will have to take a very large number of photos in order to sift through and find one that isn't blurry/gloomy/of your thumb. I took around thirty shots of my marauding goat-legged fuckpigs this morning, and got maybe five good photos.

Use something flat and white as a backdrop; plain paper will usually do the trick. Take pictures in good light if you can, but still mess about with having the flash on or off (I still haven't worked out which is best). Make sure you've got something stable to rest the camera on; I use the back of my chair.

It seems to be best to take the photos from a little way back, and use the zoom function to embiggen the subject, rather than just getting up close. Once the photos are loaded onto your computifying box of electro-trickery, use Microsoft Office Picture Manager to crop, and adjust the colour/light (the "auto-correct" button comes in quite handy here). See below for "before" and "after".

And that's about it, really. I'm not saying that this is THE way to take pictures of toy soldiers; merely MY way. For better advice on photography, see The Boy, who will regale you with explanations of the three point lighting system.

The toy soldiers in question are, of course, the two beastherds that form the backbone of my army/fill most of the obligatory core unit slots/give my bray shamans somewhere to hide.

They were originally painted up to go into a somewhat slightly gayer army that I took to the GT a couple of years ago. I've always considered a measure of how bent an army list is, to be how illegal it becomes when a new edition of the army book is released.

When the new Warriors of Chaos book came out, my GT army contained no core units, and five units that were from different army books entirely.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

The apathy has reached fever pitch

It's been kinda dull this week. Ruth's disappeared off to Cheshirestonshire for two weeks of learning about plants 'n' that; so I've been alone in the house, going through the tedious cycle of cook, eat, sleep, work, cook, eat, sleep, work...

And work has been pretty tedious too. Although at the start of the week I was kept pretty busy, with people to see and stuff to do and people that needed to see me about doing stuff, it tailed off midweek; and on Friday, I did nothing. NOTHING. I was vaguely assisted in this monumental achievement by the man that sits opposite me; I shall call this man Martin. Because that's his name.

Martin is a man in his late fifties. He has a moustache, and seems to do everything in slow motion. His belly is large. He likes old motorbikes, speaks with his mouth full, refers to women as "females", and puts one hand on his hip when he takes a whizz.
Martin's slow and precise ways earn him little favour with the various contractors that come through our office, because it takes him three weeks to explain something that anyone else could explain in five minutes.

But it is precisely this trait that made it so easy for me to waste an entire day. I asked Martin a simple question;

"Who was that guy?"

Martin stares at me for a bit whilst he tries to process the words that have just come out of my mouth.

Cranial glaciers start to shift.

Martin speaks.

"Which guy?"


"The guy, that was just here, that was just talking to me, that just left the office, that I gestured towards when I asked 'who was that guy'. That guy."

that guy. That's..."

Martin goes on to tell me the guy's name, and then gives me his life story; how he worked in Japan for ten years because he didn't want to work for a particular plant manager, how said plant manager had ruined the plant engineering department, how the guy left his wife for some female he met in Japan, and how some other guy in our office is a complete ornithophobe and once, driven by sheer terror, swatted a friends budgie out of the air with his bare hands, killing it instantly.

I'm still not sure how we got onto that last one.

The important thing is, I got to spend the best part of an afternoon listening to Martin waffle aimlessly; which almost - but not quite - looked entirely unlike I was doing nothing.

Meanwhile, I've been feeling a bit out-geeked of late; so here's some toy soldiers.

This ultimate baddass is the Doombull that leads my Beastmans to countless glorious victories. Well, he will do, just as soon as I start winning some games of Warhammer.

I never got around to naming him, since I tend to be too busy ranting about the mighty Black Maul he wields. And oh, how mighty and black it is...


Despite being an ultimate badass in his own right, the Doombull tends to hang out with a small gathering of lesser badasses, who act as witnesses to the list of abhorrent crimes perpetrated by him and his Black Maul.


Expect more pictures of my Beastmans over the next few weeks, because taking pictures is easier/less boring than typing.