Monday, October 10, 2016

Rogue Trader: The Pirate Queen

The following is said to be a partial transcript of a conversation with Mad Meg, Space Pirate Captain of the Wailing Reach...

"The Voldraddi don't like you to do things.  They want you to simmer down and do nothing.  In return for doing nothing, they give you a little something.  Just enough to keep your soul in your skin, see?  And you'd better be happy with that.  Hunker down and be happy and don't make any fuss.  Be happy doing nothing.  People who do something...make their own clothes, grow their own veggies, paint their own pictures...well, they tend to get shot at a lot by the P.D.F.   You don't want that, so you do nothing.

It's like...if you've got something they didn't give you, they figure you must have stolen it from them, somehow, and they want it back.  They want it back even though it were never theirs to begin with, and they didn't know or care anything about it before they saw you had it. They'll kill you for that.  Stealing from them.  That's the one thing they'll kill you for every time.  So you don't do things and you don't make don't ever try to make anything better.  But I always knew there was something good about doing things.  Had to be, or the Voldraddi wouldn't be doing them.  They have all the nice things.  And busy, busy all the time, doing things.  I used to sit on the roof at night with my brothers and we'd watch the little silver ships jump up into the sky from the Voldraddi palaces, and watch them coming down again, all the lights and the sounds from them palaces.  And I'd think, what a lot of somethings them big dogs know how to do!  And I'd say to me brothers, "If only I could, I'd do so MANY things!"  And they'd laugh at me, of course, why wouldn't they?
But I never would have done anything if it hadn't been for The Clown...oh he's a nasty old fucker...I ain't saying he ain't.  But he was one as knew how to do things.  We had an old show box that somebody got...must have been from one of the Clown's boys.  Oh, it was quick death for you if the P.D.F.s ever caught you with that.  But we didn't get caught.  You'd keep it in a safe place, and just watch and wait...sometimes you'd have to wait a long time...but if you waited long enough...(why wouldn't you wait?  What else did you have to do?)... the box would light up and the Clown would be on there.   And he'd talk and talk about doing all kinds of things...All the THINGS he could do!  And he'd tell you how!  He'd say go here and wait for this, or take that and put it with this and now you've got a...whatever!  Didn't matter what it was, at first, it was just the doing that was grand!
And he never got caught!  Vols and P.D.F.'s used to hunt up and down the neighborhoods day and night, lights and guns...they'd shoot a bunch of folks just to let 'em know they were mad The Clown was out there doing things.  "Sons of this and that, you'd hear 'em screaming!  Wait til we get our hands on ya!"  Ha ha ha!  But they never did.  He's still out there...doing things.
Me?  Oh, know...just watching the clown on the box I learned a lot about how to do things.  I was coming of age around then and learning what boys like, too.  I guess that's how it started, ha ha!  Glad it's not like that now, I can tell you, but that's how it started.  I'd do a thing for them they liked and they'd do some things for me.  Pretty soon, I had a lot of things kept secret, that they'd all got for me, and after that I didn't have to give it up no more.  I traded things for other things.  I had boys running all over the neighborhoods doing things for me.  That was one of the first things I learned from the clown.  Best way to do lots of things is, don't do your own things, get others to do your things for you, you just sit there and plan it all out in your head.  If the P.D.F.s had ever got their hands on me they'd have put my lights out slow and screamy. They didn't.  Clown found me, though.  That started a whole lot of things happening, like when you kick one piece outten an old wall an the whole thing comes down?  Yeah, like that.
I worked for The Clown for a long time, and did I ever learn!  Nasty old bastard, but he treated me pretty good.  Fancied me, I know that.  Yuck.  Ha ha!  But I got quick and smart runnin' n' gunnin' for him.  'Fore you'd know it, I was running things over a pretty big spread of neighborhoods!  I had boys doing things for me, I'd never even met 'em face to face!  When Spider Ricta got clipped by the Dead Men, Clown asked me to take over one of his little ships making trips back and forth to Geminion Prime and around the moons and that!  Well, you can guess how quick I jumped at that!  Ha ha!
"Fancy me, I'd say to the Clown, half a little speck of nothing from the land where they shoot you for trying to do things, and here I'm in a silver ship, swimming up in the stars just like them rich Voldraddi ladies do, doing so many things, runnin' guns and juice and gettin' scrappy way up there where you look back and Geminion Secundus is just a little green cat's eye, like the little green balls they'd give the kids to play with way back when, when we were so little and didn't know nothing about how to do things!"
And the old clown would laugh through them brown broken teeth of his and scratch his gross old self.
"Din't have to sittle fer they little green balls now, do ye, girl?  he'd say.  You kin hilp yerself ta all they got!!  Just reach out there in it's all rite inder yer glove.  Take it, girl!  Take it!"
"Oh, and I took some, I'll have you know...but you know that, don't ye?  That's why yer're here.  Once I got up here where I never had to look at Secundus 'cept as a little green ball behind glass, well, I never wanted to come down.  I wanted a ship of my own, so I went and got one.  This sleek little runner, fine thing, ain't she?  Took her in ambush one day, she was full of rich ladies and gents from the white palaces on Prime, up here for a cruise, they got sleepy and sluggy and we were on 'em fore they knew it.  Took her in a twinkling, I did, and I didn't lose one of my boys.
Talked to some of 'em, those Voldraddi big dogs, before I did the big thing.  Or I tried to.  I wanted 'em to know...know about me...know that I was there, I guess.  That I had always been there, that I had been a little girl once, taking their little balls and bags of nothing, letting 'em cut me heart out in exchange, letting 'em kill me 'fore I was even dead.  That it was me, Meg, talking to 'em, see? And that they had to listen and to know me, and to learn.  I guess that's what I wanted.  But they couldn't understand me, and I couldn't understand them.  It wasn't the words; we had a lot of the same words, it was that the things in their heads are different.  All the things we knew how to do were different.  I guess, to them,  I might as well have been some Ork or something.

So I did the big thing!  I flushed 'em all out the airlock into space.  Watched their faces as they tumbled out.  Thought I'd feel good.  I didn't.  I mean I did feel good, but not about flushing 'em.  All the good I felt come from the knowin' that I had this sleek little racer under my boots.  I had my own ship now, and damn the clown.  Oh, I still get on with him all right.  But I won't work for him no more.  I'll work with him, but I won't work for him...
...I do all my own things now.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Flames of War: More Grenadier Guards (300 point upgrade)

Just finished up the latest addition to my FOW British armored squadron:  the company's fourth and final Sherman tank platoon and a motor platoon. 
The Shermans are pretty much the same as the other platoons...2 mark Vs and a Firefly...

I like the British infantry models a lot, and painting them was a lot less trying than working on the German infantry models.  There's a lot more in the way of fiddly details with the Germans...bread bags, gas mask canisters and the like...that the British don't have.
The motor platoon is small but well armed, with command stand, PIAT, light mortar and 3 machine gun teams, not a lot of staying power, but enough firepower for smaller jobs... 
 And they look cool riding in amongst the tanks, which is important too.
The platoon's transport are four American Harvester M5 half-tracks.  No machine guns, unfortunately.  Pretty much anything looks better with a machine gun on it, but the British seem to have preferred to use theirs for other purposes.
 I love half tracks!  German, American, even French...they all look great! 
  Some time back I bought some Bolt Action German h-tracks, intending to convert them to transport for a Rogue Trader Imperial Guard force.  Haven't gotten around to getting started on them,  many projects, so little time.

The Squadron so far...1200 points!  The next 300 points will be a lorried rifle platoon and a heavy mortar platoon.  After that, I just need to add 4 command Shermans, 1 for each platoon, and a fighter bomber.  That will push the force out to 2,000 points, which is as far as I'm going with my FOW armies.

War Walks: Operation Goodwood

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Rogue Trader: Ship's Crew

Somewhere in the Wailing Reach, seven brave spacefarers disembark from their ship, ready for anything...This was a project I'd been wanting to get started on for a long time.  I wanted a crew of seven, same size as the crew of the Nostromo in Alien.  For a long, long time the missing link was the navigator, as I was never able to find him for sale for less than about 30 bucks.  Then about two weeks ago he appeared as a buy it now for 10 and I snatched him up.  The same day he arrived in the mail, I started painting up my ship's crew.
Here's the Captain.  The blonde hair and beard make me think of Zaphod Beeblebrox.
And the first officer...
Tech Priest and Engineer.  The Engineer is the only non GW figure in the bunch.  No idea who manufactured him.  I like him, though. 
He came in a lot with two other space ship crew figures, but unfortunately these were of such poor quality that they were unusable and I threw 'em in the junk heap.  Weird lack of facial details!
Gunner, navigator and the ship's doctor/science officer/imperial ecologist...The navigator is a big figure...he towers head and shoulders over his ship-mates!
The gunner ready for action.  Possibly my favorite mini of the group...
 ...though it's hard to choose beween him and this fellow! 

Got to love the mad doctors!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Stuff to listen to While Painting: The Sisters Of Mercy - Wake Live 1985 Full Concert Remastered [16:9-Edit]

For those of us old enough to remember, here's an echo of that far off olden tyme we call the 1980s.  Listening to this as I paint some Rogue Trader stuff and getting some good inspiration out of it so I thought I'd pass it on.  Please enjoy...

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Thundering Hooves: Chaos Centaurs

Too wild and feckless to join any chaos war host for long, the chaos centaurs thunder over the great plains of the east, seeking for prey...

 Centaur warbands occasionally appear in the ranks of Buzzgobb Phesterlick's chaos horde as allies, but invariably part ways with the horde after a battle...they have small interest in serving any lord or champion for long.
 Centaurs are unmatched in their skills as scouts, skirmishers and foragers, and the Chaos champions of Lost Veguzz happily make use of their talents whenever possible.
 There have been reports of troops of centaurs riding with the Mad Hunt of chaos from time to time.  May the gods have pity on any poor souls who cross paths with the hunt while the centaurs ride with it...

Holy 80s, Batman!  I went a little over the top on this fellow.  I'm not sure what I was thinking.  He sticks out like a sore thumb in his unit.
The two-handed weapon troop...It took me a blasted long time to collect all these boys, but it was worth the wait.
This might be my favorite mini out of the bunch.  Maybe its the facial expression.
I like this guy, too, although there's something about his faces that makes me think of the muppets...
My Chaos horde is well past 3k points now but in all probability, I'll never stop adding to it.  GW just made too many wonderful chaos things back in the day.  I have a troop of harpies, a beastman regiment and a Tzeentchian sorcerer in a chariot on my short list of chaos models I want to get painted.  Hopefully I'll get around to them all during the winter. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Star Wars: Imperial Army Infantry Platoon Pt 2: 3rd Squad and Command Section

Reinforcements for my Imperial Infantry platoon for Star Wars Miniature Battles.  Another Squad of ten troopers with mixed weapons and an officer with a Death Star Droid and three Bodyguards.
This squad is mostly armed with heavy laser pistols just because that's what I had left. 
The platoon leader is the General Veers figure.  He didn't come out very well, but you can't win 'em all.  Or I can't, anyway.
I am pretty pleased with how his death star droid came out,  however.  The droid serves as translator and platoon medic.

...he also keeps tabs on the platoon leader for his Imperial masters.
So that's the platoon so far.  I think it looks okay.  I'm debating whether to add a fourth squad and a heavy weapons section, or to just call it good and move onto other projects.  It's not as if I'm short on other projects or anything...

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Summer of Hate Part 4 of 4 ( Rounds 7-9)

Round 7:
Alarmed at the prospect of losing the army's booze supply, Ol' Piet and his baggage wagon jogged away from Bungole Bushwhacka  in the direction of the bridge, while The Hermit on the Mount and the Dwarf crossbows rushed in the opposite direction, hoping to save the baggage from Bungole and Oogie's goblins.  As he ran, the Hermit cast cure light injury on himself, and felt the last agonies of his wounds fall away.  Near the monastery, the Helblitzen stepped over the body of their fallen leader and charged into the Orc crossbows.  The Goblin regiments which had been beaten at the monastery were too tattered and demoralized to rally, and streamed off to the east, past Flo's field kitchen.  Flo and her girls jogged out to meet them, dugs flapping about their knees, hoping to catch some weak or wounded ones for 'da pot', but the gobbos evaded their grasp and kept running for the river, where the relative safety of their rafts awaited them.  The fanatic spun menacingly toward the bolt thrower, gurgling and squealing to itself as it went.  Bungole Bushwhacka and Oogie Spazzjabber's goblins pursued the Dwarf baggage train, Bungole driving his boar into the midst of the baggage bearers and killing one of them with a stroke of his long knife.

With so many dead and dying on both sides, it had seemed, for a moment, that the battle might wind down and sputter out, but all along the line, savage fighting broke out afresh.  The Orc bolt thrower crew eyed the goblin fanatic nervously but stuck to their task.  At last a target had appeared, and they weren't about to let it go.  The launched their bolt into the flank of the halberdiers.  The long, terrible shaft lanced through the ranks of the men at arms, killing three of them.  The stone thrower boss once more launched his deadly load toward the middle of the fight between the Razorbacks and the Psycho Squad, hoping to hit the Dwarven contingent commander, who was laying down Orcs with his great sword.  For once he was bang on target.  He hit the Dwarf commander, but he hit a lot of other people, too.  Three Dwarves were killed outright, including the commander of the Razorbacks, and the Dwarf commander was wounded once.  Unfortunately, stones also plummeted into Scarffgagg Sorehead, who was himself wounded twice.  The stone thrower boss winced and began to reload in great haste.  Now that he'd hit Scarffgagg, he supposed he'd better finish him off, or he'd pay for it after the battle. 

Near the monastery, the orc crossbows launched their quarrels into the oncoming ranks of the helblitzen, dropping one of the halberdiers, but lost two of their own as the halberdiers' charge hit home. In the shoving match that followed, the crossbow boys were pushed back across the north-south road.  In the fight between the Red Dragons and the arrer boys, one orc was brought down and speared, but his mates dug their heels in and refused to give ground. 

The sanguine struggle between the Scarffgagg Sorehead's boys and the Razorbacks claimed two more orcs and two more dwarves slain.  Scarffgagg, badly wounded and with only his standard bearer still alive and fighting with him, was borne backwards by the dwarves and shoved into the ranks of the snotlings, who now became embroiled in the fight as well.

Round 8:
Having finished off Scarffgagg and his lot, the dwarves wade into the snotlings.  For reasons best known to themselves, the snotlings choose to fight back mainly with rude gestures, and fare poorly as a result
Morning had passed and the sun hung high and hot over the blood field beside the hamlet of Muffburg.  The little meadow was choked with the dead and dying, yet galvanized by their shared hatred, the two sides continued to hack and claw at one another.  Leaping over the wall of the monastery, the last two monks raced toward the flank of the Orc crossbow boys, who were being pushed back further and further by the helblitzen.  A crossbow boy and a halberdier fell in the tussle, but the orcs, though pushed back, fought doggedly on.  Beside them, the arrer boys and the Red Dragons remained locked, but the Dwarves seemed finally to be getting the best of their foes.  One dwarf and no less than four orcs fell, and the arrer boys were driven back yet again.  Nearby, Scarffgagg Sorehead and his standard bearer were finally overcome, the Dwarf Commander laid the Orc Chief low with one last terrible stroke from his two handed sword.  Characteristically, Scarffgagg refused to go down without a fight.  One of his meat cleavers spitefully found its way through the Dwarf Lord's mithril armor, wounding him again. It was not enough to take the gallant Dwarf down.  As Scarffgagg's standard went down beneath the press, the Dwarves pushed on into the mass of the snotlings, carving through the tiny creatures as though they were hacking down thistles.  The lame weapons of the snots rang and snapped uselessly off the Dwarves' armor, but incredibly, they decided to keep on fighting. 
The surviving monks rush to help the halberdiers finish off the crossbow boys

Nothing seemed to be going right for the Orcs.  The bolt thrower crew tried to get another shot off at the halberdiers but, distracted by the specter of the Goblin fanatic who was spinning around behind them, dangerously close, they lost their concentration and missed their shot.  The stone thrower crew took aim once more at the mass of orcs, snotlings and dwarves near the bridge, but the boss was too busy sampling some tidbit he'd just removed from his nostril to judge the distance properly.  His shot fell short.
Bad Bloody Frumpkin's lads rally on the very edge of the battlefield.  Dammit, I need to get myself some backdrops!

Near the baggage cart, Bungole Bushwhacka cut down another baggage handler but, determined to defend their precious booze, Old Pete and his surviving minions refused to rout.  Oogie Spazzjabber and his lads tried to charge into the fray around the wagons, but got hung up in the trees around the monastery wall and couldn't quite make it into contact.  The crossbows and the Hermit on the Mount continued to jog toward the spirits-laden wagon, the Hermit casting Strenghth of Combat upon himself as he ran. 
At the other end of the meadow, the last two goblin archers fled off the field while Bad Bloody Frumpkins' eight remaining goblins rallied for some reason, turned about, formed up and got ready to head back to the fight.
A climactic clash appears to be brewing around the coveted booze wagon...

Round 9:

The monks charged home against the crossbow boys.  In the fierce scrap that followed, two orcs and a halberdier were slain.  The Red Dragons' shield wall jostled the arrer boys back once more, their hedge of spear-points bringing down another three orcs in the process
The Dwarf contingent commander stepped into the place of the Razorbacks' fallen lord.  Shouting to the weary but still bloodthirsty dwarves to follow him, he waded into the snotlings, carving great, bloody swaths through the green throng with his great sword.  Somehow it finally dawned on the snots that they were badly outmatched.  Their tiny brains were suddenly flooded with terror and they turned to run with the dwarves in hot pursuit.

Close by, the worst fears of the bolt thrower
crew regarding the fanatic were confirmed
when the wretched creature suddenly changed course and caromed straight through them, killing them both and leaving the bolt thrower standing suddenly unmanned and forlorn.  The demented, blood-stained goblin swept on, heedless, and plunged into the waters of the nearby stream.  The hood of his black cloak was last seen bobbing upon the dark water, carried downstream, under the bridge and off the battlefield.  Their attention absorbed entirely by this appalling sight, the stone thrower crew missed their shot yet again.  Bad Bloody Frumpkin and his few remaining gobbos began marching back toward the fight.  No one could say quite why, as there was nothing that they could do now which could possibly make a difference to their lost cause.  Flo and her girls were already packing up their field kitchen and preparing to depart in great haste, as they could now clearly see which way the wind was blowing.

The Dwarf crossbows shot two of Oogie Spazzjabbers' gobbos stone dead as they charged home against the dwarf baggage train.  The goblins hacked desperately at the dwarf farriers but their blades and clubs found no mark.  The Hermit on the Mount rushed into battle with Bungole Bushwhacka but found himself wounded twice for his trouble as the tough old orc scout fought back like a wildcat.  For a moment, things looked grim for the army's beer supply. 

But by now, anybody could see that the battle was as good as over.  Snarling, Bungole seized the reins of his mount and turned the stubborn beast about.  Hoisting one last middle finger over his shoulder, he disappeared into the trees near the road.  Oogie Spazzjabber and the remains of his gang followed him, and the exhausted dwarves were content to let them go.
The healing potion had been just enough to keep him alive.  In all the commotion, he'd been able to drag himself away through the piles of the dead.  As he approached the edge of the battlefield, the sounds of strife fading behind him, Flo and her girls had spotted him and come running, knives and cleavers gleaming.  He'd lifted a claw at them and made it crackle and glow with a purplish black light that promised most unhealthy things.  Flo and her lot had gone sulkily back to their pot.  He kept crawling.  Curse it!  It should have been so easy.  He had expected some humies...but stunties?  Where had they come from?  If only he'd known, he would have done things differently.  He stopped for a moment among the twisted roots of a great tree, wishing he'd had another healing potion.  Or some booze, at least.  If only he'd known...he might have deployed his stikkas and big shooty machines in a line in front of his Orc mobs...that would have forced the pinkies to come to him...they would have gotten chewed up by arrers and crossbows and big rocks and fanatics long before they reached his line, then the Orcs could have finished them...but it didn't happen that way.  They had gotten jammed up in that little field, no room to spread out and get round 'em.  War machines had got stuck in the back...couldn't see...
He noticed a skull laying near him.  It was a very old skull, a root tendril growing through an eye socket.  He supposed it was a sign, and forced himself to move on.  The fanatics!  They should have put paid to a good number of pinkies, but no!  Right out of the gate, they'd gone almost no distance at all, and as soon as they'd lost their bearings, they'd gone the wrong way and carved a gory swathe straight through the ranks of their own friends, curse them!  What a disaster! 
He came out of the woods.  Now he could see the familiar and welcome shapes of the rafts lying on the reedy riverbank.  Some goblins and snotlings started when they saw him.  "'Ere, you lot!"  he croaked, get one a dem rafts ready!  We're leavin'.  I done killed all da humies.  Dere ain't none left.  Let's go!"  The little creatures dutifully hauled their master onto a raft and grunted, gurgled and sweated as they poled the rickety craft out onto dark waters of the great river.  They didn't even ask what had happened to everybody else, or where all the loot was.  Rufuss Drakk lay exhausted on the edge of the raft, one bloody, stinking foot trailing in the water.  What could ya do when so many things went wrong all at once?  Well, he thought, gazing at the afternoon sky, there'd be another day...  A day when his luck would be in.

The little column of carts and wagons filled with the women and children of Muffburg hurried on down the west road, headed for the safety of The Refnsburg.  In the late afternoon, they met the Margrave of the Sudmark coming the other way with ten knights, one hundred retainers, and some of the sherriff's men.  The Margrave sent the little caravan on toward the Refnsburg with two knights and twenty foot as an escort, and hurried on to Muffburg.  Near evening, as the innumerable frogs and crickets began to raise their voices above the fragrances of the summer woods and meadows, he arrived at the scene of battle.
A pyre had been built for the bodies of the greenskin scum, and a few dwarves were setting it alight.  The tounges of red fire shone out bright in the slowly gathering dusk.  Near the Monastery the Margrave found two monks trying to pull down and expand the wall which enclosed their little habitation.  The were trying to make room inside for the graves of the men who had died helping to defend it.  Amoung these were Erich von Nashorn and Johann von Treuehardt.  The Margrave had known both men well.  He thought of von Nashorn's eldest son, little more than a boy, he'd soon find himself thrust headfirst into unforgiving manhood.  Yet the father had left the son a proud mantle to wear.
The monks had offered to bury the fallen dwarves at the monastery as well, but the Dwarves had politely declined.  The Dwarves would be returned to their home, and laid to rest beside their fathers in ancestral vaults that lay deep within the roots of the Thunder Mount.  Already the Dwarves were hewing down boughs and binding them together to make carts and travois with which to bear their martyrs home.  The Margrave thought of the four heros, two Dwarven, two Human, that had died side by side... the poet's old line rose in his mind..."A noble fellowship of death."  Now who had written that?
Men and Dwarves seemed busy enough in their grieving and in their labors that no-one seemed very interested in talking to him, so taking a few men with him, and leaving the others to help, he rode down to the river.  The great water rode low in his channel, as was his wont this time of year.  Near the water's edge, some of von Treuhardt's men had gathered a pile of fresh hewn stakes and another pile of something else.  Riding nearer, he saw what it was...the heads of all the greenskins killed on the field at Muffburg.  The men, some with tears of loss and hatred still in their eyes, began driving stakes into the high, mossy bank, and fastening the sightless, thoughtless housings of their dead enemies atop them, a ferocious warning to any who might think to return this way.
The Margrave did not disturb them.  He turned in the saddle to look east.  High above the darkening bed of trees and the smooth brown shadow of the great rivers' waters the sky was purpling, and a few silver stars were beginning to shine out.  The wind from the east was hot and sere, carrying nothing of the moisture of the river.  Though the wind blew the wrong way, he could smell a little the smoke of the great pyre beginning to burn behind him.  It was the longest day of the year.  Soon, another summer would begin to fade.