Monday 28 April 2014

The State of the Imperium Part 1


Following on from my last post, here's the first of my random musings on the state of the Imperium.

The Emperor

At the head of the mighty Imperium sits the royal line of the Emperor. The original Emperor of Mankind died during the cataclysmic closing moments of the Horus Heresy but his bloodline continued down throughout the centuries. Extremely long lived and haughty, the scions of the Emperor have re-invigorated an Imperium stagnant and on the verge of collapse. 

Imperial Bastion, Terra

In the course of a millenium, the Imperium has turned from a barely operational ruin to a powerhouse of the galaxy which is regaining a state of technological innovation not seen for over ten millennia. Long forgotten worlds are once again being re-discovered and explored and a more tolerant approach to the various xenos species has led to a virtual renaissance in virtually every aspect of life in the Imperium.

The current ruler of the Imperium is a bit of an oddity. Empress Lionstone has ruled for over a century now and still appears to be in her early thirties. She is a skilled politician and expert judge of character and is worshipped as a demigod among untold millions of her subjects but there is a growing sense of unease with her willingness to resort to violence to achieve her goals. Combined with a ruthless streak a mile wide, Lionstone is not a woman to be trifled with and there has been some rumblings of discontent from some of the frontier sectors and even amongst some of the nobility. 

Empress Lionstone

While the Empress has the support of the Military, she is secure in her position but with ever increasing attacks from the resurgent Eldar and the Tyranid menace, her armies and navies are becoming ever more stretched and a poorly organised rebel alliance has begun operating on the fringes of society and the Imperial Inquisition has begun mobilising against it in a secret war that stretches from the back alleys of hive worlds to forgotten rocks deep outside the frontiers of known space. 

The Nobility

To enable the orderly rule of such a vast empire, the Emperor formed a new rank of nobility. Acting in the power of the Emperor and in their own interests, these powerful families were originally formed from loyal members of the military and industrial clans. Given Imperial charters to run cities, worlds, planets, and even entire sectors, the Nobility are the cogs that make the machine of the Imperium run and with such power comes the danger of corruption. 

Imperial Noble

Most of the Noble families consist of related clans who intrigue and squabble amongst each other for power, influence and for the sheer hell of it. Some of these clans are more powerful than others but at present the most powerful are the Campbells, Wolfes and Hunters.  Each of the Noble houses contain vast numbers of retainers, toadies and hangers on but the Empress strictly restrains their armed forces as much as possible so they aren't a threat to her position.

The Merchant Princes

Below the Nobility are the mercantile clans, megacorporations and families of vast wealth and influence who yearn for acceptance from the Nobility, who for the most part consider them not worthy of cleaning their shoes. Despite, and perhaps because of this, the mercantile classes constantly seek to marry into the nobility or better yet, usurp them.

The Adeptus Mechanicus

Once an independent power in its own right, the followers of the Machine God were encouraged to join the Imperium proper. The prize was access to new technologies that had been kept hidden in vast computerised storage vaults under the Imperial palace. The vast majority found the lure just too tempting and those who refused were ruthlessly hunted down and killed. For the Imperium to survive, humanity needed to present a strong, unified front and dissent, backward looking and rebellion cannot be tolerated. 

New Mechanicus

The purges lasted almost half a millennium but when they were over, the new Mechanicus was leaner, more willing to listen to new ideas and fanatically loyal to the Imperium first and foremost. This new age of advancement was ushered in on a wave of blood but the advances created in such a short time were nothing short of staggering. Within a century, new weapons, ships and more importantly ideas were spreading throughout known space.

The old method of travelling the perils of the Warp using navigators were discarded in favour of  the construction of a series of vast, Tannhauser Gates, a more reliable method of travelling vast distances in relative safety was developed and soon clusters were using the new technology of Grav Shunting as well. Finally the Warp had been tamed.

The Mechanicus didn't just restrain its experiments to the field of technology. Biotech became a very real possibility and several armed expeditions against Tyranid fleets saw the development of Clones, Battle Espers and early bio-armour and weaponry. Classified as Post Human, these new beings have joined the ranks of the Imperium and even achieved full citizen status but like the Abhumans, much of Humanity is still not willing to accept them as such. 

Whee! Hopefully that will give me something to get going with! I still need to cover stuff like the military, average citizens and the assorted xenos species but thats for another day I think!

Remember theres a couple of days left to enter the 100 followers competition. Details can be found HERE so please feel free to nip over and have a peek!

All the best!

Sunday 27 April 2014

Seeking Inspiration For Rogue Trader...


Well it looks like the competition to win a robotic minion for Rogue Trader is heating up and I will leave it running for the next week or so before choosing a winner but in the meantime, I have been pondering some alternative influences for my own personal version of Rogue Trader.

As already mentioned, I have often strayed away from the rather grim version of Warhammer 40000 in search of a more interesting and slightly more upbeat setting that, while inspired by the original game, has some element of hope and excitement to it. I can't be bothered with the whole humanity is doomed malarky so instead of using such a darkly gothic backdrop, I have settled for a slightly more advanced era.

Here the Imperium is living through a renaissance where technology is developing again thanks to discoveries made on long forgotten worlds. The Emperor didn't end up a husk in the Golden Throne and his line of descendents still rule the untold billions of humans, abhumans, post human and alien species that make up the modern Imperium.

This is not to say that the place is a paradise, alien races, human separatists and all manner of intrigues still afflict the future but it is no longer a place of unremitting despair!

Influences for this setting comes from all over the place from literature, film and art and heres a few bits and bobs I have collected over the years which would make great additions to any Rogue Trader setting:

 Imperial Nobility

 Hive City Hackers

 Rogue Trader

 Post Human Mercenaries

 Extra Special Weapons And Tactics

Imperial Guard in Action

Looking at computer games art, theres literally thousands of plot ideas, settings and so on too:

 Tyranid Mutagen

 Tyranid Beast?

Mutie or Infected Human

 Mutie or Outlander from a Hiveworld

 Space Hulk!

 Alien World

 Imperial Explorer Corp

 Imperial Outpost

 Imperial Waystation

 Imperial Ship Interior

Exploring a New World 

Imperial Shield City

How about some movie influences? Theres tons to choose from that would look perfect in my version of the Imperium!

 Imperial Titan

 Industrial Lifter

 Outland Buggy

 Remains of an Abandoned Hive World

Imperial Cruise Ship!

 Hybrid Lifeform

Aztec Godling!

 Alien Priest

 Explorer Corp using local transportation

As you can see theres plenty of ideas bubbling away but I really need to sort myself out some warbands to explore the setting. Imagine games featuring Space Marines clearing an abandoned hulk, exploration teams battling alien foes on long forgotten worlds in search of tech, bands of prospectors clashing on dead colony worlds or any of a million other ideas!

I love the idea of the Imperium containing all manner of weird and wonderful peoples from every conceivable race, society and tech level. The original Rogue Trader seemed to live up to this idea where anything was possible, up to and including pudding cultists. I want to take this sort of idea and run with it. Imagine the Imperium having Orkish Askari regiments or neo barbarians rubbing shoulders with technocratic nobles. 

Other races will be similarly shaken up. The Orks are not the two dimensional thugs that they once were, having integrated with Imperial society rather well while large regions of space are still ruled by the greenskins. Similarly, the Eldar shouldn't be a bunch of emo types living the shadows of a former existence while waiting for the inevitable end. They should be a vastly powerful and resurgent people, intent on taking on the Imperium and retaking their lost colonies and revenging themselves for long remembered slights.

Imperial tech has moved forward enough to allow cloning, espers are frequent and used as living weapons and the Tyranid threat is seen as an opportunity to develop a new era of bio-technology.

This is the setting I am trying to breath a bit of life into and really pull 40k from the dark ages and re-live the fun days where Rogue Trader was king and you played with whatever figures you had and actually had some fun rather than playing to win!
All the best!

Saturday 26 April 2014

100 Followers You Say?! It Must Be Competition Time!

Good golly!

I've just noticed I've broken the 100 follower mark on my blog!

Thanks for all the interest in my utterly random jabberings and inability to keep onto a single project folks and to celebrate I've decided to have a little bit of a give away!

As I make robots for a living, I figured I would offer one of you the chance to get your hands on a custom creation built and painted and ready to roll!

As this is kind of an Oldhammer inspired blog, I plan on giving a lucky winner the choice of one of the following for me to make for them:

An Imperial Robot
An Imperial Dreadnaught
An Ork Dreadnaught or tinbot
An Eldar Spirit Walker
A Chaos infested Dreadnaught
A Squat Dreadnaught
A Tyranid Gribbly

All you have to do is post a comment on this blog entry and I will choose a winner at random then all they will need to do is choose what they want and I will build and paint one for them!

Hopefully that will be a suitable thankyou for everyones kind patience and interest over the last couple of years!

All the best!

Friday 25 April 2014

Pirate Crew Combat Droid WIP


Having seen Whiskey Priest's fantastic crew over on THE LEADPILE, I found myself rummaging around for some suitable bits and bobs to create my own scurvy crew of spacefarers and found this chap:

 Shiver Me Timbers!

Its originally a very cheap rubbery plastic figure I picked up from Asda several years ago with some sort of idea of painting him up but with many moves, he sort of languished in a box till today.

At first glance, he may not look too inspiring but I find myself reminded of one of the Simon R Green Deathstalker books where the main characters head to an abandoned Imperial holiday world where something went badly wrong with the simple AI's who were constructed to look like popular childrens characters.

This got me to thinking of theming my own crew a bit and including Mr Snuggles, a long forgotten robot from just such an abandoned theme park world that the Pirates have recruited to act as a mobile heavy weapon transport.
Mr Snuggles Loves More Dakka! 

Now Armed with a heavy bolter and only in need of a proper barrel, the rather simple AI controlling a hulking robotic body makes for a rather fun and somewhat different addition to a pirate crew!

He actually has a second pair of eyes under the bunny helmet which should give him a very different look once he has been repainted and I can imagine him stomping about blazing away with his large gun while offering hugs...

Hopefully once our guests have headed back down south, I will get him painted. Any suggestions for colours would be much appreciated!

All the best!

Friday 18 April 2014

The Sound of Tumbleweed...


Alas hobby time has been relegated to the long grass for the next month or so as work is going a bit mental and we have guests staying for the next three weeks forcing me to vacate my man cave for the duration!

Hopefully normal service will resume soon after as I have literally loads of ideas/plans and units I want to be getting on with!

In the meantime, heres a handsome Tumbleweed!

Friday 11 April 2014

Rogue Trader 1889


Apologies for the lack of updates of late but work has been pretty mental of late and I seem to get home and fall asleep which, unsurprisingly, has cut back on the hobby time!

Still, I have been thinking of using Rogue Trader as the basis of a bit of a steampunk spin off setting based in an alternative late 19th Century.

Imagine the Great Powers of Earth competing to grab land on Mars from the warlike locals, dinosaur hunting in the steaming jungles of Venus or exploring the frozen wastes of the outer worlds. Throw in a load of alien life forms and a little bit of humour and bobs your uncle!

French Hussars repainted as Evil Minions...

I already have a fair amount of Aeronef ships kicking around and may even have some redcoats in 15mm scale which will allow me to scratch build some suitably eccentric transports of delight for them to be menaced by.

Throw in some private armies, hordes of Barsoomian types, anarchist organisations, mad cults and it could just work...

I must admit that Steampunk and VSF has always been a bit of a passion of mine and I wouldn't mind getting a flotilla painted up to battle it out in the skies above while the British redcoat dishes out lead to johnny alien!

Looking at the Rogue Trader rulebook, it would be perfect with a very small amount of conversion work and it also clears another pile of stuff!

Has anyone else tried Rogue Trader with a different setting? I'd love to hear how it turned out. I do own GASLIGHT but haven't been taken with the rules and also own a fair few VSF sets which tend towards being a bit clunky while Rogue Trader always seemed more based on playing a fun game based around a scenario which is just the thing for skirmishes. The closest I have picked up is In Her Majesties Name which is great but has a more Necromunda type of vibe to it.

All the best!

Friday 4 April 2014

The Joys of Stripping (Paint That Is)


Well I've spent a rather satisfying evening stripping paint from the first two small tubs of Dettol soaking figures that I have had for an age. Its a rather smelly and sticky job but has proved to be worth it as the Dettol has done a wonderful job of clearing the paint off some great lead!

Amongst the mix there's 90s Catachan Imperial Guard, classic Rogue Trader Eldar, some ancient Citadel adventurers, Marauder Dwarves and even a Ral Partha figure too! Alas no photos this evening but I will try and take one tomorrow before I head out to work.

Its got me to thinking of all the projects I have started down the years and then given up on. Oddly the new approach I have taken of just picking whatever I fancy painting seems to be paying off as I have already painted more figures in the last six months than I did in the previous year. Yes they are a random selection of figures from a dozen ranges and an eclectic mix of fantasy and sci-fi but the fun has returned in painting again which is really important to me.

As much as I would love my hobby to be about collecting armies and playing games, I personally find it more of a way of relaxing and forgetting the stress and I feel that I am finally getting to the point that I am once again regaining my groove so to speak.

Speaking of projects, I have found myself having to brutally restrain myself from the temptation of buying more figures as I already have enough to do some of the following:

 Play a game of Epic, be it 2nd edition or Epic 40000!

 Play a game of 2nd edition 40k!

 More Excitingly, play a game of Rogue Trader!

 Play a small game of Warhammer in true Old School style! 

 Play a small game of Aeronef!

 Have a skirmish with Heavy Gear Blitz

Or play a host of other wonderful games that I have collected down the years!

The problem has always been that I have too many figures, most of which languish unpainted and the prospect of collecting and then painting lots of figures becomes terribly daunting before the dreaded Ooh Shiney Syndrome strikes and I go out and get a whole load more figures that are then consigned to the lead pile or Ebayed off.

With the removal of caring about getting a playable force put together and the enjoyment being in the painting and almost magically, small forces are indeed beginning to crop up, be it my Bloodaxes for 40k or my House Helios Elves for fantasy, or even my Davion Battletech stuff!

I suspect I need to have a bit of a catalogue of exactly what I have and as I have moved house in the last six months, and all my stuff is finally located in one room (having it in one house in the same country has previously been a rarity!) means that once I have stripped the two remaining big tubs of figures I should finally have a decent idea about what I have and what I want to do with it. Who knows, maybe I will even take a photo or two of it all and shove it on my blog!

The general idea going forward is to continue painting what I want and see what comes from it and I may even finally manage to get some games in as I go which would be an added bonus.

What I really do want to do though is to attempt the insurmountable and work my way through all my remaining miniatures before I allow myself the luxury of buying any more. Heaven knows, I have enough stuff to keep me entertained for a fair time to come!

All the best!

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Creatures of Aeroth: Children of the Worm Blessed


As promised, heres the first of the creature designs:


The Blessed are favoured minions of the Children of the Worm. Created during a blasphemous ritual where a willing supplicant ingests a parasitic demonic worm. The worm warps and changes its host and its form bulges and swells until it resembles a troll sized hulking parody of its original shape. 

Capable of taking vast amounts of damage, the Blessed are almost mindless and driven by nothing more than a need to feed that is never satiated. The parasitic worm grows and eventually devours the host from the inside out but in the meantime, they make terrifying shock troops as the wade into battle, ripping and tearing into their foes and jamming gobbets of bloody flesh into their maw in a feeding frenzy.

Even death brings no end to the Blesseds rampage. Despite even the most terrible wounds, the worm will take over control of the corpse and erupt from its mouth or head in an attempt to gain a new host.

The Blessed in Miniature!

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Imperial Shuttle


Following on from my last post, I thought I would paint up a ship or two to represent the aerospace forces of Farpoint and have finished an Imperial Shuttle:

 The Ajax, Hammerhead class Stuttle

I must admit I am quite pleased with how it turned out having spent quite a while adding on chips, scratches and lots of weathering. I wanted it to look like a workhorse rather than it had just come out of the factory.

Handily it scales well for 6mm scale too and will probably see use in the odd game or two of epic! Originally a cheap diecast ship from Tron Legacy, the only conversion work I did on it was to add a couple of small turrets to the rear and underside. Now sporting a pair of twin heavy bolters on auto turrets, the ship is capable of fighting off pirates or even providing supporting fire for ground troops.

 Entry Hatch

Although it may not be the most maneuverable or heavily armed of ships, it was great fun to paint and will no doubt see action in scenarios requiring capturing enemy characters or transporting small, valuable cargos!


Finally, heres a quick shot of it next to a Silent Death fighter from EM4 Miniatures. Although nominally 6mm scale, the fighters themselves are far better suited to 3mm but will do in a pinch and it handily means I can continue working through my leadpile!

 Fighter Scale

I must admit I was rather struck by the similarity of the lander to the utterly fantastic but sadly unreleased Epic lander which looks like a flying coffin:

I also spotted this pic while Googling for Imperial Spaceships:

Devourer Imperial Guard Dropship

Its a rather funky design, if a little massive for the games I plan on playing but it would be interesting to see about creating one or two for a more fleet scale type of game with fighters and light warships trying to defend the landers as they head dirtside while the opposition sends swarms of fighters to destroy them.

All the best!