Tuesday, December 30

Tomb Kings and magnets

I've recently started building some of the plastic units for my new Tomb Kings army. I'd bought some of the modular movement trays for them as I was keen to have the models nicely ranked up while I move them around the battlefield. One thing I noticed was that the skeleton models are incredibly light and they easily fell off off the movement tray. So - it was time to get something to keep them where they were supposed to stay!

I ordered some steel paper and magnetic tape from www.productsforwargamers.com as they seemed to have a nice selection of different pruducts to choose from. It arrived very quickly so I set to work. Both the steel paper and magnetic tape are self-adhesive; you just need to cut it to size, peel off the backing paper and off you go. So far I've built a couple of units of bowmen, a largish unit of warriors and a couple of Liche Priests. I've still got a lot more plastics to build but I thought I'd put up some pictures of how the magnets work. It can even cope with metal character model.

Saturday, December 20

Mistletoe and wine...

It's a few days before Christmas and I'm looking forward to taking some time off work to enjoy being with the family and to catch up with some hobby activity. I've been trying to complete a Skaven Blood Bowl team for the last couple of months but I've not always had the time or inclination to get them finished. I'm hopeful I can get them ready for use before the new year - I'll post pics when they're ready.

The Skaven team will be my team for next year's Chelmsford Bunker Blood Bowl League. I had been intending to use my Halfling team but, after lots of practise games with them, I seem to be unable even to get a draw with them. I thought I'd get a bit frustrated with losing all the time so I decided to switch to the Skaven, a team who can hopefully dig me out of any tactical holes I get myself into! The league is going to be interesting this year as there seems to be a lot of club members interesting in taking part. I've even set up a website so that the league can be run online - www.cbbbl.co.uk - something that should make the book keeping easier.

While the league is being played, I've signed up to take part in a "Tale of Four Gamers" project with some of the other guys in the club. What's going to make this different for me is that it's to collect a Warhammer Fantasy army. I've tried collecting a Fantasy army in the past but I never got to grips with it. I galled me a little that I'd paint up twenty or so models and they'd only get something like four attacks in the game before they ran away and were slaughtered! Anyway - I thought it was time for me to finally get into Fantasy and I opted for an army that should be easy to paint. Tomb Kings. I'll going to paint them as quickly as I can so it'll be washes and drybrush time for sure.

One last thing to mention here - I attended the GW "Thank You" Day at Warhammer World last Sunday. GW invite people who help them out at events to take part in a special day at GW HQ. They book the gaming hall out for the attendees to use, provide a very nice roast lunch and they even got some of the staff to give presentations about new stuff on the horizon. They even had Gav Thorpe there signing prerelease copies of his new novel. So - not a bad day at all really! I played Legends of the High Seas with Mike and Barry from my club and we were lucky that Tim Eagling had brought his fantastic scenery and ships for us to game on. It was a really good day...

Here's a shot of all the Chelmsford Bunker members that attended the day - Barry, Mike, Me, Paul, Richard, Andy, Luke, Brad and Phil.

I hope anyone reading this blog has a great holiday period - eat lots, drink in moderation and enjoy any wargaming goodies that Santa might bring!

Sunday, November 9

Blood Bowl Orcs

It's been quite a while since Gamesday and a bit longer than that since I've painted anything. I think the rush of having to paint models for that day plus having to go over to the U.S. for a while kinda knocked the wind out of my creative muse. Thankfully, the Chelmsford Bunker club is starting to get into Blood Bowl mood which has got me interested in painting again.

These models are the plastic Orc team from the 3rd edition Blood Bowl set which the club bought to keep on site in case anyone turned up and wanted a game. I volunteered to paint both the team - these Orcs are the first I've gotten around to finishing though! They're painted in blue and yellow (the club's colours) and are the first orc models I've ever painted. I feel like I've broken though some kind of barrier! I've been a wargamer and hobbist for such a long time and have never had the slightest inkling to collect orcs of any kind. Now I've painted these, I would like to have a go at getting my own Orc team painted up for use in our league or maybe for the Blood Bowl Grand Tournament. Anyway - here's the models...

Monday, September 15

They think it's all over! It is now!

Well - Gamesday '08 is over and our Legends of the High Seas game seemed to go down very well with the people who played it. It was quite a fast-paced game and despite having four people playing per game, we got ten games of it in over the course of the day - so that was about forty people introduced to the game system. I've posted some pictures of the islands that were taken on one of our play-test days to give you an idea of what it looked like - and you can see some in-game shots plus some of the Bunker crew from the day itself.

Pirate play-testing shots
Shot of the table ready for the first game...
Mike White - Chelmsford Bunker President
Mid-game action
Our only shark attack of the day. The Tribal Islander pushed a pirate into the sea and a shark ate him!

Barry Arnold - last of the trimuvirate of High Seas nutters at the Chelmsford Bunker (myself and Mike White being the other two!)

Mike Frith - stalwart Gamesday helper for the Bunker...

Some of the Chelmsford Bunker crew

Friday, September 12

Gamesday approaching

I've painted the last few things that I needed for the club's Gamesday table - some "X marks the spot" markers to show where the treasure is hidden on the islands, plus some treasure chests that show the pirate crews have found some. I've also painted some of the Crusader range of pirate models that I got earlier this year. We've using four different pirate crews so we thought it would be nice to use models from different ranges to show people what's available - we're using Foundry, Black Cat Bases, Black Scorpion and the Crusaders.

Also on the table, we've got some "killer monkeys" as one of the encounters the pirates will battle against to get the treasure. These are baboons made by Obelisk Miniatures and they were painted by Matt Ashworth.

Next post on here will some pictures from the day itself - it should be fun!

Tuesday, August 12


I've painted some more models for the club's LotHS table for Gamesday - this time its some pygmies. These little guys were, like the Tribal Islanders, made by Black Cat Bases although they call them the Bebelli - they have pointed ears so they're useful as goblins if you wanted them for a fantasy game.

Monday, August 4

Tribal Islanders

Just a couple of pics of some of the tribal islanders for one of the club's Gamesday tables this year. These models are made by Black Cat Bases who make a decent range to support the Legends of the High Seas game - a lot of their models are featured in the rule book.

Sunday, July 27

Pimp my ride 40K style...

I've painted the first Rhino for my Word Bearers army. I went to town with the scribing all over the hull of the vehicle, as you can see!

Tuesday, July 22

5th Edition

The new 5th Edition version of the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook was released recently and most of the 40K players at the Chelmsford Bunker are either changing their old armies to suit the new rules or are building brand new armies from scratch. I've played a couple of games of 40K recently and it reminded me how much I enjoy the game - so I've decided to knuckle down and get a new army built. I've chosen Chaos Space Marines, specifically Word Bearers.

I've painted the first unit - I'm going to add a couple of extra marines to the unit so I can give them a second plasmagun as well as giving them a Rhino transport to ride around in.

Sunday, June 29

Howlinggriffon? What's all that about?

I was looking at this blog the other day and realised that anyone viewing it probably wouldn't understand why the weblink to it was http://howlinggriffon.blogspot.com/

My first foray into the wargaming hobby was way back in the '80's but I only got into it seriously in 2000. I'd been out of the hobby for years but got interested again after playing some 40K related computer games (Chaos Gate and Rites of War if you remember those!) I'd bought a Space Marine codex and wanted to try painting some - but wasn't sure what chapter to aim for. The guys at my local GW store said "Just choose something that isn't Ultramarines or Space Wolves - that's all we see!" Something different was called for - so I chose the Howling Griffons chapter! Famous for having a red and yellow quartered colour scheme, they seemed like they'd stand out on a tabletop.

After painting a few units, I thought I'd try creating a website about them to show them off. After a year or so, the website became more popular and kept adding to the army. Eventually, I got an email from Tim Huckelbery who was head of the GW forums and I was asked to become one of GW's moderators. I did this for a few years which was good fun - I got to chat with a lot of GW staff and made some friends on the boards along the way. When GW closed their forums, I decided it was time for me to hang up my spurs and retire the Howling Griffons army - I'd used them for several years and it was time to move on. I recently closed the Howling Griffons website but I thought the army should still be on display somewhere - so I've taken these pictures of them for the blog.

So - that's why the blog is called "howlinggriffon". It's my regular username on a lot of forums!

Onto the models then. I'll put them up in order of their 40K classification...


Chapter Master Alvaro is the leader of my army, sporting Tactical Dreadnought Armour (Terminator armour to you and me!) It's still one of my favourite models as I really like the dynamic pose, something that was lacking in the old metal terminator HQ models at the time.

Captain Tiberius is another classic metal model from the old Command Squad set (now replaced by GW with a plastic set). This is another great pose and another classic model. I think this model looks better than the current plastic Commander despite not having the choice of weapons the plastics allow.

Librarian Balthasar started off as my first painted HQ model so he saw a lot of action in the early days. Although he was later superceded as leader of the army, he became more popular when the "Fury of the Ancients" psychic power was put into the 4th ed. Space Marine codex. I stopped selecting that psychic power though as, for the point cost, it was seriously broken and I hated using it as it annoyed my opponents.

Chaplain Titus, another Jes Goodwin classic metal model, was used regularly in my army for a number of years when played using the 3rd ed. Space Marine codex. When the 4th ed. codex came out, I needed a Chaplain with a jump pack, which lead to the creation of Chaplain Castus.

Chaplain Castus has been used in nearly every battle I've played using the 4th ed. codex as he's the perfect leader for my Assault Squad. He makes the whole unit Fearless and, with his Litanies of Hate skill, he makes them reroll any failed attacks on the turn they charge. He's been one of the most important models on the table because of this.

Emperor's Champion Athos was a 3rd ed. codex model. At the time, only Black Templars were allowed to field an Emperor's Champion but a "Chapter Approved" article was released that allowed all chapters to take one, hence this model. He was my most ambitious conversion at the time as he was made from eleven different parts included the helmet from a Reaper knight. Recently, he's been used as a a replacement Captain.


Terminator Sergeant Brutus leads my Terminator Assault Squad into battle. Well, he did. When the 4th ed. codex came out, I had to pay extra points to arm him with the storm bolter/power sword combo so the unit was retired from battle until I could make a new metal sergeant armed with a pair of lightning claws.

A pair of terminators armed with Thunder Hammers and Storm Sheilds

Two terminators sporting pairs of Lightning Claws

Terminator Assault Squad. When I first painted them, I used them a few times but found I'd make a mistake with them. If I started them in my deployment zone, they walked slowly across the battlefield being shot at by every heavy weapon my opponent could muster so they died before they could get into battle. If I tried deep striking them into the heart of the enemy battlelines, they were rapid fired to death before they got to attack! Either way, dead. What they really need is a Land Raider to carry them safely into battle - so until I paint one, these guys stay in the case!

Terminator Sergeant Marcus is one of the fantastic plastic Terminator models. The dynamism of these is great, far better than the very static poses of the old metal Terminators.

Cyclone Missile Launcher and Chain Fist

Assault Cannon and Chain Fist

Terminator Squad Brutus. One thing I realised after building these is that it's best to put Chain Fists onto the models sporting Assault Cannons or Cyclone Missile Launchers. Ah well...

Veteran Squad Decimus. Another unit of classic metal models mixed with plastic arms. These guys used to ride around in a Razorback along with Chaplain Titus but once the 4th ed. codex arrived, the weapons on the Razorback were no longer legal (Lascannon with twin plasmaguns) so the Razorback went into storage. It was the only vehicle I ever painted for the Howling Griffons too!

Dreadnought Mort armed with Assault Cannon and Dreadnought Close Combat weapon.

Dreadnought Mort armed with twin-linked Lascannon and Missile Launcher.

A favourite model of mine, this Dreadnought has been in nearly every battle I've even fought since he was built. I left the arms unglued so I could swap them over whenever I wanted to.


Tactical Squad Gaius was the first unit of marines I painted for my army - they're sporting the default weapons that were in the box set at the time (Missile Launcher and Flamer). I dabbled with painting the sergeants armour a slightly more orange colour but never carried it on with the rest of the units. I was pretty pleased with how they came out though.

Tactical Squad Hastus. The second unit I painted for the army but with some alternative weapons. The sergeant model was a metal Assault Squad sergeant. I put metal tactical shoulder pads on this unit but you can't really see them the way I painted them - doh!

A couple of metal models sporting Plasmaguns - used to switch out models in the Tactical Squad when I need something other than Flamers or Meltaguns.

Sergeant Falco here was made from another classic metal model. I use him to lead one of my Tactical Squads if I want just a regular bolter armed sergeant.

Sergeant Severus here is another "bolter" sergeant I made for use as an alternative. He was in the old metal Command Squad box as a standard bearer - I just chopped off his standard and swapped it for a chainsword.

Scout Squad Regulus was built for a tournament - seven metal models including a Missile Launcher. I wanted the sergeant to look a little different so I chopped the head off and swapped it for a head from a Deathwatch sprue - as it happened, it was such a successful swap that you couldn't spot it was different at all! I had to paint his hair grey to make him stand out. Later on, I added some more bolter scouts to take them up to a ten-man unit, this time using some of the newer plastic scouts. A decent unit in combat - it's been surprisingly effective.


Assault Sergeant Verix is another metal model, this one sporting a Bolt Pistol and a Power Fist. Perfect for bringing righteous justice to his enemies!

Assault Marines with Plasma Pistols

Assault Marines with Flamers

Assault Marines

More Assault Marines

Assault Squad Verix. You can't actually field a 12-man unit but I built that many so I could have alternative weapons - either Flamers or Plasma Pistols. This unit gets led into battle by Chaplain Castus and they wreak havoc when they do so! With so many attacks with rerolls, they kill most things they hit on their first attempt. They became so deadly that I stopped using them as the game was pretty much over once they got into combat. I switched to using the Bike Squad to give myself more of a challenge.

Land Speeder armed with a Multi-Melta

Land Speeder Squadron. Every Space Marine army I ever saw always seemed to have nothing but Land Speeders armed with Assault Cannons. I built three armed with Multi-Meltas so I could go tank hunting...

Close up of the base on one of the Land Speeders. I painted this dead Chaos Marine as a Night Lord - that legion has a lot of history with the Howling Griffons so this was a little tribute to their enmity.

Bike Squad Sergeant Collix sporting a Power Fist.

Bike Squad marines armed with Flamers

Bike Squad marines

Attack Bike armed with Heavy Bolter

Bike Squad Collix. I built this unit so I had an alternative Fast Attack choice instead of the Assault Squad and Land Speeders I regularly used. They can pump out a huge amount of rapid-firing bolter death while still moving pretty fast - and if they do get into close combat, the sergeant can do some damage with his Power Fist. The Flamers have been amusing. I once killed sixteen Dark Eldar with just those two Flamers. Righteous!


Devastator Sergeant Marius is another classic metal models from the old Command Squad set. No need to adapt his pose - he was perfect as he was...

Four Missile Launchers made from classic metal Space Marine bodies with plastic Missile Launchers.

Devastator Squad Marius. All but one of this unit were made from old metal Space Marine bodies. This has been a particularly effective squad as there's little four Missile Launchers can't kill. Having so many extra marines in the unit means that the marines armed with the heavy weapons tend to survive until the end of the battle. A favourite unit, for sure.

Devastator Squad Quarto was a bit of a mistake. At the time of building them, I mainly played games at my local GW store on 4ft x 4ft tables. I thought the Plasma Cannons would be effective at that range and anything getting closer would fall to the 24" range of the Multi-Meltas. The problem was that these had the name "fire magnet" painted in large letters above their heads! A big points sink, they were an easy target that soon lost effectiveness once they took some casualties. These guys have spent more time in their case than on the battlefield, for sure.

Well - that's the army that I'm probably most famous for using. I don't use them anymore as I needed a break from painting red and yellow all the time - but I may break them out of storage at some point and get some vehicles and tanks painted. Maybe when the 5th edition Space Marine codex comes out...