Saturday, 31 December 2011


No, they're not wearing Santa hats, but I did paint them up over Christmas...

I had to put the Heavy Venom Cannons in the front arm sockets - I just could not get the Scything Talons to fit when I put the HVCs in the back sockets. I can only suppose that the "official" GW pics of Fexes with HVCs show models that have been modified. Still, I don't mind which way round they go, they still look good.

Group shot
Here they all are together, 870 points of mayhem.

Heavy Venom Cannon, Frag Spines, Bioplasma
I wanted to have a Brood of 3 Carnifex, I like to be able to max out my units. Whether I'll play them like this, I don't know, but 3 HVCs are not to be sniffed at.

Crushing Claws, Frag Spines, Regeneration
 I wanted to have a scary close combat Carnifex, so I gave this one the BIG Scything Talons. It's going to be an expensive fire magnet, but both stats-wise and visually, it will be a can-opener for my Mech opponents.

Heavy Venom Cannon, Frag Spines
 Initially I was going to leave the "freckles" at the far ends of the ammo tube (from the left arm to the gun) as they were, because I didn't know how to paint them. But I tried a droplet of Thraka Green wash in there, and it turned out brilliantly. Really easy to do.

Interchangeable heads!
 I do like the way the heads are constructed, so they can slot into the neck socket without glue, and without magnets. It is a very easy way of making construction kit fexes. Now I can run my Brood without Bioplasma if I want to save points, or I can have a single HVC Fex with Regen.

This one escaped and went on a rampage...
People don't make enough photos mixing models with the real world. :)

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Not such an Evil Empire

So I succumbed to the lure of the High Elf Army deal - I don't even really collect Warhammer armies, but I have Battle For Skull Pass and Island Of Blood, and lots (if not all) of the terrain. But a good deal is a good deal, and especially when it's from Games Workshop itself, and I decided on a little Christmas present just for me.

After an aborted attempt at getting it even cheaper from Wayland Games (they ran out before they could send my order), I bought it for £130 direct from the GW site. I got it sent to my local store, to save hassle with the delivery.

When I got to the store, and checked my order (for you should always check), the box was not the High Elf Army as I ordered, but the same amount of contents as separate boxed items. Which was a bit weird considering they actually had a High Elf Army box sitting on the shelf in the store. But I counted it up, it was all there, albeit heavier and bulkier because of the extra packaging. I took it home, wondering when I would have time to build and paint it all.

Once home, I noticed that actually, I didn't have 20 Archers as promised, but two complete boxes of 16 Archers instead. That's 12 free Archers! I can see why this was done, it's easier to pack an extra box of 16 than it is to take a single sprue out and pack it separately, but not many companies would be that lazy/generous in equal measure.

In total, I got £215.50 worth of plastic crack for only £130. Nearly a 40% saving.

So thumbs up for Games Workshop! Say what you like about their high prices, when it comes to keeping paying customers happy, they just get it done. I've had equally good experiences in the two times that I had to return faulty product, too.

They've earned my loyalty for another year at least. So they'll be able to gold-plate the executive jet I've bought their office cleaner with what I've spent on them so far.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Every cloud has a Necron silver lining

Oh the irony... A few years ago I bought a Necron Warrior Phalanx when it was on limited release, and then picked up a few cheap Warrior sets off Ebay, and they have lain dormant all this time, waiting for a new Codex (oft rumoured, never materialising) while I concentrated on my Tyranids.

Now we have a new Codex, and I have rushed out to add all the new shinies to my Tomb Cupboard.

My 2012 To Do List

So here we have...

Overlord w. Res Orb
Lord w. Warscythe and Res Orb
Deathmarks x 5
Immortals x 5
Lychguards x 5
Praetorians x 5
Catacomb Command Barge
Ghost Ark
Warriors x 79
Scarabs x 27
Destroyer Lord w. Res Orb
Destroyer x 6
Doomsday Ark
Annihilation Barge
Monolith x 2

A grand total of 3462 points, instant Apocalypse! And I haven't even looked at Special Characters yet.

So that's even more added to the Grey Tide. The only saving grace is that I have promised myself I will finish my Tyranids before I start even assembling my Necrons. I'm getting close, too. Just the Carnifexes and the annoying metal models left.

Then 2012 will be the year of the Necron!

Sunday, 16 October 2011


I'm going to take a break from talking about painting for a bit, and talk about something completely different. Well, I haven't posted on anything for a while, but that's because my job has been sending me all over the world to spread madness and mayhem (yes, I do have a cool job, and no, it's not for the US government).

This time, I'm going to talk about a subject that's been preying on my mind for a while, and that is the phenomenon of Cruddacism.

Robin Cruddace
cruddacism noun 1 hatred or bad feeling towards any Games Workshop product written by Robin Cruddace. 2 belief in the inherent superiority of Phil Kelly or Gav Thorpe over Robin Cruddace. 3 discriminatory treatment based on such a belief. cruddacist noun, adj.

ETYMOLOGY: teh interwebs.

Yeah, I said it.

The last straw was this post on BoLS, where once again someone uses the hilarious "Cruddance" word, and proceeds to beat up the Tyranid Codex, for not even very good reasons.

Okay, it's unfortunate that he has the surname Cruddace. Like the names Crapelli and Wankdorf, it is ripe for parody. You haterz can have that one, be my guest. Go nuts.

But let's look at it from another perspective. He is a newcomer to the GW team. He wears glasses. His first name is Robin (and the only cool Robin was Robin Hood, let's face it). He's slim and lightweight and slightly nerdy-looking. His work is more methodical and technical, rather than wacky and cool. And everybody loves to hate him and shout down his work at every opportunity.

If this was a schoolyard, this would be bullying. And bullying is wrong, isn't it, kids?

Piggy from Lord Of The Flies

Compare this to the idolatry reserved for Phil Kelly, who sports cool anti-establishment sideburns, wears crazy t-shirts and has a reputation for never losing games in White Dwarf. He is the equivalent of a Jock (as far as any Warhams player could be termed a jock). The contents of Phil Kelly's handkerchief are regarded by some to be nectar from the Gods. He is the cool kid the internet nerds all want to be, and Robin is the weak kid the internet nerds all hope they aren't.

So as an intellectual exercise, I want you to imagine that Robin Cruddace wrote the Dark Eldar Codex and Dreadfleet. And imagine that Phil Kelly wrote the Tyranid Codex and the Tomb Kings Army Book. Done that? Good. Do Tyranids seem more playable now? Does the DE Pain Token system feel nerdy and broken? If so, you are a cruddacist.


1. Phil Kelly is great, I am not belittling his work in any way. Although the sideburns are a bit much.

2. I mixed up the pictures and captions deliberately. So all you OCD-types can go look up "Comic Effect" on Wikipedia repeatedly until your eyes bleed.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Forge World Strongpoint review

My first ever mail order from Forge World arrived today - the colossal Realm Of Battle Imperial Strongpoint!

First things first - it IS 3mm too small on the important edges, which means it can only really work on the edge of the board, not in the centre. It would be impossible to pad it out (at least with my meagre skills). I'm going to complain, but I doubt there's much they can do - it's a fundamental issue.

On the plus side though, the detailing is great.

It arrived in a big empty box, with no padding. The board itself is surprisingly sturdy, and although it doesn't feel fragile, you just know that stepping on it will lead to tears. It was covered in dust that I had to brush off (a bit too much like housework for me), and it was cast out of black resin (which I haven't seen before).

They've thought about the design quite a bit. There is an emplacement that neatly fits a large base, so you can have a Dreadnought blast away at anything that moves.

And a nice touch is a round slot for the gun from the Bastion or the Comms Array from the Aegis Battle Line to sit. And it fits nicely.

All in all, I really like it. It's disappointing about the 3mm shortfall, but the rest of the construction quality bodes extremely well for future boards.

Arbitrary score: 8/10

Monday, 29 August 2011

Things NOT going in my backstory...

Here's something I posted on the BoLS forum concerning ideas to move the 40K fluff on a little bit. It's now buried under a pile of trollbait, so here it is saved for posterity...

1) The Emperor is revealed to be the Hive Mind, and the Tyranids are a failed attempt to create an army that could be sent into the Warp to defeat Chaos once and for all.

2) Necrons are reprogrammed by the Tau to become allies.

3) The Eldar die out until there's only one Craftworld left, and all their units are now 0-1 choices to fit the new fluff.

4) Groups of unhinged people all over the Imperium start banding together to exchange pictures of cats with funny captions on. These are called LOLcults.

5) Slaanesh mates with Tzeentch to create a new Chaos God that can't decide if it is coming or going.

Friday, 12 August 2011

To write or not to write

My backstory is underway, now I have to decide whether I want to write any short stories about it. Writing background is different to fiction, it's more like a historical document than a story. I always liked the way that Games Workshop mixed the two styles in the older Codexes, it was a very effective way of bringing the players into the universe. Now they restrict it to White Dwarf, which makes sense - you want the Codex to be a reference book, not a page-turner, and I'd rather have Codexes be 100% useful, rather than have a big chunk of it a read-once affair. We have the Black Library for the really good fiction.

The problem is, I haven't written fiction for a long time (unless you count tax returns). There's cobwebs in that bit of my brain.

Maybe I should write under the pseudonym Dan AbNot, just in case. :)

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


Now I've decided to do some background for my armies, I have to come up with some names - the system itself, the planets, the Tyranid splinter, the Space Marine Chapter (are there ANY combinations of cool words that haven't been taken?), plus all the key characters in the conflict.

I refuse to use a random name generator (I remember writing one as part of a Traveler character generation program many years ago). Hopefully, once I get the basic style down, they'll start flowing.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Background story

You know, it might be fun for me to create a backstory for my armies.

I like the idea of having a reason for all these armies to be together and fighting. It will make campaigns easier to create, and it will also be cool to be able to create scenery to a "theme".

So I've decided to set my corner of the 40K universe in a single system. It will certainly have its own Space Marine Chapter, and a splinter fleet of Kraken-esque Tyranids on the way. The Orks will have come from a roaming space hulk (or they could be mercenaries). I have very good reasons for Tau and Necrons to be here too, but I'll let that be a surprise...

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Yes, the world does want another unprimed picture

Well, I had the picture just sitting there, so I thought I may as well upload it.

This is my Mawloc before I start adding Mechrite Red to it.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Mawloc sub-assembly

I've found with really big kits that it really pays off to build the model in sections, paint them, and then assemble them when complete. Not only is it easier to get at the tricky bits, it's also a lot faster.

So with my Mawloc, I have split it into 3 main sections, along with keeping the arms separate.

Section 1: Base and tail

Section 2: Thorax

Section 3: Head

Section 4: And 6 arms, of course.

Before priming, I put Blu-Tack on the joints where I want to glue them later - this keeps the plastic clean so that the plastic glue will work properly.

A side bonus of sub-assembly is that it's easier to compartmentalise the work into 30-minute blocks, helping with motivation.

I'll post pictures of the Mawloc once it gets a bit more interesting. I don't think the world needs another picture of an unprimed model.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Two top tips

There are two little tricks I use that, although documented elsewhere, have been really invaluable for me so far, and I think that if you are not using them, you should.

Firstly, Backscraping. This is something you do when you are cleaning mold lines from plastic models, and it refers to scraping a modelling knife backwards along the mold line, as if you were carving, but had filmed it and were watching it in reverse. It's very weird at first, and doesn't make any sense, but it's actually magic. You need to properly support the piece you are holding, so it doesn't bend. The great thing about Backscraping is, you can vary the pressure and/or do it repeatedly, until you get the result you want. Just try it on a spare model - once you get the hang of it, you will never go back to the old ways. And it's quick.

My second tip is to do with basing. When you are putting PVA glue on a base, and dipping it in sand, let it dry and clean it up so there's no unsightly clumps of sand where you don't want it. Then take some PVA glue and put it on a plate, add water to it, and using an old large brush, mix it up and apply it over the top of the already glued sand, to seal it. When you're doing this, the mix should look like watery milk. Cover the sand with this and let it dry. The resulting base will be a lot sturdier when you paint it and especially when you drybrush it.

Both of these techniques are well-known (especially Backscraping), but in my view they are absolutely essential. And since they are quick and easy, they are perfect for the Lazy Painter's arsenal.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Just to prove myself right...

So there I was, basing my Mawloc, when I realised I had squeezed out too much PVA glue onto my Glue Plate (it's a plate that I use to mix my PVA with water). Now, I don't know about you, but I find it pretty impossible to put PVA glue back in the bottle.

Fortunately, I had some assembled IG on a nearby shelf ready to be based. I used the PVA up on them, allowing me to base 11 models without even intending to, and it took just a couple of minutes.

So that just goes to prove that having multiple projects on the go, and having them easily accessible, is a very good thing.

It's a war of attrition against the Grey Tide. Every little victory helps.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

How the Grey Tide rises...

I have a lot of unpainted models. A LOT. Some of them aren't even out of their boxes. One day, I might post a photo of my unbuilt stuff - it is reminiscent of the warehouse shot in Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

How did it come to this? Do I have a problem?

Well, yes and no. You see, the reason I came to be in this situation was a long-term desire to save money. I knew I wanted the stuff, I knew that eventually I would buy it, but I grouped my purchases together so I could do massive buys at once from online retailers. For purchases under £100, the postage costs halve your discount. Purchase £200-£300 worth of gear, the postage stays almost the same, so you get a bigger discount. Also, watching eBay for BNIB bargains is always worth it (although there's less available nowadays than there was a couple of years ago).

So my collection has grown in spurts - 3 months with nothing, then a huge influx of new models I can't possibly hope to build and paint quickly. This is how the Grey Tide grows.

But on the plus side, I have plenty of choice as to what to build next. I also paid at least 20% less than retail on everything. And if I need to, I can sell the stock I have on eBay, bearing in mind that there's been price rises since I bought them, so I could turn a profit if I so desire.

Actually, the biggest problem is where to store it all. The boxed products take up far more room than actual built models. So that's yet another incentive to build them all.

Friday, 15 July 2011


Since I don't have that many Spinerippers, I added the Sphincter-thing from the Genestealer sprue to give it some, ahem, teeth.

The tentacles are painted Elf Flesh and washed with Devlan Mud. I wanted them to look gross.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

5 tips to stay motivated

As a Lazy Painter, or even a busy one, it's important to be motivated, so that you actually get stuff done. Here are some of the ways I have found to allow me to paint, without it seeming like a chore or a time sink.

1. Have multiple projects on the go

Sometimes you don't have time to paint, you only have time to cut parts from sprues. Or maybe there's some detailing that you are dreading until you're in the right mood. And yet you still may have some spare time that you want to use for the hobby. Don't waste that time - every little helps! Having multiple projects in varying stages of completion allows you to just dip in and do something in the little time you have. The other advantage is that if you run out of supplies for one job, the production line doesn't come crashing to a halt - you just switch to something else and carry on.

2. Work little and often

I try to work in 30-45 minute batches, on most days of the week. This is much easier to schedule than a 3 hour block, and there's no danger of getting bored. Sometimes you hardly even notice it. And it's oh so easy to do "just one more task" once you're in the flow, and before you know it, you did an hour of work when you only meant to do 30 minutes. You may also like to confine your sessions to an album-length of music - that works for me as well. It can be quite relaxing too, especially after work, and thus can re-invigorate you for other Real Life stuff.

3. Batch painting

There's so many reasons already to recommend batch painting, but it's very motivating to have a simple little task to do, repeated twenty times, because you can just get it over with without even noticing. Then you feel motivated to do just one more task, and then one more...

4. Keep everything out and ready

Nothing is more of a buzzkill than having to clear your workspace, get everything you need out, forget something, lose something else... The list goes on. By the time you start painting you've lost at least five minutes, which is half an hour each week! If you leave your multiple projects out and easy to get to, so you can literally just sit down and start painting whenever you want, you can sneak in extra painting time when you least expect it. Note that this may be impossible if you have children or cats, but a Citadel Paint Station is a life-saver when it comes to hiding and retrieving work-in-progress from a cupboard.

5. Participate in a competition

Several forums run painting competitions, where you pledge a certain amount of work to be done within a certain time frame, and then post pictures of the results when you have finished. It gives you a deadline and peer pressure, but it's not "important" so you can withdraw if Real Life gets in the way.

So those are my top tips to get you painting without it seeming like a chore. You can get a lot of painting done in 3 hours a week, especially when that 3 hours is ALL painting, and no waiting for paint to dry. I've got literally hundreds of models painted using these tricks, and I know I can easily paint hundreds more.

Try just one of these tips, and your productivity will soar without you even noticing.

Friday, 8 July 2011


Here's the Trygon I painted last year. It was my first really big model, and I had to make sub-assemblies and did the final assembly once everything was painted. This made things a lot easier.

The detailing on the head carapace, teeth and especially the eyes makes this model stand out as the centrepiece of my collection. It also gave me a lot of confidence to try to push my standards higher, at least on one-off models, as opposed to the standard swarm.

I also have a Trygon Prime and a Mawloc to build. The problem will be making them stand out as different from the Trygon, since the poses are so similar. I can't stray too far from the Kraken scheme, though. I have some ideas for the Mawloc (which I am working on now), but the Trygon Prime will have to wait until I can think of some interesting way to differentiate it. I'll probably make the base more elaborate, since this Trygon has quite a minimalist base.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Army colour themes

I'm collecting a few armies simultaneously, some deliberately as viable forces (like Tyranids, Imperial Guard, Space Marines and Necrons) and some just because I like the models (Tau and Orks), and I think it would be great if each army had its own "colour", so that they would look distinct both on the shelf and on the battlefield.

The first few are easy:

Tyranids = Kraken Red
Necrons = Silver/Black
Imperial Guard = Cadian Green

I'm not quite decided on the others yet. If I model my Space Marines as Ultramarines, then blue is the obvious choice, but I am leaning towards making my own Chapter, and am very tempted to go purple (not Hawk Lords, but something similar). Orks, I think I can get away with a mix of salvaged bits, rust and dirt. That should go well with their green skin. Tau, on the other hand, should look clean and striking - heavy weathering and battle damage just doesn't suit them. A maroon or burgundy, perhaps. There's a beautiful burgundy in the Tau Codex, but I can't find a guide on how to paint it. Then again, if I'm not doing Ultramarines, blue becomes free all of a sudden.

Of course, as a Lazy Painter, I would prefer to just use an unmixed GW paint, but I think that if I'm using enough paint, it's working cooking up a unique batch.

So for the rest of my armies:

Space Marines - Purple?
Orks - Rusty Dirty Brown?
Tau - Burgundy? Or Blue?

This will be a work in progress - I plan to finish my Tyranids first, then hopefully there will be a new Necron Codex, and I can work on them for a while. In the meantime, someone may come up with a good scheme that can inspire me, or maybe I'll have a brainspasm of original thought, you never know.

Saturday, 2 July 2011


A blog is boring without pictures, so here's a few shots of the 30 Spinegaunts I recently finished...

As you can probably tell, I like to batch paint...

And I like to use washes...

The swarm so far...

My dream is to have a true Tyranid swarm. You know, Starship Troopers style. So here is a list of what I've got painted so far. Most of them are completely finished, but I reserve the right to tweak a few when I see an opportunity to improve them.

2 x Tyranid Primes DS
2 x Tyrant Guard

3 x Lictors
1 x Death Leaper
3 x Zoanthropes
10 x Ymgarl Genestealers

3 x Warriors DS
1 x Warrior VC
48 x Hormagaunts TS
25 x Termagants
20 x Devilgaunts
30 x Spinegaunts
4 x SpineRippers (tunnelling)
17 x Rippers (tunnelling)
44 x Genestealers ST/TS
1 x Broodlord ST/TS

30 x Gargoyles
6 x Raveners (Rend/DS)
8 x Spore mines

1 x Trygon (AG/TS)
1 x Old One Eye

Total: 4257 points

I'll be posting pictures of them all in due course. I'd like to do a group shot, but I don't think I have a table big enough.

The truly scary thing is, this is only 59% of the total Tyranid models I have. This blog is called Fight The Grey Tide for a reason.

Credit where credit is due

My first ever 40K model was a Cadian Shock Trooper, that I bought back when you got 20 to a box, and the cost per model was less than a pound. I figured that I would ruin the first few models with my terrible painting, so I didn't want to waste that much money. In the end, by following the Citadel Painting Guide and the back of the box, I managed a passable result. But it was very slow, and I realised that to get a big army would take ages unless I learned to paint faster.

So I decided to switch to Tyranids, because they were organic and therefore messy, which meant I didn't have to be quite so exact. I also liked the idea of swarms. I had the Battle For Macragge set, which contained Genestealers, Spore Mines and Termagants, so I had a go at those. It also helped that you can get Termagants in a box set of 5, to make it easy to try stuff out.

But what scheme to use? If you follow the Games Workshop recommendations for painting their main Hive Fleets, you're making 'Eavy Metal quality and you'll still be painting when the sun finally goes out. I needed a quick and easy scheme.

Then I found Mike Kan Paint - and I was sold instantly. Kraken it was. But his techniques were still a bit too complex for me. For a start, he was using non-standard (i.e. non-GW) paints, and he was mixing them together for a better result. Now, having mixed paints for my first Cadian, I didn't want to do that again, not unless I absolutely had to. So I made my own version of his scheme.

In future posts, I will show step-by-step how I have corrupted his methods to fit my work ethic (lazy) and lifestyle (hardly ever at home).

But the credit has to go to Mike, I would never have got to where I am today without his hard work and willingness to share. So thanks, Mike.


This is a blog about modelling and painting, and possibly a little bit of gaming as well. I'm going to focus on the Games Workshop range, but may branch out in the future.

The main purpose of this blog is to document my efforts in painting my Warhammer and 40K armies, but I also want to show just how easy it is to paint models to tabletop standards. Before I started, I was terrified about painting a model - they cost a lot, and I didn't want to ruin a perfectly good model with a bad paint job. And there was a real lack of beginner's tutorials available that actually spoke to someone like me - they were all about painting high quality models, and I just wanted something quick and easy that you could look at without flinching.

But then one day I sat down and actually tried it, and you know what? It was easy, and it looked pretty good. Sure, there's a lot of little tricks you pick up along the way, but most of it is common sense. I hope to share some of these ideas, and inspire you to get your armies painted, because it IS worth it. The sight of a fully painted army is a wonder to behold, and unlike completing a computer game, the sense of achievement is real and tangible, and actual physical models can sit on your shelf for decades to show that you made something cool with your own hands.

So if you don't have a lot of time to devote to painting, or are just plain lazy, then this will be the blog for you.

Fight the grey tide!