Recipe: Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 90g chipotle paste
  • 680g passata
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 225g black treacle
  • 200ml malt vinegar
  • 2tsp mustard powder
  • 2tsp smoked paprika
  • 2tsp cayenne pepper
  1. Fry the onion and garlic in a large saucepan until lightly browned.
  2. Add the other ingredients. Simmer gently, allowing the mixture to reduce and thicken.
  3. Blend with a hand blender until smooth.

Blood Bowl Dwarfs

So, as I mentioned in my previous post, last summer I painted up a Dwarf Blood Bowl team. I started in late June and finished in late July. But although I took a quick snap of the team to share on Facebook, I didn’t get around to properly photographing them until now. But at last, here they are.

Dwarf Blood Bowl team

Most of the models are from Iron Golems, who have sadly closed down. At the time, most of their models were still available from resellers such as Comixininos, but they are becoming increasingly scarce and I’m glad I got hold of this team while I had the chance. Like many of the best third-party teams, it’s sculpted by the talented Pedro Ramos. Here and there I have added a few models from other manufacturers as well, but the Iron Golems models make up most of the team.

Normally the heart of a Blood Bowl team is the linemen. But Dwarf teams don’t have any players by that name. Instead the players that make up the numbers are the blockers, also called Longbeards in some editions of the rules. They’re slow and not very agile, but they’re also tough as old boots. The Iron Golems team includes 6 blocker models as well as a ‘team Captain’ model who appears essentially to be another Longbeard. In order to have a full roster of 16 players, I bought an extra two blockers, bringing me up to a total of nine. To make the duplicates less obvious, I was careful to paint their beards in different colours.

Dwarf Blockers

Next up we have two Trollslayers. I tried a different way of painting skin on this team from any I had used before, and while it’s not perfect, I’m overall fairly pleased with how it’s come out. It’s particularly visible on the barely-clothed slayers.

Trollslayers

The blitzers wear rather more armour.

Dwarf Blitzers

The fastest players on a Dwarf team are the runners. They’re even as fast as the slowest players on a human team!

Dwarf Runners

Finally we have the infamous Deathroller. Strangely, and contrary to how Dwarfs are usually portrayed in fantasy settings as as upstanding and honourable (albeit greedy), Dwarfs in Blood Bowl are second only to Goblins when it comes to flagrant disregard for the rules of the game. The most notorious example of this is their habit of riding around the pitch running people over with a steamroller. Unfortunately, the Iron Golems Dwarf team doesn’t include a proper Deathroller model. There are two alternatives available, one is a large robot and the other is a slayer with a sort of battering ram/bulldozer blade contraption. Neither of these particularly appealed to me. Fortunately, a few years before sculpting this team, Pedro Ramos designed a Deathroller model for Vortice Miniatures which is very much in the same style as the rest of the team, so I ordered that one.

Dwarf Deathroller

As usual, I have a selection of sideline models for the team. The fellow with the book is supposed to be Sacred Commissioner Roze-El, the Dwarf who originally translated the sacred texts of Nuffle and introduced Blood Bowl to the World. He also works as an assistant coach. He and the cheerleaders are also from Iron Golems, but the Head Coach and Apothecary are from SP Miniaturas. They’re designed in a bit of a different style from the rest of the team, but with the appropriate paint-job they just about fit in. Finally the referee is the original 2nd-edition GW model, designed by one (or possibly both) of the Perry brothers.

Dwarf Staff

I also have five star players, corresponding to those available during the CRP era of the rules. Four of them are fairly standard renditions of Grim Ironjaw, Flint Churnblade, Boomer Eziasson and Barik Farblast. This is the only version of Flint Churnblade I’ve seen that portrays him as a slayer, although he does have the unusually low (for a Dwarf) armour value of 8, so portraying him as shirtless at least makes sense. The fifth is ‘Dara the Slayer’, a version of Zara the Slayer re-imagined as a Dwarf.

Dwarf Star Players

The sixth CRP-era star available to Dwarfs is, as with any team besides Undead, the legendary Morg ‘N’ Thorg. This model isn’t from Iron Golems; it’s the old 90s GW model by Gary Morley. This is one of the most iconic and instantly-recognisable Blood Bowl models ever made. There have been a couple of attempts to update it (and there is an older version dating back to the 2nd edition as well) but I still prefer this one. Although I painted him up as part of this team, I tried to paint him so that he would fit into any of my teams equally easily, which is why I painted his shoulder pad and shorts in plain white.

Morg 'N' Thorg

So that’s it for this team. As mentioned before next up will be Skaven. However, back in the summer last year I also painted up some additions to my Orc team and touched up the paintwork on my humans. I have a few extra Star Player models to add to both the Orcs and the Humans, so once I’ve done those I might well see about getting some new photos of both teams.

Recipe: slow-cooked pork belly with mustard mash and apple gravy

Serves 4-6.
The size of the pork joints is essentially limited by what will fit in the Dutch oven. I usually find 2 large-ish joints will just about fit. Try to get fairly thick pieces with plenty of lean meat as well as just fat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pork belly joints
  • 500ml cider
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 25g butter
  • 4 large red potatoes
  • 4-5 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 300ml white wine
  • 300ml cloudy apple juice
  • a generous splash of white wine vinegar
  • a little rosemary and thyme
  • olive oil for frying
  • a little salt
  1. The evening before cooking, open the packaging on the pork, drain off any liquid and leave uncovered in the fridge overnight. This will help dry out the skin to hopefully give better crackling.
  2. At least an hour before cooking, sprinkle the surface of the pork with salt.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Score the skin with a scalpel or razor blade, cutting into strips roughly 1cm wide. Place on a wire rack in a large Dutch oven. Place uncovered in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
  4. Remove from the oven and turn the temperature down to around 150 degrees. Remove the rack and place the pork in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Add the cider; it should mostly cover the pork but leave the skin above the surface of the liquid. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and return to the oven for around another 2 hours.
  5. About half an hour before the meat finishes, peel and chop the potatoes, then boil for about 25 minutes until soft.
  6. While the potatoes are boiling, start on the gravy. Fry the shallots and garlic until softened and starting to brown.
  7. Add the vinegar and continue frying until it is absorbed or evaporated.
  8. Add the white wine, rosemary and thyme. Allow to reduce until about half of the liquid is gone.
  9. Mix the cornflour with a little of the apple juice to form a smooth paste. Add this, along with the rest of the apple juice, to the gravy. Allow to reduce.
  10. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Add any remaining liquid to the gravy and continue to reduce. Place the meat under a medium grill for a few minutes.
  11. Drain the potatoes and add the butter and mustard. Mash until smooth.
  12. Remove the meat from the grill and divide into portions.
  13. Serve the meat on a bed of mash, with the gravy poured over the top.

Blood Bowl Slann

Well, this is the first post I’ve made in quite a while. The last few months have been a difficult time for me. I’ve been going through some very unpleasant personal upheaval and it isn’t over yet. One of the things that have helped me to get through this time was throwing myself into a painting project.

I bought this team back in the summer last year. I think that a lot of people turned to hobby projects as a way to help themselves get through lockdown. It actually took me a while before I did so; I didn’t have my paints with me for most of the original lockdown and only got around to retrieving them and starting on some painting around mid-to-late June, once restrictions were starting to relax a little. At the time, I bought four new Blood Bowl teams, but only got around to painting the one. That was a Dwarf team, which I sadly have not yet got around to photographing properly. I hope to get some decent shots soon; another blog post will follow once I do.

The Slann are a bit of an odd team in Blood Bowl. They were officially part of the game in the second edition, although there were never any miniatures produced. They didn’t appear in the game’s third edition, and not long after that came out the Slann in Warhammer were ret-conned to be ancient, fat, sedentary creatures who would not be found doing anything so energetic as playing Blood Bowl. A Lizardman team was released in 2001, but the Slann would not reappear in Blood Bowl until 2010, when a new team was approved for inclusion in the 6th ‘Living Rulebook’. However, LRB6 was never fully approved. Although it was approved by the Blood Bowl Rules Council, the new teams, including Slann, were nixed by the higher-ups due to the fact that there was no intention to release any models for them, so while most of the content of LRB6 was eventually released as the ‘Competition Rules Pack’ (CRP), the Slann were not included. However, since the list had been approved by the BBRC, it became widely accepted within the community and was even endorsed for use by independent tournament organisers the NAF. This semi-official status continued when GW revived Blood Bowl with their 2016 edition and the NAF have released an updated list for the new 2020 ‘Second Season Edition’ of the game. There are still no official models, but several third-party manufacturers have produced ‘Frogmen’ teams of ‘Fantasy Football’ miniatures. This is by far the best such team that I have come across. It’s sculpted by Pedro Ramos, a freelance sculptor from Spain who’s responsible for many of the best third-party teams around.

The team was originally created in a crowdfunding project by ‘J-Bone Industries’. This was essentially a personal project by a fan: he wanted a Slann team and wasn’t overly keen on the ones available, so he got one sculpted and ran an Indiegogo campaign to fund it. After the initial crowdfunder finished, J-Bone sold the remaining stock to Exit 23 Games, which is where I bought the models from. The team is still available for the moment, but I understand that there are no plans to produce any more so once the current stock is gone, that’s it.

So without further ado, here are the Huatl Greenbacks:

Slann Blood Bowl team

As with any Blood Bowl team, the core of the team is the Linemen (or linefrogs). Slann linemen have essentially the same profile as human linemen, with the addition of the Slann signature skills of Leap and Very Long Legs:

Slann Linefrogs

A Slann team can have up to four Blitzers. They’re unusual for blitzers in that they aren’t actually any stronger or better at blocking than the linefrogs, but they do have the useful skills Jump Up and Diving Tackle, plus an extra point of Movement Allowance. These are also the only models that aren’t single-part, as they have separate, interchangeable heads. There’s a second sprue of extra heads available, I have used some heads from each on mine, as I wanted to have the players’ eyes visible on all of the models.

Slann Blitzers

A Slann team can also have up to four catchers. Like the blitzers, they lack the usual skills associated with their player type (no Catch or Dodge, for example), but instead have Diving Catch. However, their high agility, when coupled with the Leap and Very Long Legs skills common to the rest of the team, does make them very useful players.

Slann Catchers

Slann teams can also take a Kroxigor. This model does not resemble a Warhammer Kroxigor, but instead seems to be some sort of toad-ogre (J-Bone describes him as a ‘Big Croaker’). The model comes with an optional tail and also an optional extending tongue, either of which can be used to represent the Kroxigor’s Prehensile Tail skill. Although I like the tongue concept, and it fits better with the frog theme of the model, I didn’t like the look of it much in practice so I used the tail instead.

Big Croaker

That’s all the regular players, but the team also comes with some additional sideline models. There’s a head coach (any resemblance to Baron Greenback is entirely coincidental, I’m sure!), an apothecary, a wizard/shaman, the team’s #1 fan, and a referee. The #1 fan model doesn’t represent anything in the game (and I don’t think that the referee does in the current rules either, although some versions of the rules have included a use for a referee marker or miniature), but is still nice to have, and could maybe represent an assistant coach at a stretch.

Slann Staff

There were also five star player models to go with the team. They have been given the names (l-t-r in the image below) Buzz, Toador, Kermee, Phibius and Shank. However, they correspond to the five Star Players (besides Morg ‘N’ Thorg) that were available to Slann (and Lizardmen) teams in the CRP era of the rules: Helmut Wulf, Slibli, Lottabottl, Quetzal Leap and Hemlock. Of those five, only two are canonically Slann players (Slibli is a Saurus, Hemlock is a Skink and Helmut Wulf is a human), but here they have all been re-imagined as Frogmen. Buzz is one of my favourite models on the team; I’m really pleased with how he’s come out, especially the goggles.

Slann Star Players

Part-way through painting this team, I decided to buy GW/Forgeworld’s Zolcath the Zoat model and include him in the team. He’s a new addition to the 2016 edition of the game, and the NAF Rules for Tournaments document that includes the Semi-official Slann list also adds Slann to the list of teams that can hire him. The model isn’t quite the same style as the rest of the team, but that doesn’t matter too much. Although I’ve mostly painted him in similar colours to the rest of the team, I’ve omitted the purple and instead painted the armour plates in a more neutral brown, as he could also be used with the Amazon and Wood Elf teams that I have waiting to be painted.

Zolcath the Zoat

That’s it for this team. It’s taken me around three months to finish the team, although there have been a couple of factors that delayed them. One was that shortly after finishing the sixteen regular players, I decided that I wasn’t happy with the very quick-and-simple basing style that I was using, not only for this team, but for all of my Blood Bowl models. This necessitated going back and re-basing not only all of the models I had painted so far for this team, but all of the other Blood Bowl models I had painted, around 130 models in total.

The other thing that delayed me finishing this team was that just as I was getting close to finishing, I started painting up a Skaven team at the same time. That team is still in progress, although I do now have all of the regular players done. I hope I manage to finish it before I hit burnout and stop painting things for a while. If so, there should be a blog post on those to follow.

Epic Marines

Way back in the early-mid 90s, when I first started playing Warhammer 40,000, Space Marines were my first army. Originally my army was from the Ultramarines Chapter, but a few years later when the third edition of the game was released, I changed it to a successor chapter of my own invention: the Stars of the Emperor’s Light. A lot of my Ultramarines were still unpainted so they were easy to incorporate into the new army; the rest I either re-painted or replaced with the new multi-part plastic marines that were released at that time.

Last year, with all the Epic armies that I had been working on finished, I decided to make a start on a new army of Space Marines, from the chapter that I had invented for 40K so many years earlier. I already had most of the models I needed, gathered together over the previous couple of years from various sources. Some are the original GW models, either bought on eBay or from GW when they were still available. Many of the vehicles are plastic rhinos from GW that have been converted into other vehicles using 3D-printed parts from Shapeways. A few are proxies drawn from other companies’ 6mm ranges. Vanguard Miniatures and Onslaught Miniatures both make some excellent 6mm SF models many of which make great proxies for units in Epic.

Some of the models in the army are unofficial sculpts, made by fans and covertly traded with other gamers. A few years ago there were several people producing such models. Sadly, GW got wind of what was happening and a few Cease and Desist letters later, the ‘forumware’ scene had mostly shut down. It’s not necessarily impossible to get hold of them, as people who bought them at the time sometimes realise they don’t actually need all of them and sell them on eBay or similar. Still, they are now scarce and can be difficult to acquire.

Almost a year has passed since I began the army in late July last year. Throughout that time, although I have occasionally stopped to paint other things, the Marines have always been my ‘main’ painting project. Now, at last, they are finished. At 12,750 points, they are the largest single project I have ever undertaken and also the first army I have ever finished entirely in one go.

So here they are:

12,750-point Space Marine army
12,750-point Space Marine army (close-up)
12,750-point Space Marine army (close-up)
12,750-point Space Marine army (close-up)

As usual, I have taken photos of all the formations in the army as I painted them.

First off, I have this command unit.

Masters of the Chapter

It consists of, from left to right, the Master of Sanctity, Master of the Forge, Chapter Master, Ancient, Chief Librarian and Master of the Apothecarion. It would probably best represent a unit of Terminators with a Supreme Commander character. All are converted to at least some degree except the Master of Sanctity for whom I just used an unmodified Terminator Chaplain model. The transport is a Battlemaster from Vanguard Miniatures. The closest unit to proxy it as in the Codex Marines list would be a Land Raider. A Spartan would be a closer match (that’s what it’s designed to be a proxy for) but those are only available in the Horus Heresy lists that the Australian Epic community have put together.

Next up is the Chapter’s veteran First Company, consisting of five Terminator Detachments:

Terminators
Terminators
Terminators
Terminators
Terminators

Although I had models for a Captain, Chaplain and Librarian in Terminator armour, the background states that every company also has an Apothecary and Standard bearer. These I had to convert myself. I have put each of my standard bearers in the same unit as the Captain. The Apothecaries also accompany another character, but which one varies from company to company.

Next up are the battle companies, each consisting of two Tactical detachments, one Assault and one Devastator.

In the Second Company, the Captain accompanies a Tactical detachment, the Chaplain the Assault detachment, while the Devastators are joined by a Librarian. None of these models are converted.

Tactical detachment
Tactical detachment
Assault detachment
Devastator detachment

In the Third Company, the Captain once again accompanies a Tactical detachment, while the Chaplain joins the Devastators. A librarian joins the second Tactical detachment. The only conversion is the top of the Librarian’s force staff. I wanted every Captain, Chaplain and Librarian model to be unique, so I swapped the top of the staff with another one (see below) to distinguish him from the one in the Second Company.

Tactical detachment
Tactical detachment
Assault detachment
Devastator detachment

In the Fourth Company, the Captain accompanies the Assault detachment. I did not have models for either a Captain or Standard Bearer with a jump pack, so had to convert them. The Chaplain is also a conversion. For him I used an Emperor’s Champion model, swapping his sword for the Chaplain’s Crozius Arcanum.

Tactical detachment
Tactical detachment
Assault detachment
Devastator detachment

In the Fifth Company, the Captain accompanies the Devastators. The Chaplain is once again in the Assault detachment; I converted him to add additional robes. The Apothecary is also a conversion as I did not have any Apothecary models with jump packs.

Tactical detachment
Tactical detachment
Assault detachment
Devastator detachment

I skipped most of the reserve companies; I saw no reason to paint up whole companies of nothing but Tactical Squads. However, some of the Eighth (assault) Company appear in the form of the Bikes and Land Speeders.

I have three Bike detachments, each including two Attack Bikes, and each led by either a Captain, Chaplain or Librarian. The captain is a very subtle conversion; I slightly changed the shape of his head with putty to make him bald (like all the other models in the army) rather than sporting the flat-topped haircut the original model had. The Librarian has had a little bit of luggage added to the back of his bike as the original model had a strangely misshapen area at the back. The Apothecary I had to convert myself as there was no Apothecary model on a bike. The Chaplain and Standard Bearer are unmodified.

Bike detachment
Bike detachment
Bike detachment

The Land Speeders are all just the stock GW models with no conversions.

Land Speeder detachment
Land Speeder detachment

Finally the Tenth Company consists of five Scout Detachments. The character models are the old GW plastics from the Epic 40K era. The Librarian has been converted slightly; as mentioned before, I swapped the top of his force rod so that each model would be unique. The fourth detachment has the Snipers upgrade. Note that the Tenth Company does not have a Standard Bearer.

Scout detachment
Scout detachment
Scout detachment
Scout detachment
Scout detachment

In addition to the infantry companies, I have various vehicles from the chapter armoury. I have three formations of Predators, two of Lascannon-armed Annihilators and one of Autocannon-armed Destructors:

Predator detachment
Predator detachment
Predator detachment

These Vindicators are one of the only two vehicles based on Rhino hulls that aren’t converted from plastic Rhinos using turrets and sponsons from Shapeways. Instead they are the old Mk1 Vindicator model from the first edition of Epic. I have, however, added 3D-printed ‘dozer blades to them, as this has become one of the defining features of the unit in more recent versions of the game.

Vindicator detachment

I did have some plastic Whirlwind models, but I had destroyed the turrets of some of them for previous conversions. Consequently those got converted into Hunters while I converted these Whirlwinds from Rhinos with Shapeways turrets:

Whirlwind detachment

These are the aforementioned Hunters, as usual converted with turrets from Shapeways but using Whirlwind hulls instead of Rhinos. They aren’t a formation in themselves but can be added to some other formations to provide anti-aircraft cover.

Hunters

These Razorback IFVs also don’t form formations by themselves, but are added to infantry formations as alternative transports. Half have Lascannon turrets and the other half have Heavy Bolters.

Razorbacks
Razorbacks

These Dreadnoughts can be added to Tactical, Devastator or Terminator formations:

Razorbacks

I also have three formations of Land Raiders:

Land Raider detachment
Land Raider detachment
Land Raider detachment

Finally, there is this Super-Heavy tank. It’s a Challenger from Vanguard Miniatures, and it’s clearly designed to proxy a Fellblade in a Space Marine army. Which is great, except there is no Fellblade in the regular Codex Space Marine army list. It does appear in the Imperial Fists list, as well has the Horus Heresy lists I mentioned before, but in the regular Codex list, it doesn’t appear and there isn’t really anything close to it that it could represent instead. So although I really like this model, and it makes a neat centrepiece for the army, I don’t actually have a use for it in-game.

Super-heavy tank

I also have some air support for the army. I have two Thunderhawk Gunships. One is missing its Lascannons. The model came to me second-hand from eBay and one was broken off when I got it. Since they don’t actually have them in the game rules anyway, it seemed easiest just to remove them entirely.

Thunderhawk Gunship
Thunderhawk Gunship

Plus, when a Thunderhawk just isn’t big enough, there’s the Landing Craft:

Landing Craft

Finally, I have these two flights of Stormtalon VTOL aircraft. These were entirely 3D printed at Shapeways. Again, they don’t have rules in the Codex Marines army list (although they do appear in the Imperial Fists list), but they work fine as proxies for Thunderbolt Fighter-bombers.

Stormtalons
Stormtalons

Providing orbital support is this Strike Cruiser. I haven’t included it in the whole-army shot above as it doesn’t appear on the table and isn’t to scale with the rest of the army.

Strike Cruiser

And allowing forces to deploy from that Strike Cruiser are these Drop Pods. They’re Veritas Drop Craft from Onslaught Miniatures, but they work very well as SM Drop Pods.

Drop Pods

Finally, I have these small bunkers, from Wasteland Games Studio. They’re mostly just to use as objective markers, although there are some variant Space Marine lists that allow you to take fortifications.

Bunkers

And that’s it! If the army needs Titan support, I can use the models from my AMTL army, although I am also in the process of painting up some alternative ‘truescale’ models to fulfil this role. So far I only have a pair of Warhounds done but I also have a Reaver that I hope to finish soon. I have yet to acquire a truescale Warlord model, but it’s possible that I may be able to get hold of one in the future. The army is already well-served for fighter cover, but if it needs bombers, it can draw on my Navy Air Wing for that.

Under the NetEA Codex Space Marine army list, this all comes to 12,750 points:

Terminator Detachment
Supreme Commander
Land Raider
350
100
75
Terminator Detachment
Captain
350
50
Terminator Detachment
Chaplain
350
50
Terminator Detachment
Librarian
350
50
Terminator Detachment
2 Dreadnoughts
350
100
Tactical Detachment
Captain
Razorback
275
50
25
Tactical Detachment
Razorback
275
25
Assault Detachment
Chaplain
175
50
Devastator Detachment
Librarian
Hunter
250
50
75
Tactical Detachment
Captain
Razorback
275
50
25
Tactical Detachment
Librarian
Razorback
275
50
25
Assault Detachment 175
Devastator Detachment
Chaplain
Hunter
250
50
75
Tactical Detachment
Chaplain
Razorback
275
50
25
Tactical Detachment
Razorback
275
25
Assault Detachment
Captain
175
50
Devastator Detachment
Hunter
250
75
Tactical Detachment
Razorback
275
25
Tactical Detachment
Razorback
275
25
Assault Detachment
Chaplain
175
50
Devastator Detachment
Captain
Hunter
250
50
75
Bike Detachment
Captain
2 Attack Bikes
200
50
 
Bike Detachment
Chaplain
2 Attack Bikes
200
50
 
Bike Detachment
Librarian
2 Attack Bikes
200
50
 
Land Speeder Detachment
2 Land Speeder Tornadoes
200
 
Land Speeder Detachment
2 Land Speeder Typhoons
200
25
Scout Detachment
Captain
150
50
Scout Detachment
Chaplain
150
50
Scout Detachment 150
Scout Detachment
4 Snipers
150
50
Scout Detachment
Librarian
150
50
Predator Detachment
4 Predator Annihilators
250
 
Predator Detachment
4 Predator Annihilators
250
 
Predator Detachment
4 Predator Destructors
250
 
Vindicator Detachment 225
Whirlwind Detachment 300
Land Raider Detachment 325
Land Raider Detachment 325
Land Raider Detachment 325
Thunderhawk 200
Thunderhawk 200
Landing Craft 350
Stormtalons
Count as Thunderbolts
 
175
Stormtalons
Count as Thunderbolts
 
175
Total 12,750

With that done, I’m going to try and get the Reaver Titan I mentioned before done, before taking a bit of a break from 6mm. After that I think I’m going to work a bit on getting my scenery sorted out a bit better before I start working on some Orks.

Refining the Pi

So, with RuneAudio running on my Raspberry Pi, I had an audio player that I was fairly happy with. However, there were a couple of ways in which it was still in need of improvement. In my previous post on the subject, I noted that I was keen to set it up to use an IR remote for basic controls like play/pause, skip forward & backwards, etc. But also I wanted to be able to try and transfer music onto the player via the network, rather than by un-mounting the USB drive (or shutting down the RPi) taking the USB drive out, plugging it into the computer, copying the files over, ejecting the drive, putting it back in the Pi and re-mounting it (or starting the RPi up again). I briefly considered getting a second Raspberry Pi, setting that up as a dedicated NAS controller, and then using that to store the music, with the RuneAudio machine reading the files remotely. However, this seemed like overkill, so I decided instead to try and get the RuneAudio to share its storage over the network instead.

I rapidly proceeded to completely foul up my entire RuneAudio installation, to the point where it was completely non-functional. Humbled, I downloaded the latest RuneAudio image and prepared to reinstall from scratch.

However, at this point I discovered that the current install image has been significantly updated from the (quite old) one I had previously used to install the software from. And one of the improvements in the current version is that it comes with Samba installed, so that its storage is already shared on the network. By simply upgrading to the latest version, I had added the functionality that I was after. Hurrah!

Now that I had started tinkering with the Pi again, I decided that it was time to see about getting a remote set up. I started out following this handy guide. There were a few ways that it wasn’t completely accurate, possibly due to being out-of-date. There was no need to install the lirc package, as it was already installed, and the lines in /boot/config.txt that needed to be uncommented began #dtoverlay and #dtparam, rather than #device_tree_overlay and #device_tree_param. There was also no need to uncomment the #dparam=gpio_out_pin=xx line, as it wasn’t used, nor the #dparam=gpio_in_pull=down, as down is the default anyway.

Otherwise, though, all went well until I came to stage 9: finding or generating a configuration file for my specific remote. The guide is correct that the irrecord utility doesn’t work on the RPi version of Arch Linux (on which RuneAudio is based), although it doesn’t output incorrect information; it just fails to work. So I had two options. I could install another Linux distribution on my RPi, set up lirc on that, use irrecord to generate a suitable config file and copy that across. Alternatively, I could go to lirc-remotes.sourceforge.net and see if I could find one there. The former seemed like a huge ballache, so I tried the latter.

Unfortunately, the remote I was trying to use was a cheap no-name item for which I had no chance of getting a pre-prepared config. Even if such a thing existed, there was no brand or model number to identify it. So I began to consider giving up on this particular remote and getting a better (or, at least, better-known) one.

Surprisingly, of all the widely available remote controls, the Apple Remote best fitted my requirements. Most remotes that were available by themselves were clearly designed for use with home cinema setups and had vast numbers of buttons, most of which would be superfluous in this context. Apple’s offering, conversely, had a mere 7, covering all of the functions I needed with few left spare.

So, for the first time in my life, I ordered an Apple product. I’m not a huge fan of Apple. The biggest turn-off for me is one of the things that has made them so successful: the fact that their products double up as fashion accessories and status symbols. To be seen with an Apple device is to announce to the world that I am a Dedicated Follower of Fashion. And while this is a huge part of their appeal for many, I find it off-putting.

Other than that, I’m not actually that anti-Apple. I’ve enough experience with other people’s iOS devices to know that I would find them frustrating and annoying to use myself, but there’s a lot that they do well and for other people they may well be great. I use a Mac at work and while it still wouldn’t be my choice of machine for use at home, as a work machine it’s pretty decent. I’m not keen on the aggressive way that Apple shuns interoperability to tie you exclusively into its ecosystem, and it’s all overpriced. But otherwise Apple makes pretty decent stuff: just not, until now, stuff that suits me or meets my personal requirements.

But in this case, the Apple remote was the best option for what I needed. So I went for it.

The remote arrived this afternoon. I downloaded the appropriate config file, copied it onto my RPi, and tried it out with the irw command.

Nothing.

After some time spent troubleshooting, eliminating various possible reasons why it might not be working, I began to suspect that the problem lay with the config file I had downloaded. I would have to generate my own config using the Raspbian distro after all.

Fortunately, I had a spare MicroSD card, so I didn’t have to erase my RuneAudio installation, I just put Raspbian on the spare card and swapped them over. Installing lirc was easy enough, and it wasn’t too hard to get it configured, although some files were in different places from where they had been in Arch/RuneAudio. This time the irrecord utility worked just fine. Armed with my new lirc.conf, I swapped my RuneAudio SD card back in and gave it a try.

It worked!

From there on, it was just a case of following the rest of the guide; everything else worked perfectly. I had to change a few lines in the example /etc/conf.d/lircrc to match the buttons on my specific remote. I also added a stop option (mapped to the ‘menu’ button on the remote), and set the ‘OK’ button to start playing from the beginning of the current queue rather than the currently selected track.

With everything now up and working, all that remained was to modify the remote slightly. I painted over the text on the ‘MENU’ button and replaced it with a little white stop icon.

Raspberry Pi and Remote
(Click for larger image)

So now I have pretty much exactly the setup that I want. If I want to edit the playlist to add or remove files or albums, I can do this easily via the web interface. If I am sitting at my computer, this is a trivial effort, if not then doing it via my phone is still slightly less of a faff than finding a CD, getting it out and putting it in the drive. Once the music that I want is loaded, I can start and stop playback and navigate through the playlist by remote control just as I would with any other player. Hurrah!

Return to Death Magnetic

Interesting.

Back in 2008, Metallica released Death Magnetic, arguably their best album since the early 90s. I blogged about it at the time. In summary, while the material was a triumphant return to form, somewhere in the mixing and mastering process, things were badly botched, and the album that was released sounded terrible: not only badly over-compressed, but also horribly clipped and distorted. On headphones it was unlistenable. In an odd twist, however, the album was simultaneously released as DLC for Guitar Hero 3, and this release used an unmastered rough early mix of the album that did not suffer from these problems (although it had other faults). Soon, remastered versions of the album based on this version appeared on the Internet, and although they did have some issues of their own, they sounded far better than the proper CD release.

But it turns out that the story doesn’t end there. Since (I think) 2012, Apple have set up a ‘Mastered for iTunes’ programme. It mostly seems to consist of using a different master to generate the compressed audio files that are sold through iTunes from the one used to produce CDs. Tricks are used with this alternative master so that when encoded in the lossy AAC format, the impact on the audio quality is minimised. Last year, Metallica’s back catalogue was added to the Mastered for iTunes catalogue.

And so Death Magnetic finally got the remastering it so badly needed, in an official, legitimate release.

At first, this version was only available if you bought it via iTunes (and even if you owned the original release on iTunes, you would have to buy it again). But the new master is also now available for sale via the band’s website, in either 320kbps MP3 or lossless FLAC or ALAC formats, the latter in either standard 16-bit/44.1kHz or hi-resolution 24-bit/96kHz versions.

And it sounds great. It’s still a modern, fairly loud and compressed recording, but no more so than is normal for a rock or metal release in 2016. And it’s the proper, finished mix of the album, unlike the GHIII versions, which are a little rough around the edges even after the excellent remastering jobs that various enthusiasts gave them. The version of Suicide and Redemption is the proper one with the shorter versions of both solos (not extended versions of either one or the other) and fades in and out in the right places.

At last it is possible to listen to this album in the finished form that the band genuinely chose to release, without it sounding like utter crap because of a badly botched mastering job. It’s taken 8 years, but we got there in the end.

EU

In tomorrow’s referendum, I’m planning on voting remain.

Economically the argument is pretty much over. In the short-to-medium term, leaving the EU would be damaging to Britain’s economy. The only uncertainty is how bad. In the long term it’s harder to say. Nobody really knows.

I am not interested in arguments about some spurious notion of ‘sovereignty’. Even outside the EU, we are party to hundreds of treaties and international agreements. The idea that Britain must be governed exclusively by Britons, and that foreigners will inevitably be working against our interests is nonsense.

I have not been swayed by arguments about democracy. There are ways in which the EU could be more democratic, and I would like to see some reform in these areas, but the same is true of the UK; in some ways the EU is more democratic than Britain is.

I am concerned that entrenched corporate interests are too powerful in the EU, and that it is being used to impose neo-liberal economic policies on poorer countries, to their detriment. But I am far from convinced that leaving would help Britain in that respect; not with the political landscape as it currently stands. I have even seen it argued that this is our fault, that Britain is one of the worst influences pulling the EU away from Social Democracy and more towards corporate cronyism. Indeed, the most compelling argument I have yet heard in favour of leaving is that we are a toxic influence on Europe, and that they would be better off without us. But I am not fully convinced by this argument either. Germany has been very influential in protecting its banking interests at the expense of Southern Europe and I don’t see that Britain leaving would change that.

Leaving the EU would be very damaging to the sector in which I work. Research and academia benefit hugely both from EU funding and from the free movement of people that makes international collaboration far easier. My job (which I value for purely selfish reasons) and the good work of the people I work with (which I value because they are of benefit to humanity) would both be threatened by leaving the EU.

Migration is a complicated subject. But it’s worth noting that although EU citizens are free to live and work in Britain as they please, nobody else is guaranteed that right and yet despite it being entirely within their legal power to do so, successive governments have not cut non-EU migration to the tiny trickle that they so often promise. There are good reasons for this, both economic and ethical. But the point is that leaving the EU wouldn’t be an effective way to cut immigration even if that were a desirable goal. We can cut immigration anyway, we just don’t, because it isn’t necessarily a good idea.

As for EU migrants, I look down my friends list on Facebook and as well as lots of English people and various other Britons, I also see people from 21 other EU-member countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden. Now we could quibble over the distinction between ‘friends’ on Facebook and actual friendships. I will admit that I don’t know all of those people all that well. But still, they are all people that I have some contact with and whom I like, and many of them I would never have met were it not for free movement of people within Europe.

Conversely, when I consider the list of people I consider to be utter shits, I could name quite a few Britons.

I love Britain and I love England. This country is my home, its culture is the one in which I grew up and there are many things about our national character that I adore. We still have much to offer the world. But for me that love for my country does not imply any kind of Great British Exceptionalism. We are no longer a great power on the world stage, and I do not think we should seek to be again. If we are to have any influence in the world it will be through cooperation with our peers. And our peers are not China or the USA. They are Germany and France, Spain and Italy. And, as their economies grow faster than ours, Eastern European countries like Poland are not far behind.

Britain is not a special case. We do not have a monopoly on greatness. Our crumbling union cannot stand alone, nor should it seek to. If we are to be truly great, it must be as part of something greater.

We are currently one of the richest and most powerful countries in Europe. We can be a key part of the second-largest economy in the world. Or we can be an increasingly irrelevant backwater, an impotent satellite of both the USA and of the Europe we turned our back on.

The EU as it stands is not perfect. It needs reform in several areas. But it is not irredeemable, and to abandon it because of some misguided notion of British Exceptionalism, or as a protest against a perceived elite (note how the leave campaign is led by members of the establishment just as much as remain is, unless you think that Boris Johnson’s amiable buffoonish persona somehow exempts him from being a part of the ruling class, or that Nigel Farage is really a maverick outsider and not just a twat) would be a foolish move.

I won’t deny that my position is, when all is said and done, largely instinctive and aesthetic. I want to be on the side of remain because being a part of a united Europe appeals to my internationalist sensibilities. But even if I recognise that fact and try to look at the arguments and consider things impartially and pragmatically, I still come down on the side of remain, albeit with some reservations. My heart says stay, but my head says stay as well.

Count me in.

Imperial Air Wing

As well as the Chaos army, I also finished another — significantly smaller — Epic painting project recently; my Imperial Navy Air Wing.

One thing that is conspicuously missing from my Titan Legion is any kind of air support. This is because I wanted to paint my Imperial Aircraft as a separate force. Then not only would the AMTL be able to use the Aircraft in support, but the Space Marine and Imperial Guard armies I plan to paint in future would also be able to use Titans from the Titan Legion and aircraft from the Air Wing.

I only have three formations of aircraft. Two flights of Thunderbolt Fighter-Bombers:

Thunderbolt Fighters
Thunderbolt Fighters
Thunderbolt Fighters (underside)

And a pair of Marauder Bombers:

Marauders
Marauders (underside)

And here they are together:

Imperial Aircraft

And in action!

Imperial Aircraft in action

Epic Chaos: the Final Chapter

Way back in 2007, I started putting together a Chaos Space Marine army for Epic, starting with a Ravager Titan. Strictly speaking, the Chaos Marines weren’t my very first epic army; I already had a small force of Imperial Marines comprised mostly of the models that came in the 3rd-edition Epic 40,000 box. Still, they were the first army I started painting for the 4th Edition, and the first that I actually played any great number of games with. However, about a year and a half later, when I left Southampton and stopped playing Epic on any regular basis, the army was still only about half painted.

I came back to the army in 2009, and over the course of a couple of months I filled in the gaps, touched up a few things, added some new units. By September, I had a 6,000-point army fully painted.

Then, in 2010, I returned to the army again. Although I kept going for a little while after this blog post, I stalled before I reached my intended total of 10,000 points and so the army remained unfinished.

When I returned to painting in 2014, I decided to focus on my other armies before I moved on to this one, and so it was not until last year that I finally got around to working on the Chaos Marines again. By this time the army list had been re-organised slightly, and in order to make the army legal again I would need to make some more additions. I also wanted to add some units so that I could also use the army with the Red Corsairs army list as well as the Black Legion.

With a painting schedule that was sporadic, and with large gaps where my attention shifted to other projects, painting up the remaining models has taken almost a year. But now, at last, the army is completely finished!

13,000-point Chaos army
Close-up of the Chaos army
Close-up of the Chaos army

Although I’ve posted pictures of quite a lot of the army before, they’ve been of variable quality and I have re-organised things a little bit since, so rather than separating out the new stuff from the old, I’m just going to post shots of everything and note as I go when it was painted.

I’ll start with the army’s commanders. First, this Chaos Warlord, which was one of the first infantry units I painted for the army in 2007.

Chaos Warlord

This Daemon Prince unit was added in 2010. It’s a Warmaster model, although I’ve added two terminator models to the base so that it counts as an infantry unit in Epic (the rules require 3-7 models to a base). I think that the Daemon Prince unit is actually supposed to represent something a bit smaller than this, but I think that the model looks good enough to get away with it.

Daemon Prince

Moving on to the core formations, I have four retinues of Chaos Space Marine infantry. Two of them were painted in 2009, the other two in 2010. Each has the option of either a Lord or a Sorcerer Lord to lead it and an optional Icon Bearer who can be swapped in or out as needed. There are also two Chaos Champions who can also be swapped in. Three of the retinues have Rhinos to transport them; those that do have a special custom Rhino for each character.

Chaos Space Marine Retinue
Chaos Space Marine Retinue
Chaos Space Marine Retinue
Chaos Space Marine Retinue

I also have three Armoured Companies. I initially painted a company of Land Raiders in 2007, then expanded it to 8 models in 2010. Last year I added a company of 8 Chaos Predators, which I put together using plastic Rhinos and some 3D-printed parts from Shapeways. I finally added a second company of 8 Land Raiders this year.

Chaos Space Marine Land Raiders
Chaos Space Marine Predators
Chaos Space Marine Land Raiders

Also added this year were these two Chaos Vindicators. The models are the first-generation metal Vindicator models from back in the day, but with bulldozer blades added from Shapeways, as having a large armoured ram has become a defining feature of this unit in recent years.

Chaos Space Marine Vindicators

Although this is not a Thousand Sons army, it is dedicated to the Chaos God Tzeentch, so I have included some allied Thousand Sons units, with dedicated Rhino transports. The sorcerer models here do not represent characters, just the Aspiring Sorcerers who lead squads of Rubric Marines according to the background. Although I painted a single stand (and the Rhinos) in 2007, the other three units were not completed until 2009.

Thousand Sons

Also available to be added to other formations are these Havoc units. I have enough to upgrade three formations. The first group were painted in 2009, the other two in 2010. The top-knots are painted black instead of red to make them easier to distinguish from regular Chaos Space Marines.

Chaos Space Marine Havocs
Chaos Space Marine Havocs
Chaos Space Marine Havocs

However, recent revisions to the army list have also allowed Havoc formations of four units, including a Chaos Lord character and with an option for an Icon Bearer, so last year I added some character stands:

Chaos Space Marine Havocs

Two of these Obliterator units were converted and painted in 2007, the third I added last year. They are based on Colossus-class Imperial Robots, with shoulder pads from Space Marine Terminators, weapons from various sources, and fleshy bits sculpted from putty.

Chaos Obliterators

These Chaos Terminators were painted in 2009.

Chaos Space Marine Terminators
Chaos Space Marine Terminators

These two formations of Chosen are painted in camouflage colours (except for the shoulder pads) to reflect their role as scouts. One was painted in 2009; I added a second in 2010.

Chosen Chaos Space Marines
Chosen Chaos Space Marines

When I came back to painting in 2014, I first intended that I would work on both this army and my Eldar in parallel, alternating between one and the other. This idea fell by the wayside, but I did get these dreadnoughts painted before I started to concentrate fully on the Eldar. These old models are a bit of an oddity. They are based on the Dreadnoughts from Space Crusade rather than anything that has ever appeared in the Warhammer 40,000 game, and as far as I know they were only ever available as part of a sprue that also featured an Ork Stompa, two Eldar Dreadnoughts, an Ork Dreadnought, two Space Marine Dreadnoughts (in a design that did not appear in 40k until Forge World released their Contemptor Dreadnought), two Space Marine Terminators, an Ork Shokk Attack Gun, a Mole Mortar and four Chaos Androids (also from Space Crusade). I can’t remember how many of these sprues came in a box.

Chaos Dreadnoughts

When I first started putting the army together in 2007, not only were there no genuine Defiler models available but there were no particularly good proxies available, either. The best I could come up with were these Daemon Knights, based on Imperial Knights Paladin. I originally only made three, but I added a fourth in 2010.

Chaos Knights Paladin

Since then, Troublemaker Games have released these ‘Cybershadows Warcrabs’, which make perfect proxies for Defilers. Troublemaker Games are now defunct, but their range of 6mm models is available from Vanguard Miniatures. I painted both of these formations this year.

Cybershadows Warcrabs
Cybershadows Warcrabs

I painted the first of my Chaos Bike Companies back in 2007, but re-based them and tweaked the paint job in 2009. This year I added another two companies. These are just the old plastic Space Marine Bikes, painted to match the rest of the army.

Chaos Space Marine Bike Company
Chaos Space Marine Bike Company
Chaos Space Marine Bike Company

Again, the Raptor Cult is just made up of Imperial Space Marine Assault troops, painted in Chaos colours.

Chaos Space Marine Raptors

Moving on to the support section, here’s the model that started it all, the Ravager Titan, based on Forge World’s Lucius Pattern Reaver. I originally converted and painted it back in February 2007, but I re-based it and re-painted some sections in 2010:

Chaos Ravager Titan

Dwarfing the Ravager is this Warplord Titan from 2010.

Chaos Warplord Titan

And completing the set of Chaos Titans are these two Ferals, again from 2010 and based on Forge World’s Warhounds:

Chaos Feral Titans

The Chaos army also has some other War Engines available to it. I converted this squadron of Death Wheels in 2010, although I completely ripped off the design from someone else.

Chaos Death Wheels

These Decimators were converted in 2007, but I only painted two of them at the time. I added a third and touched up the paint on the other two in 2009.

Chaos Decimators

For air support, I have these Hell Talon fighter-bombers, painted in 2009, and Hellblade fighters, which I added in 2010.

Chaos Hell Talons
Chaos Hellblades

I also have a variety of Daemons in support. Firstly, this Lord of Change, which I painted in 2009, but made some minor adjustments to in 2010.

Lord of Change

I also have these 16 Flamers of Tzeentch. Half were painted in 2009, the other half I added in 2010.

Flamers of Tzeentch

These six Screamers were the last thing I painted for this army in 2010 before drifting off to focus on other things. They count as Daemonic Beasts in the army list. Like the Daemon Prince, they were originally for Warmaster, but aren’t so large as to look wrong in Epic.

Screamers of Tzeentch

Also in 2009 I made these three custom objective markers to go with the army:

Chaos Objectives

This is almost everything, and under the Black Legion army list it adds up to a total of 12,465 points. But I was also keen to try out the Red Corsairs list, which includes a few units that aren’t available to the Black Legion, so I added a few additional units to the army. Even though they don’t appear in the Black Legion army list, they can mostly be used to represent units that do if necessary.

In the Red Corsairs list, in addition to being taken as an upgrade to Retinues, Thousand Sons can also be taken as a 6-unit formation, with a Chaos Lord or Sorcerer Lord character. So back in 2010 I added these additional units. Although I intend to use him to represent a Sorcerer Lord, I have used the Chaos Lord model here to distinguish him from the Aspiring Sorcerers in the other units.

Thousand Sons Lord

All the other units I painted in the last couple of months. Firstly, these four Chaos Hunters for anti-air support. As with the Predators, they’re made using plastic Rhinos with extra parts from Shapeways. If I want to use them in the Black Legion army list, they can proxy as a company of four Chaos Predators.

Chaos Hunters

Sometimes what you really need is a small castle full of wizards, built on the back of a giant flying mushroom. Hence these Silver Towers. These are a bit trickier to find an equivalent for in the Black Legion list, but they could probably pass as Defilers at a push.

Silver Towers

Last of all is this Thunderhawk Gunship, with modified rear undercarriage. This is the most difficult model to find a proxy for in the Black Legion list. The only other large aircraft in the list is the Harbinger Bomber, which is also the only unit for which I have no model (they’re pretty rare and very expensive). Accordingly, that is what I’ll count it as in the list.

Chaos Thunderhawk

With these additions, the army comes to a whopping 13,340 points, making it my largest army in total.

Using the current Black Legion list from the NetEA Tournament pack:

Retinue
(Chaos Lord)
Chaos Warlord
Icon Bearer
3 Dreadnoughts
3 Obliterators
275
 
50
25
150
225
Retinue
(Chaos Sorcerer Lord)
Chaos Champion
Icon Bearer
Havocs
6 Rhinos
275
 
50
25
150
60
Retinue
(Chaos Lord)
Chaos Champion
Icon Bearer
Havocs
6 Rhinos
275
 
50
25
150
60
Retinue
(Chaos Sorcerer Lord)
Icon Bearer
Cult Marines (Thousand Sons)
6 Rhinos
275
 
25
150
60
Armoured Company
8 Chaos Land Raiders
 
600
Armoured Company
8 Chaos Land Raiders
 
600
Armoured Company
8 Chaos Predators
2 Chaos Vindicators
 
400
70
Chaos Hunters
(Counts as Armoured Company
4 Chaos Predators)
 
 
200
Chaos Terminators (6 units)
Daemon Prince
Chaos Champion
Icon Bearer
2 Dreadnoughts
395
 
50
25
100
Chaos Terminators (6 units)
(Chaos Lord)
Chaos Champion
Icon Bearer
3 Dreadnoughts
395
50
50
25
150
Chosen
2 Rhinos
125
20
Chosen
2 Rhinos
125
20
Bike Company
(Chaos Lord)
Icon Bearer
300
 
25
Bike Company
(Chaos Lord)
300
 
Bike Company
(Chaos Lord)
300
 
Defiler Assault Pack 275
Defiler Assault Pack 275
Defiler Assault Pack 275
Silver Towers
(Count as Defiler Assault Pack)
 
275
Raptor Cult (8 units)
(Chaos Lord)
315
 
Havocs
(Chaos Sorcerer Lord)
Icon Bearer
2 Rhinos
225
 
25
20
Havocs
(Chaos Sorcerer Lord)
Icon Bearer
2 Rhinos
225
 
25
20
Warplord Titan 800
Ravager Titan 600
Feral Titan 275
Feral Titan 275
Decimators
3 Decimators
 
675
Death Wheel Squadron
3 Death Wheels
 
825
Three Hellblade Fighters 200
Two Hell Talon Fighter-Bombers 225
Chaos Thunderhawk
(Counts as Harbinger Bomber)
 
400
Daemon Pool
22 Lesser Daemons
1 Greater Daemon
 
330
50
Total 13,340

So that’s it. After nine years, my Chaos army is finally complete. With my AMTL and Eldar armies also entirely finished, this is now the first time since 2007 that I haven’t had an Epic army on the go.

This leaves the question of what to paint next. I have models for Space Marine, Ork and Imperial guard armies for Epic, and I don’t really know which to do first. I think the Marines would be the quickest and easiest to paint, and thus the ones that I’d be most likely to get finished. I already have a 3000-point army planned out as a starting point. So those are tempting. On the other hand, Orks are the most different from what I’ve done before, so might be the most interesting.

Fortunately, I don’t have to decide immediately. I don’t plan on painting any more Epic models straight away. Instead, I’m going to paint a few 30mm miniatures first. They will be the first 28/30mm figures I’ve painted since 2010.