Losing a Battle isn’t all bad.

You often learn more from your defeats than you ever do from your victories. Lets be fair, if you are anything like me, when you win you are too busy celebrating, taking the aplause from onlookers, and patronising your vanquished opponents with phrases like ‘well you did have some really unlucky dice rolls’ to remember anything other than the fact that you won. I mean, let’s be fair about it, keeping the smug look of your face whilst your opponent packs up his defeated army is tough enough.

But when you lose, that’s when you learn and that’s when you find the energy to change your Army list or think about new tactics. That’s when you vow to think a bit more about your troop deployment before the battle starts or to figure out the best tactics for each unit in your army. How do I protect the more vulnerable units and how do I commit the big hitters?

Well my results of late have taken a bit of a dip. I’ve had a draw against Chaos Space Marines that I should have won. ( My necron Lord flew into a building and killed himself….not his finest hour); a draw against Space Marines, (that was a good result, a very tough battle); a loss against Dark Eldar ( the rot had set in, curse those Talos); a victory against Imperial Guard ( flattering, it was a new army, still in development) and the most recent battle, a loss against Chaos Marines. It was the most recent battle that has prompted me to revise my list again. Here’s why.

I was playing against Studge at the Warhammer World Club and he had brought along 1500 points of Chaos Space Marines, consisiting of 3 large Squads of tooled up possessed Space Marines in three Rhinos, 2 Defilers, A Demon Prince ( with lash of course) and Fabius Bile. The set up was Dawn of War and we were fighting over 4 objectives. As Studge only had 1500 points, I had to trim my army, so out went the Pariahs, 2 Immortals & a Scarab swarm. For the rest of my army, see my previous battle reports. I had first turn and so deployed two squads of Necron warriors to defend the two objectives on my side of the table. Studge went for a very aggressive set up with 2 squads of possessed marines & the Demon Prince as close in as he could get.


Learning point number one. Why was I so concerned to defend the objectives from turn one? I’ve got at least five turns to get to the objectives. Turn one should be about getting in position to cause the enemy the most problems, not give him a clear target! What was I doing committing both troops choices that I had so early?

Just to rub the point in, Studge rolled a six to steal the initiative and immediately sent his chaos horde rampaging forward. The Demon Prince lashed the nearest necron squad straight into combat with the biggest Possessed Marine squad. The necrons lost combat and were wiped out. I now only have one squad of Troops left and they’re next on Studges hit list. It was fair to say that I was rattled. In my turn, I had some luck with my Heavy destroyers. They rolled an eleven to give them night fighting range to see the demon prince and then rolled 3 hits and three wounds, none of which were saved. The Immortals also opened up on the Demon Prince and that was the end of that bad boy! However, my triumph was short lived. I then charged his Marines with the Necron Lord and two wraith squads. Just for good measure I piled in with the scarabs as well. This was a great way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I had forgotten that his Marines were drugged up to strength 6, so they gained instant kills on the scarabs, which put me three wounds down for every base killed. The result being that I lost combat with three of my Waiths down, all of my scarabs dead and my Necron Lord running away. It would seem that rather than drinking from the cup of Victory I would be enjoying a taste of that infamous American whine….’it’s game over, man’!

Learning point(s) Number two: Don’t panic, if things have gone wrong the worst thing that you can do is commit units for the sake of it. Choose your targets, The scarabs are to be used against units to either tie them down , draw fire or divert the enemy. They may be a cheap unit but don’t throw them away. Of course, it goes without saying that charging against a unit that will instant kill you is just a waste of time.


Studge then started his turn two. With no Demon Prince to lash my necrons he had to foot slog it towards them ( I forgot to mention that in the last turn, the surviving necron squad had made a tactical withdrawal, AKA ‘run like hell, there’s a monster coming’!) Fortunately, his defilers were on the other side of the table, so they were alternating between firing & running and not hitting much. His rhino’s were also still at the back of the table and worried about the Heavy destroyers shooting them up and so were moving cautiously towards my side of the board. The real action was back with the Possessed marines. They piled into the Necron Lord again and wiped out the remaining Wraith squad. However, all this was at a cost and gradually they were being whittled down by combat and dying from O.D.’ing on combat drugs.

By the end of turn four I had wiped out the two squads of possessed marines in the centre through combat and fire from the immortals, destroyers and the remaining Necron squad. The Necron Lord was the real hero. He was at his tubthumping best doing his Chumbawamba chant ‘I get knocked down, but I get up again……’ The Flayed ones had made an appearance and were threatening the Chaos Rhinos with the last Marine squad and Fabius Bile and one of the defilers was blown to pieces. The end game was going to be tight!

Learning Point number Three: The battle isn’t over until the last man is down! Keep fighting with what you’ve – focus on knocking out his best units and ignore the rest.


So the last squad of Chaos marines had to charge the Flayed ones. They just couldn’t ignore the threat that the Flayed ones posed, which meant my last squad of troops were in the clear. Well nearly, Fabius Bile charged into them but joy of joys, they not only held but valiantly fought back. The Flayed ones died under the attack from the chaos Marines but caused enough damage to allow the Heavy destroyers to wipe them out in the next round aided, once again, by the Necron Lord. The last Defiler had raced across the table and engaged the immortals. They were always going to lose that fight but they held for a turn.

If things were tight at turn four they were right on a knife edge at turn six. By now the necrons had killed every thing in the Chaos Army except the last defiler. The battlefield was littered with the wreckage of three rhinos’ , a defiler, the bloated drug ridden bodies of some 30 Chaos Marines and even Fabius Bile was history. I had taken one of the objectives with my necron squad and the enemy had nothing left to threaten it. The problem was that I was two necrons away from phase out and I had let my Heavy destroyers get too close to the defiler. With one last charge, it ambushed the destroyers and killed two. Fortunately, they were within range of the Lords Res orb and so on my turn I was able to roll the we’ll be back save & both got back up. Hurrah! I then charged the Necron lord into Combat. Surely with his warscythe he would save the day….He rolled one penetrating hit and one glancing hit….I just needed a 5 or a 6 to win the game. I rolled a 1….bugger! I was more fortunate with the glancing hit and immobilised the Defiler but with his last attack he killed three destroyers and this time there was no ‘we’ll be back’.

The Necrons went into phase out and the game was lost. To be fair, they took the view that their job was done and it was time to get back to the Tomb for some Necron R&R. Well, that’s the way I saw it.

Learning point number Four: Destroyers have got a range of 36 inches. Keep them out of combat, they’re for moving and shooting!


So the game was lost but in a most enjoyable way. Studge was a great opponent and we had a lot of laughs through the game as it ebbed and flowed. I also enjoyed the narrative that the game played out. Even the ending seemed appropriate. How am I going to revise my list? Well you’ll have to wait for the next battle…

Learning point Number Five: The best games are the ones that are fun regardless of who wins.

From Timpo to Victrix…54mm scale figures

As a youngster of about 9 years old, I had a large collection of 1/32 or 54mm scale figures. Of course they were toy soldiers really, but they were also lovely models and would stand comparison to much that is available today. The model soldiers or toy soldiers were made by Britains and they were beautifully posed and had all sorts of accessories. I had a small army of Second world war soldiers, a detatchment of Confederates, including cavalry, artillery and infantry, from the American Civil War and a large force of Medieval Knights and Ancients. I think the way it worked was that each Christmas my Brother and I would decide which soldiers appealed to us and we would put them on our Christmas list. We usually ended up having a swop up on Boxing day as our Parents didn’t always appreciate that we wanted opposing armies. So Pete had his own armies, usually different to mine, to ensure that there was no disputes over who had what.

That was all quite straight forward when it came to the American Civil war. Pete was the Union and I was the Confederates. I think the Second World War was fairly straight forward as well, I was happy to take the Axis Troops and Pete the Allies. The negotiations over the Medieval knights was a much more protracted affair and revolved around who would have the longbowmen ( the English!) and who would have the crossbowmen (the French….). Matters were resolved when Pete decided that he would have the Crossbow men as he prefered William Tell to Robin Hood. I think he was a bit sneaky as well, as the crossbowmen were kneeling down, so they were harder to hit with lego bricks. Yes, that was how we played our first war games. We would stand up our armies at opposite ends of the room and throw Lego at them until they were all knocked over. Last man standing won…..not much dispute over the rules here!



Our collections of Britains figures were supplemented by other manufacturers like Herald, Lone Star and of course Timpo. The Timpo figures weren’t quite as good as the Britains but they were cheaper and we could afford to bulk out our armies with these. So I when I saw that one of my suppliers had obtained a range of Timpo figures I had to have them in my shop. It’s true that they’re are a bit closer to toy soldiers than model soldiers but there are some interesting subjects that as far as I know just aren’t available elsewhere in 54mm scale and they’re still cheap! So if like me, you fancy going back to your childhood, take a look at my shop and see if there are any Timpo toy soldiers that you remember. They’re still worth having in a collection or why not see if a younger member of the family can be tempted into the world of toy soldiers with a few packs!

knights on horsesconfederayes

Just as I received my delivery of Timpo soldiers, Victrix released their new 54mm Napoleonic Peninsular British Infantry set. It contains 16 superb models moulded in hard plastic with optional weapons, arms & heads to enable you to produce your own army in unique poses. I’ll provide a complete review in a later blog, but this set me to thinking just how many soldiers I now have available in 54mm scale. There are ready painted Knights from Deagostini, Sets from A Call to Arms, HaT, Italeri and of course Airfix. You can now buy soldiers from the Roman wars, such as Hannibals Numidian Cavalry right through the ages to the Second World War to Timpo’s ANZAC infantry. As a child I would have been spoilt for choice with such a huge selection to collect. Fortunately, I still am……


Royal Mail: Britain’s worst company…..Actually it’s not…it’s very good

I’m sorry if you were expecting one of my usual kit reviews but I just wanted to take the opportunity to give another view of whats going on in the postal industry. This article is in response to the column in Saturday’s Times by Andrew Ellson, the Personal finance editor, who having had a very important document lost in the post, decided to go into print with his personal tantrum and write a vitriolic article about service provided by the Royal Mail.

I know a bit about the service provided by the Royal Mail and so I thought that I would give my perspective on the issue. If you haven’t already figured it out, I write this Blog in support of an online Model shop and an growing ebay business. I absolutely rely on the Royal mail to deliver to my customers and the stats from where I am sitting are as follows.

I have dispatched approaching 10,000 parcels in the last few years (check out my feedback on ebay, this isn’t a made up stat or unconfirmed urban myth that journalists like). Of those, no more than 12 have gone astray. That is the actual number of customers that have said that they have not received their item and investigation has confirmed that this is the case. To be fair, there are probably a similar number who, for various reasons, have never contacted me. There are also about half that number who said that they hadn’t got the parcel but it turned out that the parcel was at the local sorting office and either they couldn’t be bothered to collect it or the postie hadn’t put the required card through the customers door.

Now here’s the thing that fascinates me. Of the 12 missing parcels that I have claimed for, 8 were overseas. I wont go into specific countries other than to say the hotter the country, the more likely your parcel is to be late or lost. The exception being Australia, because they seem to be good at everything. Italy is particularly bad and the South of France is worse than the North. I base those views purely on the number of e mails and claims that I have to deal with.

As for late delivery’s, I suspect the Royal Mails’ record isn’t quite so good but take a look again at my feedback and the customer comments thanking me for fast delivery. Well, it’s thanks to the Royal Mail. My commitment is to post all paid for orders within one working day of receipt of payment and that’s what I do. The Royal Mail does the rest.

I too had a special delivery go astray this weekend. It was very annoying for my customer, who was relying on receiving the item and had paid

How to strip paint from Plastic Models safely.

I have been looking for a simple and safe way of getting paint off of second hand plastic models for some time now. Metal models are usually quite straight forward to strip down. Just put them in with some harsh solvent and you know that the paint will be removed and the metal model will be pretty safe. The only problem was that the solvent was usually quite harsh ( I know some guys that use brake fluid..not recommended!) and if you weren’t dressed in a full body chem suit there was a danger that you would disolve yourself. OK, I’m exagerating slightly but you get the point. Of course, you couldn’t possibly put plastic figures in these solvents as you would disolve your model as well.

So it was with some surprise that I found the answer in the wife’s Kitchen cupboard. Well actually, I found the answer when I caught Andy from Ibis Miniatures with his hands in the canteen sink apparently doing some washing up. This was a very strange event, as the boys from Ibis only tend to wash their dishes up once a month or so, and it was only the middle of the month. ‘What’s going on?’ I asked. ‘I’m just getting some paint off of these figures’ Andy replied. ‘What, with just water……’ At that point Andy gave me one of his whithering looks he normally reserves for opponents on the wargaming table. ‘No, Ive sprayed them with Fairy Power Spray first and I’m just washing the paint off.’ Sure enough, that was what he was doing and it works beautifully.fairy power spary

It really is as simple as this to use. Place your plastic models in a plastic bowl or container. Give the models a good spray with the Fairy Power Spray, making sure that you cover each model thoroughly. Leave for 20 minutes or so. Wash off in warm water and use an old tooth brush or similar to remove the paint from the model. Let models dry. Your models will now be ready to undercoat and repaint. The Power spray is quite safe to use so long as you follow normal sensible precautions and dont do anything silly like drink it or squirt it in your eyes. Pink Marigolds are optional. It costs just

Necron Genesis or How I Built My Necron Army part 2

Some time ago I started to describe my Necron Army and started with a description of my Necron troops. Well, here’s the next installment featuring my Necron Lords or HQ choices. I started my HQ with the Necron lord that was issued at the time of the GW Apocalypse launch. The Apocalypse supplement allowed you to field huge armies and was the first real expansion pack for 40K for some time. Necrons were not given a great deal of coverage in Apocalypse and I feel that they are somewhat underrepresented but the new Lord was a nice figure and had a ressurection orb so he was chosen to be the leader of my growing army.


I painted him in the colour scheme that I had developed for my army with the standard terracotta basing scheme and as well as the crystals supplied with the model, I added a few of my own ‘emeralds‘ to the base.

The next Lord was the Classic Lord, first issued when the original Necron Raiders supplement was published for the 3rd edition rules.009

Once again, I continued with the red, gold, silver, green, terracotta pallette so that he fits in nicely with the classic edition troops. For the sake of completeness, I then painted the original Necron Lord on foot, issued with the first full Necron Codex about 5 years ago. Yes, that’s the one that’s still in use now and well past needing an update…..rumour has it that it’s next year….we patiently wait, as all good necrons would!

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I changed the arm on this figure as I thought that having the outstretched arm palm down made him look a bit like a magician sprinkling magic dust. The new pose makes him look a bit more sinister and he looks as though he is goading his opponent to come and get some! I also made the metal ants on the base. They were supposed to be a representation of the mini or micro creatures that are mentioned in the phylactery war gear rule in the Necron codex. I had intended to start including these on the bases of other Necrons but they are very fiddley to make. They are made from a metal bead, fuse wire and the tail is a small piece of guitar string. I lost count how many times I stuck the pieces to my fingers with super glue and the whole model nearly found a new home at the bottom of the garden at one point, so I have postponed any mass modelling of the metal ants for the time being!

I had to have one of the limited edition Lords that were issued with the army deals. I managed to get one as part of a job lot of bits on ebay for a very good price. I decided to change the colour scheme slightly. This was for two reasons. Firstly, I had just finished painting the Night Bringer and I wanted a Lord that looked as though he was one of his gang, so to speak. The second reason is that in the Apocalypse Supplement there is a very good article about the Necrons that seems to hint at a Hierarchical order within the Necron hordes. I thought that a Colour change could be used to signfy his seniority.


Having built all the lords on foot that are available it was time to build a lord with a destroyer body. However, I just couldn’t build the standard version, I had to have the one with Tomb Spyders legs. This is quite a common conversion and very straight forward to build. It really is as simple as cutting the Tomb spyders legs and superglueing them into the destroyer body. I also extended the warscythe by combining both types of staff supplied with the kit. A bit of a tricky operation but the result is a more imposing weapon, always a good thing ……


The other modification was to add the scarab swam on to the base. The swarm is based on the swarm that is supplied with the Night Bringer model and I was lucky enough to have a spare piece (again, all bought on ebay as part of the same job lot that included the limited ed. lord). To make the swarm even more impressive I added some extra scarabs and topped the swarm off with a scarab with his claws outstretched. I also used a very simple moulding technique to produce lots of extra Scarabs to add to the base itself. I’ll cover how you can make these two simple projects in a future article.

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My final Necron Lord (so far….there will be more!) is a complete conversion based on a model that I had seen on a forum. It’s a necron wraith Lord that uses the parts left over from the Destroyer Lord Kit. I used Sculpy to make the body and added a few extras from my bits box and hey presto, a new Lord!


So that’s the HQ covered. In part three I’ll have a look at the elites that are in my collection, although I might just jump to Heavy support and show you how you can still use the Tomb Spyder body left over from the Lord conversion. I would n’t want you to think that I had just discarded it into the bits box!

James May is Spitfiretastic!

If you didn’t get to see James Mays’ Toy Stories last Tuesday then please go immediately to the BBC iPlayer site and watch it NOW!

I’m not sure how long the link will last, so in case you don’t get a chance to catch this programme, in this episdode, James May ( of Top Gear fame) explored the wonderful world of Airfix kits. He tried to convert a group of young kids to the hobby and actually did a very good job. The grand finale was putting together a life sized model of a spitfire and showing it off to Veterans from the Second World War. It was my favourite TV show of the week and not just because James did a superb job of advertising Spitfire kits!

The show was a lovley blend of humour, nostalgia and interaction between the generation that grew up building Airfix and the Generation that spends most of their time on their mobiles & nintendos! All delivered with James May’s laid back, knowledgeable charm. James explained exactly why building Airfix kits was so pleasurable to my generation; from the way that you learnt to patiently build a model and over come the challenge that each kit presented to how we used to blow them up with bangers or shoot them to bits with air rifles when we were ready to cull our collection! Oh! and you also learnt all about history along the way, as each kit came with it’s own set of written instructions and facts about what you were building. I think that I have mentioned before, the instructions in every kit started with the words ‘locate and cement…..’

So if you fancy a bit of nostalgia yourself, I have Spitfire kits in stock now.

spitfire spit stater

The starter set is a great introduction to scale modelling as the set includes the glue, Paints and a brush. The glue comes with a precision applicator to help ensure the glue goes on the kit, not on you and the paints are acrylic and they are water based, so you can wash your brush out in water. A great present for the newcomer or those returning to the hobby, suitable for age 8 upwards.

If that isn’t enough nostalgia for you, try the ‘Boys Book of Airfix’, subtitled ‘Who says you have to grow up’. I’ve reviewed this item before in a previous blog entry, you can read it here. It will make an ideal Christmas present for any fan of Airfix.

boys book

Talking of Christmas, why not do a James May yourself? How about buying an Airfix kit for one of your younger relatives and even better, sit with them on Christmas afternoon or Boxing Day and put the kit together. Make sure that you dont hog the glue and dont get too picky if theres a few badly aligned pieces! I guarantee that you both will have more fun than the usual Christmas routine of TV & snoozing on the sofa!