Sunday, 29 September 2013

Games Day UK 2013

 Well, like many others today I headed off to Birmingham for Gameday UK 2013.

The general theme for the whole day seamed to be Forge world, and Horus Heresy heavy. This was great for me however, being a Heresy player my self. The amount of new models on show was immense, and some stunning displays, Including a Zone Mortalis Imperial Fists VS Iron Warriors battle. And the stunning Drop site Massacre, White Dwarf did not do the Drop site massacre justice in its latest issue. I was going there expecting a huge Dark Elf themed Day, But there was very little Dark Elf stuff on display, Well compared too the HH and Forge World items anyway.

The Que for Forge World was massive, and when I saw it I was glad I pre ordered Massacre. As I walked right in picked up my copy, And was also able to get Alan Bligh to sign it for me with minimal waiting time. As every one else was still trying to purchase there copies.

Saw some of the new Supplements being released including the new Chaos Gods limited edition 4 book set. and the Farsight, and Black Legion supplement hard back editions. All the Model Sculptors from Forge world where out in force and willing to chat to us all about the new creations.

There was a huge Fantasy flight games stand there with there licenced GW based games, Horus Heresy, Relic, Talisman, and the stunning RPG book sets based on the Black crusades and heresy's.

Had most of the Evy Metal Painters doing live painting, as well as a sit and paint masterclass session using a supplied space marine figure, and following the instructions from the iBooks HOW TO PAINT SPACE MARINES.

Got a few pics, unfortunately, not all turned out that great, Models in Glass units with bright lighting........ war gamer problems.

So anyway onwards with the pics.

 New sicaran Venator

New Machanicus Models


Dread claw Drop Pod

Lorgar???????? Oh yes.

Forge world Seminar shed light on what is in Book III for the Horus Heresy.

New Dark elf Models

Is that Castle Greyskull?

Drop Site Massacre

The Next Supplement release for C:SM

The £7000 Ultramarines chapter on display

Fire Phoenix

Crashed Thunder Hawk Realm of Battle tile

The New Tau Riptide, NOT A FAN.

Chaos Gods Limited edition Supplements

Black legion Supplements

Eavy Metal Painter showing off some edge high lighting

A New Side Scrolling Beat' um up, Featuring an Angry Space marine with a chain sword and bolt pistol, looked a lot of fun.

A new Armageddon PC game, It was hard to  tell what was going on, I'm assuming its a Turn Based Risk sort of game.

And the thing that put a smile on my face today, Sighed copy of Massacre.

And a Massive congrats to David Soper, for winning the Slayer sword with his Scourge Diorama

Oh and did I forget to say something............. what was it now................... Began with something like Lerper....Lurper....Lorpa......LUPERCAL!!!!!!!

Thats right the 5th Primarch being released Is Horus Lupercal, the Warmaster.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Interview: Ben Counter

Had the chance to Interview Ben Counter, Black Library Author and the creative mined behined novels such as Galaxy in Flames, Daemon World, Grey Knights, and the Soul Drinkers Series, as well as many other Books and short storys. For a List of his Books check out Ben's Lexicanum page.  BEN COUNTER

Grumpy Wargamer: How did you get to write for black library? Was it a case of them approaching you for your previous work? Or did you ask to write for them?

BC: This is a bit of an odd one as the route I took into writing was pretty unusual. In the 90s I was a teenage Warhammer fan with a  particular love for 40K, as well as having ambitions to write professionally. A short story was published in White Dwarf one moth – I think it was 'Skaven's Claw' by Bill King. I immediately wrote a story (it was about a Dark Angel) and sent it off to White Dwarf. Skip forward a couple of years and the Inferno! short story magazine is being planned, and the editors must have gone through a filing cabinet of all the stories they had been sent to find any that might be useful. They found mine and suggested that while it wasn't in the right format, that I should try submitting plotlines for short stories as they were actively looking for new writers.

After about half a dozen submissions they finally found one they liked – 'Daemonblood', which was in issue 9, I think, and which became my first professional sale. Three more stories later and I broached the subject of submitting novel ideas, and the response was positive. Of the two I sent in, one was 'Soul Drinker', and after a very thorough reworking it was commissioned. I was extremely lucky as I wanted to write Warhammer fiction at a time when GW was actively looking for new writers to populate the Black Library's publication schedule.

Grumpy Wargamer: Tell us a bit about how you would start to write a novel. Are you given the plot line to write about, and you have to fill in the blanks? Or is it a case of you come up with a story, and black library find a way to fit it into one of the many book series.

BC: Books generally come about one of two different ways. The first is when a specific bit of the background is to be turned into a novel. Malodrax is an example, in that it's about a piece of Lysander's background that is already sketched out in the codexes. Van Horstmann is another. That's fairly prescriptive as the characters and major events are already determined, and the creative process is weaving a compelling story around them.

The second way is more freeform, where the subject might be decided but the plotline itself be undetermined. This was the case for the Soul Drinkers and Grey Knights series. Major characters and events are up to me. There is a lot of back a forth with this kind of book before the editors sign off on it and I can go ahead and write a first draft. Books in a series tend to work this way. The Black Library plan quite far ahead with their publishing schedule so they know what books they need when, and commission to fit the slots they have coming up rather than fitting a story into an existing series.

Both approaches are driven by the Black Library's editors. They have a very aggressive publishing schedule and a good idea of what books they want next. Usually I'll ask them what they want next and I'll get a brief about the next book and start writing up plotlines pretty soon after the previous book is put away.

Grumpy Wargamer:  Any advice for up and coming authors that would like to write novels about the hobby they have grown up in. I know for me, I am struggling to write these questions. It seems like you either have it or you don't kind of affair to me, but does practising help. I once tried to write a short night lords storey. I struggled to get passed one page before I ran out of things to write. So how you go about writing a whole series like your soul drinkers is a misery. But for the guys that can actually write. What are there best options?

BC: The first thing I will always say is that writing Warhammer stories and novels is just like writing any other novel or story. That is, the standards are just as high. There is a perception among the general public that licensed fiction is somehow not worth as much as non-licensed fiction, or that the writers don't have to put in the same amount of work as with a 'proper' book. My editors definitely don't share that belief. You're telling a story and aiming for a very high quality of language and expression, just like any other author.

There are a million and one resources for writing. I found creative writing nightclasses to be extremely useful when I first started writing as, if nothing else, it forced me to write something every week and learn to produce different types of writing. Books on story theory are also really good stuff, to help the focus on crucial elements like character and conflict.

In a practical sense, read a lot and write a lot. I can't give much specific advice about how to get published because my route into writing for the Black Library was pretty unusual, but read lots of different kinds of book (not just books you know you'll like) and write every day, even if it's just jotting down plot ideas. You get better by practising so you have to practice the act of writing – no one likes to hear that because it's a lot of work, but it's the truth.

My favourite piece of advice is 'writing = ass + chair'. If you don't sit down and actually put words on paper or on the screen, you're not writing, you're just thinking, and everyone in the world does that all the time anyway. Writing isn't a mystical process where ideas magically translate into words on the paper – it's a cool job but it's still a job and the discipline and practice of it is as important as the ideas.

Finally, plan ahead with your writing. An editor will usually insist on a pretty complete plotline before commissioning anything, so get into the habit of planning a story so you're never stuck not knowing what to write next. I don't know if there's such a thing as writer's block, but there is such a thing as failing to plan ahead and it'll stop you dead in the middle of the story if you don't put in the groundwork first. Again, not a very sexy piece of advice, but it's true.

For writing Warhammer fiction in particular, what I always try to do is identify a core theme of the setting and spin that out into a plot. For instance, one of my favourite themes is the question of how far we should go to be victorious. This is a key theme of 40K because the Imperium does horrible things, not least to its own population, to 'win' against the forces preying on it. The stories about Lysander are based on this theme, because Lysander's character is that he will do whatever it takes to win. I put Lysander in situations where he had to really think about whether he was justified in the decisions he made – the theme became the conflict, and the conflict drove the story.

In summation (and to answer your actual question, heh heh) practice does help, so does planning, reading, writing, classes, and knowing some theory. 

Grumpy Wargamer: Ben, The two Missing Primarch's, Gork' and Mork' right?

The two lost Primarchs are lost – no one knows what happened to them. As far as I know that includes the GW studio, too. It's a cool little background nugget that was planted way back in the first Rogue Trader rulebook and I love that it's never been paid off. It's an example of one of the things that makes Warhammer 40K particularly awesome, which is that it's infinitely big.

The 40K universe is big enough to contain all the stories that could possibly be told about it, from having an effectively infinite number of planets (the Imperium itself doesn't know how many – the Administratum keeps losing them) to hosting whatever secret cabals and conspiracies a writer can come up with. There isn't even a concrete number of Space Marine Chapters – there are a thousand of them, but is that literally a thousand or a 'poetic thousand' meaning 'too many to count'? The strength of Warhammer 40K's themes means that a lot of facts simply don't need to be tied down to actual numbers, and the two lost Primarchs are an example of that.

In my head, Gork and Mork are psychic gestalt entities created by the massed activity of all the galaxy's Ork psyches. In a very real sense the ARE Orkdom. Whether that's what anyone else thinks that is another question – it's that ambiguity about a lot of the background, like the nature of the warp and daemons and all the nasty secrets about how the Imperium really works, that makes it so fascinating to write in.

Then again all sorts of crazy things could happen in the Horus Heresy series, so everything I just said might be void...

Grumpy Wargamer: I know you buy the odd model to paint up, like the silver wraith night I have been shown pictures of. But what else are you into GW armies, X-wing, AD&D?

BC: I am a massive miniature painting nerd. My most prized possession is a Golden Demon award, 3rd place in the Large 40K Monster & Vehicle category from Games Day Germany 2007. I won it for a Nurgle Daemon Prince, one of my favourite models of all time. I've been painting for a  very, very long time – it's my zen thing, I get to chill out and focus while creating something. I can happily sit and paint for hours on end. I haven't painted competitively in a while, and I find myself wishing there were more opportunities to do so.

I can hardly ever get actual armies together, I usually paint single figures. I have cobbled together a small Grey Knights army and another of Dark Angels made from the Dark Vengeance boxed set, as well as a tiny Eldar army which I put together just to see what an army looked like when it was painted in Alclad chrome metallics (turns out it looks pretty cool). I have a bad habit of starting big projects and never finishing them, and I'm trying to get better at painting model tank and plane kits so I can apply the techniques to miniatures too.

I'm also a big RPG player. I worked on the Dark Heresy core book and have run that sometimes – I also enjoy Call of Cthulhu, various White Wolf games and Dungeons and Dragons, preferably 4th Edition (which I know will be controversial...). I've recently got into board games and Magic: the Gathering so I can get my gaming fix while painting individual projects rather than whole armies. For M:tG fans, I'm a red mage and proud.

Grumpy Wargamer: Now I have to extend this invite out to you as I know you are local, but how about getting some soul drinkers painted up and joining my clubs Badab War campaign in the New Year. 

I'd have to get any army together first, but you never know. It would let me show off whatever I've created recently. The New Year sounds like a doable deadline, so perhaps, just perhaps, I'll scrape something together to terrorise the galaxy at my whim.

Grumpy Wargamer: Any free Plugs you would like to add?

Many thanks for asking me to do this interview, it's always cool to share things with readers. I'd also like to give a big shout out to the Bunker Games & Comics in Havant, to the Portsmouth On Board gaming club and the chaps at GW Portsmouth.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Codex Spacemarines: White Dwarf Pictures.

Here are some pictures for the new White dwarf released Next week. Including pics from the Bat-Rep.

And More interestingly the two new  Pre Heresy characters, Kor Phaeron and Erebus.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Codex Space Marines: Codex Covers.

 The Codex Space Marines Covers have apparently Been Leaked. Its pretty Promising, And I don't think anyone will complain About them at all. I am Especially Loving the Black Templar's Cover.

Whether these are just going to be dust covers or not, Is unknown. I am Thinking This is the way GW will do it.

Welcome To Commorragh

Been thinking about The army list I "want" to own or should I say the list I'm working towards for my Dark Eldar.

Based Upon a 3000 point list. (3k points is normally what I build my Army's to) I have come up with this list.


Plasma Grenades, Splinter pistol, Close combat Weapon


9 X Incubi and a Klavex

These will Act as the Guard for my Archon, plus provide an deadly close combat unit.


10X Kabilite Warriors Plus Raider with Flickerfield, Night Shields, Splinter Wracks.

10X Kabilite Warriors Plus Raider with Flickerfield, Night Shields, Splinter Wracks. 

10X Kabilite Warriors Plus Raider with Flickerfield, Night Shields, Splinter Wracks.  

10X Kabilite Warriors Plus Raider with Flickerfield, Night Shields, Splinter Wracks. 

Fast Attack

10 X Hellions.

9X Reaver Jetbikes with Arena Champion and 3 X Heat Lances.

10X Scourges with 4 X Splinter Cannons 6 Shard Carbines.

Heavy Support

Razorwing Jetfighte,r with 4 X Shatterfield Missiles, 2 X dark Lances, and a Splinter Cannon

Razorwing Jetfighte,r with 4 X Shatterfield Missiles, 2 X dark Lances, and a Splinter Cannon 

Forge World Tantalus,this will act as My Archons Assualt Craft carrying Him and the 10 Incubi.

And now For the Allies.........................



Eldar Farseer on Jetbike


5X Wraith Guard With a Wave Serpent


3X Windrider Jetbikes


WraithKnight with Suncannon, Scattershield and 2 X Starcannon's