Oxford based, fan of books, odd facts, wit, food, sci-fi, good company, comedy, sleep, wargaming and all things geeky.


Closing Time Ladies and Gentlemen

It is with some regret that I tell you I have made the decision to wind up the Paint and Biscuits blog.

It was a tough decision, but in the end I have had to face the fact that, what with having a very young and all the other demands on my time I don’t have the time to keep up the blog. Rather than do a half-arsed job and stress myself out over not being able to to things properly, better to draw a line under everything and concentrate on looking after my family and actually getting the occasional toy painted – and maybe even play a game.

Anyone who will miss my slightly indignant musings on the gaming scene need not completely despair as I have been asked to be a contributing writer to the Shell Case Blog. So I will still be able to address the world with my elegantly crafted rantings on the world of toy soldiers without the associated administrative burdens.

Thanks to everyone who has read my posts, especially those who have commented and added to the discussion. Thanks also to everyone who has posted links to my posts to help spread word of my blogging efforts. I’m hugely grateful to everyone who has contributed to my having had just under 11,000 hits in a little under a year.

Take care, keep painting and may your dice roll high.

I’ll see you whenever Phil agrees to run an article of mine.


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Many congratulations to the Bear on his 1000th post!

The Wargaming Bear

I am truly stunned like really really stunned.

Never in my wildest days would I think I could hit 1000 posts when I started this blog never mind the fact I have been doing a post a day everyday for most of the blogs history.

Thank you all for keeping coming back and actually let hit some (in my humble opinion) amazing numbers.

To give you an idea I started in 2010 and since then I have doubled my monthly average year on year so my current average views already for this year is 300+ per day. Huge thank you.

The other thing that has kept me going is the HUGE amount of new guys coming out of the woodwork for this hobby. Some great miniatures, games and hobby-related gubbins means you could literally play a different game every day of the year and not be disappointed 🙂

So looking…

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Bear’s rather splendid Ork Meganobs.

The Wargaming Bear

Every Mega armoured Warboss needs a merry band of followers and mine are no different 😀

Number 1

Number 2

Number 3

Number 4

Number 5

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Bear’s thoughts on the new Stormwall Colossal for Cygnar in Warmachine.

The Wargaming Bear

So I have had the beast for a few days now and I have tried him with pNemo and pStryker (why? well thats my 2 Cygnar casters I have used so far :P)

But first some initial thoughts you have already had these hundreds of times already on the internet probably but I am going to go there just for completeness 😛

 – 120mm bases can be a pain to move around even with pathfinder. Obstacles are going to be painful very very painful (apparently Colossals & Battle Engines are incredibly clumsy).

 – He is a huge point sink it is amazing what your opponent can bring for the same cost.

 – Playing him at below 50pts is not worth it as like any really elite list (which is what a SW list is) means you feel every loss that little bit more than usual. OK he is a monster…

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Phil’s thoughts on the humble Rhino APC.



This grand statement was prompted by me building one last night whilst watching Battlestar Galactica – Exodus parts 1 & 2 if anyone’s interested – and how much I enjoyed building it. I worked out I’ve built at least 10 Rhino chassis over the years (with 3 more sat under my desk) and all of them very immensely satisfying. And here’s why…

It’s such a sublimely easy kit to build and, presumably, because the company churns them out like a veritable Forgeworld, the casting quality is almost perfect. In my experience the mould likes are few and far between. But moreover, it just looks ace. The simplicity of the design encapsulates both the efficiency and single mindedness of the STC principle and the Space Marines themselves.

The RH1N0 has been the workhorse of the Adeptus Astartes and the Imperium as a whole since the Great Crusade. They are a byword for reliability and as much…

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The Shell Case reviews Noble Armada.


It’s review time again and this time it’s the turn of A Call to Arms: Noble Armada by Mongoose Publishing. I first came across Mongoose when my brother and fellow Alliance member, @Chris_S_79 pointed me in their direction. Being a total sucker for anything with space ships I didn’t need much convincing to get in touch with them. And, thanks to their incredible kindness, this will actually be the first of two reviews, the other being Mongoose’s Star Fleet game. But more on that another time.


Noble Armada is a space opera in the truest sense. It has a fantastic back story, based on the Fading Suns RPG, that recounts the rise and fall of Empires and religions. And it’s so good to see a developer put as much effort into the background as they do the rules. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t quite keep track of who…

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Those fine chaps at Membraine Studios are running a couple of competitions on their Indiegogo page for Exodus Wars.

Competition details are as follows:

Competition 1
One random new contributor from the next 70 hours will be selected to receive ALL THE PERKS. Yes—all of them! 🙂

And because it’s not fair to only offer this chance to new backers:

Competition 2
One existing backer will be selected now to be upgraded to receive ALL THE PERKS.

The winners will both be announced at 10:30pm AEST (which is GMT +10) three days from now. Best of luck! 🙂

If you think the game should happen – and I for one think it should – then pledge your support on the Indiegogo page.

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I am humbled and delighted to be able to report another success in a Shell Case background writing competition.


That’s right another competition winner announced. God I’m good to you lot!

There were some really good entries, each with their own unique take on what it means to be a Space Marine. Unfortunately there can only be one winner and as it goes to Chris Spurgeon, a former Shell Case Shorts winner, for his outstanding background to the Rooks Space Marine chapter. Have a read and I think you’ll agree that Chris has a real talent for background.

Chris will be receiving a Space Marine Captain model painted by Hugo from Ichiban Painting and his background illuminated and printed our all nice and shiny.

Thank you again to everyone who entered, the entries really were of an exceptional standard so I’ll try to run others so make sure you enter.

The Chapter of the Rooks were founded in the wake of the infamous ‘Black Ledger’ incident. This…

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Phil muses on the dice that make our games what they are.


Yesterday lunch time Lee, of The Chaps, and I were talking about the game of Dystopian Wars I’d played against our friend Neil, also of The Chaps the night before.

As I detailed how, thanks to some truly prodigious dice rolling, I’d managed to inflict 2 critical hits on a cruiser with a single shot from a Zeno class’ particle accelerator, immolating it, we got on to the subject of dice.

Within Games Workshop gaming circles and The Chaps it is accepted that red ones roll higher. If ever there’s a critical roll to be made you break out the red dice. Equally if you’re rolling for leadership you roll white ones. And rolling red ones all the time uses up all their specialness.

At the end of this 20 minute prattling session we concluded the following:

1. Dice will betray you if you don’t treat them right. Unless you…

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“Oh god, it’s so unnecessary!”

So, over the weekend the new sixth edition of Warhammer 40,000 was released for pre-order by Games Workshop.

My initial reaction was ‘nice cover art’, and then the rather major issue of the price tag intruded noisily into my consciousness.

Be fair, I’m surprised that GW didn’t just make the book £50, what with it being price-riding season again over in Lenton, but no, this weighty 452-page volume is a snip at a mere £45.

But the question must be asked, do we really want to pay forty-five of our Earth Pounds for a wargaming rulebook?

Admittedly, two years ago I shelled out the same amount of money for the eighth edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, so I’m not judging anyone, but since the summer of 2010 two things have happened: 1) I became a father and as such now have only a pitiful allowance to support my plastic crack habit so that we might feed and clothe my infant daughter; and 2) I’ve encountered the products of quite a few other games, including their much, much, much cheaper rulebooks.

This isn’t a price rant, I have no sympathy for those who seem genuinely affronted that a large, international , publicly traded corporation should behave like the business it actually is. I know that this is an expensive hobby, but really, really, £45 just for the rulebook?

I’m sure that the book is exquisitely well produced, generously illustrated and presented in full colour throughout its 452 pages and from that point of view it is probably well worth the price tag. But are those really the attributes we want in a gaming rulebook? Don’t we just want something that will tell us the rules and that won’t drag us down when we are trudging through the snow to and from games?

Games Workshop have a justified reputation for pushing the envelope in terms of what it is possible to provide to the wargaming customer – usually in the form of ever larger and more elaborate kits for us to buy. But in this case I have to wonder if they are pushing the limits of the possible in an entirely inappropriate direction. I’m not sure there is anyone out there who genuinely decides what tabletop game to take up based on the sumptuousness of the rulebooks.

Given that future 40k Codices are probably going to follow the route taken by Warhammer Armies books and go all swanky and hardcover, WFB and 40k gamers are going to have a lot of weight to cart around, and very little of it will be all that relevant once to have minis on the table and the dice have started to clatter. Pretty pictures are all very well, but the primary purpose of a rule book is to tell us the rules, not to allow us to dazzle our friends and colleagues with the production values of said book.

In contrast, for the price of the new 40k rulebook I can purchase both the new Dropzone Commander rulebook from Hawk Wargames and the new edition of Firestorm Armada from Spartan Games, and still have some change left over to get some actual toys. Admittedly, neither book will be as elaborate as the 40k book, but I can be confident that they will tell me the rules of the respective games.

And again, I will have some spare cash left for toys, and surely that’s the point. Companies sell game rules as a means of encouraging us to buy miniatures. As if GW are now charging us so much for rules that there’s nothing left for the shiny then something has clearly gone wrong.

As for the Collector’s Edition, all I can do is echo the words of Homer J Simpson when confronted by a talking astrolabe in Tis the Fifteenth Season – “Oh god, it’s so unnecessary!” I’m sure it’s very spangly, but paying twice the price won’t make the rules any clearer, stop them becoming obsolete any quicker, or make the coffee and BBQ sauce stains disappear. And I doubt Fiona Bruce and the team from Antiques Roadshow will ever be clucking with barely contained excitement over a wargaming rulebook someone found in the attic. Of course, maybe this can be taken as a sign that gaming is becoming part of the mainstream, which has been using ‘collectors edition’ to mean something pointlessly ostentatious. I just hope the bragging rights are worth the extra forty quid.

Maybe this is all part of an attempt by GW to position themselves as being at the ‘prestige’ or ‘premium’ end of the market. Maybe they are trying to portray themselves as Marks and Spenser’s compared to Mantic’s Asda. Personally, I’ll stick with the mid-range Sainsbury’s of Spartan and Hawk.

I talked in my last blog post  about how I was taking the change in editions as an opportunity to finally break from 40k and GW in general, and seeing the book has not changed my view. It’s not simply the money, it’s that I no longer feel I get the return for my investment in terms of value and enjoyment. Other games just don’t make buying and collecting quite so much of a chore and don’t give the same sense of pressure to keep buying more and bigger stuff no matter what. I look forward to a life free from the frustration and anxiety of wondering when (if ever) my army’s codex will be redone.

So, I think it’s so long to 40k for me. A few books and toys I know I will never use have already gone on eBay. The Brazen Angels will probably end up being a cool painting project I will dip into now and then.

I have the rulebooks for Dropzone Commander and the new edition of Firestorm Armada on the way, plus I still have the new version of Dystopian Wars to get to grips with and I have managed to get hold of a full pdf of the Heavy Gear Blitz rules. I shall have plenty of cool gaming stuff to read without having to worry about the 40k rulebook.