The Four Strands Modeling, Painting, Gaming and Storytelling


Golden Rhino 2016 Display Board


My forces are marshaled for war.  Tomorrow: the Golden Rhino Tournament at Highland.  1500 Highlander, three rounds.

I am ready.


Tau Kor’or’vesh Kir’shashvre “Castellan” escorts



FINALLY.  This squadron has been plaguing me for months.  These Castellan escorts have almost as much detail as larger Forgeworld Tau capital ships in less than 1/4 the area.  The three color scheme doesn't make it easy.  Finally, the Tau script on the bases took forever because even though there was only one word per ship, it was much harder than the big ships with multiple words.  I had to do it OVER and OVER and I got sick of it.

I am not looking forward to the 8 Wardens, even though Kir'la is only a 5 letter word.

However, I am taking a break from the Tau.  Coming up next is some battle reports from Highland in prep for this year's Golden Rhino tournament.  After that, BIG projects for the Azure Flames which are in various stages of development.  This is an exciting time!  Stay tuned!


Grimfang Scrappaz Support Staff

Two posts in one day?  Of course!  I need to get ready to show Blood Bowl to the Highland Gaming Club!  The Yella Runts (Cheerleaders) yell at the crowd to get them pumped!  The Coach Runts (Assistant Coaches) communicate with the players via a system of glyphs on banners or metal signs.

Next: Blood Bowl at Highland!


Blood Bowl Coach – Warboss Grimfang da Lotz

Warboss Grimfang da Lotz slouched in his scrap iron throne, in the bowels of Mount Grimfang's deepest cavern.  Bio-luminescent fungus barely gave off enough light to outline the silhouette of Nugget, Grimfang's lucky snotling.  None of the other ladz were around, so Grimfang didn't feel the need to hold in his disappointment.

"Nugget, wot we gonna do today?" he sighed.  Nugget, hearing his name, perked up.

"Dat's right, we's gonna fight Stunties.  Jus' like yeserday an' da day before an' da day before dat."  Grimfang sighed.  "Ceptin' da Stunties barely ever fight anymore.  We ain't seen a proppa battle fer a long time."

Nugget pounced on an errant squig, ignoring Grimfang.

"Ever since dat Stunty tol' us dat dere's no more war cuz of dat new fing, wot wuz it again, Nugget?"

"Ang ang ang ang ang." Nugget replied as he chewed the squig.

"Yer, Blood Bowl, dat's wot it was.  Somefing about runnin' up an' down a field, muckin' about.  Don't sound like a proppa WAAAAGH, do it?"

Nugget toddled over and offered Grimfang the remains of the squig.  Grimfang rubbed Nugget's head because it was lucky, everyone knew that.

"On da uvver 'and, it sounds like the only way to get a proppa scrap anymore." Grimfangs voice rose, with renewed optimism.  "Yer, plus since everybody's playin', ya get to fight lots of fings, not just Stunties.  You's right, Nugget!  Dat sounds like da best idea!"

Nugget collapsed under the noogie barrage he was receiving.

"GURSHAK!" Grimfang bellowed.  "GET YER WURFLESS 'IDE IN 'ERE!"  Moments later, Gurshak Ripgrot, one of Grimfang's biggest Nobs arrived.

"Yer... wot is it, boss?" Gurshak stammered, making sure not to make direct eye contact.

"Get all da ladz workin!  Ain't no time fer a nap!  Get all da loot, an' all da stuff wot da Stunties lef' fer minin' silver."

Gurshak smiled. "We gettin' ready fer a fight?"

"BETTER!" Grimfang yelled.  "WE GETTIN' READY FER A SCRAP!"


Warboss Grimfang da Lotz is the latest Warboss in a long line of Orcs to hold the title.  The original Warboss Grimfang conquered the Mount Silverspire silver mine from Dwarfs, long ago.  The Orcs renamed the mountain after Warboss Grimfang.  However, constant fighting with Dwarfs (and among themselves) led to a high turnover rate on Warbosses.  Each new Warboss renames themselves Grimfang, so that they are seen as the rightful ruler of Mount Grimfang.  Orks can only count to five, so each Warboss after the fifth is Grimfang da Lotz.

However, with the introduction of Blood Bowl, there's just no fighting anymore.  At least, not enough to satisfy the current Grimfang da Lotz.  So, he has led his ladz out of the mountains, and onto the Blood Bowl pitch.  Calling themselves the Grimfang Scrappaz, they are ready to smash any team in their way!


Warboss Grimfang da Lotz is a Games Day exclusive Warboss, in pewter.  I added a putty baseball cap, just like my other coach, Lord Kroak.  Grimfang's colors are blue and silver, like the Scrappaz.  All jewelry is painted Mithril Silver to represent the wealth of the Grimfang silver mine.

Next: Cheerleaders and Assistant Coaches!


3rd Drop Pod – Just in time for the tournament!

First, big thanks to Lexington who gave me this Drop Pod after he decided to sell his Aurora Chapter.  *sniff*

Like my other drop pods, I did three layers of weathering to make it look like it had re-entered an atmosphere and made the weapons modular (which isn't hard).

UNLIKE my other Drop Pods, I did not install the central console or gravity harnesses.  Guess who's riding in this?  Seriously.  Guess.  Do it.  Really imagine it.



7th Assault Squad, 4th Company and Final Tournament WYSIWYG

It's done!

My final 5 man assault squad is done.  I really like how it turned out.

The Sergeant was an old pewter Space Marine Sergeant.  I picked him up at a Gen Con long ago for a dollar.  He had no right hand, just a pin sticking out as if someone was going to pin a new gun there.  I added a Bolt Pistol and a left arm.  This model actually has an earring and a ponytail!  That's OK, it fits right into Azure Flames fluff, as they recruit from all over the galaxy.

Also, see a close up of one of the flamers, as his face came out pretty well.

Finally, there's a shot of the finished Display Board for the tournament with all models painted, based, and WYSIWYG.  I hope to get a perfect score in the painting competition!  The painting categories are graded from 1-5, and the categories are as follows:

1: Overall Synergy: Does the army look uniform?  As I have a list drawn only from one chapter, the only standout is Leonidas, and that is because of his fluff.  He still fits in with the same basing format.

2: Quality of Painting: is it detailed?  I try to follow the "every model a character" ideal.  I fall a bit short, but every helmeted model has jeweled eyes and little details stick out, like the pistol holster for the new Assault Marine sergeant.  I made sure to ink the cracks to get them to pop.

3: Basing: is the army based and on proper bases?  All my bases are GW standard, and are based, except the flying bases which are an exception.

4: Unique Conversions: are there any?  Here is where I am a bit lacking.  Although the Ironclad and Predator are fully magnetized to be any version, the judge told me that they were looking for visual conversions.  In this case, only Leonidas and the Librarian on the Bike are "converted."  Leonidas is a standard Space Marine plastic torso with a head from the Space Marine Captain box.  The hammer is from the old Salamanders Chaplain Xavier, and the Heavy Flamer is a Dreadnought piece.  Finally, the backpack is the Chaplain Xavier backpack, converted to have a flame in the back.  The Librarian is a pewter Librarian with a Force Axe, sawed in half and put on Biker legs.  I added a putty tabard at the crotch, and the cape is Malus Darkblade's cape, in pewter.  The old pewter book from the Master of the Ravenwing in Land Speeder is on the front, while the side has a shotgun from the old Scout Biker pewter pack.  He doesn't use it; it just looks cool!

5: Display Board: do you have it?  I do.  It looks great!

I hope to get a 25 in the painting competition, and I hope that this list is competitive in the Tournament, despite all the cheese in 40K.  We shall see!  Next, the Tournament itself, and possibly a new Drop Pod courtesy of Lexington!  Stay Tuned!


Custom Tournament Display Board

Here's the super secret project I've been working on:

As an optional part of the upcoming tournament, you can enter the painting competition.  One of the things that gives you extra points in the competition is a custom display board for your army.

Here's a shot of the display board in use, before it was painted:

The Assault Marines in the front will be replaced with the new ones that I am working on now.  I'll give you a pic when the Assault Marines are finished.  As a bonus, the surface is removable, so I can make another surface and re-use the board for a different list!

Here's what I used to make it:

  • 22x17" wall-mountable corkboard
  • 28" rolled cork
  • Steel carpet tacks (black)
  • Games Workshop black primer
  • 2 1/3 pots Goblin Green (now Warboss Green) Citadel paint
  • Citadel PVA glue (for water-resistance, you can use Elmer's glue if you don't care)
  • Games Workshop flock
  • Testors Dullcote Varnish
  • Painter's tape
  • X-acto knife
  • Water based ink pen (that can wash off of a sealed miniature easily, I used a V5 ballpoint in red)

Here's how I did it:

  1. Measure the interior board part of the corkboard and cut a piece of the rolled cork to fit.
  2. Spray the rolled cork with water on both sides and weigh it down with heavy books protected by plastic bags.  After a day, flip the cork over and do this again until the cork is flat.
  3. Place all of the minis that you want to display on the cork, arranged the way you want them, and trace them with a water based ink pen (that can wash off if you accidentally get it on your minis).
  4. Use an X-acto knife to CAREFULLY cut out the spaces where your minis will go.  Take breaks often, and do it on a table.  I did it on the floor and it tired out my arm from the weird angle that I was working at.
  5. Coat the edge of the corkboard with painter's tape.  Note: mine was a cheap corkboard and some of the finish came off.  If you want to do this, I suggest a corkboard with a METAL frame.
  6. Use some scraps from the cork to hold some carpet tacks (I used 8, you can use however many you want)
  7. Spray the corkboard and cork piece and tacks with primer.
  8. Spray the corkboard with Dullcote varnish when it is dry.
  9. Paint the corkboard and tacks.  (I used Goblin/Warboss green, you should use whatever matches your base.)
  10. Mix 50/50 PVA glue and water, apply it to the board and tacks and apply the flock. (use whatever basing method matches your army, obviously)  Drybrush the flock if you need to, after it dries for several hours.
  11. Varnish the cork and tacks.
  12. Put the cork on the board and secure it with tacks.  Your display board is now complete!

Next: Assault Marines and a TOURNAMENT!  Stay tuned!

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Epic Orks aplenty, 3000 pt. Teaching List complete!

You saw my previous post, with the squid.  That massive undertaking left me little time to finish the 3000 pts of Epic Orks that I promised to show my peeps in Highland tomorrow.

Just under the wire, I completed the last three formations.  Job's a good 'un!

Next: see these models (and my Space Marines) in action as my Highland peeps check out Epic Armageddon!  Stay tuned!


A Modest Cephalopod Proposal – Reaper Bones Unleash the Kraken!

For more than two years, I have been incredibly lucky.  The most wonderful woman I have ever met has somehow come to love me as much as I love her.  We both agreed that we're going to get married at SOME point, but we've been distracted by the usual suspects.  Poverty, illness, painting models, Lou Gossett, Jr., etc.

A bit more than a year ago, Reaper Miniatures began their second Bones Kickstarter, and like a sucker, I threw a small fortune at them.  You know how it is.  One of the add-ons offered was called "Unleash the Kraken!"

It was perfect.  The love of my life has a POWERFUL ken for cephalopods.  I ordered it and waited... a lot.  Thanks China.  But it arrived and I have been dutifully painting it.


This masterpiece serves two purposes: a belated xmas present, and an official declaration to the world of my intent to marry her.  She loved it.

Love is wonderful, but it's not what this blog is about.  Being the first Reaper Bones mini I've actually BOTHERED to paint, I'd be remiss without a thorough review of this product, and a complete breakdown of all the steps that led to this final, precious artifact.


The Reaper Bones Miniature:

Beautifully sculpted, I followed the instructions on the Reaper Bones Preparation Guide.  I washed the squid gently in soapy water, and dried each piece.  The Beak, mouth/head, tentacles, body, ship, and mast holding up the squid are all seperate parts.  Each part was carefully cleaned with a diamond file.  The bottom of the body had some Reaper branding words that took a lot of elbow grease to scrape off.



I did a pre-assembly of some parts.  The support mast was glued to the ship using super glue.  Gaps between the ship and mast needed a bit of green stuff, which I modeled into barnacles to cover it up.  I painstakingly arranged the tentacles about the mouth/head, and used more green stuff to join them more perfectly.  It was joined later, after some parts were painted.



As per the Reaper instructions, I (for the first time) used no primer.  At first.  The green stuff demanded primer, so I used a Reaper black paint on primer.  As for the rest, the paint did stick... mostly.  I found that 95% of the surface area of the model held paint with one coat.  Some very small areas refused a second but paid heed to a third.  Paint took an INCREDIBLE amount of friction to remove with rubbing, just as good as if it had been primered.

The ship was my first test to see how the paint stood up.  I started by coating the entire ship with black.  I then heavily drybrushed it (almost a wet brush) with Fortress Gray.  I inked then entire ship with Army Painter black ink wash, and then hit the whole ship with another lighter drybrush of Fortress Gray.  I then built up color with a drybrush of Snakebite Leather.  The next layer was Snot Green, but only in places that face "up" where sunlight could reach algae.  Ropes were given a much thicker coat, as algae would gain a stronger foothold in a softer surface.  The eagle bowsprit was given a very light drybrush of Vallejo brand gold, to simulate fading gilt.  Barnacles were picked out with Fortress gray, and washed to darken the insides.  The shelf corals were hit with a custom blend of paints to make them a salmon/coral pink.

Next, I tackled the body.  Colossal Squids tend to be orange, so I built up from Mechrite Red, to Blood Red, Firey Orange, and Blazing Orange.  The belly was Bleached Bone washed with 50% Citadel Chestnut Ink and 50% water with one drop of dish soap (saved from at least a decade ago!).  It was then drybrushed Bleached Bone and then lighter with White.  Armor plates were Shadow Gray drybrushed Space Wolves Gray.

The head came next.  The interior of the mouth was similar to the body.  Teeth were black with a slight highlight of Shadow Gray.  Face was similar to the upper body.  The eyes were a challenge.  I started black, and when I added white I left a circle of black around the edges for contrast.  Vallejo brand teal for the eyes, and a mix of various paints to create a different teal for some eye freckles.  I then did a circle of black for the pupil.

Tentacles were built up similar to the upper body, and spines are black with Shadow Gray.

The interior of the beak was bleached bone, with a small painted on orifice inside.  Exterior is black with Shadow Gray highlights.

Finally, the Squid was assembled, touched up, and sealed with Testors matte varnish.


The final verdict: Thanks to Reaper's master sculptors and the skills I have honed over 14 years, this is my finest work.  There can be no better proposal, at least not with my skills.

...and by the way, she said yes!

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Gothic Demo at AFK – Stephen’s first game!

Before I begin with the battle report, I must show off a painting technique I saw at AFK.  A player there had a fantastic pre-heresy mostly Forgeworld Imperial Fist army.  He has a painting technique for the right-angled grooves in Space Marine vehicles that I found intriguing.  Here it is:

I had always thought to highlight the edges, but here you see that the edges are DARKENED.  I think it looks neat, and may try that on a future project...


Recently, I've been cross-posting on the Battlefleet Gothic facebook group page.  (for those here from that, hi everyone!)  Stephen has long been a fan of Battlefleet Gothic, collecting a massive Imperial Navy fleet with a smaller Chaos fleet alongside it.  He's even painted it all!  However, for twelve years, NO ONE HAS PLAYED BATTLEFLEET GOTHIC WITH HIM!

That changed last night.  Stephen came prepared with a nice 1500 point list, but having never played, I convinced him to play my (all too familiar) training scenario.  Luckily for him, he had the ships to play the Imperial Navy without borrowing any of mine!


Battlefleet Gothic training scenario - Modified Cruiser Clash

Bozeman - Chaos

-Slaughter class cruiser Swiftboat of Truth

-Slaughter class cruiser Traitor's Blade

-Carnage class cruiser Overkill, Chaos Lord (+2 Ld), re-roll.

-Murder class cruiser Domination

Stephen - Imperial Navy

-Lunar class cruiser, Commander (Ld 8), re-roll

-Lunar class cruiser

-Tyrant class cruiser

-Gothic class cruiser




Turn 1 - Chaos

The Traitor's Blade (left side pictured) goes on Come to a New Heading to maneuver around a gas cloud.  Other ships fire at the Gothic class and take down its shields.

Turn 1 - Imperial Navy

The two Lunar class ships fire torpedoes at the Traitor's Blade.  Poor brace save rolls cripple it.  The Gothic and Tyrant fire torpedoes at the Carnage, but good brace saves protect against all but one damage.

Turn 2 - Chaos

Murder class and the Swiftboat of Truth go on Lock on, and damage the Tyrant class once, collapsing its shields with a lucky crit!  The Murder also turns its guns on the Lunar with the Imperial Commander, while the crippled Traitor's Blade attempts a boarding action.  A poor roll gives the Traitor's Blade two more damage.

Turn 2 - Imperial Navy

Tyrant class disengages.  The Gothic goes on Lock on.  Good brace saves protect the Carnage with the Chaos Lord and the Murder class.  The two Lunars gang up on the wounded Traitor's Blade, with one going on Lock on.  Ironically, the Locked On ship does nothing, while the braced Commander's ship does one more damage!

Turn 3 - Chaos

The Traitor's Blade disengages (whew!) while the other Slaughter class, the Swiftboat of Truth goes on Come to a New Heading to get behind the Gothic.  Other ships maneuver.

Turn 3 - Imperial Navy

Lunar without the Commander goes on Come to a New Heading, however the Commander's ship fails a Command Check, even with a re-roll!  The fleet wheels to face the remaining threats.

Turn 4 - Chaos

Slaughter class goes on Lock On while the rest go on Come to a New Heading to come about.  Fire gives the Gothic class FOUR damage, even through Brace!  Critical causes another Shields Collapsed result.

Turn 4 - Imperial Navy

Gothic disengages.  Commander's Lunar goes on Come to a New Heading while the other Lunar Reloads Ordnance and fires, leaving the wave just shy of the Slaughter.

Turn 5 - Chaos

Slaughter takes one damage by flying through Torpedoes without bracing, and gets up close and personal with the Lunar that fired them.  Brace saves all but one damage but it it critical and damages the Port side weapons!  This is TERRIBLE.  Other Chaos ships Come to a New Heading again.

Turn 5 - Imperial Navy

Commander's ship Reloads Ordnance, and the other Lunar repairs its Port weapons, too late to put them to use...

Turn 6 - Chaos

Murder goes on All Ahead Full to clear a gas cloud, but the Carnage fails a Command check, making it unable to Lock On!  Fire does no damage to the Lunar, despite three ships giving it everything.

Turn 6 - Imperial Navy

Commander's ship fires Torpedoes at the Chaos Lord's Carnage class, crippling it!  Despite having functional weapons, the other Lunar, being on Brace, holds fire to prevent the Torpedoes from having blast marker problems.

Turn 7 - Chaos

The fleet uses Come to a New Heading to wheel around.  The Murder class can't hit the Lunar that doesn't have the Commander.

Turn 7 - Imperial Navy

Commander's ship Reloads Ordnance while the other Lunar Comes to a New Heading.  Commander fires torpedoes at the Chaos Lord's crippled Carnage, but fails to hit.

Turn 8 - Chaos

Carnage with the Chaos Lord disengages.  Slaughter Comes to a New Heading.  Murder fires on the Lunar without the Commander aboard, but can't do much but lower shields.

Turn 8 - Imperial Navy

Imperial Fleet disengages.


Final Score

Bozeman - 104.5

Stephen - 111.25


WOW!  What a nail biter!  It came close at the end.  Stephen is super excited to really play this game, as he's wanted to for ages.  I'm glad I could oblige.  Hopefully next week I'm not working so we can play a different mission.

Next: a super secret project, some Epic Orks, and more Rules Compendium updates!