Monday 15 January 2018

The Birdman of lesotho

I had a lovely time in Nottingham , meeting Jonathan Hartman ( Shibboleth ) Nigel Woods , Jeremy Lueth ( Grimpulp) Issac Tobin ( weirdingway ) Jake Ozga ( Bruticus ) , PDH , Tim  ( Fulgrim ) Henry South, kristian Simonsen ,Helge Wilhelm Dahl and John Blanche

First up I would like to thank Jonathan , for inviting me , even though i didn't participate in any of the build up discussions and I did not make any models until the week before the game !  I am a last minute sort .. ;-)

Its been an age since i gamed at Notts and I was thankful of the opportunity  to spend time with folk who enjoy and  "get " the hobby in the same way i do.

So this is not a bat Rep and my pictures are pretty poor..  but i thought i would share a few images of the day from my perspective.

I was playing npcs , who were either zombies servitors or feral servo skulls, but even with that small remit , loads of cool narratives emerged , tbh i don't know what was going on in the rest of the board as the board was divided up into three distinct levels.. and player warbands moved towards objectives on different levels via lifts and ladders. It felt fitting that the zombies and servitors i was playing had no idea what was going on around them though.. and i played in the character of that .

These huge gaming Events are spectacular to behold in person , its almost too much to take in on the day and you need several days to recover from them, this game was no different in that respect. The amount of incredible models and scenery was staggering ..  each player had brought either a dozen or so plague zombies as npcs and a warband   not to mention other personal models to share . , The models themselves were of a caliber i can only dream of attaining. The paintwork and conversion work , were literally the best i had ever seen. And that is not even mentioning the board.

Jonathan has created a gaming piece of narrative art that could sit alongside any movie prop, so much detail , so many options and so much love has been poured into this work it grabbed you from the get go. I saw a constant stream of hobbyists approach him to offer there Congratulations on the board or just to be close to the genius behind it.

It amazes me that hobbyists consistently push the boundaries of what is possible within the game and hobby..

It gave the same impression as when i first saw Bruticus's under hive.. such grandeur and such passion , or Migsula's Pylgrim stairs .. the ambition is overwhelming, these boards are not just gaming board pieces , they are works of miniature art , and need to be recognized as such. .   I know we often see brilliant battlescapes and dioramas in White Dwarf , and we maybe used to seeing fantastically painted models on the net or in publications , but its good to remember that THESE things are made by lone hobbyists not teams of professional designers getting paid. ( not to take anything away from those spectacular pieces ) but the price alone would put most folk off a project like this not least the skill/ time it would take.. or dedication to complete the work. I can say from experience that these projects are a abour of love and a gift to the community and hobby in general.  So for all those reasons i congratulate Jonathan  and his friends on completing his board then arranging to travel half the world game on it with complete strangers !! what champion !

as an aside i have to mention what a fabulous job Jeremy Lueth did of Gming the overall game , his experience, loud voice ( comes from organizing Apoc games apparently ) charm and winning smile , made everyone feel at ease . easily the most professionally gmed game i have seen , and it had to be with so many differing narratives . 

So after a particularly stressful wait to find out if Nottingham train station was open after a fire, I embarked on the pilgrimage. I had made a few more models for the game , as i wanted to spend some time  on a single miniature. My muse was Birds and i decided i wanted to create a narrative of  lowly janitor who spent his imperial life shooing birds from the rafters with his electro prod and cleaning up bird poop .. a disgruntled figure who loathed the skull headed birds he was in charge of ..  For a darkly narrative wist i that it would be funny if the poor soul had contracted the plague that had riven lesotho 2/12 from the bird poop he cleans up .. so tragic ! now the birds use him as a shambling feedbag!

An ancient cyber owl stares intently at its former master

In weird kismet , i happened across this lovely chap on the way to get a taxi to Warhammer World .. !

he kindly gave permission to photograph him and his Owl called Kim . I was told i could stroke but to be weary of the talons..

how awesome 

Jonathan's table creation was inspired ! several small detailed sections that could be placed together in various ways to create any type of layout , long corridors or small tight spaces.. it reminded me of  a 3d space crusade..

 The narrative story telling present in each section and over all was impressive, debris littered the station andGenestealer cult propaganda posters hinted at a wider unseen threat , and i am sure i spied a clawed hand emerging from a pipe. 

The fiend of the show.. DR DEATH ! responsible for the plague virus unleashed  , 

Mr Blanche's  beautifully painted zombified orgryn .. I love that he has used the solar auxillia ogryn head on it .. such an  effective Conversion !

 a simple servitor attempts to maintain an overburdened power conduit flow to  the door systems, oblivious 
to the threats around him.

my fave pic of the day, PDH's strident Inqusitor mid stride

*unbeknown to them one of those inquisitorial servo skulls would find love this day..

Joined swiftly after by Tim's Inquisitrix.. the luminosity of the  metals on her , which really have to be seen in person to be appreciated was magnificent . Her skin tone, south Asian makes for a welcome change on this model.

 Botanists fall victim to the virulent virus and shamble towards the noise of gunfire.

The menagerie  sqauks with cybernetic static , and the fluttering of feathers

Jonathan mentioned that the Arch ways were custom printed in the style of the millennium falcon..

a fascinating read about the conceptualization of said falcon can be found here :

There is rarely an awesome game that Models by the Iron Sleeters don't feature  , this beautiful creature by Mikko was no exception !

what a stunner !

the game itself was largely  several warbands fighting against hoards, and i mean hoards of plague zombies..

there were at least eight different groups of zombies on the board .. all fabulously disturbing..

my favorites were Jake Ozgas slimy zombies.. and they were actually sticky to the touch..eugh..

There were so many lovey touches to the board i could have spent the day photographing just that alone..

this was my favorite..  Hive sump fish .. awesome!

 The manhole in the aviary was Grimpulps destination to descend to the 2nd floor

he ended up meltabombing the cherubym nest tower and blowing a hole into the substructure.. the debris was then placed on the floor below blocking an important passageway.

3rd floor
the top floor of three. Each floor had elevators on each level that were swapped out when moved up or down to avoid having to move the models themselves .. brilliance..

 One zombie fails to see the fan is turning and gets chopped to tiny morsels whilst lunging for tims henchman.

the inquisitorial servo skulls desperatley try to avoid being captured by an overly snappy feral skull.

the feral skull clings to the trailing cable of its chosen partner.. mistaking  a cold calculating death threat in vox static as a pledge  of undying love ..

 PDH's Inqusistor powers straight into the shambler , making light work of the foul heretic she then climbs the ladders next to the elevator down to the second floor

 A heroric servo skull flames Tims retinue after he shoots at the working servitior.

 meanwhile on level 2
Blanche's beast  faces off against weirding ways hazmat naviagtor retinue guy .. and  unsurprisingly wins 

 grimpulps Rogue trader retinue faces stiff opposition as he tries to descend to the next level

 Go Fish ! 

a rogue trader grenade sends zombies swimming  , but awakes a huge monstrosity , who spend the entire game pounding one of his henchmen into a wall , 

hangings cables adorned corridors giving a great sense of claustrophobia .. he told me that he built the board and then knitted them all together with wires.. the attention to detail was seriously impressive..

Jonathans retinue leader , reminded me of the toecutter from mad max !  and proving great minds think alike his cyber familiar was .. well. erm... familiar ;-)

 Issac's navigator carried some fancy equipment.. opening stasis fields and throwing a bloody vortex grenade!! first time i had seen one used ..  

at one point some one flamed into the stasis filed filling another board with flames at the other side !

Nigel wood's mechanicum literally had balls of steel  

the paintwork was soo good on the Lesotho Board .. models mates rust effects , dyes , oils , chipping .. masterclass i would say..

This servitor nearly spent the entire game , plugging and unplugging a socket , when placed we didn't realize that there was no exit from the room.. haha 

Henry South' s gangers arrived fashionably late to the gangfight   but made up for it with scrags!

. models were the finest painted models i had ever seen.. i loved the guy on the right converted from a zombie.. soo good!

the amount of kist used must have made  GW financials sky rocket  hehe 

love this pic

 Man of the Match for me , was grimpulp's ( Jeremy lueths  rogue trader henchman , who dutifully placed himself in front of a huge zombie so his master could escape..  he spent the whole game pressed against the wall , unable to kill but also unable to be killed because of his huge storm shield.. what ledge !

the zombies were constant, every one killed re spawned at the beginning.. the war bands really had to fight hard and press on if they were to complete objectives..

the rogue trader pack orgryn let loose with a cannon mauling an entire corridor to mush..

 the rogue trader pushed hard to get to the menagerie and then killed everything in it within seconds.. 

oh except for the wise cyber owl which knew better than to attack a group of heavily armed naval arms-men

 i have no clue what is happening here on floor 2 haha 

 the Cherubym nest is meltabombed into oblivion.

Issac mentioned the classic syd mead stylings of the the board were in part  inspired by his  own Navigators.
I thought his models really suited the environment that had been built.  and it was a treat to play in such a well designed environement

Love labours lost 

together at last , the feral servo skull follows a binary distress signal down to level 2 , to find  his true love 
in dire straights.. emergency cpr is performed via electrodes ( we rolled 5 out of a roll of 5/6 )

The inquisitorial skull springs back to function , continuing its job of protecting its mistress oblivious to the wants or desires of the the feral skull scrote.. not even a thank you !

as the game began to wrap up , weirding ways navigator released his vortex grenade , eating up whole sections of the station, a foul witch was drawn to the chaos unfolding but was unable to stop the mighty Navigator leaving Lesotho two twelve with his goal complete.. what ever that was  ;)

Congrats to him 

that's all i got folks.. shoddy phone camera let me down mid game and had to be recharged .. time to invest in some proper camera tech for future games..

thanks again to everyone involved particularly Jonathan  and  John for the invite ..



I will add any more links to images of the game as the come up ..

Kristian's write up is now done  ..and its awesome!

facebook closed group is now open .. if you really want to see behind the curtain


  1. <3

    So chuffed that you came this weekend. Your cherub nest was phenomenal, almost uncannily resonant of John's drawing. Great write-up, too.

    1. Yeah felt good to be amongst friends ._ write up is a bit rusty, but thanks

  2. What an awesome event! I am glad you were able to take part in it; your birdman and his flock are wonderful! Having been following the event develop via Instagram, it is great to see a detailed account of some of the things that happened. Your recap posts like this are always a joy to read! Thanks for taking all of the pictures and taking the time to write this up!

  3. Hey Eric , yeah it was a privilege , and i honoured to be given the opportunity particularly since i haven't been involved with any of the months and months of planning . I find it difficult to engage with the hobby on daily basis , i work in phases , all or nothing . As such it felt cheeky to participate alongside other hobbyist s who had spent months on the project . So thanks for reading , it kinda justifies my involvement . After so few games played over the past few years , i feel like this was a great first step back into social gaming . Just not sure how relevant blogs are , or write ups like this._anymore._

    1. I was really excited to have found this blog (missing your old blog). I just reread your ages of Darthur; it is one of my favorite 40k narrative projects ever, and i am glad there is a place to find it. Certainly in a time where more transient social media platforms seem to be the way of most are expressing their hobby efforts, it can be hard to justify the more involved aspects of maintaining a blog. Ultimately, I still think there is a place for blogs, since they are better documenting more substantial information. Instagram is just a single picture and then it is gone. Something like you did here provides so much more, and is a much more fitting legacy of this event and your work as a whole.

    2. You make good points ._ the blog was never supposed to be about numbers but about opening a window onto my hobby ._ that hasn't changed . Cheers

  4. Fantastic write-up of the event! I was hoping there would be a blog post or two like this around the web of the event. Thank you for putting it together. The ratio of photos and text are really good, allowing the reader to fill in the gaps with their imagination!

    1. Also a side note, I believe the red clawed, skull faced maiden was created by Mikko from Iron Sleet and not Migs. I am not sure if Migs had any models at the event.

    2. Ah.. My bad thanks for the correction.. I knew it was from a sleeper.. Lovely model all the same.

  5. I agree with all you ssid about these bosrds, these games, and most of all the people behind the terrain and the inspiring and phenomenal midels! I played in the Alabaster event and it was the most incredible time and experience. Well done to you and to all. Cant wait to see Jeremy and Jonathan so i can hear all about the trip and the game! Thanks for sharing!


    1. Alibaster looked fun! . Yeah talented and charming to boot. The board sat next to a ww zone mortalis board ,that i adore , but the lifts and the smaller foot print made me think zone mort had a challanger ._it was so compact , yet lost non of its versatility or charm. I could see these boards really become a thing , Jonathan has laid the foundation and made a brilliantly designed prototype for modular indoor gaming .

  6. Absolutely phenomenal! Thank you so much for sharing this, I'll be drinking this in for weeks.
    The imagination and work that has gone into this is truly astounding and is a credit to everyone involved.
    Glad to hear that you enjoyed yourself Neil and hopefully it will inspire you to push on with future projects and share more of your stunning visions.

    P.S. Don't even think about stopping blogging! I was mightily miffed when you stopped before and am so happy that you've started up again. Blogs still have an important role to play in our hobby (IMO) and while I realise that they can be hard work and very time consuming, they are veritable treasure troves for hobbyists that lean towards the more visual and roleplaying end of the spectrum.....especially for people like myself who don't do Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr.

  7. Hey mate, fair enough ._ i guess there is room for all. I only wish i could have spent more time with it all . G W took warbands for photography , so maybe at some point they will reappear in print , well notmine though , i Didn't want my rushed zombies in print and Mr Blanche now owns my nests.

  8. Thank you for posting these photos and words. This is inspirational. Makes me want to pull out all my model bits and be a bit daring with conversions and paint jobs! No mistakes, only happy accidents! ;D

    1. Thanks for taking time to comment ! Yeah inspirational doesn't quite do the thing justice . Jonathan really upped the ante with these boards .

  9. That was an awesome game to be part of! Thanks for the write up. It was great to meet you and everybody else. I'm very happy to see how things we and others make keep inspiring people.

    1. Really great meeting you too. Just wish i had longer to chat with everyone and scrutinize the amazing models .

  10. Excellet story Neil! I love this kind of writing, short, full of mood and leaves it open to be interpreted in different ways. Always an inspiration. The game seems to have been a blast. We will have to work hard to top it in June.

    1. Cheers Alex , June can't come soon enough for me.. ;)