This is a big post (lots of words and pictures) so grab a glass of port, a cigar and someone to massage your head and shoulders and enjoy.
Firstly a covid-19 update.
My family and I are all good. The girls are all keeping themselves busy with hobbies and games etc. If they start getting annoyed with each other they just go off and do their own thing for a bit.
It’s work as usual for me, so far at least. Customers, if I see them, keep their distance. My wife may have to live at the ambulance call centre because her job is absolutely vital and, believe it or not, there’s only about 200 staff members (back of house) for the ambulance services here in Victoria Australia. Ie. Call takers, dispatchers and managers etc. So far she is coming home after each shift though.
The country is in stage 3, which means we can only be outside for exercise (once a day), to go to the shops, work or if you need to provide care for someone.
I’m not worried about getting the virus but I have become a zombie…
Haha, actually I was just a makeup model for my eldest daughter who was practicing for her drama course. I suggested the blood and actually used Blood for the blood god paint from games Workshop hahaha. Worked a treat.
Onto Hobby stuff!
Behind the scenes of my Gigantic Rorke’s Drift project I’ve been chipping away at more gear for my, forever expanding, 31st Stouthearted Praetorian army.
I don’t know what you guys do but before I start painting I get myself a strong coffee, tea or beer, put on music (either my “warhammer playlist” which consists of over 500 songs of movie themes, game themes, dark electronica, metal, Viking music, Gregorian chants etc OR old time rock n roll from Buddy Holly to the Kinks). This gets me kind of pumped and right in the mood to paint. What’s your ritual?
I’m a MASSIVE fan of the movie (The John Wayne one) The Alamo and, as you know, Last Stand type battles.
Not only is The Alamo movie based on true events during the Texas Revolution (1835-1836) but it’s also a story about showing courage in the face of insurmountable odds. Much like Rorke’s Drift and the battle of Camarón.
Against the odds/David and Goliath type stories really intrigue and appeal to me. I think courage is an inherent thing. Either you have it or you don’t and I wouldn’t blame anyone for not having it in the face of certain doom. However, to be able to dig deep in times of despair is something I find quite awesome.
Of course courage can be shown in many, different ways and not just in the extremes of battle. Take for instance the fires that ravaged my country at the beginning of the year. I constantly heard stories of people helping wildlife and firefighters fighting to save homes while their own homes burned to the ground. Incredible.
The most courageous people I’ve ever met, who I am lucky enough to call my close friends, are a salt of the earth couple who’ve had far too much shit thrown their way. However they keep on keeping on.
The Alamo was a Spanish Mission/Compound which still stands today and is now a museum. Famously, Ozzie Osbourne was busted pissing on it (horribly disrespectful) and was arrested. When he got out of jail he went back and pissed on it again. (Mildly amusing).
The movie, the building and, of course, the story was the main inspiration behind me wanting a fort or Garrison for my Praetorian Guard Army. After all every man needs a castle.
The Garrison for The 31st Stouthearted Praetorian Guard is called…
FORT HARLECH (named after Harlech Castle in Wales). The Song, “Men Of Harlech” was sung by the welsh in the movie Zulu. I’m still not 100% if there was much singing going on at the real Rorke’s Drift though.
I decided that the entire layout of this fort/garrison project would be quite big and, therefore, had to be modular ie able to separate for storage reasons. Even the tiles aren’t necessary but sort of helped with the initial plan.
Here is the, very rough (I’m no draftsman), sketched plan.
I spread the whole project over four 300×300 (mm) cork tiles.
Tile one would hold the Keep/Bastion with outer sandbagged barricades.
Tile two would have an old and ruined section that has been barricaded and fortified. This area would also act as a landing zone for a Valkyrie. (Aircraft).
Tile three and four would be a heavy defence line.
I also wanted to include a gate that was movable. I went with a similar approach that the Mad Max two (The Road Warrior) movie went with. Instead of a bus though, I used a shipping container on rails that is able to be hauled backwards and forwards to allow entry and exit for troops, supplies and tanks.
I wanted canon positions too.
The sketch doesn’t show this as it was a bit of an afterthought but I also wanted a redoubt.
Lastly I wanted an area for Bromheads tank to park (tile 3).
So here’s the aerial shot to compare to the sketch.
Let’s get into the breakdown.
The “Bastion” from game’s workshop is an old and simple kit but a nice one so I decided this would be the central building to the garrison. The “keep” if you will.
Here’s what the original looks like.
For mine I went with a drab white with some battle damage including a large chunk missing from the parapet.
I also gave the keep a rear door.
The front door gained a more interesting entry with the addition of small walls on either side and an lamp overhead.
The ruined section, on tile 2, was just slung together but was fun to build and paint. Obviously a bit of a weak spot for the whole Garrison too as it’s defences aren’t exactly solid. I figure enough guardsmen lined up will act well as a human shield though *insert evil laugh* Fresh Meat To The Grinder!!!! I also used some of the ruined walls for another, smaller section on tile four. (Bottom left in the aerial pic).
The Wall Of Martyrs from GW would act as a good solid defence line for the south end of the compound and also for the redoubt. They were fairly quick and fun to paint. I added some light spatters of blood to give the idea that guardsmen have been severely wounded or have lost their lives recently while manning the defences.
The canons dotted around are from Victoria Miniatures and were easy to assemble and paint.
The sandbag barricades are from Baueda miniatures and are really nicely detailed resin pieces. I have a box load but only needed a few pieces for some of the defence lines.
The Container/Gate thing is from GW and I used sprues for the rails and yes it actually does slide back and forth hehe.
As mentioned, it’s all modular (nothing stuck to the tiles) so I can use all the bits and pieces for whatever I want and how I want. I just felt, for the project, it would make sense to approach it like it was just one big garrison.
Alright you’ve been patient hehe now here are the photos.
Veteran Praetorian Guardsmen manning the parapet of the Keep with Colonel Holton watching the goings on.
Lord Mayall and his Co-Pilot preparing to board a Valkyrie.
Praetorian Line Infantry watching the horizon on the south wall.
Bromhead and his tank preparing to leave Fort Harlech via the container-gate.
A Praetorian sniper takes aim from his position in some ruins.
Captain Caine mans the Redoubt with a select few Praetorian Guardsmen.
Veterans man the north wall and some canon positions.
Ox guards the front the door to the keep.
Militia rush to the East wall to help Priest Silus
Back when I painted Lord Mayall
I knew I needed a plane. Otherwise a pilot without a plane is just a man or woman haha.
I was going to go with something a little more classic like a Bi-Plane but I’ve painted a couple of those over the years so I wanted something more impressive and solid. A tank for the sky! Then it hit me, not literally, A Valkyrie from Games Workshop. Perfect and pretty obvious too as it’s a flyer, specifically, for the imperial guard. Haha.
As you’ll see I went with an open hull so you can see the pith helmeted gunners. I painted the inside of the hull, or is it called the fuselage, first because, obviously, once it was put in place I’d have a lot of trouble getting my brushes in there. Due to this I took some shots before putting it all together so you could see some of the details inside. Usually I don’t think ahead like that so bravo ME haha.
As Lord Mayall flies the damn thing I decided to glue shut the canopy to the cockpit and paint the glass like it was tinted. Otherwise you’d A: see it was empty or B: see some other goon in there and I can’t actually squeeze the metal Lord Mayall into the cockpit… sheesh.
I’m particularly happy with the “nose art”. Not hand painted but hand picked haha. I was quite chuffed with myself when I thought of having the old school nose art and I think it gives the aircraft a lot more character. I’m also pleased with the red and blue as it matches the tank and ties in with the overall colour scheme of the whole army.
Another thing I’m happy with is the name, Zulu One. It’s a mix of two of my favourite movies, Zulu and Rogue One. Plus, of course, it ties in with the theme of the army as well. PLUS it’s just a cool name for a plane.
So there you have it. Quite a big post with a lot to get through but I hope you enjoyed it. I tried to make it snappy and fun to read.
Needless to say I had an absolute ball planning, building and painting all this. It was good to finish off the veterans too. I’m really pleased with the Bastion and the defences but I think my favourite piece is Zulu One. So chuffed with that lovely flyer.
Just for fun here are even more pix haha.