20 Year Hobby Blogging Anniversary

While collecting my list of recommended hobby blogs, I noticed a number did year in review and anniversary posts. I did a year in the blogosphere retrospective but I don’t think I’ve ever done a blog anniversary post for Musk’s Miniatures…

While collecting my list of recommended hobby blogs, I noticed a number did year in review and anniversary posts. I did a year in the blogosphere retrospective but I don’t think I’ve ever done a blog anniversary post for Musk’s Miniatures.

Musk’s Miniatures started as a spinoff from the original Muskblog, so I could join the From the Warp blog network if memory serves me correct. But even before Muskblog there was Muschamp.ca and before even that I had a homepage, in fact it was because UVic were going to take down my old content that I finally registered and paid for my own domain. And despite everything I’ve kept too much content online, which has to give me one of the oldest continually maintained Warhammer 40,000 fan pages.

So inspired by Rob Hawkins and others I decided since my hobby blogging exploits have hit the big two oh, even if every post isn’t in one single blog, most are in WordPress or on a webpage I’ve carefully maintained and coded, I’m declaring victory over the Internet and the haters and took the time to type up a retrospective of my time spent in the hobby.

Back in the Day

In the beginning, there was no blogosphere, no Twitterverse and certainly no Facebook. There was however email, eventually the world wide web and in between that the usenet. I remember rec.miniatures but what really took up a lot of my time online in the 90s was the 40K mailing list, the Primarchs themselves were even subscribed. It was there that the Diseased Sons started to take off. Originally I was known more as an ork player, because I was forced to be by Owen, Paul, Thor etc.

One piece of content that was typed up while a UVic student was an origin story for the Diseased Sons. I should probably give it a fresh edit as it has changed little since the 1990s even if the rest of the Warhammer 40,000 lore and fluff has. Search engines however reward new content, but every now and then something old will become popular again.

Also played during the 90s was Necromunda in Yellowknife no less. I actually played in Duncan, Victoria and maybe even Ottawa. I used to be reasonably good at Necromunda and Bloodbowl. I like the skirmish scale games.

While running a campaign in Yellowknife I started a “Necromunda Times”. I also wrote some house rules which were ultimately published in the Citadel Journal. They never even fixed the typos. I never did get my promised free copy, so Owen gave me one, after he spotted my name in print. It must be at my mom’s place somewhere.

I looked through an archive of Citadel Journals I found online, but couldn’t find my name, saw some other familiar names from the mailing list like Dave “Squid Brain” Handy and Tim Huckleberry, but Owen spotted my name so it had to be an issue in 1998 or 1999.

Update: I may have been published in Gang War

Sometime after publishing this post I decided to spend money on a new laptop, partially so it would play my favourite computer game series better, Sid Meier’s Civilization. I took some ribbing from the gaming group, right up until I pointed out they spend $1000s of dollars to play Warhammer 40,000, but of course that is different. Anyway this morning when I fired up Mail, it imported messages I thought were long lost, including one from Warwick Kinrade:


I'm the current compiler/ editor of Games Workshops irregular Necromunda magazine Gang War. I was surfing for interesting Necromunda articles when I came across your scenario on Gary James Necromunda website. 

Would it be Ok for us to us the scenario in a future issue of Gang War? 

For this you'd get a freebie copy of the magazine. 

I realise this is old stuff, but we still like it, and Necromunda seems to be still going strong with players, so Fanatic Press are looking to continue supporting the game.

Thanks a lot

So I may have not been published in the Citadel Journal, instead I was published in a different magazine put out by Fanatic Press. And I never did get a free copy from them, but Owen did find it and give it to me, and they did leave in the typos and the physical copy should be in my mom’s storage room, I’ll try to dig it out next time I visit.

Here is an excerpt from my version of the Necromunda Times which used to be online, I still haven’t finished painting my Escher gang, but I have painted at least one test model.

Gargantuan Gwenivere Captured

The leader of the D-Cup Debutantes along with two of the gangs best fighters, turned up missing after the fight for the Archeotech horde. A juve named Mammoth Mary swore she saw the unconscious forms of the three Eschers being dragged from the battlefield by an Orrus Spryer! The girls have vowed revenge and are now hiring underhive scum to mount a rescue attempt.

The Necromunda Times


Nostalgia is a powerful force in the miniature wargaming hobby, why else keep re-fighting the Battle of Agincourt or Gettysburg? Older hobbiest are perhaps trying to recover their lost youth or they finally have time and money to afford a large army of painted miniatures. I was actually in and out of the hobby several times due to school and work but also other stuff. However I always kept my content online, so after double checking that it had actually been twenty years I started planning this post.

A few posts back I used an old photo as a header image. That was the true impetus for this post. The digital photograph was taken over twenty years ago, the models and paint jobs in the picture were even older. Before 2002 I didn’t have a digital camera so what you had to do was take a photo on film and scan it or even just scan your miniatures directly on the flatbed scanner. The other option was to get someone who did have a digital camera to take pictures of your miniatures. I think Dean took some for me while I was living in Ottawa in 1997.

I still have most of my old models, such at the Rat Ogre pictured to the right. I think my snotlings disappeared in the 90s under mysterious circumstances and I may have lost models during various moves, perhaps some orks or other old unpainted models, plus my INWO cards seem to be missing. I can’t rule out someone walking off with something, I know I’ve lent people things only to never have them returned. Maybe some things will turn up when I finally get all my stuff out of my mom’s house, I know my collection of old White Dwarfs and other old gaming books and magazines is in her attic.

Having convinced someone at UVic to let me login one last time, I have my entire old webpage including the old miniature photos I posted online, such as the one to the right. Since 2002 I probably have every photo of a miniature I’ve ever taken and every now and then I dig back through Apple Photos for an image, such as the Escher ganger above. I also have a better photography setup now for taking photos of miniatures, though critics still criticize, despite that I’ve posted lots of old miniatures to Instagram for #ThrowbackThursday.

So with a final hat tip to Rob Hawkins I’ll try to find a single post and picture from 2002 until 2022 to highlight for all the new readers and old. Unlike George Santos I actually dug up proof that 2002 was when I started to take hobby blogging more seriously, so look on my works ye mighty and despair!

2002: Calgary Grand Tournament

The big focus of 2002 and likely the reason I finally started posting more hobby content online was I registered and attended my first Grand Tournament in Calgary of all places. Previously I’d attended local 40K tournaments in Victoria and even one in Ottawa, but I’d never done a diary or a journal for a Warhammer 40,000 campaign until 2002.

You can read how I did and I should have pictures from that event and of the army I took. First time I ever flew with a miniature case, previously I shipped my army across Canada on a Greyhound bus in a gun case as seen in the header image.

2003: Vancouver Grand Tournament

The next year Games Workshop expanded their tournament circuit even further and they came to where I was actually living at the time, Vancity. There was a new Chaos Codex with entirely new options so I painted a lot trying to improve my painting and overall score from the previous year.

Once again I journaled or blogged as the kids would say now-a-days, so you can read both how I did and all about the models I converted and built. I believe I finished third in painting losing to Bryce and Kelly Kim if memory serves me. A picture of my army commander appeared on the Games Workshop webpage. I saved the exact photo, but I don’t remember Dirty Steve taking it but it should have vintage 2003 metadata.

2004: Japanese Plague Marines

In 2004 I actually lived in Japan. I was invited to play Warhammer 40,000 on a US Military Base but I never did. There was a Yahoo group that I joined and when I came home for Christmas I took back some unpainted miniatures and a limited palette of paint back to Japan. I did a really good job painting some blue plaguebearers and the most infamous of purple plague marines.

I remember going to web cafes to update my website. I didn’t have a computer with me in Japan. The Wayback machine remembers what my webpage looked like back then, it has not changed much. When I got back to my mom’s house I put up a gallery of Plague Marines.

Also when I got back from Japan is when I started playing games against Rob as apparently the 40K mailing list was still going in 2004. He apparently has a blog too now, maybe more than one. It was also while in Japan that I joined Flickr and I’ve been posting pictures including of my miniatures to that website since.

2005: Maceo the Maligned

In 2005 I went back to school to do my ill-fated MBA. I did not end up playing in Conflict Vancouver but I did attend, Bill played in the Warhammer Fantasy Battle tournament I believe. I was living in a dorm at UBC and I think I may have painted two models alone in my room, including the now infamous Maceo the Maligned.

It was also in 2005 that I first installed WordPress and officially started Muskblog. It was encouraged by my MBA program to do so. But I was still mainly posting about my hobby stuff on my hand coded webpage. It appears I painted a couple notable models while at my mom’s house over the Christmas break or I started painting them. Metadata don’t lie.

From 2006 until 2010 I would post erratically before starting this blog dedicated miniature painting blog.

2006: The Phantom of the Rock Opera

In 2006 I apparently resumed painting goblins, it’s a lifetime commitment. It was also apparently Paul Taylor’s fault. I also painted a number of models that would eventually be fielded in a major tournament but that was still a year away. So although it rarely sees the tabletop, it is still in my possession, so I’ll go with a famous Noisemarine conversion I did in 2006.

2007: West Coast Mayhem

This was the event that replaced Conflict Vancouver after GW decided to stop running the Conflict events. I knew some of the organizers so of course I attended. This was where my third grand tournament army ended up. Bryce was there, I think he took home some prizes. Of course I typed up an event summary and I have plenty of photos to choose from, so here is a shot of my army in a portable display I make from an Ikea breakfast tray.

2008: Astronomi-con Vancouver

That is right in 2008, several old 40K mailing list members brought their event to Vancouver. It started in Winnipeg then expanded to Toronto and I think it was even run in Austin Texas at one point, so of course I attended the first one in Vancouver. There is of course another campaign journal and an event summary.

Rob was there, so was Malcolm, so was some of my terrain. I think Rob might still have some of my terrain. The trend continued of me finishing in the top three in painting but not winning. I didn’t have time to paint that many new models, but I did find a shot of my army. I never managed to finish a squad I dubbed the Longed Four, this would be the first of several Astonomi-con Vancouvers I attended.

2009: The Diseased Sons are Finished?

In 2009 I went to both Astronomi-con and West Coast Mayhem. I don’t remember winning much, but I did win a door price at Astronomi-con one year. This years I seem to have painted quite a few plague marines but also some Chaos Space Marine Havocs and Chaos Chosen as I must have thought I was finally done painting Nurgle models.

I was wrong. But here is my non-Nurgle Chaos paint scheme, which I have dubbed the Nefarious Fire. It is the same scheme I use on my Night Goblins because purple flames are cool.

2010: A new beginning

As mentioned many paragraphs ago, I must have been pretty serious in 2010 as I spun off my miniature painting exploits from my own domain to this dedicated blog. So now I can do things more in the style of Rob Hawkins, but I kept maintaining my other webpage and I of course posted to social media occasionally.

2010 also marked the last major tournament I attended. I remember staying up very late the night before painting. Maybe that resulted in my best painting score maybe it didn’t, but some people may remember that I posted a 2AM painting update.

Now I should be able to look through the old photos on this blog instead of my computer, but I think things are organized better on my computer than on WordPress dot com. In 2010 if you won first overall at Astronomi-con you got to go to Las Vegas for the championship, I think a lot of people on the West Coast tried extra hard to win tournaments that year. I chose to field a Khorne Terminator Lord I converted from a Forgeworld model to lead my army.

2011: Lead Painters League

In 2011, I entered the Lead Painters League or LPL. I didn’t win. I’m just not a fast or efficient painter. But I did try, and I admire more efficient painters than me. I also attended Trumpeter Salute in Burnaby, running a game of Silent Death as well as playing in a one day Warhammer 40,000 tournament.

So I was still trying to do hobby stuff even if it wasn’t the most successful year for me. I was also using a wet palette some during this period and possibly still working on my modular trench table. But the best thing I may have painted and timely in February 2022 was some OOP Khorne Bezerkers.

2012: Miniature Painting News

I was unemployed and Ron from FTW seemed to want one so I built a miniature painting news aggregator. It has since stopped working, but I can probably fix it if I ever have more time and energy. I didn’t paint or blog much in fact a lengthy hiatus from painting and gaming was soon to commence. It wasn’t until I moved to Calgary in 2019 that I got my paints out of storage.

I did however take and post the picture below.

Miniatures in need of a foam home

2013: Nothing was painted

It was obviously a dark few years. I kept everything online but it wasn’t until the next year that I found time and energy for hobby content. Maintenance counts for a lot though if you’re going to keep a hobby website online for twenty years, especially one with custom PHP and JavaScript which I’ll have to update someday.

I built a lot of stuff with PHP while unemployed but it never made me any money, now all I seem to code in is SQL.

2014: A brief return to painting and gaming

My basically finished stand of Nurglings

I have some friends who have worked for GW on and off over the years. I also know some people who have opened their own gaming shops. It was while visiting some old friends that I was talked into painting a model or two in-store to prove I could still paint. I even played a game of Warhammer 40,000 this year, taking part in a megabattle at GW Highgate, I believe that is the only time my Khorne Bezerkers have ever been fielded, I let some kids run a lot of my army, very few things were broken. Fun was had by all, I think Warhammer stores have become more like daycares as I’ve gotten older.

2015: Moved back to China

That is correct, I moved to China for a second time! I didn’t take my models or my paints, but it turns out there are Games Workshop or Warhammer stores now in Shanghai. There was even less hobby content produced by me than in 2013. However it was the ten year anniversary of Muskblog, so I wrote a blogiversary post. I can’t say I particularly recommend reading it, but over the years I have given some thought to what is important when self publishing and creating content online, in a word, passion.

2016: A little Hobby Blogging

I was still living in China so I blogged mostly about that. I also blogged about studying, I spent a lot of time studying while in China and I can’t even speak much Chinese, but I did write one post highlighting all the Nurgle content I’d posted over the years.

2017: Shanghai Comic Con

In 2017, I still had little time for hobbies, but I managed to fit in a visit to the third ever Comic Con in Shanghai. There was actually quite a few painted miniatures at this convention. So I did take some pictures of miniatures, just not ones I personally painted.

2018: Another year devoid of hobbies

I was still in China, but I’d basically been convinced to leave as I just wasn’t getting anywhere no matter how many exams I took. I did keep everything online and still produced content as the kids say, for instance if you ever want to know where to go for beer in Shanghai.

2019: Back to Calgary, Back to the Hobby

I’d actually lived in Calgary twice before during the 90s. So I had painted models here while a co-op student. I was familiar with the Sentry Box, I had even flown to Calgary to participate in a Warhammer 40,000 tournament. But in 2019 I again moved for work and it turns out I knew someone who painted miniatures and played games.

So in order to give Bill fresh victims and to once again prove I retained some modicum of skill I returned to the hobby. Bill was also big on me producing content, I think he even wanted me to do a podcast and video tutorials, but I stuck with blogging though I also post pictures to Instagram and sometimes even Twitter.

During all the time I was away from participating fully in the hobby I still likely followed some other people who were active in the hobby. I bought books, I had the first Death Guard Codex when I moved to Calgary having bought it in Shanghai. I had hoped we’d play Kill Team but Bill wanted to play Warcry, so it was back to painting goblins for me.

A new edition of Kill Team has since come out which I bought but haven’t played, also purchased but not played the latest version of Necromunda.

2020: Warcry Campaign

My biggest hobby accomplishment of the year was finishing a Gloomspite Gitz Warcry gang. It was almost all vintage goblins and night goblins I had unpainted since Warhammer 4th Edition. I think I bought one box of new goblins and have since bought another but our Warcry campaign ended due to Covid.

Gloomspite Gitz Dagger and Hammer

2021: A return to Warhammer 40,000

In 2021, I finally got to play another game of Warhammer 40,000. This might have been between Covid lockdowns in Calgary. It was against Bill and his Ultramarines, Bill also once played orks, he’s never fully kicked the habit apparently.

2022: The Siege of Vanithros’s Bastion

This was a big year in the hobby with perhaps the most ever words typed by me about the hobby in a single year. 2022 was probably not the most models painted in a single year, I don’t have a perfect record of such things and I didn’t always photograph and post everything I painted like kids do now-a-days. I did paint a lot of models and rebased even more. Bill and I, plus eventually others started a narrative campaign of 9th edition Warhammer 40,000. Many games were played and over twenty battle reports were typed up by me. I also summarized the entire year long campaign of the Diseased Sons.

The Future

The start of this year has been very busy, but not necessarily with the hobby, but the narrative campaign continues, now with even more orks. I will try and get in a game this weekend or at least paint. I spent the last three months rebasing and touching up three models that I originally painted back in the 1990s. I even found an old picture of Sluggie before he was spruced up.

Games Workshop is running the Arks of Omen campaign right now so we’ll probably take part. The rumour is 10th edition will also be released this year so we’ll likely switch to that, probably restarting our campaign, rumour has it there will be simple rules and more complicated rules, given my memory and time available to the hobby, I may lobby for the simple rules. I’ve been too busy to keep up with all the rumours but hopefully there is time in 2023 for the hobby. I have more unpainted models than I’ll ever paint but I hope to paint a few more yet.

Hopefully you enjoyed this trip back in time, I have one last gallery of miniatures to recommend, both before and after I repainted them which seems an apt link to conclude with. If you have thoughts on the various miniatures I’ve painted and repainted over the years or hobby blogging in general you can leave a comment below.

40K Narrative Campaign Year 2 Game 2

Another year of slogging through the mud, orks everywhere, but what should appear across the battlefield than the Astra Militarum…

Another year of slogging through the mud, orks everywhere, but what should appear across the battlefield than the Astra Militarum. Do they have a new book? Is it even out yet? Do they still die from massed bolter fire? We’ll just have to find out.

Somehow we got to the Sentry Box extra early, this gave us time to get coffee or tea, set up the terrain, then rotate the entire battlefield as this mission was to be played with the battlefield arrayed differently than last week. The mission was “Critical Targets” and once again I got to my choice and this time I chose to be the defender. I had to nominate five critical targets including all my characters, then one of those targets would secretly be nominated as the primary target and another the secondary target.

So I arranged my models so Daniel could see them and then secretly wrote down who would be primary and secondary target:

  1. Bagonhead the Unbearable
  2. McFly the Malevolent
  3. Boris the Defiler
  4. Killious Bilious the Silliest
  5. Billalexdevin

Once again I took Subterfuge as my primary agenda, this time I didn’t bring the rhino instead deciding that with the battlefield being less wide I’d just hoof it. Of course I took Turn their Hope to Rot because you always need more Virulence Points.

As this was Daniel’s first game with the new book, he’d barely gotten everything glued together in time. I had no idea the book was even out and didn’t know any of the rules, but it turns out the Astra Militarum could have used some more cover and my veteran troops that had been campaigning for over a year had picked up some experience so Daniel got 9 extra command points!

The Forces of the Diseased Sons

This week we had more points and I brought my two big blocks of ten purple plague marines. I of course brought McFly and my one long range gun platform, then to round it out two Chaos Spawn. I deployed as seen below, as I knew the Astra Militarum would be able to shoot indirectly somehow. The plan was of course to cross the open ground as that is what passes for subterfuge in Games Workshops eyes.

Daniel had a lot of guardsmen from different regiments which apparently means something, he had a command squad, a very valuable and well hidden commander and lots of artillery, but with Bill’s preference for small battlefields they are less valuable, I predict more armour will be incoming.

Death Guard Turn One

So not only did I get to be the defender I got to go first and would you look at that there had to be over forty models arrayed before me, time for another Blight Bombardment! I wasn’t able to do anything in the psychic phase, but I opened fire on the big blocks of troops, in hindsight maybe I should have targeted other units or split my fire but I generally shoot at what is in front of me.

Boris killed several Astra Militarum soldiers, then Syphilis did 14 wounding hits. I actually advanced some models too, as I had to cross the killing ground as fast as possible.

Astra Militarum Turn One

I don’t recall the Astra Militarum moving much but they had Heavy Lascannons which fired at Boris, hitting three times, but I saved one so I ended up taking seven wounds. The indirect fire went into the Chaos Spawn and even behind a wall the Astra Militarum got +1 to hit.

The new Imperial Guard roll a lot of dice, I had to lend Daniel more. Three plague marines failed all their Grizzled rolls and everything that shot at the Scarlet Fevers hit, so I played Insane Bravery as they were my human shield for McFly and I don’t think I remembered which of my critical targets I made primary and secondary, but it was all written down.

Death Guard Turn Two

There were a lot less models on the table now and the Blight Bombardment hadn’t even landed, perhaps I shouldn’t have shot at the squads I planned to bombard, but I wanted to thin the herd so I could target the artillery behind. In the end the Blight Bombardment only did two wounds, my best ever was against Daniel’s Sisters of Battle, this is his third campaign army at least.

I think I killed one artillery piece but then in the pictures later they are all back, so I think the Astra Militarum have a way to resurrect dead models, just like the Alpha Legion can bring back Chaos Cultists.

The Chaos Spawn managed to kill a guardsmen unit then consolidated into the next squad, this really is a technique you need to master in 9th Edition. My next note isn’t clear but I think the commander failed to do something.

Astra Militarum Turn Two

“Grizzled!” is what I wrote to start this turn, so I take it I made some die rolls and remembered some rules. I also stabbed a gun to death and even got to use the Chaos Spawn’s Fearsome Aura, it was not looking good for the Astra Militarum.

Death Guard Turn Three

All I wrote down this turn was “one gun left!”

Astra Militarum Turn Three

And so the maiden battle of the Astra Militarum ended with me accomplishing both my agendas according to Daniel. McFly was still alive and had several turns to walk across the battlefield. There was no enemy models left so obviously I turned Daniel’s Hope into Rot.

Post Battle Book Keeping

One of his squads, Farstein took an injury, but they may have just retired from the campaign. Bagonhead the Unbearable survived, this caused Syphilis to become legendary. And after like an hour of book keeping, the end result was -1 armour penetration to his plasma gun.

As McFly completed his agenda too, he earned a Corruption Point and gained an ability called “Murmurs of Disorder”. Take that Beastsnagga Boyz! Of course I had to spend one requisition point too but I had several, I ended up spending another one adding Acidic Malady to McFly’s Staff of Corruption as he needs to hit harder in hand to hand surrounded by all the campaign’s killers.

Who knew I was a Warhammer 40,000 genius, the Las Vegas Open just completed and they all better look out as the Diseased Sons may show up someday. I don’t know if they’ll be Death Guard but that is how they’ll likely start 10th Edition with the pace I’m painting. I have a lot of ideas on how to do better with the current rules, but ultimately the Irony Warriors of Nurgle will happen.

During all the book keeping I recruited another suboptimal, long missing from the battlefield squad, three Beasts of Nurgle that I spent months painting. I’m not sure how zero more guns will help me but I’m leading the campaign in tentacles. If you have thoughts on the superiority of tentacles over guns, artillery, air support, and armour you can leave a comment below.

40K Narrative Campaign Year 2 Game 1

I actually haven’t played Warhammer 40,000 for several weeks so the campaign has gone on without me, but I did play at least two games for which I have not typed up battle reports…

I actually haven’t played Warhammer 40,000 for several weeks so the campaign has gone on without me, but I did play at least two games for which I have not typed up battle reports. So I will briefly try to summarize what has happened to the Diseased Sons as the Siege of Vanithros’s Bastion continues, no matter how hard it is to spell. For those asking I hear some Arks of Omen are inbound and we’ll probably have to restart the campaign for 10th Edition which also may be released in 2023.

This was to be the battle to find out who the dice hate more and if you’ve been loyally reading for a whole year you wouldn’t bet on Kris. Apparently this battle has already been discussed on a podcast, which just goes to show podcasting is easier because to blog you have to write and spell, anyone can just turn on their camera and blather.

Before the Battle

The mission was to be “Turn out the lights” and even though it would not play to my strengths I chose my army to try and be the attacker because that is the only way to earn Corruption Points or one of the primary ways because I also took “Subterfuge” as my agenda that seems to be the other way I can earn Corruption Points. I also took “Turn their Rot to Hope” as that is the easiest way that I can earn Virulence Points.

I’m not sure what Kris’s agendas were, all the orks are on Krumping Sprees so I’ll go with that and kill everything quickly to get on with the serious drinking. The orks were officially the underdogs or underorks so they got six extra command points!

Death Guard Turn One

That is right I managed to become the attacker, the plan was to race my one psycher and lone character forward in a rhino all by himself as that is the only way to accomplish the mission and the subterfuge agenda. I’m not sure what is subtle about declaring your agenda then driving into the oncoming ork horde. I don’t make the rules, but that was the mission. In order to clear the path a little I ordered the Blight Bombardment.

I underestimated how fast the squighog boys are, I should have blight bombarded the slower boyz. I also should have deployed differently. The warlord is very strong and there is a stratagem that makes it easier for them to kill vehicles and I brought three because I needed the speed for the mission. I also famously had my Chaos Lord turn into a Chaos Spawn and have yet to replace him so I had little chance at defeating the Ork warlord in close combat.

Unusually I advanced some of my units, the mission was odd, I had to get first to one set of objectives, perform an action then get to another set of objectives, so yeah the subtlety was really subtle. I actually managed to kill two orks because you can shoot assault weapons while advancing. Boris the Defiler killed six more and the rhino managed to kill 4 grots. It turns out that the boyz were Insanely Brave, but some grotz ran, leaving one lone grot on the table.

Ork Turn One

Charge, I mean Waaagh! That is the strategy, first turn declare the Waaagh and charge whatever you can with the three characters and two units of Squighog Boyz. Like I said I underestimated their speed. Kris also had a lot of command points so he could play a lot of stratagems on his first turn. The mission played right into his plan as I was forced to rush forward to try and perform actions, before he could destroy the objectives.

A lot of ork units also advanced, they have some way of charging after this. The orks don’t shoot well, they need sixes to hit, but mainly Kris wants to play Monster Hunter on every vehicle and Krump them, my Defiler tried hard, I used Overwatch which actually did two wounds on the Squighog boys.

The big boss squigs can headbutt and do mortal wounds, the Beast Rabban took some as Kris elected to fight that battle first. I played Counter Offensive as Boris is not helpless in hand-to-hand combat, I decided to go after the Warlord as that is the only way I could turn his hope into rot, which was probably a mistake as he made all his saves. I could have crushed some squighog boys instead, that Warlord is giving Lord Gogo a run for his money as hardest thing to kill in the campaign.

It looks like the warlord didn’t make it into combat and maybe he didn’t but then Kris re-rolled, I believe he can re-roll all charges on the turn of the Waaagh or something and moved some boys around and the warlord was ruled in, because why not? Kris is big on following up into the next unit, so next time we play I’ll probably deploy deeper and not rush into his clutches, if the mission allows that.

The Beastsnaggas killed a couple of cultists. Boris started taking wounds, his plated growths started to pay off now that armour of contempt is no more. Our campaign has been going on so long it predates whatever balanced slate that was added in. The orks have low AP, but there were so many of them and Kris spent 6 command points to kill Boris, but I have new respect for the plated growths battle honour.

My Hellbrute did better, he did 4 wounding hits and 20 wounds killing the big boss who charged him, so Boris did have a small chance, but apparently the dice hate me not Kris.

Death Guard Turn Two

The Blight Bombardment ended up doing two mortal wounds to the orks and two mortal wounds to my rhino! The rhino also managed to kill the lone grot. The Scarlet Fevers managed to kill 11 boyz and 1 squigboy. I don’t always split my fire optimally. Does anyone?

They also charged and I used the Trench Fighters stratagem resulting in six dead boyz and zero dead squighogs. In return I lost five models. I actually failed morale and lost two more. The orks made all their morale checks, it was about at this time I realized I forgot Grizzled, so we did some more rolling and I think I got a guy back.

Ork Turn Two

My handwriting as always is terrible and this game was many weeks ago, but apparently the orks threw rokket spears at my Hellbrute. They also played Monster Hunters again this time on the Hellbrute who was trying to perform the key action I need to perform as per the mission.

Once again a mortal wound was done via squig headbutt. The Beast Rabban went down this round of melee, but I played Putrid Detonation which did a couple of mortal wounds.

The orks also went after my rhino, it first took 2 damage then 14 more. McFly ended up surrounded and had to fight the warboss. They consolidated in to him, I was assured this was all legal.

Big Ripper Red Tooth was overjoyed to face off against McFly, I don’t remember the specifics but I rolled a lot of die rolls below four. But there were just too many orks and of course the dice hate me, but before dying it was decided I would hold aloft the Orb of Decay which we’d also decided after much debating must be a Relic of Decay and it did four more mortal wounds, but no actual orks actually died.

I passed moral for a change, so I had one plague marine left alive. Kris vowed to kill everything because the old ways is best and Krumpin’ ain’t easy.

Death Guard Turn Three

With Rabban and McFly dead the mission was over, no amount of subterfuge was going to survive that charge. I was encouraged to overcharge my plasma pistol since I had one and a command point, I used the re-roll not to die.

As it was my turn the Squighog fought first. Killious Bilious the Silliest remained alive to force another turn.

Orks Turn Three

The warboss was late for his postgame drinking so he sauntered over. Killious died.

Post Game

McFly managed to pick up a battle scar but rather than weaken him I took the loss of two XP. To put it mildly this game didn’t go well and trying to play against type because of the mission and agenda was a disaster but some days you get the bear somedays the bear gets you. Will the Diseased Sons ever win a game of Warhammer 40,000 again or will everyone in the campaign eventually switch to playing Orks? Tune in next time or leave a comment, the choice is yours.

Finished Beasts of Nurgle

Back in the 90s one piece of wargear you could get for your Chaos Space Marine army was a Beast of Nurgle…

Back in the 90s one piece of wargear you could get for your Chaos Space Marine army was a Beast of Nurgle. From there the legend of Sluggie was born. At some point I acquired two more of this era of Beasts of Nurgle and they were last used in a Warhammer Fantasy Battle campaign in Vancouver.

For that campaign I rebased them from their original cavalry bases to “monster bases” which were just pieces of balsa wood I cut to the right size. Somehow when the Chaos Daemon Codex came out and the rules suddenly changed so that I could have daemons in my Diseased Sons again, even if they wouldn’t be wargear cards, I quickly latched on to fielding Beasts. Of course I still want to field my sea of Nurglings or my horde of Plaguebearers but at 25% of the power, three Beasts of Nurgle will require at least a 48 power game and I think I must spend one command point to take them.

So I’ve been rebasing these models since September. I ended up doing a lot more than just slapping a round base on them. I had to cut the balsa wood and the plastic to fit. I had to fill in and round the hard edges, cover them with sand and skulls then paint that. I also used a variety of basing material I picked up over the years. During all that the models picked up a few nicks so rather than just leave it or touch it up with green or black, I got the idea to improve both the bones and the tentacles.

I did several highlights on parts of the green Beast of Nurgle, Sluggie. Esmeralda, the purple one, got the fanciest base. I tried out some new paint and ink on the runes but I actually think it looked better two coats of paint ago. She got the least new coats of paint on her tentacles. I also picked up some Blood for the Blood God paint recently and decided to try that on all the guts and sores. Finally Sluggie got Nurgle’s Rot gobbed on his tentacle tips.

Picked up recently at the Sentry Box was a tank, the Plagueburst Crawler. I don’t own one and the peanut gallery thought I needed one, I also bought a can of spray paint as no way that is getting done with tiny lines any time soon. In fact I don’t need any more models, but you get a discount on your birthday week so I should buy something.

Next up in the paint queue may be another old classic Diseased Sons model that I’ll spend less time on, but I think I thought the same about the Beasts of Nurgle, then I can see a primed and converted Chaos Spawn, the new Maceo, the Plague Surgeon and his objective marker and already on my painting table because I figured I’d be done lone ago are two plague marines that will finish the Burning Sores, but after a year of campaigning my thoughts on arming plague marines have changed.

Beasts Of Nurgle
Three Beasts of Nurgle

I also have two battle reports to type up and I think I have not even completed updating my campaign roster after my last game. I’ve been working a lot of hours and it has affected my sleep. Also I have not done a hobby blog retrospective or a post detailing my plans for next year, so that might happen before the battle reports, I’m not sure. I enjoyed reading several recently and I’m not sure the all battle reports all the time blogging style is maximizing likes.

After reading a thread about them, I ordered a set of magnifying lenses that go over my existing glasses. I’ve only tried the weakest ones, but it does make a difference. I’m not sure it has made me a better painter, but it does give me more confidence. Obviously having perfect vision is ideal, but I may never have had that, instead I need to try new techniques and options to speed up my painting. I doubt I’ll be doing freehand murals on tanks again any time soon, but who knows, I never thought I’d be painting a tank again so soon.

So if you have thoughts on what I should add to my Death Guard campaign army, or how either Arks of Omen or 10th Edition will affect the Siege of Vanithros’s Bastion you can leave a comment below. Even if you have idle speculation on what vintage model I’ll dust off next and bring back to the gaming tables thirty years later, fire away.

The Siege of Vanitros’s Bastion, Year One

In the beginning there was an idea, let’s not play another skirmish scale campaign and instead play a narrative campaign of the big game…

In the beginning there was an idea, let’s not play another skirmish scale campaign and instead play a narrative campaign of the big game, Warhammer 40,000. This meant a lot of work for Bill and I but we eventually roped some other people into playing at the Sentry Box and elsewhere in Calgary. I’m still not sure who is winning, but it isn’t me.

I however have typed up over twenty battle reports and before typing up the next one I thought I would read back through them all in order to better forge the narrative as Bill has apparently been slacking at that.

In the before times

Before the campaign had a silly name, before it even had official participants there was just Bill and I playing a game of Warhammer 40,000 for the first time in almost exactly twenty years. I had recently bought Kill Team and I thought that was a more realistic scale for an apartment dweller with ever worsening eyesight. I don’t know what possessed Bill to go big in 2022, probably years of being stuck with no gaming at the Sentry Box during the pandemic, but he complains repeatedly about the chaos he has unleashed on the galaxy or at least Calgary.

I would of course be using the Diseased Sons, the same army I was using last time Bill and I played twenty years ago. Bill would not be using Orks instead he would be defending the Imperium against enemies foreign, domestic, alien, and immaterial.

There have been many heroes of the Diseased Sons: Oderous the Unclean, Leperous the Obese, and sandwiched between Epilepsius the Unbalanced and Malefactor the Marred in a censored data slate was a nearly forgotten figure who had never been documented leading a major campaign, Maceo the Maligned. Would he rise to glory or would he fall and endure the wrath of fickle gods?

Before the campaign could start we had to learn the new to me 9th Edition rules, as apparently I don’t know everything. More miniatures were dusted off McFly the Malevolent, Boris the Defiler even a much derided rhino APV. The great rebasing of 2022 was contemplated and begun, maybe in 2023 or 2024 it will be complete.

As Bill fleshed out his plans and attempted to find additional participants for his experiments more models were dusted off and tried on the table terminators and cultists made of lead oh my. Alas defeat greeted them in the grim darkness of the world’s largest gaming store.

Shadowy figures began to emerge bleary eyed but not yet warped into being brushy tailed. Are they Dark Angels, have they Fallen, or are they merely pawns deceived by promises made by the Chaos Gods or Bill? Mr. Piggie, Vaal the Asharian, Nixan, and Skink threw there lot in with the Diseased Sons, now truly a hive of scum and villainy.

Warhammer 40,000 only becomes more complicated with every book released and data slate updated. There are a lot of campaign rules, relics, and agendas. My starting forces began to take shape with Cancerous the Extremely Naughty and Billalexdevin being added and McFly being removed, will we see his beatific face again?

It Begins, Vanithros’s Bastion must fall!

The forces of the Ultramarines and the Chosen Sons of Mortarion, the Diseased Sons, the Death Guard, led by Maceo the Maligned met at censored coordinates in the Pariah Nexus, the galactic sector which housed the mysterious Vanithros’s Bastion, both forces trying to sweep and clear. Skulking in the shadows were the Fallen. Would the enigmatic Aeldari be drawn into the conflict, would a random space hulk filled with orks crash on the planet mid-battle, who knows. The Chaos Gods are notoriously fickle and the warp storms know no master.

In the second week McFly the Malevolent officially joined the campaign, perhaps he was delayed due to being tired from all that practice. Having defeated the Ultramarines in their initial skirmish the newly reinforced Diseased Sons had to randomly sweep and clear again, this time it was the Dark Angels Chapter of Space Marines impeding their path or was it? Elsewhere in the Pariah Nexus the Aeldari did predictably appear, there was no rejoicing.

The third week of the campaign was marked with the appearance of the Sisters of Battle. Surely mere women could not stop the Diseased Sons from seizing the supply cache now that they were further reinforced by the Hellbrute known as Toe Jam? There was pitched hand to hand combat in some back alleys of some inconsequential settlement, with Maceo failing to kill the Canoness as darkness fell.

There were now five opposing forces in the Pariah Nexus. What does Vanithros’s Bastion contain? Does it contain treasure, forbidden knowledge, the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe or is it merely a MacGuffin? Having failed to secure the supply cache and kill the Canoness, Maceo was in a truly foul mood before being forced to confront both the Ultramarines and the Aeldari. Had they allied against the Diseased Sons? Regardless, Nurgle hates blue armour.

If only I had remembered the true power of the Contagion of Nurgle, Bagonhead the Unbearable would not have had to been so heroic.

The enbiggening of my starting five man plague marine squads had begun but I’m actually wondering if nine is not the sweet spot because more plague marines is clearly better and they’ll never be a true gun line. Nine model squads leave room for a character in the rhino. Twenty weeks of hindsight is all well and fine but I’m telling all y’all it’s a sabotage that I have to keep fighting the Fallen or am I fighting the Fallen? Can the Right Hard Posse turn their hope into rot?

On Easter Sunday it fell to Maceo and McFly to try and defeat two enemy forces simultaneously. Would twenty plague marines be enough? What if they painted their armour purple would that make a difference? And why do the Fallen keep lurking in the shadows do they have something to hide? And is everyone aligned against the Diseased Sons? Will the Farseer ever tire of Dooming chaos space marines?

In this battle, Billalexdevin earned the Mark of Shame.

Once again the Diseased Sons faced off against their newest and most hated foes the Ultramarines. Take that Iron Hands! Could Maceo the Maligned complete the ritual in time? Would this remove the shame of Billalexdevin or the disgrace of the Cancer Cell? The Siege of Vanithros’s Bastion was long and the battle scars were earned.

Having completed the ritual and defeated the Ultramarines once more would a Chris finally join the campaign? What about a Kris? Or would we have to settle for a Thomas and an Aiden? Does twice as many players make the campaign go twice as long or does that rule only hold for four-way games versus two-way games? Would the next game be a complete catastrophe and why do the Ultramarines, the Sisters of Battle and the Fallen all want to stop your humble narrator and his Diseased Sons?

This game did feature my most successful Blight Bombardment, how many Sisters of Battle died? Stumpy, spawn of chaos didn’t have enough fingers to count, maybe he’ll grow some more. Once again Maceo could not kill the Canoness in hand to hand combat. He did earn a second Chaos Boon. Other Diseased Sons gained battle honours after this lengthy four army confrontation.

When the dust settled and a new day dawned Maceo the Maligned stared across the battlefield at the Aeldari once more. Where had they come from, what do they want? Would the addition of Killious Bilious the Silliest turn the tide of battle in the Diseased Sons’ favour, did he possess crucial intelligence on how to defeat the Aeldari?

After suffering defeat at the delicate and dainty hands of the Aeldari, Maceo the Maligned learned of a new Chaos Lord in the Pariah Nexus, would Lord Godrick be a friend or a foe? Chaos on Chaos conflict soon commenced because there can be only one Lord of Chaos in the Pariah Nexus.

Who would dominate the field this day? Maceo did defeat multiple Chaos Knights in melee combat, one even had to be struck down twice.

With Lord Godrick escaping Maceo’s grasp and the Aeldari presumably off doing something enigmatic, could the Diseased Sons defeat the Ultramarines yet again, could they dominate the field, or would their hope turn to rot?

In the twelfth week of the Siege of Vanithros’s Bastion campaign it fell to the forces of the Diseased Sons to fight two battles on the same day. Where are all these armies coming from, Imperial Fists, Orks, and Adeptus Custodes arriving made the Pariah Nexus even more conflicted. Maceo defeated Waaargh ‘Eadripper but could not overcome the golden host with the most difficult to spell rules. Win or lose, battle scars would be earned.

Is that a Chaos Knight I see towering off in the distance or is the Pariah Nexus playing tricks on our sensors yet again? The Shroud is as inexplicable as it is impenetrable. As the battle climaxed, Maceo the Maligned and the Ultramarine Gravis Captain met in hand to hand combat, who would triumph? Would Maceo the Maligned ever achieve daemonhood?

Daemonhood exceeded Maceo’s grasp, after once again failing to kill the enemy commander in mortal combat, despite undertaking a successful flanking maneuver, the fickle forces of chance had had enough. Having been struck down by Lord Godrick for what turned out to be the final time, what made its way back to the Diseased Sons lines was barely humanoid, but it clutched a familiar looking mace…

News of Maceo’s untimely demise spread quickly through the Pariah Nexus and a certain Gravis Captain was eager to take advantage of the Diseased Sons’ weakened state. Who would win during the Obolis Incursion? Is this yet another MacGuffin? With McFly now leading the Diseased Sons he chose the path of calculated eradication and of course he had to turn their hope into rot. Was it a victory for the Diseased Sons or was it a victory for the Ultramarines? Does it even matter to Khorne?

Fresh off his less than triumphant draw, McFly had no choice but to soldier on as the campaign entered a new phase. Forces were now divided up into a Chaos contingent so the Alpha Legion, the renegade Knights and the Death Guard were no longer enemies instead attempting to defeat the combined might of the Ultramarines, the Imperial Fist, the Sisters of Battle, the Adeptus Custodes and any Xenos scum that may have temporarily allied with them. Was there any doubt who would win, evil will always triumph over good, because good is dumb.

After a long march, the Diseased Sons infiltrated the ring and turned the Imperial Fists’ hope into rot.

The very next week Bill changed his mind and forced the Death Guard to again attempt to destroy the ever more powerful Lord Godrick. Can you kill a Chaos Knight with a plague knife or a bolter shell? Would the Chaos Knights even bother to hunt for tech or would they just stomp on everything arrayed before them? Would you believe Aiden got tired of winning?

After not getting tabled by the Chaos Knights only the Ultramarines were brave enough to confront the Diseased Sons. Would the Ultramarines methodically eradicate their opposition or was today in fact not a good day to die? Had Captain Acheran and the Avenging Sons of Ultramar grown tired of winning too? Regardless an ill ash wind was blowing across the battlefield as the opposing forces crept into position.

First the Chaos Space Marines received a new codex, then the Chaos Daemons received a new codex and with the Chaos Knights already running wild crushing all who oppose them in their giant metallic fists, everything was coming up chaos.

Joining the campaign was a certain podcaster and finally the campaign would have a Kris. Alas the battle to see who the dice hate most would have to wait as the golden host with most difficult to spell special rules were declared the official opposition of the ever growing forces of the Diseased Sons. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but I lost the first key roll of the game.

After twenty weeks of extremely difficult campaigning there would be no golden armoured super soldiers arrayed before the Diseased Sons this week, instead the “green” tide of Waaagh ‘Eadripper was back and they brought a Kill Bursta tank this time. My tradition of rolling ones to start the game continued.

Apparently, Beasts of Nurgle take a long time to rebase and touch up, starting that project randomly has hurt the Diseased Sons as no reinforcements have appeared on an actual battlefield for a long long time. We haven’t even gotten to see the family squabble of Nurgle versus Nurgle instead we got more complaints from Bill and even more orks joining the campaign, apparently green is good. But I used to play orks many many editions ago and I can tell a choppa from a big choppa.

With the orks now being everywhere could the stunties be far behind? I haven’t gotten to fight against them but I hear the Leagues of Votann are in fact strong. But alas it was again time for Chaos on Chaos crime as the Alpha Legion get up to their old tricks, or do they have new tricks?


After almost a full year of campaigning with the Diseased Sons, the Chosen Sons of Mortarion, the Sons of Barbarus, have I learned anything? Well after reviewing every single battle report and summarizing them for the greater good, I decided I would add a short list of learnings.

1) More than ever, 40K has become an arms race

You may start the campaign with your warlord having a power weapon and a snazzy hat, but others will be bringing relic weapons and armoured fighting vehicles just short of a titan. GW very much increases its codices in power as an edition goes on, so armies with the latest greatest codex will be difficult to defeat even with balanced data slates contemptuously throwing crumbs at the older armies. A knife and a bolter is not cutting edge weaponry in the 41st Millennium.

2) Complexity increases as the campaign goes on

The 9th Edition of Warhammer 40,000 is complicated enough but as the campaign went on there were an ever increasing number of new agendas, stratagems, relics, honours, and scars to remember. Units gained objective secured and improved armoured saves while others lost benefits, the rules as written were no longer always the rules as written. Attempts by GW to rebalance points have little affect on a campaign using power level.

3) Don’t permanently lose your warlord

The most important roll of the entire campaign may have been the random third Chaos Boon I attempted to generate. I was learning the rules as I went and for the good of the narrative repeatedly took random boon. Other codices may have rules that give players setbacks but losing your warlord and any relics he may have is a major setback, much worse than losing an eye or picking up the Mark of Shame. The Diseased Sons have arguably not recovered.

Other warlords which have not been permanently turned into Chaos Spawn have only become more and more powerful as the campaign has gone on. Maceo could have been alive with a legendary campaign relic of his choosing, let some other minor character try to randomly become a Daemon Prince or just requisition one. If rumours are true you can have two Daemon Princes using the new Arks of Omen rules.

4) Become a good bookkeeper

There are a lot of rules to keep track of and a lot of record keeping that must be done in a narrative campaign. The three random rolls to generate your initial disease can give the Death Guard a random boost or it can just force you to play oddly. You’ll have to choose agendas over and over which can earn you Virulence points. There is a relic which can make tailoring your disease more feasible and less random but when the primary and perhaps only model that can spread the disease turns into a chaos spawn, did I mention this was a major setback? But as you may have already guessed, it was also a cause of additional record keeping. I could have just selected the relic that makes tailoring your disease easier, no randomness, no risk.

As the campaign has entered a new phase I must try to accomplish a new set of challenging agendas to collect corruption points. I never spent my inflection points which now seem useless, so less than MacGuffins. As the campaign goes on you must keep track of various tallies, many agendas have them, and your tactics may need to majorly change to achieve these suddenly high priority agendas all the while attempting to spread your disease and please your patron.

5) Maneuverability is paramount

You might want to use the same models you’ve used for twenty plus years trusting in their resilience and their trusty bolter and rusty knife, but being slow is a huge disadvantage in many of the missions you’ll encounter during the campaign. You may think you can hunker down or stoically advance but in order to spread the disease or gain corruption points or pursue some other MacGuffin you will be forced to play against type, so running a foot slogging list of plague marines or ork boyz will be a hard slog in a lengthy campaign. I’m not saying a line of guys with guns couldn’t do well, but given the sheer number of different missions, agendas, and campaign rules, planning to just stay in your deployment zone and fire away may not be optimal 100% of the time.

There are ways to improve the maneuverability of the Death Guard but they’ll likely never be a fast and manoeuvrable force. Obviously GW wants me to buy more models, say fast attack daemon engines, but somehow I have not. Enhanced engines was very powerful on Lord Godrick and the similar fleet of foot rule will benefit many units, basically a couple extra inches of movement or a rule that gives you a more reliable advance roll will prove valuable over the course of a campaign.

Tabling your opponent does not guarantee victory, I think I lost a practice game that way, but see my very first observation, as the campaign goes on bigger and more powerful models will frequently be encountered, so you will be tabled at some point. So in addition to finding ways to increase the mobility of your units you’ll want to increase the lethality of your starting force. I don’t think we’ve ever played a larger campaign game than 50 Power. So I should be giving Deadly Pathogens and Relics of Decay to every single unit champion that can have one instead of recruiting yet more plague marines.

This post has gotten long enough. I can write additional briefer learnings another day. If you’ve learned anything from reading this summary of year one of our Warhammer 40,000 narrative campaign you can leave a comment below. I’m mainly playing for fun and to dust off and get some use out of my miniature collection, but I assure you it is a lot of work trying to modernize an army started in 2nd Edition, this is why I’ll probably never go back to my Rogue Trader era Orks. I would do things differently if we do another narrative campaign, but by then it may be the 10th Edition.