Straight back to childhood

///Straight back to childhood

This week has been one of those ‘hobby affirming’, but ultimately frustrating weeks where there are so many things you are inspired and motivated to do, but can’t decide on which. It is great because the hobby has you firing on all cylinders, but you end up tired and grumpy having achieved nothing and end up sent to bed without supper (ok, maybe not the last part, but you get my drift). Around last week I reached that point with the Ultramarines where I decided I must finish the squad I was working on and call it a day for a while or risk losing interest in finishing them. I also began to seriously wonder if the blog was getting a reputation as “That Ultramarine blog”

So I decided change would be a good thing and to work on something else for a bit, particularly if that also led to getting a few games in. For a while now I have had an itch to play something fleet based and it isn’t like I am short of choices right now. I have a number of Battlefleet Gothic ships painted up, in particular a Death Guard fleet and an Imperial fleet, certainly enough to scare up a game or two with Kev. Then there is of course a reasonable lineup of Babylon 5 miniatures from Mongoose’s “A Call to Arms”, a game I particularly like. Finally there is the hugely popular Firestorm Armada or Dystopian Wars from  Spartan Games. Neither of these I have but am sorely tempted to buy into having seen some sensationally painted examples on Spartan’s site, yet another distraction I could do without.

It doesn’t end there however, as there are a couple of other distractions from Eureka miniatures and Troll Forged, the latter having some quite nasty (in a good way) large scale ‘worms’ which I thought would go great with my Death Guard and Heresy’s Tunnel Dweller.

Just two of the three beasties available from Troll Forged

None of these things, including Firestorm Armada I would probably have even been aware existed if it was not for one site in particular; Tabletop Gaming News. I am probably not going to be far from the mark making the assumption that anyone reading this is probably more than familiar with TGN as I can think of no other site (to me at least) more useful for scratching my hobby itch. Checking it daily to see what’s new in the wargaming miniatures universe is one of my guilty pleasures and I can honestly say there are over a dozen companies worldwide that I have purchased from as a direct result of seeing their product on the TGN news feed. None of this is probably news to anyone reading this, but it occurred to me just what an amazing job Zac has done with that site over the years and what a huge impact it is making to the hobby every single day.

Thanks Zac, my bank account hate’s you (just kidding)

The other revelation I had this week was realising just how much I have neglected Epic scale gaming the past couple of years and how much it has declined since Specialist Games sad but predictable demise. Adeptus Titanicus was quite literally the game that inspired me to get into the hobby over two decades ago and it has firmly remained my favourite gaming scale ever since. I sort of always anticipated that Epic Armageddon was going to be the game’s “swan-song”  and was pleased to have been given the chance to get involved throughout its development by Jervis. I make no apologies for the fact I still feel to this day it is the best version of Epic of them all and has managed to maintain a deceptively simple but tactically clever  set of rule mechanics while regaining much of the ‘chrome’ and character of the original Titan on Titan game. But then I would say that wouldn’t I?

Image copyright Games Workshop Ltd (used without permission), however the boards, terrain and miniatures shown are all mine.

What is a shame however is just how much it’s popularity has waned the past few years. Games Workshop Direct Sales still maintain an availability (of sorts), albeit at a price that really would discourage all but the most ardent Epic gamer. Forgeworld appear to have all but given up supporting it altogether and that last bastion of Epic gamers worldwide; The Tactical Command Forum has been getting quieter and quieter as old faces move onto newer things.

It therefore pleased me immensely when I received an email from Andrew King who let me know there were still some collectors out there painting and gaming with Epic. Andrew’s blog “Miniature Miscellany” shows exactly why it is such a great scale to game with and paint, his Saim-Hann truly inspirational. It also served to remind me just how many talented painters there are about and Andrew is a great example. I highly recommend visiting his blog, not just for the aforementioned Epic Eldar but also one of the best Death Guard armies I have seen to date. Andrew was kind enough in his email to cite my old Dropship site partly as his influence to have another go at Epic and looking at what a superb job he has done with the Saim-Hann I want nothing more than to break out my Epic collection and go to work on them. One of the really great things about this hobby is how you can feed off another painters efforts to inspire you. For me, seeing somebody else’s work makes me want to try harder and inspires me to try new things. It is how I grow as a painter and I hope others find the same. The irony is, in over twenty years in what is quite a ‘competitive’ hobby, I have never once heard anyone put a fellow painter down. More often than not what you hear is “wow, look what they did there, that is awesome!” shortly before they head back home, head bursting with new ideas and a desire to paint. It is that which makes this truly a life-affirming hobby for me.

It did get me thinking about something though and that was all of my sadly neglected Epic armies I painted and posted on Dropship were completed almost a decade ago. Since then my whole style of painting has changed and evolved and it occurred to me how differently I would probably paint Epic scale today compared to how I did them back then. Something else I can add to my ever growing list of projects.

In the meantime however I am firmly sticking with the fleet action and I eventually settled on dusting off (quite literally in some cases!) a few Babylon 5 miniatures to do a few intro games and maybe a potential mini-campaign with Kev.

There is no getting around the fact that the casting quality of these was pretty atrocious and without some serious renovation and conversion work there was not an awful lot I could do other than give them a quick ‘gaming’ paint job. To be fair to Mongoose the moulds AoG sold on to them with the licence were pretty badly torn up and Mongoose replaced as many as they practically could during their time with the range. As you will have seen either on Dropship or this blog, I do have a couple of fleets ready to go with the Narn and Centauri. However I thought I may as well throw a few extra ships out there to give us a bit of flexibility to play with , hence the Brakiri Tashkat shown here with the Avioki cruiser and a trio of EA Hyperions which I am painting at the moment.

The casting of these really was in a bad way and needed a lot of work to correct deformations, miscast parts and bad flash. Mongoose actually replaced the moulds with ones taken from new digital sculpt versions, a few of which I have. Ironically however, despite the defects I think I actually prefer the shape of the originals which are much more organic and rounded. To try to give them a bit more interest I added more detail to the guns and the prow, hence why the two flanking ships look different to the original in the centre.

That little lot on the painting table should keep me fully occupied for the foreseeable  future and give me a healthy fleet to pull a few scenarios together with. The ugly little spot in the bottom left is a Tethys Cutter I believe.

As for Epic, well, watch this space. I may have put it on the back burner for quite a while now, but I always return to the ‘true’ tactical scale sooner or later. At the very least I have some rather old miniatures to re-photograph and migrate to here if nothing else.

Have a great week.


By |2017-09-13T13:55:21+00:00July 25th, 2011|Categories: Epic|Tags: , |12 Comments


  1. […] would also like to thanks Carl Woodrow for his kind words about Miniature Miscellany in his blog post yesterday. As I mentioned last week, Carl’s website and blog have been great inspirations to […]

  2. John July 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Carl, I want to thank you for bringing Epic up again!

    I agree, it’s sad that GW seem to finally be letting this drift, but there’s still life in the old thing yet!

    Personally, it’s your work that inspires me with Epic (or will do once I get my Mobile Infantry and Bugs done…)


    • Carl Woodrow July 26, 2011 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks John, much appreciated. Another Starship Troopers gamer too eh? You are not alone on that, I have a slew of Arachnids and MI I would love to revisit also, including a couple of ‘unique’ flyers I think you might find interesting.
      When I get around to working on them again I will be sure to include them here.

  3. Nico July 26, 2011 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Epic was my first step in the hobby and it’s always my favorite game/scale. Have to mention that Dropship have ALWAYS been a great source of inspiration and if I must speek like my two kids, “when I will be old, I want to be Carl Woodrow” ;). Your style and specially your skill for making wonderfull terrain and scenery at this scale were always a goal for me, something I wanted to reach in the hobby.

    Even if GW and FW have negleted Epic, the game is still alive. Epic_fr, the french forum is very active and we can oftenly see appearing great talented painters with wonderfull armies. Not to mention the awesome job of new scultors that bring some new references into life with a quality sometime better than FW. Epic is still alive !! Can’t wait to see fresh news with 6mm minis in dropship.

    Long life to Epic, long life to Dropship.

    Nico, from France

    • Carl Woodrow July 26, 2011 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      Thank you very much indeed! I am pleased Dropship was of use, it was why I did for all those years (and will continue to do so) to hopefully give something back to the hobby.
      I am happy Epic is doing so well in France still, that is great. To be honest that should not come as a surprise to me as not that many years ago one of the most supportive Epic sites I knew was run by Francois Bruntz. We traded articles and ideas from time to time and he had some great scenarios.
      It sounds like perhaps I need to get a bit more active again on Epic sooner rather than later in my current project list.
      Thanks again for your kind words.

  4. Simon July 27, 2011 at 1:03 pm - Reply


    I have just discovered your blog and it’s very inspiring indeed, while your points about Epic are true to an extent, I think you would be pleasantly surprised at how much is still going on with Fan-based Epic:Armageddon….. there are guys designing new miniatures and new lists keep springing up all the time….. I’m sad to see GW essentially abandon it, but in getting the fans involved in the early development, they essentially handed the system over to the community which I feel has been a very good thing.

    Like yourself, my GW hobby began back in the days of Adeptus Titanicus, and I remember getting Space Marine for my birthday (I think I glued everything together that day, all I remember is the smell of poly cement!) GW’s acquisition of the LotR franchise coincided with me going off to university so I dropped off the hobby radar for a good few years and when I came back, E40K was nothing like the game I remembered so I stopped playing with the little guys

    A few years ago I had a look at the GW site and downloaded the rulebook, I’ve been in love with the game ever since and thanks to the hard work of the guys at TaccComms I think the game has a bright future as long as there are people who are passionate about it

    All the best

    • Carl Woodrow July 27, 2011 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      Thanks Simon,
      I perhaps should have qualified my ruminations about it’s decline a bit better. What I was eluding to was how GW’s and in particular Forgeworld’s appetite for actively on-supporting Epic seems to have all but evaporated. The vacuum left behind has definitely been filled by its fans in much the way it happened with Epic 40K and Titan Legions/Space Marine before it and this is great. I have always maintained as long as there is at least one gamer still playing Epic, it will never really die.

      In many ways it is exactly why I started Dropship all those years ago; to help fill a void left when GW started losing interest in Epic. It was probably worse then because up until we commenced writing Epic: Armageddon there were literally no miniatures available other than via the second-hand market. GW pulled the range completely so it wasn’t even available via Direct Sales, in fact Jervis had a real fight on his hands to convince management that re-tooling for plastic production for the infantry was justifiable when we had Armageddon ready for print and launch. Up until that point the Infantry was going to be in metal, in fact a number of test pieces were made from some rapidly converted and pre-based Marines by Mark Bedford as a proof of concept. I still have one of them kicking around in the workshop somewhere, I think only eight were ever cast. Must dig it out if I can find it.

      Anyway, I am rambling. You are right in that it is far from expired and I think the fan support now is far stronger for Epic: Armageddon than it ever was for Epic 40K, which has to be a testimony that Jervis got the design pretty much right. However, I would say it is half way towards being dis-avowed as far as ‘official’ new miniatures are concerned. Having seen what is being produced by the fans however to fill that void makes me wonder if I really care that much, perhaps like you say it has just gone more ‘underground’.

      Crikey! That was a long reply, perhaps I should have written it as a new post instead 😉

  5. John July 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    Thanks Carl, I’d love to see the flyers!

    I don’t know if it’s just me, but I never seem to really get into a game unless it’s no longer in print (of effectively so….)

    • Carl Woodrow July 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      Perhaps I can tempt you into picking up Gorkamorka then, it used to be quite popular round these parts.

  6. doogie December 16, 2011 at 5:44 am - Reply

    i have loads of b5 models but no one to game with ichin for a campaign im all air brushed fleet tidy markers table rules ready to play any takers

  7. Crab-stuffed Mushrooms May 21, 2014 at 12:42 am - Reply

    Hey Carl, I know this is an old blog post but I found it while browsing for inspiration on how to paint the GW Realm of Battle tiles! Do you recall how you painted yours by any chance? They look amazing in that Epic photo! -Can’t wait to browse the rest of the site as well!

    • Carl Woodrow May 22, 2014 at 6:50 am - Reply

      Thanks man. If I recall (and it’s a long time back!) I used pretty large brushes for the bulk of it and drybrushed/stippled a mix of mid browns like Bestial, Vomit and Bleached Bone (or similar). The rocks were a base of Dark Flesh and Vermin Brown overbrushed with greys. For the rusty red deposits I used a pastel pigment stick which I ground into a powder and fixed with turpentine. Weathering pigments would do the same now. It was then varnished and given patches of static grass.

      To be honest, if I was to do it all again I would switch to airbrush and pigments now. As it happens I have some of Secret Weapon’s similar type boards coming in a few months (July/Aug ’14) so will likely show these in a future post along with a walkthrough.

      Hope that helps.

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