Stefan Ashwell

Smogcon 2015

2nd March 2015 | No Comments

Last weekend was Smogcon 2015 at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Heathrow Airport. 400 excitable Warmachine & Hordes players from around the UK, Europe and a few further afield descended on the hotel for 3 days of gaming shenanigans. Here’s my story of the weekend:


We travelled down on thursday evening, after following some twitter posts throughout the day of people already there hanging out with the Privateer Press staff that had come over the pond, we finally arrived around 9.30pm, checked in and started the cross country trek down the longest corridor in the world to our room situated at the very end.


The room itself however, was pretty nice!


As was the hotel with it’s strange walkway/water feature room.



So, after a beer or two in the bar and a night’s sleep, Friday morning rolled around and we were all up and ready to go early. After a spot of breakfast my first port of call was the competitive arena to ensure the guys running the show knew what was what with Tiebreak. Before long the big screens were going and things were going smoothly!


From there I had a mooch around, finding the Iron Arena and the PP shop. It was time to get stuck in though and kicked things off with a game of Colossalmania – a scenario created by Lee over at BleepUpProductions.


From there I went on to have a number of games with a bunch of people, some of which I don’t usually get to play which was cool. I had my eye on some Iron Arena wall templates so that was the goal for the weekend.

As far as competitive play was concerned, I had pre registered for the Iron Gauntlet on Saturday. During Friday’s gaming however I came to the decision to go for Midnight Madness instead. Not only would it be a more relaxed event, it was also a 30 minute deathclock rather than the usual 60 minutes – so a good opportunity to get some practice in with a single list.

Friday night also saw the much anticipated Privateer Press keynote too!

So, after a curry and a couple of beers, midnight rolled around…

Saturday (technically)

I knew I had to play something I was fairly used to and didn’t have too many activations. I settled on Runes of War. It was a 2 list event but the 2nd list was optional, and I saw this as an opportunity to get 6 intense practice games in with one list. Runes of War is kind of an all comers list anyway, so should be able to handle most situations.

Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the games, but here’s a quick summary.

Game 1 was against a Retribution list with 2 colossals. My opponent borrowed the list for the event and it wasn’t his main faction. I was able to take the colossals down and then push for the win.

Game 2 was tough, came up against a Cygnar list which came right down to the wire. Unfortunately for me forgetting to feat when I meant to allowed his caster to clear a flag and take the win on CPs. He used so much focus to do so though that under my feat he wouldn’t have even considered it!

Game 3, probably due to the late night I currently can’t remember! It was a loss though so at this stage I was 2-1.

Game 4 I came up against another Troll player. He was using eDoomshaper with a Mountain King, Mulg and an Earthborn. So a fast and intimidating battlegroup, which was pretty devastating when it got stuck in to my army! I was able to cover more of the board though with my higher model count. Runeshapers were able to pick off stone scribes and eventually help assassinate.

Game 5 was a friendly face – Joe from my local club. We’ve played many many times and he was using a very jack heavy Cryx list. I was able to ride the storm though and pick off heavies one by one to take the win.

Game 6. One game to go and I was 3-2, I was feeling good and pretty happy with 3 wins and so win or lose on the last game it had been a good night. The final game was against another Cryx opponent. This time with a more traditional Cryx build with more infantry. This proved too much for me in this case and I lost, finishing on 3-3.

Overall a good night, but man was I knackered!


Saturday (daytime)

After breakfast it was bed time. Around 4 hours later I awoke refreshed and ready for more gaming! Back in search of more “Skulls”. I had a couple of games and then 4 of us got together for a big one – 75 points each 2v2. A total of 150 points on each side of the table! This was pretty crazy, myself a Kurt both using Trolls – we had 2 Mountain Kings and lots of light beasts knocking around. Our opponents, Jack and Joe, were using a mix of Legion and Cryx. A swarm of Banes caused us so many problems – there’s a reason Death Shroud isn’t available to Legion usually. Me and Kurt got massacred but it was such a good laugh.

Saturday night we ordered some Pizzas and chilled out for a bit, before heading back to the Iron Arena around midnight for a game before bed.


Sunday was here and it was time to cash in. I grabbed myself a couple of Iron Arena wall templates for my efforts and then decided to chill out for the rest of the day.

The P3 painting awards were announced, which were very critically judged! They didn’t give out many Gold, Silver or Bronze coins at all. I was disappointed at this however I took this opportunity to have a chat with Ron Kruzie about my entry. The advice he gave me was simple but probably the best advice I’ve ever been given about competition painting – and I’ve tried with ‘Eavy Metal painters! I will definitely be back with an entry or two next year taking his advice on board with the hope of at least one Bronze award!

For the remainder of Sunday myself and Mark (another local Troll player who I’d travelled down with) started discussing new lists. One that stood out to me was a list for Hunter’s Grim which seemed pretty cool. After this we had a few hours to kill before the event wrapped up and the Masters were completed, so I took this Hunters Grim list and had a couple of games with it. The results were promising!

I’ll put up another post soon about the list and it’s progression. Since Smogcon I’ve tweaked the list a few times and had quite a few games with it.

Wrap Up

So, that’s it. Smogcon 2015. It has to be one of the best wargaming events I’ve been to and an experience I would recommend to any Warmachine & Hordes player (competitive or not). There’s so much going on the whole weekend, and so many cool people to meet and chat to. All that’s left is for me to post up the rest of my random pictures from the event. Looking back I probably should have taken so many more!

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Guild Ball Incoming!

18th February 2015 | No Comments

With Guild Ball on the horizon, I’ve been working on a dedicated table for it. Here’s a guide to building the board itself, eventually it will be expanded to include advertisement boards around the edge, stalls for spectators and a pub/pavilion with dugouts.

Stage 1 – Basecoat

After getting a 3′ x 3′ MDF board cut at my DIY store, I propped it on some spare boxes and gave it a basecoat with a mix of Brown emulsion, sand and a little washing up liquid.



Stage 2 – Drybrushing

The whole board was then given a drybrush of a lighter brown emulsion, and then a cream emulsion. Tester pots are great for this as they are usually only around £1 and you get more than enough. It looks very subtle in the photo but it’s more visible in the flesh.



Stage 3 – Flocking

Next, using a cheap brush and a 50/50 mix of PVA and water, I painted a random pattern of PVA over the whole board. When doing this, I wanted to leave muddy patches, especially near the goals and the centre line. Thinned PVA needs to be used for this so that it doesn’t dry while you’re still applying it (due to the size of the area). Ideally I didn’t want to do this in multiple stages so there were no visible signs that it was done in stages. Thinned PVA also “soaks up” more flock when it is applied, so the grass looks thicker.

Once I was happy with the PVA, I sprinkled on flock from above. I used 2 different shades of green flock, and also static grass. Switching between all of them grabbing a handful and scattering it over the board until it was all covered. This results in a more natural looking grass rather than one flat colour. The whole thing was left overnight to dry before I shook the flock off.



Stage 4 – Centre Logo

I found a guild ball logo online and printed it off nice and large. Then carefully cut out a stencil with a scalpel. Next, I blu tacked it to the centre of the board at an angle, and surrounded the area with more sheets of paper. The edges between sheets of paper were taped down. The last thing I wanted at this stage was to get white marks somewhere I don’t want them because a sheet of paper wasn’t stuck down correctly!IMG_1422


A couple of blasts of white spray and I removed the stencil.

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Stage 5 – Pitch Markings

For the final stage I measured out and marked with a pencil the deployment zones, centre line and goal areas. Then, using GW Ceramite White I went along and painted those lines in.






17th February 2015 | No Comments

It’s been a while since I started this model, but with Smogcon around the corner he features in one of my Iron Gauntlet lists and so needs to be finished. His flaming fists were the next job on the list (lighting was crap when I took the second):

pyre-1 pyre-2

During the later part of last year I painted a lot of Trollbloods but never got around to posting them up on here. I really should use this blog more so expect to see lots of Troll pictures soon and some other stuff I’ve been up to recently too!

Airbrushing Metals

9th August 2014 | No Comments

In my first video tutorial I show you how I painted the metals on the armour of my Trollkin Champions. In a future video I will go through how I paint the rest of them, but I thought a separate video that focuses on airbrushing metals would be useful for people.

Grim Angus

29th July 2014 | No Comments

This is the first of many repainted Trolls I’ll be doing over the next couple of months ready for the first UK Iron Gauntlet competition. I finished him in time for the ETC last weekend and took 3rd place in the single miniature competition :).


Grim Angus

Scrapyard Circle

23rd January 2014 | No Comments

It has been a long time – almost a year in fact – since I have done any painting whatsoever. In 2013 I had a lot of plans for painting projects which unfortunately never came to fruition. I attended a LOT of Warmachine/Hordes tournaments over the year with my Trolls but didn’t paint a single thing.

I am now back on the wagon as it were, after a year out it’s time for new things. This year I’ll be frequenting a lot of tournaments again, this time with Circle of Orboros. My theme for these guys is a little different from the norm – a Scrapyard theme. Typically Circle are seen in woodland type themes – which is very fitting for their background and style. However I wanted to do something different from the norm – something that will make people look twice when they see them on the tabletop.

So first up is of course a “test piece”. By that I mean a single model that will be used as part of the final army, but will be my guide in discovering the techniques and recipes I’ll use on the rest.



GW Stegadon Scale Green
GW Sotek Green (2 progressive highlights before pure)
GW Temple Guard Blue (2 progressive highlights before pure)
GW Temple Guard Blue/VMC Ivory 50:50 mix for extreme highlights
VMA Burnt Umber wash (approx 1:8 Water) only in recesses for shading
GW Dark Flesh wash (approx 1:8 Water) only in recesses for shading

I’m really happy with how the cloak has turned out, the other main colour for the model will be a rusty red which will work nicely with the turquoise, this will come in on some of the clothing but also via weathering pigments.

The last month or so has seen me move my painting station to a new location, giving me a bigger space to work in, and have my photography station, painting table and airbrush set up in the same space which is great.

Here’s the start of my current project – the 133rd Pollaxan Janissaries, an Imperial Guard unit that fight alongside the Subjugators Space Marines. I’m working on both the Marines and the Guard together, using them in a campaign at my local gaming store. To start with I have 1,000 points of Marines and 500 points of Guard. First on the painting table is this Chimera, which will transport a unit of veterans. I’ve gone for the Forge World extra armour, which I like as it bulks out the tank, and also the Forge World alternate rear door just to be a bit different.



So far I’ve airbrushed with VMC Dark Sea Green, and then with VMC London Grey. Then I’ve used Vallejo pigments to add rust and mud effects. Next I’m planning to add some fresh mud effects, scratches and other battle damage. Plus the weapons, icons and other details. Finally it will be finished off with regiment markings. I will post up the final model when it’s complete!

Happy New Year

31st December 2012 | No Comments

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, right now I’m working on this Pyre Troll and experimenting with airbrushing. This model will feature as a video tutorial on Ammunition Games in the new year.

Came across a new website today called Putty & Paint, it’s a new miniatures gallery for artists to showcase their work. Their design is very nice and the voting system looks better than the usual “Hot or Not” style voting.

At the moment the site’s invite only, looking forward to getting an invite and starting a gallery of my work on there!

Death Guard Test Model

30th September 2012 | No Comments

With the recent release of Forge World’s Horus Heresy book, I’ve been getting quite excited about Pre Heresy Death Guard – and with the miniatures being so expensive I might as well make a good job of them painting wise! So before I dive in and experiment on the real thing, I grabbed an old plastic marine (of which I seem to have far too many!) and this is the result:

I’m pretty happy with how he turned out, not too worries about some of the messy metallics or the rushed base as its just a tester, but colour scheme wise i like how the dirty off white came out, and pretty pleased with the freehand on the shoulders.

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