TSM Geek – May/June 2021

The last couple of months have been, once again, fairly quiet on the geekiness front. Yasmin has been studying for her mock exams, which she has just completed, and has spent much of her time with her head in books, writing flash cards, and revising far harder and with more vigour than I ever did. She’s also had first dibs on the computer, which is why I’m a little behind producing this post.

So, game wise, whilst there’s been some play there hasn’t been as much as usual. I haven’t even had the chance to get any solo gaming in as I’ve had other, more pressing things to do – won’t bore you with the details!

This should all change in a couple of weeks, with the advent of the summer hols. I’m going to set up our old, rather large dining table in the garage so we can leave games set up, and Yasmin wants to get a few games of Joan of Arc in, playing the scenarios that don’t fit on our usual table, so that should be good.

Anyway, here’s a roundup of the last couple of months…


I was progressing really nicely with my solo campaign of Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon, and the story was building nicely with twists and turns to the plot keeping me enthralled. I say ‘was’ as I had to save the game and pack it away as we needed the table I was playing on. That was about a month ago and I haven’t had chance to get it back out again yet.

This causes a bit of a problem. The story has many threads you can follow, and I’ve made copious notes, but being away from the game too long makes it difficult to piece everything together again, which is one reason why I’ve started again in the past. Hopefully this time I’ve made my notes a bit clearer, and I can jump right back into things.

We played a single game Of Marvel: Crisis protocol, Dominion, Scythe, and a few games of Everdell, all of which I’ve talked about before and haven’t anything much to add. Oh, and I got my revenge by beating Yasmin at Ticket to Ride!

I did manage to write a review of Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth, which, due to only being able to get on a computer for half-hour at a time, was a drag to do.

With the holidays fast approaching I see a lot more gaming on the horizon, both with Yasmin and solo.


I haven’t done too bad in the painting stakes though, and the Mansions of Madness minis are coming along nicely. I’ve just completed the Cultists – awaiting basing – and that brings the total to 18 done out of 45 monsters; I’ll start on the characters once they’re all done.

Painting the Cultists, I stumbled across a new technique (at least for me). After an initial priming in white, I basecoated them with the airbrush in Mud Brown, Yellow Ochre, and white, raising the spray angle each time from the horizontal starting point, like I was Zenithal priming. I was just playing around really, as these minis didn’t really need this as they’re a bit lacking in detail, but I wanted to try something.

Once dry I glazed over their robes with Red Ink, hence the reason for basecoating in brown and yellow, as they give a better base for red than blacks and greys. This gave some semblance of shading and highlighting, but I wanted to add a little more contrast and so I applied a wash of Agrax Earthshade. In my hurry to get them finished I did this before the Ink was fully dry and I noticed that, if I apply a little more pressure to the brush, it started to ‘scrub’ away the Ink and reveal the yellow basecoat, and it actually looked quite good!

Mansions of Madness: Cultists
You can see the effect the ‘scrubbing’ had on the front of their robes.

I didn’t go overboard, and the effect is quite subtle, especially as I glazed over everything once more with Ink, but it adds a little more interest to otherwise dull characters. I now call this the scrubbing technique!

Turning to Marvel – Loki is coming along very nicely and should require one more session to finish, which will please Yasmin as she’s chomping at the bit to use him in the game. I’ve really enjoyed painting him, even if I did have several failed attempts at Non-Metallic Metal, and I’m pleased with how his jacket has turned out – jackets seem to be my thing at the moment, lol (Star Lord!).

Loki is coming along.

Hela is next, another of Yasmin’s characters, and she’ll sport a similar set of colours, well, green anyway, and hopefully I can turn her around a bit quicker so she can get her to the table in the next game.

The Prince of Wales and The King George V, both King George V-class Battleships are now pretty much done and as soon as I fire up the airbrush, I’ll give them a quick coat of Varnish. These small, 1/3000, ships are easy and quick to paint, once I’ve decided on the colour scheme that is, so I tend to try advance them in the evenings, just before we all sit down as a family to chill.


In a few weeks I’ll have the right ships finished to be able to run a few scenarios, such as the Battle of The Denmark Strait and on to the sinking of the Bismarck. I’ll be playing solo, and I’ll post up the battle reports as I play. initially I’ll be using Warlord’s Victory at Sea ruleset, but I also have a few other, more in-depth rules that I want to try too, so I aim to play the same scenario repeatedly and compare how they play. The other rules are Seas of War and Fire on the Waters.

As the weather is now reasonably warm, if not particularly dry, I’m now painting back in the garage. I decided it was high time to invest in a paint stand, but on looking around I wasn’t impressed with what was available for what I wanted to pay. The Vallejo stand is £16.99, not a great deal you may say, but it only holds 52 bottles, so I’d need at least two if not three, and that would also take up too much space. In the end I decided to make my own and turned to the trusty Foam Core Board to make it so…

It will hold 161 Vallejo paint pots, but I wish I’d added at least another tier (why do I need so many paints!). I used leftover board and Gorilla glue, so I didn’t have to pay anything out and it only took me about four hours or so to make… after I’d figured out the design that is!

If I can find where I put the drawings with all the measurements on, I’ll post up how I did it (I’m not the most organised person in the world!).

Screen Shot

Let’s start with Falcon and Winter Soldier. I loved this and watched it back-to-back, all in a couple of days. It was such a relief after watching WandaVision to be back on something that I felt was more like traditional Marvel. For me it had a better storyline and a lot more action. Yes, character development was a bit hit or miss – I would like to have seen more regarding Baron Zemo – and it could have done with another episode or two to give more depth and explore the plot line, but it was the kind of thing one could just sit back and enjoy without having to bend the mind around what the hell was going on.

Hot on its heels came Loki and I’ve just watched episode 5. After watching the first 10 minutes of episode-1 I doubted I was going to enjoy it, but as it went it got better and better and I found an affinity for the main character played, of course, by Tom Hiddleston. It has its moments though when things do go awry, such as episode 3 which was more akin to an episode of Dr. Who, and occasionally it takes a leap into an odd kind of humour, almost sitcom like, fortunately it jumps back and cracks on again. It also features some spectacular special effects – episode 5 I’m looking at you!

There has been something about it that has made me smile, and I find myself waiting excitedly for the next episode. It isn’t so much your normal MCU, but it does reflect the Marvel of the comics in its wackiness, intriguing storyline, and characters you just can’t help but love.

Sticking with Disney but switching to the other major IP, Star Wars, The Bad Batch. This has been something else I just can’t get enough of. An animated series with some awesome graphics, and as a miniature painter I find myself staring at the Stormtroopers and how they’ve been drawn, amazing detail. Next time I have to paint troopers I’ll be re-watching this and copying some of the designs as well as taking note of how they’ve weathered them.

Away from that though, it has a good, strong, and consistent storyline that sees the characters develop with every episode and if you’re a fan of the movies this will be right up your street.

Other than that, we’re about to start season 5 of the X-files and so far I’m really pleased that Yasmin has enjoyed it as much as I did when I first watched it. Once we’ve finished, and I’m hoping to crack on through it over the holidays, I’ll be introducing her to something a little different but another of my favourites, Red Dwarf!

Between the Sheets

A couple of things to talk about here, two collections and a Non-Fiction.

First up is DC Comics: A Visual History. This is a set of eight books covering the history of DC year by year, from the 1930’s to almost present day – it’s a few years old now. I’ve never been into DC in the way I was Marvel and have read very little as far as the comics go – Batman and Superman, with the odd spattering of Wonder Woman – and whilst it’s been an interesting read it hasn’t particularly held my interest.

DC Comics: A Visual History

It is a visual History, as it says, so it’s easy to scan through and pick out the bits of interest and that’s how I went through it, reading anything that caught my eye. I found the opening books the most interesting, seeing how DC developed and the restrictions placed on what could and couldn’t go into comics.

The artwork is, as one would expect, stunning, and it’s what drew me to the books in the first place. Really, though, it’s a series for those who have a deeper interest in the subject matter than I, and I found it difficult keeping tabs on all the divergent branches, as some heroes had storylines running across several comics with different titles – much like Marvel but I know a little more about them.

Next up is Scale75’s Minipedia. This is a collection of 10 books under the moniker of ‘Learn to Paint Miniatures’. Each book covers a topic, such as Skin, Leather, Fabrics, Metals, etc. and I backed it on Kickstarter.

‘Learn to Paint miniatures’ isn’t quite what it lives up to. I’d say, ‘Hera’s how we painted this Scale75 miniature using these Scale75 paints in this order’! There’s little to no techniques taught in and it’s pretty much a collection of painting guides for their miniatures. Book one covers paintbrush techniques, but other than showing you how to layer and wet blend that’s it. There’s no Drybrushing, Overbrushing, Staining, Stippling, etc. and though it keeps mentioning glazes it never explains exactly what they are or how to use them. In this book the images do have direction arrows and such like to show where the paint is being applied and the direction of application, but in later books this disappears and you’ll just have images of the mini in question, with captions underneath stating apply such and such colour as a highlight, but looking at the images you can barely see any difference – it certainly doesn’t ‘teach’.

The translation is terrible too. They reckon they were translated then read through by a native painter, but that’s got a smell of something about it, I mean, what English speaking miniatures painter ‘sprinkles’ with his airbrush rather than sprays? It’s all rather disappointing and I’ve found it very little use – it’ll probably end up in the next boot sale!

Finally, and by far the best of the three, is SAS Ghost Patrol: The Ultra-Secret Unit that posed as Nazi Stormtroopers by Damien Lewis.

Now, I’m only halfway through this so far and am reading it on Yasmin’s Kindle. Lewis’s style is so easy to get into and it flows effortlessly making reading a delight, but of course that counts for naught if the content’s no good. No worries there though.

SAS Ghost Patrol is the explosive true story of the day in 1942 when the SAS donned Nazi uniforms to perpetrate the most audacious and daring mission of the war. Beyond top secret, deniable in the extreme (and of course enjoying Churchill’s enthusiastic blessing), this is one of the most remarkable stories of wartime lawlessness, eccentricity and raw courage in the face of impossible odds – a thoroughly British undertaking.

So far, I’m still in the run-up to the operation, which tells the story of where the idea for the mission came from and the preparation that went into it. The combined forces of the LRDG, Commandos, SAS, SOE, SIG, and many more abbreviated agencies each use their skills to make it happen. It’s been a thoroughly absorbing read and I’ll tell more next time once I’ve finished the book.

Well that’s it for May and June, hopefully the next few months will be jam-packed full of geekiness to talk about, and of course there’s the EXPO at the end of the month 😁.

One last thing. I forgot to post the answers to the ‘Guess the Game’ I added to the end of the last Geek. Well, here they are and many thanks to those who had a dig here, on Facebook, BGG and those that e-mailed the answers. Keep scrolling down for this months trivia…

Picture A
Picture A – Scythe
Picture B
Picture B – Pandemic
Picture C
Picture C – Eldritch Horror
Picture D
Picture D – Formula De
Picture E
Picture E – Nusfjord
Picture F
Picture F – Suburbia

This month it’s a word search. There are 11 Fantasy Flight Games releases hidden within, just for fun see if you can find them and let me know what they are.

Fantasy Flight Games Wordsearch

16 thoughts on “TSM Geek – May/June 2021

  1. For a time where you say you haven’t done much, there is a lot of content to this post Justin. Great work on the cultists and Loki, looking really good. Hope you have a great time at the expo, and can enjoy some gaming again, now your daughter has finished her mocks

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Dave.
      I think it sounds like I’ve done a fair bit but it’s spread over 2 months and there were a few weekends where we just didn’t do anything ‘geeky’.
      Looking forward to the Expo, thanks, and our gaming should ramp up after that, until the end of the hols anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Quite a lot been going on really, Justin! 🙂 Here’s hoping it all keeps going along nicely!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks John.
      Just keep plodding along, that’s my motto!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The cultists look excellent and the technique you used gives the red a really good look. And the green of Loki’s cloak is a gorgeous colour. Nice stuff!

    I like your homemade paint rack. I have three of the Vallejo ones and would get another one but I doubt it’ll fit on my desk. They are good, but are a pain to put together and can be a bit wobbly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Matt.
      I enjoy painting the shade of Green I used on Loki. I was lucky to fall upon three colours that work well when mixed and layered, and I use them a lot when green is called for. Heal also has a lot of green but it’s a good shade or two darker so I’ll have to try something new.
      I was tempted by the Vallejo ones, but couldn’t justify the cost for the amount I needed, and with all the foam board I had lying around it seemed daft not to use it.


  4. I agree with everyone above. I hate to see what a busy period looks like for you 😉 In all seriousness, trying to paint that Loki NMM would be a good challenge. I wouldn’t recommend it as a first mini to paint that way. I would pick something that has a small amount of metal and generally a weapon is perfect because you can find images where a skilled painter has already done the lighting and you can more or less copy it until you figure out how it all works on your own. Loki is looking nice and kudos to you for painting your cultists in red for MoM. I did the same exact thing 😀

    I’m really pleased to hear Loki is good so far. I’m looking forward to watching it, you know, after I play all of Arkham Horror LCG because I feel like I’ve nearly bought it all this week haha!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sure it sounds like a lot but it is all spread out over two months, and mostly weekends. With the summer hols approaching things should see an upturn, which means longer posts!
      I’ve had a bash at NMM a few times, mostly small weapons or pieces of armour, and so far I just can’t get my head around it. I’ll keep trying and eventually it will fall into place… hopefully!
      If I were a Cultist, I would wear red. Surely being a Cultist is all about the look anyway, isn’t it!
      Lol! They’ll probably have the second season out by the time you’ve played through that little lot!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I look forward to more and longer posts! 🙂 And haha, you’re right, I better get this opening Arkham campaign moving! For NMM, it is hard to grasp it all right away. You may have to pick up bits and pieces until you feel confident with it. One video that helped me better understand it conceptually is this one by a bloke with a funny accent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zux0HAS8pAw. You’ll probably understand Kujo better than I do but if you have any NMM questions I can help with, always happy to help!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for the video link that’s awesome. I’ve learnt more in that 10-minutes than watching hours of of others!
        I like the way he breaks everything down into shapes and follows simple rules for each – I’ll can’t wait to put it into practice.
        Pity there isn’t an Arkham Horror App, I could have joined you for a game 😃

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Really glad to hear it! Kujo is a good teacher for advanced techniques. Learning the shapes can demystify the process for sure. There are two skills needed for painting NMM well. Smooth blending and knowing where to place highlights and shadows. Smooth blending is a skill you may already have and can be developed outside of NMM but the highlights and shadows is something everyone has to learn to paint in that style. There’s no way around that. It can help to find an example where someone painted NMM and steal their lighting placement too. That has helped me when I get stuck occasionally.

        Arkham would be perfect as an app and I’d love to play with you if such a thing ever exists! 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I can’t wait to have another go, but I’m painting Hela next and I can’t think if there’s any metal on her, if it is it would probably be green and I wouldn’t want to start there!

        Liked by 2 people

      5. I just googled her and Hela’s sword could maybe be NMM but it would not be a good choice to start with since it is heavily obscured and black for that matter. I’d try something that isn’t completely metal if you can too just to make things easier. If you have any other MCP minis coming up that you think might be good candidates, I’d be happy to take a look at them and recommend one.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Thanks Mate.
        It’ll be a few weeks yet before I have something else coming up. Other than Hela I have a host of MoM to do and many more ships, but I’ll be sure to drop you a line when I get something I think worthwhile.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. What bases did you use for the cultists?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tim. I used bases from TT-Combat, but to be honest I wouldn’t buy them again. They weren’t cut into a proper circle, they looked almost like an apostrophe, and had a very edge. I used Micro Mesh to sand them into something useable. I’ve started using LITKO bases now, which are at least round!


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