Tuesday, 31 January 2017


hi guys

Just a quick reminder that if you want to win that nifty "da Gobbo's Grotto" dice bag, hand crafted by the talented Beccy from "The Lucky Orc", then you need to comment by midnight tonight. Your favourite post of 2016 (yes, yes egotistical, I know) and why. 

There is only a couple of entries so far, so chances are pretty good I'd say.


Monday, 30 January 2017

The Heavenly Dogs fly into da Grotto

Hi all

A rather odd title I'm sure you think, but there is a reason I chose such obscurity and that is to do with the new faction that has swooped into da Grotto further fueling my Bushido addiction - the Tengu Descension.

A little clarification then? Well according to Japanese folklore the translation for Tengu is literally Heavenly Dog.  I'll just be lazy and post the Wikipedia entry, which I found very interesting and provided the springboard for my research into this group of supernatural beings.

Image result for TenguTengu (天狗?, "heavenly dog") are a type of legendary creature found in Japanese folk religion and are also considered a type of Shinto god (kami) or yōkai (supernatural beings). Although they take their name from a dog-like Chinese demon (Tiangou), the tengu were originally thought to take the forms of birds of prey, and they are traditionally depicted with both human and avian characteristics. The earliest tengu were pictured with beaks, but this feature has often been humanized as an unnaturally long nose, which today is widely considered the tengu's defining characteristic in the popular imagination.
Image result for TenguBuddhism long held that the tengu were disruptive demons and harbingers of war. Their image gradually softened, however, into one of protective, if still dangerous, spirits of the mountains and forests. Tengu are associated with the ascetic practice of Shugendō, and they are usually depicted in the garb of its followers, the yamabushi.

There is loads of great stories and information held on the inter-webs regarding this fascinating group of beings, but I can't do all the heavy lifting for you so I urge you to research them yourselves, you will not regret it.  For Bushido purposes, the guys at GCT have gone down the more warrior like stories of the Tengu, how they taught martial arts to humans and even allied themselves to the human tribes that inhabit the mountains that the Tengu have made their eyrie like homes in.

Now I've already given you a teaser post regarding the giant bird-like Samurai - Buzenbo, here is the starter set that will form the core of my emerging faction.

For countless cycles the elders of the mountain have watched and waited, their quiet vigil in the high places of the world unbroken. Silently they have over seen the rise and fall of innumerable clans, the petty squabbles of mortals bare no relevance to their goal. Gifted with generations of knowledge passed down through the written teachings of the Karasu Shugenja and oral histories of the Koroko Shisai the Tengu hold the secrets of the world in the their high homes.
Now stirred into action, one can only imagine the danger that looms that has rustled the Tengu to war. 
So that's the official line here's my breakdown of the miniatures...
First we have Kotenbo
The Haiatake are the third of the warrior caste of the Tengu. Strong, loyal and fearsome fighters, dedicated to the pursuit of mastery of martial disciplines. Their traditional weapon the oversized Katana which they wield either single or double handed with equal skill.
Kotenbo will be trusted to hold the centre of the board, urging other Tengu Bushi on with his "Command" trait and then wading in with is huge katana, which when combined with his "Hack" ki feat can easily carve through the toughest of opponents.  "Battle Hardened" and "Armour (3)" will mean that he will present a real obstacle.

base colours only

Faction colours wise, I've gone for a golden yellow and black combo with the Tengu armour plates being a bronze/golden metallic colour that I made mixing GW's "mournfang brown" and "shining gold". Feathers for the birdmen are a mix of Vallejo's "Orange Brown" and "Saddle Brown".  Once all of the base colours were blocked in I rather uncharacteristically chose not to shade each individual colour with a corresponding ink shade but instead decided to wash the whole miniature in Army Painter "Strong tone".  This proved to be a daunting prospect for me, but I think it lends a natural tone to the whole range of miniatures.

Next up Tarobo..
The Blue Gale scouts are comprised of the quickest and most nimble of the Suzume. Tarobo as the fastest amongst them, ducking and dashing from combat, foes swinging at empty air as the bushi severs limbs with the Blue Gale signature short blade. Always accompanied by a number of wild hunting birds that create a network of eyes for identifying any threat and swarming to distract them.
Tarobo will almost certainly be in every warband that I put together for the Tengu as he has the ability to "Stun" an opponent each turn, is able to "Scout" meaning he deploys further up the table or he can "Flank" and deploy on a neutral table edge from the 2nd turn on (on a dice roll). Armed with a bow and the "Camouflage" trait he can sit behind cover and snipe or "Dash" forward to capture objectives.

base colours and then washed in Army Painter Strong Tone


Next we have Zenkibo...
A legend amongst the Zephyr guard, Zenkibo is a nimble and ruthless fighter. Swift on the wing and skilled in the Suzume yari, he makes a strong addition to any Tengu warband.

Zenkibo is a reasonably able fighter with "Dodge", "Armour" and "First Strike" and his ki feat "Precision Strike" he's a handful for mid and low level characters with "Fly" he can leap opponents and turn their backs to other Tengu to finish the job!

On to the Tengu's human allies from the Hill Tribes we have Talriktug...
Taliriktug is as strong and rugged as the mountains he calls home. With his ancestral axe, crafted to last generations, none can resist his wide and arcing blows, felling opponents unable to the block his furious onslaught.  

Taliriktug has a great combination of "Toughness" and "Armour" which means he will be a swine to remove off the board, add this to his offensive attributes "Cleave" and +1 damage from his enormous axe and he will be a handful.

base colours

with shade

Last but by no means least we have Nuniq....
An amazing hunter and tracker, Nuniq knows the mountains she calls home better than any other. Enemies to the tribes must tread carefully if they don’t want to lose men to the hidden traps and snares, obvious to the tribes people but undetectable to outsiders. Her eyes miss nothing, whether spotting prey, animal or human.
Nuniq offers a load of defensive and scouting goodies that should prove a handful and considering she is only 6 rice she is cheap enough to appear often in a warband.  "Snare" will haress and slow opponents down, wasting activations and disrupting my opponents plans.
so here is the finished pieces and a group shot....

So there you have it my first 5 miniatures for the Tengu Descension, I have a few more yet and there will definitely be a spending spree at Salute in April to boost their ranks.

hope you enjoy

Friday, 27 January 2017

Tweak Off.....

Hi all

erm.....sorry about the title of the post.... I blame Dave Stone, after all my suggestion was simply that we should compare the various paint jobs of Tweak, a character from the pages of 2000AD, by Simon (Blaxcleric), Bryan (Vampifan), myself and Dave - who sculpted the figure.  Dave was kind enough to gift each of us with a copy of the enigmatic Tweak, who joined Judge Dredd in his trek across the Cursed Earth.  I did have a load of blurb prepared from Wikipedia but Bryan beat me to the punch so here's a link to his excellent article instead here.

So it was my idea to compare each of our paint jobs of the same sculpt for fun, Dave named it a "Tweak off!"  Bryan has displayed his version and Dave's as Dave doesn't have a blog and you can find a link ***

Anyway here's my version.

I went with a Vallejo Saddle brown for the main body and mixed it with some GW Emperor's Children pink for his snout and hands, washed in Army Painter Strong tone and finished with yellow claws.

I have got another Dave Stone special to show but he'll have to stay under wraps until I finish him off.

hope you enjoy

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Cherry Blossom

Hi all

About 3 weeks ago, I was idly surfing the inter-webs looking for nothing in particular when I came across a picture of an Asian- themed terrain board for a samurai skirmish game that for the life I can't remember...  but the board, man the board was beautiful.  Star of the show was some cherry blossom trees which were just perfect, certainly perfect for my Bushido boards!  So I set forth with my feeble web-fu skills to see if I could find some suitable trees.  After a frustrating hour or so, all I could find were architect's trees that would have set me back £9 each - no way! 

However not to be deterred I turned to the dark side and fired up e(vil)Bay and found a supplier in China that would sell 10 for £4.23, whats more P&P was free!  Now I was very cynical indeed.  Although I bought my excellent bamboo from China I had also bought some model trees that were the size of shrubs (relatively speaking). But at that price I thought it was worth a punt, so I clicked "Buy it Now!" and forgot all about them.  

Fast forward to this week and a package from China arrived in da Grotto.  Still fairly cynical I opened the pack and was very, very pleasantly surprised to find some proper sized trees...

The trees are twisted wire trunks and covered in a filler (spackle) type coat and flocked with a mix of green, white and pink sponge and they measure a good 9-10cm high.  Shipped flat they just require a little tweaking to open the wires up to produce a good spread of branches and limbs.

When you do tweak out the limbs, I suggest putting some paper down as they did shed quite a bit of the foliage! Thats ok though as they have loads, probably too much as they expect some to come off at this point.  Once I unpicked mine to the point I was happy, I collected the excess foliage and popped it to one side for later use, as you can see there was quite a bit....

I then mounted the trees on bases, I wanted two different types of bases, some smaller ones so that they would fit in tighter spaces and some standard sizes for woodland areas etc.  Too hand I had 4x 30mm rounds which I added a 2p piece on top of for some extra weight/stability and 6x 60mm rounds. So out came my hot glue gun, I suppose I could have pinned them for extra support but there really wasn't any need as the next step would provide all the support I really required.  Inspired by a video by the terrain guru that is Luke Fellows (which you can watch here) I used the hot glue to layer at the base of the tree to give it some more stability and then drag the gun toward the edge of the base to create a root network.

Next I covered the base and the bottom of the tree where the hot glue has been with a homemade "Stirland Mud" type textured paint, again masterminded by guru Fellows (video is here) I've coloured my paint to match my Temple board but you can colour yours however you like.

I then colour matched the trunk with a mix of browns and black and painted over the textured paint and drybrushed the earth and flocked the bases to match my usual style.  I didn't use too much grass as it doesn't grow well at the base of trees as the tree is generally taking all the nutrients...

Obviously during all of this the trees were shedding foliage, which I dutifully collected so now it was time to seal the trees.  I could have done this at the beginning to prevent further loss but to be honest it was such a minimal loss it really wasn't a problem and I wanted to seal the base flocking too.  Before I did that though I wanted to use up some of the lost foliage, again I could have used some PVA and glued it back onto the branches but they were looking pretty healthy so instead I scattered some of it onto the bases to represent the falling of the blossoms that have inspired so much Haiku.


cherry blossoms fall--
come out and play
devil in me!

now it's time to seal all of the good stuff in, so outside I dutifully went in the subzero temps with my spray bottle of PVA/water mix and sprayed the trees/bases until they were sodden.  I then popped them on some greaseproof paper (waxed paper, baking sheets - whatever you call them) to dry.

and voila

I still have a bit of the blossom foliage to play with for other terrain pieces.  So there you have it 10 cherry trees for any Asiatic terrain board for £4.23, the cost of some bases (which I already had) and the investment of a morning's work.  I'm think of buying a few more but 10 will do for most Bushido boards however if they've got some other colours that will pass for autumnal trees of even some decent green ones to pass for most deciduous trees then I think for such a paltry price I might just splash out...

hope you enjoy