In case you were wondering, some of the parts to make my groovy Rough Riders were sculpted by Rob at Curious Constructs.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Ackland Returns from Exile with Plans to Invade Europe: The Blood Lion Crusade

Hello Blogging world! I have pushed my way past the scattered piles of half written blog posts to finally hit the publish button on my blog again. As always I have enjoyed reading many of your posts but have not been as much of an active participant as in the past. I have missed that and so am finally back at it.

Whats been going on?
My last post was June last year. At that time my wife was a couple of months pregnant with our second baby. We always have complicated pregnancies and have lost a few in the past so from about July onward things started getting stressful. I still had some hobby time and even a few games in with my favourite gaming partner (Muppet); Sharpe fought of loads of Orks earning himself glory and a few fresh scars.
"Stand fast men, I can take him alone!"

At the end of October our little girl, Violet, was born 7 weeks early. Being prem and having some issues she had a long hospital stay before coming home. Now at 4 months, she is a fit and happy (all be it demanding) little princess.

Violet's 'Blue Steel'
Happy little munchkin 
Being that her name is Violet I had to paint her room violet/purple and big brother helped too. 

With so much purple going on I also got into* Genestealer Cults in a big way. 
[*I say 'got into' but I have had an old Genestealer Cult force since the 90's - not that I've done much with it since then].

I even began converting up my Warhound titan in cult colours. a story for another time...
The Big News 
Just as the family scene improved my work situation took a drastic change of course. I have recently accepted a position in Sweden – Europe here we come!! 
I am planning to stay for a year but have written my contract for two to leave the option open. I start in July and will be living in Stockholm. The first hit to my hobby will be that I can’t take everything, a) because it will be expensive to shift and b) we’ll be living in Stockholm so I am expecting way less ‘living space’ than I am use to in Australia. I figured I had two choices; 1) take a little bit of a few armies or 2) take one decent size army to work on and game with. I quickly came to realisation that I couldn’t go to Europe and not take my Praetorians so I am going with option 2. Even still I can’t take everything....
All of my Praetorian infantry lined up.
I call it my parade of shame because I have so many and so many are unpainted. 
So being that I can't take everything I am planning to fill my Battle Foam P.A.C.K. 1520XL with a pretty decent force of infantry, tanks, artillery and cavalry. A few Blood Angels might join in for the ride and maybe a knight titan or two but space will be tight. I'll work on all of the models that I am taking before I go and it will give me loads to work on while I'm there. I might get the odd game in and maybe even take some models with me over to the UK for a visit.
I spent the day drawing up a few custom foam trays to help fit some of my less standard models. At least I have time to order them and plan what I will pack. At four months out the whole thing feels like I am planning a massive invasion. Invasion Europe. Let’s call it War Plan Red after the US 1920’s plan for war with the UK and because my army is red!

"Don't give me that 'loose lips' sermon, what's the latest on War Plan Red?"

"I hear the word out of Bakka is that the Lord Commander Tempestus has just assigned some Lord General the rank of 'Lord General Militant' and something about the 'Blood Lion Crusade'. Best keep your head down, sounds like the brass are planing something big."

"Well I don't like nothing with the word 'blood' in it, especially when its our poor blood they be talking about."

With my mates the joke that I am 'invading Europe' has a history. An infamous Risk game 12 years ago saw me becoming ‘loud and animated’ after conquering Europe but being unable to hold it. My mate's wife could apparently hear me from her car when she pulled into the drive way. This became known as ‘the Europe incident’ and my mates jibe me with “it’s not Europe” if I am ever unhappy or angry about something.

As I said, I am hoping to hop from Sweden over to England at some stage and I am so excited and the prospect of being able to bring an army with me. Raiding English gaming stores will be tempting too after having to pay the ‘Australian premium’ on models.

Over the coming weeks I’ll start posting my progress preparing my invasion force. To my Europe friends keep in touch and I might be able to meet up with you in person!

Tally ho chaps,
Col Ackland (Ray)


  1. I've only been to Stockholm twice (24 years ago now) but I really enjoyed it. You could do cycling tours of the city but the bikes' brakes only engaged when you pedalled backwards. None of this handlebar brakes nonsense.

    By the way, love the table groaning under the weight of all that infantry.

    1. LOL, Cheers Ady. Cycling does seem like a big thing in Europe. My new boss keeps giving me distance in cycling time.
      I need a bigger table or I'll have to play floor wars!

  2. Great news on all fronts! Sweden is closer than Australia at least... congratulations on the new job and the new addition to the family - looking forward to seeing more. Welcome back!

    PS, a very impressive parade of Praetorians! Inspiring stuff.

    1. Thanks Ed. I really loved collecting all those models but it has been hard finding the time to paint them. I am looking forward to getting a nicely painted force together. It's not so much about playing anymore, just collecting and painting.

  3. If you wanted to borrow more Iggies for anything you should just pop over now that you're local.

    btw Ray, as you know my secret identity, you might look me up on fb (if you do fb) when you get here, so I can abuse you as a vile and uncouth colonial.

    Accepted a job in Sweden ?!?! What transferable skill gave rise to that, I wonder.... I think you're some kind of fish pickling expert. And anything you might say now is just obfuscation, Dr Rollmop.

    1. ‘local’ that’s a crazy thought! Just a stone throw hey!

      ‘vile and uncouth’? No, in South Australia we were all responsible, healthy, hardworking and skilled colonials of good character, rather than the paupers and convicts of the eastern states. It usually confuses the Yanks when they realise that in Australia it is the ‘southerners’ that speak proper ‘British English’.

      I’ll try not to obfuscate... but I’ll be doing research on night working Swedish medical doctors. I figure if the Swedes cannot manage shiftwork we are all doomed!

    2. ha ha, that's a good cover story, but we all know you're going to steal fish picking secrets for when the great barrier reef is an ice sheet. Gotta admire you Ozzies for planning ahead.

    3. Shhhhhhh! We are not allowed to talk about the Great Barrier Reef unless it is about how great it is. We have to say that the fact that it is dying is an 'alternative fact'. - Everything is fine here, move along... ;)

  4. Violet is a real cutie! Congrats!

    Move to Sweden.... yikes, that's quite the treck from Oz. Far easier for me to move here alone with my two suitcases to the US 15 years ago than a whole family to a non-english-speaking nation I imagine :P

    Good luck mate!

    1. Thanks Dai, I’m pretty smitten by her (when she is not keeping me up at night).

      The trip will be a challenge for sure. Thankfully English is pretty widely spoken in Sweden and the kids can go to English schools.

  5. What an experience its going to be for you and the family. And you've done it at the right age for the kids. Super jealous. I'm sure you can fit a 6 foot, bearded bloke in your case if you try hard enough - Batle Foam might even do Muppet shaped custom trays!

    I still struggle with the idea you'll be gone for the year buddy - let alone two! Who will I see Star Wars with this year!?

    We need to shoehorn more hobby sessions in before you go so I have a mojo bank to see me through. And you better keep up your blogging over there so I know what to expect when you come home.

    Oh yeah, Violets a cutie - but you knew that - and that Titan conversion is PIMP - even if I did cringe at that first WIP grind-job you showed me - I still cant believe you carved off all that lovely Chaos defilement!

  6. Brilliant!

    And congratulations!

    And I love Violet's 'blue steel'!

    Y'know, what this really means is that you'll have to have a prod at Bolt Action whilst in Sweden: it's dirt cheap, requires very few miniatures, and just a short hop across the border with Norway will mean you'll be in Moss - the heart of the Nordic Tabletopbattle empire!

    [don't worry - they play 40K too!]

    Nice one, mate - here's to family, eh?

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