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The Four Strands Modeling, Painting, Gaming and Storytelling


I Scouted




So, I've been a bit busy.

More than a year ago, Lexington dumped his Space Marine army in favor of Chaos.  I inherited his bitz box which contained a wealth of plastic Scout bodies but no arms.

Several weeks ago, AFK games in Holt had a bitz trade.  I gave a unique model I don't know where I got (a con?) and ten bucks for some plastic sniper scouts in pieces and an incomplete regular scout sprue.

I put together a few of the snipers, but then I realized I could do more with Lexington's bits.  So, I made:

  • Four Scout Sergeants with Sniper Rifles and Chainsword/Combat Knives, and Camo Cloaks
  • Five Scouts with Sniper Rifles and Camo Cloaks
  • One Scout Heavy Bolter with Camo Cloak
  • Three Scouts with Bolters and Camo Cloaks
  • Four Scouts with Bolt Pistol/Combat Knife and Camo Cloaks

A total of 17 more Scouts to add to my 10th company, bringing the total to more than 60!  Plus, with Camo Cloaks on all, it will let me have more variety when choosing cheap troops to hold objectives.

To keep it from being too same-y, I did some conversions for the poses.  This required partial rebuilds of the arms with paperclip pins, and putty work to rebuild the sleeves.  I like the result.

That being said, although the plastic Scouts are much better than the two poses of the old 3rd ed pewter scouts, the poses are still extremely same-y and static.  I wish a few of the arms had been a pistol pointing at the enemy, or a bolter upslung to the sky so that the other arm could be free to dramatically point, or perhaps a combat knife held upside down in a dueling fashion.

Oh well, the new plastics are still nice.  Next: painting!  Is it too late to strip and re-paint the Flames using contrast paints?  YES.  But is it too late for the Orks? We'll see...


Ork Big Mek on bike with Kustom Force Field




I haven't been active on fourstrands lately because my camera is broken, but I just finished this and thought it was awesome, so I used my iphone camera.  It's a Big Mek with Kustom Force Field on a bike, based on the old Skorcha!  I got a KFF bit from a friend at AFK Games in Holt, a Skorcha from ebay, and kitbashed the rest.

I'll have batreps and painted stuff soon, but I might look into a new camera first.


New Edition, New Additions

This always happens...

Every single time a new edition or Codex or supplement comes out, either a new unit is available, or an old unit or option becomes more viable.  For example, in 7th edition, the humble Storm Bolter was outshined by other options like Combi-weapons.  The Salamanders found Combi-Meltas and Combi-flamers extremely useful in 7th.  Now?  Those old Storm Bolters are fantastic additions to a list, especially when combined with a Chainsword.

So, 8th comes with new options such as Primaris.  I'm holding off on purchasing Primaris until my background can catch up with Gathering Storm.  But there are a lot of other options I can explore.

...and luckily I have a boatload of options!  Lexington, out of the goodness of his heart, gave me the remnants of his abandoned Aurora Chapter, and with my bits box and a few strategic bits orders, I have a bunch of new metaphorical clubs in my metaphorical golf bag!

So without further ado, here's what I've been working on!

First, a Company Ancient with a Bolter-Melta.  Perfect for holding the line, or assisting in a drop pod assault!


Next, a Lieutennant with a Bolter-Melta and Power Fist, perfect for multiple situations.


Next up some new Sergeant options.  First, Bolter-Plasmas for some dedicated anti-heavy infantry or anti-light armor.


Some Storm Bolters, complete with Chainswords...


Combi-Gravs for Necrons and Primaris...


...and finally some new Devastators to complete my collection, giving me four of every single weapon!  First, the Multi-Meltas...


...and some Grav Cannons with Grav Amps.


Well, that about wraps it up... yep... lotta new options...

...ok fine, just one more!

Behold, Captain Khalil of the 7th Company in his new version, on a bike, with the Shield Eternal, and a Thunder Hammer, making him incredibly lethal and hard to kill!





Khalil's right leg was sawed apart at the foot, the knee, and the hip.  Then, re-positioned with new green stuff sheathing.  The Bike was pinned onto the base, but not glued.  A piece of green stuff was placed on the back of the base, then smeared with the tire to make a skid mark.  The arm was re-posed and more sheathing was added.  Two Assault Marine storm shields were puttied onto the bike's front faring.  The hammer arm was pinned at the wrist to pose it in mid-swing.

Now I'm ready to rock for 8th!  Be on the lookout for some new painting updates, as well as these models in future lists!


Leman Russ Battle Tank

What's this?


Whoa!  An update for the Imperial Guard!  I'm building a Leman Russ to loan to a friend for Big Game VI.  Let's take a look at the side view.


Wait... where's the sponson?

Oh here it is:


It can be held on with magnets!


...and they can come apart to switch guns!  This, of course is unnecessary for modern Leman Russ tanks as the interior column has slots for the weapons.


...and the tiny door is held on with a magnet as well.


Wait.  Is that turret different?


Holy crap, the turret is modular too!  It can be the standard Leman Russ, the Annhilator with the classic pewter bit, or the Vanquisher with the Forge World resin turret! (note: these have been in a bits box for six years, so it feels good to get them out and use them)

Here's how it works:


The base of the turret has a magnet, and each turret top has a magnet.



I'm working on making the turret turn easier.  Not shown: the front Lascannon can also be removed.  All I need is a bitz order and I can make a lot more versions!  Coming up next, Cherubs, and BIG GAME VI!


Blood Bowl 5th Edition Unboxing

It's Black Friday, and I went to local games store AFK Games in Holt, MI, to pick up a copy of the new Blood Bowl box set, and Death Zone: Season 1, the supplemental book!  I've never opened a new box set on fourstrands, so it's time for my first unboxing!

In a future post, I plan to read the new rulebook, line by line, and compare it to the old Blood Bowl Living Rulebook.  I'll outline the biggest changes I see.  But first, let's take a look at that box!


I really like the art.  You get that it's a football game, but also much more violent than ordinary football.  The goblin looks a bit goofy though.

Let's flip the box!


A basic explanation of the game.  One thing that I looked for in the store and found conspicuously missing was a listing of the models contained in the box set.  I'll list those when I look at the models themselves.

Now, to open this precious oyster to find the pearls of... something related to football... ok bad metaphor...


Jam packed full!  Already I can see Human miniatures in blue, Ork in green, and templates in gray.  There's also some dice.  First, let's get those miniatures out and get up close and personal!


Here are the humans.  Poses for these guys are a bit odd.  The linemen on the left side sort of have their arms out.  It's half "COME AT ME, BRO!" and half "I believe I can flyyyyyyy..."  I'm also not a fan of the dancing catcher, who is doing a saucy pirouette with the ball.  The Blitzers are also oddly posed.  I'm digging the thrower though.  Good pose for making a long pass.  What I'm a bit disappointed in is the lack of variety in the minis.  The above sprues are identical so you get 2 of each pose.

Speaking of which, here's the list of Human minis:

  • 2 Throwers (identical)
  • 2 Catchers (identical)
  • 2 Blitzers (identical)
  • 6 Linemen (3 different poses)

Now, for the Orcs!


The Orcs are in more pieces, so it's harder to see their poses, but they are much more violently posed.  Many are winding up for a good punch, while others are actively charging.  The Thrower is a bit awkward and has a weird look on his face.  One of the linemen has that silly pose that the Human linemen have, but he's squatting a bit more so he looks WAY sturdier, as if preparing for a charge.  All in all, these are the superior minis, with the same identical sprue problem.  Another problem that arises from this: how do you differentiate your players BEFORE you paint them?  If you go back and look at the back of the box, you'll see that the game can be played unpainted.  If both your throwers look identical, things could get confusing...

Here's the model count:

  • 2 Black Orc Blockers (identical)
  • 2 Blitzers (identical)
  • 6 Linemen (3 poses)
  • 2 Throwers (identical)

Next: we replace the old clear acetate templates for some plastic ones that kick ass!


Better in every way than the old acetate ones.  The pass template even breaks down into two parts for storage!  Fantastic!


Woo.  Bases.  Glamorous.  Moving on.

Here's the box with the above items taken out.  To protect the board and cards, a dividing paper was placed between them.


On the other side was an ad.  I suppose we'd better get used to this.  Instead of the last page of the rulebook or assembly instructions, full sheet ads like this are being placed in all new GW boxes.  Oh well, at least you can toss it.


...wait, what's that?


There's an app?  I have not gotten it (look for a future post) but hopefully it can level up your roster, even sharing it with a tournament coordinator so there's no cheating!

Next, the item I have been waiting for: THE MAIN RULEBOOK!


Cover art isn't the most awe-inspiring.  Someone must have rolled a 12 on the weather table, and this shot was taken just before the Blizzard rolled in, as it's very foggy.  Also, the Orc looks surprised to see the Human running at him.  "Hey, man, take it easy!"

Inside, we start with some classic art.


Bob and Jim!  It wouldn't be a Blood Bowl rulebook without these knuckleheads.  To further the wackiness of the Blood Bowl setting, the book is festooned with comical asides, such as this one:


As for the rules themselves, once again, that's a later post.  As for now, I have a powerful need for some dice!


Both players get a full set of dice including three new block dice that look fantastic!  You also get two D6s with the 6 replaced with the Blood Bowl logo, a D8 for scattering, and... could it be?  YES!


A D16!

*one change of pants later*

Ah, much better.  Good, now I don't have to roll a D20 and re-roll all 17+ when rolling for MVP.

Enough of the small objects, let's get onto the pitch!


The pitch is big!  Bigger than the old Blood Bowl pitches!  Now large based minis won't have so much trouble fitting on those tiny squares.  You'll need a bit more table space though...

The pitch has a few details that make it more than just a field.  Here's a hatch to the dungeons below!


...and a poor Goblin who didn't make his landing roll when thrown...


Even better, unlike the old pitch, the flip side is a completely different pitch!


Orcs tend to play on a rougher field, with bare bedrock in some places.


Next: some cards!  They're bigger than I'd expect.  The bonus of such big cards is the text is easily readable.


Among these cards are reference cards for the Human and Orc teams, and the Star Players both teams can employ.




In addition there are two Special Play decks, much simplified from the optional Special Plays in the LRB.



Next there's... another ad?  Oh, well at least this one is super worth it if you want to play the Blood Bowl videogame on Steam.  It includes a code for 50% off Blood Bowl II, and another code for unique DLC for that game.  My codes are edited out (sorry!).




BAGGIES!  They perfectly fit the dice and oversized cards.  Excellent addition!  They are thicker and stronger than your bog-standard sandwich bags.  Great idea!

There's a double sided easy-reference guide.  It's great but... WHERE ARE HANDOFF AND FOUL?  (check rules) OH, they're there!  This guide is only for beginners...


Up next, a sheet of the oft-unused waterslide transfers, but these are very high quality!  Both Orcs and Humans get Black and White versions of the transfers, so it works with any color scheme you choose, except perhaps camouflage.


Next, another must-have, the dugouts!  Each dugout has a Human side and an Orc side.  I really like that the K.O.d box has an 8-9 and the Injury box has a 10-12, to remind you of where you go when injured!  The art is also very fun.  There's a scoreboard up top, rooms, and then the familiar turn counters and re-roll markers.



...and that's it for the box set!  It looks like they had a lot of spectacular ideas, such as the baggies, reversible boards, dice for BOTH players, and fantastic templates.  It's a bit lacking in the variety of minis, and the quality of poses, as well as some of the art being bland.

...but wait, we're not done!  I also purchased Death Zone: Season 1!  The main rulebook only has rules for making an Orc or Human team.  DZ:S1 has Dwarfs, Skaven, Nurgle, Elf Unions, High Elves, Wood Elves, and Dark Elves, bringing the total of teams to 9!  They're missing my precious Lizardmen though...


There are also rules for leagues, conspicuously absent from the main rulebook!


Minor nitpick, if this book was released at the same time as the box set, are they "new" rules?   Wouldn't they be concurrent?  I guess all of them are NEW, but most of them are like old rules... *grumble grumble*

Next: a definitive breakdown of the rules, as compared to the old LRB!  We'll see what's new, what's old, what's great, and what's questionable!  After that, I'll try to see how the App is!



Golden Rhino 2016 Display Board


My forces are marshaled for war.  Tomorrow: the Golden Rhino Tournament at Highland.  1500 Highlander, three rounds.

I am ready.


IX Squad, 1st Company: The Bearers of Hope – Azure Flames Chapter Approved Dataslate (part 2)

So I've been hinting at secret projects, and I'm proud to unveil the first in what will be a series of Games Workshop Chapter Approved dataslates.  Behold!  The Bearers of Hope, 9th squad, 1st Company


The 9th squad of the Azure Flames 1st Company was wiped out during the Chasma Spica conflict.  After the Azure Flames claimed Iperin as their homeworld, Chapter Master Perseus himself organized the new 9th squad from those who showed no fear in the face of the most gargantuan of enemy war machines, monsters, and Titans.  In a galaxy where large threats are becoming more commonplace, The Bearers of Hope are Chapter Master Perseus' answer to the most powerful weapons of the enemies of Man.  Often staying aboard the Battle Barge His Hammer II, major threats are either spotted by Azure Flames forces, or from orbit (for exceptionally large targets).  Deploying by Drop Pod, The Bearers of Hope crash into the hottest parts of the battlefield and erase large targets before they can devastate Imperial positions.

Unit Composition

The Bearers of Hope - Sternguard Veteran Squad x10 - 350 Points (plus 35 Points for a Drop Pod as a Dedicated Transport)


  • Bolt Pistol
  • Bolter-Melta
  • Frag Grenades
  • Krak Grenades
  • Special Issue Amunition
  • Power Fist (Sergeant Only)
  • Melta Bombs (Sergeant Only)

Special Rules

  • And They Shall Know No Fear
  • Chapter Tactics: Azure Flames
  • Combat Squads
  • Gargantuan Destroyers: Any model with this special rule may re-roll any rolls to hit, wound, or penetrate against any Superheavy Vehicle, Gargantuan Monstrous Creature, or building with the Mighty Bulwark special rule.


To fit the idea that this squad is specifically designed to destroy large targets, I had most of the squad looking and aiming their weapons up.  I am particularly proud of the sergeant, who seems to be turning to his right in order to shout orders and point out weaknesses.  I even saved one of the shouting sergeant heads from the old 3rd edition Space Marine sprue!  Classic!  I also figured that the sergeant of such an important and esteemed squad would be one of the rare few to participate in the Salamander Hunt on Nocturne.  I used a cloak from a Dark Elf Corsair, and sculpted more scales to mesh it with an ordinary Space Marine Backpack.  I tried to give the impression that he was turning with the cloak.  I also added a Melta Bomb with a custom sculpted rope to hold it in place.  Each member of the squad has a custom sculpted Flame on their left shoulder pad.

Sharp eyed players may notice that backpacks are a bit askew, and there are bits of blue here and there.  The Bolter-Meltas and backpacks are stuck on with blu-tac for ease of painting!


Coming up next, a custom vehicle and a very special character to lead the Azure Flames as the End Times approach!  Stay tuned!



Look at this.  Is there anything that screams laziness more than the barrel of this Space Marine's Boltgun?


No one wants to see that.  That's bush league.  Don't be like that.  Here's a handy guide on how to drill the barrels of Boltguns so they don't look terrible.

  • Get a good pin vise set with a 1/32" and a 3/64" drill bit.  The standard Dremel 7 bit set comes with this and is usually less than $5.
  • Put the smallest bit (1/32") in the pin vise, and begin to drill the crossbore of the Bolter.
    • PRO TIP: If you are at a bad angle, you'll ruin the barrel.  Instead of going through the whole Bolter at once, drill a bit on one side and switch.  Keep switching after a couple turns until you break through.
  • Continue as above until you see daylight through the Bolter.  DO NOT STOP UNTIL YOU SEE DAYLIGHT.  See below.


  • Keep the same 1/32" bit in, and drill a very small divot into the front of the barrel.  Try to make it as centered as possible.


  • Replace the 1/32" bit with the 3/64" bit.  Drill out the barrel all the way to the cavity you created in the crossbore.


  • Sometimes, the crossbore gets a little extra plastic from the barrel drill, as seen below.  Put the 1/32" bit back in and use it to carefully clean the crossbore.


  • If any of your barrels were damaged, fix them with putty or replace the Bolter if you can.
  • Now your Bolters don't look like garbage!

Next: A huge update to the Azure Flames, including two Tactical Squads, and some special surprises courtesy of Games Workshop's 20th anniversary of the Space Marines!  You won't want to miss this!

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On the subject of cases.

Recently, I bought an Eldar fleet off of Ebay, and it has been gathering dust.  After all, I can't play it because I can't take it anywhere.  So, I made a case.  Here's some pictures:

This is an art supply case, augmented with used pluck foam (thankfully saved!) mattress foam, foam sheets, and hot glue.  You can see the results above.  While I was making this, I thought about cases in general.  After all, every model gamer needs to solve this problem.  So, here's my take on how to tackle this problem.


In order to be effective, a case has to hold all the minis you need to transport.  This can either be in one case (see my Space Marine case that I posted several years ago) or in many easy to carry cases.

You should also be mindful of how your collection will grow.  If your case holds all your current minis, that's perfect until you buy one more.  Above, you will see my Eldar case has several areas that are unused, for when I can get lucky enough to find more Craftworld Eldar on ebay.  If you want your collection to grow, you'll need a case bigger than what you need right now.

2. Protection and Durability

Cases are useless unless they get your minis from point A to point B intact.  One of my previous Space Marine cases was a large blue storage tub, outfitted with foam and cardboard tiers.  I didn't really design it to hold up the tiers, and so it rested on the minis directly.  As a result, several antennae, flags, bolters, and other extended appendages or items got broken on a regular basis.  The Battlefoam case I got later protects minis much better, and breakage rarely occurs.

3. Cost

Even though I love my Battlefoam case, it was expensive as hell, even with a Gen Con discount.  Frugal gamers have several options, based on what kind of minis you need to transport.  Battlefleet Gothic lends itself to art cases or toolboxes that can hold ships well.  For Epic minis, a fishing tackle box holds lots of small stands and has room for larger minis.  40K or other similarly scaled games such as Warmachine can use a variety of cases.  My friend Andy used to use foam filled pistol and rifle cases, which worked great but was inadvisable to take into a secure area...

4. Aesthetics

This to me is the least important, but still worth considering.  My Battlefoam case looks great.  The case shown above for my Eldar looks like garbage.  However, both work just fine.  You need to decide which is most important.  For example, my 40K Orks are partially stored in an old, rusty metal toolbox.  It's impractical, dirty looking, heavy, and makes loud noises when you open it.  In short: it's perfect!  I plan on spray painting part of it white, and then using a stencil to paint black checkmarks, then hand painting a few glyphs.

There's a lot of options.  Think about it and make the case that's right for your collection.

Next: a battle report with Stephen and the debut of my Eldar fleet!  Stay tuned!


Blood Bowl Custom End Zones by Lexington

A long time ago I met a wonderful man.  He's not important; what's important is I met Lexington a little less than 15 years ago.  He's been my constant companion through model wargaming, and occasional rival.  Friendval?  (Editors note: think of something more clever later)  Regardless, Lexington just gave me my Xmas present and if you think that it's four months early, you'd be wrong.  Marvel in their awesomeness:

BLOOD BOWL CUSTOM END ZONES!  These end zones are designed for the 2nd edition Astrogranite board.  I designed the basic concepts for the logos for the Konquata Monitors and the Grimfang Scrappaz, but Lexington brought them to life, and formatted them for the correct size of the end zone. (Blood Bowl fans take note: these end zones are two squares deep, unlike the ones on a modern Blood Bowl board)

These custom end zones were then printed in full color on a laser printer and laminated with 10 mil laminate.  They were then cut to size.  This breaks the seal and eventually they will need to be replaced, but it looks better without a margin.  Incidentally, you can find the files here:

Konquata Monitors Custom End Zone by Lexington

Grimfang Scrappaz Custom End Zone by Lexington

Of course, these are useless to anyone but me.  However, if you want to make your own, use these as templates.  The final size of the Astrogranite 2nd edition end zone is 14.5" wide by 1.75" deep.  These files are larger than that in order to give you bleed to cut off.  Print them, laminate them, and trim carefully to size.  Make your own!

Next: Grimfang Scrappaz support staff!

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