Monday 9 May 2016

Better Know a Blogger- Part 6: Confessions of a 40k addict

This week's Better Know a Blogger featured Dave from Confessions of a 40k Addict.
As I also said with From the Fang, I would consider Confessions of a 40k addict to be one of the UK's premier blogs (if not worldwide). In fact, if you google "40k blog", Confessions is the second result (with Faeit 212 appearing first), which is pretty damn impressive! Dave was also one of the people kind enough to give me some advice when I was just starting out, advice that I still try and follow today.

After checking out Dave's blog, it is no surprise why it is so popular as it has varied content and showcases his amazing painting skills and scratch-built terrain.

Dave and his gaming buddies (Dave is second from the right).
I can't remember exactly what first brought Confesssions to my attention, but I have no doubt Dave's awesome Tyranid army was amongst the list. His Nids force is an absolutely stunning army (even better in person) and has won him several "Best Army" painting awards over the time I have been following the blog. In fact, I think Dave didn't enter his army into the painting competition at Blog Wars X as he was probably wanting to give someone else a chance!
Not only does he have his brilliant Nids army, but has actually constructed some Tyranid-themed fortifications including a Bastion, Aegis defence line and the very impressive Skyshield landing pad. He is also currently working on a Nid-themed void shield generator to add to his impressive terrain collection.

Dave is also currently working on finishing his Dark Angels and his Imperial Knight, the construction and painting of which has been extensively documented.

He also has an extensive set of FREE counter downloads and terrain templates that are available on the blog. In addition, he recently ran a competition to win a free Imperial Knight. The Imperial Knight was won by Marc from Old School Gaming (AKA Imperial Knight winner) with his awesome Dawn of War plasma generator.  I also entered the competition, but came nowhere close to winning. That's alright though, as I had already picked up my copy of Imperial Knight Renegade. I didn't want to win anyway as I heard that the Knight Dave was giving away always rolls a one for shield saves and that Marc smells too. I'm sure people only voted for him because they felt sorrow that an Imperial Knight costs about 4 billion dollars in Australia and not because his entry was amazing........ahem, sorry, don't know what came over me there.

Anyway, enough of my fanboy ramblings, here are Dave's answers to my questions.

1. What age did you get into gaming and what started it off?
I’ve pondered this quite a lot over the years. I know I got into collecting miniatures well before I got into gaming. I said to my brother one day while walking home from school I'd quite like to try Dungeons and Dragons. I don't know where the idea came from, it just popped fully formed into my head. It may have been inspired by my love of the Warlock of Firetop Mountain books, I don't know. My brother actually found someone in his year at school who was into role-playing and it was a Ninja based game. I was too young and he certainly didn't want me hanging around with his new mate so he went and played a game with him. I remember interrogating him ruthlessly on his return about what it was like. The individual he found was Otty, who I now game regularly with, it’s funny the way things turn out.

 My actual gaming experience was when I went to high school, one of the new friends I made had just got Blood Bowl and Rogue Trader, we had a game of Blood Bowl one Saturday and I was hooked. I think I got Blood Bowl for my next Birthday which would have been 1986 or 7 so I was probably 12 but my hobby passion predates this with Airfix kits and the fantasy side of things was thanks to C. S. Lewis.

2. What was the first model you ever bought/painted?
Some of the earliest figures in my collection are in fact my brothers that he bought from an independent games shop in Liverpool at the time, cleverly called Game. I took my first trip to Liverpool to just go there, with him and Otty. It was a wedge shaped building with the door at the thin end. You had to go into the basement down this thin staircase. All the figures were in glass fronted wall cases one figure deep and the counter had a rack of tiny draws behind where, after choosing your miniature, they would find them in the drawer. I bought my first mini, a bearded, norse-like barbarian with a shield on his back, a couple of axes and possibly a crossbow. He cost about 60p and then we went home, the train fare cost more than that! I’ve no idea where that Humbrol enamel painted figure is, probably somewhere in my parents loft, although I’ve looked repeatedly. Thinking about it has brought up a mental image it may have been a Ral Partha model, I’m not sure.
I did have this Prince August Miniature poster on my wall for a long time though and know I collected quite a few of these well before I even saw a slotta base.

Below are a few really early Citadel models I still have. The Cleric is one of the very first models I bought from a local newsagents that stocked figures. Funnily enough he actually looks like he’s got vampire fangs. The Samurai’s are from the old ‘nippon’ range.

3. What is your favourite aspect of gaming?
I’ve debated this with myself a few times culminating in my ‘hobby matrix’ theory for helping you beat hobby slump. I can definitely say painting is my primary passion but really that’s to do with the compulsion to paint what I’ve got that’s currently unpainted. I spent much of my early years with unpainted armies, I never completed a BloodBowl team, my Dark Angels were in varying states of styles, finishes or even bare metal! Only my Epic army reached a level of completeness and with our effort now to play with mostly painted models I will put off games to try to break the back of my ‘grey tide’. That said, I love playing, I love the social interaction with my mates and the banter and similar to my realisation back in the day that I could buy White Dwarf which was talking about figures or not buy White Dwarf and actually buy the figures; I’m beginning to realise that not gaming to paint is a false economy - I shouldn’t sacrifice those opportunities, where possible (I would have played a lot fewer games over the years if I held to this philosophy!- Mike).

4. Fondest memory in gaming?
I spend a lot of time on my blog and in my hobby agonising over decisions. I believe it’s a real advantage to make decisions to help continue progress and keep your mojo up and the hobby slump away. That said I can’t seem to make a decision on my fondest memory. I love to recall some of my older memories - when a friend and I both used a particularly random tactic of arming teleporting, Rogue Trader-era ‘bombots’ with rad grenades. There was the time we spent a day setting up an epic EPIC! Battle, only to bin it off and go out to a rock club that night when the rest of our mates turned up. There are also the various RPG scenarios we found ourselves in and then eventually the LARP events which I still recall with a twinkle of nostalgia.

I look back on my gaming history, it’s not a journey [I’m not a reality TV wannabee] but more appropriately, its an adventure. Without The Lion the Witch and Wardrobe I wouldn’t have had Warlock of Firetop Mountain. I then wouldn’t have had the birthday presents of the Middle Earth Role Playing Game [which I never played] or the Warhammer Fantasy plastic Regiments box. I wouldn’t have had any of the GW games, nor the RPGs or the LARPs which in turn led to my experiences with Kendo which when I had to give up made me come back to gaming.
I think though I’m just really enjoying the time I have now. I’ve reconnected with many of those old gaming buddies and the memories I have now are not over-shadowed by those teenage desires to win at all costs. It’s sad there are some friends who no longer play, as the social aspect is my main draw now, I shouldn’t need a reason to hang out with friends but it helps. The fact is we’ve had some great times over the past five years since I fell off the hobby wagon and I’m looking forward to every new memory.

5. What are you working on right now?
I have quite a few projects running concurrently, I recognised this is as an effective technique to stave off hobby fatigue. When one project gets the better of you and you’re about gnaw your face off with frustration, switch to something else. It’s also useful when a project finishes to not have that ‘blank canvas’ of starting a project from scratch. It’s much easier to hop onto another task that’s already begun. So right now I have these ‘active’ jobs
  • Dark Angel – Dark Talon
  • Dark Angel – 6 x Ravenwing bikes
  • Dark Angel – 5 x Deathwing Knights
  • Imperial Knight Warden
  • Tyranid Scratchbuilt Void Shield Generator
  • 31 Genestealers
  • The Deathwatch Overkill Genestealer Broodkin
But these can chop and change and be usurped by other projects should they take my fancy. I’ve got a few other projects that have also begun but currently are in stasis, alongside the obligatory projects that have not even been started.
6. When you are not conquering the tabletop, what do you do?
I studied Graphic Information Design at university, that’s a Graphic Designer who puts the needs of the end user above the desire to throw every graphic style at a project. And I’m actually in a job that on paper does just that, I work for the government company responsible for motorways and any A-roads of significant importance. It’s my job to help communicate various messages, whether that be newsletters, exhibitions, animation, video, reports, presentations, pretty much any form of communication - we’re asked to make it look good. As with most jobs it can be a bit frustrating so I try to release my creativity either through my hobby work or the creation of all the wound markers, terrain templates or fluff graphics that contribute to the blog.
As mentioned I used to do kendo, the Japanese martial art of fencing. I had to give it up due to a neck injury, when the specialist says you shouldn’t do anything that puts unnecessary force on your head or you could be paralysed and you do an activity that requires you to be hit on the head repeatedly, even with protective armour, you kind of have to re-evaluate that activity. I still miss it, it’s a unique activity to put your body on the line each week, to forge yourself alongside other people who are all attempting to achieve a better version of themselves. And it also helps that it’s non-profit, so unlike some martial arts you can go to any club and be welcomed, with no pressure to gain belts [there are no belts] or compete if you don’t want to.
Other than that I’m a TV-aholic, it’s an addiction that competes quite strongly for my time which can impact either way on my hobby. I’ve got too many series on the go at the moment, which can be fine if it’s just me but some things that I watch with the wife, like Walking Dead, well we’re 21 episodes behind now!

7. What would you say about your blog to someone who has never read it to draw them in?
I don’t half ramble on! You must have gathered that already now though. OK, I can see how that isn’t so much a draw as a turn off but I’ve gotta be honest I write far too much and you may never read it all. I try to cover all topics, painting, modelling, battle reports, made up theories on not losing your mojo, advice for blogging, oh and I give away FREE stuff to. When I started the blog I tried to find a ‘unique selling point’ and realised it wasn’t selling I needed to do, just give stuff away. As I was creating my own terrain templates anyway why not just give them away? Sure I could find a way to profit from them too but this hobby can be expensive enough as it is.
To be honest I realised a while back, even with quite a following, that my blog is my hobby diary, and as a diary it records what I’ve been up to for posterity and if folk find value in that, it’s a bonus. If they contribute back or it inspires them then it’s an even greater bonus. Hopefully this won’t come across as egotistical but after 5 years with over 1,120 posts there are very few bloggers still going from when I started.
8. What is your favourite article that you have written?
The page I created to share the free terrain templates has always given me a sense of satisfaction, it’s a bit clunky now, but the fact it’s received over 81,000 views alone is testament to the idea that giving stuff away was the right thing to do.
That said, Saturday the 2nd March 2013 was an important post, as I say the blog is personal, I share almost everything and having lost my father two days prior the post helped me to come to terms with his loss to marshal my thoughts and feelings. I’m glad I wrote it, even more so that my brother read it and approved. We don’t share interests but it was good that he took time to read it and see how I was affected.
9. Which rule would you like to see changed or removed entirely?
There are loads that would benefit from a tweak. As a nid player there are quite few inconsistencies that even just minor changes would fix otherwise unviable options. To be fair we have a huge range to play with, sadly though there are some units that are just head and shoulders above the rest. Ultimately, I’d just prefer a better FAQ system. With the recent request for FAQs on Facebook [which ironically went against they’re initial rules of the group] that may indicate a shift in customer interaction. If it results in many of those Q’s being A’d then I’ll be a happy bunny.
10. Which of your armies is your favourite?
I love the nids, there I said it. I hated painting the Genestealers when Space Hulk first came out and I was devastated when my son wanted them and not the Dark Angels I still had in my collection. But they’re so forgiving to paint and the lack of terrain has forced me to create things from scratch. They’re not true works of art but they feel that way and to employ my own aesthetic upon them is a great feeling. The Dark Angels, have more detail and I put more effort into painting them. It’s a much more laborious process but even with the extra attention they’ll never have quite the impact of my Hive Fleet.

11. Secret wargamer or loud and proud?
Proud. It’s taken a while but I’m honest about it now at least. I certainly don’t mind talking about it to strangers. People indulge in all sorts of hobbies and activities, this is just one and it causes no harm so it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
12. Any hobby tips or cheats to share?
I advocate going with the flow, wherever your hobby mojo is kept aflame that should be your priority as it makes things easier. It’s worth bucking the trend occasionally, we can’t put off those jobs we don’t want to do forever, but for the most part the path of least resistance is usually the most productive.
The other most often repeated tip is when you have no mojo. It’s at this time you should look to doing those tasks you least enjoy, it’s tough to motivate yourself to do anything and I know it sounds counter-productive to motivate yourself to do something you don’t want to do. But doing rubbish jobs when you don’t feel like it means when you are fully motivated you can get on and do all those fun things, because the rubbish jobs will have been done anyway.
It’s these sort of mind games that’s allowed me to continue to paint day in and day out for the last few years. I may not be as productive as some but I’ve continued at my own pace and achieved things I never could when I first started in the hobby.
13. Tournament or Casual?
Casual, I like to win, who doesn’t? I play to the best of my ability but my fundamental reason to play is to have fun. I was extremely lucky when I fell off the wagon in that my local gaming club was run by a teacher and he treated our games like learning opportunities. This was particularly reminiscent of my kendo ‘senpai/kohai’ [teacher/student] relationship. It really helped me bury those WAAC tendencies for good.
14. Nintendo or Sega?
Decisions, again? OK, as a kid it was Sega, I got a Master System for Christmas just before the Mega Drive was announced - gutted! I probably had a lot more fun on my Spectrum though. As an adult though I still love some of the Wii games, but the kids don’t seem to want to play it anymore and I don’t really have the time either :(
15. Xbox or Playstation?
Playstation, loved the original when it came out. At uni the local video store even hired them out, we had one for a weekend and hammered Tekken to pieces. I got a PS2 2nd hand shortly before the PS3 came out [deliberately this time, because it was super cheap] and managed to get a load of old games that kept me happy. My eldest son has a PS4 so the wife wanted shut of the PS2, it’s hidden in the garage for when I put a TV in the man cave. My youngest has an XBOX 360, but I detest the Microsoft login accounts.
16. McDonalds or Burger King?
Between those two I prefer Burger King but they’re quite expensive. Really I prefer Subway, there’s an attempt at healthier food, better value and you get the loyalty card which I have over 2,500 points on and every time you eat there if you fill in the customer survey you can get a free cookie too! I’ve nine currently waiting to be claimed, what was that about healthier food?
17. Coke or Pepsi?
Really not that fussed, it’s usually diet but the Zero stuff is terribly gassy. I’d prefer a Tango, Dr Pepper, Dandelion & Burdock, or even an Oasis but ordinarily I’ll just drink water.
Thanks to Dave for answering my questions. If you have a blog and would like to take part in Better Know a Blogger, get in touch and let me know.


  1. Man, they are some old school miniatures! I still have a few old lead Ral Partha miniatures; you need to wash your hands after painting them :-) I love Dave's Tyranids, they make me faintly sad that I painted mine in metallics (...until I actually paint one and it is so quick!). The Dark Angels also have a really unique paint and basing scheme that I find interesting.

    For the record: I always roll ones (so no big loss there), I smell like grim/dark roses and Imperial Knights cost so much money in Australia that kids have started using gold bullion as a proxy (it's cheaper and about the right height) ;-)

  2. Dave's blog was one of the first I followed when I started reading blogs and stuff. Packed full of great content and his tyranids are just a sight to behold. It is great to be able to see behind the curtain as it were, and find out about the person behind the content we read every week :)

    1. Yeah, Dave's blog was one of the first that I started reading and following.

  3. Damn it I should have though about offering alternatives to the 2 choice questions... Redbull would have trumped coke and pepsi! But perhaps thats the addiction talking...

    Great to have light shone into a blog that inspires so many :)

    1. Typical 40k gamer, never happy with the original option, always wants to tinker with it or convert it to suit their own purposes.....

  4. Dave is also the king of helping introduce new bloggers into the blogsphere. He really gives great advice, and has allowed many of us to flourish! Thanks Dave!

  5. Cheers guys, this has been an inspired set of articles, I can say that now I've been included in the ranks ;) I must admit I didn't know about the Google search ranking and I thought it might be due to the way google prioritises places you've already been but I ran the search without signing in and I'm still No.2, which is pretty impressive beating Spikey Bits! I won't let it go to my head though ;)

    1. Thanks Dave, I'm really happy with how the series is progressing, got some more great bloggers coming up in the future!

      Also, let it go to your head! If I had that, I might start every blog post with the fact ;)

    2. I should make a new graphic to replace my AdSense thermometer - 'Google No.2, bigger than Spikey Bits' ;) or 'the second best 40k blog in the universe', what do you think?

  6. Another great post. Dave was one of the first blogs I started reading as well. Both you gents keep up the good work.

  7. As a Tyranid player I am a big fan of Dave's DIY terrain. If I only had a fraction of his skill to construct his creations...

    1. The good news is he has a lot of tutorials for his tyranid terrain