Monday, 20 June 2016

Better Know a Blogger- Part 12: The Roost of Turkadactyl

This week's Better Know a Blogger features Alexander from the blog "The Roost of Turkadactyl".

Unusually, Alex's blog started as a travel blog (more on this below), but has now progressed into a great 40k blog. I think I first became aware of Alex's blog when I saw the title appear on Faeit 212. It was such an unusual name that I decided to click on the link to see what it was all about. Fortunately, I was not disappointed!

Alex and his family.
The Roost (as all the cools kids know it) features a lot of great content, including painting progress for Alex's many armies, reviews of new rules and books, a bloggers showcase and some fantastic narrative 40k battle reports.
Alex has a selection of armies, including some great looking Adeptus Sororitas....

.... his fantastic Tyranids, Hive Fleet Kodiak

and his brilliant Space Marines, the Carcharodons. This chapter is primarily in grey armour and look very striking in the photos. I really like the Land Raider and its crisp colour scheme and look. It is only a work in progress, but it already looks fantastic, I can't wait to see the finished product.

A recent post that was fun to read was on his favourite 40k memories. This is always a great topic to get involved in, as I find you don't remember the wins or the losses down the years, but it is the stand out moments of daring wins where your grots take down the enemy warlord or your terminators tank an insane number of wounds and actually behave like terminators should that stand out in your memory. Check out his favourite 40k memories and add your own (Double Trouble added quite a few to my already extensive collection!).

You will also find some great terrain on display on the blog, I'll let the images speak for themselves.

One thing I am looking forward to is Alex's upcoming Badab War campaign. This looks to be a major 40k campaign primarily focused on Space Marines and should provide some great content and battle reports in the future. It's just a shame that I can't take part, but the commute is too much even for me!

Alex was actually the first person to contact me directly to appear in Better Know a Blogger and he is a well deserved addition to the series (even if he did send me some of the most eclectic and haunting photos to go with the answers). Here are Alex's answers to my questions:

1. What age did you get into gaming and what started it off?
I started collecting 40K when I was 24 at the tail end of third edition. I guess I can be called a late bloomer. I was involved in youth work and I was asked if I wanted to help out a 40K group for youth. I looked into it, used some Jedi mind tricks on my wife (we were married for around six months) and I started a Witch Hunter army. There were some friends of mine were also playing so I had two groups I could game with.

2. What was the first model you ever bought/painted?
A squad of Battle Sisters. I called them my Frosted Flakes. When they were complete I sprayed them with a GW matte spray. It was dark out and with my inexperience I sprayed too much. I was crushed. It ruined my paint job (my painting wasn’t really that good so no loss) and I never sprayed in low light again.

3. What is your favourite aspect of gaming?
I got into 40K to play games. I’ve been playing board games since childhood. As the years have progressed I’ve grown to enjoy the painting more and more. I’ve seen my skills progress over the years and it’s nice to see all that time and effort pay off. My favourite 40K posts to check out are model showcases. There is a lot of fantastic work out there and thankfully there are a lot of people who make their models accessible on the internet.

As much as I enjoy painting, it is the gaming that brought me into the hobby. I prefer the narrative storyline games. 40K has a rich and diverse universe. Playing a narrative game gives a more cinematic feel to the game. I love sci-fi movies. Playing 40K gives me a chance to combine sci-fi movies with gaming. It’s a perfect match like peanut butter and jelly (that's one of those weird North American things- Mike).

4. Fondest memory in gaming?
I was participating at a local tournament during fifth edition. It was a single day event with four matches. I was playing Sean in my final match. It was my Tyranids versus Sean’s beautifully painted Red Scorpions. Sean is a great sport so regardless the outcome it was going to be a fun game.

I used what I thought was a thematic list with bugs coming from the skies, under the earth and lurking in the shadows. It contained a Winged Tyrant, Gargoyles, Raveners, Genestealers, Trygon Prime and a Mawloc. There may have been more but that is what I remember. This game was going almost as close as flawless for me right from the start. The Tyranids were tearing the Red Scorpions apart and I was not taking too many casualties. The dice were with me, my strategy was sound and I was being rewarded with the risks I was taking.

The game was wrapping up and I was running some Genestealers back to an objective. Everything else was descending onto Sean’s last unit of Devastators. Sean had not killed a single unit. He killed some models but cover was good to me that day. By the will of the Emperor one Devastator survived the combat therefore contesting the objective. My Genestealers were just out of the range to claim the other objective. The organizer walked by and called time. One more minute for the next player turn and the game would have ended but we were not allowed to proceed. Had I won I would have finished third overall and instead dropped to fifth as the game was considered a draw and Sean finished fourth. We still talk about that game to this day.

5. What are you working on right now?
I have a few projects on the go. I want to get my fortifications and scenery painted up for Badab War YEG. I’ve just finished the Aquila Strongpoint. I also have some tanks to paint for my Space Marine Carcharodon force, one of those being the Caestus Assault Ram (ooh, shiny!- Mike). I also have some Cataphractii Terminators, the 30th Anniversary Marine and Genestealer Cult that I want to paint up as well. This will keep me busy until the end of the year. I really need to win a lottery to find time to paint all this stuff.

6. When you are not conquering the tabletop, what do you do?
I have been employed as a Community Peace Officer for five years now. It’s a job I kind came across by luck when my wife and I returned from our volunteering stint in Scotland in 2008. I get asked a lot what the difference is between a police officer and peace officer. A police officer can enforce all levels of law. A Community Peace Officer is a provincially appointed position with mine specifically involved with health care. I am able to enforce specific provincial statutes and can legally carry an extendable baton.

I enjoy my job. I get to help people out and protect those who need it. I get to see some interesting things and no two days are alike. Another plus is I get paid to walk around and chat. It’s a branch of law enforcement that is more up my alley. We have a customer service approach since we are part of health care. It’s a bit more relaxed than being a member of the city police.

I love playing sports. I grew up playing soccer (football for all of you across the pond [or those that want to call it it's proper name ;)- Mike]). I now play in a co-ed soccer league with my wife. My interest in mountain biking has grown over the last few years. I do a lot of camping and backcountry hiking with my wife. The Rocky Mountains are a short drive and are a great playground for an outdoor enthusiast. My wife and I are starting to do some running events together as well. Summer is a really hard time for me to focus on 40K. We have a short window to pursue outdoor activities because of the weather. It has to get packed into four to five months (a summer that lasts 4-5 months?!? What madness is this- Mike).

7. What would you say about your blog to someone who has never read it to draw them in?
My Space Marine Carcharodon army is my big draw. I’m a big fan of the Badab War. I was adamant that I would never start a Space Marine army. Then Forge World released the Sevrin Loth and Honour Guard models and I did a complete 180 on Space Marines. If you are a fan of the Badab War then keep visiting the Roost. I am organizing a local Badab War campaign that should start in November. A couple of participants signed up for the campaign are showcasing their army progress at the Roost. I’ve also had the pleasure of showcasing other hobbyists Carcharodons and hope to showcase more. So if you want to showcase your Carcharodons or any other Badab War chapter, please contact me.

The Carcharodons are my biggest draw but I have posted pictures on other armies such as Tyranids, Adepta Sororitas and Grey Knights, as well as scenery and fortifications. Speaking from experience I find it helpful to look at other hobbyists models when determining what colours I want to paint mine. So if you want to showcase any Tyranids, Adepta Sororitas or Grey Knights please get in touch. I’d love to showcase your models.

I occasionally post up battle reports too. I’ve tried writing a couple of games with a narrative in mind. They take a bit more work but I have had fun writing them.

8. What is your favourite article that you have written?
There’s a few. It was satisfying to post about local Badab War campaign. I’ve been wanting to do that campaign for a long time and I am looking forward to the fall when it is set to start. I don’t say that too often because I love the summer and outdoor activities. This fall will be different. I still have a lot of work to do like designing missions but it sure will be worth it.

My first Carcharodon posts are my other favourites. I’m really proud of the work I did on the Sharknado chapter banner and on the Honour Guard. Those were my first posts and were the models that inspired me to start the army.

The Roost first started out as a hobby blog. My wife and I volunteered at a youth outdoor camp on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. That was back in 2008. We had to quit our jobs because were out of the country for five months with volunteering and travelling in Europe after. The Roost was a way for friends and family to stay in touch with us and see what we were getting up to. It was a great experience and we were thankful for the opportunity. For a laugh check out the Cardboard Car entries. The sheep on Mull are scared of humans but not cars. I made a car out of cardboard to see if I could sneak up on sheep. That car took on a life of its’ own. I also uploaded some videos on Youtube with the adventures of the cardboard car.
Alex's Baneblade proxy.

My post on Caen and Normandy, France is another favourite. Both of my grandfathers fought for the United Kingdom in World War II. There was a lot of blood spilt on the beaches of France that paid the steep price for my freedom today.

9. Which rule would you like to see changed or removed entirely?
I hate the Tau (everyone hates Tau. Even Tau players- Mike). It’s that supporting fire rule for overwatch. I’d like to see close combat armies more viable. I’d also like to see Lictors inspire more fear on the table top. They are far too fragile.

10. Which of your armies is your favourite?
I enjoy all of my armies. The Carcharodons are probably my favourite right now. I’ve done a few conversions and a whole lot of magnetizing. There’s been a wee bit of extra work into this army.

11. Secret wargamer or loud and proud?
Loud and proud.

12. Any hobby tips or cheats to share?
Don’t take yourself too serious (judging by my photos one can tell I don’t take myself too serious). I’ve never understood why adults fight over rules while pushing around toy soldiers. I feel lucky that I have enough disposable income to be able to enjoy this hobby. At the end of the day it is a hobby and it is supposed to be fun. I remind myself of that when a game is going south. I am at the mercy of the random roll of the dice. So at the end of the day is losing a game bad? No. I am blessed to be living in Canada and blessed to have the money and time to play 40K.

13. Tournament or Casual?

14. Nintendo or Sega?
Nintendo. I was seven when I played the NES for the first time. Never looked back.

15. Xbox or PlayStation?
I have the original Xbox for multi-player. I have a PS1 for a couple of single player RPG. Legend of Mana is one of my all-time favourites.

16. McDonalds or Burger King?
Dairy Queen. I’m part of the Blizzard Fan Club.

17. Coke or Pepsi?
Water. Don’t need the sugar. I’m getting plenty from ice cream.
I'm sure I mentioned to Alex that all this photos would be online. For the whole world to see. I'm sure I did......

Here’s some useless trivia. My avatar was the result of a contest I used during the early days of the Roost. While my wife and I were on Mull volunteering, I asked friends and family to draw pictures of a Turkadactyl (the spawn of a turkey and pterodactyl breeding) so we could decorate our room. The winner, chosen by me, was a friend’s eight year old son and the prize was me picking the drawing as my avatar.

Thanks to Alex for answering all my questions. I think I'm going to specify from now on that all "Better Know a Blogger" interviewees have to send me at least one photo of themselves with livestock or a pigeon. Best sure to check out "The Roost of the Turkadactyl" and sign up to get his blog updates.

If you have your own blog (doesn't matter how young or old) and would like to take part in the Better Know a Blogger series, email me at


  1. Those pictures...

    Man, Canadians sure are interesting...

    Loved it.

    1. You can see where Justin Trudeau got his inspiration for selfies.


  3. Great post! These are the bestest articles.

  4. Awesome stuff. I have enjoyed following the roost, and it is great to read about the author himself /)

    Ps those photos are awesome. Cracked me up :D

    1. Yeah, I don't think we're going to beat those photos any time soon!

    2. Glad you enjoyed the photos. That was with the DSLR before selfies were popular. My wife heard me giggling when I was taking the photos and new I wad up to nonsense. A big shout out to the photogenic animals.

  5. That Sharknado banner is the best thing I've seen in ages!

    Also, I'm not sure exactly what the difference is, but European peanut butter is very different from North American. I'm not normally one to get all nationalistic, but peanut butter is something that definitely gets done better on this side of the Atlantic.

    1. The Sharknado banner is awesome.

      Yeah, peanut butter and jelly is definitely a North American thing. We don't really get that over here. Crisp sandwiches (or banana and crisp sandwiches) are another thing entirely......

  6. Peanut butter is far better on this side. Canadians sure do love their peanut butter. On the flip side chocolate and crisps are much better across the pond. My parents are from England do I get it with adding crisps to a sandwich. I get looks like I committed a crime. People just don't get how awesome crisps in a sandwich is.

    Glad you enjoyed the Sharknado. That model and the chapter champion are the two that I have had the most fun painting. It's a great conversation piece during a game.