Sunday, January 1, 2017

Between the Bolter and Me: 2016, a year in review

2016 comes to a close!

With 2016 coming to a close, Between the Bolter and Me is now four years old! We began the year updating the look of the blog, changing our logo (maintaining the frog theme, however!) and color scheme, trying to reflect a continuing commitment to pushing ourselves forward in the hobby. We also started a podcast, called Dragged into Turbolasers, hoping to use it as an avenue to connect with a wider audience and meet new people in the hobby. Now that 2016 is over and we reflect on it, we are happy to say that we think it was our most productive and enjoyable year yet! Between two major collaborative projects, The Pilgrym and the Curse of the Alabaster, we met so many wonderful people, and spurred ourselves to create what I believe is our best work yet, painting an unprecedented 20 models (a major feat for us!). We even started to create our own background material and try our hands at writing some short stories. But enough of boring prose, join us below to see a picture recap of 2016!

The Pilgrym - The Church of the Red Athenæum:

Without a doubt, one of the most spectacular parts of 2016, and our entire hobby careers, was taking part in Iron Sleet’s Pilgrym Project, a massive collaborative event that saw a small group of hobbyists creating warbands to converge on Hallowed Terra to investiage a mysterious Pilgrym whom was rumored to hold the key to repairing the Golden Throne. What resulted was a furious 7 months of creating characters, building and painting models, and finally convening at Warhammer World to play an exciting narrative game that held the Emperor’s Soul at stake!

For the event we created a splinter sect of the Imperial Creed, called the Church of the Red Athenæum. The Church venerates the God-Emperor by inflicting ritualistic wounds, mirroring those that the Emperor received in His battle with the Arch-Heretic Horus. The Church does not believe that the Golden Throne is a benefit to Humanity, but rather it is a prison fettering the Emperor to Terra, trapping his soul and preventing Him from implementing His Divine Will, and from being reincarnated into a new host.The Horus Heresy was a period of great suffering for the Emperor, but it was only the beginning of this pain. Since being entombed in the Throne, His entire existence has been one of suffering. He has watched His empire crumble into a pale shadow of its former glory, with the Imperial Truth being replaced with the Imperial Creed. He is enslaved by the corrupt High Lords of Terra, tethered to a damaged relic from the Dark Age of Technology with the sole purpose of keeping the Astronomicon lit. It is not His Will that is being promulgated, but that of an amoral Senate of fools. The Church believes that in order for Mankind to achieve its next stage of evolution, the Emperor must be free to lead His people both spiritually and physically, something that is impossible when He is chained to the Golden Throne. When rumors of the Pilgrym began to circulate, the Church mobilized, intent on finding a killing this figure. They reason that killing the Pilgrym will lead to the failing of the Golden Throne, shearing the Emperor from the physical realm and ending the state of purgatory that He has been trapped in since the end of the Horus Heresy. Finally, after millennia of servitude to an ever-changing coterie of unscrupulous High Lords, His soul will be released into the Warp, where He will be able to fully exert his Divine Will. But in the Church’s ranks is a sleeper agent from the Holy Ordos that has other things in mind...

When building the warband, we wanted to focus on realism past simply our normal focus on firearms. Specifically, we wanted to increase racial diversity and increase the representation of women, two things that you don’t see enough of in the hobby. It was really fun experimenting with different skin tones, allowing us to evolve as painters. We only managed to create three female models for the group, but it is something that we intend to expand upon in the future. Aside from just including females, it was imperative that they were not sexualized. It was important that they did not look appreciably different from everyone else (no impractical armor to broadcast that they were females).

The entire warband!

Aseneth Levedescu: Cardinal of the Church of the Red Athenæum.

Ursula Contreras: Sister of the Order of the Crimson Hour.

Joanna Reese: Sister of the Order of the Crimson Hour.

Samael Urkston: Chronicler of the Church of the Red Athenæum, and a tribute to the late Wayne England.

Ehret Filipovic: Chief Bibliognost of Church of the Red Athenæum.

Kirill Blokhin: Acirgeon, Arch-heretic of Church of the Red Athenæum.

Matthias Stillman: Congregation member of Church of the Red Athenæum.

Vasili Abramovitch: Congregation member of Church of the Red Athenæum.

Roland Arnesen: Missionary of Church of the Red Athenæum, Agent of the Ordo Machinum.

Bronwen: Vox Owl, Agent of the Ordo Machinum.

Roland and Bronwen, Agents of Lucanus Molnár, Ordo Machinum, who saw the final events of the Daylight Wall Anomaly...

Kingdom Death - Multipart Kit Challenge:

One of the most interesting projects that we started in 2016 was born out of not knowing what to do with the mulitpart survivor models from the Horror Boardgame Kingdom Death. We eventually decided that it would be more exciting to see what other hobbyists could do with the models, so after building one model with the assorted pieces, we sent the rest off to another hobbyist to see what they could build, before sending the rest off to a person of their choice, to see what they could make! The first recipient was the esteemed Odie from the Heavy Static blog, before the pieces were sent to the talented Bigbossredskullz, followed by the brillant Wilhelm from Wilhelminiatures. Quite where the remaining pieces are, we are not sure, but possibly we will see some more creations in 2017!

Our attempt at building something neat from the questionable multipart kits.

Bigbossredskullz’ created a stunning Amazon warrior whom he graciously sent us as a gift!

Wilhelm’s evocative model (still WIP), exhibiting his characteristic finesse with plastic models! 

Curse of the Alabaster:

The second major collaborative event that we took part in was the Curse of the Alabaster, an Inquisimunda session hosted by the talented Shibboleth. The game focused around a Black Ship (the Alabaster) that materialized into a Hive city, unleashing a host of abhorrent psykers leading to much chaos and bloodshed. The game was played on an incredible board created by Shibboleth himself, with the cursed wreckage of the Alabaster in the center, created by the visionary Weirding Way. We used the event as an opportunity to create some Adeptus Arbites, something we had been meaning to build for many years. And in one additional fit of madness, we created a towering psychic Tyrannosaurus rex, modeled after 2000AD’s classic FLESH series. The galaxy is a big place after all is it not?

The event consisted of three narrative games that we chronicled (Here, Here, and Here).

The complete Adeptus Arbites.

Hara Taa: leader and CQC specialist.

Marion Helm: Medic.

Valentina Radonovich: Demolitions specialist.

Jian Zhou: Technical specialist.

Ada Fortescue: Sniper. 

The Null generators that the team had to set up to bring order to the cursed Hive.


Outgard - A Vermilion Revenant:

The final model that we created in 2016 was a wandering automation, loosely based on a character from the 1977 animated film, Wizards. We built the model as an NPC for the Outgard event, a collaborative event set in a dark medieval world reminisent of Mordheim and the Strugatsky brother's Hard to Be a God. And while the model did not make it in time for the event, we are pleased to say that it did eventually make it to its destination!

A Vermilion Wanderer. 

Well there you have it, a look back over all of the projects that we worked on over the course of 2016! Thanks you all for your continued support, and we are excited to see what 2017 brings!

- Eric, Greg, and Adam Wier


  1. Great creations all round! My particular favorite has got to be the Red Church. Their beliefs to empathise with the Emperor and the ritual amputations were great backstory.
    The weird thing about them is that these type of religions and cults do exist. There are a few penitents from Spain and the Philippines who undergo rituals of crucifiction and flagellation. Such is the world we live in today :/

    1. Thanks! They were certainly my favorite creation too; it felt invigorating writing a new facet to the 40k lore, and it was fun to really try to make it seem that it could exist. As for real such cults, all I can say is the world is an interesting place...

  2. What a fantastic year for you lads - hearty congrats all round. The pilgrimage to hobby central - WHW - would have been really something, and to be able to game with the great Blanche himself, as well as the rest of the Pilgrym talent would have been awesome.

    My favourites of your work this year are Filipovic for his conversion work and paint scheme - really a stunning piece using a great base model; and the whole of the Arbites team. you really hit a uniform look, using a great selection of parts and custom sculpt, and the paint scheme is brilliant. A mention must also go to Abramovitch's tabbard. The black, red and yellow really do stand out and hearken back for me to the 90's paint style from the 'Eavy metal master Mike McVey. Also props to Dreadwhispers paintwork and patterning which evokes the original Rex from Jurassic Park - another welcome nostalgic nod in my mind.

    All the best for this new year - i'm looking forward to what you lads can pull out to show us.

    1. Thanks! The pilgrimage to WHW was truly fantastic, made all the better because it was to meet up with so many of our hobby idols.

      It is also great to hear that you picked up on so many of the little touches we tried to add to the models, whether in modeling or painting. We really tried to experiment with a bunch of our favorite classic miniatures in 2016, trying to modify them to fit our vision (at times it was hard to cut the models up though!). The original rex defined in my mind what a dinosaur should be; it is hard to think back on it whenever dinosaurs are mentioned...

      Happy New Year to you too!

  3. Awesome stuff, man - I was blown away by the models you completed this past year, and cannot wait to see what madness you come up with in 2017! Keep up the fantastic work!

    1. Thanks for continuing to follow our hobby endeavors! We are still not entirely sure what 2017 holds for us, be we have lots of ideas!

  4. Among many greats (and your Arbites where a heavy inspiration for my Blood Pact) Dreadwhisper is just such a fantastic miniature and character :D Haven't come around on the two KD miniatures you sent me but I have some suitably gribbly plans there as well.

    Bottom line, cheers for a great year!


    1. Thanks! The Blood Pact do seem to be a good foil for the Arbites. Someday maybe they can square off against one another :D

      Dreadwhisper was really fun to build and paint, and saw us stepping outside of our comfort zone a little (not just soldiers with realistic guns, he he). Hopefully she will make an appearance again sometime!

  5. Good stuff, I've really enjoyed following along. Discovering your podcast was one of my personal hobby-highlights for 2017. More podcasts and more often for 2017 please ;)

    For what it's worth, my favourite mini of yours for 2016 was chronicler Urkhan and I did love the story and background for Roland, and for the psychic T-Rex! Very inspirational!

    1. That is good to know you like the podcasts! It has been really hard to gauge interest in it. I still feel that we are in the early stages of it, trying to find our place. Do you have any suggestions of things you would like to see/hear about? Stuff you liked or would like to hear more about. Or things you think could be cut out to make for a more enjoyable final product. Your insight would be greatly appreciated!

    2. Most podcasts about 40K are just about tournaments so yours is the only hobby podcast I listen to (do you know of any others I might like?). I only play 2nd edition 40K (as well as Blood Bowl, Necromunda, Battlefleet Gothic, Space Hulk, etc...) so modern tournaments are of very little interest to me.

      I like the talk about models... and I guess, just from looking at your blog, that your hobby interests are somewhat similar to mine. In short, keep it up and I'll keep listening.

      Some minor points:
      -keeping episodes to 1 hour would make it seem more like a professional podcast, though it's not a huge issue (but it would also make it easier for me to listen to the whole episode at the gym!).
      -you need to work on not having awkward silences before someone jumps in (I guess that would come with practice)
      -It would be cool if you could convince some of the other collaborators in projects such as Pilgrym etc to come on as guests (as I think you did in at least 1 episode so far).


      Overall I really enjoy it all, and if I think of more points for improvement I'll post another comment...

    3. Thanks for all the suggestions, we have been trying harder to keep it to 1hr, but we will make it a point now! We have a lot of ideas for people who we can have as guests for the podcast too, and will try to get a few more this year. It is always good to have a different opinion (and a different sounding voice, he he).

      I know your pain about all the podcasts being about tournaments... Unfortunately, I do not really know of any that have a focus more on models, which is I guess why we started ours!

  6. Fantastic achievements , i particularly like the dread saurian . Hope 2017 is just as productive

    1. Thanks! And thank you for taking the time to look over our last years worth of hobby projects! I too am very fond of the saurian, and am pretty happy the idea was actually turned into a model! On to 2017! And good luck with all your projects too!

  7. Wonderful stuff guys! You all had a hell of a year, can't wait to see what this year brings!

    1. Thanks, we are thrilled it was so successful, more than we could have ever predicted when we started. 2017 should be a good year!