Thursday, January 6, 2022

Between the Bolter and Me: 2021, a year in review

The Church of the Red Athenaeum 2016-2021.

Despite the pandemic still making life difficult, and dramatically restricting the possibility of travel in 2021, we had a productive year as a blog. While maintaining our monthly posting schedule, we continued to do our weekly Twitch streams and monthly (mostly) podcast Dragged into Turbolasers. With this post, we wanted to recap the year as a whole, starting by examining the 3 most popular posts on each of our various platforms (blogger, Instagram, and our podcast).

Most popular blog posts of 2021:

We had a total of 48 blog posts in 2021. Our most popular post was one reviewing the skirmish wargame F28. It is a fun system, which thankfully is now sold digitally! Excitingly, the second most popular post was highlighting people from the hobby community that stood out to us in the previous year. We think this is the most important post we write each year, as it helps showcase this great hobby community, so it is nice to see that it resonates with our readers! Finally, the third most popular post was one reviewing our blog’s output in 2020. It was somewhat surprising to find that none of the top three blog posts pertain specifically to Space Marines, which is typically one of our most popular topics. This year, many of our Space Marine posts dealt with female Space Marines, due to the Challenge issued by the online magazine 28. Perhaps this controversial topic kept some readers away? Regardless, it was nice to see that our summary of last year’s work was well-received.

2. A look back: Notable Hobbyists of 2020 (2343 views)

Most popular Instagram posts:

Our year on Instagram was largely defined by our revisiting the Church of the Red Athenæum, first established for Iron Sleet’s Pilgrym event. Two of the top three posts (1 and 3) focused on the Imperial cult, with the most popular post showing a combination of two newly created models and two from 2016. The other featured the unpainted heavy weapons specialist, showing off all of the sculpting work done on the model. The second most popular featured a cyberpunk-themed warrior, Darby “Gladiator” Lorensia, created for Requiem_82’s #themercenarycallup event, next to a true-scale Space Marine featuring a converted plasma rifle.

1. The Church of the Red Athenæum (3030 likes)

2. Darby "Gladiator" Lorensia next to a true scale space marine (2973 likes)

3. Marcelo Lythgoe, heavy weapon specialist of the Church of the Red Athenaeum (2719 likes)

Most listened to episodes of Dragged into Turbolasers:

Although we didn’t quite release an episode each month, we were able to record a total of 10 episodes of Dragged into Turbolasers in 2021! We were incredibly excited to get the opportunity to chat with Ana Polanšćak, one of our favorite hobbyists and entrepreneurs, shortly after she launched a Kickstarter with Dave Taylor. Our followers seemed to share in our excitement, as it was our most listened to episode of the podcast for 2021. The second most listened to episode was one where we interviewed Lunax7070, talking about his excellent true-scale Space Marines. Finally, the third most listened to episode was one in which we talked about Warhammer+, specifically about the animated Hammer and Bolter episode, Old One Eye.

2. Chatting with Lunax7070 about True-scale Space Marines: Episode 82 (236 listens + 506 views [YouTube])

3. Thoughts Old Bale Eye and Warhammer+: Episode 87 (179 listens + 251 views [YouTube])


Imperial Guard with converted lasrifle.

Continuing with the trend from last year, we created three more tutorials for converting smaller-scaled firearms. While last year we converted a Sister of Battle Bolter, a Space Marine Plasma rifle, and a Laspistol this year, we focused more on standard human weaponry, including an Autopistol, Autogun, and the humble Lasrifle.

The Church of the Red Athenaeum/Zone Secundus:

Marcelo Lythgoe and Petr Danev.

Our most concerted effort in 2021 was revisiting the Church of the Red Athenaeum, which we created for Iron Sleet’s Pilgrym event. We got the idea to start creating more of the cultists after talking with K0rdhal about his community event/setting Zone Secundus. The first new Church member was a Gunfighter created from a Scions of the Flame Warcry model. The second was created from the same kit, a Heavy Weapons specialist named Marcelo Lythgoe. Using another Age of Sigmar kit, we built a Halfling, Petr Danev. The final Church member of 2021, a Bibliognost of the Church of the Red Athenæum, was converted from the Sister of Battle special character Agathae Dolan, Hagiolater.

28 Challenge: Female Space Marines

Iron Snake Space Marines.

Space Marines are always popular in this hobby, so we usually convert or paint some throughout the year, but we are happy to say that the impetus for doing that this year was due to the 28 Female Space Marine Challenge! First, we converted a female Space Marine using one of the original plastic Rogue Trader Space Marines, extending the torso and making some other modifications to make the model’s anatomy look more human. She was painted as an Iron Snake, to accompany some others painted in the same livery. Continuing the challenge and emphasizing how a male and female Space Marine would look the same in power armor, we also painted a Dark Angel that was converted years prior as another female Space Marine.

Dark Angels:

True-scale Dark Angels.

The advent of the 28 Female Space Marine challenge, along with the release of a new version of Kill Team pushed us to paint some Dark Angel models, the first in many years. Initially it was only one Female Dark Angel, but it led to painting an entire Kill Team of five true-scale Space Marines. Finally, expanding the small collection of models, we also painted a Dark Angel with a Plasma cannon.

Ork conversions:

Nikkit and Gorzag Gitstompa.

It has been quite a few years since we built or converted any Orks, despite always loving the pugnacious brutes. This changed in 2021, with us converting two ork models! The first was converting the plastic update of the classic Brian Nelson Games Day nob model (based on some old GorkaMorka art) we have always loved. The release of Kill Team gave the world possibly the best Ork models in years, which led us to converting the nob from the set, giving them a C96 Mauser-styled slugga.


Rogue Trader era commissar and Space Ork.

Every year we try to paint a few “oldhammer” models from Citadel’s early catalog, partially to reflect on how things have changed over the years, and to bring new life to the old metal models. We were able to paint two oldhammer models in 2021, the first being an ancient commissar model. This was painted to honor the contribution Commissar Molotov has played over the years to establish the Inq28 scene. The second model was an old Space Ork model we painted for the 2021 Olden Demon painting competition hosted by chilvers_industries.


The new Deathwalker Zombies (far right) are some of the smallest and least heroic-scale models Games Workshop has ever produced.

In addition to some of the more defined categories mentioned above, we had a few more random posts/projects this year, which we wanted to mention here. As a blog, we talk a lot about scale and how inconsistent it is with Games Workshop models. To emphasize this and give people a good reference for future conversions, we did a 2021 Scale Comparison post. Two years after the collaborative event Mordheim 2019, we finally were able to paint a version of the promotional Mad Meg model. Furthermore, we painted one of Ana Polanšćak’s diminutive Gargoyle models, using it as a test piece for painting green, which led to painting the Dark Angels later in the year. Finally, we converted a mercenary to accompany Requiem_82’s Artur Cobain model for his #themercenarycallup challenge. Darby "Gladiator" Lorensia was born from the character Doralia Ven Denst, from the Age of Sigmar range.

Darby "Gladiator" Lorensia and Klaasje Akhmatova.

That is a summary of our output in 2021! All in all, it was quite a productive year; we really cannot begin to thank everyone who has followed us and supported us over the years. We are excited to venture into the tenth year of the blog, and hope it will be another great year! As always, never hesitate to contact us with questions or comments!

- Eric, Greg, and Adam Wier


  1. Another great year with wonderful content.

    Long may it continue!

    1. Thank you so much for your support! Your frequent comments make the process of blogging more rewarding. We hope to be at it many years to come!

  2. Great work. Whether it actually was or not it seemed like 2021 was one of your most productive years in the blog, podcast, and actual miniatures--keep it up for 2022 and we'll be here watching! :)

    1. Thank you! I think it was a really good year :D

      I am sure 2022 will be good too!