Thursday, July 18, 2024

Vastarian: Lore Summary

The Emergence of Saints (Nikon F2 55mm f2.8 Porta 400).

In the later part of 2023, Between the Bolter and Me created its own setting in the 40k universe and encouraged others to get involved in developing it by making it an Open Invitational. The setting is called Vastarian - Dreams of the Pious, with Vastarian being a major cathedral world that has been thrown into turmoil due to the opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum. This has caused a massive psychic awakening amongst the general population and has fomented conflicts between the different religious sects on the planet. The Invitational asks you to create your own Imperial Cult (the more eccentric and deranged the better) and using your favorite ruleset, play some skirmish games to help develop the lore! We have had a series of posts developing the setting, including showcasing two factions (the Church of the Red Athenæum and a faction of Spyreheads) and some artwork showing others, designing a logo with Weirding Way, a battle report within the setting, some sample scenarios to play, and a specialized Adeptus Arbites group functioning on the planet! In addition to the overall Invitational, we also held a contest for people to create their own cults and were amazed by all of the awesome creations by hobbyists from around the world! With the contest over, we are still encouraging people to get involved in the setting and keep the Invitational going. Towards that end, we are building up to a small Inq28 event with friends in November (hosted with Bill Ford of the Mordheim 2022 and Rot of Hondious fame!). With this post, we want to collect all of the major pieces of Vastarian lore into one place, so it is easier for people new to the setting to know what it is about and get involved!

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Dragged into Turbolasers Episode 110: AI and the miniature hobby

In an age where it is easier than ever to use AI to create things, it is fun to go back to older technology to create things, like 35mm film! This was taken on an Exakta VX (Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm f2.8) with Kodak Portra 400 film.

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Vastarian: the Emergence of Saints

“But what can be done when you find the apocalypse has a dream of its own?” - Thomas Ligotti

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Vastarian Contest Winners

The wait is finally over, roughly three months since submissions were due, we are ready to reveal which of the Vastarian Cults created for our contest are the winners! It was a difficult decision to say the least, with over 30 entries (see Entries 1, 2, 3, 4), each an amazing creative expression, pushing the Vastarian setting, and Warhammer 40k as a whole, forward in new directions! Below are our selected favorite cults along with some honorable mentions!

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Vastarian: Cultist Painted

Lonely vigil.


At long last I have found the time to paint one of the resin casts of the generic cultist model I converted for our Vastarian setting! It was refreshing to paint a model based off of an older sculpt since it lacked a lot of the superfluous detail seen on some modern sculpts. I decided to paint the model red, so that they would fit nicely beside two models I converted for the Pilgrym event, also using old metal Brian Nelson sculpts!

Monday, June 10, 2024

Vastarian: Child of Vastarian

Inquisitor Lucrezia Beltano and acolyte Severine of the Ordo Sanctorum.

Over the last month or two, we have been sharing all of the wonderful Vastarian Cults (Entries 1, 2, 3) that were created for our Vastarian Contest. While we still have one more upcoming post with the last few entries, we wanted to create a post showing a unique entry into the contest, one that didn’t involve a cult, but instead two Inquisitors embroiled in a conflict surrounding a powerful newly emerged psyker from the Cathedral World of Vastarian. This psyker, the “Child of Vastarian,” and associated characters were created by Moritz Schuessler (Herr.sobek). With this post, we wanted to showcase his creation via two stories from the perspective of two inquisitors: Lucrezia Beltano and Aesa Valerian.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Dragged into Turbolasers Episode 109: From digital to film, miniature photography

Dark Angel: taken on a Exakta VX (Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm f2.8) with Fujifilm C200 film.


In this episode, we talk about miniature photography, touching on cellphone cameras to film cameras. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different cameras and give suggestions of elements to consider to improve your miniature photography.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Vastarian: Hypatia Etranzi

I don’t fear hell.¹

Earlier this year we started to create more models for Special Operations Unit Mitsukurina, an elite unit within the Adeptus Arbites, that we created a few years ago. The unit is operational on Vastarian, trying to manage the psychic upheaval. We were able to use the two new members we converted in some games at Adepticon. Due to running out of time before the convention, I was only able to partially paint the new models. Now that things have settled down, I was able to finally finish painting the leader, Hypatia Etranzi!

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Miniature Photography with 35mm film

Exakta VX (1955) next to Fujifilm XT4 (2020).


Over the many years running this blog, I have increasingly spent more time thinking about photography. Taking good photos is important to get people interested in your work, to clearly convey ideas, and to document things effectively. For most of the blog’s existence, I used my phone’s camera. And while I found success with this, I started to recognize that my phone often struggled to get miniatures entirely in focus, due to the fixed wide aperture (low F-stop, letting in a lot of light, but with a shallow depth of field, particularly if close to the subject), and the photos often looked unnatural due in part to the aggressive computational processing that was done on each, regardless of my input. This led me to getting a mirrorless digital camera, specifically a Fujifilm XT4. I selected the camera due to it being one of the only modern cameras made with “traditional” dials, like old 35mm film cameras, for the important elements of the exposure triangle: ISO (International Organization for Standardization, a measure of light sensitivity), Shutter Speed, and Aperture (this is on the lens themselves, rather than the camera body). Instead of these things being controlled electronically inside the camera, I thought the physical dials would force me to be more mindful of these settings, rather than relying on the camera to do it automatically. The camera also has the ability to use preset “film simulations” which allow one to take photos that would emulate the color science of Fujifilm's classic film stocks, like their black and white Acros. Something about connecting back to the roots of analog photography appealed to me. So far, the XT4 has been great, allowing me to learn the process of photography, both in my home space for photographing models in a controlled setting, to events, where lighting is not always reliable. Like I had hoped, the physical dials encouraged me to be more particular with the settings I was using, and how they were affecting the outcome. While I did not know it at the time, all of this experimentation and attunement to remnants of analog photography were priming me for my next step in photography, 35mm film!

Monday, April 15, 2024

Vastarian: Contest Update

“Blessed is the mind too small for doubt.”

We are excited to say that our Vastarian Open Invitation contest recently came to end, and it was incredibly successful! All told, we received 32 entries, all imaginative explorations into what life might be like on a Cathedral world. We are currently reviewing all the entries carefully, reading their lore and poring over the amazing photos. We want to give all the entries the attention they deserve, and therefore still need a few weeks to review them all. With that said, we want to start sharing the entries with all of you, so over the next week or two, we are going to be posting all of the entries on our blog, complete with all of the photos and background! We hope you are as excited as we are about them all!

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Adepticon 2024: a recap


It has now been a few weeks since we returned from our first Adepticon, and although we released a podcast of interviews we did while there, we wanted to share some photos from our time there! We met so many wonderful people and got to reacquaint with old friends. It was an amazing time; I hope these photos can capture some of the magic of it!

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

28 Vol. 6 out now!

John Blanche is the feature artist!

We are excited to announce that volume 6 of the digital magazine 28 is finally out! As always, it is free to download from their website. It is filled with all sorts of grim hobby content, along with an interview from the legendary John Blanche! We also wrote an article for the issue, talking about our inspiration for starting Vastarian! It was a long road completing the volume, but we are glad it is finally complete and hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Dragged into Turbolasers 108: Adepticon 2024 interviews!

Adepticon 2024!

In this episode, we interview people at Adepticon (2024), the United States largest miniature wargames convention! It was our first time at the convention, but we were able to set up our recording equipment in the Grimdark Hallway, run by our friends from Hive Scum. Below are time stamps of where you can listen to each interview!

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Vastarian: Ironcrawler at Adepticon!



Last week we revealed a duo of Adeptus Arbites from a specialized unit for performing covert missions. We created this pair, Hypatia Etranzi and Cygnus Poward from Special Operations Unit Mitsukurina, to use for a Vastarian scenario at Adepticon later this week! The premise of the scenario:

Special Operations Unit Mitsukurina and a group of Adeptus Arbites are attempting to transport a group of psykers, across the blasted wastes of a former Vastarian sea, to a secure holding location before they can be conveyed to the Black Ships. Although this transport is being done in an unmarked Chronos-pattern Ironcrawler, retrofitted with psychic dampeners, various religious cults have learned of its purpose and are intent on raiding the convoy to obtain these powerful psykers for their own fanatical ends.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Vastarian: Special Operations Unit Mitsukurina

I am the law!

Special Operations Unit Mitsukurina is an elite unit within the Adeptus Arbites that specializes in covert, solo infiltration missions to neutralize revolutions or insurgencies in politically or religiously sensitive areas that would foment unrest if handled via conventional means. They are adept at locating and nullifying psychic threats, as most are trained psykers themselves. The group has been functioning on Vastarian for years, quietly neutralizing threats that could upset the tenuous religious balance on the cathedral world. The opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum spurred on an unprecedented psychic awakening that brought about the planetary collapse of the governing bodies and fractured the religious tolerance of Vastarian. It also ensured there was no shortage of psychic threats to be neutralized, particularly the transport and acquisition of psykers designated for the Black Ships.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Vastarian: Contest ending this month!

Transfiguration's gonna come for me at last.

It has been just about two months since we unveiled our Vastarian Open Invitation contest, asking people to create a Vastarian Cult! Since that time, there has been a huge amount of interest in the setting, with people writing lore and building models. We wanted to showcase a little of it and remind people that they still have until the end of March to submit something of their own to the contest!

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Dragged into Turbolasers 107: Under the Dice Fest 2024, Part 2

Under the Dice Fest 2024, Day 2!

In part two of a special two part episode, we interview people who attended Under the Dice Fest 2024, a small festival in Massachusetts celebrating miniature-based tabletop wargaming. The festival was designed to appeal to those who shy away from the mainstream iterations of the miniature wargaming hobby, focusing on those who want play the games on their own terms, sometimes outside of the scope of the game rules as written, or those who want to play old games which are no longer supported by their publishers. It is highlighting those who are more concerned with telling a story with the miniatures they build than with creating something that would be optimal in terms of a game’s rule system. A punk rock approach to the miniature wargaming hobby, if you will. Below are time stamps of where you can listen to each interview!

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Under the Dice Fest: Day 2

Under the Dice Fest Day 2.

We were fortunate enough to be able to attend Under the Dice Fest 2024 at the end of January. The first day was focused around the New England Mordheim Open event, which we covered in an earlier post. The second day was primarily focused around open gaming, though there were a few small events taking place: a Marvel Crisis Protocol tournament, a Magic: The Gather Commander Tournament, and the Flames of Orion World Championship. We also had the opportunity to set up some boards to play games set on Vastarian!

Under the Dice Fest: Day 1

Under the Dice Fest Day 1.

On the last weekend of January, we were fortunate to be able to attend Under the Dice Fest 2024, a small festival in Massachusetts celebrating miniature-based tabletop wargaming. The festival was designed to appeal to those who shy away from the mainstream iterations of the miniature wargaming hobby, focusing on those who want play the games on their own terms, sometimes outside of the scope of the game rules as written, or those who want to play old games which are no longer supported by their publishers. It is highlighting those who are more concerned with telling a story with the miniatures they build than with creating something that would be optimal in terms of a game’s rule system. Last week, we reported on the day prior to the event (Day 0). Now we want to showcase some of the photos we took from the first full day of the fest, including pictures from the second annual New England Mordheim Open (NEMO) event. This year we didn't actually play in NEMO, as we didn't have new warbands to use and wanted to just hangout and talk with people (and take photos!). Learning from last year, the organizers reduced the number of games played during NEMO to three (a multiplayer game was not played this year). This allowed all the games to be comfortably played throughout the day without anyone rushing. In addition to NEMO, we also recorded interviews with some of the attendees of the first day, which you can listen to here!

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Dragged into Turbolasers 107: Under the Dice Fest 2024, Part 1

Under the Dice Fest 2024!

In part one of a special two part episode, we interview people who attended Under the Dice Fest 2024, a small festival in Massachusetts celebrating miniature-based tabletop wargaming. The festival was designed to appeal to those who shy away from the mainstream iterations of the miniature wargaming hobby, focusing on those who want play the games on their own terms, sometimes outside of the scope of the game rules as written, or those who want to play old games which are no longer supported by their publishers. It is highlighting those who are more concerned with telling a story with the miniatures they build than with creating something that would be optimal in terms of a game’s rule system. A punk rock approach to the miniature wargaming hobby, if you will. Below are time stamps of where you can listen to each interview!

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Under the Dice Fest: Day 0

Under the Dice Fest Day 0.

One of the most exciting parts of 2023 was taking part in the New England Mordheim Open (NEMO), held by the Under the Dice/Hive Scum group. When NEMO 2024 was announced, this time as part of Under the Dice Fest, we knew it was something that we needed to attend, primarily to see so many of our hobby friends, including many who were at the Rich Grimmond event last year. Like last year, we took along all of our recording equipment, for interviewing people at the event, along with our Vastarian warbands and Bill Ford’s (the_ruin.501) Church board. We decided to drive to Connecticut the day before the event kicked off to see Hive Scum’s studio space and see if we could play some games before the controlled chaos of NEMO 2024.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Vastarian: the Smallest Church in Saint-Fauré

Ehret Filipovic, Chief Bibliognost of the Church of the Red Athenæum, with a sister of the Order of the Crimson Hour.

Bill Ford, of the Mordheim 2022 and Rot of Hondious fame, created an amazing game board to represent the interior of a small Imperial chapel for Vastarian, complete with pews and a raised dais. The main board was created primarily with foam, with individual stone tiles created from foam. The walls and flying buttresses are from Pegasus Hobbies 28mm Gothic City Building model kits. Having just received the board, we really wanted to create a narrative framework for the board that would easily allow us to play thematic games at upcoming events, such as Under the Dice Fest at the end of the month! We ended up devising that the chapel is one of the houses of worship for the Church of the Red Athenæum, and current resting place of a significant holy artifact, the Codex Pháros:

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

2023, a year in review!


With 2024 upon us, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2023 and what we accomplished on the blog, before plunging ahead with new projects. The blog has now completed eleven full years! Throughout 2023, we were able to maintain regular blog posts while also continuing our podcast, and weekly Twitch streaming. With this post we wanted to look at our most popular posts of the year, while also highlighting our favorite episodes of the podcast.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Vastarian: Open Invitational Contest


In the later part of 2023, Between the Bolter and Me launched its first major Open Invitational called Vastarian - Dreams of the Pious. Vastarian is a major cathedral world that has been thrown into bloody turmoil due to the opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum, which caused a massive psychic awakening. The invitational is set in this world and encourages anyone to create their own Imperial Cult (the more eccentric and deranged the better) and with your favorite ruleset, play some skirmish games to help develop the lore! We have had a series of posts continuing to develop the setting, including showcasing two factions (the Church of the Red Athenæum and a faction of Spyreheads) and some artwork showing others, as well as writing a battle report within the setting! To our excitement, other hobbyists are already starting to create cults for Vastarian, which can be seen via searching #vastarian on Instagram! To generate additional excitement and get more people involved, we thought it would be fun to run a contest that had people create their own cult, complete with models and some background lore!