Firewall

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Splinter Cell novel Firewall by James Swallow, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am going to try my best to not let that cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

What is Splinter Cell

Splinter Cell is a video game franchise published by Ubisoft, they are stealth action adventures endorsed by Tom Clancy. The first game was a breakout hit on the original Xbox, and has led to a series of novels and several sequel games, although there has not been a new game for 9 years at this point.

The franchise revolves around Sam Fisher, and operative for a mysterious NAS organisation called Third Echelon, later Fourth Echelon, and his work to keep the United States safe from various threats.

The Story

This story sees Sam Fisher team up with a new Fourth Echelon operative, his daughter Sarah, ass they work to destroy a sinister threat to the world in the form of the Gordian Sword, a piece of cyberwarfare technology that can bypass any cyber security in existence.

But going up against them, is an old foe of Sam’s a former Soviet assassin long thought dead by Sams own hand.

Thus starts a race against time to neutralise the billionaire trying to use the technology to remake the world in his own image, and the blunt tool of his Russian relic!

Conclusion

The book is a very good, whilst Tom Clancy’s actual involvement in the Splinter Cell series, is questionable and the quality of the previous books has been middling, this one has been written very very well.

Given that this is essentially a reboot of the series, being the first installment, novel or game in nine long years, it had a lot to live up to, and I am glad to say I think it pulled it off!

James’s writing is very much in the style of Tom Clancy, and to be frank, very little of his own style shone through. It was a well researched book and felt like a love letter to the Tom Clancy books of old, the main inspiration felt to be the Rainbow Six book he wrote in 1998, but that might be because it was the last Clancyverse novel I read!

If Splinter Cell is to come back, and I really hope it does, then this is a good first step in that journey.

A solid 4 out of 4 stars.


Firewall is out now in both ePub, paperback and as an audiobook from all good booksellers!

If buying online, I recommend the below, but if you have a local indie bookstore and like the physical books, go take your custom to them!


Warhammer 40,000 Imperium – Issue 28 Battle Report

The 28th part of the Warhammer 40,000 Imperium Battle Report Series.

In this episode, we play the fifth Scout Mission!

Who will prevail in this battle between the sinister Necrons and the Blood Ravens!


You can buy your own Task Lamp here

You can support what I do by doing any of the following:-

I Wish My Sleep Would Return To Normal

The second bout of Covid has really messed up my sleep, when I want/need to be awake, I am sleepy, when I want to be asleep, I am wide awake, and no matter what I do I am really struggling to return my day/night cycle to normal.

Tonight I am gonna stay awake until bed time on Wednesday again, to try and shock my system back into a normal pattern.

I have tried it already but it didn’t work, but lets give it another go.

What I Am Modelling

I finished off my Blood Warriors for the Blades of Khorne army, which I think finished off all the mortal units I have for the army.

I also painted up a Kataphron Breacher that I got from my Forbidden Planet Imperium order.

I then had a weekend cat sitting for my sister in law so I took a few models to build, specifically the heroes from Shadows Under Hammerhall, which I built on Saturday night.

On Sunday I built the next two models, a Black Ark Fleetmaster and a Loremaster.

When I got home, I finished up the work on the Auto-Choral Transmitter for my Imperium table.

And on Monday I built the Chaos Sorcerer for Shadows Over Hammerhal.

What I Am Reading

I actually picked up a book!

I have started to read Splinter Cell: Firewall by James Swallow.

What Video Games I Am Playing

I have been making great progress through the campaign for Halo Infinite, mostly working on the side missions like killing the High Value Targets, FOBs etc.

I played a couple of hours of Horizon Zero Dawn on Thursday which you can see below.

I had an ad hoc session on Sunday night Ti test some improvements I have made to the setup to improve quality of the recording and I hope this looks better!

And my Monday painting stream became another Horizon Zero Dawn session cause my hands were shaking a lot!

What Tabletop Games I Am Playing

On Sunday me and Megan played a game of Assassins Creed Valhalla Orlog, which of course Megan won.

Its a lovely game and the mat makes it very immersive.

What I Am Creating

I published the 27th Imperium Battle Report.

What I Am Backing

My First Kickstarter project in some time is Ravage by the Cybertronic Spree!

What I Am Spending

My Stadia Controller arrived. It was awful it stank to high heaven of cigarettes, I mean the guy I bought it off must be a very heavy smoker, and honestly, that’s something that I cannot stand the smell off.

When I opened a return he became abusive to the point where eBay stepped in, suspended his account and refunded me right away.

But a different one I bought did turn up, along with a Chromecast Ultra for mine and Megan’s bedroom TV.

I did buy an Adeptus Soriatias Codex and Datacards to allow me to run that army again, it’s an army I have a great love for and need to expand to 2000pts from the current 500 or so points.

I did pick up a hair drier, I need one for working with resin and Lindsay complains when I pinch hers from our bedroom, so this means I have one in the studio, which I am sure Lindsay will use when she needs it.


Resolutions Update – April 2022

I had a bit of a weird month, some periods of little getting done whilst making a big stride at other times.

So this month I brought my yearly tally of models to 341.

This includes the Warhound which only counts as 1!

Paint my Sisters of Battle to 2000 Points – 0%

No progress I am afraid.

Paint Both Silver Tower and Shadows over Hammerhall – 0%

No painting progress, but the heroes are now built for Silver Tower and primed.

Paint 2000 points worth of Orruk Warclans for Age of Sigmar – 19.5%

I got a Weirdnob Shaman painted this month

Paint the Primaris Ultramarines to 2000 Points – 25% Complete

No further progress this month I am afraid 🙁

Paint The Warhound Titan – Complete

I got the Warhound painted at long last so that’s off the list, it was supposed to be fine last year, but it’s finally done now!

Other Resolutions

  • Paint Two Gangs For Carnivale

Completed Resolutions

  • Paint The Warhound Titan

Current Projects

  1. T’au Breacher Squad x 10
  2. Ork Terrain
  3. Ork Burna Boyz
  4. Sicarian Infiltrators x 5
  5. T’au Strike Team x 10
  6. Ork Nobz x 5
  7. Orruk Gutrippas x 12
  8. Blood Angels Assault Intercessors x 5
  9. Ultramarines Intercessors x 7
  10. T’au Crisis Suit Team x 3

Warhammer 40,000 Imperium – Issue 27 Battle Report

The 27th part of the Warhammer 40,000 Imperium Battle Report Series.

In this episode, we play the fourth Scout Mission

Who will prevail in this battle between the sinister Necrons and a mixed force of Blood Ravens and the Adeptus Mechanicus!


You can buy your own Task Lamp here

You can support what I do by doing any of the following:-

The Week of Covid

So Covid had lasted a while in this house, me and Megan are now testing negative and Lindsay is too, but swears she sees a very faint line in her test.

The law says we didn’t have to isolate, but we chose to until we tested negative, why, because it was the right thing to do.

My first bout of the disease utterly destroyed my lungs, the second bout has messed up my sleep and left me very fatigued.

Inflicting this virus on others, just cause I fancy a pizza is unacceptable, and I did crave a pizza all week.

We have to be responsible, I know most of us have been sensible and gotten vaccinated, but many have not done so, some of those because they medically cannot.

I think that from this point forward we all should be more responsible for health and keeping others well. So when you feel a bit crummy and under the weather, reach for a face mask and wear it when out, because it’s not just Covid that can kill, but things like the flu as well.

What I Am Modelling

Started the week by painting the Weirdnob Shaman for my Orruk Warclans.

He is painted in such a way to bridge the two parts of the army, the Ironjawz and Kruleboyz, with aspects and textures from both.

I then painted a pair of Medusa Guns for my Death Korps of Krieg.

And this was followed by the crew for the guns!

At this point I painted the ruined Factorums I got with my Forbidden Planet order.

Then I started work on some Blood Warriors for my Blades of Khorne army. Which have reached the stage of getting washed.


So what next to hit the painting table, note the T’au are on hold as my new Redgrass wet palette is hopefully coming soon.

  1. T’au Breacher Squad x 10
  2. Ork Terrain
  3. Blades of Khorne Blood Warriors
  4. Ork Burna Boyz
  5. Sicaran Infiltrators
  6. T’au Strike Team x 10
  7. Ork Nobz x 5
  8. Orruk Gutrippas x 12
  9. Blood Angels Assault Intercessors x 5
  10. Ultramarines Intercessors x 7

What Video Games I Am Playing

Put an hour in on Far Cry 3 and I made the noob mistake of not saving the game, and well it crashed!

I got a couple of hours in on Horizon Zero Dawn on Thursday which you can view here.

I got an updated controller family photo done, although considering I have now added a couple more, its already out of date!

I am currently watching a few auctions of some Stadia controllers on eBay, whilst it’s not exactly a controller that is particularly associated with any game, I am reliably told that at least two publishers use this when developing some AAA games, which has me curious as to see if those games actually feel better with a Stadia controller.

I also managed to finally get Neo Geo games running in Retroarch, which I am super happy about!

What I Am Creating

I published the latest episode of Edge of Empire on Wednesday.

On Wednesday night I published the 25th Imperium Battle Report.

On Saturday I filmed and published the issue 26 battle report.

The Wednesday report is also in the can and ready to publish too.

What I Am Spending

I bought myself a new controller, you know for the emulation joy, this time it’s a Neo-Geo controller, well not the amazing joystick from the AES console but the one from the Neo Geo CD, which is still a great controller.

Of course cause it’s a USB-C controller I had to grab some USB-C female to USB-A male adaptors, which is fine, I guess it’s probably something I should have lying around for future use as USB-C becomes more prevalent.

I also grabbed a couple of USB-A to USB-C cables to make sure I could plug in my Elite controllers charging dock permanently and still have one spare to charge the mouse when needed.

And finally, finally, my Hyperkin Duke arrived, I ordered this months ago and it’s taken this long for it to come!

So happy to have this as it’s a controller I remember very fondly!

And I did buy Lindsay a new keyboard, simply because the sound of her current keyboard, something that her work got that costs according to Amazon £7.99!

The sound just hurts the ears and she goes through keyboard so quickly because she just wears down the print on the keys in a few months, so I also grabbed her some pink double shot PBT pudding keycaps.

So here is the final look!

And I also grabbed a keyboard cleaning kit cause mine is in desperate need of a good clean, plus I needed a keycap puller for Lindsay’s one.

Oh and I won an auction on eBay for a Stadia controller and it’s only cost me £7!

I also got asked to do some game play testing for which the publisher wants me to use a DualSense alongside the Xbox controller, so they sent me one today.


Warhammer 40,000 Imperium – Issue 26 Battle Report

The 26th part of the Warhammer 40,000 Imperium Battle Report Series.

In this episode, we play the third Scout Mission!

Who will prevail in this battle between the sinister Necrons and the artisans of Mars!


You can buy your own Task Lamp here

You can support what I do by doing any of the following:-

Warhammer 40,000 Imperium – Issue 25 Battle Report

The 25th part of the Warhammer 40,000 Imperium Battle Report Series.

In this episode, we play the second Scout Mission!

Who will prevail in this battle between the sinister Necrons and the noble warriors of the Imperium of Mankind.


You can buy your own Task Lamp here

You can support what I do by doing any of the following:-

Insomnia, A Warhound & Covid!

A couple of week I was offered the chance to go to Insomnia and show off some board and card games, so I leapt at the chance.

I have registered with the DWP to do this as permitted work, and work within the rules allowed by my ESA.

The reason I do this, is because one day, I want to return to work, be it part time or full time, and whilst I cannot manage it today, I like to keep myself busy and doing very casual occasional work helps me with that.

So Lindsay and Megan drove me down on Friday morning and I demoed World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Litch King, Just One and Catan most of the day.

I got handed an 8BitDo SN30 Pro on the way out of the hall, apparently a magazine was handing them out for free.

Which is cool cause I was thinking of getting one.

That night back at the hotel, the dreadful Birmingham Jury’s Inn, I got stuck in the lift for 5 minutes had a Five Guys burger and then hit the hay after building a couple of models.

On Saturday I mostly demoed Just One, which is cool cause I love that game. I was a bit late to the NEC cause I got stuck in the lift for 25 minutes 🙁

Afterward on the train we discussed the name of the bread product and our favourite takeaway, and then headed out to Wagamamas for dinner.

After that I headed back to my room cause I had a meeting about the formation of the Baha’i LSA for Chester-le-Street, and I built a few more models.

Sunday I spent the day demoing Dobble and Cobra Paw on the Special Effects stand, which is awesome cause I love that charity and the awesome cause they support.

It left me exhausted but I am so glad I did it, although I wish I had taken some photos at the event

The Warhound Scout Titan

All my efforts right now are on building and painting the Warhound.

I built it on the Monday night, it took a lot of effort and 6 1/2 hours but it was done!

I wanted to prime it Tuesday but the weather was against me, until about 6pm and I managed to get it primed with a black primer.

After that I took out the airbrush and painted on some Leadbelacher, and then washed it with Nuln Oil.

Then I washed the metals with Agrax Earthshade and gave the whole thing a drybrush with Runefang Steel Air (I have found that thinned down paints are great for drybrushing with)

The areas to be good were then airbrushed with Vallejo Polished Gold, followed by a Angron Red Clear, which ended up with three layers of it.

Areas to be yellow got a coat of Iron Hands Steel, followed by Runfang Steel and then three coats of Sigismund Yellow Clear.

At this point the red is done after a coat last night and the yellow needs one more coat, but I have started to put some trim into the armour panels.

I got most of the armour panels done next, masking the yellow with masking tape and then airbrushing Abandon Black Air over it.

The next step was finishing the skeleton, where I basically got the decorative parts done in gold and then painted Runefang Steel on the pistons and added some Seraphim Sepia to give it an oily effect.

The trim was Retributor Armour then washed with Agrax Earthshade and then highlighted with Liberator Gold.
I then added the basing material which is a mixture of Bird Sand and Bird Grit from Wilkos, which I then airbrushed with Mournfang Brown Air, using a brush to get the parts near the actual Titan.

So Friday night I just went right though the night and got the bad boy finished and and put together, so I am very super happy about the whole thing.

The name I am giving it for now is Ignis Volare, which is “High Gothic” for Firefly.

Gonna try and give it a spin with my Mechanicum next week when the current issue is overcome.

Covid!!!

Covid has reared its ugly head again, on Friday afternoon my eyes started getting sore and my nose was runny as hell, I believed it was hayfever, so thought nowt of it.

I did have an LSA meeting that night and so took an LFT to be safe as some of my fellow members are getting on and may not be able to handle it as well as some others, plus mixing with people, its just plain sensible. Anyway the test was negative.

I stayed up Friday night working on my Warhound and slowly started developing a nasty cough and by morning I was the walking dead, so I decided after a short nap to take an LFT and this time it was positive and it developed positively very quickly.

Anyway so very quickly Lindsay and Megan both came down with it, and Megans mum tested positive too. We think that we picked it up at the pub on Tuesday when we went for dinner, the barman was coughing, not a lot, so he probably wasn’t that unwell.

Ah it sucks and the doctors can’t give me anything but I have just made it clear I have to depend on my CPAP and Lemsip, which sucks. They did say if I had gotten in touch on Friday I could have had some antivirals, but they don’t prescribe them after three days.

So I am, stuck at home for now and really struggling to breath.

What I am Modelling

Well most of it was taken up by the Warhound but I have modelled a few other bits.

First up I got a bunch of stuff built and now primed so I have a ton of stuff to paint now thats ready to go.

I got some Necron warriors and Canoptek Scarabs done.

And then I concentrated on getting some scenery for my Imperium board done, starting with some Thermic Plasma Regulators.

After that it was some Alchomite Stacks.

Followed by a pair of Ferratonic Furnaces.


So what’s coming up next?

  1. Orruk Weirdnob Shaman
  2. Death Korps of Krieg Medusa x 2
  3. T’au Breacher Squad x 10
  4. Ork Terrain
  5. Blades of Khorne Blood Warriors x 10
  6. Ork Burna Boyz
  7. Sicarian Infiltrators x 5
  8. T’au Strike Team x 10
  9. Ork Nobz x 5
  10. Orruk Gutrippas x 12

What I Am Reading

I finished Reign of the Devourer, and published a review here.

I also finished listening to Warhawk and it was just as good when I read it.

But alas I have yet to start reading anything else!

What Video Games I Am Playing

Not a massive amount, less than I would like.

I did play Telling Lies and completed it, and it was a fairly fun game, confusing but I managed to score all 1000G.

I have played a fair few games of Halo Infinite and started playing the campaign again on the PC.

I played a couple of hours of Horizon Zero Dawn on Thursday and plan to play again sometime again this week as an ad hoc stream.

What Tabletop Games I Am Playing

Other than at Insomnia, not a sausage, I need to convince the girls to have a board games day one weekend soon.

What I Am Creating

The next episode of Edge of Empire was published, in which we chat Company of Legends and the new edition.

What I Am Spending

I was so impressed by the 8 Bit Do Controller, that I ended up buying another!

I need to do a new controllers family photo soon!


Reign of the Devourer

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Marvel Untold novel Reign of the Devourer by David Annadale, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am also friends with David on Facebook, but I suspect that’s more about him connecting with fans rather than being a big fan of mine!

I am going to try my best to not let that cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

What is Marvel

Look at this point I would bore you with a bit of background to the game/universe, but lets not, you all know the Marvel Universe, if you don’t have you been living under a rock!

The Story

This story focuses on Doctor Victor von Doom, the ruler of the Eastern European country of Latveria, and is a sequel to last years Harrowing of Doom.

In this story Dooms desire for power and control leads him to attempt to regain knowledge that was lost on Walpurgis Night in the previous book, and with the assistance of the priest turned geomancer Zargo and surgeon Orloff, he searches for a repository of stolen memories and knowledge buried beneath Latveria.

But Maleva Krogh, a former member of Latverias ruling elite has a connection to the Devourer of memories, and is granted the power of the Urvullak, a deadly strain of Latverian vampires who steal the very soul of their victims.

Conclusion

The book is a slow burner, it takes a while to get going, but once it does the action is frantic, and epic.

It’s a very different novel to its predecessor, in that book Doom knew what was coming and was planning several steps ahead, whereas in this book, he was forced to react to the Urvullak who he was not expecting whatsoever.

In the last book you got time to know the main characters in the build up to Walpurgis Night, whereas this book takes place over a shorter timeframe, and you get less of the background. So I would say that the previous book is best read before this for maximum enjoyment.

Zargos inner turmoil is really well written, he is a man who made a choice to deny his powers and take a different path, but now has that choice taken from him. He is tortured inside and he is forced to develop his abilities further to fight the threat of the Urvullak.

Orloff gets a lot more fleshed out as Doom takes her from practising medicine to developing a new science, which is eventually weaponised as she becomes a warrior and potentially Dooms greatest tool in the fight against Krogh.

My favourite part of the book really is Krogh and the Urvullak, they are written in a way that is terrifying and horrific.

What they do is so awful, they way they rip away your soul and transform you into one of them. They feel just as much a threat on their own as they do when amassed as an army.

They are chilling and something like out of a horror film, absolutely petrifying.

This book takes a turn toward horror that I wasn’t expecting, reinforcing Annandale as a writer who is one of licensed fictions best writers of the weird and dreadful.

This book gets 4 out of 5 stars from me!


You can buy the eBook now, and the paperback is available in the US now and will be in the UK on 28th April.


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