Happy Holidays from Chainfist! (Family Photo)

(bigred and mkerr, surrounded by their toys)

It's been almost two years since Bigred and I brought our toys out for the BOLS Family Photo. I thought it might be fun to revisit those photos!

In December 2007, Bigred and I were having lunch to discuss the blog, an upcoming tournament or some juicy rumor and somehow the conversation drifted to our armies and how much grief we get from our families about our massive collections. One of us wondered aloud what it would look like if we put all of our models on a table. The other of us agreed that it might be fun to find out. Both of us joked that it would make for a great "Bell of Lost Souls holiday photo". So began Project BoLS Family Photo. (just wait to you see the BoLS Family Photo for 2009... -- mkerr)

Much like a massively overweight person's aversion of the scales, neither Bigred nor I had any idea of the imensity of our our collections. We knew they were large, but neither of us wanted to draw too much attention to the exact level of our addiction.

Both of us tended to expand our collection by adding to the armies we played. At some point, we'd be satisfied and another army would draw our attention. We'd pack away the army to be pulled out for campaigns or special events and shift our focus to our new favorite. Over the years, we'd go from army to army without any real accounting of what we had packed away.

So in early December, Bigred and I agreed to lug all of our armies to one place and photograph them. Brandon, the owner of Battleforge Games in Austin, agreed to open his store on New Year's Day for our little project. I think the BFG guys were as curious as we were. Thanks again, Brandon!

It took us more than three hours to unpack and arrange the models. We were so exhausted by the time that it came around to taking pictures that we didn't bother to count them -- so we still don't know exactly how many we own. But we are now certain that it's a lot.

Our rules were simple (there always have to be rules): We agreed to bring only armies that could be fielded at 2,000 points or more and each model had to be painted and based. Our agreement left a bunch of models at home, including both of our current projects. Strangely, we each forgot an army (my Night Lords and his Talarn IG) but were too tired from lugging bags and boxes to retrieve them. (my Night Lords have been claimed and expanded greatly by Bigred and the Talarn have been claimed and expanded by Jwolf! -- mkerr)

Here are some closer shots and better descriptions:

Bigred's well-known Death Guard army takes up most of this frame. He's been more diligent than I in reporting about his army, so I won't go into a bunch of detail. If you are interested, there are tons of links to be found on the blog. In the background you'll notice his Armorcast Titans, including the Eldar Revenant he used so effectively at the 2007 Adepticon Gladiator Tournament. (not to mention one the Reavers that Jwolf used to win the 2008 Adepticon Gladiator! -- mkerr)

The next frame shows most of his huge Eldar Alaitoc army, including his nifty Imperial Armor flyers. Bigred did a much better job than I did arranging his units (but, to my defense, I had more armies to arrange in the same time frame). You probably remember some of these units, including that frustrating Avatar, from our battle reports.

The next frame shows Bigred's Tyranid army in the back left corner. He's updated the paint scheme, but kept the old 2nd Edition models (I love those Screamer Killers). I believe you can see the Execrine and the Malefactor in the back. Bigred's Imperial Guard takes up the back corner. If you squint, you can see notables like Solar Macharius and Nork Deddog in the huge command squad. His Blood Angels Third Company takes up the rest of the frame. There are some fantastic models from the earliest Space Marine ranges in this army. (Bigred has updated and expanded the Imperial Guard a bit for last year's Macharian Crusade campaign -- mkerr)

Next is my Tau Empire army. I started collecting Tau when the codex came out, but it never really clicked with me. Notice the Mounted Great Knarloc and the Knarloc Rider Herd. (my Tau have been claimed by Darkwynn and he's just started expanding the army! I can't wait to see what happens with it! -- mkerr)

My Tyranid army is in the foreground. This was painted by Blue Table Painting (http://www.bluetablepainting.com/) and they did an amazing job. I wanted a Hive Fleet Behemoth army that didn't look comical. I continue to expand the army and hope to add some gargantuan creatures this year. In between the two are the Enslavers (also painted by Blue Table) I brought to Adepticon two years ago, prompting them to change the rules that allowed them. (my Tyranids were expanded in 2008 for tournaments and they are patiently awaiting the new codex to breathe some life into them! -- mkerr)

The next frame has my tiny Sons of Ultramar army (for use in my Puritan Inquisitorial army). And in front, my Cadian Imperial Guard army. Since taking this picture, I've added even more Leman Russes to the army. If you look carefully you will see some fun units in the mix, including a Bombard, Salamander, a pair of Cyclopses, some Sentry Guns and the infamous Altas Recovery Vehicle. That ARV caused laughs in our Pre-Heresy campaign's Assault on Terrra when it managed to block the Traitor's line of sight by moving their own Drop Pods in front of their Devastators. (my Cadians have grown dramatically since the release of the Imperial Guard codex earlier this year -- lots of new units! -- mkerr)

Next up is my Necron army (you can see Deceiver and Nightbringer, if you look closely), painted by Brian Shaw. In the back you can see my Grey Knights, painted by Blue Table Painting. Beside the Thunderhawk, you can see my first real army - Dark Angels (some painted by Adam Catt). It's tough to see, but there's a ton of them. (I sold off my rarely played Necrons, they've moved to a happy new family in London -- mkerr) In front, you'll see my Blood Angels 2nd Company. If I remember correctly, there are almost 50 jump packs in that army! So much fun in Apocalypse games!

Next up you can see my Relictors (the grey marines up front). That army made an appearance at the Ard Boyz Final in Baltimore. Behind them is the first half of my Witch Hunters army. You can probably pick out some Adeptus Arbites and Deathwatch Marines, if you look close. There's also some cows back there that found there way into my bag (Bulwark painted them as "rescue" counters). (the release of the new Space Marines codex and Adepticon in 2008 also led to a major expansion of this army. It's almost doubled in size! -- mkerr)

In the last frame, you can see the rest of my Witch Hunters (on the far right corner, there are about 20 Henchmen). In the middle are my Emperor's Children, painted and coverted by Andrew Hilton-Wigg. And in the foreground, my pride and joy, my slowly expanding Ultramarines army. Led by the doomed Captain Invictus, this is the counter-part to my Hive Fleet Behemoth army.

Since we took this picture, I added a completely new Chaos Daemons army (painted by our own Gentle Ben) that includes notable abominations like Skarbrand and Fateweaver. Bigred also expanded his armies dramatically (in particular his beloved Death Guard and Night Lords). You've seen some of these pictures on BOLS. We've also added a couple of Warhammer Fantasy armies to the family (my Skaven and Bigred's Dark Eldar).

Finally, I'll close with a higher view of the mess. The camera was placed on a tripod balanced precariously on top of a folding table. To take the picture, I had to climb up, frame the shot and start the 10-second timer. Then I had to climb down and run to my seat without moving the camera. We had to take several shots because I looked so ridiculous running that Bigred couldn't keep a straight face.

We hope you enjoyed Project BoLS Family Photo. We also hope our wives/girlfriends don't get their hands on these photos! If you have photos of your own collections, please post a link as a comment; we'd love to see them! (or email me at mkerr@chainfist.com -- mkerr)

>> Putting together that photo was a ton of fun and we still get comments and requests to share it -- so Happy Holidays from Chainfist and we look forward to sharing a game or two with you in 2010! 

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