Bear-All Showcase – jraferguson

Welcome to the latest Bear-All Showcase. By now you should know to go to the original post if you want to join in. Go on you know you want to 😀

Well who have we here today then? well it is long time crazy man John (good luck everyone), here we go…..

1.  Name (alias) – what do you want to be identified as?

John Ferguson aka @jraferguson (Twitter) and FuryOfMenasa (my blog and the Shell Case Forum among others)

2. How long have you been into the hobby?

I first got a taster when I got Heroquest for Christmas in 1989 which was shortly followed by Space Crusade but in terms actual wargaming it would have to be 1992 when I first encountered the first edition of 40K.

3. How were you introduced to the hobby?

When I started secondary school (high school) in 1992 some of the lads I met were in to 40K and within a couple of months I had my own copy of Rogue Trader and was busy bludgeoning RBT01 Beaky Marines with tons of Blood Angels ‘Red’ paint.

4. What attracted you to the hobby all that time ago?

It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.  I was fascinated by the scope and freedom the rules allowed not to mention that you can create an army to your own design.

5. Has that same attraction changed over time?

Yes, while the original attraction has remained I’m very much in love with games with great background material; especially if they give you scope to include your own.  I need to be connected with the army I’m using, and I genuinely believe that the stronger your affinity with your army’s character and background, the better your chances of winning are.

6. Can you put collecting, building, converting, painting, gaming into order of preference please

Building, converting, painting, collecting, gaming.

7.  Why is building your top preference?

It’s the first part of the process.  It affords you the first opportunity to make whatever you’re building your own.  The early build choices you make will end up influencing if you end up converting it, how you paint it, where it falls into your collection and ultimately how you’ll game with it.

8.  What does a bear do in the woods?

Hey, whatever a bear does in the woods is between him and his god(s).

9. What was the first miniature you ever bought/painted?

It was the old Imperial Jetbike.  Mine had a guardsman holding what I think is supposed to be a grenade launcher with both hands, he seems totally oblivious to the fact that he’s sitting on a machine flying at high speed very close to the ground!

10. Do you still have it? It’s somewhere in my parents’ attic up north. Along with my old Land Raider and Warhammer Quest stuff.

11. What is your favourite ever miniature? The plastic Imperial Guard Valkyrie.

12. What is it about that one, which makes it your favourite?

I think it’s one of the most beautiful models GW has ever produced.  It’s so characterfull; it looks so predatory and fast and this is true if you look at it from any angle.  I think it epitomises the Imperial Guard, it’s a blunt, purposeful beast which is bristling with firepower and can certainly mess up your day.  Yet there is this hint of fragility in common to all things Imperial Guard, it’s used by normal men and women, not gene-enhanced psychopaths or mysterious aliens.

13. Bacon OR Sausage? Sausage, they’re more versatile.

14. What was your first gaming system? The first edition of 40K.

15. What gaming systems do you currently play?

Currently I almost exclusively play 40K however occasionally play the odd game of Necromunda and Blood Bowl.  Right now I’m also trying to find some Battletech opponents in my area since I have both an Inner Sphere and a Clan army.  My friends are really trying to get me back into WHFB and I’m swithering between a Wood Elf or a Bretonian army but I don’t really have the time to do either justice at the moment.

16. What is your favourite system you have ever played? Necromunda

17. Why?

In many ways I feel it brought 40K back to its roots, it’s a classic small scale Confrontation-style game which rewards creativity and strategic insight but also allows you to be a complete bastard.  I love it’s incredibly oppressive atmosphere and it’s incredibly amoral conceit.

18. What do you look for in a new game?

That’s a difficult question to answer.  The only criteria I have is that it must ignite a creative spark in me.

19. Is toast really that lethal? It depends on how far in you insert it.

20. Can you put these into preference – Miniatures, Fluff, Rules. They’re all equal.

21. Why?

A good game needs to have a perfect circle of miniature, fluff and rules.  All three elements feed off each other and if any one part is out of step then an imbalance sets in which leads to a less than satisfying gaming experience.  A good example is when FASA released source book after source book for Battletech without really thinking about how they affected the increasingly ageing main rules.  They had to release a whole new book of ‘Master Rules’ to compensate, had they had a bit more foresight I think this wouldn’t have been necessary

22. Original or re-made?

That’s a tough one.  While the standard of both miniature and game design has improved markedly over the past twenty or so years it’s important to remember where things come from.

I love some of the older GW miniatures since at the very least they’re a product of their time but often you can some real gems which still hold their own aesthetically against their newer brethren.  That said, reinvention and reinterpretation is what helps keep the hobby alive.  Newer doesn’t always mean better but more often than not it does; what would you rather have, a three part metal terminator or a six part plastic one with many options and a near-unlimited number of potential poses?

If you want to see more of John’s (and I quote) my random wargaming-related witterings along with background articles about my current armies and projects.  You can find it at

Now for the bit you all want The Showcase;

So back to John to explain himself and his miniatures.

1 – Imperial Guard Valkyrie

I bought it shortly after I returned to gaming in 2009 and until I purchased my first super heavy this year it was the largest single model I had ever built.  I reckon I spent a good sixty hours both building and painting it and I loved every minute.  It’s hard to see from this picture but the crew are painted in very different colours to my normal guardsmen since these chaps are seconded Imperial Navy personnel, I spent a long time experimenting with spare models until I settled on a two-tone blue livery for them.  Finally it’s the first miniature where I attempted to paint wear and battle damage and while I’ve improved in the application of both I think what I’ve done here still stands up.

2 – Dark Eldar Wyches

I started collecting Dark Eldar about a year before the new codex came out and while I have an old metal Wych squad I feel they didn’t convince as super-athletic psychotic killers.  I bought this set the day they came out but never got around to painting them until early this year however I’m glad that I waited since I was able to practice my skin shading and highlighting techniques before applying them here.  Even though this Wych Cult is a separate entity to my Kabal they have pledged their allegiance to the Kabal’s Archon, as such I decided to paint their hair and sashes in the Archon’s personal livery.

3 – The Fury of Menasa

My first – and so far only – super heavy.  This took me many months to finish but I think it was worth every hour (I reckon about 100) I spent.  I took the lessons I learned on the Valkyrie and the smaller tanks to create what I think is the best result I’ve yet achieved.

4 – Heretics’ End

I love this tank, probably because I’m a massive Autocannon whore.  I painted this almost exclusively during lunch breaks at work in my mobile painting station ( which left time free in the evenings to concentrate on the Baneblade.


One comment on “Bear-All Showcase – jraferguson

  1. “it looks so predatory and fast and this is true if you look at it from any angle.”

    Love this description of the Valkyrie – I think it’s the bent winds that give it a hunched look as though it is a bird of prey on the point of swooping down.

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