Shadow: I've wanted to get you in the crosshairs for an interview for some time and many of the TOC members have awaited this. I asked myself what the first question was going to be as you're both Titan owner and TOC founder. The first thing that always comes to the fore is what inspired you to create TOC?
Drake: Well, when I was a kid my Grandad got me hooked on military aircraft. I would learn all about them: speed, service height, amount built of each Mk. etc. We would buy a yearly edition of military aircraft registrations and highlight what we have seen on the ground and what we have seen flying in an air show. We would highlight them in this book and mark out yellow for on the ground and green for flying.
We would buy a monthly copy of a military air magazine and read/update the status of any military aircraft that have either been scrapped, suffered an accident, or were transferred to a new address or squadron. We would go through all of the old RAF squadron records and I could see the fate that befell certain military aircraft in World War II: where it happened, pilot information, stories, victories etc. It was amazing that all of this history was available to me.
My Grandad was also the person who got me into models. I would arrive at his house, run to his hobby shed (usually where he was) and immediately open up his cupboard filled with Airfix kits to see what new boxes he had purchased recently. He was often working on a model here or there. Only the military stuff really interested me though. I would learn to paint with him, order on how best to paint parts pre assembly, masking, etc., too.
I then after a few years found Warhammer (through an after school club in Milton Keynes in Great Linford above an Art studio) and it was awesome. So exciting watching people roll dice and screaming at their minis on a board. I picked up RTB01 and the 10-man booster set too and began my journey. I used to borrow games like Space Fleet and Adeptus Titanicus from a friend's older brother who lived in Great Linford (also where I saw Space Crusade for the first time). Adeptus Titanicus was awesome I thought, but never understood the rules (I was so young and my parents didn't have enough time to teach me).
Then time went by and eventually I bought Titan Legions when it first came out. I loved the Imperator Titan and the Warhounds. I managed to get three Reavers too, but Warlords were difficult to come by at that point. Time went by and I think I got in and out of the hobby four times (mainly because it got stagnant and expensive). When I first saw Titans in 40k scale I was impressed and did look to buy an Armorcast Titan or Tyranid creature, but was too expensive. I then left the hobby again and got back into it just before the Forge World Lucius came out. Now that was impressive. Certificated too!
"That's cool so they must keep a register of who owns what Titans then!" . . . nope. Anyway, I left the hobby again, then got back into it about 5-6 years ago. That's the point we founded Battle Bunnies, too. Back then we were 40k-centric, before the Horus Heresy kicked off. We started Battle Bunnies as a place to do our Narratives and Battle Reports for future record. Then, one day I had enough money to buy some Engines. I purchased two Warhounds (one for me, and one for my brother which is now back with me currently). I loved seeing the certificate and thought to myself "I wonder where the other thousands are". It always interested me.
Then my Brother bought half a Reaver for me as a Birthday present and I had a Venatarii Maniple! Awesome. Still all three sat in boxes and I had no rush to paint them, which irked me a lot. Then Heresy hit hard and we began to become the Battle Bunnies you know today. All the while I had three hulking boxes of resin sitting there waiting to be assembled and it looked as though it was going to stay that way, then boom, the Warlord appeared on the scene.
At this point we had a great relationship with the Forge World staff and we were very passionate about everything Forge World. So I sold a few things, as well as all of my old 40k stuff, and purchased it the day it went on general sale after not being fortunate to get one on pre-release days. I was determined to do this Engine as soon as I could, as I did not want people reading Battle Bunnies to think I was going to just leave such a fantastic God of War unpainted. It deserved better than that.
At this point I was still under the impression that Forge World should create a database of these items just like a Forge World would do in 30k/40k, but with that not in sight I thought why not do it myself. I have basic GIS and CAD knowledge so could create maps, and I could create my own content as I went with update posts etc. And so one day I created Titan Owners Club.
Shadow: You sought to do a task known of the Mechanicus in order to chronicle their stories? And though the Warhounds and Reaver were bought first, you built and painted the Warlord first. Why take on that challenge as your first Titan build?
Drake: There was a fantastic bit in Dan Abnett’s Titanicus where, during the invasion, a division of Adepts had to scrutinize pict-captures and gun-cam footage of enemy Titans to see if they could glean any information about the Engine's history, etc. to help the Loyalists in the war. The information they obtained sounded much like the information one might get if looking up an ancestor. It was awesome to know these relics, which cannot be constructed in 40k, had these millennia-old stories such as where certain scars were obtained, if it had been salvaged from a previous conflict, or even what battlefields it marched on. In a small way this is the same, or has the ability to be, which is great.
And yes, I decided to jump in with two feet. Funnily enough, I think the Warlord was easier to assemble. I think the reason I did it first was because being part of the Battle Bunnies, people knew I had it, so I had to put the effort in to paint it. Thankfully blogs are a great help for this.
Quite the excellent work! Especially on a first ever Titan.
Shadow: It was a great motivator then. The fluff certainly has a hold for you, even when your Battle Bunnies work is set aside. Is that what inspired your Legio choice? You have a well-known love of Mortis in spite of playing such a diehard Loyalist legion in 30k.
Drake: Well, Mortis was just a perfect Legio choice for me. I collected Death Guard, known to march with Mortis in 40k after they plague themselves up, so to me, this meant a slight history. Also my friend Paul Rudge, who painted that great Leviathan Dreadnought, also painted the first Legio Mortis Warlord (of which I followed his painting guide for.) In addition, my second Legion was Iron Warriors, and anyone who listens to Angel Exterminatus will know that they marched with Legio Mortis. Then the cherry on the cake was when I was told that Legio Mortis was part of the Censure Fleet which went to punish the Sorcerers at Prospero with the Vlka Fenryka! I just need them to march with the Night Lords too now and I am set.
Shadow: You'll seek to tell many a story with those engines. Have your Titans proven to be the terror and story element you hoped for?
Drake: Well, Bone Garland was just a board clearer. I actually stood there after his first game feeling like I had just seen the scene in Independence Day where the Chrysler building was destroyed for the first time.
Shadow: A moment of pride, or shock?
Drake: More of a, "that is too insane; I can't believe what I have just witnessed.” Vehicles flying, craters everywhere, tar pit units vaporized, not a scratch of damage, and all void shields regenerated.
Shadow: Did it make you feel like you were recreating Dan Abnett's works?
Drake: To a degree, yes. It was more akin to a Galaxy in Flames or Betrayer with an Engine seeing humans as secondary objectives.
Shadow: Has playing using a Titan changed your perception of them? And what is your favorite aspect of being a Titan owner?
Drake: Well, I have only marched with a Warlord currently. I still have yet to have a Walk with or against a Warhound or a Reaver Titan. So from a Warlord's perspective it is like playing a game of Slapsies with a lightning claw. It is no way near on the same level.
I would like to March against a Banner of Knights (Adeptus Titanicus term for a formation of Knights) as well as against some other Titans too. I am a collector foremost I would say nowadays, and hopefully this will change to gamer again in the future, so my favourite part is the fact I have a God of War painted and assembled overlooking my gaming table. It is beyond the term "centerpiece;" it dominates your cabinets and displays.
Shadow: Imagining a whole family of them painted up? And do you plan to add anything beyond what you have, such as Secutarii or Knights of your own?
Drake: I am really happy with my two Warhounds, Reaver, and Warlord, but I am really keen on a Nightgaunt, Subjugator, and Nemesis when they come out. It's a shame though, because I want a selection of weapon loadouts for Bone Garland, that it would be a simple case of buying a second Warlord chassis to have two Warlords. I also want a Secutarii Titan Guard contingent as well as two Banners of Knight House Morbidia. The issue is I have to wait for official schemes.
Shadow: And if they ever create the Imperator?
Drake: Well if they did, apparently "it would be one for the FW Costume Department instead."
Shadow: You and I often talk about the future of TOC and the immediate Titan releases. What do you hope to see in the long term for Titans?
Drake: Well, I believe all Titans that will be done in Adeptus Titanicus will be done in 28mm (apart from anything bigger than a Warlord/Nemesis), so if that is the case, then I will be doing one of each in 28mm. The Secutarii are exciting too as your Legio can look great as an army with support elements. I have 30 Secutarii in bags currently and hope to paint them as soon as a scheme is realized.
Shadow: Speaking of Adeptus Titanicus, how do you see that changing or enhancing Titan ownership at the current scale? And will we see a mini Bone Garland?
Drake: It can only get better. I do hope that the Adeptus Titanicus rule book has an appendix which ports the rules to 28mm scale. I can also see Warhammer World easily being able to support events at this new scale with pretty much the same boards there currently with different scatter terrain. The community at the Horus Heresy Weekender responded very well to the preview.
I will be doing a Demi Legio or War Maniple at 10mm scale. I will be doing Legio Mortis and Knight House Morbidia as well as Bone Garland. I do hope that I can play it at 28mm scale too as the rules worked so well at the event.
I think we will be adding a Battle Maniple page for Adeptus Titanicus forces to be submitted [Referring to the TOC blog].
Shadow: You mentioned your grandfather earlier and how it influenced you and your way of looking at modeling. Has Titan ownership lived up to those old memories?
Drake: Well I am no noob where it comes to Forge World models and it is far more difficult, as you know, when it comes to assembling a resin model compared to an Airfix kit (especially a bipedal one).
Shadow: We've seen how your past has influenced the creation of TOC and even a bit of today. What do you ultimately hope to get out of being a Titan owner in the future, especially as you've got a long history in the hobby and seen it evolve?
Drake: Well, I just want to do the hobby justice. I want to be able to play huge reenactments of gigantic battles of Horus Heresy history, and do it all to a decent standard. Having Titans is a must for this in my opinion. I do hope to be able to play large games of Adeptus Titanicus in 28mm scale too, even if just parallel to a regular 40k game running underfoot.
Shadow: One last, always interesting question. Any shoutouts, bellowing challenges, or advice?
Drake: Dry fit first and follow an image of a model you want to pose your Titan like.
Shadow: Thank you for your time. It was both an honor and a pleasure.