Meet the Geek 1: Martin ‘Tain’ Taylor

This page has a new name… and with a new name comes the winds of change! Therefore we are launching a new series, here on the Cowabunga Journal, about you guys. The series will feature stand up blokes/blokerettes, that have made this hobby something special. There are 4 initial interviews with very similar questions lined up so far, and the first poor test subject to be interviewed like this is Martin Tain Taylor, of Cowabunga 40k Challenge fame. Martin has been with us all the way since the very first 40k2nd Army Challenge and has been a force of nature all the way. We are so happy to present this interview, and hope you will be happy to read it!

The Mighty Dark-Winged, Avenging Lord of Chaos, Martin ‘Tain’ Taylor does the traditional pose with his most recently finished army, the Oedo 808th.

Cowabunga Journal: Could you tell us a bit about yourself and describe your background in brief?

Martin: Well, my name is Martin Taylor but my friends call me Tain. I come from Katoomba in the Blue Mountains in Australia, which is Darug and Gundagurra country. Over the years I’ve played in various bands mainly around New South Wales (everything from Blackened Death Metal to Cabaret Jazz). I ran a monthly metal club and podcast for a few years called Deaf To All But Metal (DTABM) with some friends of mine where I got to interview some of my favourite musicians and tried my hand at some comedy and sketch writing. I now also help run classic video arcade game and beer events at 1989 Arcade Bar in Newtown where I set the Arcade World Record on Metal Slug 2 which was verified by Twin Galaxies in 2019. I am also a proud dad, a die-hard vinyl collector and a massive nerd!

Cowabunga Journal: What got you started in this hobby? 

Martin: I believe getting HeroQuest for Christmas in 1992 was the hook that really started my love of miniatures, but it wasn’t until around 1994 when my best friend returned from England with a couple of boxes of 4th edition Undead and a handful of White Dwarfs that things really kicked off. As I was a young lad and we weren’t particularly flush with cash, my collection was slow to grow and it was a mix of whatever blister packs I could afford with some bigger sets for birthdays and holidays. I can still remember the feeling of opening the Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition starter box for Christmas in 1995. Magic!

‘Here is picture my sister recently uncovered of me playing a four-player game of 2nd edition 40k on my birthday in 1996! I think this may be the oldest surviving gaming photo that has survived into this dark millennium.’

Cowabunga Journal: Oldhammer, Middlehammer, Anyhammer?

Martin: Anyhammer! I know some people can be purists but hey it’s a game and we all have our own gateways into this wonderful hobby and I don’t like to yuck anyone’s yum. My personal loves are mainly Oldhammer and MIddlehammer truth be told (2nd ed 40k, Necromunda, 4th ed WHFB), but then I’ve been enjoying games of 9th edition 40k and even dabbled in Warcry with friends. I’ve also been enjoying The Silver Hammer and Mörk Borg.

Cowabunga Journal: What is your favorite game?

Martin: Ooh, very difficult to say and I think it changes over time too. I think a perennial for me is still Necromunda because it is a great mix of narrative and fast paced action and the vertical axis of gameplay really keeps things spicy! The RPG aspects too mean you are really invested in your models much more than in a larger game. Take for example my first Escher gang “The Babyslitters Club: Who’d have ever thought that Spare Ass Annie, the juve who had her leg broken in her first ever gang fight would go on to become an expert sniper and infiltrator who would take her revenge on the Ratskin leader who maimed her by sending a bullet through his brains after many long months of tracking him?!?

Cowabunga Journal: Are you a gamer, a painter or a painter-gamer?

Martin: A painter-gamer for sure. Through the Covid years, painting has been a great source of mental health for me and lets me forget my troubles. Playing games with friends though is equally important in that regard and I’m lucky to have one of my best friends quite close by and we share a love of both painting and gaming.

Cowabunga Journal: Best ever painting/gaming moment?

Martin: I think one of the gaming moments that will forever stay in my mind is from an old 4th ed fantasy game where my friend’s Verminlord charged my unit of waywatchers in a wood. Through the jammiest set of dice rolls ever seen, it set off a massive impaler trap that banished the foul rat daemon from Athel Loren in one fell swoop!

As far as painting moments go, it has to be getting the genuine happiness and gratitude for my first sort of “commission” for a dear old friend of mine and we had rekindled our friendship over our love of old Warhammer 40,000. It was of Saint Celestine and her Gemini and he wanted as close to the box art as possible. I upped my game for the project and surprised myself. My friend was overjoyed when he opened the package and, after struggling with a life-threatening illness for over a year, had also just turned a corner health-wise and it was a powerful moment, one of my favourites I think.

‘These ladies were my first proper commission and the friend I painted them for was overjoyed. One of my favourite painting memories for sure.’

Cowabunga Journal: You got any hobbies other than hammering?

Martin: These days as a dad working a couple of jobs my other hobbies have been limited. I used to do Dark Ages reenactment events, which is where I lost a tooth to a langsax (an Anglo-Saxon longsword) going under my helmet, but sadly I don’t have the time or dental cover to keep it up haha! These days my main other hobby is playing old school arcade games and entering the occasional competition with friends. I also do the narration for world record attempts for some of these games and have been getting into a lot of the history behind how they were made as well. In the last couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to do live commentary and interviews on successful world record attempts for Wonder Boy, Sunset Riders, Point Blank 2 and Midnight Resistance.

Here Martin is with his co-hosts Jez and Gary Grim – ‘the podcast we ran gave him so many great chances to meet and chat with some of his musical heroes and the club we ran was a real blast!’ he tells to Cowabunga Journal
Here Martin is happy as Larry after being gifted my first chain hauberk at the Armidale festival. He was pretty active in that kind of period reenactment back then and this was just before he got a great big sword stuck into his mouth XD

Cowabunga Journal: Any “hobby heroes”?

Martin: Tuomas Pirinen, Nigel Stillman, Mike McVey, Trish Carden, Jes Goodwin and Andy Chambers are all still my hobby heroes and with the advent of social media it has been wonderful to see more insight into their various processes for game design, sculpture and painting. As for more recent people, Laurence Senter (Baharroth_the_cry_of_old_paint) is one hell of a talented gentleman and his builds and use of oil paints are magnificent.

‘This shot was taken when I did my arcade world record run of Metal Slug 2 back in 2019. I did it at 1989 Arcade Bar and it was broadcast on a big projector for the rest of the bar as well. It was a pretty great feeling to achieve it and it was verified shortly after by Twin Galaxies.’

Cowabunga Journal: Where can we find your stuff online?

Martin: Well besides occasionally gracing the pages of I mainly post on Instagram at @tains_miniature_painting and share on the Warhammer 40,000 2nd Edition, Oldhammer Community, Crown of Command and various other Facebook groups.  I’m looking at expanding the range of old school stuff in the near future, but I’m also just about to start on painting Colonel Schaefer’s Last Chancers for my pal way out West so stay tuned!


Cowabunga Journal: How did you hear about the 40k2ndAC?

Martin: I think I saw the original post on the Warhammer 40,000 2nd Edition fb page asking for expressions of interest and nervously put my hand up haha!

Cowabunga Journal: What’s it been like to be in the challenge for 3 seasons?

Martin: In short, this challenge has been inspiring. I’ve met friends from all corners of the world (although admittedly a lot of Aussies and Scandos!) and have been emboldened to up my skills and better my hobby habits. If you have a love of this nook of the hobby but you think you might benefit from a gentle and supported nudge, please apply for the next challenge!

For some of us, you paint an alarming amount of figures… how do you motivate yourself? Any tips/tricks for those who have a hard time getting the brushes out of the paintwater?

‘My first time finishing the Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition army challenge saw my Blood Angels featured on the back of the first issue of the Herohammer Fanzine – I was pretty proud of that.’

Martin: Over the last couple of years I’ve had ample chance to observe my own habits after people have asked and I put it down to a few things:
1. Keep a well-ordered and easily accessible hobby space. Even if you have a mobile or permanent setup, this is key. You should be able to slip into it in seconds when the whim takes you. 

2. Keep a range of models at various stages of completion and do them in batches. If I’m waiting for paint to dry, I’m either undercoating, assembling or basing. Finish something and you find you’ve moved other things up the line as well.

3. FIND FRIENDS TO DO A CHALLENGE WITH! Seriously, accountability is better with other people. Paint a set amount before a games day or even just a calendar date and then try and beat what you wanted to achieve! Even if the bonus stuff isn’t done, you just painted more than you would have and you get a little taste of the good brain chemicals as a reward. Ooooh, that’s good chemicals!

‘For challenge number two, I decided to get as great a cross-section of troops as possible represented from Codex: Eldar. Pirates, Harlequins and even Exodites were represented – check out the scratch-built Thunderlizard at the back!’ A magnificent army in all its purple turquoise splendor.

Cowabunga Journal: You got any favourite entry/unit from the challenges? Anything you’re particularly proud of?

Martin: I believe the Harlequin Dreadnought for my Eldar in the last challenge was a highlight for me. I sculpted that head and did some insane tape cutting for the masking on it. The sword was an old trinket from my teenage years and the colours were mostly hand blends (bar the head canopy). It gets some looks 🙂

Cowabunga Journal: Have you had a change to play with any of your stuff yet?

Martin: Yes I have I’m happy to say. The Eldar from the last challenge got a massive game of  2nd edition which was glorious just after they were finished! For the Blood Angels from the first challenge and the Oedo 808th from this challenge it has unfortunately been only 9th edition. I am looking at changing that soon though and am hoping to meet up with other challengers soon for some epic 2nd edition games!

‘The most recent challenge saw me take on the Oedo 808th and saw eighty five models completed in the six month period – phew! I think I’ll have a break from horde armies for a bit…’ We here at the Journal can understand that. It has been quite a run for Martin this round.

Cowabunga Journal: What are your plans for any coming 40k challenges?

Martin: I feel the allure of the ruinous powers at the moment and am erring towards the side of a Chaos Space Marine warband who are the shattered remnants of various chapters and are purely allies of convenience (mainly for the sake to feature a lovely array of colours) but the pull of my first love calls strongly to me too. An Ork Waaargh of various clans, but with a strong contingent of Snakebites, both mounted and unmounted. It will be a big call but, now I know I can paint a horde army, I feel like I am up to the challenge.

Cowabunga Journal: A big thanks to Martin for participating!!! I hope we will see many more of his wonderful figures in coming cowabunga journal pages and challenges!

Viking out!


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