Wednesday, 2 September 2015

A Tale of Four Oldhammer Gamers...ribbit




So this thing is happening. Back in July, just prior to this year's BOYL, the esteemed Warlord Paul of The Black Hole blog suggested we take on the challenge of "A Tale of Four Gamers", an idea that first appeared in White Dwarf 218 back in 1998. The "we" being Paul, Chico (Oldhammer on a Budget), James (Realm of Chaos 80's) and myself. The armies would be of an Oldhammer flavour and we will fight our battle/s at BOYL 2016.

The rules are simple in that between now and BOYL we must each amass a force of 1000pts at a rate of roughly 100pts per month, and to blog about our progress at least once per month. We haven't set ourselves a cash budget in that we each already have most, if not all, of the miniatures we will need. So the bulk of the challenge will lie in the painting and the modelling.

The forces chosen are:

- Chico: Hobgoblins
- James: Chaos (Nurgle)
- Paul: Undead
- Myself: Slann

John Blanche's wonderful Slann illustration from the 3rd edition Warhammer Armies book.

Why Slann? Well, since returning to the gaming scene at BOYL 2013 I've only painted two forces: a chaos warband for BOYL 2013 (that didn't actually make an appearance), and a human/giant force for BOYL 15. Both forces had one thing in common: a predominantly red/gold colour scheme. This was coincidence rather than design but I think it's fair to say that I'm now utterly bored of this colour scheme! So part of the reason for choosing a Slann force was because I could experiment with very varied colour schemes. If you think frogs are just a dull green colour then try googling Dendrobates and check out the wonderful colour schemes of these amazing little creatures. What better inspiration could I have!

I also discovered when researching Slann army choices in the 3e Warhammer Armies book that Slann animal handlers can not only take warhounds, but giant scorpions, giant spiders and sabre-tooth tigers! Brilliant opportunities for painting and modelling there.

So look out: the frogs are coming.

Ribbit.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Previously unreleased "Empirical Squads" now available from Wargames Foundry

The good folk at Wargames Foundry are now selling some of Bryan Ansell's science fiction miniatures that have been unreleased since 1987. Here's an image from their website:



If you want to order a squad of these you can give them a call or purchase them directly from the website. Details here.

If these figures are a complete mystery to you then you might want to look here, here, here and here.

They come with integral solid bases similar to the ones on all their other models.

Here's what the Foundry website has to say about these figures:

We believe that these newly discovered items are the almost mystically rare deathcasts of the elite
EMPIRICAL ABSOLUTION and LIQUIDATION SQUAD. We estimate their value as somewhere in the region of an ENTIRE GALACTIC EMPIRE, probably with a couple of lost mythical lands thrown in.

The Empirical Abs etc. demanded absolute and immediate unthinking obedience to the Empiricator [BLESS HIS NAME!] and not only from the inhabitants of Known Space, but also from the entire population of the Multiverse.

Indeed: after a boozy afternoon of high stake rune casting and seven episodes of the most sacred tapes of STARTREK, the EALS (as they liked to be known) took to speculating as to what their ultimate rewards would be for their lifetimes of ceaseless holy work:

At this point the Empiricator [BLESS HIS NAME!] got a whiff of what was going on. He sighed heavily, made a few passes in the air, clicked his heels together twice, shouted SHAZAM! And he had obliterated the foolish boozy EALS. All that was found was a neat pile of bleached skulls. Each bore the word HUBRIS and each had a tiny lead ceremonial Manikin perched there on its dome.

Friday, 7 August 2015

The Kev Adams collection part 1

As many of you will be aware, Kev "Goblin master" Adams is currently working for Bryan Ansell, producing loads of various greenskins for Warmonger Miniatures, and is also working on a range of chaos beastmen types (not yet released). I was fortunate to share the Warmonger stand with Kev at the last Salute, and after having a good old chat we decided that Kev's collection of vintage painted figures needed to be photographed for posterity. The majority of his collection is at his parent's house, who were wonderful and generous hosts for the day. So I set off with Kev and a camera in early July to take some pictures.

What I saw blew me away! This is the site that greeted me when we arrived at Kev's parents' house:



Kev's figures are painted wonderfully (all by Kev of course), and are full of character. There are some pretty jaw-dropping conversions in there too. And special mention has to be made of his shields!

I took loads of pics, and so I've decided to split the images over several posts; every single one of the figures you see above will be revealed in great detail. If you're a fan of the wonderful Heroes for Wargames book then you will have noticed some of Kev's figures in there. His figures also appear in various White Dwarf features (for example, the Broken Nose tribal army) and the Warhammer Armies book. Right click on the images below to open larger images.

First up is the figure that got Kev a foot in the door at Citadel. But it's not one of his sculpts (it's a Tom Meier), rather it's a figure that Kev painted for a Citadel painting competition:


Over to Kev:

I entered the Citadel painting competition with that Ral Partha half-orc and called him Glarn Cackle Pain. It was in the top ten and shortly afterwards I got a standard letter offering me a chance to paint for Bryan Ansell; I met him in London at a games day and was given a selection of Slann castings to paint. I painted them to my best standard and became a regular painter so got to know Bryan and would visit shows while worming my way in :)

I had already started to swap weapons on duplicate models and wanted some green stuff, which was hard to find in those days being an American product. Bryan sent me a manky looking squashed pack and I treasured it and set about practicing textures like chain mail and fur which I couldn't do with Milliput. Bryan had offered me a job as a mould maker and I had met Blanche and the twins plus the other staff but didn't fancy living in Eastwood at the time but we remained in touch.

I met Chaz Elliot at a dragon meet in London and was blown away by his painted models, especially the orc std bearer conversion . Look at that orc standard bearer conversion in my orc army in that GW book (Warhammer Armies) where it shows me in front of the army; it's Chaz's work and the army is Bryan's really and you can see the std bearer. Chaz got me into using acrylics and this led me in to an exciting new direction. Chaz also gave me my first tips on using putty when he stayed with me in Cambridge and I was soon making new faces on night goblins and it all went from there really.

The orc standard bearer that Kev refers to can be seen on page 98 of the Warhammer Armies book:

 

(Many of the figures from this army were on display at Wargames Foundry for this year's BOYL event; see this Realm of Chaos 80's post for pics. I've also blogged about some of them previously).

So what happened next, Kev?

I made the ogre's head and was excited at managing to do the ears so decided to go all the way and make a complete model, this was back in 1983 I think. Bryan was very impressed and asked me if I had any more so I said yeah, several goblins. Soon after I made a few other models and the two large goblins that you see painted were two of them; they were cast but never put into production as they were received as test models.

I'm pretty sure that when Kev mentioned the ogre sculpt he was referring to the figure that was eventually released in 1985 as the Giant Hill Troll (although he could have been alluding to an alternate version that has been mentioned previoulsy on ROC80s):



But the two goblins Kev refers to certainly were not cast:






Back to Kev:

I made a few more and met up with Bryan at a Citadel open day at Eastwood, he said, well I suppose I had better offer you a job then and walked away leaving me excited. Later in the day he took me upstairs and said that he prefers to employ people who have many models under their belts and my heart sank. But I said, well I'm unemployed so have nothing to lose -  if you give me a range I will make it and if it's no good I will keep trying anyway. So I was given a choice of lesser goblins or beastmen. I took the goblins and went away happy and got stuck in. Everybody at Citadel loved them and I got nice feedback.The little goblin with ball and chain is my favourite out of them all, his face is based on the style of Tom Meier's goblins with puffy eyelids:



I still use that style and theres many in the Warmonger range, that's the style, my favourite style. The range I made had to be changed to work in the moulds and I embarked on a long period of learning the hard way while being guided by Alan Merrett. I was formally employed and went on to the beast men next.

Kev is renowned for the sense of humour he introduces into many of his sculpts, and this next figure is no exception:


This is actually a green that has been painted. I'm not entirely surprised it wasn't moulded - even in Citadel'c more risque times of the 1980's this figure would probably have crossed a line!

Next is another figure that is partly a painted (unreleased) green and also goes to show Kev's imagination as a converter:


The rider is a green, but the mount is converted. Can you spot what the original figure for the mount would have been? Leave a comment if you know; I'll put you out of your misery in the next post!

Here are a selection of goblins and snotlings that were sculpted and painted by Kev:





The next two were sculpted by the Perry twins and painted by Kev:





The next figure is a bit of a mystery. It was painted by Kev and is a head conversion of a casting (possibly Jes Goodwin):


Kev sculpted and painted the second version of Grom's Goblin Guard, one of Citadel's earliest Regiments of Renown:

Grom's Goblin Guard: Leader (he has an amazing shield on his back; details top right)

Grom's Goblin Guard: Trooper

Grom's Goblin Guard: Standard Bearer

Grom's Goblin Guard: Champion

Grom's Goblin Guard: Musician

Finally for today's post I want to leave you with one of Kev's stunning standard bearers:


There's plenty more to come, including some more conversions and unique sculpts, some orcs that are my favourite of Kev's figures, and of course his war machines.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Iron Wind Metals interview with Tom Meier


David Wood of the Dear Tony Blair blog just shared a link on Facebook to an Iron Wind Metals interview with Tom Meier. Tom discusses how he got started sculpting, and his opinions on working with various mediums. It makes for fascinating viewing!


The video is part of a series that focuses on Iron Wind Metal's recent successfully funded Ral Partha Chaos Wars kickstarter that I blogged about last month.

Let's hope that Iron Wind Metals release more videos featuring Tom!


Monday, 1 June 2015

Warmonger's forthcoming Kev Adams beastmen...and a bit of Blanche

First off, please note these haven't been released yet, so don't go calling Foundry/Warmonger asking if you can get some because they aren't at the production stage. But I couldn't resist sharing them with you.

While I was helping the Warmonger Miniatures crew pack for Salute just gone, I had the pleasure of seeing some of greens of the beastmen heads that Kev Adams is sculpting. There's some proper old skool chaos-y stuff going on here:


It's difficult to pick out a favourite but for sheer bonkers check out the two on the left of the middle row.

Another one I'd like to single out is the one on the top left, which you can see here in side profile:


Unfortunately I didn't quite manage to get it in focus, but there's something about the eye that gives a real look of melancholia, of a beast doomed to follow the path of chaos.

While I was wandering around Stoke Hall packing up various bits and pieces I happened to notice part of a painting sticking out from behind one of Bryan's sofas. Hang on I thought, I recognise that...


It's only the original cover art of the first Citadel Compendium, painted by John Blanche and one of my favourite pieces of art EVAAAAHH! Drool over it ye mortals and despair. If you're thinking that part of the painting in the centre has been erased (that white patch) then don't worry, it's just the light hitting the glass.

Bryan also produced a card that had been sent to him many years ago, that had another piece of original John Blanche art attached to the front!


Beautiful.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Ral Partha Chaos Wars kickstarter: unreleased figures



There's a good chance you'll already be aware of this kickstarter, which only has a couple of days left to run. What you may not know though is that the stretch goals unlock some previously unreleased figures. You will need to scroll down to close to the end of the kickstarter page to see these figures. One of my personal favourites is the unreleased Troll Hag and Children:



You can see pictures of a painted Troll Hag at the Stuff of Legends. It's a great looking figure, as you would expect from Tom Meier, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what her children look like!

So do yourself a favour and head over to the kickstarter page to make a pledge - who knows what hidden gems will be forthcoming!


Thursday, 16 April 2015

I'm going to Salute! With Warmonger Miniatures!

I've never been to Salute, and sometimes it feels like I'm the only person in this game who hasn't! Well I'm going this year, and I'll be manning the Warmonger Miniatures stand, together with Kev Adams and Marcus Ansell.

For the past few months, Kevin Adams and Bryan Ansell have been working on their range of new and remarkably strange fantasy miniatures…orcs, trolls, goblins, beastmen…all manner of weird and wonderful creations are starting to see the light of day.

I’ve blogged about some of the incredible works-in-progress previously, and it’s just been announced that some of these figures may be available for sale at Salute; here’s what Warmonger had to say earlier today:

Warmonger will have a stand at Salute, Excel on 25th April. Our stand number is TB13. Look out for our banner.

Kevin Adams will be with us and happy to talk about what he’s working on at the moment. Steve Casey, of The Citadel Collector, will also be helping out on our stand.

We will have loads of Kev’s old Orcs with us and we are working very hard to try to have a selection of his new stuff on display, and perhaps even available for sale! As I type, Bryan and Steve Turton are cleaning up the master castings and attempting to organise pressing a couple of moulds of the new Greenskins. It will be touch and go to see if we can actually get them cast up.


So please some along to say hi. I’ll be the one with receding hairline, a slight paunch, and a dodgy Welsh accent. Well, at least one of those three characteristics should mark me out…