Saturday, 27 July 2013

Beastmen unit for Oldhammer weekend

Here is my current WIP - a beastman unit for Oldhammer weekend.

I'm putting together a Khorne unit, with 5 Bob Olley "goatmen" and 5 Jes Goodwin "dogmen." The unit champion can be seen front row on the left.

Here is a cloe-up of one of Bob's goatmen, a lovely figure:

I've gone with traditional Khorne colours for this unit. My new best friend for this particular painting exercie is the old Citadel brown ink, which gives a fantastic depth of shade:

I'm currently building up a narrative for my Oldhammer weekend chaos force, built on the stats I rolled, which I'll cover in more detail in a future post.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Wargames Foundry's first ever mail order flyer?

In addition to being a big collector of Citadel Miniatures and associated paraphernalia, I'm also interested more broadly in the history of the fantasy, scifi and historical figures and games etc that developed in connection with Citadel and Games Workshop. So it was with great interest that I recently picked up an early flyer for Wargames Foundry. What I found even more interesting when I read it is that the letter from Bryan Ansell that is inscribed in the flyer seems to suggest that this may well be Foundry's first mail order flyer. Very handily, the flyer is dated - April 15th 1985.

I've included a close-up of the letter from Bryan below, then the two sides of the flyer in their entirety below that.

Incidentally, isn't the design very reminiscent of the early Citadel flyers? hardly surprising I suppose!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Discovering some hidden Blanche

So a couple of weeks back I met up with John Blanche at the Enter the Citadel event at Warhammer World, Nottingham. Long story short, but a few years back I had a massive haul on ebay that included stacks of figures painted by John. So massive in fact that I'm still sorting through it. On the off-chance I took along some figures that I suspected John had painted, and asked him to verify them.

They did indeed turn out to be John's work.

Including some of Citadel's Dwarf King's Court figures.

Which was nice...

The mysterious case of the psychotic troll, the skeleton guardsman and the great goblin hero

If you peruse the pages of The Stuff of Legends website that deal with the limited edition Citadel figures of the early 1980's, you will find two figures whose origins are somewhat shrouded in mystery: Fergus the Psychotic Troll and a skeleton warrior. We have some knowledge of the origins of these figures, but until now that knowledge has been incomplete. We knew for example that on at least one occasion Fergus has been sent to someone who on purchasing Citadel figures discovered that the mail order troll responsible for the order made a mistake, and Fergus was sent by way of an apology. We also know that the skeleton warrior has been spotted attached to one of Citadel's "limited to 1000" labels.

I recently obtained an old mail order flyer which sheds more light on the origin of these two figures. The flyer in question was presumably released in October 1982 - it bears "October" in the title and fits the pattern of similar flyers produced in 1982 as seen on SOL (note the November flyer for the giveaway figure Grogus):

There, under SPECIAL OFFERS! it indicates how the skeleton guardsman (not warrior) was available for free to anyone who placed an order of £5.00 or more, and Fergus to those spending £10.00 or more. During the following month (November), a similar offer made available Grogus the Ogre Warrior and Vargus the Soul-Stealer (chaos commander).

Now, what is slightly unusual is that in my experience Fergus is far more rare than Grogus, and yet they were made available in the same manner, just one month apart. As far as I can work out the possible explanations for this are as follows:

1. The "£10.00 or greater" deal in November was far more popular than the October deal, and therefore far more Groguses than Ferguses were sent out.
2. Grogus was subsequently made available after November, whereas Citadel kept to their word for Fergus and he was no longer available after October 1982 (or at least in far smaller quantities than Grogus).

I favour option 2 above, but I dont know why that would be the case. Perhaps there was a casting issue with Fergus? It is sad that Fergus is so difficult to obtain, because he has bags of character.

Now, here's a weird coincidence for you. Until recently I only had a broken Fergus in my collection, having sold my last intact one several years ago. I say until recently because, on the very day that I received a small collection of flyers, including the one explaining the origin of Fergus, I received a collection of figures, from an entirely different seller, which had an intact Fergus in it! I had no idea the figure was in the collection. So there I am reading with nerdy glee the origin of Fergus, I turn to my next package from the postman and there I find an actual Fergus! And here he is in all his paint-stripped glory:

Fergus in all his psychotic glory: the Perry twins certainly know how to inject character into a figure.

So that's it, mystery solved. But hang on, if we go back and re-read the flyer, another special offer is mentioned: if you buy a regiment pack of goblins you get "the very special figure DARKFANG FLESHTEARER THE GREAT GOBLIN HERO." Now, the giant goblins that formed this deal were actually Ral Partha, available in codes CS70 - CS79. The only giant goblin chieftain in that line bears no resemblance to what I presume is the sketch of Darkfang above (with the pointy helmet). Given that the skeleton guardsman, Fergus, Grogus and Vargus (what's with all the "gus"s anyway?) were all unique sculpts it might be reasonable to assume that Darkfang was also unique.

Is this the mysterious Darkfang Fleashteaer The Great Goblin Hero?

Do you know Darkfang? If so please leave me a comment and put me out of my misery..

Putting brush to lead: completed, and an apology

Before getting into the meat of this post I'd like to post an apology to those of you who follow this blog and have left comments recently. In the past I have been alerted to them when they appear in my Gmail inbox. I hadn't received any notifications for a while, and given that I usually receive some comments I eventually started to get a bit suspicious, and so revisited some recent posts. What did I find, but sure enough comments had been left, so I was perplexed as to how I had missed these in Gmail. I eventually realised it was because of some new feature that Gmail had introduced whereby messages were being categorised into different sections of the inbox, and I had completely failed to recognise this. Now, I love to read your comments and the words of support, so please don't feel I've been neglecting them. I've sorted out this inbox issue and normal service has now been resumed. As for Google Gmail - I'm sure there was a good reason for the changes - but hey, if it ain't broke why try to fix it?

OK, so back in June I posted on how I had entered the painting challenge over on the BLOOD forum, with my entry being a unit of 5 classic minotaurs. Well, with the clock fast approaching the deadline I have managed to finish, and here are the results:

Time for a spot of reflection. Firstly, I'm really glad I entered this challenge. As I indicated before I have dabbled in painting the odd figure or two, but have never actually finished a figure. So a victory point for me, and a huge sense of satisfaction for actually getting these finished. Is it just me or do other people hit the "painting wall"? A bit like what runners face, but possibly slightly less exhausting? For me it comes around halfway through painting a figure (hence why I've never really got beyond that point before) when I've added most of the base coats and start with the detailing. I seem to get an urge to put the figures to one side and start on something else. So having a painting challenge as an incentive was really useful in getting through the wall.

Now onto the thorny subject of the quality of the paint jobs. Overall I'm quite pleased with how they turned out, but there are of course things I would want to improve on, and at least I'm more-or-less aware of what these are. As someone who is new to painting I keep reading advice on how important it is to be neat with your painting; I couldn't agree more! I failed to do this in many areas on my minotaurs, but at least I recognise where these are, and why I failed. Lack of skill, certainly, but also an important factor was impatience. My goal is to paint figures to a reasonable tabletop standard quickly. Give that goal I will inevitably compromise quality for speed initially until I (hopefully) get better. I didnt actually manage to paint these very quickly, but again, I think I could speed up without a decrease in quality if I was to try them again.

I'm reasonably happy with the colours I chose, and I particularly like the skin tones on 3 of the 5 minotaurs - the less orangey ones. For the skin I used Foundry's Flesh 5A/5B/5C. Man I love those paints! So easy to apply (I didn't bother with thinning) and in my opinion lovely shades. For the 3 minotaurs I prefer I started with 5A and worked up with additions of 5C to almost pure 5C. For the 2 other minotaurs I started with 5B and my desire to experiment kicked in when I then liberally washed them with GW's Reikland Flesh wash. I think I applied the wash too heavily and left the skin looking patchy. It doesnt actually look too bad in the pic above but in the hand it's not great. Back to the drawing board there then.

There's a good chance I'll be bringing these minotaurs to the Oldhammer weekend, so you'll have a chance to ridicule constructively criticise them in the flesh.

The August paint challenge has already started on the BLOOD forum - stay tuned for my next foray into the crazy world of painting lead.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Dave Andrews' Bretonnian Joust diorama 1996

The year 1996 is a bit after my period of collecting interest (and also a bit before - if that makes sense), and the mid to late 1990's in general are a bit of a black hole as far as my knowledge and interest (currently) lies, but I couldn't resist snapping pics of this diorama by Dave Andrews when I visited Warhammer World Nottingham last Saturday. Dave is the man when it comes to building dioramas and scenery (more in a future post) and has been at Games Workshop/Forge World since just after the dinosaurs went extinct.

Despite its creation date this diorama still "counts" in my period of interest given the number of older figures in it; I'll leave it to the eagle-eyed among you to spot them (I've picked out some). All in all, it's a superb diorama.

Above: you can just about make out the boy aiming for the night in the bottom two pictures below.
The images are pretty large, so if you want to zoom in then as usual right click on an image and open in a different tab.

Above: woman in red on the right is a Marauder Miniatures townsfolk; she is chatting to an old Citadel cannon crewman.

Above: small girl on far right and boy firing at knight are villager children from the old Citadel Fantasy Specials range (early 1980's).

It was featured in White Dwarf 215 (UK edition) which also contained some cut-out buildings etc for a joust game. Here is the article in question:

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

John Blanche undead diorama at Warhammer World Nottingham

I visited the "Enter the Citadel" event at Warhammer World Nottingham last Saturday at took some pics of various figures including some wonderful conversions by John Blanche and others in the style of Blanche. More on those soon but in the meantime here's a quickie post of some pics of John's famous undead diorama.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Bryan Ansell's Rogue Trader Space Marines: part 1

Looking at my blog archive, I can't believe I haven't written anything as yet in July, despite the fact I have a ton of photos. Time does slip away. I'm aiming to make amends for that over the next couple of weeks with several pic-filled posts for your delectation. I shall start with a subject which I don't recall having addressed to date with my blog posts, or indeed in my Bryan Ansell gallery: Rogue Trader Space Marines. Bryan has a wonderful collection of these, and it will take me several posts to cover them all. I promise you though it will be worth waiting for; hang around and you'll get to see some female space marines as you've never seen them before!

Now, although I still buy White Dwarf and attend the occasional event at Warhammer World in Nottingham, I have to confess I'm not entirely clued-up with the modern era fluff. I couldn't for example, give you a detailed breakdown of how many of the original Rogue Trader Space Marine chapters have survived to today. Ultramarines, Space Wolves, Blood Angels, Dark Angels - hard to miss the likes of those of course. But what of chapters such as the Rainbow Warriors? Do they still exist in some footnote in a contemporary codex? Given that a number of figures I'm about to present bear colour schemes which may not be familiar to some readers with more contemporary tastes, I thought it might be worth revisiting some of the chapters that were illustrated in the first edition of Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader:

Above: from Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader 1987.

Above: from White Dwarf 101. Depending on your inclination and possibly your age, chances are you are looking at the above colour schemes with either absolute delight or abject horror. Personally I opt for absolute delight - I may well go for one of these schemes at the forthcoming Oldhammer weekend.
In this post, I'll illustrate some figures based on appearances in various White Dwarf adverts, and include the adverts themselves. First we have the C100 Space Marines, the range that kick-started it all, designed by Bob Naismith and appeared in the Citadel Journal of Spring 1987 and White Dwarf 80. For those pedantic types among you who are currently clenching their fists and gnashing their teeth by I am of course referring to the first range of Space Marines for WH40K, not the "first ever Space Marines" (so I'm discounting the likes of Asgard, Citadel Spacefareres etc).

White Dwarf 80

 White Dwarf 93

White Dwarf 96

 Back in my day Space Marines got drunk AND celebrated Christmas.

White Dwarf 99

White Dwarf 100

White Dwarf 102

I dont think this is the exact same figure as in the advert above.

White Dwarf 108

White Dwarf 112

That's it for today, plenty more to come.