Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A Warhammer Bestiary: Elves

Its been a while since I last painted any models in my Warhammer Bestiary project. If you don't remember what I was trying to do, I was attempting to paint an example of every model listed in the Warhammer Third Edition bestiary. I had made some pretty decent progress until I reached the elves, then something about the race just put me off. I have never been a fan of the fey ones if I am speaking honestly, and this lack of inspiration made work a turgid chore.

However, looking back now I found myself really enjoying the challenge of painting each of the four types and making them different once I got going!

Looking at the top image from left to right you have a Sea Elf, a Wood Elf Wardancer, a High Elf and a Dark Elf. 

The Sea Elf was the first model I worked on and I was keen to capture the feel of the sea and the maritime swashbuckler about him. I picked a Jes Goodwin Silvan Elf from the mid '80s Lord of the Rings range. Doing my best to do an 'Errol Flynn' colour scheme I worked from a blue trousers and whitish shirt look over a blackjack, dotted with silver and gold studs. I painted the equipment with reds, bright greens (proper old school Citadel colour that!) and golds. One area I was keen to improve was the painting of hair, so after a few chestnut and brown ink washes, I worked up the colour into a fairly flat blonde. Over this I highlighted on my own strands of hair taking the mix up to an almost white mix of the original tone. 

The High Elf came next and with this colour scheme I was inspired by the Ancient Greeks. Whites and golds were the orders of the day here, with very pale browns and greens for the non-metallic clothing. I found that by mixing my dark brown ink with chestnut I could create a shade that really brought out the depth of the gold. It was a simple case to highlight up with the original mix for the gold's base colour to bring out all of the detail. Gold predominated here as I was keen to reflect the wealth of the High Elves. I choose a fairly ubiquitous figure from the 1987 elf range (also by Goodwin) as I wanted something that was as far removed as I could achieve tow hat many people consider a high elf to actually look like. 

Next, I worked on the Dark Elf and chose a female model for the first time in this painting project. I really like this (Naismith I think) sculpt. Though its female it doesn't really have any of the silly boob fixated armour or impractical clothing that often plagues these sorts of designs. I kept the gold from the High Elf but darkedn it doesn somewhat with black ink washs. I picked out much of the colour of the colthing with purple and black as these are great tried and tested tones for villainous characters. I used an almost white to pick out the bone knife in her left hand as I wanted a different colour to contrast with all the dark tones. I was very pleased with the way the hair turned out too, it was very simply done, a little bit of edge highlighting and drybrushing. Though I feel the results are more to do with the sculpting of the hair rather than the skill of my painting! 

Finally, the Wood Elf Wardancer. This was quite a quick job really. You will probably know by now that the model is by Jes Goodwin. Much of the top half of the model is flesh, and I found quite a nice new way of creating a ink wash by mixing chestnut and red inks together. The hair was just a variant of the mthod I used on the High Elf and the Sea Elf. For the clothing, I choose two shade of contrasting greens to represent the woodland lifestyle of these warriors and these were quite simple to work up to a highlight. The flesh proved more of a challenge and I have been working on my methods for painting skin. I had a go at damp brush blending (a tip picked up from Andy Craig0 and was quite pleased with the result. A technique to try out again in the future. 

Next I had to work on the shields. As you may know, I used to be the crappiest freehand painter in the history of freehand painting. But through close inspection of the old school masters, I was able to refine my skills. I chose symbols that best reflected the background to each elf. A fish forthe Sea Elf, sylised leaves for the Wood Elf and High Elf and a dreaded spider for the Dark Elf. Source material for these designs came from a Google image search and were very useful indeed. When doing freehand painting like this it is essential to keep your paint very fluid, almost like milk, and to avoid overloading the brush to prevent flooding of your painting surface. On tip that works for me is the mixing in of a similar coloured ink to the colour you want to use, roughly 50:50 and this allows me to really move the paint easily but not loose depth of colour through watering down. 

Before I leave you, I mocked up a joke 'diorama' like you used to see in White Dwarf. The caption could read something like, ' A Sea Elf adventurer and his companion tackle a Dark Elf and her zombie slave while a Wood Elf looks on from the bushes!' 

So what do you think about my latest painting efforts. Opinions are always welcome here and I find them very constructive indeed! 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Thank You For Johann 'Rowlocks' Dassbut

I have been after this particular miniature for many years. He is the final Enemy Within character that I need to complete the collection that was released in support of the early Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay supplements. I had an idea some time again that required these miniatures that can now begin to be realised as I received Johann in the post today, on my birthday on all days!

The trouble is, I have absolutely no idea who sent him to me! The packaging was rather damaged by water on its way to me and the senders name and address rather smudged. So if you sent this to me, then thank you! Not knowing who you are makes it rather difficult to express my gratitude so I am going to do it with this blog post. 

Look out for Johann in the near future with a coat of paint on him. 

Thanks again!


Monday, 14 April 2014

Leadspotting: Dragon Bait Miniatures by Kev Adams

Hello dear readers and welcome to a new irregular series for Realm of Chaos 80s. And by irregular, I mean irregular, just like all my other irregular series! With Leadspotting, I hope to be able to share with my readership some of the lesser known ranges and 'what nots' kicking about the world of fantasy wargaming. These ranges will be those that I feel best represent that 'Oldhammer feel', or to put things a little more bluntly, similar to the glory years of Citadel's output back in the day. Our first stop then is to Dragon Bait Miniatures largely thanks to Kev 'The Golblin-Master' who emailed details of this project to me yesterday. 

In a nutshell. its an American project (from Middleborough, Massachusetts none the less) to produce those most popular of miniature sets: the fantasy adventurer. Its being funded through Indiegogo and set up in US dollars. Joe Corsaro is the producer behind the project while concept duties are down to Mike Burns, and as you may have guessed, the greenstuff sculpting is down to Kev Adams! 

What strikes me about the ethos of this project is that at its heart it is very similar to the ideals of Oldhammer. 

Joe Corsaro writes 'if you are tired of having to make do with poorly conceived, mass-produced figures that are dull and soulless - do not despair . . . A unique band of adventurers, well-armed and equipped, full of character and attitude have arrived!  Join me on my quest to bring some of the finest old-school inspired fantasy miniatures back to the gaming table!'

Initially there will be four sets. These have been organised using the concept drawings as depicted below.

Excuse me while I cut and paste the text from the webpage but all the relevant information can be found here and it will save me re-writing what Joe has said. 

"The first four sets of the Fantasy Adventurer range are being offered as perks during this Indiegogo campaign - each set contains three 28mm miniatures made from a lead-free pewter alloy.  These figures have already been commissioned and are in the process of being sculpted. I need your help to cover production costs and take the sting out of the mould-making and casting process.  Your contributions will also make it possible to commission more miniatures and expand the range even further.

There is a selection of reasonably priced perks to suit all budgets ranging from $12 for a lone hero to $155 for an adventurers guild.  There are also two stretch goal rewards on offer – the Half-Orc Druid’s adventure companion and the ever essential Hobbit Butler.  Postage within the US and Canada is free!  Outside the US and Canada please see your perk level for the appropriate amount of postage to be added.

When can you expect to receive your miniatures?  There are no convoluted riddles to be answered here!  Your miniatures will be sent out within a week of the campaign’s end – I have already got a head start on the production and expect no delays. The miniatures will be sent by packet and individually sealed in a zip locked bag."

Well, lets move on to the concepts and greens shall we? What struck me as I first scrolled through the text on the webpage was the attention to detail in the concept drawings. Everything seems to have been very carefully considered by Mike Burns and is in keeping with the character of each model. Just have a look at the Half-orc's pack and you'll see my point. 

The snake poking its head out the bag is a nice touch is it not? Many of the other designs contain humorous little asides that are linked closely with each character's background and this can be illustrated with the concepts for the Gnome and the Cleric. 

Personally, I love the idea of the bomb resembling a bandito and poking its eyes out over the top of a bandana. As comic faces are Kev's trademark I can imagine that these will be very finely executed indeed. Food is obviously and big issue to the cleric, as a baguette and a string of sausages trail from the canvas of the knapsack. Its nice little details like these that really attract me towards miniatures and I find that little discoveries like this make the painting of them more rewarding. I can already imagine the interesting range of colours and tones you would have to use to bring this part of the model to life. 

Moving on the greens, Kev has sent a progress shot of his work out to Dragon Bait quite recently. As you will expect, the sculpting is incredible yet each figure has their own sense of personality. Fans of single pose models will also be pleased to note that these appear to be single cast pieces at the moment. Now, no amount of words can ever hope to adequately describe a model so we will rely on the photographs available at this time. Have a look.

Got a favourite? Mine would have to be the female magic user (to use D&D terminology) as I love the pose and position of her body. The flowing robes also remind me of many of the robed models from Citadel's 80s lines, especially the villagers and chaos sorcerers!

Now on to the price, always the BIG ISSUE with any crowdfunder. Now, its good news if you are a citizen of the USA or Canada as postage is totally free. $12 will get you a single figure, $20 three models, $35 six miniatures and so on. In my view, this is very good value, especially when you consider the disclaimer that explains that the models will be shipped even if the project doesn't reach its goal of $3000. If you live in Europe (or indeed the rest of the world) the postage rates start causing a few problems and the good value disappears. Here in the UK the single model option would cost me just under £10. Far to expensive for me anyway. The second option seems the most reasonable for us (The Three Amigos) and allows you to choose any three sculpts and ensures that they will reach your door for just over £15. That's about £4 per figure with a bit of postage stuck on the top too! According to today's exchange rate, it would cost £15.57 to purchase three of Kev's models and get them to your door. Personally, I may well take this option (though I shall wait to see the greens) as I am very interested in the previously described female magic user, as well as the Elf Bard and the Cleric. £15 pounds seems very reasonable to me for three of Kev's finest shipped from the USA, especially considering that his warmonger orcs were selling for £7 each at Salute on the trade stands. 

Anyway, if you're interested in seeing more then just follow this link to the indiegogo page at Dragon Bait Miniatures. And, as always, I would be interested in hearing your views about these models too. 


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Orlygg at Salute 2014

A pleasant spring sun welcomed me this morning as I prized myself from my bed to prepare for the annual trip to Salute in London. This year, I was making a new contact (and a rather local one at that) in the guise of Stuart Klatcheff who joined the Oldhammer Forum and the Facebook Community recently. He dwells in distant Great Leighs and I picked him up at 8:30. We arrived at about 10am and were confronted by the queues. They were easily the biggest I had ever seen and the Salute team had prepared a vast empty space for us to gather in. 

The top picture gives you some idea of that space and of the number of people preparing to enter the show. 

As always, we were entertained during the short walk around by the antics of the costumed Star Wars chaps. I quipped the ever-sharp jibe about the stormtrooper above being 'a little short' and was promptly told to 'move along' for my efforts. 

The costumes these enthusiasts dress up in are excellent, as this sand blaster trooper from Tatoonie goes to show and there were a great many others to see, including a rather scary Judge Dredd. Alas, I didn't witness him busting any perps!

My first port of call was the Foundry stand. As you can imagine it was packed out with punters stocking up on their excellent metal castings. However, this year they had brought along Kevin 'The Goblin-Master' Adams with his incredible model range, now called Warmonger. Kev was more than willing to chat (at great length) about his work and his recovery and I am pleased to announce that he has agreed to do a RoC80s interview about the old days in the very near future. So look out for that in the coming months! He was very pleased to be at the show, especially considering that the Ansells had put him up in a swanky hotel all expenses paid! He told me he still had one operation to go but he is back at work and very grateful for all the support he received from the community. 

Kev was also keen to show off his latest work and had a pocket full of castings. This were a new range of goblins for Midlam Miniatures which were brilliant and could have easily been a Citadel original from 1985. Sadly, not all the castings were for sale, including this topless 'gobliness' as the owner of Midlam didn't like the sculpt. 

Tony Hough dropped by with his daughter and I managed to capture the moment with a cheeky not quite selfie thanks to Paul Golgfag from the Oldhammer Forum. 

Meeting up with some Oldhammer stalwarts, we stopped for a quick lunch before exploring the trade stands. Here Leadpest listens to Golgfag's idea for his big game at the Oldhammer Weekend in August.

Leadpest, Stuart and Leadpest's brother enjoy a rather expensive Salute sandwich. Thanks to Leadpest, I am now the proud owner of Sgt. Kratz from the Death on the Reik range. A fine trade indeed, an old school piece of Citadel for a coffee! 

As you would expect, the quality of miniature painting on display was deeply impressive. This D&D beholder-type creature was my show favourite.

And yes, Dreadfleet is still on sale. £60 a copy for interested parties. Sadly, relegated to the bargin bins of the wargaming world. I felt that the miniatures and mechanics were fairly decent. 

As I said previously, many of the pieces that Kevin Adams did for Foundry all those years back are now becoming part of Warmonger miniatures. These were for sale as a special Salute only range and I bought up the Orcling Outriders to make a special unit of goblin cavalry. As you would expect, these are beautifully sculpted models full of charm and expertly cast. 

Much of the range that Bryan Ansell was promoting on eBay last year have been repackaged here. Including the famous 'Mercenary Orc' models. 

Kev's trademark faces are apparent on all of the models. They are a real pleasure to paint. As I said, I intend to create a little comical goblin cavalry unit complete with rules from WFB3 for a future scenario with these models. 

Kev had a pocket full of castings he had just finished work on. These were for Midlam Miniatures, a company I had not heard anything from before and he recommended that I checked out the range. They were brilliant and were very in-keeping with the old school ethos of Oldhammer. They had a very Citadel-vibe to them so I picked up a couple of models to try out. Two goblins, an archer and a captain, to paint up and compare. 

A quick close up shot of one of the Goblin Captain Kev did for Midlam. They are part of the Goblinvylle range that they have put out but there models don't stop with greenskins. There were plenty of other models on offer, inlcuding many townsfolk that reminded me of the old Citadel ones. 

I was also able to pick up the remaining ex-Citadel barbarians that I failed to get hold of the last time I was at the Foundry. Lots of nice models in here that will be part of my future Old School Norse army at some point. 

 All in all, another great show. Right, were is that paintbrush!


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Antiquis Malleum Update: New Concepts and Greens

School is out! I have two weeks off ahead of me and I plan to do a LOT of painting, gaming and blogging in that time. A family holiday to Center Parcs in Suffolk provided the required R&R to get my mind focused on all things old school Citadel as well as a little bit of historical wargaming. 

A quick update today. Tim Prow has finished the green to another beastman for the Antiquis Malleum range. Its the batfaced one from a few weeks back, while Anthony Ackland has produced a new concept of a rather hideously deformed mutant. 

Thoughts, as always.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

'Eavy Metal Special from White Dwarf 115

In the last few posts we have been exploring the releases and articles from White Dwarf 115. As we have learnt, this was to be a very important issue in terms of the Warhammer Mythos as it contained the release materials for Heroquest, as well as a taster of Advanced Heroquest. 

I doubt that no other game has ever allowed so many young gamers to cut their teeth on a miniature fantasy game, and I seriously doubt that another one ever will. Heroquest transcended Games Workshop, Warhammer and the Fighting Fantasy crowd to become a game that all the other kids seem to play too. 

In that issue, just like every other at that time, were the fabulous 'Eavy Metal pages. These were always my first port of call when I bought the magazine each month, largely because it was one of the few ways of actually seeing the miniatures that Citadel have produced in the past with a catalogue and, of course, due to the fact that they were all expertly painted. 

As a youth, I would spend hours gazing over the paint jobs wondering why I couldn't get my goblin to look like the one Darren Matthews painted. In fact, I still do, especially over Ivan Bartlett's Nurgle Beastman. Hey, there is a funny concept isn't it? Actually being able to recognise a particular painter's work just by looking at it - no generic techniques or colour schemes here. Such was the amount of time I spent gazing at these painted models I began to recognise each of the 'Eavy Metal painter's hand in the models. Could something like that be said for today's models?

Some nice examples of late '80s Citadel reside on this first page. The two plaguebearers on the bottom row were at the Oldhammer Weekend at the Foundry last summer. Incidentily, the green one was painted by Oldhammer's own Andy Craig! The colours used are bright and brash and certainly don't have any of the dirty brown monotony of many a more recent plagebearer paint job. The treeman to their left also follows this rather bright approach with a lovely green tone over much of the body. The blue and yellow really offset this and make for an attractive figure. Bartlett's Nurgle beastmen, complete with excellent shields, reside centre stage and just go to show that decent finishes can be made of Olley's sculpts for this period - something that I must admit I have struggled with in the past. The we have two dwarfs, an old classic with the shield and axe and a more modern (well, then anyway) Squat Adventurer, which I am not sure ever saw a release. Anyone know? The chaos warrior on the bottom row is a bit of an enigma too, and I a pretty certain that this model never saw release either, though I have long suspected that it may be a conversion. Mike Mcvey's hand can be seen in the brilliantly blended Bloodbowl minotaur too. 

More from Andy Craig here, with Lewdwhip the Bloodbowl star player, which can be found in a later issue as a stage by stage, similar to the terminator captain on the previous page. More of Ivan's chaos beastmen appear here too and make you wonder why they were all included on the same page! What strikes me here is the huge variation in painting ability. The intricate painting of Bartlett can be found alongside some pretty basic stuff (like the bottom row Ogryn) but all were deemed 'good enough' for White Dwarf! This always encouraged me, as my wild daubings didn't seem so bad when compared so some of these models. 

Andy Craig's diorama at the top of this article is now very well known and would have been his entry into the next Golden Demon competition had he not become employed by GW before it could be entered. There is some truly inspiring chaos work here; particularly the two tone Horrors of Tzeenth that are just begging to have their colour schemes stolen by one of us in the near future. Keen eyed basing fans will notice that my own classic basing style was inspired by many of the models you see here, notably the chaos champions and daemons above. Yet the dark green bases are published alongside the more traditional goblin green jobs and a rather modern looking base on that Bloodthirster. 

The final page of Studio staff stuff from this issue has a rather eclectic selection. Bloodbowl, chaos, elves (including those remarkable Skarlocs) with the addition of a random villager (very nicely painted, mind) as well as a mark one terminator and a beautifully designed Eldar titan. And to think, all this creativity was less than five years old! Yet more was to come!

So, do you have a favourite piece here?


Sunday, 30 March 2014

Nick Bibby's Great Spined Dragon

As regular readers will recall, my favourite miniature of all time is this beast: the Great Spined Dragon by the incredibly talented Nick Bibby. Considering that the model is approaching 30 years of age makes it even more remarkable. No other sculptor has produced a better model, and as you will no doubt be aware, there are some truly incredible dragon models out there.

Now, I have written at length about the creation of the Spined Dragon before and that article can be found here for those of you who are interested in hearing more. Today, I want to talk about the painting of my dragon. a task that has taken up the majority of my painting time over the last few weeks.

Here is a shot I took of my original model after I purchased it last summer. I paid about £70 for him, though I had allowed for a top bid of £120. If you are interested in acquiring one of these models after reading this post, this really is a fair price range to work from. Mine was in poor condition. The front leg was snapped off, the back leg (which is a detachable piece) was badly twisted and many of the wing bones were seriously damaged. It was clear that the model would need serious repair work and restoration to ensure that it remained whole into the future.

The broken leg was an easy fix. Using a 1mm drill I added a steel pin to the stump and glued the piece back on. It was quite straight forwards really, especially when I stuck the main part of the body onto an oval base for additional support. The tail and head for attached in a similar way, though I used two part epoxy resin for extra strength here. My problems lay with the wings. After working on the model for a few hours the left wing became increasingly more fragile and in the end I decided to snap the piece into two pieces and do a full repair. Again, steel rod was inserted for about two centimetres into the stump and used to rebuild the wing and add strength. However, this still wasn't enough to produce sturdy wings.

I solved the problem by using very thin plasticard to build the membrane of the wings. I laid the damaged wings on the top of this and stuck the lead down using superglue. I then used green stuff to build up a strengthening layer over the top of the plasticard and around the edges of the wings. Serendipity came into play at this point, as my fingerprints helped add texture to the wings where previously it would have looked very flat and smooth.

With the model built, my young son (aged only three at the time) helped me undercoat the model in white in the back garden. He thoroughly enjoyed it and still talks about it now, but I began to feel a sense of trepidation at painting such an enormous model. My feelings were re-enforced when I tried to undercoat the thing (I originally chose red) and I found myself giving up shortly after! I packed the model away in my draw and worked on my Khorne Army.

And so the model sat there until recently. Having overcome my painting lethargy with some Slanneshi chaos warriors I felt ready to do something completely different. So I pulled out the Spined Dragon and got to work, this time with a green colour scheme. After about five weeks work, on and off, the dragon is pretty much complete and I worked on the finishing touches today.

What do you lot think of my efforts?

Frontal View: I limited the colours I used for the body and was largely inspired by the 'look' of various crocodile species. I found that using plenty of natural world images I could bring out the realism in the sculpt.

Top View: The wings were painted with a mix of drybrushing, ink washes, fine point work and speckling. I was trying to capture an aged look to the wings.

Back View: The back of the dragon saw the closest application of the crocodile colour scheme. This is most noticeable in the black stripes that run across the back of the model.

Back View Two: I used colour harmony between the yellow underbelly and the green skin/scales. I found that this helped bring the two colours together in a more satisfying way.

Top View Two: I felt that a base of this size would look a little plain without something breaking it up so I included a casualty from the Fighters range. I liked the way the fallen knight adds a little narrative to the model, after all is the dragon protecting the wounded knight or is it preparing to eat him?

Side View: Taking a decent shot of the underneath of the model was a challenge but this is the best I could achieve. I used red inks to make the buboes a little more angry and add contrast. The spot colour also helped link the dragon with the fallen knight.

Well, with such a huge beast finished I am now looking around for another 'big 'un' to work on. This is most likely to be my Marauder Giant, which I also started work on last summer but gave up on. I feel a lot more confident about handling bigger miniatures now and feel like I can do the classic model justice.

As always, please feel free to comment on my restoration and paintjob.