Sunday, 16 September 2012

Acceptable in the '80s: Elven Animal Keepers, Bugman's Cart and Dragons!

Fresh from the Wastes with warpdust still clinging to my chainmail jeggings, I present to you some lovely Citadel old school goodness from WD96. Here is the quick glimpse at the classic cover of this particular issue when GW actually used decent art on the front of the products rather than that awful 'house style' blandness the enthuse about today. 

Notice the amusing mistake on the front cover? 
Elven Animal Keepers and Bugman's Cart

I am sure that all of you are familiar with these releases. Classic is a word used too often to describe many of the releases from this era but these two products certainly deserve to be described so. Starting with the elves then, the sculpting is obviously Goodwin and the 80s themes prevail. Long, slender legs with spandex style trousers, the big hair and the handsome, angular faces. Any of these elves could have slipped on stage with Skid Row, Guns 'n' Roses or Bon Jovi and fitted in perfectly. The posing is interesting and varied and these sculpts are packed with enough character to keep even the most jaded of painters happy. The animals too are intriguing, with bears, boars, cheetahs and dogs all available to throw at the enemy. Though these lack variation, suitable colour schemes (like shown here) can make the models appear different. 

On to the painting itself... The first thing that strikes me trying to look at the models with fresh eyes are the subtle tones used. They are very naturalist and make the animals seem lifelike. The colours are very woodlike and you'd probably see these shades on a woodland stroll in any autumnal forest from England to New England. The quality of painting , particularly the shading on the bear and boars, is exceptional and, to me anyway, suggests the hand of Mike McVey in the painting of these beauties. If I ever manage to collect this set I'd do a straight copy of these schemes and I think that are remarkably effective. 

I cannot remember if this is the first or second version of Bugman's Cart. Whatever version it is the model doesn't lack for amusing character. Though the sculpting is less refined than the animal keepers this piece has the simplistic charm you would expect of the period. Additionally, you can just tell that some sculptor turned up on Monday morning and said "I'm going to make a dwarf beer cart" and went on their merry way and got on with it. It has that sense of spontaneity about it, don't you think?

The animal keepers and the animals themselves are fairly regular guests on eBay and can be sources quite reasonably. Bugman's cart however, despite being the poorer sculpt tends to go for a fair old price, usually around the £30 mark. 

Paint Yer Dragon...

I included this 'Eavy Metal article in full because it shows off some of the lovely 80s dragons that were available at the time. These days, certainly on the blogging scene, we don't seem to love the long tailed beasts as much as those gamers of yesteryear. Perhaps that is something that should be rectified?

I have never actually painted a dragon and for many collectors a project like one of these beasts is likely to result in one of the largest painted finished pieces in a collection (unless you are Skarsnik and pick up a giant that is..!).

I love the red and green colour scheme of the Great Imperial Dragon. very Citadel ! This one, if memory serves, was painted by the enigmatic and mysterious Sid. Where do he go, eh?

The first page of Mike McVey's dragons. Here the man shows off his considerable skills with the spined beasts. Each  dragon is different in shade and character while the blending is nothing short of phenomenal. My favourite? The young fire dragon.

More of McVey's dragons. The dragon ogre is a strong favourite of mine and I have been after this sculpt and the other one with the eagle for some years. These models would make excellent character models for a Dragon Ogre warband in Realm of Chaos.

The article also contains detailed instructions and tips to aid the modeller and painter with the ardous task of doing a decent job on one of the incredible miniatures. 

So? Who's got a dragon in their collection and who has actually painted one?



  1. Do Wyverns count?

    Wouldn't mind getting my hands on that Lava Dragon though. The Nightmare Dragon is another favourite.

    As much as I love these beasties, they do have some very strange poses - having seen the Fantasy miniatures book I can't see the Rock Dragon without the ghetto blaster, groovin' on down the street!

  2. The Imperial dragon is a favourite of mine. I picked up the dragon ogre back in the day, he's still waiting for a paint job. Someday...

  3. I own a few of the Citadel Dragons. The Emperor Dragon is still a great kit, and at the time it was a massive piece along with Balrog type rules!

    For many years GW has had little support,and almost no story driven material for using dragons in a majority of their rule books. For the last 10-15 years I have seen little happening on the dragon end of the fantasy universe. (Perhaps the new Hobbit movie will spur some interest back into such a great fantasy icon - the dragon.)

    The new Monstrous Arcanum book from Forgeworld does have quite a few new dragon variants; so lets hope they make some new models for them.

  4. I used to have that Lava Dragon. It was a beast!

  5. Thanks a lot for this post!
    I can finally see "official" paintjob of serpentine dragon - which I got last year =]

  6. I have the Horned Dragon from the second page you posted. What's more, he's fully painted and based. From what I remember, his wings kept falling off!

  7. I'm sure I have the serpentine dragon. mine is not painted. I have always wanted the oriental dragon, which is not shown here.

  8. sigh, once again I had one of the smaller dragons Citadel made, in fact it may have been that small green one, which like a fool in the late 90's I gave away to someone and now regret.

    An ambition of mine was always to get the Elmore inspired Red and Green dragons from the D&D range, both shown in your last scan.