Monday, 24 June 2013

Where Are They Now? Elder Artworks by Tony Hough and Fangorn

Some months ago I put the word out that I was interested in tracking down the whereabouts of key pieces of '80s GW artwork. I came up trumps with the collection of Tim Pollard, who lived with John Blanche and Wayne England during our period of interest and collected many works during that time. 

I am happy to state, that I was contacted by Jon Boyce a couple of weeks ago with details about his collection of artworks and he was keen to share them with us here at Realm of Chaos 80s. So without any further ado, I'll hand over to him as he takes you through his small collection of pieces. Of course, if you own any classic old school artworks and wish to share them with the wider collecting world please contact me here, at

Eldar Broadside in print in White Dwarf.
Eldar Broadside by Tony Hough

I remember this image very fondly from WD127 (the Craftworld Eldar army list issue). All the background, illustrations and models sparked my continuing love for Eldar. Back in late 2007 there was the unsavoury incident where a Tony Hough illustration was temporarily stolen from an exhibition in Warhammer World. I had seen the exhibition and it prompted me to see whether Tony had an online presence, and specifically whether he had the WD127 image available for sale. A simple exchange of emails later, and in the New Year of 2008 I was the proud owner of in my view an iconic piece of GW artwork. Tony also kindly sent me a letter giving the background to the image; one of a set of 30 he did originally intended to form part of a Space Fleet rulebook (which never got off the ground).

Eldar Bridge & Eldar Weapons Fire by Tony Hough
I acquired both of these much more recently, as a direct result of the great interview with Tony Hough on your blog. I took to perusing Tony's gallery after reading the article, and happened to see a couple of additional Eldar images I hadn't seen before. I got back in touch with Tony and he confirmed they were from the same sequence of Space Fleet images as my first piece - he was happy to let me have them both to make a stunning triptych!

Eldar Legion / Ork Horde by Chris Baker aka Fangorn
I happened on this piece on ebay - simply labelled "Eldar Artwork". When I saw the auction, there were very few details in the listing, only a couple of days left and no bids. The starting bid was £120, but I recognised the image from the Epic Eldar Legion and Ork Hordes box sets. Either through lack of interest or simply going under the radar, mine was the only bid. I was delighted when I received the painting (which looks suspiciously like it has been painted using Citadel paints) - it's pretty big (67x28cm) and has a wealth of little details which you can't make out in the cropped and resized box artwork. I spoke with the seller and asked for a few details - it turns out he was Chris Baker's son and was selling the artwork to help fund a gap year. One my mates who has a fine art degree says this painting goes against all the rules of composition - the focal point (in the middle of the painting), actually has no detail or points of interest. This makes me wonder whether the painting was originally conceived as two separate pieces for use as the box art. 

What do you think?

Eldar Broadside and its accompanying letter from The Patriarch himself, Tony Hough.
Of course, Tony Hough is a friend of Realm of Chaos 80s, having been interviewed here alongside a gallery of his pieces and he occasionally contributes his valuable knowledge to discussions in the comments section. He also has a website and contacted me recently to explain that he hopes to attend Oldhammer Day at the Foundry in August, and Tony intends to bring his remaining artworks along for viewing and (hopefully) sale. 

Fancy owning one yourself? Just contact Tony and make an offer!

Don't forget to tell us all about though!


Acceptable in the '80s: ARCHIVE

I have had a growing number of requests to organise the articles in my History of Warhammer Third Edition; Acceptable in the '80s. I am very happy to do this, as finding things in the articles for myself was becoming a little challenging. If you are anything like me, I am sure that you combine Solegends and the CCM Wiki with the wider internet when researching ranges and identifying potential purchases. I am hoping that the articles I have written can be of service to you all, much as the articles I have done concerning to Regiments of Renown have become, judging by the page views these posts receive.

I shall organise this list of links chronologically and add it to the USEFUL RESOURCES section on the top right hand corner of my blog. I shall update it from time to time as new information is included. At the time of writing we have covered all the material from WD 94 to 106, baring anything reprinted from existing publications, such as Realm of Chaos and Warhammer Armies and including a few ads from previous White Dwarfs.

I hope this becomes a more useful resource to Oldhammer scholars in this new form, than in the previous one. 

Feedback, as always, is greatly appreciated. 

Acceptable in the '80s Archive

Pre- Warhammer Third Edition 

Iron Claw Miniatures : A discussion of Bob Olley's work and research material for Gothic Dwarfs, Skeleton Guard and Skeleton Riders - with a bit about the Iron Claw Stone Thrower. 
White Dwarf 94: Talisman Dungeon miniature releases, Mercenaries, Nick Bibby Giants, Plague Cart and rules, Elf, Dark Elf, Skaven and Goblin command groups and the Gob-lobber siege weapon. 
Raiders of the Lost Adverts: Orcs, Dwarfs, Feudals and Chaos Warriors.
Raiders of the Lost Adverts: Sorcerers and their familiars

Warhammer Third Edition Era: Early Days WD95-106

Warhammer Fantasy Battle Third Edition Release Article  A discussion about WFB3 from WD95 with lots of pretty pictures.
White Dwarf 95: Ruglud's armoured orcs and rules, Dogs of War, Beastmen, Elven Personalities on horseback, Dwarf Flame Cannon and rules, Orc Command Group, Dwarf with Inferiority Complex (Version 2), Barbarians, Chaos Hounds and Handlers and Prince Ulthar's Imperial Dwarfs. 
White Dwarf 96: Elven Animal Keepers, Bugman's Cart and rules and 'Eavy Metal Dragon special
White Dwarf 96 Part Two: Travelling Players, Warhammer Plastic Regiments, Men at Arms, Elf Warriors, Slottabased Minotaurs and Nippon Rocket and crew. 
Elf Wardancers and rules: Additional rules for fielding Wardancers in WFB3
Slann miniatures and alternative armylist: Additional rules for using the slann in WFB3
White Dwarf 97: Dwarfs and Halfling miniatures
White Dwarf 97 Part Two: The Valley of Death WFB3 Scenario, Balgorg Greater Daemon, Dark Elf repeating crossbow and Dwarf Adventurers.
White Dwarf 98: Chaos Thugs and rules, Chaos Centaurs and rules, Minotaurs and Rat Ogres.
Warhammer Siege : Detailing the release of the first supplement for WFB3 with additional rules for defending fortresses.
White Dwarf 101: Chaos Thugs,Orc Bolt Thrower and rules, Chaos Warriors and additional rules for Warhammer Siege
WFB3 Tactica: A discussion about how to get the best out of your forces when playing pitched battles.
Fimir Background and Armylist with Crossbowmen: Articles detailing the background to the Fimir with armylist and additional rules.'Eavy Metal article about Old School Painting of Faces and Crossbowmen for the Bretonnians and Empire.
Chaos Tenderiser and Whirlwind with Orc Crossbows: Details these two chaos war machines, with background and rules for both models. Orc Crossbows in metal. 
Regiments of Renown: Orc Boar Riders: Catalogue pages and background about this troop type. 
Iron Claw Rock Lobber and Goblins plus Skaven : Includes rules for the Iron Claw Rock Lobber


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Musings and Newsings

Hello once again, and welcome back to Realm of Chaos 80s. Its been a while since these fingers last typed their way through the wastes of Chaos but there has been much going on. The end of term approaches rapidly, and as any teacher will tell you, this time of year is excessively busy. On top of that, my wife has just had to undergo an operation and has needed time to recover and we are extending our home with a new kitchen, driveway and conservatory. 

Not much time for painting, collecting, writing or research then? 

Well, yes and no. I have been sneaking off to my desk for five minutes here and there to work on my miniatures projects; namely the end of my Khorne army and the construction of the Great Spined Dragon as well as cleaning up a number of other projects, big and small. Additionally, I have been working with two ex-Citadel Golden Age employees in the hope of bringing their stories to you, and hopefully glean another new nugget of old school gold or two.

In my more general reading around the Oldhammer Scene, I have come across several posts and blogs that I felt needed a little more exposure, so I though it good timing to share these with you before I head off to pursue more scholarly things.

The Problem of Crossbows

One of Jaeckel's latest dwarfs. Bloody lovely isn't it?
Side by side comparison of Old Citadel and Foundry Crossbows. 
The exceptionally talented Jaeckel has been delighting us with his incredibly painted old school dwarfs for some months now, and his latest batch certainly continues the high standards exhibited in his work. However, he has been in cahoots with Stone Cold Lead and has explained that it is possible to order metal crossbows, of a similar size to the annoyingly difficult to get old '80s Citadel ones, from Foundry Miniatures. This service is not listed on their site, you have to contact them for further details, but it appears that for £5 plus postage you can get your hands on 16 of them. Very, very useful information indeed.

I shall be pestering Marcus Ansell for some of those in the near future, as I have chaos dwarf and dwarf crossbows on my 'to do' list. 

Some of Stone Cold Lead's Bretonnians. Bloody lovely too!
Realm of Citadel - Don Hans's Incredible Collection!

A brace of Night Horrors from the brush of Don Hans. I really like the flayed hand colour scheme, you can almost feel the clammy fingers brushing your skin, can't you? The understated ghost is also effortlessly brilliant.
Don has been stomping around the Oldhammer Scene for a while, but I have only recently spent any real time on his blog. I was glad I did, because it contains some of the finest Old School style painting that I have seen for some time. His work is original, imaginative and looks like it has just stepped out of an 'Eavy Metal article circa 1989. His colours have that realistic, believable tone often absent in my own work (no matter how hard I attempt to put such tone in there) and remind me of Steve Blunt's work the later '80s. 

Incredible work indeed. If you don't believe me, have a look at some of these miniatures I have borrowed from his site. Oh, and Realm of Citadel itself can be found here. At the time of writing Don's excellent blog only has 23 followers, which in my opinion is a travesty as there is excellent work on offer there. 

So go follow!

A Marsh Troll. Gorgeous colour and a beautiful base. The blending of the two colours on the skin are outstanding are they not?
Don has a very original approach to shield design. Regular readers will know that these designs are an interest of mine and his work is a real inspiration. 
Asslessman's Best Miniature Ever

How's this for an interesting idea for a blog? A site devoted to the discussion of the greatest old school (and beyond) miniatures. Asslessman has been contributing to some of the discussions brought up the comments section of this blog in recent weeks, and its great to see him extending Oldhammer into new avenues. Anyway, I think there are a few more hours to go until voting ends for the Greatest Old School Khorne Champion so I suggest that you head over to his blog, support and cast your vote. It can be found here

I went for Champion 3 by the way.


Friday, 14 June 2013

'80s Roleplaying Television Programme. MUST WATCH!

Have you ever wanted to watch Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, founders of Games Workshop, playing Dungeons and Dragons with a youthful (but impressively deep voiced) Jervis, creator of Bloodbowl, Johnson and the dishevelled writer of Blackadder, Ben Elton?

Well now you can!

Or perhaps a stroll through the original Games Workshop store to gaze in wonder at row upon row of classic 80s boxed RPGs, early Citadel miniatures, original art works and interviews with members of the Games Workshop team - and one or two of their customers?

Well now you can!

Or indeed, do you have a fascination with Live Action Roleplay, or remember fondly the thrill of entering dungeons weilding a sword you constructed in your kitchen out of several toilet tissue tubes, silver foil and cellotape? Did you Treasure Trap even?

Well, Realm of Chaos 80s has a video for you!

What I am about to share with you, in three parts, is an edition of the news programme, South of Watford made in 1984. It attempts to deal with the, by then, booming fantasy game market and the growth of Live Action Roleplaying. Strangely, its presented by Ben Elton as is well worth a viewing, especially the first video which seems to have filmed in the original Games Workshop store in London.

Do yoyself a favour. Make yourself a drink, find a quiet corner where you will not be disturbed for the next 30 minutes or so ans enjoy the programme. Can you spot a copy of First Edition Warhammer in there?



Thursday, 13 June 2013

A Monstrous Interlude: The Great Spined Dragon: Nick Bibby's Masterpiece

A winning entry indeed! The Great Spined Dragon, here converted to be a Plague Dragon, was painted by David Chauvel  and won Best Dragon at the 1988 Golden Demon Awards. 
Ever since I saw the Great Spined Dragon being painted up by Harry, I knew that I had to own one. It is, quite simply, the finest dragon ever sculpted.

To quite frank, it is exquisite. 

A photograph cannot do the model justice. Once you have the pieces, and you roughly assemble them together, and balance the model in the palm of your hand, you know that you are holding something so very special. It feels like it wouldn't take much; a nudge perhaps, or a gentle blow of air from your lungs, to encourage the little beast to take flight and sail around your living room on its skeletal wings.

I think this magic is conjured by its eyes. They are small, beady things that peer out from the craggy brow with a malicious intent, almost as if they are appraising how easy a meal you would make! The head too is so finely sculpted that it positively oozes character. 

Its limbs are based, not in fantasy as so many sculptors who work on dragons do, but very much in reality. There are distinct echoes of birds of prey in its pose. Closer inspection reveals the muscle structure finely sculpted under the scales, suggesting the inner workings of this strange reptilian monster. 

I managed to get one on eBay for £97. It was worth every penny. Even my wife, the non-leadhead, was impressed when she saw my rough assembly, promptly stating 'oh, I like that. If you paint that up, you can keep it on the mantelpiece.'

Surely, the ultimate praise any model can possibly receive? 
Then there is this example, painted by Craig Sparks, and also entered into the 1988 Golden Demon Awards. 

The model seemed to be popular back in the 1980s, as the two images that I have published above prove.  It was used time and time again by painters entering the Golden Demon awards of the later '80s. And the model must remain popular to this day to command such a healthy price tag.

Having become infatuated with the model upon its arrival in my home yesterday, I decided to do a little research into the model and present my findings as this post. I knew that it was sculpted by Nick Bibby as I had approached him for an interview here at Realm of Chaos 80s and had asked several questions about his dragons. Sadly, he was far too busy to talk to me and the questions remained unanswered and the research drew to a close. The arrival of my dragon changed all that, so I set about exploring the dark corners of the web to see what I could uncover. 

Before I present my findings, have a quick look at my dragon as he currently stands. After I have complete this post I am going to finish cleaning him up and stick him together.

A quick snap of mine, held together with Blu-Tak and propped up on a London Taxi.
It appears that the model was released in late 1984 or early 1985 and was one of a great many dragons that Citadel was producing at the time. Building and painting them seemed to be a hobby in its own right by the mid '80s, and Citadel had flooded the market with a huge range of dragon models. As early as 1982, the sculpting team were producing dragons of considerable size (such as the 'chicken dragon'), and the sheer scale of these beasts must have been casting nightmares!

What follows are the instructional materials produced by Citadel to accompany the release of the model. The first is a flyer that includes a breakdown of the model into the cast parts and the sketch produced by Tony Ackland. These documents prove to be extremely useful for anyone interested in building and painting this model today, as I am sure many of you are aware, the Great Spined Dragon was sculpted without wing membranes and these, with a little modelling skill, need to be produced and attached to the model. The second side of the leaflet detailed how best to go about this, explaining where to stick the membranes to produce the best possible fit. 

Rooting around further, I can across this second flyer, now in the collection of Steve Casey over at Eldritch Epistles. Here we find the original mailing list gumph which included a rather whimsical piece of background fluff about Spined Dragons in the Warhammer World as well as some rules for the beast, as geared towards Warhammer Second Edition, which were current at the time. 

But what of its sculptor? Then, luck struck and I stumbled across a blog called the Spyglass Asylum, which sadly has not seen an update for some time. The writer of this blog was also a big fan of the Spined Dragon and wrote a lovely article praising the piece. Thankfully, Nick Bibby contacted this blogger and provided some further information about this most wonderful of dragons. 

Here is the text.

NB: Well, this is a blast from the past! I came across your blog, whilst looking for something else entirely, and was stunned by the comments. Not a blogger, never posted before, so this is a first. I thought old "Spiny" was well and truly consigned to history. I think I sculpted him in 1982, or 1983 but couldn't swear to it. It was certainly before my allergy to epoxy caused me to switch to Fimo [Kegox, Mordax, etc]- Spiny was sculpted in 'Green Stuff'. He was my rebellion against all those dragons with silly flappy little wings and no musculature to use them. I wanted to sculpt a believable dragon, as anatomically correct as possible with proper wings and the musculature to use them - something that looked like it really existed, Structural anatomy has always been an interest of mine - how can you sculpt a subject without understanding the underlying skeleton and musculature? It gives the surface texture it's form. At the time, he wasn't hugely popular - a lot of people simply didn't get it. So I'm chuffed that somebody likes him now! 
I did a painted diorama with a tweaked Spiny back then - how I would have sculpted him, if casting wasn't an issue. It won the professional class at the first ever Golden Demon awards. I still have it in a box somewhere. If anyone is interested, I'll dig it out and take a picture. One day I will do another "Real" dragon, but in bronze. Well, More power to your collective elbows, and thanks for all the kind words! Best wishes, Nick Bibby.

NB: I think I may have one of the very last Spined Dragon ever produced by Games Workshop - they offered a service in the late 90's/early 00's where they said they could reproduce any model if they still had the mould. I rang up to check if they still had the mould for the Spined Dragon and was pleased to discover they did - I think I paid around £35 for it. Not long after it arrived, I decided to get another but was told that the service had been pulled. 

I still haven't been brave enough to build and paint it though so its still in its box.

Well, there lies the reason why the Spined Dragon is so treasured by so many. The artist who produced the model thought long and hard about the creature, and treated it as a living being, rather than just a fantastic creature. I have said it before, no technique can be a replacement for 'soul'.

I guess the Spined Dragon proves that point once again.

And in case you are wondering what Nick Bibby is up to now, have a quick look at these photographs I took from his website. They show some of his later sculpts in great detail. It seems, in the years since Nick Bibby left GW, he has moved to to become one of the greatest bronze sculptors in the world, with a catalogue of work to make an museum proud.  

Nick Bibby's Snail... I looks real does it? Wouldn't make a perfect old school giant snail for Oldhammer games? I bet this is worth a lot more than I paid for my Spined Dragon though - just look at it! It could be alive!

This is a pretty recent shot of Nick working on an enormous sculpture of a bear. Incredible!
If you want to see more, and I really do recommend that you do, check out his website here by following this link Before I sign off, imagine this for one moment. In his comment to Spyglass Asylum above, Nick stated that he would one day sculpt and cast a dragon in bronze. If that work of art was anything to the scale and brilliance of what can be seen on his website then, hopefully, the Great Spined Dragon will one day be the second greatest dragon ever sculpted. 

Right, I am off to stick mine together and decide exactly how I am going to approach the base and wings of this fantastic model.


Monday, 10 June 2013

"We Need More Maggot-Ridden Pus, You Know!" An Interview with Graeme Davis

Midnight Rogue - Graeme's only contribution to Fighting Fantasy, so far!

Midnight Rogue was a gift from my mother for Christmas in 1988, or there abouts. I still have the copy to this day, in a box buried deep within the garage, though I have never got around to playing it. I had the bizarre notion (in fact I still have the same bizarre notion) of having to complete all of the Fighting Fantasy books in the order that they are written. 

So far, I have got to the Island of the Lizard King. 

A while yet, until Midnight Rogue, then.

Graeme Davis wrote Midnight Rogue. He also wrote (as part of a wider team) the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay rulebook, and one of its most famous adventures; Shadows over Bogenhafen. Graeme published his first article in White Dwarf in 1982. before joining the Design Studio four years later in 1986, and contributed to a wide range of different products, some published, others, sadly, never materialising. He is the subject of RealmofChaos80s' latest interview about all things old school. Graeme discusses the development of WFRP, Realm of Chaos and a great many other things, and also brings us a number of behind the scenes details and a few snippets of information about things that never made it into Warhammer Third Edition and WFRP.

Graeme worked on this classic adventure. Those of you who have played or GM'ed this game will know just how interesting the scenario is. 
RoC80s: What caught your interest and got you involved in fantasy roleplaying in the first place?

GD: This goes back to the '70s. I'd grown up building Airifx kits, mostly of WWII planes and tanks. Someone at school tried to start a wargaming club, but it didn't take. I played one naval battle where each of us had one ship and didn't enjoy it much because only the two team leaders were actually playing and all the rest of us got to do was move the scraps of paper representing our ships. 

The club folded shortly after that.

In about 1975 I started doing school plays, and I joined a local amateur dramatics group after I left school. I heard from some people there about a new game called Dungeons & Dragons, which was part wargame and part improvised theatre. The two seemed incompatible to me, so I went and played a game to find out what it was all about. I had two characters, both thieves, and both killed by a minotaur in the first game, but I enjoyed the game and went back. That would have been about 1977. I liked the fantasy elements because I had grown up reading Greek and Arthurian mythology and watching movies like Ray Harryhausen's version of "Jason and the Argonauts." The scene with the skeletons gave me an unhealthy obsession with the undead that continues to this day.

RoC80s: You were a very early contributor to White Dwarf. What was it like to write and submit articles during this period?

GD: It was fun. I was at college, playing far too much AD&D and branching out into Bushido and Call of Cthulhu. It took two years for my first article to get published - it was a set of rules for drug addiction in AD&D which I doubt would be publishable today - and after that I usually sent a couple of articles a month. Everything was on spec: I just sent whatever I thought the editors would like, and mostly they did like what I sent. It didn't pay much - 1p a word at the time - but it was a good source of beer money. 

RoC80s: How did you move from submitting articles to full blown game designing?

GD: Inspired by Bushido and by my love of Irish myths and sagas, I started to design a Celtic RPG called Fiana while I was at college. It never got beyond a couple of playtests sessions. In the winter of 1985-86 I was commissioned to write a series of gamebooks for Oxford University Press - gamebooks were all the rage then, and these were aimed at teenagers with a reading age of about 7, using the gamebook format to encourage them to read. I never made a conscious move from writing articles to designing games: it was all RPGs.

The main rulebook for WFRP; Graeme was a major contributor to this title. 
 RoC80s: Explain how you joined the GW design studio? Was it natural progression or something different?

GD: I'd been writing for TSR UK's Imagine magazine as well as White Dwarf, and after Imagine folded several TSR UK staffers moved to GW. I heard from Paul Cockburn in April 1986 and was invited down to Nottingham to talk about working on the game that became WFRP. After a couple of meetings with Paul, Rick, Hal, and Jervis, I joined the staff that May.

RoC80s: How much can you remember about who you worked with at the Design Studio? Was it a creative place as others have said?

GD: It really was. We joked around a lot and bounced ridiculous ideas off each other to see what we could get away with. We all had a similar sense of humour, which could range from the juvenile to the surreal to the completely random. Initially I was working from three separate stacks of notes provided by Rick, Hal, and Bryan Ansell, and after Jim and Phil arrived we finished knocking the rulebook into shape and Jim and Phil laid the foundations of the Enemy Within campaign. 
     There was a pool of writers - me, Rick, Hal, Jim, Phil, Marc Gascoigne, and Mike Brunton - and we did whatever needed doing at the time, ranging from developing new games to writing support articles, reviews for WD, ad copy, box backs, and going through the WD submissions pile, which at one time consisted of two stacks of paper over five feet high. Rick was mostly writing 40K at the time; Hal was working on Space Hulk, the 2000AD board games, and Dark Future; Jervis was developing Blood Bowl and then Adeptus Titanicus/Space Marine. I worked fairly closely with Jervis on those two, smoothing out the wording of the rules and adding the little bits of atmospheric fiction as well as writing a few support articles for White Dwarf. Paul was White Dwarf editor, and Mike worked on pretty much everything at various points. He was the "last writer standing" when Realm of Chaos was finally published, and of course he went on to succeed Paul as White Dwarf editor. Marc developed the setting for Dark Future and ran Warlock magazine once it came into GW before moving to Penguin. Later on Steve Hand joined the studio, bringing Chainsaw Warrior and Fury of Dracula with him as finished designs. He worked on a number of board games once he arrived, but I still think those two were his best work.

The handout that starts it all: Wanted Bold Adventurers!

 RoC80s: What is your version of events behind the development and publication of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay ruleset and starting adventure, The Oldenhaller Contract?

GD: When I arrived, WFRP consisted of a rough draft by Rick and a lot of notes and ideas from Bryan and Hal. I did my best to fold everything together and develop a new draft, filling in any gaps with systems I  had designed myself - like the section on divine favour and disfavour, for example. Hal seemed to come up with two or three new careers every day, often based on people he'd seen around Nottingham: some got very silly indeed, some were no more than half-formed ideas, and we only used about half of them in the end. As the weeks went by, the system shifted. Character stats started out being identical to Warhammer Battle, but we found that a 1-10 scale didn't give us the resolution a roleplaying game needed, so many were switched to percentile. After the first few playtests showed how deadly combat was, Jervis came up with the idea of fate points. I scoured old Warhammer products and Citadel catalogues to make sure the Bestiary contained every possible monster, which is why there were strange things like the Life and Death Elementals. The Warhammer Mythos hadn't really taken shape yet, so it was hard to say what would last and what wouldn't.
The Oldenhaller Contract was written by Hal and I did little more than edit the text. It wasn't really intended to set the tone for the game - any more than Shadows Over Bogenhafen was - but we just felt the rulebook needed a sample adventure so people could start playing right away.

RoC80s:  The first half of the Enemy Within has been lauded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, set of adventures ever produced for an RPG. What was the story behind their development and what influenced you the most when working on them?

GD: When Jim and Phil arrived at the studio, I was already part-way through writing Shadows Over Bogenhafen. The story behind it is pretty well-known, I think: Bryan told me to write a "bloodless ... Call of Cthulhu adventure for Warhammer," and that's what I did. I was thinking it would be a one-off module, but Jim and Phil wrote it into the Enemy Within campaign and the rest is history. They were the prime movers behind the campaign; they had co-written a great campaign module called "Night's Dark Terror" for TSR UK, and they knew what a campaign was and how to make one. While I finished up Shadows they wrote The Enemy Within and planned out the rest of the campaign. They wrote the bulk of Death of the Reik while I put together the "River Life of the Empire" booklet; from time to time we would switch and edit each other's work, but the structure and direction of the campaign was all Jim and Phil. Influences are tough to pin down. Certainly Call of Cthulhu was an influence on Shadows Over Bogenhafen, right down to the title, which I stole from Lovecraft's story "The Shadow Over Innsmouth." Marlowe's Faust was another big influence, of course; the basis of the plot was that Teugen had made a Faustian pact with Chaos and was trying to get out of it. The whole campaign, like most things published for WFRP, was riddled with one-liners and in-jokes like the German(ish) names and pop culture references from Monty Python to Blackadder, but I don't know that those really count as references. You'd have to ask Jim and Phil about influences for Death on the Reik, although I suspect that Gormenghast, at least, was in their minds while they were designing Castle Wittgenstein.

A full colour map of Bogenhafen, detailing many of the locations you can visit in the game. 
RoC80s: Apart from WHFP, what other roles did you have at the Studio? For instance, is it true you wrote many of the amusing little tales that often supported releases in White Dwarf?

GD: As I said earlier, the writing pool basically did whatever needed doing at the time. I wrote a few of the silly stories on  box backs and ads - I think the Skull Crusher trebuchet was my first - but Rick also did quite a lot of them and I was influenced by those and his work on the Regiments of Renown supplement for 1st edition Warhammer. I wrote product ads - I'll never forget one occasion where a page had to be replaced at the last minute and Chaz Elliot, the graphic design head, came screaming downstairs with a pencil of a page layout and told me a taxi was waiting outside reception to take the page to the printer once I'd written the text for these boxes here, here, and here. I wrote reviews, I edited and developed rules written by Jervis, Hal, and other designers, I finally managed to get the WD submissions pile down to less than a foot high, I edited the WD letters column a couple of times and ran a semi-regular WFRP Q&A column called "On the Boil" (a typical example of Design Studio humour at that time). And I'm sure there were other things that I have since forgotten.

RoC80s: Explain the rational behind Flame Publications and give us an idea what it was like to work there, was it different to the Design Studio?

GD: It was very different. After the success of 40K, it became clear that the real money was to be made in miniatures games, and GW's roleplaying games efforts were increasingly sidelined. Since my main interest was in RPGs, this was frustrating, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who worried that WFRP would wither and die. The idea of a separate roleplaying imprint had been bouncing around the studio for a couple of years - I think it was Paul Cockburn who first proposed it - but no one thought it would happen until Tom Kirby called Mike and me into his office one day. He told us we could have one artist and we asked Tony Ackland if he wanted to do it, and he agreed right away. Flame was very different from the Studio, and not just because there were only three of us and we got to devote ourselves to roleplaying material. Over the three years or so since WFRP was released, the atmosphere at the studio had changed quite considerably. As Bryan was spending more time getting the US side up and running, a layer of middle management had grown up between the creative and executive strata: decisions took longer to make, they were often harder to understand - for me at least - and discussion was strongly discouraged. I remember one occasion when I was handed back a draft of a book I had written - a rules-free sourcebook on Ogre and Trolls in the Warhammer world - and told to rewrite it. When I whipped out my pad and asked what needed to change, I was told (and this is a direct quote to the best of my recollection) "I'm not going to tell you that. Just rewrite it." All in all, I had the impression that no one wanted to put their name on any decision in case it turned out that Bryan didn't like it. While we at Flame mostly enjoyed the separation we had from the main studio, I had the impression that relations were less than cordial. Mike had the job of liaising, and it wasn't a task I envied him.

Castle Drachenfels: the final product produced and released by Flame Publications.
RoC80s: You have stated that you had minimal involvement in Realm of Chaos Slaves to Darkness. Even so, what are your memories of the project?

 GD: I think I was the penultimate writer to work on it. I made a few mis-steps, like trying to include Malal, and by the time it reached me the whole thing had been through so many writers that it was quite unwieldy. Realm of Chaos was always a bit of a moving target: it was well-known that it was Bryan's pet project, but honestly I don't think I ever knew exactly what he wanted from it, and he was always too busy to sit down and come up with a firm brief for the thing. His direction consisted of seemingly random pronouncements whenever he happened to pass by - I'll never forget the time he stuck his head round my door, said "We need more maggot-ridden pus, you know," and kept walking - and while I longed to declare a moratorium on new ideas so I could kick what I had into some kind of shape, I didn't have the confidence to tell that to the man who owned the company. In the end, I became convinced that I was doing more harm than good on the project, and I asked to be replaced. Mike took it over, and to this day I'm lost in admiration of the fact that he actually got it finished.

RoC80s: Was there ever a real drive to develop a deep Warhammer Mythos? You mentioned additional gods of chaos, were there other things that you worked on that never made it?

 GD: Not really. The Warhammer Mythos developed organically; new stuff was added as it was needed. A lot of the creative drive came from the miniatures designers. When Jes Goodwin created the Skaven they were immediately incorporated, when the Perry twins started doing Bretonnian knights Nigel Stillman expanded the Bretonnia background, and so on. I always had the sense that we didn't want to commit ourselves to anything that would limit our options later on. Two freelancers (Dave Morris and Oliver Johnson, if memory serves) were commissioned to develop an Oriental setting under the working title "Tetsubo" - it being the 80s, everything Japanese was still very fashionable, and Citadel had a small but growing "Oriental Heroes" miniatures range - but their manuscript didn't truly nail the "Warhammer feel" and languished in a "to be developed" pile before fading into obscurity. I think the Ogres and Trolls book I mentioned earlier might have been part of a move to define the Warhammer Mythos more closely, but that never reached completion either.

And that, folks, is that! All that there is left for me to say is thank you to Graeme for sharing a little of his time, and a whole load of his recollections, with us here at the Oldhammer Community. 

Thank you. 


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Warhammer Armies: An Acceptable in the '80s Special

Deja vu? 

Yes, this is the second version of this post entry. The first one was published, but somehow I managed to delete it shortly after publication. I am not entirely certain how I achieved this feat of foolishness but I did, so there you go! So I find myself in the unenvible position of having to re-write what I have already discussed, something that I am not really that sparking with enthusiasm to do, so I have decided to write a completely different post instead. I am sure that some of the waffle my first post contained will be reproduced, but if you were one of the few people who got to read the original, I am sure that some of the old waffle will return too.

So where are we in this history? Issue 106 of White Dwarf actually. It contained a short article by Nigel Stillman (who I would love to interview, if anyone knows of his whereabouts these days) in which he discussed the 'why' and the 'why nots' of Warhammer Armies, the penultimate hardback supplement for Warhammer Fantasy Battle Third Edition. By this point, WFB3 was about a year old. The rulebook had been launched in the style of GW's output in the mid '80s; a large, hardbacked book with an impressive cover painting and loads of high quality (and varied art) in both black and white and full colour. This had been followed by Warhammer Siege and later, Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness which both followed the same pattern. Warhammer Armies was to be no different, only this book would contain not only army lists but actual images of GW stalwarts and their armies. 

The Army Photo. This is probably best exemplified by the Mighty Avenger himself . The recipe for success is simple:  assume a suitable pose, spread models out in front of you, and take the picture. 

Of course, Warhammer Armies went a little further, detailing the construction of the different units and so on and so forth. Here we see more of Bryan's chaos army, much of which Steve Casey has photographed for his blog, Eldritch Epistles. 
I will resist the temptation to publish them all. It will spoil the retro delight readers will experience when they first purchase this book and flick through its musty pages. So let these few pages serve as an appetite wetter for the future (for those who do not yet own this book) and a nice reminder for those who do. 

Now, for those of you who are in the former camp, you don't own the book, let me explain what you would be getting yourself in for should you decide to pick Warhammer Armies up. Firstly, you get the armylists themselves; and these can be split into major and minor lists. Forces like the Wood Elves, Dwarfs and so on get large lists and additional rules, while smaller forces (or contingents) like Zoats, Nipponese and Pygmy forces get a mention. There are plenty of others that I have not mentioned too. Another excuse to buy the book really, to find out what is in there!

There are also further rules for extra monsters missing from the Bestiary in the Main Rulebook itself; with the unicorn and Temple Dog being two of these intriguing beasts. There are also lots of magic item generation tables for weapons, banners and amulets and so forth. These really are excellent and are full of brilliant ideas. 

Right, back to Nigel's article then. Its well worth a read, so I'll include it all below. It contains several (to me, anyway) vital quotes because, with the growth of Oldhammer, Warhammer Armies has become rather controversial. The concept of having 'one book to rule them all' is relatively unknown to many younger gamers, who have grown up in an age of army books, but it really is possible to play Warhammer Third Edition with just the main rulebook. All the races are described, special rules provided and associate posts costs included. Warhammer Armies provides a framework with which to construct armies in more detail, as well as including different types of troops not mentioned before. It is not a 'legal' document that must be adhered to rigorously.

I am starting to see people interested in Third Editon writing things like (and I paraphrase) 'I only need five more models to have a legal Third Edition Dark Elf army' and 'I am not sure I can field my army yet, Warhammer Armies states that I have to have 20 skeletons as a minimum to field Undead'. These views are quite un-necessary when playing Warhammer Third Edition, and agreement on forces is largely down to your opponent, or even better, the GM who will create the game that you are going to take part it. 

Now, there are two quotes worth discussion from the article about in my view. I will present them for you below along with my views why they are important in the rise of Warhammer Third Edition gaming, perhaps you will agree or perhaps you will disagree. You may even have another quote that you think is equally, if not more so, of importance to those that I have selected! If this is the case, then please share your view with us, either by emailing me at or using the comments box below. 

Its up to you to pick an army that suits your character as a general and come up with right tactics in different battlefield situations.

That's right, it is up to you! There are no flavours of the month in Third Edition. No army that has just been released to clamour around. Nor will your list suddenly be withdrawn, changed or updated. Its static. This should allow the gamer and collector as many years as they would wish to spend creating and perfecting their force without any concerns that things will change. The term 'obsolete' often springs up to describe particular units and so on, on sites like Warseer. How can something suddenly become obsolete if there are gamers willing to play with particular models or rule sets? The same goes with terms like 'broken'. As all the lists for Third Edition (apart from the later chaos ones in Lost and the Damned) were written by the same few people at roughly the same time, the forces on offer to the Oldhammer general are, as far as I have experienced, fairly balanced. Sure, a daemonic army or a beastman horde are extremely powerful, and rightfully so, in Third Edition, but they are not unbeatable and daemonic legions cannot really be maintained outside the Realm of Chaos anyway, so are unlikely to be turning up very often. Now if you are building an army for narrative play, and quite frankly, most of us are, your forces need to be able to deal with more than just a set of given scenarios published in a book, the most likely one being a straight forwards fight across a table. 

There are two ways in which to use the lists... the purists approach... and the flexible approach.

Yes, you read that correctly. You can choose to use the lists in Warhammer Armies as they are written, or you can use them more flexibly (or even not at all). This is something that some gamers find difficult to get their heads around, particularly those coming from a more tournament based scene. Quite why this is, is open to debate, because as others have said, there is nothing stopping a gamer being flexible with any army list published on any date. Its just curious that some many people (and to me it seems the majority) are obsessed with the official rules rather than just getting on with the job of having an entertaining and mutually enjoyable experience. 

So if you are new to Oldhammer, or are interested in having a go at an older ruleset, I hope that this little article has helped clear a little of the muddy waters that seem to be swirling around what many of us are doing with Third Edition. Of course, if you have anything to add please do. You know how!


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Where are they now? The Art Collection of Tim Pollard

Some weeks ago I posed a question. You can read all about it here. Namely, what happened to the original paintings produced from classic 'Golden Age' books and box sets. Did they still exist? And if so, where are they now? 

We knew through research that many lesser pieces were returned to the original artists; both Tony Hough and Tony Ackland were kind enough to share some of these surviving pieces with us, and even let us look at a few unpublished works of art.

Today's post goes a little bit further. I am happy to say that a great many fantastic pieces of old school fantasy and science fiction art produced by GW is still safely stored in Nottingham. But not quite where you would expect. You see (as many of you will have learnt through reading yesterday's interview with Tim) that Blanche, and others, often paid for things (like rent) with their works. Tim Pollard was lucky enough to receive a great many of the pieces and has framed and preserved them to this day.

We should thank him for it. 

So join me as I guide you through SOME of Tim's art collection. So sit back, relax and let that retro feeling wash over you as we explore what he has hanging on his walls. 

Space Marines by Wayne England. This painting, in crayon and ink if memory serves, graced the front cover of White Dwarf 110 and introduced Wayne's work to GW fandom. I can remember studying this cover with great interest upon that issue's release and this particular painting has remained one of my favourites ever since. The painting harkens back to the day when there was a little more artistic license to interpreting the Astartes. 
Next up, the Legion of the Damned by John Blanche. This, of course, graced the packaging of the Skeleton Horde, the WHFRP supplement, The Restless Dead, as well as being used as an internal illustration. A wonderful piece that oozes character and takes us back to a simpler time when a skeleton was just that, and needed no rusty armour or shredded cloth to impress. A scary tree lurks behind. Fantastic!
Ahh, the Imperial Army, also by Blanche, which was used as an internal illustration in White Dwarf and as the box art for the first set of plastic Imperial Guard. Apparently, Tim's face was going to appear on the head of the slain alien lying on the floor in the foreground, but this did not happen due to time restraints. Classic. 
A Necromunda battle scene, also by Blanche. This was a painting I don't think I have seen before. Was it ever published? I wonder if it was commissioned for the original version of Confrontation (which of course, started out life as the 40k RPG, before morphing into a WD published skirmish game and then being published (in a very different form) as Necromunda ) but I cannot be sure. Tim pointed out that his, Sean Masterson's (former WD scribe, Editor and contributor to Dark Future) and Sid's (ex 'Eavy Metal) faces appear on this somewhere. Can you see them? Andy Craig can also recall being given this painting by John Blanche when he was painting Necromunda miniatures.  
The original Terminator box set artwork. John Blanche. I need say nothing more about this one. OUTSTANDING!
A second piece, again involving Space Marines with additional help from some early ork boyz, by Wayne England. I am not sure if I have seen this one before. Was it ever published? Beautiful isn't it? It always seemed to me that these pieces were part of some far larger work of art. 
More classic Blanche. This one was used on the front cover of White Dwarf 108 and for Adeptus Titanicus main rule book. 
Skaven by David Gallagher. Rather Warhammer Armies is it not? Again, I am not sure if I have seen this one elsewhere. Was it published, if so, where?
An evocative piece by Ian McCraig (who also painted the FF book, the Forest of Doom) the artist who designed the Games Workshop logo - a fact that is not very well known.
An un-used John Blanche cover for Sabbat's second album, Dreamweaver, featuring the faces of Tony Ackland and Bob Naismith apparently. 
Gloria in Excelsis by John Blance. Not a Warhammer piece but utterly breathtaking. Imagine having this hanging on YOUR wall? You'd put bars on your windows, wouldn't you?
Well, here's hoping you have enjoyed this little artistic stroll through some of Tim's collection. Do you know anything more about any of these pieces of art that you can share with us? Which ones are your favourites and why? Are there any that you despise? And, perhaps most importantly, do you know the whereabouts of any other classic paintings for British fantasy's yesteryears?

If you do, post us a link below or get in contact with me at