Monday, 30 September 2013

On Palanquins and Chariots

Today I want to talk about two of my favourite units in the third edition of Warhammer some twenty five years ago or more. Both were documented in White Dwarf 114 with interesting articles. I present both below to aid the discussion of them.
First up is the very well known Palanquin of Nurgle model. This was a thing of beauty upon its first release, if a follower of Nurgle could be described as such, and I was eager, nay desperate, to get my hands on a model. One of the things that really stood out for me were the varied riders of the Palanquin. The champion with the sword raised, the Nurgle sorcerer and the futuristic renegade. Sadly, I don't think you ever got all three in the kit, but I was fun wondering which you'd like to get hold of first.
It took me years to get one, scoring a complete kit (still in the blister) in about 2004. It was a lovely model, and came with the champion with the raised sword (seen in the illustration below) and was a joy to assemble. Like all the big models of the 80s/90s, it weighed a hefty amount and felt great in the hand. This is some important to me in my appreication of models. The weight just feels 'right' and the models are a joy to handle through the construction and painting process, as they are when the are let loose on the table top. I am sorry, but plastic and resin just don't have that same 'feel' to them for me!
Like an idiot, I sold mine for about £12.50 about a year later. Something I have come to regret because they are now very hard to get hold of for less than £50. This was made even more difficult by the new 40k version being released a few years back. It was an okay model but lacked the rotting horror of the original. Subsequently, I feel that the classic model has probably made its way into many modern forces. Hopefully, it will one day make it into one of mine.
What follows is the lovely fluff and rules supplement that appeared in WD114. It also has some entertaining rules, such as the Nurglings popping up from the slime left by the palanquin. The rules go on to explain that the palanquins were used both by champions and plaguebearers themselves! Now this is something I have never really thought about before. I am fairly sure no seated PB were ever released but it would be a simple matter to convert one.

Great illustrations support the article and a Realm of Chaos narrative too. The Lost and the Damned, from which these articles are taken I believe, are rich is short stories written by Rick Priestley, Bill King and a great number of other authors.

Adrian Smith's unique pencil style captured chaos like no one else. His illustrations of Nurgle are particularly horrific and here the seated champion with the sword is depicted.

In a Realm of Chaos double whammy, issue 114 also contained a detailed article on Chaos Chariots. These were fairly varied constructs, and full rules were included in the article about how to adopt different beasts for traction and how chaos dwarfs had to be present in the force for their construction. GW also released a model around this time sculpted by the Perry's but I was quite traditional in its form and for suitable for chaos warriors in the Empire rather than the Realms themselves. Unlike the palanquin, I own this model (despite selling it in the same purge as the palanquin) as I have managed to by the model back quite cheaply in recent times.
Have a look at the article here.

No narrative this time, but detailed background about how chariots are put together in the Realms of Chaos. There are lots of good ideas here, and this source is full of great ideas for narrative skirmishes between the forces of chaos. I am sure there is a reall y good campaign in here somewhere.

Just like most things in the Realm of Chaos books, the options and detail behind the chariots is extremely detailed, if not exhaustive.

Craziness abounds in the detail here when you chariot is damaged. You could probably play several games without ever getting the same result. Additionally, the last paragraph may be of particular interest to converters. Using unusual creatures to pull the chariot? Citadel Sheep anyone?


My restored and painted Chaos Chariot by the Perrys. Sculpted in 1987 but not released until later if my facts are correct. The model makes good use of the first Citadel plastic horses and has lots of baroque detailing and nasty faces here and there. The chariot's extras (here a flag pole and bow and quiver) and the same that fit other Khorne units of the time, most notably the Juggernauts.
Do you have any opinions about these two models? Are you lucky enough to own them, and if you have a link to a painted example please do share? Or are you not a fan? If so, what are your reasons?


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Fifty Shades of Enamel: The Hunt for Fraser Gray

No one leaves a greater shadow over the world of Fantasy Miniature painting than Fraser Gray. 

No one. 

His work was unique, inspiring and flawless in its presentation. The colours were so vibrant and believable that you almost expect them to suddenly burst in to life and engage in fanatic combat in front of your eyes. If I have learnt anything from the journey Realm of Chaos 80s had led me on, its two things. One: painted miniatures look SO much better in the flesh (so to speak, or should that be the lead?) as anyone who stood in awe in front of Bryan Ansell's miniature collection at the Foundry will no doubt agree with. TWO: that there is quite a considerable demand for interviews with inspirational figures of Old School British gaming, as a quick scan down this blog's most popular posts will testify. 

So what about combining the two with Fraser Gray? I have been asked many times about what I have learnt about him, where he is and if we could interview him. And in truth, I cannot say. I can understand the interest, after all, there was, and still is, no-one else like him. He appeared on the scene fully formed with those incredible painted models, was showcased in many GW publications and then promptly disappeared as suddenly as he had arrived. 

And everyone loves a mystery.

Fraser's first place winning entry at the '87 painting competition and a plethora of other painted miniatures that appeared in the first Fantasy Miniatures book.

Orcs, goblins and the undead, many of which are shown with those exquisite shields that inspire to this day. I love those faces! This page is also taken from the Fantasy Miniatures book.
Through research we have learnt several things about him and I shall share those facts with you now. I have included the source of the quote at the beginning of the extract for clarity.

Andy Craig: Fraser Gray, who I would say is in my view the greatest figure painter of all time (just my opinion) was also a regular visitor (to the design studio). The fact he used enamels and white spirit to blend while most of us used saliva! This was very tricky to apply but it didn't seem to phase him. I'm very lucky to be the owner of one of his orks, I think it was in the first Golden Demon year book, an Ork with just a loin cloth holding an axe above its head. He exchanged it for one of my figures although he didn't get the initial figure he wanted, which was my pink 'Kinky Chaosette', so settled for an Amazon limited edition I painted for him.

Andy Craig: Fraser was a lovely guy. he could make any, and I mean any figure look good. Before the days of the internet, we'd write to each other as back then he worked for a record company but can't remember his role. Fraser would only paint chaos, orks, or paint the figures to look evil- just a personal preference on his part. I tried his method of painting and failed badly. Sadly, I've not seen him for years, where ever he is, I hope he is well and painting.

Vintagephreak: Regarding Fraser Grey, he left an indelible impression on my mind when first getting started with the hobby in '88. A remarkable artist. A commission painter I used some years ago were a mate of his, and apparently he's not into fantasy anymore but has moved into painting AFVs/Military modelling, and is even writing articles for genre magazines and has been a judge at EuroMilitaire, the prestigious military modelling event. I offered him -through his painter friend- a decent sum for his Chaos Dwarf standard bearer shown in the GD 1988 book, but he respectfully declined. Apparently he's a bit reclusive and doesn't use the internet so he's hard to get hold of. I still owe him a great debt for inspiring me tremendously then as well as now.

Fraser appeared in White Dwarf many times. I remember being fascinated by this page as a youth, wondering how Fraser managed to be photographed in front of loads of skulls! The paint work on those horrors is also incredible, and for me, are some of his best work. 
It was Vintagephreak's comment that first got me thinking if it was possible to track down Fraser and interview him, if he was willing. We can assume that he still owns some of his models from the 1980s otherwise he would be unable to be in a position to decline their sale. The idea never got much further than that. Not with real life, painting and gaming, other interviews and connections leading me elsewhere. Then, last month I was flicking through magazines on the shelf in WH Smiths. I noticed the latest copy of Military Modelling had an article about a series of WW2 Russain tanks I am interested in, and lo and behold, the photographs were taken by none other than a Fraser Gray. My mind thought back to Vintagephreak's comment about him being into Military modelling now. Surely the chances of their being TWO Fraser Grays working in the wargaming/military modelling are slim, and it was very likely to be our man. 

Here's a quote and a link to the magazine.

Presenting itself as a big target, the KV-2 unsurprisingly wasn't very successful in action. However, it's large slab-sided turret made it an ideal candiadate in model form for Fraser Gray to try out the Colour Modulation Technique. Steven Andreano then provides highlights from this year's AMPS Convention held in Atlanta, Georgia. Next Peter Gillson converts Tamiya's 1:35 scale Hetzer into a 2cm FlaK 43 anti-aircraft version. John Prigent then builds the delightful 1:35 scale 18pdr Field Gun and Limber kit from Resicast and finishes it as serving with the BEF in France 1940. Ian Succamore completes our Features list by turning a Dark Eden Sudio bust into a Templar Sergeant.

Google searches under the criteria 'Fraser Gray military modelling' brought up other evidence that encouraged me. Its seems at some point a Fraser Gray set up a website detailing publications about tanks in WW2. 

Here's the link. 

An important quote lurks at the bottom of the page here. 

The books are co-authored by Fraser Gray and Richard Stickland, or Fraser Gray and Bruce Crosby.  Fraser and Bruce are active in the AFV modelling world with numerous articles to their names.  Bruce also makes masters for Cromwell Models, the world's premier resin AFV kit manufacturer.

This seemed to match our man even further. An email address was provided to contact them, but despite my efforts to use it, I had all my emails returned as undeliverable, so perhaps the link was broken or the books no longer available. There was an address for Fraser Gray, which I will not publish here too, which may, or may not, be the address our man works from. 

So snail mail may one day be an option. 

In the end, I headed over the the website for Military Modelling and found the email address of its editor, Kelvin Barbar, and sent him an email about Fraser and the possibility of it being the same chap who produced the legendary painted figures in the 1980s. This was yesterday by the way. So all we can do now is wait for a response.

Fingers crossed.

Undead, chaos and a Night Horror. The bright, vivid colours are apparent even in ranks of the living dead!
Do you have strong opinions on Fraser Gray's work? Do you agree with Andy Craig? Was he the greatest painter who ever lifted brush to lead miniature? Did you meet the man back in the day or gaze at his models during some far off Golden Demon or Games Day?

Perhaps you have links to Military Modelling and have met Fraser more recently? Do you have a contact address, be it online or snail mail?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, just email me at or drop a comment in the box below.


Friday, 20 September 2013

Golden Demon '88: The Photographs of Andy Craig

I have been lucky enough to have recieved a batch of photographs in the possession of Andy Craig, ex-'Eavy Metal painter from the Golden Age of Games Workshop. These were taken during his trip to the Golden Demon awards in 1988. It must be strange for him to look back on these now, as less than a year later he was working at GW and presiding over the next Games Day as an actual painter.

The photographs are old, in some places out of focus and have suffered through scanning and transfer through the internet, but they present a rare collection of images from a more simple time. When painters were painters and gamers were gamers. These are raw images. They were never taken to be published let alone be let loose across the world some 25 years later, so be kind to them. 

How else should we start but with an out of focus mug shot of Andy? Was it a deliberate early form of the now ubiquitous 'selfie' or an accidental 'wot's wrong wiv dis?' misfire? 
Rolls and rows of painted models! Now taht is what the Golden Demon should be about. What we have here is a selection of models from the, then, Studio collection. Despite the blurry nature of the photograph you can spot loads of classic minis here. The 2nd Edition Bloodbowl teams, Chaos Dwarfs, Chaos Thugs and Sorcerers not to mention the super rare Dwarf Wizard from the Combat Cards! What else can you spot?
A big table! We have seen this one before from Guy Carpenter's photographs but this one lacks Pete Taylor. Stacks of models here and its rather difficult to tell what's what, but I am sure I can spot some of the Naismith(?) giants near the centre of the board. I am pretty sure that is Jervis Johnson sitting on the rear table organising Bloodbowl games with a couple of identifiable folks. The guy in grey might be Alan Merret?
Loads of dragons await the judges attention. Stacks of boxes lay littered across the back of the room, presumably used to house the entries, with a gusto that would enrage modern health and safety executives. 
If memory serves these must be the Mythlore LARPers. Remember them? Not sure if the chap of the left is indeed a chap or a chappette I am afraid!
This one is quite blurry but you can make out quite a few entries that did not make it into the Fantasy Miniatures book.
Dioramas wait to be judged. Hours or work went into these and there are few visual records around for us to study. At least we have shots like this however.
Its hard to tell at this angle, but that Rhino may well be Guy Carpenter's model! I am not sure. Punters were certainly allowed near the models - no glass cabinets then!
Stacks of stuff. I love the table tennis model on the left! This just goes to show how many entries did not make it into the book.
Beautiful dragons... Once the pinnacle of miniature painting and the love of all fantasy types. No longer. Though I think this is due to a lack of good modern dragons to inspire painters.
Ivan Bartleet receives his Slayer Sword.
I am still saddened that freehand banners went out of fashion. Look at all of these! All lovingly crafted by everyday gamers and all so different to each other. 
Ivan's Overall Winner model, the war elephant, stands alongside that skull model diorama. See, skulls were popular even then!
Love this photograph. The Golden Demon entries stand proudly alongside a used tissue, a packet of crisps and a wayward microphone stand while domineering fire hydrants look on disapprovingly! Classic! 
Dave Andrews? Standing guard over some early Rogue Trader models, including first edition Land Raiders.
Another Master Painter? These T-Shirts were awarded to the regional winners if I remember correctly. 
Here's Tim Pollard in his.
And Andy Craig in his!
I have included a link to the original Fantasy Wargames book here. Its really great fun to flick through this and attempt to identify different models in the photographs. It also gives a far better idea to the modern reader how varied and imaginative the models entered in 1988 were. 

Do you have any old school photographs of past Games Days, Golden Demons or GW stores in general from the 1980s and early 90s that you would like to share? We really would like to see them as even the most mundane of shots is likely to be of great interest to our community. If you own such pictures, please email me at 

A huge thank you to Andy for scanning and posting these images to me. And thanks to Tim Pollard for his great picture too!


Across the Pond: Oldhammer in the New World

Despite their rebellious ways, the Oldhammer Community is growing rapidly in the United States. In fact, Blue in VT, from Blues Marauders, was knocking out old school minis long before the term was coined, so in a way it has always been there.
However, some prolific bloggers and dwellers on the interweb from the colonies have been inspired by the events of the first Oldhammer Weekend and want to have a crack at creating such an event on the other side of the Atlantic. Geography is far more unforgiving for our USA cousins as it is here in the UK. Most parts of the country can be easily reached within, say, 10 hours for those willing to partake in gruelling car journeys, or motorway hops. This isn't quite the case in the USA, where the sheer size of the country acts as a barrier for like minded people getting together and playing old school fantasy battle games.
Well, a chap called Blake Shrode is trying to solve this conundrum by trying to create a USA Oldhammer Community so likeminded individuals can start making plans and picking venues or events that they can meet up at. As part of this, he is posting on our Facebook page and has set up a blog to focus on Oldhammer in the New World.
Check out the link below for more information, and if you are an American Old School Enthusiast, please join the page, even if you intend to just lurk, and offer your support, be ye a Yankee or a Reb!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Let's Talk About.... The Troll Games!

The first anyone heard of the Troll games was this wonderful advert in White Dwarf 114. To this day however, I still know nothing about them! Can you help!?
This ad has always intrigued me. The crazy artwork. The tapes of 'troll music'. The bizarre sounding names of the games. 

So much so, that I have been trying to get my hands on a copy of one of these games for over twenty years and I have yet to managed it. I still search on eBay from time to time but have never even seen a copy of any of them listed.

So in truth, I know very little about the Troll games. I don't know what they were like to play. What the tapes sounded like. Or even who designed the games/produced the artwork in the first place!

Well, wider gaming world and the thousands of folk who read this blog everyday - did you own or indeed play any of these games? Do you know anything about them? If the answer is yes, then please comment or email me as I would love to know more about these quirky footnotes in Games Workshop's history!

If you have copies to sell I would be very interested too!


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Raiders of the lost adverts: Marauder Dark Elves and Rogue Trader

As you may know, we have reached White Dwarf 114 in our journey through Warhammer Third Edition. Its been quite a trip so far, hasn't it? Where did we start? Issue 93 I think, so that is 21 White Dwarfs later, or nearly two years of product life. All of the major supplements have been released, save the delayed Lost and the Damned but in the coming months there would be a series of large scale 'Warhammer' spin offs to hit the market, inlcuding the genre defining Heroquest!
Issue 114 of White Dwarf contains a few randon adverts that are probably well worth a mention here on Realm of Chaos 80s. The first of these are the second month of releases of Marauder miniatures. The Morrisons produced a range of Dark Elves that certainly shared some of the characterists of those sculpted by Bob Naismith but have a far chunkier feel. As with the previous month's releases, I have softened to these, though I have yet to consider collecting Marauder in any series way as I do with Citadel. I certainly intend to do so in the future.
What to you readers feel about this small set of miniatures? Are they marmite models or something that you treasure and intend to field in some future, but not to far off, Warhammer battle?

There are some excellent poses here, and a few not so inspiring ones. Its interesting to see the plastic Marauder shields with freehand painting on, as I came to see these as being far more simplistic that the 'classic' old school shields of a few years earlier. It shoudl be noted that the 'Eavy Metal boys painted these as a favour and Bryan Ansell still have many in his collection to this day.

A while back I posted a brillaint Warhammer Third Edition ad that showed much of the range as it stood in the later '80s. Well this issue of also included a Rogue Trader: Warhammer 40,000 version of the same advert. I love this ad, largely due to all the old school box covers that are shown, not to mention the little seen plastic craters that were released around this time. See if you can spot them while you are enjoying the old school 40k!

Until next time.


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

'Eavy Metal Specials: White Dwarf 114

As many of you will be aware, we have reached issue 114 of White Dwarf in our history of Warhammer Third Edition. As an offshoot of the 'Acceptable in the '80s' series, we are dipping into the work of the 'Eavy Metal painters of this period. There had been a period of change for the figure painters, and things were certainly much more organised than when Colin Dixon was first employed. If you recall, Colin was the original full time miniature painter, though by the later '80s the department had grown to include a wider group of artists, lead by the very capable Phil Lewis. Andy Craig, the great friend of Oldhammer and this blog, started his career as WD114 was organised for printing, and examples of his early work appear within the articles presented below. He would soon be joined by other '80s painting heroes, such as Tim Prow, Ivan Bartlett and many others. Unoffical members who were friends of the studio, such as Pete Taylor, also has their work showcased during this period.

If Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships, Phil's Bloodbowl minis must have lauched a thousand spin off teams. Such an iconic collection of minitures, and colour scheme, with many one off conversions. I am currently working with Phil to do an interview about his time at the studio and, hopefully, he will give us a little more information about the creation of the Chaos All Stars.

Steve Mussared's work was famous for the heavy gloss layer of varnish that protected these miniatures. He was an avid gamer and all of his miniatures were painted with gaming in mind. He had an unique style, and I have said it before, back in the '80s you could pick up a mini and name the sculptor and idenify the artist too because there were so many differeing styles. The converted daemon of Nurgle is a particularly memorable model for me. Steve's signiature grey bases really offset the bleached colours on this model.

Chaos never looked so good as it did when the original RoC books were being produced. The range of colours was wild and varied, yet consistant in their own strange way. Here we see many of the models painted for the Lost and the Damned, inlcuding one of Andy's plaguebearers. This, and many of these models, were on display at the Foundrty during the Oldhammer Event. Seeing them in the magazine is nothing compared to the real thing, believe me!

An Tzeentch gets its chance to shine, cracking (as they do) with deeply magical hues. Again, some of these models were on display, and I recall sing that Tzeetch champion among others in the Foundry cabinets.

Quite a varied bunch on this page; Bloodbowl, 40k and Warhammer. Note several of this minis. The Eldar Titan was painted by Andy Craig using his (then) signature yellow and black combination. The 'Kinky' Chaosette also was painted by Andy but he gave the model away to an ex-girlfriend! Opps! Perhaps someone will be lucky enough to discover her again one day! I love the Knights Panther conversion here, obviously made in homage to the famous John Blance painting. 

Another mix of Bloodbowl and Chaos. This page sees a rare glimpse of the '80s Chaos Chariot from the talented minds of the Perry Twins. I love this model. I bought in 1989 and foolishly sold it about 10 years ago. Thankfully, I have since got my self a second version and have painted it up for my Khorne Army!
Any thoughts or comments on these models. Any memories that you are desperate to share? Please do.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Acceptable in the '80s: Skeleton Army

If I was asked to name a product released in the late '80s that really summed up my youthful experience of fantasy wargaming there are several names that would be on my lips. Heroquest would be up there, definitely, as would be the Combat Cards. Both leave me with vivid memories of gaming with the other boys on my road, or discussions on the school bus, even games, with multiple decks of Combat Cards! However, there is one release that stands head and shoulders above all of these, probably because everyone had a copy but me, and I looked on in envy. My jealous feelings were soften slightly by the fact that I had Skeleton Horde, which was a forerunner to Skeleton Army.

In case you didn't know, the Skeleton Horde consisted of just the infantry, armed with swords, scythes and spears. Skeleton Army added bowmen, skeleton cavalry and a skeleton chariot to the mix. It REALLY was an army in a box and it was incredibly good value.

Which is probably why everyone had one. 

I had to wait until later on in the mid '90s to get a copy. I bought the box with money I had earned doing odd jobs here and there, and had a wonderful time putting the models together. Sadly, I did not store them well and save for a few mounted skeletons, all of the models are long gone. I'd love to own another copy, but at £50 a pop for a box of these models on eBay, its going to be a while until I find a set at the right price. 

White Dwarf 114 contained a lovely little article that allowed you to field the skeleton chariots, though of course any suitable models could also be used. In an age of 40k's rising dominance, the big box games and all the rest, this was a little bit of Fantasy Battle that got my mates and I talking. I even remember using the narrative fluff in a story in Literacy and getting full marks for something that was nearly totally plagerised. Thankfully, Mrs Baker didn't read White Dwaf!

So what are you memories of the Skeleton Army boxset? Did you own a copy of the blue and red box? Did you mangle your skeletons with too much polystyrene cement? If so, please share.


Friday, 13 September 2013

The Magic of Warhammer Third Edition: The Colleges of Magic

I always love this time of year.
The nights draw in, and this results in candles flickering on fireplaces, the roaring glow of the fire itself and the need to draw back the curtains a shut out the long night of winter. With a great deal less time spent outside, the opportunities for miniature projects increase. I am sure that the sight of the enthusiast, bent in concentration over his desk, warmed by the mellow light of the modelling lamp is a familar sight in your home.
It is in mine.
My family and I have lived through about six months of chaos. Building work, extensions, new jobs, young children... the works. Now, things seem to be settling down and getting back to normal. In fact, I am typing this at work, just before I head off to remove my vast lead collection from storage. Initially, I thought it would need to be store for a couple of weeks, but problems just dragged on and on and freeing my collection was right down at the bottom of my wife's priorities! Largely due to the success of the Oldhammer Weekend (my wife could see pictures of what we do, rather than the mess of miniatures that is my usual working space) she has authorised a new miniature painting storage area alongside the Welsh Dresser display I posted up a while back. I have a new desk, mini gaming table set up and she has even warrented a new computer/printer/scanner set-up so I can blog with greater ease then ever before!
At last! I'll update you, loyal followers, of my 'Oldhammer Area' once its set up. You shoudl also see lots of new painted models from me, including the Nightmare Legion, Foundry Bretonnians, the Marauder Giant and Old Spiney himself in the coming weeks!

Before I depart to the secret lead cave and remove the weighty boxes of old school goodness from their dust wreathed sheets, I want to talk about Gary Chalk. Now, if you are not aware of the man, here's a little video from his website that will enlighten you further.

As you will have seen, there are plenty of illustrations here that make you aware of his bright, distinctive style. In fact, his style is so distinctive that he deserves to sit alongside the likes of Ackland, Blanche and Miller for his contribution to early Games Workshop (Livingstone/Jackson and Ansell eras) though, of course, his work is in no way gRiMdArKtm so hasn't a hope in hell of being mentioned or refered to in the mainstream GW hobby these days. One of the images shown on the video is that of a wizard casting a spell. This image is important to the nature of today's post, namely the rather unknown articles published across WD113-114 about magic in Warhammer '80s style.
What follows is a major article (or should that be articles?) that give us the most indepth look at magic in Warhammer Third Edition, with details about Colour Magic, the Colleges, New Spells for games of Third Edition and plenty more. All richly illustrated by Gary Chalk himself. Now, this article has been a bit of a mystery to me for some years. It is just so different to everything else that ever appeared in the magazine, partly due to the art style. Now, we know that there were several projects (most notably Confrontation) that were initially intended to be supplement released, but later saw publication in White Dwarf. Could these pages reflect something to do with magic that never saw the light of day? Or perhaps material that was part of the cancelled 'Realms of Sorcery' project to support Warhammer Third and WFRP in the later '80s? Who knows, but what we get is a wonderful article full of old school wonder. Additionally, its is interesting to note how the background has changed regarding the nature of magic in the Warhammer world and how the colleges have developed. Now, I won't spoil this for readers, I'll just leave you to enjoy the articles, but if you have an opinion about what you have read, please do share it below.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

'Eavy Metal from White Dwarf 113

If you ready yesterday's post about Marauder Miniatures, you will know that we are currently exploring the Warhammer releases from White Dwarf 113. And for an issue that saw the release of Space Hulk, there are very few shots of terminators to be found within the pages of the magazine. 

There are a great deal of other things floating about though, and those models will be of interest to any old school enthusiast. Lets have a look at what was on offer in this issue, shall we?

The new Imperial Knights get a page to themselves, with most of the Orders getting a model sitting astride those gorgeously painted plastic horses. Hiding in the bottom right, are some pre-release chaos squats. Very nice! Note, you can see a tiny picture of friend to Realm of Chaos 80s, Andy Craig, bottom centre in the painter's portraits. 
The second page has genestealers aplenty, and the look of these models is going to send Chico finally around the bend! These are lovely, lovely models, and the hybrid numbered 13 was on display at the Foundry last weekend. In truth, the photography cannot replicate the quality of the colours and the painting. You really have to see these models with you own eyes. Note: There are some Confrontation gangers here too, I am not sure if these were on general sale but that can raise a hefty price tag these days in the collecting world. 
The forthcoming Heroquest gets a page to its own. These were (presumably) the metal master casts for the later plastic models. Note: the dwarf, barbarian and skeleton are different sculpts to those that were in the box! Anyone know why? Mike McVey begins to show his mettle with these beautiful models. 
Bloodbowl 'Big 'Uns', Rogue Trader Orks in Heavy Armour and an early Imperial Guard Scout Walker. Random chaos squat thrown in there too, as you do!
More of Pete Taylor's massive chaos collection is chronicled, including more of his conversions. If anyone knows where Peter is these days, please do drop us an email here at Realm of Chaos 80s, as we would love to talk to him about his involvement in the '80s Warhammer Scene!
More of Peter Taylor's stuff, including an in game shot. Yes, that really is five odd Lord of Changes on one battlefield!!
Next time, something rather special. Especially of you are a fan of Gary Chalk's artwork!


Friday, 6 September 2013

The Launch of Marauder Miniatures: An Acceptable in the '80s special

With the Oldhammer Weekend a fading, if pleasant memory, its time to set forth once more on the great journey that is Acceptable in the '80s: Realm of Chaos 80s history of Warhammer Third Edition. So where have we found ourselves? 

The answer to that is issue 113 of White Dwarf, pictured above, and an issue made famous by the release of a certain board game called Space Hulk! Anyone heard of it? It has also got within its yellowing pages a number of important articles relating to the history of Warhammer Third Edition. The first of these are the initial releases for Marauder Miniatures, and it is these that we shall be discussing today. 

Interestingly, the story of Marauder doesn't start with these releases. The new brand was launched quite a few months previously in White Dwarf 106 (I think! I don't have much of my collection at the moment, and this date is off the top of my head, so comment if I am wrong and I will change the offending numbers) and was mentioned as part of culture shock. A suitably '80s photograph of Aly and Trish was published along with the artwork for the blister packs.

Check it out below. 

Further detail was given about the new miniatures company later on in the article. Explaining how Aly and Trish had decided the time was right for them to go into business themselves and that exciting new models would be in games shops in the near future. Read on to view what was published at the time. 

Now the birth of Marauder began one of the first, and certainly the most varied, Warhammer related myths that I have uncovered. The truth behind why Marauder was set up at all! There have been all kinds of suggestions and theories bouncing around the internet for many years, with suggestions as strange as 'dramatic fallings out in the studio', tax avoidance schemes, the need to create multiple brands and so on and so forth. I feel rumour just promoted rumour until all kinds of strange stories were being spoken of as fact. I even went as far as starting a discussion on the Oldhammer Community Facebook page to try and get to the bottom of the mystery. Lots of the old myths bounced up once more, but I was great to hear a story or two from Tim Prow and Andy Craig about how the 'Eavy Metal boys would paint up many of the Marauder miniatures as a favour to Aly and Trish!

Whilst chatting to Marcus Ansell at the Oldhammer Weekend, I mentioned the mystery of Marauder to him and asked if he knew anything about the company. He answer was simple. He believed its was all about sculpting style. And he went on to describe how Aly's and Trish's style was rather different to the rest of the Citadel crew so a new brand was suggested and created - remember that there was a precedent here, with Bob Olley's Ironclaw Miniatures!

Enough history for now, let's move on to the models themselves. Now I must be honest. A few years ago, when I started out on the road of Old School Warhammer (those were the days, when you could get a '80s beastman for 50p!) one thing that I was certain about, was that I did not want to collect Marauder. It was all to 'big hands' and 'over sized silly weapons' for me. Too much like the modern game's models and something that I wanted to get away from. 

I was utterly, utterly wrong!

Sure, there are some naff models and some figures that are not to my taste, but going back through the ranges again as part of my researches for this blog, just showed me how wrong I was. Let's have a look at the first set of releases shall we, and you will see what I mean. 

Here we have the first page of Marauder releases from White Dwarf. Just look at those five Imperial Command models. Exquisite! Beautiful clothing which harks back historically to later Renaissance fashions. Then there are all these fighters that go alongside them. Loads and loads of interesting and characterful models that would look superb ranked up (if such a thing is possible) and led by a beautifully painted banner! Sadly, I own none of these human sculpts and my collection is definitely the poorer for it! 

It makes me wonder who has the rights to these models now, and if the moulds still exist!?

The trolls too are varied, though they seem to share enough common characteristics to seem like a genuine humanoid race. I own the troll bottom centre, and you may recognise the model as Throgg in my collection, and if you fought in the RoC Warbands game on the Saturday at the Foundry, you will know that particular troll well, for he smashed his way through the Khorne lines with pleasure throbbing through his tiny... mind, I guess!? Originally, I was unhappy with the Throgg model, having received it by accident from a seller who sent the wrong figure, but I feel totally different about the sculpts now, and I would dearly like to have all the others one day, in a nice big unit!

And so we end the article. But don't worry, I will be back soon with another part in our historical journey very shortly. Before I depart, I would like to open a discussion here on Blogger about Marauder in general. Are you a fan? If so, why? Do you dislike the models and cannot bare to touch them with Nurgle's bargepole? Do you know more than us about the formation of the Marauder Miniatures company itself? 

Whatever the answer, please don't hesitate to comment. 

I look forward to reading your contribution!