Monday, 11 August 2014

Oldhammer Weekend 2014: Bryan Ansell's Miniature Collection

One of the big draws of the Oldhammer Weekend are the painted models. Now, these aren't just ordinary painted miniatures.... No, these are figures painted by the '80s 'Eavy Metal team, many of which appeared in print across White Dwarf and the many publications put out between 1984-1992. many of the figures didn't even make it there, and have remained unknown and unseen until discovered by Steve Casey or Bryan during their rummages. 

As always, there were plenty of models on show in the cabinets in the actual Foundry store. I spent sometime studying them during the Saturday, and Bryan was kind enough to open the cabinets up for a closer inspection. I took the opportunity to take plenty of photographs for our international Oldhammer brothers. 

What follows is my simple guide to some of the interesting pieces that my camera managed to capture. Some are a little blurry here and there but I am sure that you will see some little surprises among this collection of models. This first photograph has a nice group of Rogue Trooper miniatures as well as a few Judge Dredd Citadel pieces. 

There are many famous painted miniatures in this collection. At the back you should be able to make out the original Space Zoats that appeared in early Rogue Trader releases and White Dwarf. Many of the Space Adventurers and Rogue Trader characters were also part of this display, including many of the models that Bob Olley sculpted. Of particular note is the Imperial Inquisitor in grey (which also appeared on the Space War Combat Card release), the original Leman Russ figure and Bob Naismith's first Space Marine sculpt. 

Further along the cabinet are more of the models from that first shelf. Space pirates mass here aplenty and if you squint a bit and peer through the blur you should be able to spot the blue chaos dwarf renegade that appeared in Slaves to Darkness and other places. 

Below were arrayed a collection of Sci-Fiction vehicles built by many hands during the early days of Rogue Trader (as well as other projects) and these were all new to me. 

More smaller scale models used for RT and Laserburn I assume. Note the mass ranks of the Sphincterbeasts!

Early prototype titans that were later published in White Dwarf soon after the release of Adeptus Titanicus. I was pleased to see these as they were featured in the very first White Dwarf that I ever bought! 

Next, enough squats to make Chico faint with sheer wanton delight! Loads of the models from their plastic box set release are included here as well as many of the metal models that required plastic arms. The gorilla model was built by Tony Yates many years ago. 

A huge number of Citadel fighters, feudals, lords of battle and so on. There were so many it was hard to taken in all of the figures. I loved seeing that many of the shields features the old Arcane Armorial transfers. Many of these models, especially the Baron's War range, are still available from the Wargames Foundry. 

Marauder skeletons stretch in a single line across this shelf and a large force of orcs, including some of Ruglud's Armoured, can be seen in the front of the image. Note the lovely goblin wolfrider on the far left of the photograph.

Behold the original chaos thug models which make up a large part of this display. Plenty of colourful banners are dangled aloft providing inspiration for those of us who seek to emulate this style of painting. The Nurglesque Rhino and Land Raider you can see in the background appeared in White Dwarf after the release of Rogue Trader. 

This shelf was adorned with many a Greater daemon, some of which you will no doubt recognise from Slaves to Darkness. Don't the vivid colours just strike you? My next task is to learn to create these colours on my own models. Karnac's Lizardmen Raider's, a rare first edition Regiment of Renown, are lined up along the bottom of the image. 

Unpainted troglodytes loom large, if a little primitively sculpted, in front of the famous 'wedding cake' ruined columns that were part of a scenery article in WD, as well as residing in many late '80s dioramas. They really are beautifully painted and presented. Inspiration indeed! 

A better shot of one of the painted Marauder trolls. 

An interesting collection here, which includes Gandalf, Nipponese Rocket crew, paladins and more recent Foundry dwarfs. Note the original cybermen and daleks in the corner! 

'The Drop'! Part of the original ork background and one of the last things Bryan was involved with at GW. One of Aly Morrison's Samurai can be also seen in this shot as well as a rather hungry looking snail! 

One of my top miniatures. The Alpine Dwarf and this one is exquisitely painted. I am sure many of you remember this model from its publication in White Dwarf. Original painted Space Crusade Android in the background. 

Bryan shares some of his more recent concepts, largely done by him and Kev Adams. Its good to know that the Mighty Avenger is designing new miniatures for us to enjoy once more. I have seen the greens to many of these and they are fantastic!

A close up of one of the concepts held in the magnificent hands of Warlord Paul. There is an enormous sense of fun about this new range and its clear in the working drawings. We were lucky enough to have a good leaf through all of the bizarre and zany ideas that have been dreamt up for Warmonger!

Unreleased sculpts by Tim Prow. Bryan even had the original letters and documentation with them.

Bryan then took us on a tour of Stoke Hall itself. We passed beneath the large gates of the stable, through a wildly overgrown walled garden into the house proper. Words cannot easily express what it is like to stand before these models and bask in their wonder. And, these are but a fraction of the collection. Hopefully, some time in the future many more of these models will be on display within the Foundry shop and gaming centre. 

Gorgeously painted Foundry Faerie folk.

The weird and wonderful! A dragon sculpted by Tony Ackland (who no-one can remember anything about), the chaos brothers and various daemonic beasties.

The Patriarch genestealer. Easily one of the greatest models of all time and part of an enormous force in the cabinets. 

The original painted Chaos Centaurs.

A chaos toilet painted by Aly Morrison.

Even the space below the main cabinets is packed with stuff. Here Bryan opens the door while Garth from Warhammer for Adults looks on amazed!

Citadel dwarfs, including a few of Bugman's Rangers. There are so many models on display in this cabinet that it is impossible to take them all in. You could look for hours and hours and always find something new. Astonishing really! 

Beautifully painted dwarfs from the later '80s ranges. 

Some of Bryan's massive beastman army. Note that brilliant shield!

Many more miniatures from the Realm of Chaos era. Observant readers of this blog will recognise many of these from the photographs taken at last year's BOYL. My chaos army is based on these models and their colour schemes. 

The original Citadel empire army, seen in Warhammer Siege as well as many other places. Remember, these models can all now be purchased at the Foundry.

After gawping at the cabinets for some time, Bryan took us further inside Stoke Hall and into another of the rooms. Something familiar was spotted on the top of a piece of furniture, though none of us dared to lift it down!

So Bryan did...

It was the Chalice of Doom by Ivan Bartlett! The first winner of the first Golden Demon painting competition. It was a very fine thing indeed to see it with my own eyes!

Steve 'The Citadel Collector' Casey and Gaj from Warhammer for Adults ponder over even more of Bryan's collection. Can you spot another major piece of Citadel history hiding somewhere in this picture?

Wayne England's incredible painted designs on the walls of Stoke Hall. The whole project took him about a year and was done in Foundry paints! The designs come from Pompeii. 

And finally, a recent discovery of Bryan's... A greetings card produced by one Ian Miller. Disturbing indeed!

Hope you enjoyed this little wander through Bryan's collection. I was a great honour for me to be shown around by Bryan himself, and is such great company with other Oldhammerers. An experience that is very hard to forget I can tell you!

Before I go, let me direct you once more to the work of Steve Casey. Over the last few years he has been slowly photographing Bryan's vast collection and sorting it out. Many, many high quality images from this project can be found here at Eldritch Epistles.

Go check them out.

Eternal thanks to Bryan Ansell for welcoming us into his home and allowing us access to his fabulous collection. 

Dream come true!



  1. Just. . . wow. What an opportunity! Thanks so much to Bryan for allowing you to photograph and share these. The world truly needs a chance to enjoy these miniatures forever!

    1. Bryan was telling us his ultimate goal with the new site is to have it as the worlds best museum to toy soldiers. He knows how special the collection is for sure.

  2. Fabulous collection and of course unique. Wish I had been there for the tour :-( Great write up. Thanks

  3. Awesome stuff, maybe next year I'll manage to attend!

  4. Im surprised you or Gadge didnt make it Andy....

  5. What. A. Collection. Amazing!

  6. Wow. Just wow. I literally have no other words for such an incredible collection. It must have been amazing to see it in the flesh (well, lead).

  7. Wow indeed. Thanks for sharing these with us!

  8. Looks to be an Oldhammerer's dream weekend in wargaming heaven.

  9. Superb post, I am totally gutted I couldn't make it this year so a big thank you for sharing your photos, I especially love the W40k Adventurers of course and the original scratch built Judge Dredd vehicles, the Chaos Thugs are interesting I see many miniatures from other ranges mixed in like, fighters, barbarians and elves!!!

  10. Amazing photos Orlygg, thanks so much for sharing them! I've already got one eye on completing my Slaanesh Daemons in time for next year!

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  12. I really want to get hold of some of those Sphincterbeasts for next years 15mm game!

  13. Wayne England hand painted murals! Is there just no end to this awesomeness! I really hope to attend next year :-)

  14. Merci pour ces photos présentant cette fabuleuse collection. Que du bonheur pour les yeux...

  15. Hi - love reading through your old posts.... this one was especially amazing! We went to the Foundry shop a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately Bryan was not about. Had a good yarn with Mrs Ansell though. I love the Asgard giant slug in one of the photos - the only one I have seen photos of painted apart from my own.