Saturday, 31 January 2015

Colin Dixon and Roy Eastland's Miniature Ranges from White Dwarf 133


As the festivities of the Christmas period in 1990 drew to their reluctant end, Games Workshop published their regular magazine on a very expecting world. As many of you will remember, White Dwarf was a very needed 'hobby-injection' in a world of print media. Its easy to take access to such material for granted these days (especially when you think there is probably more content published each month online for classic GW games than there was back in 1990) but back then, picking up a copy (or even better, getting your mag in the post) was an exciting event. 

For me, I'd grab my copy (as I did with issue 133) and dash up the stairs to my bedroom ready to absorb its contents over an hour or so. My first port of call was always the 'Eavy Metal pages - as they were of course in colour - and I would continue my endless pondering over why my painted miniatures didn't look as good as those in the magazine. 


However, this month had a little bit of a surprise in store for the GW fan. After years of collecting and gaming with Warhammer, Heroquest and the like, the sculpting team at Citadel were most definitely household (or should I say classroom?) names in my life. In January 1991 two new masters of the putty emerged: Roy Eastland and Colin Dixon.

Eastland's techs are a fairly so-so group of miniatures with rather static poses - though in their defence, this may well be due to the need to include the plastic arms and weapons of the time. I have never been a huge fan of uniformity in miniature design and these techs seem a little too similar for my painting tastes. I would probably give them a miss if I considered collecting the Confrontation ranges. On the other hand, the bounty hunters are excellent examples of 40k related material in the early 1990s, being varied, ragged cyberpunks! They really do look like the characters seen in the Confrontation artwork realised in lead. I would love some of these, but I suspect that so would many others and getting them for a reasonable price would take some time indeed!


Eastland's skeletons are excellent and are easily some of the finest ever cast up by Citadel. Here there is a great deal more room for variation of pose and this really helps bring the models to life. You see these turn up quite regularly on Facebook with collectors asking if they were part of the GW ranges, most likely because they don't appear in many of the catalogues available online. They are also really well painted and the colours selected convey the skeletal menace of these troops wonderfully.


The dwarfs, though characterful, are not as successful as the skeletons. They are still solid models that will easily stand alongside the numerous others produced in the 1980s, but there is something about them that seems lacking. I really do like the first model (from the left) and the third model as they share an Alpine quality similar to the dwarf skiier we have discussed in the past. 



Interestingly, the models were supported with a rather interesting little article about the two sculptors. Colin's biography is probably well known to long term readers of this blog and others that deal with classic GW material. He was the ORIGINAL 'Eavy Metal painter and was first person to be employed by GW to paint full time.  Roy Eastland is a name that doesn't ring any further bells with me, but I think he went on to produce figures for a number of other manufacturers in the 1990s. 

Anyone know anymore?

If we time travel back to my bedroom of yesteryear, I can recall quite clearly really wanting to get hold of the skeleton models to help bolster my plastic force. Sadly, I never got the opportunity and I don't really recall ever being able to find these models dangling from the blister rack at Wonderworld. I have the beginnings of a twenty-first century undead army on my display case, though its a project I have't worked on for a while, one day I shall and I think I would very much like to include these skeletons in it, perhaps as character models. 

Any fans of these models out there?

Orlygg

15 comments:

  1. I must admit I wasn't a fan of either lot when they came out. Having said that after all these years I don't mind the Colin Dixon figs. Nothing really against Roy's figures but like most of the plastic arms figures they just don't do much for me. Strange that I might think that but ultimately I never found the plastic arms figures satisfying as the poses are unrealistic no matter how one "sets" the arms.

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    1. I feel the same about many of the plastic sets you get across the board. I find that I just cannot get the same lifelike 'look' out of a plastic kit than a professional sculptor can get out of a lump of putty. But that is just me. I am a metal miniature fan through and through. They last longer too! (;

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  2. Those SM scouts really are wonderful figures - wish Roy had had the chance to expand on them as they are some of the most characterful sculpts on the entire SM range. You occasionally see the Bounty Hunters crop up on eBay, I've somehow acquired the one second from the left, but cannot remember where from!

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    1. Those Scouts are very nice, they have always been a favorite of mine. I am shocked as due to their quality and being Marine variants, I had assumed they were Jes's work.

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    2. Yes they are nice. Space Marine scouts had quite a pedigree, didn't they!?

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  3. I believe the skeletons are Roy's, too, not Colin's.

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  4. Now you're getting into the period when I started gaming, and making me feel old. :)

    I managed to get those Bounty Hunters recently; at the moment they lurk in the unpainted Pile O' Shame (tm) with the Brat Gangers and Adeptus Arbites released at the same time.

    I also managed to get hold of the "hand weapon" sprue - with old-style stubguns, autopistols and a sawn-off shotgun. Now, I just need to find the equally-rare "human bare arms" sprue ...

    I also like those Scouts. Scouts as a whole were rather neglected until the first of the modern style arrived midway through 2nd edition. There were all the motley-looking ones with padded leather armour in no particular fixed style, then those ones in this WD (and the plastics from Advanced Space Crusade), and three Space Wolf Sergeants, in another totally different style.

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    1. Those old sprues are rather difficult to track down for a fair price - though loose arms do tend to turn up from time to time. As for the scouts, I much preferred the feral versions of them from the early 1990s, rather than the US Marine Corp rip offs that came with the last SM boxset I bought in 2003!

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  5. I always found it funny that Rackham Games used the name 'Confrontation' for their later skirmish game. Admittedly not a sci fi game, but still funny =)

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  6. Same as Andrew this is where I began to get involved with GW. I always liked Colin Dixon's work and had some really nice chats with him at Games Day.

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  7. Roy sculpted a lot for Target Games' Chronopia and Warzone, and he is still sculpting, historicals mostly, for Northstar Miniatures iirc.
    Extremaly fine fellow, may I add. I have had a pleasure of working with him for a short time.

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    1. It seems that Roy has moved on to fine art, if this chap is our man!

      https://royeastland.wordpress.com/

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  8. I tried to contact him few months ago via FB, unfortunately no response yet...

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  9. I met Colin Dixon today ,Jun 2015, and bought him half a cider we chatted about the old GW days and how we never managed to run into each other before. Excellent bloke and well worth a natter with......

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