Monday, 2 November 2015

Night of the Living Lead III: Bryan Ansell's Treasures!

No day tripper to the Wargames Foundry should miss the opportunity of exploring the glorious miniature display cabinets that the Ansells have organised. They are packed with thousands (this is not an exaggeration) of classic models from GW's Golden Age, as well as a wealth of historical models. 

I had great delight in finding many of the miniatures that Darren Matthew's spoke about during his recent interview. I managed to snap the Genestealer Cult Standard Bearer we saw last week among many others - including the Harlequin models from the boxset. Sadly, the pictures I tried taking of them were not very good, so I shall endeavour to take better ones next time I am there. 

While on the subject of the old Citadel models, it is worth pointing out here just how vibrant the colours still are after a quarter of the century. I have worked hard over the last year or so to align my painting style with that vibrancy and try and pull off the depth of colour that the 'old masters' achieved back in the day. No GrimDark TM for me. 

The multi-talented Marcus Ansell was kind enough to unlock many of the cabinets and I was subsequently able to take a few more detail shots of the more unusual models. This frontal view of the famous War Altar of Nurgle (by Ivan Bartlett) shows a few details I had never noticed before, including the rather horrific (in a good way) driver of the vehicle. Marcus and I discussed the model, and he told me how dusty the piece had become. Sadly, the piece is too fragile to clean and Marcus is certain the model has lost a little of its lustre. 

We moved on to look at the Ork fort I spotted during BOYL 3. This is a glorious model (and I spotted the rest of the scenery that went with it back at Stoke Hall later in the evening, so that survives too) that really rewards careful study, for there are so many little details here to enjoy, if you can spot them!

Hang on a minute! A converted Rhino of Nurgle? Maggots bursting forth? I only managed to find Darren Matthew's infamous war machine of chaos among many of the other classic tanks. Interestingly, the Land Raider shown in the WD image used to illustrate this model on Darren's interview was sitting next to it! I sent the images of this model I took to him and he couldn't believe the piece still existed!

Stuart brought with him the 'missing fishman' to give to Bryan - only for Bryan to produce the same model from his pocket. During the summer, The Mighty Avenger told us that he didn't actually own the third model from the range - but if someone could get him an example he'd cast it up with a new weapon in a similar vein to the Laserburn (and later 40k) fishmen models. I own the previous two fishmen, so I am looking forwards to one day completing the triad of terror. 

Kev Adams produced a special 'Halloween' goblin to celebrate the spooky time of year. The figure was given away for free for all attendees and currently sits on my painting table for completion. Foundry were kind enough to give me a second figure to pass on to Chico. 

Check out this monstrosity! Yes, Kev Adams has been at it again and the ranks of the Warmonger goblinoids (and ogroids) has mushroomed. He has moved on to start working on the beastmen range Foundry will eventually release. Bryan plans to have comprehensive models for all fantasy 'races' as part of this project, though the likelihood of this model being cast in its present state is unlikely. An emasculated version is more likely!

Still, its always a pleasure to see the Goblin Master's sense of humour brought forth in greenstuff!

I also spotted a large assortment of 'ogre-face' shields also sculpted by Kev. These were as varied as they were numerous. I own quite a few of these already, but the new greens I saw surpass even those. 

Where does he get his ideas? 

That question was answered a little later on in the evening as we were invited back to Stoke Hall to attend a gathering for Bryan's birthday. Diane cooked some excellent food (as always) and Marcus wowed us all with a brilliant fireworks display! The concepts for the warmonger project were brought out for our enjoyment and proved a fascinating journey through the business of miniature design. 

Recognise any of these faces?

This riot of ideas from Bryan are passed on to Kev to create the greens we looked at earlier on in the post. 

From left to right - Mags (Staurt Klatcheff's wife), Wayne England, Warlord Paul, Bryan Ansell and Steve Beales discuss the creative process behind this latest batch of fantasy models.

We were shown two enormous folders packed with ideas - written on all manner of left over bits of paper and card. Bryan said that he has to write ideas down as soon as they come to him, so uses whatever he can find lying around. 

Even going as far as annotating photocopied images.

Steve Casey spotted this reassuring note on one of the pages. A return to 'proper' beastmen.

As the guests for the party began to arrive, I felt a tap on my shoulder and found Steve Casey, the famous bridgendsteve on eBay, who had discovered something behind one of the sofas. Do you recognise this painting?

Yes, it is the original painting for the cover of the First Citadel Compendium by John Blanche!

Thanks must be made to the Ansells, our generous hosts, and to these fine people, who were (and are) wonderful people to spend time with, roll dice and invent rude and amusing jokes with. 

I will be back tomorrow with a post about the enigmatic Wayne England and a closer look at his glorious sketchbook. 



  1. What a dream that would be to sit down and chat about fab models all evening, surrounded by the very essence of creativity!

  2. Thanks again for sharing these photos, I don't think you could ever tire of seeing those Hybrids! Thanks as well for getting some shots of that Ork fort - what issue of WD did that appear in? I can't recall it ever being in either Ere' We Go or Waaaagh Orks.

  3. Wow. Any sign of the giant wfb3 gaming table on your travels?

  4. That's a great point about the vibrant colours of the "old masters". Like you, I try to eschew the grimdark aesthetic, but for me, it's always a struggle. It's so easy to sink into a grey-brown palate with lots of black metal and rust. But seeing that beautiful Genestealer Cult really is an inspiration. Great post!

  5. Thanks for the great pics! Always cool to see OC (Original Cult) in action.

  6. Now THAT is a way to spend an evening. Thanks for sharing!

  7. " depth of colour that the 'old masters' achieved back in the day. " - they still do look great don't they. Couldn't you try and interview all the original painters and ask them what they actually did at the time.

  8. Maybe it's just me, but the 2nd face from the left at the top of that page of faces bears a passing resemblance to a certain alleged pig's head molesting Prime Minister...