Sunday, 22 January 2017

McDeath: The Original Raybees? or The Crossroads Connection?

There are many links to popular culture hidden away in the most unusual of places, and '80s Warhammer is no different. And it seems to me too easy in this day and age for new connections to be created - as people share information online without checking on its accuracy before hand. Some say that we are living in a 'post truth' world, and that the spreading of this information is a merely a symptom of that age. I disagree. My academic life concentrated on the study of pre and ancient history, and as any historian will tell you; 'truth' is a subjective force. One man's evil can be another's good after all. 

Fact on the other hand is often indisputable. It makes me laugh how many people list Ratter as being part of the McDeath set on eBay now, after I included it in my project. There were never any figures released for Glen Woe and my inclusion of the little dog was purely whimsical. But 'facts' have a funny way of going awry online, don't they? 

What I propose today is not fact. It is conjecture. As you will have seen I have painted up a little halfling. I gave myself an hour yesterday to paint him (basing excluded) and I really enjoyed working to time and the result isn't too bad if you squint a bit. Now this little chap has a bit of a mysterious heritage, having a surprisingly similar look to the original Raybees in the McDeath cardstock counters. 

Take a look. 

See the short sword and bobble-hat?

As you can see below, the unpainted and shield lacking model bears a striking similarity to our friend, the card Raybees. This figure was released with the moniker (probably supplied by Tim Pollard) of Benni Bottomdown and this name, along with the distinctive hat has had many a collector wondering about the figure's place in popular culture. Two of these esteemed colleagues are Jason Fulford and Leadhead, both of whom have suggested to me that this figure, and his curious name, are a play on the once highly popular (if incredibly low in production values) soap opera, Crossroads. 

To those of you not in the know about vintage British television series, Crossroads ran from 1964 through to 1988, with a brief return in the early 2000s. One of its more enduring characters was the hapless Benny, a rather inept handyman who pottered around the Crossroads Motel acting often in light relief. As you can see in the picture below, the character spotted a rather distinctive woolly hat too!

So iconic was the character, that poor old Paul Henry (the actor who portrayed him) was eternally typecast and has been seen less than Lord Lucan since the show ended. Though memorials to that era have adorned many a item, as illustrated here with this rather fetching t-shirt. 

Well, if it is good enough for cotton it is good enough for Realm of Chaos 80s. If you look, you can see that I copied the white shirt/blue dungaree look that Benny often sported (at least in my memories) and used it as my colour scheme. Obviously, the bobble hat had to be blue too! Somewhere in my collection I have another version of this model, or at least I did, one day I shall find him and paint a second model in splendid tribute to the rather yellow cardstock fellow. 

Until then, when can all ponder on the chances of Warhammer's Benni having anything to do with the Benny of Crossroads. I like to think that they do. 



  1. Replies
    1. He was. I need to find another halfling!

  2. One of the aspects of GW stuff I really enjoyed as a 14 y.o. was mapping things like McDeath across to the real world. Arka Zargil and his miners..... And as you've pointed out, not even the real real world. Plenty of Shakespear in there as well IIRC.

    1. Plenty more 'easter eggs' to be found out there I reckon!

  3. I have never even seen a copy of McDeth, although I started with 2nd Ed WFB and was Warhammering in the Golden Years (came back in 2008 before they trashed it with AoS). For me, it was Bloodbath at Orcs Drift which was available locally - and local availability made all the difference when I was 10. No internet in those days..
    I now realise I own a few figures for it, this halfling Benny, and a few others.
    Excellent blog mate, keep on keepin' on.