Saturday, 21 October 2017

In search of the Blandford Warriors


I must admit to having always thought the Blandford Warriors range was a bit, well, crap. With that all important, at least to me, fantasy chic missing and a total lack of mutated chaosy gribblies I always considered them a dull range. Even when Wargames Foundry brought most of the figures back into production, I browsed past the figures with no more than minor interest.

How wrong I was! 

Perhaps it's a symptom of tipping my toe into the Bronze Age that I seem ever drawn towards the more unusual historical figures, as I find models with a realistic feel far more gratifying than the horrendously oversculpted CAD obsenities that seem to flood much of the toy soldier market these days. 

Now, if you are NOT in the know about the Blandford Warriors let me fill you in. The range was advertised in January 1988 and complimented the book 'Medieval Warlords' by Tim Newark. They were, of course, sculpted by the Perry brothers and sold in individual blisters for a while. 


Angus McBride, one of the greatest historical wargaming artists who ever lived, produced many of the illustrations the models were based on. You may well recognise his style even if the name doesn't ring any bells.

Take a look....


Sourcing the book was fairly easy, there are numerable copies on Amazon and eBay for next to nothing and having had a flick through its musty pages, the book looks pretty interesting. There are shortish essays concerning the figures in the range, each supported by a wealth of illustrative material, so they is plenty for the toy soldier enthusiast and military buff to dive into. 


Marcus Ansell donated one of the older Blandford Warriors moulds to my school, keen for the younger children to see how miniatures are produced. And having never seen a mould up close before myself, I was fascinated by the object as well.


As we were discussing how the mould slotted together, Marcus told me an amusing story about (and this is totally truthful) a number of 'serious' collectors had rung them up at the Foundry to complain/demand that they stop producing rarer figures such as the Blandford Warriors because it was reducing the price of their collections!!

Now I am sitting on a leadpile a mile high, and amongst its layers I do have a number of rarer figures. Even so, I would never dream of doing such a thing. I am all for the more unusal figures being brought back into production because it means that other enthusiasts can enjoy them without having to fork out ridiculous money online acquiring them!


In case you were wondering what metal models look like after they have been 'spun' in a mould, let me enlighten you. Here we have the full range of the Blandford historicals fresh from the casting pits, albeit with the 'Foundry' style bases. The reason for the removal of the classic 'slotta-base' is a simple one apparently; the historical gamers (who make up the bulk of the Foundry's customer base) won't buy figures with them on! 

Bryan went on to explain that he took with him a vast amount of material when he sold GW as he felt that the majority of the figures he had had a hand in creating would have been destroyed. The company belonged to him so he could do what he liked. Hence the vast collection of classic painted figures at the Foundry premises and the masses of vintage castings (some of which never saw the light of day) in his collection. 


You may notice that the Tuetonic Knight is absent from the Foundry website. That is because the master casting was missing in action when the range as brought back into production. That model has since been recovered and hence appears on the mould in my school's possession.

Collectors being the strange creatures that they are, have apparently moved on to buying up the now extremely rare 'plinth' bases you can see in the original flyer. Whether they use these to house the original slotta based models or the more modern castings is beyond my ken. 

If you are interested in the range, it can be purchased here

As I enjoy starting projects and never completing them, I have decided to start working my way through these models in the near future, just as soon as I have finished the final Time Warped Wizard from BOYL16! 

But which Warlord will I start with? Decisions... Decisions... 

Orlygg

15 comments:

  1. Hi,
    as I´m a guy from Czech Republic I could´t help but notice the real historical figures in the range: Jan Žižka is a war leader of the Bohemian Hussite wars and Taborite Infantryman would be a regular hussite soldier from a city of Tábor. I do recommend to check the whole Hussite revolution era out as it is (maybe surprisingly) interesting topic. It starts a pseudo protestant revolution in Europe 100 years earlier and features Bohemian revolutionary fighters repeatedly beating up German knights with the help of wagon barricades and early firearms (pistol and howitzer originate from Czech words píšťala and houfnice from that time).

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    1. Thanks for the interesting historical background. I know nothing about any of the figures in this collection, save Vlad, so it is going to be a fascinating journey working through them all, brush in hand. Thanks for the historical perspective on Jan too! (:

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  2. I loved the range when it came out but only picked up a few of them. I have the Foundry re-release set but would love to find more of those bases!

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    1. I cannot say I have ever even seen one, on eBay or in the flesh. Cue hoards of BIN traders flogging them for £20 each online!

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  3. I have four of the minis but only two of the plinth bases, sigh, the fun of ebay I guess...

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    1. I think the plinths do nothing for the models. I much prefer a proper base so that the figures can eventually be fielded in a game or photo opportunity.

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  4. Looking forward to seeing your paintjobs!

    I think the term "medieval" doesn't strictly apply to some of those warlords.

    Really happy the Teutonic Knight is back in production. It annoyed me that you could previously piece together every figure except him from the old blisters. I have the complete range now.

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    1. Glad to hear you have the complete range of models - but are thye painted yet, dare I ask? (:

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  5. What chance the serious collectors are really serious speculators? The kind that have figures on eBay month in month out for outrageous BIN prices. No sympathy.

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    1. Quite right too, but it does show just how mercenary they have become. Still, the world has always been full of stupid people, which explains their existance as well as their clientele.

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  6. "I am all for the more unusal figures being brought back into production because it means that other enthusiasts can enjoy them without having to fork out ridiculous money online acquiring them!"

    I could not agree more! God, I hope that the moulds for the old ranges (Lichemaster!) still exist and will one day be put back into use.

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    1. Don't need any moulds, just a master casting and away the Foundry go. Even a decent casting will make a basic mould. Bryan said that if he owns it, then he could technically sell it. So anything is possible.

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  7. It's an obvious choice.....Owen of Wales. Clearly a reference to Owain Glyndwr.....never defeated in battle (Hotspur forgot to wait for him at Shrewsbury...by the time Owain arrived it was too late!) andnever captured! Therefore a long future of victorious gaming awaits you! 😁

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    1. I know nothing about Owen or Owain. It will be fun finding out! (:

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  8. Thanks for referencing the book, I just bought one on ebay. Angus McBride is indeed a great artist! His Lord of the Rings work has always been my favorite. His Osprey work has been very inspirational to me as a costumer as well.
    I bought AN LU-SHAN off the rack at a comic store, being fond of the armor. This was in my pre-Citadel collecting days (which sadly did not begin until the early 90"s)The plinth base has been kicking around in my bits box for all those years, someday i will put something on it.

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