Thursday 17 May 2012

Hidden Gems : More free pdf links for Rogue Trader and Warhammer 3rd and a few skeletons too!

Having been cruising Scribd for more resources, I have uncovered some hidden gems. The links speak for themselves really.

Original 80s painting guide for Space Marines

Freebooterz orc army lists

Vehicle Rules for Rogue Trader

Rogue Trader Eldar rules and background

For Warhammer 3rd (though it was released for 1st) comes the Warhammer Compendium.

Scribd is a fantastic resource but I find it a real pain to navigate and I'm locating stuff mostly through a combination of pot luck and trial and error. I expect there is still loads of it out there and it is always useful to have lots of links to this material on one site, so if you are aware of anything out there that could be useful to our cause post a link in the comments section below. Hopefully, at some point in the future I will be able to create a link post which contains everything in one place but I suspect that is a while off. Apparently, there is a huge amount of scanned WDs from our period available 'out-there' but I have yet to locate it!

Anyone know where else we should look?

Hidden Gems is the title of this post and my rummaging have not been restricted to the internet. As I was cutting out the parts for my skeleton horde I was happily reminiscing their use back in the day. I recalled a memorable battle with a unit of the horde with an old school friend, Russell Parsons, over his pool table in the antic of his mothers Bungalow in Sandford, Dorset in 1990. Lichen set out to represent bushes and lollypop stick fences in abundance! After the game, I remembered packing up the miniatures in a plastic ice-cream tub and going home. Well, I found the tub in the garage! Sadly, the passage of the years had not been kind to them but I managed to salvage four grim reapers, two archers, three mounted skeletal horsemen and ten skeletons with hand weapons. I was going to dettol the lot but my wife suggested that I kept them as a reminder of my childhood painting style.

Well, here they are...

It seems that I used quite a bit of yellowy orange as a base colour (especially around the ribs and pelvis) and drybrushed over the lot. Pretty basic compared with my methods now but I'm still slightly proud of them, considering I was 11 when I painted them.

I also found the TINMAN model! I loved this miniature back in the '80s and we used him a lot in our battles. Sadly, he was squashed by my step-brother and is broken but a rudimentary pin is sticking out of the stump so it should be fairly straight forwards to fix him. If I remember correctly, he was released in '85-'86 for use in a game designed by Jes Goodwin called 'The Good, the bad and the rusty' alongside the seminal Skrag the Slaughter and the less seminal Oxy Cetolyne.

Here he is...

I might continue on my hunt and see if I can find that game sometime in the future, I never got around to playing it but it might be a laugh.

Well, time to depart once more but before I do I encourage you to get looking in those old boxes that I know you have stashed away to see if you can uncover any hidden gems of your own.


Tuesday 15 May 2012

PDF POWER: Norse Army List and other goodies!

I have a new printer!

Its a HP Photosmart C4680 and my wife wanted it to print off various things to do with the kids. Not bad for £30- thanks Tescos!

It is also a photocopier and scanner. Looking at my most popular posts, the pdf content I listed a few days ago is a mere 4 more views off being the most read item on my blog. This got me thinking, just how much interest are there in other materials linked with Warhammer 3rd edition? The One recently commented that he wished he could find a 'complete' set of WDs to look through. I have the vast majority of the WDs linked to 3rd edition. It would be fairly straight forwards to do this- if a little time consuming!

So I grabbed issue 107 of WD to test out my new scanner and see if this idea had any mileage. This particular issue contains two important texts related to our cause...

1) The Norse Army List for 3rd Edition (which is missing from Warhammer Armies) with miniatures buyers/collectors guide- sorry about the paint splodge, it wasn't me!!!!)
2) The Errata for Slaves to Darkness (which makes warbanding a WHOLE lot easier)

Fiddling around with my new toy I quickly worked out how to make a rudimentary scan and convert into a pdf document, both I have available for you via the wonderful world of email ( if any readers are interested in having their own copy of the Norse list or the errata.

When it comes down to the 'research' as I hereby dub it, I would organise the pdfs into the following categories

1) Background/fluff - the amusing stories often published back in the good ol' days of WD, often linked with a miniatures release (Gaj loves pastiches of these oh his own blog, warhammerforadults).
2) Additional rules not covered in the 3rd edition rulebook or other hard back supplements)
3) Miniatures collection guides, as there is still loads of stuff missing from solegends citadel index or collecting-citadel-miniatures and these resources are useful for the enthusiast.
4) Celebrations of paintwork (miniatures) and illuminations (background art)
5) 'Eavy Metal Guides

Or, I could just do a 'warts and all' pdf of each issue of WD starting with issue 93 (the launch issue of Wrahammer 3rd Edition).

Well, what do others think? Are there any WDs, articles etc of GW's yesteryear that you'd like a pdf copy of? Just leave a comment after this post and I'll do my best. If interest is high enough I would consider a Scribd account a build a research archive of suitable materials not available elsewhere on the 'net.

Back to those skellies now,


Sunday 13 May 2012

Drastic Plastic: Orcs Complete and The Skeleton Horde

Well, the orcs are finally complete and my first third edition 'regular' (ie, not Realm of Chaos) unit is complete. I had some difficulty with the banner. Initially, I wanted to have a go at the old method of banner construction that was popular in the 80s - the old toothpaste tube rolled up and sliced into a suitable shape. In the end, I went for the sticky label approach, which seemed just as effective but much, much faster. A little superglue and - hey presto! The shields were also simple (the design is molded on) though the moons were a little fiddly to complete.

What do you bloggers think? I took some photographs during the day; one in natural light and the other (when they were completed) with artificial.

Afternoon shot (pre-shields and banner painting) showing finished bases.

Evening shot (shields and banner added)

Natural light is so much better at capturing the colours. Next time we have a sunny morning I think I'll do a photo session with my forces!

This was my first attempt at painting a banner, like ever! Obviously, I continued on the yellow bad moon face with a night's sky background just to add a little extra detail. A black background just looked too plain. Once this was done I realised that a little dark grey edging would be necessary on the banner as it didn't look finished.

Was I successful? Any tips on offer?

Onwards then. Having had a lot of green to paint I have decided to do some thing completely different and go for some undead. That is correct UNDEAD! Not vampire counts or tomb kings- proper undead. These rotting bags of horror were my preferred troop choice back in the day and I amassed quite a collection over the years. Shame that GW destroyed my vision of what the undead were with so called 'characterful army lists' and bizarre rule changes. Not to mention the number of models becoming suddenly obsolete.

Imagine the scene.

The dust finally settled on the remains of the shattered tomb. Like tiny dancing moths, the motes of powdered bone caught the weak light and settled upon the dark, woollen cloaks of the living. Ancient sinews creaking, Vlad rose from his unsleep and smiled evilly. How foolish these mortals were to raise him from his slumbers.

"Why have you woken me?" He asked, his voice like the skittle of dead leaves across cracked rock.

"To raise an army." A helmeted head, chased in gold, replied from the dank darkness. "To ally with us and march unhindered into the Old World."

Vlad smiled. 

"That I can do." He whispered. "My forces need not sleep, need not rest and need not fear death. I can command an endless surge of souless troops who need not shelter nor succour. With each victory, I can swell my ranks with the enemy's fallen, so that brother may well end up fighting brother long the other was thought slain. I can inspire a dreadful fear with my magics, turn the sky black and send forth a choking wind that cuts like a blade at men's throats. I can summon wights, skeletal steeds, ghouls, giant bats, carts of the dead, zombies, varghulf and skeletons armed with spears or swords!"

"What about skeletal archers?" The helmeted one asked in terrified awe.

"Err, no... I can't manage that actually!"

I mourned the demise of the skeletal archer. I loved the old metal models of them (and still hunt for them avidly on eBay) and had loads of the plastic ones. For some reason these simple troops epitomised the undead army for me, and then one day... they were cruelly cast out of the list only to turn up again as rather naff '90s Tomb Kings models.

I have chosen one of my favourite GW releases to work on next. The Skeleton Horde, released around 1986 and painted very memorably by Colin Dixon. I loved this kit as a child. So evocative and a great many happy memories putting this and its sister kit, Skeleton Army, together. Perhaps its just me, but I felt that GW went backwards with the next skeleton kit they released - the cartoony one with the massive hands and flat, boring skulls.

Here is the original WD ad...

And the box art, an equally memorable image (which was recycled for other releases- such as the WHFRP supplement, The Restless Dead) by the prolific (especially in the '80s), John Blanche.

Let's have a look at what you got for your £3.95. Six sets of sprues with a range of weapons; swords, axe, spear and scythe and the appropriate bases. Enough to construct 24 skeletons.

Here's a contents shot...

And a close up of a sprue.

So, if I am going to assemble these troops what combination shall I choose? I think I shall save the spears and do a regiment armed with these at a later date, so that leaves 18 skeletons with hand weapons and 6 with scythes. I have a few undead metals that I can use as command models (Champion and Leader) to combine with the 18.

Over the next couple of nights I shall cut out, clean and put together these models. During that time I am going to have to consider my colour scheme for painting bone. Additionally, I am going to flick through my WDs and try and track down as many examples of Colin Dixon's shield designs because I intend to replicate
as many of them as I can on their shields ( and hopefully learn a little along the way!). I'll be posting my research for fellow bloggers to see (might be useful) and may even consider doing a shield freehand painting tutorial if readers are interested.


Thursday 10 May 2012

Strip Shows? How do you like it?

Don't panic! I am not going to start discussing the merits of boob jobs, suspender belts or women who look like this...

I want to discuss the ways in which we 'leadheads' strip off the layers of ancient paint from miniatures before breathing new life into them with a new paint job. When I was younger I much preferred to buy metal models with my pocket money as they could easily be passed to my father would would remove the paint with some vile concoction of paint stripper he'd use on the car. I am sure I can remember little puffs of smoke escaping from the brown sludge as he'd drop my chaos warriors or undead champions in or perhaps that is just childhood fantasy? One thing is for sure, I was never allowed near the 'dreaded jam jar' with the battered brushes sticking out of it for fear of instant death.

In later years, I discovered my first method of cleaning up old miniatures. Good old Nitro Mors (recommended by my dad, who had moved on from the foul brown poison). Here it is for those of you who have not heard of this product...

This stuff is green and vicious. Get this on your skin and you are going to know about it, especially around the more sensitive areas of your fingernails but it does a damn good job of cleaning off the most appalling of paint jobs- acrylic, enamels even modelling putty and superglue is destroyed by this stuff. I recently purchased a very badly mauled bloodthirster from eBay. Most of the detail had been obliterated by rivers of glue that had run into the details but after a day or too soaking in Nitro the stuff just peeled off like jelly. I have also found the Nitro watered down a little is effective at cleaning up what I call 'lead scum'. This is the layer of grey dirt that covers models with a high lead content. Simply leave them in the nitro bath over night, rinse under the tap and all the detail is revealed.

The downside to Nitro is that it destroys plastics- utterly. Shields, bases, extra arms simply become puddles of grey goo. For many years this restricted my painting as plastic models once completed were impossible to
strip back. My dad (who knows far too much about paint and paint strippers for any sane person) suggested using brakefluid but I was always dissatisfied with the results as it damaged detail on plastics and left models with a slight fluffy texture. Restorations were impossible. It just wasn't worth buying that tortured box of Heroquest miniatures that had been attacked with enamels and superglue as you couldn't get the stuff off.

Then I found aid in the most unlikely of places.

Under the sink!

As every child knows, Dettol has a distinctive smell and an equally distinctive sting as your wounds are bathed by your mother after your umpteeth fall from your BMX. Little did I realise that this brown liquid was also a powerful paint stripper for acrylics and enamels but left plastics totally undamaged! At last, I could strip down my brutalised warhammer regiments models I painted in 1988 and clean them up as new. You have to be careful with Dettol though, as once removed from the liquid and immersed in water for cleaning the paint can become very, very sticky and clog brushes and adhere to any (I mean any) surface. However, there is a simple solution that creates a chemical reaction that prevents this- washing up liquid. Ooze this stuff on liberally and brush away and see you plastic, metal or combination model scrub up nice and shiny once more.

Sadly, Dettol will not shift glue. So glue damaged plastics are still (for me anyway) destined for the miniature grave at the bottle of my bitz box.

So what is the point of this post? Firstly, I thought I'd share some of my practice in the area of cleaning miniatures. But I hoped to generate a little debate and perhaps learn a thing or two... So readers! How do you strip your metal and plastic models?

Any tips, techniques or hidden/special products you can share with myself and other bloggers that will help us in that eternal battle against the fifth chaos god- the Dark Lord of Badly Applied 80s Paint!


Monday 7 May 2012

'No Grand Plan' : Warhammer Armies Challenge

Where am I going with my blog? Where am I going with my collection of painted citadel miniatures from the glorious years of the 1980s? Originally I was going to simply build a warband for each of the four Ruinous Powers and play a campaign of Realm of Chaos- but I am afraid I have been totally bitten by the nostalgia bug and have a need to 'expand my horizons'. I am continuously  tempted by other non-chaos miniatures from the same period and feel like more of a challenge.

I am proposing to build over, say the next five years, an army for each of the lists published in Warhammer Armies in 1988 as well as a few extras published elsewhere during the same period. As with my warbands, the miniatures will all be 1985-92 originals and will be painted using original citadel paints. I have given this idea some thought I have organised the armies into a rather irregular list in no particular order. I have some models for nearly all of the armies and spend quite a bit of time of eBay so I have some idea on price and availability. Subsequently, the I have rated each army easy to very challenging based on my experience and my collection.

Dark Elves (easy) - plenty of models on eBay. Plastic regiments did a nice crossbow unit. I have Manhide Manflayer's Dark elves in metals too. Reasonably priced too.

Wood Elves (easy)- I already own plenty of the plastic regiments archers as well as a unit of wardancers and Skarloc's Wood Elf Rangers. Plenty of models on ebay. Quite Cheap.

High Elves (average)- more popular on eBay, therefore more expensive. I don't actually own any High Elf miniatures at the moment but acquiring them will just take a little more expense than their kin.

The Empire (challenging)- Range not really released until the final months of 3rd. The models were really produced for the infant fourth edition. I intend to build these units using the metal fighters models, Lords of Battle etc.

Bretonnia  (challenging)- Lovely sculpts (I have a few archers) by the Perrys. Still very popular on eBay as they are suitable for historical gaming as well. These will cost me a pretty penny when the time comes.

Chaos (easy)- I own plenty of chaos warriors, thugs etc that can be used to build units for this force. Do I take it further and build small mortal armies for each of the four chaos powers? I am completist so, yes!

Orcs (easy)- Plastic regiments did some lovely orc boys, I own wolf riders, metal orc archers and Ruglud's armoured orcs and two man manglers. I practically have an army of these already.

Dwarfs (average)- Two lovely Regiments of Renown boxes are available for about £30 each. I have plenty of war machines already as well as a few crossbows and, of course, the trusty plastic Warhammer regiments.

Slann (very challeging)- Extremely expensive and in limited supplies. I think this will probably be the most difficult force to build. I'd probably try and go for a small force.

Undead (easy)- I already own the Nightmare Legion, Skeleton Horde and a chariot in metal etc. Easy to build thanks to the plastic skeletons. Models very, very plentiful on eBay.

Skaven (easy)- Again, easy and I have plenty of models. Plastic regiments did a basic clan rat.

Norse (average)- The 'missing army list' published in WD107 (which I also own). Again plenty of models available but they tend to be expensive.

Khorne Warband (achieved)

Slaanesh Warband (achieved)

Nurgle Warband (achieved)

Tzeentch Warband (easy)- I have all the models planned and prepared so I just have to paint them up.

Halfling Contingent (average)- Popular models in limited supply. Shouldn't be too difficult to build a contingent though.

Zoat Ally Contingent (very challenging)- When I am a millionaire!!!


I had forgotten to consider daemonic armies, purely made up from daemonic entities (with a few powerful mortals thrown in!) again encompassing the four ruinous powers.

Nurgle (easy) - I own three Great Unclean Ones, 15+ plaguebearers, nurgling bases and a beast of nurgle. I have plenty of nurgle champions too. Just need painting up really!

Slaanesh (easy) - I own a Keeper of Secrets (others are regular on eBay), 20+ daemonettes, a seeker, three fiends and plenty of steeds. Again, like Nurgle just needs a paint up with the addition of a few more fiends and another Keeper.

Khorne (easy) - I own two Bloodthirsters, 20+ bloodletters, 10+ bloodhounds and a juggernaut. Just needs painting with the addition of a few more juggers I think!

Tzeentch (challenging) - I have a single Lord of Change model, 15+ blue horrors, 3 pink horrors, a disc and a flamer. I would need a fair few more pink horrors and more metal flamers (I have only ever seen one on eBay, I bought it) before a force could be constructed.

The next question to ask is 'where do I start?' Having spent some time focusing of three of the four powers I feel like exploring the world of painting citadels a little further. I want to paint a bit of this and a bit of that. My collection is vast and I would like to paint some real classics (which I hope readers of this blog would like to see) rather than get bogged down army building. To contradict myself (something I do regularly), I also want armies to play with (either with other players face to face or over Skype) so I need to be a little focused on what I am doing rather than just paint away merrily.

I plan to paint small units and characters- these do not have to be in the same army- and flit between what I have. I am going to start with Undead and Orcs and probably flirt with my daemonic legions too. If you remember so time ago a posted a little page about Warhammer Fantasy Regiments and even painted up my first orc. All I can say is I was bitten by that particular bug too and have been working away secretly on my forbidden models (what would the dark powers of chaos say about that!) while working on the Bob Olley beastmen.

Let's have a look at a WIP of my first unit. Ten orc boys with full command.

Obviously, there is still a little work to do before they are complete. And there is the banner to think about. Hopefully by the end of this week these greenskins will be based and I shall be moving on to something else.

Here are a few close ups...

A classic and iconic miniature if ever there was one. The orc leader painted up in the opening pages of the 3rd Edition Rulebook. This is a recent purchase for me and I have wanted this model for over 25 years. Just needs a few lowlights adding here and there on the armour.

Cheeky standard bearer. I always preferred my orcs this way. Gangly, sneaky and cruel but with a comic splash. Lovely character, unlike the boring brutes of today.

A champion (still needs a shield) from the days when a command unit would have four models. Actually, I am surprised this wasn't re-introduced in 8th as it would have required the player to by additional models for all of their units.

Finally, another characterful model, this time the musician complete with gong. For those that are interested, this was the second orc I ever painted one morning as my son watched Show Me Show Me and the Numberjacks on Cbeebies!

Right, I am off to finish off these orcs and sort through my mountain of lead and ancient plastic sprues. Once the orcs are done what shall I tackle next?

Any suggestions?