Wednesday 23 January 2013

Foundry Fantasy: Excellent proxies for Old School Armies

Thank the Ruinous Powers for social media.

I am recovering from concussion after falling over in the ice and knocking myself out. I can' t do much save lie in bed and how off a face that makes me look like a plaguebearer. I can use my tablet for short periods and I' ve enjoyed glancing through many a blog and the discussions on Facebook' s Oldhammer Community. Otherwise, I am sure that boredom would claim me.

Makes you wonder if there was a chaos god of boredom... H' uum D' ruum would be an apt name.

Anyway, on one of my short online trips I found and was impressed by what I saw. Recently, we discussed the merits of the Foundry Norse range on the main site but I was not aware that there was a separate site for fantasy. I must confess that this site is much easier to use.

Look what I found...

These would make excellent Empire troops, don' t they just look like the illustrations from WFRP?

Perfect troops for a Third Edition Imperial force.

Foundry fantasy also do ' proper undead', love this chariot.

These really remind me of that old Citadel skeleton rising from the grave... These sculpts have that sense of humour modern Warhammer miniatures lack.

More skellies - the one lifting his head above his body is a nod to the classic Citadel one.

Nice elves...

Nice dark elves...

Thoughts, dear readers... Would you use them?

Chaos of the Warp Link: Great Rick Priestley Interview

Priestley in the '80 s. Buying orcs.

Just a quick note to share this link with you. A fantastic interview with the legend, Rick Priestley, who discusses, among other things, his early days at Citadel Miniatures and his new Kickstarter, Beyond the Gates of Antares.

Well worth a listen.


Tuesday 22 January 2013

The Patriarch: An Interview with the artist Tony Hough

A huge number of artists contributed to the look and feel of the early Warhammer, Rogue Trader and the Realm of Chaos books. Discounting the background and rules presented in these works, what you have are highly collectible art books jammed packed with astonishing, almost mind reeling, illustrations. There were a huge number of contributors during this period, and looking at the body of work they have left us, there are clear signs of creative 'cross pollination'. One style that predominates, presumably for economic as well as practical reasons, is the black and white pen and ink style. Artists such as Ian Miller and Tony Hough produced vividly detailed images whose scratchy chaos helped lay the foundations of the Warhammer Mythos. 

What follows is an interview, and presentation of some of his works, with the hugely talented Tony Hough. Tony did not belong to the studio like the 'other Tony' (Ackland) and was employed as a freelance illustrator, sometimes working at frightening speed to produce a wide range of different illustrations that were used extensively in GW publications from 1987. We discuss his influences, his relationships with some of the other artists involved and some of his wider work.    

RoC80s: Why an artist? What led you down the path of pencils, gouache and pen and ink?

TH: Drawing books and plasticine were cheap in the '60s! My mum had three little rugrats to deal with, so something that would keep me quietly occupied was a bonus. My early efforts were an expression of my games and daydreams, the results being less important to me than the process. Later, I started keeping and showing off my efforts both for the praise I got (mostly for being quiet) and so I could remember and elaborate on my earlier games.

RoC80s: What were your influences as a young artist?

TH: My first inspirations were the dusty corners of the house, the creepy-crawlies I found in the garden and the outside loo (yes, I'm that old...) and the stuff I saw on TV, at the Saturday Morning Pictures and in comics. So drawing and SF, Fantasy (and later Horror) were part of my life from the earliest times. I drew a lot of daleks and the robot from Lost In Space!

RoC80s: You worked on a great deal of later '80s GW products, Slaves to Darkness and Rogue Trader to name a few, how did the relationship between you and the company begin? 

TH: In the early eighties I discovered Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, RPGs and wargames and it seemed like a natural outlet for my talents, so I sent several batches of samples to GW . Then some time in '87  I had a call from John Blanche saying that he thought my style would suit a new project that was in the pipeline: Rogue Trader.

RoC80s: The Design Studio during the '80s seems to have been an incredibly creative place. Did you find it so? Which artists who also contributed to the early Warhammer/Rogue Trader mythos had the biggest influence over your work?

TH: I had some preparatory material sent to me including a lot of wonderful early 40K designs by Will Rees: Surreal, dark and very gigeresque I also later got to meet other design studio bods and artists at meetings, Games Days and conventions. It was a hugely fun, encouraging and creative team to work with. 
I was especially pleased to meet a few of my existing art heroes: Jim Burns and Ian Miller were artists whose work had enthralled me for years. I also met Martin McKenna, Tony Ackland and Pete Knifton, among others, artists with whom I had a great deal in common in terms of interests and influences. Martin, in particular, was like me a massive Whovian (at a time when little Dr Who was officially available on video) and a comic art enthusiast too.

RoC80s: When we spoke at Salute, you mentioned how you were drawing Space Marines for Rogue Trader without secure knowledge about what their legs would look like, as the miniatures hadn't yet been completed. Was this a common problem during your work? Did it throw up any difficulties? If it did, how were they resolved?

TH: It was never considered a problem really as in those early stages things in the 40K universe were yet unfixed, bar the fact that the universe was a vast and varied place! There was a lot of creative room for artists to contribute to what would later crystallise into the canonical background, and anything else would simply be explained as nonstandard local variation. The same freedom would allow the gamer to import into their 40K games whatever models they could find, scratchbuild or co-opt from other ranges, which was important when there were very few "official" figures and vehicle models yet available for the game.

RoC80s: How did being a freelance artist work in relation to the studio? Did you attend meetings? Receive support materials or design briefs? How did you know what the art department wanted?

TH: I was kept informed mostly by phone or letter and sent photocopies, sample figures and photos for reference. I did go up to Nottingham a few times for special briefings, albeit rarely.

RoC80s: Slaves to Darkness is 25 years old this August. What can you recall about working on the book? Was it a chaotic and problematic as the 'legends' suggest?

TH: If the 40K universe offered a lot of creative leeway, Chaos added even more, so many of us GW artists were especially keen on this project. I didn't have any inkling of problems with that project at the time, I was just revelling in the fun of creating all those whacky Chaos creatures!

RoC80s: Did you work on design concepts for any of the miniature ranges? If so, which ones?

TH: I never directly designed any of the model ranges, which was more the job of those working at the studio itself. However at least in the early formative period the designers would often be inspired by the illustrators and vice versa.

RoC80s: What can you recall about cancelled projects? Did you contribute much artwork that was never used?

TH: I did a set of 30 fairly elaborate black and white illos for the project that would have been Battlefleet Gothic. The project was delayed for several years, although they used some material for a short-lived Space Fleet game. The rules leaflet as I recall ended up only a page long! My BG illos mostly appeared in White Dwarf, and very small too, so my intricate (and probably overblown) detail was all but lost. There were a few other illos here and there that never saw the light of day due to reshuffles and rethinks of various projects. The later version of Battlefleet Gothic came out around '97 when I was working at the Luton Games Workshop store (as a keytimer!) with an entirely new set of ship designs and artwork.

RoC80s: You are probably most well known for your 'Patriarch' image published in WD118. What is the story behind this iconic work of art?

TH: There was a lovely model of the Patriarch, his advisor and throne which I was sent photos of. I just concocted the illo from that reference, embellishing the scene with extra details, a background/setting etc. I was very pleased some time later to see that someone had recreated the illo as a diorama using the available model and scratchbuilding my bits around it, complete with caged crow and columns decorated with Terminator helmets. The illo remains a fan favourite and one of which I'm quite proud. I still have the original on my wall.

The Patriarch

RoC80s: You produced a massive amount of black and white pen illustrations for GW... Can you give us non-artists some idea about how long many of these images took you to compose?

TH: It depended how much time I was given! Detailed work in my usual old-fashioned pen and ink style took a relatively long time: Two or three days work for an A3 page. However often there was a need to use a more concise and rapid style. For example on Warhammer Siege I had to resort to a very quick brush and ink style with soft pencil shading because I had 22 illos to complete in one week! I had an exhibition in Luton a couple of years back at which I displayed just about all of the GW originals still in my possession together for the first time...I was actually quite flabbergasted myself to see how much wall space they covered, considering my spell as a GW artist was really only about 4 and a half years in total! I have a great many artwork originals from my time working for GW which are available for sale to serious collectors. See HERE for details!

A well known Eldar image that Tony reworked ,in colour, for celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Rogue Trader.

RoC80s: Is it true you are one of the few artists to have had work stolen from a display in Warhammer World?

TH: That's right! One of my early Eldar illos I loaned back to WW for the anniversary display was prised from a display case and had away with. Thankfully though,  it was returned anonymously just a week or two later.I suppose I should feel complemented that someone coveted it so much!! 

RoC80s: Where did your career take you in later days? Did you specialise in fantasy and science-fiction or did your skills find different niches to explore?

TH: Actually I've not been as successful as a freelance artist as I might have wished. I more or less stopped during the recession in the 90s, first to do a degree in Psychology and then, finding my self suddenly a parent, I was forced to resort to other "normal" jobs to support my family. Aside from the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks it has mostly been community arts projects, some children's books and some RPG supplements and private commissions for me. It was only recently, since doing Bloodbones in 2006 that I began to seriously think of getting back into illustration in any major way. I even recently did some training as a tattooist, which I enjoyed immensely and hope to continue alongside other artistic projects. Anyhow, I still think my best illustration days are ahead of me and I'm looking for new projects right now!! 

One of Tony's other works of art... Disturbing stuff! 

More from the fantastic mind of Tony Hough

You can see examples of Tony's work, old and new, at  His Official Gallery Site    

And can join him online by 'liking' his   Facebook Page

And finally, many of Tony's GW pieces are for sale. See HERE for details! Own a piece of British gaming history- if you can persuade the wife to let to spend your hard earned cash! 

Monday 21 January 2013

A Stormtrooper Solution! Marcus Ansell Explains it all...

The popular chant and foodstuff of the Monty Python team and a contemporary pest. 
As some of you may know, my inbox has been plagued recently, not by spam itself, but by Hotmail assuming that anyone not in my contacts must be a vile piece of malware and should subsequently be condemned to the trash can! So, from time to time I check my trash can and occasionally I find an email from a new follower of Oldhammer that has failed to run the gauntlet of my anti-virus software and go astray. Imagine my surprise when I see the name 'Ansell' appear among the peculiar names who are begging me to send them my banking details so they can transfer millions of dollars into my account from overseas...
Marcus, the son of the great Bryan Ansell, had contacted us at Realm of Chaos 80s with an invitation and a answer to a mystery that we have been discussing in recent months. Here is what Marcus emailed...

Marcus Ansell: Greetings from Wargames Foundry. 
We've been enjoying your blog for some months now: and we thought that we would get in touch to say that if you want to use the Foundry as a venue for any events that you might plan for Da Golden Gobbos (or anything else miniatures/gaming orientated); then we'd be very glad to have you here. We are in central Nottingham and we have plenty of space (also tables). We would be able to sort out basic refreshments.
 I'm sure that my father would be happy to bring along stuff from the late 70s and the 80s.
How incredible would that be, eh? With esteemed members of the community such as Gaj and Thantsants trying to gather momentum for an 'Oldhammer Day', how wonderful would it be to meet at the Foundry? Third Edition rules, 80s models massing under the multi-coloured gaze of rank on rank of Bryan Ansell's collection, would be a dream come true for many, no, all of us. 
Well its now a real possibility...

Now such a gathering needs discussion among other interested parties, both here on the blogosphere as well as on the many forums that include retro review and comment. But my 'two pence' into the discussion would be thus:

A summer/late autumn event at the Foundry in celebration of Slaves to Darkness' 25th Anniversary/Third Edition 
Encouragement of interested parties to build characterful warbands linked to RoC
A third edition bring and battle 
Old School Painting Competition.
Swap Shop - bring in your unwanted lead and, well, swap it for stuff you do want...

Embryonic I know, but its a starting point! What do other Oldhammerers think?

Citadel Stormtrooper Mystery 

This miniature was also a bit of a mystery to us. Familiar to many, either from the collection of Billy Bunter or from the Collecting Citadel Miniatures archive, little was actually known about this sculpt. Thankfully, Marcus has been able to shed some light on this model, including its sculptor. 
Marcus Ansell: Apparently, Citadel/GW were approached to do a licensed range of Star Wars models in the late 80s or possibly early 90s. My father said that as he was only interested in making models with Citadel's customary pleasantly inaccurate physique and proportions, he knew that it was unlikely that they would really want Citadel to have the licence, but he didn't want to seem rude so he asked Jes Goodwin to sculpt a prototype in the Citadel style. Back then, my grandfather was running Foundry, and Foundry was doing a lot of the master moulding for Citadel. Foundry made the mould for the Stormtrooper. We still have it here (the mould, that is), it never left Foundry. Only a handful of the castings from the mould can have gone out: almost all the models out there must have been pirated from that small group of original castings. There only was that one sculpt during my father's time, so the various variant types out there are just fakes. 
"Aren't you a little heroically proportioned for a stormtrooper?" 
Many thanks to Marcus for clearing up that little mystery for us. 

Slaves to Darkness 25th Anniversary: The First Painted Miniatures Appear!

I've been lucky enough to get a couple of snow days recently, and I have taken advantage of this to get some painting done. As those readers with l o n g memories might recall, before Christmas I began work on a chaos chariot - well, I am pleased to state that it is finished and ready for gaming. I also managed to get a test piece (a proper old school chaos warrior) complete. This miniature did not take anywhere as long as my chariot and I must have finished it in under two hours (minus drying time) so I am getting close to Andy Craig's '80s standard of being able to paint a model in 60 minute period. 

Any way, of we go to have a little old school look at what I have been working on. 

This was a test piece model for the chaos warrior unit in my Khorne army. Obviously, black, red and brass need to be the colours of the day and I think I did a pretty good job of capturing the Slaves to Darkness feel. Only another seven of the armoured brutes to go...
Chaos Chariot. This model was sculpted by the Perry's around the release of Slaves to Darkness. It is, as I have stated before, my favourite chariot model produced between 1985-92. I will readily admit to having found painting the horses a real challenge... and something that I must work on again in the future. 
I used a simple hand drawn design for the shield which bore the Khorne symbol. This was mirrored with the banner flying from the lance. I 'distressed' the banner with a mixture of drybrushing and stippling as I felt that it looked too new to be fluttering above beserk killers. 
This model was bought from eBay in an appalling state. It took a Nitro-Mors and two Dettol baths to get the metals clean from whatever 'paint' had been splattered over it. The two horses were harder to treat (being plastic) and suffered some distortion through poor application of polystyrene liquid glue sometime in the past. 
These bad boys are for the future. Five more warriors to paint up in similar schemes (though I believe that chaos warriors should all have their own separate livery, rather then being unifrom) and a standard bearer conversion to complete. Any eagle eyed readers recognise what is special about this unit's standard bearer?

Saturday 19 January 2013

The Malignancy of Malal: Solving the mystery of the 'fifth chaos god'

My recent interview with Tony Ackland got various tongues wagging across the Oldhammer World and beyond, particularly on the subject of Malal. But who exactly is, or indeed was Malal? All most of us know is that he (or she?) was developed out of house, was linked to Kaleb Daark and fell victim to legalities worse that the Realm of Chaos itself.

So Realm of Chaos went in search of the mysterious 'fifth god' and uncovered a story of censure and complaint in the process. With contributions from the great Tony Ackland and the legendary Rick Priestley, we set about solving the mystery of the Malignancy of Malal. 

RoC80s: There is much speculation about the original nature of Malal. What do you recall of the development of this early, and abandoned due to legalities, chaos god.

Rick Priestley: Malal was invented for a comic strip without any reference to the actual Chaos gods – I think the comic strip author just wanted to set something up that wouldn’t muddy our background and which he could manipulate as he wanted. Whoever arranged the deal didn’t think to make it clear that the work would be a genre piece and hence GW property – and when it came down to it the author claimed ownership of the IP and GW had to abandon it. Clash of cultures really – in the games industry us poor games writers are used to this kind of thing – not so in the world of comics. 

So who exactly was Malal then? Well, its seems that Malal was the embodiment of Chaos' indiscriminate and anarchic tendency toward destruction, including itself and its own agents. An cancer of chaos if you like. The nature of Malal's power was largely parasitic, the idea being that the Renegade God grew in power only when the other Chaos gods did. Like the other deities, Malal had a sacred number and this was 11. His sacred colours were black and white.

The concept behind Malal was created by comics writers John Wagner and Alan Grant, as was Malal's champion, Kaleb Daark, for the Citadel Compendium and Journals. In the comic strip adventure, Kaleb Daark's mission allied him temporarily with the forces of good. He fought at the siege of Praag and confronted the followers of the Chaos God Khorne, and also found himself at odds with the skaven. Less mutated than other followers of Chaos, he was equipped with a soul-drinking daemon weapon, Dreadaxe, with its pterodactyl-like head on a shaft of bone. His shield was shaped in the form of Malal's skull symbol, his armor was all-black with white while his steed was a black mutant horse. Kaleb himself appeared pale, as the contact with Malal supposedly drained him of energy. His battle cry was "Dreadaxe thirsts for you!" 

Hmmm? Sounds a little too similar to Moorcock's Elric to be mere coincidence! But then again, most of the Warhammer Mythos is rooted in Moorcock's Eternal champion series.
There were three installments completed of The Quest of Kaleb Daark comic:
  • Part 1 : "The Quest of Kaleb Daark" - The Third Citadel Compendium 1985
  • Part 2 : "The God-Slayer!" - The Citadel Journal Spring 1986
  • Part 3 : "Evil of the Warpstone!" - The Citadel Journal Spring 1987
  • Part 4 : "God Amok!" - Un-printed

In the Spring 1986 Journal there was also one additional page of Warhammer Fantasy Battle rules (and a small bit of Malal background) for including Kaleb Daark and his steed in games. This issue also saw the first advertisements for the miniature figure set including a mounted and standing Kaleb Daark. The Spring 1987 Journal featured the miniature figure sets of the two Chaos Brothers, Jaek and Helwud, Kaleb's main adversaries in Part 3. Part 4 "God Amok!" was also advertised in this issue, but it never saw print. It is uncertain how much of this 4th installment was actually completed before the legal problems began and work was halted. 

What follows is the background and fluff, published for Warhammer Second Edition, concerning Kaleb Daark:  

The Ultimate Chaos Hero – Kaleb Daark:
There is a name whispered quietly and with fear even by the most depraved, the most evil, the least sane of the worshippers of Chaos, that name is Malal the Renegade God of Chaos. Any man who dare look within the unholy black pages of The Great Book of Despair, that foul tome held sacred by worshippers of Chaos, would find the following words:

…and he that went before now came last, and that which was white and black and all direction was thrown against itself. Grown mightily indignant at the words of the Gods, Malal did turn his heart against them and flee into the chambers of space ... And no man looked to Malal then, save those that serve which they hate, who smile upon air misfortune, and who bear no love save for the damned. At such times as a warrior's heart turns to Malal all Gods of Chaos grow fearful, and the laughter of the Outcast God fills the tomb of space....'

In eons past Malal was cast out from the bosom of Chaos by the other gods, or else abandoned them of his own volition, no one is sure which. In any case Malal's relationship to the other Gods of Chaos is strange one. All Gods of Chaos pursue purposes that are wholly their own, yet only Malal occupies a position so resolutely parasitic upon his own unfathomable creed. To be a follower of Malal is to be chaotic warrior bent upon shedding the blood of other chaotic creatures. As such, Malal is both feared and hated by the other gods. Malal's worshippers, too, are loathed by other chaotics; they are outcasts beloved by neither the friends nor enemies of Chaos, dependent upon the least whim of their patron deity. Few men worship such a god; fewer still live long in his service. The bonds that tie master and servant ever drain upon the soul of the warrior, and it is a rare man that can loosen those bonds once forged

Kaleb Daark is the greatest amongst such warriors, the Doomed Ones is what they are called amongst men. Whereas the souls of lesser servants shrivel long before they can gain real power, those whose service remains true may gain immeasurable benefit. Kaleb Daark enjoys the favour of his insane god, for his resolve is incredibly strong, perhaps deriving vigour from some dark aspect of his personality, some event hidden deep with his past or subconscious. None would dare to inquire of the man himself. Of his origins and his initiation into the cult of Malal, no one can do more than guess. Of his might of arms, undoubted courage and potent unholy weaponry, however, all know at least the most horrific details.

Dreadaxe is a deadly chaotic weapon gifted to Kaleb Daark by Malal. It is a living axe, a weapon bearing a part of the soul of some great cosmic being, a hellish demonic servant of Malal. As the weapon strikes its jaw closes and its teeth bite deep into the soul-stuff of its victim. As the soul of the victim is sucked from his carcass, the body shrinks, rots and shrivels away to almost nothing.

Kaleb Daark causes a wounding blow against a creature of Chaos, Dreadaxe automatically attempts to drain the creature's soul. The victim must make a test against its Will Power. Roll 2d6, if the score is equal to or less than the victim's Will Power characteristic score then there is no effect. If the score is more than the victim's Will Power then the creature is automatically killed (no matter how many wounds it has). In addition, the victim's soul feeds Malal, Dreadaxe and Daark. The Will Power score of the now dead creature is divided by three, any remainder is ignored. One third goes directly to Malal (and is ignored for the purposes of the game), one third goes to Dreadaxe, and the last third goes to Kaleb Daark. The points that go into Dreadaxe can be used in the next round of combat only as a 'to wound' bonus. For example, if 3 points are gained this is a +3 on the next 'to wound' dice score. All points must be used at once, and may not be carried over. The points that go to Kaleb Daark are retained in a pool. The player should keep a record of the pool total. These points are used to summon the god Malal, and may also be used as a dice bonus. A maximum of 1 point may be used in any turn to modify any dice rolled by Kaleb Daark. For example, he might choose to add one to his 'to hit' score, or even increase the 'to wound' score. The point is expended after the dice roll.

Chaos Armour
Kaleb Daark's armour displays runes granted to him by his patron deity. These are 2 Armour runes, a rune of protection and a of renewal (see Warhammer Battle Magic). His armour provides a total of 3APs.

Mutant Warsteed
Kaleb Daark's mutant warsteed is a further gift from his dark master. The creature fights with great ferocity, and is far faster than any normal horse.

Uniform details
Kaleb Daark's armour is black, bearing the motif of Malal as decoration. This takes the form of a skull, half black and half white. The same colour scheme is repeated on his shield. Kaleb himself is pale, a result of the constant strain of his relationship with Malal. His hair is very pale so that it appears almost white.

Kaleb Daark's laconic wit is often the last thing his victim's ever hear! His battle cry is 'Dreadaxe thirsts for you'.

Basic points value is 215. Armour adds 44 points (2 x a modifier of 22). Dreadaxe adds an arbitrary 100. The various runes are worth 200 points. Total 559. The chaos warsteed is worth 90 points plus a modifier of +20 totalling 110. The total value of Kaleb Daark and his warsteed is 669.

With the introduction of Malal in the comics, it was inevitable that the deity would find its way into the Games Workshop Chaos mythos and thereby into other products.
The renegade Ogre, Skrag the Slaughtererwas introduced as a follower of Malal. A short background story told his story as being cast out from his tribe for stealing a "starmetal" axe, with Malal subsequently guiding Skrag to a Chaos Dwarf hold, forcing them to forge him armour and then slaughtering them all in the name of Malal. White Dwarf 83 featured a Warhammer Fantasy Battle mini-scenario called 'The Crude, the Mad and the Rusty', pitting the lone Chaos Dwarf survivor (Oxy O'Cetalyne) of this massacre, aided by two goblin fanatics and a mechanical warrior (the Tin Man), against Skrag. I've never played it (though I own the Tin Man and Oxy) but have heard on the 'street' that it isn't up to much.

With a little investigative work, evidence for Malal can be uncovered in other places in '80s published materials. For example, in the first edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay in 1986, Malal has a short paragraph along with Khorne and Nurgle and is mentioned as a renegade Chaos God dedicated to the destruction of the other Chaos gods. Then, in the short story, The Laughter of Dark Gods, by William King in Ignorant Armies, there is also a reference to an unnamed albino (Elric again?) Malal Chaos Champion and his warband roaming the Chaos Wastes. Interestingly, this Champion is slain by the novel's main character in what could be seen as an early example of what GW would later do with the Squats! Additionally, in the card game, Chaos Marauders, published in 1987, featured the 'Claws of Malal' card. The unit represented in the game by this card was a warband of Beastmen eager to fight, preferably against followers of the other Chaos Gods.

Use of Malal in further Games Workshop productions ceased around 1988, the same year that Slaves to Darkness was published, finally cementing the background of Chaos into a final form. Malal was not referred to or mentioned at all in these products. The one notable exception to this absence of Malal was in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay supplement 'The Dying of the Light', published by Hogshead Publishing, in 1995. This book featured a Chaos Sorcerer of Malal named Heinrich Bors who has struck a deal with Malal to escape from the Chaos God Tzeentch. 
I wonder what happened here? Did this slip past the legal team of Malal's creators or was it a wing in the dark that was not even noticed?

After all this research I was keen to hear from the 'horse's mouth' so to speak. So I began chatting to Tony Ackland once more about his concept work on Malal and his memories of the development of the character in the studio. Including the debate about what exactly the Malal images shared in his previous interview represented. 

RoC80s: There is some confusion over the Malal concepts. Was the image above a Malal concept sketch or not?

Tony Ackland:'That' s my note written by it, so it would be.  I seem to recall it got used as a generic demon somewhere.  Apparently it also fitted the description of a D&D beastie without resembling any of the TSR interpretations.

RoC80s: There is a huge amount of interest from fans in the Malal design philosophy. Do you recall how much concept work was done for the daemons and what the general feel of the model range might have been?

TA: The Wagner, Grant, Ewins strip never went beyond one or two episodes.  Saying that the publication of the Journal/Compendium  was erratic would be a massive understatement.  So the ideas behind Malal were somewhat vague.  But because it had been mentioned in the strip the view was that it should be included in the Warhammer/Realm of Chaos universe.  I can't recall who was tasked with writing the background, but I had quite a free hand in the pictorial interpretation.  As I remember it the main characteristic as one of Malevolence which gave rise to the name.

Greater daemon of Malal, confirmed by the artist, Tony Ackland.
RoC80s: If the image we are currently discussing is a lesser daemon. Does that make the second image the concept for a greater daemon of Malal? If so, it looks similar in many ways to the bloodletter design doesn't it? Also, can you recall if any concept work was done for beasts, creatures or steeds of Malal?

TA: By the second image you mean the one with MALAL written in the upper left hand corner and the number 372 lightly pencilled by it?  If so that is the greater daemon.  what we were going for was a similar feeling to  Khorne but with added evil. But the copyright issue killed it off before we got that far. Actually I'm wrong the unpublished skull headed insectoid creatures were beasts of Malal but which is which I can't recall.  It was during the process that the copyright issue surfaced.  Interesting that none of the management actually mentioned that being the reason for Malal's removal at the time.

TA: Actually I'm wrong the unpublished skull headed insectoid creatures were beasts of, but which is which I can't recall. It was during the process that the copyright issue surfaced. Interesting that none of the management actually mentioned that being the reason for Malal's removal. 

RoC80s: You have stated that an early concept of Malal was for a daemonic power more evil than Khorne. With the the Blood God seeped in violence, is it really possible that a deity could be more evil than the God of Skulls?

TA: One way to look at is that Khorne is WW2 Wehrmacht, Malal is WW2 SS.

    RoC80s: Were there ever any difficulties producing such horrific and violent concepts, such as Malal and Khorne, in the studio. Was your work ever censored in house?

    TA: There was one piece I did for Realm of Chaos Slaves to Darkness, it was of a artifact of Slaanesh which was censored. The objection being that it depicted individuals writhing around a staff having oral sex. Actually it showed no such explicit acts. I had obviously been too successful in implying such behaviour. I wish I still had the original. The flack over fantasy games persisted well into the nineties. I remember walking into Harlequin miniatures and being received with a lot of humour. They explained that the evening before a Reverend of some description had been declaiming the evils of fantasy games on a regional TV program. He produced a miniature of a chimera to illustrate the sort twisted minds that were behind the creation of such abominations. No prize for guessing the company that produced the miniature or whose twisted mind created it.

RoC80s: So were religious groups an issue during the creation of Realm of Chaos? As, around the same time that Slaves to Darkness was published, White Dwarf 102 printed this disclaimer on their contents page:

    "GW would like to make it quite clear that the Daemons referred to in the extract from Realms of Chaos are wholly fictional creations.They have no basis in reality whatsoever, and there is no intention to foster the belief to the contrary." 

    Can you recall what prompted such a statement?

    TA: Back in the early days, the hysteria generated by elements of the religious community would have been treated as free publicity. By the time of Dark Future, GW was trying to promote itself as a serious business and was far more sensitive to a negative press. Particularly true as they were trying to expand in the US. One thing that most people are unaware of is that Imagine, the publication put out by TSR UK, was written and edited under the constraints of the US Comics Code.

And there we are. The story of Malal. His (or her) creation, the turbulent life of the character and its legacy. What I find strange is all the legal fuss about the character, especially with the blatant similarities of its champion with than of Elric ( a property that GW had rights to publish games and miniatures for). But hey, its all history.

Big thanks to Tony Ackland and Rick Priestley (once again) for the generous use of their time and memories. 

Any thoughts or comments?