Tuesday 19 February 2013

'Eavy Metal: More Ancient Gems with Kevin Adams, Colin Dixon, Aly Morrison and Phil Lewis classics

To follow up on my last post concerning ancient gems from very old WDs, here are a series of 'Eavy Metal articles from the ancient archives of 1986. GW was pre-Warhammer third edition and Rogue Trader at this point, so old school fantasy dominated the magazine and the subsequent miniatures pages.

Many of your will know that Citadel employed the first 'in house miniature painter' in this same year. This was the young and ambitious Colin Dixon (who would later re-emerge as a sculptor in his own right) and for a while, he was the single official GW figure painter.

As we have learnt from Craig, Priestley and Ansell, the design studio was a very creative place to work. Subsequently many of the sculptors were also painters. So Colin was not alone in the world of acrylic paint, for Kevin Adams and Aly Morrison from the sculpting team were also on hand to provide painted models. Phil Lewis, early GW lensman and miniatures supervisor, was also a dab hand with a paint brush.

It seems that there was a decision to focus on the work of these individual studio painters in the mid 80s, and these articles are the product of that. What you are about to see is an astonishing collection of painted models, backed up with detailed, articulate writing which treats the reader with respect. Quite a few people have emailed me to ask how to paint by models retro style, and I plan to do a few stage by stages at some point in the future.

These articles were my starting point, so I'll share them with you here if you want to look beyond the gorgeous lead and into 80s techniques. 

I have discuss Colin's envious mastery of the freehand shield and banner design before. Some of you will know that it is a rather personal quest of mine to improve the quality of my shields. Colin being my main inspiration in this. As you can see here, I have a long, long way to go until I could even keep up with designs like these. 
An interesting mix of models here. This was what used to draw me to 'Eavy Metal articles back in the day. The variation of models, and in the days before the internet EM was one of the few places you could actually see models from Citadel's immediate past. 
Colin explains how...
Now we have an article by Kevin Adams. Not only was he a creative and individualistic sculptor but he was also a painter of no mean merit. He was also known as a bit of an ace converter, back when being an ace convert was bloody hard because metal is a real challenge to cut and prepare. Like Dixon and Blanche, Adams was an advocate of the fantastic painted shield design. His horrible goblinoid faces are truly hideous - in a hideously good way of course. Additionally, Kevin also made wonderful use of natural materials and sculpted green stuff to produce wild and imaginative vegetation for his bases.

He was named 'Goblin Master' for a reason. His 80s goblins (and their paint jobs) redefined these cheeky critters. 
More beautiful modelling and paint work from Kevin. Inspirational. 
Kevin explains how too....
I always loved Phil's work. Very crisp and considered. Here is a slice of his work that includes the famous (and very expensive these days) limited edition amazon, early undead, fimirs, Jez Goodwin's manticore and that beautiful one piece Zoat with the staff. Always wanted one of those. 
More from Phil; brilliant ogres, chaos sorcerers and Judge Dread models. 
This is a very useful guide to consider if you are going for old school stylings in your paintwork.  I found this particularly useful when I started painting in an old school style a couple of years ago.
Brilliant painting from Aly here. Just look at that white fleshed troll! Skrag the Slaughterer was clearly a very popular model among painters during the mid 80s. 
Blanche inspired banners and detailing here. Again, a mix of manufacturers and some conversion work. I've just won the red chaos warrior with the shield above Fig.14 for 99p on eBay. I think I might have ago at copying Morrison's design one day. 
How Aly does it...
Plenty of inspiration here for you. Hopefully, some of you will find some answers about how best approach a miniature if you want to create a retro look.

Any comments?



  1. Truly inspirational indeed! I'm enjoying these articles beyond I can easily explain, thank you!

  2. would be beyond awesome if interviews could be done with these guys again. and revisiting their painting techniques. I'd have tons of questions to ask these people. I really enjoyed the eavy metal artricles and techniques explained but I always wanted to know more. I really would love to see more techniques explained by Colin Dixon for example.