Thursday 29 August 2013

Oldhammer Weekend Warbands:Guide to the Battleground


Last night, I packed up many of my painted miniatures into their soft, foam travel case, got hold of my weighty rulebooks, dice and scenery and headed over to Dan's house. Our intention was to thrash out the easiest way in which to use Warhammer Third Edition to organise the Chaos Warbands Mega Battle to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Slaves to Darkness, being fought at the Foundry on Saturday. In the process, we fought a battle for the sole reason of trying to identify any problem areas that we may have when trying to run this battle with up to, and maybe exceeding, thirty other players and their warbands. 

It quickly became apparent that such a game, using such a rule set, will have to depend on a great deal of autonomy on the behalf of the players. They are going to have to be responsible for completing shooting, magic and close combats pretty much independently with the owner of whatever particular models they are fighting, blasting or shooting. We will be there to act as guides and to adjudicate in the case of argument, but we will be little more than overlords viewing much of the action. 

As you may know, there will be a largish table on which the game will be played. On table length will be reserved for Khorne and his Nurgle allies to enter the battle. The other, yes you guessed it, will be for the exclusive use of Slannesh and his/her ally, the forces of Tzeentch. The remaining two table edges will be free for all, so if you want to enter the conflict from these spaces, that is your choice. 

Khorne and Nurgle will go first, and complete the first turn. This turn will follow the standard Third Edition Sequence as explained in the Warhammer Armies Reference section - though this was later republished in the paperback edition of WHFB3! Each phase is allotted a number, so if you are unfamiliar with the rules then please don't panic, as in this article I will go through how the game runs and hope to give you a little idea about how things will work. 

Turn Sequence 

A:Turn Start - Wizards regain power, Spell effects determined, fire and its affects and various psychology tests made. This will be overseen by Dan and myself.
B: Movement - the active side will move their units during this period, including any flying creatures, though the actual time will be limited to ensure that the game moves quickly. How long the movement phase will depend on the speed of the game and will be adjusted accordingly. Charges must also be stated here and the models moved. Any actions by the units receiving the charge, including fear tests will be carried out here. 
C: Shooting phase. Again, this will be timed if appropriate, and the Khorne and Nurgle players will get the chance to nominate units who will be shooting and who their targets are. Aerial shooting will be included. Players will be invited to sort out their own combats in an agreeable fashion.
D: Combat phase: Again, this will be left to the players to sort out, though Dan and I will be available to adjudicate. This phase will be timed and Dan and I will help organise the combat results, push backs and any additional modifiers to be included. 
G: Reserve phase - units not within 4" of friendly or enemy troops my move a second time. This will allow players to get into or out of the action quickly.
H: Magic phase- Players with magic users will need to cast their spells, deduct magic points and calculate the effects of their magic. 
I: Rallying phase- routing troops can be halted by the effective use of a leadership, or other associated test.

The turn sequence would then be over, and control of the game will move to the Slannesh and Tzeentch players, who will follow the same series of phases. 

There are an enormity of different rules at play, and to be honest, no one is going to have a good grasp of them all. Dan and I feel that common sense needs to prevail at all times when confusion arises. After all, this experience is suppose to be the exact opposite to a tournament game. This is also true of any ideas you may have that do not appear in the rule set. We are more than willing to hear any suggestions and devising rules on the spot to mutably agreeable fashion to resolve almost any conceivable situation you can think of. 


Okay, I am about to go through with you all the playtest battle that Dan and I fought to try and get to grips with the game. We created four warbands, one for each of the four powers, and spread them across the two sides (Khorne + Nurgle vs Slannesh + Tzeentch) in much the same fashion as we expect players to do. Feel free to set your models up along whichever piece of table is free. Considering that you will have three table edges to choose from, you will have plenty of options about where to start. 

The warbands were not costed. We just picked miniatures randomly, though we ensure that each warband had at least one big creature/monster. Points are irrelevant here. 

What follows is a series of photographs in which I shall try and explain what is going on and what we did. Hopefully, this may provoke a ray of light or two from those of you at home who are, perhaps anxiously, flicking through their Third Edition rulebook with trepidation!

Here we have the set up. Four warbands spread out across the four table corners. Yes, we use a very small board as we have limited space. In fact, it is the lack of space we have to play that caused us to choose to play Slaves to Darkness in the first place. Bottom left, we have the forces of Slannesh, lead by a champion, four orcs, six beastmen and a giant spider. Bottom right we have Tzeentch, the allies, with a sorcerer, six thugs, three beastmen and a troll. Top right resides Khorne, with a champion, minotaur, three beastmen, a chaos hound (Mange returns!) and six thugs. Finally, top left we have the forces of Nurgle. A sorcerer, six skeletons, four beastmen, two thugs and an ogre. 

None of the champions were armed with chaos weapons and all wizards had fireball as standard. 

Khorne and Nurgle had the first turn. Models were moved as their movement statistics, be careful though, depending on weapons and armour, there may well be modifiers to movement. Many of the beastmen were armed with light armour and shields and ended up moving only 3 and a half inches rather than the usual four. We don't consider a body of troops to be a unit, and need to follow the unit rules for manouvering, unless they have 10 models or more. We made this decision due to the nature of the warbands themselves (just a group of a few warriors) rather than a drilled army. Treating small bodies of figures as individuals also speeds up play as there is no need to worry about complex manouvering. Additionally, we decided that there need be no restriction how close one model can move to another and that units may change their formation to move between scenery. Modifiers for crossing obstacles will remain in place however

Here we have a shot of the Nurgle Warband after their first movement stage. Notice that this warband has a small number of skeletons, and it is certainly a possibility that we will see undead upon the field on Saturday. Dan and I discussed whether or not hardened Chaos Champions who prowl the chaos wastes would be scared of mobile bones, and for a while decided to remove fear as an option when dealing with champions. Later, we decided that this was un-necessary, as the CL level of the more elite champions made it practically impossible to fail a fear test anyway. So fear via undead stays in. Also worth mentioning here is line of sight. The Nurgle sorcerer at the rear of the warband is unable to use much of his magic due to the fact that his vision is obscured by his own men. If you intend to bring a magical character, think carefully about his positioning. Just after this shot was taken, Dan charged his ogre into the Slanneshi orcs, but duff dice rolling resulted in nothing of note.

Dan checks the rules once more. He loves the statistical nature of wargames rules while I am far more of s free and easy roleplayer. Basically, I make it up as I go along, Dan likes to use the rules so its fair. Bottom of the picture you can make out the Khorne minotaur, which Dan charged into the Tzeentch sorcerer. Being a champion, he stood his ground and unleashed a fireball spell, which collided with the brute beast and wounded it once. 

Rules checked, Dan moved his Khornate thugs up against the face, intending to use the cover as a defensive barrier against a possible attack from the Tzeentch beastmen, or even the troll. This is an example where modifiers come into play, and we are going to ask players to calculate these for themselves, though we will be there to adjudicate if there is a problem. With up to thirty players fighting at once, keeping tracks on everything will be impossible. Striking to hit suffers a -1 modifier if a model or unit is behind cover such as this, though when the beastmen charged the thugs, this was cancelled out for the first turn by the +1 modifier of the charge bonus. 

Once the turn was over for Khorne and Nurgle, Slannesh and Tzeentch were free to move. The the Slannesh champion, with his attendant beastmen advanced to the hedgerow, ready to advance in their next turn while the spider got ready to leap over the bushes and strike the advancing Nurgle warriors. One thing to remember, if a body of troops (whether they are considered a unit or not) is caught halfway across an obstacle, then they need to make a panic test to avoid breaking and routing. So, depending on the scenery available on the day, you may well want to time your charges well. 

Once movement was complete for the Slannesh and Tzeentch warbands, I got stuck in to some combats. Poor dice rolling from both sides resulted in very little happening on this side of the field, as the minotaur and the sorcerer traded blows. With no shooting weapons among the warbands, we ignored this phase entirely. In the picture you can see some unengaged models, these get a second chance at moving during the reserves phases later on in the turn. 

Having completed my first full turn, the attention turned back to Dan's Khorne and Nurgle worshippers. The combats continued to be dogged by poor dice rolling from the the both of us, and little happened during the close combat phases. Dan advanced his troops forwards once more during the reserve phase. It was magic that really hit the mark this time, with the Nurgle sorcerer casting fireball at the Slanneshi champion. Now, let me talk about magic. Its all about the number of magic points in Third Edition. The Nurgle sorcerer had 20 magic points to begin the game with, and most spells are automatically cast until you reach below 12 magic points, when you have to roll against your remaining points (but not below your intelligence). So, his fireball spell was automatically cast, and hit automatically too with D3 hits (he rolled 5, so produced 3 hits) with no armour save! Subsequently, the Champion of Slannesh took 3 wounds and promptly died! Now this got us talking about what players are to do if their champion perishes but they have models left on the field, well, they simply need to nominate a new, lesser champion to take over. 

My second turn, began with combat as there was little movement apart from the beastmen crossing the hedge. My troll managed to pass his stupidity test at the beginning of the turn, and I promptly charged him into the Khorne beastmen. Now being charged by such a beast is now laughing matter and Dan had to take a fear test to determine if those models would remain where they were. 

As you can see, they failed, and promptly ran from the field pursued by the gigantic green troll. Here is a good point to explain the free hack, as we understand it. When a unit breaks, the models are turned to show that they are unformed and the attacker gets a free attack with automatic hits. Once these are resolved, the models are moved at double their movement rate and the attacker has the option to pursue if they can (note, minotaurs suffer from bloodgreed and often remain munching on corpses). If the attacker has enough movement to reach the routing models, they get another free hake with automatic hits. Brutal stuff indeed! Its here, with fleeing troops that the real damage can be done! 

Here we have an overview of the battle at the end of Khorne/Nurgle's second full turn. The beastmen and thugs are still fighting over the fence on the left hand side, the Tzeentch Sorcerer struggles with the minotaur, while the Khorne champion has charged the thugs crossing the bushes (they passed their panic test so remained in place). Mange, the famous Chaos Hound, hand charged into the Slanneshi beastmen but had yet to make any real impact or suffer a wound in return. The spider had charged over the bushes and into the thugs and skeletons of Nurgle, while the ogre had managed to kill one of the the orcs.  

As the combats ground on, the minotaur fell to the hook of the minotaur, freeing up the champion to turn and engage with the Khorne leader to his left flank. 

My orcs were not so lucky, with the ogre's power (doubled with that of the Nurgle sorcerer) cutting through them in swathes. Soon, they were wiped out.

No wanting to reduce the pressure on my forces, Dan charged the Ogre straight into the rear of the spider at his next opportunity. The great arachnid  was now pretty much surrounded and struck on every side. Within a few combat rounds it was dead. With the loss of the champion, the orcs and now the spider, only the few beastmen remained of the Slannesh warband. 

The surviving Slanneshi beastmen were under attack from the chaos hound, and were steadily losing ground against the canine killer. The Tzeentch sorcerer helped reduce the pressure by fighting the Khorne champion. 

On the other side of the board, my troll had passed its stupidity test and destroyed the Khorne thugs with a devastating rear charge. Three models fell under the force of the trolls sickening vomit attack and the remaining thugs (having lost more than 25% of their strength in a single turn) ran from the field with the troll jabbering after them. This left just the Khorne champion fighting alone for the Blood God.

The author of this blog reflects for a moment over the rules. Note the enormous casualty pile! I wonder how big the pile will be on Saturday afternoon?

With Khorne and Slannesh practically destroyed, the focus of the battle shifted to Tzeentch vs Nurgle. Two hated foes clobbering each other with magic and steel. The ogre charged once again, into the Slanneshi beastmen, but again they held firm. The Tzeentch thugs closed around the Khorne champion and the forces of Nurgle advanced in force against the remaining two beastmen and the troll. It seemed certain that Dan would crush me where I stood. 

Despite losing three thugs to his blade, the Khorne champion finally fell beneath the combined assault. They barely had enough time to reform and receive the charge of the four Nurgle beastmen. 

With incredible, and seemingly exhaustive, good luck, the Slanneshi beastmen finally killed poor old Mange, and we lamented his passing. The ogre too managed to duff his attacks so, despite loosing another model in the brawl, the beastmen were still in the game. To the north, the troll begins to take apart the easy to kill skeletons, but would this destruction be over in time for the troll to gather his wits about him and deal with the remaining enemy fighters?

Then the game changed. The Tzeentch thugs were engaged with the Nurgle beastmen, when the Tzeentch sorcerer charged the beastmen in the rear. This triggered a panic test which the beastmen failed. Being so close to other Nurgle models, each group has to test for a panic test as they were so near routing troops. In sequence, they all failed and ran, including the ogre. Free hack came into force and in the resulting pursuit, the Nurgle forces were pretty much wiped out to a man. 

With only the undead uneffected by the rout, the remaining Nurgle models were cut down by the vengeful Tzeentch worshippers.

The game ended with the surviving Slannesh beastmen finishing off the Nurgle sorcerer. And the game was over, with the Changer of the Ways loosing only a single beastman in the process! I am sure that was all part of his wider cosmic plan I am sure!

Well, are you intending on testing your warband against all comers on Saturday? Do you have any questions or ideas that you feel Dan and I should think about and discuss in the two and a half hour journey to Nottingham?

If you do, of you have any other comment to make about the Realm of Chaos Slaves to Darkness game being held at the Foundry on Saturday, please comment below!


Saturday 24 August 2013

The Imperial Knight: An interview with Andy Chambers

Our latest contributor to the interview series is the one and only Andy Chambers, author extraordinaire of many a 40k rulebook and supplement, who had a influence over the game that, I suspect, a great deal of long term Warhammer 40,000 players and fans must dearly miss. He has enjoyed a varied career after his time at GW, moving to Mongoose Games for Starship Troopers and later Blizzard Entertainment, working on the StarCraft games. More recently, the American boardgames publisher, produced Dust Warfare, a game written by the great man himself. Of course, many of you will know that he still contributes to the Black Library, most recently with Path of the Renegade. 

For me, the face of Andy Chambers was the face of Warhammer 40,000 for many, many years. The distinctive hair and beard combination gracing numerable battle reports and hobby articles, when all around him began to resemble junior members of the Conservative Party. I could imagine him roaring up to work in Lenton on a huge motorbike, clicking the stand of his ride with a steel toed cowboy boot and striding through reception with the scent of oil and gasoline about him only to wade through all comers with a gretchin only army during the office campaign!

No? Just me then... 

And, as we have learnt, Andy was a member of that very early group who seemed to lurk around Asgard Miniatures in the very early '80s. It is this point that we join his story, though somehow not as I would have imagined 'when I was a yoof' as it seems Andy's young age resulted in some considerable mickey taking being flung at him. This seems hard to conceive now, as if you have any interest in the history of 40k, Andy stands as a titan. You would imagine that Mr Chambers arrived on the wargaming scene pre-formed with his mighty beard bristling and raven hued locks billowing in the rubber scented wind.

Before I hand over to Andy, can I just be the first to thank him to taking the time to dip into his memories for us and mull over the old school days. I am sure that many of you will be fascinated to hear his tale and so without any further ado I will quit typing and hand you over to a true British Gaming legend...

RoC80s: Jamie Sims mentioned that you were one of the 'Asgard Circle', was this group where you began your dark descent into fantasy gaming or were you already hooked?

AC: I was already a neophyte before I found Asgard, which is why I went looking for it in the first place, I was playing WW2 Airfix and SELWG Middle Earth rules with my mate from school from age ten or so. Me and my mate eventually went to find Asgard in its poky little shop in Nottingham's Lace Market in 1979 or 80? They were mean to us younglings, of course, so my mate never went back, but I basically never left. I was introduced to a gajillion new games and ideas through Asgard and what had been an interest fanned up into a blazing passion. I'm still in touch with many of the people from Asgard thirty-plus years later. Slim clearly remembers me at age 14 kicking him under the table for screwing me over during a game. I'm not proud of that, but fortunately he's a forgiving sort.

RoC80s: Tell us about how you first came aware of Citadel Miniatures or the early versions of Warhammer.

AC: The absolute first time would have been at a wargames show in Nottingham, it might even have been an early Salute. Anyway Citadel were there with a big demo game of first edition Warhammer including a memorable Stegosaurus with a howdah full of goblins and a hobbit being dangled in front of the confused herbivore like a carrot on a stick. I remember Rick Priestley being there running the game, even though I was not to meet him properly for many more years to come and I didn't play - just too young, too shy. Nonetheless, having been brought up on rather staid men of Gondor and Misty Mountains Orcs the exuberance and craziness evident in Warhammer was appealing.

New Arrivals: Here is how Andy Chambers arrived on the White Dwarf Scene. The beard and the amusing facial expressions would remain a part of the magazine for many, many years.
RoC80s: How did you end up being employed at Citadel/GW?

AC: That's a two-part answer because I basically worked at Citadel, left and then worked at GW later.

I first worked for Citadel as a mail order troll back in 1986 at the factory in Eastwood. I was an extra hire to help deal with the Christmas rush, Pank and Tim from Asgard were already working in mail order which is why I got the job (although the requirements weren't exactly taxing). The things I remember most about the first day was the Christmas music being blared over the tannoy and the smell of burning rubber from the vulcanising presses. Due to all that time at Asgard the burnt rubber smell made it feel like home. I quit after three months when they introduced compulsory weekend overtime.

After a few years of bumming around after that, I was nearly crippled in a bike accident and I decided I needed needed to do something constructive with myself. As it happened I'd been playing a lot of Adeptus Titanicus and buying White Dwarf to see about new stuff for it. I heard from Tim, who was now at the Studio, that the rather snacky-looking one-man Titans (Knights as they're called now) I was seeing in the stores had no rules in White Dwarf because Jervis Johnson was off on sabbatical. At this point I'd been tweaking other sets of rule for years and had written my own, dreadful set, stealing ALL the mechanics I liked from other games. So I wrote a WD article for one-man Titans, made sure to follow their format exactly by including colour text, quotes and so on, plus rules of course (they were way too powerful). I got my friend to type it up (we are pre-desktop computers in most households at this point) and submitted it. A few weeks later I was called in to see Phil Gallagher, who was studio head at the time.

RoC80s: What were your roles within Bryan Ansell's famous Design Studio? And what was it like to work there?

AC: It was certainly the most interesting place I have ever worked, and I include later iterations of the GW studio in that. When I started I shared an office with Jervis, just down the hall from Richard Halliwell and Bill King, turn the other way and you'd find Jes Goodwin and the Twins, Aly, Trish, Colin, Kev and the other designers. Upstairs were artists and paste-up (fuzzy felters), downstairs were admin and management, downstairs and over a bit were 'Eavy Metal although I'm not sure if they were called that at the start or not.

I was hired on for two weeks to 'finish off' the one-man Titans article (i.e. completely rewrite it to be Knights instead) when the Studio was still at Enfield Chambers in Nottingham city centre (not far from old Asgard). It was a strange, narrow, twisty Victorian kind of place that had been partitioned and re-partitioned into distinctly non-Euclidian geometries. After the Knights I got another article to write (Space Marine army list for Adeptus Titanicus, kinda) plus doing stats on new models and such. Jervis was already back so I was convinced I was going to get fired any day, but Si Forrest kept wanting me for more WD articles.

Eventually, I started doing photography too because the professional they had, Chris Colston, was a lovely guy but not really a gamer and we felt like we wanted to see pictures of games, even made up games, rather than just showing attractive model displays. I also did a stint helping out paste-up The Lost and The Damned. Odd jobbing, really, and doing White Dwarf articles. I was first published in WD127 (Baneblade and Ork wagon stats).

An Imperial Knight. I've got a few of these lying around somewhere.
RoC80s: How much did you contribute to the later development of Rogue Trader? Was there any overall strategy for development or did it just become the behemoth that it is through hardwork?

I started in 1990 so Rogue Trader had already been out for a couple of years at that point, army lists and additional rules were starting to agglomerate. There wasn't much overall strategy that I could see, but I was pretty junior so it's not like I was in a position to tell. Me and Jervis worked on ideas for card-based magic/psyker systems, campaigns, scenarios and battle reports that saw fruit later in the Dark Millennium and Warhammer Battle Magic card sets. Most of my time was being taken up with transitioning over to Space Marine at that point to do the supplements, and getting into Warhammer. Personally, I'd played plenty of Rogue Trader before getting into Adeptus Titanicus and honestly while I loved the concept I thought it was a bit of a glorious mess as a game, back then. Hard work, more hard work and a bit of luck was what made it a success.

RoC80s: Do you recall any cancelled projects or 'never made its' that may be of interest to readers of Realm of Chaos 80s?

Confrontation, the retweak of Bryan Ansell's Laserburn system - one of the three most overly complex tabletop games I've ever seen. It eventually saw the light of day as Necromunda in terms of background, but that was quite different in play (i.e. actually fun). Richard Halliwell's follow up for Space Hulk that was going to be the original Battlefleet Gothic but that never materialised except in the form of Space Fleet using the components. Hal also had a fantasy battle game similar in concept to the eventual Warmaster, but with quite different mechanics, I'm not sure it even had a name.

RoC80s: We have heard quite a few wild tales of life at GW over the last year, have you got any to share?

Nothing especially wild, I felt like I had my head down working too much for wildness. My raciest memory is of stepping through a door at the studio on Castle Boulevard (fantastic location, literally twenty yards from my flat on Fish Pond Drive - or Piscina if you're a 40K fan). Anyway I stepped suddenly through this door to find myself in between Bill King and Wayne England literally at the point of coming to blows over something. They're both big, big guys who are respectively a Scot and Yorkshireman so big on their testosterone and unable to back down from an affront. Never before had I understood the phrase 'you could cut the tension with a knife' so well. Out of a sense of self-preservation, being between them, I calmed them down with what I felt at the time was remarkable coolness and oratory, more likely I just gave them a suitable outlet for not having to go through with punching each other. To this day I don't know what set them off.

Oh yeah, and there was that time at the strip joint in Baltimore too, but we won't get into that.

Andy's Skaven army, published in White Dwarf 137, remains famous to this day. Here are a number of the units. Note, the wire wool smoke spurting from the fire thrower and the Jes Goodwin banners.
Andy's skaven army in battle with some Bretonnians. Remarkable difference in painting styles too, something rather refreshing to see. 
Large scale shot, notice the 2nd edition plastic horses that had just been released when this article was published.
RoC80s: Everyone remembers your third edition Skaven army, did you still have it or what became of it?

AC: I still have it in three ancient black army carry cases because I can never let anything go. It's travelled across the Altlantic with me twice and hasn't seen a battle in probably twenty years. I do still look at it occasionally though, sadly some of the thinner-ankled Clan Eshin guys are on the verge of snapping off due to degradation of the white metal with them being so old. Varnish your figures people!

RoC80s: The article is too good not to have another look at. Here it is below, missing a few pictures here and there that were difficult to scan.

RoC80s: Looking back, what are your views about the early editions of Warhammer (1-3), Rogue Trader and WFRP compared to the more recent editions?

AC: Nostalgia aside the more modern versions are superior products in pretty much every regard. I don't know WFRP very well but that's been well received in the new version by the players I do know.

And yet.

You can never beat your first time. The second generation is shinier, stronger, faster and superior in every regard save one, and it's an unfair criticism to level, but it simply can't be as original.

RoC80s: Do you have a single product or project that you feel represents your finest moment at GW? And is there anything you are responsible for that you would rather forget?

AC: Battlefleet Gothic is the project I view as my Magnum Opus at GW, because it was a complete package of art, miniatures, background and rules set in the 40K universe, but cut from wholly new cloth - except for the name which I hijacked from Hal's old project because it's a truly great name and there was already some anticipation for it. Nothing revolutionary, Necromunda had already done the same thing for example, but I felt it was also nicely done in BFG so I'm proud of the work we did there. The one's I'd like to forget are a toss-up between Titan Legions and Gorkamorka, which is a shame because there's good stuff in both and a lot of people enjoy them. I. Just. Didn't.

Andy Chambers, mid-90s by the look of the T-Shirts and the minis on the table. 

In the grim darkness of the far future, there are only... Sunglasses!

RoC80s: In your opinion, how did GW change after the buy out in December 1991?

AC: There wasn't an overnight shift, it was far more gradual and most easily measured for me by the transitions between studios. Enfield Chambers was, not to put it too finely, a bit of a madhouse but very, very creative. 

It was the Realm of Chaos. 

Castle Boulevard was bigger, more professional and very dynamic, but attention was exclusively focussed on the big selling systems and races as the relationship with the stores became ever more apparent and important. We did all our best work there, in my opinion. 

It was the Great Crusade. 

Finally, the studio moved to the Lenton Lane site to integrate more fully with manufacturing, retail, and administration divisions. Procedure and paperwork became paramount, long range plans and campaigns were hatched, meetings were held about meetings, huge victories were won, but all under a weight of existential dullness. 

We had arrived at the Age of the Imperium.

Oldhammer Weekend: Slaves to Darkness Warbands: Mustering your Army Roster

With barely a week to go until the Oldhammer Weekender at the Foundry, I have started to organise quite how Dan and I are going to run a massive clash of over thirty warbands during the day. Its quite a task, and I will be posting my thoughts on the matter over the next few days.

Tonight's post is about how we can best go about creating our, dare I say it, armylists for our warbands. In truth, we don't need armylists. We need army rosters. These are less about points management and are more about game management, creating a handy sheet or two with all the information you require (or the GMs may require) to play. Luckily, suitable sheets were produced for The Lost and the Damned and I include them here for use. Of course, if you have your own system of organising your warband, feel free to use them. These sheets are merely a suggestion and not a prequisite.

So, to start us off. The army roster for your Chaos Champion complete with a section to record those gifts, attributes and magic spells.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

No Ventilation: An Interview with Jamie Sims

The Oldhammer Community is an eclectic bunch of characters. As a growing movement, new members crop up almost daily, from all walks of life and nationalities. This is one of the community's great strengths. Occasionally, you meet someone who has an interesting tale to tell and it's a real joy letting them tell it.

One of these people is Jamie Sims.

Initially, we came in contact through his incredible scenery. Jamie wanted to showcase his remarkable work at the Foundry during the Oldhammer weekend. Sadly, a range of factors made this ultimately impossible but I felt his work needed to be seen by enthusiasts of fantasy modelling and gaming, as they were some of the very best I had ever had the pleasure to see. Additionally, Jamie pointed out that he work for Asgard Miniatures in the early days and was witness to a great number of things that will be of considerable interest to the readers of this blog.

RoC80s: Everyone seems to have a different story about how they connected with fantasy gaming. So what's yours?

JS: OK, this is a long story. I got into Dungeons and Dragons very early in its development, in about 1978 to '79. Because of this, I found out about Asgard miniatures who, at the time, were in Commerce Square in the Lace Market, Nottingham. This was in 1981. I got offered a job packing before moving on to casting miniatures. This was at the time when Citadel hadn't even merged with GW. A young John Blanche used to come into our shop to buy our minis, go away and paint them and then come back to sell them back to us for display. It was also the time when an even younger Jes Goodwin came to Asgard to try and start his career off as a sculptor. I can proudly say I saw the first mini he ever made. The boss took it, snapped off two limbs saying; 'this wont cast , and neither will this'. Then handed it back to and understandably crestfallen Jes. It's a credit to the man that he didn't give up right then and there, I've always thought. I've been into the hobby ever since. I've had illustrations in White Dwarf, and in a couple of rulebooks. Additionally, I have made terrain for Realms of Chaos and worked on the 'Eavy Metal team. I've also worked for Target Games, Fantasy Flight, Testors, Paiso + others, and various Computer Games companies. And on a few TV and Movie projects and all this experience has informed how I make terrain and other modelling projects.

Some of Jamie's work. Such a precise level of detail and believability. Playing on models like this is more akin to working with film sets is it not?
With a multi-level approach often evident in his work, a clever GM could concoct a plethora of interesting little narratives and special rules out of his work. 
The skill makes you look at your fragile attempts at scenery and weep bitter tears of envy, doesn't it?
Loads to be inspired by here/ Note the little details of the windows and, presumably, a drain opening.
RoC80s: What got you started building scenery?

JS: At school we did a thing called the English Speaking Board examination (I know its like something from a Victorian novel, but then I am ancient!) and we had to produce a demonstration, which could be anything at all, and speak about it. I had been for some time making Airfix model planes and building little dioramas for them, using chicken wire and papier mache. This was my first foray into modelling scenery, around 1978. Skip forward a few years to when I discovered Asgard Miniatures, and gamers were all playing Bryan Ansell's western gunfight rules. They had a church with a roof that came off, and all detailed inside and many other buildings. I was hooked instantly! I proceeded to make many big clumsy versions myself from ply wood, coated with emulsion and sand in my mother's garage. The next time was when the GW Design Studio was in Enfield Chambers in the centre of Nottingham City. John Blanche asked me to make some chaos terrain for the upcoming RoC publication. Some years later I started playing 40k with Andy Chambers who I had known from the Asgard days. This is when I actually started making terrain in earnest. In fact some of the pieces I made, being two tier, were what prompted Andy to write the first City Fight expansion rules. A picture of one of my pieces is on the back cover I believe. Anyway the real break through came much later. I was staying with George RR Martin, (Game of Thrones author), at his house in New Mexico. I was making him some scenery pieces to photograph his minis against. I was using my staple polystyrene shaped and coated in sand and paint when his wife Parris, handed me some foam board and said; 'have you tried this?' After that things went stellar. Its such a fantastic medium!

A chaos tree anyone?
RoC80s: Can you tell us how long it takes to complete a project or how much a piece may cost?

JS: The pieces take different amounts of time according to how large they are, if they have interiors or water sections etc. So it’s difficult to say. The Pyramid took about a month, but that’s full time. Also, I like to keep improving things. Generally they’re produced for games. So getting them to a functional state is the first concern. Then later they develop and finesse. For example, I’m midway through re-roofing a lot of the buildings now, with a much better tile effect.

RoC80s: Are the models we can see professional commissions or personal projects?

JS: All of these were produced for personal gaming. However I’m a maker by profession. I produce stage props, sculpture, models, illustrations, simple animations, diagrams, paintings, graphic line work etc. I have at present got two commissions for historically correct models of existing churches on my table. And yes, I take commissions, really for anything.

RoC80s: So do you have a favourite terrain piece?

JS: Ha! Favourite…. Mmm that’s tricky. They all hold different memories. I have difficulty with favourites. I mean if I named one, it might hurt the feelings of the other models…

RoC80s: So if I wanted to commission you to produce scenery, how would I go about it and how much would it cost?

JS: Contact me at my email address: The price of a commission is completely dependent on the complexity of the piece or pieces the client is after... I would typically sit down and discuss with a client what they wanted and what budget they had, to arrive at a price that suited us both.

The Temple. One of Jamie's largest commissions. 
The Temple. It has a fully detailed interior, complete with skeletons!
Let this image give you some idea of the SCALE of Jamie's work!
RoC80s: You worked for Asgard Miniatures back in the early 1980s. What can you recall about the company?

Asgard in the early '80’s was Myself (the caster) Paul Sulley (the manager), Garry-Slim- Parsons (the mould maker) and Nick Bibby (the sculptor, par excellence) who worked from his flat. The rest of us were in a two room property in the Lace Market. This was the early '80’s and the Lace Market was very run down. These days, people would have snapped those properties up and renovated them as they were period pieces, stunning really. But back then, no one wanted them. So the rents were very cheap but we had NO amenities. No running water, no washing facilities. Not even a toilet! It was a different world. We all happily ate our lunches in a room with a lead melting pot. No ventilation. Absolutely no health and safety. It hadn’t been invented then!! We did a lot of mail order, to the States as well, and we used to import the first and subsequent Ral Partha miniatures. They were just incredible models. And what we didn’t know then, was that Tom Meier made those early sculpts aged just 16 ! Now that’s talent. The way it was run was that Paul made all the decisions, mostly without consulting his partners (Nick and Slim). The biggest example of this was the turning down of an offer of a merger with Citadel. That turned out to be the death knell of the company in my opinion. Asgard had the sculptors and a lot of really good ideas first. And what sculptors too! Nick Bibby and Jes Goodwin for goodness sake! The best in the business by a long, long way, this side of the pond at least. But Citadel had the manufacturing setup. And of course the later merger with GW. Yes that was, I believe, what they call a 'fatal' business decision. Asgard had had almost like a cult following then. There was a core of people that basically spent all their free time there. Amongst them some pretty big talents and names to be; John Blanche, Andy Chambers, Jes Goodwin, Nick Bibby, Tim Pollard, Slim, Asgard Chris, Andy Minor, Pank, Che and myself. It was a whirlwind time for me, being so young. And my life was undergoing huge changes. Although not the career move of the century at £30 a week I'm really glad I was there right at the start of the scene/hobby or whatever you want to call it. Back then it was really underground. No one in the mainstream knew what Dungeons and Dragons was. And it felt great to be a part of this fantastical other world, away from the dull reality of the time.

RoC80s: I don't really have a clue how miniatures were cast back then. Could you explain the process?

JS: Well I didn’t cast for Citadel, only Asgard. There was a melting pot, large ingots of lead, which everyone helped carry in from the lorry when it was delivered. A table covered in tiny fragments of vulcanizing rubber, lots of rubber moulds, lead bits all over, sprue, flashing and other casting detritus. Chip wrappers, coke cans, sandwich wrappers, cigarettes, butts and ash. And your trusty ladle. I'd switch the melting pot on, and once heated, take an ingot of lead, place it long ways up in the bowl, support it until it started to soften and melt, then lower it further in. If you just left it, it would drop suddenly and splash. If you daydreamed whilst supporting it, the same thing. At the time I was 16 and living in the flat below Nick Bibby in Carrington. I was paid the princely sum of £30 a week. One morning there was no food. Except a bottle of vodka. Being 16 I thought I’d try and make it through work on just that. I nodded off while melting two bars in at once. I got sent home that day. It was an early lesson in life. Anyway, the process was that you opened the centrifugal casting machine lid, put in a mould, closed the lid, started the machine, took a scoop of molten lead with your trusty ladle, and poured it in (in as even a flow as possible) into the mould through a hole in the centre of the lid. If you poured too fast it would clog, too slow and it didn’t fill the mould.Then you put your ladle down, stopped the machine, opened it, took out the mould and placed it on the table. Your work flow would be to pour, turn and empty the previous mould, turn back, stop the machine and take out the full mould, replace it with an empty. And start again. This was done in the the back room. I was the only caster, Slim was opposite me making moulds (with a very high degree of skill I might add) . And Paul would biuble in and out from the front room (shop with no counter) doing important stuff no one understood.

An example of one of John Blanche's Asgard Miniatures. Isn't that the greatest painted shield you have very seen? And I believe he used oils to do these! Photographed by Steve Casey.
More of John Blanche's Asgard Stuff. You can see these models, and a huge range of other Asgard stuff by John Blanche, on Steve Casey's blog, Eldritch Epistles
RoC80s: And what about the moulds themselves? How were they constructed?

JS: In a vulcanising press. Slim hand cut them first, laid in locating pins, chalked the whole thing, then it went into the vulcanising press. (Which was in the same room as the casting machine and melting pot. His skill at cutting in the shapes and also cutting air runs to the edge of the mould from the mini... awesome.Y ou know, he was having to guage , by eye and experience and just 'cleverness'; where the lead will need help flowing to. Then lines were cut by hand to allow release. Not too thick , or thin... This was highly skilled work. You can imagine, melting rubber, lead, fag smoke, no ventillation. Really even the windows were too small and old to open.... Health and safety? ha ha ! I'm still here! No one thought about health and safety.It just wasn't on the radar. At 14 my father died and it blew the family apart, literally. So as soon as I was 16, I left school , left home and got the job at Asgard. Left to my own devices as a kid that age however i had become practically feral within a year. And a few months after that, I started to realise I needed to go back to college. I'd always only ever been interested in art. And living in the flat below Nick Bibby I was constantly in awe of his creations. He was an extremely good painter as well as sculptor. I had my sights on art college and so I bit the bullet and went back to my mother's house and signed up for College and resat my exams. A few years later I been through the uni system. and bumped into John Blanche. He asked to see my work, and started to give me commissions here and there. The odd illustration, or a few days mini painting with the then fledgling 'Eavy metal team. And one day the terrain making for Realm of Chaos. I have to say those pieces I did were right at the start of my career and although great experience... they are not my best work shall we say.

Some of Blanche's 'crab claw' conversions.
RoC80s: So what of the wild tales? Readers of this blog seem never to be sated on amusing anecdotes? All these young (ish) guys working in such conditions all day must have resulted in a prank or two?

JS: One day we were packing a big order for the States. Paul was very excited. It was a big deal. We were all helping; as then, you put the minis in a little clear bag, and stapled a label on, having already hand written the code on said label. It took a while. Anyway, Slim was eating a bacon sandwich and such was the level of frenzy to get the order packed and off however; he forgot to finish it! In fact he’d put it into one of the half full boxes and someone else had put more minis in top of it. In those days it took a up to a month to get a package like this to its destination in America.You can imagine what it was like when it got there. The recipients actually took it in very good humour, considering how much it must have smelt by then! That same order also got some surprise 'dungeon debris' packs. Being young and stupid we thought it would be very funny to scoop up dust, fag ends and bits of lead, bag and label them as Dungeon Debris, with their own code. Amazingly, the recipients got the joke! Even commenting on it in a later missive. I can’t remember which company it was but they had a sense of humour. Now comes the Blanche ‘ Full -Liche wand Phallused- cloaked and cowled barbarian’ story! When Nick made the 28mm Conan cover inspired Barbarian, it was simply ‘The best 28mm mini made, to date, in England’. John Blanche used to come in regularly, buy minis or get given them in return for painted returns. John’s stuff was just so far ahead of anyone else it was dreamy to see it. The things he’d do.. conversions before anyone was doing that. And such amazing imagination. And as for the actual painting…. John invented wash and dry brush. Say no more. His ability was, within its field; nothing short of visionary. And he loved the barbarian. We used to joke ‘John bases everything on the Barbarian!’ The amount of wonderful things he did with that one mini. Also in Asgard's ranges, was a mini of a Liche. The Dungeons and Dragons module; Tomb of Horrors demanded that all self respecting D&D mini companies had a liche. So Nick made one, clutching an extremely phallic wand. I think it was meant to be a snake's head wand, (or maybe Nick was just bored?). Well John took a barbarian, added a cloak and cowl wrapped almost all the way around the figure, but just slightly open at the front. Exposing the new, upward jutting, ‘appendage’ the lucky barbarian had gained. It was laugh out loud funny but also, so well done, it was excellent. Subtle yet shocking. And painted perfectly. Really it was another sign of the times. And a testament to how John approached things as an artist. But can you imagine it now? 

In a shop display cabinet? 

You’d get lynched!!
And so ends another old school interview. I am sure that you all will agree that we need to thank Jamie for giving up his time to talk to us and share his wonderful models and memories. If you are interested in seeing more of his work, just follow the link below to his portfolio and feast your eyes on his output.
And his email address for commissions is...


Tuesday 13 August 2013

Master Crafted: An Interview with Guy Carpenter

Yesterday, I published a series of photographs belonging to Guy Carpenter and they have been very well received by you, the readers. As promised, today's post will be an interview with the photographer himself. As you've already got to know Guy a little, I don't really think he needs a long rambling introduction. The quality of his models speaks for itself. But he has quite a tale to tell, so I'll hand over to him and we can delve back into the darkness of the later 1980s. When men were men, and they wore quite worryingly bright shorts!

RoC80s: 'How you got started?' has become the traditional opening question for these interviews. What is the story behind your involvement in fantasy and science-fiction gaming?

GC: I grew up playing chess. We also had a “Battle of Waterloo” set at home but I rarely had anyone to play against except at school. My wargaming introduction was a sea battle game called “Trafalgar”, which was produced in 1978 along with miniature plastic frigates & ships of the line. I ended up getting another set so we could fight larger battles. My first GW game was “Battlecars” for the ZX Spectrum in 1983, I loved the idea of weaponising vehicles and then gaming with them as a re-enactment of “Mad Max 2”.  I have to say that it was not that great as a computer game with its top-down view, 4-bit graphics and rubber keyboard controls. Strategy computer gaming really became exciting when “Carrier Command” & “Sid Meir's Civilisation” appeared for the Commodore Amiga,with its keyboard & mouse controls, which was cutting edge gaming tech in 1987!
Ah, the days of the C64 and the ZX Speccy! 
During this time I was working at Beatties model shop in Kingston, I was asked to train-up a new assistant, Simon Tift, who had recently finished college and needed a job. He came from Nottingham and knew the local game store manager who was working at the Eastwood sales dept. At the time, Beatties sold White Dwarf and had a spinner display for the miniatures, so Simon was a good choice and was familiar with what we were selling, though our wages at the time were so bad we ended sharing a two room bedsit that hosted many a night of painting and gaming sessions. We stocked the Judge Dredd Roleplaying Game , Chainsaw Warrior and Rogue Trooper but it was the release of Rogue Trader that really wet our brushes! Simon and I attended the release at the Royal Horticultural Halls Games Day in 1987.  Our copies of Rogue Trader were signed by the artists and designers of the studio, I even managed to get Ian Livingstone to sign it! The RTB01 boxed set of Space marines was purchased and was a winner from the start with it’s missile launcher, but the metal minis that followed lead to a race of collecting everything released and having 50% staff discount at Beatties we actually doubled the shop order to compensate for our own collections! Needless to say that with our own painted figs on display and thorough product knowledge we sold a large amount of stock much to the surprise of the local independent games shop and our shop manager. 

These two models were some of the first that Guy ever painted.
Being in constant communication with Eastwood, Simon was offered an assistant manager position at the soon to be opened “Plaza” store in Oxford Street, London due to the level of the sales we had done, so we both left Beatties; Simon went to Plaza and I went to RACAL to work on MOD projects. Six months later, I was offered a Saturday job by Simon as they were short on staff, my enthusiastic customer chat and successful sales landed me a position as a manager of the next new store in Brighton.I then received a letter from the studio offering me a position as a studio figure painter on the back my Golden Demon  entries.... one of those life-choice moments the Red Pill or the Blue Pill? Studio or Retail? As a newly enlisted full time employee I trekked up to Eastwood to learn all aspects of the company and prepare the stock for the new shop. My first day was spent in the sales office, I was given a list of trade accounts to work my way through, when I’d finished the list I found I’d set a record for the most amount sold in one day. Next door to the sales office was the factory and mail-order, I had never before seen how the minis were made but now had the chance to cast some myself. The process was simple to do but hard to master wearing the heavy duty gloves and apron to protect you against splashing molten lead, it was hot and heavy work. The danger of factory work was highlighted when a few months earlier the factory was evacuated due to the Casting areas extraction unit was mistakenly turned from “Suck” to “Blow” and flooded the building with toxic production fumes! Adjacent to the factory was a porta-cabin, it was here that the new plastic kits were being developed. Adeptus Titanicus introduced “Epic” scale to 40k, the project in hand was test moulding a marine in plastic rather than in metal, and the test result was impressive and faster, I was allowed to cast/inject a few for myself with a unique choice of white, yellow & clear plastic.

Here we have one of the original test Epic space marines next to a FW tank for scale. I loved Space Marine when it was released and played my copy to death. 
Among Guy's collection are some lovely in house specials for staff, like this mug produced for the release of Waaaagh the Orks.
After a week in Eastwood, I finally got to work at the studio in “Upper Pavement”. Phil Lewis taught me miniature photography and set me up with Mike McVey for a spot of painting, I managed to eventually finish the first metal epic Shadowsword for WD, not one of my best paint jobs but with a little tuition I blagged it and picked up a few pointers for improvement along the way.

RoC80s: So you were heavily involved in the Retail side of GW but had quite a close acquaintance with the Design Studio? Could you explain the kind of projects you became involved in?

GC: I won my first Golden Demon award in 1988, it was a small hall, lots of old school gamers/painters; a geekfest really! In 1989, I didn't enter, although my Landraider conversion would have been a real winner had I been able to. Tony Cottrell and myself hosted a 40k plastic conversion table at Derby, I do have some rather embarrassing photos of mullets that Tony and myself sported. My Contributions to publications were graphic design, photography and or figures/models for; White Dwarf issues 106 and 120, Fantasy Miniatures 1,2 & 4,40k(3rd edition) & associated codexes, Battle Fleet Gothic, Mordheim, Vampire Counts, Forgeworld, Imperial Armour Aeronautica Imperialis, 40k wiki and in Games Workshop Brighton, the first trial of gaming nights in store (This first games night we held in Brighton (c1989) was the start of a trial that is still used in all GW shops today!) Fifteen would-be gamers turned up, old and young alike and everyone wanted to play, most only had a few figures,we had stats but no official army lists and a very small wall paper pasting table as our gaming area. Not wanting to disappoint anyone I suggested that the battlefield was beneath our feet, we cleared part of the shop floor and deployed everyone’s troops equally on either side, organised mayhem ensued as the now battle-frenzied would-be Generals advanced to the centre of the shop!(Looking back I would say this was a very early “Apocalypse” battle). Two hours later after many a die roll and chart referencing, the battle was finally over, the buzz of that first evening was infectious and as a result the shop grew a very dedicated painter/player base, although after the first games evening we did scale down the size of the battles once everyone got the basics of the game from that first night. We had our figure cabinet in the shop window, it was great way of attracting passing shoppers in Brighton’s Lanes, having a Golden Demon entry in the shop just created even further interest, it also sold lots of Rhino kits, but it was the admiration and emulation that inspired many to ask..
“I’ve painted this, what do you think?”

One of Guy's old school Golden Demon entries.

Book, poster and, of course, a trophy from the 1988 Golden Demon awards.
I could see that there was room for improvement and asked if I could re-paint his mini as I would do, the lad agreed and so I started demonstrating the art of dry-brushing, highlighting and inking. It was that kind of “Eureka” moment, but not really knowing what would follow until the lad in question returned the following week with some great looking figures, he was so proud and elated of his achievement that he went on to teach other kids in the shop. The painting demos were an instant success and were duly rolled out across the rest of retail. It was one thing to look at WD with all of its guides and pictures, but watching it in action gave so much confidence to new painters (thanks to the tips I picked up at the studio, cheers lads). I first met John Stallard (recently promoted to the head of retail) at GW Plaza(1988), a thoroughly pleasant chap who radiated a hobby enthusiasm with a sincere boyish charm (just like the rest of us!), seeing how well with what I had done with my first managerial position in Brighton asked “ Looks great, any problems?” Brighton being a very small shop had NO space for display as we were still stocking TSR’s D&D, boxes and shrink wrapped additions were tatty, leftovers from the Sheffield store, I replied..

“We would be better off concentrating on our own products, we are after all a “Games Workshop”.

Over the following year TSR products were slowly phased out of stock. SPACE HULK. This was by far the easiest & simplest game to sell in store. Simple game mechanics, great miniatures (terminator metal box set as an extra sale!) and all in one box, probably the best selling game aside to Talisman that GW ever did. In store demos of a single mission virtually guaranteed a sale on a regular basis, of course backed up with paint and extras mantra instilled to us retail types. I should’ve got a freaking medal for the amount I sold! 

Gobbligook in space marine armour. A sketch from BiL Sedgwick.

RoC80s: One thing that fascinates enthusiasts of this period of British gaming, are the cancelled projects or super rare items that never really made it into the mainstream. Where you aware of anything during your time at GW that may be of interest to us?

GC: When Epic was released I did a scaled up version in plasticard of the Shadowsword in scale with Rogue Trader, which was never published, until now!

RoC80s: Modern GW suffers a great deal of bashing over its packaging and pricing. How were things done back in the 1980s?

"Games Workshop shops kept our models unpackaged as loose castings, either on or behind their counter, in sets of tiny plastic drawers. This did not encourage purchase. The GW shops sold very few toy soldiers.We supplied independent shops with those wire racks that we used to have. They had hooks that carded bags containing our models dangled down from. Later we went over to blister packs. The same blister packs that Foundry use now. The independent shops cheerfully sold plenty of our toy soldiers. In the end, a party of Citadel staff went into the Sheffield Games Workshop, took away the awful tiny plastic drawers and hung our racks of wire hooks and dangling toy soldiers up on their walls. Sheffield started selling loads more Citadel: I think the sales went up by a factor of six or seven on the next Saturday. Then the other Games Workshop shops were supplied with racks and dangling toy soldiers too.

This brought in useful amounts of cash to go towards our new projects."

Bryan Ansell quoted in 'The Mighty Avenger: An interview with Bryan Ansell

GC: This was was a very clever and profitable direction Bryan took, but it did have some drawbacks. The initial release of WH40k miniatures in blisters consisted of five minis for £2.50 (the production and distribution price equated out at 48p per blister so making a healthy mark-up of over 200% for GW! This was great value but at a cost. There were essentially two problems we had to deal with. 1) The weight of the figures regularly split open the plastic blister packs in transit. (this was later addressed by packaging heavier models in the rigid plastic slide-open boxes, the Epic scale Hellbore was one I fondly remembered), the wastage was easily 2-4 blisters per box of 10, and the shop “Bitz Box” was never short on spare parts. 2) Demand was still so high that the Eastwood factory had trouble keeping up with production. As an example, a Terminator Army was not really an army but a collection of the strongest troops available, everyone wanted to field them but they cost the same amount in sterling as any other figure. So quality of troop choice eventually dictated cost and resulted in a reduction in the weight of the contents to three figs so the blisters didn't split, increase the price so it made it more of a considered purchase (£2.99), increase the price for characters for the armies to reflect the points cost in the game. A business decision that “balked” gamers & figure collectors alike without them understanding the  reasoning behind it.

A space Slann? How much would this be worth on the collectors market?
RoC80s: What about your achievements later on in life? You were very involved in the early evolution of Forgeworld and entered the Golden Demons a number of times in the early 2000s with memorable results. Any stories to share?

GC: While working for GW my hobby was work, so in the end was not really a hobby but an extension of a daily grind of a love lost, I was burnt out and left GW that at the time was coupled with the loss of my two year old daughter. The following year, from 1992 onwards, I took self imposed/unofficial sabbatical and studied for and passed a BA Hons in Graphic Design (1994-98) Upon graduation I re-joined GW to work in the studio on Mordheim & Battle fleet Gothic, banging out diagrams & photos for the publication. Andy Chambers hosted a department demo game of BFG to give us a flavour of the system, much to my surprise I won the game on the last turn by destroying Andy’s Planet killer. But GW was not the same after Bryan left, the essence of the original company had gone and was replaced by the corporate model that presides to this day, and one that I helped to promote. I once again left GW, though not through choice.  I did however forge some great friendships with some of the finest sculptors & figure painters GW had to offer that to this day I still chat and game with. Strangely enough, my love of WW2 models ignited a re-emergence and invigorated a contract with my old friend Tony Cottrell at Forge world. I took their excellent new range (c2000) of resin kits to heart and did my upmost to paint & promote the range into GW’s Golden Demon. Three Golden Demon trophies later for 40k vehicles 2000, 2001 & 2002 I hung up my air brush for any further GW/Forgeworld entries and commissions. Getting older makes you reflect on time spent, I painted a shed-load of stuff for everyone except myself. I now occasionally paint commissions for private collectors if timescale and price are agreeable. Current painting projects done or in the process include: Studio scale X-Wing (Private commission) Studio scale resin kit of the Jawas Sand crawler (personal model) Two complete painted sets of “Mighty Empires” counters. Imperial Guard Catachan Army incorporating my original old metal, new figs & flyers. Nautilus Submarine (20k leagues under the sea) Pegasus models. Kraken Sea Monster (Reaper Minis) 1/40 scale U-97 rc (work in progress) Other design & models include work for: “Empire of the Sun” (Spielberg) Airfix Hadley Page 0-400, this was shot with Christian Bale running along with the plane on fire that I built, this was a two second shot in the movie as burning plastic tends to give off toxic fumes and drips molten airplane over the bearer. Thames Television (Carlton TV) Concept design for a speedboat livery, Hard landscaping garden design Graphics for the Army & Royal Navy. I recently finished Closed Beta testing for World of Warplanes. Oh, and I currently run a print production department for a large pharmaceutical company.

Guy's 'Ops Room'. You jealous?
One of Guy's later Forgework tanks.

A big thanks to Guy for doing this and sharing his memories, photographs and miniatures and models.

Go on.

Be inspired!