Sunday 31 August 2014

On the Boil: Emails, Gifts and Great Links

The summer is nearly over and the stark reality of having to return to work looms large. Actually, I have already been into school to work with my colleagues on our classroom as well as sorting out a few details with the other teacher, Catherine, who I share a Year 2 class with. I also teach a day in Year 5 and a day in Year 6, and I was pleased to be reminded that most of these children will be away on the School Journey for the first week or so at school, leaving the remaining children with a project to complete. The school has chosen Australia as a topic and after the Site Manager scavenged some 44 high quality tiles from the skip I decided on teaching the children to create aboriginal style artworks on them. 

What that and a two week mini project with the Year 2s about the dinosaurs I can imagine myself being pretty busy in the coming weeks. You may have noticed a sharp increase in the amounts of posts I am putting out (but perhaps not in actual quality (: ) as the holidays provide plenty of time. Sadly, things will slown down from here but I will try and blog at least a couple of times a week. 

Something else that I often cannot find time to do, largely because I check them just before big, is respond to the many emails that I receive from you readers. I read them all, but sometimes struggle to respond to you all, so I have decided to do an irregular posting of the best of my emails in an attempt to answer you personally, and to share many of the stories that can past on to me. 

I also hope to use the opportunity to share the other bits and bobs of Realm of Chaos 80s news too, that would be otherwise too small to share in a post of their own. 

Long term students of White Dwarf may also recognise the title of this post and I hope it amuses you!

Right, to the emails first!

Dear Orlygg - 

Just a little while ago, I read on Realms of Chaos 80s that you would consider reviewing new Oldhammer blogs. I'd be very happy if you'd take a look at my new site -- it is:

Any feedback that you have would be much appreciated - I'm pretty new to the miniature blogging business and am still figuring a lot of things out (hence the recent posts on miniature photography). I'm just about to start a series about my Oldhammer orc army.

Incidentally, I wanted to thank your for your site. It's a real service to the hobby. It's especially true for all the interviews you've done with the greats from Citadel's past. It's a true oral history of the hobby. As someone who lives outside of Britain and doesn't get a chance to meet any of these guys at conventions, it's a real pleasure to get these insights and memories.


Thank you Matthew for those kind words of support and I am glad you enjoyed the interviews I have done. I am just in the process of completing a new one with Oldhammer favourite, Tony Yates, who has a collection of models to rival Bryan's, with many of them originals that he has made himself. So look out for that in the coming days! I would also love to interview Bob Naismith and Nigel Stillman, so if anyone knows of their contact details please do send them on to me! 

Reading through your blog it seems to me that you don't really need any help at all. You have a great mix of factual posts and painted material. And that painted material is excellent, and your minor conversions really bring the word of Third Edition to life! I also enjoyed reading the theory behind your approach to painting and its clear that you put a great deal more effort into 'thinking' about the miniatures you paint than I do! 

I am sure that the two teaser pictures I have posted up as headers to this letters will draw plenty of new followers towards your blog. All that is left to be said is 'keep up the good work' and I look forwards to reading your next installments. 

Hi there,

Its a lovely wet bank holiday here in London, and I thought I would send an email to thank you for all the hard work that has clearly been put into your fantastic website - what a great source of information and nostalgia! The interviews with the old GW guys are great.

I got into 40k (mainly painting the miniatures) as an 11 year old in about 1994 (eg the period where everything seemed constantly in transition with all the mixed metal/plastic figures, and barely any variation in poses). An older cousin gave me his copy of Rogue Trader - as well as a few WD's from about 1991 which I have kept ever since, was at the time blown away by it. Despite seeming a world away in style by that time it was of course far more "grown up" and sci fi. Reading it kind of made the current stuff feel instantly far too serious yet also rather childish and I lost interest completely after a couple years. 

I picked up the book again about a year back and thought it would be a lot of fun to start a little collection again only this time with all the models that back in the day were already discontinued. Your site, and a lot of the sites linked from it have been invaluable in inspiring getting back into painting, It had not occurred to me that there would be such a wealth of interest in the old school stuff out there.  

Have built up a decent amount of old school marines, love the original dreadnought model. Perhaps they can be played somewhere one day If I can get my head round the rules again!  Painted them in a (I think?) suitably old fashioned comic bookish style :) Used a mix of the old hexagonal pot citadel found in the loft, as well as some new Coat d'Arms paints which I did not know were available until I read your blog. 
Again, thank you for all the effort put into the site - it is excellent.

All the best


Owen, I think your story is a similar one to many. A brief, candlelight bright period of youthful interest followed by a shift of interests to beers and girls. Once sanity returns, the old interests come creeping back and suddenly you are spending hundreds of pounds a month on eBay on little lead men. You are also right about many people not knowing about the interest in old school Citadel stuff, in fact all of us can probably remember asking the question 'am I the only one left who likes this stuff?'. Having had a hand in the building of the Oldhammer Community I often wonder what it must feel like to spend years in the wilderness collecting and enjoying old school Citadel stuff, only to discover Oldhammer for the first time. Hopefully, the feeling is akin to walking into the fantasy shops of yore back in the 1980s! 

I am also glad you have found out about the Coat d'Arms range from Black Hat miniatures. I use these paints quite often and always spend some time at Salute chasing up the colours I need. I can also recommend the Foundry paint system too, so if your are after a new colour I would suggest trying out their range too! 

Hello Orlygg,

I hope you don’t mind me using your ‘Do you recognize this clock’ mail to contact you. First off thanks for your website and all the obvious love and hard work poured into it. I love reading up on all the old memories and even bought a new Man Mangler to replace the one I sold off years ago, just might turn into another ‘Olderhammer’ person (as soon as I find the time). Also a million thanks for the post showing the original miniatures in Bryan Ansell’s house. That post was just – for lack of a better description – an epic walk through nostalgia.

Anyway, the reason I contact you is your post on the Eldar concept artwork. Your scans are rather bad and I have the issue on the shelf (WD124/April 1990). Since these drawings managed to inspire a lifelong Eldar obsession in me, I thought it might be nice to get you some better scans. Attached are small versions of the scans, you can get a zip-file with the large versions from my Dropbox here: I hope you enjoy this and once again thanks for your website (and sorry for potentially abusing the mail-address mentioned on it).

Best regards,

Merijn Gelens

Thank you so much for the much better scans of these lovely pages. I have shared them here so fans can have a better look and I will change the images on my post shortly. I am glad that you enjoyed the trip through Stoke Hall, and I can tell you that there was an deep sense of awe in all of the Oldhammerers who got the chance to do so. I can say, that the photographs you saw are only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to Bryan's collection. Some of the key pieces have been catalogued by Steve Casey over on Eldritch Epistles and his site is well worth a visit if you haven't already. I am sure there will be plenty more of this collection to admire in the coming years. 


Just wanted to drop you a message of congrats on your blog anniversary.  I started collecting in about 1986, and although I see myself as a reasonably accomplished painter (not quite at your levels, but not terrible either), and also am an awful self-motivator.  Many ideas running through my head for my several thousand models, but never getting around to any of them.

Then, I stumbled onto the Oldhammer Forum, and soon after, your blog.  Since then, I've cataloged my 3rd Edition Chaos stuff (for insurance purposes), and cleaned up/based about 30 of them, ready for priming.  Momentum is building.  The sheer number of models you've painted in 3 years is fantastic and I've realized that I only need to finish a model a week to get a good start on a solid army.

On the topic of Chaos, do you have any specific blog pages you could point me to that would have better pictures of a couple of the models that you show on your shelf?  Namely your Skrag, and the Nurgle Champ called Voight.  I am looking to paint my warriors in plain silver armor, with some chequerboard patterns, and only the Champs being in God colors.  If you have any other models done this way, I would be interested in them also.



Okay Colin, I have selected four models from my collection that seem to fit your criteria, including Skrag and Voight. Its very tempting to just paint a model silver, wash over with black and then drybrush over the top with a lighter silver, but then I haven't really got a good result out of this method. I tend to darken my base down with black and coat the entire model with this, and then highlight the armour up again in much the same way as I do with other colours of armour. I always save by sharpest silver for painting the extreme edges of the armour plate.

I have also experimented with glaze washes over the top of painted armour. Blue and green inks if suitably watered down can result in some great finishes - in fact now that I am thinking about it, Skrag was completed with a blue glaze.

Have a look at this photo for some inspiration!

Right, next up are some new miniatures for my collection. As you will know, I have but a ban on eBaying until I have painted loads more of my miniatures. Trades are fine, though I shall allow buying essential things like shields, paints and brushes and things like that online. Well over the last couple of weeks I have picked up some interesting pieces.

First of all I would like to thank the fine gentleman who gifted me the model Ambull you can see in the photograph below. We have met at both of the Oldhammer Weekends and enjoyed a great chat but I cannot remember his name at all! If you are the pleasant chap who donated this fine miniature please get in touch so I can thank you properly!

Secondly, I am just in the process of completing a trade with Simon Jones from the Facebook Group. My Chaos Dwarf crossbow unit will be receiving some re-enforcements now, hopefully in time for the Halloween game, with four new models to join the unit. A fifth is undercoated and ready for painting. And finally, I picked up these lovely metal shields for £1.50 elsewhere and the seller was kind enough to include some plastic Marauder shields for free! You have gotta love those old Citadel metal shields!

Finally, I have just received these characterful banners in the post from Spain of all places! They are great fun and would certainly suit a Nurgle champion or Daemonic power and make up part of my 'painted by other people' section of my painted miniature collection. These were painted by Luife Lopez and are the first part of  a little parcel he sent me. Hopefully, the miniatures will arrive in the near future too!

Talking about Spain, I have had a request from Carlos Pantojo Martinez to suggest you all visit his blog, OldhammerSpain in the near future. Its Spanish language but very easy to translate using the Google tool to do so. 

Expect some excellently painted miniatures with an emphasis on classic Realm of Chaos era models, as well as some classic dwarfs! 


Thank you to all of you who have contacted me over the years and I apologise for the tardiness of my replies sometimes. Hopefully, this new 'One the Boil' idea will encourage me to respond a little faster and share your stories too! So if you haven't a blog, don't care to comment but what to share your story, your photographs or some one trinket (no Ray-Bans please) that you think your fellow readers may enjoy. Then drop me a line to the usual place -


Saturday 30 August 2014

The Painted Collection of Steve Blunt - Winner of the 1989 Slayer Sword!

Earlier on today, I posted up an article about some historic miniatures that appeared in WD 125. One of those miniatures was the famous Nurgle Chariot by Steve Blunt, which won the Slayer Sword in 1989. I am happy to be able to bring you a special post packed with loads more of Steve's iconic work from the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

I am able to do this because Steve has a really interesting, but sadly not very often updated, blog called Paint Splats and some years ago photographed much of his work and published it all on line. Some years ago, in the early days of this blog I mentioned this blog and shared a few of the pictures he posted up. Time has moved on, and that post is buried deep within the Realm of Chaos 80s archive, so I felt it appropriate to do a new, more detailed post about his work for all you old school fantasy fans. 

I have organised the work chronologically and have used Steve's own notes to help flesh out the details about the models, and where possible, the positions each piece finished up in at the Golden Demon Awards that Steve attended. All of his quotes are presented in italic with a SB.

I big thank you should go out to Steve Blunt for painting this stuff so exquisitely back in the day, and for taking the time to photograph his collection for us all to enjoy. I do hope he doesn't mind me stealing his photographs and words and sharing them once more! 

Right, let's go back in time to...


SB: Like most people my age I started painting with enamels but by the 1980s had moved on to acrylics, and the relatively new concept of using a black undercoat!  Whilst I did use a few Citadel paint sets at the time, Windsor and Newton Artists tube acrylics were the predominant paints used.

On the day of the grand finals in Nottingham, one of the lasting impressions I came away with was how dull my figures looked (albeit relatively realistic) when compared to many other entrants. No doubt in part due to the more transparent nature of the tube paint over the black undercoat. Over all an enjoyable day out with one gold, two bronzes and a highly commended, although the gold was a surprise as I felt this piece was my weakest entry at the time!  The gold fish did go down well though! The competition report with more pictures of the event and other entries can be found in White Dwarf 93.

Looking at the pictures now, it is glaringly evident how the standard of painting has improved over the past 20 years or so!

Single Mounted Figure Category, heat winner and Honourable Mention
 This is a fun model to begin with. I am not sure from which range this model comes, but it appears to be some kind of mounted bard or elf with a sturdy looking horse. The three different green tones work really well on the clothing of the mounted figure and the yellow and red stripes on the hose match very nicely. I also like the way Steve used blue, orange a yellow to make more of the horse furniture, and the colours complement the greens perfectly. Note how simple the base is at this early stage in his career.
Dragon Category, Bronze Demon
This model won Steve a Bronze Demon and looks similar to the famous stage by stage version of the same model that appeared in White Dwarf in the same year. Here the base is a little more built up with detail, though the quality of the sculpting on the plants is primitive to say the least. Still , they work when viewed alongside the rocks and the rather realistic looking muddy grass. The addition of the books add further interest, but leave me rather puzzled to why they are present. Are dragons big readers?
Single figure Category, heat winner but unplaced at finals. 
A lovely model, with well matched colours with the red and blue and certainly something to try myself. Steve's ambition is beginning to really show in this model, and just look at the added details he has included in the paint work. Additional patterns on the robes as well as a rather livid scar on the arm make a characterful model more characterful. The hexagonal base is a real plus too. 
Conversion Category,.Gold Demon
 This model won Steve his first gold, and as he stated earlier, he felt this to be his weakest work! Again, I am not sure of what model this was based on but it seems to be some kind flying goblin or orc. The base is also very worthy of study as it appears to be made up of natural materials that have not been painted - on at least don't look like they have been painted by me! The addition of the fishing rod adds some welcome 1980s zany humour that seemed abundant in the early Fantasy Miniature books. 
Monster Category. Heat winner not placed at final
 The green on those jewels really draw the eye in don't they? A great model from one of the minotaur ranges of the 1980s and based with more natural materials

 Not entered into the competition but contemporary to the other models in this section.
 If you read through Steve's blog in more detail, he goes on to talk about how he tried several times in the 1980s to build up a dwarf army, though he never succeeded. These lovely dwarfs were to be part of the aborted force. These old lead dwarfs are a lovely range, and full of very characterful faces and these are beautifully painted examples. A joy to study this one. 
Vignette Category. Ogres and Snotling, heat winner not placed at finals
 Jes Goodwin ogres face off against a rather cheeky looking Kev Adams snotling. You can see how realistic the tones are here, thanks to the W&S paints Steve was using at the time, which just goes to show you don't have to use wargaming acrylics to paint a miniature up well. 
Diorama Catagory. Bronze Demon
This is a fantastic looking, and highly detailed, diorama that according to Steve's notes, sadly no longer exists and this is one of the few photographs of it. This is a great example of the 'spot the model' type of work that rewards careful study. If you are anything like me, you will spot something new each time you look at this model. Classic minotaurs, orcs and chaos warriors are just some of the goodies you can spot here. I wonder how that minstrel ended up in that cage?

SB: By this time I had now swapped to a white undercoat in order to brighten things up a bit after the 1987 experience but still combined with the same Windsor and Newton Artists tube acrylics. I suppose this year represented a bit of a purple patch for me as not only had I managed three gold demons and the Slayer Sword, I had also managed to complete five pieces in as many months, pretty prolific for me!

Mounted Figure Category.  Chaos conversion, Gold Demon.

Those of you with sharp eyes will recognise this model from my previous post as it appeared as part of the expert conversions section, and it was also featured in the Fantasy Miniatures book for 1989. It really pleasing to see these images, as they allow us to have a look at different angles and unveils details we have been unable to see for some years. Which is a strange feeling sometimes, especially if you have been studying a model for over twenty years! I love the snake that coils around the rocks on the base, and the detailing on the trident. A couple of years on, Steve's bases are much more sophisticated and detailed, though the natural looking style and ideas remain. 

One thing that I have never noticed before about this model before, and has been highlighted by these photographs are the multicoloured lines on the chainmail. 

Monster Category: Greater Demon of Tzeentch, heat winner but not placed at finals.

This model have an wonderfully detailed base with loads of sculpted fungi growing off a treestump. There seems to be some kind of daemon headed snake monster grappling with the Lord of Change and perhaps that rather innocent looking treestump is its home?

Conversion Category: Great Imperial Dragon-Minotaur Lord conversion, Gold Demon.

Ahhh! Now here is a model that I really do recognise, only this time it comes from the winners section of the Fantasy Miniatures book of 1989. I can honestly say I have spent years studying this particular piece and always wondered about it. Now, with the wonders of digital photography much more of its detail have been revealed to me, including a closer shot of its shield. And it really is a masterpiece is it not, and worthy of the gold it won!

At this point, Steve's work on his bases seems to switch from fantasy to classical in their style, and this is a great development. The nod to the Ancient World is continued further with the addition of a Roman style helmet for the minotaur. Is that the head of a temple dog on the base?

 Standard Bearer Category.  Elf standard bearer not placed.  

If this was not placed, I wonder what the rest of the competition was like for Standard Bearers? The work here just goes to show how far I have to go with my own banners until I reach (if indeed I ever do) the giddy heights of these old masters. 

 Vignette Category.  Nurgle Chariot; Gold Demon and Slayer Sword Winner.

An immortal classic. What can be said about this model and worthy Golden Demon Slayer Sword winner!? INCREDIBLE! Its really pleasing to be able to take a closer look at this iconic model all these years later, and with the clearer photographs it really is possible to spot loads of new little features that have been lost for a quarter of a century or more. I have noticed, for example, the red and green snakes that coil through the base of the chariot as I was working on this post. 

One of the all time greatest fantasy models by anyone anywhere. 


SB: During this period I only completed a few smaller pieces, none intended for competition entry which was a relief. As usual Windsor and Newton Artists tube acrylics were the paints of choice.  First up another Dragon conversion based on the Citadel Rock Dragon, this time with a more medieval flavour.

Wow! Now here is a model I have not seen before and its a real treat. I love the idea of a dragon standing up dressed as a medieval knight- especially considering he has heraldry consisting of a green dragon too! Great fun and a rather nifty base too!

These models were another attempt to complete that dwarf army, and if you look closely you can see that these were clearly never completed. So even the old masters of this hobby have draws full of uncompleted projects!

This is a conversion of one of the Citadel C28 giants produced in the mid 1980s and sculpted by Nick Bibby. This has seen some work, with the right arm being bent to support the dwarf and the beer barrel being cut away so it appears that this giant is carrying a poor dwarf! The axe embedded in the giant's boot tells a wonderful story. So simple. So effective. Beautiful to see. 

Next up is that chaos sorcerer with some minor conversion work. Like the giant, Steve's sense of humour comes through with this one, and I really like the way he has repeated the cloud and lightning motif on the robes too. 

Ork weirdboyz and according to Steve, one of the few 40K pieces he ever did. A beautiful banner too! 

This is another minor conversion. Can you see the added beard on this rather illustrious wizard? The base was made up from three other wizard models and one can be clearly seen in the stone. By this point, it is clear that Steve has really developed up hi skills with creating bases and his work is excellent. Got to love those mushrooms! 


SB: A total of 17 goblins go to make up this piece, almost a unit. The initial build was done very quickly in about a month, the caravan being predominantly made from balsa wood and some bits and pieces from the spares box like wheels etc. As far as I can remember the relatively bright green goblin flesh was in vogue at the time and as usual W&N tube acrylic paints were used throughout. Unfortunately one or two repairs still need to be done to bring it back to original condition! Even though it got off to a flying start, in the end it took the best part of a year to complete the project, mainly a motivational thing rather than the amount of work involved.

Goblin Caravan 

When I first lay eyes on these photographs I was blown away and I feel this is the best of Steve's work that I have seen. I don't think it was ever entered into a competition, though I may well be wrong. The first place I ever saw this model was on Steve's blog and I cannot remember seeing it anywhere else. There is just so much going on in this one to even begin to make a coherent comment about it.. . so I won't both. My favourite part? Definitely the gobbo getting fired out of the cannon! 


SB: This was to be the final time I entered Golden Demon, this time at the Birmingham NEC, an even bigger noisier venue!  The piece was finished in about two months and on the whole I was quite happy with it, especially as the competition basing restrictions were even tighter this year in not allowing any overhang of the pre determined base size, so a lot to squeeze in! The sculpting of the gold Minotaur when I look at it now seems very naive by today’s standards or even by the standards in 1992! But on the whole I don’t think it detracts from the piece too much. In the end the piece achieved a bronze demon in the diorama category, although no picture was ever published of it in white Dwarf etc. which was a shame, but there you go and here it is now anyway! This was to be the final piece painted in acrylics for a few years.

And so we end with this, another classical world inspired Golden Demon entry, but as Steve states in his quote, this one never appeared in a White Dwarf and there was not a book published that year of the entries either. Still, its fantastic to see it in all this detail. The Ancient Greek iconography is probably my favourite part of this model. 

Well, I hoped you enjoyed this journey through Steve's collection. There are loads of other models and great paint jobs on his blog so it well worth following the link at the top of this article and having a look. 

Right, I am off to read up on The Lost and the Damned!