Friday 31 October 2014

White Dwarf 128: 'Eavy Metal Special

An interesting spread of miniatures from issue 128 greets you this morning. Including some more of Francis Ellyard's terminators. Judging by the traffic surging towards the last post I did about Ellyard, there is are plenty of fans of her style out there in the Oldhammer World. So I though you might like to see a few more. 

Also on this first page is the rightfully memorable Nurgle Predator by David Soper - who is famous for winning the Slayer Sword during the Golden Days and more recently. Considering the issue was very heavily focused on the Eldar, I am not surprised to see some of them grace this page also. And what a difference they now are compared to the initial sculpts released back in 1987. Two Kev Adams orks finish the page up, showcasing the inventive craziness that the Ork books would bring. 

This second page includes a fair few more orks and eldar, with the space elves having a good range of models from the 80s included. Also worth pointing out here are the brilliant Harpy models by Bob Olley. I have always though these to be some of his finest work and the colour schemes on offer here are quite interesting. There are just so many ways to approach the painting of these models, don't you think. 

Its also nice to see the Sea Elves make a rare appearance in the pages of WD. In fact, this may well be their swansong as I am pretty sure they were written out of the background with the not to distant release of 4th edition Warhammer. I have several of those Repeating Crossbow units, with one of them bought for a grand total of 99p not so long ago. Sure eBay has seen its price rises, but there are still incredible bargains to be found! 

The standout model would have to be the Grey Knight terminator by Francis Ellyard. Brilliant! 


Thursday 30 October 2014

Space Skaven! Jes Goodwin Concept Sketches via Jon Boyce inspire a Rogue Trader style conversion!

I am sure that many of you who read this blog are also readers of the Oldhammer Facebook Group. Unlike a blog or a forum, FB seems a lot more 'instant' and evolving and good posts can quickly disappear into the ether and can be missed by those who don't interact so much. It is because of this that I enjoy stealing other people's postings and sharing them here, as I suspect a far wider audience will be interested in them.

One such posting was by Jon Boyce in a conversation concerning the Space Skaven. Though mentioned in modern 40k fiction, actual official models have never been released. We got Space Undead but never Intergalatic Rats. Still, it didn't stop members of the community talking about them. Jon was kind enough to share these Jes Goodwin concepts published by the Black Library o help illustrate how they may have looked.

I thought that you guys might want to have a look at them too. 

I like the fact that these rats don't lack menace. Too much has been made of their cowardice in recent times, and this has resulted in a race that lacks real threat when you ponder how to use them. They are just another horde army to use a well oiled modern gaming phrase. 

Something in the images made me think of Star Wars. Don't they make you feel the same? Lacking a Space Skaven in my leadpile I pondered if converting and painting one today would be possible. I had a yearning to practice my speed painting technique and setting limits means I get figures completed despite having a wife and two kids in the house with me. So I headed over to the leadpile and pulled out my skaven collection. I selected a 1987 musician model as the addition of the pipes and machine parts gave me a good basis for a sci-fi Rogue Trader model. 

And here is the result! Complete with a Rogue Trader style back banner with a touch of skaven iconography. The conversion was quite simple. I removed what was left of the original dagger (it had been snapped off in antiquity) and replaced it with a cut in half old plastic Imperial guard las-rifle. Green stuff helped me build up the stock and extend the barrel. Several parts of the old RT01 Space Marine sprue helped add further detail and the back banner pole. 

As I mentioned earlier, I used my speed painting method on this model. I limited myself to 5 hours to work on it and that would include the conversion work. The model was based in red, with all the other colours blocked in quite simply. Then, I mixed up a 1:1:2 mix of Brown Ink, Chestnut Ink and water and covered the whole model in my own 'homemade' Army Painter dip. 

Once dry, it was a simple case of building up each colour once more with a base, highlight and final highlight. Simples. Once thing that I can say, is that the Star Wars influence didn't quite leave me, and the clothing colour scheme apes that of the uniform Luke Skywalker wore when he fly a Snowspeeder or X-Wing. 

The banner was also very simple to achieve. I used an old envelope as a material and sketched out a plan of the image in biro. I gave the top half a black basecoat and the bottom a red one. Using a very small brush, I created the starfield by dotting lots of little stars. For the first cliuster, I used a mid grey mix and slowly added increasing numbers of white to help give a sense of depth to the stars. The planet was built up in very much the same way using orange and yellow to give the impression of a rough, blasted surface. 

The skaven head was freehanded from an image I found on Google. I felt that using red to add the eyes and symbol would help tie in the image with the rest of the banner and the ratman's clothing. 

So what do you think? I didn't need the full five hours in the end and I am pretty happy with the results. 


Acceptable in the '80s( Rogue Trader Tangent): Ork Battlewagon

Dale Hurst's Goff battlewagon. Full of old school GW craziness!
I am in the mood to delve and dive into the world of Old School Warhammer research at the moment, having pulled out a pile of magazines and books from storage. Now, I know that the object of these ongoing articles is to chronicle every release, supplement and article for WFB3 but from time to time I do come across something that doesn't quite fit the remit. 

And I always relent from doing a post for them.

But today the resolve broke, largely because we are talking about a classic plastic kit from the very early 1990s. The ORIGINAL ork battle wagon. How I loved (and still love) this model. I never owned one, I must admit, but my late childhood friend, Tim Gilbride, did and I remember him bringing the boxset around my house. We had a wonderful time cutting out the components and trying to fit them together the best we could with Blu-tak, until we were rescued by my dad and his legendary liquid cement glue. Eventually, we constructed the kit (quite the biggest we had ever worked on) and Tim agreed to leave it with me and my father to paint up. Sadly, he was never able to return to claim it. 

The remains of the model are long gone, thrown out I suspect my my mother when all the Warhammer stuff was chucked in about 1998 (along with my Amiga and game collection - including a mint copy of Moonstone!) but I'd love to get my hands on another one in the future. 

Ivan Bartlett's work has really grown on me in recent years, each time I re-evaluate on of his models I am impressed by the colour tones he achieves not to mention the great bustling detail he chucked into the pot. This is my favourite battle wagon.  
The models published in WD were of course very inventive, but considering who was working in the 'Eavy Metal department at the time this shouldn't comes as much of a surprise. The ork books are lavish and full of great ideas, much like the model range, and I have since learnt that it was the last project that Bryan Ansell worked on before selling GW. Since beginning this journey to chronicle WFB3 (and GW) there is a distinct relationship between the quality of the release and the involvement of GW's former managing director! 

If memory serves, much like the Marauder giant, the battlewagon became a firm favourite at Golden Demon awards in the following few years. And the possibilities for converting the kit were endless, as the Yellow Sunz wagon above testifies. 

A classic kit from the Golden Age if ever there was one. 

So what are your thoughts about this first foray into orky plastic vehicles? Did you own a kit back in the day? Do you still own one? Please share your memories! 


Wednesday 29 October 2014

Norse Army-list from WD107

A number of people have asked me recently if there is an 'official' army-list for the Norse in Warhammer Third edition, and truth be told, there is, though why it never made it into the pages of Warhammer Armies is beyond me. 

I published a version of this quite some years ago, but that copy was rather spoiled due to a blob of grey paint right over the top of much of the statistics. Here is a link to a much better version of the list, cleaned up by Jordan Grigg and available on Scribd.

While we are on the subject, you can get most of the Norse range (minus the dwarfs, sdaly) from Wargames Foundry and the models can be found here. Additionally, the lesser known Norman range is also now available to purchase from Foundry too! 

Acceptable in the '80s: White Dwarf 127, Marauder Undead and Flagellants

Unfortunately, my scanner is broken and so I am left with the only remaining option when detailing this series, photographing articles of interest with my phone. Not an ideal way to gather up historical evidence, but its all I have to use at the moment. If you happen to have better quality images of these pages, or can scan them, I would be very grateful and its fairly easy to replace photographs once a blog has been posted. 

Onwards and upwards then. Issue 127 is one of the all time classics, especially if you are into the Eldar. For it was within the pages of this issue that their background saw its first major relaunch. There are literally pages, and pages of art, fluff and such but this is a series of  blog posts that focuses on Warhammer Third Edition, not Rogue Trader, so commenting on these extracts will need to wait for another day. 

As we have come to expect, there is a little here that would interest hardcore Warhammer fans. As we know, Warhammer was in decline at this point, largely due to the runaway success of Rogue Trader, and the explosion of Big Box Games, including the massive selling Heroquest. There was plenty of fantasy around, it just wasn't Warhammer Fantasy

Marauder's monthly release for issue 127 were primarily undead. Let'a have a look at the minis in a bit more detail shall we?

I remember being disappointed by these back in 1990, and despite my changing views on Marauder as a range, I am still disappointed with them now. These skeletons just aren't as good at the older Citadel ones. The skulls look like comedic Halloween masks and the poses are very dull. I get the feeling looking at them now that they were most likely knocked out quite quickly, especially when you compare them to the lovingly put together Imperial Dwarf range by Marauder. 

There are some great ideas on a few of the models though, such as skeletons A, B and C in MM50/5, who have a strange appeal. I think its the cross between pantomime villain and mongol warrior! But overall these are not models that I will ever be adding to the collection. Perhaps I am being unfair, and please do let me know if you think I am, as it may just be the paint jobs that make these models look the way they do, but I very much doubt it. 

The Flagellants are are a different kettle of fish. Though a little obscured by the quality of the my photography, these are quite characterful models. The all look interesting and have yet to acquire the impossibly muscled look of the later plastic versions. Interestingly, flagellants were first mentioned (as far as I know away) back in 1987's Warhammer Armies book, but this is the first time we see some models produced distinctly to represent them. In my opinion, the style of sculpting is very different with these models, and reflect what was going to come with the Warhammer miniature line rather than fitting in with what had gone before. 

What are your views of these models? Is it yeah or nay for the skellies? Are you a fan of the flagellants? Please share. 


Tuesday 28 October 2014

Acceptable in the '80s: The Lost and the Damned

Acceptable in the '80s is my attempt to review (or at least just comment on) every release during the lifetime of Warhammer Third Edition. By following these links you can read all about Warhammer Third EditionWarhammer Siege, Warhammer Armies and Slaves to Darkness but now it is the turn of, perhaps, the most iconic of them all...

The Lost and the Damned.

In my opinion, the Warhammer rulesets released between 1987 and 1990 are the definitive ones. Not because of any particular sleekness of play or rules mechanic but for the sheer originality and scope of the vision. It was here that all the background and creative development peaked. It was also an attempt at a coherent game, with the rules, army-lists and other supportive material all produced at roughly the same time. It was to be a complete package.

Recently, I have read the writings of gamers who approach these books with a similar attitude as they approach any other edition. Let's call this the 'modern view' of the game. I expect you will have too. Quite often, they totally (and I really do mean TOTALLY) miss the point. They instantly latch on to the more powerful spells (I wont use overpowered, because nothing is actually overpowered in the game if the GM crafts the scenario) and 'prove' the game to be broken by suggesting you field three wizards all with Summon Daemon and Vortex of Chaos spells in your army. 

Some even have a go at playing such a game. Though they seem to struggle to find any real satisfaction with the result, leaving some a little bit baffled about what the fuss is all about. The Lost of the Damned seems to be the book out of all of those produced in the 1980s to be singled out for scathing remarks about be overtly powerful, but bloggers, gamers and avid forum bashers are still keen to point out that despite their misgivings, they still hold the book in a very high regard.

But what makes it such an iconic book? Is it the famous cover, which as been used and reused ever since? Or perhaps its the nature of the material inside - with the gods of Nurgle and Tzeentch having the little bit longer in the development cycle to get them just right? 

In my opinion, both of these points of view are fair ones to make. Though it has its detractors, like any piece of artwork, the power of Les Edwards cover painting cannot be denied. The ranks of horrific Nurglesque (remember when adjectives like this were used?) followers wading through filth overlooked by the gigantic form of Nurgle himself is still one of the most remarkable images ever produced for a GW product. Ever.

In the process of maintaining this blog and exploring the background of later 1980s Games Workshop, I have uncovered a fair few gems of information, and the Lost and the Damned is no different. One of the more interesting finds was Les Edwards views on the painting of this classic cover, including many WIP shots of the artwork. Though not quite on topic, but the same could also be said for the Slaves to Darkness cover too, complete with a 'missing' warrior in the painting!

Within the pages of the classic publication, Blood and Iron, Les Edwards discusses the painting of the Lost and the Damned in quite a bit of detail. There is a link to the complete article below the extract I have presented here.

"As a Chaos Power, Nurgle can appear in any form so I thought it a good idea to give him a few more horns. He was to dominate the picture, but be distant at the same time. So I decided he would be sitting on a pile of bodies (but as it will be seen, this idea got rather lost.) Having drawn the rough to the proportions required and allowed space for the type, I then had to await the client's approval and suggestions. These suggestions concerned Nurgle's symbol on the banners, and some changes to the foreground figures to ensure that they fit neatly into the Games Workshop Universe.
        I was trying to use strong colours, but at the same time to keep a feeling of rot and decay. Much of the rust on the central Chaos Warrior and the armour of the Space Marine is bright orange straight from the tube, applied in patches over the previous coat of reddy-brown. The left hand side of the painting I kept fairly shadowy and vague so that it would not draw the eye away from Nurgle. In repainting the water, I made sure to keep it a strong yellow, as I was beginning to feel that the lower part of the painting was becoming rather grey. There is not a great deal of colour in the figures, but I felt that bright blues or greens would be unsuitable for Nurgle's horde. Apart from a few minor details, I finished the rest of the picture before at last turning to Nurgle himself."
        At this point I was reasonably happy with Nurgle's apparent distance and size. I felt that I would be able to keep these aspects unchanged if I kept his lower half a little vague and misty and put plenty of texture and detail on the top part. My natural urge was to make him very indistinct, but as he was to be the focus of the illustration, this was not appropriate. This half and half approach seemed a reasonable compromise, but it meant, of course, that what was meant to be a pile of bodies at Nurgle's feet, became a vague mass."

Les Edwards

Art aside, what of the background material? Well the material published in the book is equal too, if not surpassing, the material published in Slaves to Darkness. As before, we are lead through a detailed journey into the daemonic worlds of Nurgle and Tzeentch, complete with descriptions of their realms within the Chaos Wastes and a bestiary of their daemons and armies. The layout is very different however, being somewhat more spartan than Slaves but included among the pages is a wellspring of fiction writing that really helps bring the subject matter to life. These extracts and very short stories are written by varied hands, and include classic writing from Rick Priestley and Bill King.

One thing that is never really explained are the inspirations for the ideas behind the Realm of Chaos books themselves. Not that we should expect such things in any work of fiction but it is still interesting all the same to know how these projects we enjoy were put together. Thankfully, I asked Bryan Ansell about his recollections concerning the creation of the Chaos background material and he had quite a few interesting points to make. 

Nurgle is an "actual" god (honest). 

Nergal is a Babylonian god who goes back to prehistoric times: he was still around to be worshipped by the Assyrians. I changed the spelling because I thought that "Nurgle" was more amusing. Also, it could be the sound of a death rattle, or air being expelled from a rotting, putrescent carcass. Nergal is god of death, disease and pestilence. Also god of war and ruler of the underworld (or sometimes his wife is). As he's been around for a very long time his attributes have changed back and forth over the years. I'm sure he's extremely pleased that we are still thinking of him. Perhaps with all this attention we might eventually conjure up a physical manifestation.
Tzeentch was meant to be the sound of a spell blasting out. Like in a Dr Strange comic. It also has a sort of Aztec feel: which goes with the feathers and the bright pastel colours.

Bryan Ansell

As I pointed out earlier, one thing that strikes home when you compare the two Realm of Chaos books is the difference in the layout and artistic styles. Slaves to Darkness feels much more coherent and I had often wondered at why there was such a dramatic difference between the two publications. This puzzlement was further confounded by the discovery of unpublished material from the Realm of Chaos books, and especially this intriguing sketch that closely resembles the 'face off' page in Slaves to Darkness were the forces of Khorne and Slaanesh are arrayed against each other in overview.

Especially considering that an equivalent image does not appear in The Lost and the Damned! When I was given the opportunity to interview Tony Ackland I couldn't help inquire after his recollections of this particular aspect of the book design.

Originally there was only going to be one book.  So the initial compositions for the various daemon header sections were designed to be compatible.  The plan had been that vast majority of the artistic work would be up to Ian Miller and myself with occasional artwork from various freelancers.   What then happened was that too much text was generated (a ratio of text to illustration had been established at the beginning of the project) for one volume.  So it was decided to make it a two volume project. 

After the completion of Slaves to Darkness it was necessary to return to other projects that had been put on the back burner.  So effectively the Lost and the Damned was a less focused project.  In the intervening time Ian became involved in other things and the studio grew and more artists were employed, the result being that the initial vision was somewhat diluted.

Tony Ackland

Though diluted, The Lost and the Damned remains a very well sought after book. In fact, I know hardcore Oldhammer gamers who don't own a copy at all and some who won't even view one of the commonly available pdfs of the publication as they are waiting, one day, to experience it as it was intended to be read. So this leads us on to the question of 'how much is LatD' actually worth?' If you are sitting there reading this blog, your soul fired with nostalgic need to own a copy, what is a realistic price to pay?

Even in the pre-Oldhammer days when I was trying to hunt down all the old books I had wanted as a youth, it was hard to get hold of LatD for less than £70. I mean, Siege and Armies were picked up pretty cheaply in about 2008, not that I can remember what I spent on them, but I doubt it was more than a tenner. I was lucky, and managed to score a near mint copy of LatD a couple of years ago for £57, which I thought was a real steal, considering I was losing to auctions exceeding £100.

£100 is still the average price of getting your hands on a copy of this book, though I have seen cheaper and more expensive sales. And I wonder if the expense of the book has also contributed to its iconic status. One thing worth pointing out here is the fact that unlike all of the other WFB3 books, the Lost and the Damned only got a single print run as far as I know and subsequently, there are a lot less editions out there for collectors to buy compared to all the others.

But what do you get if you lay your money down and bite the bullet (or should that be prod the pustule?) and make the change, adding the classic book to your collection. Well truth be told, a great deal more than just the Nurgle and Tzeentch stuff. So to finish off this post I am going to do a little photo journey through some of the lesser known but fascinating parts of the book.

One of the pieces of background that I loved about the Lost and the Damned is the section about the Dark Tongue. It is essentially the language of chaos and can be used to add inscriptions to models, banners and scenery. Its not something that I have used much, though I have seen many models in Bryan's collection that seem to have markings similar to those shown in the book. There is a lot of scope here to do various things in the future I think.

See this famous Adrian Smith beastman image? It has a slightly indistinct inscription upon its blade, though there is nothing strange about that, surely?
That is until you use the Dark Tongue (the written language of chaos) to decipher it. Have a look here at the solution and its NOT for the faint of heart!
This overview double page spread is excellent and can be found as soon as you open up the book. All the rules condensed down into easy to use chunks. I often just play off this and forget much of the other detail. Very useful indeed. 
Now this is an excellent article. It is an expanded version of the narrative gaming rules that were published in WD way back when. These are an Oldhammer GM's dream and have a great number of tables to generate plots or even sub-plots for your campaigns. There is even a suggestion about hosting a one-side game. Basically, two players verses a GM. Marvelleous stuff!
There are also full rules to create your own daemons, either as part of the WFRP or RT systems, or for your Warhammer games. The modelling guide for creating these daemons is very interesting and creative. 
Though not as eye popping as the painted presentations from Slaves to Darkness, there are some incredible models on show within the pages of this book. Here we see a beautifully spread of painted daemons from Tzeentch and Nurgle. 
And finally, its well worth mentioning the incredible background articles that delve deep into the Rogue Trader universe. So much detail in fact that despite nearly 30 years of stealing ideas from the Realm of Chaos books, there is still loads of material that seems fresh and new.
So to conclude, The Lost and the Damned remains an iconic book and is probably the mst sought after written publication from the 1980s golden age. Though expensive, getting hold of the book with very much worth it for the treasure trove of information and gaming ideas that it holds within. Many other writers on the subject have gone as far as stating that LatD (as well as its sister book, Slaves to Darkness) best illustrate the creative peak of British fantasy gaming. There has simply never been anything like them before nor since, and I really do doubt that they will ever be surpassed by GW or any other company.

So, do you have any thoughts about The Lost and the Damned? Do you think it deserves its status as the ultimate Warhammer book? Have you bought a copy over the last copy of years?

Your thoughts and stories need sharing.


Monday 27 October 2014

On The Boil: Curtis Fell's RoC Warband Experiences

Curtis's Tzeentch warband in all its glory. 
One of the more rewarding aspects of being a blogger is interacting with your readers. Its always a pleasure to read the emails you send me or the many Facebook messages. Occasionally, these discussions and communications are worth sharing with a wider audience - hence the creation of the 'On The Boil' articles I put on on this blog. 

Today we hear from Curtis Fell, who is probably well known to many of you through the Facebook Community group. We got chatting at BOYL '14 and Curtis agreed to send through a missive concerning his recent endeavours with his gaming group. Now, I feel that was Curtis has to say is a perfect example of 'Oldhammer Gaming'. That its a mindset not a ruleset that defines us. I must admit that I did not feel this way in the early days, back then Oldhammer was for me playing Third Edition Warhammer with period Citadel miniatures. But I am not self obsessed or arrogant to suggest that 'my version' is any better or any worse than anyone else's 'version' of the Oldhammer experience. 

Curtis has his own personal ideas of what he wants to achieve, and very much like the best of us, just gets on with the business of collecting, painting, interacting and playing to worry about writing long pseudo-intellectual wafflings. What follows is a really clear explanation about how Curtis' group used the rules they felt most appropriate, alongside the models they were keen to use, to create a positive outcome. It makes a jolly good read...


"When I got back to the UK about 8 months ago I wanted to play some games. Where I live in Nottingham is a really cool bunch of gamer guys. The ones I end up playing with are into old school gaming, most are mid 20s-30s and have been playing for 10 years or more. They also helped me playtest Nuclear Renaissance, so I think they are good and fun gamers. They do tend to lean towards the beardy in terms of power gaming, but in a really fun way. They do put the right models on the table, sometimes even finished! So the game we agreed to play was Realm of Chaos, using the Rogue Trader rules.

I always play Tzeentch so generated an appropriate champion and retinue. I got ridiculously good rolls! My champion started with a horrible 3 chaos attributes, but they all rolled up amazing profiles. Chaos Lord is obviously an awesome mutation. I got a nice suit of mithril as the magical item Tzeentch champions get. However, the headless attribute means you can't wear armour. So a powerful character but with a cool weakness: no armour allowed!

Beautiful painting on these beastmen figures.
I think I then rolled some Dark Elves, some Beastmen and a Hydra, so that was the initial warband. The troll came later as did the harpies. I still have the 5 Dwarves to finish. 

I guess I should step in with a bit of an exposition on house rules at this point.We allow any roll on the retinue table to be swapped for a roll on the Universal creatures table (my second favourite table, after the mutations!). One guy rolled up dragon on the list, I got a Hydra, but you usually end up with a low level human. 

We were playing warbands using Rogue Trader (RT), and the equipment chart and rules are a bit ropey to say the least. We agreed to only allow assault cannons on terminator armour, as they are beastly wepons. 

The champion model is an imaginative conversion. This figures need to be unique, though use of vintage Citadel is not a non-negotiable.
Vortex Grenades were out, but we agreed that once a grenade was bought, your character kept it for the entire campaign. Grenades are a paint to use anyway, but have really fun results. The toxin and virus grenades being the most deadly. We fiddled a bit with the rules on saves vs virus and toxin. In the rules you get basically no save against them, and no roll to wound, so we gave breathing masks a save and sealed suits a better one. We also over turned the rule that jump packers could drop grenades willy nilly. Also the blind grenades meant you had to invest in photo visors and such like!

We allowed players sell equipment that thier followers have and buy new stuff. We started by letting players sell the items on the fantasy table, then buy new equipment on the sci-fi table, but this quickly degenerated into the idea that you could buy anything from either table. In RT armour stacks, so mesh and flack is fine for a 4+ save. But then we allowed it to stack with plate, chain, power and shields. Ridiculous, but when one of the other champions was wielding a deamon sword with a deamon prince in also wielding a deamon sword with a deamon prince in also wielding a deamon sword with a deamon prince in or virus grenades you start to not worry about a minus 3 or up save....

Dark Elves - or Dark Eldar I suppose!
The models I managed to scrouge up were a bunch of Lord of the Rings plastics, necron arms, a heavy bolter, back packs and bits of plasticard and house hold detritus. The disk is a washer. 

The champion is an Ubashi I think from the tomb kings range. I cut off his head as the champ has the headless mutation. I used the head as his las pistol (lazer eyes!). Its a cool model, I just had to sculpt the hand. 

The Hydra is an incomplete tyranid carnifex. I sculpted the tentacles, saggy bits and a strange human mouth to be suitably Tzeenchian. 

The troll is totally scratch built. I didnt get a good photos of his back, but he has a grafted on frenzon dispenser, which the champion has a remote control for. This means he is no longer subject to stupidity as he is frenzied all the time! Hurrah for the future when we no longer have to suffer the inane whims of stupid trolls!

Scratch-built Disc of Tzeentch
The harpies were the most fun to do. My friend Lex is a jeweler, but also plays alot of board and card games, so is quite into models without actually wanting to do it as a hobby. So I gave her a bunch of bits, some putty , sprue and a sculpting too and persuaded to get her to make one. I then used equivelent bits and made my own version (mine is the one with the jump pack, hers the wings). I love her model as its coming from a person who is really talented at small sculpting work, yet never tries to make odd, figurative fantasy models from the 80s! What a cool result I think, and fits in with my totally strange warband.

I want to again stress that I was just moving and so my model making kit was stored or in transit. I had to beg up the models off the gaming group and then buy the cheapest paints and brushes to do the job. I live near a large Hobby craft, and so bought their cheap acrylic. I bought black, white, yellow, very dark blue, day glow pink, day glow blue and a light gold. There were awful paints! They really lacked pigment, so were really thin and watery. The metallic was the worst of the lot, containing very little actual metal pigment!  I also got a pack of cheap brushes. They are great! About £3 for a set of 3. They hold thier point well and are just the right softness.

Beautifully modelled harpies. Outstanding, don't you think?
I had to work out a method of painting that would work on the miniatures, while still being in the style of figure painting, but with really strange paints. What I ended up doing was drybrushing the bare models white. THe champion was already undercoated in black, so the white went over that. Most of the other models were grey plastic or grey putty (ProCreate). I also used a tooth brush to start building texture at this stage. I flicked on some white.

When this was dry, I then went onto using the pigment-poor paint as a glaze to colour the gray to white tone I put on in the first stage. A glaze is a bit like a wash, but you try to get the paint to spread evenly and thinly. This stains the area in your glaze colour. After this I applied more white,  and again another layer of colour glaze. I also painted on several layers of the metal colour on the metal areas. Again, this shows the white through, so gives tonal range.

A gruesome hydra!
After this stage, I went a bit crazy with the tooth brush, splattering everything in pink and blue splatters. Great fun and adds a weird other world texture. When dry I carefully painted in all the lining and shadows with the dark blue. 

The final stage was a pass with the white highlights again and paint in all the details. 

The campaign didnt last for a huge amount of time, maybe a couple of months. However, towards the end there was a huge disparity between the warbands, with some being really weak and others (like mine) very powerful. However, I think the game still works. I played alot of warbands when it initially came out, so have been playing it for many years. To play a game means to have a fun time, and I want to field this warband in a ways that make it fun for my opponents. An easy way to do this is to only go into games with a part of my force. Another way is to play games where there is an objective that weight of numbers or hitting power does not factor in.I intend to continue with this warband for the foreseeable future. I'm well up for some 40k realm of chaos if anyone wants to have a go!"

A troll!

Curtis Fell

Sunday 26 October 2014

Oldhammer @ Slayer Gaming: Night of the Living Dead 2

Yesterday, I made a rather long journey (thanks to the A1) to Nottingham to have a game with some of my Oldhammer colleagues, most notably Old School veterans Nik Dixon, Paul Mitchell and Steve Casey. Now I won't attempt to make sense of the game, as I arrived late I missed much of the background and I just unpacked my stuff and added it to the battle already raging. I was keen to try out my Slaaneshi army so passed control of the Deathfist to Steve Casey. 

The day was thoroughly enjoyable for many reasons. And we are keen to organise another meet up after Christmas, perhaps at the Foundry. I would like to thank Paul for doing a great job running the game and all of the other Oldhammerers who attended. 

What follows are the photographs I took of the game with a little commentary from me. The venue was Slayer Gaming in Mansfield. A very friendly independent store that is easy to get to and has access to lots of free parking. I will be summing up this post with some of my thoughts about how to create an immersive, strategic and ultimately rewarding Oldhammer experience. These thoughts are largely based on what I feel has worked best in the games I have played over the last year or so and will be, of course, just my opinion. 

Huge blocks of undead advance. Though impressive looking, I have learnt that enormous units like this are not a benefit to the types of game I want to play. In modern gaming these are often called 'tarpits', and the noun is well chosen as troops like this just sit there on the table locked in ever more repetitive combats, offering little to the narrative development of the game. 
Rather than faffing about with the aerial rules for fliers, we roleplayed the combats under the supervision of the GM. This resulted in some spectacular deaths, fire attacks and swooping dragon attack runs. Paul supplied the 'pew' 'pew' noises free of charge!
The Baron Kraust. A worthy character who should of been the centre point of the game, but in truth he was never really used.
The Deathfist advances with his hearthmen and beastmen allies. Giant spiders surprise the flank and bat swarms strike against the minotaurs. This side of the tbale was much more dynamic thanks to the roleplay elements introduced and Steve Casey's creative use of some ancient and amusing rules. 
Undead units clash with Fimir in a very one sided engagement. The swamp rapists had no chance of over coming these odds and the combat added nothing to the game really. 
Artillery fire and the song of swords make much of the spiders, but it was the destructive power of dying spined dragon that created the perfect storm of fire and explosive spider acid. Again, this was all roleplayed under the GM's guidance. 
We roleplayed the likelihood of a spider being able to climb up the side of a building and jump down onto a unit of beastmen. Of course, they failed their fear tests and almost turned the tide of the battle by running away. However, the remaining units (perhaps more terrified of the Deathfist's rage) stood firm. 
A chaos chariot causes a thug unit to break and run in spectacular fashion. An example of the rules as written being used to create something interesting. It was the dice rolls that dictated this though, rather than one sided blocks of troops.
'Slapped by a god'! Amusing and varied rules provided by Paul's GMing and Steve's amusing old rules.
Bryan the Troll saves the day after spotting  a recaster disguised as a liche lord. Behind him, Slaaneshi thugs flew from the crazed chariot. 

After the game, we had one of those chats that gamers always have. What worked well, the moments we all enjoyed and things to suggest for 'next time'. One things that was pretty obvious was that the game lacked the immersion we often seek to create through narrative play and we talked about how best to achieve this in future. What follows are my opinions concerning my philosophy on what makes an effective Oldhammer style game. 

Remember, for many of us Oldhammer is a mindset and not a ruleset.

This is the most important thing to bring to the table. I have played a great number of games with people and I can honestly say that those of you who are part of the Oldhammer Community seem to fit into two groups. 1) Rules as written. 2)Rules to support role-play. In truth, there is nothing wrong with either model. Both can be very rewarding, but I have noticed that when the two styles clash in a game it call slow things down remarkably and cause dis-satisfaction. 

Others find it very, very hard to break the indoctrine of 'modern' Warhammer and forget about things like 'points resolution' and instead using logic and roleplaying to resolve combats based on context. All this can easily be achieved by consultation with the GM.

Good background can create a fantastic game. And truth be told, the more detailed a game the more rewarding the seem to be. By detail, I don't mean the 'rules' but the options open to the players. Try and resist the temptation to just line up your forces en mass and march them against each other. Think about the situation the players are in, what they need to achieve. Add a little conflict to those achievements. 

For example, 6 players are each given a single model and told that they are a Nightwatchman patrolling the town after curfew. Appoint one of them a sergeant and give them command over the remaining 5. Explain that there is a report that a couple of mysterious figures have been seen stalking the streets. Which direction should they move in? What plan do they have? They will need to find out. The other 3 players can be given a miniature each (to be hidden from the other players) and a briefing. Two are assassins sent to kill a rebellious illusionist hidden in one of the buildings, the other is just a strumpet keen to work her trade and reach the mayor's residence without being spotted. The GM can work with these players to move secretly around the board.

Let the game run and the why the players interact with each other can help build up to a battle. If the illusionist is killed, perhaps his illusions run riot in the village? If not, perhaps he bungles a spell and they are released anyway. If the strumpet reached the mayor then perhaps the order to raise the militia will be delayed? 

The result of this kind of scenario is one of immersion and suspense. The nightwatchmen players will have no idea what lurks around each street corner. They will have no idea who the figures are or what they want to do. If they catch the strumpet how will that change their game plan? Who sent the assassins? 

The more I have been involved in gaming the more I feel this is an absolute must. True balance is NOT the job of the ruleset, but the GM running the game. Producing a strong scenario, with balanced forces for all with result in a challenging and creative game. A choice pick of the more wacky aspects of Third Edition will also result in some interesting effects.The old scenario packs (Orc's Drift, Lichemaster, McDeath... etc) are great examples of this, along with guidance on how to play with 2, 4, 6 etc players. How these forces then interact will be up to the dice rolling and the rules mechanics as well as the strategic choices made by players. 

Never forget the importance of the 'third army'. Good scenery really helps aid the immersive aspect of wargaming. And by good I don't just mean well modelled. Scenery that helps create a sense of place, that the location in which the game is taking place in is actually real makes such a difference. It also adds to the spectacle on offer. In addition to this, the scenery needs to actually mean something and be part of the world. Those fields need sheep, goats and chickens and the buildings need occupants!


Thursday 23 October 2014

A taste of Oldhammer: Night of the Living Dead II at Slayer Gaming Saturday 25th October

The Deathfist stands upon the steps of a strangely familar tower. Not doubt deep in thought about how best to crush his hated undead enemies.
"The Barony of Kraust is a bleak, shrouded domain in an unremarkable corner of the Empire. The wan sunlight rarely breaks through the clouds even in the height of summer. The birds do not herald the dawn nor do they sing to each other in the spring. The folk are superstitious, shunning strangers and locking themselves in tight at night. Squatting on a hill, the Baron’s tower sits cold and dark yet overshadowing all.

Tonight, for the first time in a year a single light appears at the topmost window of Goethesturm, Kraust's baronial tower, and the people of Kraustmarket cannot look away in spite of their fear. They are almost relieved the nerve-shredding wait is finally over. Their dread master has returned.

One year ago the men of Kleinetotehierstadt poured into Kraust and set in motion a spiraling saga of death and revenge such as they could not have guessed at. They destroyed Baron Kraust’s phylactery, for he is that rare breed of monster known to the trembling imperials by the name ‘Liche’, and they stopped a ritual so obscene as to turn the bowels of any sane being to water. Yet the Baron himself persevered, for is not the power of life and death his to command?

So began the Baron’s exile. Remaking a phylactery is an especially hard task and doing so whilst in a weakened state, vulnerable to the horrors that roam the dark folds of this world, is a terrible risk. The Baron did not hesitate nor turn aside. Along the way dark bargains were struck, ancient debts were repaid and fierce enemies were made.

Thus it is that even as the Baron, reborn, ends his flight and returns to the seat of his power he knows he is a hunted thing yet. Forces gather on the borders of Kraust, some will hope to strike the Baron down before he becomes unstoppable while some will hope to win the Baron’s favour by bearing arms in his name, but one is here for one reason alone and damn those who get in his way to bloody ruin.

The Deathfist is here for revenge."
Yes, its that time again. Time to rouse Ulther 'Slambo' Deathfist from his reverie and march him once more across the blastered plains of the Warhammer World. This time, Ulther is re-treading the steps he made some months previously to Slayer Gaming in Mansfield.  Only this time, he will be accompanied by his arch-enemy, Slake-Sin the Fondler and his Slaaneshi horde. I am sure that they will not be the only forces leering at each other across the battlefield, but these two armies make an impressive (if I do say so myself) sight on any battlefield.
Don't believe me..?
Cast your eyes below.

The forces of the Deathfist and Slake-Sin the Fondler meet in the Chaos Wastes. Near a colossus of a garage.

So just imagine what multiple collections of fully painted vintage lead will look like? We are playing out the sequel to the Battle of the Burning Tower that a gathering of us Oldhammer Community memmbers thrashed out in June. A full Battle Report of the game can be found here if you are interested in the details.
So if you live in the area around Mansfield, Notts and have nothing really to do this Saturday why not pop down and see us. We will be safely ensconced at Slayer Gaming and the address follows...
Slayer Gaming Ltd
Unit 41-42 Old Mill Lane Estate
Mansfield Woodhouse
NG19 9BG
Tel: 01623 232961