Saturday 25 April 2015

Orlygg (and Stuart Klatcheff) @ Salute 2015

I didn't see much of the historical stuff this year, but the archer free mini was nice in our welcome packs.
Like many in the toy soldier world, I was at Salute today. I am sure the blogosphere will be alight soon with tales galore of the day and plenty of pictures of all the latest offerings from everyone from Bicorne to Spectre. But instead of just posting a few random snaps and writing about the loot I brought home, I thought I might write instead about some of the wonderful people I met.

After all, that is really what these big events are about - meeting people. I can buy practically any model online from the comfort of my own home, but online chats cannot ever compare to meeting face to face with fellow enthusiasts. 

I was lucky enough to have my friend Stuart Klatcheff accompany me today, despite his best efforts to try and persuade himself not to go with an injured leg. And the drive up was a very pleasant way of talking about the main topic of the day, miniatures and of course, Oldhammer itself. We were a little unsure how effective the new 'e-ticket' system for entry would be and, despite a shaky moment with Stuart's iPad not allowing the scanner to read the barcode, appeared to run quite smoothly. 

We were both inside the main hall by about 10:20 and promptly made our way towards the Warmonger stand. This was very obvious due to the enormous banner Marcus Ansell had made. Steve Casey, the Citadel Collector, was there with his fetching money bag and equally fetching Welsh twang, and was more than eager to relieve us of our cash. The Warmonger team were extremely welcoming and friendly (so big thanks to Steve and Marcus for their generosity) as was the LEGEND that is the Goblinmaster. 

Mr Adams was clearly really enjoying the show and had plenty to say about his new projects.
Kev was in fine form. He whipped off his gobbo-specs to show me his eye and explained that he was now fully functioning once again and needed no further chopping up by surgeons. So his attention is now fully focused on Warmonger and the amazing range of models he has produced so far. We had a long old chat and I took loads of pictures of his new greens (as well as picking up some of the first castings from the most recent batch that haven't quite gone on sale just yet) so I intend to do a Warmonger Special post shortly to fill you in with all the juicy news and share some of the lovely models that are now available. 

There was a rather battered brown box of extra goodies on the stand for those of us that purchased models. Another one of those 'lucky-dips' that were put on during last years's Oldhammer Weekend. I picked up some absolutely amazing little 'orklings' and I have already made a small diorama out of them (very small actually). They are stunning. And there is more imagination on show in those tiny little goblinoids than in many of the other ranges at the show put together!

If you couldn't get to Salute and are interested in the Warmonger range, why not pop along to their Facebook page and have a gander. Lovely stuff. There is also a rather bizarre youtube video of some of the models here.

Would you buy used artwork from this man?
After weighing ourselves down with stock, Stuart and I moved on to the Foundry stand, keen to meet up with any other Oldhammer types who might be lurking there at 11am. We arrived to find this man, Tony Hough, flashing his folders of original Citadel, Games Workshop and Fighting Fantasy art. As always, it was a pleasure to see Tony and he was happy to let fans of his work browse through his intricate drawings in awe. 

Even though he sold several pieces at the show, he assured us all that he still has lots of pieces available for anyone interested, including the famous 'Patriarch' illustration from White Dwarf. Be prepared to dig deep into the hobby fund if you are after that, as it seems that many people have tried by none have managed to persuade Tony to relinquish his personal favourite piece. Perhaps you could be the one?

If you are interested in getting hold of some of Tony's work, why not wander over to his Facebook page and have a browse through his galleries?

"That one was from Space Fleet, I think?"
A gaggle of Oldhammerers formed after a while and it was great to chat about Tony's work with them. We met quite a few eager fans of Old School Citadel, including two Spanish enthusiasts wanting to know more about where to stay in August - so if that was you, hopefully you have had some success! Diane Ansell was running the Foundry stand, which looked far too small for the range of models they brought, but we managed to squash ourselves through the crowds to make essential purchases of ex-Citadel sheep, vikings and medievals. 

Having a chance to talk to Diane about the event in August was very welcome, and I discovered that there are couple of things in the works that we will need to talk about closer to the time - most importantly the food option for Saturday! Diane was, as ever, the perfect hostess. 

So thank yous need to speed her way. 

Tim insisted on posing next to the Foundry banner like a celebrity at an premiere. It was one, after all!
While we were admiring the historical ranges the Foundry had to offer, a familiar face (sadly, without a Megadeth T-Shirt on) emerged from the backpack weighted crowd with, a rather weighty backpack actually. It was none other than Tim Prow, former 'Eavy Metal painter and all round sculptor extraordinaire, with details about a formerly TOP SECRET miniatures project that is now only SLIGHTLY SECRET. 

More is to come in the coming days, but I can tell you that the project is to be called DIEHARD MINIATURES and will contain some of the models from the aborted Antiquis Malleum project, as well as a whole lot more, in the coming weeks. Tim was armed with his rather flashy tablet (sadly no embarrassing photos were forthcoming) and showed Stuart and myself a great deal of exciting concept and WIP miniature work, including probably the best sculpted skeleton I have ever seen. 

I have a little more to share about this shortly, but will save it for a post of its own.

After saying our goodbyes to Tim, we bumped into a fellow Oldhammer T-shirt wearing gentleman who was very pleased to have picked up a old Kev Adams hill troll model in decent condition. He looked a bit grimy (the hill troll, not the gentleman) but nothing that the Dettol wouldn't fix one at home. So well done to that man on your most excellent find. 

With the shopping and socialising done - we struck out into the show proper and wandered the retailers and exhibition games. It was really exciting to find an Oldhammer game in full swing within minutes, complete with a lovely display of the old rulebooks. Stuart and I spent quite a bit of time chatting with the team behind this ('Ardhammer') and taking lots of photographs of the set up. 

There was a real mix of models on the table. With more recent plastic sculpts sharing space with classics from as far back as the 1970s. 

I will leave you with a the best of the photographs I took of this game and head to bed. There is more McDeath to paint come the morning, as well as some brilliant Warmonger pieces. All that there is left for me to say is a simple thank you to the Salute team who put on another great show, and I look forwards to attending again next year!

Wednesday 22 April 2015

McDeath, Sir John Quicksure and Painting Gold

My workload is rather high and the moment.

This isn't the place to go into details - but I am practically drowning in the stuff. Oldhammer time is extremely limited but I shall grab a few moments to type this missive while I watch the bath run.

Painting gold is hard isn't it?

Last Sunday, I cleaned up this chap, Sir John Quicksure from my McDeath collection. Now, I wanted to paint him a gold colour for two reasons. One - because it seems a suitable colour for the fantastic armour of the leader of the alliance. Two - because metallics are most definitely something I need to work on.

As you can now doubt see.

So, really what I am after is advice for achieving a decent gold finish on a miniature. How do you do it?

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Warmonger Miniatures and Salute 2015

I like to keep a keen eye out on social media for things that readers of this blog would appreciate. And this is most definitely an image that Oldhammer fans are going to want to see - Bryan Ansell and Kev Adams working together on the Warmonger project!

The other chap is Steve Turton - an expert mould maker - if memory serves me correct. Now, if you haven't got Facebook you wouldn't yet know that Kev will be manning his own stand this year, ably supported by Steve 'The Citadel Collector' Casey. 

The Stand number is TB13.

There is an 'unofficial' Oldhammer meet up at the Foundry stand at 11am on Saturday. I have a feeling that Warmonger will be the first port of call. 

Saturday 18 April 2015

Death on the Reik: Painting Renata or Renate?

Hello all. Its been a tiring week for me, back to school and all that, and it was very pleasant to sit in the sun this morning and paint a miniature. With time at a premium at the moment, I selected a new acquisition (Renata) and promptly set to work.  She needed little cleaning up, save a few pieces of spiky flash here and there, and was quickly undercoated.

But how to paint her? 

After my last model, the slovenly Brooben Keyler, I fancied having a go at something with a little more colour. So, taking a leaf out of all those old colour pages in 1980s (pun intended) White Dwarf I went for a range of bold tones on her clothing. Green for the jerkin, with a white shirt beneath, red gloves, blue leggings and brown boots. All suitably gypsy-like - a vibe the model gives off. 

All things considered, I think she looks striking. Though I am not yet happy with the base, and may well have a second crack at it. 

But my research into the model threw up an interesting (at least to me) discovery about the model. Now, If you read my last post you'd know a little be more about this figure. Rare is a word that is bandied about a fair bit in the world of Citadel collecting. I am sure you have seen it a thousand times on eBay (and similar places) usually attached to that other damnable phrase; 'pro-painted'! These sales are seldom fair representations of the models they advertise. But in Renata's case the word is justified. 

She is also the most expensive miniature I have ever bought. But like many women, she was worth every penny!

Before painting her, I decided to check her details in the Death on the Reik Campaign book. I was very familiar with her blurry image from the WD flyer (which you can see directly below this paragraph) but I couldn't recall anything about the character in the supplement. Thanks to my newly organised collection, I was able to locate my copy of the book quite quickly and didn't have to search long until I produced a reference for her. 

And found out that her name is wrong!

It is Renate in the Death on the Reik book. Take a look! 

So in fact, Renata should be Renate. Or indeed Renate should be Renata? A case of a simple spelling error? Reading on about her character, it seems she is a pedlar, so the bright clothing definitely suits her nature, though interestingly her stats don't mention that she is armed with that very obvious bow does it? WYSIWYG was clearly not an issue back in 1987.

Whatever the answer. She's painted and on the shelf ready to act as proxy for Sandra Prangle in my McDeath project. 

More about that soon!


Tuesday 14 April 2015

If I had an Oldhammer to Kickstart the World: Great models from Chico and Jon Boyce

Oldhammer's resident paint-splattered maniac, Chico* from Oldhammer on a Budget, is probably as well known as you can be in this community. His, er, distinctive take on miniature wargaming has become internationally known, largely due to the success of his unusual blog and his prolific use of social media.
One thing that you probably didn't know about 'Ol' Dirty Boy' was his rather exciting partnership with the equally deranged Fimm McCool. It seems that they gave got together and created a range of amusing 'Evil Space Dorfs' to plague the dreams of new school sci-fi gamers and tickle the nostalgic whims of those old enough to weep of the demise of a certain 40k race.
There are currently two packs available. Judge Chico and a Cyber-Goat and two troopers; Khan and Fodder. If you haven't seen them before (or even if you have) why not pop over to Oakbound Games - who do an intriguing line of Celtic myth inspired minis of their own - and have a look.
A project well worth keeping an eye on.
John Boyce is another name of repute growing within the community. He, when he isn't plastering the Facebook Page with his thoughts, has got together with the uber-talented Micheal Anderson to produce the range you can see above me.
The ultimate range of Sci-Fi civilians.
Unlike Chico's models, which are good to go but stocked in limited numbers, these are being funded through a Kickstarter. Details of this can be found here. By the looks of things as I type these words, this project is almost funded and is almost undoubtably going to make its way into your lead pile.
Go on! You know you want some!

Sunday 12 April 2015

McDeath: Brooben Keyler

My hastily shot snap of Brooben caught on a rather windy afternoon. Seconds after this photograph was taken, all the scenery was whipped away by a cheeky gust of wind. Perhaps it was Brooben?
All good things must come to an end. And so it is with my Easter holidays. But I cannot complain, as I am only six weeks away from another! Hurrah, and I should be able to clock up some serious painting come June. 

I just have to do quite a bit of work until then!

So to finish off the last day of my holiday, I decided to paint up a figure. As I am working through my McDeath collection at the moment, I selected the next figure from the lead pile and got to work: Brooben Keyler.

To those of you who don't know much about McDeath let me explain a little bit about him. Brooben is the leader of the Maltmen, a bunch of brewers, who have the misfortune to become involved the the conflict between McDeath and the Alliance. The model itself is one of the few pre-slotta pieces in the collection, along with Spot and Klinty, and was once part of an ancient range that predates the 'Scottish Scenario' by some years. 

Though I knew a fair bit about the background to the character and a bit of the history of the figure, I didn't really have much of an idea about what he looked like when I was tracking him down. My trips browsing eBay hadn't really thrown anything up over the years and there is (was) a dearth of information about the model online. Type in 'Brooben Keyler' into a search engine and you got very little. I certainly couldn't find any decent photographs of him, or anything painted. 

McDeath. How many have you got? 
So it was a pleasant surprise when he turned up on my door mat. Sure, he was filthy with age (as many of the lead pre-slottas are) but with a splash of Dettol I was able to clean him up nicely. I am glad I did, because the detail just jumped out at me. And detail is the word! Brooben is a marvellous sculpt - positively dripping with character and a joy to behold! Turning him over in my hands I had to really admire the sculptor's art, doubly so when you think about this model was designed and cast in the early 1980s! 

I think its something about the corpulent stature of Brooben that catches my imagination. He is rugged, ugly and slovenly and yet his meaty hand clasps the hilt of his sword like he knows how to use it. So much character in such a tiny piece really - everything you need to know about the man can be seen in the design. Classic. 

Painting him was a joy. An absolute joy and I am very, very pleased with the finished model. I would consider him to be the best model I have ever painted (and by this I mean my painting skills, rather than the sculpt) as I feel I have cracked a number of the areas I have been developing. Namely; flesh, clothing and gold metallics. 

Hopefully, some of you will agree. 

Right. Back to reality for me tonight with lesson planning and general sorting out. But my heart will remain at the painting station, with its fingers stuck together with superglue...


Saturday 11 April 2015

McDeath: Julia McEwman, Donaldbane and Dokko McCoughlagan

I have been busy using the remaining days of my Easter holidays to get some more of my McDeath figures tableworthy. I still have several models as work-in-progresses, but these are in good enough condition to show. The light wasn't great when I took these and I apologise for the rather cloudy look of the photograph.

Right, let's talk about Julia McEwman first. I really like this model (she is called Mace Lady elsewhere in Citadel land) and was available for many years in the catalogue. What I really appreciate about here is that she isn't a fantasy female stereotype. She lacks the atypical lowcut armour and improbable taste in clothing and instead, is much more realistically armoured in mail and pauldron. 

Though I am playing a bit fast a loose with the McDeath background with my take on the scenario, I was happy to keep her blonde hair. This was fairly easy to achieve with just a simple base colour (one of the modern GW ones with a really silly name), old school Chestnut glaze over the top followed by a good drybrush with the highlight once dry. Her face was just my usual method for flesh. 

I struggled with her armour. Painting steel is a real problem for me and I hate it. I am never happy with the finished result and need to work on getting the look 'right' in my eyes at least. I will have to paint up some armoured chaps in the near future. I used the Foundry metallic paint for this, using a mixture of dry brushing and layering. I used a very watery blue/black glaze over the top to take the shine off the finish. 

The leather for her boots was a 50:50 mix of brown and orange. I added some of my preferred Foundry Boneshade to lighten it up and create the definition. I did something similar for the girdle. 

Julia's shield saw a lot of attention and I am happy with the result. The background was originally all red (to tie in with the girdle I mentioned) but it ended up somewhat lacking. So I added an off white half and the job, as they say, was a good 'un. 

Donaldbane (or Elric gatecrashing Albion) isn't a great figure. He has had a rather long and chequered history in Citadel Miniatures, but is an obvious Kinslayer knock off. Earlier versions even have Elric on the base. I found him hard to paint. A large part of this was the fact he is nearly all silver armour, but I struggled on and was happy with the finish. Its obvious that I need to do a little work in the plate armour department in the near future. 

The only part of the model I did enjoy working on was the cloak. Mixing two colours to create a base has become fairly common for me. For the cloak it went like this. Dark red and brown for the base, dark red and light red for first highlight, light red and orange for second highlight and just orange for the final stage. I mixed in a little of the base red into the yellow to help harmonise the yellow zig-zag pattern in with its surroundings. 

And finally, Dokko. My favourite model of the three and part of the Fighter range originally. A great model to paint and I went to town making him look suitable barbarian with lots of natural whites and creams and browns. As I had done with Donaldbane, I used layering for his hair but found the finish a little too stark when compared with the rest of the model. So I whipped up a quick chestnut glaze and washed that over to bring the colours down. 

I spent ages on his shield aswell -trying to get the crest image I found for his clan in the McDeath background. I opted for a blue background colour purely because I had used some much red. 


Right, let me cook the family their dinner, change my water over and start work on the next of my McDeath models. 

Delving Deep: What have you forgotten you have?

I have to use this Welsh Dresser to store my collection. The wife likes to keep the rooms of our house 'in keeping' so no nasty modern furniture is allowed. This photograph shows a part of my collection AFTER we had sorted it all out. 
Asking someone to remember something they have forgotten is a rather whimsical, if impossible, activity. After all, we all tend to forget things. Now this is a rather abstract way to begin a blog post, though I can assure you that there is method in the madness. 

Stuart, a fellow collector of old Citadel from Essex, visited me at home the other day and after a little poking through the lead pile in order to set up a few trades, we started to delve a little deeper into my horde. This short exploration into my collection quickly transformed into a thorough sort out and I discovered I owned several items that I had completely forgotten about. 

By far the best find was this little rarity. Which Stuart so ably models in the photograph below. A still sealed pack of old Citadel Colour paint brushes!

I have no idea where they came from on when I bought them. No idea at all!

My collection was pretty much just shoved in the cupboard and had the doors closed on it. We pulled everything out and took further material from the bedroom cupboard. The White Dwarfs were even put in the correct order!
With this in mind I am going to ask you this. How well do you know YOUR collection? Is it spread about the house in various locations? Is it collecting dust in some attic or cellar? Well, how about you head off to the place where your stash is the greatest and have a rummage. Can YOU find something you completely forgot you had?

I was impressed with the quality of these brushes. I bought a modern Citadel brush the other day as there were some on offer in a toy shop. I had to search through about twenty of them until I found an example with a decent point. Quite frankly, they were awful. These still look good after nearly thirty years!
Get looking!


Wednesday 8 April 2015

Warhammer Rocks Again: Games Workshop and Kerrang! Magazine

How about this then? These two images are doing the rounds on various social media outlets today. They are scans taken from an issue of Kerrang! (December 1989 #270 to be precise) and were spotted by long time Oldhammerer, Jason Fulford. They concern themselves with the relationship between the Games Workshop of the Bryan Ansell years and '80s metal music. Now, this is stuff we have talked about before in Warhammer Rocks but these few pages are packed with some fascinating facts that I wasn't previously aware of...

Like that the Sabbat 'Blood for the Blood God' flexi-disk White Dwarf issue sold 74,000 copies. By the way, that was also the launch issue for Warhammer Third Edition! 

Or that there were 300,000 (presumably GW) gamers in Britain in 1989!

And finally this apt quote from Andy Jones: "Warhammer combines the two, creating a table-top fantasy battle system, with all the depth of a role-play game, but involving huge units.' 

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Girls, Girls, Girls: How to Spot Sandra Prangle and Renata

Renata has looked better. Her left hand, nose and ankles are slightly damaged - but with a flow of the modeller's file and the eye of the painter, these unsightly blemishes will soon be no more. Mint she is not, but then I didn't pay a 'mint' price for her. As always, I intend to repair her, paint her and get her on the gaming table somewhere. 
Some time ago I decided to reduce the volume of my collecting. Hardly a day went by without a package arriving at my front door, and to be honest with you, at that point in my life (I had a rather nasty job) I needed the trusty lead pick me ups to help me struggle on. Or such was the excuse I told myself. Later on, I made a promise to try and paint more than I buy and I have stuck to it pretty much. What helped was the fact that I limited my collecting to a few ranges. What hindered was the fact that the three ranges I chose to collect contain some of the rarest and pricy models in the collecting business: McDeath, Shadows Over Bogenhafen and Death on the Reik. 

To be honest, I have been pretty successful and have really enjoyed the thrill of the hunt. Sure, I have had to pay out a fair bit of cash for a few of the models in open auction, but that is all part of the fun! Just like finding a sought after miniature for very little. 

In truth, few of the models from the ranges I describe are truly rare. Most were available for years and in years in different ways but the models we are going to discuss today are different. They were part of limited sets and are very popular. 

Renata, looking good above these words, is one such model. She was only available, as far as I can tell, as part of the second Death on the Reik deal - along with Wanda 2 who Steve Casey uncovered recently - and is subsequently difficult to find. Expect to pay anything in the range of £80- £100 for her. 

Now, I write this post because I was rather confused to what Renata should actually look like. The internet doesn't throw up much in terms of visual material when a Google search is conducted so I thought I would take a few snaps to help those intrepid hunters of old lead who come after me. So take a good look before I paint her. 

My Renata's rear is in much better condition. I noticed that her ankles are rather week. This isn't damage through age but more due to the design of the figure. Perhaps a fair few have fallen over the years to the dreaded ankle snap? Perhaps that is another reason why she is so rare?
There appears to be some confusion over the differences and similarities between Renata and Sandra Prangle from McDeath. Some said that the models were the same, others different. There was no definitive photographic proof that I could uncover so I provide it here. Renata, it seems, is armed with a bow while Sandra holds a spear, though the basic body, as you can see, is pretty much identical. Where Sandra has a boss to hold a shield on her back, Renata has a quiver, as can be seen in the photograph above. 

Sadly, I don't own Sandra Prangle yet (though Renata will be standing in for her if I ever play a game of McDeath in the meantime) but I have managed to find this fairly decent picture of her below so the differences can be seen clearly. 

Enjoy the hunt.


Monday 6 April 2015

Oldhammer Weekend in the USA 7th-9th August

It gives me great pleasure to announce the Second Oldhammer USA event. Futher details can be found here

Sunday 5 April 2015

A Triad of Treemen

What is better than a single treeman? The answer is really rather easy - three treemen! Now I have waxed lyrical in the past about how much I love these models and I must confess that my obsession in all things Ent (can we say that in Warhammer?) has led me to purchase two further models from eBay in recent days. Another 1985 Treebeard model, and the classic 1984 Treeman from the Second Compendium, otherwise known as 'Klinty' in McDeath collecting circles.

Its been quite a project. The model on the right has been painted three times and old Klinty was so filthy upon arrival (black grime rubbed off onto your fingers when you handled him) that he needed some serious cleaning.

If we start with the 1984 treeman, Klinty, I can tell you that he must have been popular back in the day as there are a great number of the available on-line - with the price averaging out at about £18 each. Now, as a sculpt there isn't really much going for poor old Klinty. He is a ancient solid based model back from back in the days when sculpting and casting were really quite primitive. And he looks it when you first handle him. He has a certain charm though, especially if you love treemen, and I really rather enjoyed bringing him back to life. 

I found that Dettol really helped shift thirty years of oxidisation from his surface. As I said before, he was so grimy that the black sooty stuff that seems to stick to old lead everywhere left marks on your hands. After a few hours in the brown stuff, I fished him out and was surprised (with a little help from the washing up liquid) to see how quickly that muck could be cleaned away. Undercoating was a problem, probably due to the high lead content, and my white paint just seemed to move away from the surface of the model. I found painting it on directly with a large brush stopped this.

After a few tests, I realised that the models (who are really intended to form a three tree unit) looked rather strange with individual paint schemes. So I opted to repaint the lot using a stage by stage approach and I think its fair to say that I am pretty happy with the results. Though I notice in this photograph that one of Klinty's eyes looks a bit lopsided - so I shall fix that up shortly. 

All in all, a challenging and satisfying project that has got my painting score for this holiday up to nine completed models. Hmmm, what next?

Thursday 2 April 2015

Tackling the 'Unfinishables': The Miniature Painter's Struggle

Years ago, I wrote about the concept of a Miniature Moriarty. Those miniatures that somehow or other turn against their owners in a kind of Frankensteinesque moment that often results in a long period of apathy. At the time I jumbled together some ideas to help me express how certain models made me feel. It went a little like this:

"So if you blessed by not having a shameful secret (or think you are) how can you recognise a Miniature Moriarty? To help you decide I have created a little checklist that you can run through if you are unsure.

Here we go...

1) No matter how hard you try your paint always 'does its own thing' and blobs and runs in places you don't want it to go.
2) The colour scheme always looks awful, not matter what you try. Either too flat and lacking depth or cartoony.
3) Base looks awful, even though you have used the very same technique that you always use.
4) You start to despise the figure you are working on.
5) This feeling of dislike spreads to other models and you become reluctant to paint anything else in case the 'contagion' spreads to other models.
6) The 'contagion' spreads, you become disinterested in painting, your miniatures stand idle and the jar full of models you just bought from eBay float in their dettol bath unloved for weeks. Your table becomes a dumping ground for random objects placed their by your wife, dust breeds, the table becomes an embarrassment that you just cannot face tidying up
7) You blame it all on that one miniature that started the whole downward spiral.

And now, the most important aspect of a Moriarty Miniature! Number 8 in the list. Remember, that we are talking about a nemesis here, an archenemy. Its a personal thing, between you and the lead.


8)Only YOU can see the faults. Only YOU care about the flaws. So only YOU can make the change... Everyone else will just look at the model and say... "I like the way to did the...'


Just paint."

Thankfully, none of the models I am sharing with you today are true Moriarty. They are what I like to call the 'Unfinishables'. Models that you want to paint, start working on but ultimately abandon for some reason (initially for a short time). However, they just remain on your painting table, or even worse tucked safely away somewhere (often for years) and never, ever get completed. Years can go by, as indeed did for a couple of the models I am showing off today, without any further work being carried out. 

With a long holiday underway, I was keen to get some serious painting done and hope to get a least one miniature painted each day. Currently, its Day 6 and six models stand completed before me (though today, Thursday, I haven't completed anything as of yet) so I have done well. What better to get working on than some of those unfinished projects I have started over the years and never got around to finishing off. As I write, I still have three unfinished projects for next time I have a clear through but I am ready to move on to another project really. 

So lets have a look at what I have managed to paint over the last few days

This undead rider model is a bit special. Not because there is some sort of Warhammery legend attached to it but due to the fact it is one of the few original models I owned back in the 1980s. I must have at some point picked up a blister with these in as there was once a second rider and steed, but both were far to badly damaged survive one of my culls and went in the bin. Yet, this model has survived and I have been keen to paint it over the years but as described, I'd start it, grow unhappy or bored with where I was going and plop the figure in the Dettol. Repeating the process several times. 

He was undercoated and based on my painting table but I wasn't sure where to go with the colour scheme. I have a hefty collection of old school undead and always intended to do a white (bone) back and brown scheme for the lot of them, using red as a spot colour. The colours of death ultimately. So I opted to go for a brown robe for the rider, he did after all look like some kind of monk, and highlighted up with my new best friend of painting, Foundry Boneyard 9A. A truly versatile colour indeed. 

The rider's face and hands were completed using the Boneyard shade I just mentioned, followed up with a chestnut ink glaze. The cleaver was very easy. Just a dark metal basecoat, washed over with first a brown ink and then a orange/brown wash. A slight silver highlight was added to the edges. The shoes proved a bit of a problem as I didn't want to just paint them another shade of brown. In the end, I went for a green into which I mixed a little of the brown to create a little colour harmony.

It was the horse that took the time. I wanted to go for black to contrast against the brown of the robe. Now, as many a painter will tell you, black, like white, can be a real challenge to get right so I highlighted up with dark greys until it reached a point I was happy with. I used the same grey to drybrush up the mane and tail. It was fairly simple to basecoat the missing chunks on the mount's body with a scarlet before washing over with a chestnut ink. I highlighted the gore with red and then a pink. 

An enjoyable figure to paint and a finish I am really pleased with. 

McDeath is a favourite range of mine, though few of the models are exclusive to it. The Knight of Harkness above is one such figure. Sadly, he has gathered dust for some months on the paint station because there was always something a bit more exciting to work on. He was very straight forwards to paint up, though I had to change the base colour of his 'skirt' bit to red after reading through the background materials. I was unhappy with how the armour had originally turned out, so I mixed up a blue glaze and ran it over all of the steel on the model. It gave the metal a bright, noble hue that helped bring out the details. Well, I thought so anyway.

Only the shield took me any great time. The design is lifted from the McDeath background material though the colour choices are mine. A real test of my freehand. 

Over the years I have raved about the Citadel plastic skeletons many times and I am sure you will forgive me if I rave once again. They are, quite simply, the best plastic skeletons ever produced and GW really did go backwards with their second (and much inferior) set of plastic skellies. Thankfully, the originals are very easy to get hold of and I probably own more than I will ever need. If indeed you can actually own too many of them in the first place! 

I cannot recall why this model was abandoned. But he has sat there for some time feeling lonely so after the paint had dried on the Knight of Harkness I started work. I was keen to try out the Foundry Boneyard triad on a whole model and ended up washing over my original paint work with a dark brown wash. Once dry, I used a mixture of layering and drybrushing to work up the model to the highlight. This probably took no longer than 15 minutes to achieve. The axe needed just a moment or two to highlight with suitable colours. Easy and effective I thought. Another positive advert for triads. 

Of course, being a plastic skeleton he needed a freehand painted shield. As I have done in the past, I Googled skull designs and copied one onto the shield. To add interest, I decided to add a single, blood-shot eye inside one of the sockets. If you are trying similar things, always do your research first. Have an explore through as much reference as you can and always keep you paint fluid with plenty of water. My top tips!

With the skeleton based and finished, it was time to move on to a figure that I started last spring. Originally part of my Chaos army but unfinished due to me having grown tired of painting Khorne stuff - this classic chaos dwarf is a brilliant example of the insane ideas behind the original chaos release. 

He painted up quickly. I loved working on the face and chose purple as a skin tone. Dwarf faces are so full of character that they are a joy to highlight and I just kept on adding Boneyard 6C to the mix until I was happy with the result. The red hair was also easy to achieve. A dark red base, highlighted with orange and yellow. I used the same yellow to pick out the two spots on his face. To add further contrast, I used bone for the horns sprouting from his head and a vibrant green for his tongue. 

Not a chap to bump into on St Valentine's Day, eh? 

Though hard to see in the image - I used browns and creams for his clothing. After all, with such a shocking colourful face, I didn't want to over-egg the pudding and spoil the look of the model. The boots were black, drybrushed with grey and highlighted with a lighter shade. I used Foundry's steel triad for the blade and GW's new gold paints for the hilt and guard. 

The model gave me another chance to paint on one of the 'ogre faces' I have been using on my chaos stuff. It was a little more challenging this time, as I usually use the larger round shields, but instead opted for one of the spiky undead ones. As I have done previously, I kept the rim of the shield black to help frame the painting on the face itself. Its what they did in the GW Studio back in the day so its good enough for me! 

It was then an easy job to base the model. In retrospect, this is my favourite model in this little project. I have already added him to my chaos dwarf unit. 

Now this 'unfinishable' must be my oldest. I started this back in 2012 when Realm of Chaos 80s was just a few months old. I gave up on it because I just didn't get on with the sculpt. I am still not a great fan of this particular orc, but I persisted and am fairly happy with the result. I still think that my recipe for orc flesh is too pale - but there you go... That is a problem for a future painting session. 

And finally, this chap. He was a quick paint and is destined to bulk up a unit of Slanneshi Chaos warriors in my other chaos army. I cannot say I am a big fan of this model either, but he is finished and I am now free to try other things. I don't feel that the colour scheme works particularly well. I think its the lack of depth in the pink armour. But its finished and ready for the table top. 

To conclude, there is something deeply satisfying in completing a model at the best of times. Its even more satisfying when they are annoying figures that have just sat there gathering dust for some time. As I said at the head of this article, I have a few other models out there which can be classed as 'unfinishables' and one day, perhaps half-term, I shall return to them and endeavour to get them completed too. 

Until then, I off to start work on my next project. More McDeath stuff if you want to know. But before I pop off, why not get thinking (like so many of you did with my speed painting challenge) about YOUR 'unfinishables'. And the next time you lift a brush to paint, why no reach for one of those models instead, and lay an overdue project to rest.

Happy painting.


Wednesday 1 April 2015

Acceptable in the '80s: Warhammer Armies Bretonnian Update and 'Eavy Metal selection

This is a second post in a loose series about the Bretonnian releases from early in the 1990s. Previously, we had a little look at the 'Eavy Metal background to the 'look' of the models. Today, with an extract originally published in White Dwarf 137, we go a little further and analyse some of the models themselves, as well as have a glance at the updated army list.

Before any of that, I have a quote from the dark and brooding Rick Priestley concerning the 'Chivalry' game I was postulating about in my last post. He shed a little light on the project over on the Oldhammer Facebook Group. 

Rick Priestley: The Chivalry game was actually written up and developed by Nigel Stillman - based on an idea from Bryan Ansell - and utilising a range of models developed by the Perrys. So, yes Alan and Michael were involved - and did contribute to the game - but it was Nigel who worked up the game and Bryan who had the 'vision' for it. In fact it was many games that interlocked - with an overarching dynasty building game behind it - as I remember. There was a jousting system I think - and a man to man combat game that was based on cards - which I think I had a hand in. I remember playing it with the Perrys on the train down to Salute! Just one of the very many things that were worked on and abandoned back in the day.

Taken from a Facebook conversation about the game 'Chivalry'. March. 2015

The first 'new' figures that we see are the missile troops that head this page. Practically monopose, with simple variations, these models work well in big units - though their simplicity is a sign of things to come. The twenty man units look great. 

The second page contains, as you will have seen, the lovely new Bretonnian knights on foot: sword and shield men and those armed with double handed axes. Again, these are a variety of similar sculpts rather than a range of individual models - but the result really does look like a historical army. It sees that many gamers of the time were split into two distinct camps: those which found the models too historical for their tastes and those who were happy to collect them alongside the more fantastical stuff the early 1990s gave us. Which were you at the time, eh?

Most worthy of note is that cannon (I have always wanted one of them!) and if you can recall clearly, you will remember that there were a number of other new gunpowder weapons as part of this range. They are now, sadly, long gone and can fetch some pretty prices online. I have included the catalogue pages for the missing stuff at the end of this article. The levy is of course as old as the hills, being (mostly) the old Militia/Mercenary range that is still pretty much available from Wargames Foundry.

Finally, the updated page for Warhammer Armies reflecting how the Bretonnians have changed with the new miniature release. A useful document for anyone considering a later Bretonnian army and needs something 'official' to help tie up all the loose ends. Oh, and I found some rather poor quality scans of the 1991 catalogue to show off the rest of the brilliant artillery range. 

Enjoy the memories!