Tuesday 30 June 2015

Are Pre-slotta Minatures Crap?

A rather rushed snapsnot of my entire (bar the painted pieces) pre-slotta Citadel collection. But is the stuff WORTH collecting?
Good evening (well, it is as I type) and welcome back to the Realm of Chaos 80s blog. Services have been erratic at best over the last two months for a variety of reasons. By and large, the pressures of my job (its been really tough) have left me with little or no time to Oldhammer. 

Thankfully, the end is now very much in sight and my weekends are once again my own. The miniature desk has lain in dormancy and is little more than a dust-covered shell of its former self. But soon (Saturday morning I hope) paint will once again splash across the leaded brilliance of old school miniatures. And with just a month to go to BOYL 3 (or the Oldhammer Weekend 3 if you are that way inclined) I better pull my finger out if I am going to get the first stage of my McDeath project completed. 

My first ever pre-slotta model. A troglodyte if memory serves and a bugger to paint. It wasn't an experience that raised my appreciation of them in any way.
In the short term, I want to discuss pre-slotta. This post has been remained rather embryonic for a while and was initially inspired by two things. The first was a fellow collector who is conversation stated that 'pre-slotta was all crap and not worth collecting' and the second was the few pre-slotta pieces that I bought as part of my McDeath project. If honesty is the best policy, I will point out here that in the not too distant past I would have heartily agreed with that collector. Even before the Oldhammer Era, I would pass over pre-slotta miniatures as a matter of fact when cruising eBay for classic figures. They were cheap, they were cheerful and they were naff...

Of course, I was aware that there were passionate collectors out there. But my heart told me they were fools and that the Realm of Chaos era stuff was the best Citadel ever put out. 

But time mellows the fire, and I have found my opinions have changed. Pre-slotta is not something to be dismissed as an irrelevance and chucked out once torn from the brown paper package. There are undiscovered gems among their ranks, as the following miniature illustrates perfectly.

The perfect paint-job? I think so.
My interest in pre-slotta took a u-turn once I had this model in my collection. To begin with, I wasn't much impressed. The lump of lead I held in my hand was just as indistinct as the image to be found of the model on the McDeath handout from 1986, its features a hazy mash of nearly thirty years of grime. But within an hour of its immersion within the miraculous Dettol, a revelation was brought forth on the end of a bent fork. For with a little light brushwork, and a squirt of Fairy Liquid, the incredible character of the model was brought back into the light. After all, no really clear image of the model was available online for me to ponder before, so the sight of so much detail was a real boon. 

I like to think it was that joy of discovery that inspired my hand to produce such a great paint-job and I have said before that Brooben is some of my finest work to date.

So what are your feelings about the range? Of course, I appreciate that there will be fans of these models out there. Nostalgia will always play a big part in scenes such as ours, and those half-forgotten emotions of yesteryear return quickly as we handle models we knew in our youth. My friend Stuart is one such collector, and being slightly older to me, really appreciates our solid based friends as being of 'his era.'

But are there any other fans of the pre-slotta out there? Or does the slotta based miniature hold dominance over the Oldhammer Community? Are these solid based figures really as crap as some believe?

Of course, it is largely all a matter of opinion, isn't it?. A 'good miniature' is going to vary from wargamer to wargamer. One man's Nagash is another man's Striking Scorpion after all. But do pre-slotta miniatures deserve their reputation for being squat, poorly made and lacking in detail ?

Before you answer this question, I will leave you with a couple of images in regards to pre-slotta models. Perhaps they will help you consider?

Saturday 20 June 2015

My Rogue Trader Stuff

I am well and truly locked into the treadmill of school. Report writing all weekend exhausted, dealing with exhausted children all week long. The obvious result of this is that hobby time well and truly grinds to a halt. But as I see it, I have only a couple of weeks to go until I finish and I can lavish much more time on my McDeath project. 

Keen to keep this blog out of the grave, I have a few photographs to share today. I posted some similar shots of these minis on Facebook a week or so ago, but they were a bit fuzzy. So I made good use of the sunshine this morning while I was eating my breakfast to take these fresh ones.

Starting left, we have a standard Rogue Trader ork. I painted him a couple of years back actually, when I fancied a change from Warhammer and Chaos. He has resided ever since in storage but I rediscovered him not that long ago and placed him alongside his goblinoid brothers on my Welsh Dresser display. 

The centre figure is my converted Space Skaven that I produced last summer. I realised recently that all I had to show for my hard work was a rather dubious 'on top of the car' style photograph, so I decided to include him in the mix as well. He was fun to do I can tell you. His weapon was already damaged, so I simply snipped it off at the hand and filed the leftovers down. It was then fairly straightforwards to add the old Imperial las-gun plastic part (albeit, snipped in two) and drill a hole in the back to add the banner. Skimming quickly through the fantasy miniatures books I hold in my archive game me plenty of late '80s inspiration for the back banner. 

The final miniature is a strange one. Its one of the unreleased Rogue Trader models discovered recently by Steve Casey. I managed to get my hands on one through the generosity of another collector and gave him a go when I was stressed out over school. I opted to go for a colour scheme akin to the Space Adventurers I have seen in Bryan's collection. After completing the model, I think I can see why it was never released. The pose is a bit rough and instead of looking like he is commanding troops forwards (or, indeed, unleashing a strange and no doubt deadly 'psyskic' attack) the model just seems to be prancing through the moves to Saturday Night Fever.

I suppose 'Staying Alive' is a big deal in the 41st millennium!

The model remains a curious piece in the history of 40k, and I was pleased to paint it up. 

Right, I will see you all again after I have finished off my reports. Only 17 to go! 


Friday 12 June 2015

The McDeath Project: Julia McEwman's Invasion Force

As regular readers here will know, I am currently embroiled in that end of year teacher thing that involves hot weather, report writing and the imminent end of term. Hobby time (or should that be Oldhammer time?) is in short supply, but I am still determined to get Stage 1 of my McDeath recreation ready for BOYL3. 

And here is that stage. Julia McEwman's clan.

In the original release, Julia's army was pretty much made up of a single miniature. The clansman with the sword raised above his head. I didn't fancy painting twenty odd of the same model so instead chose to use barbarians instead. I think they still have the rugged charm of a highland Scotsman, though. Luckily, I owned quite a fair few Citadel ones and bought up the modern Foundry castings of the ones I didn't have. 

Lets have a look at what I have got painted then. 

This first block contains a couple of female barbarians I had painted for other projects. Can you spot them? Pushed for time, I chose to paint the remaining seven models using my 'speed painting' technique. In the photograph above I don't think you can tell which minis I spent hours and hours on, and those I raced through much.

What helped, me work through the models at a fair old pace was reducing the palette to brown, flesh, yellow. gold, silver and black, with red as a spot colour. I also used the classic wargmer's 'production line' technique and concentrated on one colour across all of the models, only moving on to the next shade when every model was done. This was a little grueling to be honest, but the finished effect was well worth the extra effort. 

Having finished these characters some months ago, its pleasing to finally group them together with the rest of their forces. From left to right we have; Fergus McEwman, Julia McEwman and the fearsome Juggo.

Again, the perceptive among you may notice two barbarians that I had painted before in this unit, but the rest are made up from Foundry castings or original Citadel. Again, I opted for the same palette as with my female troops, but added a green style tartan pattern for the trousers. Not every model has this pattern present, but I think using it helps suggest a little of that 'Scottish' theme that needs to run through McDeath. Again, these were all speed painted. 

I built the banner in my usual way and set myself a single hour in which to finish it. I have access to the original McDeath boxset so it was a simple case of copying the McEwman's design from the handout onto a square of paper. 

I think it works well. 

A large number of the models have shields. I used plastic Citadel circular versions for the female unit and Foundry metal versions for the male. There was no other reason for this choice but supply. As speed is very much the key with this project, I didn't concern myself with fancy shield painting for these but concentrated on simple, colourful geometric designs. 

My two 'rear shots' here will show you how I approached this. 

Okay, I have about twelve miniatures left to paint for this part of the project, so I better get a move on. Hopefully, I can get another model complete before breakfast. 


Saturday 6 June 2015

The McDeath Project

Hello all...

You are probably wondering where I have been in recent weeks, with the rather reduced output on this blog. Well, the answer is quite simple. I have been writing my school reports and generally beginning to 'cross the ts' of this academic year. There is still some six weeks to go, and two more weeks of report writing' but its not all bad, as I know that the long summer holiday beckons and within it, many, many glorious hours of modelling - not to mention gaming.

So what do I intend to do with all this time? 

Re-create McDeath of course! 

Instead of just lifting the scenarios and forces from the source material, I intend to tweak things for my own ends. For starters, just to get the miniatures painted and on the table I have halved the size of all of the forces suggested in the GM's guide. 

For example, the forces of Julia McEwman were originally devised as being made up of Julia herself, Juggo the dwarf, Fergus and forty clansmen. My version will split this neatly in half but keep the characters - so I will field only twenty clansmen. In the future, when the project is well under way, I can always come back and beef up the units. 

My plan will be broken down into several stages and I am working on the first one of these as we speak. I intend to collect and paint all the forces required to fight the first battle (Winwood Harbour), build the associated model scenery required and construct a 'custom' gaming board to play it on. All before the Oldhammer Weekend in August!

I better get on with it then!