Monday 2 November 2015

Night of the Living Lead III: Bryan Ansell's Treasures!

No day tripper to the Wargames Foundry should miss the opportunity of exploring the glorious miniature display cabinets that the Ansells have organised. They are packed with thousands (this is not an exaggeration) of classic models from GW's Golden Age, as well as a wealth of historical models. 

I had great delight in finding many of the miniatures that Darren Matthew's spoke about during his recent interview. I managed to snap the Genestealer Cult Standard Bearer we saw last week among many others - including the Harlequin models from the boxset. Sadly, the pictures I tried taking of them were not very good, so I shall endeavour to take better ones next time I am there. 

While on the subject of the old Citadel models, it is worth pointing out here just how vibrant the colours still are after a quarter of the century. I have worked hard over the last year or so to align my painting style with that vibrancy and try and pull off the depth of colour that the 'old masters' achieved back in the day. No GrimDark TM for me. 

The multi-talented Marcus Ansell was kind enough to unlock many of the cabinets and I was subsequently able to take a few more detail shots of the more unusual models. This frontal view of the famous War Altar of Nurgle (by Ivan Bartlett) shows a few details I had never noticed before, including the rather horrific (in a good way) driver of the vehicle. Marcus and I discussed the model, and he told me how dusty the piece had become. Sadly, the piece is too fragile to clean and Marcus is certain the model has lost a little of its lustre. 

We moved on to look at the Ork fort I spotted during BOYL 3. This is a glorious model (and I spotted the rest of the scenery that went with it back at Stoke Hall later in the evening, so that survives too) that really rewards careful study, for there are so many little details here to enjoy, if you can spot them!

Hang on a minute! A converted Rhino of Nurgle? Maggots bursting forth? I only managed to find Darren Matthew's infamous war machine of chaos among many of the other classic tanks. Interestingly, the Land Raider shown in the WD image used to illustrate this model on Darren's interview was sitting next to it! I sent the images of this model I took to him and he couldn't believe the piece still existed!

Stuart brought with him the 'missing fishman' to give to Bryan - only for Bryan to produce the same model from his pocket. During the summer, The Mighty Avenger told us that he didn't actually own the third model from the range - but if someone could get him an example he'd cast it up with a new weapon in a similar vein to the Laserburn (and later 40k) fishmen models. I own the previous two fishmen, so I am looking forwards to one day completing the triad of terror. 

Kev Adams produced a special 'Halloween' goblin to celebrate the spooky time of year. The figure was given away for free for all attendees and currently sits on my painting table for completion. Foundry were kind enough to give me a second figure to pass on to Chico. 

Check out this monstrosity! Yes, Kev Adams has been at it again and the ranks of the Warmonger goblinoids (and ogroids) has mushroomed. He has moved on to start working on the beastmen range Foundry will eventually release. Bryan plans to have comprehensive models for all fantasy 'races' as part of this project, though the likelihood of this model being cast in its present state is unlikely. An emasculated version is more likely!

Still, its always a pleasure to see the Goblin Master's sense of humour brought forth in greenstuff!

I also spotted a large assortment of 'ogre-face' shields also sculpted by Kev. These were as varied as they were numerous. I own quite a few of these already, but the new greens I saw surpass even those. 

Where does he get his ideas? 

That question was answered a little later on in the evening as we were invited back to Stoke Hall to attend a gathering for Bryan's birthday. Diane cooked some excellent food (as always) and Marcus wowed us all with a brilliant fireworks display! The concepts for the warmonger project were brought out for our enjoyment and proved a fascinating journey through the business of miniature design. 

Recognise any of these faces?

This riot of ideas from Bryan are passed on to Kev to create the greens we looked at earlier on in the post. 

From left to right - Mags (Staurt Klatcheff's wife), Wayne England, Warlord Paul, Bryan Ansell and Steve Beales discuss the creative process behind this latest batch of fantasy models.

We were shown two enormous folders packed with ideas - written on all manner of left over bits of paper and card. Bryan said that he has to write ideas down as soon as they come to him, so uses whatever he can find lying around. 

Even going as far as annotating photocopied images.

Steve Casey spotted this reassuring note on one of the pages. A return to 'proper' beastmen.

As the guests for the party began to arrive, I felt a tap on my shoulder and found Steve Casey, the famous bridgendsteve on eBay, who had discovered something behind one of the sofas. Do you recognise this painting?

Yes, it is the original painting for the cover of the First Citadel Compendium by John Blanche!

Thanks must be made to the Ansells, our generous hosts, and to these fine people, who were (and are) wonderful people to spend time with, roll dice and invent rude and amusing jokes with. 

I will be back tomorrow with a post about the enigmatic Wayne England and a closer look at his glorious sketchbook. 


Sunday 1 November 2015

Unreleased Citadel C series Cleric 1

I blogged about this model a few days ago but could only share a rather poor photograph. I managed to capture a couple of snaps today in the back garden using my preferred illumination, natural light, and post them up in my usual style. 

This is an extremely rare model. It is part of a wider range of wizards and clerics that never saw the inside of a blister way back in 1987. The CCM website can provide you with comprehensive details of this range of models and it can be found here. As you will have seen, the range has a real mixture of models comprising it. Some are quite obviously unfinished, or were in fact test or training pieces, and it is clear why they never saw release. Others, like the example I have painted above, are wonderful models and you are left wondering why they never made the cut. Talking to a fair few of the personalities involved in the early days of Citadel over the years it is fair to say that things were sometimes a little, and I am quoting Bryan Ansell here, 'disorganised' in the 1980s, so perhaps that explains why little gems like this never made the grade. 

He was a wonderful model to paint but I must admit he has sat on my painting table since August along with the other unreleased wizard I have won in Foundry Painting Competitions. But the need for a small group of miniatures for yesterday's game galvanised me into action. 

The face and hands were fairly straight forwards to paint and I used my usual 'flesh' method. I use a suitable skin tone and a base (in this case it was the new GW Kislev one) and add a spot of dark red and a little brown. Mixing this up gives you a nice dark shade that is perfect for basecoating. I cover every part of the face and hands, leaving no areas of darkness (I used a brown undercoat for the figure) and once dry, wash over with a watery chestnuty ink. Once the ink was is dry, I paint back over with my original base colour and tidy things up. Then adding increasing amounts of the starting colour (the new GW Kislev one) I slowly work up highlights until the face 'pops' as some painters say. 

It is pretty much the same method for everything else you can see here, bar the toad, the laurel and the staff. 

I knew I was going to be using a great deal of white on this figure, so I chose a grey to darken the beard and a blue to deepen the white cloak. I kept the pale tone style for the staff also.  

In case you were wondering, he is holding a small frog or toad on the palm of his hand. It is a wonderful character trait that amused me the moment I saw it and was the reason I chose the model from the selection offered. The amphibian was painted in exactly the same green as the laurel and the bunch of herbs at the wizard's belt, only I used a great deal of sunburst yellow to build up the highlights. I feel that the resulting colour compliments to other green on the fugure very well indeed. 

Overall, he was a real pleasure to work on. 

Night of the Living Lead III: An Overview

Good morning all - well I got back nigh on midnight yesterday after an outstanding day at the Wargames Foundry, in East Stoke. As you will know, I attended the Night of the Living Lead event organised by Warlord Paul and Richard Irvine. 

I travelled up to the event with the Sealed Blister Collector himself, Stuart Klatcheff and his wife Mags and we arrived quite early only to see Tony Yates wandering around with his fellow wargaming enthusiast, Alex. 

Tony had brought his pens and set about producing drawings for Oldhammer fans as is usual custom. Hoping to make the most of Tony's skills with a pen I challenged him to draw for me a barbarian princess. 

And here she is completed. Tony had previously drawn me a chaos warrior in pencil and this piece will soon be gracing the conservatory that I use as my painting room. I am sure that the wife is going to love it! 

Bryan, Diane and Marcus were (as always) fine hosts and kept us fed and watered throughout the day. The Mighty Avenger was full of amusing anecdotes and brought in many of his 'treasures'. Don't worry, we will be looking at them in greater detail in a future post. 

We has the pleasure of meeting Wayne England and having a look at some of his recent work. He was full of fascinating tales about life in the legendary Design Studio of the 1980s.

Bryan's stunning collection of vintage Citadel and historical miniatures were on display, and some of them were even unleashed from the cabinets! Here we can see a close up of the 40k ork scenery piece known as 'The Drop' - essentially a greenskin toilet full of fungus. Bizarrely, its made from a piece of mdf bearing the name of a factory not far from the house I grew up in in Wareham!!!

Players came from far and wide and brought all manner of miniatures with them. I shall write about the game in more detail in its own dedicated post in a few days time once I have sorted out the enormous amount of photographs that were taken. 

The scenario was not a pitched battle. It was a small scale scenario game and so offered a wealth of opportunities for the player and GM (of which we needed two!) and provided us all with the need to create small, characterful forces. 

For example, Matthew Dunn brought along this Halloween inspired pumpkin delivery vehicle along with a small band of intrepid gnomes. The figures we used came from a large number of miniature manufacturers but old school Citadel predominated - can you spot the classic gnome wizard here?

We were lucky enough to have access to the brilliant tables at Foundry and loads of buildings that were brought in by fellow Oldhammerers. Tony Yates offered us the use of many unusual pieces from his own collection that were older than most of the players, including the fantastic 'Wicker Man' inspired piece you can see in the photograph above. 

It was a brilliant day and we have organised another one for February. That game will be a pitched battle so expect to see a great number of different units on the table then!

I have loads more posts to bring you. Hopefully, this overview will whet your appetite for more!