Thursday 31 December 2015

A Tale of Four Oldhammer Gamers: December

Published just time time to make my fellow gamer (Warlord Paul's) blog post out of date, points wise at least, I have returned to the business of A Tale of Four Oldhammer Gamers after a long absence. Sadly, we have had quite a bit to deal with family and work wise and hobby time has been seriously reduced. My mojo has also been seriously drained by the bleak winter light, but inspired by the glorious output of many a Oldhammerer I have picked up the brush once again and set to work. 

The chaos warrior you see before you is the second model in my new Nurgle army, after the Palanquin of Nurgle I completed last time. If truth be told, I began work on this model in late October, and started work a proper in November. It has taken me just under two months to finish it. No wonder I am languishing at the bottom of our league table!

As with the palanquin model, I used the randomly generated charts in the Lost and the Damned to create the background to this model. There is a handy champion chart on p.209 and I rolled a d1000 to determine what my second character would have in terms of attributes. The dice came in with a lowly 44, so I hastily flicked through the book to find out what fate had in store.

Well, my second character would be a human and have Blood Substitution (maggots) and Agility as their attributes, along with chaos armour. You can field an infinite number of champions as part of your army, each costing 100 points at a base rate, so reaching the target each month shouldn't be too difficult, as if I am in a fix I can just roll off and create a new champion. The trouble is, some of them can turn out to be pretty weak and feeble, a bit like my leader, so there is always a risk. 

The model was pretty straightforwards to paint, if time consuming. As you might have guessed, I have painted A LOT of chaos armour of a variety of hues in my time, so finishing this was no real struggle. I used Foundry's bright green as a base before mixing in a little yellow and bleached bone to achieve the highlights. The shading was added using the same base colour I created with the addition of plenty of black and green ink. 

I quite like using red alongside green, so chose a fairly dark shade to pick out the gloves. I opted for a cheeky blue spot colour too, on the fiendishly faced codpiece! Gold, again Foundry, was used to pick out a few details here and there and silver drubrushing brought out the detail on the chainmail and sword. I used a series of glazes to cut back the brightness of the silver paint and make the figure look a little more dirty. 

The Lost and the Damned has some great ideas for iconography and I wanted to do something a little different on his shield. I chose the plague chalice design and painted it up on a yellow background (chosen to contrast with the green) but used a very similar green for the cup - to help tie the shield back in with the rest of the model. 

If you look at the chaos warrior model, you might notice that it has several maggots or worms wriggling from within. I painted these up using a nice pink created by mixing a dark red with pure white. I repeated the maggot idea on the shield - again to tie the two together. 

Having now completed two character models I am going to opt for a proper unit for January. As I love the old plastic GW skeletons, I am going to do a unit of them. In the Nurgle list, they are known as plague skeletons - and will need an undead hero or chaos champion to lead them. If I plan to paint 14 models - this will take me up to 140 points for the skellies plus whatever the leader of the unit will cost. Of course, If I upgrade the unit further I can probably reach 200 points, which would make up for the month of November that I missed. 

Right, I am off to finish a couple of other painting projects. 

Happy New Year!


Tuesday 29 December 2015

Orlygg's Hobby Review 2015

With the turning of the year closer than ever, these last few days often become a time of reflection and critique, and having been feeling thoroughly uninspired on the painting front lately, it feels right to start thinking about what I accomplished over the last 12 months. I need a lift in my hobby spirits you see!

A couple of other bloggers have attempted similar things, and indeed, browsing through their body of work from the last twelve months has been highly inspirational and really got me wanting to whack paint on lead again. The dreary winter nights and the lack of decent natural light really put me off my stride, you see. 

Matthew Sullivan ( over on Oldenhamer in Toronto  ) is one such individual, and he has managed to clock up an impressive 161 miniatures in that time. Wow! And if you are not a follower of his blog, I am not talking about 161 basecoat and dip plastic randoms, but an incredible collection of highly quality painted models that stretch from the classic Citadel Gothic Horrors range (of which he painted 18 individual figures) to 73 Star Wars assault miniatures! 

Matthew's Talisman Samurai really made my eyes pop with its gorgeous riot of colours. I am sure that you will agree that he has a beautiful highlighting technique and can produce crisp, sharp colour without any bleaching or fading when lighter paint is added. I am particularly taken with the approach he has used to create that all important depth in his painting and I am guessing he uses a black undercoat and works up the colours. A truly terrific piece and inspiration enough to get me going with something suitably bright and exciting. 

Axoim, of Magpie and Old Lead, also posted a blog about the year in review, only he had been even more prolific that Matthew. with 173 'things' painted, and that includes scenery too! He also fared very well on the gaming front and if you spend any real time on his blog you will quickly see how much effort and time goes into his gaming sessions. And talk about ambitious, he has only gone and created a 'hobby performance' graph to track his development over the last few years. 

Impressive stuff, which helps rekindle the painting flame within old Orlygg, especially with Axoim sharing interesting painted figures like these eldar. 

So what of me, then? How did I fair this year? To be honest, I haven't a clue. But I can flick back through this blog and have a glance over the painted models I produced during the past year and complete a rough tally. I am going to concentrate on painted figures only to start with, so here we go. 

1 Halfling 
2 Night Horrors
4 Clansmen (McDeath)
Banquo (McDeath) 
33 Barbarians
1 Giant
1 Dwarf
5 Orcs
1 Chaos Sorcerer 
Julia McEwman, Dokko and Donald (McDeath)
3 Treemen
1 Skeleton
1 Dwarf
1 Knight of Harkness
1 Undead Cavalry 
1 Chaos Thug
Foundry Snorkling Mini Diorama 
Renata/Renate (Death on the Riek) 
Brooban Keyler (McDeath) 
Chaos Hound (McDeath) 
Lord and Lady McDeath
Turtle Dragon
2 Wizards
1 Chaos Beastman (Commission) 
3 Militia 
Palanquin of Nurgle
8 Sheep
8 Scenic Markers

So about 94 completed painted models. Not too bad, I suppose, but nowhere near the lofty heights of Axiom and Matthew. My out put has been quite varied now I look at it, which doesn't surprise me, as I much prefer to paint different things, over working on units or regiments of many similar models. McDeath makes up a large proportion of the complete models, and I probably have the same number again in storage to work on next year. 

So, as my fellow Oldhammerers have done before me, I need to set myself some targets. I definitely want to be well into the 100s by this time next year, with say a rough target of 120 complete models by the end of 2016. With my single glass cabinet already packed with painted models, I am going to have to invest in another display case if I am going to have space to store all these models too! 

A great job for the wife! 

Ah, Raybees. A model that helped drag me from the doldrums early last year. I was very pleased with the finish on his face, but the glow-in-the-dark green of his tunic is a bit over the top perhaps. I am still very pleased with the blue and white stripes on his trousers - which is something I am keen to work on again in the future. 
I spent some time over the last twelve months working on flesh tones and this Night Horror was an early attempt at improving my painting skill here. 
I was able to further improve on painting flesh with my Clansmen...
And on a far larger scale, this giant. Looking back, I am really pleased with how my technique has improved in this area and I am beginning to experiment a little bit with other tones. 
I have long sought to improve my shield painting skill, something that I was particularly poor at five years ago, and teeny-tiny surfaces like this really push me to my limit (which isn't far!) 
With Thrud, I had the chance to perfect the skin tone I was working on. One of my favourite pieces this year!
Chainmail, and metallics in general, can be a little hit or miss in my work. So one key area I hope to improve in future is the painting of chainmail and platemail. This orc was an early attempt at improving my technique.  He was also my second speed paint of the year. 
Robes and fabric have also been a bit of a bugbear for me. With the skills I developed from painting all those mighty thews in fleshtones, I managed to work sharpen up the look of clothing too. There is still some mileage to go, but I feel like I am making some progress. 
This Night Horror was an attempt to apply the blending I use to create flesh, with a different colour. I am not sure of it worked with red but I am keen to give it another try in future. 
These three warriors showcase my work with metallics. I feel that armour and chainmail painting is much stronger in my work now, though sword blades have regressed somewhat if I am being honest. I think I need to find a very bright silver paint to pick out the edges of the blades. 
Goodness, did I struggle with these treemen but I am really pleased with the end result. I think these are version three. Like Thrud, these models are some of my best work this year. 
I had these models loitering around my paintstation for years and I set myself the task of getting them completed. Again, I had the chance to work on shield designs. 
Brown and black are two colours I need to work on. I am after more rich tones of brown than I currently produce (the highlights look too washed out) and as for my black, they look either too flat or too grey! I was pleased with the result I got here though, even if on other figures the colours are hit or miss. 
I was pleased with the armour on this Knight of Harkness. I used a blue wash to try and make the armour 'shine' a little and create a little tonal difference to the other metal armour I have painted. Probably my best armour paintjob yet.
My first speed paint. I took my just over an hour to paint this whole model - and it shows - but the experience was very beneficial. My painting style became a lot faster as a result. It is an experiment I would recommend to anyone. 
This was another early speed paint. Not one of my best, but perfectly acceptable for rank and file. 
I painted this in a morning and really enjoyed the process. It was also my first piece of painting all in the new Foundry Paints. Oh, and it also won a prize at the Oldhammer Weekend this year. Thanks Chico! 
I was pleased with the colours on Renata. I wanted something bright that would reflect the gypsy inspiration, so used lots of different colours for her clothing. She is also the most expensive miniature I have ever bought - don't tell the wife!
My favourite model this year. A wonderfully characterful sculpt and my best paintjob. I am really pleased with how the colours I chose just 'work' as a coherent whole. 
Spot was a restoration project and if you don't look too closely, I did an okay job. 
Lady McDeath came out better than I had expected - considering I was attempting to recreate her look from the John Blanche artwork. My second favourite piece of the year. 
Creating a sense of depth is important in figure painting, and this one (Fergus McEwman) is one of my very best. I am also very pleased with the skin tones here. 
The Dragon Turtle was a rather fiddly job. With no base to hold onto, I had to be careful not to smudge or damage the painting I had already completed. I am pleased with the shell - and it is always worth having a look at natural history photographs for inspiration if you are attempting a large creature. 
Mergrey Calchoner, a wizard from McDeath, who's colour scheme came directly from the card handouts in the game itself. A lovely combination of colours. 
These were hard work. As I have said, I dislike painting big units of samey models but I am pleased that I managed to get these barbarians finished. I used speed painting throughout. 
Though rather dubiously clothed, these barbarian ladies were also fun to paint. I have another four or five of these models and I hope to add a rank and standard to this unit in future. 
More barbarians from the lengthy painting process for the McDeath rank and file.
Though a Scottish caricature, the clansmen were entertaining to paint up, though I feel that I could easily done better on the tartan. Still, they needed to ready to take to the Oldhammer Weekend so they had to stay as they were. 
My final batch of barbarians, and though these were painted very quickly, it was at this point that my speed painted output started to resemble my usual style. 
McDeath was a challenge. I wanted to use the established artwork as a basis for his colour scheme (as I did with Lady McDeath) and gold is hardly a strength in my work. Still, I think I did an okay job and old McDeath is ready for battle. The model on the left is now part of the Stuart Kletcheff's collection. This beastman is a true one hour speed paint and was a frantic rush. 
Three rather blurry orcs. I tried to change the colour of their skin from my usual recipe. I hope to do some more orcs in this same style soon.
I loved doing these. The Three Murderers for the Glenwoe scenario - oh, and Ratter! 
My Tale of Four Oldhammerers contribution. My only completed model so far. I need to get going with this project once again!
My unreleased Citadel druid that the Grubzup! model won me at BOYL3. Here, I was keen to do something with pure white as it is always a difficult colour to shade. I used blue in the end. 

Like Axiom, I dabbled with a little bit of scenery this year, though it was nothing spectacular. My major project was the creation of a mini-gaming table out of the junk I had lying around the house. I used two old pinboards as bases, and built them up with sheets of foamboard (including old fashioned hills) and I must say, the experience taught be a great deal about creating the 'third army' - a gaming table that looks as good as you painted figures. 

Here you can see the board in action. It is very lightweight and portable (which was exactly what I wanted) and though small in scale, it is just the right size for a large warbands game. In the photograph above you can see Stuart Klatcheff's McEwman force advancing on Drew William's embattled Greevant/McArno alliance while Tony Ackland, the original artist who worked on McDeath, looking on. 

To help bring the board alive a little bit more, I painted up some sheep. Foundry do a lovely little set (complete with shepherd) in metal and I bought a pack during Salute. Small clumps of foliage do the same.

I mentioned earlier that I painted 8 little scenery markers and you can see some of them in this shot. Little tables, chairs, sacks of flour or barrels help break up the space around buildings and made a place look a little more lived in and realistic. They are also useful objective markers. The stone sheep pen was created from some old Brittain's walls I bought at a carboot sale. Based with plasticard and textured with a little sand and static grass, it makes a fine scenery piece.

You can also see most of the four buildings I completed this year (though I have three others than are not yet finished so I will not be including them here), two of which are original Warhammer Townscape cardstock, and two of which were printed out. Can you tell which is which?

I was also able to get more games in than ever before, largely thanks to the wonderful community we have built over the last three years. 

My first game was in May, on the 16th actually, and I travelled up to the Foundry to meet up with Oldhammer colleagues, most notably Stuart Klatcheff, Warlord Paul Mitchell, Steve 'Citadel Collector' Casey and Thantsants for another in our Albion Adventure games. With the election (and referendum) still in people's minds, the game was all about the greasy politics of getting your vote cast.
I was also able to catch this fine shot during our May visit. Oldhammer fans cluster around the Mighty Avenger to gawp at the wonders he brought forth from Stoke Hall. 
Of course, August means Oldhammer like no other month. As has become traditional, many of us gathered at the Wargames Foundry in Nottinghamshire to take part our biggest event yet! I managed to get two very good games of McDeath in during the weekend, though I must confess, I spent most of my time just chatting and enjoying the enthusiasm of others.
Later on that month, I managed to catch up with my old friend Dan, who you may recall from my Realm of Chaos Warseer days. I hadn't seen him for quite some time, so it was great fun to create and play through a scenario with him in the warm sunshine of my gaming conservatory. 
And finally, on Halloween I visited the Wargames Foundry for the THIRD time in 2015 and played out a scenario in the Night of the Living Dead series. 
So, looking back it has been a really exciting and productive year. I think that spending this afternoon going through my 2015 Oldhammer journey was well worth it, as I now feel much more positive about the pile of lead and dusty paints on my desk. But what to paint first? Something different and simple to help get the old muscle memory back on form. 

But what exactly?

Before I pop off to undercoat something interesting I would just like to thank everyone who rolled dice with me this year, especially Warlord Paul, Steve the Citadel Collector and Thantsants. Special mention must be made at this point to Stuart 'My Chauffeur' Klatcheff, who drove me to the Foundry and back more than once this year. 


See you all next year, if not before!


Thursday 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas

Do you remember this festive illustration? I found it among the pages of Tony Ackland's incredible portfolio of work at this summer's Oldhammer Weekend. Those warm, balmy days seem a million miles away tonight, on Christmas Eve, but I thought I might share this image once again. 

Happy Christmas to all who have contributed to, or indeed read, this blog. May your stockings be packed with bumper toy solider fare!


Wednesday 23 December 2015

Acceptable in the '80s: Marauder Miniatures Dark Elf Army

It has been a fair few months since we last dipped into Acceptable in the '80s, my history of Warhammer Third Edition through its releases, supplements and associated publications. We are drawing close to the end now. With only seven issues remaining until the first Fourth Edition rules are published! Still, Warhammer sees a bit of a late surge of activity, after a long period of not really being discussed in the magazine. You will have to remember that this period was the mighty age of the Big Box Game, and Space Marine, Dark Future, Heroquest etc were all on the shelves and were often expanded on in the magazine. 

White Dwarf had by now lost it's community feel. 'Eavy Metal articles tail off for a while, largely due to the fact that Bryan took all of the models with him when he sold the company. New models, and indeed games, would follow along shortly, as the company was in dire need of cash. Still, there are one or two gems still to discuss and today's visit is no exception. 

For it is the turn of the Marauder Miniatures Dark Elf Army. 

Karasashalla's Reavers

I must admit to really admiring this army. Looking down at the yellow circle to read the price of this collection on release is enough to make a leadhead weep these days, with eighty four metal models for eighty pounds! The sculpts are nicely varied too, which is something I value deeply about Oldschool Warhammer forces but that is just a quirk peculiar to me I guess, give me fiddly to rank up models any day of the week over generic poses.

There are some fantastic models here, most notably the command figures. Both the mounted leaders are well designed, even if they are sitting on the same cold one sculpt, but it is the Deathcap Hero that has to be one of the finest Marauder Miniatures of all time. It is a tried and tested pose I know, but the combination of the armour, helm and gigantic sword really do tick all the fantasy boxes for me. I know that this range isn't as graceful as the earlier Bob Naismith one, produced for Citadel, but the chunky militant look really chimes a bell, don't you think?

The two crossbow 'regiments', if a unit of ten could be considered such, are probably the weakest design wise in the army. Still, they are solid enough models, even if some of the paint jobs here are a little to be desired. As we know from Tim Prow, Andy Craig and Darren Matthews - these models were often painted at speed during lunchbreaks as a favour to the Morrisons. 

The rest of the infantry models are suitably twisted and look nice and varied which grouped together. Worth mentioning here is the standard bearer model (which appears twice in the advert), as I am pretty certain that I have seen that standard at the Wargames Foundry in Bryan's collection, though it seems to have become detached from the original figure. 

The Whelp Masters are great figures. And the warhounds are unusual in that they are rather historical in nature. These models would serve just about any force that can deploy warhounds, as with a change of colour you can have chaos, undead - whatever. They are certainly worth looking out for, if dangerous canines are your thing. 

To round things off, we have the Dark Elf cavalry that we discussed way back when. They appeared originally in White Dwarf 125 if you are interested in such things. Sixty-five pounds would have seen you fielding twenty mounted Dark Elves. Not bad at all. 

All in all, a solid release from Marauder. Who at this time were the only regular source of new releases for Warhammer Fantasy Battle. It makes me wonder if these deals were actually 'worth it' back in the early '80s. I mean, £80 is a fair bit of money today, twenty-five years later, and if you whack the amount into an online 'value' converter it states that the sum is equivalent to just over £160. 

That seems reasonable to me, if you think you'd be getting eighty odd models for your money. What do you think?