Friday 30 December 2016

Is it normal to love Warhammer Townscape so much?

If you could pick one defining product from GW's history, what would it be? I suppose that would depend on what you would consider 'defining' to actually mean, for me at least, the word refers to that singular release which, for what ever reason, outshines all of the others. Many of you may well point me towards the Realm of Chaos books, particularly the first volume Slaves to Darkness, as a seminal release. And you may well be right, but for old Orlygg nothing outshines Warhammer Townscape. 

I cannot really communicate how much joy this release has brought me over the years, though sitting here now I am struggling to determine exactly why I love the book (which it essentially is I suppose) as deeply as I do. Sure nostalgia plays a big, big part and I guess it is here that I must begin, as understanding why someone adores a particular football team, song or meal is laced with memory so I guess I better start sharing mine. 

Like many of us, my first exposure to Townscape came via White Dwarf magazine. I lived too far away from Wonderworld (my local friendly gaming store in the 1980s) to browse items off the shelf or actually talk to another with a deeper knowledge of GW products than my own. Of course, in the pre-internet days mass communication of this nature was only possible through print media, and the monthly journey to the newsagent for my copy of White Dwarf was an adventure in itself. 

The advert above was my first exposure to the book. And it captured my imagination in a way that still inspires me 27 year later. The look of those buildings, all different, impressively stacked row on row filled my mind with wonderous possibility. I could have my 'own' fantasy town? A town complete with temples, houses, halls and inns - all of which I could build myself with the help of my trusty prit-stick and PVA bottle? 

Of course, it wasn't available yet, was it? Not that that mattered one iota as I didn't have a great deal of cash back then. Still, with Christmas around the corner I knew exactly what I wanted Father Christmas to bring me in my stocking so promptly informed Mum or Dad what I was after. While I waited for the year to turn, I scoured White Dwarf for further adverts or images that would relay to me what I was getting. I knew a fair bit about constructing card buildings as I had a long fascination with those cardboard castle kits you could pick up for a few quid at a National Trust site. And my own father had built cardstock buildings for his model railways too. Though a far smaller scale and rather bland and uninteresting, I had built signal boxes and station platforms before and new the basics about cutting, scouring and gluing (well, at least I thought I did).

Christmas game and I recognised the shape and size of a GW book under the tree almost straightaway. It was the first item that I opened and I can recall my mother being somewhat puzzled why I had shown little interest in unwrapping anything else. Of course, my parents were extremely reluctant to allow me to get my scissors, knives and glues out during Christmas morning and I had a frustrating wait until the afternoon before I could get started. 

Being young, I chose the largest possible building to start with - the notoriously hard to build Watermill. Having cut out a few of the pieces I quickly gave up on the model due to its sheer complexity. Instead, I built the gatehouse model with the tunnel passing through it. I didn't realise at the time that many of the buildings in the set came from prior releases and this was why I recalled seeing a  photograph of some skaven in front of it. It wasn't long until I have built about eight or nine of the buildings (mostly houses) and had a larger collection of them than painted figures! Those initial builds saw some serious gaming action and I can remember fighting battle after battle on my bedroom floor with the buildings dotted around. 

What happened to those first builds? God only knows but they were pretty grottily built if truth be told. My scoring was often rushed and my gluing skills were not what I thought they were. Slapdash may be the right word when describing those early efforts but the buildings I had in my possession I loved so, so much and used to proudly take them around my friend's houses for adventures. 

Later on in the '90s I built the remaining buildings. It was during one long summer that I rediscovered the book in my cupboard and that sense of wonderous joy filled me again. That fantastic feeling of limitless possibility. Of course, my natural compulsion to 'make and do' was also a huge draw and I spent many happy afternoon sat out in the sun assembling the remaining buildings. My skills have moved on considerably in the previous years so these models were much better constructed - though I still hadn't learnt the importance of basing the buildings to make them stronger. 

Those models travelled around with me for a few years until I stored them in my dad's attic. The place wasn't particularly dry and the old card models went damp and mouldy. Dad chucked them out for being a health hazard. I wasn't that fussed at the time. 

Throughout the rest of the '90s the interest was always there at a low level. If I saw anything remotely GW like I would snap it up from car boot sales or charity shops but booze and girls now occupied my waking hours and old metal men and their support products were of little interest. After I was married and found myself in possession of more cash and my own home, eBay called to me repeatedly in search of Townscape. I wanted to feel that excitement again - even if the book itself just sat on my shelf. But tracking down a complete copy of Townscape was much, much harder than I expected, even in the pre-Oldhammer days when very few people actually wanted old GW stuff. 

From time to time, half complete sets would come up for sale and after about 18 months of searching I managed to piece together the book once again - this being my 'never to cut up' edition. I am happy to say that it safe with me here as I type. I love flicking through the book and spotting all of the little GW in-jokes on the signage and posters, stuff that went way over my head back in the day. I am also lucky enough to have a three-quarters complete version as well, and it its from this copy that my card stock buildings that you see in the background of my miniature shots come from. 

Despite my love of these card buildings, I had only actually built three of them to date; the yellow faced house you can see in the photograph above, the watchtower and the rough inn from McDeath. This all changed yesterday when I had the entire morning and afternoon to myself. Wife and kids had taken a trip into London and this left me with plenty of time to spare. I have been suffering a great deal over the last year or so with what I thought was a hernia, and the associated pain and discomfort made it difficult to sit and work for any great length of time. The complete rest I had over the Christmas break meant that I was feeling pretty good and was looking forwards to spending a rare bit of hobby time at my bureau. Of course, the lure of Townscape over such an event was impossible to resist and as I am resurrecting my McDeath project, I decide to build the remaining models required. 

The stone toll house and the infamous windmill. 

I ended up building a little more than that. Both the buildings I needed were spread over two pages so I decided to build everything else printed on to the card as well so I ended up with a couple of tents, a doghouse and the outside lavatory. 

And here they all are based on thin card taken from the back of a pad of paper. They are not quite finished yet either, the white score lines are quite obvious once the buildings are assembled and I find them quite unseemly. Using a little watered down black paint, it is easy to paint over these and give the models a little more depth that helps finish them off. Now you may well be wondering why I keep calling the windmill model infamous - well if you ever built this thing back in the day you will no doubt recall that it was forever falling over. The sails made the construction quite top heavy. I used a lump of old metal model to add a little weight to the base and this has really helped make the mill more stable. 

As the McDeath scenarios require this building to double as the malthouse (to do this, you remove the sails) I didn't want to attach them permanently. I used a small piece of balsa wood and a drawing pin to create a detachable sail. Both the wood and the pin will be painted black at a later date. 

I still have plenty more card buildings to put together but I shall save them for another day. Sitting surrounded with all the cut of strips of card, my ruler and knife with the sweet smell of copydex in my nostrils was fantastic and left me feeling suitably energised about what my next hobby project would be. As I put away both of my Townscape copies I started thinking if it is 'normal' to love a set of card buildings quite so much. 

Was there more than pure nostalgia at play?

Looking over the book with fresh eyes what really appeals to me now is the variety of the building types. There are loads of simple dwellings in which the common man of the Warhammer world would have dwelt. Some are ramshackle, while others are far larger and more opulent. But they all seem real and are not overpowered with skills, astronomical symbolism or burning braziers. Reality is, for me at least, essential to any successful fantasy setting. If you cannot believe in it, if it doesn't make sense then how can the fantastic elements work? Normality is essential for the incredible to appear incredible! 

I guess the range and simplicity of the models is a big draw. 

The artwork also rings a chord in me and the look of the models seems to compliment the painted Citadel miniatures in my collection. They make the perfect backdrop to you latest work. Despite not being overdesigned, there are lots of humourous details hidden away on the cardstock buildings, my favourite being the Slann in Space pub sign and the wanted Perry brothers posters. 

I suppose to answer my question, it is normal to love Warhammer Townscape so much because it is a fantastic product. Even thirty years later, if you can find a copy in reasonable condition you could make an entire town's worth of models. And that is a lot of models for any wargaming table. With a little work, you can add additional tiles, weeds, moss or even drain pipes if you were so inclined. 

Warhammer Townscape is old school Warhammer at its very best and deserves to be in the collection of any serious enthusiast. 

I am so glad that it is in mine and I love it! 


Sunday 11 December 2016

McDeath: New Acquisitions

Hello all. I have to make the seasonal confession of having achieved nothing over the last month or so Oldhammerwise. I have just been too busy with Church services (for work), Christmas nativities (for work), Christingles (for work), weddings (for family), visits from the dreaded mother (for family) and the general hustle and bustle of December in England. 

However, I have managed to take advantage of the recent eBay miniatures frenzy. Unless you have been living under a rock, you will have noticed that an exceptionally well resourced collector, who may or may not be a well known and long serving member of GW (;  ,has been selling a very large and unique collection of models online - including the fabled Nuln Spearman for over £1000! Well, the swarming waters Citadel collectors have frothed up have obscured several other nuggets that usually attract plenty of attention, namely Collector Sets. 

As you will have seen in my photograph, I have managed to purchase a further ten clansmen (the useful sculpts with the cabers and shotput) and Marcus Grimmock, the fearsome C10 preslotta giant in recent weeks without breaking the bank. Despite having multiple projects on hand, I feel the urge to return to my ongoing mission to recreate the five scenarios for McDeath. With Christmas looming and a entire week free, I will have plenty of time to get stuck into painting up the models I will need. With both my blogging and painting skills rusty, I will need to get back into the swing of things before my festive diet of whiskey, mince pies and roast dinners finishes me off!!


Sunday 20 November 2016

Colleges of Colour magic: Amethyst wizard

The weather was pretty bad this weekend, but I still managed to snap two photos between the raindrops of this wonderful fellow, my Amethyst wizard. He isn't one of the Time Warped Wizards models, but an original Citadel casting with a slotta tab. Not that you'd know unless you peered underneath the base, there is absolutely no difference between the two castings, save the basing method. 

Though I decided to use this model to represent the Amethyst Order, with hindsight I wish I hadn't. Re-reading the Colleges of Magic articles which inspired this little project revealed that the falling star motif on his clothing actually represents the Celestial College - again making me wonder if these models were originally produced in support of 'something' more than two articles in White Dwarf and their beautiful Gary Chalk artwork. 

With their reputation for excess (and heavy drinking) the Amethyst Order seems the best to represent me. Gladly, I still have all of my hair. 

Next time, Skaven. I need to catch up lost ground on the City of Lead project. See you next week! 


Leadspotting: Was the Pantheon of Chaos Kickstarter any good?

As very long term readers will know, I have been interested in the Pantheon of Chaos project since it was called Antiqus Malleum and was spearheaded by Mick Leach of Eastern Front Games. For some reason I can never quite fathom, the project stalled at the final hurdle, but like phoenix to flame, Diego Serrate and his pals rode to the rescue and have since launched a successful Kickstarter. 

But was the final result actually any good? Sure, many a crowdfund has promised the Earth but delivered a tiny piece of Shropshire (and a not very nice piece at that) sending forums and comments pages alight with rage and disappointment. 

Thankfully, The Pantheon of Chaos did not descend into farce and I recently received a number of models from the project. Hence, this review and the reason you are now reading this. Perhaps you were tempted by the models on offer, or took the plunge and coughed up the cash? It matters not, as we are here today to review some of the miniatures on offer. 

What started as a small project to put together a couple of chaos warriors soon grew into a mammoth undertaking of astonishing proportions. Looking back, it was as if each week Diego and his gibbering, mutated sculptors served up another '80s Warhammer inspired wonder on wonder. There were by the project's end so many different models it was hard to keep track of them all and I capitulated and let the greens wash over my like a tidal wave of tin. 

When he was not whipping his sculptors or force feeding them raw meat, Diego engineered one beautiful looking range after the other. Warriors, champions, troops and of course - behemoths! With old school GW stalwarts such as Tony Ackland, Kev Adams and Tim Prow on board too, the results were enough to make a seasoned (and quite blinkered) Citadel collector into chasing something else small and silver. 

Speaking with Diego, he has assured me that there is much more to come, including a hardback rulebook to support the range, and a webstore to peddle the models on an individual basis. But that is all in the future, for now we have the initial outlay of models, of which I have a mere handful to examine. 

To start with I am going to look at the multi-part models I received in more detail. I have photographed them here with a trusty old 1990 Citadel Bretonnia gunner for scale. All of these models are creatures of chaos and display the crazed proportions of their ilk. 

Top left, we have C'Chak the Silent - and be honest I am not quite sure 'what' exactly he is supposed to be. He is certainly fimir like and has a reptilian body. I am not quite sure where to place him in my collection and my opt for him to represent a troglodyte.

Top middle, we have Screech. A beastman type, he has a positive whiff of bat wings about his ears and a baroque style of armour. A scorpion tail completes his chaotic visage. 

Bottom left, Kev Adams Scragg hobgoblin champion - beautifully sculpted and similar to some of the larger models he did for the Warmonger range. He is far too large for me to use as a standard goblinoid - so instead he may well become a troll or ogre. 

The long headed chap is perhaps the weakest of the models, in my opinion at least. Something about the pose I think just doesn't gel with me and the design doesn't tickle my fancy at all. 

Zz'andor is the real ace in the deck here and I love him. An obvious pastiche of Zygor Snake-Arms from the pre-slotta days, only this new version is superior in every way to the original model and the quality of detail is extremely crisp. A stunning model! 

Conclusion: A really solid bunch of models. Though the multi-part nature of the miniatures may well put some people off, these just beg to be painted (or if you are daring, converted). The quality of the casting really surprised me, being used to Bryan's Foundry quality of production. These are weighty, crisp models packed with detail. I observed little or no flash on the examples I received and absolutely no miscasting at all. 

The single cast models may well appeal to the old school Citadel collector more than the multi-part, so I have separated them in this review. Personally, I prefer my models in this way and I believe that the poise and position of a model is best dictated by a sculptor of some skill and not me and my superglue. Again, the Bretonnian gunner has popped in to offer some scale guidance.

Top left, we have the model I once named Oskar the Writhing and he is a real beauty to hold in the hand. Full of crusty, corroded details he is just shouting out to become a Nurgle champion in my nascent force. You may well remember the two models below him from the Antiqus Malleum days, and again I was pleased to finally have these in my hands. To the right are two beastman models who riff in a different direction than the standard goat man. The lizard headed chap on the top row really caught my eye and his heavy amrour will no doubt paint up beautifully. 

Standout model here? Kev Adam's goblin standard bearer. A work of art. 

As I said earlier, the Pantheon project became so massive it became difficult to keep track of it all. These little critters (which I understand where handed out as free extras to backers) are very similar to the Famous Familiars of old. They are more chunky than their '80s cousins though, being perhaps more closely related to Kev Adam's late '80s Nurglings. They are varied and interesting. My favourite has to be the fly headed 'thing' on the top of the row. 

Conclusion: An excellent set of models that will blend in perfectly with any collection of old school fantasy from the 1980s or later. Special mention must be made of the beastmen as an attempt has made to produce something different from the goathead archetype. The goblin standard bearer is a must for any collector. 

Here is a close up of the other two familar things so you can check out the detail and imagination on offer. 


Finally, the big boy himself, the Greater Daemon of Malign/Malice/Malal - whatever you want to call him. He is a really large model and weighs a fair whack. Handling him brought a nice smile to my face as it brought back the first time I opened up blisters of the original Greater Daemons of Chaos way back in the 1980s - which I guess is the ultimate accolade I can give any model. 

He is multi-part and will require some skill to assemble. Cleaning and greenstuffing will no doubt be essential to get the best out of this model, as well as a fair bit of pinning. To the old school modeller, this isn't going to pose a problem but to though who are perhaps more suited to the CAD plastic (and resin) kits of today, it may feel daunting. I can tell just by looking at the level of detail that when this beast is assembled and ready for painting, he will make a fine centre piece to any army or indeed collection. 


Like the single cast models before this gigantic creature, it feels rather smashing to have at last got my hands on this model. From first noticing it in the Realm of Chaos books, to discovering that the now famous Malal daemon was still part of Tony Ackland's art collection and using his warp maddened memory to recreate the pantheon of daemons from this lost god, it has been quite a journey. 

Conclusion: Even my wife liked this model and suggested that I got on and painted it so she could see it finished. No miniature could receive higher praise than that!!! (;

Right, all I have to do now is work out which model I am going to work on first. Quite a hard question to answer really, considering that I have a bunch of skaven on the go as I type. Oh, and a few more wizards! 

Time to go ponder. 


Friday 18 November 2016

Colleges of Colour Magic: Golden Wizard

It has been a long week with two parents' evenings at school keeping me up late but I still managed to find the time (I am not actually sure how!) to finish off this fellow - my Golden Wizard. As is my whim, I have continued to use the Time Warped Wizards to represent the Third Edition colleges as best as I can. This fellow seemed just perfect for the wealthiest group of wizards in the Old World, though I cannot help wondering if he wasn't originally intended to be a wizard at all.

He looks more like a villager or nobleman to me. But then, what does a wizard actually look like, eh? Do they all require robes, a long beard and about fifty years to qualify? I think not. The background to WFB3 (and by association WFRP) is flexible enough for you to be creative without nerdist fluff-lawyers restricting your imagination. 

As seems apt for his college, I chose yellow and gold as the main colours. I used the absolutely excellent Foundry yellow triad to paint his fine jerkin and upper hose. As yellow has the lowest pigmentation in nature, it can be a challenging colour to get right - especially when highlighting as too much white can really bleach the shade. The Foundry paint is superb and only needs a little additional mixing to bring out the best in the tone. 

Go buy some now - you won't regret it!

With the yellow complete, the white was easy to work up with a light grey being used to create depth in the folds of the cloth. Red always compliments yellow well, and so I used it to paint up the rather large bows that adorn his clothing while purple served as a striking spot colour to off set all those fire hues. 

I am very pleased with the face and skin tones, as I have switched my flesh paints to the Foundry system and found it rather challenging to achieve my signature look in my recent work. Smart brown shoes, no doubt of expensive but practical origin, completed the model. 

I hope you like him. I feel he is the best paint job yet in this little project. 

Right, time for work and to ponder which college is next. 


Monday 14 November 2016

Are we guilty of neglecting the Fighters Range?

Last post I mentioned that I painted up three models over the last weekend. Having shown you my fairly rushed wizards it is now time to talk about this perky little chap and ponder a little on the range from which he comes - namely the Fighters Range. 

Eagle-eyed readers may well notice this model's paint job is a tribute to the one appearing in the WFB Third Edition rulebook. If you are not aware of the model I am talking about here is a handy little picture. 

Having always loved the model (and it's painted version) I felt like I had to do a version of my own. In many ways, the simplicity of older models and their colour schemes can be quite refreshing in this age of super-detail and over complicated design. So many modern models groan under the weight of their trappings that they end up a confused and characterless mess. 

This fighter (a prototype Reiksgard?) is a near historical model. The armour and weapons are historically plausible designs and of appropriate scale. Sure the sculpting is a little primitive in places but the models seems to leap across the tabletop in an almost joyous abandon, as if auditioning for The Sound of Music! 

"The hills are alive with the sound of CHAOS!" 

He was easy to paint. Just a black undercoat (which I rarely employ these days) and a good silver drybrush. This was followed with a good ink wash and a second drybrush again with the silver, but with the brightness dulled with a little black. Final highlights were with the brightest silver in my stash. Then I picked out the surcoat with simple blue layering, worked up the belt (which I switched from silver to gold) and picked out the helmet tassels in red and orange. 

I did consider using the Arcane Armorial design on the shield but didn't have access to a decent printer at the time, so I did one of my usual basic shields and ensure that it matched tonally with the surcoat. Then it was a case of highlighting up the horns on the helm and the leather pouch at his side. 

Once complete, I had one of those moments of reflection. I wondered why I had spent so many years painting orcs, goblins and other gribbly creatures (chaotic or otherwise) and neglected the common man of the Warhammer World? Not only had the paint brush been used too sparingly, but so had my collecting focus. I mean, I cannot say to having ever searched for any models from the Fighters Range. Nor do I see it used much as a search term on eBay or as a listing catch word on Facebook. 

Do we as collectors and enthusiasts deem the Fighters Range not worthy of our interest?

If that is the case, then we are missing out of some characterful and engrossing models. 

What do you think?


Saturday 12 November 2016

Colleges of Colour magic: Bright Wizard and Grey Wizard

I have had a prolific little spurt of painting today, largely thanks to the absence of the wife and kids. They have all gone off to one of those 'soft play' children's parties that are my idea of hell. Despite the poor light (we have a rather wet and dribbly English November day) I have been able to crack on and finish off three further figures. 

Two of which I am talking about in this post - my SECOND post of the day as well! You better move along, it might be catching. 

As described earlier, I am trying to use the Time Warped Wizard models to paint up a wizard for each of the original Colleges of Magic. This first model is a member of the Bright College and is dressed in the suitable hues for his background - reds, oranges and yellows. the colour of flame. The background fluff from back in the 1980s links these wizards with fire even then, though their relationship with the element is not as pronounced as it would become. They are a thin, active and warlike group and these qualities are presented quite well with my figure choice, don't you think? 

I imagine that the thurible in his hand is full of pungent burning embers to help him cast his spells. Or, judging by his hand gesture, it hides his '80s Walkman as it pumps out MegaDeth. 

The colour text from the Colleges of Magic articles go on to say that these Bright Wizards are often blamed from the fires that start around their houses or workshops. I have a fire on as I type, and my little white metal companion seems happy enough drying on the mantle. Here's hoping he doesn't encourage a spark to a burn a hole in the carpet. 

What would the wife say?

The second figure I completed today is this Grey Wizard. I chose this figure as it was closest to the Gandalf the Grey archetype that obviously inspired this College. The background from Warhammer Third Edition has none of the later interpretations that these wizards were secretive spies, though a reference to them having their own agendas when joining other travellers are all present and correct. They are lean-bodies wanderers always 'passing through on their way somewhere' but who are sought after as retainers due to their shrewd bargaining skills and judge of character. 

This figure was really easy to paint and seemed to get completed all on his own. Like the model I chose for the Bright Wizard (and the Jade Wizard for that matter) this model seems very similar in style and size to the 1987 Wizard and Cleric ranges from which I suspect they originate. 

Apologies for the dodgy photographs, but the light is very poor and I had to dash outside to take these between drizzle patches. 

Right, I am enjoying this. Which wizard will be next? You will find out after a slight interlude next post. 

Speak soon, 


Colleges of Colour magic: Jade Wizard

During my last visit to the Foundry, I was lucky enough to pick up the Time Warped Wizards set and painted up two of the Russian looking models for the City of the Lead project. Now, I have switched my plans around and opted to go with Skaven (and more on that project in another post) but I was keen to press on with painting up the rest of the figures in that set. 

Being a fan of a project with an over-riding theme, I decided to paint a figure for each of the Colleges of Colour Magic mentioned in two articles published in '80s White Dwarf. Here are the articles if you are unfamiliar with them. 

Now having studied the Time Warped Wizards, there are several clues that lead me to thinking that some of the models may well have been designed with the Colour Magic background in mind (more of those ideas in a later post) though the models Foundry cast up in the summer come from a range of different periods. For example, the model I have just painted is very similar to the 1987 cleric range (or which a number of models saw large scale production) of which I have a number of examples.

Sorting through the seven wizardly models, this figure with his 'druidic' look and owl familiar looked perfect for a Jade Wizard. Always being a fan of old school Warahmmer fluff, I re-read the articles to uncover as much as I could about this particular college's place in Third Edition Warhammer.

I paraphrase thus:

A Jade Wizard has an almost symbiotic relationship with the seasons and the agricultural cycle. During the summer months, they are full of energy and enthusiasm as the natural world swells with the sun's warmth. As the year turns and the plants fade and die, so the Jade Wizard's power diminishes and they suffer from a reluctance to use their magical arts. It is no secret that Jade Wizards regularly sacrifice agricultural animals or crops to appease natural deities, though there are darker rumours of human sacrifice in gigantic wicker men - though few believe them possible.

With this background in mind, you will no doubt agree that this miniature is just a perfect choice to represent this college. The countryman's cudgel, the sturdy leather shoes and the druidic toga all fit this theme and it was quite simple to mix two different naturalistic greens for the wizard's clothing. Browns, oranages and purples are colours closely linked with the agricultural world outside my window, so I included them as spot colours here and there too.

I love him.

I have two further Colour wizards that need my attention on my bureau and hope to have finished them soon. Though, like many of my painting projects this one might just slip away into the ether unfinished and unmourned.

For now, I am just glad that another lovey Citadel miniature is painted and can be added to my collection. 

Saturday 5 November 2016

The XWD Team

"In 1992 a group of magazine rejects were sent into limbo by a new management team for a crime they did commit.These creatures promptly escaped from the wheelie bins around the back of the Design Studio to the Old World underground. Today, still no longer wanted by the management they survive as soldiers of fortune... If you have a problem, and no-one (and we really do mean no-one) can help, and if you can find them... maybe you can hire the XWD Team."

The White 'Hannibal' Dwarf

B.O. Thrud

'Howlin' Mad' Gobbledigook
Two Face (literally) Templeton Speck

Do you like my little warband? I hope so. I planned to field them at Paul Mitchell's Oldhammer game at the Foundry last week but my hernia held me back from travelling. Despite this setback I thought I would share this photograph with you. All of these minis are old paintjobs save Gobbledigook, who is brand new. 


How many Citadel miniatures appeared on the front cover of Warhammer Fantasy Battle Third Edition?

Hello all. I have been struggling a bit this week thanks to my recently diagnosed hernia. Sitting for long periods really puts pressure on my abdominal wall so spending any length of time painting (or typing) is out of the window. Instead, I am taking the 'little-and-often' approach and my speed panting style really helps as I can finish a figure pretty quickly once the preparation is complete. 

Needing something simple to work on, I opted for this little chap, or should I say chaps? This unpleasant fellow is one of the Perry chaos goblins from the mid '80s and goes by the name of 'The Twins'. 

He was really simple to paint up. I undercoated in white as usual, then base coated green for the flesh, chainmail for the armour and brown for the club. One dark brown ink was applied to the whole model and once dry, a second black wash was added to the chainmail and the joins between objects. I just highlight up from the washes before picking out the eyes, lips and nose ring. 

It was at this point that it dawned on me that this little blighter was on the cover of my beloved Warhammer Fantasy Battle Third Edition, being smited by the Warhammer Warrior. It may surprise you, but I have never before considered that the artwork on the cover of the famous rulebook may have been inspired by real models and the revelation was stark. I scurried off to explore my collection of models to see if any other examples from this painting were readily available to me. I found I also had Daethskar (the golden looking chap just to the right of the Warhammer graphic) but he was in poor condition. 

Having now re-attached Daethskar's axe and re-positioned his helmet, I just need to do a little bit of green stuffing to prepare him for painting. I had a quick peruse of Sodemons to ascertain if I could discover any other figures in the older preslotta ranges that matched with the artwork. 

Here is what I found. 

A chaos wizard matching the purple robed sorcerer. 
Another one of the chaos goblins with the long neck - no arrow through it though! 
Having tracked down these four models I was wondering if any collectors out there in the blogosphere could tell me if any further models match the characters shown in the illustration. 

Thank you in advance. 


Sunday 30 October 2016

WFRP'd: Tony Ackland's hidden GW portraits in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay rulebook

The author of this blog with the Grand Master of Chaos himself.
Here is a short and very sweet post in part of my WFRP'd series, celebrating 30 years of the seminal Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. As many enthusiasts have pointed out, nothing conveys the look and feel of the Warhammer World in 1986 like Tony Ackland's artwork. As the prime illustrator of so much of the early Warhammer mythos, his work illuminates the world we love like no other. The sweeping landscapes, the grimy backstreet taverns and the dank, desolate dungeons of the Old World spring to life (stirring our imaginations with myriad possibility) with each stroke of his pencil. 

Having had the pleasure of meeting this remarkable man several times now, I consider myself privileged to have spent some hours in his company. He is very much a walking, talking version of one of his wizardly drawings. The long beard, the twinkling eyes and the chaotic cackle that serves as his laugh. He remains a man of endless story, absentminded genius and anarchic, subversive humour. 

These elements are often present in his work, if you know where to look. If you get the chance to spend any time with Mr. Ackland and he has his portfolio of work with him you can expect detailed explanations for each piece. Some of these explanations reveal trinkets of knowledge that will fascinate the enthusiast of Old School Warhammer, others will reveal amusing anecdotes of life in the Design Studio and the (sometimes rather dubious) goings on in the background of things. 

At other times they reveal what modern folk call 'Easter Eggs', little hidden facts and tributes in artwork and background, often secreted away in pieces of work we have been familiar with for decades. When these hidden secrets are revealled to us those pieces of work suddenly take on a new and unexpected light. 

I have three such pieces for you today! 

All of us are probably familiar with the careers section of the WFRP. If you were anything like me, you'd spend hours perusing through the entries imagining characters with prolific careers in agitating, tomb robbing or coach driving. For me, it was the sheer normality of so many of the careers that made them so appealing, you could imagine people like this living in a fantasy world far more than a bunch of longhaired tight wearing men with impossibly white teeth. 

It was the artwork that accompanied these careers that would often fire the imagination, with some of the illustrations speaking more about that career path than any amount of text could. Well it seems that a number of these illustrations were caricatures of well know Citadel staff. Tony Ackland explained to me:

TA: "There was Richard (Hal) Halliwell as a beggar, Rick Priestley as a scribe, John Blanche as a cripple, and Bryan Ansell as I can't recall what. Richard Ellard was a cleric wearing the amulet of the double Volkswagen. He had two Golfs at the time. John Stallard was also featured. I can't recall any others offhand."

Now, Tony still has three of these caricatures in his possession and I can share then here with you thanks to him.

Rick Priestley the scribe. I love the tiny xerox gag on the edge of the table. 

The double Volkswagen endowed Richard Ellard masquerading as a cleric.

The mighty John Blanche brought low as a cripple. 
As for Bryan Ansell, Richard Halliwell or John Stallard I have yet to discover which illustrations they may be. Or indeed if any other GW alumni lurk amongst the pages of WFRP waiting to be discovered. 

Perhaps YOU dear reader could be of help? Get flicking through that rulebook!

Thanks to Tony Ackland for his contributions to this post. 


Friday 28 October 2016

The City of Lead: Change of Plans

Hello all. If you can recall, Chico, Steve, Paul and I are planning a game of Mordheim at the next BOYL event next July. We are challenged with producing a single model each month to create our warband and a piece of scenery. I chose to work with a Kislevite warband inspired by the two Russian looking models recently cast up by Foundry. 

And here is the next model in that would be warband. 

He was a bit of a struggle to complete if I'm honest. I found getting the face looking reasonable a bit of a tough call. I am still not quite happy with the result but it will do. I am much more satisfied with the way his armour turned out, especially the golden scale mail. Long term readers will know that I have been working on this particular colour and metal in general in recent months. 

I am very pleased with the green material of the chap's cloak/coat however. I like the deep yellowy green I have achieved here and it's closeness to the iconic Bilious Green in colour. I am also quite happy with the dry brushing and blending on the wolf pelt. So big thrills for Noddy all the way round.

What I am not happy with is my warband choice. This is the result of several things. Firstly, Warlord Paul has already got in with both of these models for his warband (he hopes to paint all of the Time Warped wizards for the project) and one thing I hate are multiple examples of the same miniature on the table, unless it is for rank and file. As there are no rank and file models in Mordheim, this is going to pose a problem. Secondly, I hate Kislev. They bore me to death. 

Subsequently, I have chosen to begin again. Afresh. In the hopes of rekindling my enthusiasm for this little project and I have decided to switch from Kislev to skaven. Now the way I see it, I will need to produce four (count 'em) models over November to catch up with the other boys in the team. A model for August, September, October and November itself. 

No mean feat. 

Right, I better get cracking! 

Thursday 27 October 2016

Workbench Woes and Solving the Problem of Mess

My total painted collection in 2013, and this includes everything I painted from 2004 onwards in my pre-Oldhammer days. The ironing board is not a Citadel release. 
Despite Warhammer's reputation for social ineptitude, most Oldhammerers I meet are married career men with a brace of children, a fair sized mortgage and a loving lady at home. All atypical types really, with a strong likelihood of working in the teaching or archaeology professions, though this is by no means a requisite. One common factor that unites us all however is the problem of storage and workspace. 

Those of you with long memories may recall the welsh dresser I seconded to house my painted collection of figures some four years ago. At that time I had zero potential display space and my lovely wife decreed that whatever piece of furniture I employed for the task would need to fit in with the 'look' of our old living room. The dresser was the best solution at the time, but as my collection grew and the layers of dust accumulated I could see that this method was temporary at best, 

As beautiful as the dresser appeared, dust and space were not to be the only threats to my hard painted models. The edge of the dresser was so sharp that it was not unknown for a model to fall from the shelves. I can tell you that the sight of Lady McDeath, fully painted, bouncing off the stained wood and disappearing behind the fish tank is not a pleasant experience, nor one a passionate collector would want to repeat. 

Don't even ask me of the fates of several hand painted shields, either. They having snapped off in these tumbles to be lost forever! 

The next solution to house my ever growing collection was the now ubiquitous IKEA display cabinet. Initially, I thought these to be the perfect resolution to my problem, until I actually constructed the piece and began to use it on a day to day basis. The words insubstantial and flimsy spring to mind when generating adjectives to describe this piece of furniture. Walk past carrying anything heavier than a penny and the whole thing shakes like a chav on his sixth straight can of Red Bull. Despite these obvious flaws, and the fact that one of the glass panels bends rather disturbingly, this cabinet has kept my models safe and dust free for a year or so now. 

Having survived the house move, the IKEA display cabinet now houses most of my painted collection. The writing is on the wall for the piece though in the long run, because my wife doesn't like the way it looks. That old problem with it 'not fitting in with the rest of the decor in the room' raising its tasteful head once again. The parlour in our home was built around 1600, so the ceilings are very low in places (and there isn't a straight edge or flush wall anywhere) and finding a suitable replacement has proved a challenge as everything we have found has been too tall. 

You can see the empty cabinet here, a few days after we moved in and the desk I was using as a paint station and hobby area. Though the cabinet has had a reprieve of sorts, my painting table was condemned by the wife after about a week. The clutter of brushes, half completed projects, paint pots, files, glues and rubbish spun my wife's distaste wheel faster than our babysitter's boyfriend's escape as he sees us pulling up on the driveway, ten minutes early. 

I was told that this set up had mere weeks to live. The chair was held together with cellotape too. 

It wasn't just my desk that enflamed my wife's ire, but this 'bookcase' as well. To be honest, I can see why as if you look beyond the stacked library of Oldhammer classics on the shelves, the whole piece looks tired and cheap - which it was. With bonfire night approaching this IKEA monstrosity has a sweet date with my axe and the blessed release of autumnal fire, as my children dance around it's death-throes sparklers in hand. 

With marching orders received, I knew that I would have to do something drastic to save my precious modelling space and preserve my wife's particular tastes in interior design.

While she was out visiting friends, old Orlygg sprang into middle-aged action. First, I moved this heavy, oak chest of draws (which I despise, but here's the rub - my wife likes) over to replace the old. battered Edwardian table I had been using, though instead of placing my paint station on the top of it, I have set up the family computer on a ultra-modern angle. As this computer also serves my blogging and occasional gaming needs, having easy access to it was essential for me. You may be wondering about the wife? Well, she has an entire office all to herself upstairs and plenty of space for her computer, printer and telephone set up. 

A nineteenth century mahogany bureau was the final solution to my need to work in a cluttered space and my wife's need for order and elegance. On the outside we have a dark wood finish with pleasant patina and on the inside plentiful space for my projects and miniature bric-a-brac. There are even a few Victorian fag burns on the inside to give my workspace that bohemian feel. 

I have never owned a bureau before and have been astonished with the amount of stuff you can store neatly away inside them. The example I purchased was on the smaller size too, but between the writing area and the four drawers there is more than enough space to store my entire collection of models (which is sizable) and all of my painting and modelling things too. 

In fact, the entire bottom shelf is free for future projects and purchases. 

Here, have a look at the inside of the bureau. Originally designed as a writing desk, this space has loads of little drawers and spaces to store the numerous items required when painting and modelling. I keep unpainted models on the 'next list' inside the drawer on the left and store newly completed work on the top. Work in progress models are stored alongside and have plenty of space for drying. Tools are piled up in one of the central partitions, as are my glues and measuring items. The right pull out draw contains my as of yet unused paint brushes. 

And then there is still so much space. 

Having solved my storage problems in one fell swoop doesn't come without it's drawbacks. I have to now plan ahead in terms of colours as I have to replace the hinged work service if I want to rummage around in my paint store. I dare not keep many paints on the top of the bureau in case of leakage (I know it is unlikely) as I wouldn't want to overly damage this beautiful piece of furniture, but I can live with this now I have peace of mind - or should I say, my wife has.

And here we have my paint station in action today. I need a much larger cutting mat to protect the surface and perhaps a larger lamp too, but the eternal problem of space and mess has at last been solved. And I really do recommend these bureaus as a modelling/painting area, especially of you don't have a man cave or garage in which you can work. 

Looking back over my journey makes me wonder how other enthusiasts have solved the combined woes of mess and storage. If you have an intriguing method I would very much like to know about it. After all, it is only a matter of time until the wife changes her mind!!

Right, now I am off to do something that I should have been doing loads of but couldn't.