Monday, 8 August 2016

Oldhammer Weekend 2016: Overview

So as the dust has now settled on another Oldhammer Weekend I find myself once again faced with the very pleasant task of writing a swift overview of the event. As in previous years, I spent the majority of the Saturday and Sunday socialising, taking photographs and pouring through the blister packs of gorgeous Foundry models, though I did play one game - the culmination of the Tale of Four Gamers with Steve, Paul and Chico-chops.

As always, the creativity and passion exhibited by fellow Oldhammerers astounded me and there were a great many sights to behold and marvel and I present a small selection of those below. It was also fantastic to see so many familiar faces and chat to many new ones, too.

First up we have a photograph of 'Coldhammer' a Warhammer Fantasy Battle 1st Edition mash up of Frostgravesque extravagance. I chatted to Norse and Harry who were busy for most of the Saturday playing through this scenario and I enjoyed admiring the many characterful and amusing models they had selected for the game. The 'Christmas Elves' (created by painting the cloaks of Skarloc's elves red and white) were my personal favourite but there were a great many quality models here for the enthusiast and the scenery was fascinating too. At the top of the shot you should be able to make out the enormous fortress wall, heavily defended by stouty dwarf warriors.

As far as I could ascertain from the mad ramblings of Norse, the scenario involved a goblin attack on a frozen dwarf hold somewhere in the darkest (and I would imagine, coldest) north. I asked Harry about his incredible homemade dungeon tiles (based on many pieces from ancient GW publications) and he was very humble about his achievement. They looked incredible and like many great endeavours were very simple, yet incredibly effective. My personal favourite piece would have to be the Egyptian-style tomb sections complete with 3D skeleton carvings. You can just make out the piece bottom left.

On the other side of the Marquee stood the astonishing spectacle that was the 'Rise of Morcar'. The game has to be the largest I have yet witnessed at the imagination and variety behind many of the units was extremely impressive. There were war mammoths, killer sheep and chickens and loads of fantastic 'homemade' figures based on toys and models produced for non-wargaming purposes. I really do admire the gamers who can turn a child's toy into an unique and interesting figure. How many can you spot in this picture?

Among the many impressive units taking part in the 'Rise of Morcar' was this little tribe of barbarian types. I never did catch the name of the enthusiast who produced these fine looking models but I loved their painting style. The rich tones and varied colour choices really brought the many models to life, and the addition of Thrud (and my favourite rendition of him too) was really the icing on the daemonic birthday cake.

A superb unit!

Inside the stable building, I stumbled upon a frantic clash between some beautifully completed Praetorians (lovingly collected and painted by Lead Balloony's Alex) and the orks of Waaagh-Badlugg. I spent quite sometime admiring Alex's collection and was deeply impressed with the high level of finish he had achieved with his Praetorians. He had brought along an entire army of them and I can honestly say they were the finest examples of the Imperial Guard regiment I have ever seen fielded.


The Foundry had done us proud again and produced a beautiful set of event models named the 'Time Warped Wizards'. We had spotted these being prepared for last year's event and I was extremely excited about getting my hands on them, after winning several of the models in previous painting competitions at the Foundry.

Look out for a more detailed post about these models shortly!

Garbage Pail Kid (who grew up) Chico Danks and the ever-ingenious Richard Legg put together a fast paced Judge Dredd game complete with fantastic scenery. The Mega-City Block came complete with a Saddamesque statue, bridge and even a local Games Workshop store. The imagination and thought behind the game was clear to see and I wish I could have played a game on the set up myself.

This was the Chaos warbands game run by the thrice cursed Stuart Bannister (along with three mutant wretches known only by the dark and evil names of Greg, Ian and Steve) entitled 'The Storming of Perlsea Fort'. Having played in many of these scenarios myself, it was pleasing to see others getting the same level of enjoyment out of Slaves to Darkness. I didn't tarry as long as I should here due to the rather restrictive space around the game, but I greatly admired the scenery - especially the fort itself, which rumour has suggested was a fifteen quid kid's toy converted up especially for the scenario.

Incredible work if that rumour is true!!

While wandering around the gaming tables in the stable buildings I was suddenly accosted by a strange figure whose face was obscured by a heavy cowl. Without speaking a word he held forth a skeletal figure and beckoned me forth into a dark and dingy area of a Foundry that no Oldhammerer would dare set foot (the Napoleonics section). In mute silence he opened a black, velvet lined box and spread these obscene fantasy figures across a nearby table - apparently some twisted version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (yes, I know there is a eighth dwarf) the sculptor of these mind-shattering models remains a mystery...

While on the subject of strange figures, I was lucky enough to be invited deep within the blasphemous bowels (the Casting Room) of the Wargames Foundry by Marcus Ansell. alongside Steve Casey (pictured) and Stuart Klatcheff. Here we were given the opportunity of seeing a second batch of the 'Time Warped Wizards' being cast up as the previous run had nearly sold out. It really was a special privilege to witness Marcus working the mould and pouring the hot metal into the spinning machine. He made such a skilful job look incredibly easy and the models cast looked crisp and bright. It was a special moment to be able to hold previously unreleased Citadel models from the Golden Age in my unworthy palm whilst they were still hot!

I wonder what unlucky chap took that set of models home?

As I said in my previous post, the truly legendary Kev Adams returned to complete a second marathon sculpting session for charity, this time for the MacMillian Cancer Relief. He worked continuously throughout the Saturday on model after model, tirelessly. Massive respect to Kev for doing this again and he told me that he hopes to spend TWO days sculpting next year to try and keep up with the demand.

I found a suitably small figure (a tiny snotling) for Kev to sculpt my flabby face onto and marvelled (like a great many others) over his skill.

Graham Apperley, Chris Webb and Curtis Fell slugged away at each other during this Warhammer 40,000 second edition game. There were some great models here, especially the pre-1994 Imperial Guard stuff that Chris had lovingly painted to a very high standard indeed.

Steve Beales brought along his Epic collection and set up a game involving both Adeptus Machanicus and Space Marine. I loved handling the old AM polystyrene buildings and they brought back many great memories of my early '90s Space Marine games. Hs opponent was none other than the Citadel Collector, Steve Casey, who arrived with some hideously well converted Nurgle titans - more of which, later!

Tony Yates was up to his usual mischief all weekend, telling stories and sketching the wild demands of any who would ask. It is always a pleasure to see Tony and his pal, Alec, who really do embody the spirit of the Grognard like no-one else. They give us 'youngsters' plenty of inspiration with their bizarre and wacky ideas, not to mention Tony's unique collection of wargaming models. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of his strange mekon like castings on the Sunday. I will attempt to emulate his super fast painting style and heavy highlighting method when I come to paint it up.

As an aside, the picture he is drawing here (entitled: busty female magic user) was for my wife. She loved it so much she has decided to frame it and hang the piece of art in her office!

Geoff aka Fimm McCool brought along his impressive Fimir army and leatherbound Warhammer publications (just so you know, he learnt the art of book binding and put the volumes together himself) and was also responsible, or so I heard, for this year's Oldhammer miniature. Inspired by a comic book rendition of the Heroquest villain, Morcar apparently. Any left over models will be shipped off to the US and later Australia for our distant, colonial cousins.

Paul Golgfag (who may or may not consume men when angered) attended and was involved in many a game. Here he contemplates with which monstrosity to best crush his enemies, see them driven before him and hear the lamantations of their women.

Scalene put on a beautiful Rogue Trader scenario outside of the Marquee on the Sunday. The natural light and wonderful scenery, modelling and figure painting really helped bring this game alive. Inspirational and the best looking game at the show, by far!

A glimpse at Steve Casey's uber-horrible Nurgle titans from the Epic game on Sunday. After speaking to him at length, he explained that the models were a mix of modern Forgeworld Plaguefly pieces and classic plastic titans. Here, his Deathguard advance towards Imperial lines with far more prowess than his Slann army later on. These were the standout conversions of the show for me.

Do us all a favour Steve and do a post about these on your blog!! (;

The Grand Master of Chaos, Tony Ackland, was in attendance again and judged the painting competition on the Sunday, aided and abetted by show organiser, Garth James, Tony Yates and Curtis Fell. Curtis was kind enough to hand out many models he produced at Ramshackle to attendees for free, exhibiting the Oldhammer spirit at its best.

The outdoors Rogue Trader games in full flow. The loquacious James Holloway can be spied on the far right, and I had a pleasant Saturday evening chatting with him back at the Deincourt Hotel.

Much of my weekend was spent in the company of the old wizard, Tony Ackland, who as always was full of amusing stories and discussions about literature, art and history. He introduced me to the depraved etchings of Franz von Bayros and Victorian decadence among many other things. Here he is deep in discussion with Stuart about his artwork.

This was an impressive undead game whose organisers I didn't catch the names of. There were some lovely scenery pieces here with all number of weird and wonderful models on the table. Have a closer look and see which pieces you can recognise!

Another chap I met was playing a match up with his boy. The game included these beautiful old school dwarfs and I couldn't resist taking a snap of some of these wonderful models as they set up.

Big bad Erny , his brother Snickit and a mate played through a 4th edition game that would not have looked out of place in a mid '90s edition of White Dwarf.

Steve and Paul got stuck into a game of Spacefleet on the Sunday. Now this is a game so rare that I hadn't even seen a copy before and the ships are certainly interesting models to be sure.

And who is this spotted in Bryan's cabinet of chaos?? Is that Greedo from Star Wars? There were all manner of weird and wonderful models as always.

Harry explores some of Bryan Ansell's treasures. As always, the Mighty Avenger brought forth a massive amount of work in progress pieces for viewing, including several very ancient pieces he produced years past. Kev Adams' Warmonger orcs were also in attendance.

It wasn't just old school gaming on offer either. Exhibition games of Tomahawk's new game, Congo were being played through on the Sunday using models from Tony Yates' collection. I had a good look at the publication and it looks to be of a particularly high standard, as you would expect.

For some, the experience of three days of solid Oldhammer was just too much to bear. He we see an exhausted gamer passed out at the Foundry on the Sunday afternoon as his companions gamed on.

As always, we have so much to be grateful for from the Ansell family. Bryan, Diane, Marcus, Emma and Maria were incredible hosts and kept us all fed and watered over the three day event, held in their beautiful home of Stoke Hall.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR GENEROSITY AND KINDNESS! The Wargames Foundry really is the greatest venue in the wargaming world!!

Wholesome regards and abundant thanks must also go to Garth who organise the chaotic mess that is a Bring Out You Lead and ensured that everyone involved had the gaming tables and scenery that they needed.



  1. Cracking weekend as always - great to see all the regular faces and newcomers alike!

    1. Good to see you too, Steve, and we really must get that Doctor Who classic series battlegame sorted out!!!

  2. Nice write up as usual! It was a super fun weekend. I must just say that the 2nd ed game pictured with Graham Apperley was not being played by me, that was Chris "Curis" Webb, current editor of White Dwarf, with his amazingly painted Oldhammer Imperial guard.

  3. Couldn't be there so thanks for the post! The Greebo and others are from the old American company Archive Miniatures sculpted by Neville Stocken.

    1. I wondered if they might have been conversions when I saw them, so thanks for that little piece of history David.

    So will the above models be available for general sale via Foundry or event specific?

    1. My advice would to contact Foundry directly and express and interest in buying the models.

    2. Just got off the phone and the person I spoke with said £40/ten figures + shipping and possibly available individually at £4/figure, but have to get back to me about it - specified email, due to the timezone difference. Looking at £46(~$65) for the lot and more, if I add any singles, but I think it's worth it.

      Was informed that £4/figure is the price for fantasy sculpts, in contrast with ex-Citadel historical stuff, like the Blandford Warriors, going for much less.

    3. Called again today and was told a different story: figures from this batch aren't for sale, but in 2 weeks new moulds will be ready, then these miniatures will be available as a set and/or indiviudally, though at a higher price - £40 and £4 were event discounts.

  5. Really enjoyed the few hours we were there and big thanks to everyone involved.

    1. We really should have a blogger meet up next year and finally put all names to faces!!! Glad you enjoyed your visit.

  6. That castle is the Simba Superplay Castle, often available for £14 (and in large quantities).

    It does paint up surprisingly well, although the towers don't quite hold four 25mm bases. :(

    1. Thanks for the tip and the link there. (:

  7. Good to see Space Fleet get a look in. Inspires me to keep on working on my fleets for the game. I don't recognise Steve and Paul by first name or face. Are they fellow bloggers?

    Looks like a fabulous event (as it does each year!).

    1. Yeah, Steve = Thantsants from 'Somewhere the Tea's Getting Cold' and Paul = Warlord Paul from the 'Black Castle'.

  8. Excellent report James...but the real question is...did you actually play anything or were you too busy meeting all the attendees??? :)

    1. Yes, I played in the Tale of Four Oldhammer Gamers session on Sunday. Next year (fingers crossed) I will bring more McDeath!!

  9. Thank you for the great articles. You did a great job putting them together.

  10. I plan on getting my Giant Chaos Battering Ram built and painted for next years!