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.