Wednesday 15 August 2018

More F3 Barbarians from Foundry

I have managed to finish off two more of the new ex-Citadel Foundry barbarians today. They sat on my desk for a while awaiting basing and I finally found the time to complete and photograph them this afternoon. 

As regular readers will know, I have a fairly speedy style and painted these two figures in about two and half hours. The female warrior represents my former style of painting. White undercoat, block colours followed by brown and black ink washes to create depth. Drybrushing (for metals) and layering (adding boneyard to create highlights) for each colour tone. 

The second figure was painted with the Foundry Triad system, with additional highlights created by the boneyard shade as previously. I found using paint in this way increased the 'popping' effect that so many wargames players appreciate on figures painted for table. 

Comparing the two figures, I can see that the fabrics have a richer tone (just look at that blue) and the gold a more buttery, natural look than previously. Finishing the model also took a lot less time (thanks to the paints all being ready to go, so to speak) than the female figure.

Food for thought as I tackle the first of the new (old) Fighters Foundry re-released alongside these. And before I go, here is a better shot of all my painted barbarians so far! 


Wednesday 8 August 2018

Three Ex-Citadel F3 Barbarians re-released by Wargames Foundry

Today's post brings to you the first three re-released barbarians from Wargames Foundry fully painted up. I worked on these models on and off yesterday and got them completed this morning. Again, it seems that my camera skills are a little rusty but I managed to get a suitable shot earlier this afternoon. I am sure I will get the knack once again soon. 

I painted this trio as a group of models. As you can see they share a common theme of colours - my barbarian favourites; flesh, bronze, leather and red. I used layering a great deal to build up the skin tones and washes and highlighting for the chainmail. Everything else was achieved with a simple edge highlight. 

I plan to use the ten new models released last Friday to provide another unit for my barbarian warband/McDeath forces. I will probably dig out a couple of other figures from my collection to bring the number up to twelve (including a bannerbearer) but there is plenty of time for me to become distracted by something else.

One of the models has a shield on his back. I added the spot colour of blue to give a little variation in tone (the central figure has a blue semi-precious stone on his headband, but that is a little sun bleached) and used streaking to make the face of the shield look like painted wood. 

These were fun models to paint and being different enough to ensure that I didn't get bored. I hate to feel like I am painting an army of identical troops, you see. I plan to finish off the two other barbarians I have based up before trying my hand at some of the re-released old Citadel fighters later on in the week. I plan to use those ten figures as a unit too, most likely for McDeath if they fit in well enough - Donaldbane's troops perhaps? 

More soon.


Tuesday 7 August 2018

Oldhammer Weekend 2018: The Painting Competition and other Miniatures

Welcome back for my final post covering this year's Oldhammer Weekend - well the Saturday part of the event at least. Starting off with the now traditional group photograph, snapped as always by Maria Ansell in front of the marquee just off from the entrance to the Foundry building. The area was originally built as the stable block of Stoke Hall and resembles Hougoumont from the famous Waterloo camapign. According to Bryan Ansell, the Duke of Wellington used to be a visitor to Stoke Hall and used to stable his horses here, so the area has a sound military pedigree.

If you have never visited the venue and are curious, have a quick look at Phil Scott's video below. His original intention was to film a little more than this (and the excitable Curtis Fell) but was struck down with illness - still the video gives you a sense of the venue and shows a little of what was occuring on the Friday. 


Right, what follows is a post concentrating on the miniatures and scenery that caught my eye during the day as well as details about the informal painting competition that used to be called the Golden Gobbos. Now it doesn't really have a name beyond 'the painting competition'. As with previous years, Wargames Foundry were pleasant enough to cough up a few prizes. So big thanks yous to them - again!!

First up are these gorgeous Laserburn models. You may know about this game. It was designed by Bryan in 1980 and was originally intended to be played with 15mm scale figures and vehicles. Much of this range, with additions, are available from Alternative-Armies and it was a joy to spot these lazing around unused in the morning. Beautifully painted and based, these popped up on the Laserburn (with the plastic fish tank plants fame) table throughout the day. 

Proper old school squat bikers. I saw these last year and it was pleasing to see them again. I always enjoyed the squats and their biker background and disagree with those 'creatives' that thought they needed phasing out. That may be due to the fact that one of these petrolheads was one of my first ever models and despite never having the courage to paint it up, I still have some of the pieces lurking around in my collection somewhere. 

Snickit was proudly showing off his new dwarf units after recieving treatment for his skaven addiction. Don't these look lovely ranked up as they are? These are proper old school units in my opinion and look fantatsic on the table. The coherent colour scheme really helped bind them together as a regiment, with the spot colours found in beards and shields giving the unit a sense of variation despite of their uniforms. 

More of Mark Stevenson's Asgard project. Beautiful. Colourful. Unique. A truly insane endeavour to collect, base and paint everything that Asgard ever produced. Very worthy indeed!

Next up we wander over to the incredibly detailed Shrine of Rigg table. Now, it would have been possible to spend the entire day just taking photographs of this game and still not cover everything on offer. I took endless snaps and these are the greatest hits out of those hurried photographs. This first one looks a little like the Ziggurat of Doom, only with a Lustrian twist. Like the Laserburn game, notice how a few tastefully placed plastic fish tank plants can bring a scenery piece or gaming table alive with living detail. 

This Olmec inspired head was just one of the incredibly well made pieces on the table and just oozed jungly character. Again, the tasteful placing of those plastic plants and model railway trees brings the piece to life and proves the 'less is more' approach to detailing is a true now as it has always been. 

I am pretty sure this ship in the Revel viking longship that Amazon put on sale a few years back and sold loads of sets to eager Oldhammer fans. I have two - somewhere! What caught my eye were the wonderful rowing models gripping the oars and the masses of barbarian types milling around. 

A crazy war turtle-thingy looms large out of some kind of ritual pool. I loved the detail on the base here and the way the autumnal colours contrast with the scheme of the model. 

Many enthusiasts I speak to are highly concerned about their painting skills and I feel this holds many people back from engaging in wargaming. Really there is no need to worry as even models such as these, rudimentarily based and painted simply can look extremely effective on the table top. In fact, they look even more old school than the more skillfully painted stuff. The card movement trays are also a nod to the old days and the old ways so I was pleased to see these. 

These rather ghostly looking shots represent the painting competition entries upon my arrival to judge the event alongside Garth James and Tony Yates. This year, someone had the great idea of using raffle tickets to identify each entry and this made identifying who painted what far easier than in the past. As has become tradition, the models were gathered into three fairly loose categories: Single Figure, Big Thing and Unit with each level of the cabinet being used to display each of them. There were some exciting and unique pieces to be enjoyed and I must say that there is sometimes little difference in quality of painting between the entries and the figures you see being used in games. 

The Single Figure shelf had these entries on display. Can you spot a painted Drewbot top left? Or Steve Casey's celebration to the old Jim Burns Space Marine artwork? The slann palanquin was a lovely piece too. Sorry about the slightly blurry photograph by the way!

I loved the orc here. Really old school and a nod to the paint jobs of yore in 1980s White Dwarf 'Eavy Metal articles. 

I was also deeply impressed by the Realm of Chaos beastmen you can see here. A row of five models beautifully painted and very much in keeping with the Slaves to Darkness era colour schemes, only with a modern twist. I also liked the nod to the Arcane Armorial shield designs that had been hand painted on their shields. The ogres behind were worthy contenders too. 

Right, on to the winners!

The winner of the Unit category was Mark Elsdon with these incredible Heroquest figures. What caught the judges' eye with these four figures was the distinctive painting style and choice of colour. The bases also went a long way to helping this entry pick up the prize as not only were they extremely well realised but they also fitted the theme of dungeon basing in Heroquest. 

Well done Mark! 

Chris Webb won the Big Thing category with this Ork Warmachine. Exquisite attention to detail and incredible freehand skills won the day for him. A gorgeously presented model painted in 'go fasta red' complete with enthusiastic driver and companion. 

Alan Harper picked up the Single Figure with this eldar model. The judges loves the purple and blue colour scheme and alien gribbly base. This figure stood out amongst the others, so well done! 

Later on, I spotted these outsatnding giants (just forget that you've seen that godawful plastic rubbish one) just lying around. These were part of a larger collection of orcs and goblins and were some of the nicest painted models I saw during the whole event, with the three 1980s C series giants out front being particular highlights. I just love these models. 

The Marauder Giant was also part of this collection. As with the other models he was very well finished and looked very impressive alongside his gigantic kin. A fantastic army indeed. 

Whilst exploring the giants I met Jemma with a J who turned out to be an aspiring sculptor. Managing to persuade her to fetch her work from the boot of the car I was amazed at what I saw, especially after Jemma confessed to only having been sculpting for three weeks. Despite her lack of experience she clearly knew far more than I ever would about the subject and reeled off a range of different putties and armature contortions. 

She emerged from the carpark with a little black box with old school style toilet roll covered models and impressed us all with her embryonic work. 

I took this snap of her stuff and thought to myself - we have some geniune raw talent here. Her skaven model was better than some of the stuff I have seen on sculpting forums and she had really captured the rat like face of the breed well. Her models are fairly brittle and need further work to ensure they would survive the casting process but were inspiring to see. 

Introducing her to the ever vested Tim Prow, he gave her some expert advice about how to improve her sculpting skills and I left them to it. This was my stand-out Oldhammer moment this year as the friendly, open nature of the event allows things like this to happen. Everyone is equal at BOYL - varied individuals brought together by their love of old school models and the vibe that went along with them. 

Right, time to wrap up for another year. And I will end with a photograph taken by Matt Adlard that I shamelessly stole from his Google+ account. Oldhammer has certainly been a long and pleasant journey for me and we have come so far from the days when we were but a handful of disperate bloggers clinging to a time long past. When I first set out writing Realm of Chaos 80s I would never have expected to comment on a photograph such as this, where I can be seen talking to my son about Citadel miniatures alongside Bryan Ansell and John Blanche.  Not to mention great guys like Drew Day Williams. 

With the near endless debate of 'is this Oldhammer?' still ongoing, boys and girls here is your answer! 


Monday 6 August 2018

Oldhammer Weekend 2018: The Null Steersman and 'new' ex-Citadel releases

What is it with event miniatures? If you actually attend, chances are you're too busy to remember to pick one up and if you don't make it to the event you're forever desparate to acquire one! Having been away from Oldhammer for quite a while I was really quite thrilled to see this little chap waiting for me upon my arrival. Named the Null Steersman he is, of course, a pastiche of two pieces of popular Oldhamer legend and was sculpted (like last year's model) by John Pickford. 

Having not picked up a painted brush since April and with the heady fumes of the Oldhammer Weekend still in my nostrils, I decided to paint him up immediately - to help get the old eye back in! I had a little trouble getting a decent photograph of him this morning - the sunlight was just too strong and bleached much of the detail out of the image, so this darker shot will just have to do for now. 

But if the pedigree of this particular figure is not obvious to you let me explain a little further. The Null Steersman is a play on now infamous Nuln Spearsman, a figure so rare not even Bryan Ansell seems to own one, and recently sold for a very large amount of money on eBay. Of course, this being Realm of Chaos 80s, I was able to track down the buyer and bring to you the PAINTED version of the model thanks to Javi Torrijo

The two models are posed identically but where the chappy from Nuln sits very comfortably in a fantasy bracket, the event miniature is obviously from a sci-fi slant. If you are au fait with the SpaceFleet project (the original space combat game developed during the Ansell years) you may well recognise the equipment as coming from Jes Goodwin's Imperial Crew sketches. Take a look...

The event figure is a hodgepodge of ideas taken from this image with the bulk of the inspiration coming from the Engineer and the Loader. Just comparing the sketch above with an unpainted casting below allows you to play a little spot the difference game with yourself - if you are so inclined. 

The castings that I saw were all excellent with no sign of any real flash or any nasty splodges. They were available at the sales desk all day I was there, though it seemed that there weren't that many guests who noticed them! If you are visiting a BOYL event ALWAYS check to see if there is an event miniature!! 

Of course, the Null Steersman wasn't the only special model on offer during this year's event. Foundry, who like to surprise us with special releases, put out four new blisters of old school Citadel models especially for us. If these figures follow in the footsteps of everything else they have produced for Oldhammer, they will remain in sale as part of their ex-Citadel range. If you are after these figures RIGHT NOW and simply cannot wait I would advise just ringing the Foundry shop up and speak to them directly. They may still have some left!

There are four packs - Reavers, Barbarians, Marauders and Outlaws and are sold in sets of five at the moment. 

The Reavers and Barbarians are a variety of castings (as far as I can tell) from the Old F3 barbarian releases sculpted by Bob Niasmith and the Perrys. See how many of the models in the advert below appear in my 21st century image! These models are very similar to the other barbarian models put out at the first Oldhammer Weekend though several figures here are of note. The first two models (top left) are two of the three 'barbarian chief' style figures from the range - and luckily I have the third figure fully painted in my collection. Two of the figures here are female and have been known to fetch a bit online so having them available at retail is fantastic news to those of you who just hate to pay over the odds. 

The Marauders and Outlaws packs are of more interest in my opinion. Not only is the sculpting better on these figures many of them have been highly collectable in the past and have sold around the £10-15 range individually. These come from the F2 Fighters range and can be observed below in an ancient and washed out advertisment from White Dwarf. 

Right, I am off to paint up some of these rare beauties. Only big thanks to the Wargames Foundry remains. It is great to see popular and iconic models such as these out of the hands of eBay 'salesmen' and back in the hands of real enthusiasts. What are you waiting for?


Sunday 5 August 2018

Oldhammer Weekend 2018: Overview

Greetings dear readers, after what seems a very long time indeed. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Saturday of this year's premier Old School wargaming event - Bring Out Your Lead 2018. Being the world's biggest Oldhammer event, BOYL has a special place in the hearts of many an enthusiast and it was inspiring to see so many of you gracing the stables of Stoke Hall with thousands upon thousands of painted models, lovingly crafted scenery pieces and passion aplenty. As always, the event was held under the auspices of the legendary Ansell family - with Bryan, Diane, Marcus, Maria and company creating a superb venue in which toy soldiers from many eras could be admired and celebrated. Our thanks as a community goes out to them as always. 

What follows in my now traditional overview of the event. As I have already stated, I attended on the Saturday (along with my eight year old son, Jack, his second visit to the event) but I am aware that a great deal of action occured on the Friday and Sunday. I shall be linking to other blog posts of note as I write up my experiences so you can follow the goings on of this year's event from the comfort of your desktops and mobile devices. As in previous years, I have assembled a large number of photographs and will be providing brief commentary on them. Any mistakes or errors are entirely my own so please do correct me if necessary. 

Right, here we go... Let's have a whistle stop glance around what was going on during the day and you can expect a series of follow up blog posts over the next few days in which I shall go into further detail about the exciting events I was witness to. 

Upon arrival, we were greated by the sight of the gigantic spectacle of the Shrine of Rigg scenario which, as far as I understand, was largerly the work of one Thantants. Spread across a very large table was the intricate passageways of the shrine itself, lovingly crafted from individual plaster bricks and furnished with a wide range of scenery pieces. The sheer scope of the game was more than impressive and the charaterful and varied choice of miniatures being pushed around the table made the game one of those 'you find something new every time you look' experiences. 

Alan Merrett was one of the 'Warhammer Celebs' who attended the event and could be seen chatting with enthusiasts and exploring the many games on offer. As always, Diane and the bar staff provided meals and other sundries at very reasonable prices. Being fully licensed ensured that there were plenty of British ales and ciders on offer and these were enjoyed by some of our international visitors almost as much as the many models. 

Helsreach, the second enormous free for all game, appeared for the second year in a row. As before, this game stands out for having some of the mosr impressive scenery I have ever seen at any event. The scale and scope of Helsreach is hard to express in mere photographs and really does need to be seen to be believed. Unsurprisingly, this was my son's favourite tables and he returned to it many times during the day. The ever resourceful Curtis Fell, of Ramshackle Games, buzzed around the board all day egging players on a creating a superb atmosphere for all. I have discovered video on Youtube posted (by the sounds of his dulcet tones) Phil Scott. Due to some unfortunate and bizarre accident possibly involving a kebab/curry and a few pints of real ale, Phil was atrociously ill on Saturday morning and I only saw him for a minute or two. Hopefully, he will be posting a few more videos later on. If he isn't distracted about toast and spontaneously starts writing articles for the Guardian newspaper in the meantime. 

A quick note about the Helsreach video. One - Curtis really is like that! 2- it was filmed during the Friday judging by the clothes and attendees. Enjoy - and big thanks to Phil! 

Drew Williams, propriator of Satyr Art Studio, was on a visit to the UK alongside his wife and it was very pleasnt to meet up with him again and have a look at his sculpting with my own eye. He mentioned the excellent McDeath game we played a couple of years back and he inspired me to continue with this mothballed project so we can one day play through the sequel. Can you guess who Drew was chatting to at this point? Yes, it is none other than GW legend John Blanche who also visited the event for the first time. 

Tony Yates was also in attendance after his recent struggles with Father Nurgle and he was a pleasure to talk to again, even pointing out to me an ancient figure believed to have been sculpted and cast by Bryan Ansell when he was but a boy. 

Garth James, pointing rather sinisterly at JB, was again the perfect host and organisor of the event. Eternally sensible and ever realiable Garth was a whirlwind of activity during the day. A big thank you needs to head his way for ensuring the the event ran so smoothly. 

As we have discussed here before, The Ansell family's astonshing collection of painted toy soldiers was on display and attracted many first-timers and old hands alike. These figures really do have to be seen to be believed and for an Oldhammer fan, making the trip to the Wargames Foundry worth any distance. 

This wild assortment of models had the encyclopedic mind of David Wood churning in delight in his attempt to identify them all. There really were some strange models amongst this collection with many of them having arcane and archaic backstories. 

While on the subject of painted miniatures, on display among the racks of Wargames Foundry models was this fantastic collection of painted Asgard models brought along by Mark Stevenson if my memory serves me correctly. These were fascinating to view and were brilliantly painted up too. I understand that Mark is attempting to collect and paint every model that Asgard produced back in the day and if you didn't know - Asgard was one of Bryan's early miniature company attempts in the years before Citadel and Foundry. 

Golgfag, one of the original Oldhammers, was in attendance as always. Here he can bee seen slurping a beverage though I have yet to see him actually eat a man like his famous namesake. Though, of course, knowing Paul anything is possible. 

By midday, the crowd has really surged and speaking with Garth we roughly estimated that around one hundred and forty people attended during the Saturday alone - by far our largest crowd. Talking to Stuart Klatcheff and Steve Casey (when they weren't lurking around other people's car boots) later on about the demographics of this year's event, they felt there had been a subtle shift this year towards spectactors rather than thoroughbred gamers. Hopefully, these new visitors will have been inspired by what they saw and will be back in future with a game or two. 

Jerome Franklin-Ryan was another familiar face I have the pleasure of seeing again. Here he can be observed in his natural environment - planning how to take over the world and rule it with an iron fist, presumably whilst imbibing a Doombar or two at the same time. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to get some more games in with Jerome in the months to come. There is talk of a narrative siege on the cards! 

Few games are as Old School as Laserburn and it was pleasing to see a game set up and running when I first arrived. What caught my eye was the simple but incredibly effective set up the boys involved with this had arranged. Brightly coloured aquarium plants make outstanding (and wonderfully cheap) alien worlds with little or no effort. Excellent.

More traditional approaches to scenery were also evident and ths wonderfully painted fantasy building caught my eye almost immediately. I am very envious of whoever put this together and the painting here is outstanding and extremely effective. The right mix between modern paints and old school technique. Fantastic!

Hold on to your hats eBay scalpers and serious collectors, Wargames Foundry have along released another load of old school Citadel models for this year's event. As you can see the racks were looking a little empty by the time I took this shot but you needn't worry. I have all of the newly discovered figures in my possession and I will be looking at them in further detail in a future post. All I will say for now is that we have another couple of sets of barbarians and feudal models to get our teeth into, including some extremely sort after human figures. They are, of course, extremely well cast and look much better than the '80s Citadel originals. Expect more details soon. 

Some of the older Perry ranges have been converted to pewter and were guarding the metal master of the Mighty Fortess on the Foundry sales counter.  Jack was given a few of these last year and they make excellent first models for kids as they are more hardwearing than you standard white metal model. 

Erny and Snikit take a break from brotherly beatings to fight each other across a wargames table. Here they can be seen partaking in a favourite activity -arguing about the rules. Snikit had given up on his skaven and brought along some lovely dwarfs and we will be taking a closer look at these in a future post. 

Norse and compant fight it out on the Laserburn table a little later on in the day. As you can see, the weather was excellent and not too hot after the long heatwave the UK has experienced recently. 

Space Marine 2nd edition also had an outing this year on an excellent table. It was nice to see some epic scale games being played this year as these systems are often overlooked but provide some excellent scope for gaming. One year I would love to see a little Warmaster played! Anyone up for it?

By the later afternoon, increasing numbers of spectating first timers bagan to arrive having heard about the event online. Many of those I spoke to were unsure as to what to expect and were pleasantly surprised how friendly it all was. BOYL isn't like other wargaming events, and if you don't believe me just pop along next year and find out why. 

Spectators enjoy Space Marine in the sunshine. The smaller rooms running off from the stableyard were used for the smaller scale games. As the day wrapped itself up, we gathered for the annual painting competition winners and the group photograph that has become a long standing tradition during the weekend. More word on the winners and the entries to the competition next post and I once again had the rather challenging task of judging the winners. 

Having made our goodbyes, and feeling suitably inspired, we headed for the gates one final time. Jack made his first ever miniature purchase (a Warmonger ork with a standard) and we departed with the promise he could have a McDonalds on the way home.