Wednesday, 6 May 2015

McDeath: The Monster of Loch Lorm aka The Dragon Turtle

Last post I blogged about Mergrey Calchoner, the folically challenged court Wizard for Donaldbane, and the curious fact that the wizard is a difficult model (in my experience, at least) to get hold of. Today's subject, the Monster of Loch Lorm aka The Turtle Dragon, is another model that fits into that category.
Like many of the McDeath figures, I spent quite sometime researching the range and how expensive the models were in reality. We have all heard the tales of Sandra Prangle, McDeath and Lady McDeath changing hands at prices exceeding £100 - but were they actually true?
The reality is that this range, like with many other Citadel model, varies quite extensively. £50+ is certainly true of the miniatures I described above, with figures changing hands from anything around £60 to over £100. The miniature you can see above was the result of some hard haggling, but after a while the deal was done and the Monster arrived on my paint station.
Goodness knows what he was covered in! Soaking for several days in the Dettol did nothing to remove the shiny blue 'something' that covered the creature's shell or the white 'Tippex' looking smears that had obviously served as eyes for the last twenty-five years or more. Nitro-Mors and some frantic scrubbing wouldn't shift it either, though after a good soak I was able to prize off the white glop with a cocktail stick. The odd blue staining (which looked to me to have been created by an ink) was impossible to shift and in a way reminded me of a boy I knew at school who regularly 'coloured' in his dragon models using a permanent pen scrawlled over the bare metal.
Thankfully, the staining didn't clog any detail and I was able to undercoat the model in white fairly easily. I use a brush to do this now, rather than faffing about outside with a spray can. If you want to have a go at undercoating in this way, always mix in some water to thin the paint, as this will avoid any nasty clogging of detail. Usually, though not always, I apply a second layer of white over the first once it has dried. In the case of the Turtle Dragon, I opted instead to give it a good base colour of green and a good brown ink wash.
I was then ready to start work on him proper.

Inspired by the colour scheme of a real life turtle, I hit the paints and worked up a rather reptiley (is that a real word?) green on the head and flippers. This was quite simple though a bit fiddly to achieve. I am still not sure if I have highlighted up light enough yet, but I shall give it a week or so until I make the decision to add any more tone to the scales/skin.

The eye was simple. Based in a dark red before washing over with a blacky-brown ink. Once this was dry, I kept much of the depth and dotted back over the top of the pupil with a lighter red and highlighted that very finely with yellow. Its hard to see on the photograph above, but the Monster's eye looks nice and beady now.

Unsurprisingly, the shell took the most time and saw me highlighting up to almost pure white. I copied the look of a turtle shell from my reference as best I could and used a mix of brown and yellow to create contrast with the green skin. I didn't really take enough photos of this model, and I am rather proud of the underside, so I really should document it a little better in the future.

To conclude, this was another Bank Holiday special which I completed in a couple of hours. I really enjoyed painting up the model and it was a challenge working on something without a base. In the end, I decided against sticking him to some flat piece of plastic to ensure that he can be easily placed on the gaming table. After all, as the Monster of Loch Lorm he should be able to traverse land and sea with relative ease and the base would just get in the way.

Right, I am off. I will post soon about my ongoing McDeath project.


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

McDeath: Mergrey Calchoner

My professional life is as challenging as ever and I was glad of the three day weekend. I managed to get quite a bit of painting done and focused again on my McDeath collection. I had planned on getting five miniatures from the range completed over the long weekend but only managed to finish three. The others still stand on the paint-station at various stages of completion. 

But there is always next weekend. And only four working days away! 

Mergrey Calchoner is a bit of a tough model to get hold of. He was released with the C02 range of wizards in the 1980s but has the fortune (or misfortune, depending of perspective) of being an essential purchase for anyone collecting the 2nd Edition Scenario packs for this miniature is required in both McDeath and the Vengeance of the Lichemaster sets. 

And it was only by accident that I even managed to get hold of this example. It was a case of me hitting one too many zeros on my final bid! Thank God it was only snipers I was up against!

Interestingly, some of the other models in the range have amusing little anachronisims secreted about their persons - calculators, grenades and so forth - but Calchoner (also known as Hansat) is mercifully lacking in this department. The robes are there, as is the stereotypical staff, and the cloak looks like some kind of pelt but there is nothing more. This is a 'serious' Warhammer model.  

As has become my whim, I used the colour token from the McDeath box set as a guide to painting him. He was great fun to work on and was one of those 'paint themselves' jobs. I really liked the flesh tones I achieved, particularly the bald head, though the model looks strangely similar to my neighbour, Phil, in both facial features and stature. The red too, turned out better than expected, thanks to a subtle orange highlight. As far as I know, Phil never wears red. 

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable figure which sees all the Donaldbane related characters  fully complete.


Monday, 4 May 2015

Warmonger @ Salute 2015


Last post I gave you a brief overview of this year's Salute. As promised, I am going to take a closer look at some of the things that interested me on the day for the benefit for those of you who couldn't make it. Today's topic is of course - Warmonger!

If you have been living in a hole for the last year or so and don't know anything about Warmonger Miniatures - let me explain things in layman's terms. Warmonger is a project between Bryan Ansell and Kevin Adams at the Foundry, Stoke Hall. 

Any collaboration between these two legends is going to be high on all Oldhammerer's interest lists, so let's delve a little deeper into the project. Be warned though....

Its utterly bonkers! 

Much of the early range saw the incorporation of Kev's old Orc and Ogre models he produced for the Foundry some years back. Many of these models had not been available for some time and are quite frankly, gorgeous. The small vignette, shown above, was built from several pieces of the 'Snorkling' range put out about the same time. These tiny miniatures are FANTASTIC and display more ingenuity and imagination than entire ranges! After painting these up last weekend I am now a committed collector of these tiny buggers and hope to score some more in the future. 

The jewel in the range, at least for me anyway, is the range of Orcling Outriders. Like the painted models above, they are small, comical and full of the Kev Adams zany imagination. So far, I have collected eleven of them and I hope to make up a full regiment of them when my next project is complete. 

Here is a close up of one of the Orcling models. In my mind, they will make perfect 'wolfriders' for my Orc and Goblin Oldhammer stuff. Now that I am happier about the colour choice I use to represent goblin skin, all I have to do is work out how I am going to paint up the mini-dinosaurs these cheeky gitz ride. 

A bright red, perhaps? To contrast with the green. 

The red sponged clam packs contain the newly sculpted stuff. Loads of the early castings was available at Salute and I spent a while picking through the assorted bodies and heads choosing the pieces I liked the most. I tended to go with the models that had huge knockers on them - easily distracted like I am. What is worth noting here are the size comparisons. Models in the range vary in height quite dramatically, and this is a deliberate choice by Bryan and Kev. You can use the larger models (if you collect classic stuff like me for instance) as giant orcs, or ogres and even trolls. 

Trailing along the top of this clam pack are a little selection of Kev's incredible 'face-shields' hand picked for me by the man himself. These are brilliant and are an essential purchase for any fantasy wargamer. 

The goblin drummer seen in the centre was the first model Kev completed after returning to work after his operation.
Chatting with Kev was as fun as ever and he had quite a bit to say about his plans for Warmonger. Obviously, there will orcs, a lot more orcs, to come, some of which look very similar to the old school Citadel ones he concentrated on in the 1980s. But the ethos behind the new greenskins is variation - with all kinds of sizes and design choices being made, spurred on by Bryan's fevered imagination. Beastmen will follow, and greens of this future addition to the range were featured in the display cabinet, as will skeletons, ratmen and all the other fantasy types if Kev gets his way. 

I will leave you with the snaps I took with the trusty iPhone. What can you spot?

I spotted this orc amongst the horde - he looks like something out of the plastic regiments box doesn't he? Its deliberate. I so want a unit of these! 
Orcs and ogres in all shapes and sizes - including some wild, wild orcesses. 
The zany imagination of the Goblinmaster was evident!
This green represents the chap on the Warmonger logo. He has a bizarre name that I cannot remember. 
Some WIP beastman sculpts

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Orlygg (and Stuart Klatcheff) @ Salute 2015

I didn't see much of the historical stuff this year, but the archer free mini was nice in our welcome packs.
Like many in the toy soldier world, I was at Salute today. I am sure the blogosphere will be alight soon with tales galore of the day and plenty of pictures of all the latest offerings from everyone from Bicorne to Spectre. But instead of just posting a few random snaps and writing about the loot I brought home, I thought I might write instead about some of the wonderful people I met.

After all, that is really what these big events are about - meeting people. I can buy practically any model online from the comfort of my own home, but online chats cannot ever compare to meeting face to face with fellow enthusiasts. 

I was lucky enough to have my friend Stuart Klatcheff accompany me today, despite his best efforts to try and persuade himself not to go with an injured leg. And the drive up was a very pleasant way of talking about the main topic of the day, miniatures and of course, Oldhammer itself. We were a little unsure how effective the new 'e-ticket' system for entry would be and, despite a shaky moment with Stuart's iPad not allowing the scanner to read the barcode, appeared to run quite smoothly. 

We were both inside the main hall by about 10:20 and promptly made our way towards the Warmonger stand. This was very obvious due to the enormous banner Marcus Ansell had made. Steve Casey, the Citadel Collector, was there with his fetching money bag and equally fetching Welsh twang, and was more than eager to relieve us of our cash. The Warmonger team were extremely welcoming and friendly (so big thanks to Steve and Marcus for their generosity) as was the LEGEND that is the Goblinmaster. 

Mr Adams was clearly really enjoying the show and had plenty to say about his new projects.
Kev was in fine form. He whipped off his gobbo-specs to show me his eye and explained that he was now fully functioning once again and needed no further chopping up by surgeons. So his attention is now fully focused on Warmonger and the amazing range of models he has produced so far. We had a long old chat and I took loads of pictures of his new greens (as well as picking up some of the first castings from the most recent batch that haven't quite gone on sale just yet) so I intend to do a Warmonger Special post shortly to fill you in with all the juicy news and share some of the lovely models that are now available. 

There was a rather battered brown box of extra goodies on the stand for those of us that purchased models. Another one of those 'lucky-dips' that were put on during last years's Oldhammer Weekend. I picked up some absolutely amazing little 'orklings' and I have already made a small diorama out of them (very small actually). They are stunning. And there is more imagination on show in those tiny little goblinoids than in many of the other ranges at the show put together!

If you couldn't get to Salute and are interested in the Warmonger range, why not pop along to their Facebook page and have a gander. Lovely stuff. There is also a rather bizarre youtube video of some of the models here.

Would you buy used artwork from this man?
After weighing ourselves down with stock, Stuart and I moved on to the Foundry stand, keen to meet up with any other Oldhammer types who might be lurking there at 11am. We arrived to find this man, Tony Hough, flashing his folders of original Citadel, Games Workshop and Fighting Fantasy art. As always, it was a pleasure to see Tony and he was happy to let fans of his work browse through his intricate drawings in awe. 

Even though he sold several pieces at the show, he assured us all that he still has lots of pieces available for anyone interested, including the famous 'Patriarch' illustration from White Dwarf. Be prepared to dig deep into the hobby fund if you are after that, as it seems that many people have tried by none have managed to persuade Tony to relinquish his personal favourite piece. Perhaps you could be the one?

If you are interested in getting hold of some of Tony's work, why not wander over to his Facebook page and have a browse through his galleries?

"That one was from Space Fleet, I think?"
A gaggle of Oldhammerers formed after a while and it was great to chat about Tony's work with them. We met quite a few eager fans of Old School Citadel, including two Spanish enthusiasts wanting to know more about where to stay in August - so if that was you, hopefully you have had some success! Diane Ansell was running the Foundry stand, which looked far too small for the range of models they brought, but we managed to squash ourselves through the crowds to make essential purchases of ex-Citadel sheep, vikings and medievals. 

Having a chance to talk to Diane about the event in August was very welcome, and I discovered that there are couple of things in the works that we will need to talk about closer to the time - most importantly the food option for Saturday! Diane was, as ever, the perfect hostess. 

So thank yous need to speed her way. 

Tim insisted on posing next to the Foundry banner like a celebrity at an premiere. It was one, after all!
While we were admiring the historical ranges the Foundry had to offer, a familiar face (sadly, without a Megadeth T-Shirt on) emerged from the backpack weighted crowd with, a rather weighty backpack actually. It was none other than Tim Prow, former 'Eavy Metal painter and all round sculptor extraordinaire, with details about a formerly TOP SECRET miniatures project that is now only SLIGHTLY SECRET. 

More is to come in the coming days, but I can tell you that the project is to be called DIEHARD MINIATURES and will contain some of the models from the aborted Antiquis Malleum project, as well as a whole lot more, in the coming weeks. Tim was armed with his rather flashy tablet (sadly no embarrassing photos were forthcoming) and showed Stuart and myself a great deal of exciting concept and WIP miniature work, including probably the best sculpted skeleton I have ever seen. 

I have a little more to share about this shortly, but will save it for a post of its own.

After saying our goodbyes to Tim, we bumped into a fellow Oldhammer T-shirt wearing gentleman who was very pleased to have picked up a old Kev Adams hill troll model in decent condition. He looked a bit grimy (the hill troll, not the gentleman) but nothing that the Dettol wouldn't fix one at home. So well done to that man on your most excellent find. 

With the shopping and socialising done - we struck out into the show proper and wandered the retailers and exhibition games. It was really exciting to find an Oldhammer game in full swing within minutes, complete with a lovely display of the old rulebooks. Stuart and I spent quite a bit of time chatting with the team behind this ('Ardhammer') and taking lots of photographs of the set up. 

There was a real mix of models on the table. With more recent plastic sculpts sharing space with classics from as far back as the 1970s. 

I will leave you with a the best of the photographs I took of this game and head to bed. There is more McDeath to paint come the morning, as well as some brilliant Warmonger pieces. All that there is left for me to say is a simple thank you to the Salute team who put on another great show, and I look forwards to attending again next year!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

McDeath, Sir John Quicksure and Painting Gold

My workload is rather high and the moment.

This isn't the place to go into details - but I am practically drowning in the stuff. Oldhammer time is extremely limited but I shall grab a few moments to type this missive while I watch the bath run.

Painting gold is hard isn't it?

Last Sunday, I cleaned up this chap, Sir John Quicksure from my McDeath collection. Now, I wanted to paint him a gold colour for two reasons. One - because it seems a suitable colour for the fantastic armour of the leader of the alliance. Two - because metallics are most definitely something I need to work on.

As you can now doubt see.

So, really what I am after is advice for achieving a decent gold finish on a miniature. How do you do it?

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Warmonger Miniatures and Salute 2015

I like to keep a keen eye out on social media for things that readers of this blog would appreciate. And this is most definitely an image that Oldhammer fans are going to want to see - Bryan Ansell and Kev Adams working together on the Warmonger project!

The other chap is Steve Turton - an expert mould maker - if memory serves me correct. Now, if you haven't got Facebook you wouldn't yet know that Kev will be manning his own stand this year, ably supported by Steve 'The Citadel Collector' Casey. 

The Stand number is TB13.

There is an 'unofficial' Oldhammer meet up at the Foundry stand at 11am on Saturday. I have a feeling that Warmonger will be the first port of call. 

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Death on the Reik: Painting Renata or Renate?

Hello all. Its been a tiring week for me, back to school and all that, and it was very pleasant to sit in the sun this morning and paint a miniature. With time at a premium at the moment, I selected a new acquisition (Renata) and promptly set to work.  She needed little cleaning up, save a few pieces of spiky flash here and there, and was quickly undercoated.

But how to paint her? 

After my last model, the slovenly Brooben Keyler, I fancied having a go at something with a little more colour. So, taking a leaf out of all those old colour pages in 1980s (pun intended) White Dwarf I went for a range of bold tones on her clothing. Green for the jerkin, with a white shirt beneath, red gloves, blue leggings and brown boots. All suitably gypsy-like - a vibe the model gives off. 

All things considered, I think she looks striking. Though I am not yet happy with the base, and may well have a second crack at it. 

But my research into the model threw up an interesting (at least to me) discovery about the model. Now, If you read my last post you'd know a little be more about this figure. Rare is a word that is bandied about a fair bit in the world of Citadel collecting. I am sure you have seen it a thousand times on eBay (and similar places) usually attached to that other damnable phrase; 'pro-painted'! These sales are seldom fair representations of the models they advertise. But in Renata's case the word is justified. 

She is also the most expensive miniature I have ever bought. But like many women, she was worth every penny!

Before painting her, I decided to check her details in the Death on the Reik Campaign book. I was very familiar with her blurry image from the WD flyer (which you can see directly below this paragraph) but I couldn't recall anything about the character in the supplement. Thanks to my newly organised collection, I was able to locate my copy of the book quite quickly and didn't have to search long until I produced a reference for her. 

And found out that her name is wrong!

It is Renate in the Death on the Reik book. Take a look! 

So in fact, Renata should be Renate. Or indeed Renate should be Renata? A case of a simple spelling error? Reading on about her character, it seems she is a pedlar, so the bright clothing definitely suits her nature, though interestingly her stats don't mention that she is armed with that very obvious bow does it? WYSIWYG was clearly not an issue back in 1987.

Whatever the answer. She's painted and on the shelf ready to act as proxy for Sandra Prangle in my McDeath project. 

More about that soon!