Sunday, 20 April 2014

A Warhammer Bestiary: Gnome

More Bank Holiday painting. This time, a gnome. I really do like this strange, little range from the mid '80s sculpted by Trish Morrison. Amusing, characterful and collectible. Gnomes are another one of the missing races that make early versions of Warhammer so interesting and varied. 

This example even has an official name! Norris Sureshot. And deadly he looks too with that crossbow at the ready. He is easy to find amongst the C11 Gnomes. 

The miniature gave me an opportunity to work on faces again. And I continued to work with the new red/chestnut ink wash that I have been developing for faces and skin. The hair was more of a challenge as the sculpting is rather rough and ready really. Still, brown inks and white paint have produced a rather grizzled appearance which I feel suits this old campaigner. 

There were some other lovely touches to work with too. The hat is the classic felt job that alludes ever so slightly to Robin Hood ( the boy who never grew up, rather than Tim Pollard) and so I painted it a suitably foresty green, complete with a red feather! As he is an archer, or sorts, I had a quick look on-line for the outfits that medieval crossbowmen wore and copied the quilted jacket accordingly. The red leather belt contrasted nicely with the colour I ended up with, but as painting for me is more of an exploration, this was more due to luck than judgement! 

The crossbow was painted in my usual way for wood now, chestnut ink mixed in with a chosen brown and highlighted slowly with beige. I wasn't quite sure what exactly was tied onto the Gnome's trousers, but considering that they are tied on I painted them as old armour. The shoes were rather simple orange leather jobs, again highlighted with beige being added to the mix. 

So a quick evening's leisure has helped by produce a funny little character perfect for odd scenarios and battles. 

Goblins next!


Saturday, 19 April 2014

A Warhammer Bestiary: Fimir

Its the Easter Holiday here in the United Kingdom. That means a four day weekend for most, and the tail end of a two week break for us teachers. Subsequently, all the 'jobs' required by the 'non-leadhead' have by now been accomplished and sometime can be invested in getting some painting done. 

As you will be aware, after a bit of a hiatus I am back on my task of painting a model for each of the entries of the Warhammer Third Edition Bestiary. This time, it was the enigmatic Fimir that were see the attentions of my paintbrush. 

Few races are as iconic as the Fimir, and Third Edition was their moment of triumph, despite a rather dodgy rules/model mix up in regards of the boys in the Design Studio. Immortality would be achieved due to their inclusion in Heroquest. If you are interested in reading more about their story I would suggest having a read of Zhu's short post on the matter here, before moving on to Luke Maciak's recent account here

Fimir Art by Gary Chalk
Now, Fimir miniatures have a reputation for being expensive. They are also quite popular with collectors which is probably why there are several companies producing their own 'versions' of them to this day. I managed to source mine from eBay for about £7, which I feel is a reasonable amount for a larger metal model. 

The model was sculpted by Nick Bibby and represents would the elite Fimm warriors. Its a two part piece with the tail being detachable and it was an easy job to stick this on with a little bit of superglue. I used greenstuff to plug the gaps. 

I mixed up a suitably swampy green to act as the basecoat and used a contrasting brown for the leather 'coat' that the armour pieces seem to be attached to. A second, more earthy, brown was selected for the haft of the axe and the head of the weapon base coated in chainmail.

I then washed the whole model with a brown/chestnut/green ink was (diluted with a few tiny drops of water) and waited for the ink to dry overnight. This is my own version of devlan mud and has a much darker result, similar to Army Painter's Strong Tone. 

The it was a simple case of just working up the green skin to the original basecoat. Once this was achieved I highlighted further by adding Bleached Bone and Skull White to the original mix. The teeth and claws were done in exactly the same way, only with a turgid (rather turdy, actually) brown before being edged with some browny/black ink. 

Returning to the basecoat colour for the leather I worked that up back to the original base before adding Bleached Bone to the mix. I have found that using a khaki or beige to highlight reduces the 'washed out' look I was getting on some of my other models. The gold was based coated in a gold/yellow/chestnut ink base and then washed over with brown (this was allowed to dry) and then orange ink. It was a simple job to highlight this up with the base colour and then use a final highlight using the base and added silver. 

Job done! 

Oh, and I added red to the eye to contrast with the green and suggest evil. The base was completed using my usual method this morning though I found it hard to locate some natural light in the house, as typically for a holiday in England, its rather overcast! hence these shots have been taken in the playroom rather than on my board. 

Right, from big to small. The next model in the project is another race that has disappeared from modern Warhammer. A gnome. 


Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Enemy Within: Shadows Over Bogenhafen Character Miniatures

Having just finished a small group of elves as part of my Warhammer Bestiary project, I am keen to start another painting challenge. Of course, I could just get cracking on the Fimir which is next in line, and well I might, if it hadn't been for the sudden arrival of Johann in the post. As you can see from the image above, I now have the full set of the Enemy Within characters (Shadows Over Bogenhafen) to get painting with. 

However, as I was preparing the models lots of questions started rearing their leaden heads. This got me thinking about the oddities that can be learnt from looking at ranges of models as you go about collecting them. So, what can we learn about this little band of mid '80s adventurers?

Here they are. Quite an expensive lot if I put them on eBay I suspect. In fact, these models are some of the most expensive I have ever bought. As you will know, I am a £4 man when it comes to the price of the average miniature but it didn't pay any more than £17 for any of these models, and some I got for much, much less. Looking at them here they seem rather unremarkable, but if we look closer things become a little more interesting. 

Johann, named 'Rowlocks' on the tab, Weiner and Harbull, to me anyway, all seem to share a design that make me feel that they were produced at the same time by the same person. Of course, I have no proof of this and I maybe wrong but I feel pretty confident that this is the case. 

Flipping the miniatures over shows us that two of them were designed in 1985, according to the date stamp on the tab. Though Johann is undated.

Now you would imagine that the other three models in the range would share a common look wouldn't you? After all, it makes sense that all of the characters would have been put into miniature form at the same time. A quick look at Wanda , Kirsten and Malmir makes me think otherwise. The design 'feel' of these three models is not as consistent as the first three, is it? 

Flipping the miniatures reveals that these three models were designed in 1987. Two years after the the original three! Is it just me that sees this as rather odd? After all, why would you create three models in support of the Enemy Within and then wait another two years to produce the rest? Additionally, Wanda and Kirsten were not originally intended for the Enemy Within, but are part of the Townsfolk/Villagers range of 1987. Malmir appears in the standard Elf range too. 

Actually, Malmir is an interesting model when looked at in context. He is a lot more chunky than the other models and has a distinct Marauder feel about him. Hardly the elfin troubadour, more like a bloke who works on the roads! As an aside, Malmir also has a distinct Elvis look about him. I think it might be his sideburns. If you look at the picture above, you can see how I have sorted the models in respect of style. Malmir is very much on his own. 

Now, before some of you hardened Citadel Collectors start pointing it out, there was a later, Death on the Reik set of adventurer figures. This range had new sculpts for Weiner and Johann but the models were stamped as part of the Fighters range. Now, I suspect that these were conversions of pre-existing models with a new head, though I have discounted the possibility of that process just being a had swap due to subtle differences on the two models.

With Weiner, that subtle difference is the direction that the character is looking in as well as the direction of helmet.

The differences are even more pronounced on the Johann model, as you can see from this picture. Its clearly a resculpted head.

And the dates? Yes you guessed it, 1987! Roughly around the same time that the villagers were made and the original Shadows set was released, not to mention the Death on the Reik set. 

This leaves me with one question. Were there originally other models for Malmir, Wanda and Kirsten? Are they waiting to be found by Steve Casey amongst the vast hordes of Bryan Ansell's collection? Could they be part of the 'not good enough to be released' box that the Citadel Collector often tempts us with?

The answer isn't as important as the fact that I will leave you with. Sometimes the actual collecting of a range or set can produce some intriguing puzzles and questions. Have you ever noticed anything strange among your own collections?

If you have, then I would love to hear about what you have discovered!


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A Warhammer Bestiary: Elves

Its been a while since I last painted any models in my Warhammer Bestiary project. If you don't remember what I was trying to do, I was attempting to paint an example of every model listed in the Warhammer Third Edition bestiary. I had made some pretty decent progress until I reached the elves, then something about the race just put me off. I have never been a fan of the fey ones if I am speaking honestly, and this lack of inspiration made work a turgid chore.

However, looking back now I found myself really enjoying the challenge of painting each of the four types and making them different once I got going!

Looking at the top image from left to right you have a Sea Elf, a Wood Elf Wardancer, a High Elf and a Dark Elf. 

The Sea Elf was the first model I worked on and I was keen to capture the feel of the sea and the maritime swashbuckler about him. I picked a Jes Goodwin Silvan Elf from the mid '80s Lord of the Rings range. Doing my best to do an 'Errol Flynn' colour scheme I worked from a blue trousers and whitish shirt look over a blackjack, dotted with silver and gold studs. I painted the equipment with reds, bright greens (proper old school Citadel colour that!) and golds. One area I was keen to improve was the painting of hair, so after a few chestnut and brown ink washes, I worked up the colour into a fairly flat blonde. Over this I highlighted on my own strands of hair taking the mix up to an almost white mix of the original tone. 

The High Elf came next and with this colour scheme I was inspired by the Ancient Greeks. Whites and golds were the orders of the day here, with very pale browns and greens for the non-metallic clothing. I found that by mixing my dark brown ink with chestnut I could create a shade that really brought out the depth of the gold. It was a simple case to highlight up with the original mix for the gold's base colour to bring out all of the detail. Gold predominated here as I was keen to reflect the wealth of the High Elves. I choose a fairly ubiquitous figure from the 1987 elf range (also by Goodwin) as I wanted something that was as far removed as I could achieve tow hat many people consider a high elf to actually look like. 

Next, I worked on the Dark Elf and chose a female model for the first time in this painting project. I really like this (Naismith I think) sculpt. Though its female it doesn't really have any of the silly boob fixated armour or impractical clothing that often plagues these sorts of designs. I kept the gold from the High Elf but darkedn it doesn somewhat with black ink washs. I picked out much of the colour of the colthing with purple and black as these are great tried and tested tones for villainous characters. I used an almost white to pick out the bone knife in her left hand as I wanted a different colour to contrast with all the dark tones. I was very pleased with the way the hair turned out too, it was very simply done, a little bit of edge highlighting and drybrushing. Though I feel the results are more to do with the sculpting of the hair rather than the skill of my painting! 

Finally, the Wood Elf Wardancer. This was quite a quick job really. You will probably know by now that the model is by Jes Goodwin. Much of the top half of the model is flesh, and I found quite a nice new way of creating a ink wash by mixing chestnut and red inks together. The hair was just a variant of the mthod I used on the High Elf and the Sea Elf. For the clothing, I choose two shade of contrasting greens to represent the woodland lifestyle of these warriors and these were quite simple to work up to a highlight. The flesh proved more of a challenge and I have been working on my methods for painting skin. I had a go at damp brush blending (a tip picked up from Andy Craig0 and was quite pleased with the result. A technique to try out again in the future. 

Next I had to work on the shields. As you may know, I used to be the crappiest freehand painter in the history of freehand painting. But through close inspection of the old school masters, I was able to refine my skills. I chose symbols that best reflected the background to each elf. A fish forthe Sea Elf, sylised leaves for the Wood Elf and High Elf and a dreaded spider for the Dark Elf. Source material for these designs came from a Google image search and were very useful indeed. When doing freehand painting like this it is essential to keep your paint very fluid, almost like milk, and to avoid overloading the brush to prevent flooding of your painting surface. On tip that works for me is the mixing in of a similar coloured ink to the colour you want to use, roughly 50:50 and this allows me to really move the paint easily but not loose depth of colour through watering down. 

Before I leave you, I mocked up a joke 'diorama' like you used to see in White Dwarf. The caption could read something like, ' A Sea Elf adventurer and his companion tackle a Dark Elf and her zombie slave while a Wood Elf looks on from the bushes!' 

So what do you think about my latest painting efforts. Opinions are always welcome here and I find them very constructive indeed! 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Thank You For Johann 'Rowlocks' Dassbut

I have been after this particular miniature for many years. He is the final Enemy Within character that I need to complete the collection that was released in support of the early Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay supplements. I had an idea some time again that required these miniatures that can now begin to be realised as I received Johann in the post today, on my birthday on all days!

The trouble is, I have absolutely no idea who sent him to me! The packaging was rather damaged by water on its way to me and the senders name and address rather smudged. So if you sent this to me, then thank you! Not knowing who you are makes it rather difficult to express my gratitude so I am going to do it with this blog post. 

Look out for Johann in the near future with a coat of paint on him. 

Thanks again!


Monday, 14 April 2014

Leadspotting: Dragon Bait Miniatures by Kev Adams

Hello dear readers and welcome to a new irregular series for Realm of Chaos 80s. And by irregular, I mean irregular, just like all my other irregular series! With Leadspotting, I hope to be able to share with my readership some of the lesser known ranges and 'what nots' kicking about the world of fantasy wargaming. These ranges will be those that I feel best represent that 'Oldhammer feel', or to put things a little more bluntly, similar to the glory years of Citadel's output back in the day. Our first stop then is to Dragon Bait Miniatures largely thanks to Kev 'The Golblin-Master' who emailed details of this project to me yesterday. 

In a nutshell. its an American project (from Middleborough, Massachusetts none the less) to produce those most popular of miniature sets: the fantasy adventurer. Its being funded through Indiegogo and set up in US dollars. Joe Corsaro is the producer behind the project while concept duties are down to Mike Burns, and as you may have guessed, the greenstuff sculpting is down to Kev Adams! 

What strikes me about the ethos of this project is that at its heart it is very similar to the ideals of Oldhammer. 

Joe Corsaro writes 'if you are tired of having to make do with poorly conceived, mass-produced figures that are dull and soulless - do not despair . . . A unique band of adventurers, well-armed and equipped, full of character and attitude have arrived!  Join me on my quest to bring some of the finest old-school inspired fantasy miniatures back to the gaming table!'

Initially there will be four sets. These have been organised using the concept drawings as depicted below.

Excuse me while I cut and paste the text from the webpage but all the relevant information can be found here and it will save me re-writing what Joe has said. 

"The first four sets of the Fantasy Adventurer range are being offered as perks during this Indiegogo campaign - each set contains three 28mm miniatures made from a lead-free pewter alloy.  These figures have already been commissioned and are in the process of being sculpted. I need your help to cover production costs and take the sting out of the mould-making and casting process.  Your contributions will also make it possible to commission more miniatures and expand the range even further.

There is a selection of reasonably priced perks to suit all budgets ranging from $12 for a lone hero to $155 for an adventurers guild.  There are also two stretch goal rewards on offer – the Half-Orc Druid’s adventure companion and the ever essential Hobbit Butler.  Postage within the US and Canada is free!  Outside the US and Canada please see your perk level for the appropriate amount of postage to be added.

When can you expect to receive your miniatures?  There are no convoluted riddles to be answered here!  Your miniatures will be sent out within a week of the campaign’s end – I have already got a head start on the production and expect no delays. The miniatures will be sent by packet and individually sealed in a zip locked bag."

Well, lets move on to the concepts and greens shall we? What struck me as I first scrolled through the text on the webpage was the attention to detail in the concept drawings. Everything seems to have been very carefully considered by Mike Burns and is in keeping with the character of each model. Just have a look at the Half-orc's pack and you'll see my point. 

The snake poking its head out the bag is a nice touch is it not? Many of the other designs contain humorous little asides that are linked closely with each character's background and this can be illustrated with the concepts for the Gnome and the Cleric. 

Personally, I love the idea of the bomb resembling a bandito and poking its eyes out over the top of a bandana. As comic faces are Kev's trademark I can imagine that these will be very finely executed indeed. Food is obviously and big issue to the cleric, as a baguette and a string of sausages trail from the canvas of the knapsack. Its nice little details like these that really attract me towards miniatures and I find that little discoveries like this make the painting of them more rewarding. I can already imagine the interesting range of colours and tones you would have to use to bring this part of the model to life. 

Moving on the greens, Kev has sent a progress shot of his work out to Dragon Bait quite recently. As you will expect, the sculpting is incredible yet each figure has their own sense of personality. Fans of single pose models will also be pleased to note that these appear to be single cast pieces at the moment. Now, no amount of words can ever hope to adequately describe a model so we will rely on the photographs available at this time. Have a look.

Got a favourite? Mine would have to be the female magic user (to use D&D terminology) as I love the pose and position of her body. The flowing robes also remind me of many of the robed models from Citadel's 80s lines, especially the villagers and chaos sorcerers!

Now on to the price, always the BIG ISSUE with any crowdfunder. Now, its good news if you are a citizen of the USA or Canada as postage is totally free. $12 will get you a single figure, $20 three models, $35 six miniatures and so on. In my view, this is very good value, especially when you consider the disclaimer that explains that the models will be shipped even if the project doesn't reach its goal of $3000. If you live in Europe (or indeed the rest of the world) the postage rates start causing a few problems and the good value disappears. Here in the UK the single model option would cost me just under £10. Far to expensive for me anyway. The second option seems the most reasonable for us (The Three Amigos) and allows you to choose any three sculpts and ensures that they will reach your door for just over £15. That's about £4 per figure with a bit of postage stuck on the top too! According to today's exchange rate, it would cost £15.57 to purchase three of Kev's models and get them to your door. Personally, I may well take this option (though I shall wait to see the greens) as I am very interested in the previously described female magic user, as well as the Elf Bard and the Cleric. £15 pounds seems very reasonable to me for three of Kev's finest shipped from the USA, especially considering that his warmonger orcs were selling for £7 each at Salute on the trade stands. 

Anyway, if you're interested in seeing more then just follow this link to the indiegogo page at Dragon Bait Miniatures. And, as always, I would be interested in hearing your views about these models too. 


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Orlygg at Salute 2014

A pleasant spring sun welcomed me this morning as I prized myself from my bed to prepare for the annual trip to Salute in London. This year, I was making a new contact (and a rather local one at that) in the guise of Stuart Klatcheff who joined the Oldhammer Forum and the Facebook Community recently. He dwells in distant Great Leighs and I picked him up at 8:30. We arrived at about 10am and were confronted by the queues. They were easily the biggest I had ever seen and the Salute team had prepared a vast empty space for us to gather in. 

The top picture gives you some idea of that space and of the number of people preparing to enter the show. 

As always, we were entertained during the short walk around by the antics of the costumed Star Wars chaps. I quipped the ever-sharp jibe about the stormtrooper above being 'a little short' and was promptly told to 'move along' for my efforts. 

The costumes these enthusiasts dress up in are excellent, as this sand blaster trooper from Tatoonie goes to show and there were a great many others to see, including a rather scary Judge Dredd. Alas, I didn't witness him busting any perps!

My first port of call was the Foundry stand. As you can imagine it was packed out with punters stocking up on their excellent metal castings. However, this year they had brought along Kevin 'The Goblin-Master' Adams with his incredible model range, now called Warmonger. Kev was more than willing to chat (at great length) about his work and his recovery and I am pleased to announce that he has agreed to do a RoC80s interview about the old days in the very near future. So look out for that in the coming months! He was very pleased to be at the show, especially considering that the Ansells had put him up in a swanky hotel all expenses paid! He told me he still had one operation to go but he is back at work and very grateful for all the support he received from the community. 

Kev was also keen to show off his latest work and had a pocket full of castings. This were a new range of goblins for Midlam Miniatures which were brilliant and could have easily been a Citadel original from 1985. Sadly, not all the castings were for sale, including this topless 'gobliness' as the owner of Midlam didn't like the sculpt. 

Tony Hough dropped by with his daughter and I managed to capture the moment with a cheeky not quite selfie thanks to Paul Golgfag from the Oldhammer Forum. 

Meeting up with some Oldhammer stalwarts, we stopped for a quick lunch before exploring the trade stands. Here Leadpest listens to Golgfag's idea for his big game at the Oldhammer Weekend in August.

Leadpest, Stuart and Leadpest's brother enjoy a rather expensive Salute sandwich. Thanks to Leadpest, I am now the proud owner of Sgt. Kratz from the Death on the Reik range. A fine trade indeed, an old school piece of Citadel for a coffee! 

As you would expect, the quality of miniature painting on display was deeply impressive. This D&D beholder-type creature was my show favourite.

And yes, Dreadfleet is still on sale. £60 a copy for interested parties. Sadly, relegated to the bargin bins of the wargaming world. I felt that the miniatures and mechanics were fairly decent. 

As I said previously, many of the pieces that Kevin Adams did for Foundry all those years back are now becoming part of Warmonger miniatures. These were for sale as a special Salute only range and I bought up the Orcling Outriders to make a special unit of goblin cavalry. As you would expect, these are beautifully sculpted models full of charm and expertly cast. 

Much of the range that Bryan Ansell was promoting on eBay last year have been repackaged here. Including the famous 'Mercenary Orc' models. 

Kev's trademark faces are apparent on all of the models. They are a real pleasure to paint. As I said, I intend to create a little comical goblin cavalry unit complete with rules from WFB3 for a future scenario with these models. 

Kev had a pocket full of castings he had just finished work on. These were for Midlam Miniatures, a company I had not heard anything from before and he recommended that I checked out the range. They were brilliant and were very in-keeping with the old school ethos of Oldhammer. They had a very Citadel-vibe to them so I picked up a couple of models to try out. Two goblins, an archer and a captain, to paint up and compare. 

A quick close up shot of one of the Goblin Captain Kev did for Midlam. They are part of the Goblinvylle range that they have put out but there models don't stop with greenskins. There were plenty of other models on offer, inlcuding many townsfolk that reminded me of the old Citadel ones. 

I was also able to pick up the remaining ex-Citadel barbarians that I failed to get hold of the last time I was at the Foundry. Lots of nice models in here that will be part of my future Old School Norse army at some point. 

 All in all, another great show. Right, were is that paintbrush!