Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Orlygg Builds a Full Scale Gaming Table Part Two

Day two of my project to build a wargames table from the dross I have found in the garage. Yesterday, I found two old plasterboard pieces and a stack of polystyrene among other things and got as far as finishing the base of the first board. I was using the heat of the sun during the day to fast dry each stage of the board, which really sped things up. I was worried though that the wife might get a bit tetchy if the garden started resembling December with all the polystyrene bubbles, so I moved into the garage. 

Doing it old school, I used an old wallpaper table to balance the boards on and began to build up the second table. This time I caved in to the temptation of keeping things flat and even and added a few in situ banks (they are too small to call them hills) and a depression for the source of a natural spring or underground river. I coated the the first board in the builder's sand before covering it with an additional coat of watered down PVA. Leaving it to dry in the sun ensured that it is now rock hard. 

The second board has been left to dry before plastering tomorrow. I will tidy up the edges and ensure that once side fits smoothly with the other so there are no gaping chasms when the two sections are joined together. I am imagining that this is where the hamlet I intend to include will reside, close to the water source, and I have already got three buildings in various states to add when necessary. In my mind's eye, I would imagine that hamlet to be built up around a coaching inn, so at some point I am going to have to build one. Most of this will be plastered tomorrow. 

I have also done a bit more research into the inspirational table. I have discovered from various channels, that the board in question was built by The Duke, a Bristol based gamer from the 1980s who's tables where superior to anything GW had at the time. He was paid for its use in the WFB3 rulebook so the story goes!

Looking at the surface of the board, I can see that its been painted in a variety of colours and then had flock (again, in differing shades) sprinkled on top. I have lots of static grass so will be using as I am trying not to buy anything really at this stage. 

The creator of this fine table is even credited in the rulebook. I wonder who all the models belonged too? Anyone know?

Having caved in about having a water feature (I found a tube of GW water effects in the garage too) I will also be stealing the idea of adding a road. Here you can see that the road is made up of an unflocked painted surface. And this is something I am keen to emulate when the time comes. 

Plenty of lichen used on this board! I love the stuff, but find that it dries out quite quickly if you don't look after it very well. The key to using it well on a gaming board is, like many other things, all a question of where you position it. I have no plans for a ruined monastery at this stage. 

A hint for the future. Bushed made from wire wool? Rubberised horsehair? Its certainly not the brillo pad specials that I had built before.

Well, with today over, I hope to get a layer of plaster over that second board tomorrow and give it a good coating of sand. Once that is done, I shall move on to basecoating and getting the soil painted up. I don't have much paint about the house, so I might have to have a look about in the kids arts and craft sections at the local shop.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Orlygg Builds A Full Scale Gaming Table Part One

For me, one image and one image only has defined what I want from a gaming table and that image is shown above. It my appear familiar to you dear readers and this is because it was used to illustrate Warhammer Third Edition in the 1987 rulebook. To this day, I have no idea who built this board but to me it sums up everything that I want from a gaming table. 

Number one, its flat. Contours can be added by either carving into the top (like the river section her) or by constructing hills and woods. The buildings, walls, hedges and trees all look scratch built and different  to each other while the fantasy setting is subtle enough to make the scene believable. In short, I am going to build a table inspired by what you see in this picture. I plan to build in four sections, two of which will include the river, but why this sudden need to construct a table when BOYL is only two weeks away. Well, in truth its down to the weather, its nice and warm at the moment which means that modelling projects dry quicker and secondly, the wife has just had me clear out the garage and I have unearthed a horde of material to use. 

Check it out! 

I don't have the space to build all four sections at the same time, after all there are two under 5s running about not to mention a wife to loathes miniatures and mess. So I am opting to work on and complete each section at a time. I am using the piles of polystyrene that I have filled the garage with over the last five years as a base material (proper old school) and have used plaster to clear up and protect the edges. 

Here is a WIP shot of the first board. 

Now, the next step is to construct and decorate the playing surface. I shall leave this board to dryout in the garden and then tomorrow cover all of it with an earthy brown basecoat. I was tempted to cover the surface with sand like I did with my mini board but  am not so sure what was used in the original photograph. It looks like the surface has been flocked rather than painted. 

What do you guys think? And also, anyone got any great tips for me about how to get my playing surface looking as good as possible?


Monday, 28 July 2014

'Eavy Metal Special: White Dwarf 121

It seems that I spoke to soon above the weather today. My wife and I started a big clear up today, mostly of all the kids' clutter that builds up through the year and we have decided to change the playroom into a grown up room. This means we should have a space that is not riddled with Hot Wheels cars, Lego, Disney Princess or the other bric-a-brac that children seem to sweep in with their wake. Perhaps I'll be able to create myself a little miniature painting area in there at some point. The trouble is, its far too hot now for us to want to finish off the rest of the house and the wife has settled herself down on the sofa with the fan blasting out full blast while my two year old has a nap. 

Snatching a few moments away from the big project sees me following up a recent post about 'Eavy Metal with this one. The figures presented in WD 121. There is lots to see so we better press on before I am needed to move some heavy furniture or hoover under a sofa!

More from Phil Lewis, who I interviewed no so long ago, with some more models from his collection at this point in time. We are presented with a nice range of models too, with a couple of Khornate beastmen and a rather striking female barbarian. Two models from the Death on the Reik range have seen the attentions of Phil's brush, with the Wittgenstein monster and Malmir the elf. There is a return visit from some of the members of the famous Chaos All-Stars models along the bottom, a curious Golden Daemon model and a plastic fimir from Heroquest. Rather eclectic really. Standout pieces are the terminators and these are some of the very best painted examples I have every seen of this classic set. The daemonette is worth a  mention too, for not only with Phil really rather good at capturing the pastel menace of these twisted beings, I am pretty sure that this model is now part of Andy Craig's collection. Perhaps I just dreamt it, but I am pretty sure he once shared a photograph of this model stating that Phil gave it to him at once point.  

Here is a rare treat, a set of converted figures from John Blanche himself. The titans all look suitably impressive but it is the two smaller models that really capture the interest of the Citadel historian. For here we have a gang member that was the result of John Blanche's first attempt to scratch build a miniature and as you can imagine, it looks just like one of the characters from his artworks has just stepped into the realm of three dimensions. Finally, that terminator conversion is just brilliant! I really like the bases on these models as they seem a little more raised than simple sand coverings allow and I wonder how they were done. Polyfilla? Milliput? Both these materials were popular back then in WD articles and could have been used to achieve these great effects. I wonder if you build an irregular base up with polyfilla and cover it in fine sand if you will get a similar result. Something for someone to try, perhaps?

With the release of Space Marine there was a need to come up with loads of Epic scale models for the Imperial forces, as well as their erstwhile enemies. The system produced much of the Horus Heresy background is something I would like and collect and game with at some point in the future. I have got all those fantasy armies to paint up first though! A quick glance through this page lets you realised how varied the Epic game was at this time, with all kinds of crazy ideas developed for it. Many of these ideas are now being produced in 28mm scale. 

The final page has the ubiquitous orks. With the first of three books on the subject around the corner it was no surprise that each month had its quota of greenskins to show off. You can see the influence of the 'Red Period' growing once more in their colour schemes. The Space Fleet ships are a rarity in White Dwarf and models from this game, which eventually became Battlefleet Gothic, are interesting. I really don't know much about them and I cannot think of a blogger who collects them either. Something for the future perhaps? A lovely Space Hulk diorama finishes off the page, and I always wondered how they made the backgrounds for these. Bits of olf plastic? Toys? Junk from the bitz box?


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Acceptable in the '80s: Marauder Releases from White Dwarf 120 and 121

With the weather being so hot at the time of writing, I have found it hard to do little but laze about on my holidays and cook tasty meals for my family. Oldhammer related work has ground to a halt. Things seem a little cooler today, so I am back at the desk, though my goal at the moment is review the next releases of Marauder miniatures rather than wield the paint brush. Right then, where are we in this journey through Warhammer Third Edition? These releases featured in White Dwarf 120 and 121 and saw the introduction to something that got many of us fantasy nuts drooling - Marauder regiment and army deals. 

Issue 120 saw the arrival of some more Dark Elves into the range, or more precisely, Witch Elves. I find these models rather chunky and frankly, rather manly. The Bob Naismith Dark Elves are much better in my opinion, and far more lithe. I traded some away a few days ago to Stuart and am now lamenting their loss. Still, their absence from the collection just gives an excuse to buy some more in the future. The paintjobs are little better and have a distinct whiff of the 'Red Period' of painting that followed the 'Classic' Bryan Ansell years. 

Things improve further down the page with a second visit to the incredible Marauder dwarfs. I have written about these before and I have stated that they are probably the greatest dwarfs ever cast. My opinion hasn't changed since my last visit to the models and the standard bearer is a thing of beauty, both for the actual sculpting and its exquisite paint job. In fact, the entire command range are practically perfect and shame the entire modern dwarf line all the way to the headmistress' office. 

Finally, we have the Orc stone thrower. Considering they are not by Kev Adams, these greenskins are really rather good, though shades of the Man Mangler remain. I would be happy to own this model and paint it up for my Goblinoid army, as I expect would many of you. 

It being the very late 1980s at this point, colour photographs in magazines were still expensive and black and white was still used extensively- its funny what you forget, isn't it? Sadly, we have no photographs of the remaining Witch Elves, nor the goblin regiment but what we do have is an intriguing reminder of the Marauder Blade painting competition. Its often forgotten these days and I wonder what happened to all those blades?

And so we are on to White Dwarf 121 and the first army deal from Marauder. I loved these as a youngest for two reasons. One, the painted models. Two, the background context that the army was put in. Many of the models on show here were previously shown only as line drawing and its fantastic to see many of them, even though some of obscured in the second rank. Two models here catch my eye as being worth a mention, namely the Deathcap Hero (in a classic pose for a single cast model) and the brilliant standard bearer. 

And here is the rest of the force. Gorgeous when arrayed together. The perfect mix of riotous colour and conformity which, perhaps rather surprisingly, works as a whole. Of note here are the excellent Marauder shields, which are a mixture of freehand designs and painted cast patterns. The price is enough to make you weep all these years later, £50 for 78 Dark Elves, 4 Warhounds and a FREE Darklord and Deathdealer on Cold Ones. I for one, recall pouring over this article and vainly attempting to construct a plan that would see me having £50 to spend on them. I failed, as I expect did many of you! Still, it just goes to show, GW did once do deals.  

A simple army list has been included at the end of the article along with an intriguing ad for Abandon Art. These days Fantasy and Science Fiction tropes have become rather mainstream, especially in the world of computer games and have in many cases become rather generic. One bald 'Space Marine' looks much like another in games like Mass Effect, Gear of War and so on. Fantasy has had a similar fate, though there have been exceptions, like the startling original world of Morrowind in the Elder Scrolls series. Adverts like this remind us that back in the later '80s Fantasy was much less mainstream as it is now and subsequently was treated a little more seriously. A quick glance at some of the artists involved is impressive and I would certainly love to walk through the gallery to this day! 

The final image shows off the Warhounds in further detail. I haven't got much to say about them really apart from pointing out that the dogs do look a little 'cute'. When compared with the Troll Slayers you can catch another whiff of the 'Red Period' with the dominance of that shade, and its cousins, in the paint schemes. I rather like the Troll Slayers, don't you?

What is interesting is that the Painting Competition I mentioned earlier seems to have been renamed in the past month. Its now the 1990 marauder Blade Painting Competition. It sounds MUCH more impressive doesn't it. I wonder who won it and what the winning entry was? 

Anyone know out there?


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Orlygg's Top Ten Miniatures of all Time!

Now axiom has posted up a fantastic post on his blog, Magpie and Old lead, that goes into detail about his favourite top ten miniatures of all time. No aggressive 'I'm right you're wrong' list this, oh no, just an honest, personal journey through the models that mean the most to him and why. In the comments section, Edward George Gladdis has gone on to state that he hopes that other people jump on this particular goblin pump wagon and join in on this idea. By doing my own list, I hope that many more Oldhammerers in the future join us and list their own favourite models. We have done similar things in the past (the miniatures wishlist comes to mind) but the Community has grown enormously in the last couple of years and I suspect that many new faces would like to share their views on this most personal of endeavours. 

Right, before we continue I suppose I should offer some criteria about how I am going to make my ten choices. Here they are...

1) No numbers - the list will just include my top ten models in no particular order. Trying to organise them in this way would be very difficult.
2) Sets of miniatures/plastic kits can be included- though not a 'single miniature' I feel that choosing from releases such as these is fair, but an avoidance of Big Boxed games is important to avoid comparisons between 'best game' lists. 
3) These are just 'my' personal favourites for lots of reasons - nostalgia, design, pleasure painting them, avarice, covetness etc.

The Great Spined Dragon

I adore this model and I have written about it a great deal. It is an exquisite piece of art let alone miniature sculpting. In my opinion it still remains the best dragon produced by anyone anywhere and I very much doubt that it would ever be surpassed. A timeless creation that seems only moments away from flapping into life, even when just pinned together as bare metal. In case you are not aware, it was sculpted by Nick Bibby who has gone on to become a world class sculptor in bronze. If you are going to own a dragon - make sure its this one! 

The Skeleton Horde

Still the best plastic skeletons ever produced. I love them for their realistic proportions and accessibility. In fact, they were originally released in 1986 and were available for a long time, well into the 1990s. The plastic set that replaced them was inferior in many ways. I love the creepy look the models have and the way the flat round shields inspire freehand designs. Rarely for such a seminal release, the sequel, Skeleton Army, was even better than this as it included rusty pieces of armour, a chariot and skeletal horses. Nothing beast the sight of ranks of these models in a collection or on the battlefield though. They were developed by Bob Naismith who still does a great deal of plastics today. 

 Dragon Ogre

More gigantic sculpting prowess from Nick Bibby. The Realm of Chaos era Dragon Ogre is a nice weighty model that takes a bit of time to assemble so makes you feel that you have accomplished something before you are rattling the spray paint can. For me, this model is the perfect blend of dragon and chaos warrior only on a larger scale than normal. The ogrish face, heavy armour and drooping layers of chainmail produce a monster that reflects many of the most common design elements of 1980s miniature sculpting and imagery. I am lucky enough to own one of these though it resides in storage somewhere and similar to both the skeletons and the spined dragon it was replaced by far inferior models later on. 


Jes Goodwin's ultimate chaos warrior has everything going for it that you would expect of a chaos warrior, only he is sporting two gigantic axes. The pose, the design, the authority of the figure make it the greatest chaos warrior model for me, and one that I own and have painted up. As you can see in this photograph. If you have any interest in chaos warriors you really need to own this model. 

Citadel Giants

These giants are a curious entry on this list. If you had asked me a couple of years ago about these models I would have laughed all the way to the Marauder giant but time has changed my attitude of them to such an extent that I now love them. Especially since Steve Casey gave me a complete example a couple of weeks back, so thanks again Steve! You may be asking why I like these models so much, well the answer is simple - they are just soooo Warhammer Third Edition. The look, the style, the sculpting, the ethos, in fact everything about them just fits in with my preferred edition of the game. They may look as ugly as sin in the photograph above, but with a little skill and painting ability these models can be made to look really impressive. Again, these models are the work of Nick Bibby. 

Chaos Toilet

Its just so silly and so zany that it just works! Aly Morrison's bizarre model dates from a time when anything went with everything else! Any wild idea or concept imaginable was sculpted into existence and were bought up by eager miniature fans who just didn't take themselves too seriously. I have actually witnessed an argument between two gamers over whether or not this model even existed, with one GW fanboy refusing to accept that such a model was once produced by Citadel Miniatures. Was it actually canon? he asked me nervously after I informed them that such a model was made. Sadly, I have yet to lay my hands on one of these though I once used a petrol station lavatory that looked similar on the A34 once.

Reaver Titan 

I have always loved the concept of these giant walking robots ever since an example was printed as the front cover of my first White Dwarf (108 if you are interested) and I once owned two of them. I think its something about the suggested power behind them as well as the graceful design. I cannot recall who first designed them, but looking at the shape of the model above something about them suggests Jes Goodwin. Somewhere in my bedroom cupboard is an old plastic pint glass full of bits to these wonderful models, a sad remnant of my once might Space Marine collection. 

 Giant Spider

Trish Morrison produced quite a few great monsters back in the day and this one is my favourite. Its so well done that the model can make your skin creep, especially when the legs are flexed out in a realistic manner. I own three of these models, though I have yet only painted one example (which you can see above) which is part of a Tzeentch force. A word of warning about these models though, the legs are about as weak as can be and often snap off. 


Kevin Adams did most of these and his zany style and great sense of humour is obvious throughout the range. I own loads and have yet to see a definitive collection of them. These models are great fun and come from a time when horror was made more horrible by including a little dark humour into the mix. Sadly, all the subsequent versions of these models have not had one hundredth the charm of these originals. Much like many of the other miniature types on this list.

Alpine Dwarf

If I ever had to put my finger out and point to my favourite model of all time it would have to be this lovely, lovely example of a fantasy miniature. Still wonderfully original today. I don't think anything else needs to be said really does it?

So then, what is your top ten miniature countdown of all time? I am sure that you will have one, just as I am sure that your lists is likely to be completely different from mine. So I hereby lay down an Oldhammer Gauntlet and challenge you dear readers to do the same. Share with us your favourite models either by blogging your own list or starting a thread on a forum you use, using the comment section below or whatever. I would really like to see other people's lists.

Big thanks to axiom for having this great idea.


'Eavy Metal Special: White Dwarf 120

Analysis of painted figures is always rewarding. Tricks, tips and inspiration are very easy to come by if you take the time to observe what other painters have done before. I am always doing it, and really enjoy cruising through the copious Oldhammer blogs, forums and websites in search of new ideas. In truth, we are spoilt these days. Its hard to recall what life was like in our younger days, when waiting for news or images of the latest releases revolved around White Dwarf's release into newsagents nationwide. No internet, no downloads, no pdfs... nothing. If you wanted to see painted models you had to either get out there and socialise or flick through the monthly hallowed pages of White Dwarf. 

'Eavy Metal was always the first thing I would flick to when I received my copy of the magazine. The blue, granite backdrop a welcome balm to the hurried paint smeared attempts that were my early figures. I would peer closely at the paintjobs of Andy Craig, or Paul Benson or Mike McVey and wonder impossibly about how the effects I was seeing were achieved. After all, my technique at the time was base colour and then wash with black!

Thankfully, none of my early efforts survive to this day but we can rejoice that many of the old school pieces we enjoyed in our younger years still do, either on the pages of ancient issues of White Dwarf or in the collection of Bryan Ansell. Today, we are going to take a stroll through the miniatures that were presented in issue 120 of White Dwarf.

Staff pieces begin our little nostalgic trip. Some recently released transfers seem to be the order of the day here, with the primitive marine top left being adorned with one. Only this transfer has had additional detail added through repainting. You have just gotta love that retro '80s rocket launcher! This spread is typical of the time and sees a hotpotch of different miniatures from different games, including those rather naff early '90s Marauder minotaurs. Its nice to see some epic vehicles get some love on this page too. Of note to us here is the converted jump pack marine who looks like he is standing in mid-air and the Bad Moon Noble ork, painted by Andy Craig- if I am not mistaken. 

There is lots to like on this second page. The Inquisitor top left is not known to me and I am not sure if its a conversion or an unreleased model. No doubt you serious collectors can give us further information in the comments section about that particular model. I do like its paint scheme though, the pinky red works very well with the gold of the armour and fittings giving the model a patrician look. The minotaur is a little better than the model shown on the previous page but it is still very dull compared to the models released earlier on in the 1980s in my opinion. The ratling snipers are fantastic models (by the Perrys if memory serves) and just ooze the wacky character of Rogue Trader. The converted ork Snakebite shows us the the ear of the Ork books is about to hit us hard on the pages of WD. Genestealer hybrids were also very popular at this time (and are also rather popular in Oldhammer circles in the time of writing) and various models from a personal army appear here regularly. More of the new Citadel transfers are shown off on the shoulder pads of the space marines, proving once again that the plastic box set from all those years ago is still excellent. The star models on this page begin with the excellent Palanquin of Nurgle (which I have managed to acquire recently for a very reasonable price) and the multiple mounted figures shown provide usual for the model in both Warhammer and 40k, and early example of GW doing this. Next we have the brilliant Link Angel, which I am assuming is a Judge Dredd model so please correct me if I am wrong, which looks very Mad Max and Dark Futurey - if such an adjective is possible! The stand out models on this page are the plastic skeletons because they have great shields and bases and just look totally different to anyone else's interpretation of these models. 

By this time, Paul Benson was giving up teaching (very sensible) to join the Design Studio and so more of his work starts to appear in GW publications. I have always found this page of his painting quite interesting as you can start to see his style shift away from the bright models he was famous for into models that looked a little bit gritty. You can see this with the terminator models at the top of the page. One can only assume that Paul started to undercoat in darker tones. His orcs here are top, top notch and in my opinion rival even the greatest painter of them all, Fraser Gray.

Champion - as they say up North.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Chaos Thug Re-enforcements for the Oldhammer Weekend

Like many Oldhammerers, I am in the teaching profession. Subsequently, I have just started the long six week holiday that is our reward for putting up with 'experts' in our field like Michael Gove telling us how we should be doing our job. With just under three weeks until the Oldhammer Weekend kicks off painting in the Orlygg household is starting to build towards an industrial scale. I plan to get a large part of the Slanneshi army I have been planning for sometime completed, and this involves finishing off a thug regiment, a chaos warrior regiment and a unit of mounted chaos warriors all of whom will serve the pleasure god.

The image above shows off my latest banner, painted for the thug regiment I mentioned before. Its a simple printer paper job attached with flaps to a wire frame. Things were a little different with this one, as the actual banner pole had to be extended as I cut it too short. I used brass wire to create two coil ties to hold the pieces together before running superglue down inside the joins. The result is really rather strong. The banner is different in style form my previous efforts as I attempted to show a figure rather than a face or geometric symbols. To this end, I did a little research into tapestries used by Christian groups here in the UK as well as the USA. Their work was often stylized and out of proportion but it run a cord with what I was wanting to achieve, after all, these followers would be intelligent and worshipful, despite being depraved, and would no doubt want to reflect their god well. I just copied the design I found and merged ideas from John Blanche's drawing of Slannesh from Slaves to Darkness. 

The actual model is a quick conversion of the chaos thug with two pistols. I simply cut away one of the arms and replaced it with a tentacle with the wire pole supported through the base and secure with greenstuff underneath. I really went to town on the skin as I felt that I wasn't really going far enough with the 'chaotic' element behind this range of models. After all, the original add for Slaves to Darkness said 'chaos thugs any colour you like' or some such.  

These two models are actually quite rare in my collection. Actual models that I owned in the 1980s that survived the two major culls I had to do with my collection to keep myself afloat financially in years gone past. They have sat at the bottom of my chaos thug collection bag ever since and I was pleased to get them finally painted up for my modern forces. They must have both been painted and stripped three or four times over the years. They also served as warm up models as I haven't had much time for miniature painting over the last few hectic weeks of school. I am always surprised about how quickly techniques fall away if you don't remain in constant practice, so perhaps one day these two will see the paint stripper once again and be met with a fresh coat of paint. 

I finished these three models last night and I must say I really enjoyed painting them, though I must admit to finding some of the effects I created challenging at the time. Still, I am quite happy with the overall look of this little group, especially when I had finished the varied shield designs. The miniature in the centre if worthy of note as it was bought for me by my HLTA at school (that's my classroom teaching assistant for those of you not in the know) after learning about my blog. He was badly damaged when he arrived in my possession and needed quite a bit of repair work as both his horns and shield spike had been badly cut away. Patient repair work with greenstuff restored him to new and here he is ready for service. I haven't had a chance to show him to her yet but I plan to take the miniature into school next term. 

For the shield designs I wanted to move away from just doing variants of the ogre face design. So, I explored a little bit into symbols used by other painters when dealing with Slannesh. All contain work on a theme, the Slannesh symbol, and follow the set of colours I had been using to bring coherency to force, namely pastel pink, green and blue. 

Right, back to the painting desk for me. I need to finish off the champion model for this unit (as well as sprucing up some of the older thug models in my collection for their paint jobs are in need of a bit of TLC in places) as well as finishing off the test piece for the unit of mounted chaos warriors. Hopefully, you will see an update soon!