Sunday, 17 July 2016

The First Citadel Open Day: The Photographs of Mark Stevenson

Photograph One: We start with a great shot of the 'it looks quite a bit like the Citadel logo' castle model that was seen at many a show during the 1980s. I am still not exactly sure about who built it and have heard conflicting reports about who was responsible, though this is not surprising as there were two similar castles like this kicking about. If you look at the blog post I did about Guy Carpenter's photographs you can see them both side by side in a single shot. The table itself also makes many appearances through the decade - with the distinctive twin skull scenery pieces being used in many a Games Day. Apparently, the hot air balloon was made from a toilet ballcock!!

Realm of Chaos 80s has a long tradition of bringing it's readers the best that social media vomits out into the unexpected world. Facebook, and other modern methods of mass communication, are surperb platforms to inhibit the spread of information - for good or ill. Thankfully, today's post is a very positive one and brings to you another dose of vintage era photographs set to send your nostalgia circuit into '80s hair metal overdrive.

In previous years, both Guy Carpenter and Andy Craig have offered up their blurry photographs to the altar of Oldhammer and now it is the turn of one Mark Stevenson. I spotted his pictures on Facebook a week or so after he first shared them and inquired if it would be possible to present them here for posterity. As you are ogling his images as you read, you know that Mr. Stevenson was more than happy to do so and many thanks must be given to him. As in similar posts of yesteryear, I shall attempt to provide a little colour commentary to each photograph and try to put things into context. I am by no means an expert in this period of GW's history though. Regular readers will know that my expertise lies in the period 1987 - 1991 so I am more than happy to be corrected by anyone more knowledgeable than myself.

Okay! Strap on your digital watch and clutch your copy of Zzap64 (or CRASH, if you were that way inclined) as we head back to September 1984 and the FIRST CITADEL OPEN DAY in Eastwood.

Photograph Two: A detail shot of the game from the same table as the castle in photograph one. Two lovely (scratch built?) boats with some fantastic attention to detail. I love the way the sail in attached to the mast. One of the famous multipart c28 giants (later used in McDeath) strides across the river.

Photograph Three: More detail from the gaming table. A beautifully made scratch built boat in the harbour. I could study this shot for hours due to all of the tiny details you can spot. The scenery works brilliantly and makes you feel you are part of a real place. I have always felt that is is essential in wargaming and strongly dislike the flat, plastic looking boards you see kicking about these days.

Photograph Four: Tony Ackland's infamous Dwarf Juggernaut, complete with a puff or two of cotton wool. These have become iconic models and getting hold of one in a decent and complete state has been the goal of a fair few obsessive collectors.

Photograph Five: These models are Tom Meier High Elves and can still be bought from Ironwind Metals. The shields look to be scratch built though.

Photograph Six: A distinctive model by John Blanche. Iconic.
Photograph Seven: Too much LSD? Like a combined acid trip from all members of Hawkwind in 1972 this image seems to whirl before your eyes. Don't worry, it is blurred and your eyes have not been blasted by Blanche!!

Photograph Eight: Another mystery to me, I am afraid, but I have a feeling that this is a pre-slotta hobgoblin. Note the heavy black shading. At this point using a mixture of black undercoat and heavy drybrushing produced this distinctive look. Many of the other photographs on this blog share this technique. As colour photography became more simple and frequent, collector's painting skills had to rise to met the challenge.

Photograph Nine: A pre-slotta goblin from Grom's goblin guard, I think, converted into a standard bearer. Note how influential Blanche's banners were in regards to colour. The yellow mustardy background with black and red in the foreground.

Photograph Ten: John Blanche's influence is apparent here with these orc warriors. Note that the standards look to be made of actual material. What a fantastic idea!!! Now there is something worth a try one day.

Photograph Eleven: An ogre mounted on a dinosaur. I have no idea who made either of these models.

Photograph Twelve: A highly disturbing robot. Produced by SFD and painted, I suspect, by John Blanche.

Photograph Thirteen: The Spined Dragon by Nick Bibby. The GREATEST model dragon of the '80s - and probably beyond! Actually, this model has a little amusing story connected with it. It's head is still part of Tim Prow's collection as he found the dragon's noggin in a draw when GW moved premises. Instead of throwing it away he kept it. What happened to the rest of the dragon is a mystery.

Photograph Fourteen: A pre-slotta goblin fanatic

Photograph Fifteen: I have no idea about this one.

Photograph Sixteen: Now here is an interesting model. There has been some debate about whether or not this piece is a conversion or not. I can ID this a Ral Partha Troll and I have seen one in Goblin Lee's collection. It is a cracking model even after all these years and looks rather sinister if you ask me.

Photograph Seventeen: Converted beastmen based on the old Vile Broo model, and some Ral Partha demons which are notable for having multiple heads.. The model on the right just screams crazy '80s Warhammer and is reminiscent of many of Bryan Ansell's more peculiar models.

Photograph Eighteen: Aly Morrison's Oriental Heroes.

Photograph Nineteen: More pre-slotta orcs and goblins.

Photograph Twenty: The original 'White Dwarf' based on the image that was used on the front cover of White Dwarf during much of the 1980s. This example was released as part of the White Dwarf Personalities box set.

Photograph Twenty-One: A Citadel dwarf ranger. He was produced for the opening of the Nottingham store when GW did special give away models. This model later appeared inside the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay rulebook when it was released in 1986.

Photograph Twenty-Two: '80s madness. Paragliding dwarves. These later appeared in White Dwarf.

Photograph Twenty-Three: A close up of one of the swooping dwarves.

Photograph Twenty-Four: An finally, a range of pre-slotta fighters, including the chap carrying the lady over his shoulder. I don't think I have seen that model before.

So we end our little trip through the ages and must now leave the First Citadel Games Day behind us. Thanks again must go to Mark for letting me share these fantastic images. As I said, if you can provide any further information about these figures or any of the models shown, please do get in touch.


Saturday, 16 July 2016

How do you solve a problem like moving hundreds of painted Citadel Miniatures?

My long, neglected display cabinet. It is beginning to burst at the seams!!
We have had some excellent news this week. The long, arduous process of moving house has come to a head and we have exchanged contracts. We should be moving on the 25th July! I cannot begin to articulate how difficult a journey this was for us, but my wife and I are very pleased that it is now all over.

Only one challenge remains. The physical operation of packing up and moving every object from our home of seven years and transporting the lot miles down the road. Of course, the hardest parts will be carried out by the removals men. We have opted for a full house pack up ( basically, big burly men will be wrapping and packing all of our possession) and move - with the same big, burly men loading everything into a lorry.

But letting them loose on my miniature collection is just not going to happen. And there lies my problem. How do you safely and easily wrap, protect and transport over three hundred vintage Citadel miniatures?

Have any of you dear readers ever carried out such an operation? If so, how did you accomplish the task? As you will have seen from my photographs, most of my collection comprises of single cast models with a few larger pieces thrown in.

Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated!!!



Sunday, 10 July 2016

Let me tell you a strange story of collecting Citadel

You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that something has been amiss with me. My contribution to the wider Oldhammer community has been minimal and updates on this once seminal blog have slowed to an insignificant trickle. The reasons for this are manifold and need not be discussed here in any depth, beyond that the origins for these problems reside in that potent mix of professional and personal challenges. Oh, and the house move from hell dolloped on the top of it all too. 

The brutal truth is thus: I have had no time nor yearning for anything Oldhammer. Nothing at all. In fact, nearly all of my collection was long ago packed into boxes along with my painting kit and put into storage. Continuing to collect was also an impossibility with limited (and in some weeks) no connection to the internet. Not that it bothered me. I had other mountains to climb, and none of them were made of lead. 

Disinterest had gripped me anyway. Looking back, I think this was largely due to mental fatigue. With my creative energies being spent elsewhere, the last thing I wanted to do was excavate out my collection of Citadel and daub them despondently with paint. If you are anything like me, to produce work of a standard that is pleasing takes time and energy. Two things I have not had much of since March. 

Despite the difficulties, life has this funny way of bringing you back, doesn't it? Some call this serendipity - a happy accident. And I can think of no better way of describing what happened to me yesterday as a happy accident. Not in a physical sense! Please don't envisage falling blocks of Regiments of Renown from passing aircraft or some mysterious stranger tapping my on the shoulder and pressing Sandra Prangle into my palm.

I was not injured in anyway.

As part of our attempts to move house, my wife and I have boxed up much of the contents of our house and selected which possessions are no longer viable. I have three huge boxes of Black Library books destined for a local charity shop alone! Junk, or broken items, have until recently been stacked in the back garden alongside the conservatory. My mission this weekend was to dispose of as much of this as I could at the local tip. 

My wife drives one of those four wheel drive gas-guzzlers and the boot space can be extended considerably by removing the backseats. There was just enough space to shove in the contents of our junk pile and for me to still drive the vehicle legally. The short trip to the council recycling centre was uneventful, save for the odd encounter with a tottering Essex girl or two still reeling from Friday night. Parking alongside the household waste section, I set about gathering up our unwanted items and tipping them into the large, metal containers the council use to dispose of our rubbish. 

Sadly, a great number of people deem this too much effort and abandon their waste alongside the containers. Perhaps the metallic steps are too much for their flabby legs? As I was walking to my car something familiar caught my eye. It was a font printed on a piece of aged paper that stirred some recollection in me. The paper stuck slightly out from a dusty looking book face down on a broken chest of drawers, fluttering slightly in the wind. Could it be? I thought. Surely, that isn't a font similar in style to something GW would have used in the 1980s? 

I walked over and stared down at the purple book. Though covered in thick dust, it looked in great shape and clearly had not been exposed to the elements for very long. After all, it had rained in the night and the book had no protection from the weather at all. I brushed the dust off idly, curious to determine what it might be. Bright flower patterns were exposed as my fingers curled around the edges of the spine and I lifted the book into the light. Flipping the volume around I was astonished with what I had found in this place of decay and dust...

Yes, it's a Pop-Up Kama Sutra!

And the piece of yellowed paper with the familiar font on?

Incredibly, it was a near mint flyer/poster for Citadel Miniature's Summer Sale in 1986! 

How this piece of history came to be abandoned inside a spiritual sex manual with optional moving parts is totally beyond me. But it made me smile from ear to ear. After a quick glance at the models displayed, I grew concerned that the paper might become damaged by the weather, so I carefully refolded it and placed it inside. My smile even broader. 

"Like the dirty stuff, eh?" Came a strong, Norfolk voice. I looked up to see one of the refuse-workers, who run the recycling centre, guffawing at me, his eyes leering down at the image on the front cover. "Stuff like that puts lead in ya pencil!" he exclaimed further, his eyes bulging in appreciation of his mastery of comedy. "Feel free to keep it mate," he smiled. Walking off. 

Forget lead in your pencil - I thought - a discovery like this puts lead back into your soul. Where it has always belonged. And always will. 


Saturday, 11 June 2016

The European Range? An Oddity From Dragon Magazine 1988

Hello retro fans. As regular readers will know I have spent the last few days investigating the possibility of 'missing' McDeath models and by missing I don't mean the couple of models not yet secure in my collection. You see my research led me towards an interesting speculative place - perhaps the models released and those originally intended to represent the characters were different?

In some cases we can tally the original figure with the cardboard counter artwork! As I have said for many years, you can research '80s Citadel and Games Workshop miniature ranges and publications for many, many years and still find new intriguing mysteries to explore. And quite by accident, which is usually how these mysteries arise, I discovered another one this week.

The mystery of the 'European Range'. Yes, I haven't heard of it before either, nor have I even seen a blister pack in the style advertised.

Searching for Raybees on an internet search engine brought this image up. You can spot him in the first rank centre stage. Of course, it wasn't long until that Combat Card dwarf wizard caught my eye, now there is a rare figure and I have only ever seen a single example of him - in Bryan's collection in Newark. And by the way, that was exactly the same figure as you can see in this advert.

There are several other very notable figures exhibited here too. Cast your eye around and you can spot the limited edition 'Warlock' figure at the back of the display, not far from the original Lichemaster figure. If you look closer you will also spot a high number of other desirable figures that are part of a number of popular ranges grognards collect to this day. By and large, we have been lead to believe that most of these figures (Warlock and Lichemaster in particular) were super limited editions only and this rarity supports the high prices that collectors demand and pay regularly.

But if we interpret this advert literally, could the models shown in this advert represent the contents of the ADVENTURERS RANGE as it was (if, of course, it ever WAS launched) released in the US. Could they still be out there? Some years ago I was approached by an individual who claimed to have a Lichemaster figure (the original from the '80s he assured me) in a blister pack. I never saw the model in question but I was informed in no uncertain terms by another collector that finding Kemmler in the original packaging was an impossibility.

But was it?

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

McDeath: The Lost Scenario Figures?

This blog post has been a long time coming. I have been thinking about writing it on and off for several years and I guess today just happens to be today! It has been inspired by my quest to acquire all of the McDeath figures (something I have yet to achieve, as I am still missing the giant model and Sandra Prangle) and my passion for recreating this wonderful Richard Halliwell scenario. 

Those readers out there not over familiar with the McDeath set may not have ever lain eyes on the artwork for the card counters that came with the box set. Old hands will be well aware of the classic era of cardboard cut out models. Many '80s games came with them and McDeath was no different. They provided an opportunity for cash strapped gamers to use the scenarios without the correct forces in lead.

 Now, there were loads of card counters in the book and I have scanned a small sample here to illustrate my point. 

Take a look. 

Now the first thing that will strike you if you are familiar with my McDeath project is how similar many of the colour schemes are to my painted models. This is not coincidence as I always sought inspiration for my figures from the original artwork. If I liked the way the art looked - I copied the colour selection and if I didn't, I chose the scheme that best suited me. 

What struck me working with the source material was that a great deal of the models looked identical to the artwork, almost as if they had been drawn from life. Just look at Mogro Neckbreak in the artwork above and my finished example below. It is very clearly the same model with a few positional differences. 

Spot, Lady McDeath's fearsome hound, doesn't look enormously similar to the figure I use but I know for a fact that the different pre-slotta models were sent out to purchasers back in the 1980s, and the artwork on the card counter looks very similar to the models in the range. So no surprises here. 

Take a look below and compare with the top image and make up your own mind. 

Juggo seems to have followed Alice into the rabbit hole and mistaken the 'Drink Me' bottle for hard liquor as he has had a serious case of 'The Shrinks' when you compare him to his original card illustration. Yes, that is him top right. The original image is clearly a human figure (and more on him later on in this post) while the 'official' model is of course a dwarf. 

This got me thinking 'why the change?' A fluff mix up? The disappearance of the original figure? I guess we will never know. What we can be sure of is that some of the illustrations are bang on, while others are a million miles off the mark. Are there other models out there that may have one day been intended for the McDeath scenario? It certainly got me thinking. 

Fergus, that muscle bound thug of the McEwman clan, looks identical to his cardboard equivalent, his is just drawn from a different angle than my photograph below. Obviously, it is the same figure. But if Fergus survived the design process unscathed why not Juggo? And to make matters even more confusing there is another trollslayer figure out there in Citadel collecting with Juggo on the tab!! Can the real Juggo please stand up? 

Julia doesn't appear on the cut out scan I shared above but the figure selected for release matches her closely. You can see that it is clearly her in the artwork if you go and look. Dokko, positioned bottom right on the cardboard counter image, again looks strikingly like the model released to represent him. Problems arise again when we take a look at Donaldbane. Compare my painted figure with him on the card counter, I have circled him in red. 

It's clear as day that the two designs are utterly different, though similarly armed. Again, that question raises its head. If Julia and Dokko are bang on the money, then why not Donaldbane?

Though McWrecker is posed differently in the artwork and lacks his magic bowl it is very clearly the same figure, or indeed a variant of the model released. The differences are not so stark as they have been with Donaldbane and Juggo. Glancing at Brooben it's plain to see that they are near identical, almost as if drawn from life. 

Mergrey matches very closely too. Take a look.

As do the iconic Lord and Lady McDeath, beyond a few minor differences.

Things go awry once again with the halfling, Raybees, who looked completely different to his card counter version even though Banquo matches pretty strongly. Take a look, I have circled the card version of Raybees in blue. Why the difference? It is certainly intriguing if you are a collector and a fan of minutae like me. But surely there couldn't be any 'lost' figures out there I hear you ask? This is surely just the rambling of a man who has sniffed one to many jars of Dettol in his life. To be honest, I would heartily agree with you if it wasn't for one thing...

I have found an exact match for the original Juggo illustration, minus an eyepatch - the woodcutter from the villagers/rangers/townsfolk set! Compare the two - I am quite correct am I not? They even share that most essential of '80s fashion items (see Arnie's Commando film for further reference) - the chainmail vest!

This discovery leads on to another question. If there is a clear match to the original Juggo picture why not the two other examples? 

Have a closer look at the original artwork for Raybees (in blue) and Donaldbane in red. As I am not an exhaustive expert on every Citadel range, particularly the pre-slotta stuff, it could well be that these models are 'out there' just as the original Juggo is. Anyone recognise these designs in any actual released models? If so please do drop me a line as I would love to have my suspicions confirmed, or crushed utterly!!

But even with the irregularities of Raybees and Donaldbane left on the table, this story isn't quite complete as there is another character mentioned in McDeath (albeit very, very briefly- you really will miss him if you blink) who has a card counter to represent him. 

Boney Prince Charlie. 

You can see him on the far right circled in red. I have heard in several McDeath collecting circles that there is a zombie model out there that resembles this illustration very closely. I have searched the ranges in hoping of spotting this model but have failed utterly. 

Do you recognise him?

So esteemed members of the Oldhammer Community. Can any of you help unravel my conundrums?

Are there really 'lost' scenario figures out there for McDeath?


Monday, 6 June 2016

White Dwarf 138 and the Last Advert for Warhammer Fantasy Battle Third Edition

Hi all! I am living in limbo at the moment largely due to a complicated and ever delayed house move. Hopefully, I will be set back up and Oldhammering again by late summer and have plans for a far more spacious (yet not so light) painting area in the near future. In the short term, I have to start boxing up my collection for transportation. For the last month or so things have been neatly stacked up in the conservatory but they are in no way ready for shifting via burly men. It's funny, the last time I moved, my Old School Warhammer collection fitted neatly in a single box and now it's a sprawling mess spread across multiple locations! 

It just goes to show how much lead a man can collect in seven years, eh? It's astonishing when I look at it all. Anyway, as I was 'tidying up' (what this really means is flicking through my stack of old Warhammer mags while the wife doesn't notice my laxity) I came across this little ad in White Dwarf 138 and as far as I can tell it is the very last advert for Warhammer Fantasy Battle Third edition. 

Time to fetch the tissues?

Not that I was actually playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle at this time. I had moved on, as many of us had I think, to the glory of the Big Box Games. I can recall hours of playing and modelling time being pumped into the first edition of Space Marine and the immortal Bloodbowl and the demise of 'classic '80s style Warhammer' passed me by. 

Of course, when my interest in the game was rekindled after a re-read of the WFB rulebook in 1995 it was too late. Fourth edition just didn't cut my mustard, even after I tried so damn hard to get into it. Luckily, this was the era of Hogshead and it's period of publishing Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, so I switched systems. It still missed GW's glory boy (at least my preferred version of it) but there were at least loads of great spin-off games still being released.

Even ten years later after the birth of the internet as a mass media outlet, my beloved Third Edition of Warhammer was practically impossible to find reference too online.I still clung to my battered copy of the rulebook and felt myself to be the only person in the world who loved that edition like no other and saw every subsequent edition as a watered down version of something once so special. 

Looking back over this advert, I find it all a bit cynical really. One final push on stock in the knowledge that a new edition was being developed just around the corner. But I guess that is just the nature of business, eh? Still, Warhammer Fantasy Battle Third Edition is played more often now than it has been for decades. So there is a little happy ending to this ramshackle blog post. 

Why don't you do yourself a favour and pull out your rulebook and organise a game of WFB3 with your mates this week? You know you deserve it!


Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Space Raiders: Kev Adams 80s Space Ork Kickstarter

Hello all! No sooner was I back at the paint station working on a few Nurgle pieces then Diego (Pantheon of Chaos mastermind) dropped me a line about another one of his projects. 80s style Rogue Trader style orks from Kev Adams and others!

The greens you have seen above made my jaw drop and smile at the same time. They are both crisp and modern but seem to step out of an 80s issue of White Dwarf.

But what else would you expect considering the names involved?

The sharp eyed among you may recall a similar project put out by Diego a while back. In fact the painted models you can see above were part of that project if my memory serves me correctly. Those were excellent but these new sculpts surpass them in many ways.

Just look at the design and sculpting prowess in this green below!

Incredible eh? As I said, Kev's new space orks step right out of the glory years of Rogue Trader and beg you to paint their armour red and scrawl 'kil 'kil kil' across it!

Here is a closer inspection of some of the characters available.

Diego explained to me that many of the models you see here have interchangeable parts and so many different combinations are possible. Take a look here for an example.

Then there is the important issue of scale. As you can see from this side by side the measurements are bang on classic 80s Rogue Trader!

There is also a Rogue Trader style Grom the Paunch!

Of course, this being Diego there are plenty of future plans too. I will leave you with a quick glimpse of these before I go.

As we have come to expect from Diego the project is already funded but if you are interested in jumping on board the link is here:

Space Raiders : The Orcs are Here!!