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!!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

A Tale of Four Oldhammer Gamers: May

Hello again dear readers. It has been some time since I last posted here (or anywhere in fact) I know, and things will remain sporadic at best over the next couple of months I am afraid. There is a great deal going on in my personal and working life at the moment and opportunities for Oldhammering are few and far between. Luckily, I was able to spend the entire day today (bar the time to complete the usual household chores) sitting at at a rather cramped and temporary painting station hopelessly daubing paint onto a couple of vintage Citadel models. 

The first of my endeavours to see completion was this rather nice Warrior Troll (check out this blogpost for more detail about troll typography) I have had in my collection for sometime. He had the misfortune to be undercoated and based some months previously, but I never quite managed to get beyond the 'picking him up and looking at him' stage. Wanting to tackle something 'big' (by this I mean easy) after a month or more away from the brushes, I decided to include him in my Nurgle army. 

Nurgle is a very forgiving master when painting. Dribbly bits, messy brushwork and peculiar blobbing all fit the Father of Flies' style perfectly, so the rusty painter is wonderfully supported when working on miniatures in his ilk. I used the some green recipe I have been mucking about with recently for the skin and used drybrushing and washing for the rest of the model. I was very pleased with the rust effect I achieved using a orange paint/chestnut ink wash but my dodgy photograph above doesn't really do it justice. 

This model will represent a minor troll hero in my army and will weigh in at 115 points. Despite the stupidity risk, trolls can do incredible damage in games and can of course regenerate too. Perfect attributes for a small, elite army like mine. The heavy plate and mail gives a better armour save than usual too. 

The second model I worked on came from an aborted Nurgle army I started three years or so ago. Originally, I was going to use this figure as part of a wider Nurgle force once A Tale of Four Oldhammer Gamers was over. However, my painting has moved on since he was completed and looked rather shocking in comparison with my more recent work. This came as a surprise really, as I had considered this figure's paint job one of my all time best. It was originally painted at a time I used a great deal of white to highlight models and this resulted in quite chalky, pale finishes rather than the inky brightness of my recent work. So, I decided to repaint him. Being pressed for time, I opted to just paint over the top of my earlier work rather than stripping him completely. I kept much of the original paint scheme too, though the skull, armour and flesh have all seen extensive reworking. 

He now fits in with my other Nurgle pieces very well. I unearthed another five poorly painted Bob Olley Nurgle beastmen alongside him too. These poor mutants have never even graced a gaming table as far as I can recall. They are now awaiting repainting in the near future. Well, relatively near future! Perhaps by the end of June?

Back on topic, this beastman will lead a unit of seven models and has been beefed up as a Pestigor Champion in heavy armour and wielding a double handed weapon. He weighs in at around 60 points by my reckoning and he brings my total to 175 points this month. 

Not bad for a day's work. 


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Pantheon of Chaos Kickstarter: The Last Few Hours!


The incredibly successful Kickstarter from Pantheon of Chaos is drawing to a close and has raised over 37,000 euros at the time of writing. That is over 30,000 more than the original goal. An astounding return on a frankly outstanding range of models. They are in the closing hours of the Crowd Fund now and it really is a case of 'if you want 'em, this is your last chance!' 

Diego has been kind enough to share some more details with me and being the dilligent blogger that I am, I am passing them on to you. It would have been sooner if I had access to a reliable computer, but then life is rather topsy turvey at the moment in the count down to our house move. 

Anyway, by now you would have grown tired of my words and let your eyes wonder over to those wonderfully painted models that I began this post with. Don't worry, there is more to come and if you are new to the project (and if you are, where have you been?) you better hurry and follow the link at the bottom of this blog post. 

Okay, first up is Christian's Ettin. As we have come to expect from Pantheon, the sculpting is excellent and a mass of detail has been provided to help bring the character to life. I like the mutated nature of this one, especially the two digit hand and the cyclops head. A nasty chap would you wouldn't want to meet strolling down the street on a Sunday afternoon. 

Looking at him makes me wonder - how do the Pantheon boys keep banging out models with such a high degree of detail and imagination? They remind me of a simple bunch of hyper-creative guys and gals from the 1980s!!

Talking about the Design Team of the golden age, do you recognise the work of one legendary sculptor here? Keven Adams has contributed two additional figures in the guise of these variant wizards and I am sure you will agree that these are rather unusual coming from the goblinmaster. As Diego put it "the level of detail is insane" on these are they closely match the baroque designs seen in the Realm of Chaos books all of those years ago. 

I don't know about you, but these models make me think Tzeentch or some other magical/chaotic power favouring the arcane arts. 

Diego is responsible for this crossbreed Ogre. He has a bear leg and some kind of prehensile tail combination going on. The sculptor was going for a subtle look here, as he wanted the model to show a character some time away from developing into a chaos spawn. Again, the high level of detail and imagination is there to see. 

How do they do it?

Tim Prow is responsible for these wonderful shields. I am not sure which models these will be released with, or if they will be used as a shield lot at some later date. I am sure Diego will appear on the comments section below and explain all shortly! (; 

And finally, on our final whistle-stop tour on this project, a chaos hound by Boris. This model will come with a second model with a differing head. The plastic chaos warrior is used only to present scale - so don't worry that the sculpting standard has suddenly dropped!! (:

As I said earlier, this crowdfund is drawing to a close in a matter of hours. If you haven't got on board now then you are running out of time.

Here is the link!

Saturday, 30 April 2016

A Tale of Four Oldhammer Gamers: April Part 2

It may be the closing hours of April, but I have managed to complete a further two models for my Nurgle Warband. Can you spot them in the photograph above? As you can see, I have finally got my act together and grouped together all of the models I have painted thus far int o single frame. They barely fit onto my tiny gaming board now, so future shots will have to be done on one of my McDeath boards!

I haven't yet given the warband any background, and the force is currently known as 'Nurgle Army. There aren't a great deal of models in it, are there? But such is the nature of old school chaos armies where a single model can cost in at around 100 points!

Here are the two new additions and as you can see they are both old Citadel chaos warriors from the 1980s. The model on the right is fairly nondescript really, and there are a number of variants of this model around. I would imagine that he would be a tad tricky to rank up in a large unit swinging that huge scimitar like that, but there was something about the pose that appealed to me. To help tie the model into the general Nurgle theme I used a pale green for his armour and fairly drab colours elsewhere on the model. Speed painting techniques helped bring him up to speed fairly rapidly this morning and despite the rush, he holds his own against the second model I have here, and she is everything but nondescript.

Female warriors are a rare sight in any wargames armies - for obvious reason, and though examples can be gleamed from the pages of history, in reality they were very, very few in number. I guess that is so in the quasi-historical world of '80s Warhammer too. This model has a rather odd history in my collection. I bought her years and years ago as part of a job lot but she was smeared with layers of black that no amount of Nitro-Mors could remove, so as you would imagine she languished at the bottle of a Dettol jar through most of the Oldhammer revolution. I rediscovered her recently and the many years she spent soaking in the stripper seemed to finally shift the black gunk. Upon cleaning her up properly, I found that for some reason she had been cut in half! I nearly lost her upper body down the sink!

But with some nifty pin making and a little glue, she was easy to repair. As time was a premium I basecoated the entire model with brown paint and whacked over the top a couple of ink washes, first chestnut and then an orange/brown. Highlighting the edges of the armour with a dark silver was enough to give the impression of rusty plate male and I used a sickly purple to pick out the facial features and upper thigh. As green acts as a cohesive colour for the warband I decked her out with a few fancy green leather straps around her waist and tarted up her hairdo with a nice green rinse. 

She took me about ninety minutes to complete, bar drying time for the washes. 

The first warrior required a shield and I threw this together quite quickly. Initially, I quite liked the design (it is based on the three coloured grinning faces from the rear of the palanquin) but in retrospect I think it needs something more to liven it up. Any ideas welcome!

So, not bad for April, especially considering other months. A Nurgling base weighs in at 30 points and the chaos warriors 75 points apiece, giving me a grand total of 180 points for this month!

I need to put myself through the stress of moving house more often it seems, with output like this! 

On to next month!