Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Warfactory: Shields and Banners Special

Marauder Miniatures Dark Elf with freehand shield. Very nice work.
This is the second post in a double article about the Old School models to be found on an old webpage called the WarFactory. Following the link, you will discover that the Aidan who created the website over a ten year or so period, has quite a varied range of painted models. So its well worth a visit when you are finished here.

As before, I am letting the miniatures do the talking and am limiting myself to just making some minor comments. Before we move on, I would just like to say that the Rogue Trader standard bearers that end this article have to be some of the very finest I have seen anywhere. These are highly inspirational pieces of work that just go to show how far you can push freehand painting. 

Enjoy. And big thanks to the mysterious Aidan, wherever and whoever he may be! 
Beautiful Nordic knotwork on what looks to be an old Citadel Norse figure.
Historically themed Norse shields. Its work like this that I find most inspirational. As you can make out the technique used. 
It was this standout paintjob that first attracted me to Aidan's work. beautiful tones and that shield! 
Old School dwarf standard.
I love this banner, inspired by the original paintjob used on the Fantasy Regiments box set.
Classy banner.
World Eater makes me lost for words.
A fantastic piece of iconography. If only I could produce stuff like this...
My personal favourite. A brilliant conversion pack with detail. Outstanding!

The Warfactory: A Fantastic Gallery of Old School Painted Miniatures

Chaos beastmen, made up from a Slaangor, a Chaos Champion of Nurgle and standard late '80s beastman. 
One of the most rewarding aspects of writing a blog that is visited more that 50,000 times a month is getting to share other people's work. I think that as the Oldhammer Community is very much 'a community' of similar thinkers rather than just a load of people who play old versions of Warhammer. Many of my readers haven't even picked up a copy of a GW game in years, let alone painted a miniature, but still feel part of the community as a whole. I believe that this is largely due to the commitment and passion of the many hundreds of painters, collectors and gamers that make Oldhammer was it is and that the fact that we are, largely, non-judgemental and supportive. Sure, there are one or two snakes in the grass, but we all know enough to ignore them.

The work I am presenting today is by a painter only known as Aidan who ran a website called The Warfactory from the mid 1990s to about 2005. Reading through his webpage reveals that he was a regular competitor at the earlier Golden Demons and even had GW losing (or damaging) some of his models over the years. If you know a little more about the author of the work you will see presented her, please do give us a little more biographical information in the comments section of this overview. There are loads of other great pictures on the site which can be visited here, including a really useful article about creating shield designs. 

Anyway, on with the models. This post is the first of two, and contains all of the best pieces from his 1980s Citadel collection. The sister post, which can be found here, covers the more intricate shields and banner designs. I have limited myself to a few words per image as I believe that the work of another painter is best left to speak for itself, but I am sure that you will agree with me that this is a very fine collection indeed. 

More beastmen in the same style as before, with a Beastman Champion, Slaangor and standard beastman model.
Bob Olley Nurgle Beastman, standard beastman and a Slaangor.
Nicely painted Chainsaw Warrior figures from 1987.
Three Citadel Lords of Battle and a Feudal warrior.
Models from the Citadel Fighters Range.
Yet more Citadel Fighters.
Old Citadel Normans - these are now available from Wargames Foundry once more.
Old Citadel Norse - these are back in production from the Wargames Foundry
Chaos Warriors with sculpted shields - very old school!
Chaos Warriors.
Fraser Gray tributes.
A great 'lightening' shield on that Chaos Warrior.
Two more classic Chaos Warriors.
Beautifully painted Wood Elves.
That green shading is right out of White Dwarf circa 1987.
Celtic designs have been used to compliment these Wood Elves.
Simple but effective metallics here.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Smelly Primer: Is It Worth Collecting Old School Paint?

I wasn't lucky enough to live near a Games Workshop store in the 1980s. My experiences with the old retail philosophy were sadly limited to a few exhilarating hours during family holidays to York or Edinburgh. Wonderworld was my 'local store', situated a few minutes walk from one of my father's favourite haunts - the Model Railway Shop. Once the humble Model Railway Shop was a slightly shabby fixture in (nearly) every English town, and no doubt a fair few Scottish, Welsh and Irish towns too. Now, much like Wonderworld (and perhaps GW stores in the not too distant future!) those shops are largely gone.

Now Wonderworld wasn't a pure Games Workshop store. It sold a lot more besides and to an impressionable youth the combination of blister wall, sticky carpets and the cornucopia of fantasy/sci-fi games available there was mind-shattering. I can recall wandering the cramped shelving and uncovering large plastic statues of Freddy Kruger, off-air recordings of lost Doctor Who episodes and even several editions of Car Wars. 

But it was the paint racking that fascinated me the most!

I cannot recall exactly when I got hold of my first paints. It must have been around the time I was bought my first figures by my father. These were either The Nightmare Legion, some Paranoia robots or the Tinman and Oxy. I am pretty certain that I had the Citadel Colour set and the Creature set first, with the Monster and Space Marine sets coming later. Despite this, I always loved browsing through the paint range in store. This was largely due to the fact that these pots had actual labels on, while the paints that I had received in my boxsets were always blank. 

Now most of the paints were instantly recognisable, save one - the now infamous 'Smelly Primer'. 

I can remember pausing when I first came across the pot. It was at the end of the aisle of paints and for a while I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, that was until I picked up the pot and realised it was certainly part of the GW range. I pondered what on earth the paint was for. My father had explained the process of undercoating, and it remained something he did in the garage for me. The idea of painting a special primer over my lead models had not yet dawned on me, though shortly after I started painting my lead models Skull White rather than waiting for dad to be ready to spray them. 

A couple of boys in my class, Tom Dames and Russell Parsons, later bought pots of Smelly Primer, and it was then that I had my first experience with the stuff, once I had uncovered the stuff in their collections. I can recall opening the pots (with my teeth) and sniffing the contents - I was rather disappointed that the stuff wasn't really THAT smelly. I am not sure what I was expecting.

I have written about the old 1980s paint range several times. The best article on the subject can be found here if you are interested.
So what has my ramble got to do with the question I posed in the title to this post? To be honest, not very much at all but it does set a scene that will be familiar to many young gamers hooked on Citadel and all it entailed back in the later part of the 1980s. You could barely afford to pick up a few miniatures a month, let alone the paint you needed to prepare them for the table top, so many colours remained forever out of your league. 

Today, I speak to quite a few people keen to achieve that '80s' look with their own painting. In fact, its a question that I am often asked during Oldhammer events and when I post my figures online. Questions about the paints I use rapidly follow and I do my best to answer them, however it isn't necessary to track down all the original paint sets to achieve the style. A quick search online will quickly direct you towards one of the many charts that tell you how to source similar colours in the 21st century.

Have a look here at the chart I use the most. You will notice from this resource that Coat d'Arms paints are mentioned. Despite the growing popularity of the Oldhammer Movement, hardly a week goes by without someone discovering that practically all of the old range of '80s paints are still available from Black Hat. A major bummer if you have just shelled out a small fortune on an original paint set! And the prices of the old paint sets often concern me. It would be justifiable forking out over £40 for the Creature or Monster paint sets if you were desperate to hold them in your collection, but doing so to get your hands on colours that can be acquired at the fraction of the cost is foolish.

But there are a few colours that are considerably rarer than others. And Smelly Primer is definately one of them, especially in the old Citadel labelling. They are so rare in fact, that the only image I could find of a pot of Smelly Primer was from the later hexagonal range. Still, if you are a completist, like me, its very likely that owning all of the paints, with the original labels is going to be a priority at some point.

If you are interested in collecting the more numerous colours, to be honest it is very hard to tell the difference between a mint original and a modern pot of Coat d'Arms. You could easily just wash off the new labels, bung the colours in an old Citadel Colour box and post the set online for £35 and watch the punters come. For reference at this point, each pot of Coat d'Arms can be picked up for about £2 each. And £2 multipled by 9 (that is how many paints came in each set) equals £18. So shifting a box at £35 (as I have seen recently) is a healthy profit.

As you can see, collecting the old paints is a risky buisness. And that is before you consider how many of the paints might be unusual when you get hold of them. I find that many of the metallics do not survive well, especially those found in the Ork and Eldar paintset. But this isn't always the case. One thing I have learnt is that the older paints seem to last much, much longer than the more modern ones. I have bought Blood Reds from GW stores that dried out in a year but I have a couple of pots of the same colour from the mid-'80s going strong. Some people have commented that this was probably a deliberate way of increasing paint sales. But there is no direct evidence for this.

Some of the boxes in my collection. If I was dishonest, it would be easy to snap up the Coat d'Arms paints, wash off the labels and sell them on (doubling my money) so be careful if you are trying to hunt these originals down.
So is it actually worth hunting down the original colours? I think tha answer to that is yes and no. Owning the original boxes is fantastic from a collecting point of view, as they looks and feel great. But with many of the colours available elsewhere, I see no reason to get hold of them just to paint your models, not when other versions are still online for purcahse.

However, there are several '80s colours that are very hard to get matches for, at least I have found it much harder to get decent matches for them. These are Titlillating Pink and Bilious Green.

Titillating Pink is probably, in my experience, the hardest colour to get hold now. I have tried matching my original pots against many other ranges and I have found that they seem to lack the 'neon '80s' quality that original colour has. I have heard a story, probably apocryphful, that something in the original paint mix has been since banned in the EU, hence the lack of a match in modern paint ranges. Its a great colour for Slaanesh models obviously. If you see a point of this stuff for sale online, its really worth picking one up for your collection. Post '92, probably due to the name, the colour was withdrawn and though Tentical Pink followed shortly after, it was a lighter shade and lacked the 'dayglo' feel of its older cousin. 

Like Titilating Pink, Bilious Green was found in the Monster Paint Set and had a similar 'dayglo' feel. In fact, the two colours could be said to have been inspired by those bright '80s socks in pink and green that so many of us wore. Remember them? It had a longer lifespan, and was still available during the 'screwtop' relaunch of the paints in the later 1990s. It disappeared after this, though Scorpion Green was a close second and the best match I ever found for this classic colour. Again, if you see a pot of this colour its well worth adding to your collection.
By the tail end of the Ansell years, and moving through the earliest days on the the post-Ansell period, there were a great number of other paints that were added to the range. Who can forget the hideous mettalics that came a little later? In producing this article I found a useful site that lists the original set of paints, and also documents the later hexagonal versions. I have included it here for your reference.

So, what are your views on the older paints? Are they something that you collect and use to this day or are you a believer in the proxy versions that are still available. Is there a colour out there that you really miss from days gone by and that you struggle to find a modern shade for?

It will be interesting to hear your thoughts.


Monday, 20 October 2014

A Warhammer Bestiary: Slann

Ahh, proper Slann. Nothing says old school Warhammer like proper Slann. You may well be wondering what I mean by this, as the Slann have been a stalwart of the game for a great many years. Its because these days the slann are relegated to fat frog spell casters. But there was a wild time when an entire army of the frogmen could be fielded en mass. 

Unlike some of the other races in the WFB3 rulebook, the Slann background section is very well fleshed out, and this is most likely due to their appearance in previous supplements, most notably - the Magnificent Sven. After reading the entry I realised that I had erred in my paint job, as I had included gold metallic parts on my Slann and it seems use of metals is very rare. 

Clearly inspired by Aztecs, the Slann are suffering the same decimation of their society thanks to the coughs and colds of Old Worlders. Though unlike the ancient dwellers of the Americas, the slann are descended from a far more powerful and scientific civilisation.  With this in mind, I went on a little internet stroll to pick up some inspiration to paint up this model - which is of course on of the earlier pre-slotta slann models. After sticking the solid base on the plastic base, and building up the ground under foot with greenstuff and sand I opted to go with a yellow skin colour, largely becuase I wanted to work on my technique using this colour. 

I don't think I was totally successful. But I am happy with the way the model came out for this project. Its clear to me that the slann and I have some unfinished business and would dearly like to produce a vividly painted force at some point in the future. 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

A Warhammer Bestiary: Skaven

Hello all! Long time no blog. Well, blame the job for that! Still, I cannot complain as I only have one more week to complete (albeit one with Parents' Evening in) and Autumn Half-Term is here. As those of you of an UK extraction will know, this means a whole week off to recharge the batteries until the Christmas Half-Term begins!


I managed a few hours painting today and the result of that is a couple of new models complete in my Warhammer Bestiary project. The first of which I can document here with the first skaven to be added to my collection for some time. 

I have always loved the rat-men, as they started life, and find them to be the most interesting of the more evil races in old school Warhammer. Chaos is the BIG SHOW that will inevitably destroy the world and few humans even know of its true existence. But even few know about the teeming hordes of chaos ratmen that lurk beneath the world poised to conquer all!

As time went by, the skaven became less and less threatening as the 'cowardly' side of them was played to the full. I much prefer the insidious version that saw light of day in the early parts of the Enemy Within Campaign. Cunning schemers who'll do anything to keep their existence a secret, despite their long quests for warpstone. 

This skaven is one such ratman! 

The paint job was relatively simple as I needed something to ease me back into the painting lark after some time away. I basecoated the entire model in brown before basing each of the different parts of the model. Once dry, this got a generous wash of brown ink and was left to dry. It was really easy to just repaint each part in the base colour and highlight up with a little Bleached Bone. 

An enjoyable few hours. 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

McDeath: Juggo

Juggo- enjoying a starring competition with the sky.
I have said it before, the more often you paint, the better at painting you become. You also become faster and the turn around on models deceases until you feel like your painting armies in a week. Well, not quite. 

After some time off, largely due to returning to work, I feel like I am getting back into the swing of getting models painted. As many of you will know, batch painting of similar units is not my forte and I get bored pretty quickly when building armies. I much prefer painting random pieces from my collection, either through small projects or my larger Warhammer Bestiary mission. The odd commission also keeps things interesting. 

I have had this model, Juggo from McDeath, lying around on my painting desk for some time. He was part of a large collection of dwarf models I laid my hands on earlier on in the year. I have always admired the model, with its berserk fury and barbarian outfitting. Yet the model has none of the big crest nonsense that later slayer models were designed with. Juggo seems more real, more serious and certainly more dangerous. 

Norse Dwarfs confront a goblin raiding party.
Considering that he isn't wearing much, he gave me another opportunity to work on my paler flesh tones, after experimenting with darker tones with the Pygmy. And I can honestly say, he looks to be the best I have produced. This time I used a mix of flesh with Bestial Brown and a chestnut ink and didn't include the orange paint I have used in previous models. This resulted in the skin tone looking suitably deep and substantial as well as giving the highlights less of the bleached out look. 

The hair and beard were painted in my usual way, washing the orange basecoat with a mix of chestnut and brown ink and repainting once again with the basecoat. Highlights are then applied (orange from the paint pot) though I must confess to drybrushing over with Bleached Bone and then a yellow to further texture the hair. I repeated the leather mix I used on Malmir to paint the boots and belt and used a yellow/brown mix, highlighted up, to colour his loincloth. Foundry metallics helped work up the axe and sword in record time too. A touch of gold was added to the necklace and I used Bleached Bone to paint the thin string that holds the amulet around the neck. 

All in all, another satisfying model. 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Old School Fantasy Scenery Articles

As many of you will know, I have been working on a large scale scenery project since mid-summer. I have so far constructed two fantasy cottages and a medium sized wargaming table. Further details about the buildings can be found here and here while my attempts at game board construction can be found here

But there is much more still to be done. And I have a third cottage yet to complete! 

After that project is complete, my next step is to construct a series of walls, hedges and fences to create a village of sorts on the table you can see above. In doing my research, I came across a chap online called Attilla13 who had been kind enough to scan many of the articles I have been using as inspiration for my old school table. 

If you are not aware of these early articles, they were published in the very late '80s and early '90s and were mostly written by Phil Lewis (who has been interviewed here at RoC80s) and the well known Dave Andrews. 

Some are still missing as scans (though I do have them in my collection) and these include the original fantasy cottage article that I based my buildings on and a dwarf mine. Hopefully, these will make their way online at some point in the future. Until then, enjoy Attilla13's efforts at preserving these tasty slices of gaming history. 




How to Make Wargames Terrain - Ruined Temple by Attilla13


As a closing point, I  can share this photograph I took of Bryan's collection with you once again. If you peer into the rather unfocused rear of the image you can make out the ruined pillars from the temple article I have shared here. It makes me wonder what other relics from these early forays into proper scenery have survived into the 21st century!