Saturday, 16 May 2015

The Albion Adventures: Oldhammer at the Wargames Foundry Photo Report

I had the good fortune to spend most of today (16th May 2015) at the Wargames Foundry, in the very good company of some fine Oldhammering fellows. Now the purpose of this post is not to give an in depth account of the excellent game of Third Edition we played, I shall leave that to those far better equipped to do the job, but should instead be seen as a photo report of the day.

However, before we begin it is important to thank all of those responsible for the event. Namely Paul Mitchell (for devising the scenario and running the game) and Bryan and Marcus Ansell, who kept us supplied with tea, coffee, cakes, crisps, sandwiches and a treasure trove of classic Citadel figures all day.

A mighty thank you is deserved! So THANK YOU. 

Paul's scenario had us returning to the politically infused land of Albion. This time it was all about democracy, with an amusing and fast moving game all about the need to escort voters to a polling booth. The puns flew so thick and fast that you had to duck. Here you can see the initial set up for the game - we were allowed to be bribed by potential candidates. Magic items can really tempt a man!
Another shot of the early stages of the game. As I remarked to my fellow enthusiasts - I really enjoy seeing lots of different painted miniatures on the table, especially when their paint jobs vary widely in style. Can you spot my nicely painted Lady McDeath?
My dragon turtle got a chance to chomp on a few unwary adventurers. Steve Casey's nicely painted barbarians can be seen emerging from the river on the left. 
The scenario saw us protecting voters on the way to the polling booth. Things didn't quite go to plan for this group of halflings as Spot the dog advances on them!
Some of Nik Dixon's elves tackle a large monster after crossing the rather rickety bridge. 
Richard Irvine positions his warband deep within the murky waters. He had brought with him a rather nice unit of dwarf miners and sappers. Long term readers may recognise this large table as the one we used for the Warbands game back in 2013. 
Living legend Bryan Ansell arrived after a few heated hours of gaming with a box of treasures to share with us. He had, among other things, all the latest pieces off Kev Adams' workbench. 
A here is a closer shot of Kev's genius. What can you see?
Here is a much better shot of the 'Warmonger' character model from the packaging material from the same range. He has a rather silly name that no one could remember. 
Bryan also brought in many of the beastmen models from his iconic Warhammer Armies force. Sadly, the Golden Demon sleeveless t-shirt was nowhere in sight. There was a rather fetching tea towel though. 
One of the first things we spotted on the tea towel was this converted ostrich man on horseback. The rider is of course Citadel, though the mount is by some unknown American manufacturer from the 1970s. Any guesses?
A Warmonger Orc Witch. My favourite new model from Kev Adams. I must remember to pester the Foundry to get this cast up ASAP. 
I am not sure what this actually is beyond the fact that its a WIP. 
This is an interesting gem. A 1974 Tony Ackland sculpt of a dinosaur that is finally going to see production. 
A distinct lack of Blu-Tak confounded Bryan's plans to display all of the greens for our viewing pleasure. 
Check out the detail on this Warmonger musician!
Once we had finished oggling the greens, we moved on to the box of classic minis in earnest. I took the opportunity to take some closer snaps of a number of these models, many of which pre-date Warhammer. 
Lots of different beastmen from Bryan's chaos army. These are so old that they seem strangely new - they are just so different to anything available today. Horseman, who was later produced as a slotta, can be seen third from right. 
The weird and the wonderful and the famous and infamous. The model on the left was converted by Bryan and painted by John Blanche. 
I am not sure about all of these miniatures, but the model on the far left is a 1987 beastman and the model on the far right is a Citadel chaos goblin. 
Ahh, back to my first love: Realm of Chaos era stuff. This model was one of the independent daemons in The Lost and the Damned. 
A nasty insect/man conversion. 
Anyone got any ideas about this one?
I am pretty sure that this model appears in several 1980s publications. Perhaps Heroes for Wargames? I was really exciting to handle this particular model as its been a favourite for decades. 
Twisted beastmen and broo. I love the way the brighter colours contrast with the greys of many of the models. 
Slugman (far right) and friends...
Here we have a work in progress two headed terrorbird with goblin rider. There is apparently a three headed version of this creature coming too....
Bryan was also keen to share some of his more recent concepts. Here we have an ogre with a face on his nose.
Concepts for the forthcoming Warmonger Beastmen range.
More beastmen concepts
Steve Casey noticed a similarity between these two models. It was certainly something we hadn't noticed before. Variant? Conversion?
As always, the Foundry display cabinets were full of classic Citadel gold. Here we can safely drool over some of the Judge Dredd range from the 1980s, as well as some Rogue Trooper pieces. 
The original Leman Russ with wolves, Rogue Trader adventurers (yes the ones from the original advert) and the space zoats. 
Rogue Trader scenery pieces and bits and bobs.
Classic Warhammer figures, many of which appeared in the Third Edition rulebook, Advanced Heroquest henchmen, Lords of Battle and so on. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

REGISTRATION for Oldhammer Weekend 2015 has OPENED!

This year's Oldhammer miniature. Rock on! PS: Chico personally modelled for this miniature!

Good evening all...

Just a quick blog post to say that Garth, from Warhammer for Adults, has set up his usual online tracking/registration thingy and its gone live. If you are thinking of attending, please do register here...

Completing the form (which only takes a couple of seconds) will help the Wargames Foundry organise the weekend and ensure things run smoothly. After all, I am sure that you are not going to want to hear that they have run out of double strength super cider by Saturday evening. 

If you are interested in the details about the event (i.e. who is coming and what they are doing) you can have a look at this rather snazzy summary page. 


Sunday, 10 May 2015

McDeath: Restoring Spot

I met the previous owner of this dog in the early afternoon a few weeks ago. At first, there wasn't anything immediate that set him out to be any different to all the other classic Citadel collectors I had met before. He had the beard, the wife and kids and, of course, the leadpile. 

It was at the first mention of his hoard that alarm bells started ringing. For instead of being lead to the atypical 'man-cave' style garage or shed, or their opposite - the immaculate storage unit with every figure bagged and catalogued - I was taken to a run down building to the rear of the property. 

The smell hit me first. The stench of dusty old boxes crammed full of GW plastics mouldering away, the odour of slightly damp magazines from the mid '90s and the overpowering tang of spray undercoat heavy in the air. As he pushed open the rickety door, I glanced within, my eyes catching in the semi-darkness piles of rusting cans of Citadel 'Compressed Air', the coiled remains of the old flamer style paint sprayer and boxes full of unopened copies of Dreadfleet. 

It was horrible. 

The former owner then directed me to a small steel box, within lay Spot - Lady McDeath's beloved hound. Only, when the terrible canine was brought forth he was in a truly pitiful condition. His tail was missing, great chunks had been hacked from his body and one of his paws had been broken off, I tried to hold back my emotions, and nearly lost control of them when I discovered the final shame inflicted on the poor creature - he had only gone and filed his teeth away!

Spot changed hands for the total price of £1. I was glad to get away from the terrible conditions he had been kept in for over twenty years and back to the loving safety of my Dettol jar. Twenty-four hours of stripping saw the filthy layers of 'paint' removed from the creature and the full extent of the damaged became apparent. Great holes and slashes stretched across the animal's body, with his flanks having been filed down rather badly. Apparently, this could be explained away as an attempt to 'convert' the model to hold a rider. 

The tail was present but broken from the body, as was the front right paw. These were pretty straight-forwards to reattach - thanks to a little pinning. Some careful greenstuffing filled the remaining gaps and helped smooth over the slashes and gouges on the beast's body. A cocktail stick helped create some appropriate detail in the putty to mask the terrible injuries inflicted. The same cocktail sticks were then whittled down to fine points and snipped off. Influenced by Pete Taylor of Old, I used the slithers of wood to construct a set of dentures for the hound and painstakingly fixed them in place with superglue. 

Once the greenstuff was dry, I took my inspiration for the colour scheme from the box art from the McDeath campaign book. Grey. I used plenty of glazes and layers of drybrushing to work the model up into a state fit for the table, though I wasn't totally satisfied with the result and I may tinker with him in the days to come. I gave him an additional drybrush with a lighter grey after these photos were taken in order to bring out the detail a little more. 

Still, after years of mistreatment, Spot is now happy in the company of his mistress. No doubt Lady McDeath will be settling him down tonight with a bowl of his favourite Orc innards after a thorough walk around the dungeons. Welcome home boy!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Lady McDeath

Lady McDeath - love the shoes!
There is something incredibly thrilling about winning truly rare miniatures online. Watching the clock, fearing the snipers and hoping against hope that your highest bid will be enough. Most of the time, its isn't enough and you find that other collectors have far deeper pockets than your own. But sometimes, the Citadel Gods smile upon you and success in an online auction sails your way.

Of course, until that model is safely in your hands its still potentially a stormy sea. Take Sandra Prangle for example, I have technically 'won' her in three online auctions, only to miss out on actually ever receiving her. Nothing dubious has happened to me directly mind, and I was always refunded... But the reasons put forwards for cancelling the transaction often left me feeling more than a little suspicious.

There were no difficulties with Lady McDeath mind you. She came as part of a joblot, and the other models from that lot will not doubt help claw back some of the cash it cost to capture her, for she is an expensive lady. But the chase was over shadowed by the catch, thankfully. 

When she arrived through my letter box, I eagerly tore away the brown paper and had my first good look at her. Up to that point, I didn't realise that she was holding a skull in her hand - and this has been an ongoing issue with some of the rare models I have acquired. The photographic material online is really rather lacking and you have to actually get hold of the figures before you get a true picture of what they look like. 

She was in beautiful condition. Unpainted, with a little flash here and there. And after about twenty minutes lovingly cleaning her up with a file, I based and undercoated her. As before, I used the token illustration from the McDeath boxset as a starting point on colour scheme, and also referred to the John Blanche booklet artwork on which she appears. 

I painted her exclusively with Foundry paints and loved every second. Despite the detail, she was a very simple paint up - with only the fine detail on the jewellery proving to be a challenge. 

Right, I better get her dog out of the Pet Rescue Centre now - for he needs considerably more work to get on the table than she, poor bugger!


My painted McDeath collection... so far...

Thursday, 7 May 2015

McDeath: Fergus McEwman

The latest model in my McDeath project is old Fergus McEwman - Julia's champion and all round bruiser. Getting hold of him lead me to France (after an annoying internet cut at home caused me to miss out on a vital auction) but the little lead fella reached me in the end. This model was damaged on arrival and had obviously dropped from a great height or hit by a great weight at some time in it's past. A great deal of detail on the figure had being flattened being the result.

I am proud to say that the damage is in full show in the photograph above but I am quietly confident that none of you will be able to spot it. Careful filing and some careful painting was enough to cover up the damage with the minimum of fuss.

Using the Fergus token in my McDeath boxset for inspiration, I noted that this model is really just silver, yellow and flesh in terms of a colour scheme. Pretty much just a barbarian type if you look at the model out of context - he is after all also known as Hercule Throb from the Fighters Range. With this in mind, I used my tried and tested methods for painting barbarian types and the model just seemed to attract the paint from my pots perfectly.

I was keen to explore methods of painting metal on the rest of the model - with decent gold and steel techniques high on my personal set of painting targets. I was armed with a new triad of paints from Foundry and these really helped get the 'look' of gold I have been hoping to achieve for some time. The steel was also painted up using the appropriate Foundry paint triad and really made my life easier.

I cannot recommend those paints enough and I shall be investing in some more when I visit the Foundry in a few weeks.

For the first time in a long while I didn't use any drybrusing at all - preferring to use layering to capture the depth and texture of Fergus', ahem, garments and helmet crest. This was a fairly simple technique really, just a question of the base colour, ink wash and several layers of progressive highlights. I think the approach worked well and that depth and tone combine well on the model.

All in all, I was pleased to paint this little chap - especially considering that I think he was the first model I ever lifted painty brush to at a friend's house in 1987 - and get him based and on display on the Welsh Dresser. I am beginning to run out of obvious McDeath figures to paint up and its all rather sad. Still, I am not quite at the end of the collection yet and I do have the 'bigger' models to do too.

Keep your eyes peeled for more McDeath shortly.


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

McDeath: The Monster of Loch Lorm aka The Dragon Turtle

Last post I blogged about Mergrey Calchoner, the folically challenged court Wizard for Donaldbane, and the curious fact that the wizard is a difficult model (in my experience, at least) to get hold of. Today's subject, the Monster of Loch Lorm aka The Turtle Dragon, is another model that fits into that category.
Like many of the McDeath figures, I spent quite sometime researching the range and how expensive the models were in reality. We have all heard the tales of Sandra Prangle, McDeath and Lady McDeath changing hands at prices exceeding £100 - but were they actually true?
The reality is that this range, like with many other Citadel model, varies quite extensively. £50+ is certainly true of the miniatures I described above, with figures changing hands from anything around £60 to over £100. The miniature you can see above was the result of some hard haggling, but after a while the deal was done and the Monster arrived on my paint station.
Goodness knows what he was covered in! Soaking for several days in the Dettol did nothing to remove the shiny blue 'something' that covered the creature's shell or the white 'Tippex' looking smears that had obviously served as eyes for the last twenty-five years or more. Nitro-Mors and some frantic scrubbing wouldn't shift it either, though after a good soak I was able to prize off the white glop with a cocktail stick. The odd blue staining (which looked to me to have been created by an ink) was impossible to shift and in a way reminded me of a boy I knew at school who regularly 'coloured' in his dragon models using a permanent pen scrawlled over the bare metal.
Thankfully, the staining didn't clog any detail and I was able to undercoat the model in white fairly easily. I use a brush to do this now, rather than faffing about outside with a spray can. If you want to have a go at undercoating in this way, always mix in some water to thin the paint, as this will avoid any nasty clogging of detail. Usually, though not always, I apply a second layer of white over the first once it has dried. In the case of the Turtle Dragon, I opted instead to give it a good base colour of green and a good brown ink wash.
I was then ready to start work on him proper.

Inspired by the colour scheme of a real life turtle, I hit the paints and worked up a rather reptiley (is that a real word?) green on the head and flippers. This was quite simple though a bit fiddly to achieve. I am still not sure if I have highlighted up light enough yet, but I shall give it a week or so until I make the decision to add any more tone to the scales/skin.

The eye was simple. Based in a dark red before washing over with a blacky-brown ink. Once this was dry, I kept much of the depth and dotted back over the top of the pupil with a lighter red and highlighted that very finely with yellow. Its hard to see on the photograph above, but the Monster's eye looks nice and beady now.

Unsurprisingly, the shell took the most time and saw me highlighting up to almost pure white. I copied the look of a turtle shell from my reference as best I could and used a mix of brown and yellow to create contrast with the green skin. I didn't really take enough photos of this model, and I am rather proud of the underside, so I really should document it a little better in the future.

To conclude, this was another Bank Holiday special which I completed in a couple of hours. I really enjoyed painting up the model and it was a challenge working on something without a base. In the end, I decided against sticking him to some flat piece of plastic to ensure that he can be easily placed on the gaming table. After all, as the Monster of Loch Lorm he should be able to traverse land and sea with relative ease and the base would just get in the way.

Right, I am off. I will post soon about my ongoing McDeath project.


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

McDeath: Mergrey Calchoner

My professional life is as challenging as ever and I was glad of the three day weekend. I managed to get quite a bit of painting done and focused again on my McDeath collection. I had planned on getting five miniatures from the range completed over the long weekend but only managed to finish three. The others still stand on the paint-station at various stages of completion. 

But there is always next weekend. And only four working days away! 

Mergrey Calchoner is a bit of a tough model to get hold of. He was released with the C02 range of wizards in the 1980s but has the fortune (or misfortune, depending of perspective) of being an essential purchase for anyone collecting the 2nd Edition Scenario packs for this miniature is required in both McDeath and the Vengeance of the Lichemaster sets. 

And it was only by accident that I even managed to get hold of this example. It was a case of me hitting one too many zeros on my final bid! Thank God it was only snipers I was up against!

Interestingly, some of the other models in the range have amusing little anachronisims secreted about their persons - calculators, grenades and so forth - but Calchoner (also known as Hansat) is mercifully lacking in this department. The robes are there, as is the stereotypical staff, and the cloak looks like some kind of pelt but there is nothing more. This is a 'serious' Warhammer model.  

As has become my whim, I used the colour token from the McDeath box set as a guide to painting him. He was great fun to work on and was one of those 'paint themselves' jobs. I really liked the flesh tones I achieved, particularly the bald head, though the model looks strangely similar to my neighbour, Phil, in both facial features and stature. The red too, turned out better than expected, thanks to a subtle orange highlight. As far as I know, Phil never wears red. 

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable figure which sees all the Donaldbane related characters  fully complete.