Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Bretonnia, Again!

Hello all! Problems abound once again and explain the fluctuating nature of posts here this month. But at least I can snatch a few moments to share these great old dioramas by the Perry's. Play spot the Bretonnian figure in these 'really rather historical' Citadel set-ups and marvel over the proper old school scenery too. 

The two scenes here are all rather 'too realistic' to be considered Warhammer don't you think? The tone of the the scenery is different in style to much of the stuff scene in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. For years I pondered this strange observation. But in recent times, I have uncovered threads that lead towards a 'yet another' unpublished GW game that would have put the Bretonnian range centre stage. For its seems, for a while anyway, that a knight vs knight wargame was being developed in the famous Design Studio. Sadly, shots like these, the outstanding Bretonnian range and few other sources are all that remain of this project. 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

'Eavy Metal Special: White Dwarf 129

Issue 129 of White Dwarf had a great selection of fantasy models in its 'Eavy Metal pages and made a welcome change to the sheer number of orks that had been turning up. Pleasingly, many of the models exhibited were Realm of Chaos inspired pieces, though the majority of them had been seen before. 

The first page (shown above) follows this pattern, with a number of models (the Tzeentch champions and the Bolter Wielding Nurgle chap) having been published before, though there are plenty of new pieces. The Chaos Champion on the Chaos Steed is lovely and contains lots of little quirks worth stealing for your own miniatures. Firstly, this model bears a shield with the chaotic eight pointed star and reminds us that even when painting classic figures you don't have to ally them to any particular god - something that can be rather useful if you want the option of fielding different chaotic forces but don't fancy masses of painting. 

And the black and white chequering has shades of Malal too, don't you think? 

The Champion of Nurgle on the Palanquin also impresses me. But then again, its an impressive model that still demands a high price. I foolishly sold my example some years ago for not much at all and then struggled to get hold of another one for under £50. The Daemons book that was published five years or so by GW reintroduced the Palanquin to the army and increased interest in them I guess. The one shown here is painted in suitably grotty colours and looks to smell absolutely revolting - though its the solitary contrasting yellow Nurgling that I like the most. If you are only going to own one larger Realm of Chaos piece, then this one is definitely one to consider.

The two central Nurgle Champions on foot are also worth considering, if only for the interesting (and really simple) conversion where the model on the left has had its halberd replaced with a sword. The model to the left, armed with a sword and pistol (rather piratical if you ask me) has a rather unusual colour scheme for Nurgle; blue and yellow, but one that is executed well. I love finding little gems like this as they can inspire you to paint up your Nurgle models in colours you wouldn't normally consider. 

This second page of Chaos Champions is almost entirely made up from reprinted material. But one model on this page is worth discussing, not because of its paint job but because of its perceived price. Have a look at the Chaos Champion second down from the left, with the Face of a Plaguebearer and double handed sword. When I first started toying with collecting Old School Models in about 2008, I set out to get my hands on as many of the Jes Goodwin chaos champions as possible. 

I am glad I did, though I still lack one or two, for they can now go for healthy prices being so desirable. 

Well, back then you could easily pick up many of them for about 99p. Not so the model we are discussion, and I regularly saw it selling for £15-£20 even then. I got it for £7.77 if I recall correctly, only as that was my highest offer and the winner of the auction declined to pay the £22 or whatever he originally bid. These days, I have not seen the model sell for anything near this amount which provides some of us with a valuable lesson - the price of miniatures goes up as well as down!

Adrian Wink is a name that some of you may well of heard of. He was a prolific contributor to Golden Demon competitions over a long period and won the Slayer Sword in 1997. Here he shows off some of the earlier work. Back in the day, his plastic skeletons were extremely influential for me because I so wanted to emulate his bow strings on his archers. I can remember raiding my mother's sewing box and using pink thread. Its sufficient to say that the results were not as good as Mr Wink's. 

Its nice to see his Marauder Skeletons painted up so well on this page, especially after our recent discussion about them. Many of us agreed that the pirate skeleton shown above is a particular favourite to this day. 

I shall leave you with this final page. Not Warhammer but definitely Realm of Chaos! The wonderfully twisted, chaotic and nightmarish Chaos Renegades. Warped, utterly!

Hope you enjoyed.


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Acceptable in the '80s: Marauder Beastmen

Issue 129 of White Dwarf came and went following the now familiar pattern of abundant Rogue Trader and Big Box game stuff, including the seminal Space Marine Armour Variants by Rick Priestley. Warhammer Fantasy Battle is relegated to a few painted figures in the 'Eavy Metal section and the now ubiquitous Marauder Miniatures release.

That month, it was chaos beastmen. 

Now I have many, many Citadel beastmen in my collection, including thirty-odd painted up examples, all of which are different, Back in the early '90s, it was much the same, though most of my models were but sad daubings with paint and brush - a bit like today according to some! Still, I really enjoyed the range for its malevolence and diversity. Even the old Ral Partha beastmen were worthy of ranking up alongside the Citadel ones I had, in fact, many of them were even more zany and bizarre as the mid to late '80s ranges. 

The trouble with the Marauder range was that they just were not as good. They just became the generic muscular goated head men that they would remain, largely, until this day. I expect that producing models to a more coherent design philosophy was much much easier than just letting your sculptors run amok with their wild imaginations, and to be far, some of the examples produced between 1985-7 are really rather naff, but there are more than enough diamonds amongst them to make the risk worthwhile. 

Perhaps Marauder lacked the resources or time and these models were all they had time to produce. At the time I was sorely disappointed by this release, and my feelings haven't changed to this day. There are many great models in the Marauder range (Ogres? Chimera?) but these beastmen are not part of that elite group. 

Even today, with all the sculpting technology that companies have at their beck-and-call, most of the ranges I have seen still hark back to this generic model. The goat man. I think this is largely due to the influence of modern plastic Warhammer figures, after all the other companies just ape the biggest fish, but I for one would really like to see a more frightening, mutated, varied range arrive one day!

Hopefully, sculpted by Kev Adams at the Foundry! (;


After our recent discussions about the different types of troll that can be found in the Third Edition Warhammer World, I thought it apt to have a quick glance at another range that we haven't really given much love to here at Realm of Chaos 80s. During some recent research, I found these lovely two pages from the 'Eavy Metal section in White Dwarf 129 detailing the new (in 1990) Bretonnian range designed by the prolific Perry Twins - who also did some of the trolls we looked at last time!

This little selection serves a a prelude to what would be released some eight months later, with the full blown range of Bretonnians. I can well remember being absolutely fascinated by this group of miniatures at the time, partly due to the historical nature of the miniatures, but also because of the wonderfully bright and patterned colour schemes they came with. 

Something else worth pointing out is that each of the miniatures is named, though the references are far more historical and less pun-tastic that back in the 1980s phase. 

The article also moves on the showcase the mounted knights and the all new (then) plastic horses to replace the rather chunky plastic originals. Again, they are given quasi-historical names, including the curious 'The Green Knight' who seems completely lacking in that particular colour. Unless the green is suggesting that he not yet tasted battle!?

A truly great range this. I look forwards to exploring it a little more with you in the future. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

For Whom the Bell Trolls: Trolls in 2nd and 3rd Edition Warhammer

I love trolls.
Not the kind who lurk on internet forums the world over, usually hiding behind a pseudonym and a computer screen, that must spout forth how 'correct' their opinion is and how 'foolish' everyone else is. I am sure you will know one or two characters like that by now.
I love the big, ugly and stupid variety (actually, they sound rather similar to the latter, don't you think?) who were uncommonly popular during the 1980s. My interest in them was sparked when I came across the ad for Aly Morrison's C20 Trolls, released in 1985, which I have used to begin this post.
What I didn't realise is that in 2nd and 3rd Edition Warhammer there was more to a troll than being a troll, there were different types, some of which remain in the game twenty-five years or more later. Namely, Marsh Trolls, Cave Trolls, Hill Trolls and Warrior Trolls. Discovering this got me thinking - what type of troll would my troll (Throgg, give a little cheer if you have met him!) be?
Considering that he carries but a stone, is even more stupid that the average troll and wears nothing but a lioncloth that a dwarf with very poor personal hygiene would look at, turn green and ask to leave the room I would say he was a Hill Troll.
Its clear that the four models heralded by the advertisment reflect each of the four types of troll. But what of the others? Which are which and can you decide for you own trolls? Let's have a look at some of the troll miniatures that were put out in the 1980s. Unsurprisingly, trolls had long be popular and models of them have been made since the 1970s. Follow the links below to Solegends if you want to know more about these, I have just selected the miniatures that reflect the 'look' of Warhammer 2 and 3 as I see it.
These trolls were produced by the Perry Twins as far as I can tell. They are comical and rather gangly but have that brutal stupidity that one would expect from these slow-witted creatures. They are also blessed with some of the best names ever created for trolls (perhaps via Tim 'I make up the names' Pollard?) such as Dovogrod Gutsucker, Shakined Bone Bender, Rattlebones Bowlegs and Grog Stuntycrusher among others.
I love these models and they are my prefered ones to represent these rather dim-witted of monsters. Sadly, I have never been able to lay my hands on any of them for a decent price so I suspect that are very popular with other collectors and old school gamers too! 

Here we have slightly different painted versions of the models shown in the advertisment at the top of the page. Until, I spotted the image I was totally unaware of the existance of the 'Warrior Troll' model shown here. Its funny how despite years of research, article writing and months spent trawling eBay, there are new models and ranges to discover!
This range is my second favourite, and are made all the more desirable to me knowing that they represent different types of troll. Chap with the large tree trunk is my favourite of the bunch! 

I threw this example in because I love Kev Adam's stuff. If memory serves, this was one of the very first models that was put into production designed by the Goblinmaster. Kev once told me that there was a second version of this model, a variant that he made but was never produced. I am pretty sure he said he still had it somewhere, so hopefully we will get to see it one day!
Again this is a very popular model. Try finding one under £40 and you are on to a good thing! 
Now these are a real surprise and further echo the fact that despite the years and intensive research there are still plenty of things to discover. For example, these two unreleased trolls were produced by former GW camerawhizz, Phil Lewis, presumably around 1990 and as of yesterday I had no idea that they even existed.

Seeing them makes me wonder if they had any connection with the background book/article about trolls that Graeme Davis told me he once worked on, and that was rejected for no clear reason. Who knows?

Trolls from Marauder Miniatures : Aly Morrison

Finally, we have the Marauder trolls put out in 1989. If you look closely, you can just make out good old Throgg, only with blue skin and no Slaaneshi marking on his beer gut. Like the trolls we have already seen, these are all grotesquely good fun, but seem to be a little more coherent as a group. At this point in Warhammer's history, there seems to have been a drive to standardise the 'look' of many of the creatures and units coming out for the game. This had positive and negative results as we all know, just look at the Big Hat Chaos Dwarfs!
So then, trolls!
Do you love them or loathe them?
And can you work out what type of troll your troll is?

Friday, 14 November 2014

WFRP'd: On the Road - Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay's First Proper Article!

Though the launch details concerning WFRP appeared in White Dwarf 83, it wasn't until issue 85 hit the newsstands that we got the first proper fresh material published by Games Workshop. Considering that The Enemy Within was due for release and work was continuing on completing Shadows Over Bogenhafen and Death on the Reik, this first dip of the toe into producing content for the new RPG was small scale to say the least.

It weighed in at a measly 2 pages.

Rather disappointing if compared with the lavish opulence of two issues prior.

When you begin to study the first proper article in more detail you can see that Mr Graeme Davis was at the helm of the keyboard in this particular month, and he went as far to state that what was on offer were 'encounters' rather than scenarios. These were throw-away seeds of adventures that could be, with a little imagination, be used to grow something greener. Still, there are some intriguing ideas here for any GM running ANY campaign, and that includes people putting together games of WFB3 with narrative in mind.

Let's explore a little further shall we?

Emmaretta is the first of these, and documents a rather interesting character that doesn't appear to be exactly what she seems. But instead of instantly beating us over the head with chaos, spiky bites optional, Graeme opts for something different. Though she is posing as a hunter (and being alone in the woods in the Old World is an odd thing, even for a hunter) she is in fact, a werecat. A werecat on a journey to free her lover from prison. No daring escape plots no, this is WFRP after all, but a simple case of a bail payment. The danger is that her lover, also a werecat, is not yet able to control his transformations and the full moon grows ever nearer!

Now meeting a character in a strange place who isn't as they seem is hardly a new idea, but getting players to think one way and them surprising them in another is what good GM do. I think that a character like Emmaretta is perfect for small scale skirmish games. The players could meet a figure as they advance who, depending on player choice, can become an ally or an enemy. I can assure you, they won't be thinking of werecats when you describe those rustles in the bush!

Graeme wisely leaves the resolution to this meeting up to you. A couple of evening's play could probably be wrought from the scenarios suggested, with the characters lending a hand to overcome corrupt officials or overwhelmed guards with a prison block invaded by a hungry cat! Though I have never used this scenario in a game, thinking about it now I would probably hold off the fact that she is a werecat until the very end, and push my players into helping rescue the lover along with lots of tension building 'can you remove the key from the sleeping jailor's belt' type activities. I quite like the idea of the two lovers disappearing into the evening's dusk, having said their farewells to the players, only to transform into the werecat forms and dart away into the undergrowth. Of course, I would have the female cat turning back to face the bewildered PCs, raising a paw in silent thanks befroe disappearing into the night.

But that is just me.

A Friend in Need is a atmospheric if a little familiar ghost story. having run this little scenario myself, I can testify about how spooky you can make it. You can really over play the role of the Inn Keeper in warning the PCs not to wander the road at night. Just as you can easily contrive a reason for them to shun the warmth on the fireside. Once out on the road, the darkness and chittering noises in the darkness can help conjure all kinds of potential foes and getting your players to make a few random intelligence and willpower tests only helps build the tension.

Then comes the rain. I always enjoyed rewarding my players with some expensive and fragile and then destroying the said prize. And rain if a perfect tool for frustrating your players. The sodden respite that the roadside shrine can be used to introduce the fact that priceless copy of the Dus Magmentum is now a soggy ruin.

The appearance of the ghost is also great fun to run, particularly on the dark and stormy night. I always appreciated the fact that if your players paid for a costly funeral from their own funds, they were ultimately rewarded with four rubies, worth around 200 crowns in total. Of course, knowing me, there was nearly always a reason for such just rewards to be lost or otherwise confiscated!

Can encounters like this make a good transition to the tabletop? I think so, and the appearance of a model in a skirmish game or mid-sized battle who has an agenda all of their own (totally unrelated to the conflict itself) is always useful for creating subplots. I also like the idea of the players unconnected with the 'ghost' having no idea about what is going on, or what reason the 'ghost', or an appropriate character, might have for being there. Such thoughts breed questions and questions lead to great narrative opportunity!

To conclude, a simple set of encounters like this is not what one would expect to see after such an impressive launch but it is clear even at this early stage, that WFRP is not a mere hack and slash game. Both these situations favour resolution through roleplay rather than action. Something radically different to the Fantasy Battle version. The mix of fantasy and dark horror is welcome and bodes well for the future! 

Illuminations: Mind Bending Art by Ian Miller from White Dwarf 86

While I was researching some of the posts I am preparing about the early days of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, I came across this edition of the once regular Illuminations feature from White Dwarf. In case you don't know, or cannot remember due to all those paint fumes, Illuminations was a semi-regular article published in White Dwarf that sought to showcase the work of the many inhouse and freelance artists that were part if the Games Workshop stable.
A quick glance down the roster of names who were (or had) produced art for the company by the mid -1980s is astonishing and puts their current crop of scribblers to shame really. The two page spread that we see here chronicled some of the work that the famous Ian Miller had contributed to various publications.

Some of the pieces shown here are still well known, but there are a few that I cannot recall seeing elsewhere. Gazing at these vibrant images and getting lost in their intricate, gothic detailing makes me realise how much I need to own Ratespike!