Monday, 1 December 2014

Acceptable in the '80s: Marauder Miniatures Chaos Thug Regiment

The ad as it originally appeared in WD 130
Hello all. This post is the first I have shared since I started messing around with the look of the blog. Its remained pretty much the same for nearly three years now and I felt like fiddling around with the background and banner a little. Its early days, and I may well scrap it altogether and do something entirely different. The great old school Games Workshop coverage will continue though, don't you worry, and the many thousands of your who visit the site each day will still get to enjoy the same old stuff. 

Why mess with a successful formula?

Issue 130 of White Dwarf didn't just contain the marvellous Chivalry rules or the launch of Mighty Empires (more on that soon) it also contained the now regular release from Marauder Miniatures. This time it was the turn of the Marauder Chaos Thug regiment, and judging by how many of these I have seen for sale online over the years, they must have really sold well. That, or everyone is trying desperately to get rid of them!

But are the models any good? We have seen through past editions of this series that for every classic Marauder Miniature that we examine there are one or two real duds. In my opinion, the Chaos Thugs that we are looking at today reside somewhere in the middle of those two categories. 

They are neither hit nor miss. 

If truth be told I always hated the Marauder interpretation of the range, much preferring the look and variation of the Citadel range. Its hard to compare a mere six models with the breadth of the fevered imaginings of the Citadel design team in the latter half of the 1980s but in hindsight its clear that the Morrisons haven't attempted to. Instead, they have taken a different approach, redesigning the thug regiment as a missile unit armed with fearsome bows and ever more fearsome hairstyles. 

A much better copy sac of the range.
The standard bearer model is probably the best of the bunch and that hand painted banner is lovely. The champion and leaser models suffer a bit with 'silly pose syndrome' and the musician looks like he has got lost from filming of Robin Hood Men in Tights. I don't think the colour scheme does the miniatures justice either. Too busy. Only have two variants for the trooper models also doesn't help and I cannot imagine painting a twenty man unit of those would be much fun.

Still, they provide chaos players with an opportunity to field some missile troops in the armies, and if you have ever field a Khorne force you will know how useful such things are!

All in all. Not classics, but far from crap either!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

The White Dwarf

This is actually the third version of the White Dwarf model. Here is my interpretation of him. I borrowed colours from the original John Sibbick painting, though I lightened the skin tones to match my other dwarfs, and from a couple of other painters versions. I am really quite pleased with the result. 
Fandom is a funny thing. And Warhammer fans have to be some of the funniest. It seems that many of them are seldom happy. Perhaps its because they are locked in a perpetual plastic arms race enforced by products that follow the ever decreasing circle. A dilution of a once mighty concept down the plughole of life. 

Or maybe they are just miserable. 

Oh, and before you accuse me for targeting Warhammer fans I could point out plenty of other 'cult' groups who make ridiculous and wild statements of opinion (often disguised as fact) about anything 'new' or 'different.' Just look at the furore over that new lightsaber design in the Star Wars community after this week's teaser trailer. Some elements are all complaining that the lightsaber guard points are unrealistic etc despite the fact that there are a great many unrealistic (particularly the spacecraft that fly like aeroplanes) elements in the Star Wars Universe already. 

I thought it was a great idea when I first saw it. It raised a smile. It was something that I was not expecting. 

Warhammer used to have its surprises too. In the tail end of my regular gaming in Peterborough and Poole in about 2005 the only surprises seemed to be exclamations that the 'new codex' had now 'nerfed' a tried and tested list, optimised to perform well when lining them up and knocking them down. I expect that there will be similar vocal discord about the proposed base-size changes in 40k. 

But push back the envelope of time and we rediscover a period in history when White Dwarf and Games Workshop had a sense of humour and they weren't too po-faced to share it. 


The White Dwarf miniature that was put out as a limited release in 1986 (and was made available to all in about 1991 via the catalogue) is a great example of a more relaxed, self appreciating era. Just look at the flyer advert that was popped inside issues of WD 90 and chuckle to the various in-jokes about White Dwarf staff.

Go on, have a read. 

I love the bit about his axe being called the Edyta and is often replaced. A reference, if you were not aware, of WD's trend of burning through editors after Ian Livingstone's ten year tenure as the boss of the magazine. Before researching the history of the miniature to paint it up, I had no idea that this little flyer even existed and reading it inspired me to come up with some suitably light-hearted rules to go with my White Dwarf when I use him in games. Rather than fiddling around with the stats as presented here (what they are) I thought I would create an '80s style random table to establish what power his Edyta axe will be imbibed with.

EDYTA - Two handed axe

This weapon follows the usual rules for two handed axes in Warhammer Fantasy Battle Third Edition. 

For each new combat, and by this I mean a fresh opponent or unit, roll a D10 and consult the following table. This will inform you about which of the 10 enchantments contained within the weapon will be activated. 

D10

1: Living Stone - The wielder's skin bristles with magical energy and turns an ash grey. Flesh has been transmuted to stone and the White Dwarf's Toughness is increased by 2.
2: Marsh - The area around the wielder becomes boggy and uneven. A foul stench wafts up from beneath the turf. The ground becomes very difficult to remain stable on as the soil turns to marsh under the very feet of the White Dwarf's enemies. All opponents in base to base contact with the White Dwarf suffer -1 Initiative.
3: Cock Burn - A magical aura burns brightly from the pommel of the axe. Suddenly, a distracting sensation can be felt 'below the belt' of the opponent to the front of the White Dwarf. The terrible itch, which may or may not have been caused by a visit to 'Dirty Gerty' in Altdorf, causes the opponent to suffer a -2 Initiative for D6 turns. 
4: Blunton - The power of the Edyta affects the weapons of all enemies in base to base contact with the White Dwarf. All models suffer a -1 penalty to WS  due to their blade edges magically becoming dull and blunt. 
5: The Master's Son - Extra-ordinary fighting power surges up through the blade of Edyta and empowers the White Dwarf with the terrible skill of his ancestors. He is awarded a +1 to his WS for D6 turns. 
6: 'Gallag Her' - A hideous voice, sounding as if it is made by an enraged Yorkshireman, resounds from the blade of the Edyta. It utters the War Cry 'Gallag Her' (which is reported to be dwarfish for a very rude word indeed) which causes an instant fear test for all models or units in contact with the White Dwarf. 
7: Forest - The White Dwarf's arms become thickly muscled and as unbending as a tree's bough. The White Dwarf's Strength is increased by 1. 
8: Morning Dews - A mystic water soaks the trousers, socks, underpants etc of whatever is to the front of the White Dwarf. This causes the opponent's clothing to stick to his legs and make him walk like a constipated chicken, reducing his movement by 1. This remains in play for the rest of the game. 
9:Thorn's Ton - This magical enchantment causes spiky thorns to grow from the handle of whatever weapon the model to the White Dwarf's front is currently holding. The model will need to make an immediate I test. If failed, it drops it current weapon in pain and must fight unarmed for D3 turns. 
10: Saw Yeah! - The blade of the Edyta transform into a futuristic chainsaw. All armour saves are ignored (though magical armour and chaos armour retain a 6+ save) for D3 turns. 

Did you see what I did there?

If you are playing a game of Warhammer with dwarfs in the near future, why not try them out and let me know how you get on?

The model I painted wasn't the first the GW put out. This one was the very first, produced in the very early 1980s by all accounts. I cannot say that I have seen this one that often online for sale. 

The second version of the White Dwarf is more common than the first as it was part of the White Dwarf Personalities box set that sold bucket loads. 


Of course, there are have been a great many other White Dwarf models over the years. If you are interesting in having a browse through them then following the link below. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

A Warhammer Bestiary: Zoat


Ah, the zoat! For me, this model had the unfavourable status of 'Citadel's ugliest miniature' and I was really rather reluctant to paint it. In fact, I very nearly didn't have a zoat to paint at all (they are quite expensive you know!) and it was only down to luck I managed to pick this one up for my usual price of 'next to nothing.' 

You see, this is a zoat of two halves. I bought the leg section quite some years previously as a 99p lot on eBay and had to wait until only a couple of months ago to get my hands on the top half for a similar price. It wasn't quite the model I was after, considering that I planned back then to only but one zoat, but the one piece zoat with staff wasn't available. I wouldn't have minded paying a little bit more for that model either. 

Still, I had a complete model and it was on the list to paint, so paint it I did. One thing I knew I didn't want to do when working on this model was use any green. I am feeling a little greened out if truth be told after painting snotlings, orcs and lizardmen of late. So I chose a brown colour for my zoat and to be honest with you, I am really rather pleased with the result. I selected a complimentary yellow shade from the chest area, incorporating a little colour harmony into the process, and used bone to paint up the toenails. 

I used purple to help suggest that the creature's mouth is a little more than just a black hole and highlighted the teeth with more bone shades. The eyes were done with the classic red base and tiny yellow dot, which I feel always brings eyes to life on monsters and creatures such as these. Finally, I painted the funny sphere in the zoat's hand in a kind of electric crackling way that was only partially successful. I am not bothered as it was a first go and its certainly a technique that I would like to do again. 

To conclude, I really enjoyed this paint job and I would be more than willing to have another go at the other fantasy zoat at some time.I hope you like him too!

Orlygg

A Warhammer Bestiary: Snotlings


Despite life throwing everything at us at the moment, I have managed to get a bit of painting in recently. One thing that I have lacked is decent light to take photographs of my efforts. As some of your with know, I prefer to use natural light to capture my work and favour a printed out background to add depth and character to the image.

This morning saw a few rays of sunshine break through the eternal grey of November, so I took advantage of the sudden illumination to take a few snaps of my work. Regular readers will already know about my long term painting project 'A Warhammer Bestiary', in which I try and paint up a model for each entry in the Bestiary section. This model, or should that be models, represent snotlings, a race as 'Warhammer' as can be in my opinion. 

Why? They are rather loony, frankly, and tongue in cheek lunacy is a key element of the earlier editions of Warhammer, and GW generally in the 1980s. Puns, silly ideas and in-jokes abound. Comedy is great foil to horror. 

In researching this paint job I took the time to learn a little bit of background to the snotlings. Obviously, they are the smallest and weakest of the goblinoid races and are perhaps the most cunning and sneaking of their species. They have to be, for they live off the scraps to be found from goblins, orcs and even wild animals. Orcs are even known to farm these small creatures and use them as a food source. When desperate, they even herd them into battle!

Surprisingly, Snotlings are not evil in alignment. They lack the cruel streak to be found in their closest relations and should really be considered more of a nuisance than a threat. Their stats certainly reflect this, though interestingly they are immune to poison, perhaps due to the fungus they grow and use a weapons. 

The miniatures themselves, sculpted by Kev Adams, are great fun. Which is what you would expect from the goblinoid range of the 1980s. They models you can see here were rescued by me from a car boot sale last summer. Its amazing what you can find when the winds of luck blow, isn't it? I would certainly want to collect more of these tiny greenskins in the future as they are varied and amusing to work with. If you don't own any or haven't yet painted any, I really recommend that you do!

Next, a zoat! 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Chivalry


I my last post I made reference to another one of those 'lost' GW games that never quite made it out of the Studio and into gamer's lofts. That game was, of course, Chivalry. A good read of the first page of the article will inform any enthusiast that Chivalry was a game involving battling knights set not in the Warhammer World, but the Fourteenth century and was being developed by Alan & Mike Perry, Dave Andrews and Nigel Stillman. 

Now that is quite a design team, is it not?

Sadly, all we got to see of this game is what I present to you here in this post. A card based system for fighting one on one engagements between two knights. Though with a little conjecture, we could easily suppose that the 'Full Tilt' game published in White Dwarf 215 some seven years later may well have its origins in the Chivalry project.


So what do we have here? In truth, its a fairly simple card game that should resolve a combat quite quickly and if played between to players who are familiar with the system, fairly frantic. Thanks to the enduring images of the knights on the cards themselves, many of which display the zany humour of GW at that time, I could imagine it easy to imagine your models leaping, and slashing and blocking away with gusto. The distract cards are particularly amusing, to me anyway, and remain something I have fond memories of, as are the cleave cards, complete with bloodthirsty depictions of limbs being removed. 

By favourite card has always been the boot card. Classy!


If you don't want to read the article presented in scans I shall give you the quick gist of how the card game works. Players roll a die with the highest scorer being deemed the attacker and the lower, the defender. Each player then selects six cards (attack or defence) from the decks. The attacking player can select one of his cards to represent his first strike, or risk picking the top card on the remaining deck. Once this card has been played its laid down on the table and the defending player checks his cards to find out if he can defend such a strike. If not, the number indicated on the attack card informs the player how many cards he must lose.

Play continues until one player lacks any cards at all. 


This being GW, there are several other 'special rules' to consider that further vary the game and add a little more depth. These rules are linked to the rarer cards in the deck. 

This being White Dwarf, there are suggestions about how the system could be adapted for use in Warhammer. They suggest that the cards are used to help resolve personal challenges on the battlefield and go as far giving you a few pointers how to tweak the system to accommodate it. 


Personally, it looks like a bit of fun and a desire to use it may well encourage players to issue personal challenges just to try out the system. I cannot actually ever remember playing it though, which is a shame, as I played practically everything else GW produced during this era but it is certainly something I hope to try out in the future. 

 


So then? Anyone else remember this card game from way back in 1990? Did any of you readers actually play it? As always, please share your opinions in the comments section below!

Orlygg

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.

Orlygg.