Monday, 2 November 2015

Night of the Living Lead III: Bryan Ansell's Treasures!

No day tripper to the Wargames Foundry should miss the opportunity of exploring the glorious miniature display cabinets that the Ansells have organised. They are packed with thousands (this is not an exaggeration) of classic models from GW's Golden Age, as well as a wealth of historical models. 

I had great delight in finding many of the miniatures that Darren Matthew's spoke about during his recent interview. I managed to snap the Genestealer Cult Standard Bearer we saw last week among many others - including the Harlequin models from the boxset. Sadly, the pictures I tried taking of them were not very good, so I shall endeavour to take better ones next time I am there. 

While on the subject of the old Citadel models, it is worth pointing out here just how vibrant the colours still are after a quarter of the century. I have worked hard over the last year or so to align my painting style with that vibrancy and try and pull off the depth of colour that the 'old masters' achieved back in the day. No GrimDark TM for me. 

The multi-talented Marcus Ansell was kind enough to unlock many of the cabinets and I was subsequently able to take a few more detail shots of the more unusual models. This frontal view of the famous War Altar of Nurgle (by Ivan Bartlett) shows a few details I had never noticed before, including the rather horrific (in a good way) driver of the vehicle. Marcus and I discussed the model, and he told me how dusty the piece had become. Sadly, the piece is too fragile to clean and Marcus is certain the model has lost a little of its lustre. 

We moved on to look at the Ork fort I spotted during BOYL 3. This is a glorious model (and I spotted the rest of the scenery that went with it back at Stoke Hall later in the evening, so that survives too) that really rewards careful study, for there are so many little details here to enjoy, if you can spot them!

Hang on a minute! A converted Rhino of Nurgle? Maggots bursting forth? I only managed to find Darren Matthew's infamous war machine of chaos among many of the other classic tanks. Interestingly, the Land Raider shown in the WD image used to illustrate this model on Darren's interview was sitting next to it! I sent the images of this model I took to him and he couldn't believe the piece still existed!

Stuart brought with him the 'missing fishman' to give to Bryan - only for Bryan to produce the same model from his pocket. During the summer, The Mighty Avenger told us that he didn't actually own the third model from the range - but if someone could get him an example he'd cast it up with a new weapon in a similar vein to the Laserburn (and later 40k) fishmen models. I own the previous two fishmen, so I am looking forwards to one day completing the triad of terror. 

Kev Adams produced a special 'Halloween' goblin to celebrate the spooky time of year. The figure was given away for free for all attendees and currently sits on my painting table for completion. Foundry were kind enough to give me a second figure to pass on to Chico. 

Check out this monstrosity! Yes, Kev Adams has been at it again and the ranks of the Warmonger goblinoids (and ogroids) has mushroomed. He has moved on to start working on the beastmen range Foundry will eventually release. Bryan plans to have comprehensive models for all fantasy 'races' as part of this project, though the likelihood of this model being cast in its present state is unlikely. An emasculated version is more likely!

Still, its always a pleasure to see the Goblin Master's sense of humour brought forth in greenstuff!

I also spotted a large assortment of 'ogre-face' shields also sculpted by Kev. These were as varied as they were numerous. I own quite a few of these already, but the new greens I saw surpass even those. 

Where does he get his ideas? 

That question was answered a little later on in the evening as we were invited back to Stoke Hall to attend a gathering for Bryan's birthday. Diane cooked some excellent food (as always) and Marcus wowed us all with a brilliant fireworks display! The concepts for the warmonger project were brought out for our enjoyment and proved a fascinating journey through the business of miniature design. 

Recognise any of these faces?

This riot of ideas from Bryan are passed on to Kev to create the greens we looked at earlier on in the post. 

From left to right - Mags (Staurt Klatcheff's wife), Wayne England, Warlord Paul, Bryan Ansell and Steve Beales discuss the creative process behind this latest batch of fantasy models.

We were shown two enormous folders packed with ideas - written on all manner of left over bits of paper and card. Bryan said that he has to write ideas down as soon as they come to him, so uses whatever he can find lying around. 

Even going as far as annotating photocopied images.

Steve Casey spotted this reassuring note on one of the pages. A return to 'proper' beastmen.

As the guests for the party began to arrive, I felt a tap on my shoulder and found Steve Casey, the famous bridgendsteve on eBay, who had discovered something behind one of the sofas. Do you recognise this painting?

Yes, it is the original painting for the cover of the First Citadel Compendium by John Blanche!

Thanks must be made to the Ansells, our generous hosts, and to these fine people, who were (and are) wonderful people to spend time with, roll dice and invent rude and amusing jokes with. 

I will be back tomorrow with a post about the enigmatic Wayne England and a closer look at his glorious sketchbook. 


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Unreleased Citadel C series Cleric 1

I blogged about this model a few days ago but could only share a rather poor photograph. I managed to capture a couple of snaps today in the back garden using my preferred illumination, natural light, and post them up in my usual style. 

This is an extremely rare model. It is part of a wider range of wizards and clerics that never saw the inside of a blister way back in 1987. The CCM website can provide you with comprehensive details of this range of models and it can be found here. As you will have seen, the range has a real mixture of models comprising it. Some are quite obviously unfinished, or were in fact test or training pieces, and it is clear why they never saw release. Others, like the example I have painted above, are wonderful models and you are left wondering why they never made the cut. Talking to a fair few of the personalities involved in the early days of Citadel over the years it is fair to say that things were sometimes a little, and I am quoting Bryan Ansell here, 'disorganised' in the 1980s, so perhaps that explains why little gems like this never made the grade. 

He was a wonderful model to paint but I must admit he has sat on my painting table since August along with the other unreleased wizard I have won in Foundry Painting Competitions. But the need for a small group of miniatures for yesterday's game galvanised me into action. 

The face and hands were fairly straight forwards to paint and I used my usual 'flesh' method. I use a suitable skin tone and a base (in this case it was the new GW Kislev one) and add a spot of dark red and a little brown. Mixing this up gives you a nice dark shade that is perfect for basecoating. I cover every part of the face and hands, leaving no areas of darkness (I used a brown undercoat for the figure) and once dry, wash over with a watery chestnuty ink. Once the ink was is dry, I paint back over with my original base colour and tidy things up. Then adding increasing amounts of the starting colour (the new GW Kislev one) I slowly work up highlights until the face 'pops' as some painters say. 

It is pretty much the same method for everything else you can see here, bar the toad, the laurel and the staff. 

I knew I was going to be using a great deal of white on this figure, so I chose a grey to darken the beard and a blue to deepen the white cloak. I kept the pale tone style for the staff also.  

In case you were wondering, he is holding a small frog or toad on the palm of his hand. It is a wonderful character trait that amused me the moment I saw it and was the reason I chose the model from the selection offered. The amphibian was painted in exactly the same green as the laurel and the bunch of herbs at the wizard's belt, only I used a great deal of sunburst yellow to build up the highlights. I feel that the resulting colour compliments to other green on the fugure very well indeed. 

Overall, he was a real pleasure to work on. 

Night of the Living Lead III: An Overview

Good morning all - well I got back nigh on midnight yesterday after an outstanding day at the Wargames Foundry, in East Stoke. As you will know, I attended the Night of the Living Lead event organised by Warlord Paul and Richard Irvine. 

I travelled up to the event with the Sealed Blister Collector himself, Stuart Klatcheff and his wife Mags and we arrived quite early only to see Tony Yates wandering around with his fellow wargaming enthusiast, Alex. 

Tony had brought his pens and set about producing drawings for Oldhammer fans as is usual custom. Hoping to make the most of Tony's skills with a pen I challenged him to draw for me a barbarian princess. 

And here she is completed. Tony had previously drawn me a chaos warrior in pencil and this piece will soon be gracing the conservatory that I use as my painting room. I am sure that the wife is going to love it! 

Bryan, Diane and Marcus were (as always) fine hosts and kept us fed and watered throughout the day. The Mighty Avenger was full of amusing anecdotes and brought in many of his 'treasures'. Don't worry, we will be looking at them in greater detail in a future post. 

We has the pleasure of meeting Wayne England and having a look at some of his recent work. He was full of fascinating tales about life in the legendary Design Studio of the 1980s.

Bryan's stunning collection of vintage Citadel and historical miniatures were on display, and some of them were even unleashed from the cabinets! Here we can see a close up of the 40k ork scenery piece known as 'The Drop' - essentially a greenskin toilet full of fungus. Bizarrely, its made from a piece of mdf bearing the name of a factory not far from the house I grew up in in Wareham!!!

Players came from far and wide and brought all manner of miniatures with them. I shall write about the game in more detail in its own dedicated post in a few days time once I have sorted out the enormous amount of photographs that were taken. 

The scenario was not a pitched battle. It was a small scale scenario game and so offered a wealth of opportunities for the player and GM (of which we needed two!) and provided us all with the need to create small, characterful forces. 

For example, Matthew Dunn brought along this Halloween inspired pumpkin delivery vehicle along with a small band of intrepid gnomes. The figures we used came from a large number of miniature manufacturers but old school Citadel predominated - can you spot the classic gnome wizard here?

We were lucky enough to have access to the brilliant tables at Foundry and loads of buildings that were brought in by fellow Oldhammerers. Tony Yates offered us the use of many unusual pieces from his own collection that were older than most of the players, including the fantastic 'Wicker Man' inspired piece you can see in the photograph above. 

It was a brilliant day and we have organised another one for February. That game will be a pitched battle so expect to see a great number of different units on the table then!

I have loads more posts to bring you. Hopefully, this overview will whet your appetite for more! 


Friday, 30 October 2015

Night of the Living Lead III: Jeremiah O. Lygg and his hired goons

Good evening all! I have managed to put together a nice little warband for tomorrow's game at the Wargames Foundry and the leader is this; one Jeremiah O. Lygg, the rather dubious druid. It is fair to say that he isn't a good druid - more a dishonest one - but he was great fun to paint. He is part of the old Citadel C series from 1987 but for some quirk of fate was never actually released. You can find an unpainted example of the figure here at Solegends if you are interested. 

I won him in a painting competition last summer at BOYL3 and he has been sitting around for ages in need of painting up - so I took the impending game as my cue to get him finished. Sorry about the crap photo - but by the time I had based him the light was gone and I had to resolve to using a desk lamp - which washes out most of the colour. I will take some better photos of him and his 'hired goons' tomorrow. 

He will be leading these gents; Paulus, Chico, Stefan and Ratter on a perilous adventure down an abandoned gnomish mine. 

Here's the GM's background: 

Deep in the mines at the dead of night, a grinding sound. But the sound of the rock being hewn is not the work of the miners. None of the gnomes of the village of Thingwall have been down the mine in days. Nobody would dare, not since several of the miners went missing. Some were found days later with their throats slit and their blood spilled on the floor in the shape of a pentagram. Others have simply disappeared.

YOU are an adventurer, called upon by the Duchess of Thingwall to help the little people in their hour of need. YOU and your band of companions have been asked to investigate. Who or what has caused the disappearance of the miners? Who or what is producing the strange grinding sound in the night?

Beware. Not all is as it seems in the village. Who can be trusted? More importantly, what's in it for you? And how can you be sure that the other would-be 'investigators' aren't involved in the murders and disappearances themselves?

An adventure for small bands of warriors (3-5 models) using the Warhammer 3rd edition rules.

And here they are, in a much better picture I took in the summer. 

As always with these scenarios, and you can expect a full report on all the goings on Sunday, we all had to draw up some background for our forces for Richard, the GM, to play around with. Here's mine: 

"Oi, that's my bacon!" Chico blustered, grabbing Paulus' wrist and squeezing his flesh until the greasy meat was released back onto the filthy table. Paulus gave his fellow footpad a hearty shove and leaned back against the slime-ridden wall that held up the abandoned farmhouse, the smirk never shifting from his lips.
"Calm down you two," Stefan mumbled, "I have nearly got the lead up to temperature and need you rapscallions in your places. These coins won't forge themselves."
Chico picked up the stamp Stefan had left on the workbench. Next to it were the cooling piles of the previous hours work - piles of ersatz coins any fence would be proud to shift. He peered at the tiny writing that curled across the face of the coinage.
"What king is that supposed to be?" He asked for the hundredth time.
Stefan sighed, and told him.
Three ne'er-do-wells, Chico, Stefan and Paulus, are busy doing what they do best - forging coins and running up debts. They are just about to complete work on a huge order of 'McDeath' groats when there is a sharp knock at their door. Sure that their whereabouts were secret, the three footpads are startled and reach for their blades in panic. Before any of them can react, the battered door creaks open to reveal the thin, wiry frame of Jeremiah O. Lygg - the dubious druid of Dunststadz.
"Good evening, there is no need to be alarmed!" The druid said, his deep voice filling the room twice over. "Do settle down Gerald!"
Chico looked at Paulus. Paulus looked at Chico.
"Who's Gerald?" They asked in unison.
"I need your help once again," Jeremiah went on, ignoring (or perhaps, not hearing) the question. Adventurers are needed to clear a mine to the South and there are, well, reasons why I need to be there. Reasons that are not open for discussion... Do sit still Gerald!!"
Baffled, Chico peered around the room to check that there were indeed only four of them. Who the blazes was this Gerald?
"I can pay," the druid went on, "and in Imperial silver too!" The old man's eyes looked over the fraudulent coins on table with indifference. "Do you still have that old hound, what was he called? Fatter?"
"Ratter." Paulus corrected.
"That's right!" The druid exclaimed, adjusting the pouch at his side. "I have need of his nose - stop that Gerald! We shall meet beneath the sign of the crow at dawn. Don't be late."
With the words spoken, the druid turned to leave. "Come on Gerald, let's go home," he said to the large, green toad that curled up on his palm, it's yellow eyes glinting evilly in the gloom.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

A Tale of Four Oldhammer Gamers: The Palanquin is complete!

Way back in September I thought it would be pretty straightforwards painting up this miniature for the Tale of Four Oldhammer Painters project. Little did I realise what I was letting myself in for, as the job took far longer to complete than I previously thought. Sure, much of that was due to the impact that a new year group and curriculum would have on my lifestyle - though it is true to say that I am really enjoying the class I have and the challenges they throw up, more so than ever before. But, I get home quite late now and the light has long gone. You see, I much prefer to work in natural light, preferably morning light so painting this time of year is confined to Saturday and Sunday. I have a nice arrangement with the wife which is fairly simple - I have until 10am each weekend morning to do what I like before she can give me anything more 'useful' to do. So there is my painting time! Only, much of the previous four or five weekends has been taken up with weddings, anniversaries or trips to Chessington World of Adventures. 

Ultimately, time has been short. 

Still, I have managed to slowly chip away at the project in tiny chunks over September and October and I am pleased to say that the palanquin is finished. I have also nearly finished October's entry in the project too, but have about three or so hours left of work to complete on him until he can be shown. I think last time we spoke about the palanquin I had finished work on the chair itself and had the rest of the structure to complete. 

My first job was to paint up the three nurglings that can be found on the chair of the model. As before, I used the new Foundry green paints I picked up at this year's BOYL to pick them out, and used purple as a spot colour. Red and yellow were used to highlight the eyes and provide a few raw looking spots to their bellies. My personal favourite was the little chap poking his head out from under the chair with his tongue hanging out. The palanquin structure was highlighted in a fairly dark gold. I toyed with the idea of using a silver highlight to bring this out, but I felt it made the palanquin look too clean. No good for a Nurgle character I thought. 

I opted to not include the two banners that go with the model for several reasons. The first is a purely practical one - they are quite weak and I was worried that transporting the model with them attached would only result in them becoming broken. Secondly, they are quite small and I fancy trying to convert my own - perhaps adding some iconography based on what the Nurgle warband get up to in games. 

The slime trickling out the back caused a few problems. I wanted the slime to be green, after all that IS the colour of slime but I already had two different versions of that colour on the model. In the end, I created something a little more pastel and used yellow ink washes to bring the colour tone up a little. During this process, I noticed a little maggot thingy had been sculpted on the back of the chair, so I used a little red and white to pink it up and create an interesting contrast. 

With the palanquin complete, it was time to work on the rider. I wanted him to contrast against the opulent colour choices of the palanquin itself, so chose a muted, metallic scheme to start with. This was fairly easy to achieve through a black basecoat drybrushed with a dark silver. This brought out much of the detail and left some suitable shadowing in places - but it was much, much too bright. Once dry, I washed over the silver with a mix of black and chestnut inks and used the wife's hairdryer to speed up the drying process. Then, I washed over the darkened silver with a brown/orange 'rust wash' and again made use of the hairdryer to speed up the stage. 

Next it was a case of painstakingly edge highlighting the armour in the same silver I used to base the model. Here and there I picked out detail in a dark gold too, and then dulled everything down with a black ink glaze. The chainmail was then washed with a blue/green mix to represent verdigris, as were the golden areas on the armour. These were highlighted up with the original gold. 

I chose purple for the gloves to create some variation on the armour. It was a very simple layering job in which a dark purple was painted over the gloves and slowly highlighted up by adding bleached bone to the mix. The face proved to be challenging. After basing in flesh, I washed over with a chestnut ink/ dark red paint wash and highlighted up with the flesh colour, adding increasing amounts of bleached bone until the skin look sickly enough. Purple washes were added to the eye holes and the exposed brain. Once dry, I drybrushed over the brain with bleached bone and glazed with a bloody red. I picked the damaged eye out with a brighter red and a nice yellow dot for a pupil. 

Wanting further contrast with the dark armour and the palanquin itself, I went for a fourth green colour, this time created with the addition of sunburst yellow. I used it to paint up the whip to look like some living coil of chaos - pure yellow was used to highlight the horrible spots that cover the weapon. 

Finally, the sword was painted - and on a whim I went for a blazing red, similar to the one I used fofrone of the faces on the back of the palanquin. I felt that this would add further contrast and tie the seat figure back into the rest of the model. 


It certainly was an epic project and one I really enjoyed. I feel like painting this palanquin has pushed me as a miniature painter and provided some interesting problems to solve. I am also really pleased to have finally painted up one of the this brilliant models. I have wanted one for over twenty-five years so this sees a wish fulfilled!  Sorry about the rather dark snaps -  I use natural light to photograph all of my work and in the depths of October trying to find some is bit of challenge. 

So what do you dear readers think about my Palanquin of Nurgle?

The Harlequin: An interview with Darren Matthews

Iconic cover art from the original Rogue Trader released harlequins. But what do they have to do with Darren Matthews? Read on. 
Oldhammer is a product of two things. Nostalgia and Social Media. Without both of these, we wouldn't have the community that so many of us enjoy today. And it's an international community too, with regular events held in the UK, US and beyond. The ease of communication that modern technology allows has fuelled our considerable growth over the last three years and facilitated the organisation of events, trades and research impossible a decade ago.

We must owe the existence of this latest Old School interview to Social Media as its subject, Darren Matthews, became part of the online Oldhammer Community through the Facebook Group. In case you do not recognise the name, he was one of the original members of the 'Eavy Metal team way back in the later part of the 1980s. But Darren's connection to Citadel and Games Workshop doesn't just begin in the later part of the decade - he was involved from practically the beginning, as we shall see.

Thankfully for us all, Darren was more than willing to exercise his memory and draw deep into the Warp to bring us some recollections of his time with the company - doing the job all of us really wanted to do: paint miniatures for money. So, on behalf of Oldhammerers everywhere, I will thank Darren for giving up his time to talk to us about his time at Games Workshop.

RoC80s: So what first got you into fantasy gaming and miniatures?

DM: I first got into Fantasy via watching movies and my Dad was a massive fan of Jason and the Argonauts so I suppose it went from there. I bought my first Citadel minis in around 1980 at a little shop on Steep in Lincoln. They were the Fantasy Tribe Skeletons. Kobolds were my next purchase and things sort of went from there. A Toy Shop in Lincoln started to sell blister packs and it was an open road from then on. Around 1985, I met Chaz Elliot in Lincoln and he got totally hooked on fantasy miniatures and I was in awe of his painting and practiced to emulate. A shop also opened in Lincoln that just dealt in fantasy miniatures and games so I started painting for the display case in the shop for lead. Also, I read the Colour Of Magic in its first ever release by a certain Mr Pratchett and was totally hooked after. I never got into gaming or could get my head round it but was collector and painter from the start.

Fantasy Tribe Skeletons: Darren Matthew's first Citadel miniatures.
RoC80s: So you were rather experienced with fantasy miniatures and their painting by the time you began working for Games Workshop. How did you get the job of painting professionally?

DM: In early 1987, when I was in my early 20s, I moved back to Nottingham and enjoyed collecting and painting miniatures. The work I had been doing in archaeology had come to an end through a cut in funding and I decided to send a sample of my painting in to the studio but with no real hope that it would lead to anything. A week later, John Blanche turned up at my front door and offered me the chance of working in the studio!

I was stunned to say the least at the time and until then thought my painting was nowhere near good enough for White Dwarf.  Sean Masterton, who was the then editor of White Dwarf, turned up with John. It was after work I found out later and they were going for a curry!

My first day was one of nerves beyond belief and a real baptism of fire meeting the established painting team. At that time, The 'Eavy Metal studio was comprised of Mike McVey, Colin Dixon, Dave Andrews and Sid and John Blanche was our boss. Tony Ackland and H also shared the studio and I really felt out of my depth. After a few weeks I understood most of the banter and what was required of a full time painter in the studio. 

Some of the other 'Eavy Metal boys from Darren's time. Lee 'I have a magnificent set of '80s curtains' Dudley was helping out during his summer holidays. Lucky bugger!
RoC80s: You mentioned the elusive Sid the Painter. We don't know much about him beyond a few photographs and an article or two. What can you tell us about him?

DM: Sid was called Tim Croxton. I think that is how you spell his surname and he came from Eastwood. He was a very intelligent guy, but a bit of a rebel. He was very good natured deep down when you got to know him.He was big into his motorbikes and cars. I don't know what happened to him after he left and I left not long after as the studio vibe had started to change.

RoC80s: What were the early days like training to be a Studio Painter?

DM: For the first few weeks I finished off old projects that had been on the back burner; such as the Wood Elves, Orcs and Snotlings from the fantasy ranges. Gradually, I was given new releases to paint before they would appear in White Dwarf, normally the following month. I also started on a few things in my spare time and meeting the Perry Twins who worked in a different part of the studio started me off on collecting historical miniatures. Bryan Ansell was the owner of the company and we always got on well when I met him. John Blanche encouraged me to experiment with paint and inks and try new painting techniques that I hadn't thought of using before. 

I have always considered John the total master of painting and Mike McVey a very close second. We all had different painting styles at the time and don't think there was a house technique to painting at the time. Gradually we saw the artwork that Tony Ackland was working on for Realms of Chaos and gradually the miniatures arrived in the studio to paint. Some of the sculpts I adored but others I wasn't so certain about and but still enjoyed painting a lot of it.

Darren's iconic colour scheme for this Ork noble. Come on, how many of you have copied this one? Below we have examples of his Chaos Dreadnought and an early Imperial Guard Sentinel. 

And here is the same model in digital form. Photograph by Steve Casey. From The Bryan Ansell Collection, Wargames Foundry, Stoke Hall Stables. 
The sentinel too, though a little blurry. Photograph by Steve Casey. From The Bryan Ansell Collection, Wargames Foundry, Stoke Hall Stables. 
RoC80s: Were you able to work on more personal projects in the Studio? We see a large number of dioramas and things coming out around that time - what did you work on?

DM: I was also working on my own related projects in my spare time (for my own collection) and had the idea one day to convert a plastic Rhino AFV into one that had been overtaken by Nurgle. I liked the idea of melding a tank with living things and ended up sculpting green stuff maggots bursting from the hull. It threw a few people at the time when they first saw it but I just went with it. 

I loved painting tanks and completed some of the first few Rhino AFV's and the Predator. Khorne and Nurgle were my two favourite Chaos elements and enjoyed painting miniatures for both. At one stage for inspiration, Kev Adams sent Phil Lewis to come and take photos of us all pulling faces and they were used for his inspiration for some of his Chaos sculpts. Each day was different and I enjoyed the variety of the painting and kit making. The first plastic 40k Imperial Guard were released to mixed reception in the painting studio and part plastic miniatures were becoming a regular thing and they were always a challenge to work on. Titans were also slowly lifting off and epic scale was also being developed while I was there. A real challenge was painting all of Jes Goodwin's first Eldar Harlequin miniature's for the boxed set in one bank holiday weekend. It took every ounce of my painting ability and threw it together, but looking back still think they were a bit rushed. 

The back of the RTB6 release. Darren's patterns and ideas here still influence painters to this day, so it is a real pleasure to give credit to him here. 
RoC80s: Did you just say you painted the original Harlequin models over a Bank Holiday weekend?

DM: Yes, they were the Harlequins from the very first boxed set release and they were given to me on the Friday afternoon and I delivered them back painted on the Tuesday morning - much to everyone's shock! My girlfriend at the time was away and I just sat and painted for 12 hours solid each day until they were done. I had a very small brief from Jes Goodwin and I was left, more or less, to my own colour schemes and patterns. I got a bit of a telling off for painting nipples showing through on one of the female eldar's torsos, and I was told to paint them out - but i don't think I ever did. I understand that that box set was one of the biggest sellers they had ever had and in some way I am proud that my painting helped sell them. Jes Goodwin's sculpts were stunning and very advanced for the period in regards of the poses he used. Looking back at it now, it was a lot of work - but i enjoyed it!

RoC80s: You mentioned the 'Studio Vibe' - what was it like to work in?

DM: The working environment was great, but it was something I wasn't really used to as I had worked outdoors in archaeology with very mixed teams. At the time I first started, I wasn't that confident in my painting ability and it showed to start with. I have always been very self critical of my painting and don't like to rush things. The banter took some getting used to and I suppose Sid gave me a bit of a testing time teasing for the first few weeks but it came to a head and I stood my ground and we became great friends after. Seeing Sid leave when he did was one of the worst days, if not the worst, I had in studio as we had become a very good friends by then. 

Some days we could each have a single miniature to work on, but on others we had a batch to get done for deadline and that could be a lot of pressure to get finished on time for a publication date. After a few months, I settled in and enjoyed the small level of chaos and the minor anarchy which was the painting studio at the time. We were a superb team and worked well together and were mostly the same age group, so we all had a similar sense of humour and outlook.

The Golden Demon days we did in the 80s, I always found a bit scary and overwhelming to be honest. I was fairly nervous of people but used to put a front on, I also dreaded painting in the shop or in public in those days. I think I could handle it now if I could see to paint well these days. Bryan was an excellent boss though and so was John Blanche and both put up with my nerves. I met Fraser Gray and he was great bloke, I loved his work and was totally blown away by what he could achieve. He visited the studio a couple of times while I was there.

Darren's Nurgle Rhino makes an appearance in this diorama from the back of White Dwarf 113. 
RoC80s: So how did that vibe change with time?

DM: Things had started to go a bit corporate towards the end of my term to some extent and a studio painting style was emerging which not all of us fully enjoyed or felt totally comfortable with. Before that I think people had been trusted to deliver the goods constantly and they mostly did. If you were not happy with something you ran it by the team and got a honest response and the lads were always superb for that and it was highly valued. I suppose by time I was ready to go I wasn't enjoying it as much as I did.

RoC80s: Were there any other stand out ranges that you worked on that really excited you as a painter?

DM: I enjoyed working on the miniatures for Space Hulk. The first terminator miniatures blew us all away when we first saw the sculpts. Sapce Wolves were my favourite marine Chapter and I as one of the first people to paint the black wolf head on a yellow background. By mid 1989, my life had changed and I was commuting between Lincoln and Nottingham and this was putting a lot of strain and pressure on my work. In a rash moment in 1989, I decided to leave and I suppose at the time I wasn't thinking too clearly but had worked for the company for 18 months and needed a change. Looking back, I have no regrets about working in such a fantastic environment and working with so many good and talented people. I will always remember it fondly and enjoyed my time painting miniatures for one the best miniature companies in the world, at that time.

I also enjoyed working on a slow-burning solo Space Wolf project but I never got around to totally finishing it, what with all the other work I had on the go on top, but it was intended to be a full chapter. Some photos were taken by Phil Lewis and I think one got on to a back cover of White Dwarf. I also enjoyed painting the Marauder Dwarves for Trish and Aly Morrison. This was 'in house painting' but don't think we ever got credit for it as painters. Mike McVey's Empire troops he did for them were mind blowing at the time. Mike was the best painter on the studio floor.
One of my personal favourites of Darren's time at GW. This magnificent ork gargant. 
I am almost certain that this model was in Bryan's cabinet display of his genestealer cult last year at BOYL.
Chaos warriors are iconic in Warhammer. And the painting schemes were never really any more chaotic than this. Another favourite of mine.