Sunday, 15 March 2020

Mutant Fimir - a month of Marsh special

Why are you wandering far from home, child? Have you not heard of the fen ague? Cover your face and hurry back. But keep to the paths, child, keep to the solid ground. Don't be tempted to cut across through the reeds and the moss, for there are things in the marsh, diseased and unholy things. These are strange times.

This is the month of Marsh - the month of all things Fimir. When last in Liverpool, I found a project I'd started (but never finished) for the month of Marsh about 3 years ago - a conversion based on this image from the first Citadel Compendium. Having found a copy of the Compendium not long after joining the oldhammer movement, and being obsessed with Fimir at the time, it just screamed out at me "mutant fimir!"

... a prefiguration from 1983 of things to come? Almost certainly not, and yet I couldn't shake the uncanny resemblance to our one eyed swampy friends. So I set out to assemble a mutant fimir in its honour.

Having done the initial conversion, I'd left the model unfinished - these are a couple of photos from before I'd even undercoated it. The main body of the model is an Otherworld miniatures troll, with the head from a Forgeworld Fimir and hair from the Daemonettes of Slaanesh sprue. Can't remember where I got the tentacles from.

Seemed a shame to abandon something I'd put a lot of effort into assembling, and the timing seemed appropriate, so I spent the past few days trying to get it looking suitably swampy and diseased. What do you think?

Alongside the original inspiration, it doesn't look too far off...

Friday, 13 March 2020

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; or, Dave's Big Birthday Bash

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

ok, bit too dramatic maybe. But picture the scene. No, not the jolly scene pictured above. A different scene the night before. It's 3am on a Friday night and I'm painting bases goblin green. Hundreds of bases.

I'm on my way down to Snicket's (or Dave's, to use his real name) 40th birthday bash at the Foundry. It's a massive game of Empire vs Orcs and like the eejit I am, having neither army, I volunteer a 3000 point Empire army to be painted from scratch. A project that seemed a good idea months away from the game gradually turns into a nightmare as the deadline looms. Months turn to weeks. Weeks turn to days. Thursday night I stay up in my office painting, trying to finish the promised units. It's the day before the game, I'm already sleep deprived and still nothing's based.

And so then on Friday night I'm en route to Newark. I've now taken the train as far South as I could, so I can get to Newark in time for the game, and so I'm sitting at a wonky table in the shittiest accommodation in Newcastle. The place stinks of weed and there a bottle of Buckfast Tonic Wine ("Bucky" as it's affectionately known) by the entrance of the building. Realising I don't have a pot for water to wash my brushes in, I seriously consider using the bottle, before thinking NO, for fucks sake, that would be mad and unhygeinic, we're in a time of coronavirus after all. Instead, I use the cap off a can of air freshener I find around the place.

Outside someone starts screaming "I JUST WANT TO GO HOME". I drop the brush and run out, thinking someone's being raped or somehow held in this shithole against their will, but the poor lass seems to be freaking out due to some combination of drink or drugs. Anyway, I wait outside the building until she's in a taxi.

At 4am I am back in the room and gluing flock onto bases. This is the second night I'm going without sleep, and at this stage I'm seriously considering my life choices.

ok I realise this is more of a tripadivsor review than a battle report but what I'm trying to capture for posterity is that feeling of a hobby that's turned into a source of misery, just sitting cold and fed up, wanting to go home and sleep. And the question that I kept asking myself: how can you turn something that's supposed to be your means of relaxation into a source of stress?

Saturday, I get to the Foundry and have probably the most fun I've had so far this year.

So was it worth it? Well, the answer has to be a resounding YES... up to a point. Was great to have a weekend with so many of the people that I've made friends with through the Oldhammer movement. Two days gaming, a curry and some beers, what more can you ask for? The battle itself was an awesome sight, and while we could maybe have got through a couple more turns (I have some thoughts about the nuts and bolts of how to make big games of this type work), it was definitely good fun.

Here's my battle line, with my steam tank and my crazy wizard and his familiar advancing...

Here's my halflings running away after their soup got upended...

But although I should have the satisfaction of a completed 3000 point army, the truth is much of the army itself is a bit so-so, inevitable after having rushed it... all that work and then the feeling that a lot of it would need redone or at the very least more time to finish it properly is a bit of a sinking feeling.

And I'm left wondering, why do I find ways of making my hobby into a chore? To be honest, blogging can have that effect too, having to find the energy to type stuff. No wonder the blog descends into silence punctuated by an annual apology for not having blogged.

But then the game finishes and you want to do it all over again.

Just next time, not leaving it until 4am in a shithole in Newcastle to stick flock on a 3000 point army.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

I'm not dead! (Happy New Year...)

I realise it's been a long silence on this blog. While I'd love to claim that although I've been quiet online, in real life I've been more involved in wargaming than ever, that'd be a lie. In fact, I only played one game in the whole of 2018... the Battle of Gallow Cross in Warlord Paul's Daggervale Campaign, a bloody mess of a battle against Nik Dixon's Skaven - my Sea Elves held back the tide of vermin with minimal rank and file causalities (though the loss of all nobles, who nobly sacrificed themselves), but not before the blighted ones had gnawed their way through the civilian population we'd allegedly arrived to help.

So if it wasn't much of a year for gaming, what about for painting? In fact, beyond tidying up the Sea Elves (which I'd more or less finished for BOYL2017, but in a rush), the only miniatures I painted from scratch in 2018 were the two creepy weirdos from the Circus of Corruption. This is a pretty appalling state of affairs, but unfortunately I'm not the kind of person who finds it easy to paint unless I have a game to prepare for. And living up in Orkney at the moment, there aren't many games to prepare for (especially seeing as my research means that I usually miss BOYL... though hopefully not this coming year).

What I really need to do is find some oldhammery wargamers in Scotland, as I'm regularly down in Fife with my work. Or get people to come for a wargames weekend up here on Orkney (come on, you know you want to!)

But of course, there's an even more obvious solution to my gaming and painting drought. More games with my son (and my missus if she's interested). Which is why at this very moment the smell of primer is in the air...

What on earth are those blurry blobs, I hear you ask? Now, even with such a dreadfully blurry photo, it should be fairly obvious to every gamer of a certain age what those minis are and what they represent. Yep, I think it's time I introduced my family to the sublime joy that is HeroQuest!

Happy New Year to you all!

Friday, 13 April 2018

The Circus of Corruption

The Old School Miniatures Company were kind enough to send me a couple of resin masters from the Circus of Corruption kickstarter. This is a fantastic collection of miniatures sculpted by Jason Fairclough. The kickstarter finishes TOMORROW (14th April 2018) so why not head over, take a look, and throw in a few quid?
These sculpts are wonderfully disgusting. If you like painting decay and putrefaction, you'll have great fun with these. I certainly did. When I took them on, I'd hoped that I'd have access to a proper camera, but then I had to flee to the northern isles once again and had to make do with my own meagre equipment. Mediocre painting skills plus inadequate camera = not the best exhibition of the potential of these models. But you'll have to take my word for it, these are a real treat. A disturbing, pungent treat.

This fella is actually quite cute, with his pet fish slung over his shoulder and such. Would make a lovely chaotic familiar/bloated nurgling.

This lad seems to have developed a nasty sports hernia. Could do with some medical treatment. His flesh is sagging like a melted candle, and it's a real challenge to try and do justice to the layers of decaying skin, fat and musculature. So instead I just gave him spotty boxer shorts.

Thanks to Jamie Loft for sending these along and giving me a chance to paint and review them. They'll go beautifully with my Nurgle warband the children of stench. Anybody who is in the market for nurgle figures for a warband, or is looking for a Carnival of Chaos for Mordheim, or simply wants a creepy circus troupe for a scenario, head to the kickstarter while there's still time!

(n.b. these are the first 2 minis I've painted this year. The first 2 minis I've painted since BOYL, in fact. Painting slump over!)

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Spring, the season of rebirth

It's been a while. Been on a few adventures...

Here's me and the lad exploring Allansia back in the summer.

Managed to get to BOYL 2017, first I've been to in a couple of years.

However, since then haven't had much chance to play or paint. Gamebooks with my son has been the limit of things. We've moved to the far reaches of the north - to one of the outer isles of Orkney - not many gaming opportunities, and I've had a lot of work on my plate anyway.

But spring is in the air. A time of new life for old lead. Hopefully. So watch this space..

Happy Easter!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

1986 advert for Fine Art Castings Doctor Who range

Flicking through old issues of Miniature Wargames, my eyes were drawn to this advert in Issue 33, from Feb 1986.

How curious, thinks I. Now, like all Oldhammerers, I was aware of the Citadel Doctor Who range, but here was something I hadn't come across before. So, after a bit of google searching, a bit of a Doctor Who wargames miniature history.

According to the Lost Minis Wiki, Fine Art Castings produced possibly the first licensed range of Doctor Who minis, first advertised in 1984. As can be seen in the advert, most of their minis seem to have been at a larger scale, but they did produce a small range of 25mm minis, mostly focussed on the enemies: Daleks, Cybermen, and Sontarans. Pictures of painted examples of these can be found on the aforementioned Lost Minis Wiki website. While are there plenty of examples of Fine Arts Castings Doctor Who minis kicking around the net, including on ebay, they all seem to be at the larger scales (esp 40mm). Here's an example of their packaging:

And here's a 25mm Earthshock Cyberman from their range, painted by Mark Dixon and taken from the Lost Minis Wiki just as an example of the range

though I won't nick any more than the one pic from there as it seems a bit cheeky, if you want more examples, click the link.

It's a couple years after Fine Art Castings - in 1986, to be precise, to support the FASA Doctor Who Game - that Citadel started releasing their Doctor Who minis. More information and pictures can be found on the Stuff of Legends site.

Steve Casey has done an excellent job photographing Doctor Who minis from Bryan Ansell's collection, many of which can still be seen on display at the Wargames Foundry.

And then after that... well, we're onto Harlequin Miniatures' extensive range for the Doctor Who: Invasion Earth wargame, produced from 1997 onwards. Many of these are still available from Black Tree Designs, from whom I obtained the bulk of my own collection of daleks.

Bringing us through more or less to the present day - Heresy Miniatures produced an excellent range of 'stand ins' for Doctor Who, in their "scientists and civilians" range, unlicensed but certainly filling a need. And to be honest, I wish I'd bought some of them while they were available because almost all of that range has now disappeared, I presume so as not to step on the feet of the new license holders, Warlord Games, who now have the important job of taking Doctor Who miniatures wargaming into the "New Who" era.

But if, like Thansants, LittleLeadPerson, and myself, you're still very much grounded in the Old Who era, and looking for a game to bring your Doctor Who minis out of retirement, watch this space, as we're organising an event at the Foundry - at the moment, looking very likely to be at the start of July. And if, by any chance, you have some 25mm Fine Art Castings Doctor Who minis, do bring them along and give them a game, we'd love to see them!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Night of the Living Lead Battle Report: Breakshit means Breakshit

(Being a battle report on the Halloween action at the Wargames Foundry. With the latest of Warlord Paul's Albion adventures coming up at the weekend, I realised that if I didn't post about the last one now, I never would. Problem is, a lot of my recollections of a most enjoyable day are a bit hazy. So this is an extremely partial reconstruction based mostly on the least blurry photos of my toy soldiers as they plod around the battlefield.)

What lurks under Albion's skin? Peel back Albion's flesh, cut through its muscle and sinew, and what horrors do you reveal? The embittered hatred of many centuries. The tarry black heart of greed. Swollen spleen of malice. Infected kidneys of evil. Cirrhotic Liver of... well, you get the picture. Lots of not nice stuff.

Lifetimes ago, a demon was vanquished. Or at least, so the people thought. In fact, it was merely buried. Or, more accurately, as the scribes tell us, "imprisoned beneath a henge of enchanted stones wrapped about with sealing spells and wards."

But now a new dawn approaches. The demon threatens to break free, from the bowels of the earth comes the insistent rumblings of the demon's desire to leave.

And today, the cultists gather around, an unholy alliance, calling the demon forth, urging him out. And so the prophecy has come to pass: "All must take sides for there can be no middle path, all must stand for or against the daemon called, BREAKSHIT!"

From the highlands come the clansmen, determined to bring sober reason to the proceedings and to stop Breakshit in its tracks. In their midst are the zombies of the Highland cult of Indyref, risen from their graves.

They take their place in the alliance moving toward the henge, determined to stop, or at least amend, the invocation of the ritual summoning Breakshit.

Yet the ancients, the walking dead of Albion, seek a return to the glory days of past ages and will fight to ensure the ritual is performed, believing that Breakshit will allow them to take back control.

Attempts to toss the caber into their number fail miserably.

And as the forces clash, even liquid courage is not enough to withstand the horror.

The cultists succeed in opening the protective seals and a roar swells from the ground: "BREAKSHIT MEANS BREAKSHIT!"

The surviving allies who had hoped that the power would remain captive make their way to the graveyard and enter the catacombs in the hope that if they can at least mount an appeal to stop a Hard Breakshit.

The highlanders bust their way past the venomous serpents who serve Breakshit...

And join a coalition who manage to make a few amendments...

This is fantasy, remember?