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?

Monday, 26 December 2016

Happy Christmas, and may your stamina never fail!

Been very busy with work-writing once again and so games with teeny tiny toy soldiers have had to take a back seat. But nice to have a break for Christmas, and especially nice to receive a couple of gaming-related prezzies

Dragon Rampant rules and a Wood Elf Glade Guard box from my parents. Always difficult to "guess" what kind of toy soldiers someone might want for a present, but it can be rewarding too to get something you hadn't specifically had in mind... Now I'll be honest, the plastic wood elves were never really on my radar, and left to my own devices I'd never have bought them. But some of the pieces in this box set are fantasic converion fodder - it even includes little woodland sprites on the sprue! Love it! The banner poles and cloaks and leafy bits are brilliant and very useful, and the heads are just what I need for headswaps. One of the things that's held me back from doing more conversions has been lack of bitz, so a plastic set like this is a godsend.

And that leaves the third prezzie... what's the pile of papers? Well, now that's something REALLY special. The missus and my son have been plotting and scheming for the past month or so working on a top secret project and they've written me a whole new Fighting Fantasy Fleeing Fantasy adventure Town of Terror (or, Forest of Pies). I've been going through some of the Fighting Fantasy books with my son - Forest of Doom, City of Thieves, Island of the Lizard King (I skipped Deathtrap Dungeon because it's a bit too... errr... Deathtrappy for him at his age). He's clearly taken them to heart, and his long-suffering mother has clearly internalised enough of it from hearing us go through them over and over again until we reach those magical words "Turn to 400.." because the adventure they've designed for me is pitch-perfect. It's about 280 entries in total, though I couldn't help but notice that the final entry (in true FF style!) is numbered 400. Here are some of the first few pages...

Surely this is the best Christmas present an oldhammerer has ever received???

...that's the first few pages, I won't scan them all because I want to get back to playing it. I don't deserve them really, do I? Happy Christmas, and may your stamina never fail!

Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween!

Here's a citadel familiar next to his enormous dad, an Asgard FM71 "Jack-o-Bear" Bugbear, which I've painted for halloween. I thought painting this old figure would be a doddle. Boy, was I wrong. Just couldn't find a way to bring out the magic. Oh well.

Spent a fantastic day at the Foundry on Saturday celebrating the "Night of the Living Lead". I painted a handful of undead highlanders for the occasion - more on that soon. But I had been planning to bring these pumpkinheads too, largely because Matthew Dunn had said he was bringing his gnomes again, and last year they ran the sweet little familiar down in a hit-and-run incident.

This year I wanted the familiar to come back with his dad for revenge. But Matthew was celebrating his birthday (what kind of an excuse is that?) and so his gnomes stayed at home. Revenge will have to come on another halloween.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

A scene from Miniature Wargames magazine in 1986

Here's a bit of a curiosity. I posted this on facebook a few weeks back but figured I should share it here as well. This is the back cover of Miniature Wargames No. 36, from May 1986. This is about the closest they got to fantasy content at this period. No information is given about painter or collectors here; all it says is "Back cover: Life's dilemmas in microcosm. Beset by beggars & booze, priests & prostitutes. Go on, lad! Take the King's shilling. Figures & buildings: Citadel miniatures. Perplexed peasant: Essex miniatures."

I've been trying to figure out who the painters for these miniatures were, whether they come from the Citadel studios or someone at Miniature Wargames magazine or what. Certainly the railway gravel approach to the floor of the diorama doesn't look like citadel style. I know you guys like a challenge, see if you can identify who's responsible for this little lot!

I did a bit more digging and Miniature Miniature Wargames no. 16 has this Citadel Wars of the Roses Bombard and crew "from the editor's [i.e. Duncan Macfarlane's] collection" (Steve Jones on facebook had a recollection that the backdrop might have been painted by Tony Ackland)...

...while Miniature Wargames no. 19 includes these Citadel Samurai again from the editor's collection, and here it says "The samurai were picked up ready-painted at Bill Brewer's 'Rye Stamp and Hobby Shop', Rye Lane, Peckham - always worth a visit". Later in that issue there are essex miniatures which were also purchased read-painted at the same shop. Soooo, I suppose it's not a wild guess to say that the minis in the first pic were also from the editor's collection and could have been bought from the same place? However, on facebook Andrew Mersh said that he used to buy figures from Bill Brewer's shop and they the ones at the front of the scene don't like his style of painting; though the pikeman at the back do. So the mystery is not entirely solved...