Monday, 7 November 2022

I'm holding out for a hero

Bit of a silent stretch on the blog - never got round to posting about BOYL (oops) so will have to do some retrospective posts, and been extremely busy working since then. But thought I should try and get back into the swing of things with the first mini I've painted since August.

Snickit has instituted an "Odds and Sods Oldhammer Painting Challenge" over on facebook to get us painting up some of the things that have been languishing in our leadpile. Each month there's a theme for us to paint, and the theme for the month of October was heroes. Now, I've got a lot of character models but for this I wanted a model that really looked the part and really had that suitably heroic feel to it. After digging through my unpainted lead I found this fantastic Old School Miniatures halfling sculpt by Drew Day Williams. Definitely a hero for the ages!

As a young halfling, Mike's first encounter with knights was when a bunch of them, while hunting, rode their horses through the village's communal vegetable patch, destroying much of the season's harvest of cabbages. From that day forward, Mike swore he would become a knight - but one who acted with respect for even the humblest halfling, never riding through their gardens without proper care or regard. The kind of knight who would never disdain any creature as too small or common, but instead would stand ready to be a hero for the downtrodden.

A rather crude paintjob I readily admit, but I think a reasonably effective one all the same, hopefully bringing out some of the character of this true hero.

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Multipart plastic minis, bloody hell

Not a particularly lengthy or inspiring or helpful post today, but thought I should check in and let people know I'm still alive and getting ready for BOYL.

My big project for BOYL is to finally get the Dolgan Raiders done - and it's going ok, but one of the sticking points has been the archers. Years ago, I saw the Fireforge Steppe Warriors box in a model railway shop in Chester and thought "aha! Dolgan warriors on the cheap!" - which seemed like an inspired idea at the time. In the end, I'm only using them for the archers (I'm using different minis - metal minis - for the swordsmen, characters etc.) but it's my first in-depth experience with trying to assemble plastic toy soldiers, and bloody hell it sucks a lot of the joy out of things and is probably one of the reasons this whole project has taken so long.

Look, it's a really good sprue. They're nice minis. There's lots of bits and pieces, loads of options. Each mini ends up looking unique. But with legs, torso, each arm separate, the head, the quiver, and then any hat and hair still to stick on... that's a lot of cutting and gluing. Some people are probably used to it and think it's a great part of the hobby. Stop whining, you say. Fair enough, I'm just not like you, that's all! Give me a single part metal mini and that's me happy. Laziness? Maybe.

I do understand that having sprues means that you can kitbash, it's great for creativity, I get all that. I believe it. I've seen some wonderful things. And yes, the minis are cheap.

Kitbashers, I salute you. It's just a bit faffy for me. Hopefully finish these tomorrow and then I can get onto the last few metal minis for the army. I'll post everything here when it's ready and I'm not in a pre-BOYL painting flap.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Fimir ranges and size comparison

Finally got around to photographing some fimir that I finally got around to painting last month. Two of the classic citadel fimir sculpted by Nick Bibby, along with the more recent sculpt from Diego Serrate, now available from Krakon Games.

As I was pondering the size disparity, I thought I'd try and do something relatively useful, and photograph the different styles of 40mm based fimir I possessed together so you can see how they line up along one another.

From left to right: Demonomaniac from Krakon Games sculpted by Ross Whitehorn; Citadel 'ogre sized' fimir sculpted by Nick Bibby; Fomorian King from sculpted by Diego Serrate; another Citadel fimir from Nick Bibby; and finally a Forgeworld fimir, sculpted by Steve Whitehead.

What conclusions can we draw from this? Well, not much really; other than that the Nick Bibby fimir are somewhat squatter than many of their more recent counterparts (though Krakon games does have a variety of shapes and sizes of fimir; see below) - and that Steve Whitehead's forgeworld fimir, while atmospheric, has armour that isn't particularly in keeping with the classic feel. All of which is a bit banal. So I thought I'd take it a step further and go for a complete cataloguing of all the different kinds of fimir I have.

Because, famously, the fimir aren't all of a size to be stuck onto 40mm bases. The well known tale (technically apocryphal, though endorsed by some in the studio at the time) runs as follows (Graeme Davis, quoted on the Terminally Incoherent blog:)
"The popularisation of Fimir wasn’t helped by a communications foul-up when Nick Bibby took over making the miniatures from Jes – Nick made them all Ogre-sized, compared to Jes’ and my idea that they should be Orc sized. So we had big, expensive miniatures with low game stats, and nobody bought them."

This issue is reflected in the 3rd edition rules. The rulebook specifies rank and file fimir are on 25 x 25mm; only character models are on 40 x 40mm bases. But by the the time the Fimir list was written for Warhammer Armies, all fimir are on 40 x 40mm bases.

This creates a kind of strange redundancy around the smaller models citadel made - including the most ubiquitous and famous of all fimir.

So on the left we have the Citadel LE fimir sculpted by Jes Goodwin; and on the right the HeroQuest fimir (with a scibor shield). You can see here the size disparty with the Nick Bibby models - and in my view these models would look all at sea mounted on 40mm bases, rules lawyers be damned!

So what other fimir are there that can be mounted on 25mm bases?

Blood Moon Miniatures
These 'bog raiders', sculpted by Nicolas Genovese, only seem to be on sale very intermittently from Blood Moon Miniatures' website, but they come with a variety of weapons and are very clearly inspired by the HeroQuest fimir, while having a certain reptilian quality of their own. I do like them, but they are very... taut, I think would be the word. In fact, they look as though they've been doing a cross-fit programme; whereas I kind of imagine most fimir to have a bit of a paunch. Also, if you look at this picture of one alongside the HQ fimir and a Nick Bibby fimir, you'll see that they're quite tall - taller than the 'ogre sized' fimir!

But still (to my eye) with more of a 25mm footprint. All in all, these are models that are very hard to 'mix in' to a unit, and need to be treated very much in a stand-alone way.

Oakbound Studio
Oakbound produce Myeri for their game The Woods - and indeed it was Geoff Solomon-Sims' desire to produce one-eyed swamp monsters that launched the miniatures range which gave rise to the game. I bought the first set that he cast (now oop), and they're still among my favourites:

Geoff takes very clear inspiration from The Dark Crystal here. Hunched over and wide-eyed, their faces have more pathos than most fimir - less easy to pin down simply as comic-book villains - and they look great as a unit. As you'd expect from the first models commercially released, the casting raised a few logistical issues. He's since sculpted and released another range of Myeri, inspired by - and with permission to use - Alan Lee's painting of the fomorion which was indeed the initial creative impetus for the Citadel studio.

As a result, given this common conceptual origin you can see how the recent range converges with the Jes Goodwin fimir sculpt.

Krakon Games
As I noted above, Krakon games produce fomorians in all shapes and sizes - both Nick Bibby 'ogre size', and Jes Goodwin 'orc' size. In my opinion, Ross Whitehorn's smaller sculpts are exquisite and can keep excellent company with the Jes Goodwin LE fimir and the most recent iteration of the Oakbound myeri.

Another point worth noting is that Krakon games also supply all manner of fimir 'bits' - heads, tails, etc - again in the larger and smaller sizes, for all of your conversion needs.

So that almost concludes our little tour, except for one more:
Impact Miniatures
Impact Miniatures, who have a wide range Blood Bowl-style minis, provide a the ARBBL Chaotic Warrior, sculpted by Clint Staples to a designed by Melvin De Voor. If you overlook the the rugby-helmet style head protection, the fact that theres a football on the armour - as well as the fact that it's not carrying weapons - this is also a very good sculpt and ripe for conversion - as you can see I've given mine a net (from Gripping Beast) and a whip.

Well, that's about all I have to say/show. Here you can see all of the different types of small fimir in a row to get a sense of how they compare:

From left to right: Oakbound (1st series); Citadel LE fimir; Blood Moon; Krakon; Oakbound (2nd series); HeroQuest fimir; Impact

and finally, slightly less clearly but for the sake of completeness, the different small types in front of the different large types.

Monday, 4 April 2022

The month of Marsh has been and gone - a Fimir Demonomaniac

We have just passed through the month of Marsh - the time to celebrate those proud one-eyed warriors of the fens, the Fimir. Now, every year I start painting some fimir during Marsh, only for things to remain unfinished on my dask at the end of the month. This year was no exception - but I can now present the horror that has arisen among Clan Slea. This Demonomaniac comes from Krakon Games and is sculpted by Ross Whitehorn. It comes with a choice of heads, and I chose the double-headed variant just to enhance its mutated feel.

Demonomaniacs are introduced in the 1995 Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay adventure Dying of the Light, set around Marienburg. The result of the ritual experiments of a Meargh who seeks to bind demons into her warriors, demonomanics are an unstable horrors: the body of a fimir struggling - and generally failing - to control the demon that has possessed it. In Chapter 5, the party first find the mangled and mutated corpse of a Fimir who has failed in this struggle and been ripped apart by an "an extreme series of mutations". Then, deeper in the swamp they find another thing that "looks like it was once a fimir", towering and in a state of apparent confusion. (My favourite detail is in its profile, the alignment is given as "Too confused for that at the moment"). "Claw marks cover its whole body and worms now ooze from these fetid gashes." It emits gutteral noises of agony. It flails its axe and mutated scythe-claw arm in a state of wild attack.

Here is Pete Knifton's atmospheric, terrifying, and frankly disgusting image of a Demonomaniac. As you'll see, I haven't included worms with mine. I do regret not giving mine a tail that can shoot spikes. Anyway, I imagine the one I've painted to be in a slightly more stable state of possession - though only just.

This is not the only fimir I managed to get belatedly done for the month of Marsh, but I'll save the others for the next post.

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Book Review: Trash Tokyo

Trash Tokyo, by John Wilson. WilsonClan Games, 1997.

No idea who needs to hear about this, but I bet someone does! I reckon I would have picked this up in the wargames/rpg shop in the Liverpool Palace back in the day.

Trash Tokyo is a beer n'pretzels style wargame that enables you to simulate the classic monster movies of Japan - Godzilla, Mothra, Ghidorah and the like. It's designed for 1/300th scale figures, so lots of teeny tiny civilians getting stomped while lots of tanks try to take down a giant monster. (Just the right scale for the monster to be represented by a toy)

It's a simple set of rules (as befits a 16 page booklet). There are three types of unit: Civilians, whose "main purpose is to run, screaming, from the monsters attacking their city"; Military, including squads of soldiers, tanks, and mecha; and Monsters. Everything has movement values, defence values, and attack values for the various weapons. Buildings can and should be smashed up. There is nuance in the various types of attacks: chemical, cold, electrical, heat, impact, light, mental, radiation, and sonic. This is important because some monsters are more vulnerable to particular kinds of attacks. There are reaction tables for screaming civilians and monsters running amok.

As you'd expect the list of monsters is good fun. Consider this entry for the Giant Prehistoric Caterpillar, for example: "A giant egg was discovered on a Pacific island where it was worshipped by the natives. When it was brought to Japan, the egg hatched and released its contents on the world. The Giant Prehistoric Caterpillar can only be controlled by the song of two tiny pixies (known as the Almond Twins). It is vulnerable to CHEMICAL attacks." Obviously the Giant Prehistoric Caterpillar grows up in to a Giant Prehistoric Moth. Other monsters include Giant Radioactive Dinosaur, Ancient God, and Three Headed Dragon.

My favourite bit of the book when I got it as a teenager was the list of scenarios, "Revenge of the Giant Radioactive Dinosaur" (pretty self-explanatory); "From the depths" (an ancient God is awoken from its slumbers beneath the sea); "Attack of the Space Roaches" (battle against a flying saucer, alien infantry, and hover tanks...) I spent several hours thinking about how to link all of the monsters into one super-meta campaign (a nuclear weapon dropped to destroy the Giant Prehistoric Caterpillar on a pacific island awakens an Ancient God; the resultant battle attracks the attention of space aliens who are only finally seen off by Hyperguy)... but inevitably I never actually played the game.

Maybe someone with lots of 6mm stuff would like to give it a go? In fact, I discovered in the course of writing this that most of the rules are online and can be found here, so there's no excuse not to! I'll bring a Robosaur...

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Another year over and a new one just begun

First miniature of the year painted:

It's "Slug Eat Your Face", sculpted by Tom Meier to a concept by his son Theo Meier (the description of the design process, which can be read here, is very amusing). This was a Christmas Present - one of a number of very well selected Christmas gifts from Ral Partha Legacy and Bad Squiddo Games. It's nice to have a family who know the weird things you like.

Last year was a hard year but in spite of that - or maybe because of it - it was my best year for painting ever. I managed to get 110 miniatures painted this year! Some of them even to a decent standard! Far and away a record for me. However... I managed to acquire 195 miniatures. So, taking into account the one I destroyed for a fimir conversion, that still leaves me 84 miniatures in the red.

Sometimes admitting you have a problem is the first step to fixing it... So, I have one core Oldhammer new year's resolution for 2022:

To paint more miniatures than I acquire.

That's it. That's my one resolution. Oh aye, and to finally finish and play the Dolgan Raiders (BOYL22 will finally be the year!)... And to get on with the High Elves that have been waiting nearly 25 years now... and I have a few other ideas up my sleeve too... Now if you'll excuse me, I'm just off to have a look on ebay.

Friday, 24 December 2021

Looking back on Orctober: a goblin playground scene

My review of the year past has almost caught up with the present. I just have one more completed project I thought it would be nice to share here: my contribution to Orctober. Funnily enough I've never managed to paint anything up for Orctober before... and this year was no exception, as it didn't get finished until November.

A couple of rather old Citadel fiend factory miniatures that I inherited, paired with a more recent purchase from the Foundry:

FF65 Goblin Children crying to their FF64 Goblin Mother about having been thrown off the seesaw by Warmonger Orclings! Blue sky and clouds in the background courtesy of a painting by my son James.

I've been chatting with Warlord Paul and we're thinking of having a game (probably next Night of the Living Lead) where goblins are the good guys for a change- or at least the ones we're trying to defend. He writes: "The goblins of Little Albion are having a hard time right now. Their princess has been abducted by Lord Kraust and they are being used and abused by him as he expands his power..." A good opportunity to bring out all the weird and wonderful goblin civilian and character models... but that's for next year!

In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas Day, and I hope Father Christmas brings you lots of presents!