Friday, 20 December 2013

Edit: Make that 28 painted figures!

With my wife out at a Christmas party earlier in the week, I found time to up my total number of painted figures for 2013 to 28, with the addition of these two to my Dark Elf Blood Bowl team.

Leather chaps are obviously de rigueur for female Blood Bowl players this season!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A hobby review of 2013

As the year draws to a close, and prompted by the ‘plans for 2014’ thread on the Oldhammer forums, I thought I might look back and review what I’ve achieved in 2013, with the aim of informing plans for 2014.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Skaven Blood Bowl Team Retrospective - Part 2, Painting the Team

In September I unveiled Part 1 in my Skaven Blood Bowl team retrospective; a very enjoyable exercise in converting and modernising Jes Goodwin's fantastic 1988 Skaven models.

When I finally got round to thinking about the paint scheme for the team, I wanted to select something with a lot of visual presence. Skaven always seem to work well with nice bright colour schemes on their gear, in contrast the the natural skin and fur tones. I set to work with an online colour wheel tool to see what I could come up with.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

When Trolls Meet Elves...

This is a bit of a sneak preview of something I'm working on alongside my Dark Elf Blood Bowl team for the NAF Championship 2014.

Historically there has been a Best Painted Team competition as well as prizes for tournament play. This year there is an additional mini diorama 'Duel' category, which unlike the Best Painted Team, is a stand alone competition. The rules are simple:

Two single models mounted on a single 40mm or 50mm Slottabase. The judges will be looking for a dynamic pairing of two well-matched opponents in some kind of dramatic situation occuring as part of a Blood Bowl match.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Taking the Dark Path

Last year I made a heavily converted Skaven Blood Bowl team to take to the NAF 2013 Blood Bowl Tournament in Nottingham. Next year, the tournament falls on 17/18 May and I've been working on a new team to play with; this time it's Dark Elves.

I don't believe that either the Perrys' 2nd edition Dark Elves or Gary Morley's 3rd edition Dark Elves make the grade, especially when compared against Jes Goodwin's 2nd edition Elves.

1988 Dark Elves. Just a little dumpy and short-legged for my taste!
Mid-1990s Dark Elves, more dyanmic, but with rather large feet & hands.
1988 Blood Bowl Elves. Just fabulous!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Reinforcing Elric

Last month I announced my belated discovery of Citadel's Eternal Champions range. Like a true miniatures collector, it took very little time to work through the collecting process, which is something like this:

  1. Discover models and buy one cool example / starter set. Just because you like them.
  2. Research range and find out there are many more cool models.
  3. Half-heartedly pick up a few other models from the range which happen to be cheap on ebay.
  4. Start seriously cataloguing the other figures from the range you need.
  5. Start really seriously cataloguing the other figures you need! Including linked ranges, random figures which got assimilated into other ranges and other curios.
  6. Set up ebay saved searches and scour auctions/trade lists daily. The target is now to fully complete the range.

Monday, 2 December 2013

So, Marauder miniatures were actually pretty good...

Marauder miniatures for me were always a poor relation to Citadel miniatures. If you don't remember, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s Marauder released a large number of figures for use alongside Citadel's output for Games Workshop games. I remember their adverts in White Dwarf quite distinctly as "figures I probably wouldn't buy". The line drawing catalogue pages passed me by, and the photographed models always seemed a little bit cartoony, lacking perhaps a little bit of elegance, or maybe just in weird poses.

However, I've been struggling to locate suitable models to use as coaching staff for my WIP Dark Elf Blood Bowl team. After much searching on ebay through the lovely (but too fantasy-esque) Jes Goodwin Wood / High Elves, I stumbled on these 3 fine fellows:

Marauder Wood Elves

Friday, 22 November 2013

Man Room Jealousy!

Back in August I attended the Oldhammer Day at Foundry. Also there was Graham Apperley, one time Golden Demon winner (3rd place Dragon, 1988) and all round nice chap. After some discussions, we met up for a day of gaming a few months back; initially at Warhammer World, then at Foundry (long story, there was a power cut involved).

Graham invited me for a return trip to his place and it was my pleasure to take a trip to the Black Country earlier this week. After a cup of tea we adjourned upstairs to Graham's man room / hobby suite, equipped with a full-size 6'x4' gaming table, a wonderful selection of terrain, dedicated, well-lit painting table and an entire wall of cabinets containing some gorgeous models! Think I'm kidding? Well here's some photographic evidence (note, all the photos here are from my dodgy phone, hence why they're rubbish!):

Cabinets containing about 1/3 of Graham's figures on show. A fraction of his overall collection!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

An Interview With...Sculptor Bob Naismith

Over the last 12 months or so, the various Oldhammer blog entries I have enjoyed most have been the interviews with some of the key personnel from Games Workshop's golden period (see Realm of Chaos 80s for some fantastic interviews). Having been inspired by other interviews, I decided to get back in touch with Bob Naismith who sculpted me a lovely little female space elf trader back in 2011:

Sculpted as a companion piece to the Citadel Eldar Trader

Bob kindly subjected himself to questioning about his career and work with Citadel in the 1980s:

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Discovering the Eternal Champions

A week or two ago I stumbled on a box of figures on ebay which had never registered with me before; Citadel's BC5 Eternal Champions boxed set.

Classic Moorcock imagery by Rodney Matthews. I idly checked out his website; his original paintings are on sale for hundreds of thousands of pounds!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Blood Bowl "Micro-ramas"

Blood Bowl is a game characterised by dyanmic rules, with models that represent elite athletes. What could be more cinematic than the all or nothing play, where a spilled ball by the opposition near your line is dramatically picked up by your star thrower under pressure. He evades clutching hands and diving tackles to sprint up field. A crazy long bomb pass miraculously lands in the hands of your waiting catcher who surges to the line to score.

And your star thrower looks like this:

Skaven and Human throwers hope to out point each other

Monday, 4 November 2013

Owning John Blanche Originals

It's taken me a couple of decades to take to the work of John Blanche. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s I viewed his artwork as too loose, his figure proportions and perspective were off. His increasingly orange work jarred. In short, I didn't like it at all.

With that said, over recent times, I've grown to love John's work. I realise now that his vision has been an incredibly strong driver into the look and feel of Games Workshop's universes, and underpins much of what I enjoy about the background, artwork and miniatures.

In recent times I've taken to picking up odd sources of John Blanche's work where I can; books like Ratspike, White Dwarfs; you know the sort of thing. Even the odd local magazine! Gothic Punk is an excellent resource if you want to check out John's work.

Gothic Punk on tumblr; probably the best online resource for John Blanche artwork

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Revisiting White Dwarf 140

I don't know about you, but I started reading White Dwarf in about 1988. At that point, these were copies borrowed from my friends for a few days or a week, read thoroughly and returned. However the very first issue I actually owned was #140 from August 1991.

White Dwarf 140 - Cover art Advanced Space Crusade by Dave Gallagher

Monday, 21 October 2013

Making gems from junk (or "how I made some new goblin Blood Bowl players")

A few weeks back I picked up a junk lot of models from ebay. There were a number of old Citadel and Marauder goblins in the lot, including this unhappy looking pair with just one foot between them:

Marauder Goblin with spear (sans left foot), unknown shouting goblin (I would be too if someone had cut off both my feet)

Thursday, 17 October 2013

North of the border

I've been up in Glasgow for a good proportion of this week with work. I took the opportunity late on Tuesday afternoon to take a short walk from my hotel in the centre of Glasgow to Static Games (A1 Games online). I'd been in the store about 2 years ago and I had a recollection of board games, a small selection of figures and racks of 2nd hand books, magazines and miscellaneous games supplements. Last time I was in stored I picked up a selection of White Dwarfs, including issue 100.

The tempting frontage of Static Games!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Painting the Spawn - Bee Knight Progress

You might guess I'm not the world's fastest painter by the miniscule progress I've made painting the Bee Knight.

Inching along I've managed to nearly finish painting his chaos spawn steed:

Blue, pink and orange - classic Tzeentch colours!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

John Blanche interviewed by Leftlion magazine

So, Leftlion magazine (for those of you who don't know), is Nottingham's free arts magazine, regularly distributed around select cultural venues (museums, cafes, bars etc) across Nottingham. There's also a nice website for the Nottingham arts scene:

I happened to see that #55 (Oct/Nov 2013) features a cover by a rather notable fellow - a certain John Blanche. It also features an overview of Games Workshop, and a 2-page interview with John himself. Interestingly, John refers to himself as an illustrator rather than an artist.

A typical John Blanche illustration, full of gothic imagery

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Breaking out the titillating pink - Bee Knight Progress

I finally got round to doing a spot of painting and decided to make a start on the Tzeentch Bee Knight I'm doing as part of the knight group challenge over at the Oldhammer forums.

I wanted to pick a really old school look for this guy, so the colours need to be pretty bright and garish. I decided to start with the Tzeentch steed and went for an approximation of an old blue horror colour scheme; striking blue fading to pink on the extremities.

Pink and blue - a classic Tzeentch colour scheme!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Time Travelling to Golden Demon 1989...

Maybe the picture goes wavy and a harp starts playing. Or perhaps you hear the sound of the TARDIS materialising. Either way, you've time-travelled back to 1989 to see the Golden Demon entries for that year. Hang on, there's no need - you just need to pick up a second-hand copy of the Fantasy Miniatures book:

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Tutorial - Converting Complex Figures

Up until a couple of years ago the extent of converting I did on models was fairly minimal; a weapon swap here and there. Maybe a head swap if it wasn't too difficult. I rarely did anything complex, so there was little in the way of planning involved.

More recently I've been doing a lot more advanced conversions, in some cases involving parts from 5 or 6 different models. With that level of work and commitment to chopping up nice old lead, I've starting implementing a bit of a structured approach to converting my models, illustrated by the image below, which is a walkthrough of the process involved for one of my Gutter Runners for my Skaven Blood Bowl team:

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Curse of Poor Attention Span - My Discarded Blood Bowl Teams

I'm guessing many of us suffer from the same problems; lack of focus, short attention span and changing interests. Blood Bowl is my favourite game and I have a strong desire to make good selection of interesting and unique teams. I think I've succeeded this with a couple of my completed teams, but my ambition is always a bit greater than my completion rate. In management babble, I'm a poor completer-finisher!

Actually, the post title is probably not entirely fair - I don't generally discard projects...sometimes it just takes me a while to get round to finishing them.

So here they are then; my WIP Blood Bowl teams, in most cases left by the sideline as something else comes along:

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Beekeeping Hats for Beekeeping Knights - Bee Knight Progress

Yet more greenstuff has gone into the Bee Knight, with a smidge more progress. I've now repaired the damage from all the cutting, primarily filling in the gap at the Knight's waist.

I've also created a protective veil to his beekeeping hat that I'm relatively satisfied with. What you now see is the third attempt to make this, the previous two having got me very frustrated and were subsequently discarded.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Mounting the Hive! Bee Knight Progress

I found some time last night to do some more work on my Bee Knight Champion of Tzeentch. The key areas of work were to do some of the infilling from the 'chop' stage of the model (the point where all the components are assembled, but no blending work has been done), and to do some of the structural work and assembly. Here's where I'm at:

Progress to date; pretty pleased with the overall balance and profile

Monday, 9 September 2013

My 'Bring Out Your Lead' Experience

It was with great sadness that at 1.20pm on Saturday 31st August I departed the Oldhammer 'Bring out your lead' event at Foundry. As I left, Tony Hough was in full swing talking through his fabulous portfolio, Padre was co-ordinating some dispicable pygmy action in the Rumble in the Jungle game, and the whole venue was a riot of miniatures not seen on a table-top for several decades.

Tony Hough (L) enthralls Orlygg (R)

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Skaven Blood Bowl Team Retrospective - Part 1, Building the Team

Back in April 2012, I converted up a Skaven Blood Bowl player , converted from a couple of Skaven and the Chaos Star Bilerot Vomitflesh. He very quickly became known as Fat Rat; here's why:

He's not fat, just big boned!
Fat Rat started the seed of something...I decided I wanted to make a Skaven Blood Bowl team. Not just any old team you understand, but a team where every model is different and unique!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

I couldn't resist getting started - Bee Knight Progress

In spite of the pile of other projects sitting on my desk, I tend to get a little distracted by anything new. That selection of components for my Bee Knight was sitting begging to have some attention, and when I found myself with a spare hour this afternoon, I broke out the modelling tools.

The concept for this figure is that he's a Tzeentch Champion, with a tame hive of enchanted bees. There will be some back story to come, but it gives you the general flavour.

The knight will be mounted on a Tzeentch creature of some kind and will be equipped with all sorts of bee paraphenalia. This is where I got to this afternoon:

Tzeentch's Bee Keeper - an Oldhammer Group Project

Over at the BLOOD forums Asslessman proposed a nice group project; the basic premise is to make a Knight with some sort of connection to the creator's background and/or location.

I happen to live in a place called Beeston. Bees appear everywhere:

Beehive on the town hall

Beekeeper statue on the high street

Starting the blog

Firstly, hello! Some of you guys may know me from the Blood Forums or perhaps Talk Fantasy Football or one of several other forums I frequent. For some years now I've been commenting on my various modelling and gaming projects in silo fashion (Blood Bowl on TFF, Inquisitor on The Conclave, Warhammer 40k on Dakka Dakka or Warseer).

It's been the rise of the Oldhammer movement, and the community on Blood forums that has really changed my attitude to how this hobby fits together. It turns out there are plenty of other folks out there who prefer old school Citadel miniatures from a broad 'golden age' ranging (depending on who you speak to) from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. Over this period, Games Workshop set the foundations for many of the key classic tabletop games; Warhammer, Rogue Trader, Blood Bowl, Space Marine and others.

My particular interest is modelling small groups of figures; Hive gangs, Blood Bowl teams, warbands and the like, so this blog aims to chart what I do and when. I can't claim it will have any structure. it probably will have a high proportion of abandoned projects. But it might be interesting!