Friday, November 8, 2013

Oldhammer In The New World: An event for the USA and a Thank You!

Well, I have been lucky so far to get in touch with many of the Oldhammerer's in the USA (and at least follow some of the Canucks! - darn Skaven...;) ). And there are plans afoot to have our first event. Unfortunately for me, most of the group seem to be on the East Coast, which means lots of driving. But so far we have a small core of about 10 of us who are looking for an event in Late Jan or early February, and have a possibility of having a few stores host this event for a weekend. This is likely to be in Virginia, so some of us will have more driving, but it has a core of 5 guys right there. Hopefully if you are on the East Coast, that will be somewhat convenient for you as it is more central.

I think it will probably be a bit of "if you build it they will come" (if they are able), so we are going to try to get this set, and then announce it in the near future. If you have not talked to me (through phone or emails or messages) get in touch, and I can let you know what may be going on or firm up what you can do as well.

So far the plans are for me to do a nice siege battle, and I have some help on the buildings (Thanks Rusty!), so I it should look incredibly sharp. I'm thinking good guys in the castle, bad guys outside, and it will be large enough for several people to add to the game. I know of two others who are planning games right now (though details will have to be forthcoming), and I also think Orclord from Stuff of Legends is hoping to run something.

Obviously our challenges for events are a bit more difficult then our brothers in the UK, as we just have so much more closet space! I'm thinking we are going to have to have several events, possibly an Oldhammer Tour, so that we can get more people that can come and enjoy. So get in touch with me if you are in the Midwest, South, West, etc. I'm hoping to get a list together so I can pass anything along if I hear of a group or event that is upcoming!

I know UK is about to have their second, and I know I'm extremely jealous of their events (and that they'll have Mr. Ansell there as well!) So let me know if Jan or Feb could work for you on the East Coast, or possibly when would be better for you!

Also, I'd like to thank everyone who has visited this site (especially with the lack of posts recently!). I think I had just over 1750 pageviews in the first month! That was great, considering I was expecting more like 200! But Orylgg was kind enough to mention me on his blog, and I'm sure it drove a lot of you here - so Thanks Orylgg! And thank you to everyone who has check this out - hopefully some of you are in the US, and we can meet each other soon!

So "Watch This Space" - we will hopefully have some info for you soon on the first US event!

Hobby Update - Progress, Regress, and new techniques.

Man. can't believe how much time has gone by already. First, I'll apologize for not posting more. But after our Hot Water Heater went and poured water all over, we had to get it replaced. While we were attempting to replace it, we found out that we had a bunch of "bad" mold. This clean up involves bagging your entire house, having walls completely taken out, and then to our dismay, we found out that the mold had spread under the house, so it involved floors too. Needless to say this can put a huge cramp on any hobby time (being barred from your home is never fun), but more importantly to me, I have two young daughters (1 and 3!) so their health and safety has kinda been my number one priority. We have a few more minor bits, but the mold is gone and dead least the guy in the devo suit told me so. Too bad he did not look like Doc Brown, it was more of a Butkus look to him.

Anyway, I also had the fun of my camera dying. (well being dropped at a soccer game). So I am going to show some WIP shots of the Ruglud's. I've tidied them up a lot from here (and had to learn the new inking technique. - Note to self - try to get some advice before exploring a new technique). These are very rough, and with the old camera before it got bounced down a bleacher. So I'll follow up with some more shots later.

The green starts going on - Just curious, I was always told to paint models like you dress them (at least with brushes and not airbrushing). Is that how you paint them? I know a few who paint all the metal first, and then anything opaque. So what is your method?

Believe this is the first extra layer of green, little more ink added on these.
In a row, just easier to paint, glass case of minis (one of them) to the right....

Amazed at how chalky these look in this photo, not too happy with the green so far, but at least progress....
First bit of metal, applied liberally....
After bit of metal, one last green before I start in on the yellow....
 So at least they are coming along, though incredibly slowly. Having small kids can be a challenge to get some time for hobby, but with the help of my better half, I tend to do better on that regard then most. Unfortunately, I had to pack up a lot of my gaming desk (just about the only thing I have in the house for gaming) So progress has been incredibly slow.

But I should be unpacked and ready to go again, so look for more hopefully this weekend....

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hobby Update: Orktober and the army begins!

Well, as I have said, I have managed to unearth a fairly sizable Oldhammer Orc army of figures dating from 1988 and before. And as my first hobby update with a painted WIP, a good place for Orktober to begin! It is not as many as I would like, but it is a great start considering it is just my unpainted and loose stuff. But one of the things I found out was that I was unable to locate all of my Orc and Gobbo crew for my war machines. I had a leadbelcher (and its crew) and a pair of skull crushers but only a few of the crew. I also had an old style Orc Stone Thrower (uses the same base as man-mangler but without the face. It was also missing the crew.

Luckily I was able to find an ebay group with 22 crew guys for those machines. I was also pretty happy with the price....wasn't dirt cheap but it also included a lead belcher and a skull crusher. The lead belcher was in perfect shape, but the skull crusher was missing the counter weight and one of the tines on its winder had snapped off. I was waiting on the Windsor & Newton Green Apple ink to arrive, and I decided to try to repair the Skull Crusher - after all, I'll be using mainly Boyz and Arrer Boys eventually but extra machines could not hurt. Now I could have cheated, as I have an extra counter weight to the more modern metal Rock Lobber (the 90s version) which of course is a dead ringer for the Skull Crusher, but I wanted to do something a little different.

It may seem like a weird cross, but we have a show on history channel called American Pickers (not sure if it goes out of the country or not), where 2 guys search through or "pick" through old stuff that people have been storing or hoarding to find really cool antique treasures. On one of those episodes, they went to a guy who had a bunch of the stones from old mills. Round stones with little grooves that would be turned by the windmill and process the grain (or smash up whatever stuff into meal). For some reason while I was thinking about what to use as a counter weight, I thought of my Orc horde (which does not have a name yet) rampaging across the Empire, their counter weight box crashes to the ground and now what would they use that they could loot from just about any village....and I had an image of that grist mill stone. No they are big rocks, and heavy, so that would definitely "work".

Just a cool picture of a windmill because I like them....Wolf Creek GA, USA

I used a little greenstuff to make one. It was a pretty quick job, but I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

So here is a few WIP shots of the Skull Crusher with my modification (and fixed tine on the winder). It is a bit unpolished, and rough, but I don't think that goes against the Orc army at all. But it had enough "kit bassh" that I could envision the Orcs getting fun using the 'umies own stuff to hurt 'em. Now of course, I have a bunch of crewmen to paint as well, and they are helping me with the tones and practice using the new ink before I tackle my first project - those darn Ruglud's. More about them later on, though my next post will probably just show you how much I have yet to do....

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Even 'Eavier Metal: (Aurumina Demonicus) - David Soper Interview -Golden Demon Slayer Sword WInner 1990 and 2013!

Well, as you are probably aware if you have read earlier posts or my excitement on the Oldhammer Facebook page, David Soper recently won the Games Day UK Golden Demon Slayer Sword. To say that I got a little excited that night is a little understatement, as here we are trying to bring back a little of the Oldhammer magic, especially here in the states, and one of the venerable painters extraordinaire of that special era has duplicated his feat again! 
In my excitement I sent a congratulatory message to him on Facebook, and wrote my earlier blog post here.
Imagine my surprise when he replied and agreed to answer a few questions for me about his history and the Gold Demons. I tried to write some good questions, but I'm a bit far removed from those old journalism classes, so if there is anything uncovered, it is entirely my fault and not Mr. Soper's! Also for a lot more information and to visit his personal blog please go here : Sproket's Small World

On David's Blog he has some incredible photos of all of his new entries, so make sure to go there and check them out!
 David highlights his current winning models with great photos on his blog.His impressive haul included a Silver for the Lizardmen Skink Priest in Warhammer Single Miniature. Gold for his Dark Eldar Hellion in Warhammer 40,000 Single Figure. And Gold and The Slayer Sword for his Dark Eldar Diorama. Quite an impressive haul for an entire career (and a dream for a painter of my meager abilities). But this, as you'll see is not the only time he has taken home multiple awards. So on to the interview!

[OITNW]: From reading your blog, you left the hobby for a while and rediscovered your passion. Your Nurgle Predator tank was the highlight of the last of the old school Fantasy Miniatures books. How did you get into miniatures originally? What was the timeline, and how long were you out of the hobby? And what allowed you to rediscover that passion?

[DS]: I became aware of miniature painting through playing fantasy role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. It must have been some time around 1980 after a group of my school friends came back from a trip to London where they’d visited the (one and only) Games Workshop store in Dalling Road. Amidst all the goodies they bought back was a small collection of metal miniatures, a mix of Citadel and Ral Partha as best I can recall. From the moment I clapped eyes on those tiny dull grey figures I was hooked! I absolutely knew that this hobby was for me.

I’d already developed a strong aptitude for art but my work had a tendency to get bogged down in lots of tiny tight detail. I sensed that here was a hobby where I could direct all that obsessiveness to good effect. It would also have the unexpected benefit helping to free up my painting and drawing style enough so that I could progress with my studies and work towards a place at art college.
I sent off for a Citadel miniatures catalogue and in due course received my first ever minis. A mixture of fantasy tribe orcs and trolls. Over the following years, as I left school and went to art college, I would spent my spare time painting minis, and I began to develop and refine my technique. At first there was no guidance out there at all, and I learned by trial and error. I can still remember the day when I quite accidentally discovered dry brushing – that was a revelation! It was through the pages of White Dwarf magazine that I gained exposure to a wider world of miniature painting, and an awareness of just how much there was to learn.

Then we come to 1987 and the first Golden Demon Competition. I thought I was quite good; but I had no contact with any other painter or their work, so I had no objective way of gauging the standard of my minis. That year I didn’t get past the regional heats! It gave me a kick in the pants and fired up the drive to prove that I too could make it to the finals.

By GD 1988 Southampton had it’s own Games Workshop store and I was getting to connect with other painters. I made it through to the finals, held at the Victoria Leisure Centre in Nottingham, and I really could not have been happier. I didn’t expect anything more so when I won gold in two categories I was genuinely shocked. This made me reappraise myself as a figure painter. From this point on I focused my efforts on improving my painting with success at the Golden Demons my goal.

I managed to repeat my success in 1989 and it was during the award ceremony that I decided to see of I could take it further and win the sword. All my painting and sculpting efforts over the next year were focused on that goal. The Nurgle Predator was the result of six months of intensive work, it was by far the biggest and most ambitious project I had attempted to date.

At the 1990 finals I was a mess of nerves, I’d put everything I had into this one model. I’ve little clear memory of the awards ceremony itself. When my Predator won the Sword the world seemed to explode around me. I found myself standing on the stage with the sword held up over my head and no memory of how I got up there!

Winning the Sword in 1990 was a huge deal for me and remains one of my proudest achievements. But now I’d done that I had to consider my next move. I came to realize that I really wanted was to simply get back to painting minis for my own pleasure. Over the following years that’s exactly what I did. I’ve never been a fast painter and as I focused my efforts on refining my technique and finish, my output slowed. As time passed, and other interests developed, that pattern continued until it wasn’t unusual for me to have only one mini finished in a year. Looking back I can also see that, although my technique developed, my painting style remained pretty much the same.

The period where I dropped right out of the hobby is probably no longer than three or four years. I remember quite clearly that, by 2002, I no longer considered myself a mini painter. I tried to paint some of the new Fellowship of the Rings minis and failed abysmally.  Through lack of practice I had lost my technique and confidence. I was surprised by how much of a sense of loss that gave me.

Although I was no longer painting I kept an eye on the hobby through the occasional copy of White Dwarf and increasingly through the Internet. It was around this time I discovered cool mini or not. The hobby had evolved and I was blown away by the realism and sophistication of technique now being employed by many painters. It was inspiring but very daunting.

What followed was a process of being drawn gently back into the hobby through some of my other interests. Around 2006 I started painting minis with an Egyptian theme and then in 2011 I painted some Dr Who minis that I made into a diorama. I found that I was hooked all over again.

My technique didn’t return overnight and I really had to work very hard at regaining it. Knowing that I could once do this was a double-edged sword feeding both my frustration and my drive to do it again! As I regained lost experience my confidence grew and I finally got to the point where I felt my skill was back to where it had been. It was a great feeling and served as a jumping off point for a new era. I was back up to speed but I was not up to date!

Through blogs and forums the online painting community has been the thing that has really made the difference. I’m able to see other painter’s work and get my work seen by them. There is a sharing of ideas and experience, and an exposure to other ways of working that’s had a wholly positive affect on my work.

I struggled for a while with the feeling that I was that guy basking in the glory of a twenty three year old success. I really wanted my painting to be up to date and relevant to the modern scene. Unfortunately I’ve often (but not always) had the term ‘old school’ used as a negative criticism of my work. That’s a shame and, I think, rather narrow-minded.

The big thing that enabled me to develop my ‘modern’ style as a painter was acknowledging and embracing my old school roots. This came together for me when I painted the Hellion that won the 40k single mini gold. To me that mini feels like a fusion of old and new, and it sparked off a period of experimentation that resulted in the Dark Eldar diorama. 
[OITNW]: Your blog has some incredible work in progress shots, and some great views of your models. So for examples and direction of technique, readers can go to your blog, but are there many differences in the techniques that you used in 1990 and the ones you used on your amazing diorama? What do you think of some of the “modern” things like Non-Metallic Metals, Point Source Lighting and others?

[DS]: I think it’s important to differentiate between techniques and effects. Techniques is a term I’d use to describe a method of application. For example dry brushing, layering, washes, airbrushing or stippling. Effects like Non-Metallic Metals or Point Source Lighting are something you use the techniques to achieve.

For the most part my basic toolkit of painting techniques hasn’t really changed. All of the techniques I used on the Predator can be seen on my Dark Eldar diorama. I think the big difference between now and then is in how painting techniques are applied and combined. The ‘modern’ challenged is to use painting techniques with greater control, sophistication and subtlety to create a wider range of effects and greater realism.

The range of effects and materials being used has widened beyond recognition. This is in no small part due the sharing of information and experience through the Internet. I also think that exposure to other traditions - like military and historical model painting and even fine art - have had an influence, especially in the pursuit of greater realism.

I’m a big fan of all the new effects and how they are put to use in mini painting. There are so many shiny new toys to play with! There’s always something new to experiment with and unlimited opportunities to learn and develop. 

[OITNW]: You’ve proven that an incredible artist can win not only multiple awards, but awards over vastly different competition. Having climbed the mountain twice, what do you think of the general level of competition?

[DS]: I’d say that the level is very high and it’s made all the more challenging by the diversity of painting styles that are around now. There really isn’t one universal gold standard as to what makes a great painted mini. Different competitions will have very different criteria.  Added to this there are many fashions and trends in mini painting that present a competitive painter with a whole range of challenges and opportunities, depending upon the arena they are competing in.

[OITNW]: I know the models that you have had displayed and your recent winner tend to be dioramas or incredibly detailed models with display bases. But do you also game? If so, what are your favorites?

[DS]: I’m a painter rather than a gamer, although I did use to enjoy the odd game of Warhammer with my brother back in my school days.

[OITNW]: Obviously you’ve been kind enough to answer my questions, but were you familiar with the Oldhammer movement before you got my request? Have you visited any of the blogs?

[DS]: I stumbled across the Realm of Chaos 80s blog and so discovered the Oldhammer movement just a couple of days before going up to Games Day this year. It was a joy to see some love being given to the ‘Golden Years’ and gave me a nice little boost in the face of pre competition nerves.

[OITNW]: One of my drives for this is the passion I find in the incredibly varied and detailed models of old. As an artist, you are able to imbue passion and individuality into just about any model. But do you have a favorite period of models, and or which type of miniature do you prefer to work with (metal, plastic, etc)?

Do you remember the ideas and reasons behind your original Nurgle Predator tank? The text back then was pretty small, but did not go into your choices and thoughts. We’ve all seen others inspired by it, but what was yours?

[DS]: I’d have to say that my favourite period is now because I’m always looking forward to my next project. I definitely prefer plastic and resin miniatures over metal. This is because I can get them prepped for painting more quickly, and the lighter/softer plastic material is well suited to conversion work. Having said that there is something special about the weight and feel of a finished metal miniature.

The idea for my Nurgle Predator tank wasn’t an original one and it’s great to finally be able to give credit to the model that inspired mine. I remember seeing a Nurglesqe tank at the 1989 finals and that planted the seed of an idea. What would happen to the slimy and diseased tank over time if a Demon possessed it? What if the tank itself began to warp and mutate into a Greater Demon of Nurgle?

[OITNW]: Which artists were the ones who inspired you? What models or painters at the older Games Days were your favorites?

[DS]: Without a doubt Mike McVey was the biggest influence and inspiration on my work. I’ve always admired John Blanche’s minis which have such a distinctive painterly quality, and are totally different to anything I could do. From older Games Days, Ivan Bartlet’s minis really stood out and set the standard.

[OITNW]: Some of the Oldhammer Painters (like Andy Craig and Tim Prow) are excited about your win. He and others have been a bit surprised to find out how many people still find their work so special. Are you surprised by the numbers of people who still pour over the pictures from the Fantasy Miniatures book or old White Dwarf pictures for inspiration?

[DS]: I’d become used to Games Workshop staff who hadn’t even been born in 1990, so I’m stunned by it! I thought my past success was forgotten and that I could sneak out and start entering competitions again with no one being aware of my history. 

I'd like to thank David so much for answering my questions. I know it has been a busy and incredible time for him, so his effort is really appreciated. I am also struck by his finding Orlygg's great blog, and how stunned he is we still drool over the photos of his old winners. David was incredibly kind enough to take some additional photos of some of his old winning models. Unfortunately it seems his film was eaten by his camera for his sword winning moment, so he does not have any photos from 88-90 Games Days. But here are some great images of those incredible models from our memories!
1990 Golden Demon Gold 40,000 Vehicle and Slayer Sword Winner

That incredible model that we all remember from the book. Thanks to David for the new images, and the story above. Still one of the coolest models from the Fantasy Miniatures Hardbacks.

This is probably one of the 4 most memorable RT vehicles ever! (Guy Carpenter's, The Spartan, and the Deodorant ones from RT itself!) Just incredible detail and gribbly bits!

Very neat and cool view that highlights how his tone and choices just draw your eyes continually to that Daemon's face

The muted and vibrant colors that David uses are even evident on his current crop of winners (that almost translucent color with a tone of white breaking through is just incredible). That ethereal color is matched by all of the detail. Grimdark is not just washes or grubby realism. Incredible paint and incredible art!
The Troll Warhammer Single Figure
This was just so cool when I saw this model. As I said, if I had ever tried this it would have come off as some deranged crying clown. The contrasting and complementing colors used in just incredible ways to add, not detract from each other. One of those things that David as an artist can truly pull off. I can just drool....

Just love that we now have the backside of this one too. Look at that hair and the hidden skull. Passion and story, some of the things that help set David's work apart (not to mention the incredible techniques and effects!)
The Chimera Warhammer Monster
Just wow - Just a great model and incredibly subtle palette make this one stand out!

 Eldar Figure Warhammer 40,000 Single Figure


Once again, tonal choices set the stage then the incredible detail work make this one great. He even has the colors of the Good Ol' USA ;)!

You know I just have to say one little thing - I am often struck how great painters talk about painting. They seem to think differently than most of us. I am often struck by this when I talk or read Facebook posts by Andy Craig  or Tim Prow or Trent Nighman or Russell Swanson (those last two were incredible painters that worked at GW with me). They are not alone, and this happens whenever I talk with talented artists that paint these figures. I have always wanted to be able to paint better, and readily admit that patience, life and time have always tried to stand against me. This is some of what I wanted to break through on my new Orc army for Oldhammer. I may not win a Golden Demon, or even win a best painted award of any sort, but I want my painting to improve....

David's discussion on how he had to build back his skills has me excited for this challenge. I may not be an incredible artist, but I have learned enough that I am fairly confident that I can paint one figure to a standard that most regular gamers can not match. Doing that to an entire army is a challenge. Improving my skills so that I can feel confident to actually have Blue or Andy actually look at my model.....that is my goal.

Thanks Again David - Really appreciate it, and a reminder that all of the images on this post are David's and are used with his kind permission.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sometimes Life isHard

Hello. I want to first apologize for the lack of posts here on my blog. Unfortunately life can sometimes intrude in our hobby, and recently a lot of things have happened that have made life very difficult. I won't cover details here, but will say that in the end the police have become involved (not against me, but for me). So basically in the end the third BEST thing that has happened since my last post was my hot water heater blew up. Running water is never my best friend. Fortunately, no real flooding or damage, just a lot of mess. I am mostly upset because now it will be $600+ I can't spend on getting more Oldhammer. Sigh. But that is life, and sometimes it can be hard. Yesterday is I hope the culmination of the "bad things" that have been going on around me, as my 70 year old neighbor came home from the hospital after open heart surgery, and either shot himself by accident or took his own life. Seeing his wife in so much pain was incredibly shocking emotionally, and has put all of my bad stuff back in to proper perspective. Stuff after all happens, but life is life and too precious to get too worked up.
Luckily for me, I'm old enough now and prepared to take some of these things in stride. But since I just started blogging, it means I've been hard to find - even on the facebook groups. And I don't think I have been on the forum for over a week. But it means that my big hobby updates are running behind already. And I have to catch up now that I'll have some time to breathe. So I'm going to try painting tonight, and hope to take wip pictures as I go. Just remember, I'm not on Blue's or any of the Golden Demon winner's levels.
I do have a picture for one of the cool basing parts that I did attempt. I've decided in an ode to Kev Adams and the old style painting, that I'm going to add homemade plants and mushrooms to a lot of my minis, similar to his figures which (I believe) were used as the pictures for the Lead Belcher and Man-Mangler photos:

Now, for my project I am going to be painting both of these, and all of the crew. In fact I have a couple of them, and also Skull-crushers. I also have the basic Orc Stone Thrower (almost the same as the man mangler).

In fact one of the Skull-crushers was a more recent ebay purchase, and was relatively cheap (I actually bought the auction for all of the crew members that came with it - 22 guys I believe!) but came without the counter weight on the front end. I'll have some pics of my fix on my next update, as I'm going to get it painted and then start in on the crew and Ruglud's as I experiment with the green ink which arrived. But instead of the usual counterweight (which I'll have on two of my Skull-crushers), I wanted something else. So I decided to green-stuff up a mill stone (one of those stone donut things with grooves that smash grain). Pretty happy with it so far, but the test will be when its all painted up. I may go for a bell shape if it does not look right. But I thought that would be appropriately looted from a Empire village and may give me a cool story if this one ever does something really cool.

But as an ode I have to learn how to green stuff mushrooms and stuff like Kev did on the above sets. So here is my first attempt at mushrooms, at least making them....

I have a bunch of different sizes, because I am not sure what will work best with which figures, but thought it might give me some freedom when I put them on a base. They can still be trimmed to fit, and they are a bit rough, but I am still kinda happy about them. It definitely gave me some practice. I also want to try some of the bigger flatter ones for my war machines and for more particular models.

Anyway, sorry again for the long delay, just glad that in the end I do have a great hobby I can fall back on! But after tomorrow I should be almost on track. I also got a message from a certain recent Golden Demon participant and I'm expecting to have some cool things to share with you all hopefully by the end of the week.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Even 'Eavier Metal: (Aurumina Demonicus) - What's Good is Great Again!

Thanks to Painting Bhudda at I just found out that David Soper won the Games Day UK Golden Demon Slayer Sword. I'll let that sink in a bit.

Yep - that David Soper!

So Congratulations Mr. Soper! That is awesome! For those of you who are newer to the Oldhammer movement, David Soper is an incredible artist who won the Golden Demon UK Slayer Sword in 1990. I graduated high school that year, and missed my only chance so far of going to the UK show. Due to political events that year, instead of going to the UK for my dream trip, I headed over to Berlin and got to help chip the Berlin wall down. While nothing will ever replace that wall going down, it is still one of those wistful moments when I wish so much I could have done both!

Here is some of the highlights from the Fantasy Miniatures Hardback book about that Golden Demon and David's Winning Model and further collection:

David Soper - Golden Demon Winner Fantasy Miniatures 1990 by Attilla13 [/url]
Well, David has an incredible blog here. And it seems that he left the hobby for a while, and as he puts it "After dropping out of the hobby for a few years I’ve rediscovered my passion for painting miniatures."

I am going to post this here - but it is his miniature and picture of his WIP Helion base. This was only a part of the winning model, a Dark Eldar Diorama. For more amazing photos, please make sure to check out his blog.

David Soper's WIP Helion from his Golden Demon winning Diorama. Incredible!
So it is amazing that he was able to win a Golden Demon 23 years apart, but is it really? I mean, he is one of a small incredible group of artists that helped instill our hobby with the passion it had back in the "Oldhammer days", is it really surprising that his, as he put it "rediscovered" passion was able to win again? Technique is an incredible thing, and I'm not anywhere close to any of these guys in my own abilities. But I sure can appreciate it in others. But just maybe it is that passion that drives us to Oldhammer may be making a bigger return than even we think.

I would love to find out from him just a little bit of info, mainly the differences in the awards, the competition of the different eras, the different techniques that he explored. That type of thing. Hopefully we'll hear from him about this.

But lets talk about his original winner - the Nurgle Predator tank. This was an incredible piece and I have drooled over the pictures of it for many years. It truly is a thing of nightmares, and has an incredible amount of work. The description in the book says it took over 6 months, and I can barely believe it was done so fast! The incredible control on the conversion work, and the detailed painting makes so much of it pop, and your eye is continually drawn to the face and organic details of the tank. With any less skill, it would be almost too busy, but at this level it draws you on and on to another amazing detail. Looking at it now, I'm particularly liking the mushrooms, but that is because I've decided to try adding these to my figures of my Orc army.

I don't have full photos of his new entry, but I'm sure they will be on his blog, just to celebrate, but the same incredible color control is on display in that WIP photo above. I'm sure it was simply amazing to see in person.

I'd also like to point out the other page in the small selection at the top of this post - As amazing as the Predator Tank was, these let you know how good he really is at painting. The Chimera is outstanding to me in the subtlety, highlighting the Palanquin Champion of Nurgle was genius, and my favorite has always been the troll. If I tried that many colors, it would look like a mishmash or a child's finger-painting. But he pulls it off so well that it kinda became my ideal for this Troll. All of the detail work in conversion and paint is top notch, and you would never expect less.

Back in the "Sweet Spot" of gaming, the Fantasy Miniature books highlighted some of the most incredible artists around - John Blanche, Andy Craig, Mike McVey, Ivan Bartlett, Dale Hurst, Tim Prow, and a whole host of others. With Oldhammer gaining momentum like it has been, it just seems fitting that one of the Kings of Old would return to the pinnacle of the mountain to take his Sword! Orlygg at Realmsofchaos80s was kind enough to include info on these incredible books on his blog, so I won't rehash too much of it here - just use the link on the right of my page to go there. But for more of the Fantasy Miniature Books look here - 19881989 and the full 1990.

I have never met Mr. Soper, and would probably have to control myself from drooling all over his miniatures if I did get a chance to see them in person - because as we all know, these are even better in person than the photos. But I have to admit, seeing one of the Great Champions of our favorite era come back and win again has gotten me pretty excited tonight!

And while I am not at this skill level, I did get my W&N ink on Friday, so I got to start on the Ruglud's today. I'm hoping to have photos of them by this weekend. And I have another Hobby Update on the project coming on Wednesday.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tales From The Front: Battle Report History - The 1st White Dwarf Battle Report

"The sun sank below the horizon, casting deep shadows across the valley. Warriors drank, sang of glorious wars, and sharpened their weapons for the coming battle. Since early that evening, Empire commanders n the southern camp had been welding the disparate groups of Humans, Dwarfs and Halflings into shape. To the North, the grim face of the Lord of the Undead turned once more to the horizon.

The Moon slid behind a cloud. In the enveloping darkness, still silence was broken by the howl of a wolf. From across the valley, a slow steady drum-beat began to sound...boom!..doom!....boom!...doom! the battle had begun."

So begins a long and storied tradition in White Dwarf - The Battle Report. As has been covered on numerous blogs, and something I've pointed out to others before, I think that the first battle report to ever appear in White Dwarf for Warhammer was the one in issue 107. If you have never seen this, it is a far cry from battle reports to come, or the more current ones of today with colored graphics or gorgeous photos designed to sell more miniatures.

The first battle report was a bit of promotion for a club of gamers called the Roundabout Youth Club. As the report states: "The public often perceive people into our hobby as slightly crazed and obsessed with violent death. We wanted to show that Fantasy Gaming, was a fun, sociable, creative way for young people to spend their time, and that we could use it to help others." Great goals, and I believe they gained 300 pounds in their 24 hour marathon - quite a tidy sum in those days! The event was set up as a 24 hour gaming experience fought between the Forces of Good (The Empire Allies: Humans, Dwarfs and Halflings) and the Forces Of Chaos (Dark Elves, Orcs, Chaos Dwarfs, Skeletons, and Human Chaos Mutants). To report on these events, and as a thank you to Games Workshop, Robin Dews sent in the report and it was printed in White Dwarf.

I'd like to take special notice of one particular paragraph which highlights the board size, the armies fighting and then this - "We had originally begun with the idea of using about 10,000 points per side but as the armies assembled, it became clear that both sides wanted to throw everything they had into an all or nothing confrontation. We decided to just "go for it" on the basis that this was all for fun, and "armies were never equal anyway." This resulted in a final points value of about 15,000 for the Chaos Commanders, John and Max, and 18,000 for the Empire Allies, myself, Leon and Tristan."

Ok, so note a couple of things - first, it is very large. This is of course one of the dreams of most gamers, to have such a huge horde they can fill a table and take on all comers. For most, it is just a dream, but that visual is one of the things that appeals to most of us - even if we only start out small or with a Chaos Warband. Also, "This Was All For Fun!" How often in the current environment of tournaments do you think you'd hear - ok, you take 3000, I'll take 2400, its fine, its just for fun? Remember this is part of the fun of game mastered games, and of Warhammer 3rd. Sure, things have points, but really it was collecting and playing with an army (or in this case, several), it was not chess, nor restricted to this or that comp - as you'll see when we talk about one of the "secrets" later.

I also like how Robin covered the first few turns as the armies shake out and they use four hours to basically sort out how all of the allies are going to fight. Sure, one small paragraph, but isn't that amazingly close to how you'd imagine a real battle would fall out? Trying to figure out where everyone is, is going and what they are going to do would add confusion and miscommunication to anything like this.

Robin does a great job, in the old days of print, using text to give us a feel of the tilt and sway of battle, using only 3 hand drawn maps to cover the Initial Dispositions, The Height of Battle, and the Final Stages. Very well done and concise, and no-where near a step by step tactical guide, these help you place the units in your imagination that the text brings alive - with descriptions like: "they crunched unceasingly towards the village", "On the right, things were a mess!" ;) "the Cold Ones, having failed a stupidity test, were munching grass in the midst of the woods", "Holes appeared where man had stood before," and "the surviving Knights charged forth in a complete frenzy, desperate to bury their lances into the line of Chaos Thugs now flanking the decimated archers". I just wonder how long Robin took to write all of this up! There is a photo, presumably from the event, and it is great in its black and white goodness. I wonder if there are any photos from this event in the hands of anyone who still plays? If you know of anyone, please have them get in touch with me, if you can.

But I wonder if any of the current crop of fans will notice something very peculiar about the whole you know who won? The gamers. There is plenty of mention of the units getting crushed, run down and melting away (as skeletons do, you know?), but he never says exactly who won. And that is Oldhammer! It is playing a massive multi-thousand point game over 24 hours, and having a blast, a true moment where "the story is the thing". Excellent job, and very interesting as the beginning of the Battle Reports in White Dwarf.

So the interesting thing is...why highlight this little bit of antiquity? Very simple - Battle Reports! One of the cool things of the Oldhammer Blogs are some of the really cool battle reports that have appeared. Thantsant has some great ones here. (And can I say how much I just love his photo backgrounds on his blog - incredibly cool!) and Gaj's are highlights on the left hand column on his blog here.  These are just some of the ones you'll find on most of the Oldhammer sites and you'll see some really cool games. I'll be posting some as well, though I'm probably going to have to pick up a good camera somehow. And if you find any or post any of your own, put a link in the comments below!

In the Margins: 

That mammoth is pretty cool, actually. If you have been doing this for a long time, you'll probably remember that another company had miniatures for skeletal mammoths (and a rhino!). I loved the idea of a skeletal mammoth (my family has always been partial to elephants!) marauding around and crushing my foes. It was probably the Oliphants fault, but after reading this report, I just had to have one. Of course, I ended up with 4 of them ;). Gonna have to make some rules for these guys, just to play with them again. I tried to find these guys to take photos of them, but the only one I could find is not painted, and unfortunately I have a hard time finding one figure in my two storage units. I'll try to get some pics up as soon as I can.

But one of the elephants is available here:

Skeleton War Mammoth With Catapult

* Special thanks to Orlygg for scanning this

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hobby Update: The Goal and Progress So Far!

Well to get the hobby updates started I get to talk about my goals first.

I have a ton of Games Workshop that I have collected over the years. A ton of it is Oldhammer from the days I was buying as a kid - from pre-slotta to early stuff all the way to the great Lead Sell-off. When I was trolling around and found Oldhammer as a movement, most of it was just sitting in one of my two storage buildings. As I have said before....I may have a bit of a problem.

Anyway, as all the photos I posted up on facebook show I have a ton of stuff, including a lot in shrinkwrap. So if I'm going to do the Oldhammer thing, where do I start? One of my first true armies (not minis but full fledged ideas for an entire army) was Undead. They will always have a special place in my heart. Back then I had friends who I got to play, but they were basically unable to afford hardly anything. So what to do....ok I bought tons of figures for their armies. That way I had ready made opponents and more figures! Win-Win, right? Well yes, but it has left me with a pile of unpainted minis that would shock most people. One of the brothers Horton did High Elves, one did Chaos and Orcs. I played Undead, Empire, and anything else to make a fun game. So I have all of these options. And I doubt I have to buy too much from ebay to make any one army - of course, I will because I'll want that one special figure - but that is different from needing to go out and spend.

I want to do my Undead again, and I have a ton of the models, but to be honest, I want to accomplish something else first. Then I thought about Kev "Goblinmaster" Adams (see below) and thought - ok...Its Orcs and Gobbos!

I started puling out figures (some with primer, some sprayed green (really bad green form some spray we found in the late 80s), some bare, some black....its like a mono-toned rainbow). I am going to go through jars of Simple Green just to clean them all. I still have things to find that I know are in there somewhere, but I have found enough to get a really good start on my complete army (complete in my head - not points!)  I decided to just concentrate on the slottas for now and I have grouped them in two basic groups - 85-90 and 91-92. The former has the regiments, skullcrushers, leadbelchers, etc. the former has some of the "newer" orcs and savage orcs. I'm really starting on the older group first, have like 6 units of infantry, gobbo wolf riders, orc boar boyz, war machines, fanatics, and chariots. I want them done but the whole thing won't be finished until those savage orcs have tattoos!

But I wanted to start with one of my favorite things...the old regiments of renown. So I decided to do Ruglud's (because I can find everything for two boxes except either of Harboth himself - more searching to do!). Anyway, these were pretty rough and painted when I was 15 or so I think (or at least half done - hey it was my friends army he was borrowing from me.) So I gave them a bath, and presto - bare metal! Here are some of them coming out of their bath:

Well I had a full box (which is 17) and I wanted at least 20 and hopefully 30 - I wanted a really big unit of these guys. Luckily I was able to get some more of them from Rusty, and It brought me up to 27 - and I just added three other Orcs with the right weapons to the back rank, and I had my thirty. One of the ones Rusty sent me was missing a hablerd - it was broken before he got it - so I had to fix em. Here is my little plastic whittling job. Its a bit rough, but in my opinion it makes him look like he's already been in a few fights!

In the photo it looks a lot bigger, but it is more because of his hand placement - I used the one on the right as a template of sorts. So I was all ready to go and get started when on the facebook page Andy Craig mentioned how he painted Orcs. Basically Green Apple Windsor and Newton ink with mid tones and yellows added - I think I have that right! Anyway I have always wanted to be able to get the old look of Orc skin down and could just never do it (using the Citadel paints at the time) and now i know why. So I ordered some Red and Green Apple inks and I'm waiting for them to arrive.

If you have never used Red with your red paints, then you should give it a try. I learned that one long ago, as it keeps your paints from getting too pink (unless you want them to). I am not a painting expert, so I'll just keep it to what I am trying to do. For excellent tips and paint jobs, please see some of the others on the facebook page. I'm afraid I will never win a Golden Daemon, or even come close. But I have long painted until I am happy with things and played lots of games. I am trying to get better, and hopefully this project will help - but I just want to warn you.

Anyway, as I am currently waiting for the inks to arrive, I am cleaning a bunch more of the Orcs and Gobbos now. Lots of cleaning to do!

Also, my blog is less than 24 hours old - and I only told three people. But somehow I have 100 pageviews already. Very cool!