Saturday, 29 November 2014

A Great Haul Of Vintage Goodness...



It's been a really good week for vintage RPGs this week.

My total haul comprised:

Mint Star Frontiers first ed  £15

Mint books, damaged boxes Star Frontiers 2nd Ed and Knight Hawks

Very good Zebulon's Guide for Star Frontiers £14 (a real bargain)

Ringworld RPG in excellent condition £40 (foolishly cheap)

Mint Warhammer 1st edition

Mint Forces Of Fantasy

Quite an eclectic haul for under £200 and it's very difficult to choose a favourite from them all. It's almost like 1984 again both in terms of the games and the prices paid.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Bethorm - It's Out Of This World!

Now, whilst I have been gaming for a little over 35 years, and in that time having played a LOT of RPGs, I confess that I was never part of an 'Empire Of The Petal Throne'  game.

EPT as it is known by it's fanatical followers was the second RPG system but the first complete game world, being set in the world of Tekumel, the creation of on Professor M.A.R Barker.

To me it always seemed to be something of an urban legend, and I had never actually known anyone in my city who played it.

So, I dutifully went through the various games; D&D, AD&D, Runequest etc, gaining my 'gaming cred' and having a lot of fun along the way.

Fast forward to 1995 when I am head hunted to manage the Sheffield branch of Dungeons & Starships, the details of which I will not bore you with here, but rather would direct you to my gaming memoir 'Real Life's A Bu**er!'  (ISBN10:1471643875).

Around that time Theatre Of The Mind Enterprises released a Tekumel based system by the name of Gardasiyal, which looked promising but frankly it was awful, mainly because you had to try and find one book from a previous T.O.M.E Tekumel system to be able to play it. And so, I decided that it was not to be and resigned myself to dying a Tekumel virgin.

It's 19 years later and I have just taken delivery of a hard back tome by Unigames with the title of 'Bethorm' co-authored by the now late Professor Barker and Jeff Dee, the illustrator whom I would argue (along with perhaps Errol Otus) inspired me in my early gaming days with his black and white illustrations in many TSR products.

Bethorm is a return to Tekumel, but rather than trying to tackle the entirety of the truly vast planet of Tekumel, it focusses on the largest human portion, the Tsolyanu Empire.

The book was vaunted as being pretty much all you needed to explore this rich gaming world. Being a natural sceptic, I was somewhat cautious, but reached into my bag of holding and shellled out a few gold pieces.

The book arrived on Friday evening and so, on Saturday, I climbed the stairs of the Dark Tower to my studio and the comfort of the armchair therein (which I thought, would be a great investment but which has had little use, as I invariably end up sitting at my desk and working).

The description of the book was not hyperbole! Seldom have I seen so much information packed into a single books. Jeff Dee's artwork abounds, but it is in small panels which enhance rather than detract from the stunning amount of text. It makes the old TSR AD&D books look like pamphlets.

Today will be spent delving into it again, and familiarising myself with the rich and vibrant world described within those pages.

If you have ever been curious about Tekumel or just fancy a cracking good read as a change from your normal gaming diet, then you really, REALLY need to buy Bethorm.

You can find out more at http://www.bethorm.com

Go there - NOW. Here, you can borrow my Chlen Beast...

TTFN

Monday, 10 November 2014

Death Eaters Are Amongst Us... Well, Almost.

A busy Monday with plenty to do in the studio. However, just as I was starting to wane a little, Pete at Standing Stone Studios sent me the 'approval shots' of the mask I commissioned for my Death Eater costume.

It just needs the leather ties and then it will be on it's way to me.

The rust effect is so stunningly done that you'd think it was metal and not fibreglass resin.

It may have cost me £175, but the craftsmanship makes it worth every penny.





Saturday, 8 November 2014

Losing Your Virginity...


The sweaty palms, heart beating in your chest and trying to climb your throat. 

The giddy, light-headed feeling as your eyes bulge and you bite down on your lip, anxious that your Mum doesn't come upstairs and ruin that most important moment in a young man's life - that initiation into a wider sense of existence, filled with it's previously unknown pleasures.

You hum 'Feels Like The First Time' by Foreigner and gently take the wrapper off and then you're in.
It's the ultimate high and it will never be quite as good ever again, no matter what you do.
Yes, opening that TSR box and seeing the crayon and dice is something you never forget!'












Heroics & Ros Roll Ever Onwards

Under the ownership of Andy Kirk, Heroics & Ros is going from strength to strength with all the classic ranges and an ever increasing number of new ranges and models which give GHQ a run for their money.

You may recall that earlier this year I gave you all a sneak peak of the amazing Taliban models?

Well, now I can show pictures of the first painted examples of the very latest H&R WW2 release of Germans in Winter clothing.

These are superb, with tons of detail and variety which would even make skirmish gaming possible in 6mm - Really!

 As you may have also hear H&R purchased the old Davco 1/300 and Skytrex 1/600 Coastal Warfare ranges.

If the rumours I hear are true, there's some really great stuff in the pipeline.

(Pics courtesy of Conflict In Colour and H&R)



Tekumel Is Go!

Well, after doing some number crunching and reading up, as well as speaking to the very helpful Howard Fielding at 'The Tekumel Project', 2015 will see me taking forward my planned 28mm project to pitch two large forces from M.A.R Barker's sci-fantasy world of Tekumel.

I just need to get Xmas out of the way  and then I'll be ordering the first 500 models.

Watch this space...

Conflict In Colour - Full Time Miniature Painting Studio

A few pics from the latest uploads at www.conflictinclour.com

Conflict In Colour is a singe artist, U.K based studio offering a consistently high work in all scales.

With many magazine and product packaging 'appearances' as well as taking part in a Discovery Channel programme on wargaming; coupled with over 20 placings in major competitions, Conflict In Colour offers a full spectrum, ready to play service for the discerning gamer.

Those of you with large collection may like to note that they can book regular monthly 'slots' with an agreed budget and output rather than having to wait in a queue.

Anyway, here are some pics including I believe the forthcoming H&R Winter German infantry in 6mm.




















Sunday, 2 November 2014

Tekumel On The Tabletop


I am seriously considering a long term personal project as I've given up on other 'large army' projects. After all, I paint professionally for 40-50 hours per week so I get little time to paint my own stuff.

Add to the mix, the fact that I am working on my second book, and you'll see why I have to really think the logistics of this project over.

I am simply not interested in any more historical stuff for personal use and traditional 'European' fantasy has been done to death.

But, to play Devil's advocate, I need something to get really involved in (folk dancing is out) so immersing myself on a Tekumel trip using the wonderful 'Tekumel Project' miniatures.

'Tekumel? What's that?' you say...

Professor M.A.R Barker has been called 'The Forgotten Tolkein' and justly so. His fantasy world of Tekumel is much richer than Middle Earth in terms of background; A world with unique races, tons of background and a non-european mythos, it seems the way to go for someone with my creative fire... And not an Orc or Halfling in sight!

Try Googling 'Empire Of The Petal Throne' or 'Tekumel' and you'll see why I've been so drawn to a project based on Barker's fantasy world


Also check out http://www.bethorm.com and http://thetekumelproject.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday, 1 November 2014

A Long Needed Holiday And Some New Gaming Purchases

Hi ho!

Two weeks away from my studio has left me pretty refreshed mentally and physically and ready for that mad dash up to Xmas Eve and another 2 weeks without having to pick up a brush to earn a crust.

Over the last fortnight I've had the company of my wonderful wife and have also seen some of my oldest friends again at Fiasco.

Fiasco was as mundane and moribund as ever, much like the majority of shows these days. They offer no scintillatingly fresh content, bring and buys are on the decline and the wares on offer are just plain drab for the most part.

At Fiasco, my total bill for the day was a measly £48.50 with my purchases being the 'In Her Majesty's Name' rules, a section of 11 British Infantry in Home Service Dress for said rules and a copy of 'Stalagmites' from Midlam Games. This is a wonderful little 'home grown' board game with a distinctly retro feel.

For me, the day was 'made' by the attendance of some really great friends from all over the North and for whom Leeds is a relaxed drive from home.

I played a few fun games at a local Wednesday night boardgames group but both Kayte and I decided that we simply couldn't be arsed with going to the wargames club this week, choosing instead to take a night drive across the Pennines in what turned into the second worst driving conditions I have ever been in. Still it was a fun and sometimes alarming 5 hours in the company of our Scottie.

No gaming this coming week, as it clashes with the traditional night of trying to blow of your fingers with gunpowder *SIGH* and so the dogs would not be at all happy were we to leave them at home alone.

Next week sees the annual general meeting of one of the local wargames clubs which Kayte and I also decided not to attend as we are both pretty fed up with politics and the disregard for the constitution of same by those who want things to rumble along in the same old way, ignoring any opinions other than their own*. The thought of being crammed into a room full of raised voices and hopeless causes seems to be less fun than a couple of glasses of decent red wine and a good book.

Anyway, I've managed to nail down the last few items for my Death Eater costume, with a final bill of £900. It sounds a lot but frankly that's about the cost of two unpainted armies, so I am rather pleased, as it's all 'move quality' kit. Now, if I can get it all fine tuned for January, I'll be able to get to my first cosplay convention (Do try one - they're great fun!)

On Halloween, I went over to Chatsworth House again, where there is a rather splendid new gallery featuring the exploits of Dukes Of Devonshire in the 1st and 2nd World Wars. I really enjoyed it, and given that I rarely watch military TV shows or even go to military museums these days (I find I can't stomach the whole war thing as much as I did as a youth - odd for a wargamer, I know) it was a great little exhibition.

What I really wanted to see however was a 16th century spell book which was on display for the last week...



I've had a lifelong interest in occult subjects (not to be confused with my interest in swords and sorcery subjects). and this was not a book I'd previously seen. I just wish I could have seen more pages. The bestial figure on the left intrigues me.

The day was rounded off with a rather splendid dinner at Chatsworth and a sunset drive back to Sheffield.

Now, as you may know by now, I have an abiding love of vintage roleplaying games and thus I was very pleased to get my hands on a copy of both the Gamma World and Twilight 2000 RPGs in their 1980's editions. T2000 was a really great game set in the aftermath of the nuclear phase of the 3rd Word War and was almost a mil-sim if played properly. I had it as a youth but like most things it was moved on. Anyway I managed to get about 18 modules and the rules for a handsome £80. Gamma World was a post apocalyptic fantasy game, at the totally opposite end of the spectrum. I managed to get a copy along with three modules for £50; a frankly larcenous price to pay, but what the hell... You only get one ride on the roundabout after all.

The game which continues to elude me is Star Frontiers by TSR. In it's time it was a flop of a game but I'd love to try it out again. Despite the massive print run, many are in terrible condition and the sharks who prey on nostalgia-crazed gamers are putting truly horrendous premiums on the game - And are not managing to sell them.

To hell with that... I don't mind a dance but a fuck is out of the question!

If you have a set of rules and any modules, get in touch and I will pay you a fair price, but I'm not going to be extorted by greedy dealers.

During one of the 'recovery days' where we stayed at home to give our arthritic limbs a chance to heal, I did manage to get into my studio and make a start on my UNSC forces for Drop Zone Commander, a rather interesting looking 10mm company-sized sci-fi miniatures game. The first two sections are done apart from the basing. I decided on an 80s inspired colour scheme, redolent of the mid-tech troops in the Traveller and Striker rules systems.

The results are pleasing to the eye, but I still have two more similar lots and all the vehicles to get painted, let alone based.


And so, with 36 hours of holiday left, I shall bid you a fond farewell as I have to watch the second episode of 'Constantine' which is not based upon the life of the Byzantine Emperor but is an occult/horror series based on the seminal D.C 'Hellblazer' comics. It's gritty, sleazy and excellent. The first episode was pretty good, the second looks fun and the third episode will hopefully blow the minds of the viewers. Buffy The Vampire Slayer this is not!

TTFN


*See my previous blog post