Sunday, 18 August 2019

HAVOC!

After waiting 2 weeks, I picked 500+ 28mm old school Medievals today at Partizan.
It’s a heady mix of figures including Lamming, Citadel, Irregular, Garrison and similarly a mix of painting, which strangely enough, works very well indeed.
I have binned a few bits, but even after that there are 546 pieces. I think they have also been previously used for fantasy which serves me quite nicely because that’s exactly what I wanted them for.
These are destined to take the field as Warhammer 1st/2nd 'Men Of The West' and so the old school aspects are just perfect.

The remaining £950 set aside for joyous spending at Partizan remained untouched and we left after about an hour, although I did almost - almost - buy some Empress 28mm Spanish Civil War. Good sense prevailed.

As it is my birthday I am now going to go and pop my pyjamas on and settle down to watch an 80s film with a couple of bottles of bubbly and another of Cotes Du Rhone.




Saturday, 17 August 2019

Look At This Rather Tall Erection... It's Red At The End, Too!

It's a very rare occurrence when I paint something for myself, but as I am on my annual 3 week break and the weather has been rather unpleasant on week 1, I just completed this fantasy tower from Tabletop World.
It's to form a backdrop for a big old school Warhammer 1st edition game that I have planned for the convention circuit.
I'll be adding a doormat, bottles on the step and a house number after Partizan on Sunday.



And as it's my birthday on the same day as Partizan, I intend to treat myself to something as yet undecided.

TTFN

Sunday, 4 August 2019

First Glimpses Of More Gnolls...

A couple of days ago, Martin Buck sent me the first pics of the new Great Gnoll / Great Goblin Boar Riders. The riders are essentially done and they are lovely...


As with the first release of infantry, they are going to be multi-part castings and will be interchangeable with the other models in the range once mastered, meaning that just by using the 4 newest heads, the possible variants of infantry will increase by 50%.

Later in the Autumn there's another set of heads coming, along with entire new ranges which Martin is working on right now.

TTFN

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad...

As was pointed out to me this morning, it's been a good while since I updated this rambling stream of consciousness.  That's quite true, because I'm heading towards my Summer R&R session, a glorious  23 days of uninhibited culture, food and drink with a smattering of wargames shows.

As my wife likes to try to take her break in line with Parliamentary recesses it means we work hard from January until the Summer, but I work doubly hard as I always like to keep current with my workload which, means some punishing hours at my desk and in the heat and humidity of late, this has been rather tiring.

In fact, I have just awoken from an hour's snoozing, here at the top of Fackham Hall with my feet out of the studio window before I could muster the energy to pen this epistle to the wargaming apostles.

I've been pondering of late, which of the Warhammer rule sets I prefer. It goes without saying that the minute that it got into the 'big box' era, I frankly didn't care for it. Tom Kirby may have been the man who made the GW we know today, but equally frankly the man is a cad and a bounder for his 'all in one big box' ethos and the draining of creative choice on the part of players, as the game started to have the dark and somewhat depressing 'Chaos In The Old World' background.

No, for me the Holy Trinity of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd editions are enough and always will be.

So, here are my thoughts:



I'll always have a deep love of 1st edition in terms of the breaking of new ground in making massed battle with fantasy miniatures. Chaos was only part of the game and not the game itself.

The rules were not perfect and the spelling typos were somewhat legendary. However the range of stats for models you could buy (not only Citadel, I would point out) meant that you could really let your imagination run riot.

The rules were typed with characterful but somewhat cartoonish illustrations in the same way as early TSR rule books, but that only made the feel even more appealing because, you could feel the enthusiasm of the writers and contributors. It was a work of love and enjoyment.

The cover art was awesome, and as someone who owned a few large pieces of John Blanche's artwork, I can say that it was a classic example of the skill he has to get a teenager daydreaming of his next game, when he should be studying the banana crops of South America in geography lessons.

The rules as they stood were easily picked up by neophytes, and were immediately understandable to seasoned historical gamers. They did not encourage you to buy massive units but did let you build and field large armies and command them on the battlefield. Some creatures and magic were downright bloody lethal, but when that 4th level wizard let fly and you failed to stop him, you really got the sense of powerful magics being unleashed across the field of battle.

The most infuriating rules were those for undead which meant that the majority of an undead army could not fight in daylight. But of course, most players just ignored things they did not like without unbalancing their games one jot.

Forces Of Fantasy, the supplemental box set to the main rules, introduced the uninitiated to the concept of army lists. Again, for established miniature gamers, this was nothing new, but it did prevent the '3 Balrog Army' school of players and introduced a couple of dozen possible armies with unique rules and feel. The Goblinoid races were well represented with around half a dozen army lists; similarly men had 4 army templates, Elves 3 and so on... Chaos was somewhat hampered by the lack of the much vaunted Realm Of Chaos supplement, but you could get along just fine with the rules in the first Citadel Compendium - and we did.

Similarly, troops affected by alcoholism were forced to look in the compendium for the actual rules, until the 4 page blue errata insert was included in later runs of the rules box.

There were a few clumsy rules, but the whole experience was, on the whole, a really fun one. That's how it should be.

The strength of the rules was that if you had say a 14th century Medieval army made up of Essex and QT miniatures, they could be used without any fuss, or GW staff telling you that as they were not Citadel models they were invalid for use in the stores, as they tried with 3rd ed and onwards.

As an aside, a smart arsed GW staffer in Sheffield, in the early 90s told me exactly that when I lowered myself to playing a game in-store, pointing out, when I countered that indeed, my models were all Citadel, that they could not be as they were 'not on slotta bases'.

At this point I broke the green Tetrion filler from the base of one and illustrated the big 'GW' stamp in that base, pointing out that had his father been having sex rather than masturbating for so long, he may have been born early enough to know his figures.

Needless to say, I was not invited back!



2nd edition came along and changed just enough that we veterans had to re-read the rules for clarity, but the system did not suffer any terribly detrimental changes. The artwork was more colourful, but less classy on the cover and internally the artwork actually deteriorated. The three book system was retained, which was still in my opinion, the best way to present the rules as you did not have a single big volume with post it notes all over the place and crappy bindings.

The army lists which were produced - Ravening Hordes - were bloody awful and for a good while we kept on using the previous Forces of Fantasy supplement, remembering of course to exchange the olde Alphabetical toughness classes for the new fangled numeric equivalents. 

Ravening Hordes seriously limited the levels of magic users, to the point that several armies which were heavily reliant on magic were difficult to play. We did not use much magic, but when we did, we wanted it to actually feel like an epic struggle, rather than a back alley Bum Fight...

The rules were a lot clearer in the most part, but in 2019, we've still had to go back and pencil in house rules and interpretations to get the most of the rules.

Again, at this time GW were not insisting that you used only their models, and so in one memorable game we had Mike's Models 15mm Renaissance models standing in as Gnomes and a Lizardman army made up from around 4 manufacturers as well as the contents of several Christmas crackers. Of course, fun was had by all!


                                             


And so to 3rd edition...

Presentation was vastly improved, with the recognisable '3000 page rulebook' format and an accompanying volume of army lists.

The number of character levels went from 4 to 5, confusingly termed, Levels 5,10,15,20 and 25.

And no there were no levels inbetween, so why not just call them levels 1 through 5?

These rules are thought by many to be the best set and there are many who refuse to accept that there was a 1st and a 2nd edition, treating this edition like some holy relic. They had the feel of a set in stone competition set of rules. This is all OK, but the game lost a lot of it's 'narrative' feel and felt rather flat.

The single volume is cumbersome, and I keep both a softback and hardback copy. One is for play and the other sits on the shelf, menacing Ravening Hordes.

There were some blistering typos in this edition, and whilst there were new troop types such as Wardancers and Chaos Dwarf Bazooka teams, the actual choice of races were reduced, which resulted in a lack of flavour.

The Warhammer Armies volume looked great, but became something more utilitarian than the earlier Forces Of Fantasy supplement which was a great read and full of suggestions on how to make your army have it's own character. What was worse, several troop types were simply not available without spending a small fortune on blister packs to use perhaps one model from each. Human and Goblin armies were trimmed right back, and we saw the beginnings of the Empire & Bretonnian narratives, along with the use of more black powder weapons which removed a lot of the 'High Fantasy' appeal.

You were also starting to see the introduction of the 'If it's not Citadel, it's not Warhammer' mentality as slotta bases became the norm. To a youth, we ignored it in our own games and were somewhat cheered to see that the sample Bretonnian army fielded by Dave Andrews in Warhammer Armies was made up of older Citadel Medieval ranges from a time before the Black Slabs of Death. all mounted on home made bases, in the traditional and proper manner.

This edition was the least impressive of the three for me personally. It was like the girl at the school disco who put socks in her bra. It looked impressive but when you got inside the cover the truth was less so...

Thus, it is my contention that the best set of Warhammer rules are the 2nd ed, used with the Forces Of Fantasy supplement from the 1st edition. It takes a little work, which would probably have the youth of today trying to claim damages for unwarranted mental exertion, but in our day, my generation enjoyed that sort of thing.

The early lists may have generally been a single page, but you were able to create an army which was yours and yours alone. I think that's just great!

This week, I have even bought a large collection of Lamming Miniatures (and a few others) early Medieval models, which will be joining me shortly here at Fackham Hall, to become a truly old school 'Men Of The West' army. I've ordered a few odds and sods from Lamming's new owner, East Riding Miniatures such as wizards, apprentices, a princess and a lady in waiting to give it some true High Fantasy flavour, but I did note asI looked at the models the other day that several of the command stands were obviously originally intended for use in fantasy games, so that's great from my point of view. I'll add a few oddments of Essex, Citadel and Grenadier Miniatures over time, 'just because' and to thumb my nose at those who insist on building mono-manufacturer armies with no character.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to sign off, swivel my chair around and hang my feet out of the window as I am tiring and need another nap, perchance to dream of gloss paintwork and a time before static grass.


TTFN

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

It's been an interesting week for purchases so far...
I have not bought much, but it's been nice stuff.
  1. Alun Loose Tongue - A C02 Wizard I have been after or a while


  2. Another Mighty Fortress - Because you can never have enough, can you?


  3. The Ral Partha badge - reassuringly expensive, and besides, I like it.


As I head towards my October end date for the 2019 campaign season (I always stop buying as of October 31st every year) I am unsure what to buy to round out the year.
I am tempted with a 'proper' Bretonnian army using the original Feudal figures now sold as Barons Wars by Foundry. Equally a Great Goblin army using my own Satanic Panic Miniatures range calls to me in the heat of the night.
Thr trouble is, that I also loved the Tabletop Heroes pages which showed Essex Miniatures used by Joe Dever. And come to think of it, some more Joe Dever stuff could be fun, couldn't it?
We are at a crossroads here now, as to whether to have another dining room built or to use the cash as a deposit on another property. Either way, we have all August off, to decide, but it's going to result in more space for miniature gaming.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Go Large, Or Go Home...

Heroics & Heroics & Ros British troops for the Falklands, using a mix of old and new sculpts, which, as this illustrates very nicely just how any differences are totally lost during the painting and basing process.

The pictures show 10 companies of Royal Marines, 6 of Parachute Regiment and the various garrison troops on the Islands. All are portrayed at 1:1 ratio.

I am really happy with these and I hope my client will be. The joy of having monthly account clients is that I get to work on some truly massive projects and my clients see their collections grow in real time without the pain of one almighty bill at the end.

The static grass on these models is a custom blend from some of the 2 dozen colours and lengths that I sell under my SNAFU Scenics brand. The mix is designed to convey that strange mix of the moist and dry growth you get on peat and hill, with the odd patch of verdant green, mixed with more muted straw and ginger tones, against a peat substrate.

The tufts and clump foliage are Woodland Scenics and a company I can't remember.

All that remains is to give them a final spray with my silver can of magic, which will remove the reflective properties in the fibres and also make the static grass stand a little.

More details or potential clients can be found at http://www.conflictincolour.com