Thursday, 25 June 2015

Walking the 1st ed walk... Getting the proper 80s look.

Oldhammer... Or as we old timers call it , Warhammer is as we know all the craze.

But, I think what separates the old sweats from the Johnny-Come-3rd-Ed-&-Afters is a 'vibe' which you don't just get from buying a set of rules and some over-priced old figures. Indeed as I opined previously, Citadel figures do not an Oldhammer army make.

Let's take a couple of moments to look at what the middle of the road Warhammer 1st ed player looked like in 1982. I know there will always be exceptions, but there are some themes which ran deep in those days.

First of all, most gamers were literate, dreamers and creatively minded. That may sound like a no-brainer, but believe me, the general intellect these days is not what it was in your local corporate gaming store. And that goes for the staff too, I fear...

Secondly, there was a definite slant towards rock music, particularly progressive rock by the likes of Genesis, Pink Floyd, Marillion, Starcastle, Rush and YES. Now as most of us all wanted to belong, but at the same time be recognised as unique, this could lead to some interesting musical explorations. I was firmly in the Marillion and Rush camp, but felt that it was important to stamp my mark by listening to Fatal Charm from Nottingham as well as Men Without Hats and Haysi Fantayzee. My mate Pete was into a the more 'earthy' record covers and so he was known to listen to 'Witchfinder General' whilst the more pretentious Paul was trying to convince us that Dire Straights were what the the superior ear was listening to, despite our protestations (behind his back, as is right and proper for a gamer) that he was just a twat. Another mate Simon was heavily into Suzanne Vega, who was pretty outre back in the day.

Then there was the clothing... Now, the 80s as many of will shudder to remember were a time when self-expression through clothing was the norm. Although normal is not something that many of the styles brought to mind.

So, the uniform for the discerning prog rocker, at it's finest would start with the feet, thus;

Hi-Tec 'Tec' boots. These came commonly with a blue flash, although every so often you saw a 'right flash git' with red...

Next would come skin tight jeans, which left little to the imagination, thus:

Striped jeans were acceptable, but even in those sartorially liberal days, this was not:

T-shirts declaring your love for your favourite bands were the norm:

T-shirts like this were not:

For those 359 days of the year that it was not warm enough to leave the house without your coat, we had the Italian Combat jacket, easily recognisable because of the star insignia on the collar ends. These jackets also came with an elasticated crotch strap designed to be fastened over the combat trousers. I and many other gaming pals can tell you that all it serves to do when worn with skin tight jeans, is to castrate the wearer:

The essential accessory, which at the time was still uncommon (because the West had not begun bombing the Middle East yet) was the shemagh. Normally this would be in red or black. If worn properly you could store any unwanted food in it, making it useful for day long travels around local gaming stores:

And finally, there was the matter of what to splash on after the morning prayer asking to be able to shave soon:

And there you have the essential components that you really need to hunt down in order to be able to truly embrace the old school Warhammer experience. Errr actually there is one more fundamentally essential item you'll need; A sharp haircut:

And that's about it, apart from to consider how you carry your retro figures to games. Modern carrying cases simply won't cut the mustard my friend. Oh no - You need one of the two most common state of the art 80s methods:

If you are planning on running a display game, your chances of taking the first prize, will be increased a hundred-fold if you take the time to mach your sartorial choices to the game you are playing: