Sunday, 21 February 2016


It's been one of those weeks...

I've been hard at work on assorted commissions as usual, but I've crammed in much more than usual for no good reason. My audiobook library which generally feeds my ears and mind as I work (yes, I need a distraction, because I work in a kind of automated way - it's a job, not a hobby these days) has been seriously strained to keep up with the hours I chalked up this week.

Anyway, I just purchased 'The Silk Roads' and 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' which at a combined 45 hours, should keep me busy in the week ahead.

Anyway, I've been thinking on lots of things related to my hobby too, and I have been asking myself what makes an Old School figure?

Now, remember, back in the day, no matter what these thirty-something self proclaimed fanboys will try to tell you CITADEL WAS NOT THE ONLY FUCKING COMPANY.

Excuse me for the outburst, but there's an over emphasis on the whole subject of old school armies consisting of Citadel models. Even White Dwarf (and if you don't believe me go back and actually READ those copies of White Dwarf that your generation has played no small part in making priceless artefacts, rather than what they are - massed produced commercial magazines) featured and suggested the use of non-GW models. We had Ral Partha, Metal Magic, Dixons, Essex, Minifigs, Q.T, Irregular and many, many more. True, the quality varied, but the sheer variety of models meant that your army could be unique.

I alway loved Ral Partha and Essex. Essex produced (and still do) some very nice models. The figures had a 'rounded' style which made them very nice to handle and paint. Their Goblins are redolent with the styling of the Goblins in 'Labyrinth', the elves have a parochial feel which actually harks to the Tolkienesque, the Orcs came in two types, a more bestial Orc and what were known in the day as 'Cuddly Lizardmen'. They may not have been everyones ideal Orc, but they had a charm of their own.

And thereby, in a single phrase, the ideal old school figure is captured...

'Not everyone's idea, but with a charm of their own'

I have decided that I will buy the figures I like, now. I'll not fall into that trap of having to have the same models as everyone else.... Don't like my choice? Then, fuck yourself! I mean that from the centre of my tiny black heart, because your slavish ways are taking away the magic from the fantasy wargame.

likewise, if you can only bear to look at bright green Orcs, I advise the same self-abuse, because that is a creation of GW. What? Orcs are all green? Introduce me to an Orc and I'll ask them. Otherwise - SHUT UP!

If I want, I'll paint them blue, green, orange or 'flesh'. I have done, over the years and they look great. I remember an army, painted by that real old school painter Pete 'Greblord' Armstrong for Kev Fisher of Sheffield Runelords and Sheffield Wargames Society, which was composed of Citadel Gnolls / Great Goblins from the FTG codes. It had blues, and oranges, and I tell you, it blew me away. Alas, Kev sold it as I found out when I offered him serious money for it about 20 years back. Look on the back of the Ian Livingstone book 'Dicing With Dragons' (original UK edition of course) and you'll see a Gnoll / Goblin  in one of those hues. Grand stuff...

That was a unique army and it will stick in my mind way longer than any of the cookie cutter 'Goblin Gree' forces which proliferate/. Goblin Green - Gandalf on a bike, there was no such colour when I started playing Warhammer. We had to learn about colours and then mix them!

I am also sure that you should not employ the non-metallic metals approach on old school models. Metal is metal... paint it as such! Non-metallic is non-old school.

Anyway, I could rant on, but I won't...

I've been thinking of what my next project should be, and so the old catalogues are out, and I am scouring the Forces Of Fantasy lists for ideas. Hobgoblins are scoring highly and Alternative Armies have some very nice models. That old chestnut, Orc & Goblin is an eternal choice, and I am drawn to the old Asgard range, which had Orcs and Goblins of all sizes which were stooped, bandy and well-muscled rather than comic proto-apes.

Splintered Light Miniatures, have the range of Giants which were originally made by Metal Magic. At $15 each and being very much 'the real thing' when it comes o old school gaming, the temptation to recreate the 'Glune's Trek' army from the 'Book Of Battalions' is very strong indeed.

We shall see...

On the railway front, I have had a very stressful last three days indeed. On Friday at 5:30PM I went into my studio to test the trains I'd bought on the layout I paid £1200 for...

That was the start of a weekend that I have lost forever.

I've had to spend almost 2 days, trying to get my first layout to work, there being an issue with one set of points throwing locos and not aligning correctly, as well as several points and areas of rail, not carrying the power.

I have re-shaped a point blade and got it functioning, and then taken a needle file, sandpaper and scalpels to the track, to be sure it's all clear of ballast and paint which may prevent the current from reaching the pick-ups (bearing in mind that to me, electricity may as well be magic). I have started for two days at 4AM because the thought that £1200 was wasted, kept me awake for fear that Arkwright, the patron god of Yorkshiremen, may seek retribution on me for profligate ways.

Anyway, I was so shattered, that I awoke at 6AM today, walked the dogs and then went back to bed until 11AM, which is so unlike me, that I reckon my wife will have seen this type of behaviour maybe 6 times in our 28 years together. It did me and my arthritis a lot of good and may have actually been a deciding factor in whether I triggered a serious 'flare' due to being run down.

After rising and partaking in a bowl of decent mushroom soup with croutons and freshly grated Gran Padarno cheese, I tentatively ran the Duchess Of Hamilton a massive and I would have thought tetchy  beast more liable for jumping a dodgy rail, and she ran flawlessly apart from showing me a small area I missed.

As I said earlier, it's been a lost weekend, that I can never get back!

Right, it's time for me to join my wife for some roast chicken and salad filled tortilla, a glass of decent red wine and a jolly fun 80s movie, before tearing into the week ahead.


  1. I've been wandering into goblins in an Oldhammer style - not manufacturers of the era, but picking up current manufacturers in the same ethos - picking up stuff I like from many sources; Warmonger, Midlam, Otherworld, Northumbrian Tin Soldier, Crooked Claw, even Reaper Bones and a few modern GW pieces.

    Is it Oldhammer? Absolutely! Are any of the sculpts more than a few years old? Nope.

    "Not everyone's idea, but a charm of their own." :)

    Mine are going to be green, though. I like green.

  2. I applaud you sir!

    That is my point... It is what YOU want and not a slavish following of some passing or petty vogue!

    We'd need a pantone chart however to address the green thing... ;)


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