Sitting here in a good hot bath, cup of coffee at my side and the sound of 80s radio in my ears, my mind is wandering towards the most erotic pleasure of all, namely old miniatures and the alternatives to Citadel, which whilst great, are of course not the be all and end all of 'pre slotta' and this is of course what separates the Grognard from the Marie Louise in the matters of old school gaming.
I was going to go with Denizen for my undead, however they are all armoured with little bone showing .. And let's face it, who doesn't like a good bit of bone?
Likewise, I was going to go with Ral Partha for my lizardmen, but after the offer of 10% on a £700+ order because they apparently don't make much of a mark up (bollocks to that), I have taken the decision to send lots of money to Essex Miniatures to build genuine old school undead and lizardmen, the mere thought of which makes me cool the bath water a little with the sheer pleasure of the thought.
The secret with E.M is to paint them, because once you get paint on them they lose the awkwardly posed look and really pop. The Olley sculpts are large at the side of older Citadel but are rather more restrained looking used on their own. I confess that I didn't like them in the 80s (but ten of them were involved in the pre-contact rout of orcs under the command of one Lee Chapman Thrakka. 50 Orc cavalry routed based on failed fear tests under WHFB 2nd ed - BLISS) but they are growing on me.
I confess that I never liked Bob Olley's stuff that he sculpted as the Iron Claw range for Citadel. I know he is a great sculptor, but he is an acquired taste I think. If I have one reservation to this day about Bob's sculpts, it's the over-large weapons, a common enough complaint levelled against several manufacturers.
E.M castings have always been clean and crisp, making them a joy to paint, so I think that they will look stunning en made. I have never seen an army which was entirely Essex in origin, so once again I am setting the trends. Maybe we will see more E.M stuff being showcased?
Companies like Essex are legitimately old school with unbroken lines of pedigree. It's a pity that the new kids in this game, don't have the memories of seeing these models in White Dwarf, nor have respect for anything that is not Citadel, because that kind of attitude flies in the face of what Warhammer was, in 1st 2nd and to a degree, 3rd edition.
So come on, I've upped my game, now up yours!