Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Rogue Trader Eldar Score!

Myself and some friends had another one of our school reunions again last week. When I arrived my mate handed me a small bag full of his old miniatures he'd promised me. When I opened it I was over the moon. Not only were there almost a complete set of Harlequins and two War Walkers, the base colours on them were nicely done. Myself, Jay and Barry (another old school days gaming buddy) emptied them out on the pub table, and it was like unlocking a time capsule.

Anyway, over the next couple of days I gave the first few figures some ink washes and highlights and now they're pretty much ready to go. I love the old 80's style colour scheme, and couldn't bring myself to just strip them all. As these are the beginning of my RT force I've decided to copy a similar style with the rest. Photos of the War Walkers coming soon!

In other news I picked up a copy of the new Osprey Sci Fi skirmish rules 'Rogue Stars'. At first glance it looks pretty good. I think Osprey have done well with these new small (and incredibly affordable) rule sets. Top marks for the really great Mark Copplestone figures featured in its pages too.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Warhammer 40k On a Budget

It's no surprise that the Oldhammer Community have had a huge inspiration in sparking my return to fantasy and Sci-Fi wargaming. Games Workshop back in the early '80's was my starting point, as I'm sure it was for many people. Aside from time and family commitments etc it's usually the cost that puts many people off. What I've realised in the last few months however, is that this doesn't have to be the case.

The photograph above is my current collection of Imperial Guard and Dark Angels. Bought brand new, these would have taken a significant chunk from the weekly paycheck. But thanks to buying and selling websites like Ebay and Gumtree (as well as the Facebook page "Warhammer Buy, Sell and Swap" which is fantastic btw) I've gathered this entire force for less than £50.

The popularity of GW over the years is perhaps the reason that there's so much of it available cheaply secondhand. Like any wargaming fanatic, lots of folks go through phases of collecting - whereby they either decide on some other period or genre, or give up on the hobby altogether. Either way if the items don't end up on ebay or on car boot sales (this is especially the case with Warhammer stuff and is another ideal way of buying collections) or they get stashed into the attic.

I began with just asking friends who I knew had been into the hobby in the past. Quite often they had a couple of shoe boxes or carrier bags somewhere with unused sprues, vehicle parts etc. or a load of half painted odds and sods. Most were happy to part with everything for a couple of quid. If you're quite lucky you'll even get some decently painted figures. Many of my Dark Angels were already basecoated and had the armour highlights started. It took me a rainy afternoon to finish the guns and gear, and hey presto...30 figures ready to go.

Again, Ebay and Gumtree offer similar opportunities. The Imperial Guard here were in a sorry state with a particularly rough paintjob, but it doesn't take much to turn them around (some of my Terminators were spray painted in silver and gold - so the way I see it, almost anything can be salvaged!

I imagine the method of collecting I'm suggesting here is quite good if you've got children who want to get into GW. Especially if you're worried about coughing up £100 for the GW Deathwatch Overkill game, facing the possibility that it'll be discarded in favour of the XBox somewhere down the line. On that point in particular; Ebay sellers are currently flogging the Deathwatch Rulebook and tiles for £10-£15 without the figures. Buying a load of cheap Tyranid Genestealers secondhand, along with some space marines and Imperial Guard would probably mean you'd get everything you need for less than £35.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Citadel Plague Cart

The Plague Cart was produced in October 1987, so a little after my own childhood Warhammer obsession which concluded just before that date. Nevertheless, after deciding on the resurrection of an Oldhammer style Undead army it seemed like the perfect addition to my growing collection.

Those with a keen eye and sense of history will notice that the Undead steed pulling it, is in fact a Lord of the Rings (ME series) Dunharrow skeleton horse minus the rider. This was because I'd picked up the cart alone for a few quid on Ebay and wasn't interested in paying the exorbitant prices sometimes asked for a complete one (£60-£150 in some cases!!). A fellow Oldhammer forum member had suggested a replacement 'Skeleton Buffalo' made by Secret Weapon Miniatures, which was nice but when it arrived was way too big. Anyway I think the Dunharrow nag definitely looks the part.

Most painters I talk to mention how easy it is to paint Undead. I'll attest to that. This was undercoated in Black primer, then given an all over base coat of GW Dryad Bark (Brown). Next a drybrush of Zandri Dust, then another of Screaming Skull. Finally highlighted in White (very slightly).

Anyway, I think it's a great model. Very unassuming on any battlefield but likely to bring fear and horror upon its approach..rrrrrraaaaarrghhh!! 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Frostgrave 'White Gorilla'

I picked up this Northstar Figures 'White Gorilla' from their Frostgrave fantasy game. I think it should fit in very nicely with my future Oldhammer campaigns. When we were young our Warhammer Fantasy battles consisted of quite a few other figures than the standard Citadel ones - anything that looked good (in other words "fierce") and could handle itself on the battlefield was usually fair game. Hence our armies included quite a few models by Grenadier, Asgard, Essex and others.

I could imagine myself at that age purchasing something like this, and reacting with great excitement, as it rampages and throws Orcs around or some such.

The Frostgrave figures are really nice and I'm planning on getting a few more to mix in with my Oldhammer stuff.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

All Rolled Up RPG Accessories

Something lovely arrived in the post today. It was my 'All Rolled Up' order. If you haven't seen them before then just have a look at their website: http://www.allrolledup.co.uk/

I first saw their stall at Dragonmeet 2015. Unfortunately I'd already exceeded my budget at the time but was extremely tempted to wander into overdraft territory. When the weekend was over I promised myself one when the finances were topped up. Last week I mentioned them to my partner and she pointed out a rather spammy "There and Back Again" Roll illustrated with a map of The Shire. As I'd been revisiting my interest in Lord of the Rings (especially the BBC Radio play and the Middle Earth Role Playing Game) it was the perfect choice.

The roll itself is very well stitched and printed, with a nice compliment of autumn colours. The small pockets are ideally placed for pens and other bits, as well as a large velcro fastened pocket which holds plenty of dice. The extras I ordered were a folding faux leather dice tray (no more losing those dice under the table), some wipe cards, cloth, pens and a plastic wallet. The total including postage came to around £40 - if some consider this steep, be aware that I purchased the deluxe design. There are plenty of excellent rolls that cater for those who don't want to spend as much.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Wargames Foundry Necromancer and Skeletons

Straight off the painting table. These Wargames Foundry figures fit in really well with my 80's Citadel Undead. They share a lot of the same style and characteristics as the aforementioned I think. The Necromancer is lovely with his staff and evil features. I coloured his flesh with Dawnstone Grey and then gave it consecutive highlights by adding more white with each layer. I then added yellow eyes to give him that deranged ethereal wizard look.

The skeletons were initially undercoated in black and then drybrushed all over with Dryad Bark (this really makes the detail pop - and makes it far easier to paint layers and highlights on highly detailed figures. Try it!!). I then did a dry brush of Kendri Dust then another of Screaming Skull topping it off with Vallejo White. The armour was Leadbelcher with a drybrushing of Vallejo light rust.

On the Oldhammer Community Facebook I noticed one of the posters mention that his attempt to collect the older Citadel figures was proving expensive. I'd agree that trying to buy up all originals can be a financial drain on occasion especially when shopping around on Ebay. Nevertheless I find the Oldhammer Trading Facebook page to be ideal for picking up bargains of this kind. Another cheap and excellent alternative is to buy from manufacturers who produce similar (or in the case of Grenadier/Mirliton still making the original figures but at lots less cost than Ebay - check out prices of the Grenadier Undead War Mammoth for instance. ££££'s if you buy original from Ebay...or relatively cheap if you buy the new version straight from Mirliton!!).

Both Wargames Foundry and Ral Partha have new figures sculpted by former GW employees Tim Prow and Kev Adams, and they look absolutely fantastic. With all the character of the old Citadel/GW figures we know and love. Ral Partha have a great customer service and their prices are incredibly cheap. They still produce their classic Jabberwock monster fig for only £7.95, and the new Chaos Warriors are just stunning.

In my opinion using alternative Oldhammer figures fits perfectly with the ethos we're trying to promote throughout the community. Not only does it reflect the kind of diversity that used to exist in publications like early White Dwarf, but it shows a certain open mindedness and allows players to just use what appeals top them as individuals. In other words, to mix it up, be creative and have fun!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

There and Back Again....

"Testing, testing..."

I'll get straight to the point. As a kid, from roughly 1982 until 1987, I loved Fantasy Wargaming. More specifically it was Games Workshop Fantasy Battles Editions One and Two. The first ruleset was purchased by a school mate from our local toy shop in Melton Mowbray, which is where we'd bought our first miniatures from. It's worth noting that none of us really knew what 'to do' with them other than they looked cool and collectable. A lady in the shop had mentioned something about her husband painting them, so given this cue we dug out our old humbrol enamels and started gathering in each others bedrooms for (some rather amateurish) painting sessions. There was a memorable moment when I was banned to the arctic wastes of the garage to pursue my new hobby after getting paint on the carpet one evening.

The rules suddenly gave us a whole structure and impetus to collecting the figures. Even though we didn't fully understand them, we started to have some fun games just rolling dice and moving the figures around the living room floor. I recall having some old Hinchliffe Arab figures I'd bought from a Wargames shop in Plymouth, and even they got involved some how.

Humble beginnings, but those early days have always provided a basis for my Wargaming. "Am I having fun? Does this inspire my imagination?". If it doesn't then you're probably ready to jack it in and take up fishing..or console gaming perhaps.

Fast forward and I came back from living abroad and hooked up with my local Historical Wargaming Club. I have to say, that what attracted me was the lively community aspect, the broad range of games that people were happy to play ("just paint up some figures and get them on the table!!" was how one member replied to my enquiries about where to start). It was also fantastically creative with loads of scratch built terrain and models from all different manufacturers. This last sentence is probably quite telling when compared to the journey GW has been on over the years - and probably something I don't really need to go into right now.

Anyway, the last number of months has revealed to me the wonderous entity that is the Oldhammer Community and in particular the Oldhammer forum. When I started reading the posts and following other blogs on there I became determined to start exploring and painting some of the original figures again and buying up the early publications. The picture above is my first couple of purchases in getting my old collection together again.

I've also bought a significant amount of lead (lots of Undead, some lovely Kev Adams Dwarves and Goblins etc), so expect some photos of my painting endeavours, battle reports and other waffle.

To quote a song, sometimes "you've got to go backwards to go onwards"