Thursday, 29 September 2011

15mm SciFi 40K Rogue Trader Project

If I was ever to start up a 40K Rogue Trader project I wouldn't bother with GW figures, not even Old School Citadel off of ebay. Nope, I'd head straight for 15mm Sci-fi.

And probably be throwing money at Critical Mass Games.


Spayce Mareeeeeenz

Star Wars Cantina Squadron
Funky, characterful designs, with a wide variety of aliens and exotic weapons. It might be the bright, clean paint-jobs that are really selling these to me. Remember when Power Armour was just an equipment choice rather than just for Spayce Mareens?

I sold off all my Rogue Trader minis, the RTB01 Space Marines, a couple of C100's, some Space Dwarves the Imperial Guard and a handful of Eldar - all part of my Rogue Traders retinue - and a useful mix of miniatures for skirmishing.   Actually I still have a bunch of plastic Orks that nobody wants - but the bitz come in handy as freebies for my eBay-ing.

Khurasan  Miniatures

Mekanoid Grenadier Meleebots
Wasp-men - Tyranids? Eldar?
Rebel Minis

Skull-headed robot IG
Sontarian Terminators

On the other hand, it's just another project that will never get done....

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Our Adventure is About to Begin

Our Adventure is About to Begin by  Rob Ryan
Our Adventure in folio - Rob Ryan

Sweet! the perfect Valentienes / Engagement gift for the gaming couple. Limited edition Lasercut by the renown artist Rob Ryan. circa £85

Rob Ryan is here, talking quietly with Lotte Reiniger.
There are exits to: Soma Gallery

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

in the 21st Age of Middle Earth... a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

images from both the jean moulin high school project (2009) and logements anglet (2011)

There are exists here to: OFF ARCHITECTS. Thorin sits down and sings of gold.

Monday, 19 September 2011

PITFIEND - The Artwork of Trevor Hammond

Announcing the grand opening of the new PITFIEND blog. After much arm-twisting, wailing and gnashing of teeth (all by me) Trevor Hammond agreed to my archiving at super high resolution, and promoting at full volume the artwork of the almighty lord of dungeon punk (my words, not his!). There isn't tonnes of stuff to see on the blog right now, but there's a lot more coming.

Merrik the ex-cleric - Trevor Hammond

Trevor kindly took some time out of his schedule and accepted a comission to illustrate a character straight out of my D&D playing misspent youth - a chaotic-evil un-dead half-orc ex-cleric (fighter) - yes it was that kind of campaign. Trevor actually completed the commission a while back, but it took me some time to source a suitable frame, spray paint it black, hang it from a tree and photograph it. Well, you know, sometimes when you get an idea in your head, you just have to see it though to the end...

...Although now I'm itching to curate an exhibition of b&w fantasy art in a forest with a guide-map, treasure hunting, letterboxing elements and Talisman style  combat, fusing street-art, interaction design and gaming. Entry fee includes character sheet, rule-book, map and d20...

What!?! You still 'ere? Go and follow PITFIEND!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Wyrdkrys the Fimir

Thanks to The Duke of the Blood Keep - Weird Chris, I now have a complete trio of Fimir for Heroquest. Henceforth, that Fimir shall be known as Wyrdkrys, and whenever he turns up in a game, everyone must cheer 'thanks Weird Chris!'.

All together now, 1,2 ,3 : it's Wyrdkrys the Fimir!

But who is our mysterious benefactor? Well Duke is a huge Otherworld miniatures fan... and it's a good thing he is too, as Cthulhu seems determined to commission him to paint at least 100 of every AD&D related miniature ever made...

Duke painted Cthulhu's Citadel AD&D uber-cool Githyanki invasion force
...and paints them very nicely, he does. Weird Chris, aka Duke of the Blood Keep does something quite graphic, that looks great on the tabletop and shows character rather than only looking good in macro high-res photography, crisp, clean, bold stuff, with a great sense of colour ...

Otherworld WE8a - Wolves & WE8b - Dire Wolves painted by the Duke

...but Chris not only paints minis and blogs about painting minis. At  Unboxed: The Board Game Blog he also writes insightful and entertaining reviews of boardgames, covering the latest releases from gaming giants like FFG, through to those of smaller independent publishers.  While there's a definite  leaning towards fantasy, dungeon crawls and LCGs, German style games also get a look in.  However, he's not afraid of getting Old School and giving the occasional charity shop find an airing, like his Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Boardgame review  and Space Crusade review, which are great prompts to dig those out of the attic, hunt them down on eBay or go scouring the second hand shops and car-boot sales in your neighbourhood!

So thanks again Chris.

There are exits to: Unboxed: The Board Game Blog and Duke of the Blood Keep

Monday, 5 September 2011

Kennington Miniatures: Gary Chalk and Bob Olley Ogres and Hill Orcs

The Fantasy Warlord mass combat game, published by Folio Works in the 1990s was accompanied by a range of miniatures, mostly sculpted by Bob Olley, and probably based on designs by Gary Chalk. Several of these figures are still in production today, under the banner of Kennington Miniatures.

Camera-phone photo examples below:

Kennington OG3 Large Ogre Tribal Warrior (40mm base)
(RBG Shadowblade Reyviande shown for scale)
Kennington OG3 Large Ogre Tribal Warrior (40mm base)
(Bob Olley Citadel Ogre for scale)
OG3 Large Ogre Shield Warrior is £4 from Kennington Miniatures (bases not included) - the model I received is a crisp and bright casting with no obvious defects. The figure is cast with his hand open, and the spear fits inside quite nicely. Actually, while identified as an OG3 on the packaging, the miniature sold under that code by Kennington is different, so I'm not quite sure what I've got here!

From a design point of view the Ogre Shield Warrior has a slightly woodsy fairy-talesque quality that I admire greatly. Obviously these are Ogres in the mid-to-late 80's Citadel sense of the word, not the AD&D giant cavemen nor the fat-guy mammoth mounted mongol of current GW stock. He's slimmer than the Olley Ogryn and the chain mail is finer, but side-by side the faces look 'of a kind' together.

Although I'm not aware of any original drawings, the Ogre Warrior is almost undoubtedly a Gary Chalk design - think the original Talisman Ogre card, with the leather cap and the ornamental brackets on the privvy door shield, there are echoes of Froud and Elmore in the character.

Alongside this Ogre Warrior there are 3 other models in the Kennington Large Ogre range: Clan Chief, Blade Master and Bowman. Since posting this MBM (the original source of the identifying miniatures) don't seem to be carrying the range, and the Kennington miniatures may have been re-coded.

Folio Works Kennington
uncatalogued? unreleased???? (facing left ragged shield)
FW9/2 Ogre Necromancer OG 1 Large Ogre Clan Chief (skull staff)
FW9/4 Ogre Warrior OG2 Large Ogre Blade Master (facing forward)

FW9/1 Ogre Hero
OG3 Large Ogre Tribal Warrior (winged helm)
FW9/3 Ogre Hunter OG 4 Large Ogre Bowman (bow & quiver)

I really like them, especially the Tribal Warrior and the Bowman who stylistically seem to be a pair (strangely the Fantasy Warlord rulebook says that Ogres don't use bows). The Clan Chief (originally named Ogre Necromancer) is a bit too much of a halloween cartoon for my personal tastes (perhaps with a little conversion work he'd be perfect)  but he could slot into someones 1990s Night Goblin army  with very little problem.

Then the price,  £4 for a 54mm Bob Olley / Gary Chalk Ogre? can't be bad!

They can be found at: SHQ / Kennngton Miniatures Shop


Kennington HO 3  Hill Orc Warriors (40mm base)

HO 3 Hill Orc Warriors £4 (2 figure pack) from Kennington Miniatures. The Uruck Warriors are quite chunky for Orcs.  Perhaps smaller Ogres, or even giant Giaks - much of the costume design is quite similar, and these could make great extensions to the Citadel Lone Wolf range. Both Urucks are of the ape-like (dare I say Kevin Adams-esque?) countenance, that fits nicely with mid-late 80s Citadel Orcs.

The example of 2(a) has some minor casting problems, there's a bit of a mould line and some flashing around the head and raised arm - nothing that the average miniatures enthusiast isn't used to dealing with. The detail on the front of the torso does seem a little soft, but in comparison with early 80s pre-slotta miniatures it's nothing too drastic. That aside, there are some amazing details - there is a little goblin face carved into the pommel of his sheathed sword, and the Urucks head is crisp and full of character. He's wearing something akin to spiked american football armour a-la Mad Max - dungeonpunk!

3(b) has chainmail with some hanging plates, and a nice fur trimmed helmet - the open armed pose is a little odd, but given how the arm connects to the chain mail top makes it ripe for cutting of and repositioning - making ranks of differently posed troops quite easy.

Below I set out a table trying to cross-reference the original Fantasy Warlord range and the current Kennington pack names, mostly by reference to the photos on The Lost Minis Wiki and the MBM site.

Folio WorksKennington
FW5/2 Uruck Command (winged helmet) HO 1 Hill Orc Command (winged helmet)
FW5/2 Uruck Command (shaman) HO 2 Hill Orc Shaman and Bodyguard (shaman)
FW5/3 Uruck Warriors 1 (?)HO 2 Hill Orc Shaman and Bodyguard (bodyguard)
FW5/3 Uruck Warriors 1 (?)HO 4 Hill Orc  Warriors II (?)
FW5/4 Uruck Warriors 2 (long mail coat)HO 4 Hill Orc Warriors II (Long Mail Coat)
FW5/4 Uruck Warriors 2 (spiked plain helm) HO 3 Hill Orc Warriors I (spiked plain helm)
FW5/5 Uruck Warriors 3 (plumed helm)HO 1 Hill Orc Command (plumed helm)
FW5/5 Uruck Warriors 3 (spiked furry helm) HO 3 Hill Orc Warriors I (spiked furry helm)
FW5/6 Uruck Warriors 4 (round furry helm) HO 5 Hill Orc Warriors III (round furry helm)
FW5/6 Uruck Warriors 4 (round helm w. mail) HO 5 Hill Orc Warriors III (round helm w. mail)

Overall it's a nice range with enough variants to keep things interesting!

The miniatures themselves have a chequered history - when Folio Works ceased trading (the company dissolved in 1993), the moulds were bought by Mayhem  Miniatures before they were purchased by Kennington in 2000. However, these miniatures didn't appear in Red Giant - Folio Works in-house magazine nor in the core Fantasy Warlord rulebook itself, so defining the  provenance of these 20 year old models has relied a lot on the comparison with miniatures in collectors hands (and the photos they've put of them on the internet), text catalogues (notably The Games Quaterly Catalogue Nov. 1991 the relevant parts of which were scanned and uploaded by  Deckarudo to the Fantasy Warlord Yahoo Group)

As far as  I can see the other miniatures in the Kennington Fantasy Range originated in other lines and are not related to Folio Works or the Fantasy Warlord miniatures, and don't look much like Bob Olley sculpts. Having said that,  there are several items in the resin scenery whose names match, and names in the  Scifi that match the High Command Folio Works scifi range.

The rulebook itself: Fantasy Warlord can be gotten 2nd Hand at Amazon  prices start around £2.50, and it really deserves a post of its own...

For me the winning combination of Bob Olleys and Gary Chalks talents that really make these old figures stand out.

They can be found at: SHQ / Kennngton Miniatures Shop