Monthly Archives: November 2014

The past is a different country

Back in 1985 I was a teenager enjoying the Citadel Journals and Compendium that included the fluff on the Warhammer units available at the time – the Regiments of Renown. I was interested in a lot of them, especially the Goblinoid and Ogre regiments, a few of which I collected and managed to add to at a later date when some ranges were repackaged in plastic cases with full command and troopers.

Recently re-reading the fluff about the Regiments of Renown has piqued my interest in two particular units, which is strange as neither held any interest for me back in 1985 – RR17 Avenging Knights of the Cleansing Flame and RR18 Disciples of the Red Redemption.

I suspect my teenage apathy towards these two regiments stemmed from several elements – My love at the time of all things Goblinoid and the Perry Twin’s Men at Arms range wholly fulfilling my blinkered vision of fantasy humanity as a purely late medieval European pastiche.
As you’d expect nearly thirty years later my thoughts on fantasy wargaming have changed and I can see an interesting narrative skirmish campaign based on these two sides with the local populace caught up amongst them; aiding, abetting one side or the other and possibly opposing both sides at once during various encounters in a similar vein to the boxed scenarios of the time (Orc’s Drift, McDeath etc).

Anyway, both these sets of figures regularly come up for sale on ebay and often command high prices, so with my usual sense of thrift I thought about cheaper alternatives.

The Red Redemption Disciples have proven difficult to emulate direct off the shelf – hooded figures with masked faces, hoods, shields and flails are surprisingly hard to come by. During my searches I spotted this figure on an ebay seller’s multi listing described as a Ral Partha Cleric.

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A quick trawl through Ral Partha Europe’s website and low and behold he’s part of their Chaos Monk range and still in production at £2.00 a figure plus £3.00 postage. The eBay figure was only £2.20 post free so I scooped that up to check it in the metal. I was pleasantly surprised to find that size wise the monk is proper 28mm scale and fits well with modern GW Chaos Warriors. The only downside is that none of the monk figures in the Ral Partha range come with flails but I’m willing to overlook that for now. There’s always the option of creating conversions using the flails from a Chaos Marauders box set I should think. 

Anyway, the Chaos Monk paints up quite nicely as a Red Redemptionist.

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The Avenging Knights of the Cleansing Flame should have been a slightly easier unit to replicate than the Red Redemption Disciples. The original models look like early inspiration for the GW High Elves produced in plastic in huge quantities from the early 90s to the present. Consequently I considered buying some second hand Elves on eBay to use but in the end decided to go with Mantic Games Bastilean Men at Arms – these are similarly armoured, a bit more animated in their poses and can be given spears similar to the original GW troopers whilst the champion, musician, standard and leader can be modelled from the extras Mantic supply in the box set, admittedly making a few comprises along the way – the original musician had a horn not a drum for instance.
Pictures to follow for these guys.

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Wargames Foundry Men at Arms

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These guys, sculpted by Alan and Michael Perry have been around forever and still look great today despite being a little on the small side compared to the heroic scale 28mm figures that now predominate the hobby. Originally released by Citadel Miniatures in 1984 they now form part of Wargames Foundry’s Men at Arms range. The chap wearing the red chaperon in the front row puts me in mind of a UK children’s presenter. Anyone else with small children regularly subjected to the CBeebies channel recognise Justin Fletcher aka Mr. Tumble?

Mantic Ghouls

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These guys from Mantic perfectly match my image of ghouls – balding, fanged consumers of corpses dressed in rags; shrieking, meeping and clawing their way through the battlefields, graveyards and mausoleums of fantasy games everywhere – especially my RPG city game where they dwell underground and unnoticed by the rest of society in the city’s burial grounds, competing with a tribe of feral cannibalistic children for human corpses.

I spotted a seller on eBay that sells individual sprues of these rather than whole units. So a sprue of 2 ghouls for only £1.75 post free, which fitted my curiosity as to how these looked in the plastic without purchasing a whole unit at full price.
They arrived very quickly but despite being packaged well some of the fingers/thumbs had snapped off one of the torsos. Whether this had happened in transit or before they’d been packed I can’t say as I’d thrown the jiffy bag into the bin before I noticed. Not such an issue as ghouls must claw around in grave dirt and occasionally lose fingers trying to rip open coffins and squabbling over corpses with fellow ghouls I reckon. One thing I did think a bit odd on the sprue was a hand weapon resembling something between a baseball glove and Freddy Krueger’s razor fingers. A strange choice for ghouls but optional to use of course.

They painted up very quickly using GW Rakarth Flesh, Agrax Earthshade, Druchii Violet and VGC Dead White mixed with Rakarth Flesh for the skin and VGC Dead Flesh, Athonian Camoshade and VGC Bonewhite mixed with Dead Flesh for the rags.

I can’t justify buying a whole regiment of these fellas just now as I don’t plan on building an undead army until someone releases a decent unarmoured plastic skeleton regiment. If that happens I’ll buy more of them without a doubt.

Ral Partha War Wizard

Bob Olley has had a long and varied career spanning over 30 years, producing miniature ranges for a lot of companies. His early works that I’m aware of were very hit and miss for my tastes – Essex Miniatures and the Iron Claw range for GW are the two that spring immediately to mind (that said Essex Miniatures still produce a wizard of his I love – resplendent in massive pointed hat and holding what I think of as a magical toilet brush. Do I need a miniature to represent the head of the Latrine Guild in the RPG I run? What are Essex’s delivery rates again?..)

Back on track however, this Ral Partha piece is a great sculpt and shows Mr.Olley’s skills off beautifully.

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If I have one small criticism though it’s the outstretched hand – no detail on the upward facing palm or fingers, it’s pretty much a flat piece of metal. Was this miniature originally designed with extra items to sit on the hand?

Grenadier Storm Giant

I bought a job lot of old lead on eBay and this old boy (minus most of his left arm, broken off at the bicep) was amongst it.
I’ve previously owned this figure, purchased from a small model shop in Stockport circa 1989/1990, although both the shop and my original model are now long gone of course. Back then on removing him from the blister pack I was disappointed with the sculpt and nearly 25 years later I still felt the same as he sat stripping in Dettol.
He’s supposedly a storm giant, hence the wind blast from his hand and the big beard reminiscent of billowing cloud – all good from the front. What disappoints me is the back of the figure. He appears to be dressed in a playsuit rocking a ‘utility belt’ à la Batman – a distinctly odd combination for a storm giant I feel.
Anyway, as this latest purchase was missing his left ‘wind blast’ arm it seemed a perfect opportunity to get the green stuff out and do a quick conversion and make him more of a ‘standard giant’.
As he’s quite gangly in proportions he reminds me of the old Citadel C28 Giants so I wanted to emulate them in his weapons and equipment – tree branch style club and rough improvised shield that was an old wooden door.

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Whilst trying to bend his right arm out from his body to accommodate the club I managed to snap his right hand off – the joys of old metal and a ham fisted modeller. The bracer now hides the re-glued join at the wrist.
I tried to fill his visible panty line in with milliput superfine because I’d mixed some for something else but that didn’t quite work out properly. A quick paint over with GW Liquid green stuff seems to have helped. The standard green grey milliput still visible on his left shoulder and texture on the base are remnants from his previous owner that dettol hasn’t removed.

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I’ll get around to painting him eventually, with full length trousers now at least.

Grenadier Barbarians

Mark Copplestone’s Barbarians still look as great today as when they first appeared over 22 years ago.

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Luckily, despite the sad demise of Grenadier Miniatures in 1996, this range is pretty much still fully available from various suppliers who have the rights to the moulds.

You can find them very easily as new figures on ebay however people do try to sell original 1992 figures as ‘rare’ or ‘OOP’ with price tags to match. £35 for 9 figures on ebay as I type and a single second hand Barbarian Shaman figure (the one with the skull mask holding a  flint dagger above his head) sold for over £5 a few weeks back. The exact same figures can still be bought new for about £2 each and that’s usually including UK postage.

Second hand versions can bought for sensible prices, well below £2 a figure if you sit tight and be patient. Definitely no need to pay over the odds!

Although the figure on the bottom right of this picture came with a job lot of second hand Grenadier Barbarians it clearly isn’t a Mark Copplestone sculpt at all. He has more of a Nick Lund feel about him both facially and in his gait. Unfortunately his previous owner had removed him from his base/tab so I have no clues about his real origin.

Pre-Slotta Ral Partha/Citadel Wizard

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This guy was part of a job lot of lead off eBay. His previous owner had painted him well but his staff looked suspiciously like it had sheared off just above the hand at some point prior to his painting. Spotting another one listed on eBay confirmed my suspicions about the broken staff.
After stripping him in dettol I cut away his old staff from his hand and robe, micro drilled through his hand and replaced it with a very basic wire/green stuff replacement seemingly not too dissimilar from his original but with the staff butt touching the floor rather than his robe.
I based him using GW agrellian earth heavily blobbed over a red/orange/yellow swirly base and allowed to dry for a couple of days, then black painted on the crusted tops of the cracks. Unfortunately the bright flame colours got lost after I varnished the model with a cheap external satin wood varnish that was supposed to dry clear – it didn’t and has left a slight murky brown look to the base after drying and filling the cracks a bit too much. I subsequently spray varnished him using matt aerosol afterwards.