Tag Archives: Warhammer

Games Workshop Skeletons – 1991

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned my love for the original Games Workshop plastic Skeletons from 1991 before. I bought the Skeleton Army box (that included cavalry and a chariot) sometime around 1993 and it formed the basis (with Kev Adams metal Zombies and various other metal Wraith/Vampire/Necromancer miniatures) for my Undead Army of that period.

Yes there were only 4 bodies and 2 skull choices which limited options somewhat but it was a triumph for fantasy plastic which up to that point had struggled to be taken seriously. Previous attempts that included Fighting Fantasy 60mm, Drastik Plastik Orcs, Pychostyrene Dwarves and the Warhammer Regiment box designed for padding out WFB 3th Ed units had all been failures but the Skeletons marked a turning point in what could be possible.

I recently managed to pick up a few sprues worth on eBay along with a complete box of later Skeletons copyright 1999 on the box (presumably released in the 5th Ed period just prior to 6th Ed in 2000) which, although slightly chunkier, are fairly similar so I’ve now got plenty of bones to play around with. Expect more of these to show up periodically on the blog in future...

Here’s 3 of the original 1991 Skeletons quickly rustled up as extras for my D&D game. A Cleric PC has gained ‘Animate Dead’ spell and so insists on raising corpses as disposable ‘trap checkers’. I decided not to bother adding shields and just left them ‘as is’.

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Citadel Dwarf Troll Slayers

Dwarf Troll Slayers. The Warhammer fluff went something like this – 

“Disgraced and outcast from Dwarf society for some misdemeanor over pride or honour they took an oath to become Troll Slayers. They threw aside the conservative conventions of Dwarf life and instead sought an honorable death at the hands of the largest monster they could find.”

Basically the punk rocker of the Dwarf world they adopted dyed spiky hair, chains, leather, apathy and probably safety pins if you looked closely enough. Very 100 Club circa 1976.

Dwarf berserkers were already a thing in WFB and make an appearance in ‘The Magnificent Sven’ scenario included in 1984’s 2nd edition ruleset. They were subject to ‘alcoholism’ and ‘frenzy’ rules and even had a hint of the morose about them in times of peace and sobriety, however the full transformation into what famously became the Troll Slayer happened a little later.

For older Grognards their first introduction probably came with WFRP in late 1986. The Troll Slayer was a PC career for Dwarfs and one individual famously featured on the front cover illustration by John Sibbick.

This wasn’t the first mention of the doomed and disgraced vertically challenged. That came in 1985 with the Dwarf Lords of Legend boxed set that included Kimril Giantslayer. This is possibly the first use of Giant Slayer in a Warhammer Dwarf context. I also think he’s the Slayer Sibbick used as the basis for his WFRP cover. Throbin Death Eye came in this set too and looks like a Troll Slayer however with no mention of Trolls at this stage I suspect he was still technically considered a Dwarf berserker.

By 3rd Edition WFB (late 1987) the berserker had been sidelined and the Troll Slayer was firmly planted in the game. The later Felix and Gotrek novels ensured it’s lasting popularity. Even today it’s still in AoS – albeit under a different name. 

Like most things over time with GW the Troll/Giant/etc etc Slayers became more and more ridiculous, a parody of themselves with impossibly coiffured Mohican haircuts and gigantic battle axes. And of course they all started to look the same; much as the Punks of the early 1980s who, protesting their individuality, were really just tired clichés; emulations of 1976 wearing what had become a universally recognised uniform of Punk.

Anyway here’s some Dwarfs I’ve painted.

The first photo is mostly older berserker miniatures including Juggo Jorikson of ‘The Magnificent Sven’ fame (and also included here is Kimril Giantslayer). The Dwarf on the left is the oldest GW Dwarf berserker miniature I know of and is pre slotta.

The next photo are early 1990s Troll Slayers from GW’s offshoot Marauder Miniatures. You will notice the size creep in these miniatures compared to the early berserker models. Later Troll Slayer figures were even bigger.

Obligatory unit shot.

Frostgrave Combatants Pt7 – Knight

This model came in the same job lot purchase from eBay as the AD&D Assassin shown previously. He is of course Harald (Harry) the Hammer.

There’s been three versions of him over the years that I’m aware of. An early 80s pre-slotta version based on the WFB 1st Ed box cover art, a 2008 25th Anniversary limited edition Chaos Warrior and this one from the ‘Heroic Fighters of the Known World’ box set circa 1987.

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I’ll count this as a Knight for now rather than a standard Soldier although I do have boxes of both Fireforge Deus Vult Templar and Teutonic Infantry to make up which probably fit the bill better.

The dip

Long time no speak! Last time I talked about my desire to try and play KOW this year.

My gaming group all regularly play RPGs, boardgames and the occasional card game but never wargames.

The group have expressed interest in playing but none of them paint or collect miniatures. I don’t mind painting whole armies for them to borrow for our games but getting so many miniatures table ready in the time I have is a daunting prospect.

I’d seriously need to increase my painting output to facilitate this any time soon. The sensible option would be drop scale to 15mm or even smaller to 6mm and play HOTT but I can’t bring myself to do it. I want to play KOW or Warhammer in 28mm.

Back in the mists of time when I painted in my 20s I didn’t have the commitments that I now have having reached my mid 40s. Whole evenings, weekends and holidays from work could be utilised for hobby time if I wanted to – and particularly through winter I did.

By contrast my real life now is infinitely richer but it’s left me time poor from a hobby perspective. Any painting I do is limited to the hours after my young kids have gone to bed, and that includes weekends too. My breaks from work coincide with the school holidays and my wife so I can obviously spend time with my family.

Given the time constraints above the quantity I’ve produced since starting painting again has been okay. However, I know it’s never going to increase substantially without some serious changes to increase productivity.

I suspect I’m at the limits of my output with the style of painting I’ve adopted:-

1. All my kit is packed in storage boxes dependant on which stage of the miniatures I’m at – assembly, painting, basing etc. I also have a few duplicates like brushes, knives etc in these kits so I don’t have to stop and pull stuff out from elsewhere.

2. I construct units in one sitting so there’s no half made figures hanging around, the glue has chance to dry overnight and the whole unit is ready for undercoating when I start again the next night.

3. Spray undercoats save time against hand painting.

4. Employing batch technique for painting colours, basing and varnishing saves time too.

5. I utilise drying times by having something else ready to do but without overstretching myself. That way things I start (usually) get finished.

As you can see I’m not really painting individual miniatures but utilising wargamer style ‘regiment’ mass production. From an individual model point of view I’m not entirely happy with this. There have been miniatures I’ve painted that I feel deserved more time and effort than I’ve given them. With this in mind I’ve decided to continue treating rank and file troopers for games like Frostgrave to this type of approach but to spend more time on ‘character models’.

With regards to rank and file wargaming troopers I’ve been intrigued by the ‘Dip Technique’ for some time now.

Part of me feels it’s a bit of a cop out, especially as I have managed to paint several large armies in the distant past of the late 80s to late 90s in the ‘traditional way’.
Other parts of me, the pragmatic and realistic sides, realise it clearly has its place for putting large quantities of figures on the table in double quick time for wargaming.

I don’t think this technique is something to be attempted with expensive resin or metal miniatures – to be honest I don’t think I’d like to do it with some of the decent plastic kits out there either.

So what would be the best type of miniature for this technique? Enter my favourite love to hate miniature manufacturer – yes, you’ve guessed it – Mantic!

As has been noted before on this blog Mantic’s output has been (to put it politely) inconsistent. Issues with moulding quality, consistency of scale and badly fitting parts are inexcusable complaints, something you’d probably expect from plastic models thirty years ago rather than modern companies like Mantic.

That said there’s something about their ranges I find endearing in a ‘wargamer way’ so I’ve decided to experiment with some of their models using Army Painter Strong Tone dip.

Here are results, and the start of my Undead Army…

Werewolves. I got these on a whim really, the paint job on the Mantic website makes them look awful but they’re really not that bad. With a simple change of tail and trimming of ears I think these would make decent Rat Ogre alternatives.

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The skull chucker was too big to dip in the quickshade tin so I had to paint it on by brush, which worked out fine.

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The Wraiths obviously aren’t dipped but are just simply washed with GW Nihilakh Oxide verdigris paint over a white undercoat and quick dry brush mixes of Vallejo verdigris glaze and white.

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Mummies. Pretty crappy but cheap. This was the first unit I tried dipping so I timed the whole process. From assembly to final varnish they took just over 6 hours (minus drying times). So just over 2 of my painting sessions to complete a unit of 10. Not bad in comparison to my normal painting output.

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Ghouls. 3rd time this sculpt has featured on my blog. Apologies.

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Skeletons. These are quite nice sculpts, among Mantic’s better efforts.

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Zombies. The weird couple of spinal stumps used as regiment fillers should really have gore splashed over them. Must remember to do that…

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My output hasn’t been too shabby since my last post but only another 50 skeletons and 40 zombies in the plastic pile to go before this army starts to look complete. Then I’ll need to add some cavalry of course…

Frostgrave Combatants Pt5 – More Soldiers

I managed to pick up the following four figures off eBay at a reasonable price a few weeks back, obviously with my ongoing Frostgrave project in mind.

They’re all Citadel metal slotta based miniatures mostly meant for Warhammer. They span an interesting few of years of production. We start at 1985 and the 2nd Ed of WFB, through 1986 and the 1st Ed of WFRP and then beyond that into 1987 and the 3th Ed of WFB – aka ‘Oldhammer’.

First up is one of the ADD 6 Paladins from the TSR licenced AD&D miniatures range from 1985. These Player Character packs were obviously meant for AD&D rather than Warhammer and sold in blisters of 3, representing the same character from low to high level as they developed in the game.
I say that like it was actually a possibility. Most people played RPGs in the 80s with a GM who was a total dick and TPK after every session was the norm. That meant the other 2 better equipped miniatures were never needed…

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I’m quite nostalgic (unusual for me) about this whole Citadel AD&D range however I disliked these Paladin figures at the time and I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to painting one now. I’m not totally happy with the finished paint job but it’s useable so I’m glad I completed it.

Next up is this C01 Fighter – ‘Aldred Fellblade’ from early 1986. This figure is probably best known from his depiction by John Sibbick on the cover of WFRP 1st Edition – presumably using all his fate points just to survive up to that point and run through the Ogre. He probably got finished off by a goblin in the next round…

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I’d never really paid much attention to the miniature when it came out and remember the Sibbick illustration more. After looking properly at it now it had escaped me just how ‘Jes Goodwin’ the sculpt actually is.

The final couple are F2 Fighters from 1987 – ‘Ernst Stoutheart’ and  ‘Altdorf Sergeant’.

Both these miniatures are from a time when the WFRP and WFB backgrounds were finally starting to mesh together in an uneasy union. Although the RPG game was a fully fleshed out ‘realistic’ world of socio-economic political intrigue, the wargame of fantasy battles struggled to find mechanisms to cope with the vast injection of fluff from the roleplay game.
So 3rd Ed WFB always felt stuck in the vein of classic fantasy, heavy with the presence of Orcs, Elves and Dwarfs rather than the grim dark Human centric Renaissance Period feel of WFRP. For this reason the two games sat uneasily side by side in my view despite their supposedly shared background.
Even the later Realms of Chaos books put the WFB action at the furthest points of Human influence – the chaos wastes or in the deepest of Empirical forest rather than the backstreets of Altdorf like WFRP had.
By the time WFRP was finally sidelined in 1992 GW had already taken the opportunity to pluck the easily workable bits from it to use with the forthcoming 4th Ed WFB (Bretonnian Knights for instance) whilst other concepts were slowly spoon fed back into the game as new additions (such as Tilean Mercenary units).

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Anyway, both of these miniatures painted up okay and will work quite well as murder hobos in Frostgrave.

Games Workshop Chaos Knights – Full Unit

This is a unit I bought at the end of last year cheaply off eBay – I paid about half what GW charge so I felt like I got a bit of a bargain, although I have to admit I’ve kept putting off making it up.

The box sat on the shelf staring accusingly at me every time I passed it but it’s time finally came for assembly and paint to join the Chaos/Evil Warband.

I had an extra metal Chaos Knight that I’d experimented with the metallic finish on prior to painting the whole unit. I was quite happy with the result, just the final glaze on the armour needed a bit of a tweak but the rest of the colour scheme was good to go.

Extending the recipe out to the rest of the unit I loosened the glaze mix with Lahmian Medium to help tone down the glaze pigment to avoid the overly greeny finish that the experimental model’s armour had in places.

They’re quite imposing as models, this is mostly due to their size though as they are massive in comparison to other horse mounted troops.

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I only have another regiment of Chaos Warrior infantry and a Chaos Chariot to paint to complete my Chaos/Evil Warband. It could technically use some more Chaos Warriors but I think I’m going to call it a day after painting what I have rather than buying more to add to it.

Hopefully I can paint these two boxes of models up well before the end of December which will mean I’ll have plenty of time for a few smaller painting projects before I start with my Nick Lund Orc Army next year – time will tell!

Games Workshop Chaos Knight

British summertime. In the past I used to hang up my brush through July and August until the heat dropped off but this year I’m trying to paint right through. I realise some of you who read this would consider 30°C glacial for summer but for me, happier with lower UK temperatures, this increase brings two big problems for painting.

The first is that I find paint dries a lot faster than normal so I struggle to keep anything on my palette usable for any length of time. I need to dig out the Tupperware tub wet palette I made last year and see if this helps.

The second problem is heat induced lethargy, which explains both my lowered painting output and procrastination towards actually digging out the wet palette…

Anyway, the next Evil/Chaos Warband regiment I have ready for painting is a set of GW Chaos Knights. Rather than getting bogged down in the heat trying to start on all these at once I decided on taking my time and painting just one initially, experimenting with a slightly different approach to the armour and barding which if successful would be applied to the rest of the unit when the temperature drops a bit.

This figure is a late 90s metal GW Chaos Knight mounted on a modern plastic GW Chaos horse. It’s an extra figure I had, the rest of the unit are the modern plastic boxed set of 5 knights, armed with lances rather than just a hand weapon like this guy.

The models in this unit (both mounts and riders) have LOTS of plate armour. A basic leadbelcher/black wash/chainmail/silver highlighted metallic steel paint job, although incredibly quick, would also be incredibly boring.

I decided on an attempt at a more weathered antique look utilising bronze and brass metallics with washes and glazes to incorporate a more complex set of browns, greens and blues into the mix.

I was tempted with red for some of the cloth/leather but didn’t want to fall back on GW Khorne Red. Instead I used GW Screamer Pink as the base colour to give more purplish/pink tones.

Although black horses are of course the preferred mode of transport for Evil Knights everywhere the pale grey here works for me.

Overall I would describe it as a very subtle version of a Nurgle paint scheme – just a hint of sickly without going over the top. I’m quite happy with the result, although next time I think I’ll thin the glaze rather than using them straight from the pot to make the effect even more subtle.

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