Thursday, 20 December 2012

I SEE A DARK SAIL ON THE HORIZON


So begins the song Broadsword from the Jethro Tull album Broadsword and the Beast. I have started this blog to show my fantasy figures and models, without interruptions and random warblings concerning historical figures, my work, family etc. which are on my other blog http://mercuriusatticus.blogspot.co.uk/

I have recently been really fired up to get back into fantasy gaming, partly by my oldest son Robin (10) who is starting to collect figures, and paint them alarmingly quickly, but also by the wonderful Old School D & D and Oldhammer movement which has some fantastic blogs appearing showing all the figures I had back in the 80's, painted superbly. My own personal opinion is that Games Workshop, the Evil Empire (ok, they have done a huge amount for the hobby, and I used to love them) is living on borrowed time, they have become so staid and boring, and outrageously overpriced. 

Anyhow, I will post figures up as I paint them, along with other witterings, and hope some other old school fantasy bods out there like them. Having 3 children and a fulltime plus extra job, my posts may be a bit irregular or brief, but I will do my best. 


Back in the mists of time (1983 or 1984) I went along to Games Day in London, held at the Royal Horticultural Society Hall to spend my pocket money on D and D figures. One of the highlights for me was a talk given by the fantasy artist Iain McCaig, who at the time was forging his career and had recently painted my favourite ever album cover Broadsword and the Beast by Jethro Tull. Mr. McCaig related how he had fallen asleep at the easel, and woken up to find he had painted all the Runes around the edge of the cover, and he didn't know what they said. Great story, but I suspect he knew they were the words of the first verse of the song Broadsword on the album.

Anyhow, this made a profound impression on a callow youth like myself, and I resolved to make a model based on the ship shown on the cover. 30 odd years on, I have finally done so!!


Here is the front and reverse of the sleeve, showing Ian Anderson the lead singer of Jethro Tull (and a superb songwriter and musician) as a strange Beastie. On the reverse he is riding on the figurehead of the ship. I reckon Iain McCaig was only in his early 20's when he painted this, so he must have been delighted to land the commission that produced this iconic piece of rock art.












I think I will crew the ship with some Dwarves from the old Grenadier range. The sails depict The Pewter Moon (badge of the Dwarves of the Pewter Moon, one of the factions in my fantasy world, where I live a good deal of the time), the Sunchild, another reference to a prog rock song( from King Crimson this time)
and the Beastie suppressing The Crimson King, who is the baddie/evil empire etc in my world.

The ship is a viking Drakkar by......can't remember, but Eastern European company I think, with a heavily converted Papo dragon head pinched from Robin and Arthur's soldier box (thanks chaps).

I painted runes on the figurehead..... anyone care to have a crack at translating them?





14 comments:

  1. A great start to your blog .I await the forthcoming posts eagerly...
    best wishes
    Alan

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  2. Just lost my post so will do it again....
    I too have been attracted to O.S fantasy of late- in my case Mythical Earth by minifigs.I am currently debating whether I can mix newer figures in on the same battlefield.I guess it is a case of aesthetic considerations/personal choice- what do you think?
    cheers
    Alan

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  3. Thanks Alan. I spend more time agonising over arranging and planning paintjobs on figures than I do actually painting and playing with them. Sometimes collections and armies with a real old mix work really well and some of the best units I have seen on the battlefields have been built up over years of collecting suitable figures from different manufacturers and adding them in. With your ME stuff, I would continue collecting the Minifigs figures, but if you see any others that you like, add them in. The Minifigs SS range would be good, with the monsters as Melkor's beasties from Utumno (I think that's correct, bit rusty on my Tolkien lore) The GW LOTR would fit in size wise, but they are so common they are a bit boring now, as well as being overpriced by squillions. Maybe get some GW plastic LOTR figures secondhand at a show. If you want me to look out for any I go along to quite a few conventions, and generally there are dump bins with these chaps in for 50p or less. Next one I am attending is Crusade at Penarth in Wales on January 26th.
    cheers
    Mike

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  4. To be fair the 'latest' Tull album I know is 'Heavy Horses', but I keep meaning to check out the later stuff with 'Broadsword...' being at the top of my list.

    Anyway, this is looking very cool. The sails are stunning, as is the dragon-head. Actually, everything is damn stunning and the resemblance to the original art is uncanny! Your King Crimson army on LAF was mind-blowing, too. It really is good to hear from another active gaming oldster - well, I ain't nearly quite as old as you! - who was there when the whole thing was in it's infancy (how different things are now!). Please continue - obvious commitments permitting - posting, sir!

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    1. Gareth, the way I fell most of the time, nobody is as old as me, but that's parenting for you. Thanks for the kind comments...it's what keep me going painting instead of going to sleep.

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  5. I'm blown away. You have such a wonderful and original style! The painting is dream-like and utterly convincing...I'd love to know more about how you choose and use your colors...but your approach to your subjects...your sense of collecting and converting...really exciting...absolutely love the Crimson King army that Gareth linked to...great stuff. You don't just have great technical skill, you have a wonderful creative vision. Looking forward to seeing more of your stuff!

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  6. Mouse, I'm not used to this kind of adulation, thanks I'm glad you like the stuff so far.
    Most of my painting is pot luck now, as I don't have a great deal of time to do hobby stuff, when I do I just get stuck in and slap the paint on. This ship took a couple of weeks to really finish, but as I mentioned I have been thinking about it for 30 years. I would love to do a small army of characters to go with it and have a few ideas up my sleeve. Another problem I have is maintaining momentum on a project, and if you look at my other blog I have several quite different projects simmering away. Having said that, I feel most at home with Fantasy figures. cheers

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  7. Fantastic! Quite inspirational work!

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  8. You sir are a very talented man. Wonderful, you'll need to dig out Mr Chalks Warhammer naval rules now.

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    1. Too kind sir, too kind. Glad you like it. I have Gary Chalks rules in some old White Dwarf. I remember a great orc ship at the same Games Day (I think) made by the Players Guild. It was a sort of pinky red colour and made out a converted Airfix Golden Hind. In fact, I might have a crack at that soon.

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  9. Since no-one treid to make out the runes on the figurehead, I had a go -
    looks like "the seal driver", probably another Jethro Tull nod.

    By the way, great blog - only discovered it today, stunned by the quality of your work and vision.
    Can't wait for next monster manual monday, great idea, great execution!

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  10. Huzzah and well done Ti. Seal Driver is indeed a song off this album. Many thanks for taking the time to view the blog and I'm glad you like it. There will be more posts soon when my laptop is working again (I'm at work at the moment). All the best.

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  11. I love when D&D and Tull meet, it's a perfect marriage, and this is awesome!! Great job!
    --Ron--

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    1. Thanks Ron....I have many more plans for this scheme, but little time!!

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