Monday 31 December 2012


A couple of weeks ago I bought , via ebay, a batch of figures I used to have back in the very early 1980's, Grenadiers Tomb of Spells boxed set. These were the first official Dungeons and Dragons figures I had heard of then (not realising Minifigs and Heritage had both produced Dungeon ranges) and I was very excited to read in White Dwarf that they were about to be released. On my twelfth or thirteenth birthday I duly recieved the set from my folks, and it has to be said I was profoundly disappointed with the figures. To my young eyes they were static poses, fuzzy detail and really bizarre armour on the skeletons. I suppose I kept them for a while, but then had a great clear out of fantasy figures (to my everlasting regret) in the late 1980's in which they must have gone to some Bring and Buy stall at a convention.

Looking at the early Grenadier figures now, with rheumy bespectacled eyes, I think they are absolutely  charming. They were certainly behind their time when compared to some of the figures Citadel were producing at the time and more so Ral Partha's finely detailed sculpts from Tom Meier but they simply ooze character, and I am planning on collecting all the early boxed sets.

The figures duly arrived this morning from The States courtesy of Silverhawk Miniatures, who provided excellent friendly service. Apparently there were 3 versions of this set released with a few variations, and it seems I had the rarest as a youth (not that I knew it then) which contained a rather nice Minotaur. Greg at Silverhawk kindly provided all the basic figures contained in all the sets, and also some of the variants, including the particular Efreet I had originally with folded arms. I had already purchased the Djinn elsewhere (which has yet to arrive) and am still seeking the Minotaur, but I am really looking forward to painting these up, although I will be pushed to match the standard displayed on Belched from The Depths blogspot.

From top left, Nighthag, Lamia, Mind Flayer, Necromancer, Larvae, Efreet, Skrieker, Skeletons 1-5, Skeleton archer and casualty, Skeleton transfixed by spear, Wight, Lich, Giant Spider, Dragon, Cockatrice, Ettin and Wraith.

Happy New Year!!

Sunday 23 December 2012


I'll be signing off for a day or two I expect, so can I take this opportunity to wish my blogging friends old and new a Very Merry Christmas/Good Yule/Bright Solstice blessings (insert appropriate to your beliefs) .

Here is a very old figure I painted up today (it's great having a few days off I can tell you) issued by Citadel as a freebie back in the mid 80's. On the base it says "Merry Xmas from Citadel" but I can't make the date out.


Saturday 22 December 2012


Foraging around in my figure boxes a few months ago a managed to assemble enough of these old Minifigs elves to make a unit for Oldhammer. I have a vague dream of building the armies for what I believe was the first ever Warhammer scenario published in White Dwarf 45, where 2 armies, evil and good (life was so simple in those days) battle it out over a village called Thistlewood. I will try and scan the map and details of the scenario in a future post. Back in 1982 I spent hours poring over the grainy black and white photos in the article, and dreaming how I could get enough cash to buy 20 man units at 30p a makes one weep to think about it now. 

Here are the Loyal Half Elves in the good army. I like these figures because they have a slightly sneaky air, which is how I feel Elves should look (I was very impressed by the look of Thranduil in The Hobbit film, a shifty looking cove if ever I saw one). They carry their own banner of the Green Man, but the sun shows their allegiance to the mainly human army. I have not finished the bases, partly because I am dithering on how to do them, but also because I like to do an army or battallion en masse so the bases are all the same

On the subject of the Oldhammer movement, is is interesting to see different perceptions of Old. For me Citadel began to go tits up when they amalgamated all their codes into the C series and then changed to slotta bases....( I was furious at the time, but of course slotta bases are quite handy for conversion purposes),  
but looking about at some of the fantastically painted Oldhammer armies I simply don't recognise the figures because they date from the later 80's, by which time I had immersed myself in ECW wargaming (oh, and drinking and chasing skirt).

Thursday 20 December 2012


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

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?