Tuesday 31 December 2013


As the year draws to a close, I darted into the attic tonight to lay out the years painting and was pleasantly surprised by the amount I had completed. The latest and probably most useful project was the completion of a backdrop for my gaming table as I have been casting covetous eyes at other folks railway backdrops. I decided to have a bash at doing my own, constructing free standing boards  of 3mm mdf  to go round 3 sides of my 6'x 4' table. The scene is primarily for Imagi-nation use but looks suitably English to double as an ECW backdrop too (it is in fact based on the skyline of Stourhead Gardens , Wiltshire). On the reverse I plan to paint a more rugged fantasy scene for my Oldhammer and Conan figures.

Here are the figures completed in 2013 for various projects and in different styles and scales

From the left, Old school 25mm Aquilonians
25mm Nemedians
54mm Imagi-nation characters
D and D figures
Lord Vassago's Oldhammer Army (Thistlewood)
King Amias' Oldhammer Army (Thistlewood) (must get the last few figures finished and based)
In the background left, some Old school Conan characters and 2 x 28mm Imagi-nation follies
and the backdrop itself, just finished

A total of 
43 25mm Cavalry
42 25mm Monsters
424 25mm Infantry
12 54mm Figures 


Some more pics of the backdrop from my new blog Mars in Arcadia


Thursday 21 November 2013


Here is an interesting figure. I got this in about 1975 from a newsagent in Morecambe, Lancashire, where my Grandmother lived. At the local newsagent, there was a box of various monsters (2 others I have/had are a wingless red dragon standing on it's hind legs and a sort or green concertina like lizard) and I was already showing promise by buying one each time I went with my Dad to get the paper.

It's clearly the same as the Bulette illustration from the Monster Manual, but in production before the book was published

Having typed this, I have just found this fascinating thread in which one of the inventors of D and D (presumably Dave Arneson) explains that Gary Gygax based the monsters on the plastic figures. Answered my own conundrum thanks to the wonders of the internet.


More figures for the King's army, the Imperial Guard
figures by Garrison

I popped up to Warfare at Reading which was a very good show, and managed to bag a box of 1970'S Ral Partha figures and a Fantasy Tribes Troll (50p!!) at the Bring and Buy. It was nice to see old figures like this still appearing among the mountains of Space Marines and Newhammer detritus.

Saturday 9 November 2013


More of the King's army finished and based. The loyal Dwarfs and Elves.
Dwarfs by Garrison, sporting a traditional Dwarf standard, so I can use them in LOTR games.

Elves by Minifigs, finished last year but rebased to fit in with other MDF warbases.

Saturday 26 October 2013


Here are the mainstays of King Amias' army, the footsloggers.

Macemen (flails were the nearest thing I could find)

Pikes (the old interpretation ie. halberds)

Swordsmen armed with bows as well

All figures by Garrison. I had a varnishing mishap with these, most noticable on the Pikemen, with some of the varnish "frosting". I can only assume this id caused by temperature or humidity, but it's very annoying. Another reason to use shiny yacht varnish.

Friday 25 October 2013


After my post lamenting a missed ebay auction, I quickly located another Archive Doomguard , from the original seller who had another in stock. So here he is displayed on the original catalyst to get him 34 odd years ago White Dwarf 16 (not 17 as I said previously).

For some reason, I am unable to rotate the picture, so rotate your pc if needed.

Saturday 19 October 2013


After a long break involving a broken pc, viewing secondary schools and other things that only happen in the real world, it's nice to drop back into ToySoldier land . The idea of getting my Thistlewood game finished by the 30th anniversary flew out of the window as I suspected it would, but I have been plodding away at it and now only have about 10 figures to paint before starting on the terrain.

Here are the Loyal centaurs by Garrison Miniatures. Certainly Old School and still in production (just). I have been fiddlearsing about with the bases and although not entirely happy with the final results I have gone for this slightly Autumnal look.

 A chance comment on another blog (sorry, can't remember which one) mentioned that older style bases with little or no extra flock or detail enhanced the figure and I completely agree. Unfortunately by that time I had already started basing my troops like this, but have another project brewing which will be really old school....plain bases, gloss varnish and no figures later than is a taster of Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age
A Nemedian spearman leaves home to join in the invasion of Aquilonia

I have to say the shiny finish (I used Yacht varnish) and lack of heavy shading makes the figure much brighter (and considerably quicker to paint). Not everyone's  cup of tea, but I like the toy soldier look. Again, a figure from Garrison's bespoke Hyborean range.

Wednesday 4 September 2013


Normal service will resume here soon (once I get my laptop back from the repairers and take some pictures of the latest figures)but I have just read that Donald Featherstone has died so thought I should post about it. I am pretty sure many readers were set off on the wargaming hobby by this gentleman. I shall raise a glass and a paintbrush/some dice in his memory this evening.

Tuesday 13 August 2013


I've just posted up a list on Lead Adventure, so do go along and take a look. There might be something we can swap!

Wednesday 7 August 2013


Back in the 1980's the wonderful art of Russ Nicholson featured heavily in White Dwarf, Fighting Fantasy gamebooks (what fun they were) and The Fiend Folio. Following a recent post on Russ' blog I thought I would dig out a few figures that seem to have been based on his work (he confirmed my comment that he remembers Citadel sending him some samples).

First up, one of my favourite figures produced by Citadel in the good old days The Dark Creeper (sold as a Gnome assassin in the Fiend Factory range). What a great sneaky pose

The Skeleton warrior is in a different pose, but wearing exactly the same armour tunic and headband

 The Styx Devil (marketed as a Satanic angel). I remember this was produced way before the Fiend Folio was published,

A quick flick through the Fiend Folio and I can't find any more directly relating to Russ' art (except the Grell perhaps?). 

Monday 22 July 2013


Very occasionally I force myself awake to bid for a figure on Ebay USA , the auctions tending to end in the middle of the night here in England. Last night I woke myself up to bid for a figure I first saw in White Dwarf 17 (reviewed in Molten Magic )and wanted ever since The Doom guard by Archive Miniatures. I would have probably won the auction so keen was I to get it, but the grip of Morpheus was too strong and I went back to sleep waking 10 minutes after the bidding ended.

So a plea to any readers, if you have this figure and want to sell it, let me know

nostalgia is a powerful force, but not powerful enough to keep me awake after a weekend at home with the kids.

Wednesday 3 July 2013


 Work is going well with the Thistlewood armies (I've painted about 200 figures so far) but I am just deciding  on how to start the bases having had some good tips from Thantsants over at Somewhere the teas getting cold .

Meanwhile here are some more barbarians, my chaos pooches and their handler

The hounds are GW plastic wolves with spiky bits then coated in static grass and painted.

I really like this helmet from the first Chaos Warriors Speciality set. The hounds got a bit frisky one day and chewed off Throk's face and hand...

On the subject of hounds, I have always been a bit ambivalent towards our canine chums, but was pretty heavily converted by having this splendid dog (or bitch to be accurate but less polite) Pip to stay a week or so back

I think I was more gutted than the boys when she left and since then the pressure has been on from them to get a four legged member of the family...we shall see.

Saturday 15 June 2013


...a Waterboys song if I remember. Here is the morale boosting musician for my barbarians, the drum made from a plant food scoop and tomato puree tube skin with lentil rivets.

strangely as I was typing this post my wife and her friend started singing The Whole of the Moon by the Waterboys from the other room.

Tuesday 11 June 2013


This unit counted as Chaos warriors when I was playing Warhammer, more beefy than marauders, but I didn't want to stray from the barbarian theme and get figures with plate armour. Instead of sickening chaos mutations beloved by GW (and my Nurgle worshipping son) my marauders just grow huge when exposed to the warping effects of Chaos (did Michael Moorcock ever sue GW for stealing his ideas? he should)

3 Ral Partha giants, the 2 with horned helmets emind me of the giants in the famous Frazetta painting . The guy in the middle looks like my father in law. The right hand chap has a new axe as the original club was a bit weedy

2 from Grenadier. again an axe change on the right hand guy (spellcheck is telling me axe is spelt incorrectly, but it likes ax)

A Reaper giant with GW minotaur hand and axe

ahh, a really old figure from Asgard with a GW axe added.

Sunday 9 June 2013


...or something equally barbaric, here are a couple of chariots I made for my barbarians, using balsa  and hessian over foamboard. They remind me of the Airfix Ancient Britons chariots

In the few games of Warhammer I ever played, I seem to remember they did rather well, mowing down ranks of hapless Landsknect type Empire troops.

Saturday 8 June 2013


As promised I have finally got around to photographing my decade old Warhammer army (they let me out of work for the day, and I am having a nice time at home). I became re-infected by Games Workshop about 12 years ago after a very long break from Fantasy gaming. Partially due to there being a really good member of staff in the local GW who was just interested in modelling rather than flogging stuff , but mainly due to the release of the Marauder horseman and infantry plastic box sets. I had been waiting for figures like these since seeing Conan the Barbarian back in the 80's, the initial village attack scene in particular (can anyone send me a link to this on youtube? I can't find it anywhere).

Here is the first shot of some of the cavalry of the Horde of the Glacial Rift, a Vanir tribe out of my head. I don't really like the GW official chaos line with gribbly mutations and 4 gross chaos gods, so I tend to set my stuff in a sort of Hyborian world.

Mainly Citadel figures, some riders are made of marauder sprue torsos on Kislev horse archer legs. Top right rider has a very old head from the first Citadel Speciality set of Chaos Warriors (I bought 3 or 4 of these when they came out, but sadly only kept the spare heads when I sold off most of my fantasy stuff a few years later (NEVER EVER sell or get rid of anything). Some of the horse chest plates are old Minifigs shields, and you can see my Horned God rune which pops up on a lot of my figures (from Runequest) More hairy ginger barbarians to follow.

Wednesday 5 June 2013


Well the first 2 or pretty obvious as Matthews painted a number of album covers for the Scottish band Nazareth in the late 70's, but the latter wasn't clear to me until I took a good look at this figure which has been lurking in the attic for 25 years

I reckon he is based on the cover to No Mean City by the aforesaid band . I painted him to match anyway (base to be finished later). I think I will use this figure as N'aarsh, Vassago's spectre champion.

I went to see Nazareth a couple of times a few years ago in Bristol. Still rocking well.

Monday 3 June 2013


I finished these chaps (bar the bases) a while back but have just varnished them. The Black Sun Goblins are the other large unit in Lord Vassago's army. Unfortunately these rather nice Fiend Factory goblins have a wolf embossed on the shield, so now the tribe has been renamed the Scarlet Dog Goblins. These chaps fit perfectly my idea of goblins in The Hobbit (rather than the ghoul like abominations in the latest film) and I hoovered up loads on ebay about 8 years ago with a plan to use them in a Battle of the Five Armies game,  I painted them so I could use them for that as well, a bit dull and grubby, hopefully the bases will brighten them up a bit when done.

I replaced all the spear/naginata with new ones from Dixon miniatures as the original ones had gone a bit bendy or broken.

The usual mantra (in case you are new), I will complete all the army bases in one fell swoop (with the aid of my friend Speckled Jim).

Saturday 1 June 2013


Apologies for a lack of posts (and commenting) over the last month and a bit, but I have been busy at the painting table and finished over 100 figures which I will post up over the next week or so. I generally find if I sit down in front of the laptop to fiddle with my blogs, pretty much the whole evening flies by without any useful painting or modelling (or DIY or cooking) done, so I have been trying to keep off the demon box.

I have owned these figures for decades and they are still my favourite orc figures for non Lord of the Rings games, really bestial almost dog like faces but in quasi classical armour. They have finally been dragooned into action as Lord Vassago's Vile Rune Orcs

I always imagined these orcs should be blue (which I think is the colour they were painted on the original Ral Partha  orc war machine box set).

The skull topped standards also have little discs on showing the White Hand and Red Eye, as many orc figures did in the 70's and 80's (quite rightly too, non of this Gork and Mork nonsense)

Painted almost entirely with washes, GW Teclis blue washed with Windsor and Newton cobalt ink and then again with GW Drakenhof Nightshade. The armour was done with Vallejo bronze and GW Badab black.

The shields, bearing the Vile Rune (nicked from Runequest). I have used this Horned God rune on all my chaos marauder shields too (must post them up one day). As always, the bases will be finished en masse at the end of the project (the end is in sight for Lord Vassagos army at least, only 30 wargs to paint!!)

Thursday 25 April 2013


Monster Manual Monday seems to be on hold at present, but here is Lord Vassago's ghoulish bodyguard, recently finished. There were not many ghoul figures about in 1981, and I always thought this Ral Partha ghoul rather a puny figure, but I was quite pleased to be able to pick up 14 from ebay at quite good prices. Three were missing their swords, but I replaced them with plasticard and greenstuff. The captain is an old Fantasy Tribe skeleton in plate armour.

When I started painting figures, I always liberally coated weapons in blood (unpleasant little tyke that I was) until I matured a bit, so it was great to have an excuse to do it again as each of these chaps is holding a freshly severed head. As always, bases to finished after all the army is painted.