Tuesday 22 December 2015


I didn't have time to paint a Christmas figure this year, so had to plunder one from the collection. This great old Ral Partha figure is a giant in my Warmaster Chaos Marauder army where he towers pleasingly over the 10mm warriors.  I've got a few more of this chap waiting to be painted for my Pre-Hammer armies.

Wishing you a Splendid Winter Solstice
and a Merry Christmas

Sunday 20 December 2015


I have high hopes for these rules which arrived today

I've only had time to look at the pictures, and the bespoke artwork is excellent (I won't show any here as a spoiler to those of you planning to get a copy), but  it gets off to a good start with the frontispiece picture

Some Minifigs Valley of the Four Winds Orcs!!
1978 figures in a 2015 rulebook....huzzah!!

Saturday 19 December 2015


I've been a bit busy to post recently, but thought I would show a WIP on the Thistlewood front. Below are the remaining figures to finish - 20 elves (there are 40 here for future LOTR games) and the villagers. (plus a couple of vintage trolls which sneaked into the picture)

I recently bought a pile of 80 Minifigs hobgoblins (for my future re-creations of some of Joe Dever's early fantasy battles) which were encrusted in gloopy paint. I haven't had much luck with the Dettol procedure, finding the paint gets even more tacky and tar like as I curse and am overcome by the toxic fumes. I thought I would try immersing the first 10 of these chaps in a jam jar bath of Mr Muscle oven cleaner. In 2 days the paint just dissolved and the figures looked almost as good as new....huzzah! 

Before and after

BTW, I saw some late 70's fantasy figures on ebay, described as "Bronze Age" meaning 1975-1980ish..... does anyone else know about this categorization?

Finally a shot of my lamentably untidy painting desk. Bottom right is a Hinchliffe catapult to be an extra for the King's army.

Saturday 5 December 2015


Although not clearly visible in any of the pictures of the original Thistlewood article, the outline of the tower in the right background of this picture

looks similar to the tower from Gary Chalk and Joe Dever's collection which appeared in White Dwarf 53, 8 issues later

I would have happily had a go at building something similar if time allowed (maybe I will in the future) but in the meantime, to fit in with the other Hovels cottages I am using I have decided to use this piece

from the hovels European range. It will be on top of a hill to make it a bit more imposing, and has quite a wizardy feel about it. I can imagine to good Polias, beavering away in his study on the top floor, little knowing the fate that awaits him at the hands of the thief Foro Malas.

Friday 16 October 2015


Rebased and glossed, there are 50 of these orcy bods for Lord Vassago's army. More candidates for Erny's Orctober (as soon as I read there might be a prize I frantically started hauling all the orcs and goblins out I could lay my hands on). As I mentioned when I had finished painting them a couple of years ago, I always thought blue was a good colour for these Ral Partha sculpts (some of which are still available from RP Europe.). The vile rune on their shields is from Runequest, a game I never played, but had some of the boxed Citadel sets back in the 80's.

The standards sport the traditional Red Eye and White Hand devices that many 70's orcs used.
I've got a couple of the orc war machines Ral Partha made to go with these figures, so must get them assembled and painted  (maybe for Orctober 2016)

Here is Ugrash -Ka, the Hill Giant leader of the Vile Rune orcs. One of my favourite figures from Asgard, sculpted by Nick Bibby. I completely ballsed up the paintjob, but to be honest I don't think I would have ever done justice to the figure.

Tuesday 13 October 2015


I've  been looking covetously at Dwarven Forge cavern systems recently, and come to the conclusion there is no way I can afford them, so will probably have to make my own (although I might treat myself to a stalagmite set). Back when I used to play D + D on a regular basis, I always used to enjoy mapping out cavern systems for players to explore, with fiendish monsters lurking in pools or behind rock formations, but it wasn't until I actually started caving for real that I realised just  how unrealistic role-playing caves are.

About 20 years ago I used to go caving once a week in the Mendip Hills, not far from where I live and poked about in a number of different caves, all of which would present some challenges to an armoured adventuring party

Birthday Squeeze in Swildon's Hole . Note the caver has had to remove the one piece of equipment he is carrying (his lamp battery) so he can get through to the next part of the cave.
(Image from Dudley Caving Club's blog)

The traverse at Eastwater Cavern, a smooth surface, but at a 40' angle ready to slide you down into a crevice
(Image from WAYA blog)

The Drainpipe in Goatchurch Cavern (wiggly)
(image from Pinterest)

Swildon's Hole sump 1. A short underwater passage, adventurers would need to hold their breath for 30 seconds
(pic from Carbis Bay Crew blog)

These are some of the more extreme passages (not the most extreme, it has to be said), and there are areas where one can walk upright, and indeed large and wonderful caverns
The Throne Room in Stoke Lane Slocker (I never did this challenging cave!)
(Image from Dudley Caving Club's blog again)

 but they are all connected by tortuous narrow passageways involving crawling or wriggling, with no level floors and plenty of piles of boulders to clamber over.... which would make for an exciting (and literal) Dungeon/Cavern crawl.

The point of this rambling is that I am getting a real itch to get back underground. I chucked my kneepads and helmet away when we moved house  6 years ago, but I am getting a whispering in my head to lure me back down below...............

Entrance to Swildon's Hole 

one of the fascinating things for me is that an innocuous little hole like this can lead to over 9000 metres of cave passageway, 167 metres deep.... but could you get down with plate armour and a 10' pole?

Saturday 10 October 2015


I have been keeping an eye out for this book for a while until one  cropped up at a reasonable price. Amazon marketplace came up trumps and the book arrived yesterday. I've not read it yet, but had a quick flick through to refresh my memory of the pictures within. I used to get this book from the library back in the early 1980's and it is like meeting an old friend again.

Hmmm, must get one of those castles....

as well as that Dragontooth elf, second from the right.

I've got these orcs, but no longer have the Atlantic temple grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...

The author Dr. Holmes enjoying a game with his pals. Note the Rubik's Cube, widely marketed from 1980, so must be brand spanking new in this picture. (The book was published in 1981).

Thursday 8 October 2015


Rebased old school and glossed up, these chaos are now ready to fight.

19 Chronicle Hobgoblins and 1 Asgard orc 

Not sure about the banner..... fits in with my post 80's figures but is it ok for 1983?

Friday 2 October 2015


Finally got these guys based

2 lovely Fiend Factory wyverns, looking like the proper heraldic sort.

Thursday 1 October 2015


The well of Thistlewood....a minor piece of terrain, but important in any village. This piece is 1983 vintage cleared and is a brittle resin casting from (I think) either Ahketon or Otherworld Artefacts (the orginal Otherworld which made resin Fantasy scenery). It might be from another manufacturer whose name eludes me at the moment , but either way it was in a very hard breakable buff coloured resin, which would shatter into a zillion pieces if dropped.

(this and previousfew pictures taken with a borrowed tablet, which I haven't got the hang of yet. I'll be back to my normal camera soon with luck).

Tuesday 29 September 2015


Lord Vassago doesn't have any cavalry in his army, but he does have a large pack of wolves at his disposal. Back in 1983 there wasn't a lot of choice of wolf figures that I was aware of, the suggested Ral Partha figures were a bit small, but these Minifigs lupines from the Mythical Earth range fit the bill . I really like their long snouts.

It took me a while to source 30 (some very kind donations from fellow bloggers helped), but now I have amassed another 30 with the original goblin riders, so I must get those finished at some stage.

Thursday 24 September 2015


Two useful bridges for the Thistlewood scenario, and to add to my slowly growing terrain store. Both by Hovels and released in 1985.

Trees are by Merit and widely available back in the late 1970's and early 80's.

In this last picture, you can see the village old Citadel piece FS20, without the victim.

Sunday 20 September 2015


As well as painting the Thistlewood terrain, I've re-based Lord Vassago's army in a more old school style. The painted sand and flock just looked too fussy for these old figures. I returned to the good old Tetrion (wall filler) texture, which was then painted my standard bright green, dry-brushed white and then washed with the brilliant Army Painter Green tone. This gave the finish I wanted, a sort of washed out look we used to get when we used tube acrylics straight onto Polyfilla (when we could be bothered to base them at all).

All skeleton are Minifigs from the Valley of the Four Winds range from th late 1970's 

Friday 18 September 2015


Another very old kit is this old Airfix church , again still available from DAPOL . I've seen it appear in a number of early Warhammer games, such as this splendid display by the Players Guild in 1986.

There's the church, in the middle of the picture.

Back in the day there was no Sigmar, and feudal medieval fantasy states seemed follow a sort of woolly Christian religion. In the Thistlewood scenario King Amias' kingdom has a band of fighting monks called The Knights of the White Lord, who fail to show up for the battle incidentally. The church priest, Priest Varlie is made of sterner stuff, and I will be painting an early Citadel Cleric to represent him. Meanwhile here is his church. I left off the most of the crosses as they were likely to snap off anyway, but added a little shield over the doorway. 

Monday 14 September 2015


I've been cranking up enthusiasm to try and get my Thistlewood project finished by the end of the year after completing loads of large scale historical figures. Often with various projects I have undertaken before I have left the terrain until last and then lost interest, so taking up the Oldhammer reins again this month I decided to get all the terrain finished and ready and then proceed with more figure painting.

Initially I was to set the re-creation of the first published Warhammer scenario back in 1983 when it appeared in White Dwarf 45 as a 30th anniversary event but that idea flew out of the window. Letting 2 years slip buy to do the re-enactment has it's advantages as it's now 1985 and these rather nice cottages from Hovels are available to use, first released in that year.

There are 6 suitable houses from the "English" range, all still available from HOVELS .Despite what the catalogue online says ALL the cottages are available, but as a couple are far too small to use with more modern 28mm figures they have taken them off the web page but if you ask, Dennis Coleman will cast them up for you.

It's true all the cottages are quite small even for 25mm figures, but true scale houses would completely clutter the table up and these have a real charm about them, cast in chunky resin they are a lot sturdier than the card Warhammer buildings which came along later.

The Inn looks a bit like The George at Norton St. Philip, where I have spent many bibulous hours in my youth. The oriel window particularly.

rear view. I added the flagstone courtyard bit.

Butcher, baker and candlestick maker

The 3 smaller cottages, deleted from the catalogue but still available.

A larger cottage, called the Manor house

rear view of the Manor, which will be the blacksmith's in Thistlewood

As I need 7 cottages for the scenario, I pressed the good old Airfix thatched cottage into service, a veteran on wargames tables since the mid-1960's I should think, and still available from DAPOL .

I must admit I found painting them all a bit of a bind, but finally got there. There are more terrain pieces to deal with, and I'll be tackling the 2 bridges next.