Tuesday, 1 February 2022

EYES!...MY EYES! (Happy little trees)

 

I always do my best to look after my eyesight. As a part-time artist and a keen hobbyist I consider it kind of vital to do so. I've also been short-sighted since I was about fourteen years old, and have worn contact lenses since my very early 20s.

In one of my last optician visits before the arrival of the plague - my optician told me:

"Your prescription has decreased in both eyes..."

Brilliant I thought, my eyesight is getting better.

Of course, these people can't ever give you good news - "You're going long-sighted - we'll monitor this on your next visit in six months time..."

Six months later we were in lockdown, eyes weren't exempted from lockdown and I wasn't able to visit my optician for eighteen months or so.



It was while painting miniatures about six months ago or slightly more, that I started to notice I was struggling to focus and see detail properly. My dad has worn a magnifier for hobby stuff for years, and he suggested I get one. So I got one from Amazon for £14, free next day delivery and with five different lenses.

It's been a bit of a game changer.

Rewind to 1987 and my dad comes home from work with a copy of "Heroes for Wargames" by Stewart Parkinson, a book I still cherish with lots of artwork, concept art and painted miniatures.

Cover Art by Melvyn Grant

Speaking to Bryan Ansell one "Lead of Winter" he chuckled at seeing the book, stating that everyone had forgotten that the photographer was coming in that day and nobody had prepared any miniatures to be photographed. He described people running around getting minis ready, sending people home to get models from their own collections or just models off their own work desk.

The book has no photo credits and no painting credits either - so I can't give them. But I did marvel at many of the free-handed shields. One of my favourites was a dwarf with a beautiful hand-painted mountain on a tiny dwarf shield. 



As I mentioned in a previous post about the "Doughty Dozen" I spent some time collecting up pre-slotta dwarfs on the cheap on Ebay back when it seemed only a couple of us (mentioning no names...Harry...Dave...) were collecting them.

So I dug out the mini from the book and decided to use it to test if I could achieve something decent as a tribute to the shield using the new magnifier.

I hope I've done it justice. Mainly with Humbrol but with some oils plus Scale75 and Vallejo used on the mini too.


Now on to the Old World Army Challenge 2022. May I live to the end of it!      

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

DEAD MAN'S HAND - The Gangs

Nobody had a great lockdown(s) I'm guessing.


I'm kind of surprised I'm still alive to be honest.

But I was looking for a game I could play with my brother, I felt that he probably had a worse few lockdowns than me despite the fact that he wasn't as totally alone as I was.

He's always liked his Westerns, so I figured he'd like a game based on Hollywood gunfights.

I picked up the starter set of Dead Man's hand which contained x2 seven man gangs, a building, the rules, the card deck and all the tokens needed to play. And at a silly reasonable price.

I love the rules and I have painted up x5 dudes from each of the Outlaw (Black) and Lawmen (Red) gangs.



Outlaws - Played with the Spades Suit

Lawmen - Played with the Hearts Suit

There is absolutely no reason to line the bases with black and red in the way that I've done. I just thought that with everyone looking like a drab western character, that colour-coded bases would help with identifying gang allegiance. YMMV.

The colours are based on card suits, the game mechanics are based around a normal card deck (with special rules on each) - whereby on activation only the number / value on your card is important - and the cards in your "Dead Man's Hand" (usually five) which can be laid to interrupt your opponent with the special rules. These can cause his activated character to stumble, have his gun  jam or allow you to have a free snapshot etc. You get the idea.

The real expense is the buildings. Cheaper ones are available but I've bought and assembled a bunch of the 4Ground ones. 

And when I say "I" what I really mean is that my dad made all the ones of note.

I've had a few practice games at home but I know I'm going to love this game.

More gangs on the way,

Stay tuned my reader in Slough. 




Gunned Down From Behind by a Cur!




Wednesday, 22 December 2021

I'll Take My Dwarf Medium Rare - To Go Please

 

It’s been a while so hello and apologies to both of my readers.

This is a tale of toy soldiers, jigsaw puzzles, state sponsored murder, early Games Workshop marketing and my teeny, tiny pre-slotta, Perry Dwarf obsession.



In 1984 something new happened – to Citadel Miniatures at least.

The blister pack.

In years to come this miracle of packaging would come to create several new religions. Those who worshipped the card, those who believed that keeping stuff imprisoned inside the blister somehow increased the value of something above something that wasn’t inside a blister, and of course – the YouTube Evangelist that films himself opening the blister.

But in 1984, it was better. The blister card had a “counter” printed on the back which you could cut out and collect. It was basically a small jigsaw puzzle – if you completed a picture of a whole model you could send off to Citadel in Eastwood and get the corresponding miniature for the cost of an S.A.E.

The 1984 Citadel Compendium Advert - Courtesy and with permission of Stuff of Legends


For international readers – an S.A.E. is a “Self-Addressed Envelope” which would need to be stamped. In 1984 the cost of a large letter was 17 and a half pence – wow. You could get 35 flying saucers or nearly four packs of KP Outer Spacers for that.

As a self-confessed Dwarf fanatic I have always wanted as many of the Citadel ones as possible. Being given the “Heroes for Wargames” book as a kid by my dad meant I wanted to one day find the pre-slotta dwarfs therein. Most of which I have. The ones I like at least.

 There are many dwarfs that are rare but that I consider not worth the asking price (see Chardz, Ozrim). But the counter collect dwarf – well, Ozrim Chardz you could at least get from mail order, the counter collect dwarf was (supposedly) never available apart from counter collect.

I asked the Oldhammer Community for painted examples. And it seemed like two people in the world had one. One was a chap in Spain, the other was our very own Orclord.


The example from Stuff of Legends - used with permission

Just two in the world?

That sounds like the rarest dwarf out there…

 

Fast Forward to April, 2020.

The British Government, knowingly releases people from hospitals rife with Covid into UK care homes. Including the one in which my Grandmother lived.

Survived the Blitz, World War 2, the 60s, the Cold War – but she didn’t stand a chance faced with  the indifference of an administration whose main concern is supporting corruption while sat on the decking of No. 10 drinking tax-payer funded £200 bottles of wine.

As a kid, my Nan and Grandad always bought us great presents. Splurging money on Star Wars ships and Subbuteo sets. We were exceptionally lucky kids with our parents and grandparents.

My hobby Brain suggested that getting the counter collect dwarf on Ebay would be “what they would have wanted” – for me to have as Christmas present from them last year.

So I bought one.

Yeah I paid a person I usually consider a “scalper”, but there was just no other way to get one. To be fair he sent it fully insured with a personal, hand-written letter of thanks. To which I politely replied the purchase was a one off (from him).

I won’t discuss the painting too much.

It’s a hard mini to tackle.

There’s a lot of superfluous detail from buckles all over his tunic, to a very detailed helmet and a very big Yosemite Sam beard.

I gave it a shot.


Probably not my best. But a shot nonetheless.



Merry Christmas Nan. Merry Christmas Grandad (thanks for the whole Royal Marine Commando stuff).

I’ll see you soon.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Chess Book - IT'S A MOTHER£U<&iN6 CHESS BOOK MOFOS!!!

 I don't know if John Blanche ever had this problem. Oldhammeridiots chasing him around Facebook commenting:

"HEY - BLANCHE....THAT LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE A PICTURE BY THE FAMOUS BRITISH ARTIST LEONARDO DA VINCI! IT LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE THE MOANING LISA!"

Or:

"BLANCHE...OI...YOU BLANCMANGE!...THAT LOOKS LIKE A PAINTING BY THE FAMOUS BRITISH ARTIST GARY THEODORE OF A BRITISH HUSSAR!"


As a kid I had quite a few artists I took inspiration from, mainly from comics and illustrators. Way before I even found toy soldiers - I was reading on a monthly basis, the old British mini comic STARBLAZER and being amazed by the ridiculous art of Argentinian genius Enrique Alcatena.

Thursday night was my favourite night of the week as a kid. Without jumping through my ages too much - in the UK Wednesday afternoon (for some reason) shops closed at lunchtime. On a Thursday shops closed at 8pm. My dad would come home from his job at the airport, he'd pick up my mum, brother and myself and we'd do our weekly food shop at Budgens or Sainsburys in Uxbridge. My brother and I would fight over who would get to launch ourselves standing on the back of the shopping trolley like Ben Hur before we got excited about what came next. The Library.

After we'd chosen our books with the best art we'd pick up jar sweets from the sweet shop and a takeaway of either fish and chips or fried chicken and chips.

I used to borrow all kind of comics and art books and all in good time the Fighting Fantasy books which were some of the most popular books in our three local libraries.

One Thursday I found two Chess books. Both books had really awesome artwork. One in an "Asterix the Gaul" kid of way and the other in beautiful fantasy art. The former is lost to me in the mists of time, the latter was published in 1980 by Octopus Publishing in the UK, it was Called LET'S PLAY CHESS written by Anthony Hansford and illustrated by another genius. 

John Bolton.



So when I started writing a blog which I update almost, nearly and sometimes twice a year. I used John's artwork to base my art and design on.

You don't need to tell me,

John Blanche had seen the Mona Lisa before he painted that banner.

Just like I'd seen the artwork of one of the UK's most famous illustrators and comic book artists before I based my background and header on it.

The inside cover had a great battlescene in it. My oldhammer version is the wallpaper on this blog and can be found in the Gallery.



Go and check out Bolton's work, and Alcatena's while you're at it. 

You'll thank me for it.

It's a better use of your time that grassing me up to the Zuck because you're a pussy who collapsed into sorrow because I painted a Chaos banner with a bad-haired politician's profile on it and your sycophantic hardon softened.

Some more great John Bolton Art from the Chess Book!





NOTE: The real John Bolton has no connection to any "perfect phone calls" to Ukraine nor does he claim to have an understanding of Latin nor bad hair. Any similarities to persons alive or dead are bigly coincidental. Lots of people are saying it. By a lot.

 

OLD WORLD ARMY CHALLENGE INTRO POST

Grumble, grumble, grumble...low 2020 production despite plenty of free-time. Still two units of Gaul noble cavalry to complete the Warmaster Ancients army. Sunburn playtesting and gang painting plus scenery to do. Chaos, Dwarf and Greenskin Warmaster armies to complete. Confederate and Union divisions to complete in 6mm to add to my brigade level Fire and Fury armies before the U.S. embarks on Civil War 2.0. Don't take on anything else you idiot. You have 3 Oldhammer comic pages to run through photoshop for goodness sake...finish what you have Goddam it.

Well  it's been a while since I posted on the OWAC and many, many hours over the first right to publish have passed. So just in case that introduction post never gets published here it is.

I spent many a long second deliberating over whether I would accept a tentative (probably slightly worried) invite to compete this year.

NEWS FROM HELL BEFORE BREAKFAST: Warmaster Interlude - Taking on the Old World Army Challenge

 "Street will upset someone...Street will combine short vowels and harsh consonants into swear-words which aren't suitable for Oldhammer under-fourteens and make them cry...Street will paint a banner of a politician with bad hair in keeping with Oldhammer's tradition of political satire that will be reported by grown-up babies as hate-speech when he forgets to snowflake pixelate it..."

But hey, no-one can argue that any of that stuff won't be fun.


"Snowflakes Saar....Faarsands ov 'em..."


So what to do? When absolutely everything you have is Dwarfs apart from a small human militia contingent, there's not a whole load of scope. I'm guessing that I'll be doing some Dwarfs.

I'm a bit hamstrung by the fact that I thought it would be sensible to move over Christmas. While that may sound like something that only a total £u(&ing idiot would do (guilty as charged) - since in the UK I will either be working or stockpiling weapons to protect my Brexit apocalypse food reserve and freezer come January the 1st I figured this was a good time to do it. Plus my new place looks slightly easier to defend with easier access to the upstairs gun safe and an easily booby-trapped outside toilet.

However I took some advance photos at the end of November of what I intend to embark on. Apart from filling in a few holes - er....like painting all of my 2nd edition Bugman's Rangers apart from 3 of the heroes and the beer cart. I have a bunch of stuff I need to get done.

I have Jorri and maybe 20 Rangers to complete, I'm posting this photo so you know what is already done so I don't try to sneakily include them in my totals.

So I have no %^£$&&*ing idea how many points my units are. The great thing is about dwarfs is that if you're a few points short each month you just say "actually these are Hammerers and they're worth 50 points each mofo..."

But here goes with a preview. Apologies with the bad, kitchen countertop pics but I was packing these away for the move.


THE BLACK BAND


This is a 20 strong unit of Hammerers or simple Dwarf warriors with 2-handed weapons (depending on how many points I need to faff in a week). These will be my "Black Band"/"Black Guard" of Zweihanders or "DoppelSoldiers". These consist of a mix of Citadel, Marauder, Runecast and White Knight models (now available through The Assault Group).


FANTASY TRIBES REGIMENT


I picked up these lovely pre-slottas about 3 years ago in a collection. I stripped about 35 years worth of enamel and car primer off them and was delighted to find them in good, shiny nick underneath. I have 25 of these and am looking forward to painting them. Not sure whether I will give them a uniform colour scheme or whether I will give them a variety of Saxon/Norman shields. The previous owner had already removed a weapon and drilled out a fist for a brass rod so I will be doing a spectacular tomato paste banner for the unit.

MORE PRESLOTTAS




So I have a unit which I call "The Doughty Dozen". A unit of 12 pre-slotta Dwarfs which I have loved since I saw them painted up in the old "Heroes for Wargames" book in the '80s. I want to make them up to a unit of 40 but for the OWAC I will be doing a 30-strong unit from the models in the bottom two pictures which I'll add to the Doughty Dozen for the full unit of 40.

The middle photo mainly consists of broken and damaged minis which I'll add to the bottom (largely intact) 20 models. Six of these are not technically "pre-slottas" but in my own head the models with cast-on shields are from a similar era and often scale better than they do with the placcy shield models. YMMV.

MARAUDER HAMMERERS


Marauder Hammerers. What it says on the tin. x20.

PUFF AND SLASH CROSSBOWS



x10 "Puff and Slash" crossbows. I already a unit of ten of "Sven Surebolt's Flash Harrys" painted up. These will be painted up using the same crimson and cream colour scheme but will have their own Marauder champion so that I can use them as both a separate unit or combine them for a larger unit of 20. Two models are Marauder, the rest are White Knight/TAG.


WAYNE ENGLAND TRIBUTE UNIT


Every Dwarf army has to have a Wayne England tribute right? I'm not really one for having the whole army in the same livery. In fact I'm trying not to have more than one unit in the same colours.

When it comes to Wayne England's Dwarf army (the models that launched a thousand obsessions) - most people initially think of the blue and white halved uniforms of his Longbeards. I know I have a unit of "Thorgrimm Rockschafft and his Big Swingers painted thus:


Despite the fact that we automatically think of this as Wayne's "signature" Dwarf colours, he only ever painted one unit in blue and white. His Clansmen were black and white with blue belts and braces, his pikemen were green and yellow.

I'm not sure quite how I'll treat this tribute unit yet. I think maybe the often overlooked black and white would be fitting. Like Wane I'll be using some classic ME33 LOTR Dwarfs in there. And also a big massive tomato paste banner obviously.


THE OFFERING TO THE DARK GODS

When I was about seventeen my parents' house was burgled for about the fifteenth time. In this particular theft I had three 2nd edition Blood Bowl teams stolen. A human team, a Skaven team and my Stuntinutty Bengals Dwarf team. I have since recreated these stolen teams using the new GW models and some third party metals - but scalecreep has meant that these days a 2nd or 3rd edition BB Ogre is the same size a new GW human.

As such, what says Oldhammer to the Oldhammer Gods more that an Ogre who has had his legs sawn in half by Street and had half an inch of pinned and badly sculpted legs inserted  in to make him taller?

Nothing. That's what.

And thus, number thirteen "Jonah Jonah" has been replaced with number sixteen "Igor Biscan". Otherwise known as "Max Fleischgewehr". Jonah Jonah will now live in the Land of Chill or "The New World in which all Warhammer scenarios were set before thirty years of GW fluff u-turns."



Stonewall Street is a failed Rock Star; failed professional footballer; failed professional cricketer; failed comicbook artist; failed artist; failed poet; failed author; below average miniature painter; failed actress; reasonably decent management accountant and all-round Facebook agitator. He lives in the shadow of Heathrow's north runway in a slum that real estate agents describe as "vibrant". His main ambition in life is to survive into month 3. Enjoy the ride.

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Warmaster Interlude - Taking on the Old World Army Challenge





So the phone rings and it's God.

"Do you fancy taking on the Old World Army Challenge? Starts January. Just paint a million points a month and after six months you'll have 1,500 points or something."

It had been a while since I'd spoken to God. I have the same "I talk to God but the sky is empty" relationship with him that Sylvia Plath did. 

But at the same time I recognised that my production output this year hasn't been great. Not with miniatures, comic art, other art nor Blogs. Sure I've got stuff done, but not to the extent I should have done with so much time on my hands.


Sergeant Borri McKokkinner and the Longpoles (Top) and Thorgrimm Rockschafft and the Big Swingers Bottom) - both - sort of - completed during lockdown.

Blog-wise I was determined not to post again until my Warmaster batrep was fully written up. Truth be told I got fed up with making changes to my battlemap turn by turn. I'll finish it I promise. But here I am deliberating over something else.

It was clear when I had to build a six or seven hundred miniature Celtic army for a Warmaster Ancients tournament in January at the Bad Moon Cafe (whoah...remember being in a games café with actual humans, ale and pizza?) that I worked pretty quickly under pressure and when I had an actual non-negotiable deadline to work towards.

So I reverse the charges and call God back. "Sure I'll do it, what's that? You want me to paint a prize too? OK...I'll do that, just make something good happen...hello? Hello? Just make something good happen...hello?...."...*click*

There was no real need to do an Oldhammer stock-take. I've just got dwarfs. So I can paint dwarfs in 28mm or 10mm, and God says 10mm don't count. So I've dug through the tubs and pulled out a few units.

I've got a few units I need to finish off, namely a Bugmans unit that I've only done three of the heroes and the cart for, plus a unit of crossbows that need ten additional chaps. I guess to a small extent that's cheating. But then - after 2020 - I'm not sure God is one to talk about cheating the human race. Pull your finger out in 2021 magical sky daddy.


Four Bugman's Rangers and the beer cart completed. Jorri and another 20 or so Rangers to complete (Top); to bring them up to twenty crossbows I have another ten "puff and slash" crossbows to add to Sven Surebolt's Flash Harrys. 


So let's get to it.



Saturday, 23 May 2020

Teeny Tiny Lockdown Oldhammer Part 3 - The Early Exchanges


And so to the action. Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.

The Orc army having won the scouting got to deploy most of their army after seeing the dwarf dispositions. To rub it in further the Orcs win the roll for first turn and elect to take the first turn.

(oops, noticed I hadn’t included the Rock Loba in the deployment map on the last blog – I’ve added it below).



Orc Turn 1

So early in the battle, no troops are within initiative range and so we move on to the command phase.

Out on the left flank Boriz Da Yooslezz lived up to his name failing his command roll for the Orc Boyz and his turn was over.

Grom Da Fatbastard also failed to order up the ogres, however out on the right Graterak succeeded on her command rolls and the Boar Riders and the Wolfboyz moved forward.

Gratnakkers successfully moved up the majority of the centre, but due to the stupidity of the trolls failed to move them and they remained anchored to the table edge, gazing at mushrooms and local fauna.

The characters then moved into the positions shown (no I’m not doing arrers for the characters!)

There was no shooting nor combat to be resolved.

The Orc Centre Advances


Dwarf Turn 1

Frode Aleswiller successfully moved up his brigade into the farm to anchor the dwarf right.

Ozrim the Runesmith ordered forward the gyrocopters to force Graterak back to the Boar Rider unit. In Warmaster if your character is “overrun” by a non-character unit it must retreat to join a friendly unit within 20cm (10cm in this game) or your character is eliminated. This prevents players from having their characters running freely around the battlefield detached an unsafe distance from their forces.

Ozrim failed a second order for the gyros and the squadron was left with its proverbials in the wind in front of the orc cavalry.

King Gorin ordered up the centre including a double order for the cannon battery. Orders for the Hammerers fails and the command phase ends.

The gyro squadron however is now in range and blasts the Boar Riders and Graterak with their steam cannons driving them back out of initiative range. A roll that probably saves the squadron!

The Gyrocopter Squadron drives the Boar Riders with their steam cannons! 

Orc Turn 2

The Orc turn 2 was fairly disastrous from a command and control point of view. After measuring in the initiative phase the Boars confirmed they were just of out initiative charge range and couldn’t attack the gyrocopter squadron. From atop her Wyvern Brastrap, Graterak tried to order the Boarboyz into combat with the Gyros in the command phase but failed meaning the cavalry on the Orc right ground to a halt presumably while the tribes argued amongst themselves.

Grom managed to order up the ogres down through the village but both Boriz and Gratnakkers failed their orders and the Orc army otherwise ground to a disorganised halt.

During the shooting phase Graterak tries to cast “Foot of Gork” on the Gyros and fails!

The Gruntaz find themselves just out of initiative distance before failing their command roll



Dwarf turn 2

Ozrim orders the gyrocopter squadron into a position to attack the Wolfboyz. The tactics being that with their lower saving throw the Wolfboyz are more likely to suffer casualties at their hands.

Ozrim’s next order roll fails and the Rangers and supporting Warriors fail to move up.

On the right Frode’s division occupies the farm.

Gorin moves the dwarf centre up onto “Big Round Top” establishing the dwarf centre. The elite Hammerers are still misunderstanding their orders and have not moved into position.

In the shooting phase the Gyrocopter squadron kills one stand of the Wolfboyz and drives them back.

Having moved into position on the ridge the cannon battery engages in counter battery fire with the Rock Lobba. And the Orc artillery is destroyed!


Frode's Handgunners and Warriors occupy the farm
The dwarfs occupy "Big Round Top"


Three unsaved wounds and the Wolfboyz lose a stand of casualties!


More soon!