Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chaos Dwarfs

When I decided to start an Oldhammer Chaos army, these guys were high on my wish list as they were some of my favourites when I was young. So they were the first I painted, last fall actually. There was two ranges of Chaos Dwarfs in those days, the Marauder figures sculpted by Ally Morrison in 1988 and the Citadel figures sculpted by the Perrys in 1986, both of very similar style and quite compatible. I had 8 of them as a child, all Marauders, so the rest were found on Ebay. I'm certainly not the only one who loves them, as these fellow go for a very high price on Ebay.

The Marauder Dwarfs. So awesome. I have 11 of them, so basically I'm still missing half!                      
 Enough for a complete second unit, if I can afford them!

 The Citadel Chaos Dwarfs were more bizarre and twisted than the Marauder ones.
I was actually very lucky a couple of years ago to find a complete set, still in their original box, of the Citadel Chaos Dwarfs Renegades box set. I shudder to think how much it would cost today! As a collector, I often find the packaging as cool as the actual figures! I remember seeing the box set in my gaming store as a lad, but could not afford it.

Its a great boxset, that cover artwork is superb, and the figures are amazing. Looking at the back cover you can see how Warhammer was a lot more "RPGish" in those days, with each individual figures having its own cool name.

I love the fact they gave two first name (Drum and Drone Ulsen) to the two-headed chap! 

There is 21 Dwarfs in my unit, a mixture of Marauder figures and Citadel figures.  I have a soft spot for the Marauder ones, as is often the case, especially the sorcerer in the front row. But really all of them are amazing sculpts full of character and reeking of nostalgia. Ahem, that's how proper Chaos Dwarfs should look like!! No top hat and blunderbuses in that lot!

As expected, the figures were a lot of fun to paint. I decided to paint them in a very traditional blackened armour, as will be most of my Chaos Warriors. My first contact with Warhammer Chaos was a plate of a Chaos warrior in black armour (in the Warhammer RPG rulebook)  and that's how I envision my Chaos, at least the undivided kind. I used a bright green to give a splash of colour (and a wink to the 80s style of painting) to this evil bunch, and I'm quite pleased with the results.

Of course, not a single duplicate in this unit.



The movement trays are from Litko; instead of texturing the whole tray I tried to give it a moss covered look. I think it came out allright, and yes a bit of lazyness on my part, as it is less time-consuming than texturing the whole thing.

A banner will be added to this unit later, but I intend to do all the army's banners at the end, as I have to do some tests first. I also have to acquire at least one more dwarf to be converted as a standard bearer.

Next post, I'll talk a little about the planning behind my Chaos army.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nostalgia, or how I started this wonderful hobby

I got into gaming like, I believe, many of my generation; first role playing games then miniature painting and then wargaming. To be exact, it all started with livres dont vous êtes le héros (Fighting Fantasy) when I was around 8 or 9; I still have my entire collection actually! Then I started role playing games, at first with the simple Oeil Noir, a french RPG, and then we moved on to D&D, Runequest, Stormbringer and many, many more. In those days, it was all about fantasy. 

It all started with those...
It didn't take very long for me to discover miniatures. At first I bough a few Ral Partha miniatures for our D&D game, but out of fear of ruining them I stopped short of painting them! We then discovered Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and then Citadel Figures and not long after that my brother and I bought Warhammer 3rd edition together (that book was like a month's allowance for us!) and the rest, as they say, is history. My brother quickly settled on the Dwarfs and then the Undead, but I was always attracted to Chaos first, mostly due to my love of Michael Moorcock's fantastic Elric Saga. My parents got me Realm of Chaos the Lost & the Damned for Christmas and I was hooked for life. The family legend says that, when my mother first saw the cover of the book she refused to buy it, and that it took all of my father's convincing talents (boys will be boys and all that) to change her mind! 

The infamous cover. Can't say I blame my mom!
That book, alongside Slaves to Darkness (which I got soon afterwards), are in my opinion the best things Games Workshop ever produced (and it's not even close). The sheer size and wealth of information available, the bizarre artwork, the weird stories and just the overall atmosphere of the books are unparallelled. In those days, Chaos was truly twisted and bizarre, and both the books and available miniatures reflected that. And I loved it! 

So I started a collection of Chaos figures and then later Goblins (when the 4th edition came out), in the hopes of having an army one day. However the cost of figures, even in those days, for a child living off an allowance was prohibitive (I have absolutely no idea how children do it today, in this world of 130$ Nagash). And my lack of self-discipline also meant that I would rarely finish a figure, let alone a unit! I would spend days and days designing armies, dreaming of future purchases and of playing on fantastic looking tables like the ones I would see in White Dwarfs. But in reality little was happening. Eventually my brother and I played, using mostly unpainted figures, half-units and proxies (the horror!), until we reached around 15 or so and our interest in little lead men was replaced by an interest in little women! 

We came back to Warhammer a couple of years later in the early 2000s, and we bought new shinier figures, actually painted our armies and played quite a few games between ourselves and in clubs. As sacrilegious (and, frankly, stupid) as that might sound I replaced all my old figures with new ones and put the old ones in a box in the shed!  

But the rising cost of the GW hobby (™), the incessant army list changes and the look of the figures themselves made me look elsewhere. I discovered historical Wargaming and spent most of the last decade working on Napoleonics and cie. 

My brother and I still play once in a while, using either the 3rd edition or sometimes the 6th, with many house rules.

A few years ago I discovered the joys of buying old figures on Ebay. I very slowly bought some of my old favourites, but it was purely from a collector's point of view. But then I discovered a few "Oldhammer" (old school Warhammer) blogs and rapidly got the bug. It was such a great idea!

So I went back in my old boxes of figures accumulating dust in the garage, and Simple Greened the hell out of most of them! I started actively collecting everything I needed to complete my units and my armies, with an eye for all things Chaos from the Realm of Chaos era and Goblins from the 4th edition and older.

My main goal was to recreate a Chaos army, the one I wanted to do when I was young but never had the money or skills to do. Really, call it unfinished business. For that I decided to use mostly Citadel and Marauder figures but also a few Ral Partha and other miscellaneous pieces I found in my old lead piles.

I've been working on this Chaos army for around 9 months now, in between Napoleonics and Biblical projects. More on this in a future post.

So a nostalgia post would not be complete without a nostalgia figure, of course. 

This Lord of Change, still in my collection and still in active duty, was painted circa 1991(ish), and at the time it was by very far my best work. I was so proud of it, you have no idea. I still think it looks good today, considering his age. Almost all of the figures that I painted in those years have either been sold, repainted or lost, but trust me on this; it was way, way better than anything else I painted during that time. And it has seen a lot of battles over the years (as evidenced by the loss of its tail...).


Well that was a lot of rambling for one post, hey? I just want to give a big thanks to the four blogs below, in no particular order, who were instrumental in getting me back to my wargaming roots.

Warhammer for adults

Realm of Chaos: An 80s Warhammer Enthusiast Blog

Realm of Chaos (Just amazing painting)

Eldritch Epistles 

and one final note, if you do Oldhammer and I missed your blog on my blogroll, just comment here or send me an email (contact form on the left) and I'll add your blog.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Welcome to my childhood world

Welcome to my new blog, in which I will ramble about my Oldhammer projects, mainly the painting and collecting aspects, and of course the odd nostalgia and gaming posts. After leaving the Games Workshop world in the early 2000s in favour of historical painting and gaming, I started collecting back old Citadel and Marauder Chaos figures a few years ago, but it's in the last year or so that I really decided to jump into this movement feet first, adding Dwarf and Goblin forces to my collecting efforts. I also actually started painting my first Oldhammer army, a Chaos undivided army, almost a year ago last fall. Many of the figures making up my Chaos Army have been with me for over 20 years, although they received a Simple Green bath and lost their original (and usually horrendous) paint job! Unfortunately, in my late teen years I sold part of my collection (mostly goblins but also some Chaos), curse me! So I've been trawling Ebay and other sites in an effort to find all those precious figures I dreamed about as a kid!

Although the nostalgia factor is an important one for me, and one I will discuss in my next post, the quality and originality of the fantasy figures, and the accompanying rulebooks, made for Warhammer from the mid-80s to the early 90s is unrivaled to this day. The setting of the 3rd edition, one of war yes but also of fantasy and adventure, is another element that appeals to me. The extreme bleak and dark world of current editions leaves me cold.

And, yes, the collecting aspect of Oldhammer makes this even more fun. It takes a lot more patience than any other Wargaming interest, but the joy of finding a figure you've been looking for a long time is well worth it!

The vast majority of figures you will see on this blog will be from that 86-92 period, although I'm not averse to using figures from later periods if it fits well in style with my armies.
As a young boy, I was especially enamored of Marauder Miniatures, particularly their Chaos range, so expect to see a lot of them, and of course a lot of Citadel Miniatures. Hence the name of this blog.

Those who know me are well aware I also love historical painting and gaming. I have a very large Napoleonic collection, as well as Ancients, Renaissance and French Indian War projects. As such I've been using my historical blog, Par la bouche de mes canons, to share pictures of my Chaos project. It just felt like almost two different hobbies with often different readership, and so it just made sense for me to separate my two passions in different blogs. I will slowly move some of the Oldhammer post from there to here, so those who follow my other blog will see a few familiar pictures in the coming weeks. But I'm sure many readers have never been to my other blog, so I think its worth doing.

And if you read this blog and realize you have some old figures in your garage you want to sell, by all means contact me and I'll happily oblige!

Iannick Martin
Montréal, Québec