Monday 30 June 2014

Ellen Degenerate: Lord of Chaos

With Bring Out Your Lead! 2014 fast approaching, I find myself preparing, like you.


As the more regimented of the readers of this blog may have noted, the posts have been sporadic and a little too spaced out. The sort of thing that happens when one is tackling real life: two year olds, family holidays and heroically ambitious company growth plans despite ridiculous cutbacks.

And if you thought the posting was suffering, well the past three months have produced absolutely no painting at all. Not a jot. No pots opened, no brushes laid out, no figures even undercoated, or cleaned. Not even been sniffing the glue.

But inspiration comes, as it always does.

Enter Ellen Degenerate. Don't recall the name? Go ahead and follow the link. There's time.

Now as you will see, the good lady is a good and powerful lord of chaos. Someone not to be trifled with, by all accounts. But how do you model a sinister and powerful chaos lord, when they're afflicted with one of these:

Providence is afoot, because it just so happens that Don Hans, slavering scion of Nurgle that he is, decided to paint an ostrich man, which goes to illustrate the point:

Interesting? Yes.

Disturbing? A little, yes. Mainly due to the paint job, actually.

Chaos Lord?

And it was this conundrum that stopped me from working on Ellen. I had worked out what she might look like when I produced the epilogue of the last battle report played out on this site, which helped with the overall idea, but I was still stumped for a candidate figure.

I needed something frail, like an elf, but still full of power, as only a chaos lord could be. Likewise, something suggestive of the mind-shredding madness that is only millimetres away from engulfing her strained and anxious mind.

All along she was just sitting in front of me. I'm talking about 3 years now. Before I'd even written the first line of her first appearance, the candidate was waiting before me.

The Dark Emissary.

It is one of my favourite figures of all time - a candidate for so much. It could be dark elf sorcerer, some kind of chaos thing, a necromancer - it's even a good candidate for a grey seer. And also for Ellen Degenerate.

What I didn't do was take a before shot. But, you look like you're into finding things out, so you can google that and see what a normal one looks like.

In essence, I've not changed much at all. I toyed with different heads and I was on the very verge of replacing her staff with the daemon sword she has. In the end, I just gave her the neck, which twists over her back before returning under her left arm and positioning her head beautifully in the centre of her chest.

After three years in incubation, I give you...

...Ellen Degenerate:

A shot considering her armoured neck (she is blessed with fused chaos armour, you see). I tried to keep the colours bright, as she is an elf after all, and I suspect Slaanesh people are big on colours. In hindsight, I should have rounded the armour plates more, as I ended up trying to paint that in some sort of crustacean shell pattern.

I also tried to get the whorls and spirals to glow. I might revisit this after BOYL, depending on my mood, my painting schedule and my eternal enemy: real life.

A quick note about the camera. It's new and frustratingly shares nothing in common (y'know, like the user interface) with my old one. I took lots of shots which seemed okay on the camera screen, but were just useless for the blog - so, apologies for the light and the comparatively few shots.

Now I am clear to start working on her terrifying retinue - being comprised of Teacake, the chaos goblin and Sirrell Tonjon, the chaos dwarf.

Candidates have already been selected...

Friday 6 June 2014

Bring Out Your Lead! 2014

The Oldhammer community are pleased to officially announce Oldhammer - Bring Out Your Lead! (2014). Of course, you've heard about it already. But this is the official announcement, so now you can officially start panicking about how long it will take to grow a mullet.

We are also extremely pleased with and grateful to our hosts - Foundry Miniatures in Nottingham. The event is taking place over the weekend of the 08/08/2014 (Friday afternoon onwards) - 10/08/2014 (Sunday).

So, first things first: This is a gaming event. The entire idea and surely the primary purpose for attending is to play games.

BUT - it is NOT a tournament. Nothing can be won. Your victory over your opponent is purely moral and for retelling in a pub later. There are no ladders, no leagues, no recognition of your amazing army building talents and keen interpretation of the rules. THIS IS NOT A TOURNAMENT!

Which makes things a little harder to organise. In a traditional tournament, the organisers would set a points limit, army restrictions and painting guidelines in order to ensure that everyone has a fair chance. There is no need to worry about who matches who, as once the first game is completed, better players will be faced off against better players and the whole thing is supposedly fair.

Because it's NOT A TOURNAMENT, we can't do any of that.

This means we need your help. In order to understand the numbers attending, we have a booking form. BUT, because it's NOT A TOURNAMENT, the organisers will not allocate you an opponent on the day. Read this as the organisers do not guarantee you a game.

You, aspiring gamer, CAN ensure a game, however, by following up your booking with an entry on the Oldhammer Forum BOYL 2014 Thread. In this forum, you will be able to tell others what you're planning to bring, how many points/figures you plan to field and what sort of game you want to play.

You are still welcome to simply turn up at Foundry with your army and no booking, but if there is more demand than supply, preference will be given to those who are registered.

How much is this gonna cost me?

Entry to the event is free. Our generous hosts, Foundry Miniatures, are not charging us for the venue, and as it's NOT A TOURNAMENT, we're not offering any prizes.

Of course, you still have other costs to consider - if you're travelling a long way, you might need a place to stay overnight. You will need to get there. And, of course, you'll probably want to get an army ready. Start saving now!

Where and when is this all happening?

The even takes place over the weekend of the  09/08/2014 - 10/08/2014 at The Wargames Foundry (in their new premises):

Friday (08/08/2014) from 13:00 until 20:00.
Saturday (09/08/2014) from 10:00 until 20:00.
Sunday (10/08/2014) from 10:00 until 17:00.

Foundry's Address:

Foundry Miniatures Ltd
Church Lane
NG23 5QF
United Kingdom.
+44 (0)115 8413000

Please feel free to call Foundry if you have any questions on how to get there or where to park, etc.

We do ask that you arrive on time, as you will need to factor in finding your game, meeting your opponent, unpacking and packing of figures and copious amounts of pointing at things and going "Wow! Is that (delete as appropriate) [your amazing paint job / that ultra rare figure I've never seen in real life before / really your sister*]?

*Okay, probably not that last one. 

Foundry? They're in Newark-upon-Trent! That's miles away!

Yes, it is. As mentioned above - they have offered their facility free of charge. They have the space, the tables and the interest in the hobby and so stand head and shoulders above any other option we've considered to date.

To be clear, we have no official relationship with Foundry - they've offered because they have an interest in what we're trying to achieve and they've offered us the facility as a result.

That's awful nice of them!

Yes, it is. So lets talk about Foundry. Perhaps you've heard of Bryan Ansell? No? Once upon a time, he ran Games Workshop. Take a look at your Warhammer 3rd Edition books - that's right, he co-authored some of them. Marcus (Bryan's son, following in the family footsteps) runs Wargames Foundry. They have a clear 'spiritual' connection to the Oldhammer movement.

We mention this because we ask that the Oldhammer community respect the facility and the effort that Foundry (and the Ansell family) have gone through to host this. When you're on site, please don't litter, or break things, or steal, or do anything that would bring the Oldhammer community into disrepute. We would dearly love to be invited back to the Foundry. Keep this in mind when you attend.

But there's food, right?


The Ansell family also conduct business in catering. As a result of this remarkable good fortune, Foundry are able to offer hot food and are licensed to sell alcohol. Of course, you'll have to pay for this (expect typical pub rates), but you won't need to go foraging around the fields of Neward-upon-Trent for food.

A note of warning: if you are unable to handle your alcohol, you will be ejected from the event immediately! The idea here is to fulfil every gamers fantasy of playing cool games whilst having a pint -  not to lose your temper and get involved in a fist fight.

And participation events?

Fear not, citizen! Participation events there will be. This is the place to determine which ones you're interested in.

What else do I need to know?

  • In case you missed it: this is NOT A TOURNAMENT!
  • The only unpainted figures we're expecting to see are those being traded. If you are playing a game, you must play with painted figures! Painted figures are a sign of respect to your opponent and to the community. 
  • Chances are, you're not as familiar with the old rules as you think you are. Take some time to read the rules before you arrive, but please allow for the fact many of the 'classic' rulesets are badly organised, badly written and sometimes just plain missing. You should expect that your game will involve lots of reading and discussion as you try to work out how to resolve whatever is happening. Don't panic - this is normal!
  • You may bring figures from any manufacturer and from any era. Although the Oldhammer movement is rooted in the 80's, we are interested in the spirit of Oldhammer, not the manufacture. You are as welcome bringing a heroic scale 28mm modern plastic army as you are bringing your soft lead pre-slotta army. 
  • There is a question on the form about scenery. Foundry have offered to supply some scenery, but if you are able to bring something, please do - every little bit helps. Where possible, we'll do our level best to ensure that scenery remains table specific - both to satisfy the aesthetic 'it all looks the same' perspective and to help ensure that your scenery is all in one place (for easy identification and care).
  • Ultimately, you are accountable for the fun you have. This event is a framework for you to create the ultimate oldhammer experience that you never had in your youth. We're trying to make it as flexible as possible, but we can't do that without your participation and effort. Let's be clear: you will have to do something for yourself before you arrive at Foundry this summer!
  • Neither the organisers nor Foundry Miniatures accept any responsibility or liability for you. 

Okay, I'm in. What am I supposed to do again?

  • Fill out the booking form!
  • Register on the Oldhammer Forum!
  • Create an entry on the BOYL 2014 thread to organise your games!
  • Pitch up on the weekend!
  • Try not to explode from all your misdirected excitement until then!

Oh - did we mention that this is NOT A TOURNAMENT? Good.

Monday 2 June 2014

Zoids, Liebsters and An Oxymoron

Dear Reader. It has been a long time.

So very long.

Where to begin? What explanation does one offer for two months of stark, blank absence, the same post waiting to greet you on your repeated visits, shamefully shuffling its feet, unable to explain where it's colleagues are or indeed, quite what is happening with this enterprise as a whole.

And yet, despite my absence, I seem to have collected some Liebster awards.

Now these things wander around the internet all the time, constantly hounding bloggers into frenetic bursts of personal revelation, as well as the instruction to nominate five or ten or twenty or whatever-the-hell-the-number-is blogs to be visited as part of the nomination.

Or else.

So, let's explain. I'll get to the Liebster things in a bit. In defence of my absence, I can only say that I've been living in another hemisphere for the whole of May. For those in the know, they'll realise I'm traditionally based in the northern one, so the only other one I believe we have on this planet is the southern one. That's the one I've been in. Tine to learn a word:


  [ok-si-mawr-on, -mohr-]  Show IPA
noun, plural ox·y·mo·ra  [ok-si-mawr-uh-mohr-uh]  Show IPA ox·y·mor·ons. Rhetoric .
a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in“cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly.”

The oxymoron I shall employ by way of example is 'family holiday'. Ostensibly, the purpose for my spending the entirety of May in South Africa was for a family holiday. Don't get me wrong. Families are great. Holidays are great. But the union of the two is something frankly unholy, especially for extended periods of time.

Oh wait. It occurs to me that I ought to define family at this point. I don't refer to the spending of time with my wife or my child on holiday as 'frankly unholy'. They are treasures to be savoured and time with them in a relaxing environment is pure gold.

I'm talking about the rest of the bloody family.

So May has largely been spent in a curious state of pleasure (I forgot how well they eat out there!) and despair (I didn't fly my child 9000 kms for you to ignore her as you watch 20/20 cricket...)

More frustratingly, 31 days of being 'off' have failed to produce even a single painted figure. Not only was I not in the same hemisphere for the whole of May, but in order to prepare my employer for my considerable absence, I pretty much spent the whole of April working flat out, again stopping dead in it's tracks my hobby time. No blogging, no painting. Even accessing the Oldhammer Forum has been sporadic and confused. Both because of time and the desperately poor internet connections made available in South Africa to me.

Let me just say this - if you are planning on starting a new country, or perhaps taking over the one you currently live in - when you write up the new constitution, please ensure you enshrine the right to high speed internet access within it. Internet access is now a human right, not some kind of product to be exploited! I shall send a very strong letter to the European Parliament expressing my thoughts on the matter.

Still, I did get some time to catch up on the various blogs I frequent (but for May). It was whilst I was so doing that I noticed the whole Liebster thing. Firstly, Thantsants of Somewhere The Tea's Getting Cold thought kindly of me and dropped a mention, and then Stylus of The WoffBoot Chronicles did something very similar!

I have nothing but praise for Thantsants, being, as he is, an all round fine gentleman of noble demeanour and sound oldhammer principles. Quite frankly, I have no idea how such a chap gets all his painting done - I can only imagine his house must overflow with joyous visits from the thousands of friends he must surely have.

I didn't realise it, but The WoffBoot Chronicles is spearheaded by the efforts of not one but two thoroughly diligent posters (Stylus and Kraken), who have also recently experimented with remote gaming - a thing we've explored here on this site two or three times before.

So - thanks to the both of them for the award. I seem to remember these things have made their way to this blog before, but not with the considerable verve that seems to be sweeping the oldhammer community at the moment. Far from ignoring the thing, I thought I'd mention it and provide the suitable supplication in response to those who have awarded the them.

I gather from the way those that have offered the thing to me have blogged, one is suppose to be asked a set of questions and must therefore provide a set of answers. I'm afraid, dear reader, you shall have to wait in violent suspense for those answers, because I have other things to do right now.

Hobby things. 

One of the curiosities that returned from South Africa with me was the dusty remains of the only Zoid I ever owned - Mad Thunder:

The image is not the one of my own Zoid, which was in a much dirtier state and had been disassembled for storage, you see. I also very much doubt the electricals still work.

The thing is, I've long been considering some sort of 15mm Rogue Trader - an idea that has been gaining traction in other corners of the internet. I fear that the Zoid is the last straw in this campaign against my wallet. I fear I must concede and buy 15mm stuff immediately. Otherwise the Zoid will be lonely.

That would never do.

Finally, just so that there is no confusion - yes, I will continue to tell the tale of young Gromeo and the Escape from El-Catrase - I still have the notes and the pictures, although I've taken so long with the thing I'll now have to buy Comic Life in order to complete it - the evaluation copy I had expired ages ago...