Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Otherworld Evil Adventurers

As they have now been released, I thought I'd share some of the concept art I've done for the FA7 - Evil Adventurers mini-range from Otherworld miniatures.

Before pencil was put to paper, had an initial discussion on direction with Richard Scott at Otherworld, this included referencing some classic fantasy and Dungeons & Dragons references you might recognise in the final pieces, and a list of race-class combinations in traditional Dungeons & Dragons style. The general idea was to produce an Evil adventuring party that a group of adventurers might meet, or as miniatures to represent an Evil aligned player character option. Obviously the miniatures have to be in keeping with the current Otherworld Adventurers ranges - in ready and marching poses, rather than mid-action, and with backpacks and adventuring gear, as befits a dungeon explorer on the tabletop. Whilst the characters were to be of evil alignment,  eschew the excessive skulls, and spikey khaös deth mutant grimdark dungeonpunk goth tropes, but rather steer more towards the classic 80s Dungeons & Dragons look that is the hallmark of the Otherworld range.

So the general approach set and character list I started on some rough sketch work, keeping things fast, loose and small. A couple of examples, sketchbook pages for the Evil Dwarf and Evil Fighter:

Evil Dwarf Concept Sketches
Evil Fighter Concept Sketches
These drawings aren't really fit for human consumption, they're not 'cooked'. They are working drawings defining the character and concept and a way of quickly refining a myriad of ideas towards a final outcome, in true 'back of a napkin' style. Each of the drawings are about 1" tall and for helping make broad-brush decisions about the character silhouette, basic pose, shapes and key features.

One of the design options for each character was elected from rough sketches to go forward to the next stage, with any further direction or options carried through to the pencil drawings, which I then inked by hand before being scanned and passed over to the sculptor, in this case Drew Williams of Satyr Art Studios  to base the sculpt the of the final miniature on.

FA71 – Evil Fighter in Plate Armour

Evil Fighter Concept Art

Evil Fighter Miniature

FA72 – Evil Cleric with Staff & Mace

Evil Cleric Concept Art
Evil Cleric Miniature

FA73 – Evil Magic User with Staff

Evil Wizard Concept Art
Evil Wizard Miniature

FA74 – Evil Necromancer with Staff

Evil Necromancer Concept Art
Evil Necromancer Miniature

FA75 – Evil Dwarf Fighter with Battleaxe

Evil Dwarf Fighter Concept Art
Evil Dwarf Fighter Miniature

FA76 – Evil Female Elf Assassin with Sword & Dagger

Evil Female Elf Assassin Concept Art
Evil Female Elf Assassin Miniature

FA77 – Evil Half-orc Barbarian with 2 Axes

Evil Half-orc Barbarian Concept Art
Evil Half Orc Barbarian Miniature

FA78 – Evil Halfling Fighter/thief with Shortsword & Dagger

Evil Halfling Concept Art
Evil Halfling Miniature
As I'm sure you'll agree Drew did an excellent job of translating my two dimensional line art into three dimensional miniatures, making small tweaks here and there for casting and refinement of the design, and I'm really pleased with how well these have turned out. 

These models were painted by Andrew Taylor - and it's great how the colour choices are spot on, some like the Evil Wizard are, of course, perfect and simply couldn't be anything else, in contrast the Evil Elf going full-on Drow, was a complete surprise, and revealed that her to be something of a gender-swapped Drizzt, which is great in itself and also brings to life the Otherworld ethos of taking classic iconography and giving it a fresh twist. The contrast between the cold and warm blacks on the Evil Necromancers layered robes are really quite skill full, and as a set they all look downright dirty and nasty.

Hope you've enjoyed taking a look at my concept drawings for the FA7# Evil Adventurers Series They are available now from the Otherworld Miniatures online store, priced between £5-£8.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

When Warhammer Was Radical

I'm very happy to send you over to the excellent We Are The Mutants to read When Warhammer Was Radical. 

If you're not already a regular reader over there, you probably should be:

We Are The Mutants is a weekly updated magazine focusing on the history and analysis of Cold War-era popular and outsider culture, with a strong emphasis on speculative (sci-fi, fantasy, horror), genre, pulp, cult, occult, subculture, and anti-establishment media. We cover everything from underground comics and post-apocalyptic fictions to ufology tropes and space disco.

WATM produce a lot of thought provoking and curious content, picking off the crust of nostalgia that accumulates around pop-culture in an erudite and enthusiastic manner, exposing the raw material underneath, covering everything from Japanese Transformers Advertising to British Ghost Train design.

When Warhammer Was Radical. mostly about how the political and cultural references in early Warhammer created an anti-establishment alternative to mainstream fantasy, producing a body of work diverse in its representation of gender, class and race. While no means unproblematical, early Warhammer actively engages with the colonialist tropes, eurocentric biases, sexist fantasy tropes and the political millieu that other fantasy games left largely unexamined.

If you enjoyed When Warhammer Was Radical and it has whet your appetite for more, several blog-posts I've written over the years go into more detail on some of the themes mentioned, may be of interest:

Also like to thank Michael Grasso and K.E Roberts, for accepting the pitch, providing intelligent and insightful editorial feedback, and publishing the piece.


I hope you've enjoyed When Warhammer Was Radical.  If you'd like to support the work we do at The Realm of Zhu, or elsewhere, consider dropping us a Ko-fi, buying some DIY floor-plans or treating yourself to a t-shirt. Thanks!

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Greatest Battle Report 2018: The Winner!

It is with great pleasure I can announce The Siege of Graveskull as the winner of the 2018 Greatest Battle Report. As ever the competition was fierce, with many fantastic and varied battle reports being entered, but Airbornegroves Battle Report emerged victorious from the fray.

The game itself was an epic Warhammer 3rd Edition battle played out by a mighty warband formed by some of the finest wargames bloggers this side of the World Edge Mountains, featuring the mighty talents of:
and all photographed and written up in Airbornegroves inimitable style, with the epic tale told in the form of a comic book. It is an excellent Battle Report, but don't take my word (or the 33% of voters that chose it as their option) hop on over to Give 'em Lead and read The Siege of Greyskul for yourself.