Thursday 19 August 2010

A Fragment of the History of the Dwarves

...this injunction of civilizing import became the starting point of the activity of all of Krtica's successors, the Guild of Stonemasons, the Rune-Masters, those versed in the art of carving words. The political calm that prevailed during the two centuries of the Tethmorn supremacy was calculated to an eminent degree to promote spiritual development and the organization of the inner life of the Dwarves. During this period, a large part of the teachings of the Runelaw that have been received into the Kirkaskivi were collected, compiled, and reduced to writing. The immortal thoughts of the Carvers clothed themselves in the visible garb of runes. On great slabs and mighty dolmen they were made accessible to the distant ages. The impressive traditions transmitted from earliest times, the chronicles of the past of the people, the Rune verses brought forth by the spiritual enthusiasm of a long series of poets, all were gathered and put into stone with the extreme of care. The spiritual treasures of the nation were capitalized, and to this process solely and alone generations of Dwarves have owed the possibility of resorting to them as a source of faith and knowledge. Without the work of compilation achieved by the Rune-Masters, of which the uninstructed are apt to speak slightingly, to-day we would have no Kirkaskivi, that central sun of craft, beauty and knowledge.
A Short History of the Dwarves -  Lady Myrtle Chuffnell

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Lord of the Rings Miniatures from White Dwarf 81 (September 1986)

Gandalf and Sauron painted by none other than Colin Dixon. ME56 Sauron, in standard issue black, with a nice grey drybrushing and shiny palantir.  Also here is a potentially unreleased "Gandalf Greyheim", which the article says is forthcoming. As far as I can tell  this version of Gandalf didn't get a release as a ME range figure or a C11 Wizard. I believe this is the ME1 Gandalf , sold in a pack that included a Strider and a Frodo. Stuff of Legends doesn't list this, perhaps because it never appeared in a catalgue or advert. This also highlights the non-sequential numbering of the citadel Middle Earth range, as ME1 was ovviouslt released after ME56.

Dixon started off painting miniatures by winning the Chaos Battle Banner competition in the Second Citadel Compendium and ended up with a job painting miniatures for Citadel - then sculpting miniatures for years on end then leaving GW in 2002 and sculpting for Foundry.

This post marks a departure - gone are the days of Dever and Chalks Tabletop Heroes reviewing miniatures from Asgard to Grenadier, and in it's place, the citadel catalogue and painting guide that is 'Eavy Metal.

This is also the last post on this theme for a while - I forgot to scan the Balrog advert from WD87 (the box artwork re-used in Warhammer 3rd edition) and the Jes Goodwin Uruk Hai ad from WD100, so those will have to wait...

Saturday 14 August 2010

Lord of the Rings miniatures from White Dwarf 76 (July 1986)

  ME 44  Uruk-Hai - Orc Guards

Here he is again! It's the ME-44 Uruk-Hai guard- this time converted by Kevin "Goblinmaster" Adams from way back in July 1986, this is the exact same model that John Blanche took his green-stuff and Stanley knife to back in October 85. Coincidence? Possibly. Alternatively there might have been a number of reasons to show various conversions - to show the adaptability of the range to non Tolkienites - a good Orc mini is a good Orc mini.

And this Uruk is especially exotic - Kev has trimmed down the sword for less of a scimitar look and given the Uruk a wicked two-tiered horned helmet. and shoulder spike. Something of a baroque candelabra or insectoid carapace about it. And added a hobbit-skull and some vegetation to the base, in fact a lot of Kevs bases are awe-inspiring, with tiny  mushrooms and ferns. Ov course Khaos Orkz needz mor skullz!

It should be noted that Kev has done the decent thing and painted his orc Tolkien Orc Brown, not Games Workshop Orc Green. Well done Kev!

Saturday 7 August 2010

Wagners "Das Rheingold" Cartoon

The echo's of Kirby's Thor, Odin's owl-ear hat, Freya as a Raquel Welch cavewoman stand-in, the weird pinhead-alien Loki, and a (beardless) dwarf straight out of Elfquest (although he'd be a troll there, but never mind). The animation is on-par with the best the 80's fantasy genre had to offer - bringing Wagner down to the pop-culture level we all know he really exists on.

There's a lot of good stuff here - enjoy!

Monday 2 August 2010

Rabid Shadows: Trevor Hammond - Lord of the Black Sun

White Dwarf 48 / Zlargh Slave Lord of the Black Sun

Trevor Hammonds brilliant graphic use of black and white, manic energy and preference for half-orc-half-dead, double-barrelled subject matter summoned to half-life a darkly comic, grimly violent and depravedly supernatural world of... the Games Workshop Mail Order department.

Opening a copy of White Dwarf in the early 80's meant getting punched in the face with Trev's eye-blistering and irreverent mirror-world, where Zlargh the Slave Lord ruled over his game-despatching minions Ugbash Facesplitter, Ted and Granny. By illustrating the page one GW mail-order ad, month in, and month out, Trevor created a secondary cover, an alternative piece which inadvertantly set the tone for the whole mag. Trevor reflected a kind of irreverent sub-cultural undercurrent now sadly lacking from the mainstream of fantasy gaming, which is all too often a drab po-faced wacom-painted vision.  I like to imagine Hammonds was drawn with black bic and custom chiselled felt-tip marker pens stolen from WH Smith.

White Dwarf 62

As much as John Blanche incorporated some punk aesthetic in his work, there was always something slightly decadent and fetishistic about it, slightly new-romantic. Hammonds vision on the other hand is authentically yobbish, grimy and extreme. Whilst there are slicker artists out there ploughing vaguely similar black angled territory (thinking of Simon Bisley's b+w work on the ABC Warriors) it really does not get any more Hardcore Old-School British Dungeon-Punk than Hammonds world. You can almost hear the low fidelity crypt-recorded proto-blackened-death metal by simply looking at this stuff. Perhaps that's the superficial similairty Paul McHales cover for Boltthrowers debut album In Battle There is No Law, or maybe the caffeine...

As well as many of the spot illustrations in White Dwarf (mostly for AD&D and Runequest) Hammond also provided covers for the give-away GW fanzine Black Sun which accompanied White Dwarf (anyone know where I can get those?), alongside some White Dwarf subscription ads and also handful of monsters in the Out of the Pit column and a couple of articles in the Fighting Fantasy magazine Warlock - and that's about the whole published corpus of his work. Hammonds art stopped appearing in White Dwarf shortly after Citadel bought Games Workshop  and moved the offices from London to Nottingham, and I've yet to find any published art credited to him after this time, the Pen and Paper RPG databases list is unfortunately very incomplete.

White Dwarf 73

Whilst Hammonds aesthetic is missing in the daily art-department duties of Games Workshop, I'd like to think somewhere the accursed spirit of Ugbash lives on, perhaps enshrined in the Skull Throne of the usurper Khorne, waiting for the blood moon to rise and lead his fellow slavelords to victory!