Wednesday 29 October 2014

Lasercut Oldhammer Stonethrower Templates for the Benefit of Humanity.

Blake Shrode of Oldhammer in the New World got in touch about using my Oldhammer ov Khaos logo for some templates to celebrate the inaugural Oldhammer convention in Naggaroth the New World North America.

Oldhammer ov Khaos | Stonethrower template | 2014 [zhu]

As well as featuring my sanity-destroying Oldhammer ov Khaos logo on a 5" template with numerals in Casablanca Antique and title in Feinen, perfectly in keeping with the typographical standards of 3rd edition Warhammer. These have been Expertly laser-cut in plastic and wood by the rabid laser-blasting tinker gnomes at Iron Heart Artisans  . Blake has descided to release these to the general public each template costs + $10 + $4 shipping - payment and order (noting which colour(s) you would like) to read more about it here.

Orders placed before November 9th will have my modest remuneration for artwork donated to Project Alchemy - an Oldhammer and Collecting Citadel Miniatures project set up and run by eminent Oldhammerists Jon Boyce, Tony Mansfield, Steve Casey, James Craig  to raise money for UNICEF. So get in quickly!

Not interested in lasercut stonethrower templates for Old School Wahammer? What's wrong with you!?! Probably nothing. So go and have a look at some of the amazing old stuff that you can win by donating to Project Alchemy , original artwork from Ian Miller, the original artwork of Tony Acklands awesome demon summoning template from warhammer 3, some superbly painted old miniatures, rare publications and more.

Thursday 23 October 2014

Red Box Games Heroic Miniatures Kickstarter

RBG's 5th Kickstarter - with some added Zhu

Red Box Games Heroic Miniatures Kickstarter

Murderhobo WIP sculpts Tre Manor / RBG 2014
Click for the bigger!

Bandito WIPs updated!

...and here are some of the concept sketches what I did draw:

Brigand concept sketches [zhu] 2014

The first five (the slightly more 'exotic' characters may be unlocked later): Spoony, Welard, Rodders the Deserter, Mike the Spike (my names, not the official ones) made it into the first gang.

"Concept Art" means different things to different people, there's a tendency (especially with Kickstarters) for it to mean "final design that the sculptor will produce" and so the concept art really needs to be tightly finished. Tre' doesn't quite work like that, but rather develops his own take on the idea, so the drawings for working purposes just need to be a seed. Although that does mean for marketing purposes they don't really sell the idea in the way a more finished drawing does, neither does it constrain Tre from embellishing and reposing as he sees fit during sculpting, and besides he know his world, how shoes are made, what hats look like, and doesn't need to be instructed on details like that. Without being sycophantic,  it is quite amazing how Tre's sculpting brings these tiny scribbles to life while emphasising the essence of the character.

For inspiration well of course Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st  early careers. N2 The Forest Oracle, by Carl Smith, arguably the worst written D&D module ever , contains this jem describing brigands:  "It is plain that they are not soldiers by their haphazard way of walking. They are neither tarrying nor running. They do not seem to be joking loudly or singing as they advance". Yes indeed! But more importantly, the renaissance and medieval art (Bruegel and Bocsh most significantly), hopefully grounding them in a realistic fantasy milieu, and a bit of The Water Margins.

Gamewise, well for wargaming these guys make great conscripts / peasant levies for medieval armies.

For role-playing, D&D low-level chaotic/neutral/evil characters, the kind of guys busy catching rats in the sewers catching syphilis and getting bitten by small vicious dogs, traipsing around the countryside stealing the lords sheep, going down the dungeon, killing things and taking their stuff.  Low morale (and low moral!) henchmen, hired for a few copper-pieces and likely to turn tail at the first sign of danger. And of course, they make classic WFRP murderhobos.

Alternatively they can be cast as adversarial roughneck brigands and bandits, threatening convoys and terrorising the local pubs, just waiting to be put back into line by our more wholesome heroes, like these guys (also in the Kickstarter):

There are a whole load  more on the site, and more in the pipeline. The KS has already reached its primary funding goal, and is going on to steadily unlock more goodies: Have a look:

Friday 3 October 2014

Orctober Fest 2014

The season comes but once a year. Orctober!

Orctober is a month long celebration of Orcdom across the whole of the internet, instigated by Orcmiester of ceremonies, Erny.

Last year I wrote up something about Tolkiens origins of the Orc, inspired by Beowulf, and some speculation on where the Beowulf author may have got their idea from and what it might have meant to an Anglosaxon. And a look at where the the boar-riding aspect might have come from, probably originating with the Tusk Riders from Runequest via Citadel Miniatures (Orcs are Uz)

And previously I'd written on the pig faced goons in sleeping beauty, which was something of a speculative musing on Gary Gygax's pig-faced orcish development.

Prompted by Matthew Sullivans excellent short history of the development of the Orc over on Oldenhammer taking Tolkiens description through miniature designs from Jes Goodwin at Asgard to the Perrys at Citadel, and the development of the strong, jutting lower jaw in their Fantasy Tribe Orc miniatures (which still dominates the Warcrafthammer Ork of today) - which in comments I referenced to Frazetta's 1965 Lord of the Rings artwork.

Frank Frazetta | Orcs

Which prompted Matthew to mention Hildebrandts excellent Pig Faced Orcs from the 1976 Tolkien Calendar, as a possible starter for the Pig Faced variety (the AD&D Monster Manual, whence the Pig Faced Orc entered gaming, being published in 1977)

Snouty Piggy faced Orc Things

Hidlebrand Orcs - Tolkien Calendar 1976

Now, I love that painting, but hadn't looked at it for quite some time. And it reminded me of something.

Frith / Henson | King Ploobis |  1975

Or someone.
King Ploobis / Michael Frith
King Ploobis?

King Ploobis Ancestor | Michael Frith
King Ploobis?

at work on the Ploobis puppet

King Ploobis!

Hey! Future phoning my descendants...

Hey King Ploobis, got any cats?

King Ploobis, from The Land of Gorch. a puppet based sketch section appearing in 1975 on the long-running American comedy show "Saturday Night Live" and led by Jim Henson. Now, I've speculated that the origins of the Fimir are, in part, owed to Skred from The Land of Gorch (by way of Froud / Alan Lee) and briefly speculated that Pig Faced Orc might owe, in part, its design to King Ploobis.

Sutherlands Pig Face Orcs

Purely visually, the key similarities shared by Ploobis, Hildebrant and Sutherland and are the motif of the forward facing nostrils, the long, wrinkled or ridged nazal bone area (much more exaggerated than a rel pig, which is only ridged at the snout end) and prominent lower jaw tusks, and thin, droopy lower jaw with slightly sagging lower lip.

Listening to an interview with Tim Kask - an important contributor to early Dungeons & Dragons, when out of the blue he mentions he had been influenced by Saturday Night Lives "Land Shark" skit when inventing the Bullette (based on a plastic toy) and alarm bells went off. The Land Shark appeared 3 times in series 1, which is when the Land of Gorch was broadcast.  So  I asked Tim whether he remembered The Land of Gorch, and yes he did (in fact saying he'd recently added an NPC to an adventure based on one of the old muppets). So certainly Tim was aware of Gorch, and perhaps it was part of the wider milleu that TSR was part of back in the day.

Were the Hildebrandts, or Dave Sutherland also tuning in on a Saturday night, and picking up some muppet vibes who knows? but it looks likely to me.

From the AD&D Monster Manual, the Pig Faced Orc inspired a lovely range of simple (some may say crude) miniature figures from Minifigs, released the 1970s

Minfig Pig Faced Orc!
Then the Pig Faced Orc got not much action for a long time really, tho' turning up in the D&D cartoon in the mid 80s to do Vengers bidding:

D&D Cartoon Orcs 1983 - 1985
The D&D toon spawned some dreadful 4" bendy plastic toys, that no amount of misty eyed nostalgia can redeem. Infact the White Dwarf letters pages of the day were filled with vitriol at TSR for selling out, so nostalgia is unlikely to be tinted with anything other than righteous scorn and derision in this case.

You could actually buy these. In shops. No. Really. For Money.

Then, we lived in a pig-faced orcless wilderness, until from 2008 onwards there are Otherworlds Pig Faced Orcs  scultped by Kevin Adams (currently 20% off with the code 8THBIRTHDAY at the checkout)

Otherworld Pig Faced Orc Boar Rider 1
Otherworld Pig Faced Orc Command Set

Otherworld Pig Faced Orcs 2

These are fantastic figures, and to be frank, other than coming across an old copy of the PHB one of the main things that got me back into gaming after a 20ish year hiatus.

Then there are Spooktalkers absolutely sublime renditions of Pig Faced Orcs in 2014, based on Grenadier models, with snouts attached.

Spooktalkers  Pig Faced Orcs

More can be seen in his blogpost: The Orcs that Never Were  and well worth a look.

Anyway Otheerworlds figures, and poking around in my attick uncovering some old Warhammer stuff, led to an attempt at a Warhammer 1st Edition "Forces of Fantasy" style PFO army list, way back in the mists of time...
Pig Faced Orc Army List (PDF)

 Reinventing an old D&D character, an Orc Cleric. Orcs are a player character option, play exactly as half-orcs but look like:
Grushna the Founding

And more recently, these two Pig Faced Orcs battling a Slime Eater beneath the Cityport of Kharé, for Otherworlds forthcoming Skirmish game.
Orcs vs. Otyugh
 So maybe it's time to drop the Pig Faced, and call these guys Ploobisian Orcs.