Thursday, December 1, 2016

Terror of the Lichemaster: the Bogel Family

Terror of the Lichemaster, Part 6

The Lichemaster Heinrich Kemler has sent his undead servant Mikeal Jacsen to destroy the isolated farmstead of the Bogel family in order to prevent them from warning the village of Frugelhofen. Can any of the Bogels escape? Who will be left behind? This is the second battle in the Terror of the Lichemaster scenario pack. 

There's Hunk Bogel, his wife Lorabeth and their three children. Rounding out the family is the halfling stable-hand, Samgaff, and Fritzy the dog. Lightly armed civilians cornered in a lonely farmhouse by a mob of zombies - It's right out of Night of the Living Dead (or the Thriller video). 

The Bogel Family by Tony Ackland (1986)

There's also a dollop of The Waltons since the eldest son is named John-Boy. However, when the undead attack, we learn that the the family is not entirely like the Waltons. As the campaign book tells us...
... the Bogels some to the sudden realization of what is happening, and, in the true pioneering spirit, the women-folk begin to load crossbows for the stern-faced men. 
"Whatever happens," Hunk whispers to his eldest son, "save the last two bolts for Corabell and your mother." 
John-Boy nods and grimly replies, "I know you never liked them, Pa."
That's just the way things are when you are trapped in a little house on the prairie and Mikeal Jacsen is closing in. In any case, let me introduce you to the family.

Hunk Bogel, Citadel C46 Villagers and Townsfolk (Trish Morrison, 1985)

First up is Hunk Bogel, the patriarch of the family. His miniature is originally one of the unnamed C46 Villagers and Townsfolk released in 1985 (and almost certainly sculpted by Trish Morrison). For a collector, he's a frustrating miniature. He's rare and he's an integral part of both the Lichemaster range and also the range for Bloodbath at Orc's Drift. As a result, he's much sought after when he hits eBay. And yet, he's actually quite an ugly sculpt -- his hunched posture makes it look like he's battling heartburn, not zombies. 

Lorabeth Bogel, Citadel C46 Villagers and Townsfolk (Trish Morrison, 1985)

Hunk's wife, Lorabeth Bogel is another unnamed miniature from Citadel's C46 Villagers and Townsfolk (1985) sculpted by Trish Morrison. Like her husband, she's a "refugee from the west", which (I think) means that she came to the Frugelhorn Valley to escape the violence of the Empire. Bad choice, Lorabeth, because your children are about to be eaten by zombies.

John-Boy Bogel, Citadel C46 Villagers and Townsfolk "Herdsman" (Trish Morrison, 1985)

John-Boy is the eldest Bogel child. He is the "Herdsman" from from Citadel's C46 Villagers and Townsfolk (1985). He's a common miniature, and will also be familiar to fans of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, where he features in Tony Ackland's illustration for the herdsman career.

Willy Bogel, Citadel C46 Villagers and Townsfolk (Trish Morrison, 1985)

Willy Bogel is the youngest child - another common miniature from Citadel's C46 Villagers and Townsfolk (1985). Doesn't it look like he'd have a delicious brain? Yeah, you better run, Willy.

Corabell Bogel, Citadel C46 Libertine (Trish Morrison, 1985)

Corabell Bogel is known for her "come-hither" looks. Any why not... her miniature is the "Libertine" from the C46 range of Villagers and Townsfolk (Trish Morrison, 1985). But I hope she knows how the sexually liberated usually fare when the zombies show up...

Fritzy, Citadel ADD80 Blink Dog (sculpted by Aly Morrison, 1985)

The Bogel's family dog is Fritzy, described in the campaign book as "aged and rather cranky" (Tell me about it, Fritzy.) Later, we're told that he is actually "completely insane" and is as likely to attack a Bogel as he is an invading zombie.

I've painted Fritzy to look like a Rottweiler, but in fact he's a Blink Dog. That is to say, his miniature originally comes from Citadel's range of licensed miniatures for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (1985). This is a great range (check out Richard Scott's mind-boggling collection at The Stuff of Legends. Seriously, check it out. I'll wait.) Fritzy is one of the four Blink Dogs sculpted by Aly Morrison for ADD80.

Samgaff from Lichemaster, Citadel C11 Halflings (sculpted by Perry Twins, 1986)

And finally we have the loyal halfling retainer, Samgaff (whose name sounds suspiciously like Sam Gamgee or his father Hamfast "The Gaffer" Gamgee). Samgaff is one of the excellent miniatures carved by Michael and Alan Perry for Citadels's C11 Halflings Range. Originally, this miniature's name was Dery Podgebelly. He's a great sculpt: dramatic, finely detailed and nicely proportioned. But he inexplicably has a cowbell tied around his neck.

It is watchful Samgaff who first sees the zombies coming, and he tries to wake the Bogels with the help of his cowbell... 

Dery Podgebelly, Citadel C11 Halflings (sculpted by Perry Twins, 1985)

If only the Bogels had more cowbell, they might have survived the zombie attack...

Join me next time when we'll meet the last bulwark against the Lichemaster, the heroes of Frugelhorn. Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Citadel's Talisman Miniatures

About a year ago, I painted up the complete set of 70 miniatures released by Citadel for the board game Talisman 1st & 2nd edition. The primary sculptor for the Talisman miniatures was Aly Morrison (with some help from Trish Morrison). Inspired by game illustrations by Gary Chalk, the Morrisons created an incomparably exuberant and fanciful range of miniatures. It is an apex of Citadel's golden age in the mid-1980's.

In an effort to help other fans of Talisman collect, paint and enjoy these miniatures, I spent some time this past weekend refurbishing my galleries. I created a new Talisman Main Menu to assist navigation. This directory will always be available on the left panel of this site, under the listing for "Miniature Galleries". 

The individual galleries are broken down by expansion (plus galleries for the five Talisman toads and for variant miniatures):

Talisman Toads (1986-1987)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Terror of the Lichemaster: Mikael Jacsen

Terror of the Lichemaster, Part 5

In 1984, Michael Jackson's hair caught fire through an imprudent combination of hair spray and pyrotechnics. This was just a year after Jackson had released the Thriller video, which co-opted George Romero's cult classic Night of the Living Dead (1968) and evermore installed zombies in pop culture. Jackson's fiery accident clearly overwhelmed the sensitive emotions of the Citadel Design Team, and in response they created the miniature Mikael Jacsen, Lord of Zombies.

Mikael Jacsen (also spelled Mikeal Jacsen) is one of the undead minions of the Lichemaster, Heinrich Kemler. The warm appreciation of the boys at Games Workshop for Jackson's contribution to pop music is clear from the description of Jacsen in the Terror of the Lichemaster campaign book:
"By [the Lichemaster] hung the stench of decay, the rotting zombie legions and their Lieutenant, Mikeal Jacsen. In death, Jacsen was a great dark skeleton, long and thin, and with a skull that burned with an unnatural light, and from in between his huge dead teeth there issued a foul, thin shriek that few could listen to without sickening."
I've already written about how in the Lichemaster campaign, Kemler dispatches Ranlac the Black and his skeletons to ambush Gimbrin's Mine. The second prong of Kemler's attack on the Frugelhorn Valley is an attack on the farmstead of the Bogel family. That's Mikael's job...

Mikael Jacsen (detail) by Gary Chalk (1986)

Mikael Jacsen is another devilishly rare miniature in the Lichemaster set, being only sold by mail order in the mid-1980's. Based on the style of sculpting (big boots, gangly limbs and comic flair) I am confident is ascribing this miniature to Aly Morrison, who sculpted many of the C17 Citadel Skeletons. Jacsen's grinning shield is from the vintage range of SH1 Metal Shields released in 1987.

Jacsen is accompanied by a pack of 10 zombies. Naturally, I selected most of them from Citadel's C18 Zombies sculpted in 1986 by Kev "Goblinmaster" Adams. These are some of the best fantasy zombies ever sculpted: by turns they are hilarious, disgusting and scary. They also have some execrable puns as names (something I think we can blame on Tim Pollard), such as Kand-Meet and Deadringer.

Here are a few of Mikael's legion:

 - "Rustbone" C18 Zombie sculpted by Kev Adams (1986):

 - "Jin" C18 Undead Samurai sculpted by Aly Morrison (1985):

 - "Pek-Gregri" C18 Zombie sculpted by Kev Adams (1986):

 - "Peeceez" C18 Zombie sculpted by Kev Adams (1986):

 - "Kay-Bob" C18 Zombie* sculpted by Kev Adams (1986):

Thanks looking! And next week, we'll meet Mikael Jacsen's victims, the Bogel Family...

Mikael Jacsen by Tony Ackland (1986)

* This beautifully sculpted miniature is sadly without a name in the old Citadel flyers, so I gave him the most Tim Pollard-esque name that I could come up with... Kay-Bob. But nothing will ever beet "Pek-Gregri".

Friday, November 11, 2016

Terror of the Lichemaster: Gimbrin's Dwarves

Terror of the Lichemaster, Part 4

If you go by the flyers published by Games Workshop in 1986, Gimbrin Finehelm is the only dwarf that officially goes with the Terror of the Lichemaster scenario pack. However, the campaign book written by Rick Priestly tells us that Gimbrin is accompanied by a small warband of five dwarf adventurers.

So a hobbyist like me or you is left with a lot of elbowroom. What miniatures to use for these supporting cast members? 

All we know is that two wield sword and shield, while the other three carry crossbows. Well, that leaves a lot of Citadel dwarves to choose from...

Gimbrin himself provides some guidance on what minis are best. Although a beautifully sculpted dwarf, he is noticeably on the small size. He fits in with Citadel's early range of Fantasy Tribe Dwarves (1982) or the C06 Northern Dwarves (1984), rather than the vastly more common D5 Imperial Dwarves (1986) which dominated the rest of the Eighties. These later dwarves are taller and stouter than their earlier cousins, and so using them would make Gimbrin seem puny. 

So we need early, small dwarves. But which ones? More food for thought came from reading Orlygg's Realm of Chaos post about another scenario pack, The Tragedy of McDeath...

Orlygg's insight is that when dealing with these old scenario packs, it's wise to look at the painted card counters included in the original boxed set (these are the counters that you were to cut out and use in lieu of miniatures if you couldn't buy the lead). Since these counters were usually drawn (by Tony Ackland) with actual miniatures in mind, they show what the game designers were thinking in terms of models...

In this case, the game designers seemed to be thinking that Gimbrin's retainers would be one of the early models sculpted by Michael and Alan Perry in 1985 for the C06 range of Dwarves. Specifically, it's the "Bandit Dwarf" with the distinctive aventail or curtain of mail covering his face.

Great choice! This Bandi miniature is smaller in scale, and has always been one of my favourite dwarves. And then I realized what made him an especially good candidate: he has an eye-grabbing helmet. Eureka, I said to my cat. After all, we are talking about Gimbrin Finehelm! Clearly his followers must be similarly attired in fabulous head-ware. And so, I began combing through the Citadel back-catalogue for other old miniatures with stand-out hats. 

And so, I present Gimbrin's Five Well-Helmeted Warriors... 

C06 "Bandit" Dwarf, Citadel (1985, sculpted by the Perry Bros.)

First is Carling the Black. As a young and violent dwarf, he lost his way, wandering from his ancestral hold and taking up banditry in the Grey Mountains. But when he met Gimbrin, he saw a leader worth following, and decided to return to a proper dwarven existence: mining and honourable clan warfare.

C06 Preslotta Northern Dwarf, Citadel (1984)

The second swordsman is Molson Olson. Like Carling, he proudly carries the device of the Finehelm Clan on his shield. He is an old retainer of Gimbrin's family, known for his great strength and baritone singing voice. His helmet features a huge nasal-guard chased in polished brass. (Molson's miniature is a preslotta C06 Northern Dwarf from 1984).

D2 Preslotta Fantasy Tribe Dwarf Light Crossbow, Citadel (1981)

Next comes the crossbowman Rickard the Red. The youngest of Gimbrin's dwarves, he's keen-eyed and often takes the role of scout. He claims to speak the croaking tongue of crows and jaybirds, a talent often ascribed to ginger-haired dwarves. His helmet is a riveted Great Helm of a type often used in 13th century Northern Europe. (Carling's miniature is one of Citadel's preslotta Fantasy Tribe D2 Dwarf Light Crossbow from 1981).

C06 "No-Car Emol" Northern Dwarf, Citadel (1984)

Moe Dyte is another crossbowman. It's said that he can smell veins of ore from 100 paces. But what with his allergy to mountain heather and horse dander, things haven't been going so well in his sinuses or in the mines. He wears a lovely reproduction of the Gjermundbu-style viking helmet from 10th century Norway. 
(His miniature is "No-Car Emol" from the C06 Northern Dwarf range sculpted in 1984.)

D2 Preslotta Fantasy Tribe Dwarf Light Crossbow, Citadel (1981)

Finally, we have Hockley Darkbrew, the third and last crossbowman. He is taciturn, even by dwarf standards, and his companions report that the only phrase he's uttered in the last three months was "Pass the tatties, ye nugget." 
His helmet has a Phrygian peak and a facemask, making it similar to the helms used in the Norman kingdom of Sicily in the 12th century. (He is another Citadel preslotta Fantasy Tribe D2 Dwarf Light Crossbow from 1981). 

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the range of dwarf miniatures from the early 1980's, what with their fine sculpting and foundation in historically accurate armor. Stay tuned for my next post in the Lichemaster series... Mikael Jacsen and his zombie dancers warriors.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Monster Chiller Horror Theatre: Cthuloid Monsters!

It's Hallowe'en! And we've got a scary one for you this week, Kids! It's another in our fine line of horror classics: Doctor Tongue's 3d House of Cthuloid Monsters! We're going to look at examples from five different spine-tingling ranges of miniatures inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. Pregnant women and those on heart medication -- please stop reading

First up we have the Hound of Tindalos. Brrr! Ha ha! That miasma of foulness will jump straight out of the angles of time! They are lean and athirst, Kids. That long tongue will suck the vital juices right out of you, faster than Count Floyd can drink a beer, I'm telling you.
This Hound of Tindalos was carved by John Dennett for Grenadier Models in 1983 as part of Grenadier's "Call of Cthulhu" range. Many of Dennett's sculptures remain the creepiest interpretations of these creatures. No one has topped his Hound of Tindalos, his Mi-Go or his Byakhee.

Hound of Tindalos, Grenadier (sculpted by John Dennett, 1983)

Quick, Kids: Who said "Man is the cruelest animal."? Was it the crazy Teuton, Friedrich Nietzsche? Or was it the mad Arab, Abdul Alhazrad? It won't matter when you find yourself upon an apparently abandoned road which you had chosen as the shortest cut to Arkham; overtaken by the storm at a point far from any town, and confronted with no refuge save for an antique and repellent wooden building near the foot of a rocky hill. Because that's when you're going to meet him.
This cannibalistic, ax-murdering Yankee is "The Hillbilly" from Citadel's Gothic Horror range of miniatures, sculpted in 1986 by Aly Morrison.

Hillbilly, Citadel Gothic Horror (sculpted by Aly Morrison, 1986)

"Now the fact that adulterous drabs and whores are chiefly given to witchcraft is substantiated by the spells which are cast by witches upon the act of procreation...There is no doubt that certain witches can do marvelous things with regard to male organs." Thus wrote Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger in their witch-hunting manual, the Malleus Malificarum (1487). And they should know! 
This witch is "The Sorceress" from Citadel's C18 Night Horrors range from 1986. This was a wonderful assortment of devils, ghosts and B-movie monsters that was designed to accompany the Gothic Horror adventurers. The Sorceress miniature went on to enjoy a second life as "Etelka Herzen" in Death on the Reik range.

Sorceress, Citadel C18 Night Horrors (1986)

Hey Kids, what Hallowe'en would be complete without a coven of cultists? The Church of Starry Wisdom is a good option. The Esoteric Order of Dagon is even better... well, either way, who knows who is under those robes. Perhaps it's your neighbour... perhaps it's your doctor... perhaps it's me...
These cultists are "The Evil Acolytes III" from Otherworld Miniatures -- sculpted by Kevin Adams circa 2011. Otherworld is one of the very few inheritors of the spirit of Citadel's golden years in the 1980's -- especially Citadel's AD&D range. I just love what Otherworld does.

Evil Acolytes III, Otherworld Miniatures (sculpted by Kev Adams, 2011)

And finally Kids -- what's scarier than Dr. Tongue's House of Cats? Or Dr. Tongue's 3-D House of Stewardesses? Or Dr. Tongue's 3-D House of Pancakes? Well, probably a black ropy, slimy, jelly tree-thing out of the woods. Yes, something that crawls up and flows up on its hoofs and mouths and snaky arms. Something black and hideous! Goddmammit! Who summoned the Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath!
[his Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath is one of the plastic miniatures released by Fantasy Flight Games for its Mansions of Madness boardgame in 2011. It's not the most elegant of miniatures... but it sure makes up for it in size!

Dark Young of Shug-Niggurath, Mansions of Madness painted miniature

Happy Hallowe'en everyone!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Terror of the Lichemaster: Gimbrin Finehelm

Terror of the Lichemaster, Part 3

The Lichemaster has raised an army of undead. His opening move is to deploy Ranlac the Black and a phalanx of skeleton warriors to ambush a handful of prospectors working a nearby mine. This is the necromancer's first step towards seizing the Frugelhorn Valley and raising its slaughtered inhabitants as zombies. But what Kemler hasn't reckoned upon is that this isn't any mine. This is the mine of Gimbrin Finehelm and his warband of beautifully helmeted dwarves.

In this first battle in the Terror of the Lichemaster scenario pack, Gimbrin Finehelm and his 5 followers face off against 21 skeletons. The dwarves are cornered in a steep ravine, and have limited options. It's the classic underdog scenario. They could try scattering in hopes that a couple dwarves can escape the cordon and warn the villagers at Frugelhofen. Or should they stick together and try to break out as a team? Or can they defeat the undead wholesale by exploiting defensible terrain? Or will they simply grit their teeth and sell their lives as dearly as possible?

Terror of the Lichemaster doesn't give us very much information about the character of Gimbrin - just that he is an adventurer trying to resuscitate an old mine without much success. But he reappears in Return of the Lichemaster (1989), where we are told that he is a "thoughtful" and "powerful" leader", and "is thought handsome by Dwarven standards, having a beard of exceptional sleekness" (p. 83).

What I can tell you about Gimbrin is that he was the 2nd most expensive miniature I've ever bought.* It seems that he is the rarest of all the miniatures in this scenario pack, and never saw any release outside special mail orders during the 1980's. When he surfaced on eBay in late 2012, he represented the last Lichemaster miniature for my collection. And so I entered into one of those crippling bidding wars where, at the last second, you swoop in and bang a nauseating sum into eBay, assuring yourself that your stratospheric buffer is completely unnecessary. And then you wait the 2 or 3 remaining seconds of the auction to discover that some jackass has done exactly the same thing. 

And when eBay tells you "You've Won", you feel poor, proud and stupid all at the same time.**

When all is said and done, Gimbrin is a beautiful miniature. His helmet is unique in the Citadel range of dwarves, what with its long rectangular visor and the short aventail (the curtain of chainmail hanging from the helm). I really wanted Gimbrin to stand out in the crowd -- I hadn't paid all that money for a wall-flower! -- so I gave his armour a bright blue accent. And doesn't his beard look sleek?

Well, thanks for looking, and in the next installment, we'll take a closer look at Gimbrin Finehelm's five well-helmeted warriors...

Gimbrin Finehelm sketched by Tony Ackland

* The most expensive was Osrim Chardz from the Citadel scenario pack Blood Bath at Orcs Drift. But that's another story...
** You also congratulate yourself for finding a phlegmatic girlfriend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Terror of the Lichemaster: Ranlac and Lord Krell

Welcome to my second post about the miniatures of The Terror of the Lichemaster, a Warhammer 2nd edition campaign released in 1986. My first post detailed the Lichemaster himself. Today I want to take a closer look at some of skeletal minions...specifically Ranlac the Black and Lord Krell.

The Lichemaster's plan of campaign is simple. It's all set out in the map of the Frugelhorn Valley drawn by the talented Dave Andrews....

Starting from the burial mound of Krell at the foot of the Frugelhorn Mountain, the Lichemaster divides his forces and creeps south so that he can simultaneously fall upon the two nearby settlements,Gimbrin's Mine (the 1st battle) and the Bogel's farmstead (the 2nd battle). By picking off these isolated victims, the Lichemaster will gain new undead soldiers and prevent any warning from arriving at the Village of Frugelhofen at the very bottom of the valley. Then he will reunite his army and crush the village with its paltry defenders (the 3rd and final battle).

Ranlac the Black Sketched by Tony Ackland

Ranlac the Black is the first of the Lichemaster's lieutenants that he dispatches down the valley. He is tasked with killing the dwarves at Gimbrin's mine. 

Detail of Shield
We are told that Ranlac is captain of Krell's guards, "more cruel in death than even in life." He's an Undead Champion and 20 Skeleton warriors are under his command.

Ranlac's miniature started life as an unnamed Citadel C17 Skeleton sculpted in 1984 by Michael and Alan Perry. This is a pre-slotta (aka solid base) miniatures of a very high caliber -- great detail and lots of character, thanks to the Perry Bros. I particularly like his flowing robes and samurai-like sword.

When I came to paint Ranlac, I wanted to keep the general palate dark and sombre. There's nothing I abhor more than a gaudy skeleton. But his shield demanded special attention, what with its tortured face. After trying several colour schemes and painting over them in disgust, I finally hit on a scheme I liked. I used a rusty metallic as background for a yellow crescent moon. It's just enough colour to grab the eye without being too flashy.  And to my eye, it seems to create an unsettling dual aspect to the shield, where you can see two different faces peering out of the same features.

The Lichemaster's most powerful ally is Lord Krell. He is described in Terror of the Lichemaster as "a bony horror" carrying "an evil weapon that had sent a thousand screaming souls to the chaos hells." In life he was a powerful Chaos Warrior and in death he binds Kemler to the Ruinous Powers in a dark pact. Within the game, he is a Major Undead Hero armed with a Magic Two-Handed Sword with Warp Attack and Degeneration Strike. Nasty.

Like Ranlac, Krell was originally a preslotta Citadel C17 Skeleton (1984) sculpted by Michael and Alan Perry. Because they were not specially produced for Terror of the Lichemaster, these two skeleton champions are slightly easier to find than the miniatures that were only created for the scenario and sold by mail-order (e.g. Heinrich Kemler or Gimbrin Finehelm).

Again, I kept my colours on the muted side for Krell. I tried to create visual interest mainly through the rust on his armour, and the dirt and decay on his robes. Krell is not looking to win a beauty contest. 

His skeleton minions are all from Citadel's boxed set of plastic sprues, the Skeleton Horde (1986). To my mind, these are the greatest plastic skeletons ever produced: they are well-proportioned, simple and easy to customize. My paint job on these undead is as simple as pouring piss out of a boot. I use a basecoat of bone-white, followed by a wash or two of brown ink diluted 50:50 with water. The tips of the bones get a rough highlight with more bone-white, and deep joints get an outline of charred brown. It's the speediest of speed painting.

In my next posts, I'll set out Ranlac's prey... the dwarf Gimbrin Finehelm and his small band of doughty followers.

Lord Krell sketched by Tony Ackland