Monday, November 16, 2020

Rogue Trader Mercenaries from 1987


The moment of my death, a snow-globe will roll out of my nerveless hands and a few whispered words will fall unheeded from my lips... Irn Bonce... the Squat...



It all goes back to late 1987, when my older brother brought home White Dwarf #95. This was the apex issue of the magazine. Among so many other things, it introduced us to The Fury of Dracula, Ruglud's Armourd Orcs, the 3rd edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, the Deodorant Hover Tank, Prince Ulther's Imperial Dwarfs, and a flexi-disk recording of Sabbat's love-ballad Blood for the Blood God. But among all these wonders, my eye was glued to one thing only: the Mercenaries sculpted by Bob Naismith and the Perry Twins for Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader.


For the 12-year-old me, these 16 minis lay at the summit of desire. My brother and I managed to collect most of them and we played hundreds of games with them. But, of course, as we aged, we grew neglectful of our treasures and I gave or traded them away by the time I left for university.

A few years ago, driven by the demon of nostalgia, I managed to reconstruct a complete set of the RT7 Mercenaries. But it took me another few years to build up the courage to paint them. These minis occupy such a large part of my imagination, I couldn't quite bring myself to touch them.

Anyway, in the past few weeks, I finally screwed myself (??) to the sticking place. In tribute to my memories, I didn't depart from the colour schemes set out in the White Dwarf. 

Here are the first four I painted, starting with "Kylla Condotti" (who originally appeared in early 1987 as "The Imperial Garrison Trooper"). I love the apprehensive look on his face. It seems to say, "Why is everyone else wearing armour?"



"Inquisitor Augustus" is the only mercenary I didn't paint this autumn. I finished his bad buck-toothed self around 2015. As far as I can tell, my painting technique hasn't changed much in that time, and he fits right in with his brothers:



"Plunderino Pete" is the victim of a typo. It's clear from later ads that his true name is "Plundering Pete." But Plunderino always seemed more romantic to me, as if Pete came from an unfortunately named Italian village:



"Irn Bonce the Squat" is my favourite in the RT7 range of Mercenaries. I love his power-armour, his unusual grenade launcher, and his visored helm. But I've never quite understood his name (is it a reference to Irn-Bru?) or why he has an "M" emblazoned on his forehead:



Thanks for stopping by - and stay tuned for more mercs!



18 comments:

  1. Lovely as ever Matthew! He's an eccentric,characterful little figure.

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    1. Cheers ABG! Glad to be back and to have you back!

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  2. They look great! No drop in quality after your time off!

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    1. I'm glad to hear you say that, Andrew - thanks. I worry that my eyesight isn't quite what it used to be. But I guess that's incentive to get as much painting done as I can while I can still see the details.

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  3. Great trip down memory lane, a lot of models in that era had weird random letters on them

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    1. Glad I could give you a nostalgia bath, Dave!

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  4. You're back! And in style with four great looking and meaningful paint jobs! These are lovely, and truly some excellent Oldhammer material of course. You definitely captured that idiosyncratic late 1980s Citadel look, bravo.

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    1. Thanks Allison!
      I was looking at your recent work tonight, and it is amazing. My painting style is pleasantly static, but I feel like your technique just gets better and better year by year.

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  5. So good to see your work again! :) Oh, I missed you style so much! They all are really enjoyable, but I have to say that Bonce the Squat is my favourite from this batch, particularly considering the wonderful results you got from an almost monochromatic palette. Pretty impressive!
    PS: Nothing beats Plunderino, agreed.

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    1. Thanks Suber!
      Irn Bonce was a good lesson for me in painting. He looked pretty bland until I added a few minor free-hand flourishes in black (like triangles and little circles joined by black lines). They are so simple, but they add a lot of visual interest.

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  6. Oh, the nostalgia! These were also my first Rogue Trader Miniatures (they even had a deodorant bottle tank in support), I attempted to replicate the colour schemes (poorly) at the time, nowhere near as well as these have turned out. Some have had repaints since, but I really should try to get the whole gang together again some time.

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    1. I hope you do paint them. If you do, please post the pics (and if possible, let me know, so I can include a link in these posts).

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  7. Great to see you again! Miss that awesome old ones :)

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