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.