Friday, 29 July 2011

Out of the Forests

Way back, in the dim distant past, before I took up breeding, smoking, debt, paying tax, and before I understood EBITDA, Dense Wave Division Multiplexing, and how to sell stuff, life was a simple affair; Could I complete my paper round in less than 50 minutes? Would Claire go out with me? (she did) How could I raise funds to pay for the latest wonderous thing from Citadel? What fighter plane would I fly when I joined the RAF?

My ridiculously vivid adolescent imagination was fired in no small part by the artwork which always accompanied the Games Workshop products. Space Marine box art by Jim Burns remains, to me at least, the seminal box cover of any game, anywhere - it is exactly how my imagination portrayed the legions of identikit genetically enhanced super soldiers of the future (only much later did I realise the nod to De Niro's 'Leetle Friend').

Burns' solitary work apart, the only artist which really defined the whole period for me was Paul Bonner. Then, as now, an unknown outside of the gaming world, it has been argued that he influenced the GW spiral death dive into comedy space orks, or that his comic-esque lantern jawed hapless Guardsmen were the opposite of the gritty depravity of Blanche's work which defined the preceeding Rogue Trader era.

However, I like to recall the pen & ink work he did for the Adeptus Titanicus rulebook, including the feature panel work for the Warhound Princeps narrative. Or remember the obsessive attention to the minutae - spent cases, toolkits, etc. Or observe the expressive faces, the dynamics of the interaction between the subjects in the art.

So, some years ago, I decided to email Paul and see if he'd sell me any of his originals. To my surprise he replied with the unsurprising news that GW had retained all his artwork, but countered this with the welcome news that he had a book coming out.

So I bought his book.

Out of the Forests by Paul Bonner

It is, without a shadow of doubt, the best book I've ever owned. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in fantasy wargaming, or fantasy art. Simply stunning. It's also the only book in my considerable library that I would not part with, ever. Spanning his early work, his time in-house for GW, his work for Rackham and onwards, and his stunning Nordic themed Dwarfs and Trolls.

If you only buy one book this year, spend it on this, it's that good. If you aren't completely blown away by it, you have no soul.

Years after buying it, I still get it down from the shelf from time to time, and immerse myself in a world all but lost to me now; the world of my imagination fired by fantastic art.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

More Splintered Lands

Sooo, I may have possibly sent some more money in the general direction of David @ Splintered Light... again...

This time I'm blaming it on my virtual pal Mike - although I think we've got a reciprocating he made me do it . In truth, I think Mike commented on my Splintered Lands Druid's Children a while ago, and then I suggested he take a look at Songs, and specifically Song of Splintered Lands. Then David @ Splintered Light decided to have a 20% sale for his regular customers (now extended to everyone), and the rest, as they say, was inevitable.

As I was getting a warband on Mike's behalf, I thought it prudent to, erm, save on the shipping, and get myself a Dwarven warband (of the Bob Olley Splintered Land variety, rather than the tiny 15mm fantasy range sculpted by Whiff Whaff). I also got my youngest the rather spiffing Fire Dragon to paint - she's rather positive about Dragons.

As I'm an old 80's Citadel type of chap at heart, I find the Bob Olley sculpts just tick all my boxes - and they have leapfrogged the Splintered Light Saxon warband on the painting table. As of this afternoon, all of them have been stuck on coin of the realm, sprayed black, and painting is underway. They'll be Saxon themed - mainly because that's the colours I've been using of late - so not many grey hairs, but lots of blondes, stripes, and so on. Slapping some more paint on tomorrow, so should have the first five completed - will post pics accordingly.

What else has occured in the tangential world of my wargaming? Well, the scenery commissioned from Paul's Modelling Workshop is still WIP, so waiting for that. Also, I picked up four 2' x 2' TSS scenic tiles from someone off a forum - cheap at £4 a tile. I've been looking at these for yonks, but never taken the plunge - something I regret doing now - they're brilliant.

So, if all works out, should soon have a nice load of spiffing scenery to put on my new tiles, and fight over with Romano-British, Saxons, Dwarves, and Badgers. Can't go wrong. Well, can go wrong, and seemingly is going rather wrong, but that's another story.

Oh, last bit of news - in my capacity as copyreader for WSS, I've blagged myself a copy of Bag The Hun 2, reviewing, for the purposes of. Major problem with this is that I don't have a bloody great hex mat - so the coming months may see a sudden lurch back into flying things. Pete and myself gave the rules a small run out the other evening, and I really liked some of the elements of the rules.

That's all for tonight folks. Pictures of painted things next time, promise.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Your Opinion Please?

No, not your opinion on this blog - ignorance is bliss and all that.

Rather, I'm the copyreader for a well known wargames magazine. We (the Editorial team) have been discussing what to do over the coming issues to keep the interest levels up.

So, rather than explain any further (and risk influencing the input), over to you, all ten of my followers - what articles would make you buy a Historical wargaming magazine?

Scale, period, type (painting, tactics, rants, etc), anything else.

Answers on a comment box please!

Meanwhile, here's a random photo from the collection.