Thursday, 2 March 2017

1986 advert for Fine Art Castings Doctor Who range

Flicking through old issues of Miniature Wargames, my eyes were drawn to this advert in Issue 33, from Feb 1986.

How curious, thinks I. Now, like all Oldhammerers, I was aware of the Citadel Doctor Who range, but here was something I hadn't come across before. So, after a bit of google searching, a bit of a Doctor Who wargames miniature history.

According to the Lost Minis Wiki, Fine Art Castings produced possibly the first licensed range of Doctor Who minis, first advertised in 1984. As can be seen in the advert, most of their minis seem to have been at a larger scale, but they did produce a small range of 25mm minis, mostly focussed on the enemies: Daleks, Cybermen, and Sontarans. Pictures of painted examples of these can be found on the aforementioned Lost Minis Wiki website. While are there plenty of examples of Fine Arts Castings Doctor Who minis kicking around the net, including on ebay, they all seem to be at the larger scales (esp 40mm). Here's an example of their packaging:

And here's a 25mm Earthshock Cyberman from their range, painted by Mark Dixon and taken from the Lost Minis Wiki just as an example of the range

though I won't nick any more than the one pic from there as it seems a bit cheeky, if you want more examples, click the link.

It's a couple years after Fine Art Castings - in 1986, to be precise, to support the FASA Doctor Who Game - that Citadel started releasing their Doctor Who minis. More information and pictures can be found on the Stuff of Legends site.

Steve Casey has done an excellent job photographing Doctor Who minis from Bryan Ansell's collection, many of which can still be seen on display at the Wargames Foundry.

And then after that... well, we're onto Harlequin Miniatures' extensive range for the Doctor Who: Invasion Earth wargame, produced from 1997 onwards. Many of these are still available from Black Tree Designs, from whom I obtained the bulk of my own collection of daleks.

Bringing us through more or less to the present day - Heresy Miniatures produced an excellent range of 'stand ins' for Doctor Who, in their "scientists and civilians" range, unlicensed but certainly filling a need. And to be honest, I wish I'd bought some of them while they were available because almost all of that range has now disappeared, I presume so as not to step on the feet of the new license holders, Warlord Games, who now have the important job of taking Doctor Who miniatures wargaming into the "New Who" era.

But if, like Thansants, LittleLeadPerson, and myself, you're still very much grounded in the Old Who era, and looking for a game to bring your Doctor Who minis out of retirement, watch this space, as we're organising an event at the Foundry - at the moment, looking very likely to be at the start of July. And if, by any chance, you have some 25mm Fine Art Castings Doctor Who minis, do bring them along and give them a game, we'd love to see them!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Night of the Living Lead Battle Report: Breakshit means Breakshit

(Being a battle report on the Halloween action at the Wargames Foundry. With the latest of Warlord Paul's Albion adventures coming up at the weekend, I realised that if I didn't post about the last one now, I never would. Problem is, a lot of my recollections of a most enjoyable day are a bit hazy. So this is an extremely partial reconstruction based mostly on the least blurry photos of my toy soldiers as they plod around the battlefield.)

What lurks under Albion's skin? Peel back Albion's flesh, cut through its muscle and sinew, and what horrors do you reveal? The embittered hatred of many centuries. The tarry black heart of greed. Swollen spleen of malice. Infected kidneys of evil. Cirrhotic Liver of... well, you get the picture. Lots of not nice stuff.

Lifetimes ago, a demon was vanquished. Or at least, so the people thought. In fact, it was merely buried. Or, more accurately, as the scribes tell us, "imprisoned beneath a henge of enchanted stones wrapped about with sealing spells and wards."

But now a new dawn approaches. The demon threatens to break free, from the bowels of the earth comes the insistent rumblings of the demon's desire to leave.

And today, the cultists gather around, an unholy alliance, calling the demon forth, urging him out. And so the prophecy has come to pass: "All must take sides for there can be no middle path, all must stand for or against the daemon called, BREAKSHIT!"

From the highlands come the clansmen, determined to bring sober reason to the proceedings and to stop Breakshit in its tracks. In their midst are the zombies of the Highland cult of Indyref, risen from their graves.

They take their place in the alliance moving toward the henge, determined to stop, or at least amend, the invocation of the ritual summoning Breakshit.

Yet the ancients, the walking dead of Albion, seek a return to the glory days of past ages and will fight to ensure the ritual is performed, believing that Breakshit will allow them to take back control.

Attempts to toss the caber into their number fail miserably.

And as the forces clash, even liquid courage is not enough to withstand the horror.

The cultists succeed in opening the protective seals and a roar swells from the ground: "BREAKSHIT MEANS BREAKSHIT!"

The surviving allies who had hoped that the power would remain captive make their way to the graveyard and enter the catacombs in the hope that if they can at least mount an appeal to stop a Hard Breakshit.

The highlanders bust their way past the venomous serpents who serve Breakshit...

And join a coalition who manage to make a few amendments...

This is fantasy, remember?