Saturday, May 16, 2015

Back in the 80's: The Partha Pipeline

Sorry for the long absence from posting to the blog! I've had my hands full for the past year working on the miniatures and book for Olympus, and that has not left much time for other pursuits. However, I'm going to try to make the occasional post, so let's start with a trip down memory lane...

Back in the 1980s there was this miniature company called Ral Partha, maybe you've heard of it? Partha was the one of the 'big two' US miniature manufacturers (the other being Grenadier Models). I was a big fan of both of them. Every now and the Ral Partha sent out cool newsletters, with illustrations of the latest miniatures, comics, and stories about whatever they were thinking about at the time. These newsletters were called the Partha Pipeline. They also did a newsletter to support their short-lived Chaos Wars game, called the War Bulletin. This mainly focused on scenarios and new rules, again with lots of great illustrations.

The artist responsible for most of the illustrations within was Bill Neff, the head of the Partha art department at the time. I believe he now works as a professional illustrator/designer in the news industry, and his art for Partha has a unique and cool style that still looks great today!

I was a big fan of Partha back in the 1980s, and in the 1990s I went to work for them in my first job as a miniature designer. Sadly, this was after Partha had ceased producing the Pipeline and Bulletin, but I did manage to find a couple issues I has missed during my time there.

I've compiled all of my issues of the Partha Pipeline and the War Bulletin into a PDF, so that my fellow fans of Ral Partha can enjoy them. I'll likely move the host site soon, so get it while it's hot!

Here's a link to a direct download:

Partha Pipeline Download

Ral Partha miniatures are now produced by the great guys and gals at Iron Wind Metals. They are currently running a Kickstarter program to get a lot of the classic Tom Meier miniatures from this era back into production, as well as a few new pieces that were never produced. Head on over to their Kickstarter page and have a look!

Chaos Wars Kickstarter

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Drow -- Old School style!

Just thought I'd show off a couple of my recent sculptures here -- I recently finished 2 Drow elves for Otherworld Miniatures. These are the first elves I've sculpted in about 10 years, the first since the final Dark Elves I made for Games Workshop. It took a while to get back in the groove, but after a while was pretty fun to return to my old pointy-eared pals!

These were both inspired by the artwork of Erol Otus, one of the pioneering artists of the Dungeons & Dragons game back in the early 1980s. For those who don't know who he is or are not familiar with early D&D, you can see a collection of some of his art here:

Erol Otus Shrine

Anyhow, check out the minis... they are now up for pre-order at Otherworld if you want to claim a set for yourself! It's great company, and the quality of their figures is top-notch!

Otherworld Miniatures

Click below to make 'em bigger:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stone Giant Raiding Party!

As I got to the last few days of this year, I realized I had done almost no miniature painting for myself the last 12 months!  So I took the last few days off, and broke out the old paints & brushes!   The first result was the Cave Troll I posted a few days ago, and the latest ones are a trio of Stone Giants for Dungeons and Dragons!

I bought 2 of the Otherworld Miniatures Stone Giants a couple years ago at Salute.  I loved the model, it was sculpted by my pal Paul Muller (we used to share an office back when we worked at GW).  However, I wanted each one to look individual, so I converted one of them with a new face, turn of the head, and I sculpted 2 new arms on him carrying a club and barrel from my bits box.  I also gave him some bone armor (more bits from by bits box) and when I was done, he looked pretty different from the original model.  He looks a bit like he's returning from a raid on some town, with a big barrel of ale he's stolen from the inn!

In the picture below, the Stone Giant in the middle was a Citadel Miniatures C28 Giant, sculpted by Michael and Alan Perry way back in the 1980's.   One of the Giants in this series was clearly meant to be a D&D Stone Giant, and it matched up pretty nicely with the Otherworld Giant in scale.  The only problems were his head and feet -- the head looked too big and the feet were to small (in comparison with the Otherworld minis).  So I did a quicky sculpt of a new head that was a little smaller, and added some putty to bulk out the feet.  In the end, when based in the same manner, all 3 looked like they were made for the same range.

I painted them with a pallet of neutral tones, as I wanted them to have a cold, stony look.  I picture Stone Giants to be a bit like neolithic man, making weapons & gear from stone and hide.  The scenery in the photo is some of my neolithic stuff I made last year for WarGods of Hyperborea (the Wendigo), if you like it you can see more color photos of these in the Wendigo Warband Book, available from Crocodile Games. 

I hope Otherworld does a couple more poses for their Giants range -- I'd love to have a Stone Giant throwing a rock to go with these guys!

Now, the question is, can I get anything else painted before the year is over and I have to get back to work???

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"They have a Cave Troll!"

It's been a long while since I've updated this blog -- thanks to stopping by to see what's new!

We were snowed in the day after Christmas, so I spent the afternoon brushing up on my painting!  Inspired by the recent Hobbit film, I decided to finish up an old project I started a long time ago -- a Cave Troll, from the Games Workshop 'Lord of the Rings' game.

This figure came in the Mines of Moria box set.  I liked the miniature, but I wanted it to have a face that was different from the Troll in the movie.  So I played around with the mini for a couple hours while at my sculpting table and came up with a new, slightly different head that looks fierce but suitably inbred.  I even had the green of the head molded in case I wanted to do a few more of him.  (I still have a couple extra heads, email me if anyone wants one for their Troll).

The figure then sat around on my shelf for many months, waiting to get painted.  A foot of snow outside was a sign that the time was right!


And some close-ups of his face... scary!

He's painted with a mixture of Vallejo and GW paints, with some of the GW washes and inks for weathering.  All in all, a fun miniature to work on, now I just need to paint up Tom, Bert, and William to keep him company!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A blast from the past: OGRE Miniatures

There was a lot of hoopla a couple weeks ago on The Miniatures Page, on THIS thread, and now THIS ONE.  It's about the announcement by Steve Jackson Games that they are working on a new version of OGRE, the 6th Edition, and this one is supposed to be "Deluxe", for about $100.  Personally, I define a "Deluxe" version of OGRE one that includes huge metal miniatures, but hey... that's just me.  At any rate, all the discussion inspired me to go in search of my old OGRE miniatures... I finally found them, and so lets wheel them out and show them off! And keep in mind, I painted these back in the 'old days', over 15 years gone, and the standard of painting was not quite so high back then!

North American Combine OGREs, Mk IV, Mk V, and a Mk III, and 2 GEVs.

I flirted briefly back in the early 1990's with getting into the OGRE Miniatures game.  I had just gone to work for Ral Partha at the time, and Partha was producing the OGRE range.  The figures were great -- I've always admired the stark, angular design of the OGRE Mk V.  I suspect if it were designed today it would look very different, as the trend these days has moved to overloading sci-fi with silly and pointless details.  The OGRE is simple, direct, and looks like something that is the size of a city block and could withstand a near-miss by a nuclear weapon!  Unfortunately, my OGRE kick was short-lived, as I could never convince my local gaming buddies to paint up their own forces.  The killer was when Partha ceased production of the OGRE Miniatures range around 1994, and no one could get the minis anymore.  By that time I had painted up 2 forces, a Pan-European armored tank battalion, and 3 Combine OGREs to take them on.  The tanks went into a case, and there they have been this whole time.
The OGRE's Mk III and V were painted up with WW2-style naval camo, which seemed appropriate for the huge tanks  I did those 2 first, and then I read the rulebook... it explains that the questionable tactical value of trying to hide a tank the size of a city block, on a battlefield where the typical engagement is an over-the-horizon affair.  So as a result of this,  OGREs often were painted with outlandish color schemes, the brighter and more obnoxious the better.  British "Dazzle" camo patterns would also have been cool!

And so we have the 'confederate' OGRE Mk IV, which was painted up for a cybertank re-enactment of the battle of Gettysburg that was planned with another of the Partha dudes, yet never happened.  (Disclaimer: please don't assume any sort of weird, 'south must rise again' mentality on my part.  It's just a toy tank with a goofy paint-scheme.)  Anyway, this tank was supposed to represent the forces of General Lee, we were going to do a tank with a Union flag go General Meade, but the other tank never got finished and so the battle never happened.  This particular Mk IV is actually quite a rare model.  It was sculpted by my pal Jeff Wilhelm, and was the last of the OGREs that Partha made.  Only a few were actually cast up, before the Partha/Steve Jackson relationship ended.Steve Jackson eventually released a new version of the Mk IV, but it was a very different sculpt, based on the Mk III.  Personally, I like the Partha sculpture lots better, but apparently Steve Jackson didn't, and the Mk IV was later redesigned.

Last, we have my Paneuropean armored battalion.  These were done with a conventional grey-green camo, which I repeated on the big Fencer cybertank.  Lots of people notice the little infantry stand with the go-cart.  This is supposed to be an Engineering Infantry unit, the go-cart was from the old Citadel "Battlecars" mini range from the 1980's.  I still have a few more of these, if anyone is desperate to get a couple for themselves.  :-)

Paneuropean battle force: Fencer & lots and lots of tanks!

I don't really have the heart to put these guys back in a box for another 20 years, so if there are any members of my Blog who would like to give them a good home, feel free to email me an offer.  This army easily includes over $200 in out-of-production miniatures and one very rare, unreleased OGRE Mk IV, and all are painted to a very respectable standard.  Only serious offers, please!  I can be contacted at Crocodile Games.  If I don't find a worthy home for them, I'll be unleashing them onto ebay in a couple weeks.

UPDATED MARCH 27:  I just posted these all on ebay, anyone who is interested can see them there:


Sunday, January 16, 2011

And Another Two!

I took a break from my regular job at Croc Games today to slap some paint on 2 old landspeeder conversions that have been sitting around unfinished for a long time.  They are the Rodian Runabout and the customized Flash Speeder.

I've posted the Rodian Runabout before, detailing how it was built.  I wasn't happy with the paint job on it, it was too dull and really did not bring out the best of the actual conversion, but I had spent so long on the darned thing that I had to put it away for a while for the sake of my sanity!  Well, it's been many months, so I came to the model today with a fresh outlook, and gave it a fresh coat of paint.  I stuck with a simple color-scheme inspired a bit by Greedo's costume in Star Wars (this is supposed to be his landspeeder.)  I also used a couple decals from an old japanese robot model for the hood and sides of the speeder, and then weathered the whole thing with Doc O'briens 'Gritty Yellow' weathering powder.  The standing Greedo miniature is from WotC's Star Wars range, and the seated Greedo in the landspeeder was a simple conversion using the head of one of the cheap 'common' Rodian miniatures.  A little putty and paint, and done!

Here are some more pictures:

The custom Flash Speeder is a conversion on the Flash Speeder toy from the Galoob Star Wars "Action Fleet" Micromachine range.  It is basically the same thing as the WotC Flash Speeder, but it is a tiny bit larger and has much better detailing -- and, it is made of hard plastic, better for conversions.  I wanted the speeder to look faster and a little more aerodynamic, so I cut the big awkward square engines off the sides and replaced them with 2 round turbine-style engines I made from some parts from my bits box.  The original toy had a cannon mounted on the back, and I removed this and cut the top off of the 'roll bar', then extended each side up about 1/3 of an inch higher, to make it look a bit like the tail fins of a jet-fighter (specifically the awesome F-22 Raptor.)  I added a bit of rolled up fabric to represent the convertible top being down.  Last, it was mounted on a base taken from a WotC Flash Speeder.  Construction complete, it got a simple paint job and some further weathering to finish. 

That's it for now!  Enjoy the pics!