Sunday, 10 March 2013

Brian Craig: Old School Warhammer Author's Pawns of Chaos

The original cover to Brian Craig's novel. Not quite as bad as most of the truly appalling covers that the Black Library put out in the late '90s, early '00s.
Just a quick update today... 

Those of you who frequent my other blog, Realm of Chaos 80s, will know that I am a fan of the old school Warhammer Books novels from the late '80s. Last year, I wrote an article detailing the fantasy ones here

One of my favourite authors from that early range was Brian Craig, who of course wrote the superb Orfeo trilogy (Zaragoz, Plague Daemon and Strom Warriors) as well as a number of highly regarded short stories.

Much of the fiction is required reading for Oldhammer enthusiasts, though I have yet to chronicle the Rogue Trader era novels that were published, mostly written by Ian Watson. The big difference between Warhammer Books and the Black Library is quality of writing. To be fair, very few of the authors now writing for BL are 'proper authors' while many of the voices from the early Warhammer book range were, and still, respected writers; Ian Watson, Kim Newman and Brain Stableford to name but a few.

Now Brian Stableford is also Brian Craig.

I wonder if you knew that?

Anyway, in the late 90s he wrote a 40k novel that, well, didn't go down too well with early BL fans. Too much plot, character development and layers of metaphorical meaning and not enough 'kill, maim, slaughter' I suspect. He also produced a new fantasy volume called the Wine of Dreams. 

But I digress. 

The Black Library have made the 40k novel, the Pawns of Chaos, available as an expensive eBook. If you are after something different from the usual BL hackery and fancy something with an old school whiff, you will probably find yourself enjoying this one. 

The new eBook cover.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Illuminations: The Art of Ian Miller

Long time no blog.

My Rogue Trader project has ground to a standstill. Hopefully, you know why! This blog's sister, Realm of Chaos 80s, has taken up all my limited blogging time with interviews, Oldhammer Day organisation (well the Slaves to Darkness bit, Gaj has down a sterling job on the rest) and warband creation. 

The same is true with my Dark Future project. 

Occasionally, I feel guilty and pop over to one of these other forgotten places and have a wild stab at throwing together an article. Well, today is one of those days. I have for your viewing pleasure an '80s article into the twisted mind of Ian Miller culled from the crackling pages of an ancient White Dwarf. 

Illuminations was a long time semi regular feature in White Dwarf that sought to present the work of in house and freelance artists. A bit like 'Eavy Metal, only without the miniatures. What is interesting about this particular extract is the fact that Miller was experimenting with a faster, more fluid art style to help produce enough art for Rogue Trader. Which explains the raw, combat-exhausted feel of many of the black and whites within the famous rulebook. 

One of the things I love about Old School GW art is the fact that each artist had a recognisable style. Their work was also actual art, it said something, and did more for the viewer than simply advertise models.
I have vivid memories of images such as these. The frantic, fantastical combat really inspired my imagination. Beaky marines are also superior to all others. Its a fact!
The humorous 'fact files were also a lovely feature of Illuminations. Some of them were serious, other less so. Which category does Ian Miller's fit into?
This image could generate much debate. Are they chaos marines in an early form? Is that a proto-titan exploding in the background? Are they orks? Mutants? What do you think?

This article also contains one or two images prepared for Rogue Trader that never made it into the book itself. 

Can you spot them?

Its seems that after completion of the artwork for Rogue Trader. Ian Miller moved into the GW studio and started a six month stint creating illustrations for Realm of Chaos. SIX MONTHS! And, he was working alongside Tony Ackland and a wealth of freelancers. So much time lavished on one product.

It really shows, doesn't it!


Friday, 25 January 2013

New Rogue Trader Blog: Classic40k and some other bits and bobs...

Pete Lloyd has recently launched a new blog concerning Oldhammer 40,000! Its looking promising already, and he hopes to discuss both Rogue Trader and the (almost) equally loved 2nd Edition.

Here's the link...

Inspired by his old school orcs, I had a quick splash around with some Citadel Colour and started painting my second Rogue Trader model...

Here's a WIP

I have also received my first Rogue Trader Realm of Chaos models... Four chaos renegades with heavy weapons and a Slaanesh marine/champion. Obviously, they have gone straight in the stripping agent. As soon as they are cleaned up, I'll have them up here for your viewing pleasure. I intend to do a small force of Slaaneshi renegades to act as an antidote to the Khornate army I am currently painting for 3rd Edition Warhammer, so expect lots of titillating pink and bilious green to come.