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Monday, 2 August 2021

Bootleg BOYL- Ye Olde High Speed 2

This last weekend would have been BOYL (postponed until October) and since many of us had already booked accommodation and leave it felt like a shame not to play some games. Some lovely folks volunteered large gardens (and ultimately booked us big, ventilated village halls to game in as the weather was a tad variable) and we trouped across the country to answer the call of mass miniature battles.

The big Saturday game was a goodies vs baddies battle to save the ancient woodland of Albion from the evil De Pfeffel:

"Baron De Pfeffel (the corrupt and narcissistic ruler of southern Little Albion) and his evil Tilean advisor ‘Dominico the Rat’ have a plan to build a new high speed cart track through the ancient woodlands of central Little Albion. De Pfeffel is selling the cart track on the basis that it will cut 5 minutes off the four day journey from the fetid, southern swamplands of Hacked-Knee Marshes to the frigid, northern moors of Mankburgh. Why anyone would want to make this journey, in either direction, is a complete mystery."

This was a nice opportunity for my wood elf army from last year's lockdown to get their first outing. I threw some last minute paint on two Alternative Armies treemen and some eagles and elf characters from Forlorn Hope (ex Grenadier) to bolster the force a bit in the face of trolls and a particularly nasty piece of tree-clearing apparatus...

Paul lines up his pigmies against Richard's wood elves Appropriate that such non-PC and controversial miniatures should be drawn to the service of De Pfeffel.

Woodland folk arm up to defend their homes.

My contingent form up in the trees Two wardancer units supported by a pair of treemen and a mounted lord for flanking.

Curtis' giant tree processing plant prepares to cleave its way through the ancient wood. De Pfeffel and his cronies supervise the carnage beneath their Boris banner. 

An Alternative Armies treeman prepares to stand in the path of the orcish monstrosity.

More denizens of the deepwoods take up arms for the fight.

A Hinchcliffe (now Broadsword Miniatures) treeman on his hill.

Another Alternative Armies treeman.

Another view of my elves with some bows from Richard's contingent backing up their advance.

Harry's contingent- as many archers as I could throw down for him. They would be tasked with peppering the deforesting horror with arrows.

As the battle begins a rolling noise from the good side heralds the arrival of their own secret weapon!

The first trees fall despite the best efforts of their guradian.

Elf archers take up their positions.

Wardancers charge towards the norsemen under the cover of the trees.

The dwarf deathroller overtakes the striding treeman on its way to confront the harvester.

Jerome's mighty regiment of horse try desperately to charge ahead but are hit by powerful wind blasts from the pigmy shaman.

The norse mammoth tried to uproot the Hinchliffe treeman and ends up caught in its branches. The two would stand locked in a dead heat for pretty much the rest of the battle.

Bow elves in cover.

De Pfeffel, Dominico the rat, Uglee Pattel and MoggMogg advance...

...and decide to engage in a spot of fox hunting and badger culling!

The forest folk give as good as they get from the stupid trolls.

Goblins and trolls process the trees they have mown down.

The eagles swoop! Caw-cawbyn the great eagle builds up momentum.

The badger lord shows Uglee Pattel his proof of citizenship.

Skirmishing horse archers break through the line to pepper the machine with arrows. Under the hail of fire it begins to fall apart.

As the treeman and death roller race to halt the machine the wardancers prepare for a boarding action.

Despite being pushed back a treeman holds its own against a unit of norse bondsmen.

The horse lords are still getting nowhere! To make matters worse on the left flank some harpies help themselves to the halfling hotpot, and its crew!

The battle of the rollers proves that size DOES matter.

Another stand of trees falls beneath the giant crusher, but missiles slicing through the ropes are starting to have an effect. Metal plates are slipping from its armoured sides.

The wardancers prepare for their death and glory moment...

...survive their perilous dive through the crusher...

...and die in pools of troll vomit beyond!

Caw-cawbyn throws a badger into De Pfeffel's face, clawing the tyrant to death! Hooray!

The sacrifice of treemen, wardancers and death roller are not in vain. Another volley of shots brings the contraption to a standstill. Its crew pile out of the stricken destroyer.

Combat on the right flank, where in-fighting has robbed the elves of victims but there are plenty of goblins to mop up.

Giant smash!

Using his concealed chainsword the death roller dwarf cuts himself free of a bundle of logs and sets upon the orc crew.

Wardancers tie up the norse whilst their support units get onto the flanks. Professor Tiggywinkle charges to join the fray.

Battle is joined on the left flank, where the tigers find themselves some tasty bite-sized treats.

Pigmies charge a treeman, which rolls horribly (needing 2s Jerome rolled 2,1,1,1 to lose the combat!) and flees, on fire, into the nearest patch of woods. Causing not inconsiderable panic!

Trolls and goblins attempt to complete the logging operation on foot. They are cut down by archers and flee, HS2 is defeated!

Chainsaw dwarf fights for his life.

The surviving treemen wave goodbye to the nasty developers... the ancient wood is safe. 

Thank you to everyone who made this such a fun day, and especially to John Ratcliffe for hosting.


Monday, 12 July 2021

The quest continues...

You'll know that I love Heroquest. It was what got me into gaming. I recently told my cousin it was all his fault for bringing his copy to my grandparents' house one Christmas but really it's more a case of indebtedness rather than blame. On the side of the box and in the promotional material you can see some beautifully painted miniatures (probably the first I ever saw, way to set the bar) by Mike McVey and I remember being very confused that they don't appear to match the box plastics. There's a simple reason, to guide the production of the plastics and provide figures that could be photographed for publicity that needed to be set before the machining could be accomplished GW produced 28mm metal 'prototype' figures. If you look closely at the White Dwarf adverts you'll see the board, books and card components are different too- simple print and cut prototypes. The furniture is different too, perhaps you didn't realise but there was METAL PROTOTYPE FURNITURE for Heroquest produced as well...  

I have been very fortunate in that I have mostly managed to acquire my 'holy grail' miniatures, perhaps I have very modest tastes, but Heroquest prototype miniatures are truly hens' teeth rare. The chaos warrior was given as a trophy for a young bloods' painting competition in the early years of Games Day so there are a few of those around. Chaps in the casting room were, I believe, allowed to cast up miniatures for themselves and pay lead weight for them. This appears to have happened with the gargoyle and a few of the wizards of Morcar miniatures, a couple of gargoyles have floated across evilbay, Fanrax the necromancer appears in a few White Dwarf undead army shots, the Orc Shaman and Storm Mage pop up so frequently on auction sites now that it's quite likely they have been the subject of some recasting enterprise. The others though? Not seen, ever to my knowledge. The best and most complete collections I am aware of do not contain a Heroquest Fimir, Skeleton, Dwarf, Goblin, Barbarian, Zombie, Sorcerer, Mummy, Elf, Orc of Wizard. Probably they weren't 'special' enough miniatures to have been cast by workers back in the day, Heroquest after all was aimed at a much younger age group and only sentiment and nostalgia have made it worth anything now.

The Mike McVey originals are now in a cabinet at Wargames Foundry, with the exception of the Chaos Warrior and Orc-which is sad because I would LOVE to see how fine those lightning strikes on the warrior's armour are in real life! BOYL gives me an excuse to go and stand in front of the collection dribbling... They're alongside the Space Crusade prototypes and also the Advanced Heroquest prototypes which are a little more common. The Fighter, Wizard, Henchman and Dwarf were actually released in a limited blister set available in store so there are some of those doing the rounds. The Elf and Skaven are much rarer, the Skaven especially. In an earlier post I showed the Fighter, Dwarf, Wizard and Henchman I had been able to procure thanks to some very generous people. The Elf was replaced by a "Time Warped Wizard" (not a wizard at all but unreleased Citadel Wood Elf General) released by Foundry a few years ago and thought on first glance to be the AHQ Elf. It isn't but the pose and equipment are very similar. Recently I was sent a mystery package and discovered, to my delight, the missing Elf. Thank you, you know who you are! Allow me to present, then, the complete line up of unreleased prototype Advanced Heroquest Heroes. Just the Skaven to find.

Exciting though that all is, it isn't quite Heroquest. I want those figures I first saw upon popping the lid off my first ever miniatures game 32 years ago. Having missed another gargoyle on ebay I decided to do something about it. Perhaps if I undertook a little sculpting exercise my sculpting might improve and I might somehow mysteriously call the genuine articles in my direction... well, I can dream. At any rate I now have at least a nice proxy set and had some fun trying emulate the masters. 

The eagle-eyed among you may note that Baroush the Storm Mage is missing, I actually managed to procure a genuine prototype whilst working on sculpting the others, so perhaps it is working!


Fimm McCool's

Fimm McCool's