Saturday, March 28, 2015

Collecting John Pickford: Here, There Be Dragons

For long, I thought the story of John Pickford doing a Dragon was nothing but a Myth. Much has been said about such a creature exists, but I'd never seen one piece of evidence - and even John had barely any recollection of a such. All he gave me was a few key words like "maybe there was, but its gone and wasn't really good" or "lost, broke apart during moulding" - you know, just like in most dragon tales - they are said to be there, but no one have ever really seen them.

So, you can probably imagine how surprised I was finding this pair of wings ....

Could that be the piece of evidence I have been waiting for...? A close examine showed clear signs of attempted moulding - and especially one of them had take quite some beating, but both showed clear signs of of heat and forced by pressure.

I was rather convinced that this here was the proof I'd been looking for. Here it was, the strongest argument for that there really had been a dragon. And just like any paleontologist I started laying out the puzzle pieces and building an image in my head, what the creature would have looked like.

But why bother? Cause, if I had just started emptying the hole box in the first place, I'd seen, that all answers would be in there :) Because there it was. Deep down the bottom, in a nice zip lock bag, a perfect master cast of the entire dragon body (and dragon rider) where to be found. 

And all metal pieces fits perfectly together - so with a little blu-tac I can proudly present: the for a long time thought lost, Orc King on Dragon by John Pickford :

And with the battered wings he looks like this:

The mystery is solved. Yes, there is indeed "a Dragon". And a magnificent one it is, too. A beautiful scaled dragon with a unique, squig-like, dragon head, a fantastic set of richly detailed and nicely textured wings and a magnificent Orc-king-rider, true worthy of such a beast. The rider sits proud on his beast ready for leading his army and he is spiced up with classic (and characteristic) Pickford facial details sculpted on the saddle, armour and shield.

So the true history is, that John did make a Dragon and Wargames Foundry even tried having it moulded and cast up. Moulding of the dragon body and rider had been successful, but the wings proved difficult and took quite some damage - and no successful cast was ever made. A master cast and the damaged wings was returned to John - probably with the intention of being re-sculpted, but it never happened and the dragon ended up in a box, well hidden. But its been found, and will now be the "Crown Jewel" in my Pickford collection. I will try and do a repair on those wings and then eventually paint the beast. If I dare .....! ;-)

The Dragon has been added to the Odds and Ends section of the Wiki as well.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Collecting John Pickford: Goblin on dead Dwarf

I cant' speak about John "Poshgoblin" Pickford's early career without it's involving goblins, so today's update will be focusing on a very victorious greenskin sitting on his slain arc enemy.

Today's miniature is another lost gem and was sculpted in the mid 2000's, I think - about the same time John did the probably more famous "Dave, on slain dragon head" released by Hasslefree Miniatures.

The Goblin on dead Dwarf has only been cast in very limited numbers (if more than one have actually ever been made). So, for a long time I'd admitted this from a distance and only known of its existence from a picture John had shared with me. So you can probably guess how I felt finding it in my box. I'm overwhelmed by the generosity shown and I'm very honoured and deeply touched being granted this unique opportunity.

It's an incredible and humorous piece with the goblin smoking on his dead enemy's pipe. It's so rich in details and the sculpting quality is very, very good - and the diorama is in great contrast to all the Dwarf, on... (insert any word) pieces made by various sculptors/certain companies. It's brilliant.

As said, it's made in the same period ad the Hasslefree released piece. Can't say why this wasn't picked up by anyone. I love all the personalities in Foundry's Goblin range, but to me this one here is probably the most lovely and characterful goblin John has ever made. This one, and the Hot Pot Fanatic made for Twisted Tales (range now with Hasslefree Miniatures).

The diorama has also been added to the Wiki.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Collecting John Pickford: Wiki update

I've given the Collecting John Pickford Wiki (@Wikia - and forgive me for the annoying adds - but moving it to another server will have immeasurable consequences) a bit of an overhaul the last few nights.

Most interesting updates are these newly added miniatures:
  • White Knight Miniatures: Dwarf Artillery (WKD-45, WKD-46, WKD-50, WKD-51)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Collecting John Pickford: Curiosities and oddities

As said yesterday, the box from John included quite a bit more than just the new greens. One of the great many things being a passionate Pickford collector (wife would probably call it "obsessive", though I'm not sure why) is the opportunity of getting insights to the birth of long and glowing sculpting career. Today's update is about such "lost" gems - and I'm very excited sharing these 5 new miniatures, that have been added to the collection.

First one is a little miniature that was brought to my attention by Mr. Bernard Lewis (a former employee of Wargames Foundry). Bernard shared his huge collection of painted Foundry Trolls with me, but he also presented me to an unknown human female Druid/Sorceress:

Many here will know that John's sculpting career really took off when Foundry commissioned him doing huge ranges of fantasy figures for them. The connection with Foundry also offered an opportunity of having some of his earlier works mastered and cast in limited numbers for a personal use, This female Druid is one such miniature (you can find her and all the other's here at the Wiki).

She is one of the first human sculpts John did - and definitely the first human immortalised into a metal miniature, and didn't take on the human subject until he made the seven sisters for Wargames Foundry (the UND11 Witches and UND12 Witches' Coven)

UND11 Witches ©Wargames Foundry

UND12 Witches' Coven ©Wargames Foundry

I confronted John with this story and he plead guilty of sculpting her. The exact words, when asked if she was on of his, was: "- that's awful! how could you possibly think I made her? Sadly enough, I did, but in my defence it was before I worked for Foundry. I sent it to them and they cast her up. At the time I thought she was great!" Does it sounds familiar :)

- but I disagreed, of course, as I found her rather cute - so after a search in the closest of shame, John managed to dig one out this:

- and it really seems that Foundry did help with this one - packed in a classic Foundry blister. The left one is a miscast (missing her leg) but the second one is just perfect.

Unreleased Female Druid by John Pickford

And she is sitting with Bernard's original painted one in the Collecting John Pickford-Wiki, now.

See that was the curiosities, now the oddities. Again the theme is humanoids and the next 3 miniatures are actually official Foundry's Miniatures, but I don't think, that they have actually found the moulds for them, yet.
In the glory days of Foundry Fantasy, John started working on a range of Evil Barbarians for them. Not sure how far/serious they took this project, though - but I know of 4 different packs being made - a leading character and 3 packs of 3 warrior types.

The pictures here are rather small, but they are the only evidence I have of their existence.

CS001 Evil Barbarian Warriors General
©Wargames Foundry

CS002 Evil Barbarians Warriors
©Wargames Foundry

CS003 Evil Barbarians Warriors
©Wargames Foundry

CS004 Evil Barbarians Warriors
©Wargames Foundry

They are the only proff I had till I found these 3 guys in my box:

Wargames Foundry: CS004 Evil Barbarians Warriors

I know, that John doesn't really like them and would have liked re-sculpting some of their details. To me, I think the do the their job as retro fantasy miniatures suitable to be mix with other ranges of chaotic warriors and barbarians from the pre-2000 era - and they will definitely be added to my Warriors of Chaos Warband.

And speaking of a possible re-sculpt, John also gave me this test-piece where he tried changing some of the "problematic" elements, but was never commissioned to do the overhaul. 

Converted CS001 Evil Barbarian General
I have to admit, that I prefer the retro-styled miniatures, but also have to admit that my taste in miniatures are rather old-fashioned.

Next time, we'll look at much more tradition Pickford subject .... a Goblin - stay tuned.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Collecting John Pickford: More Ewal Dvergar

People that follow my Ewal Dvegar blog would already have seen these last sunday, but I'd really like to share them on here, too.

During the winter, John Pickford has been working on the next for my Ewal Dvergar forces - Core warriors with guns. A few weeks ago I received a nice big box with all the new greens but also a few nice "gems" from John's sculpting youth. But today's post is all about the greens :)

The new warriors are are mainly rework of the existing Crossbowmen - but for a proper aiming pose, a completely new sculpt have been made. Apart from this new aiming pose, the gunners will re-use the swappable Sallet/helmet system found on the Crossbowmen.

Here are the 3 new headless gunner-poses and their helmets:

As said, non of the excising poses where optimal for an aiming pose so we decided doing a brand new piece:

But we didn't stop there. After building command groups using the 3 different standards options on existing warrior bodies, I'd realised that I needed an alternative musician. I have made a head swap on one of the existing ones, but saw that I needed a more general change to the overall appearance - so challenge John to do another one based on the original. I think he was rather successful, don't you?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

More Ewal Dvergar, a Bird Shaman and an ugly beast

These here were also painted back in November/December. Most of them are from my private Ewal Dvergar/John Pickford adventure - but also 2 pieces sculpted by myself.

First, the most anticipate Ewal Dvergar core warriors with Crossbows. You simply can't do a Dwarf Army without a huge section of missile troops, can you? When I set out on this venture the crossbow men where second on the list of what I wanted to build, and am very pleased with the result. John did an incredible job sculpting them.

Clam Miniatures: Ewal Dvergar Core Warriors with Crossbowmen

At the same time John worked on the missile troops he also took on the task of doing a command group/support - or more precise a musician and a standard bearer. He did a fantastic job - and the two was an absolutely joy painting.

Clam Miniatures: Ewal Dvergr Standard Bearer 

Clam Miniatures: Ewal Dvergr Musician

And the complete group beside each other:

One of the many benefits of doing your own miniatures are that a empty slot in your master mould can be filled out with your own weird creation just for the price of metal - and with 8-10 spins from those moulds, I'd have enough piece playing around with and perhaps paint. In the latest master mould I found room for two of these home-brewed miniatures.

First one is a "Bird Shaman". Haven't had the courage yet, to try doing faces - so I covered his face with a huge bird skull. Will make a nice proxy Sorcerer in my Dwarf Army till John can do me a proper one :)

Second one is slight more weird. I've had some sculpting practise dwarf dollies made which I've been using for spare epoxy putty - one of these dollies ended up as a snake/beastly creature and have been painted too. To emphasize his snaky look, I gave it a Coral Snake colour scheme ;-)

So, I got 10 more "men" ready for the battlefield: