18 August 2014

BOYL 2014 - Bryan's Cabinets of Curiosities

One of the best bits about the atmosphere at BOYL was the incredibly warm welcome the Ansells and their team at Foundry HQ gave us, both individually and en masse. Umbrellas on Friday night (and it really was night, nine pm I think) when we finally finished gaming to get us through the biblical downpour to our cars, spotlights set up so we could game later, remembering which of us were vegetarian and coming to find us at our games to ask what food we'd like at the next meal, a properly fiery veggie chilli (thanks Dianne - yum!), gallons of free tea and coffee.... The list goes on. I've never gamed anywhere as welcoming. Suffice to say, BOYL 2015 is already being planned for a return visit next August :)

Actually, on Friday night I was at a bit of a loose end. The Siege (a game that will be forever capitalised) had paused for the night and antipixi was playing toy cars with the other remaining geeks and gamers, so Bryan Ansell who up until that point had always been a near-mythical name on the 3rd Ed. rulebook and slightly manic looking chaos general gave me a tour of his gaff.

Look on my mullet, ye mighty, and despair!
And what a nice chap he is, utterly unfazed by a whole bunch of chaps in their thirties being slightly fan-boyish and asking the same sort of question over and again. Anyway, the tour. The stableyard buildings are fabulous with remnants of the original medieval work and repairs/remodelling over the centuries. The proposed expansion of indoor gaming space is ambitious but will be incredibly atmospheric, along with a bar and music performance area. There was also the mold room, or should that be rooms. Hundreds of feet of miniature molds, disc after rubber disc whispering their potential for emptying my wallet!

Clearly labelled

You can see where the lead gets poured. As an engineer-by-training, this was fascinating to me.

The photos are from the alcove before the main store room. I saw one shelf of about fifty molds that seemed to be labelled "Misc." and another several shelves that had no visible labelling at all. Apparently, some of them haven't been used for about twenty five years (think about it, that's 1989 - what treasures they might contain!). In all, there are over seventeen TONS of molds. The mind boggles. It was while discussing these "unknown" molds that Bryan said two things which I think are really interesting for Oldhammer figure enthusiasts, archeogamers, if you will.
  1. Foundry intends to catalogue their molds so that you could ring up and have cast for you ANY model they have released at any point
  2. Bryan is fairly sure he has not only the rights to produce the historical figures from the golden era of Citadel (already available in e.g. The Baron's War range which are mostly ex-Citadel Perry "Feudal" sculpts), but also ANY figure that had been fully discontinued by GW/Citadel at the point he left. The only reason he hasn't pursued it so far is that it "would have seemed rude". However, as one of the Foundry chaps who was chatting with us pointed out, no-one is left who would mind. Watch this space, eh?!
I also got a guided tour through the small sample of Bryan's fifty thousand or so personal collection that were on display, including a whole squad of sphincter beasts. Horrible little sculpts, but a slice of nostalgia none-the-less. Sadly my photo was terribly blurry so I won't inflict it on you. Here are a few of the pieces that were there, but you'd need to head over to Eldritch Epistles or Realm of Chaos 80s for a more detailed run down of what they are and their significance. I just enjoyed the feeling of being inside a pre-issue 125 White Dwarf!

Love these wizards

The flash makes them a bit garish, but can you spot the metal originals that became the AHQ henchmen? Oh, and knights, woop!

More Feudals. Good inspiration for heraldry for me.

So chaotic they even affected my photo

Those wizards again, but Bryan had opened up the cabinet so I could get better pictures by this point. Look at all those demons lurking below...

Lurid chaos thugs

Probably the best painted miniature of its time, says Bryan. Hard to disagree.

Ok, it seemed a waste not to - some blurry sphincters. Hideous.

And that's it for BOYL reports for this year from me. I'm already planning next year (getting a weekend pass is top of the "to do" list) but there'll be plenty more gaming before then. In fact, I already have a battle report for what may be the Best Game Ever - my sons' first game of 3rd Ed, with me GMing. Yeah baby, the geek is strong in these two.

Toodle pip,


  1. It was a great weekend over all, but seeing some of the miniatures in those cabinets was a genuinely big deal for me. They may not be as famous as more mainstream eighties artwork, but many of the miniatures that I saw are personally significant: I remember where I was when I first saw pictures of them in White Dwarf, I remember examining the images to see what I could learn about how they were painted etc. It really was a treat to be able to see them up close.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    1. You're welcome! It was special, wasn't it, to see that physical embodiment of the excitement and wonder of our early teens?

  2. Lovely pics. The weekend at a calm surrealism for me. See minis that I'd seen in WD and meeting someone who had shaped chunks of my childhood with the games he designed was awesome! But at the same time it was all very easy going.

    Bring on BOYL2015!

  3. We were lucky enough to get a tour on Sunday afternoon as things were drawing to a close - very special indeed!

    Thanks goodness the Sphincter beast pics are blurry though ; )

    1. Where you the group that ended up in the Hall as well? I'd have loved to see the "goblet" diorama.

      I think my camera has more taste than me, sometimes, blurring those sphincters to protect the innocent ;)

  4. I think I'll try and ask Brian in 2015 if we could get a couple of set times for a tour of the main house minis as I think some of us were still around at that point but weren't aware there was a chance to go!

    1. That would be great! I understand Bryan wants to turn the whole place into a fantasy miniatures museum as well as shop and gaming space, so there may be more on display around the courtyard anyway.

  5. The tour is defo worth it, the geeky child in me (or is that "that is" me) was loving every second of it.

    Here's to BOYL 2015 and the gaming, laughs, beers and new friends it will bring.