How to grow the mountain under the guise of ‘business’ or ‘work’.

Even back when the Mountain was but a molehill, the young Scrivener was an avid accumulator of lead (and back then it really was lead) who purchased miniatures with no further rhyme nor reason than the rule of cool. If it looked good, it went on to the pile (Although as it was the 1980s, ‘Cool’ could be very subjective indeed.) A great deal of time and effort was spent poring over dog-eared copies of Dragon, GM and White Dwarf, squinting at the tiny black and white photographs in the library copy of Martin Hacketts’ Fantasy Wargaming, and fondling Ziploc bags or blister packs in the local hobby shops. Wargaming and Role-play were still foundling industries back then, and the various publications were chock-full of tiny ads placed by equally tiny companies churning out tiny lead people.

Pre-digital photography under zoom is like having lego thrown at your face. What are they selling? Who can say? Also, Gygax in Reading! 

One such purveyor was Rieder design, who were the miniatures ‘wing’ of the company that all dedicated Goths and metal-heads would come to know as Alchemy Gothic.

Goblin Terrorists notwithstanding, and relying solely upon the daguerreotype images in the ads, a strong desire for ownership was kindled, specifically for the (then) Masked Mercenaries, who bore a strong ( mostly subjective) resemblance to the evil forces of Doomdark from the then ground-breaking and still utterly epic computer war-game ‘The Lords of Midnight’ (one of the foundations of your humble scribblers’ interests in all things Fantastique, and thus the whole Lead Mountain. There will be more writ about this, for sure). 

The Lord of Shadows is properly shitted up. And in his own forest too.

 Of course nobody nearby was selling them, and the juvenile inky-fingered collector had not yet quite mastered the arcane aspects of ‘Postal Orders’, so the desire remained just that: doleful staring and wishful thinking


Masked and Anonymous and For Hire. Doesn’t get much more mysterious. Try not to weep over the price. Inaccurate contents though… 

Time counts, and keeps on countin’ and Rieder design eventually disappeared from the hallowed pages of the wargaming press. Gone, but wistfully not forgotten, the scribe found himself engaged in a bit of miniature horse-trading.

Miniature Horse, for reference.

Amongst his newly found wares was a hard-shell box, labelled Doomguard (always promising) and lo and behold, it transpired that the Doomguard just happened to be the command group variants of the original Masked Mercenaries. Turns out that an outfit called ‘Alternative Armies’ had picked up the range,  and the seemingly lost figures were now commercially available again.  Imagine the excitement. Imagine the hand-flapping and weird pleasure/surprise noises. Or don’t, for it was not seemly. 

Time counts a bit more, and the scribe is an adult now, browsing the internet, still squinting at terrible low-quality images of things he might want to add to the now substantial mountain, when he spies this. 


True 25mm. Back then, human. Nowadays, Goblin or evil dwarf perhaps. 

Inevitably, shopping commenced, and that distant and that solitary purchase, unearthed from some quiet and ancient mine-workings, expanded into a small army of re-monikered ‘Goblin Knights’*  The eagle-eyed viewer might however spot a small flaw in the above miniature range: It only has 6 infantry sculpts total. It only had 6 sculpts back when Rieder had it too. An enterprising fellow had subsequently created two mounted variants: 

Here’s where the Labyrinth resemblance was really cemented.

But all the rest of the Orcs and Goblins were pretty traditional in form and appearance, hardly suitable for the imagined massed ranks of the unstoppable Doomguard. So out came the chopping blades and drilling…er…drills, and the Scribe set to work creating some missile troops: bowmen to be precise. 

2016-10-03 19.17.34
Simple but effective, the timeless art of sticking people with pointy sticks from a distance had evaded the Mighty Doomguard, until I got hold of them

Quietly pleased with his crafty skills, the scribe shared an image of the newly created unit on the Alternative Armies Facebook page, and was surprised to receive a message from the Supreme Over-Being of that stalwart company (almost definitely his real job description), Gavin B Syme. 

Would the scribe be interested in helping AA expand the Goblin range with some additional sculpts? 

Would he? 

Does this answer your question? 

OK, so the process is a little more involved than it may appear, but the long and the short of it is that Alternative Armies now have more Goblins to sell, the Mountain got bigger, and subsequent posts will showcase some painted examples of the above wares.** They may even go into the gruesome details of what was done to the original sculpts, and the rapid learning curve involved in transitioning from knocking out conversions for home use to the rigorous requirements of commercial sculpting, with some digression on the difficulties of re-sculpting miniatures that are decades old in a sympathetic ‘Oldhammer’ style. The intention is to field these chaps in Osprey’s Dragon Rampant (where they may technically be old enough to earn the ‘Honour Thy Elders’ Glory points for being pre-1983, although as new casts, they may not qualify – rules lawyer time). When the units grow sufficiently, they can be fielded in the upcoming Oathmark rules set, penned by Frostgrave  Sorcerer-King Joseph A McCullough (currently scheduled for a 2019 release, so ample time for growth). 

And by far the best part is that any number of these models can be accumulated because they constitute a ‘work-based project’. Have at thee, widow! 

Note for retro shoppers: The Masked Mercenaries are not the only Rieder miniatures that AA picked up. If you have the time and can find original images (perhaps here) then one could spend happy hours rooting out other casts. The Wraith on Pterodactyl featured in at least one 1980’s print ad, for starters. If you add the code ‘Danger’ when ordering from AA, this penniless putty-shoveller may even receive some recognition or slight remuneration. 

*Whilst they may be marketed as Goblin Knights, in MY head-movies these guys will always be the Doomguard. 

** The Lead mountain will soon be home to a shiny new photographic lightbox. Until it arrives, photographs will be poorly lit and amateurish. This is entirely stylistic, and not at all because the scribe has to cower in a darkened crevice to evade the passing of the many-legged and multifarious Widow as she strides about her domain, searching hither and yon for escaped Hobbits, shiny gewgaws and misplaced miniatures to direct her fierce Uncaring toward.

If you enjoy the content I generate, feel free to show your appreciation using the link below. It’s not actually coffee, but it might end up being. (Or I can upgrade WordPress and make this whole show more shiny.)

3 thoughts on “How to grow the mountain under the guise of ‘business’ or ‘work’.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.