Arkke Wald - February 2013: Blanchitsu.

Following on from the epic battle-report re-posted from Opus Maius earlier this week, I thought I'd keep things ticking over with some of the photos I took of the miniatures that John Blanche had brought with him to use in the day's gaming. Initially, the February meeting was to be a continuation of our Yggdrassilium game from last year, however we had to have a couple of last minute revisions due to the Yggdrassillum board going awol in Leeds, and then some misunderstanding regarding another strand of our gaming. This left us with little time to clarify exactly what we's be playing, but everything came together quite smoothly in the end.

A little more on the setting will follow in a supplemental post, but before that, here are some photos of John's miniatures - his gang of doddermen:

This gang developed from one of the members of John's Yggdrassilum gang - my personal favourite - 'the old man with a stick'. Taken with the miniature, John decided to build a whole gang of them following some conversations between us all (largely Neil) regarding the Phineus scene in Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts film. An entire gang of Phineuses, devolved feral natives, blessed by Nurgle, natives stranded on a feral world, continually skirmishing with flocks of harpies.

In addition to these, John had brought along an Inquisitor Lord in terminator armour, excellently converted from one of the Horus Heresy Cataphractii Terminators: Lord Inquis. Nocturbulus. This had been painted in the space of the week leading up to the meeting. John kindly supplied us all with a step by step update/painting guide, so it was interesting to see not just the miniature in the flesh, but also the process of building, converting and painting the miniature form start to finish. I can ask JB if he's happy for me to repost the process photos at a later date if there's sufficient interest. Given the number of comments I get asking about the 'blanchitsu' style, there probably would be.

Finally, here's a collection of shots of Nocturbulus facing off against the doddermen. I know who I'd put my money on!


  1. I would love to take a peek at that step-by if Mr. Blanche doesn't mind! Awesome stuff.

  2. Do I spot mini paintings on the bases of those doddermen? Either way, rad idea!

  3. I've loved the creativity and style of John Blanche since my childhood.

    To see some step by steps by the man himself would be a joy and a great insight.

  4. Well, I can only ask - he may well say no. Artists like to keep their secrets safe :)

    I don't think they're intended to be paintings, Mr.Phiq. I think that's just the way the paint has fallen (so to speak), although I may be mistaken.

  5. I am really excited to hear more about this gaming session, the character and spirit of 40k really shows through with the models (more so then vast legions of hastily assembled Space Marines...). As always I would be thrilled to hear more from Blanche about how he creates his miniatures, and injects the same unworldly feeling that is so evident in his paintings into his models as well.

    1. There's a very long battle report (written by Neil101) here if that helps:

  6. i would make no distinction between those bases and an abstract action painting - the paint is half random because its laid wet but is also very controlled as in what colours and how they are layered and in particular the swirly direction inspired bi bath scum twirling around an emptying plug hole or a galaxy ....

  7. The doddermen remind me strongly of the demons in Gruenwald's "Temptations of St. Anthony", now given additional unholy life in three dimensions. Really like the way their individual faces represent a spectrum of sorts, from the mostly human to bestial to completely warped. They also could easily appear among the Eusa People in Hoban's "Riddley Walker".

  8. just been hit bi two big loves of mine - the painting was n the background of a crypt in a hammer dracula film i saw in the 60's - blew me away even tho i knew not the artist - riddley is a book ive never met anybody else who has read that - it was first published in granta in the late 70's or eighties and again made a big impact on me - the telling in thunderdome was lifted from there but the book of dave bi will self was directly influenced bi it - stunning PA stuff ......thx nathan

  9. Strange coincidence: I was given a copy of Riddley Walker for Christmas by a good friend of mine. It's sitting on my desk next to me waiting to be read now that my work mania has eased. But in a scary bit of serendipity, it's sitting next to some sketches that I've been doing of The Temptation of St. Anthony - not Gruenwald's, though, but Schongauer's.

    The doddermen do look like the creatures in the Gruenwald painting, though, you're right.

  10. Thanks for the shots, Fulgrim! The Dobbermen sure have lots in common with the creatures in Grünewald's painting, especially with the pock covered old chap sitting in the corner.

    Might need to check out that book too, always love good post-apoc. writings.

  11. @Fulgrim - Schongauer's version is great too. Jung would have blamed this on Synchronicity, and he should know. :-)

    @izeColt - "Riddley Walker" is an amazing book, with a sense of loss and passage of time between the era of the story and our own that is un-equalled in other post-apoc stories. It's haunting and powerful and quite unlike anything else out there (and endorsements like this don't really give it justice anyway).

    @JB - I can only thank you back for all the wonderful illustrations in the "Sorcery" books, they were one of the biggest influences in the shaping of my appreciation of fantastic art. And it's great to see the new art work, both pictorial and three dimensional.
    Didn't know Riddley influenced "Mad Max" but I've only seen the second one, so that's one more movie to my "to watch" list and I'll definitely pick up "The Book of Dave" too.