Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pictures from Games Day 1999

I can't believe it's been so many years now! 17 actually. Wow.

For those of you who may be unaware, Games Workshop used to have an annual event called Games Day. And in their primary markets they would hold one of these events. In the U.S.A. it was held at, for a number of years, in their U.S. city of operations: Baltimore. They had gaming, lots of gaming, registered events, demos for old and upcoming releases, sales including exclusive Games Day minis (it was a Space Marine Captain with a power fist that year, and I loaded up on about 4 blisters, 2 of which I still have), a showcase showing all the stuff about to come out or that the design studio was developing  (back then this alone fueled the rumor mills of the time, notably the 40K Mailing List and Portent) and finally, Games Day was the place for the Golden Daemon Awards. And that was primarily what prompted The Doctor and I to go that year.

Now none of our models made the first cut that year, and seeing our competition we were humbled by our peers  (although there were a few models that did make that first cut that had us scratching our heads). I brought the Legion of Damned (I finished them the night before in the hotel room) for Best Squad/ Unit category , Skippy the Bloodthirster  for the Best Monster Category, the Dark Angels Whirlwind that I painted for The Doctor for the Best Vehicle category and if I brought anything else I just don't remember what it was nor can I recall what The Doctor brought. But, we still had a blast participating.

We also got to interview Rick Priestley who was there to demo War Master. He generously gave us a good 30 minutes or more of his time and seemed grateful to get away from the noise (the near deafening screams of WAAAARGH! that seemed to erupt every few minutes have to be experienced to be believed). The interview was for a fanzine that the Doc and I were going to produce but the 40k and GW climate had changed so much from where it was at when we had started the project that we later had decided not to produce it. Still, it was an interview we were both proud of and it's a shame we were never able to transcribe it or we would share it for history's sake if anything.

A highlight of the whole experience, the main focus of this post, was the massive diorama that was set up in the middle of the convention hall. It depicted an Imperial Guard force defending a jungle shore line from a Dark Eldar raid, with the Dark Angels arriving to assist them. It was damned impressive for it's time. The Doc had just bought a new camera (crude by today's caliber) and snapped some pics, some of which he sent me. While recently cleaning I found them, and thought it would be fun to share them here.

It may have been covered in the White Dwarf of the time, and I apologize for my lack of citation or credit to those who worked on this project. Whomever you are, thank you for this and thanks for the excitement you generated in fueling our desires to create unique and interesting gaming tables.

"First rank: FIRE!!!"
A particular point of focus on this whole battlefield was the rank and file line of Praetorian Guard gunning down the Dark Eldar rabble advancing on their line. They looked awesome. They stand in defence of some very impressive scratch built trenchworks which are being held by Catachan units.

Further down the line we see what the Ogryns in the top are running towards. They are charging into the nearly over-ran trenchworks, clearly hoping to save the day for the beleaguered Catachans. The tanks in this diorama have all being lovingly converted and customized. The camo netting on the closest tank is particularly impressive.

Further back and behind the Praetorian line we can see more extensive trenchworks and tank positions. These were very inspirational back then and The Doctor and studied these models for a very long time while discussing how they did it and how we could do this ourselves.

Beachhead slaughter.
Here we see some Dark Angel and Dark Eldar casualties among the bloody survivors of the continuing firefight to take the beach.

Chimeras reinforcements enter the fray by crossing the bridge. Sadly this pic was way too washed out by the camera's flash.

These next pair of pics link together.

This first one shows the Catachan tank positions and supply dump with Jungle Fighters racing down the trenchline to support their comrades. On the right you can Dark Angel Veterans arriving to lend a hand...
Dark Angels sally forth!
...and they are arriving from a very sweet ride! This was the model on the whole diorama that generated the most gasps. Its a scratch-built Land Raider! At the time, the current kit was not yet available and the original one had been out of production for over 5 years and was going for ridiculous prices on the secondary markets. However Epic 40k had been out and it had epic scale models of new style Landraiders in it that had us 40k players salivating at the potential. It would be another year or so before the plastic kit that is available now would be released. But the model in this pic was pretty close to accurate.

Warmaster demo. 
Rick Priestley was there demoing Warmaster. It wouldn't be released for another year or so, and he was very enthusiastic about getting any, and every, one to play a game with him. It had potential but when the models came out I just didn't appeal to me. Still, it was the only time GW made Araby models and we got to see a Warhammer army that near came to be at 28mm scale. Another failure of Warmaster, and the pic above reminds me of this, was I don't recall them making scale terrain for it. Seems like a vital element to me.

Although I have no pics, another game that was soon to be released which was aggressively being played here was Mordheim. The writer, Tuomas Pirinen was there along with others with fresh copies of the rules. It was very exciting stuff to behold and still one of my favorite GW games.

It was a great weekend, and all theae years later I still look back on it fondly. If more pics are discovered, of course I will share rhem herw.

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