Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Psychostyrene (Anachronistic)

Recently I was digging into some old issues of Warlock Magazine (an old fantasy magazine published by Penguin, and later Games Workshop, in support of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston's Fighting Fantasy series if books) for some art inspiration for DCC zine project I am working on. I love the black and white art of this era from the British artists of the mid- '80's. Perhaps it's nostalgia from all the Victor and Battle Action! comics I used to read when I lived there in my pre-teens? And perhaps that same inspiration was what helped pull me into Rogue Trader back in the late '80s when I returned, as some of these same artists were still doing artwork for GW at that time. The old John Blanche stuff is particularly fun to see. Anyway, while perusing this quest for inspiration I happened upon this rather curious advert:

The advert from Warlock Magazine #6.

"Psychostyrene", what the? And this image of the crazed berserker dwarves...it stopped me and I had to pause my quest to read deeper into this...


So you got, for 75p, circa 1986, a blister back with three multipart customizable dwarves. Hell, you even got transfers included in the blister! Pretty amazing considering that I thought the single miniature blisters we have today were a fairly recent concept for GW, and here is an example of GW doing it (arguably) better a good year prior to the launch of Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader.

Another old ad found by Stuff of Legends.
 And they gave it a wild and obviously crazy title of Psychostyrene. A rather strong title from an LP perspective isn't it? Certainly a bit more radical and unique than say, "Finecast" was for their resin line.

I had to find out more. I needed to know what these things looked like. A quick online search revealed an intact Sprue and an assembled model. And you know what? They didn't look that bad! I would argue that they looked better than their WFB 4th Ed era monoposed models. Oh, it's crude by today's standards, but then again today's standards could have produced this blister in a fraction of the time -and cost- that must've gone into this kit. Apparently, this may have been GW's first attempt at a plastic kit, it's a bold first attempt if so.

A psychostyrene sprue.
Well, the weapons were a tad goofy, but whatever, it's three dwarves, in hard plastic, with transfers and head options -for 75p! That was maybe $1 back then!

The blister pack.
It appears that this was followed up with a similar orc plastic blister called Drasik Plastik, but that's for another discussion. As far as I can tell this was the extent of the early attempt at trying to sell plastic kits via blister. I imagine the production costs were a bit excessive at the time, but I am not privy to facts to support this assumption. GW would of course move onto a boxed set format, with loads more models, to support their games.

But if you really want one of these original plastic dwarves, you can find them on ebay, but for an excessively high cost. They are rare, especially in mint condition, so they are truly a collectable at this point. But a fun piece of Games Workshop history never-the-less.


1 comment:

WestRider said...

That is super cool! I can only speculate, but I would guess that the higher setup costs for Plastic Models and the lower volume sold by blisters made them a better option for boxes. Boxes probably have lower packaging costs on a per-Model basis as well.