Thursday, 20 December 2012


Back in the mists of time (1983 or 1984) I went along to Games Day in London, held at the Royal Horticultural Society Hall to spend my pocket money on D and D figures. One of the highlights for me was a talk given by the fantasy artist Iain McCaig, who at the time was forging his career and had recently painted my favourite ever album cover Broadsword and the Beast by Jethro Tull. Mr. McCaig related how he had fallen asleep at the easel, and woken up to find he had painted all the Runes around the edge of the cover, and he didn't know what they said. Great story, but I suspect he knew they were the words of the first verse of the song Broadsword on the album.

Anyhow, this made a profound impression on a callow youth like myself, and I resolved to make a model based on the ship shown on the cover. 30 odd years on, I have finally done so!!

Here is the front and reverse of the sleeve, showing Ian Anderson the lead singer of Jethro Tull (and a superb songwriter and musician) as a strange Beastie. On the reverse he is riding on the figurehead of the ship. I reckon Iain McCaig was only in his early 20's when he painted this, so he must have been delighted to land the commission that produced this iconic piece of rock art.

I think I will crew the ship with some Dwarves from the old Grenadier range. The sails depict The Pewter Moon (badge of the Dwarves of the Pewter Moon, one of the factions in my fantasy world, where I live a good deal of the time), the Sunchild, another reference to a prog rock song( from King Crimson this time)
and the Beastie suppressing The Crimson King, who is the baddie/evil empire etc in my world.

The ship is a viking Drakkar by......can't remember, but Eastern European company I think, with a heavily converted Papo dragon head pinched from Robin and Arthur's soldier box (thanks chaps).

I painted runes on the figurehead..... anyone care to have a crack at translating them?

 purely dedicated to my fantasy figures. I will post the fantasy stuff here as well, but keep the new blog solely for fantasy stuff without my random meanderings.


  1. My dear chap, this is a wonderful bit of painting ! Absolutely marvellous. I stand in awe. Some tips about your techniques would be welcomed.

  2. Love it! Love the album (still have the original) great idea on the ship and splendid technique!

  3. A glorious effort,utterly splendid!

  4. Thanks chaps, I was so excited to get the project finished. Alfront, I cheated on the main sail, by taking a colour copy of the album cover and laminating it at work. I then painted over the Beastie in similar colours, gave it a wash of watered down Games Workshop Agrax earthshade (I can't tell you how useful this wash is, it's superb) and then a coat of PVA glue, finished off by a puff of Games Workshop purity seal varnish. GW might be the agents of the Devil, but they make some excellent paints.

  5. Am I glad that it wasn't the work of a one haired brush wielded with unnatural skill! I might have known that the dark forces of technology were in play!