Sunday, May 1, 2011

Retro Review 1: Chainsaw Warrior with Reaper

When I first got into the wargaming hobby I was young and constantly broke. My 1969 Chevelle Malibu took any extra cash I had and extended sorties into various gaming arcades took the rest. So when new miniatures came out I was often without funds to pick them up. And prior to the internet, ordering miniatures from Citadel, all the way in England for crying out loud, was a daunting task indeed. My local game store did a fine job of trying to get new product but often by the time I got there all the cool stuff was gone. All that was left were the many packs of Space Marine heavy weapons that all seemed to have conversion beamers. I still believe that there was a severe overcasting of conversion beamers in Nottingham and they made sure to secretly pack away as many of the as they could to The US. So many dopey conversion beamers.

But I'm off topic. My idea for Retro Reviews is so that I can revisit miniatures that I used to to have or that I could never get my hands on. I'm a better painter now than I was at nineteen so I'm looking forward to painting these figures without the stress that I used to feel. Time to have some fun and check out some classic miniatures!

I'll be starting out with a Chainsaw Warrior from Citadel Miniatures. This miniature was sculpted by Bob Naismith in 1987. It is one of four Chainsaw Warrior minis that Citadel produced. They were created to support the solo-play game Chainsaw Warrior but were sort of shoehorned into Warhammer 40,000 as Imperial Guard troops since there was actually no need for them to be used to play Chainsaw Warrior. First lesson of making miniature games: make miniatures necessary to play the game.

After picking up this little fellow pretty cheaply on Ebay, I took a long look over it to see what kind of shape it was in and how I might improve it. And other than sharpening up the edges on the shoulder armor and reaper cannon I didn't have to do much since Naismith had created such a really impressive miniature. The sculpting is on par with other things that Citadel was producing in the day. The details are a bit soft and there is some interesting anatomy with the gloved hands. But honestly this mini is still really groovy.

The proportions and stance of the Chainsaw Warrior are outstanding. The reaper cannon that he carries is instantly recognizable as what it is, basically a big autocannon for making bad things die. The mini is also equipped with a combination headset microphone and camera (a pretty obvious inspiration from Aliens), two pistols, a communications device, and a canteen. The overall look is very 2000 AD which makes sense as the lead comic artist on Chainsaw Warrior was Brett Ewins of Rogue Trooper fame. Naismith does an excellent job of capturing the 2000 AD vibe while creating a character that works within the Chainsaw Warrior storyline.

The mini was cast in a lead based alloy and this helped to remind my of why I hate lead miniatures. My needle file gummed up just like in the 80s, my X-Acto knife stuttered along seam lines instead of gliding smoothly. And I know that a lot of detail has been softened over the years by simple abuse. All that being said the mini was in pretty good shape. Overall cleaning was followed by a matte black undercoat.  I wanted to use all military colors but still break up the figure so that armor was clearly defined from cloth, boots from pants, etc. I settled on a mix of olive drab, black, and urban camo for the BDU pants since for some reason all super soldiers in the 80s had to wear camo pants. I went with an olive for the gun housing since I wanted it to look like it was made of various types of materials. Drybrushing the whole thing chainmail would just be boring anyway.

A face only a mother, or drill sergeant could love.

One of my favorite parts of this mini is the face. Overly craggy and almost Neanderthal this guy seems like someone who has been around a battlefield or two. His crew cut is easy to paint and the headset really makes him seem like he's on a mission.

I built a quick base using a piece of corrugated plastic, a plastic tube and some wires to make a broken electrical conduit, and some scattered shell casings made from aluminum tube. Since the Chainsaw Warrior game takes place inside of an abandoned skyscraper I didn't want to add foliage or grass. It adds to the post apocalyptic feel anyway.

Overall this miniature still holds up as a tough as nails super soldier type character. It is big and bulky and wouldn't look out of place with today's standard "super heroic scale" minis. I'm looking forward to tracking down his three other brothers, even the sort of goofy Timescape version, and giving them matching paintjobs. It's been great to finally find a miniature that I've wanted since 1987 and have the time and skill to enjoy painting it.

Go deep into your lead pile and look around. Find some of those orphaned minis of yesteryear that you might have forgotten about. I think you'll be surprised by how much fun they still are.

Next Time:
Winners of Trash Bash 2011 Announced!


  1. Great review and a lovely bit of nostalgia! Looking forward to more of the same.

  2. Great job on this! The colors work well. I also really like this idea of searching out old minis that you wanted but never got around to picking up for financial or other reasons. Looking forward to more of these.