Hobby Focus – Ian Strickland

Hobby Focus is The Painted Dragon’s regular slot that will throw some light on people and companies from within the wargaming and miniature painting hobby world.

This weeks Hobby Focus is a bit of a special one for me as the focus is on a longtime battle brother and close friend of mine, Mr Ian Strickland.

Ian and I met way back at the dawn of the 90’s in Games Workshop Leeds and have been good mates ever since, even though he took out my Jump Pack Assault Marines with ‘Stuntie’, Gay Biker looking, Space Dwarfs armed with Shot Guns (Yes Strickland I can still remember …but I am not bitter!!!)

Ian Strickland

Hello there hobby brethren!

It’s a pleasure to be invited on to The Painted Dragon for a hobby focus. I’m pretty much what you’d call a lifer when it comes to toy soldiers, having been in the hobby for thirty years now. I’m a big science fiction, fantasy and horror fan (tends to go with the territory), and also a big history buff (mainly the wars).

I first discovered GW back in 1988 through finding a copy of White Dwarf in WH Smith’s. I still remember it as clear as day now – issue 103 with Jim Burns’ Battlecars artwork on the cover. I was heavily into Airfix kits at the time, so the spreads of models, particularly the Rhino plastic kit (brand new at the time), just blew me away. Along with the spreads of all the different camo schemes by Sid, I was bitten deep by the hobby bug.

I’ve stuck with the hobby through thick and thin since then. I’ve had peaks and troughs, but I’ve never completely lost my love for model soldiers. I’m about 90% building and painting and 10% gaming. Along with my other hobbies of drawing and blogging about film, I find it to be an intensely therapeutic activity.

As far as collecting goes, my very first army was a Space Marine Chapter of my own design named The Dogs of War after the Frederick Forsyth novel. They were mainly made up of the beloved RTB01 plastic set and funded from my paper round and birthday and Christmas money. They had a black and white scheme not dissimilar to the modern day Black Templars. Halcyon days that I look back on with great fondness! Sadly I no longer have any examples to show. The Dogs are now lost to time due to various house moves and the vicissitudes of modern life.

I remember I got into Warhammer Fantasy at the back end of ‘92 when 4th Ed came out in the new boxed set format. I think I swapped the High Elves and Gobbos with some mates as I wanted to start a Dwarf army. My first choice was Skaven, but I remember the range being very limited back in those days. I remember my forays into Fantasy being a bit half-hearted, my first love has always been 40K, so I drifted back to the Grim Darkness the following year when 2nd Ed replaced the Rogue Trader rules set. I managed to get a massive Squat army painted up (yes, the army that shotgunned my Marines like clay pigeons – TPD), another force sadly lost to time, and also a small World Eaters force that I collected purely for the joy of painting, and which never saw action.

By the mid-nineties, I got sold on the Imperial Guard as they were then called, due to the metal boxed sets and the tank kits that GW came out with at the time. This is the army I’ve pretty much stuck with for the last twenty years – the 702nd Cadian Battlegroup, now under the unofficial designation of ‘The Revenants’ since the destruction of Cadia, a cataclysm they avoided due to being deployed on the Eastern Fringe defending the militarised hive world of Malumvast from depredations of the Ruinous Powers.

Malumvast is actually a campaign setting that I’ve had in my head for ages, I just need to get the thing written down and draw the maps. I’ve been promising The Painted Dragon I’d get it done for a couple of years now (yup, still waiting- TPD), so I’m going to try and make a concerted effort this year to get something down on paper before he takes a sharp stick to me!

Question time?
  1. Can you remember the very first miniature you painted and what was it?
    The original Imperial Assassin by Jes Goodwin. Back in the 80’s there was a slew of (mostly not very good) ninja films that flooded the home rental market. I was a big fan of these then, so this miniature instantly appealed. For the first couple of years that I was into collecting, I was oblivious to the gaming aspect really, it was all about the miniatures, so I just collected random ones that I liked.
  2. If you had to choose a favourite miniature or kit of all time, which would it be?
    That’s a tough call. I think that three of the finest kits that GW have ever produced are the Vyper Jetbike (21 years old and still going strong), the plastic Sentinel and the Valkyrie. The Imperial Knight uns them all close though. If I have to choose, I’ll go for the Valkyrie, just because I’ve always loved the sci-fi dropship archetype. Lovely kit.
  3. If money was no object, what would be your ultimate dream army?
    I’d expand my Cadians out into a full Company, and add on lots of auxiliary units to it like Inquisitors etc, all the wonderful 40K ‘weird’ that evokes the universe. I’d make it a real ‘Army of the Imperium’ type force. Lots of Forge World pattern tanks in there too. Time would have to be no object too though!
  4. If you could design a new race or army for Warhammer 40K what would it be?
    I’ll be no doubt castigated and/or ridiculed but I’d reintroduce Zoats. Okay I know they aren’t strictly new, but that’s my choice. I have an irrational love of Zoats.
  5. Is there one hobby product you use often that you couldn’t do without?
    Well, there’s far more than just one! We’d all be pretty stumped without glue or paint brushes or a scalpel! Assuming I’ve got all those as standard, I’d have to say Chaos Black spray. Boring, yes. But soooo necessary to provide a good foundation to paint over. I remember the bad old days of undercoating everything with a brush (Smelly Primer!) or having to use car body sprays (we bought ours from Halfords – TPD).
  6. Are you a gamer or just a painter?
    I’m 90:10 a painter. I do game but it’s occasional mainly due to family commitments and the facts that neither I nor any mates have a permanent set up. The artistic and creative side of the hobby has always been what has drawn me to it.
  7. What armies or ranges do you collect and which is your favourite?
    I’m currently collecting an Adeptus Mechanicus army at the moment, which has sprung from the couple of Imperial Knights I felt compelled to paint. A beautiful range of miniatures and I’m really enjoying painting them at the moment too, it’s a nice break from painting camo! I’ve also got my eye on the Primaris, the first time I’ve been drawn back to marines in over twenty years. I’ve always promised myself a Blood Angels force at some point. I like painting red!
  8. Who are your hobby inspirations?
    For me the golden age was the first 4-5 years when I got into the hobby, and the big luminaries of that time were Rick Priestley, Nigel Stillman for the rules and background, and John Blanche, Jes Goodwin, Aly Morrison, Dave Andrew and the Perry twins for the wonderfully evocative artwork and miniatures that really brought these mad visions to life. I can still remember the feeling that I had at the time looking through the books and White Dwarfs, that I’d never seen anything like it.
  9. Being a hobbyist that has been around since the early days, do you prefer new style plastic miniatures or Oldhammer lead?
    Like everything else, miniatures tend to be of their time. I’ll always have a certain fondness for the old days of metal because a lot of those minis are bound up with memories of a certain place and time. But I wouldn’t want to paint an army of them now. The quality of the plastic miniatures now is really out of this world, of a standard of detail and design aesthetic that was just inconceivable when I first got into the hobby. It’s got to be new plastic all the way.
  10. The most important question of all… Do you lick your brush?
    Hell yes.

Whats next in regards to the hobby?
I’m currently collecting an Adeptus Mechanicus army at the moment, which has sprung from the couple of Imperial Knights I felt compelled to paint.

Now onto the good stuff…

Ian Strickland Showcase

Follow the link to find more about Ian Strickland’s horror cinema website The Stricken Land which in his own words is “Trawling the stygian depths of cinema, reviewing obscure z-movies and cult favourites!”.

Follow The Stricken Land at:

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