A leadbelt Gaming Guide Series

A Journey Through the Creative Epicenters of Wargaming in Nottingham PT3


Welcome to the captivating world of wargaming in Nottingham, where creativity knows no bounds and imagination soar. In this article, we delve deeper into the artistic epicentres that bring the hobby to life: The Foundry, Warhammer World, and thriving independent workshops. Join us as we embark on a journey through these immersive spaces where wargaming magic happens and discover the vibrant community that nurtures the craft.

The Foundry: A Tribute to History and Artistry

Step into The Foundry, a haven for history buffs and aficionados of finely crafted miniatures.

Clifford Ansell, a retired mining engineer and math teacher from Nottingham, was looking for an engaging retirement job. His son, Bryan Ansell, who had already established himself in the toy soldier industry, suggested that Cliff try his hand at manufacturing toy soldiers.

At the time, Citadel, a prominent company in the industry, was transitioning to new “slotta bases” and discontinuing its historical models. Bryan helped set up Foundry, providing them with several discontinued Citadel ranges to manufacture, including Barons Wars, Wars of the Roses Medievals, Samurai, Vikings, Normans, Saxons, Woodland Indians, Huns, and Elizabethans.

Foundry quickly gained momentum with the sculpting talents of Michael and Alan Perry, who continued to create new ranges for Cliff’s company. Alistair Morrison, Trish Morrison, and Dave Andrews also contributed their sculpting skills.

Foundry initially operated in Sherwood before moving to a larger unit in New Basford. During this time, Foundry also collaborated with Games Workshop, producing master and production moulds when Games Workshop had excess demand. Many former Games Workshop staff, including John “Bones” Ellard, “Ep” Epworth, Andy Pattinson, Kevin Adams, Colin Dixon, and Shane Hoyle, joined Foundry’s ranks.

In 1991, Bryan Ansell left Games Workshop and ventured to Guernsey, where he established Guernsey Foundry and created models for Seven Years’ War, Old West, Pirates, and Darkest Africa. Upon his return to England in 2000, Bryan brought his ranges and some Guernsey staff members with him, taking over the management of Foundry.

Over the years, Foundry expanded its offerings, producing ranges such as Street Violence, Vikings, Gladiators, Romans, Swashbucklers, Greeks, Macedonians, Fantasy, and more.

In 2005, Bryan Ansell stepped away from Foundry to pursue gardening and house restoration. However, the Ansell family returned to the toy soldier industry when issues arose at Foundry. They took over the company and relocated it to the Carriage Court near their house in East Stoke.

Today, the Ansell family continues to operate Foundry, preserving the legacy of Cliff Ansell’s retirement venture and contributing to the rich tradition of toy soldiers.

Perry Miniatures: A Tribute to History and Artistry

Step into Perry Miniatures; a haven for history buffs and aficionados of finely crafted miniatures. Founded by the talented Perry twins, this workshop is renowned for its meticulous attention to historical accuracy and breathtaking detail. Every miniature tells a story, capturing the essence of different eras and bringing the past to life on the tabletop. From exquisitely sculpted soldiers to intricately designed terrain, The Foundry’s dedication to authenticity is unmatched, making it a go-to destination for hobbyists seeking to recreate historical battles with unparalleled precision.

Warhammer World: Where Fantastical Realms Materialize

Prepare to be spellbound as you enter the realm of Warhammer World, a realm where fantasy and imagination take tangible form. This extraordinary exhibition space, adjacent to Games Workshop’s headquarters, is a pilgrimage site for wargaming enthusiasts worldwide. Here, you’ll encounter awe-inspiring dioramas that transport you to breathtaking battlescapes, meticulously painted miniatures that embody iconic characters and immersive displays that blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Warhammer World showcases the artistry and craftsmanship that make the Warhammer universe an enduring source of fascination for gamers of all ages.

Independent Workshops: Breeding Grounds for Creativity and Collaboration

Beyond the well-established names, Nottingham’s wargaming scene flourishes with independent workshops that ignite the spark of creativity. These workshops serve as incubators for aspiring artists, providing a platform for them to hone their skills, experiment with new techniques, and unleash their imaginations. The atmosphere is one of innovation and collaboration, where artists come together to exchange ideas, share their expertise, and push the boundaries of miniature design. Within these independent spaces, you’ll discover a tapestry of diverse styles and themes, a testament to the vibrant and inclusive nature of the wargaming community.

WarpMiniatures or Archworlde: Where Whimsical Realms Unique Creations Thrive

Venture into the enchanting world of Archworlde and Ramshackle Games, two notable independent workshops that bring a touch of whimsy and innovation to the wargaming landscape. Archworlde, founded by renowned sculptor Alex Huntley, transports players to a fantastical realm populated by anthropomorphic creatures, eccentric characters, and imaginative landscapes. With a distinct style that blends fantasy and humour, Archworlde miniatures breathe life into imaginative narratives that are as delightful as they are engaging.

Ramshackle Games: Where Whimsy and Post-Apocalyptic Meets

Ramshackle Games, on the other hand, is a bastion of creativity and originality. Specializing in post-apocalyptic and sci-fi themes, this workshop embraces the spirit of DIY and upcycling. Ramshackle Games encourages hobbyists to repurpose everyday objects, transforming them into unique gaming pieces. The result is a quirky and eclectic collection of miniatures and terrain that reflect the workshop’s commitment to sustainability and artistic ingenuity.

The Assault Group: Meticulous Craftsmanship and Historical Authenticity

For enthusiasts seeking historical accuracy and exquisitely detailed miniatures, The Assault Group (TAG) is a name that commands attention. Founded by sculptor and historian Darren Evans, TAG is known for its meticulously crafted figures that span various eras and conflicts. From ancient battles to modern warfare, TAG’s miniatures capture the essence of historical periods with precision and care. Each model is a testament to the workshop’s commitment to authenticity and its passion for bringing history to life on the gaming table.

Warlord Games: Bringing History to the Forefront

Warlord Games, another prominent player in the Nottingham wargaming scene, is celebrated for its dedication to historical wargaming. With a focus on key periods such as World War II, the Napoleonic era, and the ancient world, Warlord Games offers a wide range of meticulously researched and beautifully sculpted miniatures. Their commitment to historical accuracy extends beyond the miniatures themselves, as they provide rulebooks, supplements, and other resources to enhance the gaming experience. Warlord Games has played a significant role in popularizing historical wargaming, ensuring that the past remains a vibrant and immersive part of the hobby.

Lucid Eye: The Artistry of Fantasy and Myth

Enter the realm of Lucid Eye, a workshop that marries the realms of fantasy, myth, and folklore. Led by the talented and visionary Steve Saleh, Lucid Eye creates evocative and characterful miniatures that embody the magic and wonder of fantastical worlds. From mythical creatures to legendary heroes, each Lucid Eye model is a testament to the workshop’s commitment to storytelling and the pursuit of artistic excellence. Whether you seek to embark on epic quests or delve into the depths of folklore, Lucid Eye’s miniatures provide a gateway to realms beyond imagination.

Bad Squiddo: Celebrating Diversity and Representation

Bad Squiddo Miniatures is a workshop that embraces diversity and representation within the wargaming community. Founded by Annie Norman, Bad Squiddo focuses on creating miniatures that feature female warriors and characters, giving voice to those traditionally underrepresented in the hobby. With a commitment to inclusivity and high-quality sculpting, Bad Squiddo Miniatures has become a driving force in promoting diversity and pushing the boundaries of what wargaming miniatures should be. Their collection showcases a range of historical and fantastical figures, offering a refreshing perspective and inspiring players to embrace the power of representation.

Preserving the Craft: Fostering a Sense of Belonging

Nottingham’s workshops are not just centres of production; they are vibrant hubs of community and camaraderie. Beyond the miniatures and gaming tables, these spaces foster connections that extend beyond the hobby. Workshops host painting classes, gaming sessions, and events that bring enthusiasts together, creating opportunities for learning, socializing, and forging lifelong friendships. The sense of belonging and shared passion permeates the atmosphere, ensuring that the craft of wargaming remains cherished and nurtured for generations to come.

Conclusion: Where Dreams Take Shape

In Nottingham’s wargaming workshops, dreams take shape, and imaginations are set free. The Foundry, Warhammer World, and the independent spaces stand as beacons of creativity, where artists and hobbyists alike can explore, create, and connect. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a curious novice, these workshops beckon you to unleash your imagination, forge epic narratives, and embark on unforgettable tabletop adventures. Step into the realm of wargaming in Nottingham, where the limits of creativity are pushed, and the joy of bringing miniature worlds to life knows no bounds.

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