Shaggy Dog Publishing Presents
Talking Miniatures draws together entertaining and occasionally surprising recollections from the eclectic cast of designers, sculptors, artists, rebels and non-conformists who gravitated towards the early Games Workshop and Citadel Miniatures.
Written and compiled by former White Dwarf Editor – Robin Dews and former Citadel/GW Sales Director – John Stallard; Talking Miniatures simply tells the stories of ordinary people, doing extraordinary things, with incredible levels of skill, passion, commitment and belief.
How this book came about
This book started life in a humble way, with a casual conversation between co-authors, Robin Dews and John Stallard, over a cup of tea in John’s back garden in the late summer of 2016. We were chatting about the creative and commercial success that Games Workshop had become as it roared into its fourth decade. We also remarked, with no little sense of disbelief, how, like so many other people who’d joined the fledgling company in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we were now on the verge of drawing our pensions! Two old curmudgeons, ruminating on the passing of time. If memory holds true, I believe it was John who first suggested that “someone ought to write all this down before we all become too old and decrepit”. It seemed like a good idea at the time and given that between the two of us we had worked for over sixty years, first at Citadel (in John’s case) and then for Games Workshop (in both cases) and were personal friends with many of the early staff members such as Tony Ackland, Rick Priestley, Jervis Johnson, Alan and Michael Perry, Bob Naismith, Trish Carden and so on. We decided that there was probably no one better placed than the pair of us to get this done. So there and then, under early autumn leaves and fuelled by tea and digestives, the idea of Talking Miniatures was born.
Who are the Talking Miniatures?
Talking Miniatures features conversations with seventeen of the people involved in the early Games Workshop and Citadel Miniatures, all of whom went on to make their own mark in the hobby.
Alan and Michael are twin brothers, sometimes referred to either as the Perry Brothers or the Perry Twins. They have played wargames since they were young boys and are avid collectors of antique armour, weapons and other militaria. They studied Art at A-level, and started sculpting freelance for Games Workshop in 1978, while still at school. They joined the company in 1980 and became the longest-serving members of the Games Workshop Design Studio.
Bob Naismith was one of the first wave of Citadel sculptors responsible for developing and creating what became the Citadel style. Along with fellow Scots, Trish and Aly Morrison, Jes Goodwin, Kev Adams and the Perry Twins. Bob helped to revolutionise our expectations of the type and depth of detail that could be sculpted onto a fantasy miniature.
Miniatures Designer Trish Carden originally trained as a jeweller and silversmith but became fascinated with the world of miniatures and model soldiers soon after meeting her future husband and sculpting partner – Aly Morrison. Trish is particularly well known for her ‘beasties’ – monstrous creatures with either fur, feathers, or scales, many of which she also produced as large-scale models for Forgeworld.
To call Rick Priestley a games designer is to seriously underestimate his contribution to the development and popularisation of the tabletop wargaming hobby over the past forty or so years. Together with his friend, Richard Halliwell, he wrote and published Reaper – his first set of fantasy wargames rules – whilst still at school and went on to co-author and develop several editions of Warhammer before writing the seminal Rogue Trader in 1987.
After joining the Design Studio in 1990, Andy quickly became a key part of the team that developed, wrote and published a range of games and supplements that form the core of Games Workshop’s product offer to this very day. His early 90’s White Dwarf battle reports featuring Andy and fellow designer Jervis Johnson wrestling with each other across the tabletop became the stuff of legend.
For Games Workshop and Citadel enthusiasts, Jervis Johnson is a name that has been part of their gaming landscape for almost four decades. Initially joining Games Workshop in London as a trade salesman, Jevis went on to produce and publish his first signature boardgame – Blood Bowl – in 1986. This was followed by Adeptus Titanicus in 1988 and the rest, as they say is history.
Along with Rick Priestley, Richard Halliwell and the Perry Twins, Tony Ackland was part of the original posse of talent that Bryan recruited and drew into the gravity well of the fledgling Citadel. More than any other artist or designer, it was Tony who developed the blend of dark horror and black humour that so characterised the early Citadel style, in both his artwork and miniature designs.
Mike McVey began his career at Games Workshop in 1987, at the tender age of eighteen, where he became one of the founding members of the famous ‘Eavy Metal painting team. In the thirteen years that followed, Mike had many different roles; including running the painting team and authoring a series of influential painting guides.
Paul Robins is one of a very elite group of people whose miniature painting and modelling skills won him two consecutive Golden Demon Slayer Swords. His first winning entry was in 1991. He then went on to gain the coveted trophy for a second time, the following year, in 1992. After achieving this feat, he then joined Games Workshop and ran the Citadel Factory at Eastwood from the mid to late 1990s.
Buy the book
You can buy Talking Miniatures direct from Shaggy Dog Publishing by clicking here here.
All orders will be fulfilled and despatched by Warlord Games and so the button will take you through to their webstore. The package consists of both full-colour, soft-backed volumes presented together in a hard slipcase.
The price for the Standard Edition is:
"A wonderful trip down memory lane..."
Sir Ian Livingstone
Robin and john talk miniatures
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who are Shaggy Dog publishing?
A. Shaggy Dog Publishing was set up by Robin Dews and John Stallard in 2022, to publish, sell and distribute Talking Miniatures. Robin and John have known each other for longer than either care to remember and they decided that if no one else was going to write down the exciting story of Citadel miniatures, Warhammer, and Games Workshop, then perhaps they should do it themselves. The company is based in Nottingham, England and has two staff members, the two co-owners, Robin and John.
Q. Why another book about Games Workshop, when Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson recently published their own origin story of the company?
A. Talking Miniatures is in no way a linear factual history of GW. Sir Ian Livingstone has indeed written a splendid book – Dice Men – about how he and his friend Steve Jackson, applied their passion and enthusiasm for board games, role playing games and miniatures, to establish and expand the fledgling Games Workshop. If you are looking for a well-researched, day-to-day account of GW’s early years, then we would heartily recommend Dice Men. It’s a great read and tells the nuts-and-bolts story of how they set the company on its path to greatness.
Our book, on the other hand, consists of a series of chatty conversations with seventeen of the people – artists, designers, miniature painters, and cat herders – who worked at Games Workshop and Citadel Miniatures in the late 1980s and early 1990’s. The book contains their stories, recollections, and reflections on what it was like working for Citadel and Games Workshop in those early years, as they remember them. It’s a lot of fun, with many amusing tales, some of which downright contradict each other, but such is the power of memory. We simply decided that as none of us are getting any younger, unless somebody captured these stories and took the effort to write some of it down, it would all be lost to time. That is how Talking Miniatures came to be written.
Q. So, is this a licenced book authorised by Games Workshop?
A. No, it is an independent publication that has taken over four years to research, write and compile.
Q. So how did you select the seventeen interviewees? Surely, loads more people could have written or contributed material to the book?
A. Well that is true, but we had to start and end somewhere. We wanted to capture as wide a range of voices, along with their very personal memories, of what was a very remarkable era in the history of tabletop gaming. Even despite the decision to focus on just seventeen interviewees (plus of course Robin and John who memories and recollections appear in every chapter) the project just kept getting bigger and bigger over time.
In the end, even with some judicious editing, we had over five hundred pages of material and so decided to split the book into two volumes (so that we could physically bind them) and present these in a luxury slipcase, in order to make the whole publication a thing of beauty.
The two tomes are a complete treat to read and generally drool over. The conversations, facilitated by John and Robin, are intimate and far ranging, giving our subjects plenty of time and space to describe the day-to-day aspects of their contributions to Citadel and GW. At times, the conversations also become wonderfully chaotic – you try interviewing the Perry twins in the same room at the same time! However, throughout the book, people tell us stories that are honest, entertaining, and sometimes simply charming. We are really proud of it.
Q. Can I buy this book from my local friendly games’ retailer?
A. On release, we have decided to do all the sales ourselves through the Talking Miniatures website with shipping and despatch handled by John’s company – Warlord Games. Amazon is the only other retailer that we thought it sensible to sell through at this stage, and so it will be available there too. If the book goes well, and we hope it does, we may open up distribution further.