Sunday 20 April 2014

Iron Claw Goblins (part one).

This week I am going to start the first part of a three part look at the Iron Claw Goblin range. I have been meaning to do a series of updates on them for a little while.

Concerning the progress of the Slann army, I have'nt been able to do much painting at all. Been glueing together few odds and ends, and managed to win a great e-bay auction, featured at the end of the blog, but little to no painting this week.  

This week I will focus on the release of the Goblins in White Dwarf #103, in July 1988. Next week I will look at the Iron Claw Goblins from the White Dwarf #104 release, and then the following week the other Iron Claw Goblins that were listed in the 1990 catalogue.

The Iron Claw Goblin range was sculpted by Bob Olley for Citadel 1988/9 and part of the general Iron Claw range. Like Marauder and Chronicle Miniatures they were sold by GamesWorkshop in thier stores and via mail order, and were interegrated into GamesWorkshop,  being able to be used in Warhammer and 40k. Later on during the 1990's they were intergrated into the GamesWorkshop back catalogue.

So why am I focusing on the Iron Claw Goblin range? 
Leaving aside my general interest in Goblins, especially from this era, there are two reasons:
 Firstly they were the one of the three styles of Goblin of the late 1980's to early 1990's the other two being the Kev Adams style, and Trish and Ally Morrisons Maruader range. By this time Nick Lund's Chronicle range was being phased out and the Perry Twins Goblins and Great Goblin/Gnolls were discontinued, although did pop up occsionally on stock clearance days, and the C12 slotta ones were in the odd blister packs. 
Secondly, it is the sculpting style of Bob Olley.

At first I was'nt too keen on the Iron Claw style, it differed from the Kev Adams Goblins which I liked at the time, so when I ended up with Iron Claw Goblins I thought of them as second best. However as time went on I really grew to like and treasure them . The detailing on them is quite excellent, and the faces have a lot of character. The Goblins have a lot of personalised charm and look like individuals, rather than just cartoony goons and cannon fodder as many later Goblin ranges became. In addition they remind me of the artwork of Ian Miller. It's that very intricate look with deep set detailing and prominate features that makes them have a very different look from the more fluid look of Kev Adams, and the characterture look of the Maruader Goblins. Personally I like all three ranges for thier own sculpting and style, and appreciate them for their different approach, like different re-mixes of the same song giving each a different take on the same theme.

Like a lot of Bob Olleys miniatures, they are better once they have been painted, something which  I discovered recently after painting up some of his Warhammer 40k Squats. If you want a range of Goblins wih real character to their faces, then Iron Claw are probably one of the best in my opinion.

In this update I have photgraphed the 29 of the 30 from this specific release which I have. I am sure I have the other one (#13), but the critter must be hiding!. I had planned to photograph the front, then the back of all of them. However many of the backs of the Goblins were really just the backs of thier clothes. So in the interested of brevity where there are interesting details I have photographed them as and when.

I have also included the Iron Claw Goblin Warmachine in this update, first released in Septmeber 1988. I shall include the chariot in one of the other updates. In the third update I will be doing a short comparitive analysis of several of the Goblins over the three weeks showing the similarites in their sculpts and detailing, and the common body types used.

Enjoy :)
 White Dwarf #103.

The Goblins on the White Dwarf advert!
 Numbers 1 and 2.Standard Bearer and Spearman (without a shield glued on).
 Close up of the skull on top, and of the awesome little Goblin heads on the cross beam.
 Number 3 and 4.
 3 has an old Citadel metal shield on him from the 1980's. The spear blade always looked big, but seemed to work fine. 4 is an old e-bay find in need of re-painting.
 Number 6 and 5. 
I like the hood on the archer with his ears poking out and the fact that the shield is on the arm. All the round shields (unless noted) are from Hasslefree miniatures. 
The standard bearer looks happy with his crescent moon looking standard.
 Rear of 6 with the quiver.
 7 and 8. 
7 looks like he is pulling a face, maybe gurning (?), while 7 has a look of concentration. I love the teeth on him and the way the nose has been sculpted.
 The quiver of 7 with the dagger on the back.
 9 and 10. 
Again the face of the Musican has real character and life about it.
I have always liked the bows of these Goblins, they have a good curve to them and are not prone to breaking off. Another great feature on several of them is the handgrip.
 11 and 12.
12 is listed as a 'Hero', and has the armour and pose to prove it. He also has a series of metal ring piercings on the top of his head. . 
11 has a great detailed helmet and a face that looks like he is looking where he's shooting!
 Rear/side view showing the single arrow left in the quiver, a common thing on several of the Iron Claw Goblin archers. The hero has a nice little short sword in his left hand to go with the morning star in his right.
 14 and 15.
Personally I think 14 is one of the best Goblins Bob Olley sculped for details (there's an axeman in a later update that is remarkable too). He has a great detailed helmet and a focused expression on his face. The short sword looks almost like a cutless, and the hilt has a wonderful Goblin face on in.
15 is another nice sculpt. He has a Labyrinth style belt buckle, a look of concentration on his face, and a bladed bow. Bob Olley gave several of the Goblins ridged bladed looking bows, many of which were different from each other.
 Close up of the Goblin hilt. 
 Also you can see the sculpting of the belt.
 Rear views of 14 and 15. 
15 has an unusual four leafed looking design on the quiver.
 16 and 17.
Another archer with a great expression and helmet. 
17 has a very natural looking pose with the axe and a look on his face like he knows how to use it!
 Rear views. 
16 has a face on his quiver, down to one arrow too! 
Better side view of 17's face.
 18 and 19. 
Both have a great sense of movement in them. I think the gloves on 19 for gripping the axe is a nice touch.
 20 and 21. 
A pot belled Goblin archer and an overarm spearman, not a common pose for a lot of Goblins. It works well, and the spear is resting against the top of the head giving the models arm greater strength and making it a lot less likely to snap off.
 22 and 23. 
Another archer, but with a smaller looking bow. 
23 is another hero looking Goblin (although he's not listed a such) as he has a great deal of armour. The shoulder pad and gauntlet have great detailing, and the pose of the arm and angle of head makes it look like he is ready to take a swipe with the sword.
 Side view of the gaunlet.
 This Goblin, with his heavily armoured torso but bare legs and lion cloth always reminded me of the Wizard from the Conan the Barbarian film (1982) at the 'Battle of the Stones' section.

24 and 25. 
24 is another great archer, this time loading/preparing to draw, which is not a common pose. The arrow itself is greatly detailed with even the ridge on the edge of the arrow head. 
25 is a speaman/javelinman with a heavy bladed looing spear. 
Loving the hat :)
 Close up of the face with all those teeth!
 26 and 27.
Spearman, again with a big bladed spear, and a Goblin with a sledgehammer!
 28 and 29.
An archer and Goblin with two handed flail. The archer again has that look of someone who has just shot an arrow and watching to see what a BS 3 gets him! 
The other Goblin has a necklace of teeth and earring and a mean look.
 Rear view of 28 showing the grooved detail of the quiver. 
The head of the two handed flail has a Goblin head has the end with the chain being held in his teeth. I think it is remarkable detail, especially when you notice the teeth and eyes on the head.
 Number 30, Goblin with a two handed mace and an expression which suggests a certian level of cockyness not always present in Goblins!
 Top view of the mace.
 The Iron Claw Goblin Warmachine:
 a three man, well Goblin, catapult.
It is a fantastically detailed model.
 The Officer and crewman.
The Officer is a great looking miniature. He is imaginatively posed, as if looking for a target, or maybe looking with satisfaction at what they hit (friend or foe knowing Goblins!) . The wrench looks like it would be actually useful to operate the catapult or smash over the head of a dwarf. The nice touches of details are the face belt buckle and the cording on the wrench handle.
The crew member looks great poking his face out from under the hood. He is holding a piece of rope.
 Rear view showing the Officers helmet detail and the crew members short sword.
The third crew member, holding what I think is either a rock or a skull.
The slight tilt of his head makes him seem like he is waiting to hear the crunch of the impact of the rock! 
Incidentally, I painted all three with predominantly red clothing to tie them together as a crew.
 The big ugly face on the front of the Warmachine, poking his tongue out. It's a great looking piece of Goblin sculpting, as are the two tiny heads either side.
I did'nt add plastic sheilds to the front as in the release as I did'nt think they would add to the model, only detract from the big face on the front.
 Another face, this time on the catapults arm. Not sure if it's meant to be a Goblin, Greenman, or a Dwarf? I painted it as metalwork, but it could be a flayed face. Love the cogs too!
It helps give the Warmachine that Baroque feel, and very Terry Gilliam too.
 As if that was'nt enough, there are two faces on the bucket of the catapult arm. This Goblin one on the left side...
...and this Goblin one on the right side. 

Next week I shall be updating on the Iron Claw release that happened the following month in White Dwarf #104, back in August 1988! 
But finally.... 
... look what I got from e-bay for £35 inc P&P!
 I have always wanted a proper unit of solid based Slann Cold One riders. 
I am so looking forward to painting these, but I am painting up the totem warriors at the moment, so they will have to wait. I have a spare rearing Cold One to replace the walking one to match the rest of the unit.


  1. I wonder just how successful the Iron Claw miniatures were. I never see much of them on ebay. I had some of the Iron Claw skeletons (now lost though), but the were significantly larger than the citadel ranges. I too didn't think much of them back then, however the old adverts bring on a yearning to own them again! Not worse. Just different!

    1. I think the Goblins, like the Squats ended up as the mainstay of their respective ranges, and so a lot of people ended up owning some as they were common in the blister packs. You do see the Goblins on e-bay, not as often as the Kev Adams ones but still not infrequent, and they can fetch a fair price.
      I remember the Undead you bought. They were awful, flat looking, and also oversized. The Elves were not great either. However I like the Goblin and Squat ranges, but some of the other Iron Claw stuff I can take or leave.

  2. Amazing collection, love Bob Olleys sculpting style. Spent ages pouring over these, thanks for posting.

    1. Excellent, thank you glad you enjoyed the post.
      I am a great fan of Bob Olley's sculpting for the Goblins and I don't think they get the credit as a range which they deserve, hence the post. I like your sculpting on your blog, I am looking to sculpt some of my own miniatures soon, and it is good to see how other people have been getting on.
      I will be doing the third and final blog post on Iron Claw Goblins tomorrow evening 4th May, covering the releases in White Dwarf #106.