"Praise the thumb of Nuffle. Cheer when the thumb is up and another of your plays hits home. Smile and shrug when the thumb is down, allowing for an unexpected course of events and giving your opponent a chance at making a spectacular play himself. For sure, next time Nuffle will smile upon you as he justly gives and takes in the greater scheme of throwing millions of dice."

January 23, 2017

The Chaos All-Stars - a legendary Blood Bowl team

The Chaos All-Stars - from Old Skool Picture Archive
For a very long time, the Chaos All-Stars have been part of the Blood Bowl meta. This collection of bad guys, mutants and misfits from many different races, including multiple Big Guys, have claimed a legendary status since the conception of the game in 1987 (the team should not be confused with the 11-player team box which was released in 3rd Ed in 1994). Official Blood Bowl canon contains many references to the Chaos All-Stars, the team being the ultimate Chaos (Pact) team and often sporting an untouchable status. The Chaos All-Stars are the bane of the Blood Bowl league circuit, both because of their physical prowess and a series of random, magical events which make games against the Chaos All-Stars unpredictable (and often highly unpleasant for their opponents !).

The Chaos All-Stars by Phil Lewis in White Dwarf 114, June 1989 - from Realm of Chaos 80s
Many coaches field creative combinations of miniatures to represent the Chaos Pact team. For die-hard Blood Bowl collectors, there exists an "official" set of Games Workshop miniatures which represent the original Chaos All-Stars. At the core of the team are 7 limited edition figures, complemented with 10 x 2nd edition models. The original (and unique !) team was composed by Phil Lewis, a former employee with Games Workshop / Citadel Miniatures in the 80's. You can find an excellent interview with Phil Lewis on Realm of Chaos 80s by orlygg. Below you find a classic picture of his original version of the Chaos All-Stars :

The Chaos All-Stars - from MidgardBB.com
Phil Lewis based his selection of miniatures on several images of the Chaos All-Stars in Blood Bowl meta, such as the one at the top of this article and the one below. For 10 players he found a proper miniature available in the existing Blood Bowl range; the other 7 are conversions. This original set of miniatures and unique figures have come into the possession of Tom Anders aka GalakStarScraper, THE reference in the Blood Bowl community. You can find a detailed set of pictures of the original Chaos All-Stars on his website.

The Chaos All-Stars - from Old Skool Picture Archive
For about 15 years the Chaos All-Stars team continued as a unique collector's item. On a good day, Tom Anders decided the annual GW Chaos Cup tournament organized in Chicago required a special give-away miniature. I prefer to quote Tom himself from a reaction he posted on the Phil Lewis' interview on the Realm of Chaos 80s blog:
"Working with Games Workshop Chicago ... I had purchased original master metal casts of Phil's sculpts of Juergen Demonfeeder and Garak Grigolson that were original cast by GW so those were moulded and cast up for the GW Chaos Cup event with their approval. The other original characters that were given away at future years Chaos Cup tournaments at Games Workshop were created by Phil Bowen who took the original stock figures that Phil Lewis had converted and then converted them to match as closely as possible the conversions Phil Lewis had done ... those figures were Sark Four-Eyes, Snake Sanders, Krefft the Despised, Acid Scarred Max and Constrictor Atlanson. So these 5 are very similar to the Phil Lewis models for these characters ... but are not exact."
Yes, you have read correctly: It appears only Juergen Demonfeeder and Garak Grigolson (the 2 blitzers with the big shoulderpads) are EXACTLY the same like in the original Chaos All-Stars team by Phil Lewis ! The 5 other limited edition figures are proxies created by Phil Bowen aka Lucien Swift - a well-known miniatures sculpter - looking very much like the original team members but NOT exactly the same... On some figures the differences are hard to spot, but the difference is clear when comparing the original and the copy of Acid Scarred Max. Thanks to the efforts by Tom Anders, a couple of hundreds (?) copies of all seven "special Phil Lewis minatures" have been distributed at the Chaos Cup tournament and some other, smaller occasions. The original team is safe in Tom's cabinet (see picture below).

The original Chaos All-Stars in the cabinet of Tom Anders - from MidgardBB.com
For the sake of completeness you find below a full list of Chicago Chaos Cup tournaments figures. This is a direct listing by GalakStarScraper on TalkFantasyFootball.org. As you can see, all 7 limited edition figures which are part of the Phil Lewis team have been distributed between 2004 and 2009. Galak continues the tradition of launching a miniature based on Chaos All-Stars meta, but from 2010 these were no part of the original Phil Lewis team.
History of the Chaos Cup figures:
2004 - Garak Grigolson and Jurgen Demonfeeder
2005 - Sark Four-Eyes
2006 - Snake Sanders
2007 - Krefft the Despised
2008 - Constrictor Atlanson
2009 - Acid Scarred Max
2010 - Rex Farsight and alternate Rex Farsight
2011 - Lord Dorian the Lost
2012 - Spider Smith
2013 - Phil Lewis sculpted Apothecary/Wizard for the Chaos All-Stars (from when he made the original team)
2014 - Ruddog Ironhead (starting in 2014 all Chaos Cup miniature moved from metal to spincast resin)
2015 - Margoth Doomgrim
2016 - V'hnn Qlss 'Snakey' Zzchhtrr
My references for this article have been TalkFantasyFootball.org ; midgardBB.com ; Realm of Chaos 80s and old skool picture archive. I would appreciate if any of the people actually involved would correct me on any mistake I have made in the reconstruction of this small but relevant part of Blood Bowl history.

My personal cherry on the cake is my very own copy of this famous team ! I started collecting the miniatures when I got the opportunity to buy a full set of the 7 limited edition figures from Dave "Da Dutch One" via the Belgian Blood Bowl Forum in 2014. Next I started selecting eBay auctions for the 10 remaining miniatures to complete the team, which took me about 2 years to get some affordable wins. Being a slow painter, after another 6 months I can finally present below pictures of what is today the prime of my Blood Bowl collection : The Chaos All-Stars, a tribute to the Phil Lewis classic team !

The Chaos All-Stars - my tribute to the classic Phil Lewis team !
The 7 limited edition Chaos All-Stars miniatures
Chaos All-Stars marauders - some  classic miniatures !
Skaven mutant, Dark Elf and Goblin - the Animosity carrying Chaos All-Stars allies
The Chaos All-Stars are mainly associated with the inclusion of 3 different Big Guys !

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