Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Fighting Fantasy 3D Polystyrene Dungeon - Oldhammer artefact found

Hi Folks,

We were recently discussing our first ever gaming stores over on the Oldhammer forum, the topic was "Imperium Approved" and I mentioned  I had two Fighting Fantasy 3D Polystyrene Dungeons in the loft and Zhu of Realm of Zhu fame requested a photo and informed me that these were the stuff of mythology. 

So I was transporting more baby stuff to the loft for the missus and happened to find one secreted between the roof rafters, I think the other is buried deep, it's a low ceiling loft and junk it stacked rafters to roof tiles, I have to carefully balance on the rafters when looking for stuff, it's a dangerous task but hopefully we are going to clear the whole thing out in a year or two so hopefully the other one will surface.

After a bit of research and talking to the community I found out that the Fighting Fantasy 3D Polystyrene Dungeon is quite sought after which saddened me as I was helping my late friends wife clear out her loft and we found one which I declined as I already had two so we smashed it up and put it in the skip :(

The Dungeon was meant to be part of a Fighting Fantasy Battle Set as written about here You are the Hero - page 64 and here the Fighting Fantasy Wiki, I did own plenty of the large (54mm?) plastic miniatures and the battle ruleset but sadly I don't recall ever playing the rules I was too obsessed with AD&D and Warhammer. 

I had asked for two for Christmas 1983/84, most of my gaming friends had one or two and we used to join them all up and stack them on top of each other when playing role playing games.
We used my dungeons for Bloodbowl, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Rogue Trader and lots of other games, sadly not for Fighting Fantasy Battle game we had long moved on from those plastic figures although the Fighting Fantasy Paint Set was still in use and was the gateway for us moving from enamel to acrylic paints until Citadel Colour come along,  like Citadel Colour the tiny little pots of paint lasted ages, the gold had a dodgy green tinge.

The Dungeons were probably manufactured in 1982 or 1983 and the Fighting Fantasy Collectors Guide by Jamie Fry - page 20 lists the dungeon with a guide price of £200 which was a surprise to me, although it states that this was never sold to the public which is not correct, Games Workshop Birmingham had a pallet of these stacked up in a tower and was selling them off for £10 each which was quite a high price back then, the Fighting Fantasy Wiki mentions these also being seen in the Hammersmith and Sheffield stores and sold thorough out all Games Workshop stores. To my knowledge this was the first ever polystyrene product made for and sold by Games Workshop, later polystyrene products came along like the 1988 Adeptus Titanicus buildings and the 1988 Blood bowl Astrogranite pitch

The Fighting Fantasy 3D Polystyrene Dungeon came in 9 pieces, 

1 x base with surrounding outer walls. 
6 x small wall sections with arched doors. 
2 x  thick sections with rectangular door frames.

3 x small wall sections and 1 thick section made a whole wall insert so where the Dungeon is mentioned to have 3 parts is sort of correct depending on how you look at it.


A wall insert consisting of 3 x small wall sections and 1 thick section

The Dungeon base floor was very well detailed for it's time, most people were still using graph paper or dungeon floor plans for RPG's.


Nice floor detail
More floor detail

It had 12 Doors you could cut out, 6 per wall insert (2 per section), these doors were large compared to a 25mm miniature but were great for Trolls and Ogres to moving around the dungeon.


Rectangular doorway
The doors were only tagged in with a thin seam of polystyrene for easy removal.


The other side of doorway
Arched doorway
A cut out arched doorway
It has arched 2 entrances


An entrance arched doorway
Other details include this ambush spot which may have be a result of the moulding process but it worked for us kids

Hidey-hole

With a bit of imagination you could make many configurations, when you first owned the dungeon the fitting was tight but with the constant reconfiguration it rapidly became loose fitting and I had to glue the sections in with PVA for storage.


My final configuration

You could stack them on top of each other as it had a central stair case and open door way

Stairs leading up

I need to remove some pieces of card covering the opening for the stairs as part of my restoration.

Doorway leading down
Underneath where doorway leads to, useful when stacking the dungeons on top of each other

It had a manufacturers mark 'TRONDEX' who I think still existed until 2007 look here, a Google search yielded "They are manufacturers of expanded polystyrene mouldings for packaging", If only the company were still trading we could of contacted them to discuss digging the mould plans out of their archive.

Here are the manufacturers marks.


TRONDEX 0604 65331
Serial Number 8734 or 18734

You can see it's pretty battered and the gloss black was my effort to toughen and preserve it back in the early 1990's. I started to paint the inside with black matt acrylic paint with plans to dry brush matt grey.


Left unfinished since the early 1990's

For added protection the outer shell was painted in black gloss paint.
The bottom of the base

I aim to clean it and paint the inside matt black base and grey dry brush with wood coloured doors. 

After a wipe down last night I managed to repaint half of the inside with matt black acrylic paint.

Here are my efforts so far.






Next post I will add some miniatures to the photos for scale.
I will update you on this nostalgic restoration project asap.  I hope this post will be an asset to those Fighting Fantasy historians out there

Some of you may debate whether this is an Oldhammer artefact or a Fighting Fantasy artefact, my experience is that it was used with everything but Fighting Fantasy, I am guessing the only time this Dungeon was used with Fighting Fantasy battle game and miniatures was when it was play tested by Games Workshop staff but then again like the Bloodbowl polystyrene pitch this may of happened with a wooden dungeon now would that be a glorious sight to see.

thanks for visiting
J







11 comments:

  1. This is officially awesome. I'd love to see it with some FF miniatures in it, I have a couple of the Ogres that I use as giants, if this happened to make an appearance at BOYL we could make it happen.

    Anyway Black acrylic is absolutely the right way to go with this, possibly PVA over the top before dry brushing if your worried about integrity.Look forward to seeing it finished.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Erny, not sure I am going to be able to make it to BOYL but we'll see, I think the FF Ogres are probably a bit big for it and that is probably one of the reasons it was never officially released, the other characters would fit though.
      J

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  2. Fascinating stuff - I never knew these even existed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. there are still loads of things out there waiting to reappear that people have forgotten about or have links to oldhammer.

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  3. What an amazing maze! Really glad you dragged these out into the light of day. Looking forward to following your restoration project.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Zhu, with all you FF fanatics in mind I am really enjoying doing this project.

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  4. Hi Jason, I had only heard of these as things of legend until Dragonmeet a year or so ago. A guy who worked for Games Workshop said they never made it for sale and he only took one home because they were kicking around and probably going to get thrown out. Also, considering Ian Livingstone was co-owner at the time he cannot recall they being sold as an official product. So who knows but all the same some great finds and research. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Jason, I had only heard of these as things of legend until Dragonmeet a year or so ago. A guy who worked for Games Workshop said they never made it for sale and he only took one home because they were kicking around and probably going to get thrown out. Also, considering Ian Livingstone was co-owner at the time he cannot recall they being sold as an official product. So who knows but all the same some great finds and research. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi,

    Nice pictures of the polystyrene models. What were the Battlegame rules like? Did they involve the standard Fighting Fantasy rules with the addition of weapon damage and armour defense handled the polyhedral dice?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete

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