Tag Archives: Bryan Ansell

Woehammer Facebook Group

Did you know that Woehammer have a Facebook group? Why not head over there and post some pictures of your miniatures, we’ll include them in monthly hobby summary alongside our own.

John Stallard – A Life in Wargames

It’s been a little while since I last posted to the A Life in Wargames series, for which I can only apologise. These articles take a lot more effort than the others I write and unfortunately I’ve simply not had the time for the research recently.

John Stallard, from the wonderful city of Cardiff in Wales is a Games Designer who for 27 years worked with Games Workshop. In 2007 her left and set up Warlord Games along with Paul Sawyer (who some of you may remember from White Dwarf).

John lived in Cardiff until he was four years old, at which point his family moved to Scotland where his father was working for BP, eventually at the age of ten John and his family moved to Worcester.

His cousin introduce him to military models and toy soldiers after his cousin thought he was much to grown up for such things handed John his collection. John set about expanding his collection by making weekly purchases of Airfix kits with his pocket money.

The first set of rules that John played was the Airfix Guide to Napoleonic Wargaming written by Bruce Quarrie (1974), which he then followed up with Skytrex’s Middle Earth Wargames Rules (1976).

Airfix Guide to Napoleonic Wargaming (1974)

After university John moved to Nottingham a move which was prompted by reading a job advert in White Dwarf. After a successful interview John joined Bryan Ansell‘s Citadel Miniatures team, initially working in the Mail Order team reporting to Rick Priestley.

John learnt about customer service from Bryan Ansell and his wife Diane. Games Workshop was very forward thinking at the time where orders would be sent as soon as an order form was received, meaning the customer often had their orders within the week rather than the 28 days advertised.

After a year John left the Mail Order team to retake his exams, which he failed. He put this failure down to playing Warhammer all the time. John then worked in a freezer warehouse during the summer where in a forklift truck accident he lost most of the toes on his left foot. He then attended the Wargames show in Manchester on crutches and saw Rick Priestley behind the Games Workshop Mail Order stand. Rick Priestley asked if he wanted his job back and he returned to Citadel Miniatures.

John progressed from Mail Order to Trade Sales, followed later by becoming Sales Manager and later became Head of Sales and then Sales Director. He stayed with Games Workshop until 2007 when he set Warlord Games.


 Warlord Games came into being because I had always wanted to do historical military models. I’ve been fascinated with them since I was six. I kept on saying to two consecutive bosses at Games Workshop that the company should start to do historical models. I remember Tom Kirby, a man I admire very much, saying to me, “John, I’ve done a study and if you add all the historical gaming companies together it comes to £2m, there’s just not enough money in it.” Being older and wiser than me, he’d actually done the research. I said, “But Tom, that’s because it hasn’t really been done before. What was the market for Goblins with spears fifteen years ago? Bugger all! Citadel and Games Workshop made the marketplace by making great models and banging the drum and producing wargames rules.”

– John Stallard

John teamed up with Paul Sawyer (White Dwarf Editor in yesteryear) who’d also been made redundant by Games Workshop, they contacted Renedra Ltd, the plastic manufacturing company who has previously been Games Workshop‘s plastic manufacturing arm. They also bought on board Bob Naismith to make their figures.

Warlord’s upcoming British Starter Set for Black Powder: Epic Battles

It takes around four months for the complete manufacture of a set of plastic models. During the period after the final designs were made for their Warlord Games plastic models (Romans), John found out that the Perry twins also had an upcoming plastic release. They were still working for Games Workshop at the time but they had set up Perry Miniatures in the background (which was allowed within their contract). They were going to release some plastic American Civil War figures which would be made as either Confederate or Union troops. There release would be the first ever 28mm plastic historical wargame figures, beating Warlord Games by only two or three weeks.

John Stallard’s work:

Solo Wargaming for your Favourite Games

I’m in the process of creating a series of Wargaming Aids which allow players to play their favourite games in a single player format against an AI controlled enemy army. To find out more on this click here.

For as little as £1 a month (the price of a chocolate bar) you can help support me in this endeavour and receive cool perks as a thank you, such as access to our Discord Server as well as downloadable copies of the gaming aids which you can print out and use at home.

Why not pop over to Patreon and sign up and help me in this project? Money raised will go towards making these as physical products.

The Woeful Brush Painting Competition Sponsored by SCN Hobby World

Closing date for entries 30th November. £1 entry, win your choice of a Start Collecting or Combat Patrol box set!


Bryan Ansell – A Life in Wargames

Bryan Ansell started with his life in wargames by founding and designing for his own miniatures company Asgard Miniatures. He also had his own fanzine named Trollcrusher.

In 1979 Games Workshop approached Ansell to found their own miniatures branch Citadel Miniatures. The company was set up to allow Games Workshop to be self reliant for its miniature purposes, allowing her to create the miniatures for all the games which Games Workshop had the license for at the time. This took their reliance on other miniatures companies such as Ral Partha away.

In 1980 Ansell wrote his first wargaming rules called Laserburn which he had published via Tabletop Games. Although only a foot note in gaming history, Laserburn contained many elements and wargear of the future Warhammer 40,000 game, such as Power Armour, Dreadnoughts, Jet Cycles and Bolt Guns.

By 1982 Games Workshop was depending on the sales of Citadel Miniatures and Bryan Ansell brought out all of Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson’s shared in Games Workshop and all the operations were eventually moved from London to Nottingham.

Laserburn which you can still find today as a PDF.

Ansell worked with Richard Halliwell and Rick Priestley on Games WorkshopsWarhammer Fantasy Battles. This was originally designed to be given out for free to encourage customers to buy the new Citadel Miniatures range.

Along with Rick Priestley, Alan & Michael Perry, Jervis Johnson, Richard Halliwell, John Blanche and Alan Merrett, Ansell was responsible for the Warhammer boom of the mid to late 1980’s.

He later left Games Workshop to Tom Kirby in 1991 and instead focused on his own company Wargames Foundry, a company which sells historical miniatures. These miniatures were originally sculpted by the Perry Twins for Citadel Miniatures, but were no longer sold as part of the Games Workshop fantasy ranges. Ansell took a number of figure molds used for historical and fantasy figures under Citadel Miniatures and Games Workshop, and they have become part of the Wargames Foundry range. Wargames Foundry continues to sell a range of metal figures for historical, sci-fi and fantasy war gaming.

Although not as prolific a writer as some of the other people focused on in “A Life in Wargames” Ansell has been involved in the rules development of 15+ games.


Wikipedia – Bryan Ansell

Wikipedia – Laserburn

Wargames Foundry

Board Game Geek