The Goblin Master! A Talk With Kevin Adams.

Originally posted on https://johnwombat.wordpress.com/ in 2020.

Along with the likes of Trish Carden (Morrison), Aly Morrison, Jes Goodwin and the Perry twins, Kevin Adams is one of my favourite sculptors, and when it comes to Orcs and Goblins, he is without doubt the master! Born in Chiswick, London, Kevin grew up in Haverhill, Suffolk, where he attended the local Castle Manor School. A surprise to many perhaps, given his stunningly creative models, he left school with the lowest CSE marks in art. Kevin left home and settled in Cambridge. Having been a model enthusiast from a young age, it was while in Cambridge that Kevin’s adventure into the world of fantasy models began… He never looked back. Enter, the Goblin Master!

The Goblin Master! A Talk With Kevin Adams… Part 1.

With a sculpting career that goes back to the early-1980’s, Kevin has produced hundreds of models for a number of companies, including Games Workshop, Harlequin Miniatures, Heartbreaker Miniatures, Crooked Claw Miniatures, Dark Fable Miniatures, Knightmare Miniatures and Foundry Miniatures. What’s more, he’s still going strong!

Kevin Adams: For the last few months I’ve been working with my brother and nephew on producing my own ranges and the models are dedicated to the old Citadel era and the wargamers and  collectors who remember those days. I’ve spent a few years also working with Diego on his Kickstarters and again the models are oldskool (visit Knightmare Miniatures HERE). I also make models for Mike Burns at Dark Fable Miniatures and the most recent ones have been Pig Orcs (visit Dark Fable Miniatures and see Kevin’s Pig Orcs HERE). Then there is the Warmonger range that I made for Foundry Miniatures (visit HERE), I occasionally work with them and continue to do so, plus I have other clients and more ranges that will be appearing soon.

I asked Kevin about some of his early literary and creative influences and if he had been a keen reader when growing up. I was interested to know when the worlds of fantasy and science fiction first entered his life, also if there had been any particular authors or artists that he had been drawn to.

Kevin Adams: As a child, like many of my peers, I loved Airfix kits and soldiers and would collect and paint them. I did enjoy reading from an early age but the nearest things to fantasy of science fiction for me were Dr Who, Lost in Space and Star Trek. I remember the Morlocks in HG Wells’ ‘Time Machine’, I guess that was my first insight into fantasy. I wasn’t really aware of any artists as such at that time but I did like the Rodney Mathews artwork when I saw it on the cover of Hawkwind’s ‘Warrior On The Edge Of Time’ and later found Brian Froud’s art and fell in love with Goblins and such things.

Enter the world of models! I asked Kevin when his interest in models began in earnest and what impact the hobby had on him. I was interested to know too, if in addition to making and collecting models, was/ is Kevin a keen wargamer.

Kevin Adams: The year was 1981 and the place was Cambridge. I met some people who collected fantasy miniatures and was fascinated by them, they were mostly skeletons with a mummy and these would have been the old Citadel Fiend Factory range but some were Ral Partha and others were old Minifig Valley Of The Four Winds skeletons, which i still love.

I had bought the living dead range from Minifigs but some were out of production, so I put an advert in Games and Puzzles, the local shop, and as luck would have it I met Gavin Baddeley who sold me all the models I was after and we became good friends. The impact was that I started collecting  these miniatures and painting them and it had a big influence because it was all I was doing for several years. I never really knew anything about wargaming but had heard about Dungeons and Dragons so played that for a while with Gavin, but I found that my real love was painting and collecting models and, later on, trying to make them.

Gavin introduced me to Michael Moorcock’s books, so I read the Corum books and also the Elric books, which I think are a huge influence with  fantasy miniatures. Wargaming is something that interests me as far as the tables go, I love seeing all the effort that goes into setting up terrain and painting the models, so I admire wargamers for their dedication and it’s great seeing my models painted as well as other peoples. It’s the same with historical models too, I don’t know a lot about history or anything about wargaming but I like seeing historical armies and  its amazing how much love goes into setting up mass battles. I have loads of respect for the Perry twins for their unbounded enthusiasm and hard work.

An avid model collector and painter, in 1983 Kevin entered a Citadel painting competition. His work attracted the attention of Games Workshop’s Bryan Ansell, and Kevin was soon receiving packages of the latest Games Workshop releases so he could paint them for Bryan’s company. Over time, Kevin was welcomed into the Citadel studio team…

Kevin Adams: I already knew Bryan through painting for him, plus I went to Citadel Open Days, Games Days, and was in constant touch. I had been offered a job as a mould maker but wanted to make models. Eventually, Bryan offered me a job at one of the Open Days but he told me that normally he would only employ people who were already established at making models. I was unemployed at the time so I suggested that if he gave me a range of models I would make them and if they weren’t accepted then it would be practice. So, I made Lesser Goblins which were well received and I was officially employed and made a range of Chaos Beastmen and worked at home in Cambridge for a year, but I would communicate with Alan (Merrett) via the phone and by post. I also visited the Eastwood factory and in 1986 moved to Nottingham.

Chaz Elliott had a big influence on me, he knew a lot more about the hobby too. We had very similar interests and he knew people at Citadel and we would exchange ideas. He was more advanced than me with using green stuff and painting models, I still highly rate him as a very talented and creative person. Alan Merrett played a massive role in helping me to make models that would work in the mould, so I learned about undercuts and shrinkage for example. Without his guidance I would have struggled badly and learned many tough lessons because making models is one thing, but making them to work in a rubber mould can throw up all sorts of complications. Alan also coached me in my modelling techniques and showed me my weak points and how to improve, so I have a lot to thank him for and I still adhere to what he taught me as a freelance model maker.

I joined the Citadel studio in 1986, around Easter time if I remember correctly. Working in the same building as John Blanche, Tony Ackland and the Citadel designers was a magical time for me. Bryan relocated the GW staff from London, so I was always meeting new people like Mike Brunton, who I admired as a figure painter, and I met Jervis Johnson who told me that his dad (Richard Johnson) played the doctor in ‘Zombi 2’, which really blew my mind as I was fond of zombie films back then and those films inspired the gory looking zombies I made.

Working in the studio gave me many opportunities to learn how the other designers made models, up to then I was working alone and in at the deep end so it helped me to learn new techniques. At first, Alan and Michael Perry visited the studio but they eventually relocated to Nottingham and worked in the studio, I also met Bob Olley and Mark Copplestone around that time. Those days were exciting to say the least and I have many memories. The first model I made was a Hill Giant which I converted to an armoured version that had loads of spikes but it wasn’t going to mould and needed changes. Other models followed and they were clumsy Goblins and all way too big, but all of them were moulded thanks to Bryan’s generosity.

  • “Hot off the Kev-press ….. a trebuchet for hurling snappers …. “long-live the snappers!!!”. Besides the snappers, it is likely that this will be launched in June/July 2020, once normality starts to return…. This trebuchet is a small “field artillery” weapon, not designed for sieges (although it can be used for this), but is easily wheeled onto a battlefield to propel snappers into the ranks of the enemy; causing havoc, mayhem, confusion, and most importantly fear within the hearts and minds of all foe. You get a few snappers behind the enemy shield-wall or line of archers and the battle is half won.” From Kevin’s Facebook Page HERE.

The Goblin Master! A Talk With Kevin Adams… Part 2.

Humour formed a big part of the early Games Workshop/ Citadel Miniatures ranges. One of the things I love about Kevin’s models is that they are full of character and, with his Goblins and Snotlings especially, full of mischief! I wondered if this was something that he purposefully looked to add to his models. Further to this, I was interested to know his opinion on how the ‘humour element’ begin to fade out over time with Games Workshop.

Kevin Adams: I don’t know why, but from an early age I have been very playful and mischievous by nature, with an inventive mind regarding pranks. Over the years, I have met and mixed with plenty of likeminded puckish people who to me are just like Goblins and Orcs, so that’s the mindset. But since making models, I’ve put the mischief into the models rather than pranking people . In my world, Snotlings are like bullied kids who then become spiteful and will get their petty revenge by using dirty tricks, either on their own doing sneaky things or in safety of numbers looking to get even, and that’s what makes them the happiest. 

Orcs, to me, are like the violent thugs at football matches, bullies or the beer monsters drinking in town centres on weekends, while the goblins are like their vindictive followers who look up to them. So over the years this has inspired me to make similar characters in miniature form and humour and character is where it’s at. Greenskins are really an expression of what I have experienced and see in society with people, with some fantasy thrown in.

Michael and Alan Perry made some lovely models that were oozing with character, like the drunken goblins, for example, and some of their Night Goblins and Orcs really inspired me. So, I wanted to make models in a similar vein and still strive to keep the fun aspects of that period alive. By the time the studio relocated to Castle Boulevard, Games Workshop rapidly became a bigger and more corporate company and the models became more sophisticated and serious to meet the market, I guess. Bryan Ansell sold the company and the work ethics changed, when he was running the company there was a lot more room for nurturing fun models with character being an important aspect and there was a lot more creative freedom.

Music and models… I asked Kevin if these were things that linked together for him. I wondered if he had ever felt inspired to create a miniature through music, be this album artwork, the look of a musician or the music itself. To expand a little on this point too, I asked Kevin for an insight into his music tastes.

Kevin Adams: Some years back, I was with family at a museum and some medieval musicians played to a tiny audience, one had a hurdy gurdy and another had a drum while a female sang. In the audience was an infant and he hated the perceived racket and had his hands over his ears, plus his face was a picture of shocked disapproval! Two days later, I went to work at Stoke Hall and made a Goblin with hurdy gurdy and singing loudly with open mouth. The second Goblin had a drum, and he had his hands over his ears and was pulling a shocked face while his drum stick was on his foot having just fell in the desperate attempt to cover his ears to the racket the other goblin was making, so there’s an example of music and models. The Zombie Death cart made for Upstream Games was inspired by the cart on the cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Greatest Hits’, another music link. 

Hearing music was always been a big part of growing up and a lot of it inspires old memories of places, and people Alice Cooper, who I still listen to, was my first love in music, although growing up in the sixties there are memories of the Stones and Beatles, psychedelia, as well rock and roll music and lots of themed music from TV shows, too. I have created playlists from that era with many varied and obscure songs from different genres and it’s like going back to childhood, and working on models can be almost meditative, so music does inspire creativity with what I make. 

As a teenager, I mostly grew up with Tamla Motown, Northern Soul, Funk and Reggae; styles which I still listen to on occasion, but on the other side of the coin I liked creative bands like 10CC, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and Gong, to name a few. In my honest opinion, chart music back then was far better quality than it is now and there are so many iconic records from growing up that I love. By 1976, hearing Eater on Radio Caroline, it was stimulating and soon the new punk movement became a way of life. It’s an honour to have seen many punk bands in their prime and I still listen to the music, it’s in my blood and I have great memories of those times.

While relocating to Nottingham and meeting John Blanche, he gave me many tapes of varied electronic music. Marc Gascoigne, who had a huge music collection with untold rare gems, also gave me some wonderful exotic tapes that I love to this day. So, most of the music I listened to at the design studio while making the models was electronic. I have still got the tunes which take me back to that period. By 1987, House Music was a new electronic style and then there was Italian House, Rave and Techno came along and Ambient music in its various forms, this becoming another avenue of pleasure. These days there’s so much to listen to and many good genres old and new, but todays charts or anything commercial sounds awful to these ears and perhaps that’s an age thing.

  • An ideal way to treat a loved one (or yourself!) Kevin Adams provides a commissioning service, offering clients the opportunity to own some truly unique models. Here are a selection of such pieces… Anyone interested in this service should contact Kevin HERE.

While Kevin has of course sculpted other creatures and characters, he is most noted for his work with Orcs and Goblins (and Space Orks and Gretchin). I wondered how he gravitated most to these models, also how it felt to be tagged the Goblin Master.

Kevin Adams: Obviously, it’s nice to get recognition for making models, but Goblin Master is only a label, it might help sell models, that’s all. Who knows where the name came from but it was a GW tag and nothing to do with me other than a name from an unknown source. My brother chose to use the tag for the website for commercial reasons, which makes sense, but it’s a label and isn’t me. I’m still learning how to make toy soldiers and don’t consider myself a master of anything because there’s talent everywhere. It’s just satisfying  that people like the models and I can make a living from them. 

Fantasy Tribe models were great models to paint and collect, the character that the Perry twins put into them, as well as Tony Ackland and John Blanche’s visionary art, they were both a big inspiration. So, joining the studio and being given the golden opportunity to work on those ranges was like a dream come true. My goal was to mimic the same look, which eventually led to the current style. I can also remember the Chronicle Hobgoblins at the time and painted a set for Nick Lund and liked the definition with the armour which made them fun to paint, so I learnt something there too because I make models for painters, having been one myself.

On one visit to Games and Puzzles in Cambridge, there were these amazingly detailed models on the racks, and I bought them all. They were Jes Goodwin’s Asgard Orc range and also the Dwarfs. I was totally gobsmacked, and I had seen nothing like them before. The crispness of the detail was a major inspiration and they were classic timeless ranges which still fit in with today’s models. The level of detail and movement in Aly Morrison’s Hobgoblins and Half Orcs  was an inspiration, too. Ral Partha Goblins were models I loved. So, all of the above were the early influence for me, plus all the crazy characters I met from school days inspire the mischievous personalities, and the bullies encountered were definitely Orcs. Space Orks and Gretchin were lots of fun, they were WW2 German inspired due to a love of Airfix WW2, and initially Bryan Ansell provided all the creative freedom needed, and along with the Epics range, it was a fun period at Enfield Chambers. 

With regards to the technical sides of things, I asked Kevin to describe how he goes about sculpting a model, the materials used and preferred environment.

Kevin Adams: Its easier working alone, listening to music to get into a deep concentration, that’s what I prefer. Sylmasta Green Putty is the main medium used, but Milliput to bulk out larger dollies is useful, and on occasion Pro Create is great for fine detail but it isn’t green and it can set faster, it’s also stiffer, so I mainly use Green Stuff. Every model made is on a wire dolly and, whenever possible, from waste copper wire. Many sculptors will bulk out wire dollies before adding Green Stuff but it can be applied straight on the wire, even with larger models like Orcs, although it takes plenty of practice as the putty can flop around. Obviously, torsos have to be bulked out first and more often than not anything non plastic can be used to do this, and it might be a lump of old putty or some bashed metal from an old casting, I never waste putty. If it’s too cured then it’s useful to press into slots on bases or rolled into tubes and flattened into sheets and these are what I use for guns, so not a scrap of putty goes to waste.

There’s nothing really technical about how I make models, it’s a no frills approach and everything is basic, starting with the legs, and then torso, arms, head, etc. Wire is rarely used in arms and instead rolled putty that’s nearly cured with a coating of superglue is the way. Sometimes, when heads are made, they can be taken off and repositioned which adds character, both are techniques which Bryan Ansell taught me while working with him at Foundry. Over the years, he’s taught me a lot of useful things about making models. Weapons are usually made from castings that have been bashed into flat sheets and then cut into shape and filed down. Back in the design studio, everybody made weapons from Milliput sheets and cut out the shapes using piercing saws, but Milliput is messy to file and can easily crack, so metal is easier and it doesn’t pose a possible health risk from breathing in the dust.

The Goblin Master! A Talk With Kevin Adams… Part 3.

SylCreate are a UK company that produces a range of high quality craft and model making supplies, from modelling putties through to casting and mould making products. Kevin recently provided the hobby supplies business with an interview, details which can be found HERE. I had not been previously familiar with SylCreate, and being a keen hobbyist, I was interested to ask Kevin more.

Kevin Adams: SylCreate are the company who I buy Green Stuff from as well as Milliput and occasionally superglue, their coloured putties were fun to use for shields when I worked on the Foundry Warmonger range and making the designs in different colour combinations was interesting. There are a lot of shields, most were made from Bryan Ansell’s original Sketches. A few months ago when I was ordering I noticed a discount for customers who could provide examples of their work or reviews of their products so I submitted quite a few pictures of models that were made in Green Stuff.

With a career that goes back to the early 1980’s, Kevin Adams is a sculptor that is much in demand, and his designs highly sought after by collectors. Well known for his association with Games Workshop and Citadel Miniatures (Bryan Ansell gave Kevin his sculpting break back in the day), Kevin has since provided miniatures to a multitude of model companies. I was keen to ask about some of his clients and the ranges he has worked on over the years.

Kevin Adams: I have three regular Clients in the US, one is Joe Corsaro who has his own shop and a company called Dragonbait Miniatures, you can see his painted Grunty Goblins at the top of the SylCreate article (HERE) and there are also some pictures of fantasy adventurers that I made him; Mike Burns who owns Dark Fable Miniatures did the excellent characterful concepts which were fun to work from.

Then I have a client and friend who has yet to release quite a lot of head turning models, he is Joel Cassel and his company is Molten Mayhem Miniatures and he will be releasing models later in the year. He gives me a lot of creative freedom and I enjoy making models for him.

There is also the Kar-Keel zombie range that I’ve made for Brian Kirkell, which is a fun project and ongoing. Zombies are entertaining to make and I like working on Undead models. I’ve also made some interesting  models for Andy Coleman, who also gives me a lot of creative freedom. His eye catching website is known as 4A miniatures and he sells a lot of characterful models which are well worth looking at.

Midlam Miniatures are another company who I make a variety of models for and they have a shop too, and sell lots of original looking  models. Recent projects  have been Goblin Wraiths and Vampire Dwarfs. An enjoyable recent range were the Tenoch that I made for Dave Wood (The Little Soldier Company) they are reminiscent of the old Citadel Slann range which are a big part of my miniatures history as I painted them for Bryan Ansell, which led to later making early models, and Dave gave me some fun ideas, including Froglings to make, and I do love frogs and toads

  • More on Tenoch HERE.

For several years I’ve worked on the Crooked Claw Goblins and have built up quite a large range, including wolf riders, a chariot plus variant and two war machines. There’s also the models I’ve made for Uscarl Miniatures that are worth checking out, including a Chuck Norris inspired 40K Dwarf plus variants with different weapons, Genestealers, Snotlings and a Greenskin Bloodbowl team.

Space Dwarves. Designed by Kevin Adams. Copyright: Uscarl Miniatures.

There are also quite a few projects that I’ve worked on over the years including multi-kit renaissance Halflings for friend, Sebastian Rowland, who is known on miniature forums as WK. I also made the first models for Otherworld Miniatures, which were D & D copies and a range of Night Goblins for Black HatI should also mention the Banana Tyrant, I made him a model with a banana shaped gun and he set up a blogspot called the Kev Adams Challenge.

There were a few of Kevin’s projects that I was keen to get some greater insight into, such as the background stories and inspiration. The pieces that I initially had in mind were the Treadmill of Hubris, Wily Waggeries and the Baleful Boglet Bounders.

Kevin Adams: Citadel usually had an amusing narrative to go with their characters and models, so in keeping with that tradition I attempted to maintain a similar feel based on Old World humour and charm with the Goblin Master range. The models are inspired by ideas from those times, while using my own descriptions rather than copying the original names. I’m aware that there is still a lot of love within certain sections of the fantasy wargaming community regarding the Citadel years, and the models I make are a tribute to that, and my love of that magical period of models is alive and kicking.

The Treadmill is a new variant of the Snotling Pump Wagon, which was at the time my own design, this time I thought that a pair of captive Dwarfs chained above a Treadmill barrel that propelled the waggon was a new amusing idea and it dovetails with the animosity between Greenskins and Dwarfs. I actually love Dwarfs, and they are fun to make, so there’s no real bad feeling involved, it just illustrates how Boglets would like to get one over on a tougher foe in a comical way, and later on the Dwarfs will be out for revenge in future ranges.

Wily Waggeries, like the Treadmill wagon, is from a thought that sprung to mind, it’s a progression of Jolly Japes V2, which was a hilarious somewhat risqué set suggested by Bryan Ansell when I worked at Enfield Chambers. This was a pair of Snotlings who had stolen a Dwarfs’ boots and Helmet, one taking a leak in the boots while number two was sat on the helmet and using it as his potty. Much to my amusement, it caused a fair amount of indignation with certain unknown members of management, who obviously considered it unsuitable so the set was tamed and it must be very rare. It perfectly illustrates the mischievous nature of the Snotlings, who delight in  getting up to a bit of devious payback. The narrative with Wily Waggeries is a Dwarf wizard being the victim, but the Boglets have no idea of the terrible revenge the wizard will inflict on Goblinkind .

Enter the Oddgobins, a whole new world of chaotic mayhem and badassery. The Bounders are a version of Snappers crossed with a raptor, hence the longer legs  and tails. Many years ago, I made Squigs for Games Workshop which had short legs and ferocious mouths, the Foundry Raptors came to mind and along came the Bounders, who have a dodgy selection of Bounder jockeys. 

From what I’ve seen online, Kevin’s Dark Fable Miniature’s Pig Orcs and Allies look wonderful. The Pig Orcs, in particular, strike up visions of some of the beasts described in passages of HG Wells’ ‘Doctor Moreau’.

Kevin Adams: I was introduced to Mike Burns through Andy Coleman of 4A Miniatures. Mike is an Archaeologist by trade and has a passion for all things ancient Egyptian and historical, the first models I made him were Egyptian Eunochs and later my first female models.

I would need to make many human models on a regular basis to learn how to get the right feel so these were a rare challenge considering most of the models I make are far from human, the few humans I make aren’t as convincing as standard human models due to lack of practice.

I was asked to make Pig Orcs for Otherworld years ago from the D & D Monster Manual drawings; copying other peoples ideas doesn’t appeal to me, so when Mike wanted Pig Orcs and gave me some wonderful original sketches with lots of charm I was immediately inspired and there is a growing range of them. They are more original looking fantasy models with a historical feel, so that’s why  the weapons are smaller than average. Mike has a fantastic website and there are many amazing painted miniatures on display from the talented hands of Paul Sanderson who also paints the Goblin Master models.

  • An ideal way to treat a loved one (or yourself!) Kevin Adams provides a commissioning service, offering clients the opportunity to own some truly unique models. Anyone interested in this service should contact Kevin HERE.

Following years of encouragement to launch his own miniatures company, Goblin Master is Kevin’s official website. I asked him to describe how the website came about, also about current and upcoming projects and when/ how items will be available.

Kevin Adams: For years people have said that I should have my own company and because I prefer to spend most of the time making toy soldiers the idea of running a company hasn’t really appealed because its really a grey area and the creative process is more fun. Over the years, working for many different people with their own ideas hasn’t always been easy because this creative mind doesn’t enjoy being inhibited by strict  guidelines and it can run wild at times while concepts need to be strictly adhered to.

Many clients will provide all the freedom I need to work from the creative pool, so I do enjoy working freelance, but it’s more appealing  when I can have an idea and get it on paper for later use where I can come up with a model  that can sell on the website. Ideas flow on a regular basis and sometimes I will get out of bed to write an idea down or sketch something. My brother kindly offered to organise setting up a company along with my nephew, who works on the website and social media, and we decided to begin with a Kickstarter which is the launch of our website where new ranges will eventually appear. Meanwhile as ideas flow, the scraps of paper build up ready for future use. Dwarfs are planned, so Boglets beware!

The Goblin Master! A Talk With Kevin Adams… Part 4.

Full of character and madcap zaniness, I am a big fan of Kevin’s range of Space Orks that he produced for Games Workshop back in the mid-1980’s. I have previously read that the Space Ork models he sculpted with the World War II German army aesthetic stemmed from his interest in Airfix models. I asked Kevin to tell me more.

Kevin Adams: As a child growing up in the 1960’s I collected Airfix soldiers and was fascinated by the uniforms and equipment, plus there were lots of WW2 films on TV and programs like ‘Combat’ and ‘Garrisons Gorillas’. Later on I would be attracted to the realism of Tamiya kits and again found the German WW2 kits the most interesting, so I had already been inspired to make models with a similar look.

I asked Kevin if he remembered the first Space Ork, and then first Space Ork range, he ever made for Games Workshop.

Kevin Adams: Yes, never really forgot them. It was lots of fun and Bryan Ansell gave me lots of creative freedom and the WW2 German look took hold. Making the chunky weapons was fun too and eventually John Blanche came up with many fun ideas, like Pain Boys, Meks and different clans, like Evil Suns, etc. Wayne England, Paul Bonner and Adrian Smith did some amazing artwork to inspire and it was all fun until boring plastic arms came along which didn’t inspire me at all, but it was an exciting  range while it lasted.

I wondered how Kevin compared his fantasy greenskins to his Rogue Trader/ Warhammer 40,000 ones. I asked also if he had a preference.

Kevin Adams: I started off making fantasy greenskins and that was what I was used to, but when the idea for Space Orks and Grots came along it offered a whole new range of possibilities, like uniforms, shooty weapons, vehicles, etc. Making both is enjoyable but I find that with the Space Orks it’s possible to be more creative with the weapons and it’s OK to combine modern technology with fantasy armour and give them combat uniforms, etc, so the Space Orks are probably something I prefer more.

  • An ideal way to treat a loved one (or yourself!) Kevin Adams provides a commissioning service, offering clients the opportunity to own some truly unique models. Anyone interested in this service should contact Kevin HERE.

Since leaving Games Workshop in the 1990’s, Kevin has worked for a number of different model companies in addition to operating as a highly sought after freelance sculptor.

Kevin Adams: When i parted ways with GW I made some models for Alternative Armies and soon after I was contacted by Dean Edwards who wanted to discuss two ranges. He told me that his company name was Harlequin Miniatures and I made him a range of Goblins and a range of Dwarfs, and these were later converted.

I was then contacted by Bob Watts of Heartbreaker Miniatures who offered me a job, so for two years I made him models. At first the designs were all my own, but later on I worked on the Warzone range. Initially Bob had an agreement with John Robertson of Grendel which allowed me to work for both companies for a while, So I made John some Orcs and big lizards for the Orcs and these were produced in resin. Eventually, I moved on from Heartbreaker and joined up with Harlequin, where I made lots of different models including the Barnorsk Orcs and when I eventually worked at their offices I was back working with Tony Ackland and Pete Brown who had made the moulds for the models I made for Alternative Armies and the first ranges I made for Harlequin, so I felt at home.

I also met Nick Collier who impressed me with his many talents. After two years working for Harlequin I got a phone call late one night from the US and I mistakenly thought it was Nasa wanting to talk to me, but to my relief I soon found out it was actually Fasa I was speaking to and they offered me a job, making the models for a game called Maelstrom. The assignment meant visiting Chicago for nearly a week and it was an unforgettable experience as I had never been to the US before and loved it there.

All the time I was working for Fasa I was in touch with Bryan Ansell discussing the day when we would team up again on producing exciting new ranges and Bryan kindly had quite a few of the Fasa models moulded and cast at Foundry to save shipping time. After two years at Fasa I eventually joined Foundry who had amalgamated with Guernsey Foundry and I set about making the Renaissance Orcs from the artwork of Tony Yates and they are still selling to this day.

Bryan taught me plenty of useful techniques on making human models so I made a few Victorian models too. After making loads of models for Foundry I then went freelance and made some models for Monolith, the most memorable ones being based on the turnip men which I used to make as a teenager for a laugh; they had heads made from small turnips and straw bodies tied around twigs for legs and arms and the faces would look like old people after a few weeks in the hot weather. I would hang them in trees or put them on doorsteps for fun, so I made them in miniature as part of the Back of Beyond Scarecrow range.

Around this time I made lots of new models for Renegade Miniatures and converted existing ranges. It was a new experience making human models but I began with an Orc range and later remade them, and to this day I believe they have never been released. I also made ranges for Otherworld Miniatures and a few models for Urban Mammoth and later made the Nemesis Goblin range with Bob Olley which was later bought by my friend Viking Dave Leigh and enlarged and released as Rhonistorm Miniatures. Eventually the range was sold and resurfaced as Crooked Claw and there have been many additions over the years and the range continues to grow, they are really a continuation of the style of Goblin I made for GW and the idea was to offer models that collectors could expand their old Warhammer Goblin armies with.

I also made Night Goblins for Black Hat for a while and quite a few models for 4A Miniatures, which is an ongoing project. Another company I made quite a few models for is Midlam Miniatures and in recent years I’ve worked on Egyptian models for Dark Fable and also Pig Orcs and Long Haired Orcs. Other ranges have been Joe Corsaro’s Dragonbait Miniatures with Fantasy Adventures and Grunty Goblins. I’ve made more models for Dragontooth, Privateer Press and Uscarl Miniatures and quite a few in between including Fenris Games with the Duck Warriors.

I then had an incident where three robbers attacked me in my own home and was off work for nine months due to the injuries inflicted on my face and right eye. Ian from Fenris and Jon from Ainsty Castings came to the rescue and set up Goblin Aid and many people in the industry kindly made models and raised money that was  donated to help me during the time I was unable to work, because I didn’t qualify for any government help despite paying tax for most of my life. Foundry raised a generous sum of money for me which really helped and by then my eye was well enough to help them move their factory to their current premises and from there I worked with them in their magnificent home at Stoke Hall to make the Warmonger range. I worked closely with Bryan and Maria Ansell and I made a large range for eighteen months before multiple freelance commitments pulled me into new projects like the Knightmare Games ranges and Molten Mayhem Miniatures, which is an exciting range yet to be released. The Warmonger range is an ongoing freelance venture and I’ve made special commissions for Maria Ansell who runs Warmonger, like Ozzy the Bat Eater and Otto Groin Splitter the killer clown, with more speciality models to come.

Having previously spoken to Kevin, I knew that he enjoyed sculpting Undead models. I asked Kevin where he drew his inspiration from.

Kevin Adams: As an eight-year-old child I was invited to go to the local cinema with my friend and his dad to watch ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’. There was a trailer film that started with a train crash, people dropping dead and an aeroplane falling from the sky and exploding. A man in a Land Rover drives into a village which was full of dead people, he meets some survivors and eventually some robots appear which killed one of the women in the group, who later came back to life and she had scary white eyes, so this was my first experience with zombies. The film really frightened me at the time, I found out many years later that it’s called ‘Earth Dies Screaming’ and although it’s a low budget film with a terrible script, the lighting effects are moody and atmospheric and with it being directed by Terrence Fisher it’s full of suspense.

I later watched ‘Plague Of The Zombies’ (more white eyed zombies), then ‘Night Of The Living Dead’, I was amazed at Tom Savini’s special effects when I saw ‘Dawn Of The Dead’, which really got me hooked on zombie films. Another much loved classic zombie film was ‘Arthur Grimsdyke’ played by Peter Cushing in ‘Tales From The Crypt’ and later films, like ‘The Evil Dead’, ‘Zombie 2’, and the hilarious ‘Shaun Of The Dead’ all inspired me to make Zombie models.

Given the vast number of models that Kevin has made over the years, from Orcs and Goblins to Dwarfs to Humans to Zombies, and a lot more besides, I asked him if he had ever considered producing a game of his own to incorporate his models.

Kevin Adams: No not at all, I’m not a gamer and most of my time gets absorbed making models for multiple clients. My passion for models is creating them, I make models with painters and gamers in mind though and love seeing wargame tables with the terrain and painted armies. Previously I’ve immensely enjoyed painting models but there’s no time for hobbies with having five grandchildren, jobs around the house and more jobs to do out in the garden.

Outside of models, I asked Kevin how best he relaxes.

Kevin Adams: Going for walks in nature is a regular passion after hours of sitting at a desk, I love animals and wildlife, sunsets, sunrises and hearing the wind in the trees, birdsong, etc. I enjoy volunteering at the local hospital, it gets me out and I meet interesting people. Holidays with family when I can find time is always nice. Craft beers and real ales, vegan pub lunches with family is another avenue of pleasure.

I don’t follow anything mainstream or watch films or TV or do social media, have no interest in computer games or have a social life anymore. The less I have going on in my head the more I like it. I always enjoy listening to music while making models and being in the creative zone.

My preferred way of relaxing is sitting on the patio at dusk, enjoying a nice beer with a few lanterns and watching the sun go down while listening to the birdsong, plus watching the bats flying about. Sometimes a fox will walk past and at that time of night the air is filled with distant traffic and the ambience of the neighbourhood making a wall of sound which can be quite meditative. There’s a lot of ivy in the garden and I often perceive a myriad faces in and around the leaves due to the light and darkness, they are like the little green men of the garden. There are many cats that visit too, and they all have their own idiosyncrasies and are fun to have around. Like Goblins, they squabble and get up to mischief.

Following his Boglet Bounders, The Treadmill of Hubris, Wily Waggeries and ‘Orrible Oddities, I asked Kevin what the future plans were for Goblin Master and if any new ranges can be expected.

Kevin Adams: Dwarfs are in the pipeline, they will be looking for some payback, so that will be a laugh. A range of 12 Oddgoblins has been made, plus if the current models are popular, I will expand on them. Since lockdown, with Griffin closing for a while, I’ve had to postpone the Goblin Master range because no moulds could be made and production ground to a halt, so I had to find work as a freelancer again. Recently I’ve become very busy working on Kickstarter models for existing clients and the jobs keep coming in, so that’s been occupying the current work schedule, but I hope to start making more of my own models later in the year and as usual ideas will flow as they come but I don’t really plan things and prefer to live in each moment.

This is the final part in my blog feature on Kevin Adams. I would like to thank Kevin for his generous time and contributions towards the blog, in addition to being a fantastic model sculptor he’s also a genuinely good guy too and I have immensely enjoying working on this feature. Thank you, Kevin!

Follow Kevin Adams on Facebook HERE.

Official Goblin Master website HERE.

Official website for Knightmare Miniatures HERE.

Official website for Dark Fable Miniatures HERE.

Official website for Warmonger Miniatures HERE.

Official website for Upstream Games House HERE.

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