Sunday, March 3, 2019

'Fellowship' from TamsinP: Once In Every Lifetime

When the various bonus round themes were announced, this one was a no-brainer - I had the figures and they were ready to go. I also knew that they'd be fun to paint up and might evoke fond memories for some of my fellow Challengers (mainly the Brits I guess).

So, without further ado, let me introduce four of Scumbag College's finest student housemates (and pet):

For those who have never encountered these fine fellows (and rodent), they are the cast of "The Young Ones", a British light entertainment* show which first aired in 1982, running for two short seasons of six episodes. It was quite a risky show for the BBC to produce, but became a firm favourite of every teenager (and most adults) I knew.

* Originally touted to be a sitcom, the BBC told them that the comedy budget was all gone, but there was plenty left in "light entertainment". A brief rejig of the bid later, the show featured bands (Motorhead, The Damned, Dexy's Midnight Runners and Madness [twice] to name but four) in 11 of the 12 episodes and a lion tamer in the other one.

PRick ("the P is silent!")

Played by the late Rik Mayall, Rick is a wannabe-radical sociology student sticking it to Thatcher and speaking out for "the kids". He has a delusionally high opinion of himself, ias "The People's Poet" and hates Neil.

Oh, and he's a big, big Cliff Richard fan...

Despite his affectations of anarchism, socialism and class struggle it turns out that he is actually the son of fairly right wing Tories.

Neil Wheedon Watkins Pye

Played by Nigel Planer, Neil is the morose, hard put on hippy Peace Studies student of the household. Despite doing all the cleaning, cooking (seemingly limited to making tea, cornflakes and lentil stew) , shopping and other housework, Neil is hated by all of them and frequently the subject of violent outbursts.

Like Rick, Neil is the son of well-to-do Tories from Twickenham who are very disappointed in him and would much prefer him to be in a nice sitcom like "The Good Life".

Neil avoids sleep "Because, like, it gives you cancer, man"

Surprisingly, Neil is actually one of the more sociable of the housemates, having at least three friends that we see at various times.

Mike "The Cool One"

Played by Christopher Ryan, Mike is the suave, sharply-dressed ladies man* and undisputed leader of the household. He isn't actually studying at the university, as he has blackmailed the Chancellor to get grants and his degree(s).

He is generally quite laid back and stays out of arguments, unless it amuses him to join in. He is quite fatherly towards Vyvyan, and is seen trying to teach him how to tell the time.

Mike is a conman from a very poor background who never wants to go back to that life. He sees himself as something of a future mob boss.

* He does reveal in one episode to Vyvyan that he is still a virgin.

Vyvyan Basterd

Played by Ade Edmonson, Vyvyan is the psychotic, violent  medical student who absolutely detests Rick. He is probably the most intelligent of the four and is seen to be quite skilled with engines, electronics and electrics.

He is also a budding pharmacist/chemist as we see with one of his inventions:

[Neil is going over whose food is whose in the fridge]

Vyvyan:  My potion! Don't forget my potion!

Neil:  What potion?

Vyvyan:  It's a potion I've invented that, when a person drinks it, he turns into an axe-wielding homicidal maniac! It's basically a cure, for not being an axe-wielding homicidal maniac! The potential market's enormous!

Neil:  [Notes Coke can in fridge] Is this it?

Vyvyan:  Yeah! I put it in a Coke can so no one would drink it by accident!

Neil:  [with hammy foreshadowing] You know, I just bet, a bit later on, someone does drink that, and becomes an axe-wielding homicidal maniac!

Rick:  O yes, I think so too! That's just the sort of crazy unpredictable kind of thing that happens around here, isn't it? [all are ignoring Rick] I said "Isn't It?" [still no reaction from the others, Rick pouts]

Vyvyan is undoubtedly the most sociable of the housemates, with many similarly psychotic medical student friends.

He genuinely respects and looks up to Mike, and acts as his "enforcer".

Yes, I did paint it on!

Vyvyan also has a pet...

Special Patrol Group (SPG)

SPG was Vyvyan's psychotic Glaswegian hamster, named after the somewhat infamous unit of the Metropolitan Police). He has a sexual predilection for rats.

They have a love-hate relationship - we see SPG doing things that could kill Vyvyan (such as plugging in the TV set he has just swallowed to hide it from the TV licence man) which usually provoke a violent response.

The housemates are 28mm from Studio Miniatures. A friend of mine was asking if anyone produced them; a week or so later Studio Miniatures released them. I knew that I had to buy a set for myself. I do hope that they will release sculpts of some of the other character that appear during the series, particularly the Balowski family (all played by Alexei Sayle - "Jerzei" the landlord; nephew "Alexei Yuri Gagarin Siege of Stalingrad Glorious Five Year Plan Sputnik Tractor Moscow Dynamo Back Four"; son "Reggie" the international arms dealer; "Billy" the lunatic; "Tommy" the drunk; "Brian Damage" the escaped convict; and "Jester" and jester). Or just Jerzei after drinking Vyvyan's can of Coke from the fridge...

SPG was adapted from a Warbases rabbit. The resin urban bases are from TT Combat.


  1. Instantly recognisable! Cracking stuff.

  2. These are great! Lovely sculpts brillantly realised! Compulsory viewing as a child, and I remember the SPG turning up in an empty park in North London because a bunch of us were sitting on some swings,happy days!
    Best Iain

  3. Laugh out loud funny, the addition of SPG was just genius!

  4. Absolutely fantastic Tamsin, one of my Favourites growing up. SPG ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  5. Oh yes!!!!! Just give the prize to Tamsin now!!!!!
    My old English teacher Mr Kimber was the puppeteer who moved SPG and the other puppets in the show.

  6. Great to see some pulp goodness rolling of your brush Tamsin.Well done!


  7. Where's the "living doll" clip as Challenge Tune? Seriously it's a gorgeous group, love the hamster!

  8. Great stuff Tamsin. In my best granny voice "friends of yours from school, dear?"

  9. Okaaaay. Nope. I have absolutely NO idea what this is all about - I'll have to get my GoogleFu ninja outfit on to figure it out. Nonetheless, lovely paintjobs Tamsin! I like the look (and background) of SPG. :)

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  11. @ Mad Lemmey - thanks Will! You definitely need a SPG to go with your set :)

    @ Barks - cheers! :)

    @ Iain - thanks! I got stopped and searched by them in '84 when I was visiting my sister in London. Apparently I (14, 5'6" shortish red hair, girly) matched the description of a burglar (early 30s, 6'2", long brown hair, bloke) they were after - must have been the cut-off denim over leather jacket that confused them; they weren't renowned as the greatest thinkers after all ;)

    @ Michael A - cheers! How could I possibly leave out SPG? Mind you, I did leave out the mysterious, shadowy fifth housemate ;)

    @ Martin C - thanks! :)

    @ Ken - cheers! :)

    @ Ray - thanks for the vote of confidence, but there are some excellent entries this week, so it would be rather premature to give me a prize before the voting is finished! ;)

    @ Christopher - cheers! :)

    @ Sander - thanks! I did think about including Neil's rendition of "Hole in my shoe" ;)

    @ Peter D - cheers! Not from school, but at uni I did know a few like them :)

    @ Curt - thanks! I'm pretty sure that all the episodes are on YouTube if you want to check them out. :)

  12. Utterly brilliant! Although a little sad that 'Bacon Sandwich' didn't make it. And I would have gone for Ace of Spades for the Tunes Challenge - "To the station! Music!"

    1. Thanks! How could I forget that Pig Ferret? Now I'll have to source one to add to the set :)