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Richard Ansell. Very sad News

It is with tremendous sadness that I must report the passing of the hugely talented sculptor and great friend of not just me but all of the Lard Island crew.  Sadly Richard passed away on the 11th of February due to complications with an old injury.  On the way to have exploratory surgery to repair old wounds, he suffered a heart attack from which he did not recover.

Richard was a tremendously talented sculptor who in an age of ‘heroically proportioned’ figures, developed his own far more anatomically correct style.  His work over the years was voluminous, sculpting ranges for companies such as The Assault Group, Fife & Drum Miniatures, Crann Tara Miniatures, Warlord Games, Hasselfree Miniatures, Brigade Games, Rif-Raf Miniatures, Minden Miniatures and even some of the limited edition figures produced by TooFatLardies.

As well as appreciating Richard’s attention to detail in his sculpting, I am most fortunate to have been a regular gaming friend.  His interest in military history was matched by his sense of fun; his quiet, well-considered and understated wit made him many friends and his departing will leave an empty chair in the Lard Island Mess which will not be filled again.

These are, of course, very difficult times for his wife, Coral.  Richard’s work bench was understandably full of projects but with so many other issues for her to attend to, I have made contact with the companies who we know Richard was currently working for.  However, this may not be everyone.  If Richard was undertaking work for you and you need a point of contact, then emailing me at TooFatLardies via our web site will allow me to act as a conduit when the appropriate time arrives.

As a tribute to Richard, I have contacted a couple of figure manufacturers who have kindly agreed to share some of the images they have of Richard’s work.  The following images were kindly supplied by Fife & Drum Miniatures. Their range, all sculpted by Richard, may be be found at Fife & Drum


The following images were provided by Crann Tara Miniatures whose range may be found here:  Crann Tara

Finally, I have to say that the figures that “Tricky” sculpted of the Lard Island four; Sidney, the immaculately attired German officer; Nick, the portly Unteroffizier gorging on an oversize sausage; Biffo, the Commando thinking about where to throw the grenade whose pin he has just removed; me, apparently the connoisseur of the grape, considering the joy of the latest newly liberated vintage (and definitely not just a old drunk who has just found a stash of booze, let’s be clear on that!).  Each figure a well considered study of a friend and executed with skill and humour.

These will always serve as a great reminder of a much missed friend.  Not to mention that timeless hero, Hugh Jarce, based on the popular comic book hero Captain Hurricane and sculpted to celebrate some long-forgotten release.











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17 Responses

  1. Doug says:

    That is very sad news. Thanks for sharing Rich. A very talented sculptor.

  2. Perhaps it’s time for a run of these models as a way to raise money for his widow?

  3. Such sad news. Richard – or “Tricky” as we all knew him – was a genuinely lovely bloke. I can’t add anything to your fine tribute, Rich, but would just mention that Tricky was one of those people who always had time for a question or a generously-given piece of advice. He had a dry, lively sense of humour and fun. He was just brilliant company to have around the wargames table. He will be very greatly missed by all of us.

  4. Stephen says:

    A great loss to those like me who knew his work but not the man, how much more to those who knew him, and even more to those who loved him. I’m sorry to hear the news but grateful you’ve shared it in this tribute,


  5. Big Rich says:

    Thanks Stephen.

  6. Big Rich says:

    Agreed. I already have my thinking cap on.

  7. Graham Cummings says:

    A very sad loss indeed, this was the year I had every intention to meet him. Sadly that will not happen.

  8. Frank Hammond says:

    Oh my god, my attention has just been drawn to this, literally moments ago . . . I am heartbroken to hear this news. We started Minden Miniatures together and it was the start of an absolutely brilliant friendship, that went way beyond our business relationship. Coral must be in bits.

  9. Snowcat says:

    Oh God, that’s crushing news. Not only one of the best sculptors in the hobby, but one of its wittiest and most knowledgeable contributors. If I had a dollar for each time ‘Woody’ cracked me up with his comments on Frothers over the years, I’d be rich. A massive loss. R.I.P.

    There should be wargaming events/memorials/trophies in his name to remember him by.

  10. Paul Scrivens-Smith says:

    Very saddened to hear this, I painted another of my Hugh Jarces’ just a few weeks ago.

  11. Charles Grant says:

    This is very sad news indeed. What a loss. It was the arrival of the first Minden figures sculpted by Richard in about 2008 that gave me the opportunity to replace my father’s and my old Spencer Smith armies. Their anatomical elegance provided me with just what I wanted. They were the embodiment of the Mid Eighteenth century soldier. There was no contest. A dozen years later my armies, thousands of them sculpted by Richard, have graced many battlefields and fought many campaigns. They have brought me huge joy and are a testimony to Richard’s brilliance as a sculptor of the first order. A master craftsman indeed. My thoughts are with his friends and family. Charles Grant

  12. Paul Hammond says:

    Very saddened to hear this news. Richard was a super artist and delivered all he undertook. He sculpted all of our Alban Miniatures a few years ago. A rare talent.

  13. Big Rich says:

    Hi Frank. It’s a difficult time for her, as we’d expect. It’s a terrible loss for the hobby, but for her it is, of course, of a different magnitude.

  14. Big Rich says:

    Thanks for your kind words Charles. Richard was a tremendous sculptor who dared to be different. The result was some truly exquisite figures which, fortunately, we can all enjoy for years to come. A fitting tribute to a really nice chap. I do appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  15. Mark Griffin says:

    How very sad. I always admired his sculpting, especially the Minden/Fife and Drum ranges. A black day indeed.

  16. I was very saddened to hear this news. His sculpting style was exquisite. I have quite a few of his figures from various manufacturers. How perfect his figures are is exemplified by the way that they have always stood front and foremost on the most visible shelves of my display cases.

  17. Jim McLaughlin says:

    I just heard about this. Truly a sad and unfortunate death, but his fine work will live on.

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