Michael Ramalho is the Marketing Manager for the Osprey Group, managing those two tearaways Joe and Abe and overseeing the marketing plans for Osprey and Shire...
Hmm, writing about myself in the third person seems a little self-indulgent, so suffice to say that I will have been working for Osprey for 5 years in January, and I have loved pretty much every moment of it. I have moved around a bit in the office (I actually started off as Diane's assistant) but was 'tapped up' by Richard and the rest is history.
Now I am involved in all sorts of bits and pieces throughout Osprey, Shire and Angry Robot. I have in the past run this blog (now ably controlled by Joe of course), I look after the Osprey twitter feed (@OspreyBooks if you are interested), I oversee the booking and creation of print and online adverts, publicity for all three brands and lend a hand in shaping the social / digital future of Osprey. I have also attended pretty much every show and event that Osprey go to in the UK. I have very fond memories of being given a ride on Tiger tank at the War and Peace show!
When I asked myself what my favourite Osprey book of all time is, this is what I came up with:
"Deciding to put off writing this blog until the very last moment has landed me in a spot of hot water. Because it seems as if all of the books that I was going to choose as my favourites have already been taken by someone else, or at least mentioned as a possible choice. Phil snuck in with a cheeky Border Reiver title. Ed pipped me to the post with his choice of ELI 163 Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan (though its sequel title ELI 170 Special Operations Forces in Iraq deserves a mention.) Rebecca swooped in and claimed the Duel series and Kate gave a shout out to my beloved series of MAA titles on Modern African Wars.
But with close to 2000 books to choose from, there is always another gem out there. I am a sucker for great artwork and am fascinated by the Eastern Front during World War II, so I immediately reached for two classics, CAM 184 Stalingrad 1942 and CAM 205 Warsaw 1944. Both of these campaigns feature stunning art from Peter Dennis - in particular the plate showing the assault on the Red October Steel Plant - which I would love to see recreated as a diorama. I have raved on numerous occasions about how I love Peter Dennis artwork, and, personally feel that he has become the spiritual successor to the great Angus McBride.
But, as much as I love his work (sorry Peter!) I am going to have to go for a real Angus McBride classic as my all time favourite book.
Elite 3 The Vikings is simply a staggering book. The author, Ian Heath has delivered a great Elite book - and even though the book is a quarter of a century old now, it has aged rather well. New research over the last couple of years has cropped up, but as a basic primer it still stands tall. But what makes this book stand out for me is the McBride artwork. The art is stunning. Each plate is incredibly detailed, a fabulous composition of colour, action and expression, and every individual piece of art tells a rich story. Over the years I have found myself coming back to this book time and again for inspiration.
I turned Plate B - the Viking Warriors of the 9th-10 centuries into a Christmas card a few years ago. The double page spread based on King Olaf Tryggvasson's saga has been turned into a limited edition poster (a few of which are still available). And the plate that shows off the battle between Vikings and Skraelings has adorned close to a dozen adverts that we have run over the last four years. Finally there are two plates that prove Angus was not a one trick pony - a lovely illustration of a military camp, showing off architectural illustrating abilities, followed by a technical sketch of Viking ship construction - which Angus again typically transforms from what could be a rather dull line drawing into a fabulous story-driven piece.
And last, but not least, there are the birds. I have a bit of a thing for birds in McBride artwork. Its an almost Where's Wally (or Waldo in the states) game with Angus - in virtually all his paintings there is at least one, or more likely a flock of birds soaring elegantly across the page. It's like a signature, a signing off, one last piece of artistic flourish. And for some reason I just love them!"
Ok, ok, I know that last picture is of bats. But it is night time, so it had to either be that or an owl!