Wednesday, 31 December 2014

From MartinN - 28mm Crusader Crossbowmen (40 Points)

For my todays second submission I visited the hot lands of Outremer again to add some retinue to my Monsieur Jaufrè de Montalban whom I entered for the 'Mount(s) & Rider(s)' Bonus Round.

I've seldom had the 'joy' to have such poor sculpts on my table to paint. Considering the price Gripping Beast are charging for these figures it seems a rip off to me. Outdated and poorly cast figures for the money you normally pay for 'premium' historical miniatures like Musketeer/Footsore.

Rant over.

As they definitely were not to my liking they were sitting on my shelf primed and prepped since the last challenge all the time starring at me with accusing eyes. Because I really don't like to toss figures in the bin I've paid good money for and as I found nobody who wanted to give them a new home I thought it was time to give them some paint. I even gave them strings to improve their overall appearance at least a bit.

I went for a (for my means) rather dirty looking, speed painted approach using the infamous Army Painter for the first time in years. Only the bright white of the feathers and helmets/ the shield was later totally covered over. This however allowed me to finish these bastards in a couple of hours (obviously discounting the day the AP needed to dry). In the end I even came to like these guys.

One of the strings (outer right) burnt away while removing fine fibres with a lighter :-/
Now I feel they look rather striking in their subdued tunics and their bright white/ red helmets. Maybe I'll touch up the bases with some dried grass at a later point to break up the monotony of the sand. Not sure yet if this will develop into an army for SAGA 'The Crescent & The Cross' or some other ruleset (Lion rampant seems to be THE new kid in town) at any point or if they'll just stay in my cabinet.

This second submission should give me another 40 Points to my roster.

From Curt:I painted these same figures in a Challenge a few years ago and have a similar opinion of them, though I must say I wish they had come off as well as yours. :) I really like the rustic linen counterposed against that very punchy red. The crossbows (besides the lighter mishap) look the business with addition of the string. Lovely work again Nick - and you're half way to your target. Well done.

From JohnM: 28mm Dark Age Old North Teuli (44 Points)

As promised to follow up on my MOUNTED entry of Old North Briton calvary, here are some elite troops for my North British force. In our Chronica Iohannes campaign, we have had 5 games now and are reaching the stage where we can add troops to our war bands. This is done by progression of leadership, money and/or degree of victory.

These are Gripping Beast figures from their Dark Ages Germanic line, but I believe they do well for North British. I have stuck with my red/white scheme as these are the elite Teuli and should be dressed as such. I have all my elite and warriors uniformed as such with just my levy dressed in dark rags as fits their station in life. I like how they came out.

I am hoping that both these Teuli and the Gwÿr y Goglegg Cavalry cause Adam some disquiet the next time his Saxons attack!

From Curt:Very nice work John. I like how the shields (hand-painted no less) and red helmet tassels bring a visual cohesion to this force - excellent. A little off topic, I really like the grass/loam surface that they are on, what is that John? It really looks great and conveys that wild rustic landscape that we (probably romantically) picture when we think of the English north.

From MartinN - 28mm Blitzkrieg German Pioneers (40 Points)

With the Challenge already on full steam I had to finally pull out my finger and get going. So here's the first of two submissions for today. Here we have eight 28mm Pioneers from Warlord Game's superb "German Pioneers" boxed set.


I know there are some (certain) gamers out there who don't like, well maybe even hate, prone figures but I for one am a big fan of these as they bring much needed variety to the table and in case of the fellow below even may tell a little story.

One can almost hear the bullets zipping past his head while he tries to cut a way through the wire for his comrades to follow. Poor bastard.

My favourite from this set is the Flamethrower guy. He looks just mean and I definitely don't want to be on the receiving end of that tube.
Not having had much research on German Flamethrowers before I found several pics on Google showing a variety of colours, ranging from almost black over brown and green to even a light blue.

In the end I decided for a rather cold blue which is a bit darker than the original light blue I found.

The rest of the guys were rather straight forward to do. Only the Pionieer rucksacks gave me some headaches as these again seem to have been manufactured in thousands of different shades varying from a dark brown over dark green to even a light green.

On the other hand of course this variety is one of the main reasons for me for collecting German armies for my WW2 gaming. You always can paint every single figure as an individual even if they're the very same sculpt. Especially for Skirmish gaming that's a big plus in my books. And because Germans look simply cool in their spit and polish uniforms of course ;-)

What I didn't like about the set were some of the metal separate heads which have the trademark exaggerated expressions of the comic style Warlord Games do with most of their stuff. I had hoped to filter out the worst but looking at the pic below it seems like I've missed one... well no matter he looks like a friend of mine so not too far off 'normal' human physiognomy of sorts.

As a side note I came over some discussion on the web while 'researching' my pioneers which were quite confused about the difference between the German Pioniere and the engineers in other armies.

While in most armies the engineers only performed limited battlefield duty and were mostly given construction and/ or demolition duties in the Wehrmacht however the Pioniere found themselves most of the time at the tip of an attack, clearing away obstacles, crossing rivers and performing every kind of duty necessary to breach the enemy lines.

On the retreat again they found themselves most often in the rearguard while preparing bridges to be blown up and creating obstacles like minefields etc. while often fending off enemy attacks. While there's much talk of the so called 'elite' status of the SS or the famous Panzers and Panzergrenadiere in my view the Pioniere are the forgotten heroes.

So if I'm not totally mistaken this entry should add 40 Points to my total unless our dear Mr. Snowman decides otherwise because of the prone figure.

From Curt:Oh wow. These are some of the best painted WWII miniatures I have ever seen. Brilliant work Nick, your brushwork is so precise and smooth it makes me shake my head in wonder. I know you're not a fast painter but your final results are always stunning. 
I agree in  your assessment of the German combat pioneers. Their critical role as 'first in, last out' is often overlooked or obscured by the (somewhat disturbing) hero worship of the Waffen SS.  
I usually give half points for prone figures abut I don't think anyone will begrudge me for awarding a full set for your wire-cutter. Again, fantastic work Nick.

From TamsinP - 15mm Russian Grenadiers (74 Points)

For my 6th entry, I present two regiments of Seven Years War Russian grenadiers. The figures are 15mm from Essex.

I discovered two things I hate whilst painting these:
1. painting the backs of mitres
2. cast on flags which you can't remove and so have to paint.

Admittedly, I'd already discovered (2) when painting the cavalry, but the grenadier flags were much more complicated to paint, even impressionistically (is that a word?). This is what the flag looks like (pinched from Kronoskaf site):

But on with the pics. Here are the 1st and 2nd Grenadier regiments. As all four grenadier regiments had identical flags and uniforms, how do I know they are the 1st and 2nd regiments? Simple - because I say they are! The 3rd and 4th regiments (when I can eventually face painting them will be distinguished by the simple expedient of reversing the positions of the drummers and standard bearers.

Now the more knowledgeable among you (and those able to remember my earlier entry with horse grenadiers in tricornes and artillery with black lapels - the 1760+ uniforms) will be wondering why my grenadiers are still wearing mitres which were swapped for tricornes in 1760. The answer is simple and in two parts:
1. The mitres make it easy to spot which are the grenadiers on the table (although those bleedin' complicated flags would also do the job quite nicely)
2. Those were what I had bought

1st Regiment

2nd Regiment

Close up of the flags:

It's amazing what you spot when you're processing the pictures. That weird blob on one of the drums? Well, that's some of the basing gunk which must have got splatted on. I've since removed it and repainted the drum. I also spotted that I hadn't painted the moustaches on the officers and standard bearers. Oh, well, those aren't important.

Summing up, that's 36 figures giving me 72 points as a base. 2 hand-painted flags should give me another 2 points, making this entry 74 points in all.

From Curt:Another cracking Seven Years War entry from you Tamsin. Beautiful work.  I think you've done a wonderful job on their mitre caps and I know that many Russian units were loath to give them up (I seem to remember reading that in 1917 the Pavlov Grenadiers still had their mitres from the Napoleonic period!). AND you've done a great job on hand painting the flags.  Bravo!

From JuanM - 'Spain Rules the Waves!' Conquistadores, Piranha Boy, Zombie and Pulp Adventurer (35 Points)

Here is my third entry for "The Challenge". Step by step, at the moment, I´m winning my little "Side Challenge" with Phil so Spain is ruling the waves this time, at the moment...

Well, here are the figures I have painted:
First one, my entrance fee to "The Challenge". Last year, I left it for the last moment and then I forget all about this figure, so this year I have painted it in the first month. So here is my antihero, a 28mm English Sea Dog from Foundry Miniatures.

In Spain, these English adventurers have been, from ever, no more than pure pirates and opportunist smugglers but they were also very brave men, the builders of the British Empire. I´m not going to call them patriots (nor Drake, IMHO, was a patriot) but they were true Englishmen as our "Conquistadores" were true Spaniards.

So here is my rogue or person of dubious character.

2.- A 28mm (well, a very short 28mm) Piranha Boy from Four A Miniatures. A very nice model, really easy to paint I expect to use in some games of "Pulp Alley" I have planned for 2015.

3.- Another 28mm (this one, a tall 28mm one) figure from Four A Miniatures, Otis. One of their fantastic zombies I expect to use, too, in my "Pulp Alley" games. My wife says his skin is too healthy for a zombie and I, secretly, agree with her, but I wanted to test the Flesh pack of paints from AK Interactive and was unable to greenish it.
So he is a very healthy zombie...

4.- Another 28mm sailor from Pulp Figures. This one, armed with a rifle to be able to argument with the bellicose natives of Bolo Bolo Island. Another wonderful figure without castings problems and very easy to paint. A pleasure.

And this is all until the next year. In the end, I´m painting more Pulp figures than those I had planned, but I´m enjoying them a lot.

Cheers and a Happy New Year (with Spain ruling the waves, Phil...).

From Curt:  
All four of these figures are fantastic Juan. Thank you very much for the superb Conquistador Elizabethan gentleman.   Without the beard I think he may even look like Phil. Even though the 'healthy' zombie and the pulp adventurer are both excellent I must say I'm strangely drawn by Piranha Boy. 'Nice teeth junior, make sure you floss everyday!'  Yeesh. I'll have to get one of these little guys for my Deep One family...

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

From IanW - 28mm Timber Wolves (28 Points)

I picked up two packs of Vendel Miniatures TW1 Timber Wolves around ten plus years ago and got round to painting one of them last year I think. Now I will be needing them for a roleplaying campaign so finally I get round to painting the last seven.

Here is four I finished in white, I started with black primer and then dark brown followed by ever lightening shades of grey before finishing with off white.

These are fairly large figures so should be threatening to the player characters and just to be sure I painted the teeth nice and sharp.

I also went yellow for the eyes for that cold hearted look. Whilst the general painting was more or less series of dry brushing the eyes and nose actually took a bit of concentration, a welcome diversion.

I also added three brown ones to the pack which required less coats of lighter browns and I was happy to stop before I made a mess of them.

Here is all eight of them on the hunt the original one nearest the camera. I have kept the bases just to the actual base supplied and not extended it but painted and flocked it. These should add 35 points if they score 5 each. Back to 15mm Romans for the next entry.

From Curt:Definitely great additions to any northern setting. Now you either need a girl in a red hood or a bunch of Stark kids with them. Sorry Ian, 5 points is a bit optimistic - I'm scoring these at 4 points each as they are unbased. (I know, I'm such a hard@ss...)

From IanW - 20mm Soviet Infantry (152 Points)

Another post another new project ;-) Since joining Loki in Kev's Cabin I have been looking for something to paint up so as to be able to contribute. They as a group play Chain of Command in 20mm and don't have the Russians so I bought a couple of boxes of Revell Soviet Infantry The box contains 48 figures but four are useless and I have used six for a later submission so I have 38 infantry and a four piece MMG that went together perfectly.

With a fair amount of snow on everything I can not supply outdoor shots today so I am sorry for the quality of the pictures. 

I am also sorry about the quality of the figures as well. I thought I had got all the mould lines but once the primer was on it became obvious I missed loads Also some of the detail was very soft. I can see these troops being replaced in the future but will do OK for now and will hopefully get action at the Cabin and against Lee as well.

Love the MMG crew pulling the gun into position but could do with a crew firing it. I also have one standing LMG and one firing prone. I plan to add several more options including both the 50mm Mtr and 82mm Mtr ATR's and ATG's etc.

Three leaders and a poor shot of the female medic. The man pointing has a map and his helmet pushed back making him an interesting model.

I also got four snipers which are good looking figures with a three piece base that again went together well.

Last up the rifle armed element, not enough of these, especially as two of them are actually SMG armed so I will need more of these to get the numbers right. Actually I need to find out what I actually need and go from there. I won't need the whole of the second box but can see me painting up a chunk of them and binning the rest. You have have noticed I went with green rather than the typical yellow colour. I read that in reality they wore green and the yellow would be limited in number.

I had three T34's for Christmas from my Secret Santa so you can expect these in the next week or so. If I have this right I should have a base of 152 points but one is lying down which would count for half but the MMG may balance that?

From Curt:Great work Ian! I too love the pose of that MMG team hauling their Maxim forward - a brilliant little vignette. I also like the officer with the map, a wonderfully natural pose. I look forward to seeing your T34 platoon making its appearance in the coming weeks. What make are they? 

From GregB - 20mm WWII Soviets (166 Points)

Russian tanks and tank riders in 20mm - models from PSC, figures from PSC and Elhiem
Christmas vacation was lovely this year, and I was fortunate to be able to bring some painting along for the trip. Here are the results - a whole pile of 20mm WW2 Russians to assist in the liberation of the Rodina. There is a platoon of T-34/76s, a platoon of SMG-toting tank riders to accompany them, a squad of assault engineers and a squad of scouts. 

The 1/72 scale tank kits from PSC are marvellous

Tank commander visible in the hatch to mark the platoon commander

A T-34/76 ready for action on the table
The T-34s are 1/72 scale models from the Plastic Soldier Company. These are excellent model kits, with a three-tank platoon per box.  They are easy to assemble and have very nice details.  Of course, those who know me will laugh (rightly) at my continuous inability to properly assemble tracks - it's not easy to see in the photos but I really managed to screw up one of these tanks, but thankfully from arm's length it looks OK. 

SMG-toting Lieutenant on a hexagonal base

Of course, a fumbler like me prefers one-piece track assemblies, but the fact is these are tremendous models that any normal person (i.e. any of you, anyone reading this, not me) could put these lovely PSC kits together with no trouble at all.

A squad of tank riders - one NCO (on square base), LMG team and four troops
The SMG platoon consist of figures from two manufacturers - the 1/72 scale infantry figures from their Russians WW2 plastic line (just have to say again what a great value that box is!) and a group of metal figures from Elhiem Figures.Elhiem is a 20mm figure maker I have heard a lot about, and I wanted to try some of their figures for myself so I ordered some packs to round out the platoon.

The Elhiem and PSC figures mix very well together

The platoon is organised along the lines given in the Chain of Command rules - a lieutenant (on a hex base) and three squads each with an NCO, a two-man LMG team and four regulars, all armed with the ubiquitous PPSH sub machine guns, for a total of 21 troops.  These troops would have accompanied the T-34s to battle, hitching a ride on the hulls as they advanced into battle.

I like the PSC pose of the fellow ready to toss the grenade

Two spare SMG-armed troops - Elhiem sculpts
I know it would have been cooler to model some of these guys on to the tanks themselves - after all, that is an iconic image of the Soviet army from WW2.  But in a game skirmish game, the amount of time these troops would spend actually on the tanks is very limited - the outside of a tank is a horrible, dangerous place to be when the shells start to come in and the Soviet tank riders would be hopping off in no time once battle was underway.  So I opted for the dismounted platoon.

Russian assault engineers from Elhiem
I was very pleased to note that Elhiem offers many Russian LMG gunners who are not prone - what a pleasure! As a result the LMG teams don't need large, wasteful bases and they fit in much more nicely with the other action-packed poses in the squads.

Another view of the engineers

Up next is a group of Russian combat engineers.  These are also Elhiem sculpts.  These troops carry SMGs, but there is an LMG (not prone either!) and a fellow with a flamethrower too.  They are modelled wearing camouflaged body suit and body armour. They are doing various engineer things (one is digging up a mine) and carrying engineer stuff (one has rope, another is kneeling and ready to set off a detonator).

Flamethrower trooper

Another view - gave him a different-shaped base so he would stand out

Fellow on the left is digging up a mine, while the one on the right is ready to blast something out of the way
Finally is a group of Russian scout troops. Again, they are Elhiem sculpts. They are carrying a mix of SMGs and what I think are semi-automatic rifles, SVTs perhaps?  I'm not familiar with Russian semi-automatic rifles from WW2 - I don't know if many were used or how common they were in the front lines.

Russian WW2 scouts from Elhiem

Some lively colours in the camouflage body suits

The scouts are also wearing camouflage body suits, similar to the engineers, but most of the painting references I found online for these troops had the camouflage suits in very different colours from the engineers.  Where the engineers had olive green suits with brown patches, the scouts seemed to wear either brown or a strange green, one that seems more appropriate for infiltrating a peppermint candy factory or a 70s prom than the German lines of the eastern front. I thought I would give it a try anyway - it certainly looks different!

I love this NCO figure for the scouts - a great sculpt from Elhiem

Interesting assortment of weapons on this group
I liked the proportion of the Elhiem sculpts, but the quality was not the best.  Not the worst, but not the best - some of the hands, for example, or some of the faces, were not that great, not that crisp. But they are still nice, and I look forward to painting more of them.

So in total there are 38 different 20mm-sized infantry troops and three 20mm sized tanks in this submission - however, only one of the tanks counts for the challenge (one had been completed prior to the start of the challenge, and a second had base paint colours applied prior to the challenge).  I am hoping Curt might toss in a couple of extra points for the Soviet tank commander in the hatch too.

From Curt:Excellent work as usual Greg. The T34s look wonderfully grimy and campaign hardened while the paintwork on the infantry is crisp and their groundwork excellent. I like those Elheim poses even though, as you say, their detail can be a bit soft. 
This post sees Greg meeting his initial points target of 300.  Dude, seriously, why you chose such a low target for yourself is beyond me as the lowest total you've ever accumulated in any of the previous Challenges is 888 points. In the future I'll have to institute a low-ball penalty for those who meet their targets in the first half of the Challenge.  Anyway, consider your next target and I'll update the roster.