Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Voting Results for the 1st Bonus Theme Round: 'Cold'

The first Theme ‘Cold’ was a resounding success with 38 entries and over 90 votes cast. As usual for our theme rounds we had a marvellous range of interpretations of ‘Cold’. The 1812 Retreat was certainly a popular topic, but we also saw wonderful WWII, sci-fi and fantasy entries as well. I wish to thank all the participants for making the round a resounding success. 

Okay! On to the results.

As per tradition, I like to recognize the folks that ran up to the podium positions, so I’m happy to present to you:    

GregB’s 'Winter Tiger'

DaveD’s ‘Christmas Truce 1914’

StefanK’s ‘1812 Frozen Poles’

...and MichaelA’s ‘Snow Troll’

As for the finalists: In Third Place we have Martin Niklaus (‘Nick’) and his haunting 'Santa Risks the Zone'. Nick will receive a 25 point bonus to his roster tally. Well done Nick, beautiful work!

I was fortunate enough to clamber to Second Place with my 'French Cavalry Vedette' set during the 1812 Retreat from Moscow. My heartfelt thanks to all who gave me the nod, I'm honoured to accept the 50 point bonus, which in of itself will more than double my meagre score.

And finally, in First Place we have RichardC’s beautiful diorama of the French engineers throwing a bridge over the Berezina River. This is a fantastic submission and made more so as it has brought Richard (The Provost Marshal) out of a seven-year hobby retirement. Stunning work Richard and welcome back to brush and paint pot! 

Richard will not only be awarded 75 bonus points but also receive a gift certificate from EdwinK’s fine online bookstore, ‘Diplomatist Books’. Thank you Edwin for the generous prize, and congratulations again to Richard on your well-earned first place for our ‘Cold’ theme round. Bravo!!

I'll have all the Theme Round participants' bonus points up on the roster in the next few days so thanks in advance for your patience.

Remember: This Sunday is the 'Rider(s) & Mount(s)' Theme Round. Challengers, please get me your submissions by midnight Saturday night. 

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the participants and visitors to the Challenge a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year. My Best Wishes to you All!

Now, go get an eggnog, open a present, visit with friends and family and then quietly slip off to your hobby desk and get me some submissions ready...

From JohnM - Сталинградской: Winter War Soviets (156 Points)

I have been working feverishly to get my Stalingrad Soviets finished, this has been my biggest WWII project to date. Aside from 4 figures they are all from CPModels TQD line; and aside from one figure, I am quite pleased with the castings.

I used the Winter War OB published on the TFL site for the roster for these 1939-40 Soviets, these are very large platoons which will easily break down for middle and late war OB's.

The project required 82 figures to date and am very happy to have completed them. There are 4 infantry squads (three of regular infantry and one of NKVD) of 15 men each, a 3 man SMG scout team, a 5 man Maxim HMG team, a 3 man 50mm Mortar team, a 7 man Engineer team, a Sniper, as well as two Senior Officers and of course a Commissar to keep all the chappies in line.

Vallejo Model colours were used to paint the figures as outlined in my COLD submission. I used Golden Extra Coarse Gel on the bases with 4-Ground snow flock for the most recently painted figures. As these figures were going to be used for Stalingrad as well as Winter War, I needed something a little more like rubble.

I am presenting 39 new figures here for 156 points.

Two new squads marching through the destroyed centre of Stalingrad
Squad 2 this time in Ushankas
Squad 3
The only downside of the CPModel-TQD line is the number of poses. The only one I did not like is the firing figure in the Ushanka, the face is very poorly cast here and I just could not do a very good job. The helmets are wrong for Winter War. 
Back View
Minesweeping team, with the JL and the addition of the flamethrower team from below I have an engineering squad. I think a couple of these figures are from the CP line, but I am not 100% sure.
Flamethrower team.
Senior Officer with Commissar. These were painted before the contest in November. I believe the commissar is from the CP line.  He is a nasty looking fellow.
For completeness the rest of the platoon and supports:
NKVD Squad
NKVD Maxim HMG team with a two man SMG team as well as a sniper.
NKVD 50mm Mortar team.
I apologize for such a heavily photo laden post, but it was a big project. I believe that this brings me to just over 500 points (188 for Big Guns, 108 for COLD theme, 156 for Stalingrad) with the bonus of 50 points for the COLD entry. I am quite pleased with reaching half my goal before Xmas, this allows me to really focus on  my remaining entries as well as to start on the enormous collection of resin terrain I have received over the last two weeks, but more about that later...........

From Curt:Oh wow, these look brilliant John! Congratulations on getting this project under your belt - it's a great looking force to be sure. I really like the urban snow groundwork you've created for these - it's very evocative of a bombed-out winter city (very grim indeed). Your finished terrain looks great but I see what you mean about your upcoming project - some of those other ruins look suspiciously uniformly tan coloured. ;)  
Cracking work!

From KevinH - 1/56 WWII US M4A3 Sherman (18 Points)

1/56 WWII US M4A3 Sherman


This time around, I decided those US Airborne figures needed some Armoured support!


I've painted an M4A3 Sherman, in 1/56 scale - by Warlord Games, from their Bolt Action line.  I'd bought three of these kits from a Canadian seller, who was getting out of 28mm figures, and concentrating on 1/72 scale products.  It wasn't until the Challenge, that I'd sat down to look at the kits.  Turns out, two of the kits have casting/missing bits problems I have to contact Warlord about, but they're very good about putting these sorts of problems right, so I have no worries about that.



I still used the portable photo booth for these pics, but I took out the fluorecent "twirly" bulbs, and put in good, old incandescent bulbs!  Switched my camera back to the previous settings, and those pics look much better.  I still need more "fill" light from the front, but learning the ways of the photo booth takes some time too...



The model was pretty straight-forward to assemble.  I put most of the components together, and then, being as it's a resin kit, gave it a scrub with dish soap (washing up liquid, for our friends across the pond!), and left the elements to dry overnight.


Unlike most people's complaints about resin models, the "track" pieces on this kit were straight enough, that I had no problems with assembly.  There's a good number of "fiddly bits" though!  The Headlight assemblies on the front of the tank almost drove me to have a "Roman Shield Decal" moment, a la Curt!  I soldiered on though, and finally got all the little bits sorted (my big, old "meat hook" fingers don't work so well with "fiddly bits" any more...)



I drilled out the Antenna mount, and used a bristle from a cheap, Dollar Store (Pound Store?) nylon paint brush.  They work really well! One 3" brush will give you virtually a lifetime of antennas and radio aerials! I've used them previously, on my Flames of War Canadians, and they look great!  Just a dab of superglue and you're done - they're nice and bendy, so no need to worry about breaking like stretched sprue, and no impaling your hands like with metal wire antennas.


I did have one rather significant problem with these kits though.  I think Warlord has since changed the policy, but these kits did not come with any decals!  (Arg!)  Fortunately, I was able to do a "work-around!"  I printed out some 8mm and 9mm Stars at work (I do Graphic Arts, so this was easy enough to whip up).  When I got home, I put clear tape on the front and back of the Star images (for strength and stability), and proceeded to cut out the insides of the images and make my own stencils!


I don't think I'm going to do this for the other kits, but it did turn out OK.  I had to go in with a thin brush, and clean up the lines a bit just to "neat" things up.  I don't know if this counts for "Extra Credit" or not Curt - what do you think?  --an extra 5 pts maybe?  Your call, of course.



And just to close off my post, a "scale" shot with the Airborne Bazooka team from my last post.  In this shot, the figures don't look too bad against a 1/56 scale tank.  Personally though, I think I'd rather 1/48 scale was the more "de facto" size for use with 28mm models.  These 1/56 scale models do look just a little small compared to the figures.  The Sherman here, almost looks like some odd, "Stuart" variant next to this Airborne team!

Thanks for looking!

From Curt:
That is a great looking Sherman, Kev! Like Dux's spears, I really like your shop broom bristle solution to radio aerials - a good tip!   Also like you, I  wish manufacturers would include a decal sheet for their vehicles as a standard. I know the Sherman was used by several nations but a couple sheets wouldn't break the bank would it?  I guess they're trying to keep their cost margins as tight as possible in a highly competitive market.  And don't get me going on 1/56 being the 'official' scale of 28mm figures. By and large I find the scale simply too small. I wish they would have gone with 1/50 as it has a sense of mass without being as potentially overscaled as 1/48 (though as you say, many 1/48 models work fine). 
I'll meet you halfway with your excellent star stencils and aerial add-on, so 18 points total. Again, nice work Kevin!

From MartinC - 28mm ACW Rebs & Cavalry (213 Points)

Time for a points bomb I think. The Infantry are the 18 strong 6th Louisiana walking through a corn field. I had a new delivery of tufts etc. from Tajima today which were fab. I love this wheat field, although the scale looks a little small - bad harvest this year.

I've been playing around with eyes based on many helpful suggestions and pretty close now.  I undercoat the flesh in tan yellow then paint in medium flesh tone (both Vallejo). I then fill the eye socket, cheeks and lips with flesh shade (Foundry) and paint the eyeball in white (Vallejo). After going back and correcting the 10% massive eyeballs and spot the pupil with a 0.1mm micropen and draw on eyebrows with the same pen. I am loving the micropen and went back and redid all the rest of the figs.

There are still the odd quizzical look as the unit tries to work out who's farted, but the mad staring eyes have gone. Similarly there is the odd Groucho Marx but pretty good generally. Bought some 0.3mm pens today (£6.99 for 6 from Rymans) in multiple colours so will be trying them out.

I have also painted up 2 units of cavalry (6 figs in each), 17th Pennsylvania, and the 35th Virginia. Thought about submitting these for the bonus round but found something completely off the wall instead. I love the horses which I painted using the guide in Henry Hyde's Wargaming Compendium - a great read. The rocks are painted garden bark which when given a flesh wash (Citadel circa 1985) look very much like sandstone with bedding planes and fractures (that's the geologist in me speaking, if you don't know about bedding planes watch a cowboy movie - it's the horizontal layers in the sides of the canyon).

17th Pennsylvania

35th Virginia

And finally as suggested by Curt I have redone Lo Armistead too better match the portrait. The braiding was the best I could muster but I added the beard and gave him thinning hair as opposed to completely bald, I did leave the buttons as a single row but may go back and do them as a double if I get time. Now off to try and find more pictures of the other officers - what started as a quick conversion has snowballed.

From Curt:
A wonderful passel of Rebs to be sure! Great work Martin. I'm a big fan of Tajima's products and I like what you've done with the stunted (early growth?) field. Very nice.  I had to smile when I read your reference of Citadel Flesh Wash as I still have my original pot from the early 90s that I dole out sparingly now and then. All this said I'm completely blown away by your redux on Lo Armistead. He looks fabulous! He looks ready to lead his Virginia boys to 'The Angle' in the Yankee gunline...

Well done!

From IanW - 6mm Macedonian Pike Phalanx (50 points)

Painted these up in a day, bit like Pringle's once you pop you just can't stop. I was hard at it for quite a chunk of the day as I thought just one more stage. These are the newish Baccus open handed pikes so each and every one had to have a pike cut to size and glued in place.

The stars a little off but from a distance work OK for me. I plan on using these for Hail Caesar with a casualty marker to the rear. I really wanted the mass effect so the 60x60 base has a total of 97 figures!

Very clean sculpts with minimal cleaning, mostly just the shield fronts. I had considered going light on the painting of the lot in the middle but really glad I did not as the detail is not hidden. Saying this I went lighter than usual on the detail as the idea is group effect. I plan on painting up about ten blocks for the project and as such they will have hopefully have a presence as a group.

The pikes are made from bristles for yard brushes and are quite tough. If you look at the front of the block you will see them bent against the background. None were damaged and hands will be safe come game time. These little boys will get me 46.5 points
From Curt:Oh man, this is completely brilliant Ian! I just love the look of the mass of this unit - incredible. I have a similar project in the works but I am being glacially slow about it. You've really prompted me to get a wiggle on to get them done. 
I've added a few extra points to reflect the extra work with the 97(!) pikes and packed-in basework. Wonderful!