Sunday, 29 March 2015

Voting for the Challenger's Choice Award Begins!

Hehrow Ewewonne...

My apologies for having gone a bit silent these past few days. I had to go in for some scheduled dental surgery this past week, which is no big deal in of itself, but the pain meds really knocked me on my keister for a bit.  Anyway, the 'ole choppers are gleefully gnashing away and I'm back on the game.  'It is safe.' :)

This week I'm issuing polls for both the Challengers' Choice and Peoples' Choice Awards.

First up: The Challengers' Choice. 

For the the selection of the Challengers' Choice I'd like all the participants of this year's event to refer to the poll in the right sidebar and choose the top three entries/figures that impressed them the most over the course of this year's Challenge. This can be an entire entry, a series of entries built around a theme, or a specific figure within an entry (theme entries included).  The votes are weighted with the first choice getting 3 points, second with 2 points and third receiving 1 point. I've included a free text field if you want to leave any additional comments.

Also, please remember to provide your Challenge name or I will be forced to ignore your votes.

I'll be releasing a poll for the Peoples' Choice Award in a few days. This poll will allow all those folks who followed the Challenge over the past three months to participate and vote for their favourite entries.

Voting for the Challengers' Choice closes at midnight next Sunday (April 5th). 



Sunday, 22 March 2015

So, What Was Done - 5th Painting Challenge Group Shots

Hello Everyone!

I thought it would be fun if we had a gallery of all our work. If you have the time, please set-up your accumulated work for the Challenge, take a few photos and send them to me. I know some have already done this in previous posts, but if you can resend them to me I'll place them in this gallery so we can all be together.

Okay, I'll kick-off with my 3-months of work. 

Curt's Collection:

Alright, c'mon people, send me your Challenge group shots! We all want to see what you've achieved! 

AlanD's Collection:

BrendonW's Collection:

Attached is the grand total from the Paint challenge.
However I realised it is actually one 28mm figure short...the Curtgeld butcher.
I have him on my paint desk still as I plan to add a bit of gold/brass on his sword hilt.

It was very strange the last few evenings not picking up a brush.
My hand feels like it needs something to do.

DaveD's Collection:

All the pulp,

90% of the Imperial army,

...and a third of the Mahdist forces,

Serious stock up been had! Steamers and Camel Corps under way!

DavidB's Collection

I accomplished a great deal for my inaugural outing. I now have nearly 75% of my Cadian 7th completed including stuff that may be repainted to match which would actually be 50% done. ;)

I also have my very first 15mm including my favorite Alien Legion ready for the battlefield. 

I know have a good feel for the challenge and am ready for another go. I still have heaps of guard, Napoleonic, ACW, Zombies, Supers, and LotR stockpiled and prepped (I was SUPPOSED to complete this outing).

I'm sure quite a bit will be there still as I have begun Eastern Natives circa black powder/Queen Anne and my comic pulp WW2 for Bolt Action and weird WW2.

Evan & GrantH's Collection

The final collection from the challenge!
18 early World War One 28mm Highlanders
30 Canadian 28mm Paratroopers
45 15mm Commandos
9 Vintage Imperial Guards from Grenadier
4 late World War One command team characters
2 Capt. E. Blackadder
Thanks for the support and warm welcome to the challenge!

PaulS' Collection:

Another year, another Painting Challenge complete. A big thank you to Curt and all of the other participants for making it another great year, full of inspiration and encouragement!

This year I clocked in at 1521 points. This photo is missing 8 figures that I painted up for friend's Christmas presents... so imagine it a bit larger.

This is not only the largest number of figures I've ever painted in that timeframe, but it also saw parts of some projects not only started, but completed too. This year I managed to:

- Start and complete a full War of the Roses Lion Rampant force (lets not mention that I was supposed to paint two forces!)
- Start and complete 2 Familia for Jugula 
- Finish my ww2 Russian infantry
- Finish all of my Zombies for Zombicide!
- Finish the skeletons I built two years ago

I didn't manage to get around to some of the other projects I had lined up, sadly, but it is still mightily impressive. I was supposed to be painting up a load of vikings, including some really nice ones sent by my secret santa!

Now to start clearing house a bit so I can make room for next year's Challenge.

MarkO's Collection

A few pics of my Austrian Army all together that I had time to take. All but four of the infantry regiments were painted during the challenge! 

MartinC's Collection 

This is the final group shot of my figures painted during the challenge

The bulk are ACW, 2 brigades that will soon fight each other. I also painted 30 odd medieval infantry and 8 Carolingian cavalry, couple of dozen Dwarf Legionaries, 40 republican roman legionaries (with hand painted shields which I’m quite chuffed with), 12 flying carpets (think I found some core rules to build upon for these), entries for all the bonus rounds, a weird war grizzly walker and a Rolls Royce armoured car. 

I tried to start some more today and got nowhere. I definitely need a proper break from painting, although I have already purchased some figs for next year.

MilesR's Collection

This is what one gets for three months of intensive painting and 3,204 points.


MartinN's Collection

So here's my final group shot for you. Over the past three month I managed to reduce the mountain of shame by incredible 91 miniatures.

Compared to our top scorers it may look like almost nothing but to me it was quite an achievement.  Surprisingly I also managed to stay relatively focused with mostly WWII and First Indochina.

MichaelA's Collection

Having read your post regarding amassing a gallery of Challengers' efforts, I was initially reluctant as I felt that this year I had not done justice to my place, bemoaning 'real life' at every turn; I must have started to sound like a broken record, for which you have my heartfelt apologies.  Still, being a naturally inquisitive soul, I decided to collect up my toys and have a look for myself and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  

True, it is not an entire Austrian army or enough to form a British square in the deserts of the Sudan, but there was colour, variety and fun and I allowed myself a moment of self congratulatory pride.  It is for this that I need to thank you and all my fellow challengers Curt.  Being part of the challenge has given my hobby a sense of direction an purpose at a time when I desperately needed a distraction.  Along the way I have tackled new challenges, constructed larger scale models and tried to get to grips with the basics of airbrushing.  I have been fortunate enough to meet with a little success in the bonus theme rounds and wondered with admiration at the diverse nature and often sheer quantity of what everyone else was doing.  Simply put, I have enjoyed every minute, so thank you again and here's to next year! 

RichardC's Collection

Here's a shot of my entries for the Challenge. You may spot the name plate for the Lancer Officer - it arrived two days after the Victorian Round deadline! 

The one thing I will do for next year is to prep everything beforehand - I had some issues undercoating, which cost me time and in a couple of cases, figures as well. 

All in all, a great winter diversion.


Well I finally managed to get some pictures of the miniatures I've painted during the Challenge . Some are missing in these pictures since they are not at my home, but still most of them are there.

For me the Challenge was a great way of getting on with some of my long going projects. I finished my Barsoom project. Nearly finished all my Bavarian Napoleonics and have made a big leap with my Victorian project. So all in all I am very happy with the results.

Yet again I'd like to thank Curt for creating this great event!

Cheers Sander

SeanS' Collection

Although I didn't quite reach my target again this year, I got closer and painted more figures. So onward and upwards I guess. My points went from 574 to 806 and figures painted from 64 to 82.

Since completing the Challenge I've been trying to reorganize my pile into some kind of prioritized painting queue, it's been marginally successful.


Once I packed away my Challenge output, into one Really Useful Box, it didn't look quite as impressive. The group shot is a little more satisfying.

One thing I've always wondered, what are the chances of a Curtgeld group shot? 

(Ed. A group shot of the Curtgeld? A very good probability, once most of them have made their way to my display case. :) )

SteH's Collection 

Well quite a lot it turns out, as the most interesting realisation for me was that I actually enjoy painting! 

That sounds a bit weird seeing as I've been doing it for about 17 years however I actually signed up to the challenge thinking that I'd use it as a sort of artificial project manager, constantly bugging me to deliver on my milestones and meet my deadlines, and at first thats exactly how it felt. However as the months passed I became more and more motivated to paint things that i enjoyed. Most of my painting over the years has been motivated with one singular goal - to get my armies on the table and roll dice. And yet my motivation has changed, maybe its my getting old (I hit the big 40 a couple of months before the challenge started) but i find that if I'm not enjoying painting then I don't want to do it, no matter how much I enjoy gaming with the figures.

So my plan going in to the challenge was to paint my Lord of the Rings figures, they were all based up and undercoated, and yet when I look back at what I've actually completed I find a whole of host of scales and genres - 15mm and 1/3000 WW2, Victorian Sci-fi, 15mm Sung Chinese, 28mm Dwarven Pirates and of course GW Lord of the Rings. My output was a total 82 models of which only 50% (41) were what I had planned to do.

Actually to be honest I never planned to paint the cave troll, it was more of a sanity check for myself as to whether I had the time and technique to paint 54mm (I was going to get involved in the Perry/Jackson ANZAC project but decide my sanity, employment or marriage wouldn't survive the pressure).

I think the most enjoyable models to paint were Smeagol (Gollum) who seemed to paint himself, the Victorian Sci-Fi (and especially the footie scarf!) and the Dwarven Pirates (Oooarrr).

Huge thanks to ScottB for talking me in to taking part, Mr C for hosting the crazy thing and most importantly my fellow challengers. It was great to see the range of genre's and scales on display, the varied interpretations of the bonus rounds and the quite terrifying volume that some of the challangers were able to put out!

StefanK's Collection

Finally here’s a group picture of my submissions as well. Actually it’s not much more than my seven bonus round entries and the Curtgeld. Together with all the bonus points this humble bunch of figures yielded 757 points and fulfilled my goal of 750 points narrowly.

It was great fun to concentrate on the bonus rounds and find entries for each of the rounds. Especially Thor for the ‘Mythic’ round and Richard III. for the ‘Antihero’ theme were wonderful figures to work with and I enjoyed the time to prepare them very much. Since life with two children of less than 1 and just over 4 is pretty challenging from time to time and because I’m a really lousily slow painter I didn't paint more than eleven simple figures besides these special things. Nothing comparable with the masses other participants submitted, but I’m rather satisfied with my outcome.

Anyway this painting Challenge provides three outstanding hobby months. Although I didn't manage to leave comments on all entries there was a lot of top-notch stuff. Well done chaps!

TeemuL's Collection

At the start of the challenge I had some kind of plan what to paint. Mansions of Madness monsters were one thing, and I did manage to paint them all. Second plan was to try participate in the bonus rounds, 6 out of 7 is not bad. 

I was supposed to paint some old WHFB Orcs and Dwarfs, but since I bought more and more Orcs, I didn't manage to paint them all and I didn't even start with the Dwarfs. I played couple of games of LotR during the challenge and because LotR range provided quite a lot of models to bonus rounds, I got carried away and painted much more than I planned for. WH40K Dark Eldar were a total bonus as well as the animals from the Warbases. Blood Bowl Ogre was in the pipeline, so I'm glad I got his painted - I'm not glad that despite the apothecary he died in his second game... So I painted quite a lot of stuff and from different areas as well.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

From Miles - The Challenge Stats, the real reason we paint...

Mr Campbell:

With the close of AHPCV, it’s become time, once again, for me to don my “mathamagician” cap and employ the secret equations to divine the true meaning of this year's Challenge.

Early this morning I began my incantations invoking the powers of the light in the form of addition and subtraction and the powers of the dark in the form of multiplication and division to see what the Gods make of our efforts.  It was grueling work, requiring full minutes of typing out data, fractions of seconds in calculations and pure rote memorization.  Thankfully, I’m careless enough not to bother to recheck results for accuracy so saved a bit of time.
The Basic Facts
Last Year
Total Points
Registered Participants
Submitting Participants
Points per submitting participant

Wow - a total of 65K in points scored is very impressive and a full 8% over last year, which in these days of near 0% interest rates represents a damn decent return.  But wait, there’s more - last year's top 2 finishers Andrew and Kevin contributed 7,366 of 2014 total points and they, sadly, put family before paint and elected not to participate.  I we adjust the 2014 total to remove their contribution, the effective growth rate actually approaches a blazing 23%  Hubada-hubuda-hubuda, thats not bad.

The actual distribution of points per rank segment was remarkably similar across the two years.

Share of Total Points
Last Year
Top 5
Top 10
Top 20
Entire Group
The real story is how a majority of the top 20 finishers this year, who participated last year (12 of ‘em) picked up their game to increase productivity an average of 705 points per person.  the top 5 “Most Improved” participants this year are:
Most Improved
Point Increase Over Last Year
Some Jackass who likes officer furniture gaming
Congratulations to Millsy, my “Arch Spreadsheet Nemisis” for winning the potentially coveted and just made up right now award for "Greatest Improvement in Miniature Productivity” award.  Yes the GIMP award is one of the highest accolades in our hobby and an appropriate momento of this achievement will be winging it’s way to you shortly (once I figure out what it is).  OK everyone lets congratulate Millsy for his great performance with a hearty chant of “Millsy’s a GIMP, Millsy’s a GIMP, Millsy’s a GIMP””  Any similarity to a character in 'Pulp Fiction' is purely intentional.

Unfortunately, it is my somber duty to report that a certain Mr Campbell who was in the top 20 last year has failed to make the cut this year, finishing in 21st place.  I think we should all reflect upon that outcome for a few moments…

Ok - enough chit-chat and onto to the main event.  This years total production of 64,905 points is the equivalent of 12,981 28mm infantry figures - that’s a lot, but what’s the 'so-what' of all that.  In order to understand the impact we need to review the unit economics of a 28mm miniature figure:

Paint Production Cost per Figure:

Miniature Cost: $2.00 (down from last year’s $2.50 to reflect the increased penetration of hard plastic miniatures in the hobby)

Paint / Basing: $0.75 (up $0.20 from last year to reflect the cost in increase environmental scrutiny and the general market movements to “free-range” / natural products which typically have a 20% price mark up because consumers are, in general, gullible)

Painter Time: $8.00 (up $0.50 from last years $7.50 because, frankly, we all need a raise)

Cost per fig: $10.75

Basic Economic Impact: $139,546!!!!!!!


But wait, there’s more, mathamagicians like me love to over complicate - it’s just what we do.  The $139K of value understates the real impact due to demand elasticity (think trickle down economics that actually work).  I know that for every miniature I paint, I but 3 more to take it’s place - and that demand elasticity figure of “3:1” scales relative to the size of the lead pile - the smaller the pile the higher the elasticty figure.  I’ve pretty much exhausted my lead pile so I’m generalizing the same for the rest of you (sometimes it’s just easier to assume than to know) so after exhaustive research and coin flipping, I’m bumping the demand elasticity figure up to 3.583x

The true resulting impact of this year’s challenge is a cool $500,000.00 - a veritable economic juggernaut in the miniature hobby world.  What started out a s a simple contest to paint Napoleonic figures five years ago has now ballooned into a miniature hobbies internet titan of commerce - it’s another Amazon, just in 28mm scale.

Lastly, some assurances - the above has a lot of confusing and complicated mathalogical divinations which may be hard to understand for the layman or Professor of Statistics from a Canadian Institute of higher learning.  Some of you may even go so far as to doubt some of my conclusions.  Let me put those unjustified concerns to rest, once and for all - you can trust me - I’m a financial services executive.

You know, it’s strange, just as I’m about to hit send on this email to Curt, I’ve been overcome with a dread I haven’t felt since 5th grade when I reminded my math teacher she hadn’t assigned the class our homework just before the bell for recess was about to ring. 


Friday, 20 March 2015

The Closing Entry of the Fifth Annual Painting Challenge - The Father and The Boy from Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'

As per tradition I make sure to open and close each year’s Challenge. This year I decided to hold back my second ‘Antihero’ and post it as the rearguard. 

It’s a vignette based on one of my favourite books, Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’. 

In McCarthy’s book an unnamed father and his young son journey across a grim post-apocalyptic landscape, several years after an unexplained apocalypse has destroyed civilization and most life on Earth.  While the story is framed in this horrific setting it is, at its core, a tender love story between a father and his son.

Much of the book is written in an abbreviated third person style, with references to "the father" and "the son" or to "the man" and "the boy."

Realizing that they cannot survive the oncoming winter, the father takes his boy south, along desolate roads, towards the sea, carrying their meager possessions in their knapsacks. 

They have a pistol, but only two bullets. In a chilling passage in the book, the boy is reminded that he is to use the gun on himself, if necessary, to avoid falling into the hands of other survivors, as most have turned to cannibalism. 

The father struggles to protect his son from the constant threats of attack, exposure, and starvation. In the face of these obstacles, the man repeatedly reassures the boy that they are "the good guys" who are "carrying the fire". On their journey, the pair scrounge for food, evade roving bands, and contend with many horrors.  An old man they discover on the road acts as seer for them and says that the boy has a glow about him – inferring that he is blessed. As the story moves forward the father feels he has to do things that are insensitive if not inhumane in order to keep his son safe.  This progresses to the point where the reader is left with the impression that The Father is perhaps is no longer ‘carrying the fire’ but one can only sympathize with his situation as we ask ourselves, ‘How far would we go to keep the ones we love safe?’ 

The book is very powerful and I believe it ends the way it should (I won’t say more as I don’t want to spoil it for those who’ve not read it). If you haven’t read it I heartily recommend you do so.

The figures of The Father and The Boy are from Lead Adventure and are modeled closely to the actors in the movie. I did them in greyscale with only The Boy’s face being in colour, ‘carrying the fire’. I created to the base to depict one of the many roads they traveled on. The centerline is broken to foreshadow what happens in their journey.

Well folks, it’s a wrap. It’s been a tremendous amount of fun.  Every time I think that this one’s going to be my last Challenge I read a note from a participant who’s had a particularly good time and it refreshes my batteries, making me raring to give it another go.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be awarding a bunch of prizes and posting polls for Challengers Choice and People’s Choice. There will also be selections for Judge’s Choice and Sarah’s Choice.  I just love giving out treats!

In closing, I want to thank all the participants for both their incredible enthusiasm and support for the event. It's folks like you that make the Challenge the good-natured fun that it is. We are not the Golden Daemon, nor are we the Crystal Brush. No, we are The Challenge and it stands quite unique and proud on its own. I doff my hat to you all.

With Warm Regards,


From DaveD - Sudan - Ambulances, Baggage and Cavalry (150 Points)

Yup - still at the Sudan stuff. No point nuke - just a gentle nudge across the finish line.  Here we have 2 Ambulance Camels, baggage camels, (Castaway Arts) 3 mules, two handlers, a  walking camel , and laid down one (Connoisseur Miniatures - preparation for the Camel Corps)

My last unit for the challenge last year was a unit of 12 Baggara cavalry -  it seems appropriate to finish off by topping it up with some more - in this case another 8 figures (Perry Miniatures) - and I decided to rebase them (the pereniall wargamers bugbear) all mixed in altogether onto larger bases.

It has been a wonderfully focused, productive winter season. I really enjoyed the side challenges with Millsy -  though lets not hear any more from MC Hammer Mr Mills - I had to resort to 

 Millsy - here is a present  - Enjoy

 I ended up with far more painting time than I initially thought this year due to a lot less day job travel interference, which was a real bonus. The armies for the Sudan are certainly more then large enough for gaming with now. I will be putting on a large game at the Wargames Holiday Centre at the end of October - bringing the Sudan back to life there has been a long term aim. This is year 4 in the challenge that figures for it have made an appearance - I think I can say there wont be any Sudan figures in next years challenge (hmm Zulu's there's a thought..wait ... wait... stop that thought...)

So here is the Mahdist army painted over the last 4 challenges - ready for trouble.

The Imperial forces stand at 3 infantry brigades and cavalry brigade - altogether i reckon i have about 300 figures left to finish the whole project off over the summer.I shall get a picture of them all on my own blog when the project table (see below) has been cleared !

As for what next ? Given the lead mountain had been reduced to a mere mole hill it has now been seriously topped up , and the wallet has taken a serous bashing - a few supplier have been made considerably richer. Next up is Nile steamers, and the Camel Corps- all freshly delivered.

Thanks must go to Curt (and of course Sarah!)  for organising and herding the various cats to allow all this to happen - you're mad - in a wonderful way.

To my fellow Challengers it's been a feast of eye candy - with a host of workman like, creative, off the wall unusual entries . Flying carpet wars, clockwork monkeys, LotR, wonderful pulp entries. So many to choose from.

Thanks also to our sponsors for encouraging and rewarding our little corner of the blog-o-sphere.

For those of you attending Salute this year I shall be at the meet up - arrangements are all sorted

So for another Challenge year - its goodby from me! At this point we traditionally hand over to Ray Roussell to carry out a sandbag manouvere... so duck you lot.

From Curt:

A majestic final entry Dave, make no mistake.  You can take a final lap (on your favourite camel) with the gold laurels of victory firmly on your head. 4138 astounding points.  I sweep my hat in the dust. Bravo to you, my friend!

Thanks for your kind words Dave, but I have to say its you and all the others in the Challenge that make this such a wonderful event to host.  

Congratulations again Mr. D!!