Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Voting Results for the 2nd Bonus Theme Round: 'Rider(s) & Mount(s)'

With this theme falling in amongst the Christmas holidays I suspected it may have a fairly sparse turnout, but I was happily proven wrong as the entries kept streaming in right up to the deadline (and a bit past). In total we had 39 participants for this round and 88 votes were cast.

As you can see by the chart above it was a very tight race right to the end, with the top seven entries not being separated by more than 12 votes, in fact we have a tie for second place! So with no further ado I will first present the runners up.

MichaelA's 'English Civil War Dragoons'

AnneO's 'Marine Scout Dinosaur Rider'

and ByronM's 'Cyberpunk on Jetboard'

In Third Place I was delighted to be given the nod with my 'Russian Civil War Tachanka'.  I'll happily add an additional 25 points to my tally.

As I mentioned above we have a tie for Second Place.  Both Burkhard's 'Ney and Staff at Waterloo' AND Alan's 'Dinotruppen' claim the silver position with their excellent entries. Fabulous work guys and congratulations! Both of you will be adding 50 points to your totals on the roster.

And last but not least, in First Place we have MartinN (Nick) with his marvellous crusader knight 'Monsieur Jaufre de Montalba'. Congratulations Nick, you will get to add another 75 points to your points roster and as a first prize you'll receive a gift certificate for products from the very talented Alf over at 'Barrage Miniatures'! Thank you Alf and enjoy your prize Nick!

Again, thanks to everyone who submitted entries and cast votes. You really make these bonus rounds great fun with your participation.

Okay! The next bonus theme is 'Victorian' so get a cup of tea, wet your brushes and 'think of England' - I need your entries by next Saturday night so have fun and get painting!

From IanW - 20mm WWII Soviet T34 Tanks (65 Points)

I received as my Secret Santa (ran by my lovely wife) a box of three T34 76/85 tanks from The Plastic Soldier Company. I always try and paint up fairly soon my Secret Santa as I really want to say thank you so this was never going to stay in the lead pile for long.

Of course seeing the excellent job done on the very same last week was enough to make me reconsider I still went ahead though planning to copy the style but alas it was beyond me so I went for a cleaner tank.

They were very easy to put together and the quality can't be knocked. I also like they give you the two turrets allowing you to paint them up as the 76 or the 85. I painted up both turrets giving me well three free tanks.

I also had some fun keeping back six Russian infantry from my earlier submission as I thought they would make great tank riders so these were painted up and left ready for the tanks. 

I also took a heated pin to the turret side for a near miss, hope the crew have a few aspirin between them.

I have not made up a kit in years and last challenge was the first time I have painted a tank in twenty years so very happy to get into making a model or three. I intend to buy more tanks t allow me to game early and late war. I also need more support weapons but need to work out what I need before buying more.

Here is the three tanks changed to T34/85's those large turrets and long barrels really look menacing! Points wise six foot figures at 4 points each and two tank commanders upper torso makes 28 points but not sure on the T34's and extra turrets.

From Curt:These look fantastic Ian! I like the somewhat weather-worn, faded green that you've come up for them. Of course, my favourite has to be the tankodesantniki spilling off the T34 to engage the Hitlerites. Dramatic stuff and great work!

DavidB - 28mm Necromunda Gang: The RezDogs (85 Points)

Things are slowing down and picking up, depending on task or item. I have even more stuff piled on my table as I plucked out some sci-fi, hero and other bits since they will share the same colors. keeps the paint wastage to a minimum! My first foray in 15mm is off to a slow start. I use 3 colors for base, shade and highlight on my 28's but it seems a lot of adjustment is needed for the 15's! I even picked some simple ones to kick the tires on them. It seems they are anything but! The Oliphant is slowly being mended too. I have to find a new truck, go to drill and work overtime this week; so, I may miss a week in posting.

the RezDogs  trying to squeeze in for a group shot...or looking for trouble.

Up for your review are the last gang I ever made for Necromunda. I have every gang except for the pit slaves. The ones I like I have two or three different gangs. All of them are painted in either testor enamels or dosed in krylon crystal clear. Someday, I'll strip them down and repaint, my RezDogs were never completed and only four needed the simple green stripping. I do have a large Ratskin gang, but of anything that ever had struck me as a racial slur....I gotta admit that seeing a caricature of my ancestors in funky giant rat furs just never sat well with me. I don't usually rant on cigar store Indians, or athletic teams (my ancestors were great warriors, we just didn't figure out that whole lies and lawyers tactic till later!) ;) They just still seem a little demeaning to me, but that is only my opinion and not representative of the whole tribal nation.  As GW scrapped the line, I scooped up a whole bunch of Orlocks as they always had an Apache vibe to me, and were definitely more pleasing aesthetically. I always had the idea of forming them up with my Cadian forces where the gangers would serve double duty as Veteran Sgts, Veterans, and Command squad extras.

This was my initial lineup for the gang, a heavy with a plasma gun salvaged from the plastic orc set, an Orlock with bolter and power axe, and a hired gun who stepped in as my leader LaChota.

The third from the left is Two Johns who had an autogun replaced with a shotgun and I swapped the models slug pistol with a knife. He is a combat menace and pretty good infiltrator. 

I don't know where I placed my gang roster, but I usually give my marksmen and infiltrators lasguns. The gangers in brown jackets and vests were among the lot that had some color needing stripping or were doused in flatblack primer this summer past.

The juve selection. I found by accident that juves with plasma pistols are lethal to others and themselves, I also had a juve who acquired gunfighter while leveling up so another quick conversion for a dual pistol juve!

Big Bear was initially the left hand model with plasma gun and knife, I got the Cawdor model from a friend whose gang really messed him up. He is blind in one eye, has a lobochip, and horrible scars. he also can move and fire and has an amazing ballistic skill for a one eyed shooter. I was going to alter an Orlock model to portray his wounds, but the hooded Cawdor model kinda fit in and a hood would hide the ruined face. I gave him a jagged lighting bolt pointing towards his sightless eye. The spirits would help him with their sight! The plasma gunner is still in the gang  and used by Laughing Crow who picked up a skill that lets a "regular" ganger use special weapons. He had already picked up a powersword earlier and is really nasty in hand to hand, so the little knife had to leave and be replaced by the power sword. It's a count as knife in 40k games as his combat prowess is vastly reduced in the veteran squad he runs with!

Even before I finished painting them all I did put a lot of work in them. WYSIWYG is a mantra in Necromundia. It is not pleasant to miss a charge by your combat master on  a juve with a pistol by inches, only to find out it is the other gang's heavy who is toting a lascannon! OUCHIE! :)

So seventeen 28mm troops for Necromundia, and the Cadian 7th! :)
and yes the Rez Dogs are a riff of the Reservoir Dogs, but they don't have a Mr Pink! ;)

From Curt:This is a very cool gang David! I really like the facepaint and the red and blue you've gone with to visually tie this force together. I also appreciate the little narrative details, like the lightning bolt sigil over the gunner's sightless eye, that alludes to a deeper story. Great work!

From DavidL - 28mm Ikko-Ikki (72 Points)

As promised, here are the foes for my samurai buntai for Ronin, as posted here: the Ikko-Ikki, the sect/movement/uprising that so bedeviled samurai lords of the Sengoku era.

Figures are a mix of Perry and Kingsford. Since this is primarily a band of rabble, there were quite a few more to paint than with the bushi, and even more fabric involved...which meant lots of patterns to hand paint. Nothing for it but to power through, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't relieved to put this project to rest finally.

As with my previous buntai, I mounted the leader figure on a larger base for easy identification. My wife actually designed the list for this buntai, and she made the leader a ronin armed with an arquebus, which gave me the perfect excuse to use this wonderful little Perry tableau of a flunky handing his master a freshly-loaded teppo. I added a pavise screen as well because, hey, it looks cool.

Just as the Matsudaira faction boasted warrior-monk allies, so too do the Ikko-Ikki; in this case, a monk from the Jōgū-ji temple. Japanese monks seemed to have favored two different color palettes with their outfits, so to differentiate this one I painted him in the "not orange" outfit.

I picked up this banner bearer from Kingsford, but ended up doing a scratch-built banner and pole - the original's banner was cast from metal and made the figure too top-heavy, plus the pole bent too easily.

I painted the bearer in the livery of Matsudaira's retainers, thinking he's perhaps a defector. Also, this makes him nicely interchangeable between factions, since, after his victory over the Ikko-Ikki, Matsudaira took this very banner as one of his personal standards! The text is a prayer favored by the Ikko-Ikki: "Renounce this defiled world and attain the Pure Land" (or such is my understanding, not actually knowing any Japanese...).

Next up is a trio of Ikko-Ikki from Kingsford. I love their looted armor, particularly the fancy (and old-fashioned) samurai helmet one of them is sporting. Clearly these guys know how to pick over a battlefield! They put me in mind of Tahei and Matashichi from Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress.

Finally, the peasant mob.

Although I gave them screen-printed fabric designs, I kept things relatively low-key: a rustic palette and simple, repeated designs. I expect these fellows to die with grim regularity, but at least they'll look good doing it.

And that's that! A total of 12 figures gives me a base of 60 points, and my Ronin project is put to rest (for now).

From Curt:As your previous work in this genre these are absolutely fabulous. As you mention in your blog, undertaking the task of painting Samurai figures is equivalent to doing Napoleonics, if not more so. I'm particularly impressed with the various fabric patterns that you've created for this group. They're all very beautiful and look be right out of a period film.  I also like the pavise and the banner bearer and his banner are just brilliant. I'm giving another dozen points for the details and as a congratulations for concluding this project. Well done David!

From IanW - Napoleonic French Column Getting Canistered! (15 Points)

Been wanting to do this base for months but during the work on Project Waterloo I just did not feel I could spare the time, now I get to indulge myself a bit more.

All the figures are Adler and most of the dead and dying are bought from the two casualty packs but I had to bend and twist the command elements, though the drummer got away without a scratch.

I also plan a square or two but need to get an order in first so I have the poses. Both right and left hand rows have come away scot free, the canister seems to have torn the heart out of the column.

Most of the Voltigeurs have already been dispatched as the trail of bodies show, though other PBI are also left behind. I even had a spare shako I could add to the base for further effect.

All the casualty figures are different poses adding to the effect. The one in the middle has a separate shako that you glue into the back of the head so it really looks like it is falling off.

I based them a little too close together so you can't see as easily as I would like so I guess I will have to do another one, or two :-)

So that's twenty six upright figures and five for the dirt nap for a grand total of 14.25 points, not a lot of points but well worth it for the fun element.

From Curt:Now that is a very tiny, but very characterful vignette. I did a similar base of these a few years ago using the same figures and  am reminded of the incredible detail that is packed into these 6mm castings. Actually, I quite like that you based them closed-up as historically that is pretty much  how compressed they would be within a column formation - very terrifying and grisly stuff (for which the trail of casualties greatly reinforces). Great work Ian!

From GregB - 20mm Warsaw Pact Soviet Motor Rifle Platoon (144 Points)

Warsaw Pact era Soviet Motor Rifle Platoon in BTR-80 APCs
My newly discovered mania for 20mm figures continues but it has jumped to another period, from WW2 to another favourite setting of mine - the fictional "cold-war-gone-hot" of the 1980s.  Interest in this period with the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts goes back to around 2007 or so - I can't remember exactly how it started, but once Eureka released a line of 28mm Soviet troops wearing MOPP gear, it seemed suddenly Dallas and I were in an arms race. Today we have clouds of 28mm stuff, including a bunch of helicopters, and we enjoy rolling it out for local gaming events.

A Soviet motor rifle section - figures from Elhiem, vehicles from S&S Models
Anyway, my hobby interest in this setting spread rapidly to 6mm (for Modern Spearhead), and because I dabble constantly, I started to play the setting in even more scales, from 15mm down to 3mm. I even have painted 10mm and 40mm.  The last one I haven't tried was 20mm - and since I was diving into this with WW2, I figured why not modern too?

My mania in one picture - from left: 3mm modern Soviets from Oddzial Ozmy, 6mm modern Soviets from GHQ, 10mm modern Soviets from Minifigs, 15mm modern Russian from Eureka, 20mm modern Soviet from Elhiem, 28m modern Soviet from Mongrel Miniatures, and a 40mm modern Russian from the Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company
Another view of the group photo - all scales accounted for :)
So this entry includes a 20mm scale Warsaw Pact-era Soviet Motor Rifle platoon.  The infantry figures are 20mm sculpts from Elhiem Figures, and the vehicles are (supposedly) 20mm-size BTR-80 APCs from S&S Models. The colour palette for these figures is almost identical to the WW2 Russian troops, so I was able to bear down and get this little points grenade finished during my holidays last week.

Ready to fight NATO lackeys

The platoon has three 8-man sections and a small command group.  Each section contains one trooper with a PK-LMG, an RPK-74, an RPG-7 anti-tank launcher, and the balance armed with AK-74 assault rifles.  The commander has a radio man and a trooper carrying an SA-7 shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile unit.

Officer with a radio man and a trooper carrying an SA-7 SAM
Elhiem's Cold War era Russian line is admirably complete, with a wide selection of troops wearing body armour, so most of the regular infantrymen are from that section of their line.  I love the look of the body armour and it really fits the setting to my mind.  One of the things I respect most about this Elhiem range is just how complete it is - most modern collections (or those north of 10mm in size) are very limited, often lacking in key areas, with strange mismatched assortments of figures (Eureka has a lot of this).

NCO on a square base for quick recognition during the game

The Elhiem sculpts themselves are an uneven quality.  Some of them have very soft details.  And the castings themselves are heroically resistant to primer.  But its a strange thing - in spite of the many challenges and limitations to these sculpts, these figures have an excellent overall appearance - I think that is the magic of the sculptor! The Elhiem poses are nice, the figures are not too heavy or too chunky, and there is a great selection. Even with their challenges, I strongly recommend them.

Elhiem figures...they have their challenges, but I really like them

I can't say the same for S&S Models.  My first concern is the size of the model - these are allegedly 1/72 scale models, but it just doesn't add up.

Actual BTR-80 - cramped, yes, but still larger than the men - unlike the S&S Models

Soviet-designed APCs and IFVs are notorious for cramped conditions, but this is still supposed to carry 10 men (including the crew) and the MG in the turret is supposed to be a heavy calibre 14.5mm weapon. Looking at it beside these 20mm figures, there is just no way this is a 1/72 model.  Do you see a whole section of these guys crowding into that vehicle?  This looks to me more like a 1/87 scale model - the effect is similar to seeing 1/56 scale vehicle models beside 28mm figures.

I rusted out the exhausts...make them look a little used
Beyond the size of the vehicles, there are serious quality issues with these models as well.  It is not readily apparent in the photos, but there are numerous flaws and small bubbles all over the vehicles.  Many small details - like vision ports, hatches or headlights, are missing or have holes due to small bubbles that formed during casting. One fender area on one of the vehicles was particularly weak. And at 12 GBP per model (which works out to about $20 Canadian as our stupid third-world-petro-dollar plummets in value, and that's before shipping) let's just say I'm way less than impressed - and this was a surprise as I had always heard good things about S&S.

Note the gap over the front wheel, and the missing headlight in the same area - an example of the shoddy quality of the S&S casts

The BTRs received a very basic green paint scheme and some mild weathering, mostly on the exhaust, which I can imagine rusting out in almost no time.  The armour on these vehicles is almost non-existent by modern combat standards, enough to deflect light bullets and shrapnel and little else.  I don't think these would have lasted long enough to look worn out!

We must protect our revolution...
Units like these would have filled the armoured and motor rifle divisions from the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, and would have been at the forefront of any assault toward the Rhine by the Warsaw Pact.  Thankfully for the world this remained a fictional event - but it is great fun to game.  I understand the Too Fat Lardies are working on a modern variant of their Chain of Command Rules - I hope to try that with these fellows!

This submission includes 27 infantrymen and three vehicles, all in 20mm scale (although I don't know about the vehicles).  Now I just need to get some opponents finished off for these fellows.  Gotta love 20mm!

From Curt:Ah, I was wondering when we'd see the modern stuff begin to roll out as a result of your new 20mm mania. Seriously beautiful stuff Greg! I really enjoyed the pictures depicting your mental 'I love every scale known to man'. Nonetheless, it's a wonderful, wonderful madness. 
Don't even get me started on vehicle scales as the topic usually makes me want to snap my crayons. Okay, I'll start anyway... I think the only companies that come close to getting relative scales right are the old-school model making companies like, Esci, Revell, Tamiya, Milicast, etc. Otherwise the 'new kids' often seem to subscribe to a mythically elastic sense of scale where the figures would need a healthy dose of pixie dust to be able to fit into the vehicles that are 'designed' for them. My memory of this starts with the 'Rhino' APC in 40K (introduced in 1988) where a squad of huge, genetically-tampered armoured freaks were supposed to fit into the equivalent of an Austin Mini. Talk about a clown car. Anyway, apparently S&S has this same level of 'scale optimism' that we see so much of in the hobby - it's too bad because, quality issues aside, they look quite nice on their own. 
The Elheim figures look very nice. By your description Greg, they seem to fit that class of figure that at first looks a bit questionable out-of-the-pack but once painted, based and seen as a unit they really 'bloom'. The great groundwork has really benefitted them as well. 
Wonderful work Greg!