Tuesday, 2 February 2016

From PaulS - 28mm Critter Tuesday (85 points)

This week has mostly been spent painting critters to overwhelm heroic adventurers, whether they are deep in a dungeon, or stalking the ruins of a cold, ruined city.

The 9 rats and 6 bats came from the Dungeon Saga kickstarter and came with a selection of spiders as well, but those are still lurking on the painting table as we're both slightly arachnophobic ;)

The figures are all resin and, surprisingly, really nicely sculpted, with some great dynamic poses. The bats are insanely fragile though as the colonies of bats are only held together by the wings touching each other. I accidentally snapped two of these while painting them, they are that fragile. Thankfully, some superglue came to the rescue. I've added Sven the Viking as a scale point for these critters.


Speaking of scale... at the other end of the spectrum I also finally got round to painting Goliath. This is one of the end bosses from Shadows of Brimstone. Like most of the other monsters from SoB, the detail is soft and it needed a lot of filling and resculpting... but he looks pretty imposing now he's finished. That base he's on? That's 70mm... he's one biiiiig critter. Sven once again provides a scale reference.

So that is 9 rats, 6 bats and one Goliath to add to the totals. Only the giant rats count towards the Frostgrave totals sadly

Lovely work as always Paul. Hmmm, how to score these? Given that I've been scoring halflings as full 28mm foot figures, I think the rats and bats should be as well. As for Goliath, I'm going to score him as a 28mm mounted.

From RayR - 28mm Donnybrook Moors (30 points)

Yep......me again! For my second entry today, were off to sunny Morocco, which believe it or not does actually look a little like the background in my pic?
The 4 foot figures are from Unfeasably Miniatures and are from their French Foreign Legion/Tuareg  range, but I thought they'd fit in well for my Moroccan Moors with Muskets. In the Donnybrook rules you're not allowed many muskets for the Moors, but hopefully I'll be painting up a few more figures for my Moors.

This lovely looking chap, goes by the name of Ab'd Allah Ghailan, but was better known by the English as Gayland. But he could also pose as Omar Ben Haddn, the Alcaid of Alcazar for later battles.They were two of the Moor leaders who led the Tangier garrison on a merry dance! I've had this figures for years. Its an Essex Miniature and I do believe its now out of production?

So I make that 30 points to add to my total?

You see, you can get the points right when you apply yourself! 
Very nice Moors for 30 points Ray.

From Curt - Two Mercenary Forces Spanning 500 years - 1503 / 2003 (87 Points)

Once again, Tuesday's Troupe are joined by Captain Snowlord. I really don't know why, but he seems to prefer us to the rest...

Ever since the beginning of America's recent involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, I've had a fascination regarding the debate surrounding Private Military Contractors (PMCs). 

I've read several books and journal articles on the subject and my own opinion is varied, but generally negative. On one hand I understand the shell game governments play when hiring military contractors. The use of PMCs allows governments to reduce their official military footprint while still providing themselves with a substantial force to utilize in a variety of situations. Nonetheless, the fact remains that PMCs are not soldiers of a nation state, but rather are beholden to their companies first, to their contracts second and everything else follows in varying degrees of importance. In many instances this pecking order has ended in tragedy, underlying the morally nebulous, and violent, world they work in

Of course, the most famous of these companies is Blackwater Worldwide which was created and owned by ex-SEAL, Erik Prince. I recently finished Prince's autobiography, 'Civilian Warriors' which puts forward his personal perspective on the PMC industry, and the media frenzy whichbesieged his company. While I am sympathetic to several aspects of his story, I did find it bemusing how Prince bobs and weaves with his argument that Private Military Contractors should not be equated with the pejorative term: 'Mercenary'.  Rather Prince believes that he and his industry should be considered no different than the 'dashing' soldiers-for-hire and privateers of history, much like Lafayette and James De Wolf. Soldiers-for-hire? Privateers? Mercenaries? To me, Prince is splitting hairs. All of these are cut from the same cloth. It's true that being defined as a mercenary currently denies a host of rights, both on and off the battlefield, but let's face it, for all intensive purposes PMC's ARE mercenaries - just the same as the Condottieri were in late medieval Italy and David Stirling's WatchGuardInternational was in the 1960s. The only difference is that PMCs of today have a corporate sophistication that a 16th century condottieri would find mind boggling.

Anyway, enough about all that. Let's talk about toy solders. :) What I have here are two mercenary groups which span 500 years, one from 1503 and the other from 2003.

First up are several contemporary contractors, or 'operators' in a mix of civilian and military gear. These are 28mm figures from Eureka Miniatures, sculpted by the very talented Kosta Heristanidis. I really like these models. They're well cast and have a great sense of animation. The other thing I really appreciate is that their weapons are slightly upscaled, giving them more of a presence (and sturdiness) that is lacking from some other modern ranges.

I've kept the palette fairly muted, only introducing a pop of colour here and there with cap, t-shirts and optics. Pretty straightforward stuff.

But iyou want colour, we have it in spades with these Swiss mercenaries from the canton of Bern.  

First up is a command stand featuring a huge (no, really, I mean HUGE) brown bear. Bern has a bear as part of its heraldry, and apparently in one of the period manuscripts there is one depicted in battle, mauling some poor French sod. Being that it is a big wild animal I thought I'd add a doughty halberdier to help keep the beast moving in the right direction. The canton's banner is from Pete's Flags. It's a beautiful piece of work, being printed on tight-weave fabric, but I inadvertently rubbed away some of the inkjet transfer when I was working with it so I had to retouch a good bit of it with brush and paint. Nonetheless, I still quite like it and look forward to using more of his flags in the future.

This halberd unit started it's service last year as group of twelve figures. At the time I chose to base them in threes on 40mm round basesthinking we'd use them primarily for skirmishing rules such as 'Lion Rampant'. 

As things often turn out, we found that while 'Lion Rampant' was good fun, we actually preferred 'Pike and Shotte' for our Italian Wars fixSubsequently, I found that the original twelve figures were a bit too weedy to be a respectable unit for P&S, so I decided to re-base the lot and add another four figures to bring it more up to snuff.

After my experiment with Simon's (aka BigRedBat) excellent irregular-edged bases for my crossbowmen, I decided to ask the good folks over at Warbases to make me a whole mob of them in various sizes. The singlbase shown here is roughly 180mm x 60mm, which is more than enough room to accommodate my existing 4 bases of halberdiers plus a few new additions. (I decided to be lazy and just glue them on the new base and shape the groundwork around them.)

Three new recuits for the unit...

 ...and this red-helmeted horn player (hornist?) was conscripted at the 11th hour to add a bit more mass and colour.

And here is a group shot of the redux halberdier, my recent crossbowmen and the 'Bear of Bern' command stand.

As for points, we have eight modern day contractors for 40 points, four new Swiss halberdiers for 20 and a Swiss command stand for 25 (I'm counting the bear as a single foot figure), so that should put me at 85 points. Pretty paltry against the Big Guns, but not bad for a slow painter like myself. 

Thanks so much for persevering through this inordinately long post - I hope you all have a great week!

Soldiers of fortune, dogs of war, friends & associates of Maggie Thatcher's son (oops, better check that last one with the laywers...).
What a great post, combining mercenaries from 1503 and 2003. Beautiful work as always Curt - your standard of painting more than makes up for the slowness of production. I've added a couple of points as I thought it was unfair to score that huge, scary ursid as a mere 28mm foot figure.

Tuesday - LeeH - 6mm Roman Generals

This is my second post this week, albeit a small submission. I have finished all of my Romans (for the time being) and the only thing lacking was someone to lead them. I managed to find some MDF tokens that could be re-purposed as bases and I think they are just right for these mounted generals.

The generals are based in two's but for the Senior General I have based him with two sub-commanders so he stands out. And now that I have painted these they should lead some troops, so here they are at the head of the army.

Nine mounted figures are a small submission but it does mean I have finished my Romans for the time being. Next on the table are some Carthaginian's...lots and lots and lots of Carthaginian's.

Lovely work Lee. That'll be another 9 points for your tally.

From ClintB - 15mm Sdkfz 222 (6 points)

Just a single 15mm vehicle in this post. Over the Christmas period a friend had his shed broken into and some wargames stuff nicked. As they just took his ww2 collection I have no idea if they just wanted some "Toys" to play with or just grabbed what was on top.

So this is a gift for him to start to rebuild a viable ww2 15mm force. The model is a Zvezda plastic kit so not such a very large financial outlay but It will get him started and the kits are not bad at all for the price, definitely cheaper than buying resin or metal tanks. So very good value for money.

I am not sure which forces he will now collect as he has mentioned both Russian and British. So I thought a German (who fought against both nations) armoured car might be a safe solution.

Nice painting Clint and such a good thing to do, helping out a fellow gamer like this. That'll be another 6 points on your tally.

From TeemuL - The Reinforcements (15 points)

Finally the reinforcements are here: Three Dwarfs to the Rescue!

Two dwarfs behind the overturned carts may finally breathe, after fighting against the greenskins from the Sunday morning, the reinforcements finally arrive Tuesday afternoon.

You might remember, that I bought 12 of these Hasslefree Dwarfs and I have now painted 9 of them. Can you guess what I will be posting next Tuesday?

Three dwarfs, 15 points, please.

Oooh - guessing games! Now, let me think. I know a 1:35 King Tiger in winter camo! No? OK, a 3mm Napoleonic Italian army? No? OK, I give up.

Lovely little fellows Teemu *smile*

From RayR - 25mm Donnybrook French (30 points)

Making his debut in the main part of the challenge, we have that smuggler of budgies, Mr Ray Roussel!

Blimey??? Can't believe its February and I'm only just posting my first entry proper into the Challenge!!! Bad me!
And although there's 12, 25mm figures sitting looking pretty, I'm afraid only 6 can count as the other 6 were started back in September.
Now I'm trying to be a little clever here as these 12 Foundry figures which I picked up on Ebay for a song, are painted up to represent both a French and Jacobite Irish regt for my Donnybrook excursions. So I can play games in both Ireland and Flanders, as well as my main theatre in Tangiers.

So I make that a sad total of 35 points! But I'm just glad I'm up on the board at last!

Are you sure he's a badger, not a skunk? Something a bit whiffy here. Hmmm, I've worked out what it was - he was hoping I wouldn't spot that 6 x 25mm foot figures @ 5 points each is a total of 30 points, not the 35 he's trying to blag! I should screenshot that just in case he tries to weasel out of it by editing the post after I've adjudicated *grin*
Nice work on these Ray and it's good that they can do double-duty.

From LeeH - 6mm British Cruiser Tanks (16 Points)

My latest submission to the Painting Challenge see's me return to my North Africa project with eight early British Cruiser Tanks. These are 1/285th scale models by GHQ and as such are modeled with an eye watering amount of detail which actually made them an absolute a joy to paint.

British Cruiser Tanks

The Cruiser tank concept was a typically British approach to tank design that flourished in the inter-war period, saw action during the start and middle of the war and began to die out in favor of the Main Battle Tank concept by the end of the war. British tank nomenclature is particularly confusing but here we have two examples of Cruiser development, one more successful than the other.

A13 Mk III, Cruiser Mk V or Covenanter

The Cruiser Mk V was conceived in 1938 with the General Staff specifying the need for a faster, lighter cruiser tank to replace the Cruiser IV. The new specification was the A13 Mk III Cruiser Mark V, and would later be given the name Covenanter. The new tank would have a Christie suspension and would have to be able to accommodate the main British tank gun of the time, the QF 2 Pounder. Some design elements from the earlier A16 were incorporated in the new tank as was the use of sloped armour to reduce thickness and therefore weight.

Covenanter's ready for action

By the late 30's the governments policy was to encourage British firms to develop the skills for war production and so the contract to design the A13 was handed to a Railway Company which had no prior experience of producing tanks (!). With war on the horizon the first order for 100 tanks was placed without a proper prototype evaluation process. The result was a tank that had a shopping list of problems and defects, not least issues related to engine cooling and reliability. This was a tank not destined for combat duty and most were retained in the UK for training purposes. However a few were given to REME for desert evaluation and its possible that some saw action with the Churchill Tanks of Kingforce in 1942.

Covenanter's are identified by the rather high profile and four road wheels

Initial production of the Covenanter was shared between several firms but Nufield preferred to pursue its own design which would later become the Cruiser, Mk VI or A15 Crusader. The Crusader Mark I and Mark II were fitted with am Ordnance QF 2 pounder main gun, but the design was also able to accommodate modification so that the Crusader III was fitted with an Ordnance QF 6 pounder main gun. Like the A13 the A15 used the Christie suspension system but employed 5 road wheels rather than four to aid with weight distribution. The Crusader would weigh in at close to 20 tones compared to 14 tones for the Covenanter.

A15 Cruiser, Mk VI or Crusader I

The A15 was also ordered straight off the drawing board and although it would become the main British Cruiser in the early part of the desert war, it still had significant design problems. The angled turret proved something of a shot trap, deflecting incoming AP into the roof of the crew compartment. The tank was also prone to 'brewing up' with stowed ammunition catching fire when the tank was hit. The cooling system struggled with desert sand and the engine was prone to oil leaks and unreliable performance. None the less the Crusader was well loved by British Crews and it wasn't until the arrival of American tanks like the Grant and Sherman that this weary warhorse began to be phased out.

The Crusader I has five road wheels to distribute its greater weight
I rather enjoyed painting these eight 6mm vehicles and as such makes the 16 points I will earn for them all the sweeter.

I've always liked the look and idea of the British cruiser tanks, even if they were often easy pickings for their opponents in the desert.
Nice work on these GHQ models and well worth the 16 points they've earned you.

From ClintB - 28mm Two thugs (10 points)

Here today no doubt heading indirectly to court are two modern thugs they are probably Liverpool fans and as such continually disappointed! The figures are 28mm Foundry Street violence. As you can see I have altered the bases, drilling and pinning them onto resin bases. I did find the whole thing very therapeutic and the one in the jacket does look like a guy I know in real life. As such it is a YOUNGER "John the Viscous") who did act as a bouncer later in life. Funniest fight I ever saw him in was as follows. He was ejecting a drunken reveller from a pub, he had the guy in a head lock after giving him 2 in the face. The guys friend charged the length of the bar and head butted John. The guys friend quickly left. Knowing John this was a wise choice as if the guys friend would have stayed he would have gotten hurt! (That is a true story BTW)

I do believe I might have had a drink with those two chaps Clint! Nice work, but I'm only going to give them the standard 5 points each despite their threats to my person!

Tamsin's Tuesday Trifles

At least I hope that's what the chef said. I do like trifles. Maybe he said triffids though?

Ladies and gentlemen, we are currently cruising at 30,818 points on our way to the revised target altitude of 71450.

Apologies for any confusion last week about the target altitude. It seems that a gremlin attacked the control box and hid some of the target values from the gnome who does the calculations. This of course resulted in a lower target altitude than we should have had. And guess who spotted the problem? Yes, that's right - petite moi!

So apart from the trifles (yay!) or triffids (boo!), what do we have lined up for you today?

Six posts from three Rejects, including the debut from one* in the main Challenge
Some other posts from non-Rejects
A possible visit from his excellency the Snowlord.

*Yes, that "one" is Ray himself. It appears that he was delayed by Customs and Passport Control.

At first they mistook him for a skunk until another passenger in the queue explained he was in fact a badger..

Then during the search that he was trying to smuggle budgies aboard,

Apparently he has rather a lot of checked luggage in the hold, which look suspiciously like sandbags.

So, sit back and enjoy the flight. Today's crayons will be purple and orange. Posts will be a little later than normal today.