Saturday, 23 December 2017

BenF: Two Sailors and the Virgin Mary... (20 Points)

No, it's not the start to a bad joke but my first entry of challenge 'ate'.
Being a teacher in Australia means five weeks of holidays from Christmas to the end of January, and while I've always planned to get a lot of painting done, a combination of furnace-like temperatures, an overfilled social calendar, and a good old fashioned lack of organisation has meant that usually I don't get a lot completed over the break. Entering Curt's painting challenge last year changed that, and I actually managed to complete some projects, and made a good start on some others.

This year, I upped my goal by 100 points, as i've got a couple of projects i'm planning on getting completed. The past year has seen 6mm Cold War Commander really pick up at the club. I'm really enjoying the rules, and so I'm planning on adding a couple of forces to my 1985 Soviet GSFG troops. First off will be a VDV force (currently almost done), then i've got some West Germans with paratrooper and panzer recce options. My 6mm 'stretch goal' is to crack on with some USMC troops, the figures for which Andy at Heroics and Ros is planning on releasing in the new year. The great thing about 6mm is that they paint up insanely quickly, and the odd bit of detail here and there really helps them pop.

Alongside the tiny Cold Warriors i'll be returning to my 28mm Sharp Practice 2 forces. For my Napoleonic Peninsular War Brits I've got a few odds and sods, along with a sloop-of-war (lots of tiny rigging) and assorted landing boats for the Jack Tars. I'll also be returning to my AWI Saratoga SP2 project, and some Virginia riflemen and British light bobs are next in the painting queue after the VDV. Expect lots of terrain as well for this lot.

Finally, i'll be trying to smash my way through a 15mm Achaemenid Persian army which I need for some 'wargaming in the classroom' activities with my senior ancient history students next year.

First off though is a small update, some RN types and a roadside shrine from my Peninsular project. The shrine is a Grand Manner item, and is an amazing little work of art as you would expect. I painted a bunch of Grand Manner stuff for a participation game in October, but somehow missed this little fella. I figure it is suitably Christmas-y for a Christmas eve entry.

The two figures are Paul Hicks sculpts from Brigade games, and are superb as usual. The officer will be taking the role of the famous Lt. Horatio Hornblower, the commander of my RN landing force. The boatswain is Mr. Matthews, Hornblower's trusty off-sider. These were quick paint jobs, as I employed the method that I've been using for the last year or so. It's a bit of a trompe l'oeil i'm afraid, based on the assumption that people's eyes are drawn to faces and little details when viewing a figure rather than large, comparatively boring areas (e.g. trousers or coats). I paint the flesh using traditional layering, which is time consuming but I really think gives a great depth to the faces. For the rest of the figure, I use base/wash/highlight, which is much faster than the layering and allows me to get figures on the table quickly. The odd touch of detail here and there and I think that the method really helps the figures 'pop'.

Anyway, happy Christmas to all of you and your loved ones, and I hope you enjoy a day full of gifts, family, and too much eating and drinking.

Next up i'll be posting some 6mm Soviet VDV for Cold War gone Hot. If all goes to plan that is...


When I first read the title of this post I thought we were about to go into a bad Irish bar joke, but then I saw who had submitted it and had a sigh of relief.

Lovely work, Ben! These two naval officers and the rustic shrine exhibit the deft handiwork we've come to expect from you. I've had the pleasure to paint this shrine and both of these figures and agree with you regarding their superb quality - you've really done them proud here.

I'm delighted that the Challenge has stoked the fires of industry and I look forward to seeing these various projects spool off your hobby desk over the coming months. 

I know this shrine is roughly 4x4x2 so lets call it 10 points, that added to the same for the two naval officers bags you 20 for the group. Well done!

It's great to have you back, Ben. Merry Christmas!


  1. Lovely work on the figures, and a very evocative piece of terrain!

  2. Great painting on both the figures and the terrain! I can’t agree more on your thoughts about your painting method.

  3. great entry beautiful painting and a great read

  4. Excellent piece with some nice details.

  5. Some lovely ground and terrain work there Ben, and those two figures look the business alright!

  6. Great looking miniatures Ben and these kind of little scenic vignettes always add heaps of atmosphere to any game!

  7. Lovely figures and delightful terrain piece!
    Best Iain

  8. I can think of many punchlines! Great looking sailors and nice work on the shrine.

  9. A delight of work! Merry Xmas to you too (and to the rest of the Challnege participants of course)

  10. Wonderful brushwork on these minis, Ben! The groundwork really helps imagine the Spanish sun too!

  11. Very nice, I can almost feel the sea breeze


  12. Great stuff! Wish I’d had wargaming in classes when I was at school....

  13. Superb, painting and basing!

  14. Absolutely smashing stuff! The shrine is just beautiful and fit to grace any table.