Monday, 5 March 2018

From MartinN: Soviet Tank Rider Squad - "Tankovyy Desant" (32 points)

Who would have guessed? Three consecutive entries in just as many weeks. Seems like while the challenge slowly but surely is drawing to a close my hobby boat is finally taking up some much needed steam.

This week sees me back at a project I keep returning to time and again, but never quite seem to have the stomach to see it through. 

Gaming WW2 on the eastern front both fascinates and appalls me at the same time. On the one hand there is the sheer audacity with which the Germans sought to wrestle down and conquer that gigantic expanse of land and, to be fair, nearly made it. Then there's the stubbornness of the Soviets, defending their home turf against such an onslaught. The sheer will to persevere and finally to find revenge in the end.

On the other hand of course, there are the monstrosities which marked the war in the east beyond anything that happened on other theatres. Without wanting to belittle the hardships soldiers and civilians alike had to go through in say Great Britain and France, it was in the east where both sides, especially the Germans though, committed the most abhorrent crimes against humanity.

Thus it's always with mixed feelings that I get back to that particular theatre.

Be that as it may, another reason for not delving into this theatre too deeply yet was the reluctance to paint huge numbers of Russians to fit the iconic "mass army" image we tend to have.

Thus I was hugely excited when I gave the Soviet army lists in Chain of Command a closer look and discovered the "Tankovyy Desant" or Tank Rider list which allowed me to get started with as little as 22 miniatures. Excellent I thought, even me could get those few figures painted in no time I thought. Ah well, how little I knew.

First it took me ages to get those bloody Warlord Games plastic figures built. I had those flying around for ages and now I painfully remembered why. They look decent enough when painted, but getting there always is a royal pain in the back.

I went for a summer look on these and thus deliberately left out the figures wearing the "Telogreika" padded jacket. Albeit being a very effective way of keeping you warm it looks rather dorky (to my eyes) anyway.

Curiously enough Warlord Games decided to model their Russians with the older pre-1943 uniforms with low collar and no shoulder-straps. Well, it certainly gives you a wider scope for your miniatures but definitely lacks that late-war feel we came to associate with pictures from the fighting in Poland and the Reich.

Not a big issue for me though, as I generally prefer to have miniatures with slightly outdated equipment stand in for later ones instead of vice versa. One small issue though was the number of sub-machine guns to fully equip the three squads, thus I had to hand out a few liberated German MP40's to make up the numbers.

So, that's it for today. Five standing and two prone figures should give me another 30 points to add to my total. Only a few more left and I'll finally hit my target.

Interpret: Evil Conduct


Another Monday, and another wonderful submission, Nick!  These "Tankovyy Desant" look terrific - really another outstanding unit, with their uniforms and weapons painted with really astonishing attention to detail.  

I love the way that you've turned what should be a drab uniform to something which is a stand-out, with the subtle shading and contrast with the figures' trousers.  The faces are really excellent, as is the careful weathering which is visible on their helmets.  Even routine things like the boot soles ('re painting the BOOT SOLES...oh my Lord!!) get fine attention with your brush.  Really, they're super!

And although the Warlord figures are, indeed, a paint to put together - I've rarely, if ever, seen them look better.  So, clearly 30 points for the figures, and I'll add another couple of extra points for the wonderful basing to boot.

And yes, that really does put you in touching distance of your target!!  Go for it Nick!!  You can do it!  And no one will be cheering louder than me when you get there, Sir!!

From IainW: Yet more 28mm soviets! (80 points)

Here are my latest bunch of soviets! A T34/85 and a BT 10 armoured car, both from Warlord and three Lledo trucks repainted, the trucks cost 11p each so I'm happy with the price and I think they're good enough.

So that gives me 80 points I think, there's one more post of soviets left then I've got to paint some pikemen! 

All the best Iain


Great work, Iain... and that hugely impressive steamroller still isn't letting up as yet more Soviets thunder from your painting table.  I confess that I've known whole factory towns in the Urals which produced less than your brush has during the last few weeks.  Most wonderful to see, and a very impressive output, Sir!

I love the weathering you've applied - not just of the bare metal, scarred and frozen from the merciless Steppe wind, but also on the unit recognition symbols.  And I'm so pleased you've added the frost flecks and snow drifts again - they make the basing really evocative, framing the figures in their battlefield environment.  And those trucks look amazing for that very reasonable cost - great resourcing, as well as painting.  Well done!

Great work, and another 80 points to your total, which is clicking very nicely upwards.  You look almost certain to break the 'Big 1000' this Challenge, which is a huge and magnificent achievement for any Challenger.  Awesome work!


From KyleC - Project from a workshop with Massive Voodoo (85 pts)

So the past weekend I had the chance to join another class with the legendary Roman Lappat of Massive Voodoo fame.

This was my 8th class with the maestro over the years and my second time along for a Basing class.  Focus here was post apocalypse base where nature has reclaimed the city. However since I was a repeater I could go a bit outside the lines and try something different.

For me while listening to his lecture and seeing his photos of his presentation there was one image of a parking garage that was light coming from above. I had already in my mind to do something that involved a box format and this really resonated with me and it grew from there.

Roman was great to support it and provided a better box to make this vision come true. He even provided me with the train which shifted my idea to be something like an abandoned subway station.

I loved the process and aside from finishing the models this weekend, and most of that was just touching up the figures. The majority of the scene was done within 3 days when in Germany.

You can see how it was build up here with layers of corkboard to give it some volume and structure. With the models getting placed to give it proper reading lines, and the subway car ( made of metal!!!! so difficult to cut! ) being placed to give it some weight and depth.

Sketching went fast and furious with the idea that they have just reached it from some overground passages that shed light due to the age of the subway areas. Also gave me some forced perspectives and light sources throughout the project which really helped out.

Final piece as it stands right now. I might go back to touch it up some, but this is where it sits for now with photos from my phone. At some point I will push it further I suspect.

And a final photo showing what happens when I put the light directly over the holes up top. It reinforces the colors and light spots I placed on the piece. Which is great to see some reinforcement of the techniques and planning that went into the diorama. 

Oh and I did try to make one of the guys look bad ass and pretty much like how I picture myself :D Even did a little bit of freehand work to get the rough shape of my Mr Lee's Minis logo on the shirt... didn't fully pull it off but its almost there. 

So although I haven't done a lot of batch painting near the end of this contest I have regained some of my painting mojo. Huge thanks to the Monday crew, Sidney for helping us out, and Curt for running it all. And of course the rest of the participants here with all the great pieces being shown and painted here!!! 

And a final rock out photo of me and Tobias from the class helping Roman hang photos from other classes throughout the years!

As always, no idea for points. I have 4 28mm figures there from Hasslefree so thats 20 pts, but not sure if the base might count as terrain then? As its pretty big :D But will let Sidney sweat the details again ;)


Now this is what I call "Living the Dream" !!  What a brilliant post, even before we start considering the wonderful diorama, Kyle!  'Massive Voodoo' and Roman have been such an incredible and inspirational influence for so many modelers and painters over the years.  They've been one of the stepping stones taking the hobby from being a craft to being an art, and to see you enjoying their hospitality and knowledge is just fantastic, Kyle!

I think all of us would love to experience a master-class like that at least once in our lives. So, well done, Sir, for leading the way, and providing such a stonking report of your visit (and fine photos of a goodly selection of hats).

Now, on to that diorama.... Yep, it's pretty special, isn't it!  You've graced this Challenge with some wonderful work this year, Kyle, but this is really of a different class.  I've loved the painted busts you've produced, but this is so much more complicated and subtle.

The use of perspective, and lighting sources, the arrangement of figures, the careful use of colour and the reinforcement of your central theme all shine through.  The box format has given you the opportunity to use your skills in a very innovative and creative way, and the result is both remarkable and memorable.

I really love it, and it's another of the many, many submissions all our fellow Challengers have produced this year which make me want to get back to my paints (...immediately....right now!...) and start painting.  And I can think of no higher praise than that for your amazing work.

OK, as for points... I'm going to say 40 terrain points for the diorama, 20 points for the figures and another 25 points for creating something unique and inspirational (both in your post and in the diorama).  Really a splendid piece of work, Kyle!  Well done, Sir!

From SamuliS: Von Spiegel Grenadier Battalion (72 points)

Back to my Napoleonics endeavor with one of the combined Grenadier battalions. This time from the 1st Division in the form of Battalion von Spiegel. With these guys done I'm only missing the Leib Grenadier battalion from the 1st division and 4 Line infantry and 1 grenadier battalion from the 2nd division. Looking pretty good!

AB figures as usual. Lovely sculpts with minimal clean up required, it's just a shame that there's only 4 different poses. This battalion should have combined units from more or less all the battalions in the first division, but for the sake of simplicity I decided to just use green facings on all of them instead of mixing some yellow ones in as well.

16 infantry and a single mounted officer should yield me 72 points. With these and my other entries finished during the last week I should be at about 700 points. Reaching my 1000 point goal is starting to look a bit unlikely after my slow start, but maybe with some prioritizing of fast, but point heavy projects I might be able to pull it off. Time to draft a good project plan!

Artist: Ensiferum

Album: Two Decades of the Greatest Sword Hits


These are fantastic - great work Samuli !  There's nothing quite like a finely painted battalion of Napoleonics, and all they're all the more welcome as combined Grenadiers marching impressively to the sound of the drums.  

I love the way that these AB figures have painted up.  They always have been wonderful sculpts, easy to paint, flash free and robust enough to pick out a surprising amount of detail without being too fiddly.  Certainly, the "Prince of Figures" in the 15mm/18mm ranges - and you have more than done them justice here.

Some really nice basing and a couple of tufts to finish off, and you've created a fine looking unit, Sir!  And that's another 72 points to your total - which I would say is DEFINATELY in reach.  So, go for it, Samuli !!  

Two weeks to go and that target is very much achieveable.  I can feel it wobbling from here.

Let us know if we can help at all by cheering VERY LOUD.  One, Two, Three....HURRRRRRAAAAAAHHHHH

From SeanS - Bretonnians and Wizards (112 points)

Hi All,

I have for you 22 figures in 28mm that should net me 110 points. They are 20 retainers and two wizards. I'm not super happy with the picture quality, but here you go.

I'll start with the two C02 Wizards, Mazda and Holbon Toddlebrrew.

Yes that is a calculator on Holbon's belt.

I decided to go with stars and a crescent moon on Holbon to make him more Wizardy.

Next we have the retainers led by a Baron.

I accidentally painted his shield blue and yellow while batch painting and had to repaint it.

I also had to switch them around for the rear shot. They wouldn't rank up turned 180 degrees.

The second rank of these guys. I had four retainers and my friend, Blue in Vermont, helped me acquire the rest.

The fighter on the end has a bottle on his belt.

My four Perry, Games Workshop Crossbowmen and one Foundry figure. The plastic Crossbows seem a little large.

The second row are all Foundry.

Triumph and tragedy in each figure, but I'm happy overall with the end result. This time, at least, the varnish worked correctly. Just had a myriad of other little nit picking things that made this group seem to take forever.

Fantastic work, Sean, bringing together a great collection of miniatures stretching back over quite some years.  I love the livery these figures are sporting - the blue and yellow match perfectly, and bring the units together in a really striking manner.  I love how you made the Baron look just a little bit special with his personal heraldry (clearly setting him apart from the hoi poloi of mere retainers).  Great stuff!

The wizards are very special.  I remember seeing these figures many moons back, from GW's wizards and magic users range.  It's brilliant to see them again here.  The mystical stars and colours of their magical robes really makes them stand-out in a terrific submission.

Well done, Sir, and a well-deserved 112 points to your tally (adding a couple through the sheer dedication of collecting these chaps over the years)!


Good Monday Morning Challengers!!

I hope you've all had an amazing weekend - and, wow, what a weekend that was.  A mixture of gasping with amazement at the truly MONSTROUS final themed round of Challenge VIII...

.... as well a weekend of monstrous weather in the UK (or, what we dwellers in these British and Irish islands like to term "snow") ... 

And, if all that excitement has not yet exhausted you, YES, there is more to come.  

And that's because there are now SIXTEEN days left in Challenge VIII, with many, many wonderful entries yet to be completed and arrive on the submission desks of Paint-Minions like me. 

And here, on this eleventh Monday of Challenge VIII, we shall be showcasing a fantastic, fantabulous and extraordinary-ly wonderful selection of the entries now arriving in Paint-Minions' mail boxes throughout the world.  

We have figures from magical lands, soldiers from war-zones, people from very cold places and people with surprising beards and hats.  All will be revealed in the next 12 hours or so....

And, if that's not enough to excite and enthrall you, dear Challengers and Readers, why not have a look at the incredible points totals on the Challenge VIII blog-page, which have been updated for the last Themed Round, and are currently frazzling even Miles' calm and cool demeanor owing to their incredible size and pointfulness.

Happy painting, folks !!