Thursday, 8 March 2018

From RossM: 15mm Undead (95 points)

Here is the my third entry for this year's challenge and nearly all the Undead are now completed.

Throughout this army I have used a basic colour scheme and tied the army together with flashes of red or yellow ochre. The figures have all been washed in Army Painters strong tone and then lightly dry brushed with Foundry Bone B & C.

Unless otherwise stated all figures are from Alternative Armies.

A single Wight being used as a minor hero.

An option for the army General in Basic Impetus Fantasticus is to be mounted on a chariot. No chariot runners here although the general does have the company of two undead Carrion Birds.

A stand of archers to be used as sharp shooting skirmishers.

Below a stand of Wraiths from Essex Miniatures. There are only six here as the other two are on household duties at present. The excess flock will need yet another brushing to take it off these figures.

More Wights this time en masse.

A camp stand with a leadership debate to music and a small graveyard curtesy of Essex Miniatures. This stand will again be for use in Basic Impetus Fantasticus.

The shambling hordes of zombies that no Undead army would be right without.

 So in terms of points this works out as follows:

42 15mm infantry - 84 points
1 15mm vehicle - 6 points
6 15 mm grave stones - 3 points

This takes my running total (subject to the judges approval) to 239, still short of my challenge target but well on the way to finishing on a pass.

Still to come some 2mm WW2 armour and 28mm Romano Brits. Looks like the Ninja and Trojans will have to wait again.

Cheers, Ross

Very nice indeed!  I really have enjoyed this dusty horde coming together and it's really nice to see the more unusual elements being represented.  The Wights are great, but that chariot is superb.  The camp scene looks like great fun and here's hoping your enemy doesn't ransack it too often!

I'm going have to disallow the gravestones as they're either terrain or just basing I'm afraid, but I'm then going to round up the points for that lovely chariot and the relaxed looking carrion birds to give a nice round 95 points..... and did you say Ninjas were an option for your next painting choice?!?!?!? But instead you're likely to be painting Romano-British?  Any chance I could start a petition to get Ninja in there instead?  Why?  The Rule of Cool of course!  Ninjas beat pretty much everyone in those stakes (except perhaps pirates and cool aliens of course.....)  Totally up to you of course though Ross ;)

From GregB: 28mm Byzantine Kataphractoi Cavalry (161 points)

Byzantine Kataphractoi cavalry in 28mm - castings from Gripping Beast
Phew! Good to be back with another submission this week - and one which has a lot of silly personal significance for me at that!

This is a unit of Byzantine Kataphractoi heavy cavalry (like, really heavy) in 28mm.  There are 16 models in the unit, all from Gripping Beast.  The shield decals and banner are from LBMS. What is the personal significance? As I said, it's silly, so I hope you will laugh at me, or maybe with me! Allow me to elaborate...but I apologize in advance for a lengthy post.  Feel free to skip and go back to whatever Ken submitted today, I bet it is awesome and explained with more brevity...

View of the full unit - 16 models, in two ranks of eight models each - two models per base, on 50mm square bases

I think we all have a gaming period or setting we wish we could/would try, but just can't seem to get to, for whatever reason. Often those reasons are practical - after all, it's a hobby, time is limited, real life gets in the way etc.  The subjects are too complex (anything Samurai) or nobody has sculpted the figures you need (Patagonian Tree Lizards with AK-47s in 15mm - where's the Kickstarter for that?)

But sometimes it's all in your friggin' head - and so it has been with my head and the idea of collecting and painting a force of Byzantines.

Unit command figure and standard bearer..I tried to pimp the ride for the commander a bit, as he would be fairly high ranking and/or bad-ass (or both) to lead a group like this in the Byzantine military
I have always been absolutely fascinated with the Byzantine period of history.  Its roots (the reforms of Diocletian, the rise of the separate "east" of the Roman Empire...these things are compelling when you are a student of, and work in, politics and government as I was and I do). The sheer duration of the  Byzantine empire throughout history. The military successes - and pretty spectacular catastrophes. The endless conflicts, the political maneuvering, scheming, plotting, assassinating etc. that defined their politics and gave rise to the use of the word "Byzantine" as an adjective. The look, feel and sense of Orthodox Christian art, design and structures. The sheer variety of enemies they struggled against - Persians, Bulgars, Rus, Avars, Normans, Germanic tribes, assorted Islamic caliphates, Turks etc...not to mention each other.  They would fight them, bribe them, then fight them again, then bribe them to fight each other, on and on. The number of times the Empire recovered from the brink of disaster and survived - and often go on to thrive for a time - is really incredible (disclaimer: I'm just a civilian of history, but still seems amazing).

Long spears - kontarion (I think) - and note the maces hitched to their belts for "follow up" work...

And also..."Iconoclasms"!! WTF is with iconoclasms? That's wild! I chuckle when people use the word "iconoclast" today to describe some bold and/or purposely provocative or offensive public figure. I don't they they truly understand the root of that word...such people might be loud-mouthed douche bags, but they don't even begin to reach "iconoclast" status...

Archers were integral parts of the Kataprhactoi formations

Much less armoured than the fellows up front, but those horses still say "we're ready for real trouble" and they have some barding to back it up...

The look of the Byzantine armies captivates me too (yes, I'm a big dork), as you can kind of instinctively make out so many aspects that might be said to be connected to Roman heritage, yet are so affected by the circumstances of Byzantium they take on a look and feel I find to be rather exotic and fascinating. They also had cavalry - a LOT of it. And heavy cavalry. Really, really, really heavy cavalry - SO cool.  I love heavy cavalry in games - they either charge home and leave tears, dust and broken units in their wake. Or, the charge fails, their momentum is shattered and they fade out, along with your chance of success in that particular game...super fun, and never boring!

And painting stuff that looks cool is a primary motivator of the wargaming hobby/affliction, right??

Musician is the only one with his face exposed...can't blow that horn through the chain mail!

So ever since I really started to get into gaming, and realized that gaming ancients was real thing you could do (i.e. raised my awareness beyond Warhammer), I have wanted to collect and paint a Byzantine force.  This goes back to around 1998-99...around the time I met Curt for the first time, and got to know the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts. In fact, Curt has been listening to me say I wanted to paint Byzantines pretty much as long as I've known him...

Kontarion lowered for action at the front rank, while a fellow rider brandishes a siderorabdion in preparation to whack someone who really has it coming...

So with all that in mind, and given that I am the sort of miniature gaming nerd that will, on slimly-provoked-yet-fully-animated inspiration, just suddenly decide to attack a new project out of the blue (recent example: Franco-Prussian War), you would think by now I would have some Byzantines painted, nearly 20 years later, right? Well, before today, you would have been wrong! Hah!

Why the hang up? Well, the reasons are pointlessly complicated and really only valid in my own rat-maze brain.  You might say they are a touch...Byzantine.

The shield decals and banner are from LBMS.  I can confidently report that I hope this will be the only LBMS banner I will ever fiddle with again, but as always the shield decals are top-shelf...
Some periods are intimidating to contemplate as a wargaming project, maybe too intimidating. For me, the prospect of painting Byzantines was just that.  Something always held me up.  I couldn't figure out the shields. I couldn't figure out the weapons. I couldn't decide what rules to use.  I couldn't land on a basing scheme, or decide on a scale. The more I researched, the more confused I would become...did I want to do "early" Byzantines? Thematic Byzantines? Tagmatic Byzantines? WTF was the difference between those last two again anyway? So much thinking...easier to just paint other stuff...and so the years go by. Over time the prospect of painting Byzantines evolved from a serious plan to just another potential life prospect, like learning Spanish or meeting actress Robin Tunney - sure it would be fun in theory, but I'm not going to focus any available energy on it.

Fast forward to Painting Challenge VII in 2016-17, and MartinN's submission of many beautiful Roman figures, in particular his "West" Theme entry that year of Roman heavy cavalry.  Not only was his brushwork incredible (no surprise there, of course!) but it immediately brought to mind the Byzantine Kataphractoi I have obsessed about for years. So exotic, menacing, devastating and cool looking, they echo the Persian clibinarii of ancient times. Nick's submission brought all of my interest in Byzantines right back! I resolved the day I saw that post to finally get off my @ss and get painting some Byzantines.

Yet even with that resolve, it took a lot of time to get going...lining up the figures, the banners, some shield decals etc...and the many other projects and passions like 30k, Team Yankee and other things popping up of course devoured brush time, energy and passion...but finally, finally, first unit Byzantine in now completed! These heavy duty bad-boys are COVERED head-to-toe in armour, and so are their poor horses.  It all looks a bit alien and a bit familiar all at once. The chain-mail face covering in particular seems like a 7th century version of NBC gear. If you see people wearing the stuff, it projects extreme authority, order and power, without any actual reassurance those things might normally confer - their mere presence indicates your immediate surroundings are likely in some manner of dire peril...

Kataprhactoi would have been the central core of a Byzantine force, probably from the mid 7th century through to the 11th century (and maybe later?), particularly in the eastern theatres. I'm not sure these chaps would be much use tramping through the mountains in pursuit of Bulgars. But kicking ass in the middle east? Oh yes. Bring. It. On. 

Kontarion lowered to sort out some contrarian issues of the Byzantine era...

The Kataphractoi formations are believed to have combined ranks of heavy horsemen and archers - with the archers found towards the rear/middle. The horsemen up front would be armed with very long spears (kontarion, 10 to 12 feet long or so), and some pretty hard-assed-looking maces for up-close-and-personal face-smashing work (siderorabdion - no idea how to pronounce that, but I bet it sounds menacing-as-hell).  As if all of this wasn't enough, they also carried swords - spatha (I think).  Talk about heavily armed!

The overall formation would charge to contact, skewer their opponents with the long spears and fill them with arrows. Meanwhile, up front, the maces came out for smashing purposes, and once the enemy wavered and broke, the whole group would ride them down and smash them to particles under the hooves of the heavily armoured horses, with further mace-and-sword-work applied on an as-needed basis.  Thanks for coming out...

Another view of the command group, backed up by the mounted archers

Representing this assortment in a miniature wargame unit called for some variety in the armaments.  The realities of the limits on 28mm figures precluded using three ranks, so I opted for a slightly larger overall unit (16 models as opposed to 12) in two ranks, with the mid-rear-rank made up of archers, the flanking riders armed with lances and the chaps in the front sporting those scary maces. 

For colours I meticulously researched ancient scrolls at an archive in Instanbul regarding the military regalia preferences of the Heraclian period just made my best guess and hoped for the best.  I wanted to use a strong religious image for the shields, as it just screamed "Byzantine" to me.  The shield decal with the image of Jesus seems to make them look extra-ominous, and adds a final dash of character to the unit.

Another profile view...this post is so long and boring, at least I'm trying to compensate with a bunch of photos...

No doubt I have screwed stuff up in the portrayal...for example, the chaps with the long spears maybe should have smaller "buckler" shields instead of the teardrop shaped ones, as those spears would be tricky/impossible to use with one hand...oh well...but you have to start somewhere. 

The castings from Gripping Beast were not the easiest to work with in terms of assembly ("fit" to the horse was not well-achieved), but they are so fun to paint!  The shield decals were OK to work with. As for the banner, I loved the graphics, but in terms of process I would rather get a root canal than use LBMS stuff for another banner. It would be so much better if it was just printed out on nice paper, instead of the runaround of sticking it to paper, then cutting that out etc. But overall I'm thrilled to have these fellows finished! As they sit on the shelf, I will imagine them riding down at the forefront of some assault as part of Nikephoras Phokas' run of re-conquests in the 10th century while I prepare to add further units to this collection down the road.

One more photo of the whole lot for kicks

Special thanks go to MartinN for inspiration and for answering many, many dumb questions, and to PeterD for pointing me to many books that were helpful in bringing a wargamer's perspective to the period.  The Painting Challenge is a lot of fun, and all of your work and your comments are inspiring - even if it takes a while to get around to the work!  And I hope Curt mocks me mercilessly for finally painting some of these things. After years and years of being all-talk on the subject, I've got it coming...

If you have read this far and are not yet asleep, I salute you - you have great patience, a heroic attention span, or possibly a procrastination problem. Maybe a blend of all three!  With 16 mounted castings, I believe that might be worth 160 points, and put me striking distance of my points goal for this edition of the Anallogue Hobbies Painting Challenge...over to you Jamie!

Artist: Loreena McKennitt
Song: Kecharitomene

One of the things I do enjoy in the Challenge is opening a submission and seeing something totally surprising.  After seeing plenty of 30k, Cold War and even some Black Powder stuff, this was a massive surprise! (although I must admit to disappointment you missed out on the recent Patagonian Tree Lizards with AK-47s in 15mm Kickstarter - perhaps keep an eye out for when they run the 28mm one?!?!)

I think those who do read your script will spend their time nodding their heads and stealing guilty glances at their own projects that they always wanted to do, perhaps bought some figures for and then..... just never got around to it.  Your reasons are certainly very familiar to me at least!

And these boys are absolute beauties.  I dread to think how strong those horses must have been to even carry all the armour, man and his armour too.  One imagines that it was more a slow unstoppable rumble forward, much like a tank, rather than a lightning charge.  lord only knows how you'd stop them though!

Lovely painting as always with the red really standing out - 161 points it is with the pip for the banner and all the trouble it caused!

KenR : 28mm WW1 Sikh Infantry (190 points)

After last weeks entry of 'Hindu' Infantry this week I have finished another Battalion of Indian Infantry but this time I have used the Sikh head option.

Organisation is my standard 2 Fig HQ with 4 x 8 Fig companies and a HMG base. Which has has regularly bagged me 190 points this Challenge so another 190 should tip me over my target for this year.

Figures if you aren't already aware are from Woodbine Design Company which is an offshoot of Gripping Beast. It's a fantastic range for the period and has certainly made gaming WW1 in the East a lot easier, although as the have said before the range still sadly lacks a Cavalry option.

So with a couple of weeks to go I hope to get a couple more entries in before close of play, on the table at the moment are some WW1 Turkish Cavalry and some WW2 Desert vehicles whilst the last prepped unit I have of WW1 ANZAC troops stands by in reserve. Lets see who makes the end of Challenge photo !

These are absolutely smashing Ken!  I'm a huge fan of using different parts to make armies look nicely mixed and using the different head options on this and last week's options ticks a couple of boxes - showing diversity on the table and showing the variety of troops who fought in the conflict.  Up to the usual high painting standard and 190 points as with your other submissions - and excellent work on powering past your target!


Image result for spring season

Ah yes, with the apocalyptic snows having receded in the South of England (let's not talk about the North, it all seems to have gone a bit Pete Tong up there this morning), the time is right again for spraying miniatures, heading out to the garage/shed where you keep your lead/pewter/plastic/resin mountains and digging out all those miniatures you promised you would paint as part of this challenge.... and just like the Easter Bunny, you'd better hop to it as we're nearing the end of this glorious challenge!

The Thursday crew have well and truly flowered like the first snowdrops of Spring and we have a pretty full slate today, so take a break from the Easter egg hunts and take a ganders at the pretty miniatures on display......

SIDE DUEL: Camel Challenge!

Hoi there!

Last year in November, I had the honour of meeting the honourable Dave D. esq in the flesh at the Crisis Convention. While Dave has a great many painted figures to his name, we here in the Challenge know and love him for his...Camels! After talking to him (and Curt) for a bit I decided to challenge him to get out of his comfort zone and paint some camels in a different scale. He grandly accepted and so I came to sent him a few 1:72 plastic figures from HäT including some camels. He would sent me some too but in 28mm scale.

We decided that we would put up a post showing our painted figures and let you all decide the winner. The loser should then sent the winner the Loser's entry. Now Dave being the gentleman he is, decided to sent me the figures anyway regardless of who wins and I will return the favour, although in this case I think I will be the winner in the end ;-)

So below you will see both our efforts and you can vote for your favourite at the bottom. The poll will close in one week from the posting date.

From: DaveD - Camel time! (84 POINTS)

Mad person Sander challenged me to a camel duel... with me to paint smaller camels .

These are believed I believe from the HAT set , 1/76 scales ..I have of course sent him British Camel Corps in return

So as if I have not painted enough Sudan stuff .. let’s do it again in different scale!

The heliography team , protected by the Naval brigade signal for supplies

 They arrive escorted by Camel Corps in Red  and Indian Army ..

No it’s those pesky Mahdists

These will shortly be winging their way across to Sander .

I don’t think there is anything for a challenge prize for a vote off between entries of sort  , otherwise than the smell of fresh painted camel ..

Cheers d.

From: SanderS - Camels HOOOOO!  (85 points)

Dave kindly sent me both mounted and dismounted British Camel Corps figures from the Perry's. They are beautiful figures but had a lot of excess white metal, some of it I only noticed during painting.
Anyway here they are and I do hope Dave likes them when they arrive at his door since, as you will have read above, we have decided to sent each other the painted figures anyway, whatever the result of the poll will be.

Arthur was immediately charmed by the camel riders and so Dave graciously allowed him to choose some to keep. Here's the first one he has painted.

That's the Camel Challenge finished for us now you get going and start voting!

Dave and Sander