Tuesday, 20 March 2018

From ByronM - Afro Samurai and Curtgeld (45 Points )

First up is a figure that I fell in love with and ordered the second I saw it when Lee (of Mr. Lee's Miniatures) posted it in last years challenge.  The figure is an African American samurai character, which obviously is Samuel L Jackson's Afro Samurai.

It is the first large scale figure that I have done (sure I have done things like the Dragon and the space ship which were huge, but they were still small scale) and is something above 54mm scale, I never actually checked or worried about it when I ordered it.  On his base he is 80mm tall.

Being a large scale figure I wanted to do more to him than just the normal shading.  I tried working textures into his jeans and shirt, and while they maybe didn't come out quiet right, I do like the general effect.

I also wanted to improve on the simple headband on him, as anyone that has seen the comics or the anime will know that he always has these long flowing ends of the headbands trailing behind him.  I decided to at least try to emulate them with foil.  While not perfect, as they kept bending even from light brush pressure while trying to painting them, I think they give a better overall look and more closely match what I picture him looking like. In the actual anime they often had really strong angles back and forth, so I did mine like that, but may smooth them out a bit later, I just can't decide and didn't want to break them off for about the 20th time while taking pictures.

He is actually not completely finished yet, as I have plans for a full scenic base for him and want to do more shading and details but ran out of time, despite having started him on day one.  Again being large scale I kept wanting to do more, figure out more, try more, on him so kept procrastinating, doing an hour work then leaving him for a week, then coming back and doing an hour work, and so on.

He is however complete enough to at least quickly base up and post to show him off so far before the end of the challenge.

Next up, and my final entry for this challenge is my Curtgeld piece.

I have to apologize as it in no way fits the theme requested of monstrous.  I could word play and try to come up with something and try to justify it, like "war is monstrous" or some other drivel, but I honestly hate all that word play stuff (being a computer geek and believing everything is black or white, 1 or 0) so, I will just say sorry it doesn't meet the theme at all, but I saw the figure and fell in love with it and thought it would be a great piece for this year's entrance fee figure, long before the challenge started.


The piece is the Salute 2017 limited edition miniature from Spectre Miniatures.   It is a pair of figures, with one helping his comrade escape from danger.  I thought this would be a great fig to paint up a pair of, one for me and one for my dear friend Curt.  For a while it looked like I would have to post it right at the end with a comment about me helping him across the finishing line, as I wasn't sure he was going to get to his points goal, but he has done that now.

While I didn't get my copy finished, due to 2 big issues.  Firstly, I put one on my painting desk so I would't forget it, and foolishly put the other aside someplace and have lost it in the mountains of unpainted figures I still have flooding out of my walk in storage closet!  Secondly, even if I had found it, I had completely forgotten it until this weekend, and then had to madly clean this one, prime it, and get it painted.  I did take lots of in progress pictures and wrote down all the colours used and the order and mixes so that I can replicate it.

They are painted to match a fairly basic desert camo pattern.  While not exact, as I find the tiny details tend to make it look super busy and less real than skipping them, I think it came out pretty close. Here is an image I based this figure and the rest of my desert operators on. 

I have left them without unit markings on the patches or helmets so that Curt can tailor it to match his units, and I left them un-based so that Curt can base it as he chooses to match his figures.

While not matching the theme, I hope you like the figure Curt.  I thought it was a great vignette and very fitting as we often help each other with ideas, painting, themes, games, etc.

With that, I will call myself done for the year!  It has been a wild ride having completely finished a Greek force (and in fact it could be considered 2 forces), a 30k Mechanicum army, a bunch of little pieces, several theme week entries that placed in the top 3, and a metric shit-tonne (I swear that's a real measurement) of zombies!  I have painting far more in the last 3 months than at any time in the past.  So, I need a break!

Thank you to my Saturday minion Michael for putting up with me, thanks to everyone that commented so nicely on my miniatures (very much appreciated), and an especially big thank you to Curt for once again hosting this marvelous event!  Oh, and please pass on a thank you to Sarah for letting you run this insane event yet again Curt, and for putting up with all of us!


What a brilliant way to cap of your epic Challenge run Byron. 

I had the pleasure to see Byron's Afro Samurai close-up when I was visiting a few weeks ago and it is superb. And this was before he put on the foil bandana runners. To me this completely makes the figure as the anime and video game heavily featured his crazy long headband whipping out behind him. A wonderful bit of whimsy, that.

Finally, thanks so much for the modern vignette. I remember seeing these as a limited set from Spectre and thinking, damn, I wish I had a set of those. So, this is a wonderful surprise and so beautifully painted. Thank you Byron.

I remember the Afro Samurai to be around 80mm tall so lets score him at 15 points and the modern comrades-in-arms at 30. A final 45 points to cap-off your spectacular three-month run. Bravo, well done, and thank you my friend! 

From ScottM: Germans and Carthaginians (105 Points)

This year's challenge has been gangbusters for me as I've moved a number of projects along quite nicely. So for my last submission of the challenge, I've got a combination of two sets of 28mm figures. First up are two base of Carthaginian cavalry. The figs are from Renegade Miniatures. The base on the left are actual Carthaginians, while the one on the right are Gauls in the service of Carthage.

The second group of figures are a trio of World War II German Panzer II's from Warlord Games. Not much to say about these but that they painted up nice and easy.

So that should 6 - 28mm cavalry for 60 points and 3 - 28mm vehicles for an additional 45 points, for a grand final total of 105 points.

And that concludes my submissions for this year's challenge. Thank you to Curt and crew for running a great challenge. See you all next year!


Beautiful work Scott. Those Carthaginian cavalry look the absolute business. I especially like that you have a few Gauls in there to add a bit of variability and interest to the unit. Lovely stuff. 

The Panzer IIs are incredibly nice as well. I'm really taken with the faded panzer grey you came up with for them Scott - that, and their overall weathering looks just terrific. 

It was wonderful having you with us again this year Scott. I hope you will be on the roster the next time the snow flies and we roll out. 

From RobH: Lonely Outpost - Hilltop Trading Post (20 Points)

I picked up this resin piece in a discard bin at a local gaming shop years ago for only a couple of bucks. It has been sitting around gathering dust for a while. This year's challenge included a category for terrain pieces so I thought it would make a nice hilltop sitting for a 15 mm, trading post, hilltop fort, trading post etc.

I added a 15 mm dark age bow element to provide scale as the metal rule provides some glare. The base size is roughly 7 1/2 inches across by 7 inches deep and 3 inches tall, or roughly 160 cubic inches.  I'll let our wise leaders determine the scoring.

As an added bonus the roof lifts off for the placement of troops, cattle, supplies, etc in the building. 

As you can see the glue is still showing through in spots and in the background a Roman Command Group that I started work on. In January I hosted a BBDBA and was short a Roman Cav Command. That will not do.

I have another piece of foam with which to attempt another hill. 


Wow, that's a nice bit of kit for only a few bucks Rob. 

You've done a great job basing and painting it up. I particularly like how you did the thatching and basework. It has a cold, windswept look about it. Now you need a Hound of the Baskervilles or perhaps a Heathcliff and Cathy to set the scene. :)

I say that's worth a good 20 points. Well done Rob!

From KentG: A Fitting End (45 Points)

So to finish of this years effort I present the commanders

Firstly Saladin my favorite paint during the comp, when the figure arrived. I wasn't sure i could paint it as the client required with so much detail but after quite a few hours work and racking my brain on how to achieve the colours i'm so happy with the outcome

Next up is Prince Rupert and Sir Bryon

These figures are Trent miniatures and i spent way to much time on them i couldnt help myself they were so nice to paint

I started the comp with Napoleon and it's only fitting to finish with  him in this merry band of figures once again a Trent miniature and a joy to paint thank goodness all my figures weren't this nice otherwise i'd have got nothing done

Then this nasty bits of goods Valpurgius, i have to say man he was hard to paint all the detail on the hat and body was in the picture i had to use as reference, but it wasn't cast onto the figure so its all free hand  glad hes done

Finally a big thank you to Curt and his minions especially Sanders for all their help, the great comments and to everyone for your great painting, it's been a blast


Again, beautiful work here. I have to agree with you in that your Saladin is probably one of the best figures you did this Challenge. The embroidery and overall shading is superb. What a treat. That being said, your Byron, Rupert, Napoleon and Valpurgius are no slouches either (the skulls on his cloak are absolutely mental). 

What a magnificent end to an epic Challenge run. Fantastic work Kent. I'm not sure what the historical stats are on output (Miles will give us a rundown in a few days), but I'm certain you're in amongst the very best, if not the top - it was truly astonishing to witness what you could do in a three-month timespan. Bravo!!

I hope to see you amongst us at the starting line next November when the call goes out.


From SidneyR: Curtgeld - The Laarden Brigade at Breitenfeld, 1631 (30 Points)

My final, fourteenth, submission for the Challenge is my 'Curtgeld'. Hopefully complementing Curt's own Breitenfeld collection, this submission commemorates what has been, until now, a forgotten piece of history from the Thirty Years War.

I am far from the best person to describe this historical discovery. So, please, let me introduce you to your commentator for this unearthed piece of historical arcana: Don Fernando de Torrescusa, Marques de Girona, Envoy of His Most Catholic Majesty, Carlos the Second, King of Spain, to the Flemish Free City of Laarden in 1688 ....

So there you have it, dear Challengers. A small piece of history, in 2mm scale, commemorating another fine, proud, if now sadly-forgotten, moment in history from the Flemish Free City of Laarden.

As soon as I found out Curt was preparing for a 2mm Breitenfeld game, I always knew what my Curtgeld would be this Challenge!   They're tiny 2mm Irregular Miniatures from their Renaissance range and, fingers crossed, their bases should match Curt's own... although I have kept them plain so that extra bits can be added to make them fit in even more with the Regina Chapter Approved forces for 1631.   

And, dear Challengers, that's my final 20 points of Challenge VIII.  Thanks again everyone!


Haha!! This is just brilliant Sidney - I absolutely love it.

Being an archivist, I am astounded that you found concrete documentary evidence that the fine men of Laarden were at the cauldron of Breitenfeld. This is a coup of the first magnitude. Truly, it will rock the very halls of academe. :)

Thanks so much mon ami, these figures are brilliant. I will make sure that these fine fellows are positioned in the first line of battle to receive the honour that is due them. God save them all.

Until next time Mr. Roundwood. Adieu and farewell kind sir.


From PeteF: AWI 33rd Foot - The Last Levy (138 points)

It was with a sense of relief tinged with disappointment that I realized last night that there was no way I would finish this battalion in the following 7 minutes (when it would be 12.01am Saskatchewan time). These were the last of the troops that I primed back in December. But then I noticed the countdown clock gave me 1 day and 7 minutes... I asked fellow challengers on Facebook if we did indeed have a few more hours. They said yes so this morning the race was on.

Detached  Grenadiers
The 33rd foot fought throughout the Revolutionary War - from the Battle of Sullivans Island in 1776 to Yorktown. I'm planning to run Wetzels Mill at an event later this year - a battle that was fought shortly after Cowpens. Thanks to the motivation of the Challenge I've got a good start on the Crown forces. The Perry brothers will be relieving me of a bit of cash in the next few months as I'll be needing a load of colonial militia and some cavalry for both sides.

The 33rd foot later became the Duke of Wellington's Regiment - the fictional Richard Sharpe joined them in India where they were part of the siege of Seringapatam. 

This was a bit of a speed painting job - I noticed quite a few corrections I need to do when I was photographing them - but they'll do for gaming. Didn't have quite enough time for the drummer - had trouble with the white coat. It's just the drummer and 3 gabions that didn't get completed.

All Warlord/Wargames Factory from the Liberty or Death Set. 

A Big Thank You to Curt and his minions for organizing and running the Challenge - and also to the many people who comment on the posts (I think Tamsin comments on all of them). Your encouragement is much appreciated and the Challenge would have had a big effect on my lead pile if I had prevented myself from adding to it over the last 3 months.

Cheers all - hope to be here next year.


Haha! I'm delighted that my somewhat elastic sense of 'hard deadline' came through for you Pete.

These are great, especially for being done within a day - wow. I particularly like that second last image of the fellow pulling back on his hammer. Great figure that! 

I'm also very happy that you had a good time over the past three months. The Challenge is blessed with a great bunch of people, which makes the solitary chore of painting toy soldiers that much more social.

Hope to see you next season.

From MilesR: Tree Plates (100 Points)

Curt asked me to make some Forrest sections for him.  Now before you all get up in arms about bribery, special treatment and other nonsense, let be very clear - I DO NOT prostitute my terrain making to get favorable treatment in the Challenge.  That's a reprehensible allegation and  cash is obviously more effective.  Now with that settled lets talk Tree plates.  Like in 5 of them.

These are designed to be used with 15mm and smaller miniatures and is a way to represent larger forrest sections but still make the space playable.  A lot of forrest terrain.  Now I do need to apologize as the glue hasn't completely dried but I'm not sure if I'll get back to the house in time to post before the deadline.
I left a path through the biggest plate - perhaps to allow for an ambush?

The tops are removable which allows one to easily move figures through the "forrest" but maintain the illusion.

Here's a shot with some 15mm Roman Auxiliaries for scale.
With the top one their actually hard to see, which is great for setting up ambushes during gaming events.  If you squint you can see them hiding there.
I made the plates using 1/8 thick marine grade plywood, which resists warping.  The first step is to cut out and bevel the sections.

Roofing nails are used for the "trees" - these are 1.5 inches tall.  I did file down all the points to limit the chance of inadvertent puncture wounds incurred during game play.

Flexible tile grout was used as ground texture.  I let some of it get on the "tree trunks" to add some texture and variation to help complete the illusion.

The tops are just gator board cut to the same shape of the plate with with some EPS foam glued on the vary the heights.  

Woodland scenics clump foliage was then glued to the top.  There are a few places I need to touch up but they look good for now.

As for points, I think Curt would agree that there worth at least 10,000 points, if not more for the pure majesty of the artistry.  I'm sure you would all agree - right?

What?  Did a I just hear a round of no's?  Some of you care about fair play and rules and other trivial inconveniences?  Well, ok, if we want to play by the rules these tree plates occupy roughly 3 square feet and are 3 inches tall which translates to 1,296 cubic inches.  As all of you remember from the terrain square post (at least I hope you do because it will be on the final exam), our standard 6 inch cube has 216 cubic inches for 20 points.  If we then divide 1,296 by 216 the result is 6 "cubes" of terrain or 120 points.

Lets round that down to 100 because well, the glue isn't fully dried yet.

I may get one more terrain related item posted before the end of this year's challenge - maybe.


Thank you Miles, these look TREEMENDOUS!! 

Really, I kill myself. 

Y'know these are totally worth 10,000 points. A bargain at half the price actually. BUT Kent and Noel might burst a blood vessel if we did that, so lets keep it to 100 points because they're really great guys.

Now, as a suggestion, I think you should come up to hand deliver them this summer. We'll talk to you all Canadian-like, feed you good and even have a game with them. You'll never want to go home. Well, at least until November... :)

Thanks again Miles, you're a prince.