Tuesday, 5 March 2019

From PeterA - 15mm WW2 Operation Spring Awakening (184 Points)

No sooner did I get some 20mm WW2 infantry done than I was distracted...again. I blame the new Battlegroup supplement, Spring Awakening, recreating the last hurrah of the Panzer Divisions in Hungary in 1945. I already had many of the models needed for the scenarios and I was able to pick up most of what I still needed in a recent Plastic Soldier Company sale. The only slight drawback was some was already painted but I wasn't happy with the look of them. And it was all in 15mm; still at least it gets me another Squirrel point I think.

First up are the PSC purchases - 3 SU76s and two SU100s, all by Zvezda. Unfortunately the SU76 kit doesn't have any crew figures, so I will have to add them later. These were quick and easy builds and go together pretty well. I had another go with the AK weathering pigments, going for a heavily weathered look - some look better than others!

Next we have some re-painted armour - 3 T34s (PSC), an ISU152 and 2 IS2s (both Zvezda). To be honest, I prefer the way the PSC kits go together; no matter what I tried, the Zvezda stuff ended up with a gap between the lower and upper hull. It's not too noticeable, so I can live with it. Again, heavily weathered, although I varnished them after weathering, and promptly lost the more subtle effects! Still, lesson learned.

Deliberately (honest) crude white air recognition stripe

One of the bonuses of the PSC kit is that you get turrets for both the T34/76 and the T34/85, so a quick turret swap and you have the later version, perfect for Hungary in 1945.

I also finished a platoon of great-coated Russian infantry (Battlefront). These are organised as per the Battlegroup rules - 4x 8-man squads. Given the smaller scale, I used different basing to differentiate between squads - some use GW snow 'flock' and others use the GW textured paint (Valhallan Blizzard I think) - the latter looks much better, so the flock is being retired. I also painted one squad in lighter greatcoats, partly to differentiate them and partly because, well, because erratic Soviet logistics.

I also did an 8-man squad to use as a recce foot patrol and a small platoon HQ element - the flag is artistic licence and a thinly veiled excuse to paint something other than a shade of green or brown!

Finally, I added some German heavy metal in the form of a Tiger II (Zvezda again). I wanted it to look like the crew had hurriedly whitewashed the tank, so first painted a camo scheme and then very lightly over-sprayed it with white primer, so that the camo could just be picked out showing through. A quick wash to add some depth and all that was left was to add lumps of snow (GW textured stuff again). Although I like how this looks on my 20mm stuff, I am not sure it works as well at this smaller scale, so the next Tiger will probably not be winterised.

So 44 infantry and 12 tanks should net me 184 points and 1 Squirrel point. More surprisingly (for me), it brings me to within 100 points of my target! Right, back to 20mm, must focus...SQUIRREL!

Nice entry and one step closer to that target (and nicely in under the wire for entry today). It seems a lot of people are doing Russians of one kind or another and these are very nice. Obviously - me being a tread-head 'n all - I love the tanks and I like the whitewashing you have applied to the Tiger II. If you'll excuse the pun... very cool! 

From Curt: 3mm Napoleonic Portuguese Infantry (50 Points)

Hi Folks,

A wee entry from me today, quite literally.

Here are five brigades of 3mm Napoleonic Portuguese infantry. 

These are 3mm Napoleonics from Pico Armor (sourced from Oddzial Osmy out of Poland). The figures are based on 2" x 1.75" MDF bases with a 3mm thickness and rounded corners. The thickness is to allow players to pick them up easily and the rounded corners is simply because I like the look of them (it gives the finished product kind of a wargaming chit appearance).

The common base size for 'Blucher' is a 3" frontage, but I've decided to go with 2" as it allows for very large battles to be played on the 8 x 5 surface which we typically use. To provide a bit more perspective, using my base scale each inch equates to 150 yards, so one square foot on the tabletop is equal to about a square mile. Utilizing this scale allows us to recreate sprawling actions like Wagram or Vitoria on a single tabletop.

Examples of various unit types, left to right: French foot artillery, infantry and heavy cavalry
For my way of thinking, painting these figures requires a fairly minimalist approach to maintain a basic level of detail to communicate what the figures are supposed to be. For the infantry, I base everything up, texture the base and then prime the whole thing black. From that I drybrush everything a light grey and then start applying saturated colours. 

The way I see it is that these figures should simply convey their primary features, first most being their national uniform colour, with only a nod to other physical elements (namely face, hands, trousers, shako and bayonet), otherwise you can easily get drawn into the rabbit-hole of trying to paint fine details which will never be appreciated when they are seen en mass - in fact I find that too much painted detail can make the figure too 'busy', detracting from conveying the main uniform colour: French should primarily be blue, British red, Austrians white, etc. I think of these bases almost as boardgame chits, perhaps more like  three dimensional playing tokens.

Examples of three British infantry brigades moving through a Spanish hill town.
Perceptive readers will have noticed that, since I base and prime everything from the start, I don't worry about painting the middle ranks or any inward-facing detail. In this scale I only paint the front of the front rank, the rear of the rear rank and the top of their heads and shoulders. Early on, I discovered that after painting every figure, the interior facing detail is completely lost once the strips of figures are based up. A complete waste of time and effort. So now I just paint the perimeter of the formations and I find that you can't tell the difference between the 'all-figure-detail' bases and those which are more minimalist 

The basework is drybrushed two tones of brown with a khaki highlight. I then use a semi-opaque green tinted model railway emulsion to provide a base tone for the light scatter of flock I apply later. I'll often use a brown ink wash to make 'tracks' behind the formations, showing where they have trampled through the terrain. I then paint a mark on the front center which is used in the rules for purposes of line of sight and measurement (it is red here for the Portuguese, but would be blue for the French, white for the Austrians, etc.). Finally, I print off a 3.5mm label and affix it to the rear corner of the base (these are so we can use roster sheets for all the unit information).

As to points. For a benchmark we typically award 12 points for 3mm figures based on 60mm x 30mm bases, but as these bases are a bit smaller (aprox 50mm x 30mm) I suggest pitching them at 10 points each.

Thanks for dropping in!

You know this scale has been whispering to me for some time now, and you're not helping me resist temptation. I was admiring some similar 2mm stuff in WSS Magazine recently and my wife looked over my shoulder and muttered something derogatory about my mental health!! Doesn't she know it's my eyesight she should be worrying about? 

These bases are absolutely beautiful work. I always love the attention you lavish on the groundwork, and I guess it's even more important in a scale this small. If I were wearing a hat right now, I'd take it off to you. 

From TamsinP - Stop The Presses! (25 points)

As a quick palette cleanser after the 15mm WW2 Soviets and before I return to my early WW2 Aussies I decided to paint up this set from Pulp Figures.

William "Two Bills" Williams III, Owner

"Hold the front page!"

Rebecca Veign, Fashion Columnist (and Two Bills' mistress)

"Pink shirts are definitely this year's white"

Thomas "Tommy Twinkle" Cranford, Investigative Reporter

Tommy shines a light onto murky goings on in the Challenge scoring

Henry Jamieson, Ace Snapper

"Just one photo please, Mr Reidy!"

Dan Burton, Newsboy

"Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Spreadsheet Shenanigans!"

"Budgie smuggler uncovered!"

"Navy officer faces court martial for organising duels!"

"Air stewardess arrested for being drunk on duty!"

As always with Bob's figures, these are lovely sculpts with lots of character.

For scoring:

5 x 28mm foot = 25 points

Having seen how close these would leave me to my original target, I did think about trying to quickly paint up another set today to put me over the edge. However, I wouldn't have time to do them justice, so I decided against that. But you will see more pulp from me before the end of the Challenge.

I've really enjoyed these figures and your painting of course. I like the little details you have picked out as well, like the watch chain on William Williams, the Press card in the brim of the reporters' hat or the type print on the cover of the newspaper. I can see these figures fitting into any number of period games but especially something like Call of Cthulhu or something similar. 

From KenR - 28mm Italian Wars Light Cavalry (61 Points)

Well it wouldn't be a Tuesday without an Italian Wars Cavalry unit would it ?

Having run out of fancy Dan Gendarme in all their feathers and livery it's time to go "smart but casual" with these chaps, 6 figures from the 28mm Perry Miniatures plastic Light Cavalry box set.

I'm sure you will all know the score by now, oil wipe method horses (this is the last six of the batch of horses I painted on the first week of the challenge), riders done in acrylic paint (mostly Vallejo) with the odd subtle wash and a Pete's Flag stuck on a pole and hoisted above said unit.

This will be half of a 12 man unit however I plan for these to be multi-functional in my army. They can be used as a Light Cavalry unit on its own or they can be split up and mixed with the Gendarme to increase their unit size, maybe 6 Gendarme in the front rank with 6 of these behind? It's a work in progress.

The traditional 3 man "Lance" consisted of the main man (the Gendarme), the lesser armed Squire (these guys) and a non-combatant or general dogsbody.

Point wise it will be 6 x 10 for the mounted plus one for the flag making 61 points for both the main total and the Renaissance Side Duel.

So with two Tuesdays left before we say goodbye for another year I will complete another 6 of these and another 6 mounted Crossbow to finish off both those units and that will be my 6 figures of Cavalry a week achieved. Anything else will be a bonus.

I love that, "smart but casual". Another great addition to what has been one of the best 'ensemble' entries during this year's Challenge. As a body of work, its been a project to be proud of and has been a pleasure to watch each week...and now your promising more! Good grief man! Is there no end to your productivity (please say 'no')?

From FranL - 15mm Legion of Ood and 28mm Donnybrook Unit! (639 points)

My Legion of Ood (The Blue Boys) roams the galaxy preaching the writings of Ood and if you don't like the preaching of Ood then they knock the galactic faeces out of you.......

This is a hodge podge of scales, manufactures and technically periods, the majority is GZG, the vehicles are from Armies Armies now The Scene, Khurasan and Heavy Mechs which used to be WH40K Space Marine Dreadnoughts ( I have re-purposed quite a few 28mm GW models for 15mm)....

There is even a 20mm kloth from CP Models fantasy range posing as a religious advisor/leader.......

.....casualties by cutting the bases of some figures and laying them flat!

I must admit the bikes were my favourite..........

The second part is this 28mm unit from Warfare Miniatures for Donnybrook, they will be based by their owner Ray, an absolute arseache to paint but needs must..........

28mm figures (34 infantry, 1 cavalry): 180-25%= 135pts
28mm vehicle/Dreadnought x 3: 60pts
18 vehicles (including the bikes): 120pts (15 vehicles are 120 points and I'll score the bikes as cavalry for an additional 12 points - Lee)
14 crew-served weapons (I am counting the equipment/ammo handcarts as crew-served weapon but could be wrong): 56pts
128 figures: 256pts

I'd like to thank Bill Bailey for the word and religion of Ood!

Oh my brain...counting this lot gave me an actual headache! All I can say is you have been a very productive boy. I'm guessing it's the slow season in the mud farming business? Time on your hands equals a head-splitting points bomb?!? Nicely done sir....now I'm off to find some Paracetamol.