Thursday, 26 December 2019

From BenitoM: Early War German Officers and NCOs (25 Points)

Third entry to the Challenge and just in the nick of time, before starting the Christmas Eve dinner!
I returned this time to my initial core project for the Challenge and introduce today the first painted models of my German Early War force. This project will follow the template of the TooFatLardies 1940 supplement book for a Chain of Command infantry platoon.

The models here are the 2 senior leaders of the Platoon HQ unit and the three junior leaders commanding each of the three sections of the platoon.

The models are from the Warlord plastic box. Warlord plastic ranges have improved over time and these figures present a very good sculpting, similarly to the Red Devils I painted last year. Extremely good detail and also good face expressions.

The multi-pose options in the box are almost infinite in variation and you can almost build a different pose for each of the 30+ models included in the box.

The project got traction after watching NickM’s early war panzer models painted last year. Very inspiring indeed.

With this entry I add 25 points to my Challenge score. Next in line, likely my landing at the mysterious Challenge Island.


These chaps are excellent, Benito! As you say the offerings from Warlord have incrementally improved over time and these models really benefit from your skills with the brush. I particularly like the kneeling NCO, MP40 at the ready, gesturing his squad forward, and the 'Big Man' officer, pistol out, leading from the front. Hmm, I'm wanting to do a small early war skirmish scenario and perhaps some of these models might fit the bill (scribbles note to self).

25 points for you, young man. Well done!


From LeeH - Pauravan Indian Longbowmen (144 points)

I'm fascinated by the story of Alexander the Great and have been since I was a kid. Over the years I have read plenty of books about this giant of history and have long been fascinated by the fact that these Greeks made it all the way to India in a time when the sub-continent was largely unknown outside of myth to most Europeans. I've been toying with the idea of building a Classical Indian Army for a long time but other projects have kept me busy. Now, at last, I'm ready to make it a reality. I'm not sure if I'll ever get to game with this army, but I'm looking forward to painting it none the less. The order of battle I have gone for broadly corresponds to that fielded by King Poros at the Battle of the Hydaspes and that means lots and lots of bowmen.

It's worth noting that most of the information I have gathered regarding this army has come from the WRG publication The Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars by Duncan Head. However, I have also tried to refer to original source materials such as the translated works of Arian wherever possible. The interweb has made this process much easier of course and I have been able to track down magazine articles and other sources as well. Few Indian sources survive and I have struggled to find the translated versions, although I will continue looking (and suggestions are welcome!). What we do know of Northern India in the 4th century BCE was that it was divided into many small tribal monarchies and that war between them was probably common. 

Indian Infantry wore sandals and a simple high waisted kilt, usually made of white cotton. The longbow was probably as long as the later English Longbow but made of Bamboo; it's unclear how powerful they would have been in comparison. Arrian suggests they were very powerful but I have not been able to find more contemporary sources to corroborate this. The bow was strung with hemp or sinew and given the damp conditions prevalent in this region for much of the year its hard to say how effective these weapons would have been. The arrows were 4ft 6in long and made of cane or reed. The real strength of these units was probably not the weapon so much as the quantity of firepower that could be directed at an enemy that would normally be as lightly protected as those firing.

The core of the Army of King Poros at the Hydaspes was the Longbowmen and I have opted for eight units of these - a total of 288 infantry figures which should earn me 144 points and get me firmly started towards my target. 


It's fabulous to see you get back into your 6mm groove, Lee, and what a terrific project to gear-up for this year's Challenge. These chaps look to be your 'typical' high standard, all massed up for maximum visual appeal - lovely stuff. I can imagine that these fellows would have put up a ferocious storm of reed arrows - it must have looked very intimidating.

These fellas will give you a very tidy 144 points. Beautiful work Lee!


From NoelW: Douglas' Shallows: A Barbary Lugger (35 Points)

Hearing there are riches of peculiar value and unusual gratification to be found in a strange isle west of Ultima Thule, we say our farewells to the coast of Barbary, set full sail and, graced by winds of special virtue, on the third day sight that shadowy land of promise. As if great white horses break their chests across shallows of golden sand – well, perhaps just a little more like scruffy grey donkeys stumbling over an old cat’s litter tray - we negotiate that minor hazard with bravery and very few casualties.

On landing, we come across a pile of old clothes that seem to have been abandoned by a homeless person but, on approaching, we find they assemble themselves into a madman with paintbrushes wedged in his hair and another somehow glued between his teeth. When slightly pressed by the application of a sophisticated dagger, he tells us the place is quaintly known as “Dougras’ Sharrows”. Odd, this seems, but then the place itself is odd.

The land, we’re led to understand, after only a modicum of pressure is applied by means of a blunt oar, is known as “Chawwenge Eggs”. Who among reasonable men would use such an epithet? It takes little more than the sharpening of a rapier on the old man’s bristly chin to learn he knows the golden way, the trail long lusted for, the Path of the New Shiny. Shininess is something we understand well.

So we drag the ship beyond the tideline, conceal it under fronds of scraggly palm, and start our march to a place the man with paint in his hair calls “Mudly’s Mesa”, our first step on the long road to the Lord’s Snowy Peak and its fortune of golden Eggs.


I’m always late to submit my first post, as my birthday coincides with the start of the Challenge, so opportunities for painting are lost amidst endless opening of cards, the heady round of family carousing and the ripping of paper from unguessable objects. But amongst them were new toys which should figure in my next submission.

Meanwhile my major project of the moment is Black Seas, Warlord’s Age of Sail game which came out in October and which I’m proud to say I was involved in creating. I love the 1/700th ship models, and the game itself is great fun to play, so I’m planning several submissions in the next few months. The first is just  a small one to get a foothold on the lower slopes of the table. This is a lugger, produced not by Warlord but a German firm, Hagen, who’ve begun a small range in 1/700th.

This is the first ship for my Barbary pirates, so it’s painted as a somewhat worn and un-cared for ship, battered by negligence and abuse. Citadel Contrast paints are a good medium for such an impression. (The larger ships in the fleet will be prettier.) My grand aim is for the Battle of the Nile (or Aboukir Bay), but also to try some associated small-scale actions of Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt, for which small ships like this will be really useful, as well as US frigates vs Barbary pirates.

Hagen supply their ships without sails or rigging, so these have to be worked out from their pictures – not a difficult task, but it takes a bit of working out, and it’s the first time I’ve attempted to decode rigging for myself. I’m quite pleased with the results overall, though the sails are poor - I'll have to figure out a better way to make and paint these from scratch.

As for points – you tell me! It’s 1/700th, about 1.5 inches high and 2 inches to tip of bowsprit.


Haha, your preamble was fabulous, Noel. Great stuff and it really sets the mood for Challenge Island.

Wow, you've done a beautiful job on this lugger - I especially like the subtle weathering on the hull and sails; and the rigging, wow, that's really lovely work. I've not succumbed to Black Seas yet, but it is only a matter of days with the rate of these wonderful ship entries coming in. Besides, now that I know somebody who was actually involved in the development of the game - I'm absolutely compelled to get a copy, I have no choice! :)

An elegant first entry to the Challenge, Noel. Happy belated birthday and the very best for the New Year.


From DavidB: The Law (30 Points)

It is finally that time of the year again! I am exceptionally busy, but Curt easily cajoled me into jumping into the fray with brushes and paint. I have only just returned home from training and will be off again, but thanks to contrast paints from Games Workshop, I was able to bang these out during Christmas. I only have a few pots, but i have learned that dark angel green is very dark as is the black templar. The basilicanum grey is very pale as is guilliman flesh. mistakes are easily fixed with white paint or your base color if you make a mistake. Using grey, tan, green, or any other mid to light tone as a basecoat does enhance them and gives extra neat effects. I really like the yellow as you will all see after I finish the final detail of the next batch. these glazes do not dry with a shiny sheen and you can add to the highlights with regular paint of choice as well. what they do is give a nice shade just in normal application and I may go back to using white as a primer. 

Anytime I looked as these Arbite models, i always thought of Dredd and they have stolen a bit from his iconic look. Rather than make my own color scheme, I used dredd for inspiration. Green body armor, black clothing and red spot colors seemed the best approach.

The arbite champion or lead judge is really over the top, so he was a lot of fun to watch as the colors added up to making him a riot of color and bling. The contrast yellow really pops the imperial eagles well. I used P3 gravedigger denim to basecoat the overcoat and that one step added some nice blue grey highlights after the templar black dried.

the raised yellow lines on the hands and knees were just adding the contrast yellow after a quick overbrush with white. 

The blood angel red was my spot color and it helps magnify the imperial eagles. I did use the dark angel green on the shoulder, but repainted the test model as the red was a better choice.

I only noticed the craft paint used to paint the bases can use a touch up in a few spots and my highlight painting on the asphalt is a bit too subtle for the camera to discern. Most of my time was spent on the bits of webgear and weapons as the contrast paints dried. I used two coats for the clothing and body armor to really darken them up; yet the striking scorpion green and gravedigger denim still show up well as highlights. The blood Angel red does give a shade of purple which is wonderful as I was never able to do that with layering and always liked the rich color the purple gave the red. As a caution, these contrast paints do not thin well with water as they become a mess. I found it is better to use them straight from the pot and build the layers up to control the flow. in total I spent about 8 hours on the six models which left plenty of time for family holiday fun.

Six 28mm models for 30 points.

The law has arrived. There will be no warnings for rude or foul behavior, just the sound of a shotgun being loaded behind the offender. First offence will be forced quaffing of used brush water. second offence is too brutal to describe. Goading the Gimp, badgering the badger, and smacking another competitor with hand bags is still authorized at this time.


Welcome back to the Challenge, David!  It's wonderful to have you with us, even if it is only briefly between deployments.

I love these Arbites. I have a few to do for my upcoming Dark Heresy campaign and I think I will follow your excellent lead with the Judge Dredd paint scheme - why overcomplicate things, right? I really like the effect you've achieved with the Citadel Contrast paints, especially the yellow and green. I've tried a few pots and have really liked the effects once can achieve. I also smiled at your use of P3 'Gravedigger Denim', probably my favourite colour of 2019 (if one can have such a thing).

30 Points for you Mr. Bromley! Well done and I hope we get a few more entries from you before you have to leave for your posting.


From JamieM - Cult of Personality (87 Points)

Greetings fellow Island Explorers!  What a jolly good idea the challenge island is, so much so that I knew I had to check myself into exploration from the first post.....the only problem is that I chose Sander's Sand Dunes to start and it's very crowded here having seen all the posts who've also arrived at the same place!  It is great to be back again and seeing so many smashing entries in the first week bodes well for the rest of the winter.

I took the opportunity to use the challenge to paint one of the things I've had lying around for years - the cult of S.H.I.V.A. for 7TV.  I bought these as 7TV looked like jolly good fun and these looked like proper evil doers.  For those who aren't aware, 7TV is essentially a parody of 60's and 70's spy films and TV series' and the game plays out on the set of an episode.  It's miniature agnostic, so you can use whatever you already have, but I wanted the official figures for the most part and so I bought some..... and they sat on the shelf.... until now!  Here's a group shot of the whole gang.

First up, the fellas in the team.  These are "The Guru", who heads up S.H.I.V.A. (you can tell he'ds the boss as he's striking a dramatic pose using one of his underlings as a prop) and 4 bog standard cultist types.

And as every right thinking cultist dresses in red, they were perfect for this island location.

Next up, the ladies.  The good/bad thing about games like 7TV is that they give you an excuse to buy those little figure ranges you find and really like, but might not otherwise have a use for.  This happened with these figures who come from "Harwood Hobbies", who do a delightful little range of Sinbad inspired figures.

These ladies will be the characters of the force, and be Co-stars and specialists on the basis the figures are nicer than the generic cultists.  Nasty looking green weapons all around to make sure the viewers are in no doubt that they are the baddies.

The Muscle of the force is provided by this brilliant figure, the Avatar of Kali, also from Harwood Hobbies.

She's a little larger than the rest and is on a 40mm base.  Dead simple job for her as I wanted her to look like that staple of film & TV, an animated statue.

Really rather good fun and now I need to get some of the goodies done to fight against them.

So that's 10 28mm figures and 1 40mm figure, so 87 points I think with the Challenge Island 30 point bonus?

Next up, a trip on the balloon beckons to get me to my next location!


First, welcome back to the Challenge, Jamie! It's great to have you with us as we strike deeper inland into Challenge Island.

I love these 7TV models as they have that quintessential over-the-top pop culture look about them (the minion overlord cracks me up). I also appreciate your colour-coding the baddies: Red cultists, nasty eldritch flashing green blades and (my favourite) the creepy multi-armed gold over-fiend - it makes them very easy to spot (and enjoy) on the tabletop. Wonderful work. We've had similar movie-set games using homegrown rules and this post makes me want to dream up another Silver Screen extravaganza.

This lot will give you 80 points for your debut, Jamie. Well done! I'll notify Sarah that she may be getting some bookings on Challenge Island Air soon. :)

From AdamC: Docherty's Dock "Camels" (35 points)

So Camels are a big part of the challenge, We see them all the time.  I've never painted any and rolled my eyes as a I read Dave''s location , but my brain had an itch the use of the words Nautical and Camels together were stirring up an idea.

A few days latter I knew what it was as I was listening to the book 1812 the Navy's War describing how a ship was take over a sand bar using "camels" thus a project was born.   I'll confess that I didn't do a lot of research but made something I thought would look right based on a few images I found and recollections from books I have read. It seemed to me that Camels were often improvised in the field so I did much the same. 

Another scratch build: two old plastic bases to raise the ship up with some craft stick to represent the barges, a dowel cut down to make points for lashing to the side of the ship.

Two more Dowel to represent barrels and tar impregnated canvas for raising the barges and the ship.

The Camels will accommodate the 1/700 Scale ships for the Black Seas Game both the frigate in the first picture and the brig shown here.  I don't know if I'll use them on the table but I might just have to come up with a scenario.

Over head view.  I'm not sure exactly how these should be scored but if 1/2400 ships are 3 point each 5 points seems reasonable.  If so that would get me another 35 points with the points assuming Mr. Docherty likes may painting camels without painting a camel sorry it wasn't quite ready for Hump Day.

Next up is a return to Cooks Crevasse on my way to Hawkings' Hill as I continue up the path of the Forgotten.


Adam, this is a brilliant interpretation of the theme, well done! I'm completely ignorant of this process and love it when the Challenge provides me with something new to learn. Wonderful! 

As to points, let's double the modelling aspect to reflect the effort and creativity, so 40 points total. Well done, Adam!

From MattK: Delaque Gang for Necromunda (50 Points)

One of the things I said going into this challenge was there were a couple games I wanted to put on the table by the time the challenge was over. In particular, Necromunda, This is Not a Test, Age of Hannibal, and Posideons Warriors. Although I took a break today to go see the new Star Wars, I managed to make a pretty good dent in one of them by painting my Delaque gang from start to finish.

I figured it'd be a good Christmas Day project because I airbrushed them leather brown and figured itd be a nice quick speed paint. What I did not account for was just how long it'd take to get that copper trim right however I think I managed to pull it off

There are ten figures in total and they were built with the out of the box instructions. I'm a fan of pretty much the whole box but these two are probably my favorites.

Anyway, 10 28mm figures should net me 50 Points.Merry Christmas!


Excellent work, Matt. I've always liked these figures, but have not seen them done up in brown and I must say they look really good! The copper was an excellent choice for the detail edging as it sets off so nicely against the rich brown base. Great work! 

Are you doing any other factions for Necromunda, or are you tackling another from your bucket list? I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.


From Curt: SAS Jungle Operators and a Huey for Bromley's Butte (80 Points)

Hi All!

Today Sarah's Balloon drops me onto Bromley's Butte to challenge its mysteries. 

Dave asks us for: 'An individual figure or squad of tactical stealth troopers.' With this in mind, I present a team of SAS operators (or perhaps private military contractors), kitted out for jungle ops, deploying from an unmarked Huey chopper.

The models are from Spectre Miniatures' SAS range. I'm a big fan of Spectre's stuff and have found myself snapping up almost everything they have to offer. It's a bit silly as, really, how many figures do you need for a modern skirmish-based game? Well, apparently loads if you look at my lead pile! It's a little out of control. 

To be honest I have sort of a love-hate relationship with the modern gaming genre in general. I find that while I really enjoy the figures, gear and kit, I find that to 'do' the period justice, the settings and scenarios need to go beyond the typical 'lets go flatten another Middle Eastern compound' mindset. So when I'm thinking of modern-era gaming I'm often more interested in scenarios that are more nuanced, really gritty and more often than not, morally opaque. 

As an example: The SAS had a presence in Columbia beginning in the late 80s and extending to around 2010, ostensibly to train government forces in fighting the local drug cartels. Nonetheless, there are many analysts who would argue that their deployment was more to protect and project British corporate interests than anything else. In fact it's probably no coincidence that a significant portion of the private security detail at British Petroleum's site in Casanare were ex-SAS members. These personnel were also involved in training Columbian police units - the same units often associated with death squads targeting Columbian civilian leaders, academics and government protestors.  As I say, morally opaque and perhaps an interesting way to turn the accepted roles of Good Guys / Bad Guys on its head. 

Anyway, enough on the civics lesson and back to the minis. I painted these guys using the handy-dandy digital camo tutorial on the Spectre website - a great resource for those like me who have little experience with painting this kind of stuff. To simulate the spooky facepaint you often see these guys sporting, I painted most of their faces in camo as well.

The Huey began as a diecast model that I picked up on ebay a while ago. I remember it being quite inexpensive, probably due to it being in the cherry red livery of the Texaco Company (perhaps a fitting provenance considering how it's being featured in this post). 

The 'red-goes-faster' paintjob was easily fixed with a quick blast of primer and sprayed olive green and dirtied up a bit. It's a little rough around the edges, but I think it's quite serviceable for the tabletop. 

My lame attempt at a rotor wash using a coffee can glued over with spraypainted pillow ticking. Oh well, you get the idea... 

Okay, as to points for this lot: Six 28mm infantry will chalk up 30, the Huey is worth 20 and then the 30 point bonus for Bromley's Butte. So, 80 points total to nudge me towards my target. 

Thanks for dropping in. I hope everyone is recovering from the hustle and bustle of the 25th and is preparing for the upcoming New Years celebrations!