Friday, 31 January 2020

From NoelW: Upwardly mobile : Sarah's Balloon (31 points)

Tied off to a knotty thorn, the basket is completely empty, its balloon rocking gently above the spray of the waterfall. I guess we could simply clamber in and sail away, couldn’t we? Just step into the basket and hey presto! untold treasures, here we come! Not that we would, of course, obviously. Of course not. 

For a start, that knot looks fiendishly difficult to untie.

And we’ve no idea how to fly a balloon.

Oh, yes, and it's quite possible that it belongs to Lady Sarah. Didn’t think of that. Silly us.

Over the hedge, there’s the clippity clop sound horses make, Either that, or a lot of champagne bottles being opened. Could be either, really. Two riders come through the greenery: the Lady herself shiningly riding a white palfrey, champagne glass in hand, escorted by her faithful knight, banner in hand. She greets us courteously. He greets us curtly.

“Oh – hi - fancy meeting your here, Lady Sarah - is this, perchance, your balloon?”

“It is.”

“Ah – we thought it – er – must’ve blown away. We were just about to haul it along to the local sheriff.”

She looks pointedly over the edge of the cliff, where the water falls, down, down, down to the jagged rocks below.

“Can we drop you somewhere?” she says, smiling giacondally at her companion.

“Well – if you happen to be passing near Roundwood’s Tower, we could use a lift.

I’m not sure exactly how they get their horses into the basket, but soon we are on our way to our almost final destination.


One of my objectives for Challenge 10 is to create some command bases and other vignette-like pieces to enhance some of my armies, rather than just build more units. This is the first of my planned pieces: Jean d’Arc, with her banner carried by Guillaume de Trie, Lord of Fontenay. Not knowing who actually carried her banner, I chose him for his simple but attractive heraldry. He may, in fact, have been killed at Agincourt, given that my authority for his shield is from info on that battle, which would make carrying her banner rather difficult, but I've no info either way.

They’re Perry figures, of course, from their Hundred Years War range. The banner is by Ancient and Modern.

Another objective has been to visit every location on Challenge Island before ascending the coveted peak. This seemed a fun idea as it forced me to find quite a few painting tasks that I wouldn’t normally have planned on – but it also meant my original plan more or less went out the window from the start. Also, I couldn’t work out a route which didn’t depend on using Sarah’s balloon. I think, like the seven bridges of Koningsberg problem, there’s no such solution. In the end, I’ve had to call on her Uber-ship three times.

But now, the end is nearly nigh.

Scoring: 2x 28mm cavalry, 1 flag: 21 pts

Another excellent entry on Noel's whistle-stop tour of Challenge Island. Very nice work on this command stand. I've got a funny feeling that you may be missing out on the frequent fliers points. Checking back through the spreadsheet, I see that this is indeed your third flight, so that's an extra 10 points for you!


From KatrinaS. Commissar Annaka Sage - Sarah's Balloon (40pts)

This week was slow going for me. I have been solo parenting and still have another week to go. I still found a little time for myself to paint and prep for upcoming projects.
 This was the first time painting a Victoria Miniatures model and I can see myself doing more in the future the detail is top notch. I picked her up while at LVO last weekend specifically for this challenge. I completed this single 28 mm Commissar Annaka Sage miniature up last night and based this morning. I will be using Annaka to ride Sarah's Balloon across the Island to O'Grady's Gultch.

I opened and finished a bottle of bubbles (in a plastic Skye cup) the first night of painting. Which may or may not of contributed to being so slow.

 That power stance is so great!

I again worked on non metallic metals, I don't think I am there yet but it is looking better, for some reason I am scared of too bright. I felt like I was struggling with her skin tone but now that she is all finished I like the pale complextion.

 The detail on this miniature is like I said earlier amazing! 

28mm: 5 pts.
Sarah's Balloon: 30 pts.
Bottle of Bubbles: 5 pts.
Total: 40 pts.

That's a very nice Commissar - I love the uniform colours and that's some nice highlighting on the sweeping folds of the coat.


From PeteF at Benito's Brook: We Don't Need Another Heero (35 points)

This is the final miniature from the Blitzkrieg Germans starter army box. This box sat on the shelf for a while, a squad got painted, then some stuff was primed for Challenge IX, a gun was painted. For Challenge X I decided it was high time to finish the job.

Early war Germans did not have the panzerfausts that were common later on. The infantry used a modified potato masher grenade as an antitank weapon. They would cut off six charges and strap them to one grenade for seven times the power. I did the same thing on a miniature scale to represent this relatively primitive solution to tank-busting.

I can't imagine what it must have been like to go up against armour - even crappy early war allied armour - with one of these modified grenades. Although I grew up on a diet of jingoistic trash mags that extolled the virtues of the Tommy and didn't have anything good to say about their enemy, with a bit of perspective you can appreciate courage whichever side it comes from.

The whole starter army - finally painted

Now I'm ready for some Bolt Action or Chain of Command. I thought I'd pretty much finished my WW2 stuff but a local guy was selling a bunch and I saw his Facebook ad... now I have late war Americans, Germans and Brits to add to the pile for Challenge XI and beyond.

Paths of history and forgotten complete

30 points for a new area explored plus 5 for the mini for a total of 35, taking me just past my 1,000 point ChallengeX target.

The "Panzerknacker" must have been as scary for the soldiers employing it as for their targets. And you have reached your target - surely that means you will be increasing it in due course...


From MikeW: 18 x 28mm Dark Ages Archers (90 Points)

A cheeky, quick submission here that sees me complete 18 Dark Age Archers, these little guys were found in the same box in the Lead and Plastic mountain that my last submission of Norman Foot Soldiers were packed away in.

Figures ready to be built, earlier this week
As ever I have other batches on the go as well - specifically 4 new Dragoons to join my recently painted late 17th Century Dragoons see <here> and a full Tercio of late 17th Century Spanish infantry - The Tercio os Blancos - who are proving to be a real challenge as they are in mostly white uniforms and I'm not good with white!!

The finished Archers

Anyway these Dark Ages guys are  undercoating in white - by hand this time as spray can has run out - and painted in a variety of muted colours to reflect their lowly status.

Close-up of six of the little fellas
Thinned down, Army Painter Dark wash wash applied and Matt varnish was used before basing to my usual method.

Another six, on left a handy axe to protect himself,
right of centre arrows ready to fire in the ground
I added a few bits and pieces to the bases,a couple have axes in the ground - placed there by the archers, in case of needing a handy weapon in a hurry and a couple have arrows stuck in the ground - maybe more familiar in medieval times but my guess if it worked then it would have worked before as well.
Final Six, on left arrows in ground, ready to fire

18 x 28mm Foot Figures @ 5 Points ea = 90 Points

A nice collection of bowmen Mike. Good luck with the white tercio!


From GregB: WW2 German Infantry Support at Piper's Peak (60 Points)

German WW2 infantry support elements in winter kit - 28mm figures from Warlord Games.
After a smooth and sparkling-wine-filled journey on Lady Sarah's Balloon, I have arrived at Piper's Peak.  No absurd floppy-hatted demands to be found atop this fine, cloud-topped mountain vista. Rather, we have a few hobby approaches we might take, such as figures "taking a peak".  This gives me the chance to add further to my winter WW2 project with a group of German platoon support elements - all 28mm metal figures from Warlord Games' "Bolt Action" range.

Sniper Team - Taking a Peak

"Have we escaped that absurd Sandhill?"
This pair is the core of the submission for this Challenge Island location. There are two snipers/marksmen - one "taking a peak" through a pair of binoculars, the other "taking a peak" down the sights of his rifle, drawing a bead on an unfortunate battlefield opponent...

Great sculpts from Warlord games.
Generally I dislike prone figures in 28mm, but given their battlefield roles, having these guys prone makes sense. They are great sculpts and castings once again from Warlord.

Panzerschreck Team

AT support for my German infantry.
Another important addition for any late-war German WW2 infantry force, the Panzerschreck will provide some important anti-tank capability.  While many of the infantry will be carrying one-shot Panzerfausts, this Panzerschreck has better range and capability, and this two-man team can focus on taking out enemy armour while their colleagues fire and maneuver on the battlefield.

Mind the back blast of exhaust...
I tried to get some cammo peeking out from underneath the reversible winter smock...
Whether moving through the forests of the Ardennes or the hills north-west of Budapest, my winter WW2 Germans will need the support on the tabletop.

Flamethrower Team

"Don't be hasty"...apparently the motto of this flamethrower team...
This little set is...odd. As you might have guessed, I have a low opinion of prone figures in any miniatures sized larger than 15mm...but sometimes, it makes sense (like the sniper team).  But a prone flamethrower team...I don't get it. Usually one sees flamethrower miniatures moving forward with dash and determination - after all, it was a very dangerous assignment.  But these fellows are...sitting on the ground. So, I tried to imagine some kinds of stories happening with this flamethrower team...

"If we wait here, the enemy will come to us!"
Maybe they know how few flamethrower crews survive action, and so they are taking it easy, and not rushing forward to precipitously? Or perhaps they have cooked up some kind of Wile. E. Coyote-level ambush plan using their flamethrower to hit the bottom of a vehicle or enemy patrol?  It's a different take on the usual action-oriented pose, that's for sure.

Another location visited...looks to be some sort of Tower in the distance...might have to check that out...
For scoring purposes, we have six 28mm figures here, although two are prone, and so get clipped points-wise.  Add in the points for visiting the magnificent vistas of Piper's Peak, and that should get me to 55 points for this submission - and past the half-way point toward my 1,000 point goal!

Thanks for looking all - happy painting!

More of your lovely winter Late War Germans here Greg, and with the snipers you have met the requirements for my island location!

As for the prone flamethrower, it seems eminently sensible to me - if you were carrying several litres of highly flammable liquid on your back, wouldn't you want to present as low a profile as possible?

Anyways, given your lovely paint jobs with the camo I'm going to score the prone figures as not prone, so that'll be 60 points in the bag for you.


From PeterD More War of the Pacific Ships (18 points)

Another set of 1/2400 ships from Tumbling Dice for my War of the Pacific project.  As obscure as this war is I've found a small community of bloggers indulging in the same project.

The two ex-USN Monitors

First up is the last of the Peruvian ironclads, the monitors Manco Cápac and Atahualpa (those Inca names are tough to spell).  These were ex-USN Canonicus class single turreted monitors which were built too late to see service in the ACW.    They were sold to the Peruvians, fitted with fore and aft sailing rigs and minimal superstructure and relocated south and around the Cape Horn (this being before the Panama Canal).   Must have been one hell of a rough journey given the low freeboard.  

This shows the completed ships vs the original.  It also shows the sea bases included by Tumbling Dice and how they fit on my 50mm long pdf bases.

Once in Peruvian waters they were used for coastal defence and fought the Chilean fleet  in the final phases, including a duel with the Huascar after her capture, but were eventually scuttled to prevent capture.

One of the originals, as much of a bodge as my models.

The models are admittedly complete bodges.  TD doesn't make a Canonicus class monitor so I used a pack of the USS Monitor model, which was 20% shorter than these ships but it was the closest available.  I added the rig from spare fore and aft sails from one or the other TD packs of ships.  My best guess is that they came from the two Cochrane class ironclads, which I modelled mostly unrigged as they removed as much rigging as possible during a mid-war refit.  The final models are nowhere nearly being replicas of the two ships.  But they look like Civil War monitors with rigging and rudimentary superstructure attached, which is exactly what they need to look like.  If any one cars to model exact replicas Spithead miniatures makes them in 1:1200.  i didn't go that route as I like the cost and space effectiveness of 1/2400 and couldn't figure out how to order anything from Spithead.

Chileans at sea

Next up is a squadron of Chilean unarmoured ships, or Cruising ships in the Victorian vernacular.  There's no specific models for these in the TD range, so I sued whatever models looked about right based on period photos, rough dimensions available and models on hand.  We have the corvettes O'Higgins, Chacabuco and Mallaganes, all of which had an active part in the war.  

Last of all  is  the schooner Covadonga which had a history rivalling the Huascar's.  originally Spanish, she was captured by the Esmeralda (still on the work bench) and brought into Chilean service.  She had a key role in the Battle of Punta Gruesa where she outgunned the Peruvian ironclad Independencia,  who then ran aground and was lost.  Covadonga was sunk later in the war while on blockade duty by a rowboat rigged as a floating mine.

The original Covadonga.

Points wise that's six 1/2400 ships for a whopping 18 points.  Finally I'll leave you with the following video.  My wife and I are huge fans of Carol Burnett and I can't say the name O'Higgins (Higgins or Wiggins) without releasing my inner Mr. Tudball.


Our first entertainment of the day! And what lovely ships they are too. It's certainly fascinating to read about this little-known war. You missed one of your usual labels, but don't worry - I spotted the omission and added it for you!


Tamsin's Friday Flights of Fancy #5

"Good morning Lady, Gentlemen (and Ray). Yes, that's right - "Lady". Captain Campbell unearthed another stowaway and has given her one of the empty seats. Welcome to the flight Katrina."

"Snowlord Airways flight AHPC X out of Challenge, Blogland is currently cruising at an altitude of 28,235 points towards our new target altitude of  64,058 points. We do seem to have slipped a little and are slightly lower than we should be at this time, but I'm sure we'll soon start to climb more rapidly again."

"Our resident mathaumaturgist, Miles, is having to take a step back from his duties for a few weeks, but Captain Campbell has identified another prestidigitator among the passengers and persuaded him to step up and join the cabin crew - welcome aboard Peter D."

"At the moment there are no confirmed entertainments for today. I am sure that several will pop up as the day progresses though."


Thursday, 30 January 2020

From SimonM: "Lucid Eye Publications" Lord Rascal's Ghostly Wraiths (20 Points)

These four 28mm scale "white metal figures" of Lord Rascal's Ghostly Wraiths are produced by “Lucid Eye Publications” and can be bought from the company's "Toon Realms" range. Sculpted by Steve Saleh, I have painted them to represent the "dreaded ring-servants of the Dark Lord Sauron in Middle-earth" so as to field them as a 'Lord Of The Toons' Bellicose Foot unit (Reduced Model Unit) for “Dragon Rampant” by "Osprey Games".

Originally I had planned to simply paint these figures in exactly the same way as I've pigmented all my ghosts, using a white undercoat with plenty of green shading and simple white dry-brush. But having seen the 'official' paint-job on the now OOP Twilight Ringwraiths manufactured by "Games Workshop", I thought I'd try a distinctly bluer palette, so therefore primed the quartet with two layers of "Vallejo" Steel Grey.

The Fallen Kings were then 'muddied down' with a wash of "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, before being dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Steel Grey, and an even lighter touch of Heavy Bluegrey. With the bulk of the spectres finished, I subsequently 'picked out' their grotty gloves with a combination of "Vallejo" White and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and their eyes with a dab of  "Citadel" Abaddon Black.

I also layered their teeth with a dash of "Vallejo" White, and decided to imply a haunting look in their somewhat softly-detailed faces by adding a splash of "Citadel" Druchii Violet just beneath their eyes. This colour sort of replicated the facial make-up I spotted the actors wearing when they appeared in Peter Jackson's 2001 epic fantasy adventure film "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring".

Glad I've had chance to minion a post from the prolific Simon., his distinctive style can be spotted from miles away and I do love it. These are great and will make a very unexpected bellicose foot unit, not played Dragon Rampant for ages, must play again


From PeteF: Horde of Fiends - Klendathu's Finest (40points)

"This Place Crawls, Sir!"

These gribbley horrors are the second unit in my Nightstalkers Army. Each stand will reference a movie that has some horror or phobic element.  The idea is that people can try and guess all the movies in the army.

The miniatures are from the discontinued Starship Troopers Miniatures game by Mongoose publishing. It's a shame this game is out of print as the minis are rather good - although quite big. I was lucky enough to pick up the whole starter game (which contains another 20 of the warrior bugs) on EBay this week - still in shrink wrap so I'm not sure if I'll open it or do the right thing and resell it because I don't need more minis.

I got the basic idea for colours from clips of the movie - the carapaces were originally black, which I had drybrushed with some light grey highlights. I didn't like how this looked so I washed it over with contrast shyish purple - which gave the dark bits a nice purpley sheen and mauve tinted the grey highlights. I was happy that it came out a little glossy - like an ant's body.

"Their evolution stretches over millions of years."

The smaller bugs are "firefries" and featured in a Starship Troopers spinoff, not the original movie. The models were very basic metal casts - they are somewhat rare. Their colour scheme is from an online wiki. Kings of War "large cavalry hordes" are supposed to be 6 to a 150mmx100mm base - by using a couple of the smaller bugs I managed to squeeze five in. If I had the dismembered body of a mobile infantryman I'd add it to the base.

"Oh, come on, it's just a bug!"

Starship Troopers is a great movie - based on a great book. Although noteworthy for attractive actors meeting their ends with spectacular violence it also does a good job of portraying a brutal militaristic society in a way that may leave a small part of you hoping the bugs win.

Kings of War welcomes proxied units so these bugs stand in nicely for fiends, a type of heavy cavalry. The 3 arachnid warriors are about 60mm tall - the bodies are 65mm long including the mandibles. The 2 firefries are around the size of a 28mm horse. Say 10 points for each big bug and 5 for each small one for a total of 40?

“Citizenship is an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part...and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself that the whole may live.”

Pete, these are fantatic. You have really nailed the colours and they look suitably nasty. The scoring is about right


Jamie Climbs Atop Snow Lord's Peak

Feeling the effects of the altitude (and perhaps the case of champagne on the way up), Jamie begins to unsteadily clamber out of the balloon's basket, only to lose his footing. With a yelp, he inelegantly falls into a snow drift upon the mountain's summit, a cascade of empty bottles following behind.

This Snow Lord's Challenge brought to you by Mount Assiniboine on the BC/Alberta border

The Snow Lord, shoveling the driveway, looks over to Jamie and says, 'Well, I've seen better landings. You look kinda smashed.'

'If you think (hic) I'm snockered you should (hic) see the pilot. It's no wonder that balloon meanders all over this crazy island...'

'Yeah, she likes her libations to be sure. Don't get me started on the 'herb' garden she has on the south slope.' He smiles, 'Some days I don't think she needs a balloon to get to good altitude, if you know what I mean.'

Jamie, the ever conscientious explorer, gathers up the empty bottles for recycling and calls over his shoulder, 'As you probably know, I'm here for the treasure. I understand that you're its guardian, so I was wondering if you could help me out.'

The Snow Lord appraises him quietly and says, 'You'll need to complete a challenge before I'll hand over your treasure.' Looking into Jamie's past the Snow Lord discovers that the doughty adventurer is in possession of not only one, but TWO unassembled Playmobil Coliseums. 'Well that just seems egregious,' he rumbles. 'I think it only proper for you to build at least one of these to play with. What say you, let's have a gladiatorial fight in one of your coliseums...'


We look forward to seeing the fruits of your construction, Jamie. Have fun with it!