Monday, 13 January 2020

From Curt: French Aide-de-Camp having a Peek - For 'Piper's Peak' (60 Points)

Hi Everybody!

Today I disembark from Sarah's Balloon onto Piper's Peak. I'm really enjoying using the balloon service as it allows me to work on my usual scatter-shot of projects ('focus is for the weak') and just zip to the location of whatever one I'm closest to finishing. This being said, at this rate I'm going to have enough SarahMiles to journey back to the mainland when this is all over!

Anyway, it's a very nice view from here. Much less congested than some other locations on the island. I hear Sander's Sand Dunes is a bit of a nightmare, what with all the t-shirt stands, red light district and the dodgy 'Island Tour' excursions. ;)

Okay, on to business. Piper's Peak asks us to submit and entry that is:
i) associated with mountains; or 
ii) taking a look (a peek); or 
iii) displaying anger ('a fit of pique')
I decided to go with the second option with a small vignette depicting a group of Napoleonic French aides observing (taking a 'peek' at) their distant opponents

I had done a similar one to this several years ago which I gave away as a gift, but as luck would have it the Perry's double shipped my original order so here I am with a redux version.

While cleanup seems to be a perennial issue with Perry metals I'm still a big fan of these figures. Like so many of their offerings they have such evocative, natural poses that really lend themselves to telling stories. I especially like the fellow with his spyglass braced over his saddle, taking a good long look at the enemy lines. You may not see it in the photos, but he has his boots crossed at the ankles conveying a nice, relaxed pose. Terrific stuff. 

A few people have asked about the bases. Greg and I base our Napoleonic collections on metal sheeting. The corners can be wicked sharp, but it gives a nice, thin profile on the tabletop and allows us to use magnetic sheathed carriers for transport.

This vignette will join the other two sets that I had done up a while back.

A group shot of all the REMFs to-date.
I like using these to help add more colour to the tabletop. I like to place them at the trail of artillery batteries to try convey the formation's greater depth (Yes, I should have limbers to do this, but that way madness lies). Now I just need to do a few more of these for the Brits and Austrians...

As to points. Well, let's see. We have two cavalry figures and two fellows on foot, so that's 30 points plus another 30 for Tamsin's location. My mad skills on the abacus puts that at 60 points, give or take a bead.

Next up is, you guessed it, another balloon trip! Weee!!



Brilliant work Dude, it is always a treat to see your paint brushes churning out more 28mm Napoleonic goodness. These sorts of command vignettes always add a lot of character to any gaming table, and can also find their way to all manner of uses in specific scenarios. 

And yes, while it is infuriating to feel like you must carve your metal Perry figures out of a pile of flash, the results are always worth it in the end, as the sculpting is marvelous.  Besides, I would rather shave/cut/fix up 100 metal figures than fumble through a single multi-part 28mm plastic historical figure!

That is indeed another 60 points for the Snow Lord! I can see him checking his phone now, waiting for an indication from Balloon Uber as to when his ride will arrive... 


From MilesR: War of 1812 US Troops (184 Points)

For today's entry, I've got three different types of US irregular troops from the War of 1812 in 15mm scale.  All of the figures are from Old Glory's Blue Moon line.
First up are 16 Mounted KT Riflemen to join the other ones I had completed earlier.  These guys are fun to paint up.
Some close ups of my less than spectacular painting.  Still when viewed en masse on the table top they'll look fine.

Next up 7 stands of mounted militia and a command stand(15 figures in total)...
...and their dismounted counter parts - 7 stands of four-figured infantry and a two-figure command stand.

I've got some more US Light Dragoons and a whole bunch of Militia and Native Americans to come before I'm ready (figure-wise) for the convention game.

The Dragoons are already on the painting bench....

The Figure count for this submission is:

- 31 x mounted 15mm figures - 124 points;
- 30 x 15mm infantry figures - 60 points;

Total 184 points.

Great to see this project rolling along at the usual steady pace we have come to expect from you Miles, well done.  I'm looking forward to seeing and learning more about the scenario you have in mind for the convention game in question - as I had mentioned last week, the War of 1812 is something I should know more about, but in fact I know almost nothing beyond the year it took place....

Another 184 points for your formidable score sir!


From NoelW: Dropped off at Docherty’s Dock (50 Points)

I don’t understand what we've done wrong. We merely asked Lady Sarah to land us on Snowlord’s Peak and she was instantly annoyed.

Apparently the only allowable way to get to the top is via some circuitously esoteric pathway. Presumably it's a route fastidiously laid out by an ancient monk with too much time on his hands, probably spaced out from overdoing the lapsang souchong and fancying himself as an extra in an Indiana Jones film. No doubt there’ll be life-threatening tests of moral fibre at every stage, taking out each of my companions one at a time in a variety of unexpectedly gruesome encounters. Animated skeletons, probably. Giant chickens. Invisible ostriches. 

- Sigh -

When a simple balloon trip could avoid all that. Obviously, we need to take control of the balloon. 

As it turns out, perhaps this is not the wisest of plans. Smiling grimly, Lady Sarah tugs on a rope. And we find ourselves, once again, plummeting. This is becoming a rather familiar sensation. Admittedly, this time it's a different species of plummet. We’ve never fallen through cirro-stratus before, never had ice crystals forming in our beards, never had our fall broken by a flock of squabbling seagulls. Luckily, we land on warm sand.

This place is deserted. Clearly it was a hive of industry once, for there are the shapes of buildings, now buried by sand, and, though we're miles from the sea, what might have been a harbour or at least a dock. Buried by sand. There’s a great pyramid. Buried in sand. And, everywhere we look, statues and carvings and leering liths carved into the same sneering creatures. Many buried in sand, Clearly the backwards inhabitants who once lived here had a limited world-view. Camels!

There’s a pillar of a thousand carved camels. There's a giant stellar camel bearing the galaxy on its back. There are peculiar hump-shaped lumps, buried in sand. (We hope they're camels.) There’s a camelophagus (the tomb of a mummified camel) decorated with winged camels, singing. There's a camel-shaped swimming pool. Buried by sand.

And, in fact, there are two real camels. Half-buried by – well, you can probably guess. Staring at us, superciliously suspicious, as if we’ve woken them from a cryogenic torpor, they consider whether to spit. 

Luckily for us, they’re yoked to a limber. Which, at a pinch, would also do as a cart. 

The camels drool as if recently taken off a drip. Nevertheless, we all clamber aboard and, with a cry of “Hi yo, Saliva”, our clumsy limber lumbers slumberingly west.


This submission is a Perry Miniatures French Napoleonic camel limber, used in the invasion of Egypt. One of my favourite continuing projects is this conflict, although there's scope for many other models for this theatre.

I think the scoring probably is: 2 camels, 10pts, 1 limber, 10 pts, Docherty’s Dock 30 pts = 50 pts total.


Ah, Noel - more divine dromedary delights for the Challenge participants to marvel at! And what animal would NOT charge off into the distance, at whichever speed it might muster, upon hearing "Hi yo, Saliva"?  Well done!

That will indeed be another 50 points to your total - very nicely done. 


From MikeW - 20 x 28mm Balkan Infantry, Late 17th Century (110 Points)

I originally got this idea form a post on the 'Wargames Warrior' Blog' that I spotted a few months back and with the Challenge drawing nearer I ordered a box of Perry plastic Zouaves to see what could be done.

Original picture that caught my eye!
The basic idea is that basis these Zouave figures can be converted into passable Ottoman figures - Adam who posted this idea, had gone to the trouble of casting additional arms for the figures to depict them carrying swords etc.

Casting additional limbs is well above my modelling skills grade so I adapted the idea and have sued the concept to create a unit of Balkan Infantry in Ottoman service.

So, the basic Zouave figure does have a lot going for it when you compare to pictures of the Croat Infantry of the period in Osprey or similar sources, see right. There are some obvious differences - namely the bayonet and percussion rifle, the length of the coat, the lower legging and foot wear etc.

However I determined that for the purposes of 'bulking' out my tabletop Ottoman Army with a couple of these regiments, these figures should work fine.

Finished Croat / Balkan Regiment
So For each figure I cut off the bayonet and bayonet scabbard and then used a supply of spare 'Gripping Beast' Arab heads to swap with about half of the heads supplied in the Zouave box. This would give a more eastern feel to the figures and visually tie in the unit to other units with similar heads in the army - in my opinion.

The Gripping Beast heads are a little bigger than their Perry counterparts but not too bad en-masse. For the eagle eyed ones of you out there there's even a Space Wolves head, with a fabulous beard,  in there - see if you can spot it!

I decided to simply ignore the other details as changing the leggings and foot-ware would have been way to fiddly and the length of the coat is something that I have seen as both long and short in various sources, depending on the exact time period.
Focus on Musketeer Stands
More Musketeers

After that it was a basic paint job on the figures - I varied the colour of their dress but tried to keep a similar range of colours across the whole unit to tie them together, all leather-work was done in a buff finish.

Focus on Officer and Drummer
Standard Bearer
I spent some additional time and effort on the command stand. The Officer was in fact the basic Zouave Officer with a 'Trent Miniatures' Ottoman head (available in separate packs, as are Ottomn muskets!) substituted for the kepi version that came with the box, I added a Sword arm from the Gripping Beast Arab Cavalry bow and a shield from the same. The rest was simply giving the figure a more colourful paint finish to reflect his higher rank.

The standard Bearer and Drummer were as per the kit, on reflection sourcing a more eastern looking drum would be better, I'll do that next time. The standard was sourced from the internet. The Trumpeter was again a quick conversion using an appropriate arm from the 'Gripping Beast' Arab Cavalry box.

So with 44 figures to a box, I have enough figures remaining to field another Balkan Infantry regiment, keep watching this space and I'll likely get them done in the next month or so!

20 x 28mm figures @ 5 Points each = 100 Points

Next on the list - more floppy hatted silliness followed by some 1/144 Israeli Shermans! Stop Press: I even dug out more 18mm Crimean War cavalry...

Great to see more Ottoman goodness from you Mike, and I am impressed at your commitment to the setting is such that you would do all of this "faffing about" with conversions in order to make progress - but that is one of the things that makes this hobby so damn cool, are the folks who "get into" a setting and push forward to make it work, to keep building their beautiful collections. 

I always recoil slightly when someone suggests that conversions might be simple are also the ones who can cast their own bits...way beyond my skill grade, for sure!  And while there were no parts cast here, there is a lot of thought and effort which has gone into making the conversions work - including a Space Wolf head! Amazing! Those don't even work for Space Wolves, in my making even one of those bits fit for purpose with Ottomans is wonderful :)

OK, so that's 100 points, yes, but I'm adding 10 points for conversion work, as a subsidy to encourage you to produce more inspiring Ottoman figures, and for finding a use for a productive use for a GW Space Wolf head. Great stuff. 


From StuartL: Challenge Island Safari Journal - 13th January (32 Points)

Welcome back loyal C.I.S.T.ers.

While we make preparations for the tour to ascend to the top of Snow Lord's Peak, we have a rare treat for you. Our guides have reported that some examples of Challenge Island's most majestic and wonderful wildlife are near our camp. Now, I'll have to remind you not to use flash photography to avoid startling these little critters, also, you should try to avoid making loud noises or looking in the least bit edible.

The island is home to numerous species of creatures which are unique to the island's environment. Some of them simply couldn't (or shouldn't) exist anywhere else. It is one of those unique species that we are going to see today.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present the Challenge Island Brush-licker Toad. These friendly looking critters have evolved to live on a diet of dried paint, harvested directly from spent paint brushes left behind by challenge island painters. Officially categorised as Vallejois Citadelis Bufo, researchers believe that they are an evolutionary mutation based on the large number of chemicals released on Challenge Island from spilt paint-pots.

A single Brush-licker Toad is capable of shredding the tip of even a Windsor and Newton Series 7 in a matter of minutes. Given the large toad population of the island, synthetic brushes are imported on a regular basis to ensure that this noble and proud species can continue to thrive.

Sadly, due to the rise in usage of Airbrushes, these toads are facing hard times ahead. Many have taken to raiding painter's supply cabinets and devouring the dried paint direct from the inside of bottle caps. While dropper bottles such as the one pictured above can be problematic for the toads, Citadel pots are a rich source of dried paint as it tends to collect inside the rim of the pot lid. 
So if you have any old pots of paint or well used brushes, consider donating them to the Challenge Island Brush-licker Trust. 


As I am currently starting from scratch on getting my mini ready for the Snow Lord's Peak, I am not able to enter anything for any other locations (yet). So I decided to paint up a random encounter of wandering monsters. These figures are all from Wizards of the Coast's range of pre-painted Dungeons and Dragons minis. I have no idea why I have 6 toads, I guess they were common in the random assortments of figures that came in the box.

To get these done, I gave them a simple paint/drybrush/wash combo and added some small details for the faces. I think I have done the eyes completely wrong, but I doubt any of my D&D group will notice or care when they wipe out these chubby little guys in the time it takes me to say "Roll for initiative.

Anyway, there are 6x 28mm figures at 5 points a piece, so that nets me 30 points. 
Now, back to the Peak!


Oh man, this was a funny read Stuart. Well done.  I have often considered airbrushes a threat to my sanity, but never to wildlife :) A very entertaining and fun-filled part of the Challenge Island expedition. 

Yes, 30 points as a base, but two points for the entertainment factor as well!


From ByronM: Steaming through Douglas' Shallows (47 points)

Well, it took a while but I finally found a way to get across the Douglas Shallows, a shallow-hulled Dwarf steamship!  For something nautical to match the requirements of the map space I once again dug into my copy of Dreadfleet that has been sitting waiting to be painted for way too many years.

The ship itself is very stereo-typically dwarf, it is stout, heavy, and likely a bit slow.

To make up for a bit of the ship's slowness it employs scouting air ships so that it can spot and target enemies at range.  The game provides a deployed air ship, and you can see there is a second in the actual paddle wheel ship.

These were once again painted in a very plain and dwarfy style, meaning lots of metal!  There are some wood features picked out just to add some warmed colours to the model along the rails, but it is mainly multiple silvers and golds, then just washed and re-highlighted.

For points this is similar sized to the Dwarf submarine, so I would assume similar points (15), but there is really no set scale for me to reference this against for a set point score, so whatever is good.  In addition it is for my next map space, so a bonus 30 points there, for a total of 45.

I may be back again later to my copy of Dreadfleet, as the ships look so much better painted, and the others are getting jealous in the box.


Well done Byron - as a Dwarf ship, I assume it has other Dwarf characteristics as well - lots of guns, lots of metal, and never shows up or actually contributes anything useful to its side in the game? 

The results are excellent as usual Byron - and the water effects on the base finish it off perfectly. Are the bases already textured, or is that something you did on your own?  Certainly the overall effect is fantastic, a fitting means to travel Douglas' Shallows. For points, I will toss in a couple of extra for the little flying contraption.

Your notion of unpainted figures becoming jealous is a bit terrifying, I expect, for many of us...for my part, I am now imagining half a legion of angry unpainted Space Marines in my basement getting tired of my recent "historical" painting and becoming angry...if they teamed up with my wife, that would be it for me...


From StephenS: 'Jack, you have debauched my sloth' - For 'Reidy's Reef' (35 points)

Jack stepped ashore in good order and glanced around with obvious self-satisfaction. Everything looked ship-shape and ready for action. No stranger to island paradises, either as a result of his good friend Stephen Maturin's philosophical inclinations or washed up ashore after another mishap at sea, this place did strike him as slightly odd. There seemed to be an unusually high number of stooped and paint-streaked figures stumbling around, muttering about quotas and a 'Snow Lord'. Still, Jack thought to himself with a chuckle, remembering last night's gun room banter, landing here had been the lesser of two weevils. Glancing up at the peak himself, he was reminded of Nelson's advice to 'never mind maneuvers, go straight at them'. Squaring his shoulders he cried out 'Shake a leg, there is not a moment to be lost!'

For my first Challenge Island offering, I present the definitely-not-copyright-infringing 'Master and Commander' figure from Warlord Games that I believe came with the new edition of their Black Powder Rules. With his long blonde hair and heavy sabre, he makes a pretty good younger and fitter Jack Aubrey - the main character from the fantastic series of novels by Patrick O'Brian. I have been thoroughly enjoying working my way through the series on Audible (currently listening to number 15) and can think of no better naval offering for Reidy's Reef.

Whilst no doubt his vessel was powered by sail, there is not a sail in sight and he is a one-off figure,  not the start of a new project, so no bonus points claimed.

That just leaves a 28 mm figure (5) and the bonus points for making landfall (30).

Now I will need to stick out a feminine thumb and hitch a ride for my next adventure.




Great work on this figure Steve - excellent colours, transitions and fades, it all looks quite smashing, certainly smashing enough to wreck someone on the deadly "Reidy's Reef". 

I certainly appreciate your commitment to ensuring this figure is merely a "one-off" and "not" the start of a new project. That said, if and when a group of 28mm naval infantry appear as part of the next phase of hobby-itis - the "just a small supporting force" phase - we'll be sure to enjoy that too! Well done.


From EricM: Landing on Challenge Island with 28mm Late Romans (155 Points)

Land Ho! With this installment I make land fall on Sander's Sand Dunes and begin my quest toward the snow lords peak.   The price of admission to Sander's dunes is an entry featuring red in all its subtlety (you mean"glory", no?).   I chose to meet his challenge with a unit of 28mm Wargames Foundry.  These guys fought me tooth and nail to avoid being painted.  I think something went awry with the spray primer I used.  When I began applying paint it would slick off and pool so I was forced to go back and re-prime by hand.

Despite them fighting me like a toddler in a bath, the red went on. The unit I choose to represent is unit of limitanei from the eastern roman empire

The first two ranks are armed with spear and shield with a supporting rank of light bowmen, that I hope to use as either rear rank support or as skirmishers.

Sander I hope this is enough Red for you! 

Some close ups of the front rank and leader

The light bowmen, I really wish they didn't have shields!

This Late Roman entry may be my last for a bit.  I have been bitten by the sand fleas in Sander's dunes and contracted the "new and shiny" disease. More on that to come soon.

Thanks for looking. The tally: 24 x 28mm infantry. 

Oh, cool, ROMANS ROMANS ROMANS ROMANS! I love Roman soldiers in all scales and settings, so very cool. I've always been too intimidated to paint them myself, so I enjoy the work of others, and the Painting Challenge is great for that! It's sad that these might be the last Romans we see from you for a while - sand fleas are quite awful, and the desire to paint something "new and shiny" is an affliction that I cannot avoid basement overflows...

I laughed at your description of the models "fighting you tooth and nail". I think most of us can sympathize, all having at least one project in our hobby lives that resists progress at every turn. I generally encounter this with resin figures, not metal ones - I suppose the painting Gods (or sand fleas?) simply strike whenever they feel like it. 

And more hand-painted shields! Madness! Madness I say! But bloody cool. Between the basic points for the figures, the bonus points for the Challenge Island location, I will use my minion powers to toss in another five points for the shields. Great work Eric!


From AdamC: 'X Marks the Spot' - Two Soldate de Saintonge on Snow Lords Peak (40 Points)

Curt requested I do a project showcasing Regiment Saintonge and I am happy to oblige him as I had two French Fusiliers left over from a long ago project.

"What's this, these fellows can't possibly be from the same regiment!"  says the Snow Lord. "Their Uniforms don't match and all know that a regiment should have matching uniforms!" 

Well my good Snow Lord that's a little quirk of history.

In 1776 France set up new uniform regulations under the guidance for the count Saint-Germain. The 1776 ordinance, which is shown above, was almost universally hated.  The coat was very tight using a minimum of cloth in the Prussian fashion.  Saintonge had an orangish red called 'Aurora' by the uniform regulations, with a blue collar. This same regulation got rid of bear skin grenadier caps (which was ignored by most) and a weird four cornered hat (which were gone by the time of the Expedition to America).

By 1779 a new regulation was under taken resorting more traditional cut to the coat and a new and less varied colors shown above.  Now the French replaced items in rotation. Certain items like gaiters, breaches and hats were replaced annually but coats would be replaced every three years and so when Saintonge left for the United States 1780 some of the men were still in the old uniform. We know some effort was made to get everyone up to current regulation but Saitonge fell short by some 200 men who went in the old uniforms.

So the Yorktown campaign saw the odd spectacle of men from a single regiment wearing two very different uniforms.

The Bottle gourd is a popular image for a French Canteen but the troops sent to America had tin canteens issued before going.  The sharp eyed will not the uniforms are of the same cut.  No one makes a true 1776 regulation French miniature since the men of Saintonge were the only ones to use them in any significant action.  To learn more about Regiment Saintonge please visit our website: 

Points two 25mm figures for 10 points plus 30 points for the Snow Lords Peak for 40 points.  

Hope this has fulfilled my task, oh Snow Lord.


Adam, this is terrific. I really enjoyed reading the history you provide of the Regiment's uniform changes during this period. You definitely get the impression that this Count Saint-Germain considered his new regulations as the pinnacle of military couture ('aurora' indeed), but others must have seen him as bit of a loon, having to redo his regulations in under three years! That must have been a logistical gong show. A great bit of sartorial history.

With your task complete we'll start the arcane arrangements of getting your Challenge X prize to you.

'The Naga' by TomG

Congratulations Adam!


From ScottM: Mekkus at Bromley's Butte (75 Points)

For the next leg in my journey, we stop at Bromley's Butte. For this site I decided to go with the Mekkus Seeker from Bombshell Miniatures' Counterblast line. The Seeker is a small stealth unit for the Mekkus faction. The Mekkus faction are machines that turned on their creators and exterminated them. Now they strive to wipe out everyone else in the galaxy. So a real friendly bunch.

This fig was ridiculously easy to paint up and I almost feel bad to claim 30 points for it. To complement this stealth unit, I've painted up all the remaining Mekkus units still sitting unpainted on my shelf.

First up is a Central Command Unit.

This figure is actually quite large and is a good solid hunk of metal.

Next up is a resin Artificer. The Artificer is basically a repair unit.

Next is a pair of Defenders. The one on the left is equipped with Gamma Disruptors while the other one carries Particle Blasters.

And finally is a group of Harvesters. The two on the left carry Particle Blasters and the others have Gamma Disruptors.

And here is the lot all together.

And that completes this stage of my trek. Next stop: Piper's Peak.

So that should be: 9 x 28mm figs = 45 + 30 (location bonus) = 75 points


A recurring awesome feature of Curt's Painting Challenges is the chance to see new miniatures one has never heard of - these "Counterblast" figures are totally new to to me, and it's great to see them (and see them painted up, to boot)! Fine work Scott.  

"Machines that turned on their creators and exterminated them." Now, why would we ever worry about that, right? (Checks for latest on Huawei...)

Great stuff Scott, keep up the good work!