Sunday, 16 February 2020

From BenitoM: Oberst Steiner at Hawkins' Hill (35 points)

In my tour at Challenge Island I climbed today at Hawkins' Hill and found a long-forgotten friend, stored in a drawer since 2015 (!!?).  

This is Oberst Steiner (a.k.a. Michael Caine) of the "Eagle Has Landed" fame. In 2015 (my first Challenge) my core project was a German Fallschirmjäger unit for Chain of Command. This mini representing the famous film character was supposed to be my Curtgeld for that year and also the Senior Leader of the force. 

As many times happens, I painted the copy that was shipped to Canada; but for different reasons (I don't honestly remember which) the second copy ended unpainted in a drawer. It was only when thinking about what I may have at home to comply with the Hawkins' Hill conditions (paint something pending from a previous Challenge at least 3 years old), that I suddenly remember this mini.

This is a very nice model from Warlord and is painted as featured in the last part of the film: British army trousers and boots, the Luftwaffe leather flieger jacket, the officer's visor cap, the iron cross in neckand a British Sten SMG hanging from  the shoulder.

Unfortunately, I have been checking in Warlord's website and the model is no longer available, so I was very fortunate to buy the two copies.

This entry should add 35 points to my Challenge score (5 points for the 28mm mini on foot + 30 points bonus for the site). Now strolling towards the Snow Lord Peak ... and to wait what Fate has in store for me.

Great work on this figure and a fitting entry for Hawlins' Hill.  Good luck on your push to the summit, I may see you up there shortly.

Ray's Challenge Atop Snow Lord's Peak

Tossing off the sandbags, Ray sprints up the remaining stretch to reach the summit. It's early dawn, with the early morning light just reaching the peak.

Flushed with his exertion, he pushes his floppy hat back on his head and yells, 'Oi! Is anybody up?! 

This week's Snow Lord Peak brought to you by Mount Joffre, Alberta.
Fuzzy slippers scuffling through the drifts, the Snow Lord sleepily wanders from of his Mid-Century Modern cave, curlers in his beard, a tiny espresso cup and saucer pinched in his huge hands.

'Bloody 'ell, Ray. This is a bit early, mate.'

'Sorry Snow Lord. I couldn't sleep and thought I'd just come on up.' He goes on to mutter something about being driven out of the base-camp by Tamsin and the others.

The blue monstrosity's eyes widen in horror, 'Are those budgie smugglers you're wearing? 

'No! They're, um, a part of the mountaineering harness.'

'Hmm, I didn't know Speedo made climbing gear.'

Ray blushes, holds his huge plumed hat over his midriff and looks around, trying to find something to change the subject. 'Nice place you have here. Great looking herdstone....' He squints, looking into the herb garden, 'Are those foxholes and a bunker?'

The Snow Lord mutters, 'Don't ask. Greg's lads were feeling a bit skittish. We'll need to get those filled in.

Ray rocks on his heels, 'Sooo, got any treasure up here?'

The Snow Lord sputters on his coffee, 'Now, that's a bit of a segue.'

Ray smiles brightly, 'Well, I thought I'd just cut to the chase so you can get on with your day.' 

The Lord of Snow harrumphs, thinks for a bit and then raises his head. 'Okay, I think I've got one for you. We all know that you've painted loads of figures for these fabled rules called 'Donnybrook', but the thing is we've hardly seen evidence of an actual game being played. So, I challenge you to paint but a single figure for Donnybrook, BUT you have to play a game of it and post a proper battle report on the Challenge blog.'

Ray gawps and cries out, 'That's just cruel!' 

The Snow Lord slurps the last of his espresso and smiles, 'No, you wearing a 17th century hat accessorised with a Speedo is cruel. This is simply hubris.'


Well Ray, the Snow Lord has called you out. Let's see a game of Donnybrook!


From MartinC. Joshua's Dwarven Allies (84pts)

So I'm halfway through the next army For Joshua. Scooty had bought the Dwarf army pack from Pendraken but not had chance to paint them so they were passed on to me and I started them a couple of days to go.
They were a joy to paint with really nice casts and interesting detail

The missle trops come in 3 types. 9 crossmow men. These were the most bring of the figures

7 archers - I gave these some cover

All the Dwarfs are very beardy and have massive noses

9 handgunners

Next up 12 Dwarfs mounted on Shetland ponies - these could be the worst cavalry unit ever and would make better mounted infantry

2 mortars. I put these in a pit and added an extra fig as the guard

2 bombards. I put these behind swing door mantlets made from coffee stirrers

The door pullers are converted spearmen and the commander at the front is the wizard from the army

The play test showed that we need lots of generals and heroes. te general is on the larger stand with the standard bearer and the guy playing a massive alpine horn. I once saw a cow bell marhing band in Switzerland. Trippiest thing ever as the largest bells are the size of a dustbin and hung from the hip

The whole army so far. I have 3 units of warriors to paint but a really cool model arrived in the post yesterday and I'm off to paint that.

Scores on the doors

47 10mm infantry = 47
12 10mm cavalry = 24
4 10mm artillery pieces = 8

So 79pts.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho it's off to war we go!  Great army of short people Martin, lots of firepower.  Love the scratch built mantels on the bombards, I've thrown in 5 extra points for those.

ChristopherS: Fallschirmjäger MG42 and crew (35pts.)

Pushing forward  with my fallschirmjäger project and perhaps a bit over half way now I figure.Thought it was time to start adding some support elements to my force. First up is a MG42 mounted on a tripod with 5 crew and a junior leader if I decide to include one with the crew.

I based the figures individually for both causality removal and if I wish to take them off their base to place them in more tight places like buildings and such. Another note on basing in that I place my regular troops on 20mm bases but my leaders are on 25mm bases to easier pick them out. The large base is also pretty handy for moving the whole team around.

As usual for my fallschirmjägers I used mostly Vallejo paints and mig pigments followed by AP and highlights to get my results. I added a piece of wood which I painted up and added some moss to further enhance the base.

The figures are all Artizan and are some of my favorite models to paint as they are very painter friendly so I highly recommended them if your looking for models offering easy access for your brush.

I have more fallschirmjäger coming as I'm remarkably still able to keep some focus!

So 6x 28mm figures comes out as 30 pts. to be added to my slowly growing total.

Thanks for viewing!
Miniature Company- Artizan Designs

Wow, that's a lovely group of Fallschirmjager Christopher.  But what really stands out it that killer basing, love it!  It would be a shame to remove a figure and spoil the impact of that group.  Well done all around, I'm adding 5 points for the scenic effect of the base for a total of 35.  

From TeemuL: 4 winds at Mudry's Mesa (51 points)

-There is a sign!
-Thank god we are finally there.
-Lady Wonger and her retinue will continue, we will land here, thank you very much, Lady Sarah.
-A nice mesa, but I hope those samurais are friendly...
-No worries, they seem to disappear to the four winds, just like the sign shows.
-Okay, nothing to see here, just a plain mesa. Take a closer look at a sign and decide where to go next. I want that treasure!

One option to enter Mudry's Mesa is any figure bought after the Challenge was announced. Well, I built this handy sign this week, so I hope it qualifies. It can be used almost anywhere, but of course it is very handy at Mudry's Mesa, since it shows the four different destinations next to Mudry's Mesa. But I'm sure there are lots of similar landscapes around the multiverse and time. I guess there is someone using some rules to play games on this Challenge Island, so some scenery is needed at some point. I'm not going to make any measurements, but boldly claim 1 point for the sign. It is based on 25mm round base and painted mostly with Contrast paints (I seem to paint pretty much everything nowadays at least partially with them...).

Just in case the jury is feeling strict about the rules, I throw in 4 samurais as well, arrived in mail earlier this month by YourModelBox. So if the sign is not accepted, these samurais (painted in Contrasts mostly) should do the trick. Here they are shown running to the four winds like mentioned above. Beware of samurai invasion around the island.

Here's another picture of them, neatly in line. Two running guys on the left are from Steel Fist Miniatures. The tall one in the middle is an exclusive model by Model Box, Yasuke the African Samurai - the first foreign samurai in Japan. The guy on the right is a Warring Clans Character by Footsore Miniatures. They are bit different scales, Yasuke being the tallest, but I based them in same way (but forgot to tidy up the base trims, need to fix that).

This is Yasuke, I like how the pinkish purple works with his darker skin and yellow and green equipments. I added some freehand to the cloak (or what it is called), since I have seen that samurai were not only colorful, but decorated as well. I'm sure the cloth would not fold that nicely to show the pattern, but it looks nice this way.

This is from Footsore Miniatures, bright and colorful chap ready to fight. His skin tone might be a bit dark, but paler than Yasuke anyway. He is almost much smaller and was provided with a thinner base. I tried to paint some triangles on his cloth, but after a while decided to keep it in one color.

These two are from Steel Fist Miniatures, they came with separate hands and heads. I used some contrasts and some rarely used metallic paints on these. Let me point out, that I have no idea about the colors, is there any meaning with them, any uniformity or any rules, I just picked some colors and painted what looked nice. My very quick research showed, that the colors used were not similar to what I have been used to in European history or in Fantasy settings. Their color schemes seem to match some Space Marine Chapters in their color oddity. But yes, I don't know much about the Samurais or history of Japan. I don't know what to do with these, but at least they are out of my unpainted mesa and matched this challenge requirement.

4 roughly 28 miniatures for 20 points
Mudry's Mesa bonus for 30 points
Sign for 1 point

Total 51, and then to think where to go next (three locations done).

Oh Lord send us a sign!  Excellent take on the Mesa theme Teemu.  I would have accepted the signpost on its own (love the Challenge island references BTW) but am happy to see the four samurai.      I have a lot of respect for anyone who tries Samurai figures, I am simply not up to the challenge.
Anyway enough blather -51 points it is.

From TomM: Sarah's Balloon: Scrying Pool Spirit (17 pts)

And so it comes that we take the Balloon once again, for the third time already (yes, it is a handy service) to travel to O' Grady's Gulch.

And as a matter of payment, I present this time a piece of 3d printed scenery, the spirit of the pool.

This nice little piece can be found on Thingiverse, and is an upgraded version of the standard scrying pool found in the DutchMogul repository, making a watery spirit materialise out of a scrying pool.

Considering the female forms of the waterspirit, I found it a good moment to paint this piece up in order to have it on my fantasy gaming table in the future.

And to that end, I guess she is worth 5 points like a 28mm figure?  The pool is larger, but nowhere near the needed amount for a cube of terrain anyways.  I also saw someone get some extra points for using the balloon a third time, but as I couldn`t seem to find that anywhere in the "how to count your points", I didn`t add that evidamente.

Next stop, O'Grady's Gulch!

I like this water spirit very much Tom, lots of movement and you done very well with the textural details on a mostly two colour model.  It's a 10 point frequent flyer bonus for your third trip.  Plus I'm scoring this as a 40mm piece given you've tagged it as 32mm and it's bigger than a standard foot figure.  So that makes an untidy but prime score of 17 points.

From DaveS - In Command (25 points)

I've now completed some of the command troops for my Union Sharp Practice force.  Three Leaders, plus a standard, and a drummer.  With these, the only thing that I am missing to have a painted starter force are the skirmishers.  These are half done, and will be the next post (along with my mystery, and as it turns out, hard to assemble, figure).

The officers

The standard bearer.  He will have a flag, once I decide which regiment these are going to represent.

So that's 5 models at 5 points each, for another 25 points I think.

Nice work on these Dave, they'll do a fine job leading your forces onward.  I especially like the officer at the top.  I added labels to your post and assumed that these are Perry's, please let me know if there's another manufacturer at play here.


Sunday's Minion

I got word this week that Miles will be able to resume his minoring duties next week so this will be my last Sunday of duties.  Translation:  I offed up so badly that he's coming back to make sure that the job gets done properly.

Only a couple of posts marked ready in the queue plus one for the Snowlord.  I'll check back over the day to see what else turns up.  Sounds like most of the UK is in for a story day so maybe folks will do like LeeH and get some painting done.

From NoelW: A Gift from the Orient - For the Challenge of Snow Lord's Peak (69 points)

Take a week, the Snowlord says. He doesn’t say anything about where to take it, or what to do with it. Typical. I always say “Never trust a man in a czapka, especially when it was clearly pre-owned by a badger.”

So we’re off to the seaside. After all, we’ve not seen any sand for – it must be – what? Perhaps as much as three days (as long as I don’t count what’s accumulated irretrievably in my socks and jockey shorts). As we’ve nothing better to do, we can paddle for a bit, construct a sandcastle and then – er – paddle for a bit. Maybe build a sandcastle.

Hey! look at that driftwood. Well, yes, I suppose it does look a bit like a hut. I’m sure it’s abandoned. At least, it definitely ought to be. It looks so rickety the next storm may well blow it down, which makes it a health and safety hazard. Duty of care obviously demands we must make it safe, if you would get my drift.  We’ll be doing the ex-inhabitants a favour.

Besides, it’d make a great boat. Just what we need. Once we’ve the Snowlord’s treasure in our pockets we can sail away from the misconcatenated mix of miscellaneous mise-en-scenes that make up this mesmerising map of mischances as fast as a greased eel from a buttered hosepipe. Better build a really big ship, though – there’s no telling how many piles of treasure the Snowlord will want to heap on us when he's properly reviewed our valiant exploration of the island.

Yeah – make it massive. We don’t want to have leave any of that treasure behind, do we? Brilliant. Come on, put your backs into it.

Doesn’t time fly when you’re watching people sweat?

Who's this, now? Looks like a miniature lizard carrying a miniature lizard on its shoulders.

What do you mean the Snowlord wants to see our tribute? What tribute? He said “take a week, then come back and have some treasure.” I heard nothing tributary even hinted at, and I was listening at least nearly half the time.

Oh he has a big club, does he? Is that right? Does "big" mean it’s a club with lots of members? No? Rather the opposite?

What’s the opposite of “members”?



Luckily, I’ve spent the whole week working on our tribute. That’s it over there. No, not behind the inverted hut – that is the tribute. It’s a ship. A treasure ship. Almost done – just need to add a rudder, a few sails, maybe a prow or two, and she’ll be as clinker as a sagging baggywrinkle.* Leave it to me.

Just got to figure out how to get it up that mountain…

*Actual nautical terminology, apparently.

So, I spent a whole week without lifting a single paintbrush in anger, other than to work on Warlord’s Black Seas, the French 118 gun L’Orient. (I even had to forgo the many pleasures of painting the bathroom ceiling. My wife will be writing an official complaint to Snowlord’s Peak). This is the biggest of these ships I’ve yet worked on, and I found I needed pretty much the whole week to get it right, because it’s been a project filled with hazards and mistakes: a spilled paintpot splashing the model, a dropped ship, bent masts, and a horrible whiteout from overuse of matt varnish – all of which demanded major remedial work.

L’Orient, you’ll probably know, was Vice-Admiral Brueys’ flagship in the 1798 Battle of the Nile, which exploded spectacularly in the middle of the French line, pretty much sealing the fate of the fleet there and then, and, ultimately, the fate of the army in Egypt, too. The loss of the fleet left Napoleon’s forces unsupported, and ultimately unable to fulfil his Middle Eastern ambitions, so he abandoned them. 

I rather enjoy the precision and attention needed for building, painting and rigging a model as detailed as this. It starts like this:

and, if you’re lucky, ends up something like this:

Here's a terrible photo of the sternplate:

I’ve learned some approaches to the rigging on smaller Black Seas models  which make the task a tad easier (for example, thread the rearmost thread before gluing on the spanker boom [excuse my language!]) and I quite enjoy doing it. However, I'm no longer the young sprightly person I appear to be, and that often makes the enterprise frustrating: I’m increasingly clumsy, always impatient, and my eyesight seems to be failing more rapidly than might be expected.

So finishing the model feels particularly good even though I'm aware of several issues which I hope my photographs don’t expose too clearly! I can see at least four areas of the model that I’m disappointed with, but I reached the point where every time I corrected something I made something else worse, so this is the final model.

I did take the opportunity of this build to try a few things. Firstly, the “ratlines” are not those provided by Warlord, but are woven from cotton using a jig. I’ve used Warlord’s acetate ratlines on other ships, but found them difficult to put in place and I'm not too keen on the opaqueness of the acetate, so wanted to see whether actual lines looked better.

I think the extra work of making my own is justified, though it’s still a fiddly business and I've not perfected the approach yet. The spacing is uneven and the horizontals (the actual ratlines, which sailors used as a ladder) should all be trimmed flush with the verticals (the shrouds, which hold up the masts are so are much thicker ropes than the ratlines). Getting the look of these right is pretty much a personal thing, as a better representation in this scale would make the horizontals almost invisible.

Secondly, I’ve fixed the ship to a transparent base. I’ve been experimenting with magnets set in such bases for the smaller ships – not very successfully – but this ship is so big it’s easily knocked about, so it has to be fastened to a permanent base.

However, I overdid the glue, so that squidged out messily at the sides. So, thirdly, I copied Warlord’s photographic technique of using “snow” powder to simulate sea-foam, to hide those glue-marks. This is only a temporary effect for the photos, but it works surprisingly well – even though the foam is on the base and so “floating” above the sea-cloth which shows through. So I might decide to glue snow permanently to the base.

Pointswise, it’s difficult to score. I think it’s the biggest 1/700th ship yet posted in the challenge. As that's roughly 2.5mm “scale”, I thought about suggesting that I’ve painted 118 guns, four boats, 1 ship and three flags, which at 6mm would be 129 points, so half that = 65 points. However, I suspect the Snowlord might raise an eyebrow or perhaps a spiky club at that suggestion!

So far in Challenge X, brigs have been awarded 10 points, frigates 18pts, a 3rd rate 24 pts and a 1st rate (74 guns) 28 points. As L’Orient is 118 guns but as a model only about 10% bigger than a 1st rate, maybe 32 points is about right? 

Here are a couple of photos for scaling judgement. L'Orient is a tad over six inches from stern to tip of the bowsprit.


Haha! This is most excellent Noel. It's been 7 days right to the hour and I'm positive I could hear your teeth gnashing from half way around the world. :)

Assorted mishaps aside you've done a beautiful job on 'L'Orient'. I particularly like the fine detail work on her stern gallery and the clean brushwork on the yellow stripes and red gunports. But for me the real triumph is the woven ratlines you've devised. Wow, what a great effect! I think it really adds that extra dimension of realism to the model. Brilliant work.

As to points, I'm going to follow your recommendation of 32 with another 7 for the detail work and each day of painting purgatory. This added to the 30 for the location gives us 69 points total. 

Finally, as your prize, we give you Ray's excellent 'Warg Rider'. I thought this pair might make a lovely addition to your existing LotR collection.

Thanks Noel for being such a great sport! You can now carry on pulverising the points roster with reckless abandon. :)