Friday, 28 February 2020

From SidneyR: More "Characters of Laarden", 1688 - Millsy's Millpond (65 points)

It's time to open up the collector's box, Beloved Fellow Challengers, for another two more character sets in my (very self-indulgent and nostalgic) Challenge X “Characters of Laarden” collection.

First up, we have Gerrit Vermuelen. Every town, regardless of scale and period, needs a rat-catcher accompanied by a small but vicious dog. He’s the sort of person you don’t really look too closely at. A man from a class, or a world, beneath yours. Part of the background to the city in which you live, invisible to the eye in daylight and even less noticeable in darkness. A man to see, but not be seen. Someone to know things, but not be known. What better background for a French spy?

Gerrit is an old sculpt from the famous Citadel C46 Villagers range. He’s been hanging around my spares box for half a lifetime, wait for a moment to creep into the shadows and get painted. He had a wonderful medieval-style head cap on, to which a middling-sized rat was clinging. I’ve updated his “look” to the seventeenth century by swapping his head for a Redoubt head with large but stained and rat-claw-scratched floppy hat.

His character card was fun to do, and looks like this....  I made sure to fade and taint his card, according to the faded and tainted morality of his devious calling.

For the second "character", we move from the villainous to the virtuous in the shape of the villagers of Sint Vaalben. This small, but strategically useful, Flemish village is on my list to scratch-build later this year, mainly to give the villagers somewhere to defend! 

The six villagers are more Foundry 28mm figures, this time from the Foundry ECW range, equipped with wickedly sharp Bicorne farm implements. I’ve no idea how I’ll use these figures. Maybe they will be surly, monosyllabic, unwelcoming locals from every traveller’s nightmare, blocking the road north to Laarden? Or maybe they’ll be mercenary enough to see a handsome profit in supplying the highly-entitled French military nobility with delicacies such as Hoetveld capons, Ghent eels and local woodland-reared wild boar? 

Who knows, but here’s one of their many possible character cards for the “Characters of Laarden” collection....

I was hoping to claim these as the next adventure on Challenge Island, adventuring on Millsy's Millpond. 

So we have "miniatures from prior to the year 2000"  - CHECK - as regards all of these figures. Indeed, all of them were sculpted before 1990 (Gerrit in 1985, I think), and the Foundry villagers from the ECW range being 1987. Indeed, I am sadly old enough to remember getting excited about these ranges when they first came out, folks. 

But, but, but.... when did I ACQUIRE these figures? I think that is what's required to really be floating confidently on 'Le Millpond de Millsy'. Ah, now that's harder.

I bought the villagers in 2018, so in the lead-mountain of Roundwood's Towers, they are mere youngsters. Gerrit, however, is a genuine oldie. In fact, the Gerrit figure is old enough for me to not remember when I got him. It might have been in 1989 when I was playing Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, or he might have been purchased when I started re-collecting the C46 Villagers around 2002. No, it's too hard - I can't be sure, dear Challengers. So, in accordance with the very strict terms of the Millpond, that's not good enough ("...non-specific acquisition date, Sidney? Sorry, no extra bonus points!"). Harsh, but maybe fair in the long run. 

So, after that Shaggy Dog Story, we're back with the final points for these characters:

Six surly villagers = 30 points
One villainous ratcatcher = 5 points
Millsy's Millpond bonus points = 30 points
No extra bonus points for the Millpond because I've no idea when I acquired Gerrit the Ratcatcher.

Oh well, that's still a very fair 65 points for the Challenge total, I'd submit, M'lud Millsy....

And here, with the new Character Cards added, is the Challenge X Laarden Collection so far:


What a superb set of characters to brighten up my evening after having to deal with Ray. Lovely painting and basing as ever Sidney.


From RayR - Benito's Brook - Dulce et decorum est...... (35 points)

Gotta admit, I did struggle a little with Benito's Challenge, then I found this little figure, that I picked up as a freebie at The Other Partizan in 2018.
Its entitled Dulce et decorum est The Great War 1914-1918 and sculpted by Martin Baker

"A figure or vignette related to some brave feat of arms, almost hopeless against impossible odds."

It was the last two words of Benito's Challenge that inspired my choice of a downtrodden and exhusted Tommy .

It was a hard figure to photograph, as he's actually bowing his head in sorrow or weariness?
So I had to angle the figure up so you can view his face. 

I kept the basing plain, no grass tufts or anything other than mud and dirt.

He was a enjoyable if quite solemn figure to paint up and for this reason he shall be put up as another Curtgeld figure. 

Should be a very plain and simple 35 points?

An excellent submission for Benito's Brook.


From MikeF - Imperial Militia Malcador Tank (20 Points)

The newest addition to my Imperial Militia army, is the Malcador Heavy Tank from Forgeworld. Game play wise it's probably not the soundest choice, but I love the World War 1 look it has. This version has two autocannons in the sponsons, a demolisher cannon in the hull and a battle cannon in the ...turret? Not sure where they're stowing all the shells, but I guess it's not much different than 10 space marines sitting in a rhino! The tank is actually of appallingly bad design. It's so bad in fact that author John French directly addresses the tanks design flaws in his novel "Tallarn" by having one of the characters comment on how awful it is. Chief among them is the fixed turret.  The tank then goes on to kill countless Iron Warriors without those design flaws having any impact whatsoever because...The Emperor!?!

28mm Vehicle for 20 points.

That's a very red tank Mike - must be quick because we all know that red'uns go faster.


From JezT: Challenge Island Pipers Peak - Swiss Skirmishers (40 points)

Dear All,

Making slow progress along the Path of Imagination. Now Pipers Peak means Mountains and Mountains means Switzerland and this leads to the famous Swiss troops of the Renaissance period. I already had some Swiss pike but did want to get a new alternative skirmisher Swiss crossbow unit to support the pike in any of my Impetus rules games.

Just a simple two figure crossbow entry based as skirmishers. The third picture puts them in position skirmishing in advance of a pike block. Pretty sure these are old Foundry figures.

So that 10 points plus 30 for the challenge – 40 points and on to Roundwood’s Tower. Also got me in the mood to get out my renaissance armies for a game!

Cheers Jez

Another visitor to my Peak whilst I am on minion duty, and what great Swiss skirmishers these are.


From MartinC Piper's DON'T Peak (79pts)

Like most of us during the challenge we acquire random figures that we don't get round to posting. Most of these are started when we squeeze out too much paint.This year we use them to navigate around the island but I have now run out of different figure types to fulfill other locations. I am sans boats, 15mm scifi or even floppy hats and I had to look up Horus Heresy (think I may be a heretic!).
So in an effort to clear my desk so that I can produce a massive 10mm paint bomb - that may be an oxymoron - I have decided to post them now.

This beauty is a 40mm high Balrog from Grenadier made in 1986 (been to Millsy's Millpond). I didn't buy it then but acquired it in the last few years in a job lot

This 40mm Amazonian Warrior also came in job lot and was an entry figure for Salute - never been there either. I've also been in a balloon and although Sarah is an amazing pilot the inflight bubbles go up my nose

This Damsel is from Dark Sword Miniatures. They are very expensive - £7 each but I bought this and many others in a Northstar sale for £1 each. 

Alex posted some Neanderthals he had made earlier in the challenge and he very generously sent me some. So I painted them up and they look cool

Finally the optimistic theme of the post

Another Medusa. DON'T PEEK. Hope that passes muster and as the Chief Flight Attendant is on duty tomorrow I'm optimistic
Scores on the Doors

2x 40mm = 14
7x 28mm = 35
Peaky Bonus = 30
= 79pts

Well, she definitely passes muster even though the theme is "taking a peek" rather than "not taking a peek". An excellent collection of random figures.


EricM-28mm Late Roman Cataphracts (168 points)

 This week I am rolling out the heavy metal.  I was able to finish two small units of Wargames Foundry cataphracts.  While I like the figures, I am not a huge fan of the two part riders that connect at the torso.  I think the torso connection creates variety, I can see the possibility of them coming apart.

Here is the first unit

 I went a little crazy and painted the lances just to break up all the metal

Here are some close ups.

The second unit is a little more vibrant

I am not as happy with the shields on the second unit as I am the first.  Painting lines in a circle are defiantly my Achilles heel.

Here is the class picture

16-28mm Cavalry.

Thanks for looking 

Those cataphracts look simply smashing Eric. I'm going to award you a few bonus points for the hand-painted shield designs.


From SebastianR: Making basecamp (plus bonus tanks!) (111 points)

The firelight played across my silent companion as he ate his beans straight out of the can. I knew trying to engage him in conversation was wasted effort. Any inquiry about him, the island or even or road ahead was met with monosyllables or grunts. He was a good shot and a sure guide and quite frankly, that was all I was paying him for. I supposed conversation was extra; way beyond my budget. I couldn't help but feel that the other travelers through this land had perhaps raised expectations in terms of pay. The settlement where I had picked up my guide - nestled in the empty cranium of some titanic humanoid war-machine, now long abandoned - had the air of the aftermath of a party. I was here to pick my way through the empties and find the one drunk friend who had drunkenly begged for a lift an hour ago.

Regardless, I had to make the peak, and it had to be soon, the weather was clearing up, and soon the island, and its many colourful inhabitants and visitors would be gone.

My companion froze. His keen senses must have picked up another badger moving at the edge of the firelight. He slowly placed his beans on the ground and worked the action on his leaver action. Following his lead, I drew back the hammer on the badger replant and strained my eyes into the darkness looking for the telltale sinuous shimmer of bunched muscle and pencil long teeth. Even here in this gulch we weren't safe from their predation. Tomorrow, the attempt on the peak would have to begin in earnest.


A friend of mine is into... a very specific aesthetic. It's victoriana, meets steampunk, meets post-apocalyptic. If you're thinking Mortal Engines you're on the right path, or hell, you could just check it out yourself. He's not selling anything as far as I'm aware, just constructing a (shared) world.

The recent lead pile culling uncovered a handful of pieces which I think fit in well with his vision; this particular piece of the challenge gives me the opportunity to paint one up and gift him the lot.

There's nothing particularly steampunky about this figure (a more adventurous sculptor than I might decide to glue some gears on it) but the wild west is contemporaneous with the British Victorian period, and there's something about his gaunt aspect and demeanor that says post-apocalyptic to me.

And because I need three photos of the thing, here's Andromeda, a massive floof, wondering why she isn't getting any attention. (Also I solved my lighting setup problem!)

In my first non-challenge bonus points submission, here's a bunch of 6mm British light armour, light armoured vehicles and APCs for Team Yankee.

I've been sitting on a job lot of British late cold war vehicles for some time now, and have finally got around to stripping and painting them (plus supplementing them with a number of fresh GHQ models.

It feels almost unfair to compare the GHQ models to whatever the other ones are, such is the difference in the quality of sculpts.

I've been getting a lot of use out of my airbrush, as I feel that brushing on paint, or even spraying from a can leaves to thick a coat and can obscure details. It's a been a mixed experience.

With one whole formation from the new WWII Team Yankee British book filled out, there's plenty more in the pipeline. The best thing about 6mm is that you have both the space, time and money to do any and all forces you want, at least more so than other scales.

With 2 jeeps (proxies for the Spartan command unit) 16 Scorpions, 8 Scimitars, 4 Fox', 4 Strikers, 4 Spartans (actual spartans for the as yet unmade AT support team) plus my taciturn rifleman and 30 bonus points I make that 111 all in.

Lovely stuff Sebastian. I think it's a good idea to go with 6mm for Team Yankee - it gives a much better look than 15mm.