Friday, 22 January 2016

From Curt - Heidi & Hildegarde von Biguns and the Death Bell of Breugel-Bosch (30 Points)

I'm having a lot of fun with this Challenge, ricocheting between different projects and enjoying a wonderful variety of figures. This time I return to the Renaissance, or a perhaps a slightly skewed vision of the Renaissance.

This set of 28mm models is from Lead Adventure Miniatures. I'm a huge fan of most of their ranges and I really love the aesthetic of their Renaissance models. While they are certainly grounded within a historical context, these figures have a rather odd, very mannered, twist to them.  I've been so taken with them that I've collected a whole series of related miniatures that I hope to form into a distinct collection - but more on that later.

As soon as I saw this set advertised online I knew had to get it as it's just so whimsically dorky.  Depicted here is a 'crew' of a highly improvised artillery piece, the heart of which is a great town bell, 'The Death Bell'. The bell is just about to be fired in the defense of their town of 'Breugel-Bosch'.

The leader is a rather formidable woman, dressed for the occasion in helmet, partial Landsknecht regalia and sword. She wields an improvised rammer made of an old broom stick and scullery brush. This is Hildegarde. She is overseeing her sister, Heidi, in the firing of the Death Bell. Heidi, as we can plainly see, is a little more of a reluctant soul than her brash sibling. Both sisters are trying very hard to ignore the sage advise of their cousin Henri, who lost both his legs as a gunner serving in the Italian Wars. He is seen here on his hand cart, bringing up more ammunition for his cousins.

While working on these castings I came to the conclusion that they really deserved a little more pimping out. The stock bell came with a cavernous opening, but with nothing to put in it. This just wouldn't do. It was crying out for some deadly missile to be nestled inside, ready to be blasted out at their enemies. At first I made a big cannonball with some greenstuff and popped that in to see how it looked. It was okay, but it still seemed rather, meh, a bit boring. 

Then I came upon the idea that these citizens would want to pack this thing with whatever they could find in town that could be considered lethal. I immediately thought of a blacksmith's anvil and laughed aloud. I rummaged around and, surprise, surprise, found one as part of a Napoleonic forge set from Westfalia Miniatures (sorry Kawe!). From there it was just a matter of trimming down the anvil and adding some other bits, such as a sword, spear, and a few polearms (donations from the town's armoury). Done! Now the gun has a load of improvised scattershot to wreak havoc amongst their enemies!

I really liked the pillow as a recoil brake and made sure to give it a nice needlework pattern. I imagine that it's been donated to the cause by one of the town's worthy ladies - a noble sacrifice from her sitting room. 

For the groundwork I wanted to try something a little different. I really liked Sidney's cobblestone base which is featured in his latest theme entry. I didn't have anything like that handy, so I made a rather impressionistic version of a cobblestone road by gluing oblong shapes cut from an index card. Once dried I simply painted, drybrushed them up to look like flagstones, and then added some grass between the 'stones' (clipped-up tufts work well for this).

I've kept to an autumn theme again so that this 'HEAVY artillery unit' can fit in with my other Renaissance stuff.

So, there you have it. The Death Bell of Breugel-Bosch, crewed by Heidi & Hildegarde von Biguns (and helped by their cousin Henri).

Points? Um, I think the gun is worth 10 and the three crew are 15, so 25 total. Woo Hoo!

Thanks for visiting folks!

Well dude, I was a little disappointed you didn't bother with any zenithal highlighting for the bell, and this lacks source lighting for any fuses or lit cords which might otherwise draw the eye to the depth of substance in the...HAH! Just kidding! This thing is f***ing greatYou continue to entertain and inspire all of us with the skill and character in your submissions.

Leaving aside my immature snarkiness with regard to certain advanced painting techniques (which, let's be up front, are way beyond my own skills), the aptitude and appreciation on display here is truly impressive.  The "ammunition" load for the cannon ads loads of character to an already interesting little scene, so much so that I think it would be a bummer to see "just" the bell.  The brushwork is excellent all around, but that fine pillow really stands out, and really helps set the mood you are describing.  And as I have observed before, your groundwork skillz are just getting nuts bro! Those cobblestones look the business. Brings the whole thing together nicely.  I can imagine that polearm going straight through one of Peter's commanders as the intrepid crew lights that thing off...

Points-wise, yes, 25 for starters, but you get a few extra for the effort of the "ammunition", the work on that pillow and the base work.  Thirty points for you, my friend! Have a great weekend!  

From DavidB - Catachan GrassSnakes, 1st Platoon (205 Points)

Finished the 3rd troop selection for the Catachan Grass Snakes. I only have a few more bits and pieces to paint for them now. Probably one of the perverse joys I get from 40k is playing imperial guard where a command squad and two or more squads of 10 troops takes one slot of troops on the force org. Granted the lasguns are just a touch more lethal than a flashlight; yet, these 41 troops occupy a slot of 10 marines. Being numerous and Deathworld Vets, they are not going to be easy to shift either! ;)

Above is 2nd squad 1st platoon, a standard vet Sgt leads a squad with a heavy flamer, flamer, and com-link. Due too my predictably unpredictable photography, 1st squad which has a similar load out save for a chain sword wielding Sgt has been lost to the camera gods.

3rd platoon has a standard vet Sgt, flamer, com-link, and a tread-fether.  I refuse to call it a missile launcher as it has the word MISS in it! Rocket launcher could work as a title, but Dan Abbnet's "tread-fether" has more charm.

4th squad has yet another bog standard vet Sgt, a flamer, and another tread-fether. They do not have a com-link....yet. I do have several in my box of reclamation that I can paint up and attach to some troops. I may wait till later as I really should see just how many points I have collected for this force.

Above are just a few of the more characterful models I made using bits from the command squad and weapon squad sprues. The lasgun camouflaged in leafy fronds, the kneeling legs, guardsman head with the flying bandanna, and the backpack all came from those sprues. I like the pairing of the head with the running legs as he has better movement. I also like the silhouette breaking lasgun and backpack as they really help bring stealthy jungle fighter theme to the force. The kneeling Commo troop has a catachan long tooth"knife" on his back in addition to the radio. He was going to be Commo for the Catachan Devils squad, but apparently, they are far too tough to be allowed radios. Still, according to fluff it is a "just" a knife, 3-4foot long with a hollow core filled with mercury to help with the downswing. Knife fighting via Catachan rules! :)

I just have the heavy choices, another fast attack choice, the command squad, and some extra Catachans to paint yet. Being Deathworld Vets, the squads do not have to be at full strength since they operate for long periods without supply. The extra troops will let me adjust the platoon strength to represent below strength squads.

41 Catachan troops...the photo shy PL and 1st squad did make it in the above picture!

We had several frozen days of sub zero since last posting and I was dong a lot of work outside for my job. A coworker who I saved from going outside bought me the above books from a Goodwill Store for a dollar apiece. I'm now going to have a nice gourmet coffee, put on some warm socks, and enjoy a bit of reading before I dive back in the jungle!

Is Catachan blindness a thing from the 40k rule books? I've seen so many of these little buggers in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge I think I'm experiencing symptoms!  Great work on all of these guys - the size of this force continues to expand in leaps and bounds. It's a good thing that you appreciate the "quality of quantity" aspect of playing the Imperial Guardsmen in the 40k rules, as goodness knows they die by the boatload on every turn.  I have never tried the "death world vets" angle, however, and that certainly sounds cool.

And clearly I need to hit the Goodwill store fore books! What an awesome score! Well done David - we look forward to more next week.  That will be another 205 points for you today...

From SylvainR - Last of the Wood Elves (260 points)

I started a Wood Elves army back in 2010 as my first serious venture into 28mm and I chose this particular "nation" simply because, as illustrated by the French version of the codex, it had my name on it. Now I just needed to complete a few units to have all the choices I wanted from the codex.

A few days ago, 40 Eternal Guards and 6 Hawk Riders, assembled and primed, were patiently waiting to be painted. I was bound by an spreadsheet blood oath to work on them only after completing the Bretons, the Tau and the Viet-Cron.

And here they are today, ready to slay any enemy foolish enough to enter their sacred woods.

The first regiment of Eternal Guards has a grey banner and grey capes. These 20 figurines rake in 100 points. According to the fluff from the codex, the Eternal Guards are supposed to defend the forest in Winter, while the Dryads and Treemen and other Nature's nuisances are asleep.

And here is the "White" regiment, good for another 100 points.

6 mounted Elves for 60 points. The hawks were fun to paint. In the "squadron", two were painted as per the codex, then I painted one as a red tail hawk, two as black hawks and one as an albino. The boys riders have such large pectorals that they could make Rambo jealous.

Women fight alongside men in the Wood Elves army. Here are the warrior ladies of this small force: three eternal guards, two musicians and two hawk riders. Should this count towards Sarah's choice?

Another old project completed! It feels good! Soon, my level of satisfaction will just be off the charts :-).

BTW, Sophie is working on something right now that should be ready next week.

Well Sylvain, after the trauma of last week's submission, let me say how thrilled I am to see you painting something that is not sci-fi. And while I have often felt all sorts of figures had my name on them (an excuse for my collecting impulse), I can't say I've ever had that experience literally, as you seem to have! Elves Sylvain indeed.

Great painting Sylvain.  I'm just trying to figure out where you are finding the time for all of this insane painting? Some kind of mysterious Saskatchewan painting retreat where you learned to take 46 figures from primer to painted in seven days, using meditative techniques?  And I assume next week we can see all those pending regiments of 28mm Russian Napoleonic troops?

We look forward to Sophie's submission next week! Bien fait! A la prochaine semaine!

From SamuliS: Flames of War Doughboys (118 points)

After a short hiatus from submitting anything here I've finally managed to get something painted. A combination of real life induced issues and being completely fed up with painting olive drab saw this final infantry platoon in my newest Flames of War army taking quite a long time to get painted up. Still here's 53 infantry and three guns ready for review adding 118 points to my tally! Maybe this will see me start getting back on track on reaching the 1000 points in the challenge.

Funny enough looking back at the last year or so I noticed I've only painted nine 28mm miniatures and over 500 of these 15mm buggers. Considering that I don't really like to paint smaller scales at all it's no wonder that I've sometimes gotten quite fed up with the painting side of the hobby nowadays. Too bad that my club has moved to 15mm minis in Napoleonics and my main game Flames of War is 15mm as well. At least after these guys I'll only have a few vehicles left to paint up for my army for this years European Team Championship. After they are done there's hopefully some more time to start painting smaller more enjoyable projects as well as the odd army every now and then. At least the Saxons have been quite nice to paint as the sculpts are superb, but I think I'll have to throw in some more Oldhammer and other fun little appetizers every now and then :)

These are the foot sloggers from an Armored Rifle Platoon in Flames of War and a small medium anti-tank gun platoon of two 37mm guns. This year the European Team Championships is played with Mid War armies which will be an interesting change. The yanks should do quite well with plenty of bazookas and some cheap AT guns that are still pretty decent with the lighter armor that they'll be facing.

All minis are from Battlefront with the infantry being the newer plastic models and the guns being metal. Personally I hated the new plastics, but as other minis weren't available I had to go with them. The new plastic American infantry sprues are bit of a missed opportunity in my opinion as there are multiple duplicates of certain poses in a single sprue so there isn't much of a choice between poses. Also the casting is quite awful on a few of them with very distorted details etc. These are some the first plastic infantry that they've done and it really shows. On the other hand their M3 half-tracks from the same box are actually very nice. Still all in all, not a very fun unit to paint and I very much prefer the metal minis even if they aren't that great sculpts either. At least I didn't hate painting the previous armored rifle platoon that I did.

So with that done I think it's time to get on with the Friday ceremonies. It's about -30 celsius and there's plenty of snow outside so I don't really have any other choice than to stay indoors, open a bottle of whisky and start drinking myself funny. Though this would be the first weekend in a long time that I'm home and would have a lot of time for painting. A hangover definitely would make that a bit tricky. Decisions decisions... Maybe if I'll just drink enough to forget that I had to paint these minis...

To finnish (ba dum tssshhh) off here's a very appropriate inspirational quote with a slightly more appropriate background.

Good to see another healthy blast of points for you Samuli - and if there is anything in the hobby that should drive a good man to drinking, it would be the plastic WW2 products from Battlefront.  I've had experience with them as well, and I have to agree their WW2 plastics are complete sh!t. I get a little mental at all the folks who are mindlessly exalting the arrival of plastics in 15mm...but that's a rant for another time. 

Reading through this Samuli, it almost seemed as though you were flogging yourself to complete a TPS report for a douchebag boss rather than finishing a project for a hobby you enjoy! And I can relate! We've all been there (or, at least, I have), when a project turns from a passion to feeling like a job - for me, usually, its anything with camouflage. Full marks for sticking with it, right to the bitter end.  To truly love this hobby, you have to hate it from time to time...hopefully relaxation and alcohol will let you reflect on a job well done, and a good sized force now taking shape!  In fact, I have never seen Wayne Gretzky's advice, pictured above, put in such a constructive context...

This is indeed another 118 points for your total! Enjoy your drink(s), your bracing winter weather and we look forward to more next week! Oh, one more thing - for what it's worth, I vote for more Oldhammer...

From AlexS - Pikes, Horses, General and the Army of Venice is Complete! (311 points)

Hello! My name is Alex and I'm an alcoholic paintholic. I have been painting my Venetian army for 31 days now, and I am happy to say that I have finished this project.

Today I'll tell you what I have finished in order to complete the overall project. For a start - a detachment of pikemen hired from Switzerland.

Next - again with mercenaries, however, this time from the Balkans (Stradioti). I have done models with bows, and crossbows, and spears so I can, if needed, declare the unit armed with whatever weapon. I have not settled on a flag, so for now they gather around a beautiful "stick"...

Then you see the general of the army - the glorious Condottiere. I wanted a Venetian lion on his barding, but when I saw my results I think I got a dead cat, so I took a decal from a set Brettonia.

Finally, the last unit in my army - mounted knights. This time I did not use the airbrush because it was beautiful at night. I'm not sure I like the results, and I see I forgot to cut the banner...

So, thanks to this wonderful event, I did what I have wanted to do for four years - I have collected and painted small Venetian army. Thank you to Curt, and my "minion" Greg, and to all of you in the Challenge who helped me with the encouragement.

Here are photos of the whole force - including a number of units painted during the Challenge!

Congratulations on completing this project Alex! Although as you will see, and I'm sure a few Challengers will comment, I don't know of any wargame project or force that is ever, truly, "finished".  These Venetians look wonderful, ready to cause havoc on battlefields in Italy and elsewhere in some medieval gaming.  There are a number of excellent figures here, but my favourites are always the heavy cavalry, ready to stomp their opponents into the turf. 

Great to see the photo of the whole group - and it must be nice to see the whole lot of them line up for action after so many days of "paint-o-holism".  

Your pace has really been something else, and this submission will add another significant amount of points to your total - that's 311 more!  Is there another project looming for you?

From GillesW - Painting in all directions! (182 Points)

Hi everyone. My submission this week is comprised of figures I started two weeks ago - I have finally finishes the varnish, the basing and the flocking.  These are 28mm Egyptian archers - the figures are from Wargames Foundry, and I painted them with the Foundry "triad" paints.  These figures are part of another project which is "never finished".

 Here are a few close-ups:

Then the kings of the steppes, this time in 15mm from Essex miniatures, although the drummer on horse that is from Donnington Miniatures.  These are from a sort of "50 shades of brown" project for Field of Glory Ancient-Medieval rules. These are the command bases:

Now a group of armoured cavalry:

I still need to finish another group like the one above, as well as three more battle groups of heavy cavalry. Stay tuned for more on those!

Très impressionant Gilles! An excellent variety of figures in this submission.  The Egyptian archers are excellent, in particular with those signature Egyptian head caps - creates a total "Old Testament" vibe. And the ancient cavalry is very well done - "50 shades of brown" indeed! I don't much care for painting horses, and you have done an excellent job on this lot.  Armoured cavalry and heavy cavalry are always some of the most fun units to use in any wargame, and these fellows look the business. 

That is 182 points for you this week - we look forward to your soumission de la semaine prochaine!