Monday, 29 January 2018

From Curt: Breitenfeld, 1631 - The Protestant Center, in 2mm (107 points)

A couple of years ago Sarah and I were visiting Sidney and his lovely family at Roundwood Towers, and one night, over a few glasses of plonk (okay quite a few glasses) we were discussing his new project at the time, the 1632 Battle of Lutzen. Sidney had most of the figures and terrain pretty much sorted (and little gems they are) and was in the process of getting into the grist of the rules. (I highly recommend you visit Sid's blog, Roundwood's World, where he charts his thoughts and progress on this fascinating project.) 

Sidney described to me what he was wanting to convey in the rules: that they were to be a simple set of instructions which could provide a fun game, rich in 17th century character, and easily played during the course of an evening. Being a bit of a rules junky, I began to proffer a stream of unsolicited advice to poor Sid, to the extent that, by the end of our visit (happily marked by several more empty bottles of plonk), we had hammered-out the core mechanics of a set of rules which we've titled 'Swinefeather' (as a nod to the soldiers' term for the fork-tipped musket rests they used during this period).  


This past autumn we were back for another visit, and Sid and I took the opportunity to give the rules another run-through, making more adjustments and knocking off a few rough edges. It was at this time that I thought that it might be helpful if created a couple of 2mm forces so we could better playtest the rules at a distance, bouncing ideas back and forth. 

With this in mind, I decided that I wanted to do something similar to Sidney's approach, that is to pick a specific battle to which to build a couple of forces around. With Lutzen well and truly covered by Mssr. Roundwood, I decided to jump in with both feet, and set my sights upon the 1631 battle of Breitenfeld. Yes, nothing like picking one of the biggest battles of the Thirty Years War to break one's duck! Nonetheless, I thought that the upcoming Painting Challenge would provide perfect impetus to get this project off the ground and moving forward, so off I went.

So here, after that very long introduction and no further ado, are my first efforts in this new project. What I'm showing here today is the 2mm order-of-battle for the Protestant center at Breitenfeld, which was perhaps around half of the entire force commanded by Gustavus Adolphus on that dusty day in September, 1631.

Gustavus' center was commanded by General Maximilian Teuffel, with his second in command being John Hepburne (an officer of Scottish mercenaries, a fairly common fixture in Swedish service at that time). Hepburne took command of the center after Teuffel was killed earlier in the day, so I've included his command stand to reflect that occurrence. 

The Swedish right and left wings were led by Johann Baner and Gustav Horn respectively, and on the extreme left flank Gustavus was joined by the ill-stared Saxons under Johann Georg, Elector of Saxony (more on those lads and their associated commands in a future post). 

The (wee) man himself, Gustavus Adolphus and staff.

Johann Walter's 'Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden at the Battle of Breitenfeld'

The center was made up of four successive lines composed, alternately, of infantry and cavalry, and each positioned to support their friends to the front, either to exploit successful breakthroughs, or to provide reinforcement in the event of the forward lines being thrown into disarray by the enemy.

Most of the models seen here are metal castings from Irregular Miniatures. They can be a bit 'blobby' at times, but on the whole they admirably convey what they need to and are great fun to work on. On the bases I've tried to reflect the Swedish manner of how they arrayed their formations (the famous 'Swedish Brigade), including their doctrine of having small battalion guns prividing close fire support to the infantry.

The four troops of Protestant cuirassiers assigned to the Swedish centre.

The basing is:
- 60x30 for the infantry brigades, 
- 30x30 for the troops of cavalry,
- 60x60 for the massed artillery,  
- 30mm rounds for the wing commanders,
- and 40mm rounds for the army commander

I augmented the Irregular casting with a bespoke 3D range that I found on Shapeways by  a very creative company called Forward March Studios. These miniatures are printed in a white polymer resin which is quite robust and takes paint very well. 

A 2mm Windfarm!

2mm command groupings

I ordered a good sampling of their stuff, so I should have more to show from this range in the coming months. Below is a base reflecting Gustav's concentration of guns that I've created using the Forward March models.  I like the long line of gun carriages and caissons running behind the guns. Something you don't often see in larger scales. The charming windmill is from their range as well (see the unpainted examples above).

I've followed in Sidney's creative footsteps and pimped the bases with banners cut from wine bottle foil (lot of that around here it seems) and painted a coloured strip along the back to denote their nationality (here we see IKEA blue for the Swedes). As several of the big battles of the period (including Breitenfeld) were fought in the fall I gave the bases a bit of an autumnal treatment. 

We've come up with a mechanic were we mark the status of the units with small beads; yellow for 'Shaken', orange for 'Disordered' and red for 'Shattered'. In order to keep the beads with their associated units, I drilled out my bases on their top right corners and glued in small pegs, this way the beads can easily be inserted and (hopefully) kept in place during gameplay.

So there you have it. The core elements of the Swedish/Saxon force at Breitenfeld. I hope to have the two cavalry wings and the Saxons done before the end of the Challenge, wish me luck!

Thanks for stopping in for a peek.



It's really hard to impartially describe the great feeling of pleasure and admiration I have for seeing these figures, Curt!   Knowing the period reasonably well, and those Irregular Miniatures figure blocks FAR too well for my own good, I can honestly say that these are just simply magnificent and a true work of art.

There's so much to admire about this submission.  The figures are wonderfully painted with the detail and care of a true craftsman.  The selection of formations is just about perfect for the dramatic entry into European history of The Lion of the North - right down to the tiny formations of commanded shot and the battalion guns which the Swedes wheeled up alongside their brigades. One imagines the ghost of Gustavus would nod appreciatively if he could see this battle array.

One of the stand-out models is the trayne of Swedish artillery, with the wonderful caissons stretching back behind the guns, all overlooked by the wonderful windmill.  Just breathtaking, Sir!

But perhaps the thing which catches the eye most is the brilliant and wonderful way you have weaved the Autumnal theme into the bases which perfectly fits the September ground as it would have been in the actual battle, complete with turning leaves.  Such a lovely touch!  

What a joy these will be to play with!  One of the most iconic battles of the Renaissance, unfurling in 2mm over a space which could be as practical and as compact as a kitchen table.  Great work, dear friend....great work.

For points, I make that 8 foot bases (at 6 points each), 4 horse bases (at 6 points), one large artillery base (which I will point up at 15 points owing to its size), and 5 command bases (at an value of 3 points each).  So, 102 points in raw model form, but I'm going to add another 5 points for the theme (Autumn), the imagination of the bases generally to make a total of 107 points.  I'll make sure they get added to your total, and to our Renaissance Duel, which is hotting up nicely!

From PhilH: Another Week, Another Mutant - Nightcrawler (7 Points)

Gooood evening Challengers. It's Monday, 2145: time for me to squeeze in my quick entry for the week.

Yup, we're back at Superheroes Mutants again. Sorry, I know, it's not you guys' bag. But they do let me get all my favourite colours out for the same model, and go crazy with my high-contrast, bright colour-y painting.

This week's Mutant is another of the X-Men: Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler.

Quite a few of the X-Men look pretty much normal, dorky attire aside. Less so this guy. Dark-coloured fur to help him hide in the shadows*, two-toed feet and three-fingered hands, yellow eyes, pointy ears and a prehensile tail.

*The bright red bodysuit and white gloves/socks, not so much....

Oh, and for good measure, he has superhuman agility, adhesive hands and feet to climb walls and the ability to teleport, passing through another dimension. This is often illustrated with the delightfully onomatopeic sound "bamf".

Normal, he ain't. I like him.

What's a bit odd, is that where some guys bring a nice chunky tactical rock to give them a few inches on the next guy, Nightcrawler was sculpted with a tactical....kerbstone? Tiny set of steps to nowhere? Nope, I've no idea what Knight were thinking here, particularly as it doesn't fill the base. Probably just "whatever will get him in a cool menacing-hunched-but-vaguely-realistic pose".

Knight Models 35mm from the discontinued Marvel Universe Miniatures Game. Really nice sculpt, the pose and definition are much better than many of the other MUMG sculpts and totally capture the character.

And then there were three...


Sometimes its just wonderful to let loose with a paintbrush, some bright colours (and some contrasting ones) and a wicked imagination.  And, Phil, you are absolutely the right Challenger to do just that!  Nightcrawler is just brilliant!  I think that your contrasting colours (and the rich, wonderful baroque style with which you've used them) are fantastic.  The deep red, the unearthly bleached grey hands and feet and that wonderful, shifting deep grey-blue skin show just how much you can do with a single model.

Really wonderful work, Phil - and had you not mentioned the kerbstone (yes, that is odd!), I would never have noticed.

A richly well deserved 7 points for the figure and a strong request from me, to you, for many more mutants in Challenge VIII !  Bravo!!

From SamuliS: Hamster wheel of Doom (80 points)

Kill-Crush Man-Things! Glory to the Horned Rat!

A little change of pace from mass painting historical miniatures. One of my all time favorites from the Warhammer Fantasy universe, the Doomwheel! A rat riding in an oversized hamster wheel powered by smaller rats and fitted with plenty of blades and warpstone powered apparel. What's not to like? This is the second and newest incarnation of the model and actually one of the minis where I can genuinely say that it looks far better than the Oldhammer incarnation. Sounds like blasphemy, but I think this really captured the whole concept spot on.

This marks the start of my Skaven army project. A nice appetiser before I start grinding through over a hundred clanrats and some 40 Stormvermin on top of that... I've got different warmachines prepped that I'll allow myself to paint everytime I finish a unit of rats. Hopefully that'll provide enough variety to keep me interested, but I'm not really stressing about finishing this quickly. Probably going to be painting units in the ninth painting challenge as well ;)

I'm trying to keep the paint jobs pretty simple throughout and maximizing the amount of airbrushing etc. I can do to speed up everything. On this it was surprisingly easy with the whole kit being broken down to about 15 subassemblies that I painted nearly completely before putting the whole thing together and adding final highlights. Also a lot of the detail was done with just a basecoat and a wash without any highlights anywhere. It feels a bit like cheating, but works pretty nicely with all the wood and metal parts and really cuts down on the time I need to put into getting things done.

The banner proved a bit tricky as it's pretty darn big, but very wavy. First I was thinking about doing some larger pattern going through it, but after the first attempts abandoned it and decided to paint it with one main colour and add some simple freehands to spice things up. Freehanding is really something I need to practice, but it always just seems so darn daunting and everytime I try to do something complex it looks like it was drawn by some 4 year old. I'll need to see if I can find any Skaven themed decals anywhere to make things easier. As far as I know Games Workshop never made any, but someones bound to have made at least some fan made ones.

I left it without a base for now as I'm not 100% decided on whether to go for round basing and Age of Sigmar or go the older direction with square bases. Age of Sigmar actually seems like a pretty good ruleset now that it has points and a proper matched play system. And the scene for 9th Age etc. is pretty tournament focused, which I'm not really interested in so finding nice casual games might be a bit tricky.

And as an end note. Why on earth do they have to make so darn fragile minis... The flag pole is pretty flimsy and bends just from shaking the mini so I was sure I'm going to break it at some point. Didn't expect that to be 10 minutes after I varnished it though... The whole thing fell on the floor thanks to a rather inquisitive dog sniffing at the new mini on the edge of the table. The flag pole snapped near the bottom and some other pieces fell off. All the other areas were easy to mend, but the flag pole now clearly shows where it was glued back together... Oh well I guess it was inevitable.

Points wise I'll leave it to the hands of Sidney. No idea what it should be ;) One giant hamster wheel, 1 seated crew, 1 rat operating the bellows and 12 tiny rats powering the whole contraption.

Artist: The Fratellis
Song: Chelsea Dagger


What an amazing contraption, Samuli !!  I can only look on and marvel and admire the great craftsmanship, vision and ability anyone has in making and painting such a thing.  Awesome work!!  

Every army is special, and every collection of figures that we start needs a special beginning - something which knocks the ball out of the park, and is something which, when those long hours at a painting table start to add up and almost ANYTHING on Netflicks looks worth watching in preference to yet more white Austrian uniforms, we can look back at and say "Yes, that's what I'm doing this for!"

And for you, my dear friend, it's going to be this crazy, insane, warped, chaotic, vermin-chittering, manically-squeaking Doom Wheel of DOOM!  I know it's going to give you hours of fun, and pleasure, remembering its creation.

I love the green colours and standards (always a perfect Skaven colour), and the way in which you've picked out so many highlights.  But, as you say, why do they make those war machines so fiddly and prone to breaking - such a shame, but here's hoping you can fix it.  Don't at all be downhearted, Sir, as this is a work of special wonder.  

So ... points.  Gosh....15 for the crew, 36 for the tiny rats (at 3 points each), 5 for the bellows operating rat, and 20 for the Doom Wheel, and an extra 4 for putting the whole thing together so well.  And, all in all, that would be 80 points to add , very deservingly, to your total !  Well done!

From EvanH: The Admiral, The Ettin, and The Ruined Tower (60 points)

Greetings Challengers, we're back in hot and humid Old Sydney Town, aka Satan's Armpit.

This week, ladies and gentlemen, I've managed to pull together a small selection of figures and terrain for your enjoyment. I trust that they will meet with your approval.

First up, I've revisited an old friend of sorts from back in AHPC VI; Chaos Dwarf Admiral Thadrak Krakenbane, last seen enjoying a well-earned rest at the Happy Acres Twilight Home for Retired Warriors.

Well, here he is in his heyday, the commanding officer of a fleet of demonic ironclads which is the terror of the deep. He's a 28mm Scibor Miniatures Moscal Lord, a very characterful sculpt.

I decided to give him some suitably sea-green armour to reflect his nautical heritage, working up from a dark gunmetal to silver with successive layering to a final drybrush, before applying a coat of green glaze, Citadel's Waywatcher Green. I'm quite pleased with the final effect, as the highlights are still visible through the glaze, giving the figure an eerie, eldritch look.

Is it just me or does he bear a slight resemblance to Sir Laurence Olivier?
The face has a look of grim determination, appropriate for this character.

The blade is battered but serviceable, perfectly suited to its purpose.

He stands atop a forbidding stone head, perhaps on a rocky promontory, viewing the last of his foes sinking beneath the waves...

Next up, a monster who shows that two heads aren't necessarily better than one, a Reaper Bones Ettin. This is an old D&D fave, the two-headed cannibalistic ogre of fairytales. He's ostensibly a 28mm figure, though he comes in at around 54mm tall. In line with similarly-sized '28mm' figs, I've put him down for a tentative 10 points.

His base is a Warbases 60mm round, built up with cork scraps, pumice paste, and slate chips. Some skulls have been strewn about to give the impression of a maneater's lair, and Tajima1 tufts finish off the basing.

Lastly but not leastly, a piece of terrain, Citadel's 'Dreadstone Blight', a ruined wizard's tower. I've had this kit stashed away in the garage (aka Hot Narnia) for about six years, and the new terrain submission rules seemed like the ideal opportunity to put it together and paint it up. 

The bulk of the model is finished in a conventional drybrushed grey, but there are some smaller courses of stone which look as though the wall has been patched up with different materials, so I painted them up in the same red sandstone scheme I used for the Pictish chapel and standing stones earlier in the Challenge.

Now this is a Games Workshop product, so the decorative motifs tend to follow a certain anatomical theme...

Skulls! Quelle surprise!
I tried building one of Professor Barks' patented Skull-O-Meters™ to determine the skullosity of the piece, but it inexplicably burst into flames when I ran it over the model. 

The lowest level of the building has a roundel in the floor depicting the eight symbols of the Colleges of Magic, each with its appropriate colour. The centre of the roundel is filled with a corroded bronze mechanism of an unknown nature. The bricked-up doorway suggests that someone has tried (not altogether successfully) to seal off a symbol of the chaotic powers...

And... more skulls! Fancy that!
The model is based on a Warbases terrain base, with a mix of sand and assorted gravel to dress it up a bit, finished off with the ever-popular Tajima1 tufts.

The whole piece is 10 inches by 7.5 inches by 7 inches, so I reckon that translates to two cubesworth (a cubesworth being the internationally-recognised basic unit for terrain volume measurement), or 40 points. Add the 10 points for the Ettin, and a further 5 points for the Admiral, and this submission comes to a princely 55 points (assuming that our moderator, the estimable Mr Roundwood, approves!). 

What's next? Not certain, but it's the last week of my holidays, so I'd better use what hobby time I have wisely and make it count! 

Stay tuned... 



What a fantastic collection of miniatures and terrain, Ev!!  I have to say, I have long been looking forward to meeting Admiral Thadrak Krakenbane again since his appearance in his robotic yellow duck in Challenge VI's "Nautical" themed round.  I am delighted that he has retained his nautical, sea-faring theme.  It is also good to see his best thespian - even Shakespearean - facial expression, daring his troops to laugh at him this time...   Well..... maybe that will work, but my hopes are not high.

The bi-headed monster is wonderfully suitable for Challenge "Ate", and I love the groundwork you've produced.  Certainly its up there with the best being seen in this wonderful Challenge so far.

And well done for producing the most skull-filled, kaleidoscopic entry of the Challenge so far in Dreadstone Blight!  As much as I love the look at the hypnotic College of Magic Roundel, I can't help but thinking of the children's game "Simon Says" ...

Perhaps the Changer of the Ways has introduced a new fun way for transporting contestants with the wrong answers to a different plane of existence.  "OK.....feet on the buzzers..... oooops.... whoosh.....  Is there another contestant please?"

Wonderful work in all three submissions, Ev.  Certainly 55 points, but I'm going to add 3 for the excellent basing overall, and another 2 for the sheer pleasure in seeing Admiral Krakenbane again.  Give him my best regards when you next visit The Happy Acres Twilight Home for Retired Warriors....

From KyleC : Khorne Bloodbound gang (55 points)

So I am just squeezing these guys out in time to post on the Monday...

A few chaps and I have begun our own little tale of 4 warlords competition to get us all back into Age of Sigmar. We each chose our own little starter box, and have gotten into it.

I picked Khorne Bloodbound as they could easily be partnered up with my Nurgle/Death Guard forces in the future as a separate detachment ( with some liberation taken on what units count as ). That and I have an idea for the force that might be really cool or horrible depending on how it is executed...

So far I have worked over the Slaughterpriest and the Blood Warriors that come in the boxset. I have realized that my OSL work on the orange is lacking on the main model, so I want to test it further before I place it onto the infantry itself.

They will all also get a dosing of snow, but only once I have the whole starter box finished up ( 3 Juggernauts and riders to go now ).

If I can manage it I will head into the local GW shop and put them up against the others in this current army painting challenge that is going on. Will see how I do against the rest of them, even if the third round involves a model/unit choice I am not looking to buying nor think I need at the moment.

The Blood Warriors took me forever this week to get completed due to all the rims on the armor sections needing metallics applied. But I think it worked out in the end.

So 11 models at 5 pts a piece, makes an easy 55 pts! Not the best, but it does the trick!


Woah,..... Kyle!!  These are magnificent!  The whole unit just oozes menace, and the pale blues and frosted tones really blend very well with the metallic armour.  That's a lovely looking unit, right there - with a particular shout-out for the fire-eyed skull sitting at the base of the huge half naked guy with the cleaver!  I would not want to meet these guys on a snow-bound walking expedition (...or indeed anywhere!)

It's always fun to build up forces with other players - taking a few units each and see where you all collectively get to.  I'm sure these will definitely be one of the stars of any show when the games start coming.

Terrific work again (and congratulations on the very well deserved second place in the "BFG" round).  In total, these chaotic maniacs will add another 55 points to your spiralling score....taking you over your initial Challenge target of 1000 points....

.....which means with Benito and Narval, you're officially one of our heroes of this Sixth Monday of the Challenge!  HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!!

From ChristopherS : FIW Pennsylvania Provincials (45pts.)

Provincial troops are best described as a troop class that is somewhere between regular troops and militia. Unlike regular soldiers who served for x number of years or militia who were raised only for local needs in times of emergency provincial troops were formed from a province and recruited for a period of time to complete a specific military campaign or duty like transportation, manning forts etc. that could be local and further abroad.

In the French and Indian war a colonial governor would raise the provincial formation under a field officer often of high political standing with experience in commanding militia and junior officers with good standings in their local community. Were militia tended to be every man doing his duty for home that was often filled with men of some import the soldiers of provincial formations on the other hand were of less import to society shall we say and recruiting would either be voluntary through offering money to men without property and uncertain futures to a draft if needed that typically targeted persons they wanted to get off the streets so to speak. You could also pay others to take your place in the draft if you had the means.

Pennsylvania Provincials served on the frontiers manning forts and guarding against raids from Indians and French. A notable task they did take part of was the expedition against the strategically important French held Fort Duquesne that resulted in the French retreating and burning the fort down on their way out.

I decided to do some Pennsylvania Provincials because of the simple reason I like the green and red colors of their uniform. I doubt they looked this well turned out, but we as painters tend to paint things in their best light. Using the most excellent Kronoskaf as a guide I opted for a dark green on these because later I will be doing some rangers who will be wearing green as well albeit a lighter shade to help distinguish the two from each other. What he have here is a corporal and 8 soldiers wearing full equipment for my first group which will total three units in the end plus a command to be used for Sharp Practice or Muskets and Tomahawks.

I really enjoyed painting these figures from Galloping Major as they are large figures with very well raised detail and are what I like to call painter friendly making me look forward to the next batch. That said even thou they are painter friendly they still are time consuming figures to paint simply due to all the hats, buckles, straps, clothing layer etc. however when finished I do really like the look they give making the work pay off. I suppose that is the reward for painting lace war and Nap figures in the end and is what keeps us coming back.

The colors I used were once again Foundry with some Vallejo and my ever trusty Mig pigments for some good dusting on the stones. 

So nine figures should give me 45 points. Thanks for viewing! (Miniature Company- Galloping Major)


These look wonderful, Christopher!  Everything about these lovely figures, and the way you have painted them, just looks 'right' - from the fine colour choice (green and red make such a nice combination), to the careful shading, to your trademark (wonderful) basing and to the lace work on the uniforms.  Well done indeed!

I love fielding militias on the table, mainly because there is always that element of uncertainty about how they will perform.  Of course, they might be utterly useless, unnerved by the fighting and seeking an early exit from the field as soon as practicable.  But, then again, they may be unlikely heroes and heroines, about to write their own place in the history books with a moment of military glory.  So, fielding a unit like this gets two thumbs-up from me, Sir!

Congratulations on a well deserved 45 points to add to your total!