Monday, 30 December 2019

From Paul O'G: Monolith at Cook's Crevase (55 points)

Deep in the forbidden forrest, shadowy figures dance and writhe, chant and drum. 
Shadows flicker over an edifice of horror erected to Dark Gods...

To close out the hobby year, my next stop on Challenge Island is Cook's Crevase where "Entries must have a Geology Theme".  I may even be the first to visit this place, and what says Geology more than a giant, creepy stone Monolith!

Rear view - more skulls and grisly trophies!
This adds to my growing Fantasy terrain collection - the model is the current GW Herdstone model, useful for any large blasphemy or even Pulp era Cthulhu cultists (and its been way too long since I painted anything for that genre).  A relatively expensive plastic kit, it was a real delight to paint and had a myriad of details that I spent waaaay too long on for a Painting Challenge - I'm just not a speed painter at heart, and if detail is there then it needs to be painted!

Side view
I went with a darker granite colour rather than a more typical grey rock - I think it gives it a more sinister appearance.  I also tried some OSL effects from the fire, keeping the bottom half of the monolith a bit darker to make that more effective and also help the lower runestones show up better.  So while the colours looks straight forward, I thought about them in far more detail than I usually would bother!

This entry is also my opening salvo for the "Skully McSkullface" side challenge which Barks initiated, and its a skull laden good 'un too:

Fireplace: 11 - yes Barks, I even painted the ones facing the inside
Herdstone: 24, I lost one along the way :-(
Model Base: 9
Total SkullCount: 44!
Evidence for Barks - painted skulls on the reverse side of the fire before the main stone is glued in.
Details of the fire OSL - fun, but time consuming!

Points wise this fills a full 6inch terrain 'cube' for 20 points.  I'll let Curt decide what bonus points the detailing/OSL are worth, plus another 30 points for the map location.


This is truly a great geologic find, Paul. Geez, look, at least 44 geologist gave their lives in its discovery - poor dumb b@stards. Skully McSkullface indeed! 

Good gravy, I just looked up the price for one of these things! You have sold your soul to some dark power, O'Grady. You must be stopped. We call upon the only man who can thwart you... Barks. 

Game on.

55 points. I know, it's tough love, Paul, but it's character building and you'll thank me in the end... ;P

From SanderS: Landfall at Challenge Island - Awdry's Atoll (96 Points)

Hoi There!

Finally, I have made it to Challenge Island! As I want to try and visit all locales upon this island in as straight a route as possible, I needed to decide where to go ashore. One of the challenges that had me moaning the most upon reading them, was Awdry's Awfull Atoll where we needed to do something on a CD! I have dabbled with these as bases in the past, but can't say I liked it much as a medium.

 The CD's I used for these are old History Methods we used at school.

So I really was in a bad state as to what I should use for this particular entry. That said I also got a sprue of Gaslands vehicle upgrades with Arthur at the Crisis and a whole box of cars so... You wanted a vignette Awdry? You'll get one! Here's some 20mmDark Alliance figures with a Hot Wheels car for you to peruse. I had the most fun painting the pick-up, the rust specially is something I like, I am not good at it but just like doing it.

The whole atoll

 Rocks made by using plastercast moulds from a railroad scenery line (Noch?)

The vehicle is left separate in order to be used racing across the Badlands.

I would also like to show you my Challenge Island Entry Fee figures. As I was checking the lead pile to see what to paint during this Challenge, I stumbled along these two ACW miniatures from Foundry. Now idea whatsoever how I got hold of them but since I am not doing ACW in 28mm at this time, I thought someone else would enjoy them.

They seem a bit glossy but that's because I took the pictures before using the "Anti-shine" on them. I intentionally did not flock them thinking the receivers might want to do that themselves in order to tie them in with existing armies.

If my maths doesn't fail me the following should be the amount added to the total.

4x 20mm = 16
1x 20mm vehicle = 15
2 x 28mm = 10
1x 30 from Awdry's Atoll
1x 25 from the Entrance fee
equals 96 points!


Haha, I like your idea of actually making an atoll for Awdry's Atoll, Sander. This being said, I'm not sure how the half-ton works in this story. Maybe it's been stranded by the incoming tide? Part of some abandoned cargo? Or, yes, a cleverly disguised high-speed powerboat (James Bond on a post-Brexit budget). No matter, it looks great and suitably weatherbeaten  - a suitable jalopy for Challenge Island. 

Your tabulations are correct and you're now ready to strike inland! Well done Sander.


From JohnM: Further Adventures in 3D Printing (60 Points)

For the last 3-4 months, I have been immersed in the world of 3D Printing. I started with terrain to learn the skills needed to utilize this technology but over the last month I have been experimenting with printing vehicles on a FDM printer. It is quite a challenge and I will accept that a Resin techonology is probably the way to go here. However, I still believe that for wargaming, FDM vehicle prints are a good option. I recently had a game an EW CoC game and my opponent was playing the Belgians and decided he wanted to take some French tanks as supports. Well I have no French tanks as I do not have a French force (yet) so we had to use some substitutes. Not an ideal choice and this is actually a little more difficult as vehicles are hard to find for some of the more minor nations (no offence to the those nations of course).

But in the 3D Print world this is not the case, and with a bit of googling I found several different STL files for French tanks. The tricky bit is how to print these STL files, as it is not a case of just hitting print. Problems include what type of supports to use, how do you orient the vehicle on the build plate ( I have tried flat on the side vertical as well as on a tilt all with different degrees of success). My prints have improved but I am still not even close but I am hoping you will agree they are ok for wargaming. Enough blather, time to move on to photos.

There are 3x his in the bin!

EW German AFV's, the PzIV ausf c was a particulary hard find, need some decals and then they will be sprayed with mat.

decorative vehicles

For the AHPCX 
Char B1 bis, sort of lost control of the dirt!

I am not a big fan of the black lining between the camo

Somua S35

Have to find some French decals

Hotchkiss H35 and 39

As you can see the striations on the models are quite a challenge and although these were all painted with an airbrush there was some runoff and spidering. Now if I could just figure out this secret island stuff!


I did not realise you are also in the thrall of 3D printing, John. It's nice to have another in the fold. 

Even without the national markings these look very good. I like the camo and weathering you did on them. Did you get them off Thingiverse or were they private purchases? 

As to supports, you should check and see if Chitubox works with your machine. Byron turned me onto it and I found it to be a great slicer and support generator. 

60 points it is. Well done, John.

From PeterA: FAA British Paras (96 points)

After a short break for the festivities, I hope you are ready to resume your Safari around Challenge Island. Today we will be reaching the second stage on The Path of History - Millsy's Millpond - which is famed for its fascinating collection of antiquities thought lost in time. If you look carefully, you should be able to see a small collection of FAA British Paratroopers, although their Denison smock camouflage can make them a trifle difficult to spot.

These figures were apparently released into the wild sometime in the early 1990s as part of the SALUTE programme (long before it relocated to Excel in London). These are particularly rare as they are from the original native British stock; alas they have now been all but superseeded by their American cousins since FAA relocated across the pond. Nevertheless, we are confident that this group of 14 is actually part of a larger group that will push numbers up above 30 - perhaps, if we are particularly fortunate, more will be spotted before the end of the Safari in March.

Now, if you have all finished taking pictures, we will be moving on to our next port of call - Benito's Brook!

I hope everyone has had a good Christmas and is enjoying the festive season. For my next entry we have 14 FAA WWII British Paras in 20mm. These were bought at a SALUTE show sometime in the early 1990s (I have no idea which one, possibly pre-EXCEL, but who knows?). They were bought along with a first edition of the Rapid Fire WW2 wargames rules, but have then languished in a plastic bag at the bottom of the lead pile ever since, as other shiny things competed for my attention. But the siren call of WWII (my first wargaming period - thanks Airfix) pulled me back and I have slowly been getting together forces for Operation Market-Garden. I dug these out and got some Battlefield paras to supplement numbers; to be honest the latter are much crisper castings and I have focused on getting them done first. So finally, with the incentive of the Challenge and after only 25-ish years, I have got around to painting (some!) of them. 

So 56 points plus the 30 for the task plus 10 for the backstory should net me 96 points, and two stages in the Challenge Island Safari Tour completed.


These look terrific, Peter. I have a soft spot for 20mm WWII as, like you, I was introduced to it during the late 80s / early 90s with Rapid Fire. (Does anyone still play those rules? I have an urge to dig them out and give them a go again). I think you've done a great job on the Denison camo and I like the early autumnal look of your bases, apropos for Market-Garden.

As to points, we typically give half points for prone figures, but I'll pop it back up for the mortar. 96 points it is!


From JamieM: Maelee and Vivienne Gale, space junk salvagers (60 points)

Oh how the old hands laughed on the docking bay of Space Port Theta Gamma 512.  These two girls were saying they were going to salvage space junk and turn a profit?  In a pink spaceship?  Who did they think they were?  Mind you, the laughter soon stopped once they saw what these two managed to bring in on seemingly every run......

Maelee had always had a knack for fixing up mechanical objects.  Fixing up other people's junk and selling it on was how she earned enough credits to get off the dead end world of Augustus XVII, joining the crew of a cargo hauler.  Meeting Vivienne on board changed both of their lives as Vivienne had also long dreamed of making her own way in the galaxy.

Jumping ship at one of the tedious stops on the ship route was made easier when they purchased a near derelict shuttle at a ridiculously low price from some locals in a bar.  Maelee's skills proved invaluable to getting the shuttle space-worthy again and who cares that some previous owner had thought pink was a good colour choice?  The two now make good credits from salvaging the space junk floating around Theta Gamma 512.

The space port had previously been strategically vital to navigating the lynchpin Newberry system and as such had been the site of 4 space battles in the previous 50 years.  'Course, the opening of the Newberry bypass shunt had significantly diminished the value of the place, so there were good credits to be made investigating all of the junk floating around the space from all of those battles now things had quietened down.

Vivienne uses her jetpack to investigate whilst they're out and hauls in likely looking finds.  The pair of them then use the well worn (but perfectly serviceable) tools they have to take the most valuable parts back to port.  They've even removed the seats to fit more treasure in.

Anyway, this submission is intended to pay for my trip on Sarah's Balloon and consists of two Bombshell Miniatures figures and an MDF shuttle recently released by Blotz in the UK, who are purveyors of some fine MDF scenery and vehicles.

Maelee the Mechanic is a KS exclusive from the very first Bombshell KS who I managed to pick up as part of a decent sized KS lot someone was selling on eBay for a very reasonable price a few years ago.  Vivienne was also part of the KS.  The idea for this submission came when I saw the MDF shuttle, which is designed by one of my regular gaming buddies who has genuine talent for this sort of stuff!  The tool rack was added as a whim late on to give them something to work with using a ttcombat set of shelves and some spare bits from GW figures.

Points wise I think it's 20 for the vehicle, 10 for the two 28mm figures and 30 for the use of the balloon for the first time?

I'm hoping the balloon will fly low enough over Burch's Bluff for me to dive out and land softly enough to not break too many of my brushes......


Maelee and Vivienne are fabulous, Jamie, and I really enjoyed reading their back-story. I would totally play in an RPG with this as its setting!  

I really like the figures from Bombshell but have never tried painting any. I think I may need to get some after seeing your work here.  I particularly like the spunky blu-haired lass with the yellow space suit - such great brushwork here. The shuttle is also a brilliant piece of kit - it has a very Rocket Robin Hood sort of aesthetic about it, which takes me back to my childhood.

Great work and happy landings at Burch's Bluff!


From SidneyR: Characters from Laarden, 1688 (Sander's Sand Dunes) (95 points)

Here's my first post in Challenge X, and the long, entertaining journey which will see us all through the long winter months.  After some period of time sailing in my imagination around Challenge Island, I've decided that a fine place to make landfall is on the stunningly shimmering shingle-strand of Sander's Sand-Dunes, following the "Historical" path.  

Its a fine place to start the journey....

And while my 1688 project, focused around a fictional town in the 17th Century Spanish Netherlands known as "Laarden", is alt-History, in my own mind the "history" bit is always at the forefront of the painting and wargaming.  I thought that it was fair, therefore, to start down the "historical" path.   So, with that in mind, here's the first few characters from 1688 Laarden in this year's Challenge campaign.  

As a bit of fun, I've created a "character card" for each character, or set of characters, for the Challenge.  I'm hoping that when these characters get used in games, the cards might come in useful in setting the theme.  Using cards in wargames to add extra information isn't new of course.  However, when I used cards in this way a few years back - with various games set in the Great War - I felt I added too much text.  So I've limited the text on the cards to what is hopefully the essential items.

The Sentries

First to enter the Challenge, at an appropriately sedate and slow pace it has to be admitted, are two Flemish sentries, guarding one of the many small villages clustering in the shadows of the spires of the City of Laarden.  

I wanted to give the idea of a couple of figures which looked vigilant in their own, slightly complacent, way.  Both are 28mm Wargames Foundry figures.  

I added the 28mm rabbit, no doubt eating some of the village crops, to show just how wide awake, or not, the sentries are.

And, to get me started on the Challenge Map, I'm hopeful that I can count the russet-red-coated sentry and my toll for landing on Sander's Sand-Dunes, and also for my entry Curtgeld for this Challenge!  So, someone will be receiving a slightly sleepy Flemish sentry at some point.
Challenge location #1, done!

And here's the Sentry Card for Laarden Character number one.

"The Harvest Goose"

Next up, there's a small group of figures for any tavern, all in 28mm from Midlam Miniatures.  These are lovely figures, in old-style 28mm, with no flash or casting-lines.  

I swapped out the head of the tavern keeper (adding a Redoubt head, which looked more Flemish), and gave Roosje, the tavern lass, longer hair (an unruly mass of auburn curls) and a demure cloth headscarf.  Both the extra hair and headscarf were greenstuffed onto the figures.  I liked the idea that the tavern lass has added the headscarf while her arms are resolutely uncovered - some form of youth rebellion going on there, no doubt, even in 1688.

And Laarden Character card number two...

The Herald

Finally, I wanted to add something vaguely menacing and French to this group of characters, and came up with the idea of a Herald of France.  I've always liked the idea of an army sending forward a herald to parley and negotiate with an enemy force, either in the field or prior to a siege.  The French diplomacy employed before the 1672 Dutch War was skillful, subtle and, at times, aggressive.  

Even in the slightly loopy world of the 1688 Laarden campaign, I wanted to add a French character who might weave comparable diplomatic triumphs as the French forces take to the field.  

And, obviously, being French and from Versailles, the noble entrusted to be the Herald of Le Roi Soleil looks - well, anything but martial.  

The figure is from Dixon Miniatures,  in 28mm, with lots of greenstuff added for an over-elaborate wig, clusters of shoulder lace, shoe-ribbons and a large cravat.  I added the Warbases cockerel because .... preening, French, etc.  I'm sorry - I know, not subtle, but fun!

And here's the Laarden Character card for number three.... OK, so you get the idea.  Stay tuned until the end of Challenge X and collect the full set.... !

As for the points scoring:

30 points for the six 28mm Foot figures
No points for the bunny, which the un-attentive sentry didn't see anyway.
Maybe 1 point for the cockerel, because its noisy and French
25 Bonus Points for my Entry Fee figure.
30 Points for completing Sander’s Sand-Dunes.

TOTAL = 30+25+30+1(maybe) =86 Points


Sid, your debut, while perhaps modest in number is thunderous in its sheer imagination, sense of fun and quality.

Like many here and on the blogosphere I am a huge fan of you Laarden world, and count myself very fortunate to have a few bespoke figures from your talented hands. Wow, the cards the background the figures, they are all so fun and wonderfully executed. While the Herald is a definite crowd pleaser, and probably the epitome of the French to any Faragist, I have to say my favourite is the triptych of Roelf, Agnes and Roosie, the tavern staff of The Harvest Goose. They are so marvellously characterful. As close second would be the sentry with the cheeky rabbit (I love the bristly, autumnal crop!). I also really like the cards - they really help to set the stage for the figures.

As to points, you are spot on, but I will add a few more for the subtle but deft conversions.

Welcome back to the Challenge, Sidney!