Saturday, 18 January 2020

From PaulSS - Andalusian Jinetes (65 points)

Todays entry is six Andalusian Jinetes from the Gripping Beast range to be added to my El Cid collection.

These fellows have been in the backlog so long they could easily have counted towards Hawkins Hill, but there is plenty of time and old lead for that. One of them is on the very old original Gripping Beast ponies, likely I could have entered that one for Millsy's Millpond.

I painted these in pairs over the last few days, and the 6" of snow we got yesterday evening meant that though my game was cancelled I did get these done ahead of schedule and have already started on some Berbers.

As with all these old Gripping Beast El Cid models they are a delight to paint and as luck would have it there are still a few left in the backlog of shame that I hope to get done over then next few days.

Six 28mm cavalry should net me 60pts towards my total.

I know I keep saying this but I love the clean painting style so many of you have.  While I turn out good results, I have a very sloppy back and forth style that provides a very different final result.

I am always so impressed when you guys come up with these awesome clean and bright looks where I can cleanly see that you started from black and never once screwed up and hit the black line dividers....  no idea how you all manage that.

These are simply lovely Paul, awesome work! I am very much jelous of your brushskills on these ones, especially the hand painted shields and patters, for which I am awarding you a bonus 5 points.

- ByronM

From GregB: Another Bunch of 28mm WW2 Winter Germans, Sigh (50 Points)

28mm German late-war infantry from Warlord Games.
More winter WW2 Germans? Yes - sorry everyone, but I'm trying to focus a bit to take a big bite out of this project.  So yes - even more 28mm WW2 Germans in Winter kit.  As with my other entries from this project in this edition of the Challenge, these are metal castings from Warlord Games' "Bolt Action" range. I'm in a "winter" state of mind, and the local conditions in Winnipeg are helping that:

It's January in Winnipeg, after all...
Certainly the winter weather helps inspire to paint these winter-themed figures. This is one of those "something I've always wanted to do projects" so I'm keen to rip through it and get a force big enough for a game sometime soon - certainly before the snow melts.

The Red River, frozen solid behind my house...

The back yard, buried in snow :)
These specific figures are slightly different from the others - these are meant to represent SS troops, hence the adjustment in the winter look.  While there are some white pants and helmets, there are a different assortment of coats and anoraks.  There are also some attempts at German camouflage peaking out from under the winter gear.

The odd cammo pattern peaking out here and there.

View from behind showing assorted kit.

LMG crew trying to get the MG-42 ready for action.
German WW2 cammo is a very intimidating subject, particularly in the context of the Challenge where so many of the participants can paint camouflage so well. Not only was it complex, but German camouflage is the sort of topic that you understand less the more you try to study it. There were so many different types of patterns, spread across so many different types of kit.  Different coats, different cuts, M41 this, M43 makes me nuts.  The Germans apparently had reversible camouflage garbage mittens! This group is like a Mountain Equipment Co-Op with guns - studying up about it makes me a bit mental, and I'm never sure I like the results...but there is only one way to improve, that is to practice, so here we are!

They look glossy in spite of the use of a matte varnish.  Is there any matte varnish out that actually dries matte?

Another view of the riflemen.
For the most part I left the cammouflage mostly underneath - on the odd pant leg or helmet cover. The jackets (M41 or M43 or whatever) were issued in grey and tan (but...not white?) so I used a mix of both on the coats. But I did attempt to copy the so-called "Italian" camouflage for the NCO's coat. This is a pattern referenced in the box - I tried to research it but gave up after web searches surfaced a number of contradictory references.

NCO in the middle - square base - sporting "Italian" camouflage (at least, according to the Warlord box...)
I'm perplexed by how often I see photos/miniatures/colour drawings of German troops mixing white-washed helmets and white coats with some of their fancy camouflage.  Would you still wear the "autumn leaf" pattern (or whatever) with snow on the ground? Maybe...woods and forested areas still have lots of brown, even once the snow starts falling? Whatever, this NCO is wearing the cammo-edition of his coat, snow-be-dammed.

The pose for the LMG team is a bit disappointing. What is it with sculptors and their determination to sculpt LMG teams in odd poses? At least this group sort-of-looks-like they are trying to get the weapon into action.

LMG crew.

One of their comrades seems to be saying - "hey, maybe use that ***ing MG42?"

Quite a few in this bunch are sporting the later-war STG44 assault rifles, and between these and the panzerfaust launchers overall they exude a distinctly late-war vibe to them.  That's OK with me - I like to game the late-war very much, but I'm going to get some more rifle armed figures just to dampen out the number of assault rifles.

Is that guy on the right struggling with the panzerfaust?

The guy on the left looks a little extra-hard-core with the bandaged eye.
One casting is kind of odd - he looks like he is holding the panzerfaust like maybe he is getting ready to use it? The pose is looks less like he is going to fire it at a tank or hardpoint, and more like he is getting ready to sneak up on one of his buddies and prank him with it...given the power of that warhead, I can see the prank going wrong...

"Group photo" of the 28mm Winter WW2 project to date...
Here is a "group photo" of the project so far - about 37 castings, not bad, but they need to be rounded out with some other bits.  Hopefully that will follow soon, although I can feel the squirrel in my brain straining to chase something new...

For scoring, this is ten different 28mm figures, which should net another 50 points.

What a perfect project given our local weather Greg, I know I spent the day trapped at as well in the accumulating snow.  I had a pile of French homework that kept me from getting as much done as you have, but was home painting most of the day as well.

Your accumulation of figures here looks awesome and I am sure they would blend right in outside in the snow.  I have heard you rant on about the insane amount of subtle differences that the German forces had and it sounds to me like the path of insanity to actually worry too much about getting it exactly right.  As long as they look good (and yours look great!) I wouldn't worry too much about it.

I have always loved your painting and these figures are no exception.  I can not wait to get them on the table and get some games in!

- ByronM

From EvanH: Abelar, Sable Tribe Priest of Daka Fal - Millsy's Millpond (55 points)

Greetings, Challengers and Challenge Fans!

I'm moving on from Sander's Sand Dunes to Millsy's Millpond, where the following rules are presented for aspiring explorers;

"Paint one or more miniatures from prior to 2000, any genre, any scale. Bonus 10 points if the mini(s) are pre-1990 or bonus 20 points if pre-1980. Extra 10 points if you can provide a backstory on how and where you acquired the mini(s) e.g. I originally bought these to play original D&D back when I was a kid."

Longtime readers may recall my last-minute scramble for a 'Nostalgia' theme entry back in Challenge VI. I had planned to paint up some of Citadel's RuneQuest Miniatures from 1982. I was GMing RQ that year, and when these figures landed at Tin Soldier in Dymock's Arcade on George Street in Sydney, I snapped up a couple of boxes. Being the well-motivated individual that I am, I stored them away and forgot about them for a few decades.

Fast forward to 2015, and alas, the miniatures I had planned to dust off for the Nostalgia round had succumbed to the dreaded Lead Rot. Bits had broken off, and paint refused to stick to the unpainted metal, leaving me looking frantically for another suitable figure for the round. I went with a figure of Groucho Marx instead.

Thankfully, I some of the figures had been undercoated years before, sparing them the worst effects of corrosion. I hunted them down, dug them out, and today's entry is one of the better-preserved ones. I present Citadel's Daka Fal Adventurer.

He's 25mm tall, which was the fashion at the time, and he bears a close resemblance to one of the characters depicted in the RQ2 supplement Runemasters, a compendium of high-level NPCs for the game.

The one on the left is Abelar, a Sable Tribe Priest of Daka Fal. Daka Fal is the Judge of the Dead, and the god of ancestor worship. High level cultists may end up with a dead relative as an allied spirit. Let's just hope that you get somebody you were on good terms with! 

Abelar has a Man Rune on his leather-faced shield, symbolic of Daka Fal's connection to all mortal folk. 

As well as a spear and bow, he carries a sword slung over his back.

As befits the Bronze Age world of Glorantha, Abelar is armoured in bronze mail, helmet and greaves. His helmet is adorned with the horns of his tribal animal, the Sable Antelope.

Lead Rot did for his spear long ago, but I was able to drill out the remains and replace it with a North Star wire pike cut down to a more manageable length. Basing was the usual Vallejo White Pumice Paste, which dries to a nice textured finish suitable for the desolate Plains of Prax.

So let's see... 5 points for the figure, 30 points for arriving at the Millpond, 10 points for being pre-1990, and 10 points for provenance... 55 points! Well, this may be the most over-rewarded entry I've ever submitted. I'm cleaning up (just as well, really)!

Still got a Curtgeld entry to submit, so I'd better hurry. Stay tuned...


What a great little piece of history from years gone by Evan.  Thanks for resurrecting this figure from the lead pile. It would be interesting to see him next to a modern scale to see the scale creep in action.  I have to say, those horns on the helmet though.... those would not be easy to wear around all day!

He looks great, and it was nice of you to save him from nurgles rot, the replacement spear looks good and is probably far straighter than the old lead one would have been, I hate soft metal spears and swear by those north star spears.  I love the bright blue against the gold, it makes everything stand out. 

- ByronM

From DavidB - Sarah's Balloon - Sisters of Battle (60 points)

These are the Soritas models from the limited edition set made available just before Christmas. My middle daughter Kolleen has been gaming with a fellow soldier and his Blood angel force and my Cadian 7th Cav force. She has been using my Soritas model, but she is not too fond of the green and brown and ranks of gingers therein. For Christmas she actually asked for Soritas of her own and my wife and I picked up the limited edition set for her big Christmas gift. She spent all night putting them together and pouring over the book.she even made a list of what she wishes to acquire in the future. Even more astounding is we celebrated her birthday today and she had me collect a box of saurris warriors as she wanted something to build and to her dinosaurs are really cool. I'm a bit sad as I wanted the limited edition set for myself, but then out of 4 kids who would've guessed that my girly girl beauty queen, cheerleader, basketball cross country, Honor society daughter would deign to geek out and want a force(s) of her own and war game with her dad. The others are not as keen , but still paint and write on occasion.

The new models blend really well with the old metal castings and do have some extra flair.

The colours were all dictated by Kolleen. She wanted blue grey power armor and blue surcoats with orange interior lining. She has her mother's Germanic blond looks and wanted her troops to have blonde hair with a streak of white that she inherited from me...Kolleen doesn't need the fancy hair highlights as genetics provided that bit for her.

The seraphim are the test models and the other requirement is a simple recipe for her to follow when she completes the rest.

Black undercoat highlighted with a white gloss when the black dries. Space wolves grey contrast paint over the power armor highlighted with Frostbite from P3 paints. The surcoats are painted in P3 Cygnar blue highlight the coated in leviathan blue contrast paint.P3 Arcane blue does edge highlights. The orange is Gryph hound orange Contrast paint with P3 Khador red highlight for cleanup and edge highlights. The wings are frostbite P3 with the Contrast paint Apothecary white followed by White scar white. he flesh is done by taste and the blonde hair is boot strap leather with successive lining from several light browns and tans the white streak is bleachbone. a light wash of Reiksland flesh shade ties the hair and face together. the brown leather is Contrast wildwood over P3 bootstrap leather. p3 blighted gold is used on the gold decorations with a touch of a shiny gold to add detail.

Not too shabby for a small amount a work and worth every minute to make a daughter happy. she will probably be off painting the rest of her force after I head out .

I was saving these to submit for  to O'Grady's Gulch, but I had to pass on Benito's Brook as I just stowed the Peninsular War  French Dragoons and British Infantry. I"m a big fan of Benito's Napoleonic troops and didn't want to rush them with perceived time pressure which for me is becoming not quite so perceived. Instead I will attempt to summon lady Sarah for a lift to Fran's Fjord . I do not have suitable bubbly refreshments and libations of grapes is a bit too cultured for my tastes. It is quite cold in the North this moment and I do admire the firewater for it's ability to warm the belly. When consuming Firewater it is best to consult with the Irish who have mastered  the production. This particular variety is my new favourite as it is really smooth with notes of chocolate and coffee just for being aged in a stout beer barrel. it is a wonderful addition to a mug of coffee on a cold night too!...but it is still best in a five finger glass and served at room temperature.
5 28mm seraphim for 25 points plus another 30 if lady Sarah would be kind enough to provide transport ?

Excellent choice on the whiskey there David, I just finished a bottle of that off with my son the other day!  If you are looking for another whiskey to try, I am not onto a bottle of Redbreast Irish whiskey that a friend suggested that I am really enjoying, it is worth checking out.

Anyway, onto your second submission of the day...

I am sure Sarah would be thrilled to provide transport for these religious freedom fighters (or fanatics depending on your view point).   Another great paint job with white, which is such a hard colour to get looking right.  I always have issues with it looking either too bland (all white) or too dirty (too much shade) but these look perfect, great work. I also really like the jump pack design on these models.

Anyway, off you go into the wild blue yonder with Lady Sarah....  Let's hope the snow lord doesn't get jealous of all the trips people are taking with his Lady!

Oh, and maybe it's the whiskey goggles talking, but with the jump packs (and other large assets these ladies bring) they look bigger than normal 28mm models, so I rounded you up to 60 points.

- ByronM

From JamesM: 10mm Fantasy (Sarah's Balloon) (42 pts)

Hi folks,

Having dipped in to Bromley's Butte, it' time to dip out quickly again.

As I refuse to walk anywhere, another Balloon trip is in order, this time to distant Cooke's Crevase.  You'd have thought I'd have seen enough of this place in that hotel room in Paris.

Still, could be worse. Whenever we play games there are regular calls of 'Trousers, Dave!'. Someone even wrote a blog post about that incident.

Anyway, on with the ritual summoning of the Balloon.

This time, I offer up... yet another 10mm female mage. Another follower of the Lady of the Lake, but this time on foot and escorted by King Joshua, As they are finished, I've also included some evil undead in opposition. No extra points this time, but the obligatory glass of something fizzy to make the afternoon's painting all the more interesting.

The lady in question is a 10mm figure, again from Polar Fox Studios. She is accompanied by a piper and standard bearer, which came from a fantasy command set from Magister Militum.

As an escort, she has with her the king and leader of my own imagination contribution to the forces of good, King Joshua. Again, model is from Polar Fox Studios.

King Joshua rides a big beastie (a Hippogriff, I believe).

I tried to keep the wings interesting by copying the style and colours of some bird of prey images I found. The King himself wears magical gold armour and is bedecked in his own colours - red and green. Blue also has a place, in honour of the Lady of the Lake.

In opposition, we have two units of 10mm Pendraken Undead figures. Some Ballistae:

And a unit of Chariots, which feature an archer each as well:

As mentioned in previous posts, contributions to the forces of good (or evil) are more than welcome from anyone who wished to contribute!

Total scores for these:

10mm foot figures: 22 (1 for the king, 3 for the mage, 12 for the Ballistae, 6 for the chariots) (22pts)
10mm vehicles: 2 (6 points)
10mm crew served weapons (Ballistae): 4 (8 points)

Total: 36 points + whatever the beastie counts for.

I throw myself at the mercy of the hostess with the mostess in order to determine points for the big beastie, as 10mm large monsters are not a category! I'd say it is on par with a 28mm figure, however.


Great work James, these are awesome little models that look really good here.  I love the bright colours used for the mage and her entourage, and the painting on the griffin is great.

What I especially love though, is the excellent ground work on these bases, they really set the scene for your army.

I look forward to seeing more of these very cool 10mm figures as you journey around the island.

- ByronM

From JohnS - V is for Viking - Curtgeld Entry (30 points)

I really had to think hard about what figure to paint for the Curtgeld. I mean, I have thousands to choose from but not everyone is building as many armies as I am and I wanted the Curtgeld to have a chance of some table time. So I spent a couple of hours frolicking down the aisles of the Room of Shame (think of the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark) when I came across a Foundry Miniatures Viking Characters pack.
Now everyone likes Vikings so..

I liked this choice because he can be used as a Viking champion, an Anglo Dane hearthguard or a fantasy character from Thulsa Doom's gang (I mean, check out that historically inaccurate helmet).

I really like the pensive nature of this sculpt. You get the feeling that he has seen it all, is surprised by little and really has had enough of his opponent's crap and wishes he would just get on with the attacking already.

It's a little hard to see in this photo but I used 4 colours on his fur cloak to try and give the impression of a bearskin.
I have kept the basing deliberately simple so the recipient of the Curtgeld can add elements to tie in with any existing based figures. I have glued him to the base with PVA to make him easier to re-base if desired.

And my Alphabet Challenge is ticking along, a few letters done. (I know that there is Table lover or two out there...)

So 5 points for Pete the Pensive Viking and 25 generous bonus points for the Curtgeld entry. Thanks!

Well done John, I believe you are right on the "everyone loves Vikings" part, other than maybe thier victims.... but they are long dead, so you are technically correct!

All kidding aside, he looks great with his stoic stance and stare.  The metal work looks top notch as does the cloak, even if the photo looks to wash it out a bit (a common problem I suffer with as well), and I love the choice to go with blonde hair and beard.

I am sure someone will be very happy for the new house guest when he arrives at his new home.

- ByronM

Byron Reaches the Summit of Snow Lord's Peak

Byron makes the final steps to the peak, dusts himself off and looks at his surroundings.

Today's Snow Lord's Peak brought to you by Mount Robson, British Columbia

The Snow Lord steps out from behind a stand of snow covered evergreens, eating the last morsel of a past participant who thought they could simply withdraw from the Challenge.

'Nummy...' Throwing a well-knawed bone over his shoulder, he smacks his blue lips.

Byron stares aghast, 'How could you devour a Challenger?' 

"I know, eh? They can be a bit stringy at times, but I find it's all about the seasoning.'

'You're a monster!' Byron cries.

'What? Me? Oh, I'm small beer, a powder puff really. You should see some of the weirdoes over at The Kingdom. Now, those guys are real examples of badassery. I tell you what, you paint me one of those freaks from Kingdom Death, you know, one of the big nasty fellas, and I'll give you your prize. Deal?'


Looking forward to it Byron! :)

From Curt: Inquisitorial Kill Team for Sarah's Balloon (25 Points)

I thought I'd mix things up a bit for my next trip on Sarah's Balloon by submitting something which is, gasp, not related to 'Mansions of Madness'. 

This time out (up?) we have a 40K Inquisitorial kill team composed of a very self assured inquisitor and her retinue of rock-hard Battle Sisters.

For the past couple of years I've been running a winter 'Dark Heresy' role playing campaign for a few of the guys and, surprisingly enough, Sarah. 

This is Inquisitor Ingrid von Bek of the Ordo Hereticus. She's a badass witch-hunter who will have a prominent role in our upcoming DH campaign. I'll give no more away, but with Sarah's character being an unsanctioned psyker things could get quite interesting. ;)

This model shows her strutting her stuff in a fancy-schmancy suit of power armour, wielding a very rare Inferno Pistol (yes, the name says it all) and sporting really fabulous hair. 

I like the gothic details on these figures like the halo and whacky smokestacks on their power packs.

The other four in von Bek's retinue are Sisters of Battle. Two are armed with Storm Bolters, one with a Heavy Bolter and the last one is a young lass with the gift of the gab, a Dialogus, an adept who is particularly persuasive with encouraging allies and haranguing enemies. I see her as Ingrid's herald, press secretary and factotum.

The Dialogus is an an older, now OOP, GW metal (love eBay), but the rest are from Wargames Exclusive, one of my favourite not-40K figure manufacturers. They are tremendously detailed castings with boatloads of character. The only downside (for me) is that they are cast in resin which makes them feel overly fragile, though to their credit they've taken several tumbles without any damage.  Anyway, to give them a little added heft I've based them using metal washers.

I hope to have another group of Sisters ready later this challenge, but we'll see how the next couple of months unfold. I'm in the midst of several big entries (well, big for me) which are absorbing a lot of my hobby time. Fingers crossed that I can get everything I want done.

Next up: 'Docherty's Dock'!

Wow, more amazing sisters to add to your collection.  I know this is an Inquisitorial team, but I view it more as an extension of your lovely sisters force, which is not a bad thing.

As usual your paint work and colour choices are top notch, as is your photography skills here.

While I know the Inquisitor is supposed to be the main attraction here, and is very nice in her snazy looking gold power armour, to me the Dialogus is the one I like best.  The scroll / text work you have done on her is superb and really makes that wacky old GW figure shine.  I can picture in my mind her strolling after the Inquisitor while ranting away on her loud speaker either extolling the good of the Emperor or condemming the evils of pretty much everything else in the universe as the rest of the Kill Team fullfills their name and exterminates all the heritics in the area. Simply brilliant.

Keep the great paint jobs coming!

- ByronM