Friday, 24 January 2020

From ByronM - Revisiting the Thirty Years War - Rousell's Sandhill - (240 Points)

I have been looking for my next spot on the map and trying to figure out what on earth I would do for Rousells Sandhill, and then realized "wait a minute, the figures I am using for the 30 years war are actually from the 'By Fire and Sword' game that is all about the Polish wars from 1640 through 1676"!  Even though I am using them for the 30yw that was preceding the period Rousell wants, the figures are exactly what he is looking for!

Therefore I present to you a pile of men in "floppy" hats....

This group of figures makes up the start of my force from the Holy Roman Empire, which actually doesn't mean that much given the period.  Pretty much EVERYONE involved in the conflict were morally corrupt back stabbers.  The armies were mainly mercenary forces that fought for whomever paid them the most, many forces switched sides multiple times over the course of the war.

Worse, as far as I can figure from all the reading I have done on the subject, the whole war and all the deaths involved in it was pretty much about if you believed the Pope was a representative of God on earth or not.  It was not even about which imaginary being you believed in!  Both sides believed in the exact SAME imaginary being, just differed in how they thought you should worship him.... WOW.  I could at least understand if they believe in different Gods, I couldn't agree with killing each other over it, but could at least understand it.

I mean there is a lot more to it than that, but that was the basic jist of it.  A lot also had to do with Royalty of the time being a bunch of inbred back stabbing power grubbing maniacs that cared little about the actual population that died fighting their wars.

Oh well, enough ranting on a subject I can't possibly truly understand since I am obviously an Aethist by the comments above!  Back to the reason we are all hear.... toy soldiers!

These figures are a mix of several manufacturers.  Most are from Wargamer Games Studio (makers of By Fire and Sword), but there is a mix from Blue Moon, Peter Pig, and at least one other that I am forgetting.

All of them are pretty nice with the WGS ones being the best sculpts to me.

Since the mercenaries changed sides so often they never really used uniforms, hence most of the units being in random coloured normal clothing.  I did however paint one unit in a uniform colour trying to replicate Greg's painting style that he showed me last year when I was struggling with this project.  I think I did a not bad job on them and they look better than the rest of the units.

The flags are just place holder, home printed ones as I have misplaced the much better quality ones I had printed last year, so until I find them these will have to do.

Overall I have 90 infantry figures and 6 guns, so by my math that should be 204 points, plus 30 points for the map space.  I don't know about you all, but 15mm seems like much harder work for the points than 28mm!  I guess I am still trying to paint them too much like 28mm figures.

I know this isn't one of your favourite scales to paint, but you do a fantastic job on them Byron. Whilst religion (or rather, which Christian doctrine) was certainly a major factor in the war, for the leaders at any rate, the big issue that began it was about who got to elect the Holy Roman Emperor and the rights of (the rulers of) the various states - in the early phase protestant Saxony was on the same side as catholic Bavaria and the catholic Hapsburg Emperor.

I'm going to add a point each for the flags, even though they are "placeholders", which takes your score to a round 240 points.


From TamsinP: Ballooning Hairy Bikers (25 points)

Extract from the journal of TamsinP, Time Traveler, Society Girl and Adventuress

24 January, 2021

I wake up on the hard floor of the Awdry's Atoll cantina, my brain fuzzy and my mouth feeling like the bottom of a birdcage. How much did I have to drink last night? A quick look at the table reveals the awful truth - six empty rum bottles, two of vodka, three of wonder I feel awful. 

My stomach growls and I realise that I need a good hearty breakfast to sort out my hangover.  Glancing around the cantina, I realise that I am the only one (sort of) awake and that I'll probably have to wait a long time to get any food here. A thought strikes me - Si and Dave are jolly nice chaps and great cooks*, I'm sure they'll sort me out. If I remember right they were filming a series in America in 2012 - that should be good for a breakfast.

Taking out my time-travel device I enter the details of where I want it to take me - Hairy Bikers, USA, 2012. The warp opens and I step through, transported to my destination, finding myself in a desert. I look to see how I look - the device is rather splendid and alters my appearance to suit my new location - purple bikini top, Daisy Dukes, red leather knee boots, a Glock...hmmm, I think something must be wrong. 

I catch a scent of woodsmoke on the breeze and decide to head in that direction. Reaching the top of a low ridge I spot a campsite just ahead, with four motorbikes and four men sat around their fire. I decide to approach them and find out where (and when?) I am. And where Si and Dave might be.

"Excuse me chaps, have you by any chance seen two bikers from the North of England with a film crew around these parts? Oh, and where exactly are we? And when?"

The chap with a bushy black beard stands up and replies "Well, missy, it's 2021, you're in Arizona and we haven't seen a film crew since we was in Memphis."

2021? I realise now that in my hangover-befuddled state I must have miskeyed the location details into my device. And not capitalised "Hairy Bikers". Still, these chaps seem quite friendly and I see that they are just getting ready to cook breakfast. I ask if they could, perhaps, cook for one extra and they readily agree, welcoming me to chow down with them.

I introduce myself and explain my predicament; they reciprocate and I find out that the chap with the bushy black beard is Papa John (his name is John and he likes pizza); the one in the helmet is Wild Bill; the blonde guy is Huge Henry; and the fourth is simply called "Otter".

I observe that they have lots of guns; also they are all sleeveless, which I suggest to Papa John might be putting them at risk of skin cancer given the hot desert sun.

"Well, missy, you see we believe in the right to bare arms..."

"And all those weapons?"

 "...and the right to arm bears."

"Arm bears?"

"The dragons are coming for me again!" screams Wild Bill.

"Don't mind him, missy - he's still tripping. We all took some LSD last night, and he took a lot more than the rest of us. But everything' groovy!" chips in Huge Henry.

"Arm bears?" I ask again, "I know there's a joke about that and the 2nd Amendment, but you seem quite serious."

"Oh, yes" answers Papa John "but not the critters. You see, apart from young Otter, we're all big, hairy gay men - bears. Otter isn't as big or hairy as us, so he's an otter, which is why we call him that."

The penny drops. "So, you're all gay bikers on acid**?"

"It's the Mechastreisand! Help! Whimper..."

I eat a delicious breakfast and bid my new gay friends farewell. As a redhead, my fair skin will burn far too quickly under the desert sun, so I decide to call Lady Sarah's Hot air Balloon Service for another ride to a new location. O'Grady's Gulch has a certain appeal...

* For non-Brits, Si King and Dave Myers are The Hairy Bikers, a pair of "celebrity chefs" who have filmed several series for British TV.
** Yes, I do know that's not how the band's name is spelt.

"Missy Me"

Papa John

Wild Bill

Huge Henry


These 28mm figures are all by Copplestone Castings. I think the NMM came out OK on these, but I definitely need some more practice. And looking at the pics while I was resizing them, of course I found a few bits that need to be touched up at some point. This submission also saw me making good use of my new wet palette from Army Painter - I think I'm getting the hang of it now.

For scoring:
5 x 28mm foot @ 5 = 25 points

Lady Sarah - may I hop aboard and beg a flight to O'Grady's Gulch please? No bubbles for me today though as I'm on cabin duty.

I'll leave you with this:



Haha! Mechastreisand. Very good, Tamsin. A rival gang could be the '2-Stroke Manilows'. :)

Very nice clean, work on these Copplestones, Ms P. I think your non-metalic effect works the treat and the skin tones are excellent, especially the tan on Wild Bill and the sun-kissed skin of fair Missy. 

'Macho, macho man...'

Enjoy your flight to O'Grady's Gulch!


From TomM: Bromley's Butte: Lothlorien Elves (85 pts)

Making way around Challenge Island, one has need for good intel as the area needs to be reconoitred.

And that is exactly the task set upon us, brave explorers, in Bromley's Butte: scouts, hunters, light infantry... those that know the terrain and sneak around it...

And for that entry, I selected to paint up some more MESBG figures, because, well, I have a mountain of lead, resin and plastic for the game rivalling Smaug's pile of gold.

More precisely, the unarmoured troops of the Lady Galadriel's realm, Lothlorien.  Elves are already stealthy guardians of the woodland realms, but these even take that to a higher level, all equipped with their elven cloaks, to sneak through the underbrush and hunt intruders into their lands.

Produced by Games Workshop, the entry contains six of these elite hunters, which are all plastic models.

I also printed five "spider cocoons" to go with the models, to make it all look just that bit more threatening and grimm on the tabletop, as the Elves hunt the large spiders in service of Sauron.

So that makes a nice total of 6 Wood Elves for this entry, while I counted the cocoons as a single 28mm model as well seen their size and bases "footprint" , tallying me 55 points in addition to the 30 points for the location.

Our second batch of snooty, pointy-eared gits fey folks today, this time in a larger scale. These chaps look fab Tom, as do the spider cocoons. 


From JohnM: Shieldmaidens for SAGA (30 points)


These figures have been on my desk for over a year, I paint "to need" now and I have not played the Viking faction in SAGA for a while so I had no need. But of course this is why the challenge clear the lead, although in this case we should say resin.

These figures are from Brother Vinni, who really has a superb line of Dark Age figures, his Viking line is largely based on the characters from the TV show The Vikings, but that is OK as they are beautifully athromorphic casts.

I painted up a Shieldmaiden unit from a fantasy line a couple of years ago, they were nice but these are much nicer, so I will suppose the old figures will go on TMP (it really is not much use for anything else).

These were primed white and painted last week in Montreal where I only had, I believe, 12 colours! I did touch them up a bit when I got back to the US and where I also finished the basing. I mostly used glazes here with minimal uses of washes to finish off the recesses. I am improving but still a long way to go. I am pretty happy with the figures aside from the faces which are a little weak.

So six 28 mm figures, finally an easy calculation-30 points. I seldom paint female figures, so I believe this submission may be put forward for Sarah's Choice, if indeed that still exists.

Unfortunately, I am still a little flummoxed by The Island and balloons and such, but I think I am on track without the extras to get my goal accomplished.

Those young ladies look suitably well-armed to accompany you as you explore Challenge Island, should you choose to do so, and very nicely painted they are too. 30 points will be winding their way to you right now!


From StuartL: Challenge Island Safari Journal - Snow Lord's Peak Challenge

Are you ready brave C.I.S.T.ers? Today is the day when we ascend Snow Lord's Peak to get a view of the whole island.

To help us in our ascent, we have a surprise guest on the tour....

Oda Nobunaga-san (and a couple of his retainers) has agreed to accompany us to the top of the mountain and protect us from any dangers or hazards along the way.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Oda-san, he was born in Nagoya Castle in 1534. At that time, Nagoya was a small city in what was known as Owari Province. The son of a minor noble, Oda-san inherited his father's domain at the young age of 17 and went on to overthrow his rivals and superiors in the region, eventually unifying Owari Province. At the Battle of Okehazama he led an army of 2-3000 men against a much larger force of 25,000 being commanded by a neighbouring lord. Using cunning as much as brute force, Oda-san rapidly became one of the greatest commanders of his generation. Before his untimely death due to a betrayal from one of his inner circle, Oda-san had conquered a large part of Japan's main island of Honshu. His successors, first Toyotomi Hideyoshi (also from Nagoya) and then Tokugawa Ieyasu (born in Okazaki a few miles East of Nagoya) completed his goal of reunifying the country.

Among his other achievements, Oda-san made Nagoya the capital city of Owari Province. Following the end of Tokugawa Shogunate, Owari Province and the nearby Mikawa Province were joined together to form Aichi Prefecture, of which Nagoya remains the capital.

As we reach the top of the mountain, we must bid farewell to our entourage and take a look around before preparing for our descent.


The miniatures above are all from the Perry's excellent range of Japanese figures. I tried to find pictures of Oda's armour online and copied the colours used from that. As per the Snow Lord's request, I based the mini with a winter theme in mind. Nagoya doesn't usually get a lot of snow, (this year has been surprisingly mild so far), but we do get a flurry from time to time.

Hopefully this offering is enough to please the all powerful ruler of Snow Lord's Peak.

By my count, I should get 20 points for the miniatures (one mounted, two infantry), 30 points for the location and a bonus 10 points for the winter theme for a total of 60.

Now to choose which route to take back down the mountain.


Stuart, this vignette you've created is wonderful and the supporting history you provide is fascinating (3000 men against 25,000? Now, that is some moxy!). 

I've painted a few samurai in the past and so tip my hat to anyone who bravely takes up the task. The armour's often vibrant colours, intricate details and bewildering knotwork always gives me the sweats. I also like that you sourced the original colours of Oda's armour so that they could be reflected in his miniature, and the snow (while perhaps anachronistic) conveys a mood of steely resolution. Wonderful!

Your calculations are correct, 60 points it is. As a memento of your ascent to Snow Lord's Peak you will receive our favourite cigar-wielding revolutionary, Che, as a prize.

Well done and congratulations!


From JasperO - PzKp 224 (45 points)

On the first Sunday of February, I'll be at PolderCon(.nl) to run four games of Chain of Command together with Nick Skinner of TFL. We've selected a scenario based on the fight of D Company, 1st Battalion the Border Regiment along Van Borsselenweg in Oosterbeek. On September 20th and 21st 1944, they (and the other companies of the battalion) were attacked by infantry supported by the tanks of Panzerkompanie 224.

The Kompanie was equipped with Char B1 bis tanks, taken from the French in 1940 and largely allotted to various armoured units on occupation duty. PzKp 224 had 17 of these vehicles, which had largely been converted to flamethrower versions. All photographed wrecks at Arnhem seem to have been flame tanks, in fact, but archaeologists have found shell casings for the French 75mm gun as well, testifying to the presence of un-converted tanks.

PzKp 224 was in western Holland when Operation Market Garden began and departed for Arnhem on Monday, September 18th. It lost one tank which toppled into a canal, drowning two of the crew, but the rest of the unit arrived west of Oosterbeek in the late afternoon of September 19th. According to German reports, the tanks went into action immediately, but British reports do not mention them until the next day. The attacks did not go well. Half a dozen were put out of action with PIATs as well as 6-and 17-pounder anti-tank guns. Reportedly, a shell fired by one of the latter went through-and-through the tank. That gun is one of the three surviving ones now sitting around the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek.

In short, I clearly needed a couple of these tanks to scare the British players at PolderCon. They are both Warlord Games plastic models, built in the gun-tank and flame-tank versions. The wrecks at Oosterbeek were photographed extensively by the Germans - one photographer thought they were British (...), and they all seem to have been painted standard yellow with modest camouflage applied. As I've been experimenting with my airbrush, mine got a slightly more opaque coverage. None of the photos show any markings (perhaps explaining the photographer's confusion), so I've left those off as well. The commander figures are Rubicon (3/4 figure) and a Warlord (1/4 figure) model. I guess together they count as one? So that makes 45 points I think.

Those tanks look great Jasper. Presumably these were the ones positively (mis)identified by someone from 2 Section of  Recce Squadron's A Troop as Panzer IVs on the 19th - there was a brief engagement between them on Dz/LZ Z that day.

As for points, that's two tanks at 20 points each, and the two commanders which I'll count as a single full foot figure. So, that's 45 points total.


From JamieM - Space Marines (30 points)

Quick post for me today as my attention has, as usual, been split between a few projects meaning precious little actually being finished.... but I have managed to finish some Space Marines.

Genetically engineered super humans who aggressively defend the Imperium of Man in the 41st millenium, these chaps all hail from different Chapters (basically warrior monks in super duper armour).  It was nice to paint up a lot of different armour colours instead of the usual 5-10 men squad in the same colours.  I took a few liberties with some of the chapter heraldry as I didn't have the appropriate decals for all of them, but I'm pleased with how they turned out after I battered the decals into submission with multiple covering layers to remove the shine.

They're all from different chapters as they're part of the expansion sets for the "Space Marine Adventures: Labyrinth of the Necron" game that GW released.... but only in Barnes & Noble in the US.  Odd choice really as it's a return to their "gateway games", where you get a game in a box, really enjoy it and are then hooked on the universe and so spend thousands on figures from GW every year for the rest of your life... so you'd think they'd want the widest possible exposure, right?

It's all about the Space Marines breaking into the home of the Necrons (shiny evil robots) and shooting and knifing everything they see.  Anyway, I mainly ordered it as my son is now old enough to start playing games and instead of leaping straight into big wargames, I thought games like this would be perfect.  And it is indeed very clever and a lot of fun.  I've also finished off the figures who come with the main box, but sadly they won't count as my son did the base coats for the armour.... and then his interest in painting waned so I did the rest!

The figures do come in pre-coloured plastic, so no actual need to paint them.  The Necrons are represented by tokens, but as I happen to have a Necron army we use miniatures which really adds to the feel of the game (and of course, the numbers of the different necrons you need in the box directly correlates to one box of each that you can purchase from GW.....)

Anyway, six 28mm space marines for 30 points.

Nicely painted space marines Jamie. I must admit that painting groups of figures where each one is different does make a pleasant break from painting units where every one has the same colour scheme. 30 points well earned!


AdamC: Awdry's Atoll Naval Fortifications (40 Points)

 For Awdry's Atoll I decided I would build a Martello tower the first level is the required CD the Second an old coaster I was given by work (What does one do with a single coaster? I mean other than make terrain) then I couple of layers of Reaper's plastic bases I got from  a kickstarter.

The Tower is made from the tube scavenged from an old tinfoil box, cut to an appropriate size.

I made a cannon for the roof with a some bits, a balsa wood door, and gun ports made of card and of course a flag staff.

She looks quite right terms of scale and should be tough nut for any attacking naval force.

Next up is a small fort put together with scraps of balsa wood and some putty.

I got the scale wrong for a true harbour fort in Black Seas but even in 1/700 scale she'll do for small fortification like Fort Montague.

It will serve very well with 1/2400 scale ships.  Taken together these pieces fill just under half of a 6 inch cube so I will call it 9 points, pulse 1 point for the flag equalling 10 points for the models. (I can provide dimensions if needed)

The Atoll adds another 30 to the total for 40 points all in all.  I'll need to call on the good Lady Sarah's balloon.

Great scratch-builds Adam. And very useful terrain for Black Seas, etc. I'll go with your suggested points for these.


From GregB: MG-42 for Mudry's Mesa (55 Points)

28mm German WW2 MMG team - figures from Warlord Games.
Having enjoyed a visit to Burch's Bluffs, I wanted to move to another stop on lovely Challenge Island. The Path Of The New Shiny brings me next to Mudry's Mesa. Named in honour of one of my great gaming friends here in Winnipeg, to safely traverse the Mesa one can paint a figure purchased after the Challenge was announced.  This was great news, as I am in the midst of pursuing a project that I decided to dive into after the Challenge was announced - my 28mm Winter WW2 project. Great - I can get back to my project and clear another vista on Challenge Island!

My next destination...
Since there are all sorts of shifty characters traversing the Island, I thought the Mesa could use something helpful for defensive purposes. Here is a 28mm German tripod-mounted MG-42 team in winter gear.  They will make great use of the nice, clear, fields of fire scenic views from Mudry's Mesa. These are metal 28mm castings from Warlord Games' "Bolt Action" range.

The deadly MG-42, ready to tear out a stream of deadly fire on its opponents...
I believe the three figures on this weapon crew were meant to be crowded together on to one larger base, and I was planning to do that at the outset...but the only way to do that, it turned out, was to have the officer right in the path of what I would assume to be a stream of empty casings flying from the MG-42...that seemed wrong to me.  I also remembered that games like "Chain of Command" would, at times, have a weapon team like this under the direction of a junior leader.  So I popped the gun commander onto a separate square base I use to mark NCOs/Junior Leaders, and left the two-man team directly with the gun on the larger round base.

Lots of great detail on these castings.

Ready for action...
As with all of the other WW2 Germans I have been painting so far from Warlord's range, these are excellent figures and were lots of fun to paint. And it was great that these figures could net me another stop on Challenge Island.  As for my next destination...well, I might need to summon a Balloon ride...

Updated Challenge progress...three spots down, but I need to plot my next destination carefully...
For scoring, we have three 28mm castings, a crew served weapon and a Challenge Island location - so I think this should be good for 55 points.  Thanks for looking!

I can fully appreciate your desire to take a balloon ride - a lovely aviator, freely flowing champagne cocktails, delicious canapes, not to mention avoidance of a potential encounter with the owner of the Sandhill.

Great work on the MG42 team.