Wednesday, 10 December 2014

It May Be a Bit Bumpy But We're Going to Ride this One In

As the bomb bay doors open for our first Theme Round I thought I'd post a quick note to go over how this is all going to go down.

First, I have linked The Bonus Themes page to this blog. You can find it above, second button from the left. This will take you to a page that I specifically created last year for the Bonus Rounds. I thought why re-create the wheel and besides, it's nice to see all the work from the previous year. Anyway, this will be the spot where the Bonus Themes will be unveiled. As many of you know, the first Bonus Theme is 'Cold' and it will go LIVE this Sunday afternoon/early evening (CST) once I have all the entries organized. 

This brings me to the next topic: How to submit your theme entires. Well, at first I thought we could do it similar to how we are doing our normal Challenge entries, but I've discovered that it's not much fun when everyone can look at the Post section and get an idea of each-others' work before the event is supposed to go live. Sooo, we'll go all Old Skool and have you submit your Theme entries to me by email. That way I can organize them into one post and debut them as a big SPLASH - which is how this should be.  I know that some of you have already submitted your Theme entries and I apologize for not getting this sorted out earlier but, well, look at the image above: That is how I feel running this event at times. Yee Haaa! :) 

I've also had some questions regarding how the scheduled daily submissions should be organized if you have several different groupings of figures ready to post.  Well, to keep things distinct and give proper credit to your wonderful work, I think we should write them as a separate blog posts so in the future people can easily search the Challenge blog to find the specific entires that interest them. So, for example, if during the week you completed a unit of Romans, plus a unit of Space Marines AND a single Pulp figure this should be done as three separate blog entries. That way each group receives the attention it deserves. 

Finally, if you look to the right sidebar and scroll down you will find (hopefully) all of our Paint Duels & Side Challenges listed. I had great fun reading through them all and I think we'll get a lot of laughs watching these getting played out. If I missed anything I apologize and please drop me a note so I can get it properly sorted. Otherwise, for everyone involved in one of these, please keep me informed of points gained, stats, etc. so I can keep the list updated. Thanks!

That should cover it for now. Whew! Please feel free to drop me a note if you have any questions or concerns. 

Now, go paint until your fingers fall off! :)


From SanderS - And We're Off! 28mm Snotlings (25 Points)

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with not a little trepidation that I hereby present my first contribution to this Hallowed Hall of Artisans. This little vignette of squabbling Snotlings (of Freebooter make) is my entrance fee for our esteemed foreman Lord C.

Apart from it being a very nice scene, it is also my first attempt to paint NNM's. So I hope Curt does not find it wanting too much upon arrival at his door. I do apologize for the quality of the pictures but it's beastly weather outside and therefore decent lighting is far from easy to obtain.

I wish everybody loads of fun painting and a very nice Challenge indeed!

Cheers Sander
From Curt:
What a cool vignette, thanks so much Sander! I remember coming across this range a year or so ago on a blog somewhere and thinking what amazing little figures they were. They have great character and are very fun. I love that they are struggling around with helmets and armour that is waaay too large for them (and you can't have goblins without some mushrooms in the scene!). Your Non-Metalic-Metal worked out very well, especially on the battered swords and the helmet visors - nicely done and thanks again!

From ClintB - 20mm WWII LRDG Jeep (8 Points)

A while ago (September) I bought this jeep from Grubby Tanks (Britannia) Assembled it and then lost a part. So one part of this model is actually from a different manufacture (Frontline). It's a clearly visible piece and for me it's loss and now replacement has improved the vehicle as it adds to the beat up grimy shabby look which the crews and vehicles developed. Many things in the Western desert were of a "Make do and mend" approach and very little of the "Long Range Desert Patrol" was factory finish. And after the first month almost nothing at all.

As you can clearly see the vehicle is heavily armed with twin Vickers K Machine guns for the co-driver and a Lewis gun in the back, so 2 crew and three machineguns. Considering that the main task was "Road watches". To determine the enemy strength and most importantly fuel lorry convoys, were they full and in which direction where they headed, as that would determine the most likely point/week of attacks. Many people might consider more machineguns than crew slightly overkill. Wargamers and roleplayers would NOT! You can never have too many guns!

Note the replaced rear wheel.
Jeeps were used as command vehicles as opposed to the more common Chevrolet light truck so one would not expect to see one of these on it's own. It did happen of course but was not the preferred transport across the desert solo, but needs must and all that. But generally it would be travelling with 1-4 light trucks. Most commonly 2-3 light trucks.

I have deliberately kept the painting on this quite rough. Well that's my excuse. As the vehicle and crew do need a lived in, been too long in the desert feel to them. I will need to get some more of these vehicles from Andy Grub (Grubby Tanks)  as he does a range of 4 other light trucks each with different armament combinations and stacks of stowage. That will have to wait till February at the earliest.

From Curt:What a wonderfully scrappy looking jalopy! Clint, is the stowage part of the casting or did you add it later? Whatever the case it looks great and I also like the tanned/sunburnt crew - a bunch of tough nuts to be sure. I hope we see some of the Chevy WBs later in the Challenge.   

US Armored Field Artillery Battery (22 Points)

My first entry into the challenge is a by adding to my FOW US Tank Company in the form of an Armored Field Artillery Battery. It consists of 3 M7 Priests, 2 M2 Halftracks and 1 M4 Sherman Observer Tank. The staff can be on foot, but I decided everything will be mounted.

Painting vehicles is not in my comfort zone and I vastly prefer painting foot troops, but tank company's are the quickest way to getting something on the table although it turns out it hasn't been all that quick for me as I've been puttering around on this army for quite sometime (over a year or two....) however it is fun doing the weathering on them!:-) In hindsight I would have done Airborne first and added a supporting vehicle here and there so my plan is to hopefully finish the tank company during the Challenge and start on the Airborne.

Since I blocked in the first layer of colours on the vehicles before the Challenge I will score myself zero points for them, but for the crew full points at 22. I started them along while back, but then put them up as I got distracted by something else!

From Curt:
Very nice work Christopher. Vehicles may not be in your comfort zone but you've done a marvellous job on these tracks. I really like the aggressive weathering that you did on these and the crew look excellent. I look forward to seeing the rest of the force emerge from your hobby desk over the coming months.

BrendonW presents four Romans (20 Points)

Warlord 28mm Plastic Romans are my first submission to this most illustrious of Painting Challenges this time round.

Three Auxiliary and one Veteran Legionnaire. I have been building and painting an Early Imperial Roman army for a long time but I am in no hurry to complete it. I have around ten more Legionnaires remaining that will get completed during this challenge. Until now though, a box of Auxiliary on foot had not been touched and to get back in the painting saddle I got these completed.

All figures used the Army Painter strong shade from a can but applied with a brush for better control instead of dipped. The shields on the 3 Auxiliary I actually completed before the challenge a long while back so perhaps a deduction for that. All shields have decals but the Oval ones are clear except the graphics. Means you can decide the background colour which is good.

Cheers and enjoy your painting.

From Curt:Wonderful figures Brendon! I'm puzzling through a few Romans myself and I really should take some pointers from your fine efforts here. The 'Strong Tone' worked very nicely with these fellows and I can tell you used a bit of restraint in its application as their flesh doesn't look jaundiced like some Army Painter forces. Also, I find with Romans it often comes down to their shields, and yours certainly don't disappoint. Hand-painted shields are great, but with these detailed, symmetrical designs it really is nice to know that there are some great transfers to help you out.  You've done a great job.

From Millsy - 15mm WWII Soviet Naval Infantry (206 points)

I figured it was about time I dropped a half decent sized points bomb and so here it is - an entire Russian Naval Infantry Brigade a.k.a. Morskaya Pekhota from the 15mm Flames of War line.

The Naval Brigades were raised from during 1941-42 to help make up the huge losses sustained by the Red Army as it slowly came up to speed fighting the Germans. They were famous for their tenacity and willingness to absorb huge numbers of casualties, especially when on the defence of their own encampments and ports. So feared were they by the Germans that they earned the nickname the "Black Death" after (you guessed it) their black uniforms.

In total there are 102 of the little buggers on 29 stands, including a CO and Komissar. I've cheated a bit in that I've stretched two packs to do the work of three but as I already have another two complete infantry battalions I just couldn't bring myself to buy the third pack of something that will rarely get used.

Modelling-wise these are some of the most frustrating and unrewarding miniatures I have ever painted. The uniform is black, more black, some more black and then some black highlights with a white hat band. Theoretically the black might also be dark blue but it's so dark it might as well be black. So I painted them all black. They don't even have much in the way of webbing or equipment to break up the relentless colour-which-shall-never-be-mentioned-again. You'd never guess I dry brushed highlights on every one of them because they just look you-know-what.

Not only are they dull to paint they aren't a particularly nice miniature either. The poses at times are quite stiff and unnatural, the sculpting is indifferent and the detail is negligible on places that matter like the face and weapons. A pity really, as they have the potential to be so much more with such an interesting background.

To try and lift them up I've gone to town on the basing with blasted trees, rocks, flowering bushes and variety of grass tufts over a two-tone base. From a distance they actually look pretty good considering all of the above complaints!

Anyway, at least they are done and I can more onto something more rewarding. On the plus side they are worth 204 Challenge points... Ka-ching! Oh yeah, did I mention I now hate black?!?

From Curt:
Yoiks!! That is a points bomb to be sure! Awesome work Millsy, though dealing with all that colour-that-is-not-a-colour must have been a little tedious (but fast!). Thankfully your wonderful basing along with the white hatbands and red banners help to set them off. If possible, see if you can pop in a nice close-up of one of the groupings. These 'points bombs' are impressive in their sheer mass but the photography can be limiting trying to fit everything in.
This entry is worth 206 points, with a couple added for the Red banners. That's quite a bite out of your target my friend - well done!

From AdamC - The StuG Life: 15mm WWII German Tank Destroyer (13 Points)

I play a fair amount of Flames of War using German Armies.  A lot of players may prefer the big cats Tigers and Panthers but I prefer the StuG. Yeah the the gun isn't as good and the armour isn't as good as either of those but they look cool and you can field them with numbers.

I already have 11 StuGs so this brings me to lucky 13 for my collection.  I decided to go with a winter paint job for these as I have 3 with that color scheme already and 4 Panzer IVs with a similar paint job.

These will make a nice combination for a late war Panzer company.  These two are plastic model kits from the Battle Front they went together well and were only little more work than the resin models.

I believe this is 12 points unless the driver who is sticking out of the hatch counts for additional points. 

From Curt:
Great work Adam. German tank destoyers are some of my favourite vehicles from WWII - they have such a great predatorial look about them. I like both the stowage and the winter white-wash you've given them, with just a hint of dunkelgleb peeking through, a great touch.
I typically give 1/2 points for crew so these two bruisers and their commander will give you 13 points. Well done!

From MartinC - 2nd Volley, 57th Pennsylvainia (92 Points)

My 2nd Union regiment, the 57th Pennsylvania, is complete. Much improved on the 63rd, both in painting and photography, thanks Sean for the advice.

I have this ongoing quandary with eyes. Some figs don't have obvious eyeballs and it is simple to just shade this area, but many, these Perry figs included do and I feel obligated to paint them. The problem is the pupils. If I leave them out  then look fine on the table ("don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes") but up close they are the undead (see below). If I put them in then to avoid the vacant staring look they end up looking quizzical, surprised or even like they have been groped (see drummer in previous submission). What is the opinion of others?

Confederates next for a change.

From Curt:

Ah, yes, these show up much better! Lovely work Martin. The uniforms look very vibrant and I particularly like the detail work you put into the drum - wonderful. Personally, I pretty much never do eyes as, in these scales, you would never really see them, as often they are in shadow from the brow. Also, as you point out, they can be damnably tricky to pull off properly and I'd much rather be moving on to painting another figure. Just my opinion though, and I know others will disagree with me. Horses for courses, I suppose.
These Yanks will be worth 92 points, with extra for the flag and drum. 

From Curt - Donon 'Le Rouquin' Carro: Fisherman, Loyal Son and Gun Runner (5 Points)

Donan Carro is from an old, established family of fisherman from the coast of Britanny. Like many fishermen around the world, life for the Carro family has been made up of hard work, calculated risk and a bit of luck. This is especially the case for the Carros as they also smuggle contraband to 'augment' their fishing. Donan’s father, Bernez, survived Verdun, barely, and so holds little love of Germany, nor any for its new leader, Adolf Hitler. So when civil war broke out in Spain in ’36, and Franco’s forces began receiving arms and equipment from the Nazis, the Carro’s not only envisioned a great opportunity to make money, but also saw a way to resist the growing stain of fascism that threatens to overcome all of Europe. As a result the Carro family has begun the very dangerous business of running the Spanish blockade, selling arms to the hard-pressed Republicans and perhaps doing a few other shady deals on the side as well…

We see here Donan Carro on shore, wearing his yellow boat slicker, oilskin trousers and knitted watch-cap over his distinctive red hair. He’s armed with a fresh-out-of-the-crate Bergmann MP-18 SMG and looks quite ready to use it. A fairly straightforward paintjob, this is a 28mm miniature from Artizan Designs’ wonderful range of pulp adventurers. Over the coming months of the Challenge I hope to complete the rest of the Carro family along with some of their shady associates.

Oh, and another 5 points for me. Whoohoo!

From SeanS - Rum, Bugbears and the Brush (8 points)

Well the seal has been broken by me, finally.

For your pleasure I submit two Splintered Light Miniatures Bugbears from their 20mm Fantasy range.

I really struggled with waffling on how I wanted to do these guys. I feel like I need to explore better ways to do fur, as they're okay, but just not really grabbing me. I felt really good about my work on building up the flesh using brown, orange and yellow. I did until I tried some Reaper Oiled Leather that looked almost exactly like my painstakingly mixed and layered flesh straight out of the pot. Sigh!

All paints used were craft acrylics except for GW Bolt Gun Metal for the iron bits and the aforementioned Oiled Leather and Ruddy Leather, by Reaper, for the leather belts and pouches.

These little guys have a lot of character which was enhanced by dropping the guy on the right several times, bending his left ear.

I hope I can maintain this blistering pace of two figures every five days.

It's going to be a looong Winter.

From Curt: Sean, welcome aboard - these guys are excellent! They remind me of the old school D&D miniatures that Ral Partha and Citadel produced during the mid 80s (and  right there I've just hopelessly dated myself). I particularly like how you did the hide shield of the fellow with the sexy topknot (and frankly the guy with the bent ear is rather fetching as well).  I'll have to score some of that Reaper Oiled Leather and give it a shot - thanks for the tip.