Wednesday, 31 December 2014

From MartinN - 28mm Crusader Crossbowmen (40 Points)

For my todays second submission I visited the hot lands of Outremer again to add some retinue to my Monsieur Jaufrè de Montalban whom I entered for the 'Mount(s) & Rider(s)' Bonus Round.

I've seldom had the 'joy' to have such poor sculpts on my table to paint. Considering the price Gripping Beast are charging for these figures it seems a rip off to me. Outdated and poorly cast figures for the money you normally pay for 'premium' historical miniatures like Musketeer/Footsore.

Rant over.

As they definitely were not to my liking they were sitting on my shelf primed and prepped since the last challenge all the time starring at me with accusing eyes. Because I really don't like to toss figures in the bin I've paid good money for and as I found nobody who wanted to give them a new home I thought it was time to give them some paint. I even gave them strings to improve their overall appearance at least a bit.

I went for a (for my means) rather dirty looking, speed painted approach using the infamous Army Painter for the first time in years. Only the bright white of the feathers and helmets/ the shield was later totally covered over. This however allowed me to finish these bastards in a couple of hours (obviously discounting the day the AP needed to dry). In the end I even came to like these guys.

One of the strings (outer right) burnt away while removing fine fibres with a lighter :-/
Now I feel they look rather striking in their subdued tunics and their bright white/ red helmets. Maybe I'll touch up the bases with some dried grass at a later point to break up the monotony of the sand. Not sure yet if this will develop into an army for SAGA 'The Crescent & The Cross' or some other ruleset (Lion rampant seems to be THE new kid in town) at any point or if they'll just stay in my cabinet.

This second submission should give me another 40 Points to my roster.

From Curt:I painted these same figures in a Challenge a few years ago and have a similar opinion of them, though I must say I wish they had come off as well as yours. :) I really like the rustic linen counterposed against that very punchy red. The crossbows (besides the lighter mishap) look the business with addition of the string. Lovely work again Nick - and you're half way to your target. Well done.

From JohnM: 28mm Dark Age Old North Teuli (44 Points)

As promised to follow up on my MOUNTED entry of Old North Briton calvary, here are some elite troops for my North British force. In our Chronica Iohannes campaign, we have had 5 games now and are reaching the stage where we can add troops to our war bands. This is done by progression of leadership, money and/or degree of victory.

These are Gripping Beast figures from their Dark Ages Germanic line, but I believe they do well for North British. I have stuck with my red/white scheme as these are the elite Teuli and should be dressed as such. I have all my elite and warriors uniformed as such with just my levy dressed in dark rags as fits their station in life. I like how they came out.

I am hoping that both these Teuli and the Gwÿr y Goglegg Cavalry cause Adam some disquiet the next time his Saxons attack!

From Curt:Very nice work John. I like how the shields (hand-painted no less) and red helmet tassels bring a visual cohesion to this force - excellent. A little off topic, I really like the grass/loam surface that they are on, what is that John? It really looks great and conveys that wild rustic landscape that we (probably romantically) picture when we think of the English north.

From MartinN - 28mm Blitzkrieg German Pioneers (40 Points)

With the Challenge already on full steam I had to finally pull out my finger and get going. So here's the first of two submissions for today. Here we have eight 28mm Pioneers from Warlord Game's superb "German Pioneers" boxed set.


I know there are some (certain) gamers out there who don't like, well maybe even hate, prone figures but I for one am a big fan of these as they bring much needed variety to the table and in case of the fellow below even may tell a little story.

One can almost hear the bullets zipping past his head while he tries to cut a way through the wire for his comrades to follow. Poor bastard.

My favourite from this set is the Flamethrower guy. He looks just mean and I definitely don't want to be on the receiving end of that tube.
Not having had much research on German Flamethrowers before I found several pics on Google showing a variety of colours, ranging from almost black over brown and green to even a light blue.

In the end I decided for a rather cold blue which is a bit darker than the original light blue I found.

The rest of the guys were rather straight forward to do. Only the Pionieer rucksacks gave me some headaches as these again seem to have been manufactured in thousands of different shades varying from a dark brown over dark green to even a light green.

On the other hand of course this variety is one of the main reasons for me for collecting German armies for my WW2 gaming. You always can paint every single figure as an individual even if they're the very same sculpt. Especially for Skirmish gaming that's a big plus in my books. And because Germans look simply cool in their spit and polish uniforms of course ;-)

What I didn't like about the set were some of the metal separate heads which have the trademark exaggerated expressions of the comic style Warlord Games do with most of their stuff. I had hoped to filter out the worst but looking at the pic below it seems like I've missed one... well no matter he looks like a friend of mine so not too far off 'normal' human physiognomy of sorts.

As a side note I came over some discussion on the web while 'researching' my pioneers which were quite confused about the difference between the German Pioniere and the engineers in other armies.

While in most armies the engineers only performed limited battlefield duty and were mostly given construction and/ or demolition duties in the Wehrmacht however the Pioniere found themselves most of the time at the tip of an attack, clearing away obstacles, crossing rivers and performing every kind of duty necessary to breach the enemy lines.

On the retreat again they found themselves most often in the rearguard while preparing bridges to be blown up and creating obstacles like minefields etc. while often fending off enemy attacks. While there's much talk of the so called 'elite' status of the SS or the famous Panzers and Panzergrenadiere in my view the Pioniere are the forgotten heroes.

So if I'm not totally mistaken this entry should add 40 Points to my total unless our dear Mr. Snowman decides otherwise because of the prone figure.

From Curt:Oh wow. These are some of the best painted WWII miniatures I have ever seen. Brilliant work Nick, your brushwork is so precise and smooth it makes me shake my head in wonder. I know you're not a fast painter but your final results are always stunning. 
I agree in  your assessment of the German combat pioneers. Their critical role as 'first in, last out' is often overlooked or obscured by the (somewhat disturbing) hero worship of the Waffen SS.  
I usually give half points for prone figures abut I don't think anyone will begrudge me for awarding a full set for your wire-cutter. Again, fantastic work Nick.

From TamsinP - 15mm Russian Grenadiers (74 Points)

For my 6th entry, I present two regiments of Seven Years War Russian grenadiers. The figures are 15mm from Essex.

I discovered two things I hate whilst painting these:
1. painting the backs of mitres
2. cast on flags which you can't remove and so have to paint.

Admittedly, I'd already discovered (2) when painting the cavalry, but the grenadier flags were much more complicated to paint, even impressionistically (is that a word?). This is what the flag looks like (pinched from Kronoskaf site):

But on with the pics. Here are the 1st and 2nd Grenadier regiments. As all four grenadier regiments had identical flags and uniforms, how do I know they are the 1st and 2nd regiments? Simple - because I say they are! The 3rd and 4th regiments (when I can eventually face painting them will be distinguished by the simple expedient of reversing the positions of the drummers and standard bearers.

Now the more knowledgeable among you (and those able to remember my earlier entry with horse grenadiers in tricornes and artillery with black lapels - the 1760+ uniforms) will be wondering why my grenadiers are still wearing mitres which were swapped for tricornes in 1760. The answer is simple and in two parts:
1. The mitres make it easy to spot which are the grenadiers on the table (although those bleedin' complicated flags would also do the job quite nicely)
2. Those were what I had bought

1st Regiment

2nd Regiment

Close up of the flags:

It's amazing what you spot when you're processing the pictures. That weird blob on one of the drums? Well, that's some of the basing gunk which must have got splatted on. I've since removed it and repainted the drum. I also spotted that I hadn't painted the moustaches on the officers and standard bearers. Oh, well, those aren't important.

Summing up, that's 36 figures giving me 72 points as a base. 2 hand-painted flags should give me another 2 points, making this entry 74 points in all.

From Curt:Another cracking Seven Years War entry from you Tamsin. Beautiful work.  I think you've done a wonderful job on their mitre caps and I know that many Russian units were loath to give them up (I seem to remember reading that in 1917 the Pavlov Grenadiers still had their mitres from the Napoleonic period!). AND you've done a great job on hand painting the flags.  Bravo!

From JuanM - 'Spain Rules the Waves!' Conquistadores, Piranha Boy, Zombie and Pulp Adventurer (35 Points)

Here is my third entry for "The Challenge". Step by step, at the moment, I´m winning my little "Side Challenge" with Phil so Spain is ruling the waves this time, at the moment...

Well, here are the figures I have painted:
First one, my entrance fee to "The Challenge". Last year, I left it for the last moment and then I forget all about this figure, so this year I have painted it in the first month. So here is my antihero, a 28mm English Sea Dog from Foundry Miniatures.

In Spain, these English adventurers have been, from ever, no more than pure pirates and opportunist smugglers but they were also very brave men, the builders of the British Empire. I´m not going to call them patriots (nor Drake, IMHO, was a patriot) but they were true Englishmen as our "Conquistadores" were true Spaniards.

So here is my rogue or person of dubious character.

2.- A 28mm (well, a very short 28mm) Piranha Boy from Four A Miniatures. A very nice model, really easy to paint I expect to use in some games of "Pulp Alley" I have planned for 2015.

3.- Another 28mm (this one, a tall 28mm one) figure from Four A Miniatures, Otis. One of their fantastic zombies I expect to use, too, in my "Pulp Alley" games. My wife says his skin is too healthy for a zombie and I, secretly, agree with her, but I wanted to test the Flesh pack of paints from AK Interactive and was unable to greenish it.
So he is a very healthy zombie...

4.- Another 28mm sailor from Pulp Figures. This one, armed with a rifle to be able to argument with the bellicose natives of Bolo Bolo Island. Another wonderful figure without castings problems and very easy to paint. A pleasure.

And this is all until the next year. In the end, I´m painting more Pulp figures than those I had planned, but I´m enjoying them a lot.

Cheers and a Happy New Year (with Spain ruling the waves, Phil...).

From Curt:  
All four of these figures are fantastic Juan. Thank you very much for the superb Conquistador Elizabethan gentleman.   Without the beard I think he may even look like Phil. Even though the 'healthy' zombie and the pulp adventurer are both excellent I must say I'm strangely drawn by Piranha Boy. 'Nice teeth junior, make sure you floss everyday!'  Yeesh. I'll have to get one of these little guys for my Deep One family...