Saturday, November 21, 2015

Switching Over to the Painting Challenge Blog

Please, let me connect you...

Hey Folks! Now that the ball is rolling, let's officially switch over to the official Painting Challenge blog and we can carry on over there. There is also a link on the top navigation bar, leftmost button (see below).

See you after the jump! 


Friday, November 20, 2015

The Die is Cast - The Sixth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

In 49 BC Julius Caesar halted his XIII legion along the north bank of the Rubicon river in northern Italy. He knew that if he crossed with his army into southern Italy he would be violating Roman law, thereby making the lives of both him and his men forfeit, but Caesar also aware that if he returned to Rome as a regular citizen he would be censored by the government and quite possibly killed. After some deliberation he resolved to cross the Rubicon and risk civil war. Once on the other side of the river Caesar is reported to have said, 'Alea iacta est' - The die is cast. 

This year's Painting Challenge, our sixth, celebrates risk takers, daredevils and gamblers. 

Julius Caesar
The Basic Rules
The Challenge will extend from the beginning of Winter, 12:01 am December 20th , through to the first day of Spring, 12:01 am March 20th, Central Standard Time.
Figures can be prepared and primed prior to the start date, but no colour can be applied until December 20th. In order to be fully scored the figures have to be based and their groundwork completed. The figures have to be painted by you. The Challenge follows the honour system in the completion and entry of figures. Dishonour and public shaming goes (with perhaps the throwing of frozen vegetables) upon anyone who besmirches the venerable craft of painting toy soldiers! 
The figures can be in any scale and in any theme, including pulp-adventure, science-fiction and fantasy.
In order to be scored, photos of all figures/units along with a short descriptive note must be uploaded to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge blog. Up-to-date scoring will be maintained on the blog's main page. I will send out an email to all Challengers to provide further details regarding participation.
The Judge (me) will participate, but my score will not have any standing in the Challenge (I will continue my struggle to be amongst the middle-of-the-pack).
Since I can't leave well enough alone, I've again tweaked a few aspects of how the Challenge will be administered. I will still be the master of ceremonies, but I've called upon a Happy Few to assist me in keeping this joyous circus on the rails - more on that later. 

Rosa Parks
The Scoring
6mm foot figure = 0.5 point
6mm mounted figure, artillery piece or crew served weapon = 1 pts
6mm vehicle = 2 points
10mm foot figure = 1 point
10mm mounted figure, artillery piece or crew served weapon = 2 points
10mm vehicle = 3 points 
15mm foot figure = 2 pts
15mm mounted figure, artillery piece or crew served weapon = 4 pts
15mm vehicle = 6 pts

20mm foot figure = 4 pts
20mm mounted figure, artillery piece or crew served weapon = 8 pts
20mm vehicle = 12 pts

28mm foot figure = 5 pts

28mm mounted figure, artillery piece or crew served weapon = 10 pts
28mm vehicle = 15 pts
40mm foot figure = 7 pts
40mm mounted figure, artillery piece or crew served weapon = 15 pts
40mm vehicle = 20 pts 
54mm foot figure = 10 pts
54mm mounted figures, artillery piee or crew served weapon = 20 pts
54mm vehicle, limber, etc. = 30 pts 
Other scales, miscellaneous models/figures will be scored on a submission-by-submission basis. 

Amelia Earhart

Challenger Personal Targets and Duels

Similar to previous years, I ask that each Challenger declare his/her points target that they hope to achieve by the March 20th deadline. I encourage Challengers to pick a target that is a bit beyond their comfort zone, but still achievable. Many participants have found this a great incentive to help maintain their pace over the three months of the Challenge. As a benchmark, 400 points is a manageable amount for someone who is new the the event and/or has a busy work/life schedule. Remember, many points can be secured by participating in the Bonus Rounds (more on this below).

Also, many folks have a lot of fun issuing 'duels' to other participants in order to race to meet a declared target, paint the most figures for a specific period, etc. I leave this to the participants to organize, but I'm more than happy to log the duels and keep track of the points.

Vo Nguen Giap
Challenger Target Thresholds & Prizes

There will be six point thresholds set out for the Challenge. Each time a participant reaches a Point Threshold his/her name will be entered for the prize drawn for that level. So, the more points you accumulate the more prizes you will be eligible for. We have many generous prize sponsors who I will introduce in a following post. The Threshold prizes will be drawn at the end of the Challenge.
Threshold I: 500 points
Threshold II: 750 points 
Threshold III: 1000 points 
Threshold IV: 1500 points 
Threshold V: 2000 points 
Threshold VI: 2500 points
Gebhard Lebrecht Blucher
The Fortnight Theme Bonus Rounds
Same as previous years, we will have a series of thematic Bonus Rounds. Each Bonus Round asks Challengers to enter a submission that illustrates a particular theme. The Bonus Rounds are not mandatory, they are just a little bit of fun to pace out the the Challenge and allow people to gain some points and fame through presenting vignettes and specific single figures.
Those Challengers who manage to submit an entry for a 'Fortnight Theme Bonus Round' will receive an extra 50 points on top of the regular entry tally. No scales less than 15mm will be eligible for the Theme Bonus Rounds but they can be of a historical or fictional subject.
The seven Bonus Themes along with their submission deadlines are:
  • January 3rd: Nostalgia 
  • January 17th: Epic Fail 
  • January 31st : Defensive Terrain 
  • February 14th: L'amour 
  • February 28th: Nautical 
  • March 13th: Gambler/Risk-Taker
The theme submissions are to be sent in by 12:01 am (CST) on the specified date (Sundays for all).
For each bonus round I'll post a poll listing all the round's entries so visitors can vote for their favourite. 
Neil Armstrong
Tipping the Croupier

As in previous Challenges, I ask for a small memento from each Challenger. In keeping with this year's theme, the entrance 'fee' for this year's Challenge will be a single 28mm figure characterized as a risk-taker, daredevil or gambler. The figure will be supplied and painted by the entrant. This miniature can be submitted any time up until the end of the Challenge. Again, same as previous years, for each figure I receive I will donate $5 to the Saskatchewan branch of the Regina Humane Society.

Robert E. Lee
The Call

Please don't wait too long if you're interested - drop me a note below to get on the roster. I'll place notification in this space when all the participant slots for the Challenge have been filled.

Let the fun begin!

Monday, November 2, 2015

'Strange Aeons' Halloween Game - 'The Spanish Caverns'

As it was Halloween this past weekend I decided to put on a 'Strange Aeons' game for the boys. Here's the scenario I cooked up for them:
Spring 1937, Spain. 
Your teams have been dispatched to war-torn Spain to investigate reports of a strange atmospheric phenomenon witnessed along the coast of Asturias. This disturbing anomaly, which seems to manifest itself as a type of fog, is causing perfectly good aircraft to crash with no pilots in cockpits and ships found adrift without crew. If this is not perplexing enough, the only ones affected are those sympathetic to Republican Spain...

!No Pasaran! 
The four Agency teams first flew into Portugal where they met a sympathetic priest who served as their guide into Asturias. He ultimately led them to a series of caverns set within a cliff-faced shore. Caverns where the strange fog has been seen to emanate these past few months... 

One member of the team taking a smoke break at the entrance to the caverns.

From all this we spent the evening drinking Spanish wine, having a few laughs, while dispatching rogue Guardia Civil troopers, Cultist Nazis, extra-dimensional tentacles and a wide assortment of creepy-crawly baddies. True to form, the heroes ultimately emerged triumphant, but it must be said that the sanity of a few their number have been severely frayed by the experience. 

The cavern terrain tiles are from a Kickstarter from Dwarven Forge. Both Stacy and I harvested non-essential body parts from local teenagers to get a bunch of the pre-painted sets. They are made of a very high quality plastic/resin material and are ingeniously designed so as to fit together in a bewildering variety of designs. 

Lady Sarah seemed a bit skeptical when I was unpacking the boxes ('You paid HOW MUCH for this?'), but it only took a few minutes of her fiddling around with the pieces and she was hooked, madly putting together her first dungeon. In fact, the cavern layout for this scenario was designed by her the night before. Yes, m'dear, it's a slippery slope. Mwhaahaa!

'...and, see, in here we'll install a jacuzzi and solarium to help hydrate the resident undead. You know, some creature comforts...'
The tabletop with the entrance layer lifts up and fits over the other surface, hiding the final showdown from the players.

Below are a few pics of the caverns along with some artistic re-creations of the evening's action. 

The lower level cavern.
The final showdown in the upper cavern which, in the scenario, overlooks the Atlantic.

'Gee whiz Willickers, what could possibly be down this passage?'
The final battle. A poor team-member (Sylvain) getting drained like a malted milkshake by the Daemonic Mist.
'Schluuurp! Burp! Oh my, pardon me...'
Recognize the villain Nick?
For those who are curious: The nasty pumpkins seen above generated an eldritch shield around the main villains that the heroes had to deal with first. Trick or Treat!!

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

'Curte Vecchio' - 6mm Meditteranean Hill Town & 3mm British Napoleonics

A couple of months ago I prattled on about 'Blucher', a new set of rules which our group has been using for grand-tactical Napoleonics. This summer I organized a multi-player '100 Days' campaign for the guys which came off fairly well (you can read Peter's posts from his viewpoint as Wellington). We used the cards that came with the campaign pack, which worked absolutely fine, but I knew early on that I wanted to replace them with bases of massed figures. After a bit of hand wringing I went with the 3mm range offered by Pico Miniatures. These figures provide a great sense of mass which I think works very well for this level of simulation.  Over the summer I worked through a fair amount of the French forces (equivalent to 20 or so brigades/bases of infantry, cavalry and artillery), but in amongst that, I also managed to finish the British contingent which you can see in the accompanying photos.

As with my previous efforts, I've used a fairly stripped-down, minimalist approach to painting these little fellas (for those interested, the method to my madness can be followed up here). One thing I've discovered after dorking around with several hundred of these chaps is that you have to get the flags right as they really put the finishing touch on the unit. Nevertheless, since the cast flags only provide a teeny-tiny paint surface to work with you have puzzle out how best to convey their primary elements. (Believe me, after working on Russian and Austrian flags, with their double-headed eagles, whacky iconography and byzantine heraldry, one really comes to appreciate the elegant simplicity of the French tricolour!) Anyway, here are some of Nosey's lads, ready to go toe-to-toe with the best that Boney has to offer.

The red hash mark is to aid line of sight and indicate nationality.
Shown along with these British figures is another little project that I've wrapped up recently. This is a Mediterranean hill town offered by Total Battle Miniatures. DaveD from One Man and His Brushes was kind enough to pick this up for me from Salute this year. Thanks again Dave! 

This is the second set I've worked on from Total Battle. The first, shown below, was a small Austrian village, reminiscent of the village of Essling which was made famous during the 1809 campaign. That set featured four resin buildings on a flexible rubber base - a very nice bit of terrain

My first effort: Essling screened by Austrian forces painted by Greg and myself.

This time round it's a Mediterranean town set on a picturesque hill. Instead of rubber, the terrain base is a solid piece of resin featuring many nice details including insets for the eight buildings to fit within.

After seeing a few examples on the web I decided to tart-up the base with some vineyards, a few cyprus trees and a suitably heroic statue for the town square.

The vineyards were simply tiny bits of clumped foliage set with white glue. I then brushed in brown ink along the rows to give the impression of well-tended soil.

The cyprus trees were made from pipe-cleaners, shaped with diluted white glue and then painted in place.

The statue is a 6mm mounted figure glued onto a pushpin. Kinda lame, I know, but it works well enough. Like the buildings I kept it loose so it can be removed for when playing pieces have to occupy the town.

Now, I just need a few tables shaded with Cinzano umbrellas, a gelato bar and a couple pretty girls wearing big sunglasses... La Dolce Vita in Curte Vecchio! 

Ciao bella!

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

For Nick - 28mm White Russian Command Stand

Well, after an extended summer hiatus I've wandered back to my brushes and keyboard. The past few months have been very restful with many hours spent puttering around the yard, hanging out with Lady Sarah and the Hounds, and putting a load of kilometers on the bicycles. But now the leaves are turning colour, the temperatures are beginning to cool, and so I though it time to remove the dust sheet from the hobby desk and stoke the boilers once again.

Over the past couple of years my good friend Nick (over at Moiterei's bunte Welt) and I have taken to exchanging painted figures after the flurry of the Painting Challenge. Basically we each pick a figure we fancy and the other tries to do his best with it. This year Nick did up 'The General', a wonderful sculpt from the Lead Adventure range to add to my post-apocalyptic collection. As you can see he did a fantastic job on him. I love the saturated colours of his uniform and the way Nick's done the basework to match my other models.

The General
For my part, Nick wanted me to paint him a female commissar for his Russian WWI/Civil War collection from the range offered by Mike Copplestone. Well, with a little foot-dragging on my part I'm happy to (finally) present my offering to Nick.

These two figures represent members of the Kornilov Regiment which fought doggedly with the Whites during the Civil War. The rifle-pennon is a hand-painted affair, taken from something I spotted on the web.

Similar to the other figures in my RCW collection, I added some white flowers on the base to help underline their loyalties.

There you have it Nick! I hope these two Russians find a good place in your collection and I look forward to our next exchange.

Next up: More wee men from the Napoleonic era.