Sunday, January 26, 2014

Selection of the 'Vehicle(s)' Fortnight Bonus Theme Entries

Wow, what a hectic week! As many of you know we had an superb selection of figures for the 'Vehicles' bonus round with entries ranging from wagons to canoes and from camels to spaceships. The voting was incredibly tight as well, with a half dozen participants see-sawing up the roster throughout the week - a point gained here, a gap opening there. Everything seemed to be unfolding at a measured pace winding its way to the finish. Well, until the last hour. Then all hell broke loose when the poll was deluged with several hundred votes from two specific newsgroups.  Now, while I'm delighted with the prospect of my unprepossessing painting duels have garnered some wider interest but I was soon dismayed by the violent changes these last minute votes made to the established standings. It was suspect and just didn't make any sense. (Is there such a thing as 'Poll Bombing'?)

Anyway, I decided to resolve the situation by simply using the voting numbers that I had logged about an hour before the poll closed, which was around the same time as when the hunnic voters appeared on the horizon. I think this is fair and sensible as it maintains both the spirit of the event and the voting 'trajectory' of the of the bonus round.

So, moving right along...

While the votes for first and second place were fairly comfortable, the race for third was very close indeed, with no more than 30 points separating five entries. So in this spirit I'd like to bring to attention those who were running up to 3rd.

Lord Hill's grim but poignant casualty cart leaving Waterloo,

Christopher's hauntingly beautiful Indians portaging a waterfall,

Martin's wonderfully rusted and begrimed Daimler armoured car, 

... and my quasi-festive (not) 1812 French Retreat snow sledges.

Nevertheless, Anne began to pull away during the closing weekend and so seized 3rd place with her wonderfully realized and amazingly painted Monkey-Piloted Flying Carpet (those mushrooms just kill me btw). Anne will get an additional 25 points added to her Challenge tally. This will be her second podium finish in the thematic rounds AND will give her enough points to meet her Challenge target. Congratulations Anne!

For  2nd place MichaelA created this marvellously whimsical gypsy caravan. I think many who visited the gallery loved the attention to detail he put into his entry, from the scrollwork around the doors to the cat and hedghog lounging below the axles. A wonderful piece that will give Michael 50 points to add to his roster. Well done Michael!

Finally, in first place we have an entry which, much like my previous 'Winter-as-Villain' entry, challenges the interpretation of the week's theme. In this Andrew describes his imagination itself being his 'vehicle' and as such composed a fantasy diorama depicting a brave hero duelling a monstrous spider near her webbed lair (why do we always think of spiders as being female?).  The painting is simply superb with the entire scene telling a story of derring do. Fantastic.

For his efforts Andrew will receive 75 points along with this fitting vignette from Westfalia Miniatures.  ;0)

So please join me in congratulating the winners of our latest thematic bonus round. Well done and bravo to Anne, Michael and Andrew!

From AlanD: 15mm WWII Soviet Armour (82 points)

From Alan:
Flitting butterfly-like from project to project, I have cleared some 15mm Russian vehicles from the lead mountain this week. These are all destined for Battle Group Kursk (best game ever), with the exception of the T34/85, which suggests that I will soon start painting things for Battlegroup Fall of the Reich.
The models are a real mixed bag. First up, here are a couple of Katyushas from Zvezda. As with all the 15mm Zvezda kits, the models fit together beautifully. As they are intended as gaming pieces some compromises are made with detail, such as only having rockets on the top of the launching rails, but they are nice little kits nevertheless.
At the other end of the model engineering scale, next are is a radio command truck and a couple of Gaz jeeps from QRF. These are very rudimentary metal kits, with the radio van in particular suffering from lots of mould lines and a reluctance from any parts to actually fit properly. The jeep base with the two pointing chaps will act as a forward observer in BGK, the other is a command base for a motorised platoon. The figures are all from Plastic Soldier Company. I like these a lot, but my army is starting to suffer from officers and NCOs all feeling the need to point at things.

Next up, a SU76 and White Scout Car from Command Decision. These are very nice models, and I particularly like all the stowage on the Scout Car. In BGK this will act as a Recce unit, carrying a squad of 6 men. I've modelled them on a separate base, complete with a tree demolished by an artillery shell.

Finally, a resin knocked-out T34/85 from Peter Pig. Despite obvious compromises with detail to mould it in one piece, I really like this model, which will act as an objective marker.

Sadly, the supplier had run out of T34/76s, so this is destined for Fall of the Reich. Being enormously pedantic I probably can't bear to use it in a Kursk game.
Great stuff! I particularly like the ungainly Katyusha trucks, the Gaz jeeps and the grim knocked-out T34. 

Alan, you are a one-man ad campaign for this game! You've done such a great job being a booster that I'm ordering a copy today. Mission accomplished.

This selection of Soviet men and vehicles will provide Alan 82 points to add to his growing tally. Nice!

From Millsy: 28mm Warhammer 40K Servitors & Terminators ( 67 points)

From Millsy:
Unfortunately work has re-entered my life [sad face]. Coupled with a nasty pinched nerve in my neck and my painting time has been severely restricted of late. I've managed to grind some stuff out though, even at a much reduced pace and volume.
This entry is an addition to my 40K Space Marine force. First up we have another eight Servitors in the two chapter colours of red and green. I have absolutely no need for these chaps number-wise as I already had four complete. However, I love the models and wanted all sorts of weapon options so they've been painted anyway. I won't be adding any more now though. I hope... :-) 

The second half of the entry is my first unit of Terminators. They're armed with all the usual goodness for shooting up all manner of nasties at both long and short range. We still play 4th edition hence the double heavy weapon load out. 

They had their debut yesterday and ripped through plenty of stuff including a unit of IG Ogryns, helping me to a solid win. Normally anything I paint and run out first time fails miserably so it was a pleasant surprise indeed!

Great work Millsy! I particularly like the servitors with their cadaverous blue-hued skin. The whole idea of using society's miscreants (i.e teenagers) as biological parts to create mindless servitors is somehow strangely appealing to me.

These two units from the dark dystopian 41st millenium will give Millsy 67 points. 

From AaronH: 28mm WWII American Infantry 'Tough Hombres' (50 points)

From Aaron:
These are ten US GIs from WWII.  The models are Warlord Games plastics.  This is a great kit with lots of options, though it doesn’t have enough Garands or Springfields to field two infantry squads all with the same weapon.  I ended up giving one of these cats a springfield.  I enjoyed painting these.  The detail is great, except for the pack straps, which sort of just disappear right at the shoulder, where they are most visible.  I’m really happy with how these turned out and I can’t wait to finish painting up the other fifteen.  I also have some support weapons inbound, which I’m looking forward to starting on.
The kit is a great way to flesh out a US army in 28mm, but when I add more infantry I’ll be going for metals.  This is also a cheap way to get bazookas and SMG’s, etc.  There are a ton of weapons in the box. Overall, I’d recommend this kit.  
The squad has ten men.  The squad leader is armed with a Thompson and there is a BAR gunner.  All the rest are armed with rifles.

I took a stab at free handing the chevrons on the Sgt and Cpl.  They are recognizable, so I guess I should be happy.  I also painted a division patch on them.  These guys will all be from the 90th Infantry Division, the Tough Hombres.  
They had a poor reputation for the first months of their combat service.  They finally had enough leaders relieved that they got decent officers and started to perform well.
My grandfather served in this division, being wounded twice.  It seemed fitting to paint them up as his unit.
As is fairly common, once I looked at the pictures I noticed static grass all over these guys.  I really should blow them off with canned air before I attempt pictures.  Someday I’ll learn.

These look great Aaron. It's nice to get a review of these plastic sets as they can be a little hit-and-miss at times. I really like the freehand unit patch and your chevrons look very clean. I think you've done your granddad proud. 

This squad of Tough Hombres will give Aaron 50 points. Well done!

From ScottB: 28mm Castellans of Dol Guldur from 'The Hobbit' (20 points)

From Scott:
With recent events hotting up in the Hobbit movie and Dol Guldur setting really getting developed, I've been playing some LOTR SBG games at home with my son. We've enjoyed some scenarios from the Fall of the Necromancer.. 
For the next scenario in sequence I needed 4 Castellans of Dol Guldur...
I've had these figures for some time (like most of my LOTR collection now), and have wanted to paint them up for ages, but never got round to it.
I am not sure how good they are in the game, but they fit the setting superbly, and I think they are wonderfully evil and menacing looking figures without going OTT in a Warhammer kind of way...
28mm scale figures for the GW LOTR SBG game. Simple black robes, much like the Ringwraiths, with old looking dark armour. But as a final touch I gave them a wash with GWs Green wash, to try give them a slightly ghostly/spectral quality. I didn't want to over do it, so it's quite subtle.
The bases I deliberately left looking rather sparse - didn't think they'd look right standing besides flower clumps!
I also got a pack resin skulls from Slave to Painting and was going to add some to the bases...but on closer look at the skulls, I think they are just a little too big to scale well with the LOTR range of figures - perhaps more akin to the oversize Warhammer stuff, so in the end left them off.
Hope you like them, and I can't wait to try them out in the game.

Lovely work Scott! I really like the effect the green wash gave to these figures - something that could be used on the Nazgul as well I would imagine.

These four Castellans of Dol Guldur will give Scott 20 points. Very nice and I hope you and your son have a great game with them.

From SamuliS: 28mm Dark Age Norse Gaels (68 points)

From Samuli:
Back to the Dark ages after rolling through the muddy roads of Belgium and Netherlands. I present to you the last half of Gripping Beasts Norse-Gael starter set. Cheaper equipment (spears instead of Dane Axes) has allowed these guys to keep their shoes, so they are not as angry as the previous lot.

I cheated a bit on the shields this time by using Battle Flags excellent decals! Really nice, except for the fact that the metal shields aren't the same size as Gripping Beasts plastic ones. Had to cut the decals up a bit to make them fit. I decided to paint the curved shields by hand as the decals were quite thick and didn't go on very well on curved surfaces.

So this marks my first finished project for the challenge! Rare feeling as I normally just paint whatever takes my fancy so I tend to have a million projects going on at the same time with all of them in various states of progress. Next up Winter War Finns to try to complete the infantry portion of that project.

Wonderful work Samuli and congratulations on finishing off this project! These guys do seem less anxious than your last group so I think you're onto something with your shoe theory. It really is all about accessorizing.

This group of Norse Gaels will give Samuli 68 points. Great stuff! I look forward to seeing your next set of Winter War Finns.

From EdwinK: 54mm Zulu War Colonial British Infantry (180 points)

Edwin's lucky nephew is about to receive these fine reinforcements to his growing collection.

From Edwin:
Here are some more 54mm toy soldiers for my nephew's collection.  Ideal for counterpane wars ;)

The are Armies in Plastic Set 5573 'Zulu War 1879, 24th Foot' (though to be honest the only difference between the various regiments they sell is the box art and the colour of the plastic they are molded in - these are a lurid red).  
It's a nice set though - 18 figures in six different poses.

Awesome! Your nephew will be delighted with these I'm sure. I especially like the floral quilt terrain that they are deployed on. If I squint my eyes a bit I see a detachment of Victoria's finest deploying onto the surface of Mars to claim it for the Empire.

These 54mm soldiers will give Edwin 180 points - only 3 away from his Challenge target. Well done!

From ClintB: 15mm Mahdists (31 points)

Clint adds to his Mahdist forces with this unit of infantry.

From Clint:
Continuing to work on my 10mm Pendraken figures I have 30 more Mahdists. Again 3 figures to a base, this time all melee armed. I still have many more in the lead pile so expect a few more submissions. 

Many of these figures have bright patches on their Jibbeh this is not something I will continue too much as I am not a huge fan of the results of painting the patches on. I Just think they look better without them. Sometimes you just have to try things and see. 
Great work Clint. I actually like the addition of the patches of colour. If you're thinking they are too bright you might try a localized diluted brown wash to tone it down to your taste.

This fine unit of Mahdi will give Clint 31 points. 

From AndrewS: 20mm Ancient Briton Warbands (300 points)

Not wishing to be eclipsed by Kent and Kev, Andrew unleashes these three units of Ancient Britons to vault him back into the lead.

From Andrew:
This is the last of the Ancient Britons for now – once again these are all 20mm newline metals, with a couple of Italeri too make up the numbers.
In total there are three lots of 24 figure warbands for a total of 72 figures.
I have spent a fair bit of time with these, and as well as the tartans and stripes, I have gone to town on both the colours and freehand work on the shields to make these a glorious thump of colour. 

I am sure I have a few bolts loose up top myself, as I actually thought doing checked patterns on shields this size would be fun. I soon realized that it was damned hard work but carried on to make every shield unique.

These buggers will be ready to shed some big nose blood in my next encounter on the battlefield with Kev.

I dunno, I'm getting a nosebleed trying to comprehend all the work, skill and speed put into this force. Wow! Beautiful stuff Andrew. Again, as the other Britons you've submitted, these are wonderful. I love the vibrant colours and the attention spent to make them all unique and characterful. Bravo!

These three warbands of Britons will give Andrew 300 points which includes extra for the marvellous shields, plaids and tartan trews. Great job!