Friday, February 28, 2014

From SamuliS: 28mm Winter War Finnish Ski Troops (25 points)

From Samuli:
Back to Winter War project again with 5 Finnish ski troops representing a Kaukopartio or Long Range Patrol squad. I originally wanted to paint these for the hero themed fortnight challenge, but only got the minis two days before the deadline thanks to Royal Mail/Fail taking their time with my package :)

The long range patrol teams that Finland employed are quite a personal subject for me as my grandfather served as a sergeant in one of the teams and later on I ended up serving my own military service as a platoon leader in reconnaissance too. The Kaukopartio troops have quite a legendary reputation in Finland as they are some of the highest decorated units to serve in the Finnish army and they carried out some awe inspiring missions during the war. Details of their operations are still a bit sketchy as most of the material was destroyed after a peace had been negotiated with Soviet Union.
Their missions ranged from small intelligence gathering patrols behind to lines to strikes at Soviet supply depots and rear echelon troops with nearly battalion sized forces, with the longest missions lasting over three months hundreds of kilometers behind enemy lines. Such was the effect of their missions that one of the most famous commanders, Lauri Törni, even had a 3 million mark (roughly 600,000 dollars at the time) bounty put on his head by the Soviets. The same Törni actually fought under three nations serving in the Finnish army, the Nordic battalion of the Waffen-SS and finally being killed in Vietnam while serving in the US Army as a Major in Green Berets.

The minis are from Warlord this time. The quality difference between the Baker Co stuff and Warlord is just massive. These guys have far more realistic proportions and better facial features than anything from Baker Company. There are still some issues like the massive amounts of flash. And I only had one rifle in the whole blister that was completely intact with the rest of them missing the front sight and the end of the barrel.
You've done just a wonderful job on these miniatures Samuli. I particularly like how you've dirtied up the knees, elbows and edging of their trousers and parkas. I have to agree with you in that these castings seem significantly nicer to the Baker Company sculpts we've seen to date. 

Also, this Lauri Torni fellow seems to be a very impressive, if not controversial, character. An ex-Waffen SS member in the Green Berets? That is an interesting (if not shocking) tidbit indeed. I definitely need to do some reading on this fellow.

These five Kaukopartio will give Samuli 25 points.

From MartinN: 28mm Late Roman Cavalry & Archers (30 points)

From Martin (Nick):
One of my goals for the challenge was to paint up the Late Roman figures I have in my lead pile. As the end of the challenge grows closer I'm slowly running out of time for this. So here are two heavy cavalry and two archers from Musketeer Miniatures.
I really like the figures Bill is making. They're full of character and require little in the way of cleaning.  Sometimes the detail on the tunics and trousers is a bit flat but they still are a treat to paint.
I decided to go for another colour scheme as for my other Romans as they look a bit too elite to me nowadays in their greyish blue tunics. Most of the older figures are also missing the patterns I painted on these guys here. 
As I occupied myself with the late Roman army for over a year now I came to the conclusion they need these patterns to look right. So maybe I have to go back to my older figures somewhen.

Till then I still have six archers and three infantry men left in the queue which I'm hoping to finish in time.

Wow, absolutely stunning work Nick! I really like the red patterns you've chosen for the archers' tunics and the duller toned metallics seem to resonate well with these figures (especially the scale mail and helm on the mounted leader). But it is in the facial detail where your brush control just amazes me - astonishing stuff and a feast for the eyes, bravo!

These Late Romans will give Nick 30 points. Again, lovely work.

And while I have everyones' attention I'd like to make a few announcements:

1) First, some sad news. Kent has suffered a serious back injury and so has regretfully decided  to put down his brushes and bow out of the Challenge. He told me he was very disappointed as he had planned a glorious dash to the finish, but things just didn't turn out. He extends his heartfelt thanks and well wishes to all his fellow Challengers and hopes to join company with us all next time out. I know I speak for all of us in wishing him a speedy and comfortable recovery. Get well Kent, your participation will be missed!

2) On to more prosaic news: The bonus points for the 'Casualty' bonus round have been tabulated and the participants' scores updated on the roster. Also as a reminder, Sunday 6pm (CST) will be the cutoff for voting on the Casualty round so if you've not had the opportunity to see the gallery please take some time to visit, enjoy the wonderful work and cast your votes for your favourites.

3) Finally, remember this Saturday midnight is the deadline for the 'Favourite Character' theme round so now's the time to stoke the fires of industry and get your submissions wrapped up and into me. I'm looking forward to seeing what folks come up for this one! I'll endeavour to have the gallery up by late Sunday afternoon...

Thanks and have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

From EdwinK: 28mm Retro Raygun Rocketeers (25 points)

Here are five 28mm figures from Hydra Miniature's Retro Raygun range 

I've had them for quite a while in a half-painted state, but scrubbed them and started afresh for the challenge.  

In retrospect I wish I'd left the out-sized rocket packs off, which would have given them a cleaner colour-scheme, but then they wouldn't have been rocketeer would they?
Very, very cool Edwin. I love these guys! Their metallic gold spacesuits are very posh (in a 1962 kinda way) and I really like your backdrop as well. You just need a bright silver bullet-shaped space ship off in the distance to complete the scene. 

These five rocketeers will give Edwin 25 points. 

From PaulJ: 28mm WWII British Paras (55 points)

From PaulJ:
Here is another section of WW2 British Paratroopers in 28mm.  They are a combination of Warlord and Crusader metal figures.
A fourth Infantry section provides an additional support element to my core three section platoon. 
The second PIAT team also add a bit of redundancy to the platoon.  The PIAT isnt that good an anti tank weapon, but its handy to keep the lighter and recon stuff at arms reach.  Having only team makes it a bit vulnerable, and an extra team should help build a crossfire too.

For those who asked for more closeups of the rest of my Para platoon I've uploaded a bunch of closeups and pictures here:

Lovely work Paul. You've really hit your stride with these fellows. They all look superb but I especially like the photos of the prone PIAT team - your garden should be free of critters with these lads guarding the verge.

This section of paras will give Paul 55 points. Nicely done! (As you see your choice of 800 points for your second points target was a bit conservative. I still think you should go for 900... just sayin'.)

From Millsy: 28mm ECW Rupert's Lifeguard of Horse (60 points)

From Millsy:
See? I told you I was painting ECW cavalry. Despite my easily distracted nature, I have managed to get these chaps off the painting table today.
This is Prince Rupert's Lifeguard of Horse, armed and armoured as befits the best of the best. No pistols out for these lads, it's swords out and charging into the teeth of the enemy just as Rupert taught them.
The miniatures are a mix of 28mm Renegade and Bicorne riders on Renegade horses. An absolute joy to paint as always and packed with lovely detail and character. The sashes on the Bicorne figures are especially nice.

The guidon is a commercial one for once, as opposed to my usual home made efforts. I was given it as a prize years ago when I took part in a massive ECW participation game. I commanded the Royalist cavalry and drove the enemy horse from the table with their tails well and truly between their legs. In proper Cavalier fashion I immediately followed and myself and my opposite number retired to the bar early. :-)
Well, that was certainly worth the wait, eh? Bravo Millsy, these are some excellent harse boyz. Very clean brush-work and great basing to boot. Wonderful stuff.

These hard chargers of Rupert Lifeguard will give Millsy 60 points. 

From RobP: 28mm AWI American Minutemen (45 points)

Rob cracks the whip to prompt his fellow Dutchmen to greater efforts with this excellent entry of AWI Minutemen.

From Rob:

After a two-week skiing trip I was surprised to see that my two fellow Dutch contenders (MichaelF and JaccoK) did not take the opportunity to catch up with me on the points list.  I have given them another week but now there is no more mercy regarding getting first place in our side competition...
To further work towards my points goal here is my next entry: 9 AWI Minutemen.
The figures are Foundry (Perry sculpts) and I think almost everybody bought this pack since you see them in a lot of pictures and articles. I had these lying around for a long time but since we are into 'Muskets and Tomahawks' with our gaming group I decided to paint them up to field a small American force as an addition to my British to be able to play both sides if needed.. 
The figures were fun to paint and will certainly get more company in the form of some militia units in the near future.

Excellent work Rob! These are great models (as you noted, one sees them everywhere it seems) and you've done a very nice job on them.  I like that you've kept them in a varied mix of colours to underline their irregular status.

These nine Minutemen will give Rob 45 points, bringing him within 55 points of winning the Dutch side challenge. Well done Rob! Now, Michael and Jacco, where are your entries?

From ByronM: 28mm Great War Highlanders & Challenge Desperado (80 points)

From Byron:
Here are two more submissions for the challenge, first up is another unit of Canadians for my Great War project.  
This unit is made up of a rifle section of 10 brave men from the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) 16th Battalion along with their leader.  Also included here is the big man that I am using to lead the 16th Battalion in games, a level III big man, who very appropriately can be called the man with the plan, since the model actually has an attack plan on it.
The figures are a mix of the Great War and Musketeer lines as they fit together size wise wonderfully.

It still bugs me that I can not paint the kilts on these guys though as they are almost entirely covered by the kilt aprons that they wore into battle.  I did paint the tiny little patches that peak through as the 3rd of the 4 different regiments that went into making up the 16th Battalion.  This tartan is of theThe 72nd Seaforth Highlanders of Canada and is a dark blue and green tartan with white and red striping through it.  

The Seaforths provided almost 1/2 of the men that went into making up the 16th CEF Battalion, and as members of the 16th were part of almost all of the bloodiest battles in the war, including Ypres, the Somme, Vimy Ridge, and Passchendaele.  This holds true for all of the component parts of the 16th though, and is the reason that I chose to represent them as one of the Battalions in my CEF force.

The second submission included here is the miniature being used as my entrance requirement for the challenge.  It is a Foundry wild west figure that I felt had a very similar look and feel as the crazy old coot played by Edmond O’Brien in the 'Wild Bunch'. 

I know that the figure has an eye patch and that Edmond didn’t in the movie, but I still felt the figure worked and didn’t want to try and carve it off and try to sculpt an eye. I tried to keep the colours close to seen in the movie and from the side where you don’t see the eye patch, I think it looks pretty damn close.
I muddied him up a bit with pigments mixed with alcohol which provides a cool effect in person, but doesn’t show up well in a photo.  I was told about using them wet to get mud effects and they work pretty well, the only issue being that they go on wet and pretty much invisible….  hence using alcohol instead of water so that it dries faster so that you can tell where you applied it about 20 seconds later rather than a minute later.  I figured the alcohol suited the crazy old coot better anyway.
Hope you like him Curt.
Another excellent unit of Highlanders to add to your burgeoning force of Canadians - great job. Just as the others, these are wonderfully painted (very nice work on the Glengarry caps), though I feel your pain for not being able to paint the tartan on the kilts (I had the same reaction when I discovered that they almost always had them covered with the khaki apron). I really like the Jock officer with the iPad. 'How do we break through the Hun trenches? Hmm, I think there's an app for that...'

And Edmond is fabulous with his hoary grey beard and single mad, mad eye (even though the eyepatch is an indulgence he's definitely rockin' it). He will be a great addition to the 'Wild Bunch' that is gathering strength in my display cabinet.

These Highlanders along with 'Edmond The One-Eyed Coot' will give Byron 80 points, enough for him to meet his Challenge target of 1000 points. Well done and Congratulations Byron!! 

Do you have a new target for our last three weeks? 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

From LeeH: 6mm WWII Italian Desert Armour & Open Blitz Trucks (30 points)

From Lee:
My latest entry is yet more 6mm North Africa not mega points! First off here are five Italian P40 Heavy Tanks. These were in development for several years with the first production models appearing in late 1942. The subsequent loss of the factory making the engines meant that by wars end only 22 had been produced, so inclusion in any army is speculative at best. 

A small number of P40's were sent to North Africa and saw action in Egypt so I've decided to paint up one platoon just to bolster my Italian tank forces. These particular models are from GHQ and as you would expect the quality is excellent with superb detailing. 
Keeping with the Italians I have also painted up four AB41 armoured cars to provide some recon screening for my Italian forces. These are some old recycled H&R models that I stripped for repainting. They have a lot less detail than the GHQ equivalent but at a mere £0.40 each compared to £1.40 for the GHQ models its hard to find fault with them! Personally I mix and match manufacturers based entirely on availability of vehicle types within the respective ranges, price is a secondary issue.

Last up I painted six Opel Blitz trucks (seen in the top photos). These can be used by most German forces and in this case they will form part of a supply convoy for a battle scenario I am working on. 

I've really enjoyed seeing this project develop over the past year. The overall aesthetic of the vehicles, their wonderful rounded bases, desert terrain and attendant game markers (see his fabulous smoke markers here) is wonderfully realized. Well done Lee!

These Italian vehicles and German trucks will provide Lee with 30 points to add to his total.

From MilesR: 15mm All Quiet on the Martian Front Tripods & Union Artillery (64 points)

From Miles:
Some more test mini’s from All Quiet on the Martian Front and a gun and crew from the new 28mm Perry ACW plastic artillery set. First up a pair of Martian Grenadier tripods. These are resin and metal kits and have 15 parts each. The models are very easy to put together and there was no flash. Again these are test kist and may see a little future refinement before hitting the market.
Grenadier tripods are a type of long range artillery for the Martian forces. In test games they tend to be my favorite unit as they can deliver a punch from a good distance away. Each tripod is armed with a pair of launcher that can either fire explosives or black dust. They also have a pair of reaper tentacles for close combat. The one downside is their armor is a bit weaker than most other Martian tripods so they are easy prey from human infantry.
Side view of the models - those reaper tentacles look like nasty business.
Even though the scale of AQMF is 15mm, the Martian tripod models are fairly large with these grenadiers coming in at 4 inches high and 2.5 inches wide. I may end up mounting them on 60mm bases, but that decision will need to wait until the game comes out.
A pair of unprotected Grenadier tripods about to be assaulted by a human infantry company!
Next up, my first artillery battery from the new Perry plastic ACW artillery box. I’ve modeled a Union 10lb Parrot rifle with six man crew. These are pretty generic union paints so they fill in for any type of formation.
Each box has figures to build three guns (with four different barrel options each), 3 caissons, and 18 crew (6 per gun). I really like the box and think it’s both a great value and a good way to build out a fairly massive artillery park in 28mm scale.

I picked up 3 boxes from Ernie on Friday, so have eight guns and crews to use. I’m planning on using the caissons as ammo resupply markers for Fire and Fury Regimental.

Another wonderful entry Miles, and another tantalizing preview of what's to come for 'All Quiet on the Martian Front'. The Grenadier Tripod is very cool, and impressively intimidating next to the 15mm infantry, but I must say I'm not a big fan of the 'eye of Sauron' thing on the front. A bit too overblown for my tastes. I think the model would look more menacing if the 'turret' was turned around with the smooth, featureless carapace to the front. But that's me and I know most will cry me down as a heretic and wish me fed me to the Martian harvest walkers (which I'm sure are somewhere to come in the release cycle).

The Martian Grenadiers and the Union artillery piece with its crew will give Miles 64 points. Great work and thanks again for the preview.

From SamuliS: 6mm ACW Union Mounted and Dismounted Cavalry, Artillery and Command (80 points)

From Samuli:
Back to ACW with the cavalry and artillery units of my force. 2 mounted and 4 dismounted cavalry units and 5 artillery batteries in addition to three more command stands. All of them Baccus again. Great quality all around and a pleasure to paint in this scale. The tiny flags were bit of a pain to paint as Baccus has for some reason decided to sculpt them straight on instead of leaving room for printed flags like on the infantry and on the command flag stands.
I decided to try another background when taking pics of these little guys. This time black instead of the normal light grey or the scenic base I have. 
Seems to work quite nicely and I was a bit surprised that finding good settings for the photos was maybe even a bit easier than with the lighter backgrounds.

Excellent work Samuli! You've done a wonderful job on these. I especially like the dismounted cavalry bases with their integrated mounts and horse-holders. Its also nice to see another (potential) convert to using a black background. I find it does a great job of showcasing the miniatures and not altering or washing out colours.

These very fine union cavalrymen, officers and attendant artillery will give Samuli 80 points. Great job!