Wednesday, January 15, 2014

From Curt: 28mm First Indochina War - French Paratroop Officer and Radioman (10 points)

'The enemy has overrun our positions. We're blowing everything up... Au revoir.'
- Last French radio transmission from Dien Bien Phu - May 7th, 1954.

I needed a brief intermission from the winter-themed figures I've been working on and so decided to finish this command stand for my (slowly) developing Indochine project.

These two figures are from Red Star Miniatures' 28mm 'Dien Bien Phu' range. Beautiful models sculpted by Paul Hicks - I highly recommended them. I've based them on a hex-shaped base so they can be easily identified as a command stand when on the tabletop.

I understand that Red Star is just about to release their range of Viet Mihn to serve as the French's intractable opponents and so I'm very eager to get my hands on some of those.

These two French paras will provide me with 10 points, inching me further along to my 700 point goal.

Now back to the ice and snow of Russia...

From RobH: Challenge Desperado: Freddie Sykes (20 points)

Rob sends in his Challenge Desperado: Freddie Sykes from 'The Wild Bunch'.

From RobH:
Here is my entry fee. Unfortunately, my point and shoot camera's batteries were dead, and I had only one AA battery, so I had to use my cell phone...  It's a 28mm Pinnacle miniature, as best as I can tell, painted as Freddie Sykes for the Wild Bunch. It's not a perfect likeness, but it was an enjoyable figure to paint. Here he is waiting for the rest of the bunch to return. 

His suit is actually done in Reaper's Dark Skin triad, and turned out much much much better than I expected. I also really like how his hat turned out - it's a different brown from the suit, and I think it works rather well. His shirt is ivory, painted using Vallejo Buff as the shade, then Vallejo Ice Yellow as the main color, and then Delta Ceramicoat's Antique White to highlight.
I always paint eyes on my figures greater than 10mm, and I rather like the squint I was able to put on his left eye. As you'll see when you get the mini, he's not as bug-eyed as some of the photos show. The pipe he's smoking, the nose, and the really big bushy white beard make me think of Santa gone bad. 
Basework is my standard 30mm round for civilians, with the figure's name written on the base and color coded with his experience status. All in all, a fun figure to paint, and one I'm sort of sad to give up.

Santa gone bad indeed! Lovely work Rob and thanks so much! I think you found a figure very close to Freddie's likeness and you've really done an excellent job with capturing the colours of his clothes from the film. Well done!

Freddie Sykes will give Rob 20 points to add to his tally. Lovely stuff and thanks again Rob!

From BenG: 20mm Ancient Germans & Challenge Desperado (52 points)

Ben shelters from the Australian heat wave and sends us this great group of Ancient Germans and his Challenge Desperado.

From Ben:
Long time no post! After the extravaganza that was Borodino 2014 and its aftermath, the school holidays and the fact that southern Australia is in the grip of a +40ÂșC heatwave for most of this week (blessed cool change predicted on the weekend!), I haven't had a lot of painting time in the last couple of weeks.
What I have done, though, is a stand for my long-neglected late antiquity project; namely another Germanic tribal stand featuring mainly 1/72 Strelets figures with a couple of Miniart figs thrown in for variation. (I've just noticed that the rear-right axeman has had the paint from his helmet nasal wear off somehow. Grrrr...) I think the front row right figure with the sandy hair bears a slight resemblance to a certain round-house kicking, religious right-wing American B-movie film star who now inhabits the world of internet memes. Maybe under his beard there is no chin; only another axe!
Also included in this entry is the entry fee for the Challenge: a 28mm broomhandle Mauser wielding Mexican Villista revolutionary/bandit from Brigade Games.
I have 4 more figures which I was going to send unpainted as a bonus, but I had so much fun with this chap that I might paint the rest with a by-your-leave, of course, Curt.

Great to have you back Ben! Those great, hairy Germans are, well, great! I quite like the plaid cloaks and the hand painted shields - very choice indeed. And thank you so much for your Challenge Desperado! I love his guy with his mega sombrero and distinctive broom-handle heater, excellent stuff.

This group of hirsute Germans and this Mauser wielding Mexican will give Ben 52 points. Great job and thanks again!

From JamesB: 28mm Afghan Cavalry, Bengal Lancers, Ghurkha Rifles & Ronin (377 points)

James has the most ambitious points target within the Challenge this year and to start biting into that goal he sends in this very nice mixture of figures from the North-West Frontier and Feudal Japan.

From James:
I have had a few questions about my lack of entries this year so far so just wanted to put things straight. I have three main areas that I am working on this winter the North West Frontier, The Sudan and the Zulu war. 
I had always intended to dedicate one month to each area, and with the extra week added on to the start of the challenge I started with the NWF as the tribesmen are a true irregular force. I have painted many irregular forces and found the quickest way is to break the force down to small batches (10 figures) each batch is painted the same and when all complete the figures are mixed up giving a great irregular look to the army. All this means that until all tribesmen are finished the army will not look as I wish it to. So while I have been busy painting Afghan's like a mad thing I will be showing all the Afghans in my next entry at the end of the first month (20th).
An exception to this is the mounted unit that I painted all at once but in irregular colours I have completed this unit and they form part of this entry.
The Colonial side of this conflict has been easier to paint and I have had real fun doing them in this entry I offer you a unit of Bengal Lancers which are one of my favorite units I am very happy with these and the lance pennants I scratch built myself.

I also offer you two sections of Gurkha Rifles.

Last but by no means least I have a few Ronin figures I have been painting along side all the NWF stuff.

Very nice work James. The ronin, rifles and Afghans are great but I really like the Bengal lancers with their flapping pennants and colourful turbans.

This selection of figures will give James 377 points, with extra added for the wonderful lance pennants. Well done!

From ClintB: 10mm Samurai Mounted Archers (24 points)

From Clint:
12 mounted Samurai all armed with Bows. Continuing with my 10mm Samurai armies these figures will add to my Red army. While normally I paint the Samurai in different colours of armour I have decided for these few stands to keep them all uniform. There have been a few Japanese Generals such as Yamagata Masakage or Ii Naomasawho were known for their units in Red armour so I was open to the idea of uniformity in Samurai armours. I have also given them red harnesses and trappings to reinforce this point.

They are my usual 10mm figures of choice, Pendraken Miniatures. And have fitted 3 cavalry to a 40x30mm base. Which corresponds to the 40mm frontage I have on all the others bases. These are my first cavalry for the newly started Red army so I clearly need more so I shall start some before the end of the painting challenge."

This is a wonderful unit Clint. Lovely castings and I really like the uniform red armour and accents on these fellows - very Kurosawaesque.

This group of Japanese mounted archers will give Clint 24 points. Well done!

From LeeH: 15mm WWII German Panzergrenadiers (100 points)

Lee kicks into high gear with is excellent 15mm panzergrenadier force.

From Lee:
I started putting together a Lehr panzegrenadier Company at the beginning of last year but only completed two platoons and the HQ . The Third and final Platoon remained based and primed but unpainted on my desk for several months. I'll be honest, my motivation had taken a down turn and I was looking for something new. And that was when I 'discovered' 6mm and decided to start work on my North Africa 1942 project. The poor old Panzergrenadiers never stood a chance and subsequently got boxed up and put in storage never to be seen again...

Until I decided to take part in the Challenge that is. This was the motivation I needed to get this final platoon out and complete the Company I had started so long ago. And now that I have finished them I can safely consider my Normandy Project complete, at least for now. The only downside to this long completion time is that each platoon has been painted slightly different to each other, despite having detailed colour notes and a 'formula' to work to. Next time I paint a company in 15mm I'll do all the platoons together (maybe something for next years challenge!).  
I've modelled and painted these as Lehr Gepanzerte Panzergrenediers which means each of the three squads has two MG teams of four Grenadiers plus one tank hunter (Panzerfaust) team each. Three of the SdKfz 251/1 D's half-tracks are equipped with the standard MG42's and the fourth has been upgraded to an Sd Kfz 251/10 D armed with a 3.7cm PaK 36 gun.

Now I just need to concentrate on finishing my 'Vehicle' entry for the bonus round.

Beautiful work Lee! I'm delighted to hear that the Challenge has prompted you to get these done and ready for action. Mission complete!

This panzergrenadier platoon will give Lee a very respectable 100 points. Well done!

The Votes are in for the 'Villain(s)' Theme Bonus Round

Well, our 'Villains' bonus round proved a resounding success with 151 voters casting on 45 wonderful entries. You could tell that many of the participants were bringing out their A game which provided a feast for the eyes.

Here are the final results:

3rd place was a very close race with Ray's excellent Sauron, Nick's hilarious Goblin Pirates and Byron's terrifying Nurgle Demon Prince all finishing within a few points of one another. 

But it was in the last few days that Iannick's wonderful Jabberwock pulled ahead to take 3rd place. This will give Iannick 25 bonus points to add to his total. Well done Iannick!

Frankly I'm a little hesitant about announcing 2nd place as I believe it should have been at the top. Sidney Roundwood's series of Mata Hari vignettes are a work of genius - brilliantly conceived and masterfully executed, truly a joy to behold. I urge you to check out Sidney's blog to get a better sense of the craftsmanship that went into these vignettes, it really is quite astonishing. For this entry Sidney will receive 50 additional bonus points to add to his tally. Wonderful work Sidney!

So in this light I am truly humbled to have been given the nod for 1st place. I am delighted that my 1812 French in retreat were appreciated, which in turn does much to bolster my enthusiasm for this rather anachronistic if not desolate little project.

I will not take any prize but will gladly accept the 75 bonus points. Thank you for your support, my thanks to all my fellow Challengers in making this a great bonus round and congratulations again to Sidney and Iannick on their much deserved success!

Now, on to the 'Vehicle' Bonus Round, stay tuned...