Saturday, December 28, 2019

Entrry #3 to AHPCX: SAS Jungle Operators and a Huey

Hi All!

Today Sarah's Balloon drops me onto Bromley's Butte to challenge its mysteries. 

Dave asks us for: 'An individual figure or squad of tactical stealth troopers.' With this in mind, I present a team of SAS operators (or perhaps private military contractors), kitted out for jungle ops, deploying from an unmarked Huey chopper.

The models are from Spectre Miniatures' SAS range. I'm a big fan of Spectre's stuff and have found myself snapping up almost everything they have to offer. It's a bit silly as, really, how many figures do you need for a modern skirmish-based game? Well, apparently loads if you look at my lead pile! It's a little out of control. 

To be honest I have sort of a love-hate relationship with the modern gaming genre in general. I find that while I really enjoy the figures, gear and kit, I find that to 'do' the period justice, the settings and scenarios need to go beyond the typical 'lets go flatten another Middle Eastern compound' mindset. So when I'm thinking of modern-era gaming I'm often more interested in scenarios that are more nuanced, really gritty and more often than not, morally opaque. 

As an example: The SAS had a presence in Columbia beginning in the late 80s and extending to around 2010, ostensibly to train government forces in fighting the local drug cartels. Nonetheless, there are many analysts who would argue that their deployment was more to protect and project British corporate interests than anything else. In fact it's probably no coincidence that a significant portion of the private security detail at British Petroleum's site in Casanare were ex-SAS members. These personnel were also involved in training Columbian police units - the same units often associated with death squads targeting Columbian civilian leaders, academics and government protestors.  As I say, morally opaque and perhaps an interesting way to turn the accepted roles of Good Guys / Bad Guys on its head. 

Anyway, enough on the civics lesson and back to the minis. I painted these guys using the handy-dandy digital camo tutorial on the Spectre website - a great resource for those like me who have little experience with painting this kind of stuff. To simulate the spooky facepaint you often see these guys sporting, I painted most of their faces in camo as well.

The Huey began as a diecast model that I picked up on ebay a while ago. I remember it being quite inexpensive, probably due to it being in the cherry red livery of the Texaco Company (perhaps a fitting provenance considering how it's being featured in this post). 

The 'red-goes-faster' paintjob was easily fixed with a quick blast of primer and sprayed olive green and dirtied up a bit. It's a little rough around the edges, but I think it's quite serviceable for the tabletop. 

My lame attempt at a rotor wash using a coffee can glued over with spraypainted pillow ticking. Oh well, you get the idea... 

Thanks for dropping in. I hope everyone is recovering from the hustle and bustle of the 25th and is preparing for the upcoming New Years celebrations!


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Agnes Baker - Entry #2 to AHPCX

Hi All!

As I need to traverse Challenge Island for a future entry I've prepared this lass as my transit fee on Sarah's Balloon. 

This is Agnes Baker, one of our favourite characters in Fantasy Flight Games' series of Cthulhu-themed games. As a backdrop I've included Agnes' character card from 'Mansions of Madness', but she is also featured in 'Eldritch Horror', 'Arkham Horror', 'Elder Sign' and the 'Arkham Horror - The Card Game' (Yes, I am a bit of a Cthulhu fanboi, er, cultist).

To many, Agnes is just a simple waitress, working shifts at Thelma's Diner in Arkham, but little do they know that behind that placid demeanour Agnes is in fact a powerful reincarnated witch from ancient times. In the game Agnes is quite kick-ass, using all sorts of nasty arcane magic, and with the right 'build' can be quite the combat monster.

This figure is from the 'Mansions of Madness' boxed set, which produces its characters and monsters in a semi-soft plastic. They can be a little hit-or-miss in definition and mold quality, but Anges is one of the better ones. I painted her to resemble the art on her character card and chose to use a fairly punchy colour palette to help players spot her on the tabletop.

I have few other ladies from Arkham waiting in the painting queue, but I'll need to be judicious in doling them out for my anticipated air travel (sort of like AirMiles).

Where will I be going for this balloon journey? Hmm, I think 'Bromley's Butte' looks quite interesting and is reportedly supposed to have great views of the Island - I'll have to do a... reconnaissance. See you when I land!


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Hook - Entry #1 for AHPCX

The Captain twirls his moustache and glowers at the headland. Another blasted reef! He wanted to make landfall at the shallows. He'll have to have a few choice words with that fathead First Mate of his, Smee.  That git's navigation is for the birds. Oh well, at least they were here, they were here before anybody else AND, better yet, there was not a cursed crocodile in sight.  

He draws his cutlass and points to the distant shore and roars to the crew, 'There it is mateys! Challenge Island! The land of all our hearts' desires. Prepare the jolly boats, we make for shore within the glass. We camp inland tonight and then make for our next waypoint tomorrow. I want US to be the first to find where... X MARKS THE SPOT!!'


This year for the 10th edition of the Painting Challenge we have a new addition to our regular programming in the form of 'Challenge Island'. On the Island participants are invited to travel to various named locations, completing a variety of hobby challenges, as they make their way to the summit of Snow Lord's Peak, where 'X Marks the Spot'. Once there they have to complete a final nefarious unique hobby task in order to claim their prize. 

Now, how fun is that?! I'll tell ya: Heaps of fun. It's going to be a blast.

So, to kick off the event I made landfall at 'Reidy's Reef' on The Path of the New Shiny. 

The hobby challenge at this location asks us: to 'paint up a miniature with a nautical theme, be it boat, fish, sailor/pirate or aquatic terrain. Bonus points will be awarded if this is a new project for you, or that the motive power of the model(s) is provided by sails.' 

Fair enough. I managed to dig up a figure from the 'On the Seven Seas' Nickstarter from a few years ago and found this excellent casting of a childhood favourite of mine, 'Hook'. 

Granted, it's a fast job, but Citadel's new(ish) Contrast Paints came to the rescue and helped me streamline a few steps.

My plan is to award the Captain to another worthy adventurer who makes the summit and finds where X marks the spot.

Thanks for dropping in and Happy Holidays everyone!


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

'X Marks the Spot!' The 10th Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

It's that time of year again! If you're interested in participating in the event, head over to the Painting Challenge blog to see what shenanigans are being planned this year.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Sisters of Battle for FriendsCon

On top of my 2mm madness, another project I've been working on these past few months has been putting together a Sisters of Battle force for a friends tournament that we just had just a few days ago. Byron hosted six of us loons at his house with a delicious BBQ lunch and supper - a great day out. I'll post a couple shots of the event at the end of this.

Last winter I debuted my first efforts with this project, using models kindly provided by IainW, a long time participant of the Painting Challenge and all around good egg (thanks Iain!). As I mentioned in that post, this is not my first foray into the Sisters of Battle, as many years ago I had collected a sizeable force only to regrettably sell it off. 

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to reconstitute (reconsecrate?) my collection of Adepta Sororitas (nerdspeak for the Sisters) and so have been furiously collecting, building and painting models for the past few months.

I understand that the Sisters will have a new Codex-guidebook-thingy coming out soon, but this force is based off the stopgap rules which were published last December. This is just fine with me as I don't expect myself to be haunting the tournament circuit anytime soon - this collection is largely about enjoying the various models and their attendant fluff, with absolutely no eye to being competitive.

Okay, now how to best describe this lot? Well, let's do it by troop type and see how it goes. 

First up are the 'Big Hats' - the leaders, characters and other HQ elements leading the Sisters.

The Abbess

This lady, the Abbess, is the head honcho, the matriarch of the Order. I call her Madge as she totally looks like a Madge to me. Our Gallic friend Sylvain would best describe her, 'Une Femme Formidable.

This figure was a gift from Byron and originated from the Toughest Girls in the Galaxy Kickstarter that was run a few years ago. Thanks Byron!

A wonderful sculpt. I really love the pose, with her brandishing a scroll. 

'These, heretic, are your library fines. Suffer not the Late to Live!'

Saint Celestine

Yes, in the lunacy that is 40K, players have full access to field god-like Primarchs, terrifying Daemon Princes, and for the Sisters of Battle, an undying saint. 

The story behind Saint Celestine is that she was a Battle Sister who, due to her fanatical devotion to the God Emperor of Mankind (GEM), was chosen to be an immortal avatar to her fellow Soritas. In game terms she a bit of a beast, but can be struck down. Not to be deterred, she has a very good chance of immediately coming right back for another bout of zealous mayhem. Yep, kinda bonkers.

GW makes a very nice Celestine model, but I wanted something a little different and found a great rendition of her on Thingiverse designed by the talented 'jimbeanz'. To reflect her heroic stature, I scaled her up slightly so she'd be suitably intimidating on the tabletop. This in turn made her wings quite enormous, so I magnetized them so they can be removed for easy packing and transport.

Celestine is accompanied by what I jokingly call her backup singers. These are a pair of Geminae Superia bodyguards, basically hard-as-nails Sisters sporting zippy jetpacks, powerswords and bolt pistols. Weee! In game terms they essentially act as ablative armour for Celestine, soaking up extra hits for their Main Girl. 

These models are from Wargames Exclusive. I quite like how the jetpacks are modeled with their artificed wings.

Battle Sisters

The main troops are the Battle Sisters themselves. Power armoured ladies, with a wide variety of weapons and fanatical resolve, they form the backbone of the entire force. I painted up about 35 of them, but here is a small sampling along with a few of their leaders. In addition to the venerable metals castings that I got from Iain, I also picked up a bunch of resin versions from Wargames Exclusive.

Arco-Flagellants and Penitent Engine

Okay, these two units are very similar, so I'm lumping them together.  Both are a bit crazed but quite fun to run on the tabletop. 

Arco-Flagellants are essentially criminals who have been swept up by the Mechanicum, lobotomised with a dull spoon, brutally augmented with cybernetic power flails and then festooned with auto-injectors containing toxic mixtures of combat drugs and pain inhibitors. Think pro rugby for the 40th millennium.

They're led by a priest, providing them a little moral guidance to help chivy them along. 

Penitent Engines are similar to Arco-Flagellants, but the poor loon (looness?) is 'installed' half naked in an open cockpit power-suit, armed with paired flame throwers and huge circular saws. Yep, totally plausible.

Unlike the 'misunderstood' Flagellants, the Penitent Engines are piloted by REAL jackholes. You know the type: evil crime lords, small-fingered, porcine heads of state with no moral compass, and the absolute worst, those guys who wear their ball caps backwards and drive those annoyingly huge Dodge trucks with sport exhausts (okay, these examples may be somewhat coloured by personal bias, but you get the gist).

The idea behind both the Arco-Flagellants and the Penitent Engines is that they're promised absolution only if they get rendered down to bloody viscera on the battlefield. 

Yes, all this helps to underscore that, while the Imperium of Mankind may not be an especially forgiving place, it is a big supporter of karmic hubris. As I've said before, one can only imagine that recidivism is probably non-existent in the Empire. 


Last up for the force are the vehicles. These lumps are all variants based off the tried and trusted Rhino chassis. 

The Repressor is sort of a crowd control vehicle, if 'control' means either shooting, immolating or squishing your offending crowd. It features multiple firing ports to shoot from, a handy-dandy flame thrower, a pair of stormbolter turrets and an anti-personnel dozer blade.  Very noice.

Forge World (or as I call it, 'Gouge World') used to have a Repressor model, but it has long disappeared from their catalogue. Undeterred, I found a great 3D kit on, yes, you guessed it, Thingiverse, designed by StFishbulber. The various bits took a bit of cutting, filing, and repositioning, but the final product is fairly convincing I think.

The Immolator. With its extra crispy flamey goodness, the Immolator is a perennial favourite of Sisters of Battle collectors.  For something a little different, I used a third party turret from Wargames Exclusive as I quite the raw, aggressive silhouette it gives.

The last vehicle I'll cover is the Exorcist. This silly thing is basically a combination of a Kayatusha rocket launcher and basilica pipe organ. Makes perfect sense. I love the baroque design, especially the Sister gunner at her 'keyboard' and the servitor drone loading the rockets into the pipe organ. Again, it's completely nuts, but in a fun way. 

So there you have it, the basis of my Sisters of Battle force. For those who are curious they didn't actually do too bad in our FriendsCon with two wins and one loss (a miracle in of itself as I had no idea what I was doing most of the time). 

Noah sending in his Eldar against my Girls with Byron and Ray on another table in the background.
Greg moving up his Tau against Ray's Deathwing (aptly titled as they were soon to be rendered down to smoking boots only a few minutes after this photo). Poor Ray, such a good sport.

My plan is to add a few more units over the coming months, but I feel the pull to try something else - maybe some WWII stuff for my Italian Campaign, we'll see where the brushes take me.

Thanks for visiting - I hope you all have a great week!