Friday, February 26, 2021

Renaissance Foot Knights

I've based these to act as both skirmish figures, or as markers for our Renaissance games. In 'Furioso' there is a neat mechanic where opposing pike units can send out their Doppelsöldners/halberdiers/sword & bucklermen in advance to contest one another. Whoever wins the duel continues on to cause mayhem amongst the front ranks of the enemy pike formations. It's an abstract, but interesting way to reflect the doctrine of these close combat specialists.

The outrageous plumes were a lot of fun to paint. As Iain alluded to in one of his previous posts, these guys would fit right in on a Marti Gras float, or marching in a Gay Pride parade. :)

All five of these models are from Steel Fist Miniatures. They're wonderfully realized castings and a real joy to paint.

I dice slots are if they're being used to count wounds, and the flat side is for it to be set up flush against their parent unit.

I could be wrong, but I believe a few of these sculpts are modelled from suits of armour in the Wallace Collection in London. I've taken a few liberties in adding a little extra gilding to some of the plate to make them better 'pop' on the tabletop.

Next, a Sarah Bella sequel set.

- Curt

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Sarah Bella & Felix on the Road

Here is the fearless adventurix Sarah Bella with her loyal K9 companion, Felix. 

Who can tell what mischief they are about to get into, but rest assured that they can get out of it just as fast with their sporty motorcycle and sidecar.

This set is from Bob Murch's recent 'Dangerous Dames' kickstarter. Great additions to his brilliant Pulp Figures range. Such a wonderfully characterful model - a real delight to work on.

I have a feeling this is not the last we'll see of Sarah Bella and Felix, so stay tuned!


Monday, February 22, 2021

Canadian 6 pounder with Sniper Team

Gosh, I've had these minis primed, waiting on pill containers, for years! Time to get them done up.

Being easily entertained, I often collect and paint stuff inspired from books, movies or graphic novels. So this group of miniatures follows suit. 

I sought out these models after reading Mark Zuehlke's 'Ortona', which provides a great history of the 'Little Stalingrad' Canadians fought in order to take the Italian coastal town of Ortona in December, 1943.

The house-to-house fighting experienced in Ortona was so fierce that the Canadians brought forward their 6-pounder anti-tank guns to help reduce Fallshirmjager strong-points. The guns were positioned in a flanking position on the town's pier and coastal mole, allowing them to have a clear line-of-sight to enemy positions in Ortona. 

A 6-Pounder in action in Ortona, December 1943

The downside to this was that, with very little cover, the gun's crews were terribly exposed to German artillery fire. The Canadian gunners found that they had to scamper from their 6-pounders as enemy shells whistled in, and then dash back to quickly re-lay their guns and fire off a few shots before, once again, running back for cover.

Into this story comes Private Howard Mabley.  A country boy from Peace River, Alberta. Mabley was one of those recruits who, no matter how hard his drill instructors tried, could not learn the fundamentals of being an infantryman. It wasn't that he was disrespectful, he just couldn't retain the skills. Finally his officers gave up in frustration and sent Mabley to the regiment's kitchens to help there. 

So it came somewhat as a surprise that an officer found Mabley, under fire, happily loading one of the anti-tank guns. The officer upbraided the sergeant commanding the gun for having a cook there, but was told that Mabley could not be deterred, desperately wanting to help his mates in the fighting. The gunner went on to say that he never saw loading done so quickly and without mishap. 'Eight hundred rounds when through that gun and every shell was loaded by Mabley.' He served as loader for the rest of the battle, permanently loosing his hearing from the firing of the gun. 

These are 20mm figures from AB Miniatures. All of them, exquisite castings. The 6-pounder is from Empress Miniatures and fits perfectly with the gunners. 

As an interesting side-note, the Canadian version of the 6-pounder had it's gun manufactured in Longueuil, Quebec, whereas the carriages were made right here in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Finally, to finish off, I'm including a prone Canadian sniper team, searching for targets in the rubble. 

Another set from AB. Not as crisply realized as their usual fair, but still more than serviceable.

- Curt

Monday, February 15, 2021

Balin's Tomb

For the Tomb chamber of the Painting Challenge, I decided to do up a few figures and some terrain bits depicting the final stand of Ori and his companions in Balin's Tomb, the Chamber of Mazarbul

The fate of Balin and his folk was recounted in the Lord of the Rings when The Fellowship found Balin's Tomb and the Book of Mazarbul.
They have taken the bridge and the Second Hall. We have barred the gates but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes...drums, drums in the deep. We cannot get out. The shadow moves in the dark. We cannot get out. They are coming.

These are fairly old metal castings, from the release of the 'Shadow and Flame' campaign book in 2003. I'm not a big fan of painting dwarfs, but these models were a pleasure to work with. I also really liked the goblins, who's slight stature came as a nice change from the larger orcs. It reminded me that I really need to get some more of the goblin rank and file so we can get in some of the Moria scenarios down the road.

The tomb and pillars I found as 3D files on Thingiverse (thanks to designers Curufin and jpacek). They painted-up fine using my usual recipe for pale stone of Celestra Grey, Nuln Oil and Pallid Witch Flesh.

For points, hmm, we have 45 for the five dwarfs and four goblins, say 10 points for the terrain bits and goblin drum (about half a cube) and 20 points for the Tomb chamber bonus. So 75 total!

Next, I think I'll head to the Oubliette as I'm fairly positive I can find something quite forgotten in my lead pile to work on.

And a last shot of the group getting an emotional sendoff from Durin's Bane...

- Curt

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Barrage Miniatures Kickstarter


Hi All,

Many of you know Alf and Clara over at Barrage Miniatures. They're good friends of mine and for years, they've been very generous supporters of the Painting Challenge. I think many readers of this blog can attest to not only the quality of their products, but also their amazing customer service. 

Alf and Clara recently launched a Kickstarter campaign offering a wide assortment of excellent pre-painted terrain pieces to adorn our gaming tables. If you have a moment, please check out their campaign and consider giving them your support. 



Monday, February 8, 2021

The Chaos of 'Bruegel-Bosch'

When I was a kid, my mom was an active member of our local library board, so we always had lots of books around the house. In addition to the military history and craft books, I always enjoyed anything dealing with art, especially books focusing on the Renaissance period.  While I liked the Italian masters well enough, I was particularly fascinated by the painters from the Low Countries. Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch were two of my favourites, as their work was often quite bizarre, bordering on the grotesque. Here are a few samples:

Bosch's 'Garden of Earthly Delights'

Bruegel's 'Seven Deadly Sins'

With all this in mind, a few years ago I created a fictional setting that I call 'Bruegel-Bosch', a canal town in a composite Renaissance-esque Germany/Low Countries environment. I'm slowly populating it with all things strange and odd. In a way, it was my response to the loss of Warhammer Fantasy's wonderful 'Old World'. 

First I started with some of the brilliant Renaissance fantasy figures offered by Lead Adventure (sculpted by the talented Ratnik). Below is a trio of examples (not for scoring):

So, when I came across Eureka' Fantasy range I knew I had to get them as they fit in perfectly as denizens of 'Bruegel-Bosch'. 

They are so terrifically odd and macabre, with many being 'thematically adjacent' to characters in Bosch and Bruegel's work.

I mean there's a bird-faced creature with a bucket on his head, his tentacles holding a huge honkin' key. WTF? I don't have a clue what it's all supposed to mean (much like Bruegel and Bosch's work), but it really creeps me out, which I find super fun.  :)

There are 12 figures in this group and I still have around 16 still to do, each one a delightful study in the strange, macabre and the grotesque.

Next Up: Something for 'Lord of the Rings'

- Curt