Sunday, 18 February 2018

The 'Childhood' Theme is Now Up! (and Curt's 1870 Prussians in Demi Ronde)

Hello Everyone!

The fourth Theme Round of Challenge VIII is now up for your viewing pleasure!

This fortnight's theme is 'Childhood' and we have 31 participants who have submitted entries for your viewing enjoyment. I quite enjoyed this theme as, similar to our previous 'Nostalgia' theme from a few years ago, it has sparked several participants to reflect upon their own childhood memories.  

Please click here, or on the 'Bonus Theme' link in the navigation bar above to take you to see the efforts of the participants. Again, once you're there, please use the links on the right sidebar to navigate through the entries. As I've mentioned before, there is a bug in Blogger in how it displays multiple entries over several pages on a single day, so use the links in the sidebar so you are sure to see all the entries.

Finally, remember to take time to vote for your favourite submissions. You can vote for as many as you like. The top three in votes will get additional points added on to their total for the round.

For myself, I decided to tap into the inner child and try my hand with some classic toy soldiers.

These 40mm beauties were sculpted, cast and cleaned (!) by my good friend John Bertolini. I always tease John, telling him that he's a bit of a Renaissance Man. He is a master timber-frame carpenter by profession, enjoys the simplicity of manual labour, but also shares a  passion for food (his wife is a culinary writer), travel and history. He also has a great love of classic toy soldiers, especially those from late 19th and early 20th century Germany and Austria.  John participated in a past Challenge and you can see some of his wonderful work here

As Greg has been entranced with all things Franco-Prussian this season, I decided to ask John if he could provide me with some suitable figures so I could riff on Greg's excellent work.

In toy soldier speak these figures are sculpted in the demi ronde style, meaning that they share elements of both classic two-dimensional figures and modern 'fully round', or three dimensional designs. I really find the style charming and always find myself smiling when I was working on them. When I was building-up the units I discovered that I needed some standard bearers and drummers. John, being his usual accommodating self, simply got out the greenstuff and balsa and made me a few on the fly - wonderful!  

A French drummer.

French standard bearer.
As to painting, I tried to go with the classic toy soldier style. So while there were areas where I couldn't resist to applying a modest highlight, I endeavoured to honour the figures and kept things fairly clean and minimalist. 

Same with the bases. No groundwork here, just a mottled effect with green paint to keep it nice, simple and toy soldier-like. The banner is from Warflag, with a bit of paint touchup.

The wonderful thing about working on these figures is how nicely they come together once they're all ranked up. I also love the sheer physical heft of them - with all this lead the bases have a substantial weight that just feels so wonderful in your hand. I don't know what it is, but the 'solidness' of the based elements really taps into my lizard brain - something that you can't find an equivalent with plastic figures.

As previously mentioned, John also provided me with a French battalion which I might take a whack at later. To be honest, what I'd really like to do is 1759 Plains of Abraham in this style as I think that it could be quite spectacular. John? Can you whip something up for me? C'mon, pretty please!

Now, I invite you again to visit the theme gallery and enjoy the wonderful entries for 'Childhood' and remember to vote for your favourite submissions (voting closes next Saturday at 11:45pm).

Side Duels Roster and Points Updated

Hi All,

It's Sunday evening and that can only mean one thing... the eighth points update for the Side Duels and Challenges has now been posted.

Not much action of late apart from KentG continuing to smash The Black Powder duel with his French Napoleonic army...

Somewhere there's a crossroads demon whistling cheerfully and thinking he's only nine-and-a-bit years away from pay day.

As always, please check the points and make sure they're correct.

Millsy The Duels Wallah

Saturday, 17 February 2018

From ByronM: Greek Peltast units (80 points)

Once again this week, lots started not a lot finished.  Most of my time was taken up with either assembly (as I had not got enough Greeks together and I bought more Mechanicum) or with my theme week entry.  So, all I have to post today is two units of Greek Peltasts.

The Peltast units may also have been considered a type of Psilio unit from my readings, which was what the Greeks called any small loose formation support type unit.  These units often fought with ranged weapons before normal phalanx combat.  Units armed with javelins were also called Peltasts and there is often overlap in books as to which is which.  Since I have some loose close combat units coming, I am going to refer to them as Psilio in games and these as Peltasts, even though they may in fact have been the same thing at the time, it will keep it easier for players to call them different things since they are armed differently.

Anyway, I got two units of them done this week, one with helms and one without to help keep them identifiable.  Both are Victrix figures, which I am really liking compared to the Warlord figures, but not as much as the Gorgon Studios figures.  These Victrix ones have very nice detail, lots of posing options, but are a bit cartoony with very large heads.  I can deal with that though as they at least allow more than 3 poses like the Warlord ones.

I based these on smaller 40x40 bases to keep them identifiable from a distance in games when compared to the normal phalanx units.  I used the very nice Little Big Men transfers for them, which I really like, but in this case had issues.  The decals all had to be cut down from their original size since they included borders which would overlap onto the raised detailed edges of the shields.  I am bewildered why they would do that since they were designed for these specific Victrix figures and it made for a lot of touch up work after.  A flaw in an otherwise normally excellent product line.


You might consider this a small post Byron, but I have yet to manage sixteen of any one unit this challenge - I really must try harder!  Lovely work and really dynamic poses, they must have proved a nice break from the Spartans.  Another solid 80 points to our tally, well done Sir. 

From TeemuL: Slaughterpriest and Ringwraiths (22 points)

This week doesn't have as much painted figures as the previous weeks. I have been a bit tired, a bit occupied, a bit sick and a bit short of prepared minis...

Anyway, here's something. First a Khorne Slaughterpriest for Age of Sigmar. I really like this model, I painted a similar model on previous Challenge as well. This has a bit different colors to keep them separate. With this I can field a very strong Gore Pilgrims battalion, which is practically immune to the battleshock tests.

Next two Lord of the Rings miniatures, Khamul and a riding Ringwraith. Khamul is "second generation" ringwraith from GW, from time when they started creating names, backrounds and individual models for each ringwraith. Some like it, some like it not. I painted him almost like a regular, nameless, ringwraith, only painting his metal face mask with black metal.

Riding ringwraith is a basic ringwraith, painted quite simply, but looks rather good. Several people find painting black a difficult task, but for some reason I seem to handle it quite easily with decent result. It is just black basecoat with careful grey drybrush. Still looks quite black to me.

Slaughterpriest is worth 7 points, Khamul 5 and riding ringwraith 10. That's total of 22 points for the Challenge and the Side Duel 1. If AdamC manages to paint anything in the coming week(s), he'll win the side duel, because I think about 100 points is the maximum I am capable of - especially when I'm almost out of prepped minis.


Sorry to hear that you have not been feeling great Teemu, but great to see more of your lovely work.  That Slaughterpriest is a brute of a model and what a wonderful job you have done on the Ringwraiths, black is so tricky to pull off.  That's another 22 points to the tally, but back to prepping with you!

From BrendonW: Goblins on Spiders and a Goblin Wizard (76 points)

7 x Goblin Cavalry and 1 x Goblin Wizard (28mm, Plastic, Games Workshop)

Hello. This submission is a Goblin Cavalry Regiment and a Hero for this growing Army... one Goblin wizard. A smaller unit than last weeks post but a slow down was going to happen as I have actually been working on next weeks submission at the same time. I am sure many of you overlap units in this way. When I was creating the layout for this unit I originally planned for 3 across the front but changed my mind near completion and opted for four across the front instead. I went with the brave Goblin leader intelligently leading from the rear again. While these are all conversions the leader has had a sickle looking weapon replace his spear to break up all the spears. The base includes a Perry shield that is painted to match my Red & Black human army and a small Renedra Barrel.

And here is the first Goblin Wizard for the Army.

Lastly here is the Army so far.

Cheers from Brendon

I just love these spiders Brendon, the texture on the bodies is just perfect and seeing the army massed at the end is just superb; what a sight!  Again your palette and clever basing ideas really help to tie everything together and give the army a wonderfully 'natural' feel.  Another well earned 76 points, I have added a bonus point for the battlefield clutter. 

From PeteF: Fyrd Is The Key (30 points)

A few more for Project 5 (SAGA) this week. Having more levy bowmen with bows will help pull the army together. The Anglo-Saxon warband is getting an overall greenish colour scheme - German Field Grey seems to work.

These are (I think) Warlord/Wargames Factory Saxon Fyrd - there might be some Gripping Beast and other bits and pieces - I got a sprue to see if anything could be used for Game of Thrones conversions (Project 4) as well as for SAGA. I like the figures but found it hard to choose the right colours this week, especially for leather/browns - even with help from Painting War Dark Ages.

I was a bit time crunched this week so I went for simple shield designs.  In future I'll stick the shields on after painting the figures and shields.

Windsock Man
Productivity a little low lately - partly due to the latest project (12 - Basing Minifigs). My nephew kindly transported a bunch of British, Nassau, & Dutch Belgian troops - 25mm from the 1980s from the UK which are gradually going onto new bases (Can't count bases as terrain - can I?).

Now for a Gripping Beast order with the new SAGA rules. 

6 x 28mm foot = 30 points


Very nicely done Pete, the colour scheme really works to tie the unit together.  Cracking sculpts too, lots of dynamic poses and grim determination, splendid stuff all round.  

From Mike D. Thracian Warriors (162 pts)

My goal for this year's challenge was to make a dent in my Greek bin. Several years ago I finished a Macedonian army and entertained the idea that I would put together a collection that would allow me to play everything from the Persian Wars through to the Successors and beyond. And for consistency sake, I was going to do everything in expensive and heavy (and awesome) Foundry figures. Best laid plans etc, I would up with about 50 painted Hoplites, about the same number of Thracians, and the Greek Bin.

So this is the year. I decided to front-load my task by trying to finish off the Thracians first. I've been trying to make an army based on the Odrysian Kingdom of 4th century BC. What this means is that I felt compelled to do a lot of varied free-hand decoration of the tunics and capes. Also I find when I put printed shield transfers on figures where I've painted my own designs the who thing looks worse. So in other words, these things take me a long time to finish. In retrospect, and bad idea for the points challenge.

Altogether I've got 12 mounted and 8 foot here for a total of 160 pts. Now on to some Hoplites.
The Greek Bin itself (pre-challenge)


These are tremendous Mike, what an impressive sight, I can almost hear the thundering of hooves!  Love the free hand work on the tunics and shields, which are certainly worth a couple of bonus points.  Nicely done Sir.

From KeithS: More 25mm Fantasy (192 points)

As the challenge enters approaches its final month, I find myself thinking, "holy smokes - I need to get moving!"  Thus, I've started to paint all sorts of things in the little free time I seem to ever have.  This lot is a perfect example of that.  The first big batch is 24 various figures, all 25mm, in a variety of styles and from a bunch of different manufacturers.  Some came from eBay, some from grab bags at cons, and so on.  All of these guys got dungeon basing.

The first five are Heritage Kriegspielers Fantasy figures and are, oddly enough, knock-off Lord of the Rings figures from days gone by.  These guys are "Men of Ruin" (AKA Men of Rhun), though I think they look like over-sized gnomes or something.  They are cool, in any case, with their big conical helms.  Lots of personality.

Although all have similar axes, several of them have bows in cases.  I'm not sure why, but I really like these guys.  I painted them in standard attire though I'm not sure what they'll get used for.

These two guys are, I believe, from Minifigs.  They are not terribly exciting-looking Russians or Cossacks.  The detail is lacking in them, but whatever.  I tried doing an onion dome shield for the one turned out OK (at best).
These two are elves from Ral Partha.  Not sure how they got in the mix, but they are good quality sculpts, with interesting detail.  I always was a Ral Partha fan and that is reinforced every time I paint their stuff.
A larger group of men-at-arms.  They are fairly standard guardsmen types.  I'm not sure of the manufacturer(s).  The middle-ish guy with huge shield - he ended up with one probably too big for him.  I think it might be for 28mm guys!
From the back.  For some reason, the yellow-brown and blue color scheme really appeals to me.  As for the guy on the right, no pants and no shoes seems a bit of an odd fashion choice, but hey, who am I to judge.
There were three knights in the mix.  Each got a shield to paint...I like the left-most and hate the right-most.  However, I was too lazy to redo it.
From a different angle.  Why the middle guy has both a sword and a spear is beyond me.
These two guys really caught my attention.  They reminded me of something you might expect from a Conan story.  I'd love to find more of them and try some variations.
A mixed bag here.  The dwarf in the middle had two very open hands and didn't seem to be meant to be holding anything.  That seemed odd so I gave him an extra axe and shield I had lying about.  The wizard is Ral Partha, I believe, and the archer on the right screams Minifigs.
Another angle.  For the shield on the right guy, I tried to more or less match the previous knight - maybe he's a page or his huntsman.
The next batch is a group of seven dwarves mounted on bears.  This is my dwarf heavy cavalry for use with Chainmail.  They're from Ral Partha and I absolutely love them!
There are two style of riders, one in plate with an axe and one in chain with a polearm.  All were supposed to get shields, but they did not quite fit right on the platemail guys so I ended up painting them but not gluing them on.
The bears are also heavily armored and I love their scowls.

They are well-detailed figures and I will probably buy another batch one of these days.  They will definitely see some action in a future game!

That's all for this week.  38 figures for 190 points.  That puts me right on track for my goal of 1500, even with some work travel looming.  Considering how busy real life has been, I'm quite pleased.  However, maybe next year I can shoot for 2000.  We shall see.


Wow Keith!  What a post, you really have got cracking on the lead pile this week.  Amazing miniatures with bags of character, but those bears have to be my favourites - wonderful stuff!  I am going to add a couple of bonus points for the hand painted shield designs taking your tally for this week to 192 points.