Thursday, 12 March 2015

From MartinC - Iranian Air Power and Iraqi Command and Control (140 Points)

Firstly I would like to thank Curt, this year's challenge was my first foray into the blogosphere and my first real contact with like minded individuals for many years. It has been the most fun I've had with my hobby. I have painted a ridiculous number of figures covering 2500 years of history, I have received countless pieces of invaluable advice, I have learnt a whole new painting style which I really like, I have new favourite manufacturers (Aventine and Hasslefree), I have spent a bleeding fortune on figs and painted nearly all of them, I'm still pretty bad at photography, I have discovered the joys of broom bristle spears, grass tufts, thinned down paint and super sculpty, and I appear to have accidently invented battles on flying carpets. Thank you all, it's been the least boring winter since I was 7.

So this week I have built and painted the opposition to last week's Black Ravens, The Sultan of Baghdad's Flying Carpet Corps. These are the Sultan of Basra's Eagles. The Sultan of Basra was the good guy in the original Thief of Baghdad (the one who got the magical flying horse - and that may follow). These have carpets with only archers or carpets with only halberders. There is also a magician to provide dust devils and fireballs.


Sultan and Body Guard


 Archer Carpet

 Halberder Carpet

The figures are a mix of Black Tree Design (they arrived in 48 hours as opposed to the 7 weeks for the previous order) and Gripping Beast Plastic Arab Warriors (also arrived in 48 hours). The carpets are again Super Sculpty.

Still working on rules, elevation is a issue as height is an advantage and therefore all units will end up high up which defeats the objective.

I also built the transport for the Sultan of Baghdad. I wanted to do something different for this figure and thought about other forms of transport, balloons, eagles, dragons, dirigibles etc. but instead I decided a man of his power would need to flaunt it. So I present the Floating Court of the Sultan of Baghdad. The Sultan has kidnapped the Sultan of Basra's beautiful daughter Fatima and has her chained to his chief torturer Mustapha. He is protected by his 2 nubile Nubian bodyguards and has brought along a slave girl for "entertainment".


The cushions, vases and recliner are made from Super Sculpty and the tables are cut off roofing nails, the dog tooth pattern on the carpet hasn't shown up too well on the photos.
The Sultan is a BTD Dr Who villain (can't remember who) but I liked the figure and the mask and robe look suitably sinister. The rest of the retinue are Hasslefree. The carpet is 10cm x 10 cm and a little unstable so I pre-drilled a hole and nailed it to a wooden baton, when in doubt use a hammer. I tried to make the clouds interesting but had issues with dying / painting the cotton wool so will do that again.

This is about 135 points, unless Curt feels generous about the points for the floating court, and puts me though my 2500 goal, which is nice. That means I've exceeded my initial target by 150%, also nice. Next stop daylight and gardening, although maybe one more unit and if I can find a table big enough a shot of all I've painted.

From Curt:

I've really loved this little Harryhausen foray of yours Martin - it's so wonderfully creative. I think you need to add a Cyclops and perhaps some skeleton warriors. Great fun.

Congratulations on hitting your 2500 point target. An impressive feat for your first foray.

Finally, I'm delighted you've found the Challenge so enjoyable. As you say it's a great way to share time, be productive and have a few laughs with people of a 'singular character'.  I can't think of a better way to spend the winter! :)

From PeterD - 28mm Crossbowmen (40 points)

Wow looks like two submissions this week for me.  Here is a set of 8 28mm Crossbowmen for my Italian Wars project using Perry plastics (the European Mercenaries plus maybe other bits via the Foot knights).  I have given them a Green theme and will be fielding them as French, or possibly Genoese.

Once again I love the poses and the variable combinations of torsos, head and arms that cane be formed.  It is nice to have the shot figures in a variety of loading and shooting poses.

Also I've included a shot to supplement my earlier post today as It think it has a better view of the flags.  The orange banner came out especially well IMHO.

From Curt:

Great to see you making inroads with this new project Peter - great work!

From MarkO - Austrian Grenzers (302 points)

More Austrians enter the fray. Austrian Grenzers from Perry Miniatures. These are metal models, which are ok, though still quite a lot of flash compared to some Murawski Miniatures I picked up recently. Of course they are also much cheaper than Murawski so can't complain really!

I'm also not a fan of this Grenz uniform! It has annoying to paint Hungarian trousers with braiding and stripes, and then ugly brown jackets on top of that. Painting and basing is also made awkward because they have their muskets held at all sorts of sloppy angles - which makes sense given they are somewhat irregular troops of course, but it's right near the end of the Challenge and I don't need this sort of bother right now! ;) Grumble etc..

Anyway enough ranting, here they are... I've done one unit with yellow facings and the other with green facings.

From Curt:

A fabulous entry Mark! I've always liked the Hungarian blue trousers, but, like you, I'm no great fan of the brown jacket of the Grenzers. Nonetheless, you've made them look absolutely smashing here. Well done!

From PaulS - Missed opportunities and Bloody Sands (90 Points)

So, we're nearing the end and weariness has started to set in. I have no idea how those of you up near the top keep up the pace, I really don't! I'm in awe. Also, terrain bits turning up in the post may have distracted this week!

Anyway, last week I painted up the figure for the anti-hero challenge, but at the last minute decided the paintjob wasn't good enough. A few gentle glazes to blend together some of the rougher transitions here he is, a little bit late and 50 points less than he would have been last Monday (damn you perfectionism!!). I present... John Constantine (on the left).

You can see in this photo that he's based on the other Curtgeld model, Spike. A bit of greenstuff later and we have the master of magic. Not always the nicest of men, but someone you want on your side if things start to go a bit pear shaped. Curt, it is up to you if you want Spike or John as your prize for this year. Or... you can have both for an extra 50 points ;)

In a different scale and a different time period, I've also finished the other 5 gladiators, which means I now have two familia for Jugula! *woo!* that is probably the first game that I have ever finished every model I own for it and had two playable forces!

Finishing off Familia Callainus we have our Retairus

Here he is with the rest of his posse from last time

And in the other, rather bloody corner we have Familia Purpura

You can see from these photos, I decided I'd had enough of the domed shields and those not quite stickers, not quite transfers, so the Purpura Velites has a larger, rectangular shield. Historical accuracy be damned... Even with these much simpler shield shapes and surfaces the transfers were still a pain in the backside. If I never have to use those transfers again I'll be a happy happy man. 

I also realised I've never actually demonstrated how chunky these gladiators are, so here they are against Constantine. Beastly!

So, that is 5 40mm gladiators and 1 28mm figure for you this week. 

From Curt:

Oh, no contest. 50 points is a small price to pay for both Constantine and Spike.  Consider me well and truly bribed!

Congratulations on getting all of the Jugula gladiators done. They look brilliant (and very chunky)!  Nonetheless, Constantine would TOTALLY own that Retairius without even taking his hands out of his pockets.  :)

From MarkG – More 28mm Soviets, and Support Weapons (180 points)

So for one of my final submissions I have the remainder of the Soviet force that I’ve been building for the Chain of Command eastern front campaign “Operation Winter Storm.”  They all got an outing on the wargames table 2 hours after I took the pictures.

All the infantry figures (24 of them) are from Artizan Designs, apart from the T34 tank with tank commander, HMG, Flamethrower and Mortar teams which are from Warlord Games. The slogan on the tank reads "победа" which means "Victory."

The Anti-Tank rifle team is from First Corps Miniatures.

For gaming flexibility, most of these are in a mix of winter and autumn uniforms (the padded Telogreika uniform).

All are posed in front of one of those lovely 4Ground Russian cottages (just 5 more of the fiddly monsters still to build) and a mix of those  lovely trees and hedges from The Last Valley. The terrain board is my own concoction.

So far balancing work, life and painting has been the main challenge of this enterprise. I have a large mound of WW1 French to finish, and I may (or may not) pass my target of 750 points. We’ll see.

From PhilH - An Aside

Keen-eyed followers of the AHPC may have noticed a drop-off in my productivity. As in 'dropped off a cliff'. After finishing the Carabineros I fancied a change, so hit the terrain as a 'brief' diversion. Too many days later, I've finished off these nine Jump-off Points for 15mm Chain of Command, era-appropriate supplies mounted on 40mm round mdf bases. 

These are really nice pieces, a set called 'stacked supplies' from Baueda, though I got mine from Magister Militum, who charged rather less postage. The details are great and varied for a pretty reasonable price. 

They are submitted to mark my lack of productivity, but while I would hope they will be worth 100 points to push me within reach of my target, the esteemed Mr. Campbell will no doubt 'zero' them as terrain pieces. Still, I am glad to get these off the table as CoC gets played regularly so I should really be fully equipped for it. 

From Curt:

While they may score as a zero in the Challenge their true value is worth at least double that. 

Oh wait... ;)

Seriously, those are some nice markers you made there Mr. Hawkins.

From PeterD - 28mm Italian Wars Pike and Shot (63 points)

I have had these figures mostly set to go for a while but kept missing my Thursday posting date due to the intrusion of real life.  Any way I have 12 28mm pike and shot figures for my Italian Wars project.  These are 12 pikemen to complete my unit of French pike and 4 Italian arquebusiers to finish a unit of Italian shot.  They are again Perry plastics using (mostly) the European Mercenaries set, but with the odd body parts from the plastic Foot Knight set.

Here are the 12 new figures on their ownsome.  This project is still a learning experience for me as I experiment with mixing and matching body parts, with the period and weaponry and with painting for the period.  While I still have things to learn, I am happy with the results.

Here is the finished unit of 12 Italian Arquebusiers, 8 of which have been posted before and the 4 new ones.

And here is the finished unit of 16 French pikes, 8 old, 8 new, nothing borrowed but all in blue.  The foot Knights provided front rankers on one of the new stands.  I tried to get a halberd for one but it turned out the arms I chose needed the Lucerne hammer instead (or the Bec du Corbin if you are a 1970s Tunnels and Trolls veteran like myself).  Regardless it’s still a long stick with nasty sharp bits on the end!  I do wish the thing was less fiddly as I noted the business end needs regluing already.

And all with the experimentation theme, this brings me to the flags.  There are the “pay some else” flagmen and DIY flagmen, and I definitely fall into the latter category – being too cheap and too impatient to order off for stuff that I figure I can knock up at home.  These flags are fabric and their creation involved the input of my better half, who is a quilter and sewer and far more fabric savvy than I.   I also had to borrow her quilting tools, albeit under supervision to make sure I didn't muck anything up.  Plus she was intrigued by the Challenge and wanted to see how to make a go of it.  In the end we're pretty happy with the results. The basic sequence was as follows.
  1. Get PDFs of the flags you want in the correct scale.  The two French flags are from the Perry plastic kit inserts and thus already scaled, so I scanned the sheet into a PDF.  The Italian flag I found on the web and resized based on eyeball judgement as to what looked right.  Of course you need to make sure that you have both the obverse and reverse sides with a common fold line where the flagpole goes.
  2.     I set up two letter-sized sheets of flags and then printed them on an Avery printable fabric product that says it could be used iron on transfers or as appliqued.
  3.     My first attempt was ironing the flags onto plain white cloth, linen in my case based on what scraps I was able to beg from the quilt stash.  This worked great but gave a thick and rigid flag that couldn’t be shaped into anything other than a flat board shape.  I gained a new respect for the qualities of the Greek linthothorax!
  4.      Second attempt was trying to iron the transfers to them selves, folding at the fold line and going at it with the iron.  This was an epic fail!  Fail number one was that the damn thing wouldn’t glue to itself.  Fail two was that we could not think of a way of putting a metal or plastic pole in place without potentially ruining my wife’s good iron.  Even I am smart enough not to try and bodge it through.
  5.  So third try saw me take the printed fabric flag, fold it over a pole and glue if down with craft glue.   The approach needs further fiddling but I like the results as it gives flags with a fabric feel that can be moulded and shaped realistically.  I do need to go back and fix the joins, especially on the blue Fleur de Lys flag for the pikes. 
 I am not sure the photos do the flags justice so will try and get better pics on my own blog in good time.  The end flags have good colours, don't have the glossy sheen of the Perry inserts and can be folded and curled.  Best of all up close they are a real fabric grain and weave - my wife was really impressed with that.  Also they feel like cloth!

From Curt:

Great work Peter! I particularly like the marching fellows. They have a distinct campaign-weary look about them. I'm very much looking forward to trying out some of these after the Challenge and getting them on the table with your lads.

Your unit flags look good and I find your approach very creative, but I'm not sure if I'm completely sold. After reading all your steps describing their construction it seemed like a lot of work to me. Also, I'm not a big fan of fabric flags as I find the texture of the cloth weave to be noticeably out of scale with the figures.  As always, horses for courses.  I'll continue to be an unimaginative, lazy (and profligate) git and get my flags from commercial vendors.

Again, very nice units Peter.