Saturday, 11 February 2017

From Paul O'G: Sherman VC Firefly and "Feeling Poorly" marker (23 Points)

Two small offerings from me this week - as always I get caught up in all the lovely details of the entries. Most satisfying from a Hobby perspective but not so much for points efficiency :-) Then again, as Millsy reported its been ridiculously hot here in Sydney.  I haven't experienced temperatures like it since my last Middle East adventure.

Back in AHPC IV I did a Churchill tank to support the Paras I focused on during that challenge

While that beast is indeed well armoured -  yet to be destroyed on the table in fact - it doesn't provide a good anti tank capability (though it has taken out JamesL's Pz IV on one lucky occasion, hasn't it mate? :-)  To give my Red Devils a stronger punch I considered adding an Achilles, but in the end went with a classic Sherman VC Firefly:

I lament Warlord's move away from wonderfully chunky and appropriately weighty resin models.  However, I will admit that their replacement plastic kit is wonderfully detailed.  I really enjoy weathering vehicles, so I tried something new with the AK Dried Mud effects - easy to use and I like the outcome, but I think I prefer a wetter mud look rather than the sandy finish.  This was also my first use of decals for some time, given Alan's zealous shaming bullying training program.  I think the icons and tactical markings add a lot to 28mm armour.

So no more sneering at PIATs and 6 pounders James, your Panzers now have something to fear!

...and so do mine! Odin "helps" me snap some pics, prior to a taste testing...
Also this week, "Feeling a bit poorly" is a generic marker to show when a unit is battered in Dragon Rampant .  I enjoyed making this small diorama and all the little details like the bloody hand smear on the rock and blood spatter on the flowers tell rather macabre story. 

Hopefully I get to lend this to my opponents more than I need it myself :-)  I'm sure I have some more of these casualty figs somewhere to make more but cant find them at the moment.


That is a terrific looking Firefly, Paul. I agree with you on the reassuring heft of resin vs plastic, but progress is progress they say (and I frequently doubt). 

I've not tried any AK stuff, but the effect you've achieved here looks very good indeed. I think it would be especially good for the Italian theatre, where it seemed to be much more dusty than Northern Europe. I'll also risk Alan's derision by saying the decals looks excellent and, I agree, they really help to properly finish WWII armoured models.

I also really like your 'Feeling a Bit Poorly' marker. Now, what is the story with the handprint on the rock? There must be a tale to be told here.

So, 15 points for the Firefly, 3 points for the poor bloke face down in the dirt, and 5 points for Odin as he steals the entire show in my estimation. :)

Well done Paul!

From AlanD - Poles for the Retreat from Moscow (120 points)

It has been a busy start to the teaching year with one of my colleagues away, so teaching an extra senior class as well as running the History Department. I am teaching lots of ancient history and having great conversations about possible parallels between the rise of fascism and current political events, but the painting has been suffering.

It is a relief to get an entry in this week, especially since I missed the Home (or Homer) Round. I'm very much obsessed with Sharp Practice 2 at the moment, playing French Indian Wars with Paul O'G (see below) but also getting together a Grand Armee force for the Retreat from Moscow. This week I managed 24 Polish infantry, from Murawski Miniatures. With temperatures here around 40 degrees C, I have enjoyed making the snow bases.

Command Figures


Fusiliers and Voltigeurs

I do really like Murawski Miniatures, and they are generally an excellent match for the Perry Retreat from Moscow range. I have to say, however, that I was a bit disappointed with some of the figures I painted up this week. It appears that Murawski asked Paul Hicks to sculpt a small group of Poles in winter gear for the Retreat, and these figures are top notch, like the one on the left in the picture below. However, it looks like they have bulked out their Retreat range by taking some of their figures in summer uniforms and adding greatcoats with modelling putting over the top, as with the figure on the right. Unfortunately, this hasn't always been done very well, with the result that some figures ostensibly wearing greatcoats still have their sleeve cuffs etc. It is a bit of a shame that they seem to have taken a short cut to flesh out such a lovely range of figures.

That being said, I am much happier with them all painted up than I was while I was painting them.

If you have read this far, you deserve to be rewarded with an account of the Worst Defeat I Have Ever Suffered in Any Game Ever. Last Wednesday Paul O'G and I played a game of SP2, in which my troops were utterly broken and routed from the table without having fired a single shot or damaged the enemy in any way whatsover apart from some harsh language. The lesson of this debacle was that marching slowly towards a formation of British regulars with their muskets presented is a very bad idea. The fact that I still enjoyed the game so much is testimony both to how great SP2 is, what a fun gaming group we have, and how fine an adversary Paul O'G is.


More Retreat goodness, just brilliant. As I said to Millsy earlier, we've just come through a week of around -40 temperatures, so during my dogwalks through our neighbourhood park I would look not too dissimilar to these figures (except of course, no musket and I had a nice warm home to come back to!). 

Again, like your previous efforts with this project, Dux, you've done lovely work. I especially like the miserable drummer and the stoic NCO toting his halberd. It's too bad that this batch had some issues but you've obviously preserved. Perhaps in light of the 'Worst Defeat You Have Ever Suffered in Any Game Ever' the figure karma of working with these frozen fellows will allow you to enjoy some victories. :)

So, a 120 points for your climb up the roster. Well done Dux!

From ByronM: DBA Army Late Swiss 1400-1522 (126 Points)

For my third and final entry of the day, I give you another project that I have kept meaning to get to, but for some reason kept putting aside over the last few years.  That project was finally getting a DBA army together to play with a friend of mine (I have just been using one of his in the past).

While DBA is not for everyone, as it plays a lot more like chess than a normal wargame (HUGE levels of abstraction), it is a great way to get people into miniature games since the rules are simple and the model count is low.  The army I chose to do was based simply on the fact that I have wanted to do pikemen for a long time, but have been unwilling to deal with the normal huge blocks of them required for any game.  DBA solves that issue as any given army maxes at about 12 stands and no more than a total of about 50 models.  So with that in mind I chose to paint up a Swiss Pike army.

I have to give a lot of credit to our very own Tamsin for my choice of army.  When I was looking to get a DBA army was around the same time I saw her excellent Swiss unit go live a few years back, and they really attracted my attention as a strong option if I wanted to paint pikemen, due to the bonkers mix mash makeup look of them in all their various colours. As a result I lovingly refer to these guys as my skittles army, as they look like a handful of skittles.

 The army consists of (in DBA army list format):

1x General (Bd6)
1x Knights (Kn6)
8x Pikes (Pk4)
2x Handgunners (Ps2)
1x Mounted Crossbowmen (Lh2)
1x Artillery (Art3+bombard)


The one unit of mounted knights that goes with the army was done up in a wedge formation on the charge.  While they are the plainest looking of the units they are also the most deadly.  I tried to apply what I learned earlier this year about painting horses in 28mm to these in 15mm, but they just don't look as good at a smaller scale.  They still work ok, but without the space for transitions, they lose our a bit.

These units are the optional units in the army.  You can either take the mounted crossbowmen or the two bases of foot handgunners.  I also included the artillery in this picture just to include it somewhere.

Everything in the army is 15mm from Mirliton, and while the Mirliton figures are excellent with tons of detail, they only come with soft metal pikes which bend when you look at them sideways. Worse, they are only about 1/2 the length they should be, and since we all know the length and stiffness of your pike matters, I quickly replaced them with metal ones from Xyston. While much better looking and I won't have to worry about breaking them, I do have to worry about breaking me on them.  I have already drawn blood at least 5 times when reaching for them, or over them to get paint. Damn they are sharp!

This was an army that once again I had visions of doing as a show case type army, with crazy levels of painting.  Once I started working on it though, it quickly dropped down in level as I found with the 15mm it was just too hard to do anything super high level without taking way too much time, and even if I was taking time it was too small to get things like striped pants or seams that looked right.  So, I back tracked and did them at my normal base level painting and I still think they look pretty solid at table height.  This is what I call tabletop level painting since they look good at tabletop but fall apart when picked up for close inspection, but that drives Curt nuts, so I just had to say use the term again :-).  These figs do fit that description though, they look good at a distance, but they fall apart when looked at closely, but I doubt they ever will be, and they are only 15mm, so it's all good!

I have to be honest about something else too, I have no idea about the paint scheme being accurate or not, and really didn't even care.  I looked around at images, saw a bunch of different bright colours, so went with that.  I even looked at Tamsin's figs again and started to read about her research of different provinces or mercenary bands or something that determined the colour patterns, my eyes crossed and I thought screw it, random colours it is!  So, I will probably have someone shoot them down for not being historically accurate at some point, but oh well, they are for a glorified game of chess, and I love the bonkers colour variations, and I love the look of the massed pike (even if every time I reach for them I stab myself and draw blood on those damn metal pikes!) so here is one more picture to leave you with....

I really do like the look of them :-)

Oh, and with that I believe I am over my stated points goal for the year!  I have some more projects in the works, but I think this will be my last big post (unless I go even more off the deep end than I already am) as I move into doing some more character level and high level paint jobs for the last 2 theme weeks, the Curtgeld, and to do some characters/leaders and finish my Arena Rex army.  So don't expect to see too much from me as it will mainly be slow but better painted stuff rather than rank and file level stuff.  I can't believe I met my goal in 1/2 the time this year though, hurray no last minute rush required! 


First, congratulations on smashing through your points target Byron! 1000 points in under two months is pretty darn impressive. That must be a record for you. Well done!

Of course, with me loving all things Italian Wars, I can't help but be delighted with this submission. To be honest, I'm no fan of DBA (its always seemed like a tarted-up version of 'paper, scissors, rock' to me), but I agree that is has been very successful in getting people into the miniatures hobby. 

I've not seen Mirliton figures close-up before and I have to say they are very nice castings indeed. Crisp details, nice animation and reasonably proportioned. A lot to like. And all of this topped off with a wonderful paint job - you've done them good service, Byron. 

Your Gendarmes seem suitably ferocious and tank-like, and that bombard looks ready to knock down the walls of Milan.  I really like the punchy colours you've gone with for your  pike and completely understand replacing the white metal pikes with steel rod, but, what's this? No banners? You can't have renaissance reislaufers without their brave cantonal banners going into battle with them. I expect to see this corrected when I visit next, Mr. M. ;)

Seriously, excellent work Byron. These colourful Switzers will give you 126 points to cap off your personal target. Again, great job!

From Millsy: Warhammer Empire Artillery (50 points)

It's HOT. I mean really, REALLY HOT and it isn't letting up. Even with the aircon blasting painting is still a chore. You either sweat like a teenage 40K weenie or the paint dries on the brush from the constant bone dry draft of the aircon. Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

This was the car yesterday afternoon driving home from work. Gotta love a slowly baking freeway...

And today is HOTTER.

Anyway, enough moaning and making excuses. I have managed to paint some stuff despite the weather. In fact I'm pleased to report I've paint one whole more point than the number showing on the temperature gauge in the car :-)

I've been collecting classic Warhammer Empire miniatures for about 4 years now, slowly building an um.... "Millsy-sized" army whilst attempting not to break the bank (talk about opposing points of view!). I've finally reached a point where I am ready to start painting and given I'm still waiting for stuff for my Boxer Rebellion project I figured I'd finally crack into this project.

Today's post is a pair of artillery pieces and crew in the state colours of Nuln (black and whatever else). The men of Nuln are famed for their prowess in all things black-powder related. First up is a current edition plastic cannon and classic crew. I'm not much of a fan of the current artillery pieces overall but this one is ornate whilst not being overwrought.

The second piece is a classic Hellblaster Volley Gun, a 9 barrelled crack-pot device at least as dangerous to the operators as it is to the enemy. The crew includes engineer Leonardo, whose bald head is either a result of stress or misfire and probably a good dose of both. I suspect his surname may be Acropolis.

50 points of Empire artillery and I'm off and running. Next up a unit of hand gunners, also in Nuln state colours.



Yikes! That is terrifically hot weather you're having Millsy. I not a big fan of extreme heat and I'd find that just too unbearable. Here, we went through a week-long cold snap of -40 temperatures, but, as weird as it sounds, with the cold you can dress for it fairly easily and completely escape it by going indoors. I hope it cools down for you folks soon.

 Now, on to your work.

I must say I'm really liking your approach to your Empire collection. The uniform colours are subtly muted, giving them very much a historical look - in fact most of these would be absolutely terrific in an Italian Wars collection (will start rummaging right after posting this...).

I'm also admiring your dark metallics for the guns. I often see these in bright steel, which is perfectly fine, but I'm liking the more utilitarian look of these guns. They look like they mean business.

50 points for your fine efforts, Mr. Mills. Well done sir, and best of luck with these Abominable Devices.

From ByronM - Dropfleet Commander UCM Starter Fleet (67 Points)

Here is my second post of the day, and the first of two completely game playable armies that I will be posting today.  After taking a week off with no submissions (other than my theme week entry), I had to kick myself into gear as I was obviously slacking off too much....

Dropfleet Commander is a game I have been really excited about for a long time (since I first heard about it a few years back), and one that I just had to get.  I backed the kickstarter for it big time, and while there were several MAJOR issues with the kickstarter and everything is not sorted out still (How hard is it to email back to people and sort out missing items....) the game and the figures are very good. I just wish that Hawk Wargames put even 10% as much effort into actually communicating to people and fixing issues as they put into the game and figs to start with.  I don't they realize that no matter how good something is, if they piss everyone off, no one will support it! 

Anyway, rant mode off, Hawk Wargames in general is very good at making unique items and cool rules, and almost entirely done by one guy! 

So, onto the models....

Wow... (not for my paint job, which is basic as hell, but for the models) Ever since I first saw these UCM ships I wanted them.  To me they look like a cross between a B5 and Battlestar Galactica type aesthetic.  Making them look completely real and believable as human space craft in my mind. 

I have been struggling with these models since the challenge started.  Not because I didn't know how to paint them, but because I couldn't figure out how to get a look I liked for an effort per ship that I was ok with.  One of the ships above has been re-painted 4 times....  The first time I got 1/4 of the way done and it had taken almost 3 hours, too much time when you have about 30 ships to do!  The second time, it looked too chalky, the was too long again, then finally I decided to go with something purely for gaming, and not worry too much about it being amazing (which is what I wanted, but was trying to get paint time to less than 2 hours per big ship). 

This final scheme / method is fast and has a high visibility on the table, but kinda falls apart up close.  At tabletop distances though it looks really good, and paints fast enough that I will not get pissed off with all the time it would take to do it a super detailed way and stop painting them! 

In the end the paint method was airbrush the ships black, then fade in lighter grey over the whole top of the ship at an angle to pick up some detail, than fade in a light grey along the edge of the top to provide some contrast.  I then gloss coated the whole ship and let it dry.  I then mixed some black artist oil paint with a lot white spirits to make a thin pin wash.  Done this way you just touch a panel line and it literally runs through the whole line.  I let this dry and then pulled out a secret weapon tool that Greg showed me about 2 years ago.... g-06 finish master
These things are amazing.  Think of them as hard q-tips.  They are almost solid, so do not deform into panel lines.  You simply let the oil paint dry, then wet these with thinner and wipe over the model, and it cleans up anything then you slipped up on.  They are pure magic for this kind of stuff, you don't even have to try to be clean, just slap the wash on, let dry, wipe off.  It saves SOOOO much time its amazing.  Sure, you loose some having to gloss coat before you do this and to dull coat after, but its so worth it.

Anyway, once all the panel lines were all done, it was time to edge highlight the outer panels, and then paint in some accent panels.  Lastly, I painted all the little close defense guns on the ships and the engines silver, and then washed them with an armour wash, and called them done.

While the ships did not turn out as the show pieces I had set out to paint them as (I had visions of doing them as show type pieces, silly me), they did turn out pretty nicely and in a time per ship I am happy with.  I still have about 8 capital ships and 16+ frigates to do for my UCM forces so doing anything super detailed would take too long.  These 10 ships done in this method (once I figured it out) took less than 8 hours (and I think less than 6), which I can deal with.


Lovely work Byron. These are terrific looking spaceships. 

I'm constantly amazed at the amount of technical 'stuff' that you guys do with your vehicles, but the results speak for themselves. That Q-Tip thingy looks very cool and gives a great effect. 

The high-contrast between the grey and white on the ships is both very striking and I can see how they would be distinctive on the tabletop as well.

So, Byron, what is the fleet that opposes this one? Are they already done or will we get to see them this Challenge?

Great work Mr. M!

From MilesR: A JagdTiger in Winter (17 Points)

 I decided to put a little extra effort into my last Trenchworx tank - a 28mm JagdTiger.  As with all the other Trenchworx stuff, the model is amazing and I highly recommend it.

I've never done a winter themed vehicle so wanted to experiment a little with the white wash technique and making mud.  I had a lot of fun painting and "mudding" the tank up and now may be thinking of adding some winter themed units to the mix.
 The mud is a mix of flexible modeling paste, old paint and a very small amount of fine sand.  I went through seven mix combinations before getting to the one on the model.  I think it came out pretty neat.

 The winter white was is just a simple stipling with a very firm brush.  OK it was an olde terrain brush I let the paint dry on accidentally but it's found new life as a winter cammo tool.

Thankfully (from an Allied Perspective) only 70 or so JagdTigers were produced during the war.) I've seen more than that number in a largish Late War Flames of War Tournament!).  The tank mounted a huge 128mm cannon but was really slow and the gun sights had to be reset after any type of movement.  Still, I would NOT want to roll up on one of these bad boys while tooling around in my Sherman.
I spent a lot of time on this model, so it's the only output from today's activity.  There were several attempts at the winter camo before we got it to this level.
A close up of the "secret mud mix" - I really think it came out rather well.  Lets see how the mixture holds up over time.

Just 15 points from this post, but I really had a lot of fun with it.  Sometimes the best hobby experience isn't the one with the most volume.


Wow, what a terrific looking winter Brute, Miles! These Trenchworx vehicles are lovely, but it's your white camo wash and 'secret mud mix' that have hit it out of the park. Wonderful stuff.

Now that you've opened Pandora's Box with a winter themed vehicle you realize you're now fully committed to at least two opposing forces? Nonetheless, knowing you, you'll have them both done by the end of the Challenge. ;)

Ok, I'm still waking up from my sleep-in so I'll give you a couple more points as I know this is a big model.

Well done Mr. Miles.

From JamieM: 30k and Dark Elves

As the title said, a few bits and pieces from me, still concentrating on my themes for this year, AoS and 30k.

First up, 30k.  I must confess a slightly unhealthy obsession with the Contemptor class dreadnought.  This is the 6th one I've painted up during the last 3 AHPCs and I want more..... this one is a plastic one from the Betrayal at Calth set but I wanted to convert it to match the Thousand Sons I started a few weeks ago so I did a head swap with a 40k Daemon Prince Magnus head.

Magnus was the Thousand Sons Primarch/head honcho in 30k times and as he turned to Chaos and survived, the Chaos gods turned him into a Daemon Prince and so he is still alive as a massive scary chap in 40k.

The sword is also from the Magnus kit (it's a dagger for Magnus to give you an idea of his size!) and there's a pleasing symmetry for me in using the future Thousand Sons kits to convert the 30k Dreadnought.

Loads of decals from the frankly brilliant decal sheet that Forgeworld produce.

Next up are a couple of Apothecaries for my Salamander 30k legion.

I started the Salamanders a couple of years ago but never got around to finishing the apothecaries.  One had a metal backpack which made him overbalance, and so I shoved them in a box until I recently got of my backside and bought a plastic one and finished them in two days!  So much the way of wargaming toys, ignored for 2 years, finished in 2 days once properly started...

These chaps help keep the legionnaries alive and when they can't, they harvest their "gene-seed" - the organs that make them more (and less) than human.  The shoulder pads and arm equipment are from 40k marines, but they work really well with the Mk IV bodies, heads and legs.  I went with white panels to mark them out, but I suspect, given the treachery of Horus' mob, that this will only mark them as juicy targets rather than save them under war conventions.

I'm off to Nottingham this weekend to visit GW HQ to get a load of AoS gaming in with my gaming buddies (including NickJ and MarkW who are in the AHPC this year) so I was keen to get a couple of pieces finished for it.

These are Dark Elf repeating bolt throwers, which have been around in one form or another since the start of WFB.

These are the newest versions and are made of the big mistake material Finecast.....

The only benefit was being able to use a hairdryer to straighten out the bits that had gone wobbliest.... but if they just made them from plastic they wouldn't have gone wobbly in the first place!

Still, I do like the design and here's hoping they can skewer plenty of enemies this weekend.

Lastly, this chap from the Silver Tower boardgame.

He is a "Stormcast Eternal" - the new race GW shoehorned into AoS for all the fans of space marines to buy.  He's a big chap (40mm base) as GW like to bulk these guys up.

Took me ages to get around to him as we've played through (and really rather enjoyed) the Silver Tower campaign already.  I kept the armour and cloak cold colours and went for a nice warm topknot to finish him off.


What a wonderful assortment of GW miniatures you have for us today, Jamie. 

I really like these head-swaps you've been doing with your Dreadnoughts. The Magnus noggin and his dagger(!) are terrific additions and work very well scale-wise (and I agree, those FW decals are brilliant).

Congrats on getting those Salamander apothocaries done. Great work (their med-gauntlet always makes me cringe). You're not alone on having lingering figures for long held projects, I have loads as well. Then again, we can take heart in always having something ready-to-go when we're feeling the urge to come back to the project. Always a silver lining.

Great work on the iconic bolt-throwers, the MG42 of the classic WH Fantasy universe.  Gosh, have they changed the models for the crew in the past 20 years? I seem to remember that fellow with the upheald sword back in the days of Oasis. Nonetheless, you've done a lovely job on them.

Age of Sigmar. The less said by me the better. Nevertheless, your Eternal looks very majestic in his silver armour and blue cloak. The addition of the the flaming topknot (?) does add a nice bit of warmth to the figure.

This excellently painted range of GW goodness will score you 70 points with a bit more for the modifications on the Contemptor. Thanks for the eye candy, Jamie.

From EricM: And...More Romans! (330 Points)

This post covers what I was able to complete over the last two weeks.  Life conspired to make posting last week impossible.

I was able to knock out the last three cohorts of the Red legion last week.  It feels a little wrong to call them the red legion.  I think I need to come up with a number and name that is somewhat historical.

The first new cohort

The second new cohort

 And the last cohort of the soon to be renamed red legion.

Here is a look at the three cohorts together.

By this point I was pretty burned out on painting red so I made a switch to my next color scheme.   I wanted the second legion to have more of a Spanish look so I took a cue from Warlord games Hail Caesar supplement and started to work on a Pompeian legion.  I tried to make the design look like a bull head   Ill leave it up to you as to rather it was successful or not.


I have 4 units of 16 figures each for a total of 64 28mm figures.

Great to see an update to this project Eric, you're making very swift progress. The red is such a classic look for Roman Legionaries, but the yellow Pompeian Legion look awesome wig their bulls-head shields. They definitely look like the business, and yellow is a hard colour to look good, particularly on big panels like those shields - you've done a cracking job here.

Are these Wargames Foundry miniatures again?

320 points for the four cohorts, and I'll top up with another 10 for all those handpainted shield designs.