Thursday, 22 January 2015

From Millsy - 28mm Imagi-nation Grenadiers (117 points)

My final submission of the week is the 1st Novi Byelgorod Grenadiers of Velikye Byelgorodniya, an elite unit from my mate Evan's army in our imagi-nations project, Die Krieg des Zobelshuts. Velikye Byelgorodniya is an 18thC Russian analogue and the uniforms follow the Russian style of the period (up to a point anyways).

The miniatures are the wonderful Front Rank SYW Russians. Honestly, I've never seen a Front Rank miniature I didn't love and these are no exception. Along with Artizan and Copplestone they are my favourites in the historical 28mm space.

The "grenadiers" themselves are something of a mistake. I meant to buy a bunch of ordinary grenadiers but accidentally bought all officer figures as they are also musket armed. Once I'd got over the WTF?!?!? moment I experienced upon opening the parcel it occurred to me this would make a rather good looking unit with all those gorgets and other officer wibblies. What I hadn't counted on was the effort required to paint an entire unit of the buggers... :-)

The flags are home brew efforts using some images I pinched off the net. Both are Evan's design. Firstly the national colour:

And then the regimental colour.

The officer's mount was painted pre-Challenge for some reason (I have no idea why!) so that's a total of 115 points in miniatures plus whatever a couple of flags and all those officers (still scratching my head how I managed that) are worth...

From Curt:

To be honest I've never really understood the whole Imagi-Nation thing, but these figures are wonderful. Millsy, it kills me that you ordered nothing but officers (this is something I would totally do)! Actually there is precedent for all officer regiments found during the Russian Civil War so you're not that far off. The flags are great (hat's off to Evan) and I love the banner cords on the standards - very posh to be sure.

I'll give you extra points for the banners but I'm afraid you're out of luck on the officer gambit, sorry. 

BUT this entry sees you push past your 2K points target AND regain 1st place position from Dave. Congratulations Millsy - well done indeed!!

From PeterB - 6mm Russian Horse Artillery (41 points)

I really struggled to get these figures finished, I think I've reached saturation point with artillery and tried to rush the basing. As is normally the case when I try to rush things, it turned into a complete disaster which I tried to rescue and then had to start again from scratch.  If it wasn't for the competition and the weekly deadline day I don't think I would have managed to complete these.

In the end, I decided to paint up some skirmish infantry and casualties to add some character to the wider bases I've decided to use for horse artillery.   Each base represents a battery of six cannons, I'll probably add some howitzers later in the year as batteries were sometime deployed with 4 of these as well.  I think I've got enough artillery for the time being though.

Including the 7 skirmishers and 5 casualties I think this nets me 41 points.

The dragoons will be finished shortly, they took longer than expected as I wanted to experiment with colours on the horses until I got a result I was happy with.  These will be ready for next week along with the cossacks and hopefully the hussars.

I missed a couple of questions on my last post so I've answered them here, sorry Anne:

1) How much eye strain you suffer after painting - none really, I find 6mm Napoleonic figure easier to paint than 28mm as I don't worry about all the details like piping, buttons, lace, etc.  It's really about painting units rather than individual figures which makes it so much easier.

2) Looking at all those tufts and thinking about how small they must be I'm wondering what size you buy them in. Also are your rocks made from a medium ballast?  The tufts are Silflor 2mm in a variety of colours, they also do a range of moss tufts which are even shorter so I might try some of these with 6mm figures as well.  The rocks are small and medium ballast - I created a mix for my 28mm figures that has about 6 or 7 different types and sizes of stones, so I use this and just pick out the smaller ones.

From Curt:

Wow, the Russian artillery park grows yet again, General Kutaisov would be proud! 

Amazing work and bravo for tenaciously keeping with this. As mentioned before, your groundwork is excellent and it's interesting to read what you've used to achieve it. 

Loving the guns but I look forward to seeing your upcoming cavalry!

From RobH - The Opening Salvo - 1/2400 WWI German Predreadnoughts, Battleships and Destroyers (35 Points)

Well, my first entry is a bit later in the competition than I had expected it to be, but I ended up being distracted and rushing from project to project as so moved by the muses.

One of the side duels is a 250-point navalesque challenge. This has proved to be an excellent inducement to expand a WWI/WWII naval collection. I have in the lead pile dozens of metal and resin warships from Viking Forge, GHQ and now WTJ, and despite a lot of Naval Thunder games, there has been zero motivation to paint.

Until now.
The obligatory painting table shot - you can see many possible weapons of mass distraction, most of which are not Challenge eligible
First out of the painting gate were three WTJ German predreadnoughts and four Viking Forge German destroyers. My WWI collection is currently geared toward Jutland or earlier battles. As such, I have an excuse to paint up to eight German predreadnoughts for the High Seas Fleet's II. Geschwader, commanded by Vice Admiral Scheer in 1914 and 1915. Known as "Fünf-Minuten-Schiffe" due to how long their crews expected them to survive against modern British battleships, II. Geschwader was retained in the Hochseeflotte until after Jutland to make up numbers, long after their British counterparts of the 3rd Battle Squadron were retired to the Nore.
Six of the eight battleships in line ahead.
 1st Division:
  • Battleship SMS Preussen (Flagship)
  • Battleship SMS Hessen
  • Battleship SMS Lothringen
  • Battleship SMS Deutschland 
2nd Division:
  • Battleship SMS Hannover (2nd Flag, Commodore Mauve)
  • Battleship SMS Pommern
  • Battleship SMS Schleswig-Holstein
  • Battleship SMS Schlesien
SMS Preussen leads the squadron. You can get an idea of the level of detail on the rapid-prototyped plastic WTJ line.
The first three are Braunschweig-class battleships, and the remaining are the Deutschland-class. The main difference between the two are that the Braunschweigs have four of their 6.7" guns mounted in single turrets at the corners of the superstructure, while Deutschlands have all their 6.7" secondary/main armament (which was which was very much in doubt before the Russo-Japanese war, when these ships were deisgned) in casemates. Currently, the only manufacturers of Braunschweigs are either WTJ, or Panzerschiffe. Panzerschiffe models are very very bare bones, while the WTJs looked to offer a lot more detail. Thus, they were a bit of an experiment. 

At first, the only assembly needed was to add flower-wire for the fore and main masts. Unfortunately, the rapid-prototyped 3d plastic that WTJ uses can be very very brittle, and the guns of Lothringen's forward turret snapped off when she was 99.9% painted. Flower wire quickly replaced them, but there was much swearing and gnashing of teeth until the drill-pit in the pin vice took hold.
More portside detail of the WTJ ships - if you click to enlarge the image, you can see there's no guns on the midships casemates, and no real deck plating - WTJ's concession to lack of detail. In no way a deal breaker.
The other four of the original starting batch are G101-class destroyers. These four ships were originally built for Argentina, seized by Germany at the beginning of the war, and brigaded with 6 of the the B97-class to form the II. Torpedoboots Flottille. G101 and G102 were in the 3. halbsflottille, and G103 and G104 were in the 4. halbsflottille. Viking Forge is the only manufacturer to make the G101 class, and it's the only German destroyer they have in their lineup so far. So they were the only choice, and what I had available.
The G101 class
I made no modifications to the models. I'd planned to add flower-wire pole masts, but there wasn't sufficient space in the area between the foremast and forward funnel to add a mast, while the detail on the to of the superstructure was such that I'd have needed to file down the entire forward structure to add the requisite mast. Detail was pretty minimal - guns barely project above the deck, TT are very small, and everything else is rudimentary. As such, they're better than Panzerschiffe, but not comparable to GHQ. I have some WTJ DDs on the way, since they are rapidly filling the niche pre-war designs. Right now I have eight of their M class variants on the way for two British destroyer divisions.

I think the lack of enjoyment in painting the G101s is what distracted me. Midway through painting this (and loads of other stuff, I have minimal painting discipli . . . ooh, shiny!), I started putting together the second wave of naval entries. I had picked up scads of GHQ models through ebay, and the remaining battleships I had to (mostly) finish II. Geschwader - three Deutschlands.
A weapon of mass distraction indeed
So was a 1/2400 Nassau-class dreadnought. The Nassaus were Germany's first dreadnought design, and relatively simple to paint. While the Deutschlands remain unmodified and were just glued together, I did a bit of work on Posen. As we all know, a lot of the metal used for masts, flagpoles and the like is very very flimsy. GHQ was no exception. I cut away the fore and mainmasts, smoothed out the stumps, and then added replacements made of 24-gauge flower wire. 

I am ready for my close-up, Mr. Campbell!
Painting was pretty simple. I followed the following schematic for my Germans:

For squirrel gray, I used Vallejo 870 (medium sea grey) for squirrel grey, and Model Master Acrylic lichtgrau for silver grey. Wooden decks on German warships were supposedly darker than their British counterparts (not being holystoned to keep the crews busy), so I used Panzer Aces 310 old wood. Germans used a linoleum-equivalent where they needed traction but couldn't afford weight, especially on the decks of destroyers. I'd seen conflicting reports that it was either lighter or darker than the cortiscene the British used, so I went with Vallejo 70814 burnt cadmium red based on drawings at Distant_Guns: Jutland. Boats were Vallejo 70820 offwhite; turret tops and masts were Apple Barrel Craft black. German recognition signs were painted on the aftermost funnel upon leaving harbor, and then painted over again upon reaching port. For the Jutland operation, aftermost funnels were painted red, which I have used Game Color bloody red for. Over it all, to bring out the detail, was a 2:1 mix of Vallejo black ink and Vallejo thinner. The bases are Tamiya sea blue, with Vallejo off-white used to make the wakes and highlight.
You can see the red on the after funnel
As the above shows, large black belching clouds of coal smoke are essential for WWI. I racked my brain for a while trying to figure out how to properly simulate it. I finally decided on using cotton from cotton balls. I pulled some pieces off the ball, and glued it to the relevant stack(s) with Locktite superglue. Once that dried, the cotton was painted with the same watered down glue I used for basing. Then, coal or mixed coal/oil smoke got painted black. Oil only smoke was washed with Game Color 73.202 Pale Grey wash to give it a grey tinge. Painting cotton is NOT by any means easy, but I think you will agree the effect is worth it.

You know the drill - click to zoom in and practice your aerial recognition training. Which is WTJ, and which is GHQ
All eleven ships in one shot
Overall, I am rather pleased with how they came out. That's 1 dreadnought (Posen), 6 pre-dreadnoughts (Preussen, Hessen, Lothringen, Hannover, Pommern and Schlesien) and 4 destroyers (G101, G102, G103 and G104) in total, putting me on the board for both the Challenge as a whole and the naval sub-challenge for Curt's admiration with some number of points to be adjudicated by Curt at posting.

My brave Fünf-Minuten-Schiffe have also made their first sortie to the gaming table. As with many a newly (and well) painted miniature, their combat debut was not stellar. While they lasted more than five minutes, they were sadly unable to withstand the fire of their better armed but less nattily attired British foes. Posen was forced to turn out of line after severe flooding inflicted by a British R-class, while II. Geschwader was outgunned by British dreadnoughts, superdreadnoughts and one brave battlecruiser and battered into near sinking condition when the Germans turned away and headed for port. 

If only Tiger had failed her cordite check when Pommern destroyed a forward turret . . .
The obligatory gratuitous stern-shot: Posen sailing off into the sunset.

From Curt

First Rob, welcome back to the Challenge! It's great to have you along for the madness.

Okay! Wow, these are fabulous Rob!  I'm a bit of a sucker for this period so I'm always keen to see others' approach to painting the ships. Your paintwork is incredibly tidy and I really like how you've based your ships, especially with the additions of the running wake and smoke from the stacks - very evocative!

I also really enjoyed reading your background to the models and project - very interesting stuff and your enthusiasm for the period is infectious.

For points I'm going to give 3 for each of the larger ships and 2 for the destroyers (which is similar to what I've done in previous years for this scale). So that makes a base of 29 points but I'm going to add another 6 for the great basework. 

Now I want to dig up my old copy of Massie's 'Castles of Steel'...

From PaulS - Wars of the Roses Mercenaries (30 Points)

To support the Woodville forces, I created earlier in the challenge, I've finally finished a small band of mercenary crossbows, that should add another 30 points to the total. All of these use the same torso and heads from (I think) the Perry WotR Mercenaries box set. So they didn't all look the same, some of these have legs were hacked off and replaced with those from different figures. The aim of this was to create a uniform feel to the mercenary group, with a uniform.

These were supposed to be Burgundian mercs, but in the end I decided to have a generic unit.

As with the other WotR figures, they are based individually for use in Lion Rampant as well as having a larger base for bigger games

With this Lion Rampant force now complete, I can move onto something different for the Myth challenge and next week's entries.

From Curt:

You've done some great modifications to create this unit Paul. I like the fellow windlassing his crossbow and the leader looks like an especially formidable chap.

A few of us here in our group have a hankering to get into this period and seeing units like this is really chivvying us along - thanks for adding to the madness!

From RayR - 15mm NYW French Gardes Francaises (42pts)

I thought it was about time I added some French Guard to my Nine Years War collection. So here we have a unit of France's finest. The Gardes Francaises. The regiment was present at two major battles of the war, Fleures and Steenkirke. 

They are as per usual Essex Miniatures, but I had to do a little conversion work!! Unfortunately Essex don't sell a command pack for their Guard figures. The three figures in the centre are actually English Grenadiers from their WSS range, the three had their heads lopped off and replaced with others spare figures I had, I'm quite pleased with how they look.

The flags are not my own but are from Maverick Models.

From Curt:

I won't say a word, Ray. 

That is one very posh looking unit - it just screams 'I'm the Guard, I would be honoured if you would aim at me.' The deep, rich blue of their coats is fantastic and the red facings offer a great punch. Amazing work on the head swaps - they turned out flawlessly - I would have never known unless you had pointed them out. Also, those honkin' huge banners are the biz, wonderful.

Great work Ray! Now, back to those Space Marines, eh?

From PhilH - 28mm Spanish Civil War Carabineros (35 Points)

The best laid plans...

A fortnight ago, Juan and I were hurtling towards the showdown of our duel. I was a fair bet that Juan would enter into the 'Victorian' bonus round, smashing his target. But our entry days would score first. At 180 points, if I could paint 14 miniatures in one week, I could have made it. I ploughed into the first batch of my Spanish Civil War project.

Alas, my painting plans rarely survive contact with an average week. As the first week dragged on, it became less and less likely that I'd finish the first batch, let alone a second. Juan's Wednesday entry pushed him over the line. In an attempt to recover some honour, I worked late last Thursday before hanging up the brushes well after I should have hit the pillow. Fourteen miniatures in one week? Fat chance, unless they're Mahdists - seven was too high a bar!

Still, it meant I could recover my energies and not rush such fine miniatures from Empress. One week on, this starts my SCW project proper. Seven Carabineros in trousers and shirts and their very fine peaked caps. They have been joined by the test mini in his overalls, whose webbing was tweaked as suggested.

The carabineros, or more accurately, Real Cuerpo de Carabineros de Costas y Fronteras were the Spanish frontier guards and customs police and fought on both side of the Civil War, though siding perhaps slightly more often with the Republicans. Though largely deployed at ports and frontier crossings, they were responsible for patrolling their area of responsibility. They were lightly equipped, with just one Hotchkiss machine gun in the armoury of a command of multiple companies. During the Civil War, support weapons would have been drawn from army or other units, which is what the Chain of Command list allows. 

I've not seen any carabineros painted in 28mm, though I found examples in smaller scales. I'm pleased with how their 'grey green' has come out - a noticeable colour and my worry it would look lurid on larger areas was misplaced. But boy was it slow work, probably eight highlights. 

As they are on the same sized bases as my Sudan British, my skirmish trays can be dual-use.

Seven 28mm miniatures, 35 points. First batch done - two more to go - overalls and tunics - then onto something different!

From Curt:

Lovely work Phil. That grey-green you've concocted for their uniform is just wonderful, but EIGHT highlights - are you mad!?  Nonetheless, your brushwork is as smooth as butter so what do I know. 

In the pictures some of the shirts have a washed-out pinkish undertone, is that from the paint or an artifact from the photo?  Anyway I quite like it. Also, the mix of leather tones for their cartridge boxes is a great approach as it reinforces their non front-line status (perhaps having to resort to un-matching, ad hoc equipment?). 

I probably don't need to remind you that you and I have a duel coming to its conclusion as well. If memory serves, it is to see who can first paint 100 points of infantry from any civil war ('A Duel So Civil'). With this entry, along with your test model and your priest you have 45 points. I have 65 from my Russian Civil War Czechoslovakian infantry (I'm not counting my Tachanka as it's a vehicle).  I can pretty much guarantee I will hit (and hopefully exceed) my 100 point goal by this Sunday, but in the spirit of competition I challenge you to hit our 100 point target, or better yet, match my Sunday tally, with your next Thursday submission (Jan 29th). I know you can do it.

Are you up for it Mr. Hawkins?  :)

From MikeP - 28mm SYW Russian Dragoons (100 Points)

One of my goals for this Challenge was to paint some badly needed cavalry reinforcements for my 28mm Russian Seven Years War army.  I bought a pile of unpainted figures from this fellow and they arrived just at the start of our paint-a-thon.  Most of the figures are Front Rank, and I thought I'd start with these Dragoons.  Apologies for the dodgy basement lighting.

Tamsin has already made this army look very sexy with her exquisitely done 15mms.  They look pretty good in the bigger scale too, and no one does big burly 28mms quite like Front Rank.  They are a somewhat dated line now, and haven't been updated for decades, but they have a somewhat Old School look that I find attractive.

Sadly these fellows didn't come with a command stand, which I'll have to remedy at some point.  They look good enough for now going out on patrol by Sgt. Kropotkin.  The Russian SYW cavalry could be dressy, especially the flashy Liebgarde and the Cuirrassiers, but while the dragoons had a more workmanlike uniform, the cornflower blue coats with red turn backs are quite attractive.

I've based them as heavy cavalry to support the hussars and cossacks, but once I get some of the Foundry dismounted Russian dragoons (the madness never ends), I suspect they'll also fight on foot.   With the musket butts resting on their knees, it rather looks like their awaiting the command to dismount.  Besides using them in with the Maurice rules in larger battles, I have plans for skirmish actions in the Crimea against the Ottomans using TFL's Sharpe Practice rules.

There's something very zen-like about painting the same figure in the same uniform over and over again.  I gave them some slight variety for the horses and chose to give them some variety in their hair rather than give them all powdered wigs.  I figure that a working dragoon regiment out on the frontiers of Mother Russia wouldn't bother with fancy powdered wigs.

Thanks for looking.  If my count is right, for ten mounted 28mm figures this entry gets me 100 points.

From Curt:

Oh my, that is a lovely lump of heavy metal cavalry to be sure. Wonderful work Mike! You've done a great job on their uniforms and I especially like how your horses turned out. I always think that the completion of a unit of cavalry always needs to be celebrated - so bravo to you Padre!

I completely agree about the zen-like mood one can get into while painting uniformly dressed (and posed) units. I'm in the midst of doing a bunch of irregular infantry, all in different dress and poses, and I am at risk of loosing my mind trying to make them all look, well, irregular!! I've had to switch gears to work on bog-standard RCW figures in order to enjoy the blissful monotony of repetitive, unimaginative uniforms!

Again, well done Mike!

From Millsy - 28mm ECW Scots (80 points)

These were, believe it or not, the last unpainted ECW miniatures I owned until last night. Now they have joined over 200 infantry, 70 cavalry and assorted other bits and pieces to form my completed ECW project. Of course something like that is never truly "complete" but I have no plans for more and certainly need a break.

This submission is 16 x 28mm Renegade Miniatures Scots muskets, painted up as the two sleeves of shotte to go with my recent pike submission, Once again luverly sculpts and very easy to paint.

Despite what I had thought it turned out these was some plaid amongst these which slowed things down a bit but it's worth it. Why paint Scots without it?

Here's the whole unit together including command, pike and shotte...

And here's all the ECW I have painted in this Challenge. I will post some pics of the whole army on my blog sooner rather than later but it will take time to set up and shoot given the size.

I must say there is a tremendous sense of satisfaction that goes with completing something like this and I am mindful that Curt and his Challenge are a large part of why the project has been completed in the space of just a few years. Thanks Curt!

Time to think of something else to do... Suggestions? :-)

From Curt:

Those look brilliant laddy!  I'm sure it's genetic, but I love the look of all that hodden grey and blue bonnets ranked up, especially with their brother unit of pike - fantastic. 

I look forward to seeing the group shote (shotte?)!

From PaulS - Pulp and horror model selection (35 Points)

Due to one thing and another, I missed last week's deadline, so you get a few more bits this week. With the first batch of tentacles you saw being based upon Purple Tentacle, it was time for some Green Tentacles. We've only got one green/yellow combination as it didn't really work that well. Still.. you have to have one right?

Besides the tentacles, I've also started a little 7TV cast based on the tv series Life on Mars, with some fantastic police from Crooked Dice. I've got some detectives and a police woman still to paint up.

To go with these, I also picked up some of the Crooked Dice Weeping Angel... Oh no! It looks like the Police have stumbled into an area inhabited by the Weeping Angels (talk about a crossover!) Those coppers better not blink...

Oh dear... we did warn them.

Quickly, keep staring at them and back away slowly. What ever you do, don't blink...


Oh sh...

From Curt:

I'm always a sucker for seeing a new tentacle added to the family. (I know, that could have been better...) I like the Bobbies, especially the one warding off with his baton while reaching for his whistle. Again, the Dr. Who reference goes right over my head, but these Weeping Angels look suitably creepy. I really like the verdigris you've added, but perhaps they could use some pigeon guano as well?  (Hmm, do pigeons blink?)

Fun stuff!