Friday, 8 January 2016

From DavidB - Catachan Green Everywhere! 28mm Catachans (160 points)

So, I finally have gotten some stuff done in my usual OCD/ ADD manner. Family, holidays and work to include military did give a few obstacles. The above slanted pic is from early December near Challenge start. It is shocking not for the lack of snow and cold, but because I was actually sent into the woods with a truck. They NEVER gave me a truck before! You would not believe how hard it was to stuff that truck in my ruck, I had to leave behind a few shirts just to get it to fit!

I totally miffed the Nostalgia Round and no doubt will totally miss a few more too! So I put a bit of nostalgia in the background. Above are my Elite Catachan Devils squad. As an elite hard bitten veteran unit, they are allowed up to three special weapon troops, as well as shotguns, auto guns, pistols, and close combat weapons instead of or in addition to their lasguns. A loaded for bear unit, they are also allowed a veteran Lt. Off to the right you will see Lt Maddog Millsy who has a power fist and plasma pistol, for reasons unknown he also carries a vortex grenade. ( okay, I got that really neat half sphere template, and it would be a shame not to use it!)

The Catachan Devils are joined by another elite taking the moniker Dead Men. They are an assault team equipped with shotguns, two demo packs, a plasma gun and heavy flamer. The veteran SGT has a power sword and bolt pistol.

Catachan deathworld vet armies have a weapon skill of 4 which means these fellows will have more fun in melee than your typical guard squad.

Death world Vets are allowed a squad of Ogryns as a troop choice, so I rummaged up 5 to serve them in that capacity.

The bonehead SGT is an old RT sculpt and has been dubbed " FrrrRRRRrrrpp" after the Ogryn fondness of gaseous bodily functions. I think it is this, their raucous laughter, and lack of hygiene which is why they cannot sneak, ambush, and infiltrate like the Catachans do.

Still, at 5 strong they will last a bit unless Lt Maddog Millsy gets a little too happy with that vortex grenade!

I also completed this four man recon team of Sequoia Indian scouts. They were assembled from Defiance Games marines and Wargames factory Woodland Indians. Apparently the 1st Nation plastics are now unavailable as Warlord bought them up and are retooling the whole line. But for $260 you can get 8 of em plus all sorts of British and Americans in Warlord Games latest big box wife said "No" but used way more words. ;)

I assembled from the left: A point man, a marksman, a Sgt, and a scout. They are well equipped with cutlery and the scout also sports a warclub. I used my usual method of painting and highlighting all the flesh areas first -5 layers. The war paint was all inks and washes except for the white which was sparingly thinned. The inks and washes just seem more natural to me and give a bit of stained translucency to the warpaint.

I included this to show why the plastic Catachans are so hated on the left is a plastic trooper who's arms are just random slabs of bulges with no clear understanding of anatomy, The Ogryn clearly is a deformed Mutant, but he has solid musculature. The woodland Indian and the Necromunda ganger are really fine in muscle tone and believable. Lt Millsy is showing that the newer plastics of heavy weapon teams and command squads have finally restored anatomy back to the realm of reasonable.

The metal Catachan sculpts are still better though.

This lot is a gang painted in the 90's...lookit all the orange guns! They are the Orlock Sump Snakes and will eventually get repainted to join the Catachan Grass Snakes. I included them as the unpainted roster are filling up the squads of the deathworld veterans and the commander of the force is the former leader of the Sump Snakes. He has the big power fist and bolter and is standing front left.

I stopped painting them last century as I really hated the arms on the plastic troops, but the Perry sculpts are not getting cheaper and its a crying shame to leave them unused in a box. Millsy also gets kudos for inspiring me to get them out after all his great Catachan entries and work post challenge season.

Well David, I have to make a bit of a confession - I have always despised the Catachan figures, but here you have done a wonderful job painting them and giving them character - work the on the faces of the one vet squad in particular totally fits the part.  The old-school Rogue Trader-era Ogryns are marvellous, and the conversions with the woodland scouts are very, very well done.
$260 bucks for a few figures? That sounds like a bargain compared to Forge World...take it from a guy who does communications for a living - it's all about the context...
I usually find the Catachans to be tired and terrible, but you and Millsy make them fun and entertaining.  Shows what a cranky cynic like me knows - nothing! Great work!  I can imagine them stalking the enemies of the Imperium (or just some guys who tried to rip them off at cards) with blades and a handy vortex grenade, literally ready for anything...

Those Ogryns are big fellas, so we'll give a few extra points for those lads.  On the whole, 160 points - well done sir!!

From JamieM - 30k Salamanders (130 Points)

You may (or may not given the sheer amount of miniatures involved) recall that I started my 30k Salamanders legion army in last year's challenge. True to form I haven't managed to "complete" them in the intervening period (is "complete" ever a word we can use for an army once started?) but the incentive of the challenge has me working on them once again!

For your delectation, shown below is a melta gun unit.

These are from the excellent "Betrayal at Calth" boxed set recently released by GW and the armour is Mk4. The melta gun fires super heated..... errrrr.... "stuff" and is excellent at busting armour. The salamanders history is that they love heat and flames, so I just had to add a unit of these to the mix.

Next up are ten tactical marines, also in Mk4 armour. No sarge with a natty plume in this lot as they are intended to bulk up a squad of ten painted last year to turn them into a squad of twenty.

And an alternative view.

These plastics really are excellent and the range of weapon options in the box is superb.

Moving away from that boxed set, three contemptor class dreadnoughts, all in resin this time around.

I really like the Contemptor design (the name harks back to Rogue Trader days when it was the name of a load out for the first ever dreadnoughts) and the resin ones come in plenty of pieces so you can make them quite dynamic and different, as I have tried to do above.

Two are armed with multi meltas (bigger versions of the melta gun above) and the other has a converted "conversion beamer" a fearsome weapon that gets stronger the further away it is fired from. I also added parts from GW lizardmen kits to further tie the models into their background and differentiate them from other legion.

I mixed up the other arms, taking some from the plastic "ironclad" dreadnought that I had lying around. This is partly to look a little different and partly because sometimes I'm a cheapskate and I didn't want to buy all the spare arms from Forgeworld!

Glad to get these off my desk as I am finding I'm starting lots of things and struggling to put the finishing touches to any of them. This also gets me off the mark in the 30k challenge against GregB, but his excellent start means I'm still behind...

Wow Jamie - just wow! This submission is excellent, but I have to say the "holy sh*t factor" is off the charts on those dreadnoughts in particular! They look frigging awesome - especially the conversion beamer - and that is in the context of overall excellent work, weathering effects, the posing on those dreadnoughts, the extra conversion bits, and great green tint to all the models. It's great to see this project taking off once again in this year's Challenge.

I also assume the flame effects on the shoulder plates are painted free-hand? And the heat effects on the barrels of the melta weapons? If so, more impressive work!

The posing on the Contemptors is really well done. I struggle with those models - my Contemptors look like they are standing in line at the DMV - yours look like they are fired up to get some revenge for events on Istvaan V...

The "Betrayal at Calth" box set has indeed been a gold mine - I have quite a few new plastic fellows waiting in my "pending" pile. And no force is ever completed - that notion is, well, heresy!

As a certified 30k mega-dork(TM), I am totally impressed by this entry, and it's great to have you join in the 30k side duel. For the 15 foot-sloggers, three vehicles, and extra points for the great conversion, posing, modeling and hand-painted effects, you get 130 points - the 30k duel is well and truly joined!

From SylvainR - 28mm Tau Incursion Force (454 points) & From SophieR - Shopkins!

For my second entry, I have a Tau incursion force. All miniatures are from Games Workshop. I bought this lot for $180 (shipping included) on Kijiji back in 2011. All the models were in good shape and given that a single Devilfish APC now sells for $70, I would say it was a good deal.

This is what the lot looked like a few days ago. This year, the Challenge really gave me the incentive to clear my "unpainted models" bin.

This is what the Incursion Force looks like today. According to the fluff, this is more or less what a Tau Manta, a landing spacecraft, would carry into battle. The basic palette is purple and dark grey. I wanted a combination of colors that would appeal to anyone, including my kids. Sophie's favorite color is, coincidentally, purple.

There are 26 drones in the force. One must be counted out for having been painted as a prototype before the Challenge. Additionally, 25% should be subtracted from the total for lack of groundwork, for a total of 94 points (93.75 rounded up).

Here are 43 Fire Warriors to form the core of the Incursion Force, armed with either Pulse Rifles or Pulse Carbines. One guy must be counted out, because I painted him before the challenge to test the color palette. So 210 points here.

These three characters to provide some guidance to the troops. An Ethereal flanked by two bosses (I won't bother you with the Tau jargon for their rank). The dude on the left sports a shoulder pad and and power pack taken from an Ultramarine, no doubt stained in battle with a good shot between the eyes, through the helmet. 15 points more.

Three warriors in XV25 stealth suits. I really like how these miniatures turned out. The overall dark grey evokes the current modern stealth planes and stealth ships, like the USS Zumwalt. Another 15 points.

Three aliens in XV8 Crisis Battlesuit with their respective arsenal. To my surprise, the weapons can be inserted quite easily (and stay there) in four slots, two on the arms and two on top of the jet pack. Because of their size and because of their extra weapons, I would like to claim these as "mounted", if the adjudicator agrees. So this is a potential 30 points.

Two Hammerhead gunships, two Devilfish troop carriers and two Piranha light skimmers complete the force. These six vehicles should rake in 90 points. The total should be 454 points, which should also count towards my tally for the "Sci-fi Challenge" I'm in with GregB, SeanS and KyleC.

Here is a close-up on one of the Hammerheads. Believe it or not, it's the first time I ever paint a 28mm vehicle. My attempt at weathering is still amateurish, and in order to improve I always pay close attention to posts from GregB, DallasE, KevinH, ByronM and DaveV from the "Fawcett Avenue Conscript" blog to see how they create their wonderful weathering effects.

On the daughter front, Sophie have these Shopkins she painted not long ago. Shopkins are the new craze among kids: for $5, you buy a little shopping basket with two random anthropomorphized consumer products in them. So you quickly get many doubles. Sophie decided that she would make her double shopkins different and unique by painting them. She prepared this little display to show the transformation. In my opinion, the chocolate covered cake looks much yummier in the new version (a green cake? Really?).

What is this? A points bomb from Sylvain? One that will trash us in the sci-fi painting race? A mon avi, ce n'est pas possible?!?! Oh well, I hear denial is a great state to visit. I guess I had better get painting tonight...

Great work on this Sylvain - you have quite a formidable strike force here for the Tau, and I can certainly imagine this group dropping from the sky in one of their huge Manta strike carriers (surely you can pick up one of those as well, right? :) and dishing out some serious abuse to the enemies of the "greater good".  Lots of great effects here, and I particularly like the "stealth" suits - well done. 

Weathering vehicles in larger scales is great fun.  I think you have made an excellent initial effort here - I would suggest sponge-chipping as a next step for weathering future vehicles in this scale - although I always imagine the prissy Tau keeping their stuff pretty clean.  After all - the greater good is tidy, no doubt.  A solid 454 points Sylvain!

Also - bienvenue & bon travail Sophie!  Great to see this addition to your entry! I've already been enjoying too much nice food over the holidays, but Sophie's improved chocolate cake will send me to the pantry to hunt around... 

From GillesW - They are back on the field - 15mm Carthaginians (172 points)

Here is my submission for this week. This year I am painting, or I should I say "repainting", the early Carthaginian army I had for the DBM rules, and the new model army for Field of Glory ruleset.

I will explain why and what I do on the figures on my blog to update them.  Here are the commanders:

Here are some  lybio-phoneician hoplites:

The figures are a mix of different ranges from the various 15mm manufacturers noted in the labels below. The Schythian figures are  from Xyston Miniatures, I also have a project for them this year.

This submission is a total of 73 footmen, 5 horsemen, 1 chariot with 3 crew.

Be seeing you;-)

Gilles - bon travail! These are wonderful figures.  I would love to see some more closeups of those hoplites - they definitely look the business! The detail on the horsemen and chariots is also impressive.  I'm a pretty rusty fellow when it comes to ancients, but I expect the Romans would be a little nervous to come up against this lot on the battlefield - well done!  And I'm sure the many Challengers who game ancients will chime in with some more useful feedback that I can offer..

Not only do these looks great, they net you 172 points for the Challenge - great work!

From SamuliS: Zastrow Kürassiere (67 points)

Back from the holidays and some more Saxons, this time in the form of the Zastrow Kürassiere Regiment forming the second unit of heavy cavalry in addition to the Garde du Corps. Again 18mm minis from AB that were really a joy to paint as the details are very brisk and quite easy to pick out. A simple paint job with block painted colours and a black wash followed by a highlight.

Quite a fast project to paint as they were done in just a couple of short evening painting sessions. However they took quite long to finish up as hobby time was quite limited during the holidays as we were visiting quite a few relatives, going out hunting for a few days and watching the Ice Hockey U-20 World Championships that were played in my home town here in Finland. Still I guess it was time well spent as we shot a couple of moose down and Finland ended up winning the world championships after a thriller game against Russia!

Even with the temperature dropping to roughly minus 25 degrees Celsius it didn't stop us Finns from celebrating the victory in traditional way by going for a swim in a fountain in the city center. Though swimming was a bit harder this year around... I guess it goes without saying that we can get a bit crazy over hockey (though I guess we are still pretty far behind Canada in our obsession)

Swimming in the fountain can be a bit tricky in the time of victory

With the temperatures bordering on the classic frozen hell levels it's finally time to get back to painting in earnest. I'm not looking forward to hanging outside more than needed so it's a great excuse to finally put some hours in with the brushes!

Oh wow - this post is a real laugher, and painful all at once! We'll start with the cavalry - they look fabulous, and your brushwork does those marvellous AB castings justice.  As I mentioned in Alex's post earlier today, heavy cavalry is the belle of any tabletop ball, and these fellows look the part.  Great work.  
And on to the hockey - while in Canada we like to assume we are the only ones who are bonkers about it, the passion is in fact shared widely around the world, as you so amply demonstrate in this post.   
Let's see now...Finland knocked out the Canadian juniors, during which you painted some great cavalry figures, then you shot a moose (another facet of our state-endorsed Canadian identity), and then ran around outside in the buff because you beat Russia in a gold medal game (something we in Canada wish we were doing ourselves)...did you happen to burn down a maple syrup factory while you were at it? This would hurt, if that last celebratory photo was not so hilarious. I will rate that a few extra points, although hopefully we are not starting a new Challenge "scoring trend" (ahem)...35 points and great job! And Suomi for the gold!! We'll be out for revenge next year... 

Edit by Minion Tamsin - points adjusted as AB figures are being scored as 20mm 

From Alex S - More 28mm Venetians for Italian Wars (313 points)

All this week on the street was a bit cold (- 25), so I almost did not come out of the house, doing household chores and painting instead. (-25 - sounds warm to me - GB)

So I made one squad of 20 swordsmen. Again, I used a set of brothers Perry but different, and some miniatures archaic look that symbolizes what are mercenaries of the small states, which are not so developed military.

The banner looks like a dirty rag. I can say, "Oh, this is to 'support' the image of the army, carried through a long time on the battlefield!" But to be honest: "I simply did not get it done."

Next detachment - a mercenary knights (10 men). They were the backbone of the army condottieri. Again I used the Perry Miniatures, and used an airbrush to paint the armor. I liked the result. Do you like it?

Next detachment (yes, yes, you know who the authors of these wonderful miniatures) - a unit of mercenary handgunners (20 men). Chances are, if judged by the flag - Swiss. Why not? "No money - no Swiss, but there is money - there is the Swiss".

Next work - colonello, a junior officer in the army condottieri. This miniature is already done, Peter, and I hope that I was able to even be a little bit as well as he.

Finally, you can see I made this week for the Venetian army in a single photo. I did some Napoleonics miniatures, but they are not quite finished, and I hope to introduce them to you next Friday.

Total for today 11 horsemen and 40 infantry miniatures, for 310 points.

Well, a points bomb to start things off today. Great works on these fellows Alex - this period is one I am really interested in, but when I see the work (airbrushing!) that it seems to demand, I get intimidated for sure.  My favourite in this bunch is certainly the heavy cavalry - always impressive, and when gaming I hope to send lads like these straight down the throats of my opponents...of course, they always seem to have pikes, but I digress... 
And the banners look fine as far as I'm concerned - an "experienced" looking banner is a quality banner.  Worth a few extra points to this (now very cold) minion. Great work! Your initial points goal is already in sight...can't wait to see the Napoleonics next week!

Your Friday Minion Will Be Slightly Delayed

A rendition of my plans for today...
Greeting to all Challengers!  I have the honour of serving as your designated minion today and for the Fridays throughout this year's edition of Challenge. I beg your patience while I attempt this work, as there is a spreadsheet involved. I am among the enlightened who recognize such things as witchcraft, and use of them may, in fact, bring on the apocalypse.  My first concern is that I have assured several times it's "easy"...the first dark uttering of any shaman of IT, as far as I'm concerned. So I beg your patience and forgiveness of any initial points errors which, for example, might reduce Millsy's score to "0".

And much as I look forward to my minion tasks, I further regret to inform you there will be a slight delay to some postings today as I am en route back from a lovely holiday in Hawaii. I should be able to finalize several of your posts via the wifi at the 24/7 clown show we in Canada recognize as  "Vancouver Airport", but the rest will be attended to through the afternoon and evening back in my cozy home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

It takes a lot to get me to stop painting...but this will do it - sunset over the Pacific Ocean...aloha!
One note - since my ambient temperature is changing from +27 degrees celsius to -23 degrees celsius, any winter-themed entries submitted today will be docked 100% of eligible have been warned...

Thanks folks!