Friday, 23 February 2018

From:PaulS - Terrainbomb (100 Points)

This year I was planning on trying to close off a number of pre-existing projects and, so far, I've managed to do that for a couple... so that is good. But when Curt introduced terrain as a viable entry... well, that was a game changer. This year I've been working on sorting out my office, including setting up a fixed gaming table area. Unfortunately I didn't have any terrain until a couple of kickstarters arrived around the same time. 4Ground provided lots of buildings and another one provided MDF cutting templates to create hex tiles for a nice modular table. My wife is pleased to have been able to contribute to the table. See if you can work out how.

I was intending to hold this back until the last week, but I've not had a chance to paint anything this week... so you can have this early and I'll try to work up another batch over the remaining weeks. At the moment I've just been doing flat tiles to try and bulk things out, but there are cutting templates for shallow hills, steep hills, cliffs and rivers, so this thing is just going to keep on growing. Everything in the picture has been made during the challenge, except assembling the building, which you can see in the pre-repaint version that was assembled in November, but has had a thorough repaint during the challenge.

In the photo above, there are a couple of figures to give a sense of scale, but to put it into context, this covers 19 inches by 24 inches (and half an inch thick) and can be reshuffled to fit whatever story I want. In this one you can see the creepy forest in the bottom left corner, with the altar. A forge has been built nearby, surrounded by some ruins and a standing stone.

So, some closeups might help. The forge is one of the newer 4Ground kits (8x9x8 inches, not including the base tiles) and went together really well. To try and add some character to the buildings, they are being permanently fixed to some tiles, so that I can add some bits of scatter to it and ensure some character. The houses will all be on grassland, with the assumption that whatever scenarios get played are in small villages or on the outskirts of cities where they haven't gone as far as cobbling the streets yet.

The creepy woodland is made using some of the GW plastic trees as I like my gaming to be pulpy. So far there are only three trees (each one is about 5 inches tall and overflow one of the tiles, which are approximately 3x3 inches)

Every dark, creepy forest needs a sacrificial altar covered in blood and skulls (how very GW!).

There is an old standing stone/herdstone for the middle of fields and a well (seen in the full view)

Two statues, one still standing and one that has fallen over. Both of these are made using 28mm figures, so fit quite nicely in terms of scale

I have no idea how you want to total all this up Curt. If I melt your brain with this, I apologise to everyone for derailing the entire challenge and causing terrain to be removed from next year's options ;)

- Each tile is about 4x4x0.5 inches and there are 37 of them, including the ones forming the force base.
- Each tree (3) is approximately 3x3x5 inches
- The forge is approximately 8x9x8 inches, not including the base

...then you have the standing stone, well, 2 statues and the altar to throw in the mix as well.


Great looking terrain setup Paul! That forge is a magnificent piece and I really like the way you've integrated the GW trees, pillars and standing stone into the hex arrangement. Is there a way of doing hills and rivers using this hex system? I look forward to seeing more if you have the time to post them.

As to points, it's actually pretty simple when you base it off of our base core volume. The hexes themselves make up roughly 1.5 6x6 cubes, while the forge is another 2.5. I'll also give another 1 for the trees and other bits. So this makes 5 cubes worth, equaling 100 points. Easy.  

Well done Paul! Thanks for sharing this project with us and enjoy your new gaming space!


From SidneyR: More Troops in 'Flight': Laarden, 1688 (50 points)

Way back in early January - hands up, Challengers, who can remember the early days of Challenge VIII? - I did some bases for the “Flight” themed round. I carefully (and naively) prepared six bases. “They’ll not take long, there’s hardly any figures on each base”, I reassured myself. Oh, such bold dreams without any contact with reality!

I think what’s taken the time is two things. First, I’ve tried to jumble and mix up uniforms in each "Flight" base, creating an impression of units, brigades and even a full army in flight. Second, I glued the figures directly onto the “Flight” bases. This saved time when the figures are painted (no need to base them once completely painted), but takes longer to paint each figure. Swings and Roundabouts, dear Challengers...

So here are bases 'four' and 'five', one being Spanish and one Flemish. The figures are a jumble of Dixon’s, Foundry, 1st Corps and Perry. These manufacturers mix well together, being in the 25-28mm camp. I used some of the ‘newer’ Dixon figures (circa 2006). If you’re hesitating about using these 2006-era Dixon Grand Alliance figures - (which at first seem far less lovely that the Mark Copplestone Grand Alliance 1987 originals or the Gary Morley Grand Alliance second wave from 1989-90) - then please don’t. 

The newer-2006-vintage Dixon Grand Alliance range are very clean sculpts, paint up very well and actually look great on the table. OK, before painting they do look just a little odd (some slightly strange hand and leg positions), but persevere, Challengers - they do look good when painted. Both standard bearers here are from the new Dixon set.

I green-stuffed a broken drum (with ripped drum-skin), added a sprig of Scalelink brass fret oakleaves to the German soldier dressed in green helping his comrade to stand, added cuffs for a late 17th Century 'look' onto the prone/ wounded figure, added a couple of feathers in the hat of the officer and added finials to each standard (Bicorne). The scattered muskets are Dixon flintlocks, as is the discarded powder scoop.

The irregular-shaped bases are Warbases (thanks Martin!) and the standards are from Flags of War. The Flemish standard is cut with a scalpel before gluing, washed with a very, very pale wash of dirty green and then spattered with muddy coloured paint (... go on, paint flicking is fun... ). The aim is really to show a standard carried to safety from the shipwreck of a battalion after heavy fighting, the preciou cloth and silk shredded with musket and canister fire.

The damaged cannon is from 1st Corps. The 1st Corps figures (being the prone soldier reaching for a musket and the two soldiers propping each other up) are lovely to paint and have a few similarities with the Dixon sculpting style. For those with good eyesight there is a curious anatomical anomaly on one of the figures, which reminds me of an air-brushed ‘third hand’ in a celebrity photo shoot. 

I like these strange oddities in figures - I’m definitely towards the end of the spectrum which likes my wargames figures a little chunkier and ‘toy soldier-ish’, rather than super slender and realistic. 

The tufts are from WW Scenics. I’m really happy with the products from this small terrain maker. They’re a bit more robust than the Silfor tufts. The tufts’ bases are dipped in PVA before being placed on the base. I got carried away, as you can tell.  I dry brushed the tufts are flying with Vallejo German Camo Ochre and Medium Grey just to tone them down a little.

Painting wise, all Vallejo paints. Again, I tried the trick on the Spanish base with focusing on brown as the theme colour. I should have done the same on the drum but could not resist a deep Hapsburg red and castle tower to try and match the standard.

One more “Flight” base to go, so hopefully I can have that dropped in a submission in March.

On a forthcoming Challenge-submission note - I’m still working on the Lorrainer Horse (and desperately trying to find some... any?... details of their standards). The regiments I’m painting are Luneville and Garnier.... so if anyone has any ideas.... well, you know where to find me. I’m the chump with the crystal ball and the confused expression on my face.

Points-wise: 4 standing figures (20 points), two prone figures (5 points) and a seated wounded drummer with drum (4 points for the seated drummer and 1 point for the drum?) and a damaged cannon (10 points?).  Does that make 40 points, Curt?


Absolutely superb work Sidney. I loved the original three bases from this series and continue to be amazed with these two new additions. These are truly artisanal little gems of imagination and craftsmanship. Each are packed with such storytelling detail - a real feast for the eyes. 

I also like your detailed description of the materials and method behind your work. So much of it is common sense but much of it is pure inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing these with us.

As to points, let's start with a base of 40 and give another 10 for the banners and various conversions/additions.  So 50 sounds about right to me.

Again, beautiful stuff Sid!


From: SanderS - A bit of everything ( 102 Points)

Hoi There,

This week has made me come to terms with the fact that my well laid plan of starting my 1:72 Salamanca project, is not going to happen this Challenge... Other stuff just keeps sneaking up on me, it might be HQ miniatures I need for a Quest at school or a Theme round entry or my Curtgeld or the Camels for the Hump-challenge, either way it's not 1:72 Napoleonics.

So what have we here today?
More Heroquest of course. I traded the painted skellies and mummies I showed you last time with Collin for some unpainted ones and did them up this week:

I also finished my Warhammer Quest assassin, he's put on a HQ base made by Zealot Games.

For the "Mound of the Beastmen" Quest I needed a Herdstone and while a card version is included in the Quest, I wanted a real on so here it is. Curt can decide what to score it for.

Here are the last of the Beastmen I had to paint. There are 3 of those lovely old sculpts and one plastic (the one on the right with the ugly shield) who's from a game called Dark World.

Now for some much needed diversity I also was able to finish some of my 3d printed GIJoe vehicles:

First up is the famous Skystriker:



Next up the silly but oh so funny Armadillo mini tank:

So yeah, 10 mini's in 28mm = 50 + 3 vehicles in 28mm = 45 makes 95 plus whatever Curt can make up for the Herdstone.


Sander, I can totally appreciate the growing realization that a particular project is just not going to happen before a deadline. This happens to me every Challenge and I've learned to embrace it. Hey, it's a hobby after all! I say embrace the chaos and let your brush have it's head.

This is a wonderfully eclectic submission. I particularly like your 'Mound of the Beastmen' herdstone with its heap of fetishistic trophies, trinkets and body bits (yeeash). The GI Joe prints are awesome as well, especially that whacky looking Armadillo tank - so very retro-cool.

I'm going to give 7 points for the heardstone and call it 102 for the bunch. Well done Sander!


From Millsy: More Militia United in Righteousness (60 points)

Just a quick one this time. Yet another dozen Boxers armed with melee weapons for my 55 Days at Peking project. I think I can see the end from here but I could be mistaken. :-)

For those interested we played out the first games with the full table (as it stands) and painted minis last weekend. Great fun!

So that's a quick 60 more points and I'm creeping slowly towards my 1000 point goal.

Artist: Club des Belugas
Album: Fishing for Zebras

Artist: The The
Album: Infected



Excellent work Millsy! These Boxer reinforcements look wonderful, especially the angry chaps with the nasty bladed polearms. I checked out your battle report and it looks like you and Cory had a terrific time playing through the rules (I love the photo of the Boxers blowing a sharpie marker dimensional hole through the wall). :)

This all being said I have to smirk when any hobbyist says, 'I think I can see the end from here...'. Riiiight.

60 more points for your climb to 1K, Millsy.

And great music choice btw!


Friday's Ode to Cyanoacrylate!

I had a frozen t*rd of a week so I'm quite happy to see it come to a train wreck of a conclusion. 

Sooo, let's all look at pretty minis instead, shall we. 

Onwards and upwards (sniiiiif)!


Thursday, 22 February 2018

From GregB: Big Guns for Canada (18 points)

Big guns for Canada! 155m shells and Maple Syrup to defend the NATO lines!

Woohoo! A double post this week! Was a bit of a squeeze, but worth it for no other reason that try and force Jamie to stay up a little later tonight and keep painting! :) An extra bit of 15mm Cold-War-gone-hot content to cram in this week - this is a unit of M109 self-propelled 155mm howitzers, some big-time support for my Cold War Canadian forces.

An up-front disclosure before diving in further: I know that on-table models to represent artillery like this is very, very silly (at best).  For a lot of folks it is one of the worst features of Battlefront's rule sets. The range of the weapon is something like 15 to 18 kilometres, and that is before any enhancements like rocket-assisted projectiles or other horrors are added.  Having units like this on a 6' x 4' table - or even a much, much larger table - in 15mm is kinda dumb, and can exacerbate issues with those who feel strongly the period is better suited to 6mm or even 3mm. I absolutely agree with you. Even in "Spearhead" (division-level) games, where the large table, even in the abstract that "Spearhead" uses, can represent a very great distance, artillery like this can be well off-table.

1/100 M109 models from Battlefront's Vietnam range

On the other I get older, I find myself getting a lot less hung-up about stuff like that.  Big guns are fun. At a core level in all of this is a kid in me who is not growing up and thinks more things on the table that would make a "boom" sound are awesome. And while I find maybe some WW2 games seem to have too much tactical involvement of artillery, for a setting like "Team Yankee", I think it is quite appropriate to have shells raining down on both sides for most of the game. If nothing else, I want the other Canadian figures I have painted to know they would have the support because it is sitting with them on the shelf, ready to move out :)

So, there you go...I'm a contradictory nerd...back to the models...

The artillery punch of the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group came from the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, equipped with these armoured, self-propelled howitzers. The mechanized brigades had 60mm and 81mm mortars with their infantry.  And of course the Leopard C1s could dish out serious direct-fire abuse from their 105mm guns.  But to really rain on the Warsaw Pact parade, you need some serious stuff to fall from the sky on to the bad guys - and 155mm shells fired by the stout members of the RCHA will do nicely for that!

These are 1/100 scale models from Battlefront - actually from their Vietnam range, as those would be the appropriate if approximate vintage for the weapons equipping the Canadian formations in the 1980s. Any deployment to halt a Warsaw Pact attack would have relied heavily on timely support from these bad-boys.

A few decals on the back to ID the nationality

While the armour on these vehicles would not stand up to anything like the main gun on a tank, it would have been pretty important - being a gunner in this fictional (phew!) circumstance looks like it would have been terribly dangerous work. Any extended fire missions would rapidly be identified by Warsaw Pact spotters, and counter-battery fire from the enormous artillery complements within the Soviet formations would have been a near-certainty. The ability to keep hammering out shells while under fire would be essential to preserving the 4th Canadian Brigade - the timely artillery support would be critical for the smaller (relative to attacking Warsaw Pact formations) infantry-centred Canadian Battlegroups to hold off major assaults from large Soviet Motor Rifle battalions.

Reading Kenneth Macksey's awesome "First Clash" offers excellent insight to how critical the artillery support is for the Canadian formation (or really any formation), and just how much planning went in to ensuring the shells would be there at the right time and the right place. Once battle was joined, the bombardment and counter-bombardment would be almost continuous...inspired by that book, I'm pleased to have this bunch finished and part of my Canadian Cold War collection.

I encountered a number of different photos of these units on manoeuvres in the various NATO exercises through the 1980s, and they seemed at the time to be sporting a simple black camouflage pattern, so that is what I have tried to replicate here.  And of course some Canadian flag decals have been very helpful as well.

Three more vehicles in 15mm, another 18 points...hey, it all counts! The grind toward the 1000 point target continues...

Song: Set Fire To The Rain
Artist: Adele
Album: 21

Yes, really - I had the opportunity to see Adele perform live, and it was quite fantastic.  She is a remarkable performer, a unique voice.  And this specific song is an ideal prelude to a bombardment by 155mm shells...especially if the target grid reference contains anyone who might have broken your heart...

What absolute beauties these are!  I had no idea stuff like this existed with their weirdly over sized turrets, but it looks like they would do exactly what it says on the tin/barrel and lob whacking great big shells at the enemy...... and then presumably scoot pretty quickly to evade the counter battery fire you mention.

Having lived through the Cold War (admittedly at too young an age to really get it)  really feel like I've got an idea for how horrifying the consequences could have been and am grateful the leaders all stepped back from the precipice....

And you're right about the silliness of the artillery on the table in FoW..... but I'll admit it's never really bothered me  - the chance to get fun stuff like this on the tabletop outweighs the nod to reality :)

18 points indeed and you're staying on target....