Sunday, March 26, 2023

Painting Challenge Submission #19 - Hospitaller Knights for Baron's War - Outremer

Figures for "Barons War: Outremer" - 28mm castings sculpted by the incredible Paul Hicks.

My nineteenth - and as it turned out, final, submission to the 13th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge turned away from the 30th millenium and on to some historical subjects. Here we have a group of Knights from the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem - the Hospitallers. They are accompanied by a priest and a Turcopole scout. These 28mm metal figures were sculpted by the incredible and prolific Paul Hicks, and were released via the "Barons War: Outremer" Kickstarter run by Hicks and Andy Hobday.

Mounted Hospitaller Master, accompanied by two Knights.

I wish I ordered more mounted figures. Or, just, more of everything, from this Kickstarter.

For 98.8% of hobby participants, the arrival of figures from a Kickstarter is hardly remarkable. However, my close friends will surely laugh, having endured endless rants over many years about how much I hate Kickstarter. With this in mind, let us imagine this group of figures represents a patrol on the highway to Damascus, escorting a Priest on his way to oversee a conversion...

Another amazing sculpt. A veteran commander - wise, and dangerous...

The prospect of acquiring figures for the Crusades sculpted by Paul Hicks was enough make my concerns over Kickstarter participation evaporate faster than Tony Blair's ethics around a 20 pound note. While the process certainly took a while, I can report that Andy and Paul ran a solid process. I did start to wonder a little bit as time went on whether the figures would ever arrive, but Paul and Andy kept in touch with the backers, and delivered 100% in the end. I also have to thank Byron for entertaining my multiple stupid questions regarding the general Kickstarter process throughout.

A look at some of the foot knights...great sculpting!!

When the box arrived, I handled it with my usual 10-year-old-on-Christmas-morning approach and was soon bothering Curt, Dallas, Byron and Jamie with pictures of this latest batch of toys. While my views of Kickstarter remain largely unchanged, the fact is that my only regret is that I did not order more stuff - or score one of the models of the Hospital in Jerusalem that were available to early backers! I invite all here to point, laugh, and take the piss at your leisure in the comments below.

You would need faith to fight in the heat wearing this get-up!

The sculpting of the figures is just...awesome. I love Paul Hicks' work, and wow did he deliver here! I thought I would start simple, working on some of the Hospitallers first, before moving on to the Saracen figures later on. I paused a little while to consider how I would base these, but in the end opted for the round bases for the foot models and pill-shaped bases for the cavalry. They came with the figures anyway, after all, and I have been inspired to at least give Andy Hobday's "Barons War" rules a shot using these figures, and those rules seem to work better with these bases.

Armed to the teeth and ready for battle in the Holy Land.

Painting was a lot of fun - sure, black is tricky, but the fact is that these figures are just SO nice, they are a joy to paint. Fortunately the symbols of the Hospitallers is pretty straightforward (although that did not always translate into "straight lines" on the shields...oh well) so all of the shields could be hand-painted with minimal trouble. 

Priest and Turcopole guide.

Tried to be a bit fancier with his shield.

The priest and turcopole guide offered a chance to use some different colours, and it was fun to have a go at a fancier design for the shield the guide has strapped to his back. That said, the search will be on for decals that work on the shields of the Saracen warriors to come...

Onward along the road to Damascus...

This submission provided enough points to put me past my goal of 800, which was nice. It was not intended to be the final submission to this edition of the Challenge, but that is how it worked out due to the timing of my recent visit to Winnipeg, and the issues which can arise when one decides to drive on Canadian highways in March...anyway, it was a thrill to have these guys finished, and I'm pleased to have at least exceeded my goal of 800 "points" worth of painting for the Challenge.

Also, it seems Paul Hicks has another Kickstarter brewing...hmmm...just saying...anyway, thanks for reading, and congratulations to all Conscripts for knocking it out of the park during another Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge!

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Painting Challenge Submission #18 - Sons of Horus Apothecary

Apothecary from the XVI Legion Astartes in Mark VI power armour.

 More Space Marines? Not quite - but another Space Marine, yes. For my eighteenth submission to the recently-completed Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge we have an Apothecary wearing Mark VI "beakie" power armour, painted in the fine and noble livery of the XVI Legion Astartes, the Sons of Horus. This figure is a conversion of various plastic bits from both the recent "Age of Darkness" Mark VI Marines, with the Apothecary bits from the older-era plastic command squad box. The embossed Legion symbol on the shoulder is courtesy of Forge World.

Medical care in the year 30,000 seems to involve cutting a lot of things - and this fellow is ready!

Now, you might think being a Sons of Horus Apothecary would the same as being the Maytag Repairman - you would be bored! After all, since the Warmaster's plans are always flawless, and the troops of his own Legion are completely stupendous and never fail to execute the Warmaster's flawless plans, how would they ever get hurt? Who would need help from a medical professional? Rogal Dorn's dopey soldiers may excel at building sandcastles, but their pathetic military efforts would barely dent the seafoam green plate of the Warmaster's Chosen Sons. Let's face it - the only people getting hurt during any XVI Legion military operations are people who don't deserve medical care in the first place!

Lots of helpful fluids and devices on hand with this guy's equipment.

The Warmaster's strategic and tactical genius is matched, however, by his benevolence - he understands that the galaxy is very large and that even his Sons can't be everywhere they need to be. Because of this, victims of terrorist acts carried out by delusional pro-Emperor forces, the so-called "loyalists", can be found on hundreds of worlds in the Imperium. By provisioning his Legion has a strong cadre of trained Apothecaries like this fellow on hand, the Warmaster ensure that professional, chain-sword-enabled medical care needs is available to these unfortunate people at no cost.

This figure was fun to assemble, although it was not the smoothest process. The new range of "Age of Darkness" figures is built very much around its own "new generation" of plastic Mark VI models, and these models don't exactly mix seamlessly with earlier generations of kit. It can be done, but you'll be using the good old hobby knife a lot more than you would have for kit-bashing efforts involving the previous generation of 30k plastics.

All the same, we got there in the end, and it is nice for The Axehole to have this medical professional on hand in the extremely unlikely event any Marine under his command is wounded in battle...

We are almost finished with my submissions to AHPC XIII...thanks for reading, and please stay tuned for more!

Friday, March 24, 2023

Painting Challenge Submission #17 - Varangian Guard for 28mm Byzantines

Varangian Guards prepare to take to the field in the name of the Emperor of Byzantium!

The "catch up" process of posts covering my submissions to the recently-completed Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge continues. After a slew of Space Marines, for submission number seventeed we turn to a completely different ongoing project - my 28mm Byzantines. Here we have a unit of Varangian Guard, the elite mercenary guards of the Byzantine Emperors. These are 28mm metal figures from Gripping Beast, with flag and shield decals from LBMS.

Some fine swordsmen, present and correct!

Challenge participant Darrel H has already covered the Varangians earlier in AHPC XIII - and done a totally amazing, lights-out job on the paint work, holy cow - go check it out now if you missed it - but this particular unit is a fun one to have on hand in my collection, and I have been waiting for a couple years to paint some up, focused on other, more basic units to build and paint first.

I love the character of these sculpts. Don't the poses make you flinch, just a bit? Here comes a two-handed axe!!

And I did not even expect to be painting any Byzantines during this edition of the Challenge...but you know what they say about plans...anyway, I was planning a visit to Winnipeg, and as part of that, playing a game with the guys. Dallas and I were texting before the trip, mulling possible options for a game, and we settled on having my Byzantines finally take to the gaming table to battle his Normans. Great! And, he casually asked "if I had any Varangians painted"?

"Clear out for the wind up!"

So naturally I tore into my pile of shame, dug these figures out, and got cracking on them! In response, Dallas found some unpainted Normans in his pile, and before you know it, a mini-Challenge-within-a-Challenge was born...and here is my part of it! This unit is modest in size, but the Varangians hit hard (or, at least, they do in theory...) and this will do just fine for a game of Warhammer Ancient Battles. 

Banner bearer.

Tried to make the commander's outfit a touch fancier...

Gripping Beast metal figures are so strange...they look odd when they come out of the blister...they have strange proportions, and you think to yourself that "this is going to be odd". But when you start painting them, I find they have so much character, and I just love them. While I could do without the separate weapons for the figures, I overall really, really loved painting these...except, of course, for the shields. 

Fighting now, drinking later!

The shields have LBMS transfers on them - no way I could hope to freehand designs like that - but wow, are they ever a massive, massive pain in the @ss to work with. I wish these were available as waterslide transfers...the peel-stick-water system these things use is fiddly as f*ck, and the results can be pretty uneven, and you will still need to paint the edges - and do so carefully. Even a liberal dose of Mircosol only does so much...anyway, I got there in the end, but I continue to wish for waterslide transfers for shields...

"Charge - and leave some room for the axes!"

These 12 fellows in 28mm were good for another 60 points toward my personal painting goals during the Challenge. They were also present and correct for the first-ever deployment of my 28mm Byzantine figures on to the table for a game...but for more on that, you will have to wait for another blog post. For now, thanks for reading, and please stay tuned!

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Painting Challenge Submission #16 - Sons of Horus Heavy Support Squad

Anyone call for some heavy support?

When "tactical support" doesn't get the job done, the Space Marines call in the heavies - the Heavy Support Squad. We have one here, my sixteenth submission to the recently-concluded Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, five fine fellows decked out in the lovely green livery and iconography of the XVI Legion Astartes, the Sons of Horus of course! These are (yet more) multi-part plastic figures from GW's "Horus Heresy" setting. 

Love the little targeting computer/iPad deal you get with the kit - nice touch for the officer.

I've no doubt Curt was reading my mind, as he already alluded to these figures coming along the painting queue, but these are not only quite useful at blasting battlefield problems to pieces - they are also lovely tributes to the very early RTB01 "beakie" Marines, as they are equipped with the infamous "shark fin" missile launchers. These newer figures are true to that old design, and I love how they look.

The launchers are not a comfortable fit on the shoulders...tricky to assemble, but worth it in the end!

If assembly of the tactical support guys was tricky, assembly for these guys was REAL tricky. Not only are the instructions bonzo and of little help (reminder - do NOT throw away old instructions from other boxes, as you'll need them), but the art of sitting the large weapon on the shoulder is...delicate. Anyway, it all worked out in the end, so it doesn't seem like a big deal now, but there are a surprising number of very, very small pieces that need to come together on these figures - so don't build these things near a carpet!

Shark fins, FTW!

Whatever the travails of assembly, they painted up just fine, and nicely round out my initial complement of Mark VI Space Marines, which was a goal I had for this edition of the Challenge - I wanted to paint enough Mark VI "beakies" to fill the transport bay of the Sokar Pattern Storm Bird I painted last year.  I now have two 20-man tactical squads, a tactical support squad, and this heavy support squad, as well as "The Axehole" to lead them - and the whole lot can fill up the troop bay on that super-heavy flyer. 

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for a few more "catch-up" posts on the Blog!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Painting Challenge Submission #15 - Sons of Horus Tactical Support

Tactical Support Squad for the Sons of Horus, sporting the dreaded Volkite Caliver.

When you are undertaking a tough endeavour, it is nice to know you can count on support. Even Space Marines need support now and then. And when you are talking about the Sons of Horus, we don't mean moral support - because the moral superiority of the Warmaster is crystal clear. Nor do we mean spiritual support - the Word Bearers have that covered. No, we are talking "tactical support", available here in squad form with Submission #15 to the recently-concluded Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. This is a tactical support squad of the XVI Legion Astartes, sporting Volkite Calivers, all are plastic multi-part figures from GW.

I just love the look of the "Volkite" weapons in the 30k setting.

For those (rare) occasions where the big 20-man tactical squads run into a battlefield issue that is reluctant to move out of the way, these tactical support squads are on hand to lend a boost. Rather than  the sturdy, basic bolt gun, these squads avail themselves to the dizzying array of special, scary weapons, helpful in the particular military situations which might arise 30,000 years into the future. 

Close up of some of the poses...the guns connect at the wrist, which sucks, and leads to some...interesting joins...

The Volkite Caliver is my favourite, because it looks whacky, and is meant to be a giant ray gun. In the great tradition of 30k weapon silliness, there are "Volkite" weapons for every category, from pistols all the way to versions which are equipped and mounted on the massive Titans. 

A view showing the rear packs, and trusty bolt pistols holstered at the hip.

While I continue to love these new plastic kits from GW, the assembly of these was a pain in the @ss, as the instructions are absolutely Kafka-esque, in that they require you to have a DIFFERENT set of instructions, from the basic tactical marine box set, to go with them. Moral of the story - don't throw out your instructions right away...

We're here to support you! You know, in a tactical way!

These guys piled another 50 points on to my total - and will provide handy "death ray" level support to the two big squads of Tactical Marines painted earlier in the Challenge. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Painting Challenge Submission #14 - More Sons of Horus Tactical Marines

With their trusty Sergeant in the lead, another squad of Sons of Horus marines prepares to Make the Imperium Great Again...

Well, the 13th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge has now concluded - but I'm still way behind on posting my Challenge content, so I'll try and catch up this week. We start today with submission #14 to the Challenge, a second 20-man Space Marine tactical squad for GW's "Horus Heresy" setting. This is yet another set of fine fellows are painted in the colours and livery of the XVI Legion Astartes, the Sons of Horus. These are all multi-part plastic figures from GW. 

A good officer always has some scrolls handy, for, you know, Age of Darkness reasons...

Are there ever enough Space Marines? What a stupid question! Of course not. As I have raved previously, I love GW's newest range of plastic figures for the Horus Heresy setting. Space Marines wearing Mark VI power armour (with the famous 'beakie' helmets) and trudging into a grinding, no-quarter battle is what "makes" the setting for me, and I quite love it obviously. 

The comms trooper adds almost no value, and is a real pain in the ass to assemble...but since I have one for the first squad, I need one for the second squad...

Close up shot of some of the marching poses.

As with the first squad I painted earlier during this edition of the Challenge, this band of merry fellows is equipped with their trusty bolt guns and chain-bayonets because these sorts of things come in handy when you are utterly crushing all of the blind fools and morons who refuse to recognize the glorious destiny the Warmaster has in mind for humanity hard at work creating "green jobs" and affordable housing for oppressed groups across the galaxy.

Have to have a skull in your communications array - I mean, it just makes things work better, right?

These huge 20-man squads are great fun on the table, so having two of them on hand will be even better! Can't wait to deploy them on a table where they can carry on their mission of, er, "improved intergalactic governance". 

Horus for hope! Chainblades, that should do...

This lot was good for another 100 points toward my target, and is helping round out a nice big new batch of Mark VI Marines in Sons of Horus colours for my 30k collection.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge XIII Submission #8 - Warg Attack - The Director's Cut

Submission #8 is a collection of more Lord of the Rings miniatures from Games Workshop consisting of the 'Warg Attack' boxed set, a set of plastic Warg Riders, a Wild Warg Chieftain (and his victim), and Gimli and Legolas from the 'Heroes of the West' boxed set. I apologize for the fuzziness of the photos, but I had to shift my photo booth to a new location this year, and I am having difficulty getting my camera to focus on the figures rather than the background.


Warg Attack - The Director's Cut

The 'War Attack' boxed set consists of five metal multipart mounted figures of Aragorn, Théoden, and three warg riders. They all fit together fairly well without needing to resort of epoxy putty to fill in any gaps. Once assembled, they were mounted on their bases, sand was glued glued to the base with PVA, and the figures were then primed black with an airbrush. They were painted primarily with Vallejo acrylics and Citadel washes. The three warg riders were given a coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade instead of the washes. 


Warg Attack boxed set

Theoden and Aragorn

3 metal Warg Riders

  Next is a box of six plastic War Riders that I got second hand. They had been 'rode hard and put away wet'. The previous owner had assembled the miniatures and given them 'all the bells and whistles', so the riders wielding a sword also got a bow and quiver, and the bowmen got a shield and a sword slung on their backs. The spearmen were assembled with their spears pointing straight up, and the shields were glued on so low that it interfered with seating the rider on the warg correctly. They also got the heavy silver paint treatment. Part of a lower hind leg was missing from one of the wargs, and I had to sculpt a replacement using some floral wire and epoxy putty. I used some 2-propanol and a stiff toothbrush to clean off as much of the excess paint as I could before priming them black with a rattle can. I had painted a box of Warg Riders two years ago, and these were painted in a similar fashion.

6 refurbished plastic Warg Riders

Then we have Gimli and Legolas from the 'Heroes of the West' boxed set which contains Aragorn, Gandalf, Faramir, Éomer, Éowyn , Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Pippin from The Return of the King.I have already painted four of the nine figures, and a few more may appear later in the Challenge. These two heroes were painted in the same colours as the 'Ambush at Amon Hen' set I painted at the start of the January. I think I now have four different sculpts for each of these two characters.

Giml and Legolas

 Last up is the Wild Warg Chieftain which is a multipart metal figure that includes a slain Rider of Rohan. This came with the second hand Warg Riders, and it was not a miniature that I had in my collection already. The Warg Chieftain was loose from its base, so it was easy to clean off the old paint by soaking it overnight in 'Simple Green' and then scrubbing it with a stiff toothbrush. It was prepped and painted in the same manner as the other wargs with Vallejo acrylics, followed by a coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade. The slain rider was painted after applying the Quickshade. 

Wild Warg Chieftain

 Thanks for reading.