Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Fourth Painting Challenge Submission - Erkenbrand, Hero of the Westfold

Erkenbrand of Rohan, on foot and mounted, in 28mm - figures from GW.
My fourth submissions to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge took my paint brushes to Middle Earth once again...

To find figures for the theme round this past weekend I went rummaging around in my hoard-o-stuff and stumbled across some figures from Games Workshop's Lord of the Rings range.  The Rohan Outriders went into the theme submissions - but I found another blister sitting on the shelf with them - Erkenbrand, Lord of the Westfold, hero of Rohan. Since I was painting some other Rohan figures anyway, I thought I might as well paint this fellow up too while I was at it. 

Beautiful metal casting from GW. Remember when they did metal?
Wanted the green on the cloak to jump out a bit. He is a hero of Rohan after all!
In "The Lord of the Rings" Erkenbrand was a hero of the Kingdom of Rohan, helping to defend the Westfold from invasion.  It was Erkenbrand who, together with Gandalf, led a relief force to help break up the assault on Helm's Deep.  Erkenband's character, however, was not in the 2001 movie trilogy (or if he was, I don't remember him at all) - in the film "The Two Towers" the relief force at Helm's Deep was led instead by Eomer (and, of course Gandalf was there too).

The mounted pose is beautiful - you can imagine the other Rider of Rohan rallying behind his charge!
Even though he was not present in the 2001 movie trilogy, the range of figures sculpted by GW was unbelievably comprehensive, and included several characters which appeared in the books but not the Peter Jackson films. I do not even recall purchasing this figure, but sitting as it was with the other little pile of LOTR stuff in my hoard, I must have just assumed it would be cool to have another hero-type for my Rohan force. 

I love the war horn he is carrying on his belt. Brings to mind the "Horn of Gondor" and poor Boromir...
And it is! This is a stunning casting.  While it retains the slimmer, more reasoned proportions of the other LOTR figures, he is still a good size - befitting a hero of Rohan! The figure is metal, but sadly the horse is plastic - and connected to the base by just one hoof. No doubt disaster awaits if we ever put this fellow on to the table while mounted...

I loved painting this figure. 
But it was just lovely to paint.  It has been a real treat to dive back into a figure range that I have not otherwise touched with a paint brush for more than 10 years. Hopefully we will find a game some time in 2019 where this fellow can run down some orcs! This submission was small in terms of moving me toward my goal of 1200 "points" of painted stuff, but it was sure fun. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Painting Challenge "Theme" Entry - Rohan Outriders

Outriders of Rohan in 28mm, figures from GW
Curt's "Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge" features a number of bonus theme rounds, running every two weeks or so throughout the Challenge period.  Participants are encouraged to paint and share a figure that matches a given theme.  The first theme for this Ninth Edition of the Painting Challenge was "Reconnaissance" - and while I had a lot of options which might have fit the bill, in the end I opted for something I stumbled across while rummaging around in my hoard-o-unpainted-stuff - some Rohan Outriders.  These are 28mm metal castings from GW's "Lord of the Rings" ("LOTR") figure range.

Each blister pack contained one mounted and one dismounted outrider, so you see two packs' worth of painting here.

That one leg on the bottom is holding the whole thing up...yikes...

Beautiful sculpting, as always, by the Perrys
LOTR is a fine set of rules, and we have enjoyed many games over the years, if maybe a little less recently as Peter Jackson's brilliant 2001 movie trilogy fades from view and other interests have arisen in the intervening years to take its place.  I do have a small force of Riders of Rohan for the game, and there have been some memorable encounters for this force on Fawcett Avenue gaming tables over the years.  But my brushes haven't touched an LOTR figure in at least...10 years, maybe more?

Love this fellow drawing the bow while riding to battle, a great pose.

This pose really screams "Rohan" to me!

Anyway, I stumbled on these figures in the hoard, and resolved to get them painted up.  I couldn't tell you what an "outrider" does, as these seem more contrived for the game as opposed to matching a specific character from the books or movies.  But the GW website portrays them as scouts, and as such I thought they fit this theme round very well. They are little more armoured, and seem a little tougher, than the standard Rohan warrior, but are not as armoured as the Royal Guardsmen are.
I opted for fairly muted brown colours, although the green of the cloak and the metal bits of the armour do "pop" a bit. 

A distinctive green on the cloaks is a big part of the Rohan look, in my opinion at least :)
The GW figures for LOTR were top-shelf castings - I had forgotten just how nice they were. As an added treat, these are proper, honourable metal figures.  The proportions are slim and realistic, an attribute so seldom attributed anymore to a GW sculpt of anything meant to be a human or person.  The only downside to these beautiful figures is the plastic horses - they are connected to the base by means of only a single plastic leg...I'm worried how long the metal rider and plastic horse will last together while being used during a game...

These Outriders were a treat to paint. It has been great to visit the LOTR setting on the painting table again, and I'm hopeful that more LOTR stuff will be done this winter.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Cerberus Tank Destroyer

Finally finished my Imperial Fist Cerberus. It's a huge vehicle so the line highlighting took me a while. I think the gun on this thing is one of the biggest non-titan guns in the game. It would have been an interesting match up against Greg's Fellblade.

The left track was so badly cast, I had to cover it with a layer of green stuff. I couldn't even pass it off as battle damage it was so bad. It was probably due to the heat on the Yangtze River!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Third Painting Challenge Submission - 28mm Franco-Prussian War French Command

Assorted French command bases in 28mm for the Franco-Prussian War. All figures from Wargames Foundry.
Happy New Year! For my third entry to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, my brushes return again to a familiar theme and setting - the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.  These are 28mm figures from Wargames Foundry, mounted to represent commanders in games such as "Black Powder".

As with my Prussian command bases, there are two different levels of command represented here.  The bases with two figures will represent "brigade" commanders (again, "brigade" used in the sense of the Black Powder rules, as opposed to commanders of a specific actual brigade), officers with a sub-command of several units, while the base with three figures will represent an overall command for the whole French force on the table.

French officers on foot ponder developments on the battlefield...
There is a bit more variability to the French officer figures in the Foundry Franco-Prussian War collection - some senior commanders on foot, and one courier-type mounted, and one large selection of different poses in the senior command vignette.  This entry gives a flavour of these different options.

Without mounted commanders, there was a lot of extra room on the base, so I went nuts filling it up with grass tufts from Tajima - I love those things...
One "brigade" command features two senior officers on foot - while the regalia of the French senior command from the period was quite flashy, I mostly just bodged it so it looked good from a foot or so away on the table.

"Take this message to the Marshal!"
The second "brigade" command features a pair of flashy Hussars in their sexy bearskin head gear. They are a set, with the fellow on foot handing a note off to the ADC on the horse.  They were a little tricky to line up on the round base, so the hand-off looks a little awkward. But when it comes to this period, however, I kind of like that these French command figures give an aura of unease...

The message says "Why the f*** are we just standing here while the Prussians march all around us?"
That is because the performance of the French senior command during the Franco-Prussian War was utterly abysmal, hapless at best and incompetent at worst.  The French soldiers fought bravely. But through poor communication, indecision, indolence, and astonishing idiocy, the senior command group of the French managed to seize defeat from the jaws of victory on a number of key occasions. More than any other factor (and there were many), the performance of the French senior officers led to the envelopment and destruction of the French Imperial Army at the hands of the Prussians in the summer of 1870.

"J'ai aucune idee..." the command mantra for the French in 1870. 
And this is why I find the third portion of this entry, the French senior command base, to be so fun, because the sculpting (by the amazing Perry brothers, of course) is just brilliant.  There is a French Marshal, sitting to the corner of a bench, rubbing his forehead in confusion. A second ADC has no idea what to make of things either, while a third ADC just leans on the table and wonders how the first two ever got promoted...

Simply marvellous sculpting from the Perrys as usual - so much character in these figures, really amazing. 

Everyone is stumped by developments on the battlefield...
I continue to really enjoy painting this period, scale and setting.  Hopefully this edition of the Painting Challenge will bring me closer to my goals on this project - it's been great so far.  While the number of figures isn't large, things like command bases or (ugh) artillery are the things that are important to round out collections for games like "Black Powder" - but these are things I often find I never get around to.  So it's great that I now have a useful number of command sets for both sides.

In terms of points for the Challenge, this netted another 44 toward my goal of 1200 points of painted work.  In terms of my 28mm Franco-Prussian project, well, it is another step toward that goal of a Black Powder game sometime in 2019!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Second Painting Challenge Entry: 30k Iron Hands

A new Legion for my collection - meet the "Iron Hands" from the 10th Legion...
For my second submission to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, I felt it was time to return to a setting which I am quite passionate about, yet somehow was not present in any of my entries during the prior edition of the Painting Challenge - the Horus Heresy. This submission includes the beginnings of a new force of Loyalist Space Marines from the 10th Legion, known as the "Iron Hands".  There is a 10-man veteran tactical squad, a senior commander ("Iron Father" - oh the names...) and a "Contemptor-Mortis" Dreadnought.  

The Iron Hands and the "Shattered Legions"

When The Emperor unleashed his Space Marine legions upon the galaxy during his "Great Crusade", the Legions all started off with a number before they had a name - these Marines were from the 10th Legion.  In the Horus Heresy story, the writers strive to give each of the Space Marine Legions some sort of relatively unique character or approach to war to set them apart from their, um, let's call them "colleagues".  For the 10th Legion, which became the Iron Hands, their defining characteristic is an affinity for technology and weapon manufacturing that was unusual by the standards of the other Space Marine formations.  Perhaps not the most exciting back story... 

But what makes the Iron Hands kind of interesting is the part they play in the Horus Heresy story.  I mean, it's not an awesome one for them - they are nearly wiped out at the Drop Site Massacre on Isstvan V, led into trap and betrayed.  Their stupid Primarch, Ferrus Manus (think Paul Bunyan with power armour),  is killed (one the few to actually be definitively killed), beheaded by Fulgrim (Primarch of the 3rd Legion) his former ally and friend. Manus' 10th Legion is almost completely slaughtered all around him.  Ouch. 

Veteran Tactical Sergeant with a plasma pistol, a thunder hammer and a bit of an attitude problem...
But "almost" isn't "100%".  Some of the Iron Hands troops escaped - either because they had not yet deployed to the Isstvan drop, were detached elsewhere in Imperial space on other operations, were part of a garrison on the Iron Hands home world - or they had a combination of insane toughness, bonkers motivation and some luck to escape the massacre at the drop site itself and live to fight another day. These remnants (as with the remnants of the other betrayed Legions at that event on Isstvan V, the Raven Guard and Salamanders) would become known as the "Shattered Legions".  This is where the fun comes in from a playing and game plot perspective...

While they retained their nominal loyalty to The Emperor, the Space Marine forces in the Shattered Legions - forces which could still muster several hundred or even several thousand Marines - were mostly driven by desire for revenge.  The Iron Hands in particular lost their marbles a bit after their Primarch was killed. Bitter, focused and very well-armed and equipped (because they do, after all, have quite a capacity for maintaining equipment) Iron Hands detachments waged a bitter campaign of revenge against Horus Lupercal and the rebel legions who betrayed them.  Sure, these efforts assisted the Loyalist cause, but that was just a fringe benefit, almost a coincidence - the surviving Iron Hands were out to kill every single Marine that betrayed them and their Primarch, and any who aided and abetted them.  In truth, many of them cared little for The Emperor - after all, where was he when they needed him the most? 

Sounds like a fun bunch! I like the idea of gaming with some "Shattered Legion" forces - and I did paint a few Raven Guard back in Painting Challenge VII. we go...but one thing I decided to change up front for the Iron Hands was the colours.  I already have Marines in very dark/almost black armour, and wanted these fellows to look a little different - so in place of the common black/silver seen in the GW books and among other painters, I have used a dark blue/grey for their armour, with metal and silver's an experiment, but I'm pleased with the look so far...we'll see how this plays out... 

Veteran Tactical Squad

Heavy Bolter on the right, regular trooper on the left - you can see the embossed shoulder pauldrons. 
This is a 10-man squad of Legion Marines in Mark III powered armour.  They are sporting bolt guns and chain swords, supported by one Marine with a melta-gun and another Marine with a heavy bolt gun.  There are some bits from Forge World on these fellows - decals, embossed shoulder pauldrons with the Iron Hands symbol, and components to create a communications trooper. 

Another view of a regular veteran Legion Marine from the Iron Hands...
I figured if anyone was likely to survive the Drop Site Massacre, there would be some "veterans", right?

View of the Vox-casting equipment on the comms-trooper.
I love the plastic Mark III figures - they are fantastic kits from GW.  I could paint these things by the dozen every day...which is a big part of my near-addictive fascination with this setting!

Senior Commander - "Iron Father"

Hi "Dad".....
The Iron Hands are of course hard-hitting Space Marine warriors, but are reputed to have a particular affinity for technology more reminiscent of the Mechanicum faction.  A lot of the Iron Hands troops sport bionic enhancements and replacements for limbs - some required due to wounds in action of course, but many actually sought these out on a voluntary basis! This is particularly common among the senior officers of the Legion, who take to machine modification as part of their improved command abilities.  

This is a senior officer, a Praetor, but known as an "Iron Father".  He is wearing Cataphractii Terminator plate armour.  The big wrench stuck out of his back is a "servo arm" (usually seen on so-called "Tech Marines" to repair vehicles and heavy equipment).  He has a big axe to, um, "repair" various things (I'm thinking mostly attitudes). His side arm is a Volkite Charger. 

A view showing the "servo-arm" equipment on the back of the can also see the pistons on the legs...
Both of his legs are bionic replacements - you can see pistons where the knees and shins used to be under the leg greaves. 

I think he is meant to be menacing, but the effect is somewhat geriatric...this fellow will surely ruin your day, but only if you stand around and let him...still, he has a unique look and it suits the Iron Hands well.  

Contemptor-Mortis Dreadnought  

"Someone called for a BBQ?" - twin multi-meltas will slag almost anything on the table...
Dreadnought armour is a common support option for Space Marine Legions.  Somewhere in there is the remains of a Marine who was grievously wounded, but did not his comrades popped him into this armoured vessel, where he can keep fighting! Hooray for the Imperium! 

Somewhere inside this is a nearly-dead Marine...
This is a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought armour unit - known as a "Mortis" variant because it has mounted two of the same heavy weapon.  These weapons are multi-meltas - relatively short range weapons useful for slagging heavily armoured opponents/structures.  It is a plastic kit from GW, and it has been modified by its previous owner, who assembled it but did not paint it, opting to sell it to me instead :-)

I am participating in a "side duel" during the Painting Challenge this year - a group of us are racing to paint the largest number of figures/models from Games Workshop.  This entry helped me get started in that little race, while adding something like 70 points toward my overall target of 1200. Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Imperial Militia

I've just started painting a new army for Horus Heresy based on the Imperial Militia & Cults army list. I'm using Anvil Industry's regiments for the infantry which are absolutely fantastic models. They are also fairly expensive and not really a cheap alternative to Forge World. The army is based on the Inferalti Hussars which are briefly mentioned in the novel, Praetorian of Dorn and are described as an elite unit that has been tasked with defending Pluto. They are described as having red and white carapace armor. This unit is the 'Reconnaissance Squad' and have all been given sniper rifles. The majority of the models in the army have heavier armor plates on the legs and arms and a fully enclosed helmet. Rules wise the army can be given Provenances which are basically army wide special rules. The 'survivors of the dark age' is pretty cool as it gives an armor bonus to all grenadier units giving them a 3+ save. They can also be given rhinos and Land Raiders as transports. The army operates quite a bit differently from the solar auxilia and lack a lot of their fancier equipment and transports, but the customization potential is massive.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Team Yankee: Five More T-64s and the Soviets Are Done!

So, as the last of the Soviet T-64s are done, I thought I'd post some pics of them!

What can I say about Battlefront's plastic tanks? They're absolutely top-notch. I thought I'd throw on some mine ploughs on a couple of the models as they sometimes come in handy!

The T-64 is just wicked looking.

Here's the whole tank battalion. Fifteen T-64s with a motor rifle company (12 BMP-2s). Support comes from a battery of Acacia SP guns and two Hind attack helicopters. Air defense is provided by two ZSU-23-4 Shilkas.


Motor Rifle Company


Mil Mi-24 Hind

2S3 Acacia

Whew! Quite a bit of work in there, but certainly an adequate Soviet force for most of the games we'd play. I was lucky to find a Krylon camouflage spray paint that worked perfectly for the Soviet vehicles, but sadly it seems to be discontinued. Good thing I've got this stuff painted!