Thursday, December 28, 2017

Byron's 2nd and 3rd submissions to the Painting Challenge

Over the past couple of days I submitted two entries to the painting challenge.

The first was one of the projects that I have most been looking forward too this year, the creation of a Mechanicum army for Warhammer 30k.   I have looked at the Mechanicum force for years and loved the overall look of the robot portion of the army, but just hated other portions of it.  Enter the Legio Cybernetica list this past year, which is a Taghmata variant that focuses on robots!  Hurray!  I can make a list with just robots, sign me up!

I love the bonkers look of these walking death machines, and love the fluff even more.  You basically have the masters of technology sitting on Mars thinking that people are idiots and machines are great, so lets turn people into machines.  Sounds great to me, since as a techie I trust machines far more than I trust people!

This is the first batch of two Castellax Class Battle-Automata that I finished and they are wielding the evil looking Dark Fire Cannon.  I honestly have no idea WTF they do in the game, I just got them because I liked the look of them!  Once the force is done and they have to go on the table, I will have to look them up.

Overall I am just aiming for effect on these and not going to spent a ton of time on them.  I am aiming for game pieces not show pieces so a lot of the details are not getting painted, I am using a lot of shortcuts and quick steps on them, nothing special close up, but hopefully good looking on the game table.

I wanted the entire force to look the same, especially with the reds which I find very hard to get looking right, so I have airbrushed all of the models I have all at once, and will be working on the details of small batches of them over the course of the challenge.  

I airbrushed all the reds, then touched up the black areas, then painted the silver.

At this point I was almost done, but something just didn't look right.  There was too much silver and red and no contrast colours.  While I had not planned on any other colours, I felt it needed something so went back and added some quick energy blooms on the weapons in a blue to white fade to try and show high energy expenditure. Not sure if blue / white was the right colour choice or not, but it certainly stands out, which is what I was looking for.

Last up was the bases.  I had initially planned a red martian soil base, but thought it would just blend the model to the base rather than making it stand out.  I changed it last minute to a simple black / grey rubble base using cork, bits of sprue, guitar string, plasticard, and liquitex.

Next up was another brand new force...
Last year I decided that I wanted to do something for this challenge that would allow me to get a bunch of figures done fairly quickly and bring a new era to our wargame group.  The era I chose was one that has interested me for a long while, Ancient Greece.

To start the force I chose to pick up a few boxes of the Warlord Spartans and Greeks, as they are readily available and fairly inexpensive.  I have always liked Warlord plastics so had high expectations...

Well, those expectations meant nothing, as Warlord has 3 different boxes of ancient Greeks, all advertised as different things, yet all of them have the same contents other than a few small character sprues and decals.  Worse, the poses are not varied at all, and have no thrusting arms only throwing arms or at rest arms. The sprues used by Warlord are old Immortal figures sprues and are not even really 28mm they are more like 25mm figures.  I have since ordered a few boxes of Victrix Greeks as they have proper thrusting arms and more varied poses, and will mix them into other units and try to keep the same height by leaving the Warlord figures on their bases and removing the Victrix from theirs.  I would strong recommend against anyone getting any of the Warlord Greeks.

I plan on using the Hail Caesar rule set, and while it recommends 40mm x 40mm bases for 4 figures, I decided on using 40mm x 60mm to allow for some extra ground work in front of the figures for both looks and protection of the spears.

Since I plan of painting at least 10 units of these over time, I wanted to keep the paint jobs very simple and quick so that I can get them done in a reasonable time.  Therefore these were painted by simply blocking in the colours, washing and then highlighting.  Super simple and basic table top level, as I don't know that you actually see much more than the shield from the front or some bronze and cloth from the back.  I will however spend more time on the command stands for the game as you will be able to see the figures there.

This first unit is 16 Spartans, of which probably 1/4 - 1/2 of my final force will be made up of.  I also plan on making heavy use of units from Athens and Thebes.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Byron's 1st Painting Challenge Entry

Here is the first entry from this years Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  A Nurgle rhino and a pair of Tohaa from Infinity.  The painting process on the Rhino was pretty slow on due to the large number of washes involved.

First up is a Nurgle Death Guard rhino for my 40k force.  The rhino started out as a used kit from a friend that no longer wanted it, so it was already painted for Khorne.  That didn't matter a whole lot as anything being used for Nurgle needs about a metric tonne of green stuff before its ready anyway.

Here are some photos of the green stuff work done after ripping off the doors.

I was trying to make this match an older piece so that it fits with the army I painted probably 5-6 years ago, so it has no fancy chipping solution or grime solutions added as I started doing that all after painting this army.  The base colours were all done with an airbrush and went super fast.  I think it was less than 20 minutes to get the green and all the shading done, then the slow part started.

What took so long with the rhino was the fact that all of the pustule areas are just painted bone white and then layered with sepia, green, red, yellow, and blue washes in various areas to build up the sick looking colour shades.  Each layer had to sit and dry before the next, making it a slow process.

Next up are two Infinity figures from the Tohaa faction, affectionately known as the Artichoke heads, and I think you can see why.   These two are Sukeul Commandos, and I have been needing at least one of them for a long while. 

The one with the rifle is yielding a K1 rifle, which has a special type of ammo that can hurt anything 60% of the time.  No matter if it is a weak base trooper or a mighty TAG (Dreadnought) it is always a 60% chance to hurt them, which is damn strong since a normal rifle in the game has a less than 20% chance to hurt a TAG.  Since to many players have been fielding TAGs lately, I needed something to help out against them in my force.

I took her to my game last night, and off course, basic rifle troops did more damage to the enemy TAG than she did..... figures, right?

Both the Rhino and the Tohaa were fun little starter pieces for the challenge, but now its onto some of the larger projects.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Second Painting Challenge Submission - More Franco-Prussian War Troops in 28mm

28mm Franco-Prussian war castings from "Eagles of Empire"
More fun painting from the lake for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge! Similar to my first submission, these are "28mm" castings (really closer to 30mm) from Eagles of Empire.  There are six French infantrymen and four Prussian infantrymen, all from the Franco-Prussian War, or the War of 1870.  These will be used for skirmish gaming for the Franco-Prussian War.

French Imperial infantry ready to engage the Prussians - bugler is on the left
The French bugler is mounted on a square base, to help him stand apart as an NCO/leader/character or some sort when the time comes for a game.

As before, I absolutely love the French uniforms from this period! Red pantalons FTW!

Always love how the French infantry are carrying a full load of cooking kit on their backs :)
The Prussian uniform in this era is not quite so dramatic as the Imperial French uniforms, although those silly Prussian spiked helmets do stand out a fair bit! One thing about the Prussians is that they wear their longer rain coats tied around their bodies, and that tends to obscure a lot of the detail on the figure, but it does make things a little easier in terms of painting.

Spiked helmets for the glory of Prussia!
One of the Prussian figures has an eerie finish to it - that's because I thought I would try a paint-on matte finish product.  As you can see from the gross, glowing finish, it's not even close to matte, and will be the last f*cking time I try that sh*t product again.  I can't spray out the lake, so I thought a paint-on product would luck...I'll try and save that casting when I get back home to Winnipeg after Christmas.
The rolled coats obscure a lot of the detail on the Prussian infantry, but this was a common style for Prussian troops in 1870, particularly in the summer

French infantry painted in the Challenge so far...
There are 10 different 28mm castings in this submission, which added another 50 points toward my 1000 point goal. A pretty good start to this edition of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge!  And I'm already looking forward to a Franco-Prussian War skirmish game with the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts some time in the new year!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

First Painting Challenge Submission - 28mm French Imperial Infantry from 1870

28mm Franco-Prussian War French infantry from Eagles of Empire

The 8th annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is underway! It's fun to be back at the brushes again this year, and I'm pretty excited to get going at the latest edition of the Challenge.  This year we have traveled to our cabin near Sault Ste Marie, Ontario for Christmas, and I was able to bring my paints and some primed figures along with me for the express purpose of getting an early start in the Challenge.  I was pleased to crank this opening submission out during a beautiful winter day at the cabin!

A lovely winter day at the cabin!
No swimming in December, so bring on the painting! Lake Superior in the winter...

These are Imperial French soldiers from the War of 1870, the Franco-Prussian War. These are 28mm castings sold by "Eagles of Empire", a fairly new provider that has brought some lovely castings to a period and setting that is otherwise (compared to subjects such as WW2, Napoleonics and others) somewhat-niche-and-neglected by sculptors and figure companies.

Lots of nice detail on these tall castings

I did a debut post on my interest in this period earlier in December. While I have a desire to play some "Black Powder" games in this period in 28mm, it will take a long time, likely at least a year, before I have enough figures gathered and painted before I can put on a game for our local group in Winnipeg.  While I hope this edition of the Painting Challenge will help me reach that goal, I still don't want to wait that long for a game, so I thought some 28mm skirmish gaming in the period would be a much quicker route to getting a game going on the tabletop.

I'm not so crazy about how narrow the "true scale" Chassepot rifles are...tricky to paint...
So while I am using the range from Wargames Foundry for my regimental/brigade/division gaming plans, I settled quickly on the range from Eagles of Empire for skirmish gaming purposes.  These castings are lovely - tricky, but lovely. 

The French sure seemed to carry a lot of cooking pans around in 1870...but of course!
What do I mean by "tricky"? Well, as hobby types we all have our own preferences, ticks and quirks - for me, sculpting styles is one of those things.  The figures from Foundry, sculpted by the Perry Brothers, have a sort of familiar and forgiving feel and shape to them. These sculpts, on the other hand, are from a very different sort of "school" of sculpting - these are tall, nearly 30mm tall, with slender builds and a more "realistic" proportion (in some ways) to them. The rifles are very narrow, the fingers very slender, etc. They do not, in my opinion, mix well at all with the figures from the Wargames Foundry range.

A first volley fired...hopefully more to come...
But they will do just fine for skirmish gaming! And I just LOVE the French uniforms from this setting. Red kepis! Baggy pants! And epaullettes everywhere!! These seven figures gave me 35 points against my target of 1000 points - an opening "skirmish" in the Black Powder side duel and inspiration to keep going on this project through the Challenge. And these fellows bring me closer to the goal of running a skirmish game of some kind set in this period very soon.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Another Painting Challenge, another insane plan!

With Curt's annual painting challenge starting yesterday, it's high time I post an opening post and try to outline some of what I will try to get done this yet.

Normally I have a big spreadsheet done to help me keep on track (and to keep my OCD personality in order), and this year I started one, then got busy with work, laser cutting plans, and actual assembly of models for the challenge.

I do have some overall plans, just nothing laid out as well as I would like.  I put in for 1500 points again this year (about 300 28mm infantry models) but probably have about 2500 points assembled and primed.  I have been looking forward to the challenge all year and collecting and assembling models to get ready for it, and it just kept growing.  There is no way I am going to get it all done, but we will see how it goes.

Here are some of the various projects I have in the pipeline:

- Finish my SAGA vikings and Saxons from last year (I only got 1 squad of each painted last challenge).
- Paint up another Dropfleet Commander faction.
- Paint the TON of 30k Deathguard vehicles and Infantry I have been collecting (50+ infantry, 3 rhinos, a drop pod, a spartan, and a bunch of cool jet bikes)
- Paint an entirely new and mad 30k project, a complete robot based Mechanicum army!
- Paint enough ancient Greek units to put on a game of Hail Caesar!  Ok, that's probably a pipe dream in one challenge, but I do have over 100 assembled Greeks already.
- Paint something for at least 4 of the 6 theme weeks (I have something planned for each one, but not sure I will get to them all).
- Finally get my Tau titan done, this is year 3 that he is in the queue though, so who knows.
- Get some more Infinity figures done as needed for the league I am in.
- Paint my first 54mm scale figure.

So, as you can see, WAY to much on the plate.  Oh, and I just took a commission to build some terrain for Greg, since he would rather gargle glass and chase it down with acid than build terrain.  So that might show up in here too, no idea.

The pictures here are just a few of all the primed items I have littering the house and annoying the wife as she tries to clean up for Christmas!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Another Painting Challenge Looms!

It's ANOTHER Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge!

Tis' the season! Yes, Christmas, of course, but in hobby terms the seasonal significance also includes the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, hosted by our great friend Curt in Regina.  The Challenge pits hobby types from all over the world against themselves and their will to tackle various mountains of unpainted lead, plastic and resin.  While we "compete" with each other in a broad sense - earning points based on the volume of figures painted - the real test is competing against ourselves! Will we tackle old projects, or make progress on new ones, or both? You get to set your own points target, after all - for me, I'm aiming for 1000 points this year...that works out to something along the equivalent lines of 200 individual 28mm infantry.  Of course different scales, different models etc give you different points outcomes but you get the idea. 

It will be the 8th year of the Challenge, and I am approaching it with the same level of pre-planning and preparation that I brought to the first seven - that is to say, none!

Many of the participants try and bring "plans" to this thing, and I salute those efforts - if your mind is organized, that's great for you! But my hobby mind just doesn't work that way.  I have to stay organized for my job - and I don't want my hobby to be work! I want my brushes to follow my interests and passions. Do I still buckle down on particular periods or settings (i.e. 30k), well, sure, but I'm always ready to try something different.

The closest I have to a "plan"for this edition of the Challenge is a broad wish to get a bunch of stuff painted for the Franco-Prussian War. To help with the encouragement in this regard, I have entered into a little side duel with Curt, MartinN and several other Challengers with a focus on the "Black Powder" period - hopefully this will keep me mostly-focused, but lets be honest.  Who knows what I'll paint? Could be anything from 30k to the Sudan to Fantasy is possible...whatever catches my mood!

Franco-Prussian lead from Foundry waiting for the 8th edition of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge!

Apparently we can even paint terrain this year! Of course, I'd rather drink acid than paint terrain on most days, but who knows, maybe I'll finally finish some more terrain, egged on by other Challengers. 

The best part of the Challenge is the other Challengers! I have connected with some great folks over the years and the overall breadth of different interests and projects is inspiring.  The camaraderie and shared experience is great fun - and I'll be able to torment a new minion this year, none other than JamieM himself!

Curt's Challenge Blog is ground zero for all of the painting action (even as the tentacles of Facebook circle ever more at the lamenting won't do a thing to change that, but it bums me out as I find it starts to take away from the chatter on the blog side over time).  Be sure to check the blog regularly to see the work from all of the participants - including our own Byron M, who will no doubt amaze once again with a wide assortment of contributions!  And we will of course continue to post on this blog as well.

Best of luck to all of the participants - brushes start on December 21st!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A New Project - The Franco-Prussian War

A new project...28mm French troops for the Franco-Prussian war - figures from Wargames Foundry.

Any sane or rational analysis of my hobby affairs would conclude that I need a new period to collect and paint about as much as I need another hole in the head.

Good thing my approach to gaming is neither sane nor rational! With that in mind, I introduce you a new period of interest - the Franco-Prussian War.

"La Ligne De Feu" by Pierre-Georges Jeanninot - 1886 - painting of French infantry in action during the battle of Mars-La Tour

For a good chunk of the past two years my painting interest has primarily been GW's Horus Heresy/30k setting - and I've loved it! But late this summer I wanted to take a break from the 30k brush mayhem, and, well, any time I lean back from one period or setting, you just never know what I'll do next. Enter this new project...

More artwork from the Franco-Prussian war...there is a lot of amazing artwork out there for the period

The Franco-Prussian War, known sometimes as the War of 1870, started in July of 1870 with a declaration of war by France (helpfully torqued by the machinations of Bismarck) on Prussia.  As the power of the Prussian state had been growing through the latter period of the 19th century, a conflict between France and Prussia had appeared inevitable.  A dispute related to the succession of the Spanish throne provided the pretext (as a side note, WTF is with the Spanish throne? Can't they ever manage to hand that thing off properly? Sheesh!).

A battalion from the French 74th Infantry regiment.

The coming war would prove to be a disastrous one for France. In a short period of weeks the French Imperial Army would be broken apart, isolated, encircled and destroyed.  The Imperial government of Napoleon III would be swept away, and a Republic would arise to take its place and try to carry on the struggle.  Paris was put under siege, and the battle continued through the winter and into the spring of the next year.  But France could not win, and the Treaty of Frankfurt concluded affairs with the annexation of Alsace and the humiliation of France.  Germany would be unified under Prussian leadership. Seen in a very broad historic context, the Franco-Prussian War was a short war, but one with significant consequences and ominous signs for the future.

Battalion from the 50th French Infantry regiment.

Why game this period? For starters, just check out the uniforms! Kepis! Baggy red trousers! Zouaves! Epaulettes everywhere! And the Prussians are all wearing those goofy spiked helmets! A cavalry charge called "The Death Ride"!  The incomprehensible idiocy and indolence of the French senior officers! The incredible bravery and sacrifice of the French line troops! The mitrailleuse! The numerous near-disasters of the squabbling royals on the Prussian side! The scheming machinations of Bismarck! Lots to get hooked on here...

Just for the look alone, I was drawn to this period.  Toss in the drama and the tragedy and you have a very compelling setting, one that is not all that common on wargaming tables. I was hooked on the idea of eventually doing a Franco-Prussian War game for the group.

Aerial view of my first brigade for the French.
What scale to do? The set-piece battles of the Franco-Prussian War were pretty large affairs, so that would point towards smaller scales, like 6mm or 10mm.  Baccus has a tremendous and complete range in 6mm, while the excellent Pendraken and Magister Millitum offer very complete ranges in 10mm.

But I am so hooked on the uniforms, and this in turn dragged me toward 28mm. Much less choice here. The only range that is even close to comprehensive is the Wargames Foundry collection, which were sculpted by the Perrys.

(I should note here a new range, for skirmish gaming, is on the rise from an outfit called "Eagles of Empire" - they have beautiful figures, but they are closer to 32mm in size, and the range lacks the elements required to truly represent battalions etc. in brigade/battalion gaming.  I'll have more to share about these figures in a later post...)

Officer in the foreground will serve as a Brigade command figure in games of "Black Powder".

All options appealed to me - I couldn't decide. I didn't want to just roll a dice, but I did leave it to fate. I ordered a little bit of everything, just to see what might grab my passion.  In the end, my course would be fixed by three words many hobbyists dread - "cast to order".  This is a business trend that many figure manufacturers are compelled by market circumstances to follow.  But it also means for long, long lead times when you want to purchase figures.

Basically, in the time it took between placing my order with Pendraken and receiving the figures, I was able to place two orders with Wargames Foundry and get about 20 of the figures painted...(Baccus, meanwhile, has yet to arrive as of this posting but should be here soon).

Skirmishers to the front!
And so 28mm it is! I have decided on relatively small infantry units - 24 castings, 20 of which are based and four are out on rounds.  The four individual models will represent the deployment of skirmishers, which was pretty common.  I'm hoping the increments of 24 figures will allow a fair trade-off between large-ish units on the table while still being small enough to make decent progress adding new units.

For cavalry regiments, I'll use 12-figure units - more on those to follow later.

For rules I'll use the ubiquitous and very-flexible "Black Powder".  The Franco-Prussian War runs right up against the end of the period covered by those rules. The infantry are armed with single-shot, bolt action rifles (including the incredible French "Chassepot" rifle) and the Prussians are sporting steel breech-loading rifled artillery - it's the very sunset of the age of linear tactics on European battlefields, and using the large size figures will stretch the distortion of time/size scales on the table to the limit (I doubt I'll even have much Prussian artillery on the table, as the range would be huge).

We'll never play Mars-La Tour in 28mm, but a smaller action using "Black Powder" rules is something I'll figure out. 

Will I just decide to paint some of the other size figures at some point? Of course! I'm terrible at focus, and the only way we will ever play, say, the Battle of Froschwiller on a table around here is in 10mm or 6mm.  But for now, I'm stuck in with the 28mm figures...

I have finished only two French infantry units so far, so this a long, long, long way away from appearing on a gaming table.  But the journey is underway - and Curt's next Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is almost here.  I hope the Challenge will see me complete a fair number of units for the period.

And who knows how long I will last before I paint some more 30k stuff?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Colonel Barnaby for the Sudan

Another lovely morning in the desert, hunting Mahdists..Colonel Fred Barnaby from Perry Miniatures

Just a lone 28mm figure to share in this post - this is a 28mm figure of Colonel Fred Barnaby sculpted by the Perry Twins. The figure came along with an order I made to Perry Miniatures a while back, and since a lot of my recent hobby-ing and painting has been involved with my 28mm Sudan Revolt collection, I thought it would be fun and quick to paint this lovely figure.

Another great sculpt from the Perrys...
Barnaby is something of a larger-than-life hero of the colonial era.  Much smarter people can tell you about his rather amazing life.  Barnaby's adventures took him to the Sudan, where he participated in the campaign around the Red Sea port of Suakin, and was later killed in action at Abu Klea during the campaign to relieve Gordon in Khartoum. For my part, I thought the figure was lovely (as all the Perry sculpts are) and it was fun to keep in a bit of practice for the Sudan as Curt's next Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge looms.  

This figure will now wait for another game in the Sudan...

I think Barnaby will make either an excellent command figure or just some manner of bonus token or marker within a British square during games of Black Powder. The sculpt is wonderful, and I have really been enjoying painting different Perry miniatures through the fall.

So there you have it - a lone 28mm figure, not a heck of a lot to share. But I have been painting some stuff for a new period, and I hope to tell you more about that soon...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

From Will, Cometh Faith - Heresy Era Iron Warriors Deimos Rhino and Legion Medusa

Back again with another Iron Warriors update... this time it's some vehicles: a Deimos-pattern Rhino APC and a Legion Medusa self-propelled gun.

First up, the Rhino... I really like Forge World's modern take on the old MKI Rhino. Callbacks to the original design include the front glacis shown above... well as the external exhausts and round side doors, as well as the hatch-mounted storm bolters. Tasty!

This model actually assembled quite easily and quickly. The only real challenge I had was sticking together the top doors - I didn't glue them down, as I wanted to be able to paint the passenger compartment of the vehicle, or use the vehicle as the "Razorback" variant by substituting another plate and adding weapons.

I assembled the model so the back door could open, also.

Here's a great view of the original detailing.

Top doors are detailed with chevrons.

Next up was a bit more challenging build - a Legion Medusa SP gun.

While I used to really prefer the Armageddon pattern, the Legion variant does have its own appeal as well. Those side exhausts are pretty cool...

...and the exposed crew compartment to accommodate the included Space Marine gunners in MKIV armour is a great detail.

Just for the record (and as an aide-memoire for me) here's how I painted both vehicles:

  • Basecoat of Leadbelcher mixed with craft black
  • Brass details with Brass Scorpion
  • Chevrons craft black and Averland Sunset
  • Allover wash of Nuln Oil
  • Sponge with Ironbreaker / craft black on chevrons
  • Tracks Leadbelcher, washed with Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade
  • Rust streaks with watered down Doombull Brown
  • Hull/tracks weathered with dark brown craft paint and Steel Legion Drab
  • Lenses done with Ice/Lothern Blue
  • Decals chipped with hobby knife

Love these crew models!

Just a bit of detail to paint in the crew compartment.

"Though my guards may sleep and my ships rest at anchor, our foes know full well that big guns never tire."

Well, it was fun to get these vehicles done, but IW production is a bit bottlenecked because I've gone and lost my FW decal sheet... likely taken out with the recycling at some point - grrr. Anyway there's a few Marines stacked up that need decals but are otherwise done (including a lascannon heavy support squad) and it'll be good to get those into the roster. Next to be painted will likely be more tactical Marines.