Thursday, December 31, 2020

Painting Challenge Submission 1 - Byzantine Heavy Cavalry

Byzantine cavalry ready for battle!

Our friend Curt in Regina has fired up yet another edition of Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. Several Conscripts will be taking part this year, and while you can catch our work over on the Painting Challenge Blog, I expect you will see it posted here as well.

My first submission, was this group of Byzantine Kataphractoi cavalry. These are 28mm figures from Gripping Beast, with shield transfers and banners from Little Big Men Studios.

Commander, musician and standard bearer.

As one might expect, there is a heavy religious feel to the iconography - definitely an aspect of the Byzantine setting that I enjoy, it adds to their aura.

These figures are based individually - a departure from previous efforts in this area. I hope to use them for skirmish games like "Lion Rampant" as well as mass battle rules like "Warhammer Ancient Battles" or "Hail Caesar" (or even "Swordpoint" if I can finish the requisite university degrees needed to decipher the rules). These individual bases make that possible. 

I had totally forgotten that Dallas has already painted up a sizeable contingent of Norman warriors in 28mm...I am hoping they will serve as opponents for this force as it takes shape.

Super long "kontos" - the spears of ancient heavy cavalry.

These castings from Gripping Beast are hefty suckers, and remain a joy to paint. I went with red and green as the accent colours as I thought it matched the holiday season...and also I had the red and green paint handy on the painting table because of something else I was working on, that I hope to share shortly :)

Lots of maces handy for up-close smashing and bashing work...

The Kataphractoi were the heavy, heavy hitters of the armies from the "Thematic" Byzantine era (which I believe is a reference to the "Themes" - or provinces/districts - used as administrative divisions within the empire at that time...something like the 9th/10th century although I'm not 100% certain). Well armed, heavily armored, drilled, disciplined and experienced in war, they would be present on the battlefield once the Byzantines had exhausted their sizeable bag of usual tricks (bribery of the enemy, bribe someone else to attack said enemy, assassination of said enemy ruler or key advisor(s), delay via negotiation, outmaneuver or other trickery etc.) and force or arms would be the only way to settle things.

Some of the riders are equipped the long fighting spears used by the ancient heavy cavalry, while others are brandishing maces. And of course, as the heaviest of the heavy cavalry, these fellows are covered head-to-toe in armour, as are the poor horses. The LMBS stickers are fiddly as heck, but are still so worth it in in the end. That said, I do wish LBMS would make straight up waterslide transfers...those would be so much easier to work with.

Another view of the unit leader...his barding, mace and helmet are all a touch fancier than the others...

That's all from me for now - I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and that everyone has a nice and relaxing New Year's Eve. Talk to you all in 2021! Cheers and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Showdown at Dagorlad

 Having completed my siege machines of Middle Earth, it was time to move on to some character figures, specifically Elendil, Isildur, and Sauron at the Battle of Dagorlad at the end of the Second Age.These are are all now out of production as Games Workshop has discontinued their Lord of the Rings line of figures. Some are still out there, but getting increasingly more expensive.

All the figures have lots of detail sculpted on them which I would not have been able to paint without the aid of my newly acquired LED magnifying lamp. All figures were primed in black. Paints used were mostly Vallejo with  a few washes to added shadow, followed by highlights. 

The armour worn by Elendil and Isildur is heavily inspired by the scenes from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Games Workshop did two versions of the two characters - in full fighting gear, and a vignette taken for the movie where Isildur takes up his father's shattered blade, Narsil, and cuts off Sauron's finger with the One Ring. 

 Isildur and Elendil confronting Sauron at the Battle of Dagorlad.

Isildur wielding his father's shattered sword cuts the One Ring from Sauron's hand.

Isildur and Elendil. Lots of gold trim on their armour and surcoats.

The Dark Lord Sauron. The One Ring can be seen on the index finger of his right hand. The armour on the figure was drybrushed with gunmetal, while the cloak was drybrushed with successively lighter shades of grey.

The two figure vignette of Isildur beside the body of his father, Elendil, using the shattered blade, Narsil, to cut the One Ring from Sauron's hand. This is heavily influenced by the Lord of the Ring movies, and it differs from the narrative in the book. While it doesn't have much use on the gaming table, it does have a 'looks cool' factor to it.

The Sauron figure was an easy job which took less than an hour to complete. Elendil and Isildur took much longer due to all the gold trim everywhere. I painted the two standing figures first, and then did the vignette to that the colour scheme matched. They were done over four evenings where I would paint a few colours and then take a break to give my eyes a rest. Ah, the consequences of getting old.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year. Looking forward to seeing fellow Conscripts across the gaming table.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

From the Challenge: 28mm Space Explorers in EVA Suits from ???


I'm trying in this Challenge to work my way through some already-primed figures that have been hanging around awhile. These models have probably been in a Plano case for five (?) years. I think I bought them to use with the old Kenner Alien boardgame if I ever chanced to pick up a copy. 

But for the life of me, I can't remember where these models came from. They're clearly old sculpts, probably from the '80s, but were new castings available commercially. The anatomy and detail are somewhat ropey but they have a certain period charm.

The massive helmets are super-cool right?

I just did some hand-numbering on the front plates to distinguish one from the other.

Here's one with a handgun of some kind... I likely should have replaced this with something from the bits box as it's not that well done.

Number 4 also carries a gun, also not looking that good.

I figured I'd fill the blank space on the shoulders with a decal from the trusty GW sheet.

Now for some perspective... this was my vision for these four.

Or maybe something like this! In any case, it's never gonna end well for these guys.

And if anybody knows where these dudes came from please hit me up in the comments! Thanks all and stay healthy!

EDIT: "Captain Gamma" on TMP reminds me that these models were originally sculpted by Tony Yates for Plastiform, and are currently sold by East Riding Miniatures. I should've remembered this myself as I bought my "Slick" Necromunda not-Delaque gang from ERM. Cheers Captain and I owe you a beer! 


Saturday, December 26, 2020

From the Challenge: Count Orlok


Hi there Challengers, it's Dallas here... back again competing in the Challenge after many years away. When Mr. Curt kindly invited me to participate this year I was eager to take up the invitation. While my painting output has always been pretty reasonable, in years past there's been too much to do in the wintertime for me to devote due attention to the Challenge. However this winter, due to a variety of reasons (including but not limited to "no playing hockey during the pandemic"), I think my output will be up to the challenge of 500 points... hence I'm in!

My first entry is this great "not Count Orlok" model from Midlam Miniatures, a small boutique manufacturer located in Gateshead, England. Midlam sells all sorts of old-school fantasy figures, including the old Metal Magic range. This is the "Ancient Vampire Lord" sculpted by Josef Ochmann.

Any resemblance to a certain Count Orlok from F.W. Murnau's cinematic masterpiece "Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens" (1922) is purely coincidental I'm sure... but it suits me fine since it makes the figure fit nicely into the "Hall of Traps" theme on level one of the dungeon.

Specifically, for those who don't recall the film, real estate agent Thomas Hutter is sent by his employer in Wisborg, Germany to Transylvania to close a transaction with Count Orlok, who's buying some property in the town. Hutter eventually arrives at Orlok's castle in the Carpathians and hi-jinks ensue... I figure as the Hall of Traps challenge can be fulfilled by painting a figure "lying in wait" Orlok should fit the bill nicely.

I make that 5 points for Orlok and 20 for the bonus, and sorry about the untidy stripes on his trousers!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

1/48 88mm Flak 18 AT Gun

Here's another one from the vault... a Fuman (nee Bandai) 1/48 88mm Flak 18. I was inspired to get this done by seeing Conscript Frederick's work on his kit here. As noted in his post I was rather intimidated by both the complexity of the kit, and the poor quality of its injection-molded plastic parts.

Needn't have worried too much though as the kit went up in a couple of evenings - basically one night for the gun and another for the caissons. Similar to Frederick's build, I fixed the elevation of the gun in an "anti-tank" role but assembled it to permit rotation.

I figured I would paint the piece in mid- to late-war camo as a contrast to Frederick's early-war gun. The weapon was based on a 120mm (basically CD-size) base kindly provided by Conscript Byron of Northern Lights Terrain. The one great thing about the Fuman kit is that it includes a shed load of 88mm shells and empty shell cases, which come in very handy as base decoration. 
One half of the supplied caissons...

And the other...

This one presented a bit more of a challenge in figuring out how it would look "at rest" as opposed to hooked up to the gun.

The gun was painted in a simple camo scheme, based on a model painted by Sascha Herm for Rubicon Models' 1/56 88mm AT gun kit. I love Sascha's work on the 88 but the weathering is pretty extreme, so I toned it down quite a bit for my model.

For the dunkelgelb I used GW's Zandri Dust over a basecoat of XV-88. The camo green is GW Castellan Green, the whole thing liberally washed with Agrax Earthshade. 

The shell casings were painted GW Retributor Gold, which I think looks good. The wicker shell boxes are Skrag Brown.

I also did some sponge chipping and scratches. Just a close-up shot here of some of the kit detail.

Unlike Frederick's build, I didn't put crew on the bases - for one thing, because I don't have any dedicated crew for the gun... yet. Metal crewmen are on the way from Warlord for that. However I'll leave with one pic of the gun with a crew member.

I have to say it's great to have this model finished... it's probably been sitting in the kit box on the shelf for over 10 years. Once the crew gets here they'll be a snap to paint, and then it'll be time to get this 88 where it should be - blowing up Shermans and T-34s!

Until then, stay healthy friends...

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Siege Weapons of Middle Earth

Having cleared most of the backlog of WW2 Germans from my workbench, I decided to take a break from painting all that Feldgrau and work on another partially completed project that has been collecting dust, a collection of Siege Weapons for my Lord of the Rings armies. This included the Gondor Battlecry Trebuchet and the Mordor Siege Bow, both by Games Workshop, three mantlets and a ballista by Zvezda, a Mordor catapult converted from a Dollar Store find, and a troll loader converted from a chess piece from the Fellowship of the Ring chess set. I covered the details of the conversion of the catapult in a blog post back in 2011 (just to give you an idea of how long these have been kicking around)

The Gondor Battlecry Trebuchet and the Mordor Siege Bow and their crews are straight from the box. The mantlets and ballista are from the Zvezda Siege Machines Kit No. 1. My brother-in-law had bought the kit and was only interested in the catapult that came with the set, so I got the rest of the items as a windfall. I had picked up two troll chess pieces very cheaply off eBay as an alternative to the very expensive (and now OOP) Games Workshop figure that accompanies the Mordor War Catapult. I still have the second one unaltered that I might convert into an Isengard Troll by adding armour and a weapon with epoxy putty. Another project for the future.

While all these weapons can stand on their own, I decided to make bases for most of them with different themes depending on which faction they are associated with. The bases won't always match the terrain they are on, but all my LotR figures' bases have slightly different colour schemes depending on faction.

 The array of Middle Earth Siege Weapons before the wall of Gondor.


Zvezda wheeled mantlets providing protection for some Uruk-hai crossbowmen.


Zvezda ballista used by a crew of Dwarves.

Mordor Catapult converted from a Dollar Store find. The base is an old CD with sand, flocking, and grass tufts added.

Troll loader converted from a Lord of the Rings chess piece. The large 'rock' spheres are the plastic projectiles that came with the Dollar Store catapult.

Mordor Siege Bow and crew by Games Workshop.

 Gondor Battlecry Trebuchet by Games Workshop. The base is another old CD with the stone work made from squares cut from used plastic gift cards.


A 'before' and 'after' of the Troll chess piece. I sawed it off the original base and mounted it on a large metal washer to give it some weight. I had to build up the center with some epoxy putty as the feet of the original figure curved down a bit on the base it was mounted on.

I still have a few more details to add to the base the ballista is on, basically a few potential projectiles that could be fired, but otherwise I am calling this one done.

Have a safe and happy holiday. I have more LotR projects waiting in the wings, so stay tuned for more to come.