Saturday, February 12, 2022

Challenge Submission #10 - No. 11 (Scottish) Commando in North Africa


To fulfill the theme requirement of one of the Challenge Quadrant planets, I painted two sections of No. 11 (Scottish) Commando, who were involved in 'Operation Flipper'. These are the first British North Africa figures I have done, but I am not sure if I want to expand my miniature collection further in that direction. I kind of bought them by mistake, and didn't realize until I opened the blisters that half of the figures were wearing shorts or 'Bombay Bloomers'. I was planning to just sell them unpainted online, but when I saw the 'Desert' theme on the Challenge Quadrant I thought, "I have just the figures for that theme."

The miniatures are by Artizan Designs and consist of an officer in a Balmoral, a sergeant wearing a Tam O'Shanter and kilt with kilt apron, and a dozen soldiers armed with a mix of SMLE No. 1 Mk IIIs, Bren guns, or Thompson submachine guns. I found the detail very pronounced, which made them quite enjoyable to paint, especially after painting all those PSC Soviets. In my usual style, I glued the figures onto 1" fender washers, added sand to the bases, and primed everything black using an airbrush. They were then painted using a selection of Vallejo acrylics suggested by the Artizan Designs painting guide for the 8th Army in North Africa. I also used some GW washes, specifically Reikland Fleshshade on all the skin areas, and Agrax Earthshade on the uniforms and weapons. All in all, I am pretty happy with the way things turned out.

Two sections of No. 11 (Scottish) Commando

No. 1 Section commanded by an officer

Close up of the officer with two supporting riflemen

No. 2 Section commanded by a sergeant

Close up of the sergeant with his kilt and kilt apron

 Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Challenge Submission #9 - Soviet WW2 Infantry in Summer Uniform


This is the last batch of my Plastic Soldier Company World War 2 Soviets, a box of Russian Infantry in Summer Uniform. The box consists of three identical sprues, each consisting of 19 miniatures. Most are one piece moldings, but others have separate heads and/or arms. There is very limited scope to do any variation, but not even close to the multi-part sets from other manufacturers. As with the previous set I have posted, the sculpting lacks a bit in the third dimension, but you can't argue with the price. One can also see where some sculpts were reused with a change of head or switching from a standing to a kneeling position. Also the light machine gun figures were repurposed to become the anti-tank rifle team in the heavy weapons box.

With the exception of the prone figures, I mounted all the miniatures on slotted bases from Games Workshop that I had in my hobby supplies. In a few cases, I had to trim the molded base on the figure a bit smaller so that it would fit the dimensions of the GW bases. (The prone figures were mounted on bases cut from plastic card, but only after they had been painted.) Everything was then primed black with a rattle can. They were painted using Vallejo acrylics from the Army Painter Soviet Paint Set followed by a coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quick Shade. When it comes to mass armies, this really works for me, as it quickly brings the figures up a notch in terms of appearance.

In each sprue you get 1 senior officer, 1 junior officer, 1 female medic, 7 soldiers armed with rifles, 5 soldiers armed with sub-machine guns, 1 prone light machine gun team, and 1 light machine gun team on the move. The total count is 57 Soviet infantry ready to repel the Fascist invaders

Смерть немецко-фашистским захватчикам (Death to the Fascist-German Invaders)

The four figures below show the limited 'mix and match' ability of the box of figures. You get three minis wearing a pilotka, and three wearing a helmet, along with three pairs of arms holding a rifle, and three pairs holding a sub-machine gun.
Thanks for reading. More Soviets coming soon.

Painting Challenge Submission 9 - French Zouaves for the Franco-Prussian War

French Zouaves for the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Figures from Wargames Foundry.

Continuing along to submissions to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. Every edition of the Painting Challenge brings forward some kind of unique, cool sub-theme. Through the hundreds of submissions on such varied subjects and interests, something will always kind of stand out, at least to me, and in this edition, it has been the Zouaves. Challengers have done some really neat Zouaves. There have been Papal Zouaves. And then there have been Beetroot Zouaves (!) How do you top Beetroot Zouaves? Well, I can't...but I can offer my own contribution to the Zouave vibe in the Challenge - here is a unit of French Zouaves for the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. These are 28mm metal figures from Wargames Foundry. 

The figures out front are used to denote skirmishers/mixed order on the table.

I just love the Franco-Prussian War setting. The French uniforms are just glorious! And among the glorious French uniforms, the Zouaves stand supreme! I had been "saving" these figures for years, telling myself that I needed to paint up a suitable amount of "regular" troops and cavalry before "rewarding" my brushes with the chance to paint Zouaves. With those Prussian Dragoons out of the way, I figured the time had come!

You can see some of the nice detail on the packs of the troops in the main formation.

These are based for games of "Black Powder" - 20 figures in the bulk of the unit, and the four individually based figures are used to denote skirmishers, or the unit fighting in a mixed formation. The flag is courtesy of Maverick - the first flags I have found on the market for the French in this period.

The Zouaves bring their deadly Chassepot rifles to bear...

These sculpts (by the Perry brothers) are very nice, although old. But the way Foundry packs these figures is a touch infuriating - the poses are at once consistent and yet too varied. For example, some have packs, others don't. Some have turbans, others don't. Some are wearing the "caban", and others are not, and all of this variance is found in a single eight-figure package. So if you are looking for a certain consistency among the figures you might use to make a unit, you can only use a few of them. This is...very annoying. I'm still irritated that they don't all have turbans...but then to do that I would have needed to buy another five packs of the Zouaves...enough is enough!

These sculpts are older, but wow, they are a treat to paint.

Another odd oversight in this old Wargames Foundry range is the lack of a standard bearer in the Zouave command pack - this was addressed by using a standard bearer from an ACW Zouave command blister, and a spare French Imperial Eagle standard.

The full unit, ready for the table.

Whatever those annoyances, however, these were a great treat to paint - I love Zouaves! And the best part is that you don't need to go fishing around looking for battles where they participated. The Zouave regiments were stuck in from the outset, and fought very hard for the French Empire (and the subsequent Republic!) against the Prussian forces. These fellows will now join the Turcos I painted a few years ago to stand ready in my French collection for 1870.

Thanks for reading - hope to have something more next week!  

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Painting Challenge Submission 8 - Prussian Dragoons for 1870

28mm Prussian Dragoons, ready to advance into France in 1870!

One of the great recurring themes of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is tackling overdue projects. Sure - we are constantly distracted by new things, or starting new projects (or maybe just me?) - but those figures you had purchased, set up and primed, but, for whatever reason, just couldn't get under the brush...this Painting Challenge is a prime time to tackle those dormant, stranded projects. In this spirit, I present these 12 Prussian Dragoons for the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. These are 28mm figures from Wargames Foundry.

Red facings on this lot...

I started doing the Franco-Prussian War back in...2017, I think? Something like that - the "before times", at any rate. I so love the setting, I do it in different scales! In 28mm, I have been using the Wargames Foundry range for my "Black Powder" efforts in this setting. At the outset, for Prussian cavalry, I wanted a unit of Dragoons, as there was often a Dragoon regiment joined to the Prussian infantry units. I ordered some Dragoons from Wargames Foundry, enough for one unit - 12 figures. 

Painting horses is a drag, but I do love cavalry...

Yet when I finally got round to painting them in the summer of 2018, I saw there had been a mistake (either by me, or by Foundry - both are possible, although the former is more likely). I had two command packs, instead of one. This should not have been any kind of issue, but I have OCD-adjacent hobby quirks...I could not mentally resolve having two command figures within one regiment, even though the odds that anyone would besides me would ever notice were  vanishingly small. I sorted this by painting up two half-regiments...two units of six figures each...and told myself I would just order more regular Dragoon troopers to finish out the units. I noted to myself at the time that I would do this "very soon". to 2021...lots of stuff going on, I was moving house...and as the 2021 Painting Challenge came about, I told myself "I am so damn tired of looking at those half-units of Dragoons on my display shelf downstairs! THIS year, I will get them finished up." I duly ordered the requisite figures from Wargames Foundry...I even built them and primed them...and...well, got distracted by other stuff, insert excuses here, etc. etc.

Dragoons were often attached to Prussian infantry divisions - this is why there were my first selection for 28mm cavalry for my Franco-Prussian War project

In the interim, the Perry brothers released their own new sculpts for the Franco-Prussian War in 28mm. This included brand new - and arguably, much, much nicer - sculpts for Prussian Dragoons. But I was committed to the Foundry range, at least for these figures. Having started with Foundry, I wanted to finish with Foundry (which, of course, are also sculpted by the Perry twins..but anyway)...nonetheless, such useless contemplation on whether to switch over to Perry Dragoons fuelled further procrastination on this specific aspect of this project...

Fast-forward to 2022, the Painting Challenge looming...THIS TIME I MEAN IT, I'M GOING TO FINISH THOSE DRAGOONS, FOR F*CK SAKES! IF I HAVE TO LOOK AT THOSE HALF-UNITS ON THE DISPLAY SHELF EVEN ONE MORE TIME...and I am so pleased to report success! So you see 12 troopers here...six with yellow facings, and six with red facings. They will be joining their previously-painted fellows in my display! I now have two full units of Prussian Dragoons in 28mm! 

While I would expect the newer Perry sculpts would look better, the Foundry ones are still classics - like painting up old friends. Yes, they are monopose...and the molds are getting old. But I just loved painting these up. It was fun! Why did I wait, anyway? Ah, the hobby squirrels in my brain...

I was pleased to be able to pretty-much match the paints and colours after a four-year gap in completing these units. It's not this interim, f*cking Liquitex stopped making their "natural sand" product that I used for my basing, so they don't match perfectly, but I applied a liberal dose of grass tufts, and it looks more than good enough for me. 

Finally! Two full, proper units on the display table!! About damn time!!!

The best part is now looking at my shelf, and seeing all of the units in the collection at full strength! About bloody time!

It was lovely to get back to some Franco-Prussian War subjects, following a nice long run of 40k and 30k-themed models. We'll see where the brushes end up next! Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Challenge Submission #8 - T'rana from Strike Team Alpha


This submission is a batch of 'old school' Ral Partha miniatures from their Galactic Grenadiers range from the late 1970s. These figures were sculpted to go with the Strike Team Alpha rules that came out at the same time. 


Front cover of the Strike Team Alpha rules set

One of the three types of aliens in the rules is the T'rana, a reptilian race that makes me think of what might have happened to the genus of velociraptors had dinosaurs not gone extinct.  I have a large collection of the various human figures in the range, all of which were painted many years ago. For some reason, I never finished the T'rana. They had been primed grey, and a base of dark green had been applied to the bodies, but then they languished in a drawer for decades until now. (The Challenge Quadrant has certainly proved its worth in inspiring me to get some of the deadwood completed and ready for the tabletop)

To complete these miniatures, I mounted them on 1" fender washers and glued on sand and a few pebbles to blend everything together. The earlier dark green I had used wasn't working for me, so I repainted the figures using Vallejo Lime Green for the bodies and Gunship Green for the crest along the spine and tail. Gunmetal and Black were used for weapons and equipment respectively. When that was all done, they all got a treatment of Army Painter Strong Tone Quick Shade. Eventually I will hit them with some matte spray when it's warm enough to use it outside. I was thinking 'Jungle' with these minis, but the bases ended up more like 'Desert'. Still I am happy to transfer these to the 'Out' basket.


T'rana (Reptilian)w/Hand Weapon

T'rana (Reptilian) Advancing

 Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Painting Challenge Submission 7 - Sons of Horus Command Rhino, Praetor and Techmarine

Some new additions to my XVI Legion collection for Warhammer 30k.

The last few editions of Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge have included some manner of map, to inspire participants to explore different painting themes, with the inducement of bonus points. See here for details

When I saw the details of the Challenge XII Quadrant Map, I knew I would have to give that overall aspect of the Challenge a pass. Very little of what I wish to paint/have lined up to paint would fit with with the worlds on the map, certainly not enough to get to the Quadrant Hub. But that doesn't rule out a stop here and there...and while most of my painting subjects fall outside planet themes, there was one planet that was right up my alley: Istvaan V. I did not have to reach far on my painting desk to find something to work for that theme.

Here we have a couple of Space Marines from GW's Horus Heresy setting ("30k"). Longer term participants of the AHPC will know I am a huge fan of the 30k setting, and probably will guess that I had stuff for Istvaan V within easy reach - and would have such items within easy reach on my painting table at any point of the year, Painting Challenge or no. Here we have a Praetor, a Techmarine and a Damocles-Pattern Command Rhino APC. All of these are from Forge World. All are painted in the colours of the XVI Legion Astartes, the Sons of Horus - a Space Marine Legion that fought at Istvaan V!


"So you say you hear a rattle in the wheels?"

Even Space Marine stuff will break down eventually, and when it does, they have the "Techmarine" on hand to help out. For the rivet counters out there (like me), this particular Techmarine is wearing Mark IV powered armour plate - the tech version.

ONE of these cables will plug in, no doubt...

Fixing things in the grim and dark future seems to involve..well...breaking them more first? That is all I can surmise from the huge axe this guy carries. He also has so many cables connected to his power armour he seems a bit like some sort of Dr. Octopus cosplay loser...Techmarines are not my favourite figures. They are of limited use during games, and they look...well, they look kind of "off" - although when you read about how the tech-types hold and carry themselves in the 30k setting, "off" doesn't begin to cover it... 

My motivations to paint this guy up were mostly completionist - I have a pretty large collection of Sons of Horus Marines, including a wide assortment of vehicles. So it just seemed wrong not to have a Techmarine on the shelf to take care of these lovely machines in the collection. The Warmaster Himself seemed to demand it! Good to have this guy available to ensure the hallowed war engines of Horus Lupercal stay in top condition.


"Horus for hope!"

This figure is a bespoke command figure, released by Forge World last year (in the summer, I think). Over time, Forge World has released a number of such command figures for the different Legions in the setting. I'm such a huge geek for the setting that I just had to have this guy, even if I don't totally love how the Forge World studio conceives of the Sons of Horus. He is wearing heavily customized Mark IV power armour.

Who says you can't rock a sweet cape while wearing power armour?

This armour bears the markings and features consistent with the Sons of Horus in the 30k story - not just the big creepy "Eye of Horus", but also features tied to the "character" of the XVI Legion. In the 30k story, we are meant to understand that most members of the XVI Legion, before they were "recruited" into the Legion, were members of violent gangs on their homeworld of Cthonia - a world where the primary economic activity was organized homicide. Thus there are etchings in the armour (meant to be 'gang markings', but coming across to most as 'hey look, random scratches for no reason'). There is the bronzed skull bearing the "XVI" (again, this would be a gang decoration, presumable the skull of a slain enemy). There is the general aura of ominous threat. Who could have believe they would have turned into bad guys, right?

This handy volkite weapon will help solve problems!

Always nice to wear someone's bronzed skull on your belt. You know. Because reasons.

There is one other notable thing about this figure - at least, for obsessives like me - he is rather tall. A lot of us in the 30k community are expecting GW will re-size the Marine models to more closely match the size of the new "Primaris" marine models in 40k. We don't know for a fact this will happen...the twats at GW, as is their way, are utterly silent on this...but this figure, being a recent release, is notably taller than the previous Mark IV power armoured Marine models. The same thing has happened with other recent 30k releases from Forge World - all noticeable taller than the previous Marines. Is this an indicator of things to come? I guess we'll have to wait and see. 

Damocles Pattern Command Rhino

A nice ride for the command elements of the Warmaster's own legion!

The Rhino is the standard APC of the Space Marine Legions - this specific one, as you might guess from the little rotating dish on the top of the hull, is a command variant. Again, this is kind of a completionist thing to have for my collection - in an actual game, I probably would not select this vehicle for a basic force for a pick up game, but it will make for a nice piece to have in scenario-driven games, ambushes etc. And again, I'm sure it will sit nicely with all of the other XVI Legion vehicles on my shelf.

Gotta sport the XVI Legion brand, even on the rear hatch!

Forge World sells (or at least, used to sell) Legion-specific doors for the Rhino kits, and this model is sporting some bespoke doors for the XVI Legion. The "Eye of Horus" sure looks spooky! Very nice! Not something I would want on the "regular" APCs, but I'm pleased with the effect for the command vehicle. Looking at that Preator figure, he would probably want some kind of OTT ride for the battlefield, and this will do the trick.

Communications array providing a solid, high-bandwidth 5G connection to nice folks aboard the Vengeful Spirit.

That was all for this submission - a nice little side-trip into 30k, and I always do have 30k stuff sitting and waiting for a bit of paint. Thanks for reading, and I hope you continue to enjoy the painting output of the Conscripts during the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge!

Thursday, February 3, 2022

3D-Printed Star Wars Legion Snowtroopers from Squamous Miniatures


I'll admit it: I have a problem. It's a problem with Star Wars. Basically whatever kind of miniatures someone comes out with for Star Wars gaming, I eventually get sucked down the rabbit hole. Star Wars Miniature Battles, Star Wars Starship Battles, even West End Games stuff. I've been strong on some fronts - I managed to resist Imperial Assault and Armada, and even Star Wars: Legion for the longest time, but eventually the quality and coolness of the latter's models just wore me down.

The key to resistance is to limit the scope of the project. For Legion, I've decided to concentrate on the Hoth battle from The Empire Strikes Back, and limit the project to that theatre. AND THAT'S IT. So far, it's actually been a successful strategy. However, the emergence of third-party non-official models has really threatened the integrity of my plan. Witness these very cool 3D-printed snowtroopers from Squamous Miniatures.

Squamous funds its operations through Patreon and "sells" 3D files of models that supporters can print themselves. In my case it was Conscript Byron M who came through with physical resin prints of these 12 snowtroopers. They were painted in the simple scheme I've used on dozens of snowtroopers before - Rakarth Flesh, washed with Agrax Earthshade and highlighted back up, with the armour, webbing, and backpack painted Corax White with White Scar highlights. Clean up the eyes, drybrush weapons with Mechanicus Standard Grey, done.

The models are excellent sculpts and are all one-piece with no assembly required - they even come with files to print the bases. The poses are great (mostly) and they scale pretty much exactly to the official Legion models.

See what I mean? Squamous snowtrooper on the left, official Legion snowtrooper on the right.

And unlike the other third-party snowtroopers I got from Wargames 3D, the armour and gear on these Squamous models are pretty much identical to the official models. Score!

So I think this completes the Imperial forces for the project. I have a Rebel snowspeeder yet to paint, and will probably succumb to the charms of a box of Tauntauns, but escalation is well under control... I think...

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Painting Challenge Submission 6 - Raven Guard Outriders

Space Marine Outriders move out for the gaming table.

More Raven Guard? Sure - more Raven Guard! My sixth submission to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge held a unit of Outriders - Space Marines riding cool motorbikes. Motorbikes with guns! And great big exhaust pipes! And they still have chainswords, because of course they would still have chainswords! And still have heavy pistols too! Because war everywhere! Right?

There are twin bolt rifles mounted on the bike, but of course it is more fun to hit people with your chainsword, right?

These are multipart plastic models from GW's "Indomitus" box set, the introductory 40k set for the 9th edition that issued a couple years ago. Or maybe a year ago? Who can tell. Whatever. Anyway, these were slightly tricky to assemble. In theory, these are push-fit kits, which should not require glue. But of course we all know "push-fit" stuff is mostly a fantasy, and it in fact the push-fit aspects made the kits harder to assemble, not easier.

These big, chunky bikes are fitting rides for the large Primaris-sized marines.

But whatever the trouble with the assembly, I love the look of these models. In fact, I have really enjoyed  all of the Marines from the "Indomitus" box. These bikers continue the theme and feel of just-the-right-amount over-the-top look for the new "Primaris" marines. Look at these bikes! The huge tyres! The massive exhaust! Not just one gun, but two - PLUS the weapons the Marine himself still carries!

Officer with a "beakie" helmet, as always...although his original helmet is clipped to his belt - there was no way to remove it. So he is all about safety!

As always, there was one Marine without a helmet, and as always, I hate that, so I swapped it out for a helmet. Of course, he still has his OTHER helmet pinned to his belt. So the guy has two helmets - one on his head, and a spare. Safety first, right?

That was all for this submission - stay tuned for more, and be sure to check out all of the other awesome submissions by Dallas, Frederick, Mike F, Byron and DaveV! The Conscripts are really dominating this year!

Painting Challenge Submission 5 - Death Guard Back Pack

The final remains of Larpdouche McPus, great Plague Lord of Nurgle.

Not much to show in this entry - it was intended to wind the crank of fellow Analogue Hobbies Painting Challange participant and Minion, Millsy. He is an affable sort, and a hardened veteran of the Painting Challenge. He also likes to have fun tweaking beards, and did so with me. I felt this would be a suitably petty response. 

You see, Millsy has been putting some of his considerable painting skills and valuable time towards work on some of GW's "Plague Marines", their vehicles and allies - all followers of the Chaos God "Nurgle". I wanted to recognize his efforts by painting up this tribute figure, a Plague Marine hero known as Larpdouche McPus, a noted Plague Marine Commander in the 40k setting.

Just think how scary this guy would have been if he had not joined a cult that rewards its followers with exotic, fatal diseases!

What do we know of McPus? Well, Imperial records offer several clues. Prior to joining in with the Nurgle cult, McPus was a medical sales rep, selling ivermectin and anabolic steroids to the population of Catachan. As with many deluded cult members, he worked his way into the Nurgle cult by volunteering with the local Green Party on that world, demonstrating the requisite mental acumen one would need to be an active part of a warp cult that rewards you with fatal disease.

Larpdouche McPus was all set to be the greatest Chaos Lord seen in the segmentum - the Raven Guard were even called in to bolster defences! But of course, as we have already established, Nurgle rewards his moronic followers with fatal disease. McPus and his dread company were last seen dissolving into their component atoms following a religious ceremony. This backpack from his armour is all that remained. The segmentum was safe, and the remains of this Nurgle cult were managed by fourth class waste servitors, while Raven Guard were rerouted to deal with actual problems elsewhere elsewhere in the Imperium.

Millsy is a great guy, and he enjoyed this submission in the spirit it was intended - plus he responded with a hilarious escalation this past weekend, so I'll need to look at a response at some point...