Saturday, 4 May 2019

Final Entries for Painting Challenge IX - Part II

Regrettably, my painting production really slowed down as the Challenge entered its final month or so - real life can be a bugger!

We start with my entry for the final Bonus Theme - Fellowship. As soon as the Painting Challenge Bonus Themes were announced, I had known that my final entry would be based on The Lord of the Rings. I already had the big hitters of the Fellowship - Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Boromir - painted up, but for some reason had never got around to painting the remaining members, so the Challemnge was the perfect opportunity to get them done. All of these are the old metal GW sculpts, mostly sourced from Ebay, as I really am not a fan of the more recent plastic sculpts. For me, these are much more characterful.

First up we have Gandalf. I really like this sculpt - it is very dynamic and was a joy to paint.

Next we have Merry and Pippin. In the movies I think Pippin originally had a red cloak, but I wanted to paint all of these in the more muted Elven cloaks they received after visiting Lothlorien. So, in  a nod to his original cloak, Pippin got a red scarf. 

Finally, we have Sam and Frodo. I like the fact that these are modelled with knapsacks, reflecting the fact that they spend so much time journeying in various wildernesses. Sam's is suitably bulkier than Frodo's, and he even has a spoon and small pot hanging off the back.

And here they are together.

My very last entry for the Challenge was a small one. First up is a Britannia/Grubby tanks Kubelwagon with an AB SS crew. The Kubel is showing its age, with several holes in the resin cast, but it was very cheap! As with my previous AB SS, they are done in Autumn Oakleaf camo.

To finish off, we have eight AB Germans, this time just painted as Wehrmacht. The first two are an officer and NCO, the next six an infantry section. The LMG team for this section was painted but not based in time, so couldn't be included.

And that brings my efforts in the IXth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge to a close. I didn't quite make my 1000 point target, with all my entries totaling 978 points. However, that was enough for a 26th place finish, which I was very pleased with considering this was my first time in the Challenge. It was an absolute blast and it was great to be part of such an enthusiastic, inspiring and supportive community of painters. I would love to do it again! 

Final Entries for the Painting Challenge IX - Part I

The AHPC is obviously now over, but I didn't update the blog with these final entries, so here they are.

My seventh entry was a some WW2 German stuff in 20mm, which got me another Squirrel point as well.

These are some 20mm AB Germans - absolutely gorgeous miniatures! These were painted wearing SS camo, mostly the Autumn Oakleaf pattern, with a few in the Spring version for variety. I had initially balked at the thought of doing these patterns but a guide in the Christmas 2015 Too Fat Lardies Special was incredibly useful, breaking it down into easily followed steps. First up, a PAK40.

Next we have a section NCO with MP40 and four infantry (the one armed with a captured Sten gun is by Battlefield/Blitz Miniatures), plus the three man LMG team. As they are mostly wearing the Autumn camo, I used some 'Autumn' clump foliage on their bases.

Lastly, a tripod MG42 team, this time painted as straight Wehrmacht. I have yet to find a recipe for German Field Grey that I really like; these are the ones that I am happiest with so far.

My eighth entry was a biggie - all the Russian armour from the previous two posts plus a King Tiger in 15mm and these Russian infantry, also in 15mm. The infantry are all Battlefront castings and are based for winter games. These are organised as per the Battlegroup rules - 4x8-man squads. I tried to differentiate between the squads by using different basing - some use old GW snow flock and others the more recent GW textured paint. The latter looks much better and so the flock is being retired. I also painted one squad in lighter greatcoats, partly to differentiate them and partly because, well, because erratic Soviet logistics.  

The infantry platoon of four 8-man sections.

8-man scout section, mostly armed with SMGs.

The HQ element - the flag is a bit of artistic licence, and gave me an opportunity to have a break from painting brown greatcoats!

Battlefront castings can be somewhat hit and miss, but generally these are pretty good.

Finally, the Zvezda 15mm Tiger II. I wanted this to feature in games set in a winter setting like the Bulge or Hungary at the start of 1945. I imagined that the crew had hastily over-painted the camo with some whitewash in an effort to camouflage the beast. So, once I painted on the camo I lightly sprayed it with white so that the camo just showed through in places. An AK wash brought out the detail, and then some GW Valhallan Blizzard was added to simulate snow clinging to the hull.

More WW2 Russian armour

These were done as part of my efforts to get forces ready to play some games set in Hungary 1945 using hte Battlegroup supplement Operation Spring Awakening. Having done some T34s, I moved on to a variety of SPGs plus the some heavy JSII tanks. They are all Zvezda kits from PSC.

These were all done in a similar fashion to the T34s - Vallejo Yellow Green base coat, AK wash and then AK pigments.

First up are the JSIIs, both with very crude white air recognition bands on the turrets. Like the T34s in the previus post, these are re-painted from their original dark green.

Next are a couple of SU100s. These Zvezda kits went together nice and quickly - they are probably the best and easiist fitting Zvezda kits I have done so far (although to be fair, once I had messed up the first SU76, the other two were much better/easier).

Three SU76s next. Although very cheap (especially when bought in the PSC sale, they don't com ewith any crew figures, unlike the PSC kits. I will probably get some crew figs from Skytrex at some point, but for now these are done). I perhaps went a bit heavy with thet weathering as they are much darker than the others - obviously they have done much more hard campaigning!

And finally, a big beast - the SU152. I love the look of this and am looking forward to seeing it take on the German heavies.

All of these, along with the T34s, were entered into the AHPC.

Getting Ready for Operation Spring Awakening

Rather embarrassingly, this post was started at the end of February! My excuse was that I was focused on the Painting Challenge, and neglected to do any updates. So a slew of things are coming, including a big post with all of my remaining entries. But first comes this post on getting ready for Battlegroup Spring Awakening.

I am a big fan of the Battlegroup rules; they are quite quick to pick up, reward balanced armies and realistic tactics. The Orders and Battle Rating system limit 'God-like' command and control and mean you have to make decisions between what you want to do and what you need to do, introducing friction into the game. The game can be played at a variety of levels from platoon up to battalion, although I think it really works well with 2-3 platoons a side with some supports. So I was pretty excited to get the latest supplement - Operation Spring Awakening.

Operation Spring Awakening follows the usual format of a historical overview of the fighting in Hungary in 1945 (pretty handy as this is an unfamiliar aspect of WW2 to me), some special rules to recreate the feel of the fighting, a new Army list for the Germans and a campaign of 6 scenarios recreating the operations of 1st SS Panzer Division along the Sarvitz Canal.

One of the nice features is that the campaign scenarios are mostly set at platoon level and I have quite a few of the units already in 15mm; of course, I would have to buy a few new toys to be able to play all of the scenarios but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make! Luckily, PSC have just had a Valentine's Day sale, which allowed  me to pick up a box of Zis 3 guns, 3 Zvezda SU76s and 2 Zvezda SU100s at a reduced price.

Whilst waiting for these to arrive, I dug out my 15mm Russian forces and decided that they were in need of a facelift. My painting has come on a bit since I first bought these and so I have set about upgrading the tanks and finishing off a platoon of infantry.

First up I did a platoon of T34s. Originally, these were done in a dark green with a basic lighter green drybrush - quick and simple but not very interesting to look at. I was inspired by the pictures of Russian tanks over at The Tactical Painter, so set out to see what I could with mine.

First off, I re-painted each tank with VJ Yellow Green and then gave it a wash with AK Interactive Wash for NATO tanks. This brought out the detail and also made the tank look suitably grubby - most appropriate for the fighting in Hungary, where conditions alternated between snow, rain and quagmire mud. With the AK wash it really needs vigorous and regular shaking whilst using it.

Then I used AK Interactive Dark Earth pigments to weather the running gear and lower hull of the tank. I found the best effect on the hull was achieved by lightly brushing the pigments to create a light 'film' of dust; heavier deposits were used on the running gear. The pigments were then fixed with liberal use of AK Pigment Fixer and left to dry over night. Finally, a protective coat of matt varnish was sprayed on.

The great thing about the PSC T34 kit is that you get two tanks for the price of one, as both 76mm and 85mm turrets are included. So here are they are as T34/76.

I was much happier with the look of the tanks now, so am working through the rest of the collection.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

AHPC IX Bonus Theme - Mercenary: The Dark Marshall

Second update today is the entry for the Mercenary Bonus Theme. To begin with I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do for this Round. I knew I wanted the entry to be themed to The Lord of the Rings, but the backstory for my first thoughts - Easterlings & Haradrim - did not really fit the mercenary theme.

Rather bizarrely, everything fell into place when I started considering the definition of mercenary as an adjective, rather than a noun. Looked at this way, a mercenary character is venal - corrupt and susceptible to bribery. And who better fits this description than one of the Nine Mortal Men who Sauron bribed with rings of power, enslaving them and turning them into Nazgul, Ringwraiths, the most feared of his servants.

With the entry fixed, all I needed was a suitable figure and a quick rummage in the LoTR lead-pile turned up this old metal cast of The Dark Marshall. I am not a fan of all of the alternative 'character' sculpts for the Ringwraiths, but I do like the backstory of The Dark Marshall - even as a mortal he had a 'murderous reputation' and now his soldiers follow his orders as much out of fear as obedience. Suitably wicked!

To try and avoid horse and rider merging into one, I tried to create variety with different shading and highlighting. The Dark Marshall's robes are highlighted with a blue-grey (GW 'The Fang') and then washed with GW 'Drakenhof Nightshade'. I might have been better off using a lighter colour, as the wash has really muted the highlights - I can give that a go on one of the other eight Nazgul I suppose!

Meanwhile the cloth covering the horse was highlighted in a lighter blue grey (GW 'Russ Grey '), but instead of using a wash I used GW 'Gulliman Blue ' glaze to tone down the highlights slightly but still leave them distinct from the Marshall's cloak. Finally, bits of the horse itself like the tail were highlighted in a light grey (VJ 'Deep Sea Grey')

Last of all, as a nod to his past as a King of Men, The Dark Marshal wears a golden crown for a bit of contrast (and a break from highlighting all that bloody black!)

In the end, I am very pleased with how he looks; just got to do the foot version now!

6th Painting Challenge Entry - Kill Team Terrain

Output has been severely limited over the last couple of weeks due to (i) the start of the Six Nations Rugby Championship and attendant Guinness-fest and (ii) a nasty bout of flu/chest infection, with so much coughing that I struggled to sleep, never mind paint anything. Hopefully things are getting back to normal now, and I will be able to get a bit more done. However, it has also meant that I have not updated the blog with my most recent entries.

On the opening weekend of the Six Nations, I did not have much time for painting, so cracked out the big brushes and tester paint pots to do some Kill Team terrain. Although there is loads of detail on the pieces, I have gone for heavy drybrusing to bring out the relief - quick and simple!

I did the ruins that came with the Kill Team boxed set and then some pipe work that came in the Sector Mechanicus expansion. The Sixth Legion Huscarl is for scale!

So, a simple entry but it keeps the point tally ticking over towards my 1000 point target and actually I am quite pleased with the look of the terrain. 

Sunday, 3 February 2019

5th Painting Challenge Entry Part 2 - Norwegian Leopard and Modern Brits

My second entry was a return to my Conflict in Norway project. I completed a second British Infantry section and a 3-man HQ element.

First Fire Team

Second Fire Team


Group shot

These are all Liberation Miniatures, from their 1990s British Range. These figures are the BACR figures - SA80, LSW and RTO codes. I will be adding GPMGs, Carl Gustav MAWs and a light mortar, as well as the final section for a platoon of infantry that can also double as Royal Marines.

Next up is a Revell 1/72 Leopard 1A5. At the time I have in mind for Conflict in Norway (late 80s/early 90s), the Norwegians were running the 1A3 version of the Leopard, but this was nearly 50% off in Wonderland models, so 1A5 it is! (EDIT - new info on Cold War Hot Hot Hot now states that the Norwegians actually had their own version of the 1A5, so happy days, this isn't wrong after all!) I see this as a tank from the Norwegian Brigade North, operating in deep snow, so I skipped the use of pigments and just modelled snow on the tracks and around the hull. The angular camo was inspired by these pics:

The camo took a while to do, but I am pleased with how it has come out.


As well as finishing off the British platoon, I have another Challenger and Leopard to do, and I want to do a small Norwegian Home Guard unit. Apparently the Norwegians stockpiled huge amounts of older weapons, to be accessed by the Home Guard in the event of war, so this unit is going to be made up of figures from several different Liberation Miniatures ranges and armed with an eclectic mix of weapons. I am looking forward to it!

Final Entries for Painting Challenge IX - Part II

Regrettably, my painting production really slowed down as the Challenge entered its final month or so - real life can be a bugger! We sta...