Monday, January 25, 2016

Sixth Painting Challenge Submission - A Double-Crossed Fellow...

There is not too much in terms of painting volume for this submission to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, but it is one I'm glad to be finished with, as it was a long overdue "Curtgeld" - the "admission fee" of sorts to Curt's Painting Challenge.  All participants are asked to submit a figure to Curt based on the theme of a given Challenge.  There was one a couple years ago with an "Old West" theme, a period I have little knowledge of, and not much interest in.  Dallas bailed me out, providing me with this fellow to paint and submit.

But lacking focus as I do, I never got around to it! So I decided I should get off my @ss and get it finished.  So here is an old west casting...he looks grouchy, like he's been double-crossed - maybe in a card game, maybe while out prospecting, who knows...but a double-barreled gun will sort out any double-crossing situation, I'm sure.

I don't know the origin of this figure, or who sculpted it.  Dallas may know more...I had thought perhaps he was from Wargames Foundry, but many participants in the Painting Challenge were certain it was from Dixon - so Curt christened him "Double Cross Dixon".  I like the name.

These "Curtgeld" submissions get you 20 points in the Challenge.  I'm closing in on the 300 point mark...hope to get there next week! I've got some Team Yankee and Horus Heresy stuff on the go, hopefully I can bear down and get some of that finished for Saturday. And a big "thank you" to Dallas once again for kindly providing this miniature.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Painting Challenge Theme Submission - "Epic Fail"

A grim fate for this T-55 and crew...vignette from Peter Pig
As Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge cracks along, I have actually managed to enter two of the consecutive Bonus Theme Rounds.  The first was "Nostalgia", and the second, due this past weekend, was "Epic Fail".  Here is my submission for that round - a vignette of a knocked out T-55, painted in a variant of camouflage used by the Syrian army in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

I generally avoid casualty figures, as they are kind of grim, and too much like painting terrain, which I hate doing.  But this little vignette from Peter Pig has been sitting around the pending pile for years, waiting for a coat of paint, and the Challenge was just the right spur to get it done.

The Syrian attack on the Golan Heights in 1973 caught Israel by surprise in a strategic sense, but the tankers on the Golan that day October would have seen the attack coming from their well-sited and prepared defensive positions, and the outnumbered IDF Centurion crews extracted a fearsome toll from the Syrian attackers.  Many Syrian T-55s met the fate seen such this is a perfect, if somewhat haunting, piece of terrain for 1973 games.

The next bonus theme is "Defensive Terrain".  I despise painting terrain of any sort, so I'm not sure I will come up with anything for that round but I still have a couple of weeks, so we'll see. 

As always, I encourage you to check out the Challenge and the Bonus Theme Round page to see all sorts of creative work by the Challengers.  You should take some particular time to check out Byron's outstanding "Epic Fail" submission - off the hook, and worthy of your time, and even votes if you can spare the clicks!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Team Yankee Test Model - M1 Abrams

M1 Abrams in 15mm from Battlefront
I finished off a test model for my "Team Yankee" US forces.  This is a plastic M1 Abrams from Battlefront's US boxed set "Bannon's Boys".  I haven't painted modern stuff in a while, and I've never painted US stuff in this setting at all, so I wanted to practice a bit.  In particular I wanted to see if I could manage the US camouflage of the period in question, which I think is known as "MERDC".

Bit of a blurry view from the rear aspect
This is where the real hobby guys will crack out their airbrush, but I generally avoid those things, and gave it my best shot with my boring old regular paint brushes. Battlefront is great for tutorials and tips, and this was no exception with a nice little section at the back of the "Team Yankee" rule book offering helpful step-by-step guides on painting US and Soviet kit.

I tried to "pop" the lenses a bit, just to add some life to the otherwise slightly bland (if menacing) overall appearance
The results? Well, a solid "meh".  It's funny how rusty I felt painting this up, and I'm not sure I quite matched the brown correctly.  At first I tried a brown craft paint ("Chocolate Brown", from the Americana range), but the pigment in that is too thin and the green base coat was bleeding through.  So I switched over to GW's (stupidly named) "XV88".  That paint has a nice, strong pigment and covered very well.

And an airbrush would surely give a nicer results, but I don't feel like confronting the hassle of an airbrush for this project. The tank started to look better after I weathered it up a bit. It will do well enough for a fight on the table.

"Gunner - target, Soviet T-72...."
I kind of regret opting for the attempted MERDC now - maybe I should have gone with a straight green tank, representing a reinforcing National Guard unit, or perhaps just a replacement from the divisional depot which had been waiting for new camouflage.  But now that I've done the one tank, I think I'm kind of stuck with it for now...there are six M1s in the "Bannon's Boys" box, and from I can tell in the "Team Yankee" rules, that seems like plenty.   I think I can manage five more of these...then on to the Cobra helicopters!
UPDATE - January 19, 2016 - many thanks to Tacobat for (politely) pointing out that I had messed with the turret MGs, mounting two .50 cal MGs on the turret, when in fact the MG over the loader's hatch is an M240 MG, not the .50 cal.  What can I say? I looked like the .50 cal on the instructions...

Corrected MGs on the turret
Anyway, fortunately I hadn't thrown the plastic sprues away, so last night I was able to replace the errant .50 cal with the proper MG.  And now I will do it for the other five tanks I built *cough*.

M240 over the loader's hatch
While I was "at the store", I recalled how Tacobat had also noted, in a series of helpful turorials, that little dabbed lines of contrast colour can offer a helpful "chipped" look on some edges of a big slab of armour like the M1 Abrams, so I tried a little bit of that too.  The effect is subtle - probably doesn't show in the photos much - but I like it and I'm glad I remembered that. 

Ready to roll...for real this time...
Thanks to Tacobat - and be sure to check out his blog, "Modern Warfare" - the painting skill on display will blow your mind. 

Fifth Painting Challenge Submission - Epic 30k Armour

A potpurri of Epic 30k armour
More Epic 30k material for my fifth submission to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge - a mix of vehicles, ranging from APCs to some super-heavy tanks - most of which were in action at Dallas' place last week.

Up first are two more Rhino APCs from the XIV Legion, the "Death Guard". They missed the deadline for the last batch, so I tucked them in with this submission. These two models are old, original plastics from the 90s...I'm still always impressed at how well the detail has held up on these little guys. 

Getting a little heavier, three Land Raiders, the "Proteus" variant, from the VII Legion, the "Imperial Fists". These tanks are the mainstays of any Space Marine armoured force - hitting hard while carrying troops in (relative) safety.

Up next is a battery of Whirlwind tanks - "Scorpius" pattern. There is one battery for the Imperial Fists.

And another Whirlwind battery, this one for the XVI Legion, the "Sons of Horus".

Now we move up to some super-heavy tanks.  This is a Cerberus Heavy Tank Destroyer, a sort of Jagdtiger of the Space Marine Legions.  This is a very heavy, scary laser array mounted on an extra-large and extra-armoured Land Raider chassis.  Fitting for the setting, the weapon can have serious side effects on its own vehicle...but I'm sure those are "isolated incidents", right?

The scariest is saved for last.  Getting run over by Land Raiders, hit by rockets from Whilrwinds and zapped by the Cerberus is bad enough - but when a Space Marine Legion commander is really mad, he sends a few of these things forward - Fellblade super-heavy tanks.  Armed and armoured to end-of-days levels, these thing obliterate the enemy at any range.

I have a lot more Epic stuff in the pending line for my painting desk, but now that I'm choking on the dust of others in my Painting Challenge side duels, it's time to crank the scale-o-meter back to 28mm, I think...hopefully will have some of that to share next week!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Hope Delayed - Epic 30k AAR

XVI Legion armoured vehicles under fire in Epic gaming last night
The Conscripts resumed some of their regular gaming last night, as Dallas hosted our game of Epic 30k.  The scenario featured a hard-hitting task force from the XVI Legion, the Sons of Horus.  They had raided a not-quite-so-empty-as-everyone-thought Adeptus Mechanicus facility on a war torn world and discovered some lethal dark age virus artillery shells food for homeless orphans which would allow them to turn the tide on this planet in their favour.  The tough part was getting back to their lines - and the troops of the VII Legion, the Imperial Fists, stood in the way...

The fine Sons of Horus deploy for battle

The Sons of Horus task force included:
  • Three detachments each of four tactical marine units and two support marine units and one Contemptor dreadnought
  • One detachment of four devestator marine units and two Rhinos
  • One detachment of three Land Raiders
  • One detachment of two Sicaran tanks and one Sicaran Venator 
  • One detachment of three Predators and one Predator Annihilator, and two Spartan Assault Tanks (carrying the "supplies")
  • One detachment of three Scorpius Whirlwinds
  • Two Fellblades and one Glaive (each super heavy playing as its own "detachment")

The VII Legion arrayed for war

The Imperial Fists were divided in two - the blocking force contained:
  • One detachment of six tactical marine units, one Contemptor dreadnought, two Deredeo dreanoughts, and three Rapiers
  • One detachment of three Land Raiders and one Cerberus Heavy Tank Destroyer
Land Raiders and Cerberus Tank Destroyer

Rapier battery and Dreadnoughts

The Reinforcements included:
  • Two detachments of four tactical marine units and two support marine units and three Rhinos
  • One detachment of three Land Raiders
  • One detachment of two Sicaran tanks and one Sicaran Venator 
  • One detachment of three Predators and one Predator Annihilator
  • One detachment of three Scorpius Whirlwinds
  • Two Fellblades (each super heavy playing as its own "detachment")

We used the "Epic: Armageddon" rules, with some home made adjustments and stats to reflect some of the Legion-era Space Marine vehicles. 

The game was set on a 6' x 4' table.  The Sons of Horus would deploy their lethal and large task force in one corner, and needed to ensure the "cargo" escaped from the opposite corner.  The Imperial Fists started with their smaller blocking force on the table, with reinforcements on the way.

Summary of the initial deployments and objectives

Frederick and Keegan embraced hope and change, taking command of the Sons of Horus.  Dallas and John served as the dupes of the so-called "Emperor", and played the Imperial Fists.  The scenario, we decided, would last 8 turns maximum - but with all this scary stuff, I was thinking everything would be on fire by the third turn...

The Hammers of Horus prepare to lead the way
Keegan and Frederick, channeling the Warmaster, opted for a very aggressive strategy.  In the first turn, the Sons of Horus Land Raider detachment got mangled in a duel with the Imperial Fist Land Raiders and the Cerberus, but the Sicaran tanks hit back hard for the Traitor side, while a rain of blast markers began to land on the infantry in the urban area - hits from Fellblades, Glaives, Herakles got nasty for them very fast.

Smoke and crumps in the distance - the Cerberus is taking a toll with its deadly laser battery
And it is lost just as quickly! The Imperial Fist Land Raiders come under deadly fire (and hot rolling) by Frederick and his Sicaran tanks
Emboldened, as the second turn arrived, they opted to push their "supply formation" - with Predators and the two Spartans, on a quick dash for the opposite table corner, reasoning the fearsome armour of the Spartans would get them through whatever Imperial Fist reinforcements might show up. It was a big gamble, but considering the Spartans would move 75cms on a "march" action, it was doable...

Go tell the Spartan(s)...

Devastator Marines from the XVI Legion tune up some Imperial Fist Land Raiders

The "crumps" pile up in the urban zone, as the Sons of Horus rain fire on the hapless fellows in blocking position
But it didn't work out as Horus-for-hoped...Dallas and John got their reinforcing Land Raider detachment in the way, Keegan struggled with poor luck on the saving throws, and it went downhill for the green side from there. One Spartan was knocked out.  The Sons of Horus would gain a measure of revenge, moving forward with the devastator detachment to rout the Land Raiders in a firefight.  Meanwhile, Frederick was prepping to clear the urban area with a classic combined-arms approach.  A rain of fire, including a terrible pounding from the Whirlwinds and the Glaive, fell on the blocking detachment.  Huddled in their buildings, they suffered relatively light casualties, but were piled under by blast markers.

How not to rally your pinned troops...bad roll for John
John hoped to get his Land Raiders, pinned in the first turn after an initial successful round of firing, moving again, but the dreaded "scottish number" was looking like Horus might get away with at least some of his virus ammunition supplies for orphanages.

Blocking armoured forces of the VII Legion
The fellows that delivered the final blows of the game...
The start of the third turn went against the followers of Horus, however, and an Imperial Fist Fellblade moved in and made the final kill on the last Spartan, concluding the game.  The Loyalist dupes had prevailed - at a high cost - but prevailed nonetheless...

The Imperial Fist Fellblade lines up the final kill shot...
And it is over...

It was great fun to play Epic once again, particularly with a nice 30k setting and scenario.  The "Epic: Armageddon" rules engine is really well done, with quite a bit of nuance and depth, without being too complicated.  A big "thank-you" to Dallas for hosting, and to John, Frederick and Keegan for playing.  Hopefully we'll see some more Epic 30k on the table a little later in the winter.

Painting Challenge Entries so far... Update 1,2,3, and 4

Greg asked that all of us in the Analogue Painting Challenge that Curt runs, also post entries here in our own blog.  I have been forgetting to go that, so am posting one post with all of my entries to date in an effort to both catch up and to not flood the blog with 4 updates in one day.  So, here goes....

I started off with a good plan (The madness begins again...) and then like any plan, it started falling apart right away.  Oh well.

Entry #1 - 15mm Sherman Tanks (30 Points)

I started off the challenge with a really quick 1 day (3 hour) paint job on 5 plastic soldier company Sherman tanks for a quick 30 points. The tanks were really fast as I did some base highlighting on the primer level (airbrushed on black and white primer to pre-shade) and then a few thin coats of glaze consistency green through the airbrush.

I then only had to touch up details like the tracks, guns, and ports, and then use some pigment powders to weather them, and done.  Quick and dirty, but think they came out pretty well for the time spent.
Entry #2 - 'Nostalgia' from ByronM - Eldar Farseer 

This was a theme week entry for Nostalgia and I figured what better thing to do than something from my first 40k army.  Well, ok, maybe there was something better out there, but I couldn't think of anything so this is what I did!

The first Eldar army I did (I painted several over the last almost 20 years) was the Ulthwe colour scheme which is a simple black and bone scheme to show that they come from a world with very few living souls left. Black is always hard to pull off and have any depth showing so I actually painted the whole model a neutral grey and then layered in black ink in glaze coats. I still had to go back and add some hard edge highlights on the staff as the glaze method would not work on the really hard corners, but I think it worked out ok on the rest of the model.  

The gems were easy to get back to as well, since I had painted hundreds of them using a very simple 5 colour method from an old Eldar book, that I expanded to 7 colours.  After painting probably 1000 of them over the years I played Eldar, it was like riding a bike doing them again.

Entry #3 - French WW1 rifle sections (95 points)

My third entry was an expansion to my World War 1 project to add some colour to the table.  This meant adding some really nice French early war figures from Renegade miniatures to my collection.

They were base coated with the airbrush and then the horizon blue was layered on with the airbrush as well.  I then moved into detail work to finish up.  I know many of our club have an aversion to airbrushes (looks at Greg!) but really, they make life so much easier for this mass kind of work.  The layers go on faster and more evenly than what I can do by hand, and it makes the job so much quicker.  Now if only I could do the super fine work that people like Angel Giraldez do with an airbrush!

Anyway, once the blue was done, it was onto some details and faces and then base work. 

I did the bases in my normal WW1 mud style but added a bunch of yellow and brown vegetation to show the effect of the gas being used in the area and to keep them different looking than my Canadians and Germans.

Entry #4 - Spectre 28mm Modern African Militia (100 points)

My latest submission was a group of modern militia that was a blast to paint.  Since there were so many different sculpts and each had a ton of character it was hard not to deep dive into the details.  I tried to keep each one different in colour but limited the overall details to the basics.  After all, a ton of these are needed for a game, yet each one is essentially cannon fodder.  I think points wise for a game I need about 40 of these, and only 4-6 professional or elite soldiers, so the time these guys can expect to survive on the battlefield is pretty close to 0.

I did have fun painting a NWA shirt, various hightop runners, baseball caps, and some bright coloured Crocs.

I especially had fun with things like people wearing khaki shirts or pants, but then putting on bright colour shorts of shirts, afterall anyone who thinks holding the gun sideways helps with aim would obviously also believe that baby blue is a good camo colour, right?

Overall so far...

In the last few years I have come to the conclusion that if I want to get things done I really can not try to paint every figure as a character, I need to paint more to a tabletop level. That means doing a bit more of a basic level for most troops instead of worrying about doing 3-5 layers in each colour and trying to treat each figure as a character.

The overall table top effect remains the pretty much the same, but it still feels kind of like cheating as these were not done to a high standard, and they kind of fall apart close up, but from table top level they look pretty good.

I still do some character figures trying to get as much detail as possible, but in general am trying a more "table top effect style" look than a painting competition style painting. I always marvel at how fast Dallas and Greg can get amazing looking armies done and am just starting to figure out that the trick is Don't try to paint everything as if it was going into a competition or to be looked at close up, paint it to be seen from the table top.... not something I am good at.

So, almost 4 weeks into the challenge and only 280 points done, which is a bit behind where I should be since it is only 3 months long this year.  I do have several things in the queue almost done though, so I should be ok.  Here is a sneak peak... 

Oh, and I will try to be better about posting updates here in the future.