AHPC IX


Painting Challenge IX - Body of Work

The Challenge is over and I have that empty feeling that follows the hectic activity of the last three months. There is a void in my life and the only thing that will fill it is to start planning for Challenge Ten! But first I need to cap off this year's festival of painting with a 'Body of Work' photo. Its been mixed bag from me this year, with additions to several existing armies rather than starting a new project. My original target of 600 points was smashed fairly early and everything on my original to-do list has been completed.Slightly amazed at how much I have painted!So, I think a breakdown is required although I am aware that I'm probably the only one that will be interested in this. I racked up a total score of 845 Points and reached 31st place. Neither of these figures is a personal best, but considering I was also the Tuesday Minion, I'm pretty happy with that tally. I even managed to take a week off for a family holiday in the middle of the Challenge (as I keep reminding the wife whenever sh

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Iberian Scutarii in Hannibal's Army

These weren't on my original plan for the Challenge but as I have hit my target and found myself with a 'spare week' I decided to dig them out and get them painted. Actually to be honest I'd forgotten I had bought them and I only rediscovered then as I rummaged through one of my lead mountains (yes, that's plural!). I'm using these Spanish Scutarii as allies in Hannibal's 2nd Punic war army. In the To The Strongest army list, I can only take two of these units but I can upgrade them to Veterans if necessary.The Scutarii were named for their shields, the scutum, which was very similar in design to that used by the Romans in the Polybian period. The shield was a large oblong, big enough to cover the body, but light enough to be carried in one hand. The Romans used the scutum to form what was in effect a shield wall and there is similar evidence to say the Spanish employed the same tactic. The Scutarii were well-equipped medium spearmen and therefore quite mobile. Their main weapon was the all-metal heavy throwi

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Kung Foo Panda

Todays entry is small and is just a little bit of whimsey. I came across this model last year and couldn't resist buying it, just for fun. The Panda is 19mm tall (including the hat) and is made by Bombshell Miniatures. I've not heard of them before but a quick look at their website shows an interesting and eclectic mix of fantasy, sci-fi and steampunk miniatures in various scales. The handful of points I'll get for this figure isn't going to rock my final score by any massive amount, but it was great fun to put together and paint.The blossom-covered tree I found in a local model shop and all it needed was some filler (and a dab of paint) to turn the wireframe into something better resembling a knarled wood trunk. I also knew I had some suitable bases I could probably use and sure enough, I found this one. Its resin but that's about all I can tell you. I have no idea when or where I bought it, I'm just glad that it has finally found a use.In order to fix the Panda to the base

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Two Pzkfw IV Ausf J painted twice!

I nearly finished these tanks last week but in the end, I cleaned and re-primed them and started again...let me explain the madness. I decided to give these vehicles a different colour scheme, opting for something called Ambush Camouflage. This is a hard-edged camo that started to appear on German tanks in August 1944. It consisted of the usual Green and Red/Brown stripes over Dunkelgelb with dots of opposing colours over the top. A bit complex, but considering I don't have an airbrush I thought it would be a good alternative to my previous attempts at soft-edge camo. Initially, I was reasonably happy with it, although the dots were a bit bigger than I liked. Then I made a massive tactical error. Add captionI usually apply an ink wash to my models to darken shadows and, in the case of vehicles, deepen the recesses around hatches and engine grills etc. This time, for reasons even I don't understand I didn't use my normal ink but opted for Army Painter Strong Tone instead. And frankly, that ruine

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Fellowship - Weathertop

I had already decided I wanted to end the Painting Challenge bonus rounds with a Lord of the Rings themed entry when I saw that the final theme would be 'Fellowship'. I gave the idea some thought and one scene from the films stood out - the battle at Weathertop. I had some old bits of GW scenery that could be cleaned and recycled and I was sure I had some unpainted Nazgul somewhere in my lead mountain. Sure enough, I found the components for a little diorama featuring a Sam and Frodo figure combo that I found on eBay.The Nazgul were simple enough to paint, although I did add a little 'dirt' around the bottom of their cloaks so they are not just plain black. For Frodo and Sam I found a reference picture from the films to get the colours approximately right. I used army painter wash rather than my normal ink on these and I think that worked well considering their small size and fine detail. When I discovered the statue it was already painted, but so battered and chipped that I decided to strip it and repai

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Normandy Bocage

The Bocage countryside of Northern France is a very distinctive feature of pretty much any game set during the Normandy Campaign of 1944. Bocage consists of mixed woodland and pasture with fields enclosed in very high banks topped with wild and unruly hedgerows. These have built up over centuries as farmers cleared rocks from their fields and threw them to the edges. Eventually, these have built up to form large rocky banks covered in a thick-rooted and largely unmanaged crown of hedgerow and trees. About nine years ago I made a load of Bocage hedgerow for my Normandy games and wrote a tutorial about how I did it. But I pretty soon realised I needed much much more. Now (just 9 years later!) I have decided to finish the job and make some more. I have been gathering the materials I needed for several months now as this was always going to be a large project involving a lot of greenery. The basis of my method is the use of wooden mouldings bought from a DIY store. The

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Sturmgeschütz III

(Saturday DRAFT) From LeeH - Battle hardened Sturmgeschütz III (8pts)The Sturmgeschutz series of Assult Guns was based on the proven chassis of the Panzer III and was probably one of the most effective weapons in Germany's armoured divisions. Initially designed as assault artillery its role developed as the war progressed. After encountering Soviet T24's and KV tanks the role of tank destroyer, with it's by now upgraded and powerful forward facing gun, became more important. Another factor in the success and utility of the StuG's was probably not something the Nazi regime would have liked to trumpet. They were relatively cheap to build and Germany was increasingly short on resources. By 1944 the StuG III had been upgunned with the 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48 gun making it a much more deadly weapon. The final version of the series was the StuG II Aust G saw service right through the Normandy campaign and beyond. Its superstructure had been widened and it was slightly taller allowing

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Sherman DD Tank - Water Feature

For the Water Feature bonus round, I have gone for a Sherman DD (Duplex Drive) tank wading ashore on a Normandy beach.  IN the end, more work went into the base than the tank but this time I'm really pleased with the end result.The DD's were a British invention (only us Brits are mad enough to attempt to make a tank float!) and were part of a series of specially adapted vehicles collectively known as Hobart's Funnies. The concept of the swimming tank actually dates back to 1918 when the first designs were being considered. Development continued in the inter-war period with initial designs using huge detachable floatation tanks. However, this made the tank very unwieldy and far too wide for any landing craft to carry them. The concept of the floatation screen - increasing the displacement of the tank until it floated -  was first considered in 1940 and was initially tested on the Tetrarch Light Tank and later on Valentines. By 1943 the first tests with Sherman were taking pla

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Natal Native Mounted Contingent

Earlier in the Challenge, I painted some Natal Native Contingent and described how they were given relatively little equipment and their uniform consisted of a red bandana to wrap around their foreheads. Fortunately, there were some native troops that were better equipped. The Natal Native Mounted Contingent were relatively small in number and were formed into six Troops of approximately 50 men each, lead by a European Lieutenant and a native NCO. They were largely recruited from the amaNgwane (a tribe from Natal) traditionally hostile to the Zulus.These troopers were much better equipped than the Native infantry; troopers wore a tan-coloured European style uniform, their mount had full equipment and each trooper was issued with a breech-loading carbine. The European officers usually wore a blue jacket, brown trousers and white helmet although there was some variation. I decided to give one of my officers a soft hat similar to the troops under his command. This involved cutting the pith helmet off, then filin

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One of the Few

Just a small entry to the Challenge this week. I have several projects on the go at the same time, including the last two bonus round entries. This means I'm very busy but have nothing to show for it! I'm not too worried though as I have made significant inroads in my Challenge target. In fact, the stuff on my desk right now should bring me right up to my aim point, leaving me a few weeks spare...I'd better get my thinking cap on because at the moment I don't have anything else in the pipeline. Anyway, this weeks entry is a bit of a departure for me because it is 1/48th scale (a little over 40mm). I bought it to accompany a 1/48th Spitfire from Revelle that I received at Christmas. I may yet paint that for the Challenge, but it has been years since I attempted a kit model as complicated as this and so far I have chickened out of starting it! So you get the Pilot first, with the possibility of the aircraft at a later date.This resin model of a British Airman is made by a Czech manufacturer and I bought it

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Da Vinci Tank - Mercenary

From LeeH - Da Vinci's Fighting VehicleRenaissance Italy was a patchwork of warring city-states, each constantly looking for an advantage over the other. Rich in coin but poor in manpower the states employed large mercenary contingents into their armies. Not, you would have thought, ideal territory for a jobbing artist and inventor such as Leonardo. However, when he was looking for a new patron instead of offering his sword arm in return for payment he offered the fruits of his prodigious mind.One potential employer was the Duke of Milan and Leonardo tempted him with a new and innovative weapon of war. Writing to the Duke in 1487, Da Vinci stated: "I can make armoured cars, safe and unassailable, which will enter the close ranks of the enemy with their artillery, and no company of soldiers is so great that it will not break through them. And behind these, the infantry will be able to follow quite unharmed and without any opposition.”Suitably impressed, the Duke of Milan employed the renaissance polymath.

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Da Vinci's Fighting Vehicle

Renaissance Italy was a patchwork of warring city-states, each constantly looking for an advantage over the other. Rich in coin but poor in manpower the states employed large mercenary contingents into their armies. Not, you would have thought, ideal territory for a jobbing artist and inventor such as Leonardo. However, when he was looking for a new patron instead of offering his sword arm in return for payment he offered the fruits of his prodigious mind.One potential employer was the Duke of Milan and Leonardo tempted him with a new and innovative weapon of war. Writing to the Duke in 1487, Da Vinci stated: "I can make armoured cars, safe and unassailable, which will enter the close ranks of the enemy with their artillery, and no company of soldiers is so great that it will not break through them. And behind these, the infantry will be able to follow quite unharmed and without any opposition.”Suitably impressed, the Duke of Milan employed the renaissance polymath.Leonardo da Vinci's fighting vehicle em

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Christmas Truce 1914

The 'Sport' bonus round has given me more headaches than any of the others. I have a moderately sized lead mountain at home (or so I keep telling the wife) but despite rummaging through it several times I couldn't find anything that I could shoehorn into this category. Then I remembered a model I had seen in Wargames Illustrated a while back and I started hunting... Lo and behold it was one of their Moments in History specials, and they still had some in stock.The Christmas Truce of 1914 has been popularised and mythologised so much that the story has taken on a life of its own. It has come to symbolise the humanity of the ordinary soldier in the midst of an inhumane war. But the truth, like most history, is a little different. Unofficial truces - where local units allowed each other to bury dead or rescue wounded - were part of the live-and-let-live attitude most prevalent in the early part of the war. But December 1914 was different. Troops on both sides were coming to terms with the realisation that the wa

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British Sherman III's in Normandy & some Hedges

(Saturday DRAFT) British Sherman III's in Normandy & some HedgesSo this week I'm departing from 6mm ancients to fast forward in time to WWII and a trio of 15mm tanks. These are M4A2 Sherman tanks by Peter Pig but they could also be used as M4A3's with the larger 76mm Gun. I have painted these in British service where they were known as the Sherman III. I'll be using these to play What a Tanker and will be teaming up with the Sherman VC (the Firefly) that I painted in Challenge Eight in a series of games I have planned for the summer. They will be facing off against a series of increasingly dangerous scenarios, culminating in battle with a King Tiger.I've painted these lend-lease tanks as belonging to the 8th Armoured Brigade as this unit was issued with Sherman III's and Sherman VC for the Battle of Normandy.As with my earlier Dingo Scout car I used a Vallejo textured paint to muddy up the tracks and lower hulls of these tanks. This stuff hardens quickly and can then be varnished along with the rest

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Hannibal's Gallic Allies

After expanding the ranks of my Polybian Roman Army last week now its time to add some extra muscle to my Carthaginian army under Hannibal. The most famous of the Barcids, Hannibal always seemed to be outnumbered but he made up for it by gathering disaffected and outright rebellious roman 'subjects' and turning them against Rome. The march from Spain had severely depleted his army. Some estimates suggest that as much as 75% of his starting strength was 'lost' to battle casualties, garrisoning of parts of Cisalpine Gaul and disease (especially during the harsh Alpine crossing). When he arrived in Northern Italy Hannibal faced a region of Gallic tribes that had been brutally subdued by Rome and were naturally reluctant to turn on their powerful overlords. However after he had routed an army under Publius Scipio at the Battle of Ticinus nearly all the Gallic tribes switched to the Carthaginian cause. I already had three of these units painted but wanted the option to field more (I can take up to six us

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