Sunday, April 20, 2014

Entry #4 to the 8th Lead Painters' League: 'Francois, forget that Rosetta Stone, come look at this...'


This is a double-header weekend as I catch up with my past entries to the Lead Painters' League.


When we were in the midst of the Challenge I was swept up by the 'all-things-camel' vibe and so picked up a set of revolutionary war French dromedary troopers in order to submit to the group. I had them finished well before the end of the Challenge but then realized that I was short  a few entires for the Lead Painters' League so, sadly, I decided to hold them back.




Nonetheless, here they finally are - my tip-of-the-hat to 'The Wild Bunch', and specifically to Clint, who started it all with his wonderful Revolt in the Desert project. Seen here is a trio from Napoleon's French Dromedary Corps, along with a group of ardent French academics (savants) from l'Institute  d'Egypte in the midst making a groundbreaking discovery (or a horrible, horrible mistake...).


One of the savants is actually a cameo by Stephen Maturin doubling in from my Aubrey & Maturin submission for the Favourite Characters bonus round. 


My current submission to the LPL (the 5th) is a chariot-borne Boudicca in homage to my lovely red-haired, Welsh wife Sarah. If you have the time, please go check out the match to see her along with all the entries from the other 39 participants in the League. In the meantime I'm going to work on some French Indochina figures for next week's 6th submission.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Entry #3 to the 8th Lead Painters' League: 15mm Late War German Panzergrenadiers & StuG


Here is my third entry to this year's Lead Painters' League, a section of late war Panzergrenadiers, all festooned in winter camo, StG 44s and riding a hastily whitewashed StuG III.

For some reason I've always been impressed when seeing photos of infantry riding tanks. It always looks so incredibly hardcore seeing infantry precariously perched upon multi-ton armoured fighting vehicles, heading off into battle. (Cripes, I get skittish when city road equipment rumbles by my yard when I'm mowing the lawn...)


These 15mm figures and the assault gun are from Battlefront. Very nice models all around. The StuG was a breeze to put together and I quite liked grenadiers as well. They were cleverly posed so that you could easily place them in a variety of positions so no two groups would look alike.



I was pleasantly surprised to find that these guys got the nod from League voters, especially as they were fairly monochromatic and in a relatively small scale. I was delighted by the positive response.

I should have my 4th entry posted here soon as that round is concluding in the next day. It's a bit different but members of the 'Wild Bunch' will see my homage to our recent Painting Challenge.

Thanks for dropping in for a visit!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sarah's Choice and Judges' Choice for the 4th Painting Challenge


First I have to apologize for the delay in getting this posted. Sarah and I have dashing about trying to get things arranged for our upcoming vacation and so I've fallen a bit behind in my blogging responsibilities. Anyway, we took a break tonight to have a bit of fun awarding the well-earned prizes for 'Sarah's Choice' and 'Judge's Choice'. 


So, with no further ado I will ask the lady of the household go first with her award:
Hello all, Sarah here. 
This year's Sarah's Choice celebrates the beast/creature which has best captured my imagination. 
From caravans of camels, herds of moose (meese?), dogs, cats and horses, to giant spiders and a very peculiar set of Book Golems, I've found my choice to have been most difficult. 
After much thought I went with the fabulist whimsy of Anne's fabulous Winged Monkey on Flying Carpet. I find there is something of both 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Tales from Arabian Nights' in her vignette. I think one could spin quite the tale around this capricious, wonderful monkey and his magic carpet.

So, Bravo Anne!! I'm going to send along an Amazon.com gift certificate to you which I'm sure you'll make good use of. I look forward to the delights your wondrous Technicolor workshop will bring to next year's Challenge!
Finally, I wish to say well done to all the Challenge participants. It has been a pleasure to watch the entries roll in during the winter months and see the caliber of painting exceed itself week by week. 
(Oh, and to those who have wondered how Curt kept his wits about him to keep on top of the Challenge, his secret is that I make a damn good espresso!) 
Best Regards,

Sarah

Well said m'dear, an excellent choice indeed. Oh, before you go, please top-up my caffeine intravenous drip, I believe I'm getting a bit low...


Anyone who's followed the Challenge this year can well imagine that I've been spoiled with a bewildering number of worthy entries to stand as Judge's Choice. I went through the entire set of submissions, from December 15th to March 20th, and made a shortlist along the way. I've spent the past few weeks mulling through this list, nibbling my fingernails, trying to make a decision. In the end I went with my instincts and so have chosen...


...Sidney Roundwood's 'Mata Hari' vignette submitted for the 'Villains' bonus round.



In reading Sidney's description of his project one cannot help but be impressed and affected by his passion for the period. In fact, instead of me wasting time prattling on about my reasonings I'm simply going to let Sidney's own words speak to my final decision: 
There’s a huge amount about Mata Hari on the internet, and I’m guessing everyone here knows the story of the Dutch exotic dancer whose provocative and flirtatious dancing became famous before the War started, and whose later career during the War became one of a courtesan embroiled in espionage and scandal. 
Her story is remarkable and, although there’s no time here to go into details, I felt Mata Hari deserved not one but three images for the “Villains” theme. I also wanted to place the figures at different parts of her story, and mix that with a little Alternative History.
So, here we have three figures for Mata Hari.
The first is Mata Hari as she became famous in Paris before the Great War – the City of light, of champagne, of laughter and of dubious morality. Here she’s depicted on the stage of the Musée Guimet in 1905, a bouquet of trumpet lilies at her feet. And, as I knew Curt would like it, she’s painted in greyscale, perhaps to offset the lurid gas-lights of the Parisian stage.
Next, we see her dancing in more private surroundings during the War. Perhaps for Captain Vadime de Masloff (her historical lover) or perhaps for a French general ensnared in Mata Hari’s web of seduction and betrayal, his be-medalled tunic, letters and High Command despatches lying thoughtlessly discarded on the carpeted floor of a hotel close to the Gare du Nord.
And finally, in a blast of Alternative History, the terrible result of Mata Hari’s espionage is clear for all to see. A discarded copy of Le Petit Parisien (no doubt dropped by a stunned and shocked veteran of the 1870 campaign close to his local Metro station) announces in sombre tones the fall of Verdun to the Germans on a cold Autumnal day in 1916. A copy of the newspaper, and stolen confidential despatches from the French General Staff are placed on the back seat of Mata Hari’s limousine as she quietly leaves Paris, with fallen leaves and doubtless a fallen French Government in her wake. 
The car is a lavish 1910 Mercedes, complete with liveried chauffeur, picked up from Ebay for a couple of pounds with a couple of changes such as adding transparent plasticard for the front windows.

Both Mata Hari and chauffeur are from Sloppy Jalopy, although Mata Hari was converted with a new hat, matching the one she was wearing while arrested in 1917. The dancing figures of Mata Hari are both from Alex Bagosy, sourced through Lead Adventure Forum a few years ago. The bases are built up with a mix of plastic card and “grey-stuff”.


The base was built up from non-warping marine plywood, with a plasticard set of paving stones. The lamppost was scratch built using two plastic rods, and topped with a plasticard sign and a plastic lamp fixture from one of my daughter's old toys. I wanted to try and create a Parisian "feel" to the scene - a sense of a time and place. I thought about producing additional figures, or a small building, but it was hard to think of anything quite as evocative as a sign for the Paris Metro.
I also wanted to try and create the background of the fictional fall of Verdun. This was perhaps the most fun thing of all to do. I found a copy of “Le Petit Parisien” newspaper from 1910 online and photoshopped a new headline onto it – “Verdun Pris Par Les Allemands". I then reduced the photoshopped page to a tiny size, and cut it out. I tinted the paper with a wash of paint, and then crumpled it slightly and painted the whole with a glaze of PVA glue to keep its shape so that it would look as if a Parisian had been so shocked by the news he had simply dropped the newspaper on the street. Quelle horreur!



To try and echo the devastating news, I made a second newspaper for the back of the limousine, and added a brace of letters - perhaps stolen letters from a lover in the Deuxieme Bureau, or messages from Mata Hari's own spymaster - on the back seat of her limousine.
The autumn leaves we're added with more PVA glue. I bought a small pack a long time ago from Antenocitti's Workshop, and they are still going strong! Trying to get the right colours to stand out against the grey base was a good way to spend half an hour.


Sidney, I know I've said this before but thanks again for debuting this wonderful work during the Challenge. It was vignettes like yours, Michael's, Millsy's, along with many others that really put a sparkle on the whole event.


As a prize, I thought it apropos to award Sidney with a copy of the newly published 'Poilu: The World War I Notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, Barrelmaker, 1914-1918' translated by Edward M. Strauss. 


Congratulations Sidney, I hope this volume provides you further inspiration for your Verdun project - I very much look forward to giving it to you in person in a few short weeks!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Entry #2 to the 8th Lead Painters' League: French Survivors Retreating from Russia, 1812


Just a short interlude post before I make the announcements for Sarah's Choice and Judge's Choice. Here is a brief update on my current participation in the Lead Painters' League. 

For my second entry I decided to continue with my 'Retreat from Russia' project and  so submitted a group of five French soldiers staggering back home from the burned-out ruins of Moscow. 


I actually had most of these figures done during the final part of the Challenge but needed to keep them under wraps in order to submit them to the LPL as 'unpublished' models. These fellows, unlike my truculent, ill-fated Goblins, seemed to have resonated better with the voters and so managed to garner me a victory this past round.


As with all of the Perry's 'Retreat' range these are superb sculpts. The freezing, windswept agony is clearly apparent in all their poses.


In particular, I found the fellow with his hands tucked under his arms, the tails of this coat flapping in the freezing wind, especially well done, and so to the stolid grenadier mantled with a green blanket, walking stick in hand and a well-maintained musket over his shoulder. Great figures all.



My entry for this current week (Round 3) is currently up on the LPL. For a change it is WWII themed (and a vehicle no less!). I should have it posted here Sunday night, but feel free to pay a visit to the LPL gallery to view all the matched submissions.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The People's Choice for the 4th Annual Painting Challenge



Following right in the tracks of yesterday's Challengers' Choice we now discover which entries were amongst the People's Choice of favourites. I felt very happy with the number of folks that took time to vote - I thank all who voted for being willing participants in this little bit of fun.

Again, below you will find a gallery organized in alphabetical order of all those submissions that garnered multiple accolades from visitors. The finalists will be featured at the end of the gallery.

Andrew's Giant Spider
Anne's Don Quixote & Sancho Panza
Anne's Guinevere
Byron's Great War Canadian Highlanders

Curt's Cossacks

Curt's Post-Apocalyptic Neo-Soviet Militia
Curt's Rick Deckard 'Blade Runner'
Dave's Beja Horde

Edwin's 'Professor Morrison - Before and After'
Fran's Zombie Apolcalypse

Lee's Judge Dredd

Michael's 'I am Gladiator'
Michael's 'Say Hello to One's Little Friend'
Ray's 'Stricken Crusader'
Samuli's 'Ensign Kennedy at Waterloo'

Sidney's 'Mata Hari' 
Tamsin's Pirate Horde
Tim's Feudal Japanese Warrior Monks
Tim's Samurai
Tim's Hong Kong Cops

From the hundreds of entries which made up this year's Challenge three submissions in particular rose above to captivate the attention and imagination of visitors.

In 3rd place we have Dave's poignantly cinematic final exit of 'Butch & Sundance' in glorious 54mm.



In 2nd Place is the irrepressible Messrs Awdry with his wonderfully creepy yet beautifully executed Whitechapel 1888. (Which also had the honour of being our Challengers' Choice this year - bravo Michael!)



...and in an apparent nod to this year's 'Winter Vortex' 1st Place has been awarded to Millsy's superb 'Ney with the French Rearguard, 1812'.





Congratulations Mr. Mills!!  I'm delighted that another of our wonderfully crafted vignettes has taken top place on the podium. 

Millsy, in recognition of your excellent work both myself and Byron are happy to offer you a gift certificate from SG2 Creation's fine range of laser-cut products.


Again, I wish to convey my great thanks to all the visitors of the Challenge who participated in voting for their favourites. Your considered selections add a wonderful sparkle to the event.

Later this week I will post Sarah's Choice and my own Judge's Choice. I hope you come out to view those selections!