Sunday, January 22, 2017

'East' from AdamC: Charting a Course to the East

I was stuck with this bonus round, I didn't have any miniatures that seemed to suggest the Far East or the Eastern front or even a good rabbit figure for Easter.   Finally I remembered this fellow from the Brigade Games Town folk set.  A mariner with a sextant. 

I had been at a loss as to what to do with him the action he his engaged in is distinctly tied to being on board a ship.  One generally doesn't  try to work out latitude and longitude when on land (OK maybe if your on an overland trek say the Sahara you might).  

Further more other than his breaches his costume is distinctly outside the 17th and 18th century dress of the rest of this set of figures.  He found life in this bonus round.  I live outside Boston a city with a rich Maritime history if you set out by sea from Boston you start off heading East, you just can't help it.  Your destination might be Europe, California, or Asia but but you start off heading east.

The uniform colors are of my own creation, inspired by a number of images I found though I did not do an extensive study as I only decided on this figure on Tuesday and painted him up in one night.

I will probably use him as a display piece or he might find his way on my friend Mike Paine's Pulp table which he calls "Hanghai", He'd look good on any number of the ships in the harbour.

'East' from AlanD: Retreat from Moscow

As far as I'm concerned, the modest range of retreat from Moscow French produced by the Perry twins are among the most beautiful and evocative miniatures available. Put them together with the perfectly compatible range of Poles from Murawski Miniatures, and it is now possible to make a sizeable force for the retreat of 1812. In the last couple of challenges I have painted up some infantry, but the combination of Sharp Practice 2 and the East Bonus round has inspired me to make a conerted push on the figures I have left.

The twelve cavalry here belong to three groups. The first are Hessian Chevau-Leger, some who have lost their impressive hemets, engaged in a desperate charge.

Then there is a group of French Chasseurs à Cheval. The Hessians and French are from the same set, which comes with a range of head options.

The final roup of three horsemen are skirmishers - a hussar, a cuirassier, and what I assume to be a lancer from the Vistula legion. His czapka is missing the distinctive plate on the front though - has it just fallen off in the retreat, or have I mis-identified the trooper?

With these figures I think I have finally come up with some decent snow basing. I'm always intimidated trying to do snow with all you Canadians looking on, and especially Curt 'Snow Lord' himself. For these bases, I mixed Woodland Scenics snow with PVA and a little water, added a little white paint and the merest whiff of blue ink. Somebody have a glance out your window and let me know whether it looks realistic.

The weather here has been stifling hot, so I had the strange experience of painting these cold looking figures while sweat was running down my face and threatening to drip on them.

'East' from AledC: Lord of the Rings Hasharin

For my east round submission I umm'd and ahh'd for a good long while as to what to paint. I have a WW2 Japanese force, for use in Bolt Action or Chain of Command, that needs painting but I am still undecided has to how I want to go about painting them. I have some confederate infantry for the American Civil War that I thought may fit the theme if I stretched it. But I just wasn't comfortable with either of these. Sure I could have just done up some more of my Arabs, "they're from the middle east, too easy right?". I thought that wasn't in the spirit of a 'bonus round' so went back to thinking.

Again sorry for bad photos :/

Then I remembered that I had one of the assassin models from the Games Workshop Lord of the Rings range, the one that was meant to be from Harad. Brilliant! Yes I know the Haradrim are also called Southrons and an Easterling would be more appropriate but this model will be more useful and can be used, as of recent year, as a typical 'Eastern Assassin'. (Perhaps one with a creed or too?)

The Hasharin (pl. Hasharii) were a Harad Order founded in Sauron's name. The despotic lords who ruled Harad exercised their will through them. To question or contradict the will of a Hasharin led to death, whether by public execution or through the quiet application of their murderous skills. On the battlefield, the Hasharii acted as assassins, seeking out enemy leaders and slaying them with poisoned blades.
A Hasharin wore many layers of clothing, concealing all of his body and most of his head - only his eyes could be seen. Many weapons were tied to his waist with a fabric belt.

- Games Workshop, The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game.

I plan to use him in all manner of ways. He'll serve well as a target in some skirmish scenarios or as a scout model for others. Or maybe just to place near my opponent's general to make them feel nervous. No matter what I use him for I am happy to have him painted after having him in a box for oh so very long.

Not much of a submission, but I'm pleased.


'East' from AlexS: Russian Bogatyr

In the Russian language and culture of the East consistently associated with Asia, while the West is associated with Europe. The problem is that my country is both in Asia and in Europe. Ekaterinburg City, where I live, is located in Asia, and a summer house in the village, which is already located in Europe. 

Almost all of its history, my country has to choose which way to civilization closer to her - European or Asian. And in the end I chose something in between. In the words of one of our philosopher: "Appearance we have a European and actions - Asia". And provided you a miniature meets this duality. Its author - sculptor of the Czech Republic (European country with Slavic population). It depicts a dwarf (a typical representative of European mythology) in the image of Russian BOGATYR (hero), which is characterized by parts of the armor and clothes of Asian origin.

That's the way I decided to translate the theme proposed by by Curt. I hope that my association and my job will seem interesting.

'East' from AnthonyO: Nakatomi Yakuza

When I began to plan for this challenge I had no real idea other than to rummage through my bits box and hope inspiration would hit me. Well it did in the form of some miniatures I had acquired through a mystery 50 metal miniature lucky dip box I had purchased from Northstar Games.  These guys are from a game called A Fist Full of Kung Fu and formed part of the Yakuza Gangsters set. I had no idea what I would do with them when I found them in the lucky dip and had placed them into the bits box for perhaps an eternal slumber.

Well this painting challenge to the rescue and when looking at them I was inspired to make a gang with a lot of inspiration from those terribly bad yet amazingly good 1980's Police V Yakuza movies. The Yakuza was the arch enemy of every Detective for a good few years, you know the detectives who were top tier martial arts experts trying to atone for losing there partner in a gun fight and were just returning to work after being shot themselves type, or a Green Ranger Seal.

So I bring you the Nakatomi Yakuza Gang in this East v West battle, a ruthless group trying to muscle in on the drug and gambling trade of the New York China Town district. They are led by Tsukuda Yoshimatsu, the son of the clan leader who is trying to prove himself to his father and earn the respect of the clan. He is supported by his loyal followers and treats the local Police Department with disdain, if they can't be bought off they will suffer the consequences with meddling in his affairs!

The Nakatomi Gang, yes I loved the 80's.

Kubo Kado (The Sumo) - A rising star of the Sumo grounds in Japan he fled to the US after it was found out he threw a fight for money. Adopted into the Nakatomi Clan he acts as Tsukuda's personal bodyguard and his signature move is crushing people to death with his bare hands.

Sawa Yoichibei (Onmyōji) - Sawa is the Gang's sorceror, summoning Shikigami to manipulate their enemies or gather information. It is said Sawa is over 1000 years old and has been sent by Tsukuda's father to keep an eye on him.

Tsukamoto Ukon (Uzi) - Tsukamoto loves his Uzi submachinegun and is his weapon of choice when taking down the Gaijin. He moved to New York to study but found himself drawn to the gangster lifestyle and was recruited to the Nakatomi Gang by Tsukuda when he found him playing Double Dragon at the local arcade.

Toma Kane (The Doctor) - Toma is a medical student who acts as the Gangs medic, doubling as the torturer when the gang needs those skills. He has been known to cut his victims up just to practice putting them back together, it is rumored he is acing his medical studies.

Tsukuda Yoshimatsu (The Leader) -  Tsukuda has been given this assignment from his father in an attempt to secure a foothold in the US. Educated at the best schools and universities Tsukuda is a highly intelligent person and knows it, often mocking his victims before offering them single combat with his preferred weapon, the Katana.


These guys were such fun to paint, the scheme was simple yet effective (hopefully) and suited a bad guy Yakuza gang that were the stereotype in all those movies.  The background was all free hand painted by myself other than the three posters I have printed off and glued on. The dragon is a copy of a wall mural I found online and the graffit is just random ramblings.

'East' from Barks: Samurai Command Tent

I picked up Samurai Battles a few years ago, and have found painting the miniatures to be somewhat intimidating! The 'East' theme was the perfect excuse to confront this demon.

Samurai Battles is a Commands and Colors hex game variant. The figures are hard plastic 20mm multipiece. Here is my command stand for the yellow side. I have enhanced the sabot base with some 1:100 jinmaku curtains from Eureka.

The daimyo's banner is 'artificial', ie it is only there for game purposes rather than historical accuracy.

I handpainted the kanji on the banner, based on Google Translate's version of "All your base are belong to us".

Painting the lines on the sashimonos is a chore. The chrysanthemum mon is a transfer.

The horo was a bamboo frame worn by messengers and is said to provide protection from bowfire from some directions. I suspect that visibility and identification play a big role in its use.

Any errors in terminology are mine!

'East' form BrendonW: Eastern Dragon and Mongols

6 x 28mm Cavalry, 1 x Eastern Dragon

A foul smell had been assaulting the village from the East. It grew stronger and more acrid each passing day. Eventually dust was seen on the horizon. A few days after that a terrible tale of a demonic horde was told by what many thought was a lunatic who burst into the village in rags and filth. Perhaps just a bit more filthy than most regular villagers. In any case, filth aside, he told a tale of a mounted horde in  endless numbers laying waste to all in its path. Later that night the village was woken by the terrible screams of coinciding nightmares of a Dragon arriving from the East and consuming all within its terrible wraith.

 Dragon is from Wyrd Miniatures and Mongols (28mm) are FireForge. The Dragon is on a home made 75 x 75mm base. I purchased this beast to count as a Dragon when I use my Mongol collection in a Fantasy setting (proxy as elves because they have good archery). I was searching for an Eastern Dragon or beasts for some time and when this pooped up in a newsletter email I had found my beast.

I was thinking of calling him Ess. Because he looks like the letter S from certain angles. My daughter has told me that it looks like a Dragon Ball Z dragon. If you comment please suggest a name.

Cheers from BrendonW

'East' from ByronM: 35mm Egyptian Arena Rex Gladiator

After having a grand plan for each theme round, and then backing out of it this week not once, not twice, but three times, I finally came to a decision on a fourth figure to submit!

I started out planning some Malifaux Ten Thunder Archers ( an Asian based faction), then painted my Napoleonic Artillery and decided that they could be eastern based as they were on campaign fighting Greg's evil Austrians, I then finished my Rhino for Arena Rex and since it is based on an Eastern Black Rhino and since I fell in love with the paint job I planned on submitting it.  Any of the three would have worked, but then I finally cracked through some roadblocks on a fourth figure that I have been playing with since day one, and decided to use him.

May I present to you Ur-Kek of the Morituri, from Arena Rex.

"A trainer for the Morituri, Ur-Kek never lost his taste for competing in the arena, and regularly joins his charges on the sands.  His skills have been tempered by years of experience and refined with the intricate knowledge of combat that comes from having to train others.  It seems there is no trick he has not seen in battle -- he has used most of them himself.  Unimpressed by the ceremony and fanfare of the munera, Ur-Kek lives only for the opportunity to dominate worthy foes in single combat."
 - Quoted from the Arena Rex Website.

He started off as a test model for my Morituri faction for Arena Rex to try out getting a sort of olive based middle eastern skin tone. While not a dark skin tone I believe this shows as a light middle eastern tone with some shaded not found in normal Caucasian skin tones, so am happy with it.  Ur-Kek is a huge man (both tall and wide), and to help show that I purposefully left really dark shadows in the areas between his rolls of flesh. While not super realistic, at table distance it really looks right.
His skin also had several cuts on it, so I shaded these various reds and browns to look either fresh (the one on his lower left hand side) to old (across his face).  I then purposefully left one eye white, and painted in the pupil as a light grey.  The idea was to show that it was damaged and he lost sight in it some time ago, not sure it is quite right, but its close.

Once I was happy with the skin tone I made the decision that I should try NMM (Non-Metallic Metallic) on his blade. I have done small pieces of NMM in the past, but always struggled with it and was never quite happy with it, so why not try and do it right this time.  DUMB decision!  I struggled with that blade alone for over 10 hours on and off over the last month.  Trying something, correcting it, sanding it down, re-priming it, trying something different, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.  It just wouldn't come out quite right.  Finally, when I was just about ready to paint it with silver paint and wash my hands of it, I tried one last try, and it started to work.  About 4 more hours of glazing later, it was done, and I was happy with it.  There is not a single transition line (other than the hard black shadow line and hard white highlight line) on that blade.  It was then time to go and wreck all the smooth transitions by adding scratches to it, which I kept to a minimum amount.
Once I was done with the blade, I came to the realization that since I painted that NMM, I had to paint his bronze shoulder guard and bracers as NMM, and all the gold trim on his neckpiece and arm band as NMM.  Sigh.... remember me saying it was a dumb decision earlier?  Beyond the time it took for the blade, this just made it worse.  I now had to learn how to do the NMM bronze and gold, which took at least another 4-5 hours.  I also came across two little rings (once is clear on his back holding straps together) that needed to get the NMM treatment.

As I have said, I have done small bits of NMM before, but none of them came out nearly this well.  The secret, take your time, and be prepared for many many layers of paint.  The bracers were probably 20'ish layers to get it right, and they were easy.  The blade due to the huge size of it (it is 30mm top to bottom) took probably 100 layers of thin glaze to get it that smooth.
For anyone thinking of doing NMM, DON'T!!!!  Unless you are doing it for a Golden Demon entry, a Crystal Brush entry, or a big Model Soldier show (like the one in Chicago every year), then go for it, the technical skill required to pull it off well, will get you points when competing against top painters and is almost a requirement.  If you are painting for a wargame to play with, doing it on every figure is just doing it to stroke your ego.  I am happy I learned to get a good  result with this technique, but I don't think there is any real reason to do it now, other than for painting competitions.  DON'T let anyone make you think you need to do NMM if you are just wargaming.  If you want to learn it like I did, then by all means go for it, it will help you learn to blend better than you ever really need to know how to do, but do not let anyone tell you that it "should" be done this way, it's only an ego thing, there is no need for it.

Finally, I was done with all of that, and could move onto the leather straps, which I kept very dark with some strong highlights so that they would show up against his skin.  At least that part of him was simple.

Then I moved onto his loincloth, which I wanted to ensure had a rough old woven look. I started with a khaki base and moved up to a light tan.  Then had the brilliant idea to put in some weave marks with a darker tan before doing the final while highlights.  It took over an hour to put in hundreds of little tiny lines on all the folds. I then started the white highlights as glazes, and while the weave marks show in person "when you look for them" they don't show in pictures almost at all, so it was time completely wasted...  sigh.

So he was almost done but I had no idea what colours to use for his neck piece.  I have a terrible sense of colour, so always harass the wife or my youngest son to help as they both have good colour sense (even if I don't always chose to follow it).  My son suggest turquise and red and it seemed to work when I put the test colours on, so I stuck with it.  I then had another brilliant idea to alternate the inner bands segments rather than all being red.  UGGG!!!  After alternating the colours, it looked better, but too plain, they each needed to be treated as a gemstone.  Double UGGG!!!

54 individual sections each getting the 7 colour gemstone treatment (base colour and 3 up, 3 down).  And since I wasn't steady I think I ended up painting each one twice!!!

With everything done it was onto the base, which I did the same way as the Arena Rex Beasts I posted the other day (you can find details here: Arena Rex Beasts).

I was then done everything, FINALLY and ready to clear cote and post.

Despite going through a lot on this model, and spending WAY to much time on him, I am supremely thrilled with how he came out!  I think he is one of my better figures, which is both good and bad.  Good because it means that this old dog can still learn to improve, and REALLY BAD since I have 6 more gladiators in his faction that will now need to be done to at least close to the same standard!  WTF did I just do to myself! <sigh>

I hope you guys like him, despite the issues and time, I really do!

'East' from ChristopherS: Aftermath in the East Woods

I've had an enduring passion for the American Civil War since a boy really and just about every challenge I try and include at least one ACW piece and while I was reading up on Antietam again the idea came to me for the "East" bonus theme round.

Just to set the mood I thought I would include the soundtrack "Ashokan Farewell" in the youtube clip below assembled by Curt Franz made famous by Ken Burns monumental American Civil war series. Enjoy the photo's in the clip and listen to the song while you read the post if you wish. Personally I find the song just seeps into your bones and pulls you right into 1860's America.

Antietam or Sharpsburg as known by the confederates occurred on September 17, 1862 and was the bloodiest single day of combat in the American Civil War resulting in a staggering 22,717 dead, wounded, or missing. This was the South's first invasion of the North and resulted in the confederates achieving a remarkable tactical draw when one considers the enemy commander had your plans and had considerably superior numbers of 87,000 men to your 38,000! That said, it was a strategic victory for the union as the confederates were forced to withdraw the following morning having not the men or materials to press the invasion.

So how does the East Woods fit into all this some may ask? The East Woods is where the first infantry engagements took place during the battle starting with the evening exchanges between pickets prior to the battle and moving on into a full on infantry slugfest in the morning between parts of Hooker's Corps and Jackson's division. This went on for about 3 hours with each side changing control of the woods until reinforcements of the union 12th Corps finally pushed the confederates out, but at high loss of men including their commander Gen. Joseph K.F. Mansfield.

"The shells crashing through the trees and fluttering overhead as well as the musketry… all contributed to mark the time, and place, fixed in one's memory forever."
Diary of Sergeant Charles Broomhall, 124th Pennsylvania Infantry

Ambulance Corps

Other then disease and direct combat soldiers often died simply by waiting for medical attention while wounded on the battlefield. Wagons were employed to gather the wounded to cut down on losses, but the problem was that often these early wagons had issues with corruption of the drivers who required payment to carry wounded, stole from their passengers and some were just flat out to lazy to gather the wounded. Also it didn't help that often the wagons were so lightly constructed that riding them was very uncomfortable due to damage to the roads from weather and shells not to mention some even turning over causing further harm to the wounded

The situation dramatically improved with Dr. Jonathan Letterman's system which increased the weight of the wagon, number of horses and increased passenger load. Additions were given to the wagon like compartments to store medical supplies, stretchers, water, and removable benches and seats that adjusted with the number of passengers. Also units started to train ambulance crews and have routine inspections. Letterman's system became so effective that all wounded were gathered within 1 day at Antietam and inspired the formation of the ambulance corps after the battle. The confederates adopted a similar system, but was not as effective mainly due to shortages of men, supplies and wagons.

The uniforms of medical officer/surgeon was dark blue frock coat or whatever coat he liked with emerald green epaulettes with "MS" inserted, emerald green sash and an 1840's medical staff sword. His stewards(NCO's) usually wore frock coats with inverted half chevrons of emerald green with yellow edging and a red sash. Privates typically wore normal union infantry uniform with perhaps a green trim on the kepi if at all.

The model itself is from Perry miniatures and has been on my to do list for some time. A bit tricky to construct and clean, but works out nicely in the end.

I painted the piece using mostly Foundry colors with some Vallejo and MIG pigments for the stones. I decided to have some fun with the horse and went for a "painted pattern Appaloosa". Appaloosa horses are something quite American so I included one to round out the piece.

Thought I would include an old fashioned looking sepia picture to further add to the atmosphere.

All are 28mm so I think this gives me 15pts for wagon, 30 pts for full figures, 5pts for lying down figures, 10 pts for the horse and 50 pts. for the bonus round for a total of 110pts.

Thanks for viewing!:-)
Miniature Company- Perry Miniatures