“First of the Year” 2021 Painting Challenge Roundup

We started off January with a challenge to showcase the first miniature people painted for January 2021 to start the year off right, painting-wise. We have a nice round up of first fruits of the year. If you click on the gallery pictures, they will lead to larger versions. As usual, if I missed anyone, please let me know and I’ll update the post with your work.

Dave Stone of Wargames Terrain Workshop was first out of the gate just a couple of days into January with his nicely painted space marine librarian sporting the colors of his Night Hawks chapter. Dave’s in-laws gave the model to him as a Christmas gift, which is nice. Better than a tie or some paisley socks, though as I think about it paisley socks sound better and better.

Looks like the mechacherub is no pushover either.
I like the yellow cloth and the freehand black detailing is nice too.

My friend, Daniel, a local, legendary Imperial Guard commander, has been playing a lot of Infinity these days and his first model of the year, according to the official lore “is a member of the Zulu-Cobra unit, a reconnaissance unit that specializes in asymmetrical warfare as well a niche for amphibious and jungle environments.” Daniel likes him because “he’s a very handy sneaky piece that can bring some cool surprises to the table.”

He’s from the PanOceania faction.

I was curious about the radar dish so I asked Daniel about it. He says it is “a jammer” that “can easily harass everything on the board” by shutting down the enemy’s communications and such. I’m told he is a pretty good shot with with a good, old fashioned firearm too. I like his cloak too; the hexagonal pattern is nifty.

Tom Douglass, the owner of Dragon Den Games in Stockton, California, finished his Death Guard Plagueburst Crawler as his first miniature of 2021. Tom says that Death Guard is “so liberating compared to my space marines or even Necrons, just because there’s no ‘wrong answers’ and nothing has to be uniform. Painting Ultramarines, I need to be exact, be sure not to overstep or overdo anything, it’s all very clean and shiny, which is also very satisfying, but in a different way entirely.”

Tom illustrates this Nurgle Ethos with a gap that he noticed while building his crawler: “There was a gap in the back when I was building it, and while I was wondering how I was going to fill it I decided, ‘You know what? how about “it’s broken” and bubbling gook out of the gap?’ Now it’s on purpose.”

I like that about Nurgle-based stuff too. Embrace the imperfections and treat them as enhancements. 🙂

Rolling on shrieking treads from the Death Guard to the Heer, we have John, 1st Baron Varnish, from Just Needs Varnish!, and his 20mm scale resin and metal German Sd Kfz 138 Ausf Hj Grille (“Grille” means Cricket), which was also called the Bison.

Which rivets are the ones John made to fix up some battle damage suffered casting the model?

John tells us that the Cricket was “armed with a 150mm heavy infantry gun and allocated to the support gun companies of panzergrenadier (mechanized infantry) regiments.” There were various versions built; the one shown here “used the chassis of the Czech LT 38 light tank, this vehicle being built by the Germans as the Panzer 38t” and provided “short range, indirect fire support.”

I like what John did with the camouflage. He details how he achieved this look in his post, so check it out if you are curious.

Nice diorama too.

Mick at Twitchy Bristles comes in with his repainted Eldar Farseer Ry’hil. He reports that his faithful eldar commander had distinguished himself in battle and deserved an upgrade. So into the paint stripper he went and the result below is new Ry’hil, ready to distinguish himself even further for Craftworld Ulthanash Shelwé.

Mick’s Ry’hil specializes in fighting Tyranids.

Mick writes that is much happier with the repainted model, “especially the green colors and how much better the bone colors ‘pop’ on the rest of the model.” Serendipitously, he “also managed not to spill excess varnish on everything this time,” so there’s that too. A fine kettle of spirit stones that would be, spilling varnish all over a war hero!

Mark of Mark A. Morin painted quite a few Aztecs over 2020 and his first completed miniature for 2021 is a Conquistador with a banner. Mark writes that the banner “is a representation of the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary that Hernan Cortes used during the Spanish Conquest.”

Part of a four man “Conquistador Foot Command” sold by Outpost Wargame Services.

I think Mark did a nice job with his bannerman as well as the other members of his command group. Check out the others members of the group on his site. I also liked the dioramas he put together for his Aztecs and I’m glad he did the same for these guys.

Mark is pretty serious about getting his Conquistadors painted — he’s running “Mark’s Conquistador Contest,” (complete with prizes) to motivate himself to paint them. I have to confess when I first saw the contest in my email I didn’t check it out right away, since I don’t have any Conquistadors to paint, but I wish I had before the entry date closed in early January, because it turns out the contest was to guess the date Mark would complete his forces. Lesson learned for next time!

Eric, of Candore Et Labore, graces our painting challenge with his “very old Bretonnian Green Knight,” that he painted after “stripping 99% of the old paint off the miniature, repairing some really bad gaps,” and repainting the miniature with what he’s since learned over the past twenty or so years.

He is certainly a nice study in Green.

Eric doesn’t think he’ll be playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle again, so he opted for a vignette. I think he did a very good job on it. Kind of makes me think that his old knight has been granted an honorable retirement as some sort of Protector of the Lonely Wood.

Maenoferren22, of Bogenwold, also decided to paint a Green Knight, the same miniature in fact that his “good mate Eric,” had already painted. He already had stripped the paint from his knight (I’m seeing a pattern here) along with a bunch of squires and such. Maeno decided to paint up a couple of retainers to accompany his lordship, though he “cannot actually remember which was finished first.” I know what he means. I’ve batch painted a group of miniatures before without really being able to remember which one I stopped working on first.

Steve, of Dreadaxe Games, painted an Imperial Guard/Astra Militarum Sergeant for his 2nd Infanty Squad as his first miniature completed for 2021. He opted to equip this model with a laspistol and chainsword “due to the fact that I ran out of bolters!” Steve also did a head swap from the Sisters Repentia kit for that “grizzled veteran appearance.”

It looks to me from the scars that the Sarge has both seen a lot of action and is hard to kill.

Steve is “currently batch-painting the 2nd squad in 2 chunks of 5.” He’s been painting these troops in a “fairly straightforward” way and “keeping the palette to a minimum,” which he’s been having fun with. I can see that. Although not fancy, the color scheme is effective and I think what one might expect to see for a typical field uniform. After all, not all of the Imperial Guard can march into battle looking like they just stepped out of the Napoleonic Wars or wearing giant, mutant bearskins. 🙂

Matt, “a Welsh bloke living in Vermont” at pmpainting, offers us a Reaper miniatures flashback to the 1970’s, Horace “Action” Jackson. Matt wrote that he “did [his] usual job of procrastinating over what colours to paint him,” and ended up looking to Google for his inspiration, settling on the pink pants pictured below (with just a hint of ’70’s flare).

I like Matt’s choice of colors for the clothing and agree with him that Horace is very suitable for inclusion in a collection of “zombie survivor” miniatures.

Continuing with the zombie survivor theme, Azazel, of Azazel’s Bitz Box, brings us “Old Betsy,” from the 10th Anniversary Edition of Last Night on Earth. I very much like the job he did on the weathering, including some bullet holes and a nifty, cracked windshield.

Kind of reminds me of an old (albeit red) truck that was moldering in my grandparents’ field when I was a child.

Azazel reports that he’s used “Old Betsy” in a number of different games, including “the entire campaign of” Zombicide’s Night of the Living Dead, where the truck stood in for the “cardboard car chit in almost all of the scenarios.” I agree with Azazel that the truck “can also work in any modern game, other zombie games and also quite a few post-apoc ones as well.”

Joe, of JoeSavesTheDay, brings us his Raptors chapter terminator hero, Brother Feurranator, with an assault cannon. I like the green color scheme and in a way it reminds me a little of Green Army Men.

Originally, Joe went with the gray basing in the pictures below but remembered that his “Raptors are all based in a reddish Martian wasteland setting,” even though it messed up his brass ammo casings. Perhaps he’ll put them back in at some point — that’s his hope.

Dave, of The Imperfect Modeller, painted “Alain,” a 28mm cavalier produced by Reaper. I agree with Dave that there was “quite a lot going on and a fair bit of detail” with the figure. He said that he kept “base work simple,” and I think it all came together nicely.

Note the freehand cross on the small shield device.

One of the commenters in Dave’s post mentioned that he was “surprised by the black shield on the back,” figuring it would be the same color as the device on the front. I was similarly surprised and think that the black shield was a very nice choice, both in terms of the “surprise” and also because with everything going on with the miniature having a solid bit of black and red was pleasing to my eye.

David, from Scent of a Gamer, brings us a welcome touch of Nurgle with his Corrupted Alchomite Stack that as you can see has been taken over by a trio of sickly, yellow nurglings. The base is “old packing material” and David “scatttered some bits of the sprue around as bits of twisted metal and broken railings,” which I thought was a nice idea.

The green piping suggests the stack is thoroughly blessed with the gift of Sacred Rot.

Kuribo, of Kuribo’s Painting, is enjoying Fallout from Modiphius Entertainment and his first completed miniature for 2021 is this Super Mutant Master. A solid plan — paint what you enjoy and are playing. I thought Kuribo had an interesting take on doing the flesh. It looks to me like it sort of could be mutant, desert camouflage. Perhaps the Mutant Master applied it himself but more likely, I think, it is a lucky mutation that gives him a better chance of closing the distance and whacking someone with his hammer before he gets filled with lead or arrows or whatever.

Given how big this guy is compared to an average person, that is one big sledge hammer he’s brandishing.

This guy is a “leader/elite model” that “is going to hit in melee close to 90% of the time.” Sounds like if you are see him coming at your forces, you’d better try to soften him up a bit before he gets in your face if you can, unless you have someone on your side who is similarly brutal or maybe is a master of defense!

The last entry for the painting challenge is that same puissant Chaos Lord who began the last challenge I sponsored back in 2020 — Wudugast of Convert or Die. He’s been painting forces for Warcry and his first miniature for this year is this Kairic Acolyte.

These fellows are “the human followers of Tzeentch, petty sorcerors and schemers who make up the rank and file of the cult.” This miniature, as Wudugast relates, comes from the Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower board game. I mostly know Wudugast for his excellent Nurgle and generally dystopian offerings, but it is good to see him turning his attention to some of the other Chaos gods as well.

Thank you very much to everyone who participated in the painting challenge. It is a fun, varied palette of work and I enjoyed putting this post together. I am toying with the idea of doing a Macabre March painting challenge where the idea is to paint some miniature that unequivocally qualifies as being horrifying, ghastly, gruesome, etc.

I didn’t get anything finished myself painting-wise for January, though I did make good progress on Frank’s Pig Demon’s clothes and I made a start on a friend’s dragon gnome for Dave Stone’s Paint What You Got and Alex’s Femburary challenges, both of which conclude at the end of this month.

Miniatures of Magnitude Painting Challenge Round-up

May through June saw the Miniatures of Magnitude painting challenge where the idea is to paint something that is on the larger side.  The model didn’t need to be large, but it had to represent something large.  As I wrote back in early May, “Aircraft, daemon engines, tanks, giants, trains, cavewomen riding mammoths, ships, and beasts that are great, writhing masses of tentacles, eyes, and maws that tumbled down from the stars or crawled up out of the sewer all will find a home in this challenge.”

As usual, if I missed anyone, please let me know and I’ll make sure you make it into the (amended) round-up.

Flying Battleship by John of Just Needs Varnish ink sketch clip art effect

First up is Wudugast’s of Convert or Die Warcry bell tower, complete with gibbets and “fiddly” skeletons.  I’m glad he included the skeletons because I think they add an osseous touch of class to the piece.

Belltower by Wudugast

Wudugast also painted this very nice Chaos Space Marine Obliterator. Our heretic astartes is bristling with weapons of all kinds, as you would expect. He’s got some sort of assault cannon, a heavy flamer, a hefty power fist complete with little claws … heck, let’s face it, the only thing he’s missing are pants!

Next up is Tom’s Imperial Knight Castellan.  I know Tom because he used to work at the local game store I often frequent.  Some time ago, Tom made the trek north from Santa Cruz to Stockton, California where he opened his own store, Dragon’s Den Games.

Tom Douglass Imperial Knight front view

Tom’s knight is the largest model he has painted to date.  He says that it has “technically more surface area than a Bloodthirster” and the latter being “mostly skin and wing so they go a heck of a lot faster, especially with Contrasts!”.  I’m glad Tom persevered because I think his knight came out looking good and will surely strike terror into the hearts of his many nefarious foes.

Look to the skies! David, of Scent of a Gamer, painted a huge dragon who is just waiting to blot out the sun as it soars through a fantasy sky on xanthous wings. David tells us that this miniature is “from the Dragons Don’t Share boxed set that was originally released as part of the Bones II Kickstarter.”

Green Dragon by Scent of a Gamer

David used a “dark green/black mix” for the body and contrast paints for the wings.  He was going for an “eye of Mordor” feel with the dragon’s eyes and I think he succeeded because the eye reminded me of that when I was looking at the pictures in his post before reading the text. I really like that baleful eye!

Continuing with our “Look to the Skies” theme, watch out for flying battleships!  John of Just Needs Varnish! painted a couple of 1/1200 scale aeronefs, which are “ships that fly using some form of gravity-resisting technology to stay airborne.”  The miniatures are produced by Brigade Models.*

Below is a Japanese Shinano class dreadnought. Nicely done and cute spotter plane too!

Japanese Flying Battleship Shinano class Just Needs Varnish

Check out John’s post if you want to see some pictures of the models before they were painted as well as his thoughts about building and modifying these models.  He also shows off some of his older aeronefs in his post as well. John also painted a Russian Poltava class dreadnought, pictured below.

Russian Poltava class dreadnought by John of Just Needs Varnish

Maybe we’ll see more aeronefs from John in the future.  He writes that he has “some lighter aeronefs to finish for these two fleets” and he also has the better part of a Chinese fleet done, and a French fleet to paint.  Let the 19th Century steampunk skies be filled with flying warships!

All of these aerial pictures makes me wonder: can aeronefs drop bombs on each other and the general landscape as well?

Russian Poltava class dreadnought by John of Just Needs Varnish aerial view

It pleases me to continue with the fortresses that can fly and things with wings, so next up is a nicely painted succubus by Dave Stone of Wargames Terrain Workshop. I like those wings by the way with the veins and such.

Dave reports that his demon miniature is about 70mm or 2.75 inches in height, which puts it into the ogre-sized category. Demons come in all shapes and sizes, especially given many of them are shape shifters.

Next up is the prolific Azazel of Azazel’s Bitz Box. He finished quite a passel of miniatures for the challenge. Where to start? How about something with wings such as his Ashardalon the Red Dragon, which he painted with Contrast paints, from the Wrath of Ashardalon board game.

Ashardalon the red dragon by Azazel left front view

Makes me think my friends and I should paint the miniatures from the D&D board games we play, though we probably won’t.

We’ll end the current aerial theme (but not Azazel’s contributions to our challenge — there is much more to come!) with his crashed Aquila lander from the Warhammer 40K 4th edition starter set. I’ve seen a lot of these in games over the years and this one is very nicely done.

Azazel's Aquila lander 01

Azazel writes in his blog that I “was not quite so enthusiastic” about the idea of the Eagle lander being a miniature of magnitude when we talked about it a couple of months ago. I have mostly forgotten the conversation but apparently I was willing to be mollified so long as “there was some kind of giant monster smashing through it.”

Yes, that sounds like me all right. I’m not sure why I was previously unenthusiastic since the lander fits the challenge as much as, say, a Rhino APC would. Probably part of a now forgotten master plan to get Azazel to showcase some of his monsters, which I favor. It worked because he included a “Kaiju shot with not one, but TWO giant monsters …” as you see in the picture above. We even get smaller bonus monsters too and kind of a Nurgle meets Tyranids meets Lovecraft thing. It is great when a plan comes together!

The two larger monsters in question from the “Kaiju shot” are Mudgullet the Froghemoth and Goremaw the Devourer, both from the Reaper Bones line. I’m leave it to the reader’s perspicacity to determine which is which!

Going back to the Wrath of Ashardalon board game for a moment, I quite like Azazel’s Rage Drake. I think this one would be a whole lot more intimidating when it is plunked down on the board than the unpainted ones I’ve seen when I’ve played the game myself with friends. I particularly like the light stripes on the neck.

He’s also painted an Otyugh, also from Wrath of Ashardalon, which jumped (or perhaps burrowed is way past) the queue “because ‘need it for the game.'” I have a soft spot for this monster because of a rather strange dungeon I ran back in the early ’80’s, which heavily featured these creatures. I won’t say any more about it here because I don’t want to digress.**

These four (air, water, earth, and fire) elementals are from the Temple of Elemental Evil D&D boardgame. Yep, they are bigger than a standard ogre!

We’ll cast Plane Shift and leave the world of Dungeons & Dragons for Zombicide, where Azazel’s Abominations can be found. They are certainly both colorful and corrupt, which is just how we like our zombies.

He also painted an Orc Abomination too. This one comes from “Black Plague’s standalone expansion, Green Horde.”

Azazel has been doing a lot of experiments with Contrast Paint lately and has been mostly “emphasizing how things have gone well.” These Trun Hunters from the Shadows of Brimstone board game, are according to Azazel, are “an example of when Contrast Paints combine with bad models to create … something not good.”

I won’t comment except to say while they probably won’t win the 2021 Golden Demon, they are certainly table top quality and fine for board games, where (at least with my crowd) the figures are usually unpainted. So this green-skinned trio has us beat, board game-wise at least.

We’ll end Azazel’s challenge contribution on a sort of virenslithic happy note with the mighty Mossbeard the Treeman. We’ve saved the largest for last here: Azazel reports that this is “the largest model I’ve painted to date.” I like all of the grass, moss and such; it really adds a lot to the model. Many of the people, who commented on his post, think so too and they aren’t wrong! Here is a little slideshow of this most magnitudinous of ents.

Next up is Steve of Dreadaxe Games and his Word Bearers Rhino. Our friendly Chaos Lord’s goal with this new addition to his painted forced was to “keep it in line with everything that I liked about the Chaos Vehicles: the spiked top sections, the grumpy gunner, the variety of gruesome trophies, etc.” As you can see Steve’s APC has lots of suitable, heretical bling. I wonder if that doom caster he’s got will still make it harder for people to shoot overwatch in the coming 9th edition 40K rules? I hope so!

Mcmattila of mcmattilaminis painted Mollog, of Mollog’s Mob from Warhammer Underworlds. Colorful and as usual, his painting is very good. I think that his miniature pictures could be used as art on some of the miniature boxes or in the army books. They are that polished. I particularly like the big, squishy toad and the dorsal mushrooms are none too shabby either.

Argentbadger, of The Bovine Overlord, completed a Chaos Knight War Dog in “deep red in honour of the Blood God.” With the giant melta arm and another melta on its back, as well as a nasty-looking chainsword arm, I don’t think I’d want to be sitting in a tank watching this thing as it scuttles my way. I thought it was a nice touch that Argentbadger used the head from a Juggernaut of Khorne kit, which fits these things nicely, both in look and in the canine spirit of the name. Besides melta, this dog’s got some teeth!

We’ll close the painting challenge with a visit to the world of Blood Bowl where Faust of Double Down Dice has added another ogre to his burgeoning roster of malcontents, murderers, and gridiron mavens of mayhem.

His human team can field one of these guys as a special player. If they are anything like trolls, which Faust assures us they are, then they are easily confused and will often just stand around on the pitch and do nothing, but as he goes on to reassure us, “the strength of an Ogre is nothing to scoff at, when they decide to work with you.”

Thank you very much to everyone who participated in this June-July challenge. It took me awhile to keep this round-up posted and all I can say on that front is I spent the last couple of months in the dark prince’s court within the nacreous cloud spire atop his Eidolon of Indolence. It was time well spent and now I am feeling the whole blog and painting thing again. I hope everyone is doing well and as always, “Paint On!”

* John’s ships remind me of a show I used to love when I was teenager called Star Blazers, complete with flying battleship.

** Back around 1980 or ’81 I wrote up an adventure for my friends where the boss was a Xorn with magical spells and very high intelligence. Its upper level minions were a bunch of Otyugh. The secret entrance to the Xorn’s inner sanctum, which was the interior of a huge geode, was beneath one of their enormous crap piles (mostly the accumulation of waste from slaves) through which the Otyughs had burrowed an elaborate network of rooms and passageways. One of the players coined the title, “Dungeon of Dung,” which stuck, though I originally named it the Fane of Feces. Perhaps if one of these days I decide to run some D&D, I’ll dig out this old chestnut and see how it stands up to the march of decades and my older (but hopefully) wiser eyes. That was pretty long-winded for a “I won’t comment” comment.