Scenic & Squaddie September ’19: Community Painting Challenge

This next month we go dual-mode again, with the two parallell themes being completing “Squads” (units, teams, gangs, retinues, etc) and completing “Scenery” (aka terrain, which includes vignettes, diorama bases, and whatnot). Here comes the very interesting explanation/clarification bit:

Well, obviously a “Squad” (a term I’ve chosen this month for alliteration’s sake) is often a military term, and often means a unit of about 10 or so individuals. Since many of us are wargamers (at least in theory), something like the unit of Skeletons here is a wargamning unit, and so fits perfectly.

Though in the interests of flexibility, inclusion and achievability, the “squad” size we’ll be using is a minimum of three models. This lets many of those boardgame units also qualify.

Of course, not everyone is a gamer of any kind, so Hell, the models don’t even have to be a strict “unit” or squad. Figures from different forces, ranges, manufacturers. All good, as long as they fit together thematically.

Three also lets those bigger bastards be an achievable unit for something like this. I should take new photos of my Ogres sometime…

Vehicles? Tank Platoon and Panzer Zugs? Sure, why not? We will stick with the “three or more” minimum, though. But by the same token again, they don’t all need to be the exact model. If you can make ’em fit thematically, then I’ll go for it.

The other half of the challenge is simpler to define. Scenery. Big stuff? Sure. Naturally. Of course.

Scatter stuff? Why the hell not? We’ve got to get it into these challenges occasionally, right?

Boardgame stuff? Definately!

Emplaced weapons, tanks that are dug-in? You might think that they’re a grey area, but I’m 100% fine with calling them scenery or terrain, as that’s the sort of thing they’ll be used for in many situations.

Similarly, models of things like GW’s new “Endless Spells” are something I’m happy to include in this category, especially cos they don’t fit well into many of the others, aside from perhaps “Neglected Models”.

Besides, some spells are clearly also scenery.

All the usual caveats apply. I don’t care what scale your stuff is. 28mm, 6mm, 15mm, “Epic”, 54mm, Micro-armour. They’re your toys, and the objective here is simply to motivate me, you, us, to get more of them finished.

As always, the biggest distinction between this painting challenge and many others out there are that I only care about you completing these models. It’s not a “start-to-finish” challenge set during a single month, so regardless of whether you just missed out on finishing that diorama or tank this month, last month, or six months ago – or you’ve got stuff that you’ve been chipping away at for six months – or, indeed – if you’ve got models that have been shelved for months or even years, feel free to dig them out and join in.

Similarly, if you want to go start-to-finish, then feel free to go right ahead. It’s about completing cool things. The challenge is designed to easily fit into your (and my) painting schedule and be flexible enough to encompass quite a lot, and hopefully just act as a bit of an impetus or inspiration to get this stuff completed.

I WILL do a round-up of all the participants I’m aware of following the end of the month, though – so once again – please DO LINK to this post when you finish something that you want counted in the round-up – because I WILL forget your post otherwise. It happens every single month. And frankly, it’s a bit worse as I’m rather behind in getting the Community Round-Ups posted up and I unfortunately don’t see that improving until at least a couple more months.

Also, if you’re doing the Awesome August ’19 Community Painting Challenge, be sure and link your finished units over there. There’s still a solid week left to go!


Skaven Plague Censer Bearer Unit (Alex’ Tale-of-AoS-Gamers Challenge, Squad: March! ’19, Gender-Ambiguous Model Painting Challenge 19)

Skaven Plague Censer Bearers

And here’s the unit that goes with yesterday’s Skaven hero for the AoS challenge. As with the hero model, these models were absolute cunts to paint and really not fun at all. They’ve butted up against a ton of Neglected Model and Unit Challenge months over the past year, with no success. As I said in yesterday’s post, the fur+skin style is the opposite of enjoyable to paint, so I hope I don’t come across any more of this generation of metal skaven models in my box’o’skaven, even if I’m actually pretty satisfied with the final product.

Skaven Plague Censer Bearers

Fist-bump to Wudugast as well here – his relentless work in painting and sharing his own skaven has been the biggest thing causing the constant niggle to keep on trying to get these done. And finally(!) – I got there. Thanks for the inspiration, mate!

Skaven Plague Censer Bearers

Group shot to conclude! No more for Alex’ AoS challenge this month unfortunately (despite my best plans), and the Round-Ups will be delayed a little this month. More on that later, though. (I’m typing this on Saturday evening).

Monday Edit – Also, another couple of submissions for Monster March just need photographing, then they’ll be going up in the next couple of days!

Skaven Plague Censer Bearer Champion (Alex’ Tale-of-AoS-Gamers Challenge)

Skaven Plague Censer Bearer Champion

What? Who has gamer ADHD? Yeah, well… today’s model is one that’s been serially neglected for a couple of years since I got it with a batch of models off of eBay. I unfortunately found this model and the other skaven of a similar nature complete motherfuckers to paint. The semi-furred style that replaces Jes Goodwin’s fully-furred skaven, combined with a fuckload of details just made this style of Skaven a nightmare to paint. It scrubbed up pretty well in the end and I’m pretty happy with the final results, but it wasn’t an experience I enjoyed or wish to repeat anytime soon. Or ever, to be more blunt.

Skaven Plague Censer Bearer Champion

Anyway, because reasons I’ll go into later one way or another, I didn’t manage to get any of the other models I originally hoped to completed for the very cool concept of growing a few small AoS warbands. I have the next batch of dark elves primed, as they have been for a couple of weeks now – and the beastmans shaman still sits untouched since January, and the next few savage orcs have had a small amount done to them, but we’ll have to see how April pans out. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things.

Savage Orc Boyz #1 (Neglected Model February + #Squaduary + Alex’ Tale-of-AoS-Gamers Challenge)

Savage Orcs, Savage Orruks, Bonesplitters, Oldhammer, Midhammer

Here’s my next few Savage Orcs. They’re a mix of the Alan Perry Orc models from ’95-96 and then the later batch released in ’98 – though to be honest they were probably all sculpted around the same time by the look of them. I’ve (naturally) got a whole lot more of them to get to and through, but these at least are now finished. The shields are taken from the current range of Savage Orcs/Orruks and with a tiny bit of cutting and drilling have been made to fit these older models. Being from the mid-late 90’s they’re not considered “real” “Oldhammer”, but being 20 years old, they’re still far from new!

Savage Orcs, Savage Orruks, Bonesplitters, Oldhammer, Midhammer

Obviously and firstly, they’re Neglected Models. They’ve been sitting, basecoated (badly, by someone else) in a Chessex case since the early 2000s at best until very recently, when they got taken out of there and basically redone from scratch – including new bases – simply using the old basecoat as a coloured undercoat because if I stripped them, I’d never get around to painting them. Secondly, they’re a small unit that I managed to actually complete – and so Squaduary – because why not?

Savage Orcs, Savage Orruks, Bonesplitters, Oldhammer, Midhammer

And thirdly, Alex (of Leadbaloony) has a small challenge-type thing of his own. Well, a couple of them, but these Orcs aren’t here for Fembruary.

So I’ve decided to attempt to jump on board with Alex’ Tale-of-AoS-Gamers challenge, but as with all of these things that aren’t my own, I’ve had to bend and bastardise the rules to make it fit me, but them’s the breaks!

The ‘rules’ of the project are as follows:

Build & paint 100ish ‘renown’ points in Feb (to include our Generals), and 25ish renown per month thereafter, up to 250 pts. This should equate to a manageable 3ish minis per month.

I’m going to use the Shieldwolf Mountain Orc hero that I painted only last month as my hero for the Bonesplitterz/Savage Orcs. He would count as a Savage Big Boss at 120pts, but that’s the closest that particular faction allows for a melee hero.

So for this month, instead I’m going to add to that 5 Savage Boyz @12pts ea = 60pts

I’m also tried to do something similar with a second force that has only a couple of models done – but I failed to get the hero model done. We’ll see if I can catch up next month. There’s also a third faction, that I might actually be able to swing (again, with minor cheats) if I stop typing and get back to painting…

The warband must be from a faction we don’t currently collect. Ross and I chose the faction for each other, with me getting Daughters of Khaine, and Ross getting Sylvaneth

Given that I had only that one Savage Orc painted, and only three “troop” models from that second faction, I’m going to call it “close enough” on both, here.

Set in a common realm, (realm tbd), based & modelled accordingly

I’ll be using my standard basing – keeps them consistent with the rest of my fantasy collection. Though to be fair, I probably won’t be playing against Alex, Ross or Wudugast anytime soon, so it doesn’t really matter here

Push the modelling & painting – AoS28 style, crazy conversions, grim-dark, etc.

Uh…. maybe not with the modelling, outside of duplicate models. I’m very loathe to cut up non-duplicate old classic metals after all – especially unless it’s going to be necessary to represent something special. Paint on the other hand.. I’m keen to continue the body paint of my orcs, and maybe see if I can find something interesting to do with the others with the brush.

Lowest cost possible – beg/borrow/steal, freebees, scratch build, re-use, etc.

Dipping into my existing collection of unpainted and neglected models here is a given.

Narrative rather than competitive warbands – named characters, backstories, etc.

I’m not really one for writing background fiction for my models, though I do often name heroes and units – and more importantly go for models that are background-friendly as well as fun and interesting to paint over “competitive”.

Savage Orcs, Savage Orruks, Bonesplitters, Oldhammer, Midhammer, Shieldwolf.

And here they are. So far.

Squad: March! + Gender-Ambiguous Model Painting Challenge 2019

Ok, we’ll go with the second one first, because a lot of you are probably thinking something along the lines of “What the actual fuck?” I’ll explain:

Since my father’s been in hospital a lot recently, and we’ve had to be constantly calling the place and visiting him daily when he’s in there and now rather frequently that he’s out, I (rather unsurprisingly) haven’t been able to concentrate fully on things like painting models or actively blogging. So over the last few weeks I’ve been working a lot more on simpler things, like terrain (Feb challenge, at least) rather than more intricate models for the most part, that would fit into things like Fembruary, Squaduary, or Alex’ AoS Tale-of-Gamers thingy. (Though I’m getting close on some of those, finally!)

So one of the things I’ve been working on have been the Werewolves from Shadows of Brimstone. While working on them, I considered submitting them for the Fembruary challenge, since they’re gender-ambiguous if you actually look at these models (no bulging pecs, nor any wolf-cleavage) Of course, “female werewolves” in this hobby typically look like the female Wolfen from Confrontation, since a lot of people need those visual markers (wolf boobies!) and everything else they just assume to be male. Since my similar submission of some Plaguebearers last year wasn’t exactly considered fully kosher, I put the idea aside.

Then, a little over a week ago, I was painting more of the werewolves, and also noticed that I was also working on some other simple figures – some beavers, some droids and some mummies. I then realised that these models all share one similarity. They’re all effectively gender-ambiguous or genderless. After all, women were also mummified back in the day, so I don’t think the lack of boobs or long flowing hair on these emaciated undead figures means much. The werewolves? Well, there’s no visible “coin purse” located on the back end of them. Beavers? They’re small furry critters. Droids? Well… robots.

I mean, theoretically, these could all be submitted for “Fembruary” (well, perhaps not the droids). Though that might be taking that point a bit too far. But then I got to thinking….

We’ve had dual-mode months so far for January and February. Why not add in March as well? My planned challenge was for squads – Squad: March!, as we had last year. Why not throw in a second option as well for these models? What with all of the backlash about female models lately – why not do a little something that makes people question their perceptions that almost all of their models are male?

So – aside from Squads, this month is also for models that have an unknown gender, an ambiguous gender, an asexual gender, models that are androgynous, or those with no gender.

Pictured: Low-hanging fruit.

But.. “What kind of model qualifies for this?”, I hear almost no-one ask. I’m glad that you asked!
Well, to start with, forget any ideas about it only being about Daemonettes and champions of Slaanesh, because while they do qualify, they’re also the low-hanging fruit of this exercise.

Just look at the models that you might have in your collection, take out the ones that are obviously male, and then take a look at the ones that people just usually assume are male. Heavily-armoured and especially the closed-helmeted models, both fantasy and sci-fi, but particularly the sci-fi ones. Could there be a dude OR a chick in there? Then that works.

Let’s turn for a moment towards animals. Now some (like lions) will have obvious physical markers, and some models might have a sculpted scrotum. Others (especially horses, but also cats and dogs and such) could be either. Take this to the next tier, and all manner of fantasy creatures, mounts and monsters could be either.

Now I’m going to go Warhammer for a minute and look at some specifics there:
Daemons – aside from Slaanesh – is that Plaguebearer a boy or a girl? What about that Pink Horror? Of course, some are distinctly “male” in their daemonic physiology – such as various Bloodthisters and Bloodletters and Lords of Change through the years, but then the point here is to think about the Fleshhounds and the Beasts and the Juggernauts. You might consider some could be male or female, and others might be completely genderless.

Hot Dude or Sexy Babe under those robes? Your guess is as good as mine! (but probably neither hot or sexy!)

The Adeptus Mechanicus as pretty much an entire faction – Priests & Magi of all tiers, Skitarii, Sicarians, Securarii, Secutors – not to mention the actual battle-servitors or robots!

Of course, the recent Star Wars film “Solo” introduced the concept of droids with “Female” personalities. Of course, that same film had Lando banging his female droid, so I’m happy to entertain the former (while /facepalming at the terrible execution), but also look at things like Astromech droids as genderless and consider units like Imperial War Droids to be solely concerned with their important and rewarding jobs of killing and oppressing than being droid-bros down at the droid-gym. (droid-fistbump!) Hell, the recent-er films have shown Stormtroopers of both genders under that armour, and they look identical with their lids on. (By the way, if you can’t handle girls in your Star Wars and think I’m part of some new Millennial PC agenda, feel free to fuck off elsewhere! #SWfansince77 )

For “Squads”, we’re not all playing Warhammer of whatever type here – so I’m happy for a “Squad” to be made of three or more models of a similar type – and yes – that also includes tank and vehicle platoons of three or more. And if you look at the models in most of the photos above – most of them fit neatly into both categories…

That’s pretty much it. If you might be interested, you’ve got a little under a week for thinking about it before the challenge starts – though if you’re keen there’s also no reason you can’t be working on your models. Because it’s only about completing models in March! 😉

Oh, and I’ll throw some more examples below so you can see just how broad a challenge option it is – if you just think about it.

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape (January Terrain 2019)

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

Today we have a terrain piece that I picked up back in 2014, though the piece dates back to (at least) 2009. My reasons for getting it were no doubt tied to the triad of having recently (at the time) purchased my own home, the price (a surprisingly cheap AU$30.75 from my local GW source) and the fact that it looked pretty simple, so it should be a doddle to paint up quickly, right?

I lost that skull & crossbones sign long ago!

Well, we all know how well that last point goes, all too often. So long story short, it’s been sitting a corner of the War Room for several years, trees assembled, side hatch glued on, both top hatched glued on and broken off due to flimsy design, and sprayed a lovely shade of gloss brown.

Sprue Shot taken from 2009 review on Johns Toy Soldiers Blog.

So getting this thing done, along with quite a few similar projects was part of the impetus of January being Terrain Month (I’ll probably repeat it next year as well – so bloody many terrain kits to assemble and paint!)

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

My personal brief, from way back in 2014, was to paint the kit in a generic enough way so that it could be used regardless of which forces were fighting over the tabletop. This immediately meant that the Rhino needed to be painted as a burnt-out husk, so as to avoid being in the livery of any particular force. The same applied to the bits of Space Marine scattered around the piece (a couple of helmets, a backpack, a bolter).

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

So I did what I do now – look up a ton of reference pictures. I wanted the trees to look like the husks that are left after a bushfire, so an ashy grey. That also meant that I needed to make the dirt on the ground look suitably ashen. One of my reference pictures showed an AFV that had been destroyed in Ukraine, and it was severely rusted out. I thought it looked pretty effective, so I now had a new direction for my Rhino husk. Burnt out, and then rusted over time.

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

Given that the Rhino now had been there for long enough to rust out, this meant that a decent amount of time had passed since whatever explosive/shelling incident had caused this terrain piece to become. So this meant the additional of a subtly small addition to the entire piece. Spots of new growth. Again, reference photos provided the inspiration.

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

Unfortunately, the matte varnish has left a bit of a sheen that comes up in photography – especially with the extra lights turned on the table. It’s not quite as bad in person. But before all of those finer details, the first thing I needed to do was to finally complete the build, by filling that gaping hole to the tabletop left inside the rhino, between the hatches.

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

I’d tossed up various ideas to fill it over the years, and my best option was to mount the whole piece onto an MDF placemat, though it wasn’t quite large enough to have the whole, oddly-shaped piece fit. There was still a bit of overhang. Luckily Krautscientist’s recent WIP post on the Crashed Aquila Lander and a deceptively simple solution to that piece’s gaping hole to the tabletop (apparently a common issue with their kits of that vintage) provided me with inspiration on doing the same to my own long-neglected one of the same kit. After doing that (hopefully to be painted soon!) I immediately decided to do the same, simple trick to this model using some textured “small tile” plasticard for visual interest.

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

It was a little trickier due to the lack of contact points underneath – there’s a lot of plastic cement, greenstuff and superglue underneath, and the floor isn’t parallel to the roof – but it works.

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

Now, finally the kit is complete. Now, could I have spruced the thing up by adding additional details and such? Of course! But since that’s always the case, these things become a bit of a triage situation, where you need to weigh up whether it’s worth the time to do so. And I’ve got SO many more terrain kits to take on that I’m happy to finally call this one done and dusted!

Reaper Bones 80035: Dumpster & 80034: Weapons Locker (Part 1) (January Terrain 2019)

Reaper Bones 80035: Dumpster & Reaper Bones 80034: Weapons Locker

More terrain today – though these have been on the go for months in a neglected sprayed-silver state. I could have finished these next month for the Neglected Models challenge, but I wanted to get them done this month for Terrain Month. We’ve got a pair of Reaper Bones models in a harder plastic – one Dumpster and also two Weapons Lockers.

I tried a different method for the chipped paint for these – I have (had, soon!) a little bottle of Vallejo Masking Fluid, so I added bits of that to the silver (after a gloss spray again) before going over it with the dappled greens and browns. Unfortunately, as I rubbed it off, it left a horrible sticky mess and was shitful to work with, so I’ll be disposing of this bottle. I might try it again with a freshly purchased on and see how it goes.

I’ve got another two “Weapons Lockers” and two more dumpsters, though I’ll be doing them in a couple of different colours, and they’re nowhere near finished yet – and as these ones are done, you can see them now!

For a bit of a laugh, the size comparison pic has some Dark Angels Marines posing while the whole lot is on a green background. Fairly nice bits of terrain, but that’s one fucking HUGE dumpster compared to every one I’ve seen in my own life…