Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Sixth Fortnight Theme Bonus Round: 'Favourite Character'

This bonus round theme asked the Challenger for a favourite character. I know this was a difficult theme for many of the participants, but nonetheless we've collected a wonderful assortment of personalities from history, graphic novels, games, movies, classic literature and their own fevered imaginations. 

As much as I enjoyed the models from each of the entries I must say I was more taken by the reasoning behind their selection. Childhood recollections of heroes or villains, early teenage affinities with a role model or simply characters that resonate with a time and place in our lives - all of the participants shared a bit of themselves with this theme.

So please take your time to tour the gallery, leave a comment and vote for your favourite entries using the sidebar app on the right. Enjoy!


I pondered for a few weeks trying to figure out what to paint for this round.  In the end I plumped for Aragorn.  As a teenager, reading the Lord of the Rings, Aragorn was a true heroic character.  His selflessness, courage, compassion and skill were all features that I found worthy of emulation, and in fact, influenced my development into the man I am today.  To this day, Aragorn is still one of my favourites.  Uncomplicated by any of the current fad for anti-heroes, he’s just a well developed character with widely admirable traits.  It seems fitting that Aragorn will take me above my challenge goal.

The model is a plastic GW model from the, really rather crappy, Mines of Moria, intro set.  This is the first model I’ve painted from the set.  By and large the detail is poor, with the exception of the face and some details on the jacket and leggings.  The face in particular really has a lot of character. 
The model was quick to paint up.  I didn’t use the movies as a guide, rather delving back to the images of my teenage mind as I read the books.  In general I prefer to paint according to the books rather than the movies.
Despite my affection for the character in the books and movies, I’ve never used Aragorn in a game.  He’s too expensive for my tastes.  Now that I have a painted model I might throw him down once or twice though, since he is a lot of fun to play. 


One of my favourite characters in literature is Uhtred of Bebbanburg, from Bernard Cornwell's wonderful Saxon series of books. I've been wanting to have a go at painting a figure of him for a while, so it's thanks to the painting challenge that I finally got off my arse and did it.

The three figures are all Gripping Beast 28mm plastics. The two up the back are unaltered Saxon Thegns, but I did a bit more work on Uhtred to evoke the way he is depicted in the books. Uhtred is a man caught between the two worlds of the Christian Saxons and the pagan Danes, so I started with a body and head from the Saxon Thegns box of figures, but gave him an arm from the Viking box. Uhtred is very fond of his arm rings, so he is wearing a couple here, although no doubt others on his upper arm under the mail shirt. He is holding his sword Serpent Breath, which is always described as having a simple, workman-like hilt, with his seax Wasp Sting on his belt. Uhtred likes to draw Serpent breath over his shoulder in the shield wall, so he is wearing his scabbard on his back. 


Most importantly, I turned the cross worn by the Uhtred figure into a hammer. I also used greenstuff to give him a row of hammers hanging all around the bottom of his mail shirt. Uhtred in the books likes to wear the hammers of worthy Danish foes so that he can meet them again in Valhalla. I also gave Uhtred some longer hair and beard with a bit of greenstuff. 

Uhtred's banner is the face of a snarling wolf, so I've painted my version of that on his shield. Finally, I splashed some blood around, including on Uhtred's face. Lots of blood in the books. Soooo much blood.

Anyway, hope you like him. The books really are worth a read.


For me this was not an easy decision as their are several characters that have made a name for themselves in history that have an appeal for me although they are often on the eventual losing side.

I chose this character after much thought and the whole piece is based on one of my favourite films to pass a few hours away. I present Maximus Decimus Meridius the fictional hero of the film Gladiator. I particularly enjoy the opening scenes in the Tuetoberg forest and therefore that is how I have chosen to portray him. Alongside Maximus is the Eastern Archer and his faithful wardog ready for the signal to Unleash HELL. 

These are a set from 1st Corps miniatures 28mm ranges


As with all the bonus rounds I was stumped yet again for what to do for this one! With the creatively and standard being so high in all rounds so far it's never easy making a choice! I toyed with the idea of doing an ImagiNation favourite character. I have some lined up for my 'country' but in the end I decided to go historical. 
Many years ago I picked up a copy of Voltaire's History Of Charles XII, King of Sweden. This planted the seed of several Great Northern War projects, none of which have ever got beyond lead purchase or a test figure! I've tried in 15mm, 6mm and even thought of 20mm plastic. However, for my ImagiNation I managed to acquire a large batch of Holger Eriksson Swedish figures. There are 30mm but fit in OK with my RSM and Minden. The figures are available from Tradition of London and Spencer Smith Miniatures but both ship from Sweden. They are lovely little figures and the horses are very elegant, something for which Mr Eriksson was renowned 
I had intended painting them as a sort of Colonial brigage in a grey/off white coat but I am getting round to the idea of actually painting them as Swedes! As I had their mounted Charles XII figure to hand I thought this would be a good choice for this round and a trial for the colour! I'm afraid the photos were a bit rushed but here with have Charles XII of Sweden:
I feel an order coming on for some Holger Eriksson Swedish Pikemen now!

For this round I chose Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, as played by Peter O'Toole and James Coco respectively, from the 1972 film, Man of La Mancha, as my favourite characters. Although soundly panned by the critics, this film was in important stepping stone in my young life. I first saw this film as I was going about the dangerous business of constructing a personal philosophy and the movies precepts remain with me to this day.
The film uses a common literary device to explore universal themes. It is a story within a story told by a narrator who may or may not be reliable. The character Miguel de Cervantes, whilst imprisoned during The Inquisition, seeks to answer questions of philosophy by creating a play about Don Quixote de la Mancha, a seemingly  mad knight errant. Both characters are portrayed by O'Toole. 
The films central theme resonated with me. It asked the question "Is it better to live in the world as it is, or as it should be?"  The answer may seem obvious. Choose reality. However, when ones reality consists of pain, misery and cruelty, can it be better to live in the world as it should be, rather than as it is? Don Quixote de la Mancha risks scorn and ridicule by living in the world as it should be. In a world without scruples, he conducts himself with honour.
Sancho Panza, played by James Coco is Cervante's manservant and Quixote's squire. Following Quixote from one improbable situation to the next, Sancho remains steadfast and loyal. When asked why he is willing to serve as squire to the mad knight errant, Panza answers with a simple, beautiful truth, "Because I like him."
Throughout the film, Sancho uses proverbs to make statements that are blindingly obvious and always funny.  One of my favourites occurs near the end of the film. When asked how he has been Panza compares himself to a pitcher and replies 'Whether the stone hits the pitcher or the pitcher hits the stone, it's going to be bad for the pitcher."
Like in the film, we today live in a world bereft of moral standards. It can be a dark place, it can be a lonely place, it can be a place of misery. I am no longer a child and there is no way to completely avoid reality. But when I paint, I use colours that are vibrant, that sing, that convey happiness. For when I paint, I paint the world not as it is, but as I wish it would be.
These are 32mm sculpts from Hell Dorado.  You may notice (how could you not), that the bases are melting in the last picture. 'Twas a dark day when I shot these photographs and I got the figures too close to the hot lights. Let's all pretend we don't see that, okay?


I use this 28mm Stonehaven metal as Herneas the Hunter in my Kings of War dwarf army.
However it's taken 'til now to finally get him painted. He has some awesome abilities in the game such as Vanguard which allows him a double move before turn 1. 
He Inspires Dwarf Ranger units and he is Stealthy so is hard to hit with counter shooting. He of course has a magic bow so  makes an excellent sniper. He is atop a rock from my garden and the Hog is a separate piece.


The favourite character round got me thinking hard again. In a way, I find it hard to name a real favourite character from history. Many choices went through my head, like the Black Duke from Brunswick or Blücher who both dedicated their all to see their home freed from the French. Or General Buford who’s decision to make a stand at Gettysburg made sure that the Union had the terrain to win. But in the end I always came to the point where I had to admit, that while I liked them (and many more) for their place in history none of them held an affection with me greater than their historical importance. So I thought about something else. 

As I said with a previous entry, I had been a great fan of Warzone when it came to the first two editions and jumped on board when Warzone Resurrection hit Kickstarter last year. It was the first proper tabletop game I played. So I looked that the characters from that game to choose from. My favorite faction had always been Bauhaus for their strong German looks, with the Pickelhauben and all. So it was kind of obvious that my favourite character came from that faction. And Max Steiner had to be my favourite. In a society ruled by aristocracy he came from a noble background, but was so unbureaucratic that he ended himself up before a court martial and had to pick the special forces as a way out and to redeem himself. And thinking back… in those days I was a teenager and what is there not to like for a teenager in a guy who wields a huge HMG and wears a scull mask in combat like all the Bauhaus special forces. Funny thing is, that this is actually the first time I ever painted a mini for him, since i never liked the previous minis.

This mini is virtually straight out of the box, but I had to make a few changes. The home world of Bauhaus is Venus. According to the background most of Venus landmass is covered by jungles. But the polar regions are cold and covered by snow and ice (at least in the more diverse back ground of the first and Resurrection Editions). Having painted my previous Bauhaus force for said Jungels (and assuming that virtually everyone else will do so) I decided to go for said colder regions. To depict that I added a hood with fur lining to the mini using green stuff. Small addition really, but i think it has a great effect. Accordingly I painted his clothing in a fictional snow camo. The body armour was painted in a bluish grey. This had always been the colour in the background art and I had loved the tone when I painted that 2nd Edtion army (long sold off). Only trouble was finding one that fit my tastes since I have switched from Enamels to Acrylics about a decade ago.


For my entry for the fortnight theme of Favourite Character, I thought I would look to history and stick in my overall WW1 theme.  Therefore I went with a heroic member of one of the Canadian Battalions that I have been working on.  My submission for hero is James Richardson ( of the CEF 16th Battalion. 
James (Jimmy) Cleland Richardson VC (25 November 1895 – 8/9 October 1916) was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
During the Battle of the Ancre Heights on 8 October 1916 at Regina Trench, Somme, France, the company was held up by very strong wire and came under intense fire. Piper Richardson, who had obtained permission to play the company 'over the top' strode up and down outside the wire playing his pipes, which so inspired the company that the wire was rushed and the position captured. Later the piper was detailed to take back a wounded comrade and some prisoners, but after proceeding some distance he insisted on turning back to recover his pipes which he had left behind. He was never seen again.
Richardson's remains were found in 1920 and he is buried at Adanac Military Cemetery, located 6 miles north-east of Albert, France (plot III, row F, grave 36).

While the figure is not exact to what James Richardson would have looked like, I liked the idea of going with a known piper for my Canadian Force for Through the Mud and the Blood.  Even if technically he is from a little later in the war than I am aiming to game in.  There is even a movie supposedly coming out on him (I say supposedly as I have been watching the site for a year with little news) found here: The Pipes of War .


As an equal opportunities evil genius I have submitted a "Fembot" as a favourite character. As you can see I have had great fun painting 'her'. As she makes such a change from the usual military types.

The figure is a 28mm Crooked Dice Miniature from their "Spy fy" Range. I have given her an alternative head. Part of the Dolly Bird Head sprue. Yeah Baby! For all you Cool Cats out there. But being an evil opportunity sort of genius I did not go for the usual blue eyed blonde bomb-shell. But decided on something more international/multi cultural. "
Maybe Curt's "Deckard" (Hero Bonus round) can put in a bit of overtime. Not likely, these girls come armed and dangerous.


Do you recognize them? Sure you do! It’s “Uthmog Elvenblade”, cover model for Warhammer Fantasy Battle first edition. 

I got him a few weeks ago from a seller in Germany, it was one of those impulse purchases… anyway, he was pretty grotty when he got here but a day or so in the Super Clean and a light scrub took care of the previous paintwork.

I’ve posed him with a skeleton buddy, just like on the cover - it’s an older plastic WHFB skeleton chopped around a bit with some greenstuff clothing.


"OK Pilgrim" , its time to "get off your horse and drink your milk".. its back to the Old West for the favourite character round. Non other than that great American icon of the western genre  "The Duke" himself.  This is again a 54mm Andrea Miniatures piece. They are truly a joy to paint.

Just about enough of these to plan a "little" game now I think..


Those who know me won't be surprised that my favourite characters are inspired by Saturday afternoons in my youth mis-spent watching old black and white movies. 

One of the greatest 'characters' among British character actors was Margaret Rutherford.  Though it's not my favourite role, she's perhaps best remembered as playing a comic Miss Marple, and it's in this guise that she's been immortalized in lead (here by Artizan Designs).  She inspires the lynch-pin of one of my pulp leagues but I'm only just getting around to painting her...
I've also included a canine companion for her - Algernon (it was going to be Agatha, but then I put my painting visor on!).  He's from Black Cat Miniatures.

My wife's favourite film is 'Casablanca'.  One of the many things that lifts it above the merely sentimental ('Is that the sound of canon-fire or is it the beating of my heart?') is the amoral character of Captain Renault.  
Here he is, again from Artizan...


This is obviously a 28mm Judge Dredd figure from Foundry bought at Blog-Con and I was going to try and get Loki to paint it in his traditional colours and not the colour he decided to choose ( the git is really a good painter by the way)...

...but the challenge beckoned and I painted him up for my submission to the favourite character round (I started reading 2000AD 35 years ago and still do when a mate is finished with his), I finished it and gave it to my friend who is a Dredd nut but I forgot to take some pictures and asked him to take some, received them and asked again, then asked again and we both forgot and he is now on the best picture later I could use and you have Judge Dredd one of my favourite characters!


I really struggled with the favourite character round as I don't really have one, I am sure this will produce some head slap moments as I see what others have come up with. In the end I went with something I had in hand and probably would never actually paint!!
Thrud The Barbarian, a staple of White Dwarfs comic strip for many a year and just one of the many variants that GW released.
Not a lot can be said about this guy and lets face it, it's not a difficult paint being mostly flesh. I did try for a far more muted flesh to try and get it a bit more normal, not sure I pulled it off but given the time I spent on the figure I can't complain.

The last image is of Thrud against the recently finished Viking for a size comparison.


Well folks this was the one fortnight challenge I was most looking forward to since this all began. Finally an excuse to paint what is one of my all time favourite characters. "The Dude" or "His Dudeness", "Duder" or "El Duderino" just don't call him "Mr. Lebowski. 
I picked him up along with several of his other "Little Urban Achievers" from a Kickstarter by Impact Miniatures, the first of many Kickstarters I ended up supporting. 

He's 28mm and based on one of the black cat wood floor bases I've used on earlier posts. He came with two options for his right hand either a carton of milk or a glass of his favourite beverage a "caucasian" aka a White Russian, I did both by using some uber small magnets. 
Of course I had to add a rug as well, it just really tied the base together.


What is there not to like about wizards, and I think it would be lots of fun to be one. With very little effort, and can think of many who I would like to zap with a spell! 
Anyway these are the last two figures from the GW Escape from Goblintown box. Really a great set of figures, beautifully cast and a lot of fun to paint.  
I have to admit I am very tempted to buy more GW LotR figures as they are just first class. No AP here, just layers and washes. 


Tough one this favourite character. I have many: History, Movies etc. But what to do for the Challenge. I wanted to do someone I admire, but also someone I would use in my games. I had already done the ECW commanders and both the leaders from the Crusades. The WotR are also done. I would have liked to have chosen Caesar for a future 20mm Caesarian army, but not yet, to much already on the go. 
I decided on AWI. This is going to be my next 15mm project. I recently purchased a few of the Lancashire Games battle packs with some separate commend. They are fairly cheap and are actually, really nice sculpts. Alan the Owner of LG also popped quite a few extra figures in for me, (very nice of him). So here is my Favorite Character from the AWI and my first paint for the period. A Lancashire Games 15mm George Washington command stand for Black Powder.
Now, George should not be alone, so a few extra figures on the base to complete his staff.  One holding his personal flag. 2 mounted, 2 foot.
Once again I have used the high contrast style for this smaller scale. This style is still in development but I recon I am nearly there and getting a lot faster. All I need to do now is get more time to paint.


Hi fellow Challenge folks.
I want to apologize for not being too "participatory" in this year's Challenge up till now, but I lost a good friend and long-time wargaming and role-playing buddy in September of 2013.  Tim and I would often work up grand plans for various gaming projects, and when he passed away, it really took the wind from my sails, painting-wise.  Lots of things on my painting desk are from projects Tim and I were planning, so it became difficult to look at those figures, let alone pick up a brush!
Time, however, does heal all wounds, as they say - and I'm slowly getting back to pushing paint around again.  I don't expect I'll make my Challenge points this year, but at least I will endeavor to climb out of the proverbial "Basement" to some degree!!
For the Fortnight Challenge, "Character," I have "Sgt Preston" and "Yukon King."
"Sgt Preston" is from the Bob Murch line of PULP figures.  "Yukon King" is a model my friend Tim had painted, and just goes so well with the "Sgt Preston" model!  I think "Yukon King" is one of the Husky models from the old RAFM Cthulhu line, the "Expedition to Antarctica" pack.

"Sgt Preston" is the iconic, Canadian R.C.M.P. Officer, so no options for creativity here!  And "Yukon King" is a Husky, and Tim certainly painted him to look the part!


My entry for the Favourite Character from History or Fiction bonus round is Tom Bombadil from JRR Tolkein's 'Lord of the Rings'. Tom is an enigmatic and powerful character that appears in the first book, rescuing the hobbits several times from dire peril. He's a complex and somewhat 'odd' character and as a result did not make it to the screen in Peter Jackson's adaption of the books. 
The origins of Tom Bombadil are very old indeed. "Eldest, that's what I am...Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn...he knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless — before the Dark Lord came from Outside." The suggestion is that he is one of the Maia, similar to the Istari (Wizards). He is known by the Elves as Iarwain Ben-adar ("Oldest and Fatherless" in Sindarin), and dwelt in the valley of the river Withywindle, east of the Shire.
The description of Tom in the books is a little vague but he himself says "Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow! Bright Blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow!" His great power is manifested through his words, either spoken or sung in stress-timed metre (7-beat lines broken into groups of 4 and 3) all of which makes him a unique and strange character that seems somehow deeply part of, yet detached from, Middle-Earth. No wonder then that Peter Jackson found it so hard to work Tom into his cinematic version of books!


My next entry for the "Favourite Character" bonus is a small vignette representing General Humbert during his expedition to Ireland in 1798, surrounded by his "Grognards" on the way to the "Races of Castlebar". He landed in County Mayo with about 1500 men, and then proceeded to tie down almost the whole British garrison in Ireland for 17 days, as he outmanoeuvred and out fought superior local militias and fencibles with a small group of hardened veterans from the Army of Italy.

After several engagements he was eventually blocked and surrounded by Cornwallis (of Yorktown fame) and his army of 15,000 infantry. This then became the Battle of Balinamuck, where he is defeated and surrenders. After several years in captivity he is exchanged back to France. Later in life, after emigrating to America, he fights again in the Battle of New Orleans in 1812 against the British. He ended his days as a school teacher in America. Anyway, an excellent character who fought a hard campaign against overwhelming odds.
The General Humbert figure is from Trent Miniatures, the marching infantry are from Front Rank. I hope you like then.

Finding a suitable set of figures for this themed bonus round proofed to be quite a challenge for me. I simply had no idea what figures to use as 'character' is quite open to interpretation.
Inspired by some wonderful entries using old/ older Citadel figures I initially wanted to go for the infamous"Schaeffer's last Chancers" from said company. After a quick search I found out they were already painted (unfortunately not to my standard nowadays) and I had run out of Turpentine. So I was in desperate need of an other idea. So it was already Wednesday evening when Inspiration finally struck and I found these three superb figures in my lead pile.

So you may ask what kind of character do they represent? To me there are two interpretations of the scene. First they're intended to represent the HQ for my German Great War army and therefore represent a kind of character figures of their own. And secondly I really like the effort Aly Morrison has put into these figures to give them character. The Ulan lieutenant in the back therefore is my favorite miniature of the whole range. His posture and gesture holding helmet and cigarette to me really reflects the spirit of the aristocratic Prussian officer corps.
With my German Army I decided to put a little more effort into the basing for the first time. As I previously didn't think the basing to be so important I was really surprised how much a well composed basing improves the overall look of the figures. Therefore I opted to recreate a little story with my command stand. I call this little vignette "Last orders from High Command" and imagine it to represent a despatch runner on the eve of "Operation Michael" delivering the latest orders to the frontline officers before the offensive commences . On the crates in the background you can see a map of the own and the enemy trenches as well as hand grenades already prepped for action. While photographing I discovered my cam having serious difficulties with black backgrounds.For the first time I intended to use a black cloth as background having seen the results some of you achieved.


I am Gladiator!   It's hard to believe that Ridley Scott's hugely impressive 'Gladiator', was released fourteen years ago.  It remains a wonderful achievement cinematically and a firm favourite of mine and so when deciding on a 'favourite character' for this bonus round, it was long before Maximus became the obvious choice.  Fortunately for me 'Crusader Miniatures' produce a fine range of 28mm gladiators including some rather splendid 'not' characters and it is these that form the basis of the entry.  In essence we have three 28mm gladiators (one prone) and a 28mm scale tigress (this was a DeeZee Miniature, available through North Star Military Figures.)

I wanted to set the scene a little rather than just submit the miniatures and so press-ganged another CD into service.  A few bits and pieces from 'Ainsty Castings', some foam core and a piece of chain all helped to create a little piece of the coliseum on which to recreate my battle. 

Hugely enjoyable fun, but throughout the whole process I couldn't help but hear Russell Crowe growling his immortal line, "My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."


When I painted the Swede a while back as a villain I knew I would submit Cullen Bohannon as the favourite   character. But when it comes to Old West characters there can be only one real favourite of course: Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez, known as the rat or il brutto. 

So I changed plans and decided on to do the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. So I looked through the pile of Old West figures and found out that the Artizan pack I once bought had The Ugly in it but The Good and The Bad were missing. Wrong figures in the pack :-( ..So it was back to Bohannon for the shout-out with Tuco.

Who do you think will win? Well, we will find out during our Old West game in May. Figures by Artizan and Great Escape.


Here’s my crack at “The Walk” scene from the Wild Bunch. My favorite character in the movies is “Dutch”, who was played by Ernest Borgnine. I’m pretty sure at one time or another Mr Borgnine was just about everybody’s favorite character in a movie. The figures are 36mm in scale and are manufactured by Oniria Miniatures. 
Usually I’m painting units, so focusing on individual foggers was a bit different for me. I found it fun but very difficult, especially the color matching. My painting was also impacted by some hand tremors I’m experiencing which come occasionally due to some issues I have with a pair of strokes 6 or so years ago. I would advise you to avoid the whole “stroke thing” if possible. Well, that’s enough whining from me.
Of course to set the mood, I did paint these figures while watching the Wild Bunch on my iPad. What a great movie and an exceptionally well chosen theme for this years Challenge.
I will say painting these figures has got me thinking about some “Old West” skirmish gaming, perhaps after Historicon this summer.
I see I missed Pike’s moustache - I’ll touch that up this weekend. Dutch is to the right
I like the “Lyle” figure the best of the group.
Lastly, here’s Tector Gorch, Lyle’s older brother.
On last shot of the group. Hmmm, I wonder what my Last Stand figure might be…..


So I'm back to the 40K Space Marines again, but only as a minor diversion for the bonus round.
This joker is one of my all time favourite models from the GW stable, a Techmarine with full servo-harness. He was quite a challenge to paint, not so much because it is a complicated model, but more because every time I thought I was done I found something else that needed doing. I suspect that might continue beyond the challenge as well! Plus there was the fact I really wanted this to come out how I envisioned it and inevitably when I think like that I get frustrated and things go astray.

I had originally intended to attach all the arms with neodymium magnets but in the end that proved impractical. The upper servo arms are simply too heavy for a magnet of the size that can be fitted into the joint so they were pinned in place. The lower arms have magnets fitted after drilling out though. This required some very careful work as fitting a 2mm width magnet into a socket drilled into a joint barely wider than 3mm wide is quite a task (but also reassuring as it means my 44 year old peepers are clearly still working well). At least with the lower arms removable it means he has a slimmer profile side to side for transport.

Painting-wise it follows the same pattern as the rest of the army. White enamel undercoat, followed by a series of layers building up depth with inks, washes and blending. In total it was about 13 hours but worth of effort every minute I think.


This is my Brit Para Platoon commander and he is by far my favourite member of the force.  A metal Warlord figure, he is clearly modelled on the iconic Major Frost portrayed so well by Sir Anthony Hopkins in 'A Bridge Too Far'.  

I just love that scene in the movie when the Paras are landing and he is blowing his hunting horn to rally his men and move out to capture the Arnhem bridge.  So to have a figure doing exactly that is a lot of fun!


Ok I am taking liberties with the term "Favourite Character", but then again I've not submitted a spider.  Research told me that minis of my favourite characters (the Dr, Mrs. Peel, the librarian from Discworld) were unobtainable, wouldn't arrive in time or cost an arm and a leg to get here.  Therefore I went to the lead pile to find a figure with Character, from a period with Character hoping to be inspired.
And what I inspired by - well I had this figure.  IIRC, it's a Wargames Illustrated freebie for subscribers and a casting of Prince Rupert by Mark Copplestone.  I am sure that the WI lore masters will correct me on this.  It's a figure that I think has a lot of character, as it should if it's meant to represent the uber-fop and alpha cavalier Rupert.
I've painted him as an officer in the Oxford Blues (later the Royal Horse Guards) circa 1685-1700, based on two illustrations in the Osprey book on the English Army 1660-1704.  This is an era with lots of character particularly for the English army - royal bastards, rival kings, father's being usurped by daughters and sons in laws and Scottish adventurers all vying for the throne at one time or another.
And why was I inspired to look at late 17th century cavalry uniforms?  You guessed it-  I blame Ray Roussell.  The budgie-smuggling, sandbagging badger himself. The man with the infectious enthusiasm of a Labrador retriever puppy in a kindergarten class and an obsessive compulsive need to paint every farking cavalry unit in the French army c 1689.
Thanks to Ray I've bought count them 3 sets of rules aimed at the lace wars in the last month (Beneath the Lily Banners I, Maurice and the Black Powder Last Argument of Kings supplement), plus I've spent far too much time looking at oh so pretty miniatures sold by various manufacturers.   On the plus side, my French and Indian War armies so their first table top action ever, after 15 years of existence, last night as we gave Maurice a try.

Ok have I represented a favourite character - well no.  But I've used a figure with a lot of character, painted for an era with a lot of character and inspired by a gamer with lots of character.   If you don't think that counts well PFFFFFFFFFTTT to you! 


One of my favourite series of books when growing up was Steven Erikson's 'Malazan Book of the Fallen', an epic fantasy series of increasingly weighty tomes. The first books in the series are quite excellent (as you may note from these well-thumbed copies), I really liked that Erikson ditches many of the fantasy cliches and throws you into a world that feels like it could exist. He skimps on the explanation too, so he first book passes in a haze of not quite understanding what is going on. I found they were best on second reading. Erikson doesn't just write good characters, but cultures and histories, perhaps understandable as I gather he is an archaeologist and anthropologist by trade. The books span thousands of years, though the 'present' is the age of the Malazan Empire, itself well packed with heroes and villains. 
The books have scores of dramatis personae and many I could have listed as favourites and found suitable minis for. I settled on one of the 'Bridgeburners', a hard-bitten infantry regiment of the Empire and favourite of the old emperor, whose members regularly feature in the series. The Bridgeburners are cast aside early in the series and purposefully decimated by a new Empress who holds them under suspicion. 
The Bridgeburners are packed with interesting characters: noble and heroic leader Whiskeyjack, the brooding assassin Kalam, enigmatic mage Quick Ben or raucous sappers Fiddler and Hedge among others. But I've just painted a nameless, ordinary member of the Bridgeburners, perhaps one of hundreds that was buried at the Siege of Pale. 
He uniform is conjecture: they are barely described in the book. But I think the mini captures the look of them I have in my head. He carries a stabbing sword, shield and heavy crossbow and wears the sigil of the Bridgeburners on his sleeve: perhaps unsurprisingly, a burning bridge. 
This is a 'heroic scale' mini from Rackham's Cadwollan range  - he's around 35mm tall. I did some conversion work to make him more like I imagine a Bridgeburner: a new, plain round shield to replace the ornate kite shield, trimming off some detailing on the scabbard and helm and sculpting the sigil on his sleeve. 


My Heroic figure is the first figure for my new project Donnybrook, no I haven’t finished my 15mm Nine Years War figures yet, so why am I starting another project you may ask, the simple answer and I’m sure most if not all will agree with the answer……....I’m an idiot! Sorry but  Shinybloodyitous got the better of me!
My heroic figure is none other than Lieutenant General Percy Kirke. The figure is a Warfare Miniature and came free with my first order. Percy will be my Hero Commander as I’ll try and defend Tangiers against a horde of Berber Tribesmen.
In 1666 Kirke obtained his first commission in the Lord Admiral's regiment, and subsequently served in the Blues. In 1673 he was with Monmouth at Maastricht and was present during two campaigns with Turenne on the Rhine.
In 1680 he was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel, and soon afterwards Colonel of the 2nd Tangier Regiment. In 1682 he became Governor of Tangier and Colonel of the Tangier Regiment. He distinguished himself greatly as governor, although he gave offence by the roughness of his manners and the wildness of his life.
On the evacuation of Tangier, Kirke's Lambs (so called from their badge) returned to England, and a year later their colonel served as a brigadier in Feversham's army. After Sedgemoor the rebels were treated with great severity; but the charges so often brought against the Lambs are now known to be exaggerated, though the regiment shared to the full in the ruthless hunting down of the fugitives. It is often stated that it formed Jeffreys' escort in the Bloody Assizes, but this is erroneous.
Kirke was considered by King Charles II as a candidate for governor of the Dominion of New England when it was in the planning stages in the early 1680s. King James II formalized the appointment, but withdrew the appointment over the controversies surrounding Kirke's role in the suppression of Monmouth's Rebellion.Brigadier Kirke took a notable part in the Glorious Revolution three years later, and William III promoted him. He commanded at the relief of Derry and made his last campaign in Flanders in 1691.


Buffalo Hump, Chief among the Comanche.
Buffalo Hump (born sometime in the 18th century, died 1870) was a chief of the Penateka band of the Comanche Indians. He was prominent in the Comanche Wars of the 1840s and 1850s, including the Great Raid on Austin in 1840, before retiring to a Comanche-Kiowa reservation near Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
The figures, mounted and on foot, are 28mms produced by Conquest Miniatures, and there's a LOT to love about the figure. The backwards duster, the umbrella, the facial expression. I intentionally chose a muted palate, using the Reaper Chestnut Gold triad for the duster, and their Blond Hair triad for the loincloth and moccasins, with the only real bit of color on the umbrella and a quick pattern on the horse blanket.
I've started to paint cartoon eyes on my horses. I know horse eyes are not white, but it gives them character and facial expressions they wouldn't have otherwise.
I'm especially proud of the bases. The cacti on the bases are from Dungeon Decor (now sadly out of business), and the bases themselves were Gale Force 9. I usually luse Litko or Warbases laser cut plywood, but decided to go with something different so that character/hero miniatures would stand out. The bases are also huge (40mm in diameter), so that I don't have Comanche look like dragoons charging boot to boot on the tabletop! The grass and rock tie it all together.

And, of course, the gratuitous Batman-esque butt shot!


Here are the Earp Brothers for the favourite character bonus figure round. There are some stories that just keep on working for you and the Gun Fight at the Ok Corral is one of them for me. There are many versions of this in film and Kevin Costner's has been used as the inspiration for both the figures and their painting shown here. The three miniatures are again from Artizan Design and have been a pleasure to paint. The funeral parlour dress reflects the film and I have varied the tones of the black to try and create some differences between each of the figures.

The single shots depict the following brothers as detailed below:
Pointing figure Wyatt Earp
Long Coat figure Virgil Earp

Gun at Ready Morgan Earp

The figures will see use in the near future as the leads in a Lawman gang for Dead Man's Hand. I hope you all like them. Now its back the Mycenaeans and the last rush for the last furlong so to speak.


For my favourite character I went with a flying Nurgle Daemon Prince. Being lured back into playing Fantasy Battle I went with Chaos as I still had some old minis from 6th edition that I hadn't sold when I quit playing. Nurgle has always been my favourite of the four chaos gods with his plentiful signs of love and fatherly image of 'Papa Nurgle'. 

I needed some epic character to lead my disease ridden troops to battle and what would be better for the task than a mighty Daemon Prince. I've never been too impressed by the GW style of Nurgle Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons with their Jabba the Hutt style physique, so I decided to convert myself something more befitting of my image of the heroes of Nurgle. I wanted to go with something resembling a man fused with an overgrown fly that is circling around the battlefield claiming bodies for experimenting with.

The conversion has parts from the Plague Drone, Daemon Prince and Chaos Spawn boxes with plentiful Green Stuff thrown in to fill in gaps and add detail where needed. Mostly painted with my trusty airbrush followed by a liberal application of washes to enhance detail and give the guy a gory feel. Finished of with GW's Blood for the Blood God and Nurgle's Rot effect paints. Normally I'm not a big fan of GW's paint line, but these two effect paints really work great. Might have gone a bit overboard with them on some parts, but I guess nothing kills like overkill.


Without further ado I give you Nar, also known as Nar the Plunderer. He comes to you from 1992 when my buddy Charlie and I began our Mighty Empires Campaign. The idea was that Orcs and Men had come to a critical mass and were about to fight a pitched battle for control of where they lived. The winner would found his capital and the loser would be forced to search the map until another capital hex was found.
I amassed a large force of cheap troops, Charlie a smaller force of quality troops. He chose to play Empire. Needless to say I lost the battle, but in the ensuing play by post (we hadn't yet discovered email) my territory greatly expanded. The background of my blog shows the map I made to commemorate it a few years ago. I hope to at some point revive this campaign, possibly as a play by blog or a la Talomir Tales.

Nar is supposed to be a Black Orc level 25 general. I have no clue as to who manufactured him anymore. He is white metal and 28mm scale. With so much metal on him I decided to try and make him interesting so I used Bolt Gun Metal, Bronze, Copper and Gold. The wash on him was 2 parts Burnt Umber and 1 part Black, I feel like it worked very well. His flesh color was Forest Green, with a drybrush of Hauser Med Green. I like how the fur cloak came out except the final dry brush may have muddied it too much. In my notes I found that he had a magic axe and runic armor. I tried to show this with my interpretation of an Arcane Circle on his shield. The symbol and the axe had a thin gold wash applied, but it doesn't seem to show and the varnish may have unset it on the shield design. I should have let it dry more.
Same basing technique. Bead of glue, airdry clay, texture gel, sand. After varnishing the flock and static grass were added.


I'm back from my holidays in France, where I managed to paint a bit. I just based this figure for the bonus round. And because I'm a cheaky bugger, it is also meant to be my challenge entry fee. So I think it might be one of the most rewarding mini ;)
If you can recall, I had already posted Hptmn Stransky, posing as a villain. Well, it was obvious Sgt Steiner would be a hero. And indeed he is one of my favourite movie characters: a battle-hardened veteran, who doesn't expect anything from anyone. Just doing his job to survive the atrocities and stupidity of the war on the Eastern Front. Betrayed, survived, and finally went into battle laughing... But at what? Stransky or the war?

Honestly, when you're 9, you're fascinated. And indeed James Coburn is one of my favourite actors. The mini is a former Chiltern miniatures, now SHQ. I had told Stransky was bad, but this Steiner doesn't look like Steiner at all. What's with the head? Ah well, I did my best, especially with the vest, which has 4 different layers. I'm trying more blending when painting 28mm.


Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC
Monty, as he was called by his troops later, was born on 17th November 1887 in Kensington, London. He was the fourth of nine children of his father, Reverend Henry Montgomery, and his wife Maud. After a colorful early life with a long stay in Tasmania where his father was bishop, Monty returned to England in 1897 and visited the King’s School in Canterbury and St. Paul’s School in London. Afterwards he attended the Royal Military College in Sandhurst and graduated in 1908. As second lieutenant he joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and served overseas.
When Word War One began Monty was first lieutenant and adjutant of the 1st Btl of his regiment and saw action during the very first battles of the war in Berlgium. During these days he received numerous injuries from enemy fire and was decorated with the DSO (Distinguished Service Order) for his gallant leadership. During the following years of war Monty climbed up the career ladder and in the end he was Staff Officer in the 47th Division.

Although he lost his temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel he stayed in the army after the war and commanded different battalions, served as Staff Officer again and spent some time as instructor at the Indian Army Staff College during the following years. In 1938 Monty was promoted major-general and took his first divisional command: In Palestine he commanded the 8th Infantry Division and ended an Arab revolt there.
But it was in World War Two that Monty gathered immortal fame. In August 1942 Monty took command of the 8th Army and competed against his famous opponent Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox. After a hard campaign and the decisive second battle of Alamein the British and American forces won Africa and prepared the liberation of Europe. This major operation began with the allied landings on Sicily which Monty planned and where he commanded the British forces. During the next months Monty took part of the further battles in Italia and started to prepare D-Day in early 1944. For Operation Overlord he commanded the 21st Army Group and worked in General Eisenhower’s Supreme Command. While the war turned to its final chapter Monty lead his army group through different battles and finally on 4th May 1945 he accepted the surrender of German forces in north-west Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
After the war Monty scrolled through different assignments. For example he commanded the British Army of the Rhine in Germany, was Chief of the Imperial General Staff and served as Staff Officer for the NATO. Aged 71 he retired in 1958 but stayed public with several appearances and with the publication of his memoires. Not all of his utterances were unquestionable. For example his attitudes about apartheid and some statements in his memoires caused discussion. In 1976 Bernard Law Montgomery died at his home Isington Mill near Alton.
Although Monty is a difficult personality with lots of rough edges he was one of Britain most important leaders of the 20th century. His military genius and his gallant way to lead his forces has been fascinating me for years. Despite his flaws and the few backstrokes he is one of my favourite military leaders of all time and so I proudly present him for this Painting Challenge bonus round.
The miniature is by Perry Miniatures. It was delivered as bonus for ordering three sets of plastic Desert Rats but I had the pleasure to receive it as a birthday present from a dear friend of mine last year. As usual I painted the figure with Vallejo Model Colours and used Armypainer Quickshade for shading it. This time I didn’t paint eyeballs or pupils because I liked Monty’s screwing up look. It gives me the impression of an experienced leader looking over the battlefield with rough wind in his face. The base is held in sand colours because I wanted to represent Monty in the moment of success over the Desert Fox after the Battle of Alamein.


Hänschen klein
Ging allein
In die weite Welt hinein.
Stock und Hut
Steht im gut,
Ist gar wohlgemut.
Aber Mutter weinet sehr,
Hat ja nun kein Hänschen mehr!
"Wünsch dir Glück!"
Sagt ihr Blick,
"Kehr' nur bald zurück!"
Obviously this guy isn't really Little Hans, but is in fact Unteroffizier Feldwebel Rolf Steiner. Or inspired by him anyway. For those who have never watched Cross of Iron, the song above is the first verse of a German children's song which is used for the opening and closing credits of the film.

Or here if you're outside North America check here.

It was a tough job to find the right figure for this. In the end I took a Warlord Games Waffen SS officer with MP38, cut off the front end and replaced it with the front end of a PPSh-41 from a plastic Russian infantry weapons sprue. The head was from one of the head packs (thankfully most of the Warlord Germans have separate heads).
I did have to do a bit of chopping away to reduce the amount of belt kit and filing to remove cross straps. I then added some green stuff to create the front of his jersey and a hood for the camo smock.

In case you haven't guessed, this is also my entry fee figure.


Jack Burton 
"Just remember what ol' Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big ol' storm right square in the eye and he says, "Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it."
Arriving just in time for the Favourite Character Fortnightly Theme Bonus Round - the "American Trucker" bonus figure given out to everyone that ordered the Fistful of Kung Fu Pre-Order Deal. 
"It's all in the reflexes..."
One of my all-time favourite characters, from one of my all-time favourite movies. 
"I know, there's a problem with your face."
Here's the "new" Jack with my "old" Jack - the "Burt Jackson - Trucker" figure from Rafm which I picked up and painted a few years back.
'When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."'
"New Jack" seems to have a bit more of a tan...? 

…and Curt

Like many of the Challengers I racked my mind trying to narrow my choices down to that 'perfect character'. Like many of the participants I'm a huge fan of film, books and graphic novels so I had many ideas of what I could possibly do but I seemed stymied as each idea didn't quite seem to grab me as a real 'favourite'. One night, a few weeks back, as I was drifting off to sleep I decided to organize my recollections of favourite characters along a timeline. So I thought of my childhood recollections of Gregory Peck's Ahab and Han Solo, meandered through my teenage fascination with Sgt. Steiner and Aragorn and then moved into my adult memories of favourite characters. It was there that a pair of personalities leapt forward in my mind. Two men whose lives intersected during the Napoleonic wars and became bonded through war, love and loyalty. No, not Richard Sharpe and Patrick Harper (though they certainly entered the pantheon of choices) but rather Patrick O'Brian's fabulous pairing of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin.

For those who have not read any of the Patrick O'Brian books I heartily recommend you treat yourself to one of the most fully realized worlds in english literature. The relationship between Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin is a wonderful study of friendship between two incredibly divergent characters who nonetheless share a fierce loyalty and tender affection for one another. The 2003 movie 'Master and Commander' is an excellent film which manages to touch upon the close relationship between these two men. A frequent refrain in the books is Stephen (the introspective Catalan/Irish physician, naturalist and intelligence agent) hounding Jack (the hot blooded Royal Navy captain, rake and blunderer) to allow him shore time to gather specimens of new flora and fauna. The two often clash but sometimes things work out and both men manage to spend time ashore which also allows O'Brian to have them to adventure in exotic far away lands.

Anyway, I needed to find two figures to represent these diverse men and was very fortunate to come across the perfect 28mm castings from the Napoleonic range offered by Brigade Games.

Jack, standing behind Stephen, is in his smart Royal Navy uniform denoting him as a Captain of at least 3 years seniority. His leggings are buff, not full dress white, as he would save the pristine white trousers for ceremonial occasions or for when he has business with the Admiralty. His bicorne is athwart-ships as is his penchant (being a fervent acolyte of Nelson who wore his the same) along with his blonde hair kept in a long, old fashioned queue. Perhaps the only thing I could ask of this figure is that it should be slightly more stout as Jack has a fondness of rich food and drink.

Stephen, sitting, sketching some distant subject, is in civilian dress with a sun hat and medium length frock coat. I have portrayed him in perhaps better clothes than he would be in the books as he is notorious for being very indifferent to his sartorial turnout. Nonetheless I thought I would make him a bit more natty for the occasion.  I have also given him blue tinted spectacles to help shield his eyes from the tropical sun (which are mentioned in several of the books). Also as refreshment I have given him (or to be correct, their manservant Killick has given him) a bottle of watered wine with a rustic goblet filled to the brim (these were made from rolled greenstuff).

In closing, I leave you with a great scene from the closing of the film where Jack (Russell Crowe) and Stephen (Paul Bettany) share some time playing music (Boccherini I believe) in Jack's cabin aboard HMS Surprise. 


  1. Very nice work, but I can not believe it, I sent the wrong photos. These were the uncropped ones!



    1. John, send me the images and I'll swap them in.

  2. Definitely my favourite round so far. Our personalities have come forth on this one and we are quite a varied lot.

    Well done people!

  3. Wonderful variety! A lot of interesting choices and splendid paint-jobs. This is going to be a hard round to call!

  4. JeremyM's "the Dude" just cracked me up! Well done!

    1. Thanks Tim, but good or bad you know "...that's just like your opinion man."

  5. Awesome work everyone. I had a laptop failure when I went to submit my entry. Freaked me right out but I managed to get it sent in time.

  6. Well done, indeed. A lot of careful work done on all of these.

  7. Cracking stuff people. Tim, I so very nearly jumped on that KS *just* to get the Jack Burton miniature.

    1. I have to admit it was a significant part of the decision to get in on the pre-order... that, and the fact that ordering it before January 1st it shipped FREE worldwide (saving something like $40CAD in shipping!?)

  8. Again, some amazing work by everybody.

    I look forward to a lot of the individual blog posts - with painting secrets to steal/copy.

  9. Well done everyone. So much good stuff.

  10. Great work everyone, plenty to see this time round

  11. Curt, I came back to vote and the poll is no longer here, but it was last night. How are we to place our votes?

    1. Hmm, I tested the site on several machines at work and my iPhone (with both Explorer and Chrome) and I can see the poll fine. Is anybody else having trouble?

    2. I also configured the survey to show the results of the voting after you vote. You may need to refresh your screen to see this.

    3. It's my computer Curt. I was able to get my vote in last night!

  12. Wow, some really amazing work folks! Very impressive!

  13. Some wonderful work here folks. I loved Miss Marple, but as he's one of my favourite characters, I only have three words to say. "The Dude Abides."

    Pip pip

  14. Excellent brush work and creative thoughts from everybody. Its been a hard round to call however, the votes have been cast. Cheers, Ross

  15. Again lots of excellent work here and very hard to vote for just 10! I'd vote for them all, but that would defeat the purpose! My three favorites and amoung the eleven I voted for( the Jamesion made me exceed!)
    Anne's Quixote and Panza beautiful models, excellent brushwork, and a surprisingly different colors! Really good work, Anne!
    Phil's Bridgeburner, I loved the books and he does look like I pictured a Malzan Marine to look like....I wish he had some cussers though! ;)
    SamuliS Demon prince of Nurgle makes me want tocheck to see if my shot record is up to date! Really nice work on a Papa Nurgle Son!