Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge V: March

First up for February was my entry fee or 'Curtgeld'. I pondered awhile potential antiheroes to send Curt for this year's challenge. I was initially tempted by Dirty Harry and few others from Kev White's excellent Hasslefree range, but nothing quite appealed. Those of you who followed last year's challenge will know that Curt and I share a love of Steven Erikson and Ian Esslemont's Malazan Books of the Fallen (MBotF), and epic series of fantasy books. Might these offer inspiration for suitable Curtgeld?

The MBoTF have an extensive list of Dramatis Personae, with many more antiheroes than true heroes. After lengthy consideration and searching for suitable models, I settled just a couple of weeks ago on Ben Adaephon Delat, better known as 'Quick Ben'.

When we first encounter him, Quick is a Squad Mage in the 9th squad of the infamous Bridgeburners, the grognards of Empress Laseen's Malazan Empire. Squad mages are petty magic users rather than the powerful members of the High Mage cadre, being capable of mere illusions and deceptions to aid their squad mates. Hailing from the Seven Cities continent, he is described as dark skinned, tall and lean. Erikson doesn't go in for much more description of characters than that, so I had some flexibility in choosing a suitable miniature!

Except Quick Ben isn't all that he seems, which becomes clear as the series progresses. He seems to know the most about what's going on, vanishes off on unspecified errands, turning up again at all critical junctures, usually with a solution to some problem or other and vague hints of what the heck is going on. It transpires that he was previously a High Priest of Rashan, or Darkness, before burning his vestments and adopting the warren of Meneas or Shadow as the source of his power. But that's just the start of it - there are plenty more reveals as the story progresses when Quick is concerned.

So why an Antihero? Well, the Bridgeburners are pretty heroic, particularly the noble but naive Ganoes Paran and the roundly respected Whiskeyjack. But there's a darker side to both Adaephon Ben Delat and Kalam Mekhar, the bearlike ex-Claw assassin and Quick's closest partner. To avoid spoilers I'll just reference the events of the pursuit across Raraku, the Holy Desert, and Quick's support for Kalam's mission regarding the Empress in Deadhouse Gates (my favourite of the series, by quite some way).

The cover art for Deadhouse Gates

This miniature, 'Karick-Dar, Apprentice' is from Australia-based Guild of Harmony miniatures. I'm not stoked by how he came out, it just didn't quite come together how I imagined. No fault of the mini, I just didn't quite nail the colour scheme and can't quite decide how I went wrong. I wanted to use a lot of grey, but in hindsight perhaps i should have bitten the bullet and done him in full greyscale in Curt's style. I also failed to find a suitable mini for Kalam Mekhar to pair him up with. Still, I hope Curt likes him 

Continuing the theme of single minis, next up was one where it did just 'fall together'. Tradition dictates that each Challenge, I make an offering at the Altar of Sarah, by finding a suitable female miniature to compete for the 'Sarah's Choice' award. Happily, Pulp adventuring has provided a rich seam to mine and I've done quite well in this little niche. This year I had this quite exquisite miniature from Hasslefree, "Madge".

With the months of the challenge nearly gone, the time came to promote her to the top of the painting queue. I was actually away in Wales at the time, but took a little hobby box along. The weather was pretty wet, which meant plenty of painting time, though the table I set up at was a little dingy in the evenings. She came together just how I'd imagined, you'll note I even brought out the tartan and flowery-headscarf-effect paints. Phew!

This Kev White sculpt is just so excellent. The tartan worked nicely (more tartan coming in my next post too - I'm on a roll!) and flowery headscarf pretty well too, though a bit more 'cheery tulips' than 'Cath Kidston'. I gave her a moorland base using some lavender flowers, which I really like but hadn't found a project to use on. She'll join the tack of misc Pulpy miniatures. 

Oh dear, two miniatures in a month's worth of challenge? Not great. For the final straight, I was working on what came to be a real bugbear - highlanders for the Sudan. I bought them ages ago and have had the prepped for a year, so the challenge offered an opportunity to have a crack at them. Unfortunately, it was a little too much to ask in the time I had. Still - they were nearly done - just three colours to go as of submission and coming together nicely. 

A fortnight later and they're finished up and will be posted up in all their angry-charging-Scots-in-tartan glory in the next few days. Oh, then I'll get on with the second half of the unit!


  1. Really enjoyed your entries in the challenge, Madge was a great piece


  2. The Mage is nice the queen shooting grouse is nice but those highlanders are a real treat .
    Regards Furphy .

  3. Fantastic, that Mage. Really useful with the new Fantasy ruleset from Osprey, I think.

    1. I'm Intruiged by North Star's Frostgrave myself...

  4. Some great entries Phil and who wouldn't love Madge!


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