Here's my belated wrap-up on what I managed to get painted during the Seventh Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, running December 2016 through to March 2017. A staple of my hobby calendar, there was no way I'd miss it despite knowing early 2017 was going to become quite different in my household, with a baby due to arrive! As expected, it was a fairly subdued showing for me, largely because of the little one, but also with a good share of my time for hobbies being taken up with a couple of regular board games nights. Still, the Challenge remained a highlight of my miniature gaming year, and it was awesome to balance out my own lack of output by getting involved with minion duties - shout out to the Friday crew fort all their awesome work.
I started out with some SCW, a project I've been plugging away at for some time. I seem to still have a sizeable lead pile for it, but pretty soon after the challenge opened I got cracking on my last few Carlist Requetes, though they were only entered just in time for the Challenge Cut.
Painted to match my other Requetes, the rather colourful and impressive flag is from Flags of War.
For the 'Terrain: Home' Theme Round, I represented the senseless destruction of life and property that has been a part of conflict throughout the ages, with a Mediterranean farmhouse destroyed in the the fighting. Once someone's home, reduced to a burned-out shell. Intended for the SCW, a reflection of the a violent repression unleashed against civilians in both the Nationalists and Republican zones, as the antagonists sought to root out suspected enemy sympathisers or "Fifth Columnists" or take revenge for perceived injustices.
It is a Timeline Miniatures ruined farmhouse kit, to which I added rubble, texture and detailing.
My third entry was for a Theme round again: this time 'West'. I stretched the theme round definition and submitted two wonderfully characterful sculpts are from Statuesque Miniatures' Pulp Alley range. The gentleman, I named Commander Hector West, US Naval Officer (retired), decorated veteran of the Great War and joined by an associate, Camila Valentina Lopez, a beautiful but deadly bounty hunter.
Then, oh gosh, another theme round: 'Characters or scene from...' For this, I was working on a few miniatures from the 'Marvel Universe Miniatures Game' by Knight Models. The Marvel characters nail almost every category in this Theme Round: they feature in a gamut of Movies, Comic Books and TV Shows, a bastion of Western popular culture for decades (perhaps not 'piece of music', though). Perfect for me too: few miniatures to paint, and lots of variety to keep me interested. And for (the now-discontinued *grumble*) MUMG, I'd chosen the X-Men Faction, a major reason being the 90's animated TV series that I grew up with, and loved. I really should watch it again, to see how it's aged.
So I did want paint a whole team of X-Men for this Theme Round, hoping even for all seven that I'd picked up from Knight: Wolverine, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Gambit, Colossus, Jean Grey and Cyclops.
But disaster: I hit my whole set of these Knight Models with an can of old spray primer, which 'gritted' really badly. This really set me back, and led to some weeks in February was spent stripping them back, then re-prepping and basing them. But I got them sprayed back up and Scott Summers, aka Cyclops painted: their leader and Professor Xavier's right-hand man.
And finally, just towards the end of the Challenge I contributed my Curtgeld. For this, I had a huge amount of help from IainW, who put a shout-out for someone to collaborate on a diorama with. Iain had both the miniatures and a cunning plan.
The Battle of Marignano pitted the young King Francis I of France against the Swiss Confederacy during the Italian Wars, and resulted in a decisive French victory, establishing the dominance of French Gendarmes and artillery over the Swiss phalanx tactics. In celebration, Francis requested he be knighted on the battlefield, by the Chevalier Bayard. Iain had suitable miniatures for both the King and Chevalier.
Chevalier Bayard, real name Pierre Terrail (1473 - 1524) seems like one of those larger than life figures of history, known as the "knight beyond fear and reproach", though he apparently preferred just "the good knight". He was considered the epitome of chivalry and most skillful commanders of the age. He boasts some rather excessive headwear and fashionable mustard leggings.
IainW painted King Francis himself. Here they are based together, having been dispatched over the pond to join Curt's Italian Wars collection.
So by a long way my lowest challenge output yet, just a handful of miniatures. But, I had anticipated a small tally and set a low target, and judicious use of the theme rounds meant that I managed to hit my 200 points in the closing week.
If anything, I've fallen deeper into a miniatures hobby lull in the months since, barely picking up a brush and seemingly little able to motivate me. That doesn't feel like a problem to me at the moment. Instead, I've been leaning pretty heavily into a multitude of board games and card games, more social than just sitting upstairs painting and very much more accessible both in terms of access to people to game with, and requiring less time and focus away from the table.
But, I've been a miniature gamer for so many years, I've no doubt that I'll just take this little hiatus, but be back at it when I find something to inspire me. I do have the rather excellent Operation Market Larden event coming up this weekend, where I get to enjoy some frankly stunning looking games using my favourite rulesets, which might get the creative juices flowing!