Chest of Colors Arena miniature painting contest

We’re happy to announce a painting contest after a very long break. And when I say “very long”, I really mean it. The last contest we had here was in 2005, but if this one turns out to be popular – we’ll surely arrange more contests for you.

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Now to the meaty details!

Chest of Colors and Two Hour Wargames announce that the Chest of Colors Arena is open now! Every warrior from the lands of fantasy is invited to enter and try their skills in the deadly combat on our arena. Just like in the Red Sand Black Moon game from Two Hour Wargames.

So what’s the deal with Red Sand Black Moon?

Red Sand Black Moon is a game of fantasy gladiatorial combat that can be played with any miniatures, from any manufacturer, in any scale. Two miniatures will be enough – you don’t really need a whole army to start playing, and you can get the whole duel played in about half an hour. You can enter nearly any fantasy warrior from any race – so it can be a dark elf, a dwarf, a human, a demon, an ogre, a troll, an orc, a skeleton, or even serpent man! And if your fighter is a human, he can be a knight, a soldier, or even a peasant.

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If the word “gladiatorial” brought the image of ancient Roman gladiators to your mind, you will be surprised. Don’t be misled, RSBM fighters are not expected to be running an arena in loinclothes and fancy helmets, presenting their oiled bodies. Here it’s much more brutal – there’s no chance for mercy. You either win or die. RSBM combat is brutal, dirty and messy. These guys are expected to get all dirty, covered with gore and bleeding from multiple wounds. These are all-or-nothing fights!

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Think more along the lines of pit fighting, illegal bets and fights, and dark backstreet fights. Of course, some arenas will be huge and elegant, but many will be nothing more than small clearings where fighters meet to try their skills in deadly combat, to win favors of the crowd or… to lose their lives.

And why are you telling us about it all?

Because the subject of this contest is painting a RSBM gladiator!

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So go back to the previous section and re-read it. No, you won’t be painting a Roman gladiator. What this contest is about is painting fantasy warriors that represent these grizzled veterans of many a combat where no mercy is shown. These are not standard soldiers who need to obey some rules or to follow some smart strategies. These are brutal pit fighters, who risk their lives to earn a few coins by slaying one opponent after another.

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We want to impose only as few limits as necessary, so here are the rules:

  1. You need to be a registered member of Chest of Colors forum to enter your models. You don’t have to be registered now, only need to register before entering.
  2. The subject is “fantasy gladiators“. In doubt re-read the section about RSBM above, to make sure that you understand these are not Roman gladiators but more like fantasy pit fighters.
  3. An entry should be a single miniature in 25-32mm scale. Of course larger creatures like trolls or ogres will do, but only if the range of models they come from falls in the 25-32mm range.
  4. Bases need to be standard gaming bases – shape doesn’t matter: round, square or hexagonal bases will do, size up to 50mm (you don’t have to use the same size or shape that was supplied with the model). These models just need to be “playable”, and not attached to any kind of scenic bases or display plinths. Of course you can model these bases, and modeling them to look like an arena will surely be great. And remember – arena doesn’t have to be all sand like in Rome, it can be a village market, it can be a tavern floor, a dock or a real stone arena. Get the idea? Any place where organized fights can take place.
  5. There are no restrictions regarding weapons or armor in fantasy fights. These guys are not Roman gladiators, so use any combination of weapons and armor that you like.
  6. All models must be completely painted. Remember to make your models look like gladiators – wounds, gore, tattoos, individual style, trophies – these will not be out of place and will surely make your models look more “in theme”.
  7. You can only enter new paintjobs, painted especially for this contest. To prove that the model is new, please attach a photo of unpainted model held in front of the screen (computer, smartphone, whatever…) displaying this announcement. The model can be primed, but shouldn’t be painted. We will only use this photo to check if your model qualifies for the contest or not – it will not be included in the gallery.
  8. You can enter up to 3 entries. It’s up to you to decide if you prefer to focus on one model or to try your chances with a larger number of entries.
  9. Chest of Colors and Chest of Colors Painting Studio members can enter the contest and vote, but they cannot win the grand prize.
  10. You can enter your models until the end of September 26th (GMT). Models entered after this deadline will be disqualified.


Voting will be done by all participants and members of Chest of Colors and CofC Painting Studio. Whoever entered at least one model that was positively qualified for the contest, will be allowed to vote for the best model. Participants are not allowed to vote for their own entries.

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The model which collects the most votes will receive the grand prize.

If the winner is a Chest of Colors or Chest of Colors Painting Studio member, they are announced as the winner, but the grand prize goes to the next winner that is not a CofC member.

Voting will be open for one week. We are sure it’s enough to review all entries and to choose your favorite. While voting bear the theme in your minds.

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Now to the cool things:

The grand prize is a Red Sand Black Moon rulebook. You will already have one fighter painted, so why don’t you paint an opponent and try their luck in a RSBM match?

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In addition to the main prize, there are additional awards for random participants. These will be assigned by Two Hour Wargames to random participants, except for the main prize winner. Each entry entitles you to one chance to win such a prize. One participant can only win one such award though. So in case you win several such awards, one will be given to you and the additional ones to other random participants.


In case of any questions – ask them in comments below. We’ll do our best to answer them as soon as possible. Use your imagination and open your minds. Think about all these nice minis that can easily represent fantasy gladiators. For example doesn’t Grimgor Ironhide look like one?

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Submit your entry

UPDATE: We’re not accepting any more entries. You can see the entries we received in the Chest of Colors Arena gallery and voting post, and here’s the official winners announcement.

Enjoy the contest!

(PS – most images were used without permission and for hobby purposes alone. If you want your picture removed from this article – contact us about it, please.)

Lord Baron Mantes review (Smart Max)

Hi there!

I’d like to show you a Smart Max (SMOG, Victorian Fantasy) model I was commissioned to paint recently. It was Lord Baron Mantes from the Deluxe 50mm Miniatures series. At least that’s what was written on the box.

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It is a model of steampunk-genre, which I am fond of. I’ve already painted it, but let me first tell you few words about it.


I have to say the packaging is poor, very poor indeed. It is just a soft and thin box. The visual appearance is nice, but this box will not make for a good protection of a miniature. All parts were packed in the folic bag. The base was put inside the box separately.

The packaging gets the score of 2/10 (1 for the box – just because there is a box; and 1 for the bag – for the same reason as the box). No instruction was added. The model is not that complicated, though it would still be helpful to have some manual or catalogue photo during assembly.

So, what do we get…

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The whole set include 21 parts: 2 mechanical “sleeves”, head, body-can, cloak (kind of a tuxedo, actually), smoke, 2 mechanical hands, shoe, 2 flaps, 2 rotor blades, 2 parts with some pipes, wheel, part of an armour, odd spiral lolly pop to be attached to the hat and the base of course.

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Very uneven. I haven’t found much excessive flesh, though there were some lines to be filed. I found them mainly on these mechanical sleeves. Preparing them for paint was time consuming due to their shape. You can see it on photos below. Also, there were quite many holes and bubbles which required filling.
The main body has a few protruding elements and need to be treated with due care. My copy was slightly damaged – a piece of a collar was missing. I couldn’t find it in the box, so I assume it had been a manufacturing mistake. I had to repair this part by myself. One of the parts was covered by something that looked like a spilled resin. I had to cut this off to reveal one of the rivets.

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Oh well, let’s proceed.

Furthermore, some of the parts had pieces left after had been cut off from frames or inlet channels. Fortunately, these were not difficult to repair.

Those were the main drawbacks. Other details were so much better. The head is like not from this world! Face, goggles, teeth and nose, ears, metallic hat with rivets – PERFECT! It is definitely the best part of the set. The wheel is also cast perfectly. Can’t say anything bad about hands, flaps with rivets, smoke and other details either.

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Individual elements fit pretty well. There were not many gaps to be filled. The only real problem was the aforementioned damaged collar.

The base looks very good too. It’s thick, full; texture of the cobblestone is very nice. The base is made of a different material resembling marble.

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The final score

To conclude my Lord Baron Mantes review, let me say that the model is surely well cast, parts are clean and detailed, but there were few imperfections and damages (and that awful packaging). This decreases the overall score. Price is rather high, but if you can live with small defects the model will make for a nice piece in your collection.

Final score: 7/10.

Brom Hard Bark from Enigma Miniatures – Review

Welcome to yet another review of my recent purchases (not that recent at the time we publish this article). This time I’m sharing a Brom Hard Bark from Enigma Miniatures review.

First look

I decided to buy this model after thinking about it for a long time – Brom Hard Bark released by Enigma Miniatures under the catalogue code ENM5410.

It is a massive, heavy and very characterful model consisting of 7 elements (including 4 spikes on one tag): main body, two bats (longer and shorter version), plus round base. It was packed in a blister with printed insert showing the official paintjob.

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I liked the typical, enraged face expression and the model’s pose too, which basically means it made a good impression on me. The model is in 54mm scale, thus is quite big, even if you consider it is a dwarf.

The metal used for casting is of a good quality, with all details cast well. This especially applies to the face, which of course has a great impact on the overall impression.

The model is attached to the tag which may be cut off; there is also one piece of metal joining both elements.

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Any flaws?

Following thorough assessment I haven’t found any holes, uneven surfaces, signs of shifted molds or poorly cast details on the model. I haven’t found any mold lines either (apart from one on the back of the right leg), but these may become apparent after priming the miniature. There were few spots with excessive flash which should be very easy to remove.

Nevertheless, I’ve spotted few subtle mold lines at the whole length of weapons (including hands), which are typical for such details. They are quite visible, thus should be removed before painting. The same applies to spikes, which also require some preparation work.

The quality of details is good. Texture of wood, metal, hair – all of these make the Enigma model a top-shelf product. Separate pieces fit very well and all one has to do is to pin them before assembly.

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Some small imperfections should be removed easily and do not have a negative impact on my overall opinion, which is very positive. Enigma could have perhaps used a piece of foam to protect the miniature better in the blister. Not that any damages are probable in the plastic packaging. 🙂

Verdict about Brom Hard Bark

Sculpt and cast are very good. I believe it should be really fun to paint for everyone who will buy it. 🙂

— Slawol

Between the Lines – Episode 9

All gamers know that pain… New edition of their game… New armybook… New rules…

It happens from time to time. You know, companies do try to let some fresh air into their games. Or drain your wallet. Or both.

Anyway, here’s what happens when a new army is looming on the horizon (literally this time)

New Army

Between the lines #9: New Army

Many thanks to Malekith for letting me use his pictures. Please check his blog out, it’s cool.