Monday, February 8, 2016

Popping smoke

I

Despite Mrs. Kinchs best efforts she has not managed to ban toy soldiers from the bedroom entirely.  I nodded off during dinner this evening - so Mrs Kinch declared an early night and very right she was too. 

Before I nodded off again, I did a job on two resin smoke plumes. These will be used as markers in Black Ops games. A coat of goblin green highlighted with pure yellow did the trick. 

Having reflected in it - I think making more Indian lancers would be an unnecessary diversion of effort.  Definitely no more of those. An unnecessary frippery that would only serve as a distraction to a serious minded fellow like myself. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Indian lancer


The Finished Product

I finally finished this chap a little while ago after adding a green stuff beard.  I am sickeningly pleased with him.  The finish is deliberately simple to fit with the toy soldier aesthetic. 


A work in progress shot

One thing I learned while painting this chap is that with large scale figures, one needs to take ones time and do two coats. The coverage can be quite patchy otherwise. 




A certain amount of tongue poking was required to paint the lines on the turban, which took two goes. The bamboo lines on the lance took a little bit of work to get right too.  

The beard doesn't look too bad though.



I had to be quite careful with the varnish on this chap, as it tended to pool rather spectacularly and I had to quickly dab the excess varnish away.  I'm very happy with the results. 

This chap is patrolling the book shelves in the library and keeping the peace between modern fiction and Cold War history.  



Sunday, January 31, 2016

The March to Kandahar


The March to Kandahar: Roberts in Afghanistan by Rodney Atwood is handsome perfect bound paperback of about 200 pages. In it the author describes the part played by Lord Frederick Roberts (famous from Kiplings poem "Bobs") in the Second Afghan War of 1878-80. The book begins with a brief summary of of the First Afghan War, the Indian Mutiny and the internecine struggles of the Afghan court prior to the war and continues with an outline of events prior to Roberts arrival.  Where the book really hits its stride is in giving a pen picture of Roberts contradictory but often admirable character and in describing the desperate nature of the fighting in Afghanistan. The result is an approachable history which is accessible to the layman.  Atwood also grapples with the thorny problem summary executions which dogged Roberts Afghan expedition and the opprobrium those attracted in the British press.

I did not come away with a definite understanding of where the author stood on this point, though he seemed to state the case fairly for both sites.

The author style is light and readable, combining the clarity of non-fiction with a novelists eye for detail and character.  

Lastly, the maps provided are clear and have sufficient detail to allow the reader to follow the narrative scattered as it is with unfamiliar names and geography.  I found it easier to follow the written account of battles by sketching the main features of the map on paper as I read. It saved me constantly flicking back and forth.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it to any newcomer to the subject.  


Friday, January 29, 2016

Somewhere in the Ardennes

Somewhere in the Ardennes
(click to embiggen)

One of our local hostelries has a small alcove squirrelsd away on the way to the smoking area. In it, you will occasionally find small diorama. The most recent addition is this impressive piece of Second World War work, set sometime around around the Battle of the Bulge.



Royal Tiger & crew
(click to embiggen)

The figures are in 1/32 scale I reckon, but I wouldn't hazard a guess as to the manufacturers.


SS troops leading American prisoners away
(click to embiggen)

The whole set up is about 18" x 18" and I have done my best to try to capture the look of the thing albeit with a camera phone and poor lighting. They don't show up too badly despite having been taken through glass. 

German motorcyclist with sidecar
(click to embiggen)

The previous  diorama was made up of Prince August Romans in 28 mm and I am kicking myself I did not get a picture at the time.

Another angle 
(click to embiggen)

This is another of the idiosyncrasies that make this particular pub appeal to me so much. I really must find out who did the work and find out what we can look forward to in the future.  






Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Let us now praise famous blogs II - Maiwand Day




There's a one-column brown blog
To the north of Kathmandu;
There's a little marble cross below the town;
And a brokenhearted woman
Tends the grave of the 'Mad Guru' ,
While the brown blog keeps rolling on.
(apologies to Hayes & Clarke)

I have realised that it's been a while since I've done another blog recommendation, probably because there are so many good blogs out there.  We really are spoiled for choice. But one that I have come across recently and which particularly struck me was "Maiwand Day" written by "The Mad Guru".

Maiwand Day is an unusual beast, a blog devoted to the recreation of a single battle, the battle of Maiwand.

There is some really cracking stuff up there, but if I had to pick a top three, here are some of the best posts.

1. Some British & Afghan Conversions

The Mad Guru is deeply steeped in the look and feel and history of his chosen period, the mythos of Afghanistan if you will.  No where is this more apparent than in this piece, where is painstakingly recreates figures using conversions, green stuff and considerable industry to model particular figures from the history of the 1880s.

Probably my favourite is the two drummer boys from the Kipling story, "The Drums of the Fore and Aft", a story that still brings a lump to my throat every time I read it.

2. The Battle of Charasiab

While the blog focuses on the disaster at Maiwand, where Doctor Watson picked up his wound, the Guru has since expanded his focus a little and most recently put together a scenario for the Battle of Charasiab. This is less well known than that famous field of grief,  but took place in in 1879 during Roberts march on Kabul.

What's impressive about it is the care that has gone into the figures and the terrain, the playtesting (much under valued in my opinion) and the determination to produce an experience that was both evocative of the period, but also gave a good game.

This has extended to making bespoke cards, proper quick reference charts and ensuring that those of us who cannot make it there in person, get to see high quality images of all those lovely models in play.

3. Bobbie

Bobbie was the pet of a sergeant in the 66th Berkshire, who was said to have been present at the last stand of the last eleven. He later escaped and managed to make back to British lines, where he was subsequently decorated by Queen Victoria.

The Mad Guru has commemorated him in lead, where he shall roam for evermore.

So if you have an interest in terrain making done well, colonials or just want to see one wargamers fascination explored in exquisite detail, you should have a look at Maiwand Day. 

(looking at this picture, it is quite indistinct, I shall have to take a better one on Sunday). 


My first knowledge of Maiwand came as a boy when I was always intrigued by this memorial in St. Patrick's Cathedral.  Lt. Thomas Rice Henn, a Clare man who led a rear guard towards the end of the battle, is commemorated there.   The group made up of survivors from the 66th Foot and Bombay Grenadiers made their last stand in a garden, until their numbers whittled down to eleven charged out into the enemy and were cut down. 
The inscription reads as follows; 

“QUO FAS AT GLORIA DUCUNT” 
Sacred to the Memory of THOMAS RICE HENN, LIEUTENANT OF THE ROYAL ENGINEERS, THIRD SON OF THOMAS RICE HENN, PARADISE HILL IN THE COUNTY OF CLARE, ESQ, 
(ONE OF HER MAJESTY’S COUNSEL AND RECORDER OF GALWAY) BY JANE ISABELLA, DAUGHTER OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE FRANCIS BLACKBURNE, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND. 

Having led into action a Detachment of the Bombay Sappers and Miners – the last of all the Troops to leave the line of battle, and of whom all, save eight, were either killed or wounded – he perished gloriously on the fatal field of MAIWAND IN AFGHANISTAN, July 27 1880, IN THE 31ST YEAR OF HIS AGE, Crowning his noble conduct in that disastrous combat by a deed of heroism, than which (to quote the words of the Official Despatch) “History does not afford any grander or truer instance of gallantry and devotion to Queen and Country;” covering with a small, but indomitable band – eleven in number – the retreat of the entire British Brigade and holding in check the over-whelming Forces of the enemy, who did not dare to continue their advance, until he and his brave comrades had been every one shot down.
HIS BEREAVED PARENTS, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, HAVE ERECTED THIS TABLET, MOURNERS YET GRATEFUL. “NO HERO EVER DIED MORE NOBLY THAN HE DID, - I ENVY THE MANNER OF HIS DEATH.- IF I HAD TEN SONS, I SHOULD BE INDEED PROUD IF ALL TEN FELL AS HE FELL.” WORDS WRITTEN UPON HIS DEATH BY LIEUT.-GEN. SIR GARNET J. WOLSELEY, G.C.B., &C. 

“HE HATH DELIVERED MY SOUL IN PEACE FROM THE BATTLE THAT WAS AGAINST ME.” PSALM LV. 18 

Monday, January 25, 2016

In praise of beards


I have never had the moral character and sheer strength of will required to grow a beard. However, I have always greatly admired those men who can achieve such heights of facial distinction.


Sadly I am smothered with a chest infection at present. This has meant that what little time I have at present has to be devoted to study.  But I did get the chance to do a little bit of work on my lancer while watching the telly with Mrs Kinch. I'm no good at all with green stuff and had to go back add extra bushiness to this beard after undercoating the model. We shall see if he improves with paint.  I have found a spot of colour and gloss varnish covers a multitude of sins. 




Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dapol Church Part Two



 I finally got round to putting this thing together. The fit was pretty good considering the age of the kit and required little sanding or trimming before gluing. 



I used polystyrene cement rather than superglue which works well for this sort of job. A few of the pieces needed a bit of straightening, but for the most part they fit without too much trouble. 


I have to add crosses, but the plastic crosses that come with the kit are quite delicate.  I might see if I can put something together with brass rod. 



All ready for the Mothers Union, the bell ringers and the Boys Brigade to start bustling around the place.

Who knows when I'll get around to painting it though.