Monday, June 1, 2015

Heliograph Team


Is that Jones over there?

I've been mucking about with Colonials recently, mainly because I've a real yen to play more The Sword and the Flame and because they don't require a huge investment of time and painting energy.  This is a HAT models heliograph team from one of their artillery sets. I've read a little bit about heliograph's recently. They consists of a focused mirror that could send a beam of light towards another station.  This was shuttered so that the operator should make the beam flash either short or long. The chap with the telescope them noted down the flashes which were in morse.  The result was that messages could be send relatively quickly anywhere in line of sight, so long as it was clear and there was light. 



Who is that fearful Herbert with the telescope? 

The result was that helios saw extensive service in Afghanistan, the Sudan and South Africa. I painted up these boys because three figures don't take very long it's nice to finish something in an evening.  The machine is a simplified version, lacking the arms with the additional mirrors, but it serves.  I've painted these fellows as members of the 117th Royal Mallows, so faced in green.  I'm in two minds looking at them now, I am wondering if I should have added some white lace to the cuffs. I've certainly made a hash of the equipment, as I believe the holsters should be brown. I just liked the "Zulu" style bright white on red. 


Here it comes - flash signal. 

The figures were given an undercoat of white and then painted with washes of colour, not something that has worked particularly well on the red, but one can't have everything.  But, who is that odd looking fellow in the blue facings with all that extra stuff on his uniform?

Well from the blue facings and the insouciant air, it appears he's a recent transfer from the GAAAAAAARDS! I have yet to discover his name, but he is an elegant extract, who sports more lace on his tunic than the Mallows consider really decent. His cuffs definitely look the worse for the lack of additional lace, so he is due an assignation with his tailor once I have a moment.

14 comments:

  1. A lovely way to begin the week, and a nice addition to your assortment of soldiers.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. They are rather good aren't they? I've been thinking of all sorts of clever things to do with morse during a game.

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  2. Lovely work CK. I could see all sorts of applications for these fellows in skirmish gaming. The green cuffs on the red tunics are quite smart.

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    1. Me too Padre. I am struggling to think of things not to do with them.

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  3. If you have never read it, take a look at Kipling's poem about such a device in use:

    http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/code_of_morals.html


    -- Jeff

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    1. I haven't read that in years. Good stuff though. Thank Jeff.

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  4. These guys look terrific - you'd never get a heliograph to work on a wet Monday in Scotland, I can tell you. That must be why they put the Empire in warm countries. Well, it's just an idea.

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    1. Thanks Foy. Perhaps having done this, I might find my way to building one of those clever French semaphore johnnies.

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  5. I've long had a thing for helio graphs. Once had a nice Frontier 25mm one and have had a few 40s on hand to do a new one. I need to get on with that.

    I'm pretty sure you aren't looking for detailed uniform comments about things like hussar style lace on a red tunic so I'll just say that the lace or no lace on the cuffs are both valid depending on the year and whether or not they are in tunic or service frock. They look good either way.

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    1. Absolutely Ross. I've also been thinking of uses for them in games.

      As for detailed uniform comments, I leaf through those books more in pleasure than research, but I think my redcoats will be the Empire as I would wish it rather than perhaps as it was. None of this dull khaki nonsense anyway. And pristine white helmets.

      Probably voiced by Richard Burton too.

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  6. "They consists of a focused mirror that could send a beam of light towards another station. This was shuttered so that the operator should make the beam flash either short or long."

    A couple of quibbles here:
    (a) The mirror of a heliograph isn't focused - it is a flat mirror.
    (b) Almost all British heliographs produced the flashes by pivoting the mirror, not by a shutter.

    For a nice video demo of a heliograph in use, see:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8nVkVaHZ4Q

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    1. I'll bow to your superior knowledge Sir. Thank you very much.

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