Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hark the Herald

The Cathedral filling up
(click to embiggen)

This year my rest days fell across the holiday and we were able to spend Christmas together which was brilliant.  There was a lot of tooing and froing in the run up, but all that nonsense faded away when we went to the Saint Patrick Nine Carols and Lessons. The service is very well attended, so we had to turn up an hour early to get seats. This might seem irksome, but it was actually really pleasant, because it meant that we got to sit together for an hour with no phones, nothing else to do, but talk and enjoy each others company.

The service itself was magical, with reading from the choir and the school.  The carols were a mix of old and new, ending as always with a resounding "Hark the Herald Angels sing" with half a dozen trumpets.  We don't get to go most years because of work, but when we do it's a memory we cherish the rest of the year. 

After service was spent catching up with family and friends, before bolting out of the Cathedral and seeing the senior Kinchs.

We also ran into Dom, who was certainly festive. 
(click to embiggen - but exercise caution, excessive exposure may cause blindness)

Ghost stories at Christmas are something of a Kinch 
tradition and there are few better than these. 

We spent Christmas Day with Mrs. Kinch's family which was a wonderfully relaxed day filled with good food and good company.  Rare roast beef and yorkshire pudding and my father in law's vintage port meant that my waist band will be a little tighter come New Year. A new dressing gown and smokeables kept me entertained while I painted a few Prince August Guardsmen and listened to some MR James Ghost Stories. The above recording is a good one and I recommend it unreservedly. 

And lest there be any scruple about listening to audiobooks on YouTube, the recording is in the public domain was made to be distributed as widely and as freely as possible. 

One of my mother in laws cribs
(click to embiggen)

So we spent Christmas day with the inlaws, during which time I had a look at some of my mother in laws cribs.  My mother in law really likes cribs. These figures are about 1/32 in scale. 

How much does she like them, I hear you ask? 

She has thirty of them. 

And another

The figures were picked up on a family holiday to Italy in the 1960s, the backdrops were both made by Mrs. Kinch's great uncle.  These slightly smaller than the previous lot, around 1/48, I'd hazard. 

A table of Christmas decorations

My mother in law was going to decorate another family members home and had put a little collection of things on a table in the living room.  A number of things caught my eye. 

Including this little chap

This crib, with a frame made by Mrs. Kinch's great uncle, is really surprisingly small. About 1/300 scale I think and made with German flats I picked up in Hanover.

My keys for scale - It really is teeny. 

(click to embiggen)

But lastly, this stuck out amongst the Christmas decorations. If I had any doubts as to the essential soundness of Mrs. Kinchs parents, they were put to rest.  What home would be complete without a Christmas Bismarck? 

Nothing says the anniversary of the birth of Our Lord and Saviour quite like Eisen und Blut!

But seriously, we had a wonderful, peaceful day and I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, however belatedly, and share this video with you. It is a very simple idea, but beautifully executed by some very clever people in a German supermarket.

Rarely does Wordsworth's phrase "surprised by joy" seem so apt.

See you all in 2016. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Ghurkas from over the sea

As I mentioned previously Nick very generously sent me Ral Partha Ghurkas. These arrived last week and I haven't had the time to give them the attention they deserve. These are just some phone snaps, but I think the quality of the figures speaks for itself. 

A particularly dangerous looking customer. This chap looks like a sergeant major to me. 

Actually looking at him from another angle - perhaps Billy Fish from The Man who would be King? 

The steely gaze of a Ghurka officer speculating as to how exactly his next foe is going to be sent to meet his ancestors. 

These are lovely little crisp sculpts and Nick has done a very effective and simple paint job on them. I don't think anyone was ever the worse for having Ghurkas by his side and I look forward to leading them on the tabletop.

In other news, Mrs Kinch has been sashaying about the house putting everything in order. Decorating the Christmas tree is definitely a girl job and after bringing the boxes down from the attic, I was politely but firmly chivvied from the room. 

I returned to find everything sparkly and wonderful. But amongst the decorations I noticed some new arrivals, Guardsbear Stern of the Irish Guards hitched a lift with Mrs Kinch during a recent trip to London. 

Apparently he will be spending his Christmas leave with us. We may need more mince pies. 

Mrs Kinch is also a fan of fat Angels. There are rather a lot of them on our tree. 

Sergeant Rodiss will also be spending his Christmas leave with us.

I may have to buy a lot more mince pies and perhaps hide the best sherry. 

A golden snitch made for Mrs Kinch by her partner in crime Tootsie. 

Another fat Angel. I think the woman may have a problem. 

And no Christmas tree would be complete without a lobster. 

This is, of course, the second lobster as everyone knows there was more than one lobster at the birth of our Lord. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

War on M-Isis

Senior officer in reflective mood 

Kinch court-towers-manor-on the wold-in the glen and over the rainbow was subject to a terrorist attack yesterday which has shocked pundits.

The attack which came from nowhere occurred while Mrs Kinch was decorating the tree in the front room. Fortunately there were no casualties, though Mrs Kinch was obliged to have a sit down and a cup of tea.

The attack has been condemned as a shocking security breach as Colonel Sir Harry Flashman VC was quite literally asleep at the scene. Initial reports seemed to indicate German nihilists were behind it, but further investigation revealed the true culprit.

Footage of suspect. 

Gentlemen, we are at war with M-Isis.

UPDATE: The culprit has been found and according to some reports, eaten. This last move may be problematic regarding article 3 of the ECHR.

Investigation into the breach is ongoing. Security forces have surrounded a bucket in the shed. But no further details have yet been released.  Though it has been confirmed that Flashman will be liaising with next doors dog in order to share information on M-Isis.

A move which some rodent liberties experts have described as "deeply troubling".

More news when we invent it.

TT Combat Paint Rack

This arrived yesterday, bought mainly I'll confess because Mrs. Kinch was giving out about not being able to see what paints we had.  I tend to throw all my paints in an old shoe box when I'm not using them.  They lie there in a satisfying higglety pigglety pile of pots. I then assemble the few lads that I need after picking though the box and then work from that small selection.  This preserves an element of mystery regarding what exactly paints are in stock and adds a touch of romance to what could otherwise be considered a rather pedestrian occupation. 

This is not the way to do business so far as hard headed Mrs. Kinch is concerned and something needed to be done.  As you can tell, I was cut to the quick at the prospect of abandoning the old messy ways and more to the point, appalled at the prospect of such wanton expenditure (which could be more profitably spend on toy soldiers or gin). 

However, bowing to the inevitable, I found this on eBay and a few days later, here it is. Costing about twenty quid* including shipping, this is a laser cut MDF kit that when assembled holds 40 pots of Vallejo, which should be enough to keep anyone happy. 

The pieces punch out relatively easily and have a pleasing burnt wood scent about them. A dry fitting would seem to indicate that the cuts are precise and the whole edifice should hold together relatively well given some glue. 

We shall see what exactly Progress looks like once it's put together. 

*That's Euro to those readers in the Free World.

The advance of progress

I put this chap together the other night and it's holding together rather well.  It is rugged enough to be picked up and carried about without flexing alarmingly. The pots are secure and can all be seen, which will reduce the amount of time I spend clucking and furrowing my brow. 

I have also learned.

a) I have a lot of different shades of blue, mostly as it happens from painting a few Space marines and the odd Napoleonic frenchman. 

b) I also have a ridiculous number of browns, khakis, ochres and other tans, chocolates and flat earths. Seriously, there are about twelve different shades of brown.

c) The citadel colours are going to have to live at the back, perhaps in some kind of ghetto?  Progress is already beginning to look a bit like the Milgram experiment. 

d) Notwithstanding the fact that there are spots for 40 pots of paint, there is still an overflow and that's not counting the citadel colours. 

e) Why do I have an orange (pictured) and a hot pink (in the overflow)? I have no memory of purchasing these. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Two schools of painting

Jolly Old Saint Nick

Life here is busy, but not eventful and Mrs. Kinch and I are both looking forward to some time off at Christmas. In the mean time, I've done a spot of painting. Mrs. Kinch has finished all the rest, leaving me the task of painting Jolly Old Saint Nick and some Christmas stockings. 

Rather simple of course, but effective at what it does I think. 

Jolly Old Hungarian Hussar

Rather more complex and impressive is this fine fellow, a Hungarian hussar painted by Krisztian. Kris has promised me a couple of squadrons, which should fill all my light cavalry requirements for my Napoleonic Austrian army and in fine style. 

This fine fellow is also suitable for the 1848 Hungarian revolt.  Not that I am contemplating another another period of course. 

I can't help but feel like one of those comparative Art historian fellas, holding up the daubings of a cave dweller next to a Rembrandt. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Mrs. Kinch has been organising the elves and setting them at their brushwork this evening. Fortunately I locked the drinks cabinet before I left for class. 

There is nothing more crazy or depraved than an inebriated elf. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Black Ops with Savage - First Impressions

I hope the Russians love their children too

It's been a busy week and to be honest the world is too much with us, but we had the pleasure of Capability Savages company. Mrs Kinch and Tootsie put the world to rights over a bottle of pro secco while Savage and I gave Black Ops from Osprey a shot. 

Not exactly West Germany

It was only later that I realised that the cars were all on the wrong side of the road. By which I mean the left hand side of the road, which is of course the correct side, but not for Germany. 

It's all too confusing. 

We picked the encounter battle scenario and 50 points of Conscript Soviets versus Professional BAOR.  The setting was 1979, the balloon has gone up and two sections of infantry find each other in some nameless German truck stop choked with abandoned cars. 

Probably not coming to a cinema near you if the Red Army have anything to say about it.

I really like Savages bill boards. They are top notch. Not least because using steel paper and magnetic sheet it is possible to change the movie poster as you wish. Alien next time I think. 

Looking at these Dark Future roads reminds me that Donogh very kindly gave me some felt road, damned if I can find 'em though. 

The field of battle

We set up the game. This was a starter battle and half of it was spent struggling with the rules rather than each other, but on the whole a very positive experience.  The British advanced from the bottom of the picture, while the Soviets were a bit more spread out and controlled the garage. 

Sneaky motor rifle men

The game ticked along at a decent pace as we worked out the systems for shooting, moving, suppression and so forth.  Aces are extremely useful for "pushing" because of their ability to give groups an extra activation. I used this to enable my GPMG crew dominate the centre of the battlefield. 

Savage used it to organise colossal firepower from a group of AK47 armed squaddies hiding out at the pumps. At close range, massed AK fire can be devastating and effectively silenced my GPMG, unfortunately Savage was unable to capitalise on that suppression due to casualties in his flanking forces. 

A manoeuvre group under Corporal Gruber move to flank 

While the GPMG created a base of fire, Corpora Gruber of the Loamshires moved to flank the Russian position. This was moderately successful and ensured the Russian couldn't rush the GPMG. 

Soviet PKM team lights up the GPMG team suppressing them

On the whole, we were happy with Black Ops.  It seemed more intuative and less abstract than Force on Force, though Savage observed and he's absolutely right, that our 50 pt forces seemed very small on a 4 foot by 4 foot board. I think we will need to look at the options for creating more movement in the game, such as smoke. 

But rapid and accurate SLR fire thins the Soviet ranks

I think a change in mission from a straight up fight might also make the situation a little more fluid. We haven't tried any of the Stealth missions yet. The rulebook was easy to navigate and well laid out.  I believe there is a QRF available from the Osprey website, which I will probably download. 

Pavel, more brave than wise, launches a solo flanking attack

The game ended with the Soviet centre disintegrating a hail of accurate SLR fire, while the GPMG prevented a close assault where the Soviets might have been able to use their numbers.  

On the whole, it's too early to tell whether Black Ops will become a regular visitor to the War Room, but there's more to like than dislike and I'd certainly play it again. It should be said that our first game took an hour and a half, which is quite speedy given that a lot of it was spent flicking through the rules. 

More play is required I think.