Monday, October 3, 2016

The Eagle & the Hedgehog

A scene from a hedgehog internment camp

Today, I have mostly been making hedgehogs.  This may seem like a strange occupation for a man of thirty six. However, Mrs. Kinch has longed for a hedgehog  these many long years.  Encouraging  hedgehogs to live in your garden is apparently the best, cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to keep slugs out of your garden.  Or at least ensuring those slugs that do make it inside your garden end up in a hedgehog. 

I'm not so sure about the environmentally friendly part.  I'm pretty sure Mrs Kinch would resort to napalm and firing squads if she thought it would solve her slug problem. 

Sadly, the only hedgehogs available for sale are African pygmy hedgehogs, which don't like the cold and are ludicrously expensive.  The home grown equivalent do not thrive when restricted to a walled garden as they need to roam freely for distances of up to a mile. 

Curiously well traveled creature, the Irish Hedgehog. 

So while it appears that Mrs Kinch is willing to practically anything to deal with slugs; she is unwilling to intern hedgehogs. 

The Lesser Spotted French Hedgehog

The hedgehogs I've been working on is the Lesser Spotted French Hedgehog. This is somewhat larger than the Irish variety and no where near as cute. I believe they originated in Germany, but I'm no naturalist. Young Gorman has been making D-Day like noises of late and sadly, such things require plenty of the above.  I has a set from Italeri, but they were sadly fragile things and broke practically as soon as I'd put them together.  I was profoundly unimpressed.  

Looking at the Memoir '44 scenarios in question, I realised that I'd need nineteen of the benighted things and that excluded many of the commercial options.  I simply wasn't willing to spend that kind of money. I needed something that looked the part, was cheap and was robust. 

I took a snips to some old GW sprues I had lying around. Trimmed them until they were roughly straight and cut them to size. They took polystyrene cement rather well.

Say what you like about Games Workshop, their plastic is rock solid. I left these overnight and they are solid as a rock. Time for a quick blast of black spray, a drybrush of gun metal and possibly some kind of wash of rust? 

In the mean time have a gander at this thing, a rocket ship which Young Savage is building for his heir. 

Which bears a remarkable resemblance to a certain famous rocket ship of days gone by. 

Why is the hedgehog wearing sun glasses?  Because Kinch made a hash of
 drawing his eyes. That's why. 

Now, no mention of hedgehogs could go by without Mrs. Kinch's hedgehog story. Some time ago, when Mrs Kinch was a small Kinch, such a small Kinch in fact, she wasn't even a Kinch yet, she was sent to a German school.  Mrs. Kinch is Irish and grew up in Ireland, but there was a strong chance that her family would be moving to Germany, so her parents decided that it would be no harm for her to get a head start on the language. 

So in school, she made something that looked a little bit like the hedgehog above, though probably considerably better.  I'm led to believe that the eggshells were stuck down with craft glue and there may have been gold stars involved. Records from that time are sketchy at best, but I choose to believe that my future wife produced a prince amongst hedgehogs.  She arrived home and proudly announced to her parents. 

"Mummy, look, I made an eagle!"

They told her it was very nice, but that it wasn't an eagle and she got rather upset.  Her father got very annoyed, "What the hell are we sending her to that school for? This is some pretty basic stuff."

And she became more tearful and distressed, 

An Eagle. 

"Mummy, look, I made an eagle!"

They told her it was very nice, but that it wasn't an eagle and she got rather upset.  Her father got very annoyed, "What the hell are we sending her to that school for? This is some pretty basic stuff."

And she became more tearful and distressed, but was absolutely adamant that she had made an eagle and not a hedgehog.  It was only after a further twenty minutes of argument, some throwing things and full blown tantrum - that Mrs Kinch's German speaking father suddenly realised what was going on.  His daughter was not suffering from some kind of mental illness, nor had she made an eagle. 

An Igel

She had made an igel or a hedgehog in German and had never heard the word hedgehog in English. 

And with that cautionary tale about of the many perils of bi-lingualism, I shall wish you all a good night. 

*And I know I will. 


  1. On! a very good tale indeed, I like your plastic hedgehog idea, Tony

  2. I built a hedgehog house to attract ne to nest etc. I put a bit of effort into it, it was a better build than my shed! Anyway, two later on, not a sausage (so to speak!) just a few resident spiders in the Hotel de Hedgey

  3. WOnderful post and hedgehog story. I know the frustration of wife's (as a child) well. I still get confused for a moment or two when my wife and son speak of hedgehogs. . . in German of course.

    Best Regards,


  4. A read to bring a smile to my face, thank you.

  5. I thought for a moment that the title of this post referred to a pub - such a great name for one. Instead I get a bunch of whimsy about plastic sticks, hoarding, Tintin books, spiny animals and linguistic misadventures. Exactly the sort of eclectica one expects of this establishment.
    Sadly, there are no wild hedgehogs in Canada, which makes me quite sad.

  6. With the shortage of hedgehogs, I can highly recommend a type of flightless duck called an Indian Runner. You need from three to four per 1000 square meters to keep your garden slug free.

  7. I had an African hedgie - cute little critters like little tanks with legs.

  8. I've got a tale of bi-lingual confusion for you, but it's the kind of thing best confined to a public house after a certain hour.

    My suggestion for your painting is to go with a base of brown, stipple with orange and then edge with metal to give that "rusty, but sharp" look.

  9. Et puis en 1814 l'Emperuer a donne les herrisons d'or a tous ses regiments nouvelles parceque l'Impiratrice Marie Louis a ecrit la commande en allemend et dit "igel", pas "Aigle"