Monday, June 27, 2016

Keeping on, keeping on.

Some day their paint will come...

There's been very little progress on the painting front of late, though I did take delivery of some additional Indian and Ottoman cavalry for Afghanistan and the Crimea respectively, thanks to the good offices of Mark Bevis.  These chaps are some Italeri French hussars that are needed to finish two units of French light horse that I have been tipping away at for a while.

In the meantime, Mrs Kinch and I retired to the country where Mrs. Kinch senior has a cottage and a garden.  Our two day rural idyll was mainly spent sleeping and reading - but I took an occasional curative gin and tonic (for my health, you understand) in the garden. It occurred to me that there are some of you that like that sort of thing and so I thought I'd share a few pictures.

I hope you enjoy them.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Relief at last

Portrait of the author as an aspirant barrister 

After two years of slog, hard work and other things that bring a gentleman of leisure such as myself out in a rash - I have finally finished all my exams.

Not only have a finished all the exams, I've also, contrary to expectations, passed them all. This was interesting as this was the first occasion I've ever really thought I'd failed an exam.  Very little of the material that I had prepared for appeared on the paper and I was obliged to cobble some sort of answer together out of memories of tutorials, my own scattered reading and prayer.  It seems to have worked. I also did rather well in Evidence, which was hands down my favourite subject - so some good feelings there.

This means that while I'm not legally qualified to do anything as such, I am legally educated and will, once I've graduated, possess a Diploma in Legal Studies. This is not the start of a career change, I'm very happy where I am, but it will hopefully help me improve what I am already doing.

As a treat, I got myself a copy of Gordon of Khartoum's memoirs in their first English edition.  I've long been an admirer of the man and I am looking forward to reading this very handsome volume from 1885.

The book was the princely sum of two pounds thirty and after postage and all the rest was about a tenner. Cheap at twice the price and though I've only scratched the surface yet, it's shaping up to be a fascinating read. 

It would have a fella painting camels if he wasn't careful. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Punitive Expedition on the North West Frontier

Skinners Horse scout down the valley

After a long break, we finally made it back to the Northwest Frontier. This game followed the adventures of the Royal Mallows 2nd Platoon, led by the Lt. Unlikely Douglas McKenzie, whose last game was in May of 2015.  I am aghast that it has been that long.

The scenario was that a radical preacher from the princely state of Kala Akaata had been stirring up trouble on the Northwest Frontier.  As a result the men of the village of Medina Wasl have been raiding their neighbours rather more than usual.  Attempts to negotiate an end to the raiding have proved fruitless and McKenzie has been despatched to burn the village.

He had 24 turns to make across the board, burn the village and then make it off.

The field of battle - note the pass on the left, which McKenzie referred to as "Ambush Valley"

McKenzie had a squadron of Skinners Horse, a platoon of Ghurkas and his own platoon of the Royal Mallows under his charge. He decided to stay on the right hand side of the river and avoid the steep sided valley on the right, which he reckoned was prime ambush territory.

The Gurkhas spot a group of Afghans lying in wait

The Gurkhas proved themselves some very dangerous customers, though I did mix up their rough terrain bonus with the river crossing rules, which meant that they were able to ford the river rather more quickly than I anticipated. 

This was their inaugural game and they did Nick proud.

And make short work of them

They set about the ambushers with a will, though they lost their officer wounded in the fray. The Ghurkas would prove to be the men of the game as the Royal Mallows proved sluggish, prone to rout and generally liable to disgrace the name of Corkmen for the duration of the game.  

McKenzie makes for an enthusiastic ghurka

Skinners Horse charge home

The yellow boys swept around to flank the village and took some scattered fire which emptied two saddles along the way, but they couched their lances and charged.

The melee was a surprising one as the Afghans drove off the fearsome horsemen with some casualties.

Meanwhile, a sturdy rifleman stand his ground and drives off many times his own numbers

Now lead by their Havildar, the Ghurkas secured the flank on the right of the Imperial advance. There then followed one of the curious runs of luck that TSATF is prone to.  One of the Ghurkas did not have sufficient movement to climb the hill and ended up being charged by a unit of Afghans defending the village.  The narrow space between the river and the hill meant that only three men could reach him at a time and he promptly slew anyone that came near him, including their leader and  driving them back.  

"Zing!" goes the Jezail bullet.

Meanwhile, McKenzie had finally gotten his sluggish Irishmen moving and advancing in line down the valley. The Afghans having a rush of blood to the head after defeating Skinners Horse, dashed out of the reeds and charged the redcoats. Meanwhile, a single half unit of Afghan rifles accompanied by a jezail sniper, appeared in the Imperial rear.

McKenzie decided to use independent fire, burning two ammunition counters, and absolutely smashed the Afghan charge, destroying the unit almost entirely until only the leader remained. Then disaster struck a single shot from the Imperial rear rang out and McKenzie fell from his horse, wounded.

What followed was one of the most unlikely series of die rolls I have ever seen.  The lone Afghan leader managed to complete his charge and the Mallows blew their roll to stand. They were chased by that single screaming swordsman until he failed his morale and was bayoneted by the Ghurkas. The paths of glory lead only to the grave.

The rallied Lancers look on as the Ghurkas advance and take fire from the village

It was left to the Ghurkas to advance on the village, supported by Skinners Horse. These dismounted and began peppering the village with their carbines.  Meanwhile the Mallows managed to fail their rally rolls three times running and narrowly avoided routing off the table. They rallied eventually, but not after some truly impressive swearing on McKenzie's part, and started advancing down "Ambush Valley".

I'm afraid we got too caught up in the game at that point and I forgot to take any further pictures. The Ghurkas won a pyrrhic victory in the village and ended up routing off the field, after a hard fought battle in the streets of the village. By the time the Mallows arrived, the fighting was pretty much done, the Ghurkas having killed the fakir in the confusion.

A lone Ghilzai prepares to drop a "large rock" on the advancing Royal Mallows (carrying two wounded figures at the rear)

The Mallows pressed for time headed down "Ambush Valley", but managed to spot the lone figure waiting Road Runner style next to a large rock.  I had used a scrunched up business card to represent the rock as I reckoned it couldn't do too much damage to the figures. But the Corkmen making up for a pretty dismal performance spotted him and brought him down before he could do any damage.

In the end, they arrived in the aftermath of a terrific battle to burn the village, gather up the wounded Ghurkas and make for friendly territory. Lt. McKenzie is recovering from his wound and has apparently experienced something of a "road to Damascus" moment*, though it remains to be seen whether it will stick.

The Sword and the Flame, even though I still managed to get rules wrong and I lost, still manages to give a tight and exciting game. I think one of my goals will be not leaving it so long to play next time. McKenzie will ride again!

*Readers of the next issue of Miniature Wargames will understand why.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Now on Facebook

George Washi-melon - shortly before he met his tasty, tasty demise. 

For them as care for such things, I have joined Facebook.  There are number of reasons - not least that the Facebook app on my phone allows me to update rather more quickly and easily than I can here. If you look to your left, you will see a Facebook button has been added to the left hand side of the blog, should you wish to add me.  

This doesn't mean that Joy & Forgetfulness is going anywhere and I hope to be updating things a little bit more often.  There are some big changes afoot here at Joy & Forgetfulness, but more on that later. 

Monday, June 13, 2016


The Field of Battle
The French cavalry are caught in the town by British cavalry 
to the right and the bottom left hand corner. 

Over the weekend, we had the opportunity to play some of the new scenarios from the latest Command & Colours Napoleonics expansion Marshalls & Tacticians.  I was aided in this by my old enemy, the soldier of destiny himself, Lochlainn McHibernia-McEireanneach. A wild eyed poetic soul, McHibernia-McEireanneach has recently returned from a book tour of Chicago, Vienna and the sub continent. His most recent publication, "The New Gluten Free Cookbook and My Fight for Irish Freedom," has been reasonably successful.  

He joined me in playing the Sahagun scenario. I have been mildly obsessed with Sahagun for a while and I've struggled to make the scenario work.  Command & Colours Napoleonics simply does not shine without combined arms, so I was very interested to see how Richard Borg would approach this particular problem. 

The French player is presented with a choice - fight or run? 

In brief, if you don't want to read my previous ramblings on Sahagun (click linky) - it was a battle where the British cavalry launched a surprise attack on some French horse in barracks.  The French were almost surrounded and routed, but were prevented from being putting completely in the bag by some poor co-ordination on the part of the British. 

Richard Borg's take on this scenario puts the French in a situation where they need to either defeat the British cavalry or flee the field. Because it's a cavalry engagement, it's essentially a demolition derby of charge and counter charge. Richard has adapted the victory conditions somewhat so the French can score by getting troops off the board.  He also rates the French cavalry as 33% more effective than the British. 

A troops of the Light Dragoons about to do for some Chasseurs. 

We played this several times, three times in total I think and the French took it handily on each occasion.  I had hoped that Richard might have cracked the pure cavalry engagement, but I don't think he has. There is very little the British can do to try and prevent the French getting off the field and unless they can bring superior numbers to bear, they can't go toe to toe with the French horse. 

McHibernia-McEireanneach counting his victory points

I really wanted to like this scenario because I'm fascinated by the original battle and I love cavalry engagements, but to be honest, it's a bit of a lemon.  CCN while it is my favourite Napoleonic rule set, does combined arms well, but it struggles to cope with scenarios that don't have at least two arms present. 

French horse bolting for the river. 

I don't think we'll be giving this one a go again, which is a pity, because it's a fascinating engagement.  Fortunately we played some of the other scenarios from the new expansion and they were a different story.  

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Prussians in the garden

I think they're up to something 

I used water based yacht varnish - which is nice but took two coats to get the required shine. I think I may have to stick the brain cell endangering oil based version.

I'm reading Mike Embree's "Too Little, Too Late" at present about the Austro Prussian War of 1866.  Which would suggest these chaps are up to skullduggery. 

Sadly I don't think there are any moulds available that would allow me to make additional Prussian infantry. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

So I went to get the ironing...

...the other day and somehow ended up buying a sword. It was an absolute steel, so much so that I thought it was a replica of some description.  However, closer inspection has revealed that it appears to be a real sword.  It has an edge, a full tang and a fuller, which are usually absent from wall hangers.  There are no makers marks that I can see.  It appears to be a tulwar of some description. My money's on an Indian manufacturer, but I'm no expert.

It needs quite a bit of attention, but I shall look into seeing what can be done to clean it up a bit and perhaps restoring the edge to something like its full sharpness.

I also met this fine fellow while out and about. This picture simply does not do justice to how large this chap is. He was huge, his head was well over my hip.  Very friendly though and with a pleasantly wet nose.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Sky Pirates of Venus

Sky Pirates of Venus

My good pal Donogh will be running a Sky Pirates of Venus skirmish game at Hobocon 5 this weekend. If you are in Dublin, this is probably the most laid back and cheapest weekends gaming you are going to find. Entry is €10 for the weekend. 

I will be bringing my Command & Colours kit and will be playing Memoir '44 and Napoleonics over the weekend.  It looks like our main day for that activity will be Sunday, but I will be around for Saturday as well. 

If you're interested in Oldhammer, I think Donogh's game of Sky Pirates versus Venusian Worm Soldiers versus The Prussian Space Navy will have the right sort of humour for you. Regardless, if you are in Dublin and just fancy a chat, drop into the Teachers Club on Parnell Square and you'll find us propping up the bar. 

Venusian Worm Soldiers!

Intrepid Aviators advancing through the jungle

A confrontation deep in the steaming jungles of Ganis Chasma

Every expedition needs to be led by a chap in a suitably natty hat