Sunday, July 23, 2017

Someone has blundered....



The Remnants of an Army by Lady Butler

...and I am that someone.  I recently received an email about my recent piece in Miniature Wargames Issue 411 from Mr. Andrew McGuire.  The piece was a scenario for "The Men who would be Kings" ruleset based around the battle of the piquets which took place at the beginning of the Little Inkerman battle.  Mr. McGuire wrote;

"I just wanted to make a small correction to Conrad Kinch's article on adapting The Men Who Would Be Kings to the Crimean War in his Little Inkerman article in MW 411.

In his order of battle, Conrad refers to the British 95th regiment as the 95th Rifles, and gives them the rating of sharpshooters. This would be applicable to the 95th regiment of the Napoleonic Wars, but not to that of the Crimea, as the 95th became the Rifle Brigade in 1816, when numerous regiments were disbanded, and the regimental number 95, along with many others, became vacant. It was reassigned to a newly raised regiment in 1823, as the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot. This is the regiment which fought as part of the 2nd division in the Crimea, and has no connection to the 95th Rifles. 

Two battalions of the original 95th's successor regiment, the Rifle Brigade, served in the Crimea, but not at the engagement described in the article."

He is, of course, absolutely right.  Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.  This is a case where if I was thinking I would have realised that I was making a blunder, but I saw the regimental number and my brain temporarily went on holiday.  As it happens, I would argue for keeping the sharpshooter (4+ shooting) rating for the 95th on this occasion.  There are two reasons, the real reason and an after the fact rationalisation. The rationalisation is that the lads on the field only represent a small proportion of the regiment deployed as skirmishers and therefore is quite possible that they were the best shots. The real reason relates to game play; in the scenario two British players have to compete to hold off the Russian columns for as long as possible while vying with each other to earn a Victoria Cross.  The 95th are deployed far back on the board (because that was where they were stationed) and will therefore have little chance to fire in the early portion of the game.  This would handicap their player, so I rated them as marksmen so that when they did get to fire they would be more effective - which leveled the playing field a bit and made it more of a contest. 

Thank you very much to Andrew for writing and pointing out my mistake.  It's rare to get specific feedback on anything, so I was very glad to get it. 

Prof. Spencer on lessons learned from the Boer War

I've been laid up recently and so spent rather more time listening to YouTube than I would usually.  Thanks to Rob Enfield of British Muzzleloaders, I came across the Western Front Association which has put a series of lectures on the Great War (including ones of the Eastern Front!) up on YouTube. There is some really fascinating stuff there, by genuine  historians working in the field,  and their channel is well worth a browse. 


A look at Marshall Petain's Great War service. 

By the way, if you enjoyed the lecture on the Boer War, the same author has an article on the differences between British and Boer marksmanship, which you can read here

Now, if you'll excuse me I had to go and see what blunder I should commit next. 



Saturday, July 15, 2017

A painter once again



Trooper Hobbes 

Babies, physiotherapy and all the other demands on my time have left little time for painting.  My eyes are functioning quite well these days, but the problem is stamina*.  Close work is quite taxing and I find myself saving that for writing work at present.  However, the yen to paint was on me quite fiercely a little while ago and I pulled this chap out of the box. A Rogue Trader era Squat Trooper, I think he is a Bob Olley sculpt. 

I decided that this should be Trooper Hobbes of the Imperial Army.  The name came to mind as he is nasty, brutish and short and the rest followed on from there. 






Ready to zap things for the Emperor 

Going back to painting after such a long time away was actually quite intimidating, but after some great help and encouragement from JB over at the Lead Plague blog, I got over the hump.  Another excellent example of the Freemasonry of the hobby. JB helped me pick colours which would work together, something I'm usually hopeless at.  Since so many of my figures are historicals, there is rarely much choice in how to approach them.  Total freedom tends to breed a sort of analysis paralysis. Many thanks JB. 



Stylishly turned out for the battlefield of the 41st Millenium

Trooper Hobbes is a recent addition to the Imperial Army, which he enjoys for the regular meals and the possibilities for violence.  I do not think that the officer that tries to tell him that his natty white gloves and boots are "not regulation" will have a good time of it. 



This way towards enemy

I'm very pleased with how he turned out.  It was an evenings work and cost me a blinding headache, but I was determined to finish him.  With a bit of luck, he may get some pals in the near future. 


*Ahem...that's what she said. *hilarity ensues, calls for order, much merriment, etc* 

Saturday, July 1, 2017



Well done chaps. Do keep it up. 


Friday, June 30, 2017

Turkish Command


The Pasha taking his ease, accompanied by pipe bearers

The most recent additions to the Conrad Kinch Red Fez repertory company are these Strelets Crimean Turks which were painted for me by the ever talented Tamas.  These fellows will be doing duty in my Turkish Crimean army and my 1880 Egyptian army. 




The view from the rear

One of the joys of Strelets sets is the additional "character" figures that you get mixed in with the more usual stuff.  I think they really add something to a table layout and make it look a bit more alive. 




I really like the depth of colour Tamas has managed to 
get on the frogging and epaulets. 



Recent CCTV footage from Kinch Court


In other news, in a previous post I wrote that my physiotherapist was asking me to twerk as part of my therapy.  Physio is going well and I am improving.  It's always a slow process and I am very lucky to be seeing a doctor who has managed to bring on such improvement.  

So I was lying when I wrote that he asked me to twerk.  Or to put it more correctly, I was joking and exaggerating for comic effect.  The exchange I described in my blog was accurate, right up until that point. Twerking has no therapeutic purpose in dealing with balance injuries and I do not include it in my daily exercises. 

I do it mainly for fun, the many health benefits and of course, to set a good example for the children.  




The local Imam giving it socks

The last figure that Tamas did is this fella, an Imam who will be seeing service in the Crimea, Egypt and possible Afghanistan before too long.  He's the first non-Christian clergyman I've added to my collection of miniature clerics.  

I wonder who will be next?

Monday, June 26, 2017

A recent trip to the physiotherapist

Image from Wikipedia. 


CK: *walking back and forth while waving one of his hands in front of his face* You know, your profession must be a terrible temptation for a practical joker.
P: Oh yes. It's a tough one some times, particularly if they're not the nicest patient. I mean you tell people to pat their head and rub their belly or pull faces in the mirror and they'll do it.
CK: *staring at X painted on a window while shaking his head from side to side* Really?
P: Really. That's the thing with physio, people with muscle injuries...it's hard to get them to do their exercises. People with balance injuries, they really stick to it. They will do anything.
CK: *standing on one leg and sticking one finger up his nose and one in his ear* Gosh.
P: Yup. Now stare at this X draw on the card and twerk for the next thirty seconds or until you feel dizzy.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dutchmen in space



Some stalwart Hollanders

I played the Quatre Bras scenario from Command & Colours Napoleonics with Sydney recently.  He is determined to learn how to use the British and their allies properly.  The game was a 9-6 win for the perfidious French and a full report will follow soon. 

However, what it did bring home to me was the fact that a goodly proportion of my Allied troops were still using blu tac'd bits of paper as unit labels rather than the rather nicer versions Capability Savage has put together.  Cue rattling through my boxes and drawing up lists and looking at uniform references as I've forgotten what regiments belong to. It's a nice little job that I can rattle along with between baby wrangling sessions. 

It's also brought home to me how Peninsula focused my uniform references are.  I'm good on Russia 1812 and after, the Peninsula and the broad strokes of most of the national armies (i.e. I can generally tell one from another) but I would struggle to identify individual regiments. 

More labels is probably a good idea then. 







In other news, I've been watching "The Expanse" on Netflix and very good it is too.  It's a multi-stranded look at a future in which Mankind has colonised the Solar System, but remains divided against itself.  Earth and Mars are at odds and "the Belt" (essentially everywhere else) is caught in the middle.  It's a slow starter and the first few episodes spend a long time setting out their stall, but the Expanse is good old fashioned science fiction about ideas and frankly that is thin on the ground these days. 

Highlights include the wonderful Shohreh Aghdashloo who plays a ruthless Terran politician with dash and aplomb. She is magnificent throughout.  Thomas Jane does a great turn as a conflicted and corrupt copper - a limited man struggling against his environment and his nature.  The rest of the cast are not bad by any means, but these two shine very brightly indeed.  Aghdashloo in particular puts me in mind of Dumas's Richelieu  - that antagonist-not antagonist, the likeable adversary and the compromised friend. It is a nuanced performance that accomplishes a great deal in relatively limited screen time.  I'm torn between a desire for more of her and the knowledge that such  would inevitably dilute the power of whats there.

Great stuff - and thankfully because its Netflix it is only ten episodes, so it dodges that usual American bullet of overstaying its welcome by being a million years (or twenty two episodes) long.  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Some staff wallahs


The War Correspondent

I took delivery of these chaps a few months ago.  I haven't a bean where they came from exactly, they were in a box of waifs and strays that I got from John Cunningham and I thought I'd add a few eccentrics to my gentlemen in red. 

This chap will be doing double duty as a war correspondent and possibly a staff officer as and when he is needed.  In fact in the late 19th century, those roles often overlapped as officers would write letters home for publication, Winston Churchill being one famous example. 

Illustration by Michael Roffe, from Wilkinson Latham's Osprey on the Sudan

I had the idea of a game where players are on the same side, but are competing with each other for victory points.  They have limited control over the war correspondent, but he acts as a victory point multiplier. In essence, he exaggerates what ever is actually occurring on the field.  So if you gain two victory points for defeating the enemy or gaining an objective and the correspondent is there, you will gain a third point.  But if you lose points, due to casualties for example, the correspondent will cost you an extra point for every two you lose.  Consequently, if you think your competitor is going to have a bad time of it, it would be wise to send the correspondent over his way. 

An idea to mull over. 


One of the cavalry gentlemen

The vast majority of my late Victorian army is in red coats because I rather like redcoats and even when they are inaccurate they are what I think of when I think on the period.  I think it's the equivalent of always deploying my Napoleonic armies in parade dress.  But I thought it would  a good idea for the senior officers and staff chaps to stand out a bit.  This fella will be doing duty as a staff officer, perhaps an interpreter, in scenarios to come. 

I should point out that these are not my own work, but come from the ever talented brush of Mr. Tamas Lehoczky of Hungary.  A fellow 1/72 enthusiast, I think his impressionistic, high contrast style works exceedingly well in this scale.  The photos don't quite do it justice, but the highlights do a lot of the work and that look very tasty on the tabletop.  

An image I found on Pinterest, unfortunately I can't put a name to the source. 


*incomprehensible Scottish noises*
(perhaps Mr. Gow would be kind enough to translate?)

This is an old Hinton Hunt sculpt again from the redoubtable John C. In this case, I don't think the camera has been kind to Tamas's excellent brushwork as the red in the tartan stands out rather more than it does on the tabletop. Regardless, I expect McLehoczky of the Fife McLehoczky's to fall upon the enemies of the Crown with all the claymore wielding fury of his alcoholic Australian forebears. 


 
Another image I found on Pinterest
(Tamas was going to add the extra mustache, but ran out of greenstuff)

Pinterest is a mine of stuff, though often badly referenced, but it would be the act of louse to complain about something one has not paid for.  From the pictures I found with this image - it should refer to India in the 1890s.  The main thing is that he looks the part and cuts a dash and that's good enough for me. 



Portrait of the Artist as a young Sloth

In other news, we discovered that young Teddy Kinch was adopted.  It was a surprise to us all, not least his mother, but there you are. The poor little chap had terrible trouble with wind. To be honest we could call him Kamikaze Kinch, though the wind in question is of doubtful divinity. 

Kamikaze Kinch becomes great distressed until placed over one knee and gently, but firmly pounded on the back for a few minutes.  There is then a long drawn out PAAAARP  like a sad trombone, followed by a small sigh, whereupon he goes completely limp for hours at a time.  

It was a strange way to discover that my son was part sloth. 

But we shall love him and raise him as our own.