Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Miniatures and Sunday School

My Beautiful Bride (Chief of Staff and Minister of Finance) and myself have been blessed to teach in Children's Ministry since we were stationed in Fort Monroe. We have always been a team teaching Children's Sunday School and it's been fun incorporating my hobby as part of our faith as Evangelical Christians.

Here I used Gale Force Nine's "Battlefield in a Box" hills plus some terrain I scratched built to teach a lesson from Exodus 33:12 through 34:8.

18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

Here I was able to use somdscratch built terrian, my ole standby cottage from Warhammer, and some Copplestone Casting miniatures to tell the story of missionary Dr. Helen Roseveare during the Congo Civil War during the 1960's.

Helen Roseveare was born in Haileybury College in Hertfordshire, England in 1925.  She became a Christian as a medical student at Newnham College, Cambridge in 1945.

After completing her studies, Roseveare applied to WEC to be a medical missionary. In 1953, she went to the Congo, where she was assigned to the north-east provinces. She built a combination hospital/ training center in Ibambi in the early 1950s, then relocated to Nebobongo, living in an old leprosy camp, where she built another hospital. After conflict with other staff at the hospital, she returned to England in 1958.

She returned to the Congo in 1960. In 1964 she was taken prisoner by rebel forces and she remained a prisoner for five months, enduring beatings and rapes. She left the Congo and headed back to England after her release but returned to the Congo in 1966 to assist in the rebuilding of the nation. She helped establish a new medical school and hospital, as the other hospitals that she built had been destroyed, and served there until she left in 1973.

After her return from Africa, she had a worldwide ministry speaking and writing. She was a plenary speaker at the Urbana Missions Convention three times. Her life of service was portrayed in the 1989 film Mama Luka Comes Home. Her touching story about the prayer of Ruth, 10-year-old African girl, for a hot water bottle to save a premature newborn baby after its mother had died has been widely forwarded by email. Roseveare died on 7 December 2016 aged 91 in Northern Ireland.

Once again I turned to Gale Force Nine's "Battlefield in a Box" to replicate the Samaritan village of

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”

Friday, December 7, 2018

My 2016 Santa Claus

The 2016 Santa for my parents is North Star's Pulp era Santa.  You better not be on his naughty list or trying to stop him from delivering presents!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

My 2015 Santa Claus

As I put the finishing touches on my annual miniature present for my parents, I am going to present the Christmas miniatures I have done for them in the past.

First up is Reaper Miniatures. One of their ranges is Chronoscope; a collection of "generic" miniatures for many Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Wild West, Steampunk and other genres.  There is nothing generic about them.  They are clean sculpts that have nice animation.  One of them is Santa Claus, my gift to my parents in 2015.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Starship Troopers: The Annual Read

 Starship Troopers (novel).jpg

"I always get the shakes before a jump . . ." thus starts one of the greatest military science fiction novels of all time, Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein. Even today, the book has stood the test of time, and was a big influence on my decision to be an Infantry officer.

When I attended the Command and General Staff College, I was pleasantly surprised to see the novel on the required reading list. Today, the novel is still on the reading list for the US Army, Navy and United States Marine Corps.

The overall theme of the book is that social responsibility requires individual ownership. Social responsibility is an act of self acceptance of that responsibility along with the concomitant commitment to the debts that are incurred. 

Juan Rico begins the novel with no thought of his personal responsibility or of any particular group's responsibility to self or others. This theme is obliquely addressed in the novel's opening: "We had all inspected our combat equipment (look, it's your own neck -- see?), the acting platoon sergeant had gone over us carefully after he mustered us, and now Jelly went over us again, his eyes missing nothing." "Now I was going to have a hole in my section and no way to fill it. That's not good; it means a man can run into something sticky, call for help and have nobody to help him." "I've heard tell that there used to be military outfits whose chaplains did not fight alongside the others, but I've never been able to see how that could work. I mean, how can a chaplain bless anything he's not willing to do himself? In any case, in the Mobile Infantry, everybody drops and everybody fights -- chaplain and cook and the Old Man's writer."

 The theme is repeated through flashbacks to High School and Officer Candidate School in a required class called History and Moral Philosophy. In this view, everything from the right to vote to the punishments for various crimes are depicted as part of a larger effort to recognize society's needs and improve society, as distinct from self-interest. The service Heinlein envisioned was an all-volunteer service, long before the US military had changed to an all-volunteer model. Other than the rights to vote and hold public office, there is no other restriction between service veterans and civilians.

In the course of both the "current" plot and flashbacks Rico learns to take responsibility forever-increasing groups: himself, his comrades, and eventually all of mankind (a shared responsibility), and accept that as the reason for remaining in the service. Further, Rico is seen to develop from a relatively powerless citizen, to a very dangerous fighter: "There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men. We're trying to teach you to be dangerous -- to the enemy. Dangerous even without a knife. Deadly as long as you still have one hand or one foot and are still alive.".

I just finished my annual reading of the book . . . something I do annually!

Now for the Warning!!!
This is a poster for the movie directed by Paul Verhoeven who admitted he never finished reading the book.  Please don't watch it . . . you'll thank me later.  Not only does the movie miss most of the points of the book and, as a retired infantry officer (Regulars By God!), it's embarrassing to watch. 
Please don't get me started on how they portray Lieutenant Rasczak, the epitome of the servant leader in the novel that leads the Roughnecks.

One of the worst scenes in the book is when the platoon is defending an outpost and the bugs are coming. I can see the nuclear rockets strapped to the backs of the (so called) Mobile Infantry! So what do they do? Break out the SMALL ARMS (sigh). How about the scene when the platoon surround a bug in a circle, and then they all fire at the bug! In a circle? They would have hit each other. (Note: That's a safety violation) And please

Do not watch the movie!

The book sums it up nicely: "For the everlasting glory of the Infantry . . ."

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The move is complete!


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veteran's Day 2018

 November 11th is Veteran's Day in the USA and Armistice Day in other countries. 

I proudly have the 1st Armored Division on my right sleeve.

Me with Honorable Son #2.

Younger me on my Bradley "Audacity" with the 1st Armored Division.

My brother Shawn and his lovely bride Mary.
My lovely bride and my sister-in-law Allison (a retired Colonel who is still my favorite Blackhawk pilot!).

My brother Brian.

My Dad.  He was "Doc" to the Marines during 2 tours in Vietnam.

 My father-in-law Jim who as a 19 year old 1st Lieutenant flying B-17 bombers with the 8th Air Force in 1944 and ended the war as a captain.  

My grandfather Sylvester was a Gunner's Mate on a destroyer in the US Navy during World War II. My grandfather Mike served as a civilian civil engineer during World War II building railroads in Persia. My Great Uncle Jack (Professor Emeritus at Princeton) served with the OSS in World War II and I still have his Sykes Fairbairn knife. My Uncle Gus who served in the Army as a Vietnamese language intelligence specialist and my Uncle Glenn who served in the US Navy.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! A moving we will go!

Time to take a hiatus from blogging as my beautiful bride of 32 years and myself have bought our dream home and it's time to move - and yes!  I will have a war room all my own.  I'm not sure when I'll be back with the blog, but you can be sure there will be pictures of my new room.

My beautiful bride, Chief of Staff and Minister of Finance.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

'Soldier an' Salor Too'

As I was spittin' into the Ditch aboard o' the Crocodile,
   I seed a man on a man-o'-war got up in the Reg'lars' style.
   'E was scrapin' the paint from off of 'er plates,
     an' I sez to 'im, “'Oo are you?”
    Sez 'e, “I'm a Jolly—'Er Majesty's Jolly—soldier an' sailor too!”
    Now 'is work begins by Gawd knows when, and 'is work is never through;
   'E isn't one o' the reg'lar Line, nor 'e isn't one of the crew.
   'E's a kind of a giddy harumfrodite—soldier an' sailor too!

An' after I met 'im all over the world, a-doin' all kinds of things, Like landin' 'isself with a Gatlin' gun to talk to them 'eathen kings; 'E sleeps in an 'ammick instead of a cot, an' 'e drills with the deck on a slew, An' 'e sweats like a Jolly—'Er Majesty's Jolly—soldier an' sailor too! For there isn't a job on the top o' the earth the beggar don't know, nor do— You can leave 'im at night on a bald man's 'ead, to paddle 'is own canoe— 'E's a sort of a bloomin' cosmopolouse—soldier an' sailor too.
We've fought 'em in trooper, we've fought 'em in dock, and drunk with 'em in betweens, When they called us the seasick scull'ry-maids, an' we called 'em the Ass Marines; But, when we was down for a double fatigue, from Woolwich to Bernardmyo, We sent for the Jollies—'Er Majesty's Jollies—soldier an' sailor too! They think for 'emselves, an' they steal for 'emselves, and they never ask what's to do, But they're camped an' fed an' they're up an' fed before our bugle's blew. Ho! they ain't no limpin' procrastitutes—soldier an' sailor too.
You may say we are fond of an 'arness-cut, or 'ootin' in barrick-yards, Or startin' a Board School mutiny along o' the Onion Guards; But once in a while we can finish in style for the ends of the earth to view, The same as the Jollies—'Er Majesty's Jollies—soldier an' sailor too! They come of our lot, they was brothers to us; they was beggars we'd met an' knew; Yes, barrin' an inch in the chest an' the arm, they was doubles o' me an' you; For they weren't no special chrysanthemums—soldier an' sailor too!
To take your chance in the thick of a rush, with firing all about, Is nothing so bad when you've cover to 'and, an' leave an' likin' to shout; But to stand an' be still to the Birken'ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew, An' they done it, the Jollies—'Er Majesty's Jollies— soldier an' sailor too! Their work was done when it 'adn't begun; they was younger nor me an' you; Their choice it was plain between drownin' in 'eaps an' bein' mopped by the screw, So they stood an' was still to the Birken'ead drill, soldier an' sailor too!
We're most of us liars, we're 'arf of us thieves, an' the rest are as rank as can be, But once in a while we can finish in style (which I 'ope it won't 'appen to me). But it makes you think better o' you an' your friends, an' the work you may 'ave to do, When you think o' the sinkin' Victorier's Jollies—soldier an' sailor too! Now there isn't no room for to say ye don't know— they 'ave proved it plain and true— That whether it's Widow, or whether it's ship, Victorier's work is to do, An' they done it, the Jollies—'Er Majesty's Jollies— soldier an' sailor too!

Friday, October 5, 2018

IHMN: Teddy Roosevelt and the Wild, Wild, Wicked Witch of the West, Part 2

In our last episode we were at the half-way point in a game between the Wicked Witch of the West (WWW) and the Knights Templar supplemented with some heroes including Teddy Roosevelt, Special Agent Thomas Sawyer, Marshal Wyatt Earp and the Bounty Hunter. The Knights Templar would be tasked with killing WWW while the WWW company would need to recover the treasure of the  helmet and breastplate of Jason of the Argonauts.  Both sides received reinforcements: the Templar reinforcements were on the train and the WWW reinforcements were the dreaded Wolves of Oz arriving from from the North edge of the board.  Current Score: Templars 8, WWW 2.

 The Bounty Hunter puts out the fire on his duster and confronts WWW: "I don't think it's nice, you laughin'. You see, my hawk don't like people laughin'. Gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. Now if you apologize like I know you're going to, I might be able to convince him that you didn't mean nothin' by it..."

 The Winkies have the Train! (Sounds like a catchy children's song).  Round 6 between the flying monkey and the hired man.
 Special Agent Thomas Sawyer takes one for the team . . . will evil win this one?  And where did the Winkies learn to shoot? (Note: I forgot to mention earlier that the stream is fordable every where and just slows your movement a little)

Wyatt Earp: "All right, Mr. Gargoyle ... you called down the thunder, well now you've got it! You see that? (pulls open his coat, revealing a badge) It says United States Marshal! 
Wyatt Earp:  You die first, get it? Your friends might get me in a rush, but not before I make your head into a canoe, you understand me? POW POW POW POW KACHING! (That's the noise pistols make when you roll two "10's" and you are shooting using the gunslinger talent.)

 Crying.  That's the sound the gargoyle makes when he fails both pluck rolls.

 Just a pile of rocks.
 Grandmaster Sir Hugues de Payens takes out a wolf with his sword.

 And the hired hand (this is embarrassing), disengages from the winged mechanical horror, leaps down from the train, and breaks his fall with his neck.  Exit the hired hand.

 Sir Hugues sneaks up on WWW with a pale of water while the Bounty Hunter engages her in witty banter, pistol shots, and a sword block of her magic broom.

 WWW decides to fly away as that water gets a little too close for comfort . . .
 The Winkie grabs the treasure while Teddy Roosevelt (just barely seen) tries to stop another Winkie.

 The helmet and breastplate of Jason of the Argonauts.
 "A man's life in these parts often depends on a mere scrap of information," says the Bounty Hunter as he pursues WWW.
 The wolves continue to do their mistresses bidding as they attack Sir Hugues, Sir Ralph and Billy Bearclaw.

 "You gonna do somethin'? Or are you just gonna stand there and bleed?"

 "I guess you're just going to bleed."
 A winged monkey attacks the Bounty Hunter.

  “When you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.”

 "One bullet riddled wolf. Having the armor helped too."
 Sir Hugues slays another mighty beast . . .

  . . . while Billy Bearclaw thinks he should've joined the wolf clan when he was younger.

Teddy uses his Bowie knife against the Winkie: "I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit."

 You have got to be kidding me!  The monkey wins?

 WWW just remembers that a flying mechanical monkey might be better at getting the treasure away instead of a walking Winkie.

 Sir Hugues advances with his bucket to slay the foul fiend.

   “A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.”

"How about a little fire, Marshal?" Marshal Earp advances and dodges a ball of flame.
 While Wyatt engages WWW the Templars advance.

 "When you play, play hard; when you work, don't play at all.” KAPOW! The last monkey is taken out by Teddy.
 Slash and bite. Exit Billy.

 "Hmmmm," thinks the Winkie, "Everybody who grabs this gets shot."

 "So, you won't take warning, eh? All the worse for you tin man. I'll take care of you now instead of later."

 The monstrous wolf attacks Sir Ralph from behind.
 “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don't have the strength.” 

 WWW wounds Wyatt Earp with her own gun . . . 

 . . . and then smacks him with her poisoned broom. Wyatt rolling a "1" for pluck kinda helped too.

 TR plugs another Winkie.

 Sir Ralph defends himself with pistol and sword.

 "Witch. I will not suffer your evil to continue."
 “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” 

 Looks like the final showdown between two mighty beings.

 An overhead shot as the game reaches its climax.

 Sir Ralph kills the last wolf.

 WWW disengages from Sir Hugues and flies to the treasure.

 WWW attempts to mesmerize TR but fails and is surrounded by our heroes.

 Sir Ralph guns down the "Last of the Winkies."

 Discretion being the better part of valor, WWW disengages and flies away on her broom screaming, "Curses, curses! Somebody always helps that girl. Shoes or no shoes. I'm still great enough to conquer her. And woe to those who try to stop me!"

The surviving heroes.

Wow. What a game!  The monkeys used to be the red shirts of WWW's company but came into their own (-4 to hit while flying) and the Winkies are more durable than imagined.  The surprise attack of the wolves almost tipped the scales but the game started to slip away from the bad guys when Wyatt Earp gunned down the gargoyle. Neither team achieved their objective though and the final score was Templars 26, WWW 15. The question is, with the Witch King locked up, WWW loose and the Professor pulling the strings from the center of his web, where will evil strike next?  Will the ruby slippers and a certain consulting detective show up soon?