Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Pulp Figures The Sergeants Three (Gunga Din Hollywood 1938 Version)


 SGT Archibald Cutter (Cary Grant), SGT 'Mac' MacChesney (Victor McLaglen), and SGT Thomas 'Tommy' Ballantine (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) sculpted during the part of the movie when SGT MacChesney orders and leads the charge of his command across the rooftops of the fictional town of Tantrapur.

As mentioned in my previous blog entry, The movie Gunga Din is a 1939 RKO adventure film loosely based on the poem of the same name by Kipling combined with elements of his short story collection Soldiers Three. The film is about three British sergeants and Gunga Din, their native bhisti (water bearer), who fight the Thuggee, an Indian murder cult, in colonial British India. The movie continues with the central theme of the poem, the sacrifices the Indians made on behalf of British Imperialism.


Soldiers Three is a collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling. The three soldiers of the title are Learoyd, Mulvaney and Ortheris, who had also appeared previously in the collection Plain Tales from the Hills. The current version, dating from 1899 and more fully titled Soldiers Three and other stories, consists of three sections which each had previously received separate publication in 1888; Learoyd, Mulvaney and Ortheris appear only in the first section, which is also titled Soldiers Three. The books reveal a side of the British Tommy in Afghanistan rarely seen in the Twilight of the British Empire. The soldiers comment on their betters, act the fool, but cut straight to the rawness of war in the mid-east as the British began to loosen their Imperial hold.

 British Army rank insignia prior to the 1902 Dress Regulations

In the movie Gunga Din, SGT's Cutter, MacChesney, and Ballantine are sergeants in the Royal Engineers as evidenced by the grenade above their chevrons and the R.E. on their epaulets. They are tasked with keeping the communications open between Trantrapur and the local British Imperial Garrison. In the grand tradition of "buddy" films, the characters are almost caricatures that we will come to love in latter movies: SGT Cutter is always scheming for riches: SGT MacChesney's devoted duty to Queen and Country and his low opinion of many Indians, and SGT Ballantine, tired of the Army and ready to hang up his sword, get married and go into the tea business. Though argumentive amongst the three, there is nothing but loyalty between the three friends and the ultimate realization of sacrifice of one character, Gunga Din, who only wants to be a soldier and in a larger sense he "saves the British Raj."
 
 Cary Grant as SGT Archibald Cutter, always on the look out for treasure.

For In Her Majesty's Name

Name: SGT Archibald Cutter, Royal Engineers
Pluck: 3+
Leadership: +1*
Speed: +1
Fighting Value: +3
Shooting Value: +3
Talents: Bayonet Drill, Engineer, Erudite Wit, Fearless, Grenadier, Tough
Basic Equipment: Brigadine, Pistol, and sword. May also purchase a Military Rifle (+9 points). May also purchase a Congreve Rocket Gun (+7 Points) and must purchase the rocket grenades separately. May also carry any kind of grenade but must pay the appropriate points.
Armor: 9
Cost: 58

*Special Leadership Rule: All of the Sergeants Three have a Leadership of +1. They can combine their leadership for Initiative and any pluck rolls that can benefit from Leadership if the figures are in range. This rule is negated if their are any British officers present; then it is just a +1.

"Now you're all under arrest. Her Majesty's very touchy about having her subjects strangled."

 Victor McLaglen as SGT 'Mac' MacChesney: A tough, get the job done with little respect for the local inhabitants.

Name: SGT "Mac" MacChesney, Royal Engineers
Pluck: 3+
Leadership: +1*
Speed: +0
Fighting Value: +4
Shooting Value: +3
Talents: Bayonet Drill, Beserker, Engineer, Fearless, Tough
Basic Equipment: Brigadine, Pistol, and sword. May also purchase a Military Rifle (+9 points). May also purchase a Congreve Rocket Gun (+7 Points) and must purchase the rocket grenades separately. May also carry any kind of grenade but must pay the appropriate points.
Armor: 9
Cost: 63

*Special Leadership Rule: All of the Sergeants Three have a Leadership of +1. They can combine their leadership for Initiative and any pluck rolls that can benefit from Leadership if the figures are in range. This rule is negated if their are any British officers present; then it is just a +1.

One of the most poignant moments of the movie is when Colonel Weed, the senior officer, reads lines from the "newly" written poem by the war correspondent Rudyard Kipling as they are burying Gunga Din: "Though I've belted you and flayed you / By the living God that made you / You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din." A tear runs down MacChesney's eye as Din is made a Corporal of the regiment and will be forever listed among the honored dead.

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, as SGT Thomas "Tommy" Ballantine: "You displease me greatly, and I ignore the both of you."

Name: SGT Thomas "Tommy" Ballantine, Royal Engineers
Pluck: 3+
Leadership: +1*
Speed: +1
Fighting Value: +3
Shooting Value: +3
Talents: Bayonet Drill, Duelist (Sword), Engineer, Fearless, Lightening Draw (Sword), Tough
Basic Equipment: Brigadine, Pistol, and sword. May also purchase a Military Rifle (+9 points). May also purchase a Congreve Rocket Gun (+7 Points) and must purchase the rocket grenades separately. May also carry any kind of grenade but must pay the appropriate points.
Armor: 9
Cost: 65

*Special Leadership Rule: All of the Sergeants Three have a Leadership of +1. They can combine their leadership for Initiative and any pluck rolls that can benefit from Leadership if the figures are in range. This rule is negated if their are any British officers present; then it is just a +1.

"The trouble is you don't want a man for a husband! You want a coward who will run out on his friends! Well, thats not me, never was, and never will be. I don't care how much I love you! And I do very much. I'm a soldi... I mean I'm a man first!"

Gunga Din and the Sergeants Three.

Next: The Mad Guru!

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