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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hollywood Version: Heroes of Rorkes Drift

I can't wait for Daniel Mersey's latest set of historical rules which are scheduled for publication in August 2016. It will be a set of Colonial rules titled The Men Who Would be Kings. Figures are mounted individually for casualty removal but fight as a unit. Knowing Daniel's track record and the play tests I have read I am going to step out and predict that this will be another success.  

To get a head start, I'm going to start painting units for the Anglo-Zulu War.  I used to have a 15 mm Zulu army and played regularly in this period in the 1990's with the good chaps of the Fort Monroe, VA area.  This time around I am going to do it in 28 mm primarily with miniatures from Warlord Games/Empress miniatures.  To get me started, Honorable Son #1 (The Librarian) and his wife The Future Doctor sent me "The Defenders of Rorke Drift" from Warlord Games/Empress Miniatures. This is the Hollywood versions of  the sullen but doughty Private Hook; VC, the stoic but reluctant Lt. Chard, VC; the dandy English gentleman Lt. Bromhead,VC; and the unflappable bayonet fighting Colour Sgt Bourne, DSO.

This is my first experience with Empress Miniatures and needless to say I am impressed.  I have long admired the photos of their Anglo-Zulu, English Civil War and Indian Mutiny and the actual miniatures do not disappoint.  I now have miniature representations of James Booth (Private Henry Hook, VC),  Michale Caine (Lt. Gonville Bromhead, VC), Stanley Baker (Lt. John Chard, R.E., VC) and Nigel Green (Colour Sergeant Bourne, DSO).

Here are the figures with a black wash applied as primer which also allows the detail to stand out.  I have done the flesh with a base of Brown Flesh (GW) with Dark Flesh (Vallejo) over. 

 Private Henry Hook, VC

Lt. Gonville Bromhead, VC

Note the sleeve details with the knots!  Impressive!

 Lt. John Chard, R.E., V

 Colour Sergeant Bourne, DSO

One last toast from Henry Hook!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Playing X-Wing with Friends

I love X-Wing!  And what better way to enjoy the game but to introduce it to you friends?  And get blasted out of space with your new Slave 1

My friend Tom and his son have played games with us before and it was time to do some Star Wars action.  The first game was done with the quick play rules against Honorable Son #5 quickly followed by the basic rules.

Tom and his son in TIE fighters against Honorable Son #5
Honorable Son #5 concentrating during battle     
High speed manuvering
 Now that the basics of the game were out of the way, we decided to have a three way death match: TIE fighters vs. X-Wing vs. Boba Fett in Slave 1. The deadly Slave I is infamous for its association with the bounty hunter in Mandalorian armor. Fett packed the craft with weapons, from laser cannons and projectile launchers to seismic charges.  However for this scenario I kept it simple with just the basics of the ship. What a mistake.

Hey!  Everybody shoot at the big spacecraft target!
Though impressive, for Slave 1 to survive in an all out melee it needs to use the special bombs, missiles, etc. to replicate it's performance in the Star Wars movies.  In our scenarios I could see the consensus in my opponents as they decided to blow me into cosmic dust and they taking on each other.

X-wing to the front of me, TIES to the rear of me.  Good think I have almost a 360 degree field of fire.

Dang it!  Fast little buggers.
 Okay.  I decided I needed some cover.  Let's add asteroids for Slave 1 to hide among.  Did I mention that Slave 1 is a bigger ship and tends to hit asteroids easier?  Whoops.

Run away!

Honorable Son #5 handing the movement template to Tom.
Smacked into that asteroid.
TIE fighters ignoring the badly damaged Slave 1 as they attempt to polish off the X-Wing

Now that the X-wing is gone . . .
Hey Boba!  Where did you learn to fly?
The victorious TIE fighter team!
 Another successful event of gaming - even more the enjoyable as it was done with friends!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wee Willie Winkie: Coira Armstrong

Coira Armstrong is another addition to my band of adventurers in the world of In Her Majesty's Name.  The daughter of Colonel Dugald Armstrong, VC, DSO she accompanied her father to a remote military outpost on the northern frontier of India where she was instrumental in putting down the rebellion of the notorious Khoda Khan.  

 Is Coira Armstrong the inspiration for Kipling's Wee Willie Winkie?

In addition, the British Government refuses to comment on the "Roopkund Lake" incident located in the most inhospitable regions of the Himalayan Mountains that took place shortly thereafter.  

 Coira confirms the existence of the legendary yeti.

Reports are conflicting but it is known that the Chinese Army incursion into India was recently thwarted and Coira was present with forces of the British Raj.  Coincidentally, shortly thereafter, Coira Armstrong was granted an Honorary Commission by in the Royal Highland Regiment by the Regimental Colonel HRH The Duke of Rothesay.

It's a trap!

Here are some suggested rules for using the amazing Coira Armstrong:

Pluck: 3+
Fighting Value: +1
Shooting Value: +1
Speed: +1
Talents: Leadership +1, Inspirational, Erudite Wit, Fearless, Just darn lucky (re-rolls 1 pluck roll per game)
Basic Equipment: Pistol and Magento-static waistcoat
Cost: 33 points

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Gertrude Bell: Brains and Beauty

The world of 1895 is a breathtaking and fascinating time of adventure and discovery.  Though the London papers have been dominated with the recent headlines involving the daring adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Alan Quartermain and Major Dugald Campbell, DSO - there has also been distress as master criminals, evil doers and the rise of other regional powers threaten the peace and stability of the British Empire and its allies.

Entering on the world stage at this time were two unlikely pair of adventuress:  Gertrude Bell and Coira Armstrong.

The meeting of Coira Armstrong (L) and Gertrude Bell (R) in the British Museum.

The eldest daughter of a British steel magnate, Gertrude Bell was born in 1869 at the height of stodgy, Victorian England. Possessing a keen mind and a determined disposition, she rejected the narrow life of a stayed and dignified British lady to excel at Oxford University at the age of 17. History was one of the few subjects women were allowed to study so she specialized in modern history receiving a first class honors degree in two years. 

 Gertrude Bell

Upon graduation and supported by her family's wealth she was free to indulge her passion for adventure, be it climbing the Swiss alps or traipsing through Arabian deserts. before ambitiously embarking upon a series of grueling travels through the Middle East. 

 Gertrude Bell in Babylon.

Though famous as an English writer and traveler, Her Majesty's government realized her importance and she has served as political officer, administrator, spy and archaeologist exploring and mapping the unknown regions of the earth. She has become highly influential to British imperial policy-making due to her knowledge and contacts, built up through extensive travels in North Africa, Greater Syria, Mesopotamia and Arabia. In addition, she is the first female Intelligence officer employed by the British Army.

"Huzzah!" proclaims Professor Nightingale in celebration of Gertrude Bell discovering another lost city. "I'll drink to that", says Private Hook.

Here are some suggested rules for using Gertrude Bell, CBE as a character for In Her Majesty's Name:

Pluck: 2+
Fighting Value: +1
Shooting Value: +1
Speed: +0
Cost: 69 points
Talents: Leadership +2, Erudite Wit, Fearless, Inspirational, Stealthy, Impervious, Meticulous Planning, Master of Disguise
Basic Equipment: Brigandine and pistol

Gertrude can join the following companies: Any British or Imperial Rifle Company, The Explorer's Club, Scotland Yard, The Hunting Party and The Queen's Own African Rifles.

Who is that mysterious man keeping an eye on Gertrude?

Next up: Coira Armstrong!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The League of Unattached British Officers

Over the years I have collected and/or saved some British officers from various ranges and manufacturers.  Fortunately for me, since I am playing a lot of In Her Majesty's Name, these chaps are starting to show up more and more in major and supporting roles!  I'm glad I have saved them.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Reaper Miniatures Porters

I have become a great fan of the versatility and price of Reaper Miniatures; especially their Chronoscope range.  As quoted from their web site:

"Chronoscope is designed to be versatile and flexible. It includes cowboys, sci-fi soldiers, superheroes and everything in between! These figures are perfect for just about any game you may have going on as well any other projects that will require highly detailed miniatures!"

I was able to pick up a pack of their "Bearers and Porters" which will be featured in many games to come!

I painted them very quickly and they do need some touch-up!

The figures fit in nicely with Wargames Foundry, Copplestone and Old Glory.

Monday, February 1, 2016

IHMN: Ranjit Singh

“I am not what you call a civilized man! I have done with society entirely, for reasons which I alone have the right of appreciating. I do not, therefore, obey its laws, and I desire you never to allude to them before me again!”  Captain Nemo

No one is clear on the background of Ranjit Singh.  Some say he served in the Indian Army on the frontier of Waziristan.  Others claim that he was in the maritime service due to his uncanny knowledge of all things nautical.  Some have claimed to observe mysterious visitors refer to him as "Sirdar" and have come and gone at his bidding.  No matter what the truth, Ranjit Singh is a force to be reckoned at the end of the 19th Century in the world of In Her Majesty's Name (IHMN).

Ranjit Singh leads Special Agent Tom Sawyer and Major Campbell in close quarters gun play.

I recently painted this gallant character and I have no idea what manufacturer produces it as I took him out of the blister pack and for the life of me I can't remember the company.  Anyway . . . here is the game profile for Ranjit Singh for use in IHMN:
Pluck: 3+
Fighting Value: +3
Shooting Value: +3
Speed: 0
Points: 61
Talents: Leadership +2, Engineer, Fanatic, Iron will, Gunslinger
Basic Equipment: Pistols, Pulwar (military sword), Brigadine

 Confronting the evil minions of Colonel Vincent Brimble.
 Surrounded but in the company of heroes!
“The earth does not want new continents, but new men.”