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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

IHMN: "I call that bold talk from a one-eyed fat man."

 Mattie Ross: They tell me you're a man with true grit.

When he’s not staggeringly drunk, Cogburn’s good at what he does, but he’s lost the calling and in fact seems to have lost respect for human life. In the Coen brothers noir Western ‘True Grit’, Jeff Bridges’ plays Rooster Cogburn as an amiable mess of a character; a flawed U.S. deputy marshal, but someone you can rely on and would want by your side in times of trouble . . . especially during the War of the Witches.

Name: U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn

Pluck: 2+
Leadership: +1 (Figure using the Leadership bonus must roll pluck)
Speed: 0
Fighting Value: +3
Shooting Value: +6
Talents: True Grit (Fearless, Tough and a Fanatic!), Gunslinger, Lightning draw (pistols), Marksman (pistol), Erudite Wit, Impervious
Basic Equipment: 2 pistols, Bowie (Fighting) Knife
Cost: 70

Rooster can join any company that has a devotion to doing what is right (in other words the good guys!)

  You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him.

 Mattie Ross: You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free except the grace of God.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Bah Humbug! Merry Christmas and my 2018 gift to my Parents

Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.” “And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”

This year I purchased figures from Brigade Games Victorian Age set consisting of those famous characters from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

According to Dickens' novel, the Ghost of Christmas Past appears to Scrooge as a white-robed, androgynous figure of indeterminate age. It has on its head a blazing light, reminiscent of a candle flame, and carries a metal cap, made in the shape of a candle extinguisher. Since I decided to experiment with some blue and blue shading, I did not go exactly for the novel's description plus the figure is more of the Hollywood version anyway.

"These are the shadows of things that have been. That they are what they are, do not blame me!"

According to Dickens' novel, the Ghost of Christmas Present appears to Scrooge as "a jolly giant" with dark brown curls. He wears a fur-lined green robe and on his head a holly wreath set with shining icicles. He carries a large torch, made to resemble a cornucopia, and appears accompanied by a great feast.

"The spirit then takes Scrooge to a rundown churchyard and shows the repentant miser his own grave; Scrooge then realizes that the dead man of whom the others spoke ill was himself.
Horrified, Scrooge begs the ghost for another chance to redeem his life and "sponge away the writing on this stone".

Saturday, December 22, 2018

My Favorite Painted Figures/Projects of 2018

Since the 4th Quarter was pretty much a bust for the hobby side of life (but I love that new house!) I thought I would share my favorite painted figures/projects of 2018 in no particular order:

1. Dorothy Gale and her Untouchables. Wild West steam punk figures from Reaper Miniatures.

 A great demonstration of the versatility of In Her Majesty's Name (IHMN).  Plus, who wouldn't want an adventuring company from Oz?

2. The French Foreign Legion. For use with IHMN and other Colonial rule sets.

3. Miskatonic University Adventuring Company.  Probably the most unique adventuring company for IHMN I have done up to date. Also compatible with about a zillion other games.

Who you gonna call when alien creatures go bump in the night?

4. Lady Prudence Fiona Throckwaddle and the Anti-Slavery League. She likes Earl Grey; enough said.

5. The Hidden Kingdom of Natagala. These Matabele figures are extremely versatile for just about any colonial game and have been a force to be reckoned with in IHMN.

6. World War II German J├Ąger Platoon. These German Infantry Figures from Black Tree Design have great detail, are easy to paint and most of all - I don't have to put them together! They are also reasonably priced.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

2018 Fourth Quarter Update

At the end of the Fourth Quarter here is the 2018 plan update:

1. Two units of Scottish infantry for the English Civil War.  They will portray both Covenanters and Royalists for Montrose's army.  All my English Civil War forces are based for Victory Without Quarter which I think are the best ECW rules out there and they are absolutely free. Finished the Pike Block!!! I really blame my lack of progress on The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare's book In Her Majesty's Name and the fact that I moved to a new house!

2. Two units of Scottish cavalry that will both Covenanters and Royalists.  Please see above reason (and that's the story I'm sticking with!)
3. One Scottish artillery gun.  Sometime this year?  Please see above.
4. French Foreign Legion company for In Her Majesty's NameDone!  Huzzah!

5. Sky Pirates company for In Her Majesty's NameAnother triumph and complete.  Now all they need is a ship . . .

This was the quarter of the big move to our dream house which, needless to say, reduced my 4th quarter production quite dramatically. On the other hand . . . we saw the premier of the Templar Knights in the United States for In Her Majesty's Name in the famous adventure of "Teddy Roosevelt and the Wild, Wild Wicked Witch of the West (Part 1 and Part 2)!

(L to R) Teddy Roosevelt, Sir Ralph, Sergeant Josiah, Grandmaster Sir Hugues de Payens and The Bounty Hunter.  Note the bucket of water in the background.  As they advance, Teddy states, "No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause."

 "Kill all on the train. I will deal with these supposed heroes."

  "Well lookie thar. Flying mechanical monkeys"

The WWW and her minions advance.
 "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything", advises Wyatt Earp.  Teddy replies, "No. I'm not a good shot but I shoot often." 
Wolves!  Where did they come from?  Here comes the WWW's reinforcements from the north of the action.
 Special Agent Sawyer moves to a more advantageous position to engage the Winkies.

 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?  

All of this has given me an idea for a campaign that will be known as the War of the Witches . . . unspeakable horrors, a league of assassins, Scotland Yard's greatest, the Imperial Chinese, Oz invaded, Opar defended, tea drunk and bold talk from a one-eyed fat man. The Secret War of 1895 is going to heat up in 2019.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

My 2017 Santa

The 2017 Santa for my parents is Father Christmas from Wargames Foundry.

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 . . ."