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Monday, May 30, 2022

Memorial Day 2022


"Far from being the Great Satan, I would say that we are the Great Protector. We have sent men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of the world throughout the past century to put down oppression. We defeated Fascism. We defeated Communism. We saved Europe in World War I and World War II. We were willing to do it, glad to do it. We went to Korea. We went to Vietnam. All in the interest of preserving the rights of people.

And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? Did we say, "Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us"? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No, the only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead. And that is the kind of nation we are." Colin Powell

Thursday, May 26, 2022

The Jodpur Lancers: Arrrggghhh! How could I miss this Detail?

A watercolor I did based on an original by Major A. C. Lovett of a Jodhpur Lancer Sowar.

January of 2022 was an interesting health month; not only did I catch strep throat but I also came down with the virus that Dr. Evil unleashed on the world. On the gripping hand, I did get to read a lot (thank you Amazon). One of the books that I read was The Frontier Ablaze: The North-West Frontier Rising 1897 - 98 (Paid Link) by Michael Barthorp and Color plates by Douglas N. Anderson. The book is meticulously researched, has great photos and fantastic color plates. While reading it a came upon a unit: The Johdpur Lancers of the Imperial Service Troops. What the heck are the Imperial Service Troops?

The Imperial Service Troops were created in 1888 from amongst the armies of the
Independent Princely Indian States in British India. Under the scheme troops from the participating States were trained under British supervision but completely led by Indian officers and were then used both on the North West Frontier of India and in places as far away as China  during the Boxer Rebellion and Somaliland. By the turn of the Twentieth Century the force numbered about 19,000 men. One of the units participating in putting down the uprisings of 1897-98 were the Johdpur Lancers. I need to find out more about this unit! So I purchased (thank you Amazon) Jodhpur Lancers (Paid Link), by Michael Creese. Every hear of the Battle of Haifa during World War I? You have to read this book!

I decided then and there that I needed to paint this unit for my British Indian Army. After checking my favorite miniature manufacturers I purchased two packs of Perry Miniature Bengal Cavalry with Lances (Sikh) and one pack of Bengal Cavalry Command. Now to do more uniform research and cross reference with the photos and information in Jodhpur Lancers. Needless to say, there is a wealth of information in Jodhpur Lancers and some great information on the internet. Here are some images:

Major General Sir Pratap Singh, KCSI, GCVO, KCB and Honorary Colonel of the 34th Poona Horse who raised and trained the elite Jodhpur Lancers. He was a man's man.

Sowars, Jodhpur Lancers.

I then painted a test figure using an extra Artizan Design figure carrying the flag of the Princely State of Jodhpur. I doubt seriously if the flag was ever carried into battle, but it sure looks cool!

Work in Progress (WIP) test figure for the Jodhpur Lancers; miniature by Artizan Designs.

And then I noticed something. A missed historical detail. To understand how frustrated (and anal I can be) let me give you some background about me. I'm a retired Colonel of Infantry with a BA in Political Science, and MS in Education, a Masters of Military Arts and Sciences, and a PhD in Military History. I've fought in two wars and countless smaller ones on three continents. I led thousands of men and women into battle with everything from horses and swords to artillery and TANKS! I've seen the headwaters of the Nile, and tribes of natives no white man had ever seen before. I've won and lost a dozen fortunes, KILLED MANY MEN! And loved only one woman, with a passion a FLEA like you could never begin to understand. Oh wait a minute. That's Hub McCann from the movie Second Hand Lions.

The Jodphur Lancers are Rajputs - and Rajputs don't wear beards.


My box of Perry Afghan has extra heads with mustaches that are pretty close to what the Jodpur Lancers would look like. So do I decapitate 8 figures (maybe decapitate is not the right word), do I behead (nope not that either), do I remove the uppermost portion of the figures and replace the heads or paint them as a Bengal Lancer unit? Head removal (gory) is a daunting task. What to do?

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Golden Sheik of the Pashtuns: The Punjab Adventuring Company for IHMN 2

"The Golden Sheik of the Pashtuns"

As mysterious as his sudden appearance on the Northwest Frontier, and, with an intimate knowledge of the British Raj, the Golden Sheik is the gravest threat to the British Empire along the North West Frontier. His gravitas and presence in bringing together the most dangerous tribes - the Afridi's, the Waziri's, the Mahmud's - has placed a price on his head throughout the Region. Imperial Russia, with the breakout of the Anglo-Russian War, has taken noticed . . .


Rules for The Golden Sheik and the Punjab Adventuring Company can be found on pages 134 and 135 of In Her Majesty's Name, 2nd Edition. Of course, they can be easily adapted for other rule sets. For regular readers of my blog, I have been gaming, both historical and Victorian Sci Fi, in India and Central Asia over the last few years. The nice thing about doing this is easily using historical figures for most of IHMN2 which are considerably cheaper than most Sci Fi and Fantasy figures. In my pictures below I have examples of historical miniatures from Copplestone Castings, Artizan Designs and Perry Miniatures.

The Golden Sheik figure is a kit bash and once again (at least to me!) some of the advantages of hard plastic figures. The body is from the Gripping Beast Viking Hirdman box while everything else comes from the Perry Miniatures Afghan Tribesman (Paid Link) box. I'm not boasting (well, a little) but I really like the way the figure turned out. The Golden Sheik found an ancient tomb that included many wonders: golden armor from the time of Alexander the Great and a magical flute (not your parent's Mozart) that can control an ancient demon known as an Afrit.

The Afrit attacking a patrol of the 19th Punjabis. 

Imperial Russia is interested in stirring up as much trouble on the Northwest Frontier since their resources are stretched thin: Unrest at home, potential conflict with the Japanese in Manchuria, issues with the Chinese in the Peking Legation Center, border skirmishes with the Ottoman Empire and Persia. Though small in scale, the war with the British over the Princely State of Chaimbellistan, threatens to consume more resources so a second front is now planned.

Money and modern weapons are provided to the Golden Sheik and his Pashtun allies in the Northwest Frontier by the Russians. 

In addition to money and weapons, Major Ivan Rostov, an audacious and sophisticated cavalry officer of the Tsar's army (and secretly a member of the Russian Okhrana) has been assigned as the liaison and Russian emissary to the Afghan Court giving him easy access to the Golden Sheik and problems for the British Raj.

Major Ivan Rostov and the Golden Sheik. 

Major Rostov is a forward, thoroughly modern officer who believes in using modern technology to control the passes in the Northwest Frontier and eventually the British Raj.

Imperial Russian Engineer officer mapping the vital passes.

Setting up an ambush.

It's a trap!

With political complications with Afghanistan and conflict and uprisings on the Northwest Frontier, who can stop the Golden Sheik and Russia from taking advantage of the problems confronting the British Raj?

The Heroes of the Northwest Frontier: Colonel Sir Robert Warburton, KCIE, CSI, The Shadow of the Bat, and Mahbub Ali.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Arithmetic on The Frontier


A great and glorious thing it is
  To learn, for seven years or so,
The Lord knows what of that and this,
  Ere reckoned fit to face the foe —
The flying bullet down the Pass,
That whistles clear: "All flesh is grass."

Three hundred pounds per annum spent
  On making brain and body meeter
For all the murderous intent
  Comprised in "villanous saltpetre!"
And after — ask the Yusufzaies
What comes of all our 'ologies.

A scrimmage in a Border Station —
  A canter down some dark defile —
Two thousand pounds of education
  Drops to a ten-rupee jezail —
The Crammer's boast, the Squadron's pride,
Shot like a rabbit in a ride!

No proposition Euclid wrote,
  No formulae the text-books know,
Will turn the bullet from your coat,
  Or ward the tulwar's downward blow
Strike hard who cares — shoot straight who can —
The odds are on the cheaper man.

One sword-knot stolen from the camp
  Will pay for all the school expenses
Of any Kurrum Valley scamp
  Who knows no word of moods and tenses,
But, being blessed with perfect sight,
Picks off our messmates left and right.

With home-bred hordes the hillsides teem,
  The troop-ships bring us one by one,
At vast expense of time and steam,
  To slay Afridis where they run.
The "captives of our bow and spear"
Are cheap — alas! as we are dear.

Rudyard Kipling 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Afghan Tribal Force Update #7: Second Irregular Unit Started


Here is the start of my second of three Irregular Infantry for the game The Men Who Would be Kings (Paid Link) which I am still painting as Pashtuns from the Afridi tribe. I have finished 6 of the 12 figures and I can't do any more until I buy another box of Afghan Tribal Infantry (Paid Link) from Perry Miniatures. As I have mentioned before, the Afridi's are noted as wearing black and blue garments; but from contemporary photos, illustrations and diaries, this is not a hard and fast rule. The team photo also gives you an idea of the variety of combinations that are possible with the hard plastic box Afghan Tribal Infantry (Paid Link) from Perry Miniatures.

The hard plastic figures really allow some creative modeling and vignettes. I'll cover some tips and techniques I learned while I was doing this project in a later post.

Colonel Warburton conducting negotiations.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Afghan Tribal Force Update #6: First Tribal Unit (The Up Close and Personal Fighters) Complete

The first 16 figure Tribal Infantry Unit is ready for action.

Now that the last 4 figures are complete (I took a lot of pictures of them for a how-to that I will post later) here is my first force of Tribal Infantry for the game The Men Who Would be Kings (Paid Link) which I attempted to paint as Pashtuns from the Afridi tribe. The Afridi's are noted as wearing black and blue garments; put from contemporary photos, illustrations and diaries, this is not a hard and fast rule. 

Afridi Tribesmen circa 1880

The team photo also gives you an idea of the variety of combinations that are possible with the hard plastic box Afghan Tribal Infantry (Paid Link) from Perry Miniatures. 

Here are the final four:

Here's the team again: