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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Kimball "Kim" O'Hara AKA "Little Friend of All the World"

"Kim drew a deep breath and hugged himself all over. The nickel-plated revolver he could feel in the bottom of his sad colored robe, the amulet was on his neck; begging-gourd, rosary, and ghost dagger (Mr. Lurleen had forgotten nothing) were all to hand, with medicine, paint-box, and a compass, and in a worn purse-belt embroidered with porcupine quill patterns lay a month's pay. Kim could be no richer." - Rudyard Kipling, Kim.

I've been on a Kipling binge lately and decided to do some of the characters from the novel Kim. Kim is a picaresque novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author Rudyard Kipling and considered to be his greatest work. It was first published serially in McClure's Magazine from December 1900 to October 1901 as well as in Cassell's Magazine from January to November 1901, and first published in book form by Macmillan & Co. Ltd in October 1901. The story unfolds against the backdrop of The Great Game (how about that for gaming!) and the political conflict between Russia and Britain in Central Asia. It is set after the Second Afghan War which ended in 1881, but before the Third, probably in the period 1893–98. The novel is notable for its detailed portrait of the people, culture, and varied religions of India. 

“I am Kim. I am Kim. And what is Kim?" His soul repeated it again and again.”   

Kim (Kimball O'Hara) is the orphaned son of an Irish soldier (Kimball O'Hara Sr., a former color sergeant and later an employee of an Indian railway company) and a poor Irish mother (a former nanny in a colonel's household) who have both died in poverty. Living a vagabond existence in India under British rule in the late 19th century, Kim earns his living by begging and running small errands on the streets of Lahore. He occasionally works for Mahbub Ali, a Pashtun horse trader who is one of the native operatives of the British Secret Service. Kim is so immersed in the local culture that few realize he is a white child, although he carries a packet of documents from his father entrusted to him by an Indian woman who cared for him.

Kim and the "Red Beard" Mahbub Ali.

Kim befriends an aged Tibetan lama who is on a quest to free himself from the Wheel of Things by finding the legendary ″River of the Arrow″. Kim becomes his chela, or disciple, and accompanies him on his journey. On the way, Kim incidentally learns about parts of the Great Game and is recruited by Mahbub Ali to carry a message to the head of British intelligence in Umballa. Kim's trip with the lama along the Grand Trunk Road is the first great adventure in the novel.

Kim's real parentage comes to light, he attends school and is trained by various agents of the British Secret Service. He is trained in espionage with his cover as a surveyor. Other parts of this training are disguise and the careful study of Indian population, and the characteristic dress, behavior and "even how they spit" in order to go undercover or to discover those in disguise. Throughout his years at school, Kim remains in contact with the holy man he has come to love. After three years of schooling, Kim is given a government appointment so that he can begin to participate in the Great Game . . .

Kim assisting a British Political Officer in the Punjab Region.

The figure for Kim is another conversion I did using primarily parts and accessories from the hard plastic Perry Miniatures Afghan Tribesmen and represents Kim when he is 16 or 17 years old. The body, head and arms are from the Afghan Tribesmen box. The bedroll is from GW's hard plastic Pistoliers while the side pouch and "ghost knife" are from the Gripping Beast hard plastic Viking Hirdmen. The strap for the bedroll is just regular string that I stiffened with water down white glue. Here is the figure before painting and priming:

These suggested rules have not been play tested; but they definitely will in a game that takes place on the Northwest Frontier!

The Men Who Would be Kings: Needless to say, Kim can only be with a British Indian Field Force or one that is allied to the British. Add Kim with a unit, but do not count him toward any combat or morale checks. Because he is Kim(!) if there are any casualties, it takes 2 double "1's" to remove Kim from the battle. If he is the last figure, he escapes due to his training, knowledge of the terrain and ability to blend in!

1. He knows where they are! Kim has already scouted the area: All Hidden Units are no longer hidden or can Go to Ground; +2 points. 

2. He knows the Way! (Must be with an Infantry unit and applies to only that unit): Not slowed by Difficult Ground; +1 point.

3. Kim has the Secret Plans! If Kim is killed or the unit is removed from play, your opponent gains 1 victory point; if Kim survives, you gain 1 victory point. No cost in points and again does not count as a model in the unit for combat or morale purposes.

In Her Majesty's Name (US Link and UK and EU link): He may join any British Army, British Indian Army, British Spy Organization, British Affiliated Adventuring Company, and British Affiliated Pashtun Adventuring Company.

Name: Kim
Pluck: 3+
Move: 6 inches
Run: 5 inches
Fighting Value: +2
Shooting Value: +2
Speed: +2
Talents: Acrobatic, Climber, Erudite Wit, Hero +2 HP, Iron Will, Medic, Stealth Attack, Stealthy 
Basic Equipment: Pistol Sword, Large Knife
Armor: 8 (Lined Coat)
Points: 80
A Blast from the Past: In the 1st Addition of IHMN, one of the supplements is Heroes, Villains and Fiends. A talent from this supplement is Part of the Crowd. If this talent is chosen it costs 5 points.

Colonel Creighton - British Army Officer, ethnologist and spy. He is in charge of the agents of the British Secret Service in India.

Friday, August 26, 2022

American Civil War Field Gun Guide

More pictures from my visit to the Battle of Chickamauga National Battlefield. Outside of the Visitor Center is an excellent display of the artillery pieces that were used in the battle, and basically what you would see in the field for any ACW battle (I'm not referring to siege guns, coastal fortifications, etc.). I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Yep. My shadow. I couldn't get the Sun to move fast enough.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

American Civil War Field Battery Guide


"Why does the artillery have to take up so much space? I just want to be able to maneuver around!"

There is always a fine line between realism, playability, and price (money we spend in our hobby!). As a retired officer and military historian, I do realize the space field artillery takes up in real life - especially in the horse and musket era. Most rules make a compromise; one of the better I have seen is illustrated in the above photo of 15mm ACW artillery for the game Fire and Fury which has one gun and one limber represent a battery. My favorite set of English Civil War rules is Victory without Quarter which has one gun on a big honking base to represent an artillery battery.

Yep. That's a big honking base. 28mm Figures and saker (the gun) by Warlord Games.

During a family event I had the opportunity to revisit Chickamauga National Battlefield. (Don't you hate it when a family event takes you near a battlefield?) The Battle of Chickamauga was the only significant victory for the Confederacy during the American Civil War and the result was thoroughly wasted. While in the Visitor Center I came across some excellent models of the horses, wagons, teams, etc., that you would see in an artillery battery during the ACW. 

By 1863, most Union batteries consisted of 6 guns, not all of which would be the same; sometimes 4 of one type and 2 of another for tactical flexibility and commanded by a captain. By 1864, it was not unusual for Union Army batteries to be reduced to four guns, due to shortage of available horses. Confederate batteries were usually 4 guns at this time and may or may not follow the Union organization of gun flexibility. 

On with the pictures:

Cannon, limber and team.

Okay, we are a typical Union Battery of artillery at full strength so there are 6 guns. A gun, or “piece”, typically was operated by a gun crew of nine. There were three drivers for each six-horse team, who rode the horses on the left side. Two guns operating under the control of a lieutenant were known as a “section”.

Caisson, limber and team.

Each gun in the section was supported by a caisson which carried two ammunition chests, plus a limber for the caisson, which limber had one additional ammunition chest. Typically, there were available about 1,200 rounds for the battery going into battle, which would be divided into the sections according to the number of guns in the battery. 

Horses were required to pull the enormous weight of the cannon and ammunition (close to two tons for a cannon and its attached limber chest of ammunition). On average, each horse pulled about 700 pounds (317.5 kg).

Each gun in a battery used two six-horse teams: one team pulled a limber that towed the gun, the other team pulled the limber that towed a caisson. The limber was a two-wheeled carriage that carried an ammunition chest. It was connected directly behind the team of six horses and towed either a gun or a caisson. In either case, the combination provided the equivalent of a four-wheeled vehicle, which distributed the load over two axles but was easier to maneuver on rough terrain than a four-wheeled wagon.

Battery wagon, limber and team.

The large number of horses posed a logistical challenge for the artillery, because they had to be fed, maintained, and replaced when worn out or injured. The average horse only lasted eight months before death. The battery captain had command over as many as 170 men and 98 horses in a six gun battery with six horse teams. Above the 70 or so men needed to operate the guns and handle the horses moving the guns, additional men were needed to handle and supply the ammunition during the battle, and also to handle and move guns, horses, and limbers.

Traveling forge, limber and team. 

Batteries were self-sufficient units, so therefore, teamsters for supply wagons, blacksmiths and farriers, and various other support and administrative personal were included in each battery. In addition, batteries retained a number of extra men above the minimum required for the battery to function properly. These men were assigned to the batteries for training and for replacement of hospitalized sick, and furloughed men of the battery, and more importantly for quick replacement of battle casualties.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Tips for Modeling and Assembly of Perry Miniatures Afghan Tribal Infantry, Part 3

As I mentioned in Part 1, I have become a big fan of Perry Miniatures Hard Plastic Afghan Tribesmen over the last year and wanted to pass on some tips that I have learned now that I am starting my second box. Now these are only the "tips" and "techniques" that I use and learned while putting together the miniatures - don't feel you have to do it my way. This is what works for me and I have had fun! Since with many of my forces for The Men Who Would be Kings are mounted "3", "2", "1", this allows an opportunity to create vignettes to add some uniqueness to your forces. And don't forgot the individually mounted figures can look great too!

Here is an example of an individual "vignette" I wanted to do based on a photograph I had seen which I now can't locate! Anyway . . . I wanted to have a crouching Pashtun looking like a sentry or outlook to add some character to one of my Irregular Infantry units for The Men Who Would be Kings. I simply took one of the crouching bodies, picked a head I liked and turned it so he would not be looking "straight" out from the body and two arms with a jezail already attached.

For large areas of white clothing, I usually use Vallejo Flat Brown as my base color.

Okay the details of the figures are almost done; and, contrary to popular belief not all Pashtuns and Afghanis have black hair. Some have brown and red hair - and even a dirty blonde! The inhabitants are convinced it had to do with Alexander the Great's invasion and who's to say? People move around. The patterns on the jezail are similar to what I have seen in museums, drawings and photographs.

When I got to this stage, I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to trim the figurebase so that it would fit on a 25mm round base from Litko. After I mentally smacked myself, I removed the figure from the soda cap and carefully and slowly (!) trimmed the figure base.

Success! A few years ago I had the patio in my backyard done and I saved a lot of the rock chips from shaping the pavers. I have no idea what kind of stone it is (sure I could ask my Beautiful Bride but that would be cheating) but I have found the chips easing to break and shaped. In addition, I'm also on the look-out for rocks that I can use when I walk in the woods and they come in handy too. I use white glue to affix the rocks and I let them dry overnight.

In the above picture you can see the original grey of the figure base as I severely trimmed it to fit.

With the rocks added, it gives the figure a sense of animation and to my mind, it'll look cool on the tabletop.

The completed figure on watch for the firangi.

Originally I was going to use the figure on the right shooting as part of a 3 figure base, but I changed my mind and instead decided to add "Sean Connery" instead. With the figures on the left you can see how I have "grown" in the positioning of primarily the head. It really makes a difference in giving the illusion of motion instead of just having the figure look straight ahead. As I did all of the figures at the same time, you already know I learned my lesson about positioning and trimming the figure bases first before gluing to the soda caps.

Yep. Nothing like having fun trimming the base of an already painted figure.

I position the figures and rocks first before I do any gluing. Once satisfied, I glued the figures first, let when dry . . .

. . . I then glued the rocks.

The completed 3 figure base with some other single bases. Here are some other examples:

I added the jezail to the back of this figure to make him well armed. By adding the rocks there was no need for me to devise a strap for the jezail.

I added a shield to the back of this figure. As you can see the below, the positioning of the rifle also hid any need for a strap for the shield.

How 'bout those repositioned heads?

Good luck and have fun with your imagination!