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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

"I will call him . . . Mini-Mr. Babagge

"Sir, sorry to bother you, but the men are running low on ammunition."
"Hmmm . . . Well Blythe-Smythe, that is somewhat inconvenient. Quite. Have they been using the ammunition for what it is intended?"
"Yes sir. Quite smashing in fact."
"Hmmm . . . Not good to be low. What would Kipling write about us. Quite a bother."
"Yes sir."

I've been working on some ideas for the Frontier Rebellion of 1897 to 1898 for The Men Who Would be Kings. Of course, any set of popular Colonial rules could be modified using what I write. In researching the uprising, the Tribesmen had more firepower as they had acquired more modern weapons, notably the single shot, bolt action Martini-Henry; either actual rifles or copies.
Indian Army troops, in comparison, were all armed with the Martini-Henry rifle or for cavalry, the Martini-Henry carbine. It had been the policy of the British Raj since the Mutiny that Indian troops would not have a weapon of the same superiority as the British troops in the Indian Army. The British were now armed with the magazine fed Lee-Metford. TMWWBK has a recommendation of giving increased firepower for magazine fed rifles by adding +1 points to a unit. I've taken the opposite approach by giving British units "Modern Rifles" and Indian Troops (-1 point) and Frontier Tribesmen Irregular Infantry an "Obsolete Rifle." Tribesman will still have "Antiquated firearms." This will make it easier to maintain a 24 point Field Force which of course you are not limited to.

By 1897 the firepower of the tribes along the frontier was increasing.

To test this it was time for a, well, play test. I decided to call on Mr. Babbage, and since I did not have enough tribesmen yet, decided to play "Skirmish Kings" using the Mr. Babbage rules included in TMWWBK. To keep unit designations simple for the Indian Army, I'm calling the Regular Infantry Platoons and the Regular Cavalry Troops.

1st Platoon, A Company, 20th (Punjab) Regiment:

Regular Infantry: 6 points
Obsolete Rifle: - 1 point
Total: 5 Points

And now for the Leadership Value (LV) Roll . . . a "2" giving the Jemadar a leadership value of 6+. A good start. Now for his Leadership Trait . . . a "21" which means he is fresh out of the academy and Inexperienced. As a result, the 1st Platoon gets no free actions except "Stand To".

2nd Platoon, A Company, 20th (Punjab) Regiment:

Regular Infantry: 6 points
Obsolete Rifle: - 1 point
Total: 5 Points

The jemadar's important LV roll is a "4" also giving him an LV of 6+. And his Leadership trait is . . . what? Another roll of "21". He is also "Inexperienced." I can see the scenario developing: A simple resupply mission; let's send the most junior and inexperienced officers so they can get some field time in.

And now for the cavalry.

1st Troop, 10th Bengal Lancers:

Regular Cavalry: 6 points
Obsolete Carbine: - 1 point
Lancers: + 2 points
Total: 7 points.

Leading 1st Troop is one of the better British Officers I have painted so let's see if his paint job equals his LV - well he is also 6+. His Leadership Trait is "A Jolly Good Chap" which increases his LV to 5+. Huzzah!

The 2nd Troop, 10th Bengal Lancers

2nd Troop, 10th Bengal Lancers:

Regular Cavalry: 6 points
Obsolete Carbine: - 1 point
Lancers: + 2 points
Total: 7 points.

And the LV is  . . . 7+. Ugh. Hopefully his Leadership Trait will have a saving grace. And the roll is . . . 66! The Leadership Trait is "Hero of the Empire" raising his Leadership Trait to 4+. Take that Mr. Babbage. 2nd Troop will now be commanded by HH Maharjah Sir Gupta Varma.

The Mission: Get the ammunition to Camp Bailey!

No Victory Points in this battle. If the Indian Army gets Billy the Mule to Camp Bailey, they win. If the ammunition doesn't make it, Mr. Babbage wins.

1. Darn sneaky of the Pashtuns to show up there!
2. Charge!
3. Where did they go?
4. Bayonet vs. Tulwar.

Friday, September 16, 2022

“Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, . . . and he needed a bigger base."


“Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet.”

Come on . . . admit it! You read Conan as a kid and loved it. Sure, Robert E. Howard was a product of his times - but it's Conan!

A while back, a long time back, a friend gave me a copy of the old Milton Bradley/Games Workshop board game Hero Quest I dusted it off recently to paint the figures with a mind toward doing some dungeon crawling . . . and then I purchased Dragon Rampant.  How could I not have everyone's favorite barbarian join the fun?

The Barbarian hard plastic figure is relatively easy to paint. For the skin I gave it a base of Vallejo Dark Flesh followed by a wash of GW's Dwarf Flesh and then some lighter highlights.  Everything else were various browns and of course the hair is black!  I initially painted the base for the dungeon environment of Hero Quest.

Barbarian and Elf Hero.

Once I decided that he would definitely have to be in Dragon Rampant, I mounted Conan on a 40 mm round plastic base so he would have a slightly larger footprint on the battle field. A few weeks ago I was looking at the figure and said, "Nah nah, that stand needs to be bigger. Here is how I did the original stand:

The rock is from my gravel rock path in the backyard.

Add same sand . . . 

  . . . then paint the sand dark brown and dry brush with flat brown then buff.

 Add some static grass, a bush and some lichen and we are done.

Conan in Middle Earth fighting some GW Uruk-hai from their LotR range.

Now that he is on a 60mm base, I think he looks even more impressive.  For Dragon Rampant Conan is definitely going to be Elite Foot with the Special Ranger rule and fielded as a single unit model unit or adding a few others and as a reduced model unit.  In addition I'm going to give him the Fantastical Rule of "Fear" for 2 points for a total cost of 8. Let's face it, do you really want to face him? The bird of prey is from the Reaper Bones range; I think it was in the pack Animal familiars - I think it adds a nice touch and fills up the base.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

20th (Duke of Cambridge's Own) (Punjab) Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry

Next unit up for my Indian Army for The Men Who Would be Kings is the 20th (Punjab) Regiment with all figures from Artizan Designs (UK/EU link and US Link). I feel I have my "speed painting" method down using GW Skeleton Horde Contrast for the khaki uniforms. As you can see above, for this unit I went with the alternative basing of "3", "2", "1". Of course they can be used for other popular Colonial rules.

One of my favorite figures from the Artizan Designs 2nd Afghan War range.

The regiment was raised at Nowshera on 1 August 1857 by Lieutenant Charles Henry Brownlow from drafts provided by 4th and 5th Punjab Infantry on the orders of John Lawrence, the British High Commissioner of the Punjab. It was one of several battalions raised by Lawrence to suppress the Great Indian Mutiny of 1857. Brownlow, who became their first commanding officer, remained associated with the regiment for more than half a century; becoming their Honorary Colonel in 1904. He was made a Field Marshal in 1908. 

The regiment's first overseas service came during the Second Opium War against China. Soon after landing there, it took part in the successful assault on Taku Forts on 21 August 1860. The regiment then advanced with the rest of the British force, arriving at Peking (Beijing) in late September, which was captured on 6 October. In 1861, the regiment was brought into the line as the 24th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry, replacing the previous 24th which had mutinied in 1857. It was renumbered as the 20th Regiment later in the year.

In 1863, it took part in the Umbeyla Campaign on the North-West Frontier of India. During the fierce fighting at Crag Picquet in October and November, the 20th Punjabis retook the position, which had been captured by the tribesmen on 30 October. It then successfully defended the post from repeated attacks by the tribal forces. It was the first of many such engagements against the hostile Pashtun tribes of the Afghan frontier. In 1864, the regiment, now designated as the 20th (Punjab) Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry, took part in the Black Mountain Expedition, and in 1877, it operated against the Jowaki Afridis. 

20th (Punjab) Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry. Oil painting by Walter Fane, 1868.

Next year, the regiment advanced into the Khyber Pass to clear Afghan forces at Ali Masjid during the Second Afghan War, as part of the 1st Brigade of the Peshawar Field Force. Ali Masjid, an imposing fortress, was the first engagement of the war. After the capture of the fort, the Peshawar Field Force advanced into Afghanistan and captured Jalalabad.

In 1882, the regiment was dispatched to Egypt as part of an expeditionary force to suppress the revolt by Arabi Pasha against the Egyptian Government. In a surprise dawn attack on 13 September, the Egyptian forces at Tel-el-Kebir were completely routed by the British. The 20th Punjabis fought on the left flank of the Indian Brigade. In honour of their service in Egypt, the Duke of Cambridge was appointed as their honorary colonel in 1883, and the regiment was retitled as the 20th (Duke of Cambridge's Own) (Punjab) Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry.

20th (Punjab) Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry, Egypt 1882.

In 1891, after the Mir of Hunza refused to guarantee safe Btitish passage through his state, the 20th Punjabis participated in Colonel Algernon Durand's expedition to Hunza. In 1897, during a general uprising of Pashtun tribes, the regiment operated as part of the Mohmand Field Force. The regiment, under the command by Lieutenant-Colonel (later Lieutenant-General) JB Woon, fought in a fierce engagement against a force of about 6,000 Mohmands at Shabkadr. In 1900, the 20th Punjabis were sent to China to suppress the Boxer Rebellion.

Subsequent to the reforms brought about in the Indian Army by Lord Kitchener, the regiment's designation was changed to 20th Duke of Cambridge's Own Punjabis in 1903, and then 20th Duke of Cambridge's Own Infantry (Brownlow's Punjabis) in 1904.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

The Passing of an Age

Subaltern Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor of the Auxiliary Transport Service No. 1.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Characters from the Novel "Kim": Teshoo Lama

“He drew from under the table a sheet of strangely scented yellow-Chinese paper, the brushes, and slab of India ink. In cleanest, severest outline he had traced the Great Wheel with its six spokes, whose centre is the conjoined Hog, Snake, and Dove (Ignorance, Anger, and Lust), and whose compartments are all the heavens and hells, and all the chances of human life.”
Rudyard Kipling, Kim

Teshoo Lama, a Tibetan Buddhist priest, becomes, probably the most important, father figure to Kim in Rudyard Kipling's famous novel Kim. Against all odds, the Teshoo lama and Kim have a lot in common. First, both of them are outsiders to Indian society—Kim because he doesn't totally fit in to any of the castes or groups that he imitates so well, and the lama because he is not from India (he's Tibetan) and he is only traveling through the country for religious reasons.

Since I had already converted figures for Kim and Mahbub Ali - how could I not do a figure for a character that spends more time with him and influences him in the novel. I'm not going to cover those details - I want you to read what I consider Kipling's best novel. So here we go:

After looking, I was not satisfied with any figure based on the descriptions of Teshoo Lama from the book and/or various film depictions of the character. He is a tall man and wears glasses; I'll take tall over the glasses. While browsing through the book seller 2nd and Charles, I happened to see a package of 2 human wizards from the WizKids Nolzurs pre-primed resin figures for D&D. I have found this to be a great source for animals, accessories and figures not only for imaginative gaming, but historical gaming as well.

I decided to use the figure on the left as my Teshoo Lama. I know what you are thinking, that is a small head. I thought the same thing, but I thought by cutting off the turban and adding a straw hat from Warlord Games ECW infantry, it might look okay.

Okay, that looks like crap and the head looks even smaller. The lesson learned (you would think I would know by now) don't start painting until you know what you want. On a positive note, I used some of the same type of bits to add character to the figure that I did with Kim; pouches from Gripping Beasts Viking Hirdmen, household string for a strap, and a blanket role from Games Workshop's Empire (or whatever they are called now) Pistoliers.

Wow. Looks like a turtle neck from the back. I'm sad to say, the figure is now scheduled for beheading and I hoped that I would not make too much of a mess of it to salvage the figure.

Fortunately the scheduled procedure went well. I used an extra head from the Perry Miniatures Afghan Tribesmen box, carefully cut off the turban and trimmed the mustache, and then added a new (the other one was damaged removing it from the wizard's head) straw hat from the ECW box. Ta dah! Yes, you can see that I did not carefully wash the glue on my fingers. I had to go back with a moist clothe to remove the glue and not the paint.

Much better.

Some suggested rules for Teshoo Lama in the game In Her Majesty's Name (US Link and UK and EU link):

Name: Teshoo Lama
Pluck: 3+
Move: 6 inches
Run: 3 inches
Fighting Value: +0
Shooting Value: +0
Speed: + 
Talents: Cold Proof, Erudite Wit (Chanting), Fanatic, Iron Will, Mystic
Basic Equipment: Blessed Quarterstaff
Armor: 7 (Ordinary Clothes)
Points: 46

Special Rule: 
1. If anyone attacks the holy man, whenever that person is targeted add +1 to Fighting or Shooting.

2. If anyone knocks down Teshoo Lama, Kim automatically gains the Berserker Talent.

1. Holy Man: Add as an extra model in the unit. For every enemy unit removed from play by this unit while this character ispresent, the player gains +1 victory point. If this special character is killed orthe unit is removed from play, the player suffers -4 victory points. Does not
count as a model in the unit for combat or morale purposes. Adds 2 points to
a unit’s cost, and a player may only field one such model in a Field Force.

2. Escorted Holy Man: Add as an extra model to the unit. More vulnerable in melee than soldiers: killed on a roll of 3–5 when testing for Leader casualties from melee (Leader is still a casualty on a roll of 2). If this special character is killed or the unit is removed from play, your opponent gains 1 victory point; if the character survives, you gain 1 victory point. Does not count as a model in the unit for combat or morale purposes. No additional cost, and a player may only field one such model in a Field Force.

Teshoo Lama and his "chela" Kim.