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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Real Man (and Adventurous Women) Movie Review: Kim

Occasionally on Facebook I get inspired to write a Real Man (and Adventurous Women) Movie Review and let the reader decide if the movie is worth watching. One of my favorite novels is Kim, written by Nobel Prize winning author Rudyard Kipling (which is a real man and adventurous women author). I'm constantly asked to repost the review, and after watching the movie (and reading the novel) I was also inspired to do character figures from Kim to add to my games. Here is my review of the movie Kim:

Real Man (and Adventurous Women) Movie Review (SPOILERS!): Kim (1950).

1. Dean Stockwell! A very young Dean Stockwell.

2. Errol Flynn!

Kim and the "Red Beard" Mahbub Ali.

3. Paul Lukas!

4. Robert Douglas and too many other great stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Mahbub Ali and Colonel Creighton.

5. Always send a street wise, Indian street orphan to sneak into the women’s section to deliver a rendezvous note.

6. Hah! He’s not a street urchin, he’s Huckleberry Finn.

7. Using a huge cannon to play “King of the Mountain” and not a bicycle helmet in sight. You go boy!

8. I’m going to get a red hat like the lama’s so I can embarrass my family.

9. That boy can beg.

10. Errol Flynn, err, Muhbab Ali, looking good with the ladies.

11. Secret messages to start a war.

12. The Great Game!

13. Oh it’s the ole tying up the conspirator and letting him get shot trick.

14. Ouch. That blade in the chest must have hurt. (Note to self: Errol Flynn is good with blades.)

14. That kid just said the best insult about someone’s heritage.

15. No wonder. He’s Irish.

16. Suck it up Kim. We all had to go to school.

17. I take it back. That insult was better.

18. Muhbab Ali with the ladies again.

19. Spy school!

20. Wow. Kim is the King of insults.

21. Yep. That’s a bad guy.

22. I’ve got to start writing these insults down.

23. Never beat a holy man; especially if you are Russian spies in India.

24. It’s the ole sneak up on him when he is looking over the cliff and grab him by the ankles and flip him over the cliff trick.

25. Admit it guys. We wish we could all look like Errol Flynn.

26. Fatal Mistake: “You can’t shoot both of us.”

Guess which Russian Spy gets shot point blank in the chest with a jezail?

27. Oh. He does shoot both of them.

28. Elephant Artillery!

One of the great classic adventure, but even this pales in comparison to probably Rudyard Kipling's (in my opinion) greatest novel Kim. Nothing compares to the rich tapestry of his words as he describes India, it’s cultures and it’s people. They don’t just give out Nobel Prizes in Literature to anyone. Read the book, then watch the movie.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Bydand! The 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders

The Gordon Highlanders were formed on July 1st, 1881 as an amalgamation of the 75th Highland Regiment and the 92nd Highland Regiment, raised in 1787 and 1784 respectively.  The Childers Reforms restructured the British army infantry Regiments and the reorganization created a network of multi-battalion Regiments each having two regular and two militia battalions except in Ireland were two regular and three militia battalions became the standard. 

The 1st Battalion fought at the Battle of Tel el-Kebir in September of 1882 during the Anglo-Egyptian War and was part of the ill fated expedition to save Major General Gordon during the Mahdist War.

The newly formed Regiment, while stationed in India went on to serve in various foreign campaigns including The Relief of the Chitral Expedition 1895 and the Tirah Campaign of 1897 - 1898.

It was during operations on the North West Frontier in October 1897, during the storming of the Dargai Heights, that one of the regiment's most famous Victoria Crosses was earned. Piper George Findlater, despite being wounded in both legs, continued to play "The Haughs O' Cromdale" on the bagpipes during the assault.

Piper George Findlater, VC

Another of the heroes involved the charge of the Gordon Highlanders at Dargai Heights was Piper John Kidd. Piper Kidd was with Piper Findlater when, half-way up the heights, both pipers were shot down. Unmindful of his injuries, Piper Kidd sat up and continued to play "The Cock o' the North" as the troops advanced up the heights.

Here is my interpretation of the 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders for operations on the Northwest Frontier mounted for The Men Who Would Be Kings. All figures are from Perry Miniatures. First up is my battalion commander, Lt. Colonel H. H. Mathias:

"Highlanders! The General says the position is to be taken at all costs. The Gordons will take it!" Lt. Col Mathias before the heights of Dargai. Lt. Col. Mathais was recommended for the Victorian Cross but he was debarred by a War Office ruling that commanding officers were ineligible. Then as now, they see things differently then the men at the point of the spear.

"Dargai", by Robert Gibb (1909)

Colour-Sergeant Mackie, DCM

Lt. Col Mathies: "Stiff climb, eh, Mackie? Not quite . . . so young . . . as I was . . . you know."
Colour-Sergeant Mackie after giving his commanding officer a comradely slap on the back: "Never mind sir! Ye're gaun vara strong for an auld man!"

The Corporal.

Piper George Findlater, VC

The Drummer for passing commands and keeping the march.

The men.

Heroes of Dargai.


Thursday, September 21, 2023

Bydand! A Painting Guide for the 1st Bn, Gordon Highlanders, Part 2

Whenever I paint a new unit or start a new period that may be a bit daunting, I like to paint a test figure or figures to try out the paint schemes. This time I only had to use one figure! The next unit I'm painting for The Men Who Would be Kings is the 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders using the following figure packs from Perry Miniatures: SB 26 Gordon/Cameron Highlander Command and SB 27 Gordon/Cameron Highlanders, standing high port from their metal Sudan Range.

So let's paint a kilt! Remember when painting a kilt, unless you want to go insane, is that it needs to look good from a gaming distance.  If you are like me and have difficulty painting a straight line, don't worry about it!  It does not have to be perfect to look good on the gaming table. There are folds and pleats and the wind blowing - plus I don't let anyone game with a magnifying glass.

I always paint the tartan pattern last. We all make mistakes when painting, and it would be a shame to accidentally put a blot of paint on the best tartan you ever painted. In Part 1 of this painting guide, I painted the base color of the kilt Vallejo Dark Blue. In real life it should be darker, but lighter colors look better at gaming distance.

1. Dark Blue base. As I mentioned, I used Vallejo Dark Blue.

2. Vertical black lines on the front - no vertical lines needed on the back of the kilt. You may have noticed that I am making the lines larger and wider apart than they would be for the actual tartan pattern. The goal is to make a good looking gaming kilt, not to have your head explode. I used Vallejo Flat Black.

3.  Horizontal lines all the way around the kilt.  With the Perry figures I thought 3 looked good and I added an extra at the top in the back.

4. Paint a dark green inside the black lines. I used Vallejo Flat Green which is not too dark.

Whoops. Missed a little bit by the sporran which will be easy to fix. I just remembered also last time I decided I was not happy with the way the hose turned out and decided to repaint them. One of the nice things about acrylics is that they are easy to use to fix what you want to fix. I painted over the hose with Vallejo Flat White.

5.  Dab a light green "square" where the green intersects.  At this scale the square does not have to be perfect. I used (trumpet fanfare) Folk Art Moss Green because that's what I had. Actually, for a lot of small details, I use craft paints as an inexpensive alternative to hobby paints.

6. Use a pale yellow or light brown and make vertical and horizontal stripes on the blue. I used Vallejo Ochre Yellow.  Remember, no vertical stripes are needed on the back of the kilt. If adding the next step of lines seems too daunting, just leave as is - it'll still look good.

7. Ta Dah!  Ready for the table. You may notice that in a few places the lines are a bit fuggling; but at gaming distance, who cares?  He will fight just as well on the tabletop. I decided to use Contrast Blood Red for the hose and just leave it at that - it'll look fine with out the cross hatching on the hose.

Do a little cleanup and use your favorite basing technique and a devil in skirt is ready to take on all comers.