Monday, 31 December 2012

For you all love the screw-guns...

With the introduction of rifled artillery pieces in the 1860s the old smooth bores were slowly replaced.  A steel 7pounder rifled, muzzle loader (RML) weighing 200lbs was issued to the mountain artillery;  more accurate than the original version and with a range of 3,000 yards to boot!  The advent of a slower burning gunpowder in 1876 meant that a longer barrel was needed to achieve the muzzle velocity required for the same range and a new piece nearing 400lbs was issued.  This was all well and good, but it is said that the poor mule can only carry about 250lbs!  The solution, cast it in two parts and screw it together for action! 


Smokin' my pipe on the mountings, sniffin' the mornin' cool,
I walks in my old brown gaiters along o' my old brown mule,
With seventy gunners be'ind me, an' never a beggar forgets
It's only the pick of the Army that handles the dear little pets -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
    For you all love the screw-guns -- the screw-guns they all love you!
    So when we call round with a few guns, o' course you will know what to do -- hoo! hoo!
    Jest send in your Chief an' surrender -- it's worse if you fights or you runs:
    You can go where you please, you can skid up the trees, but you don't get away from the guns!

They sends us along where the roads are, but mostly we goes where they ain't:
We'd climb up the side of a sign-board an' trust to the stick o' the paint:
We've chivied the Naga an' Looshai, we've give the Afreedeeman fits,
For we fancies ourselves at two thousand, we guns that are built in two bits -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
    For you all love the screw-guns . . .

If a man doesn't work, why, we drills 'im an' teaches 'im 'ow to behave;
If a beggar can't march, why, we kills 'im an' rattles 'im into 'is grave.
You've got to stand up to our business an' spring without snatchin' or fuss.
D'you say that you sweat with the field-guns?  By God, you must lather with us -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
    For you all love the screw-guns . . .

The eagles is screamin' around us, the river's a-moanin' below,
We're clear o' the pine an' the oak-scrub, we're out on the rocks an' the snow,
An' the wind is as thin as a whip-lash what carries away to the plains
The rattle an' stamp o' the lead-mules -- the jinglety-jink o' the chains -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
    For you all love the screw-guns . . .

There's a wheel on the Horns o' the Mornin', an' a wheel on the edge o' the Pit,
An' a drop into nothin' beneath you as straight as a beggar can spit:
With the sweat runnin' out o' your shirt-sleeves, an' the sun off the snow in your face,
An' 'arf o' the men on the drag-ropes to hold the old gun in 'er place -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
    For you all love the screw-guns . . .

Smokin' my pipe on the mountings, sniffin' the mornin' cool,
I climbs in my old brown gaiters along o' my old brown mule.
The monkey can say what our road was -- the wild-goat 'e knows where we passed.
Stand easy, you long-eared old darlin's! Out drag-ropes!  With shrapnel!  Hold fast -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
    For you all love the screw-guns -- the screw-guns they all love you!
    So when we take tea with a few guns, o' course you will know what to do -- hoo! hoo!
    Jest send in your Chief an' surrender -- it's worse if you fights or you runs:
    You may hide in the caves, they'll be only your graves, but you can't get away from the guns!

Rudyard Kipling

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

'Everyday, I'm shuffling'

Earlier this month I shared my thoughts on the wonderfully ridiculous, 'Night of the Living Trekkies', a zombie/Star Trek mash up of a novel that was hugely entertaining if, like me, the two genres are of interest.  Now as regular readers will know, I often use the finishing of a spot of bedtime reading as an excuse to purchase a little lead based frippery to mark the occasion.  Well it seemed a shame not to do the same here and seeing that I had recently been alerted to 'Tengu Models' by the ever watchful 'Wargames news and Terrain' it seemed only reasonable to offer my patronage! 

The first thing that struck me about 'Tengu Models' was the quality of service, with my order hitting the doormat of 'Awdry Towers' almost on return of post.  My delight was heightened on closer inspection as the quality of both the sculpting and casting is exquisite.  It is true they are a little on the expensive side, but there is a real sense of quality to these miniatures and I was determined to give them a paint job they deserved.

In the end I went for a fairly predictably 'worn' look, including dirty T-shirts and stained dungarees.  The rather amply proportioned lady 'shambler' is supposed to wearing a bikini, but for some inexplicable reason she also received a grunge makeover and is now disporting that greying pair of underwear that really should have been disposed of the day before the Zombie Apocalypse took hold!

Now I haven't troubled Curt with regard to the '3rd Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge'  as difficult to justify them as 'historic' but given that all things undead continue to hold sway here at '28mm Victorian Warfare' I've decided to embrace the genre, rather than continue to deny their presence, and give them their own button in the sidebar along with the other distractions that periodically demand my attention - a Christmas present to the blog if you will!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Dismounted Camel Corps...


With the '3rd Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' now well under way, I was fortunate to have been blessed with a couple of days of 'me time' to get my first points on the board; and so it was that I finally got around to completing the Dismounted Camel Corps Command Group, the first half of which was painted back in November!

More wonderfully dynamic sculpts from 'Perry Miniatures', with a  couple of burly sergeants to help keep the chaps in line.  I have to confess that I'm delighted to see the unit as a whole and would like to add some more dismounted troops to the collection, but alas with an embargo on additional hobby related expenditure set to last into the New Year, this will have to be the extent of the corps - for now anyway!

Thoughts now turn to family and friends, so all that remains for me to do is to wish one and all a very Happy Christmas.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Challenge Begins

It was about this time last year that I became fixated by an online competition run by the charming Curt Campbell of 'Analogue Hobbies' fame.  The painting challenge runs through the dark, winter months and was conceived as a way to motivate like minded souls maintain their painted output of wondrous, shiny things.  

So taken, was I, by the camaraderie of the competitors that this year I've decided to throw my hat into the proverbial ring.  Now given my 'snail like' painting pace, I'm under no allusions with regards to competing for a top spot, but I am hopeful that the competition will encourage me to remain focussed a little more than usual.  

Today is the first day of the competition and its commencement goes some way to explaining the lack of regular posting on my behalf.  We were permitted to prepare and prime, but no more until today and so that is pretty much what I've been up to.  I have to confess that the preparation side of things is my least favourite part of the hobby, but it has been rather exciting watching the massed ranks of unpainted lead swell before my very eyes - the arrival of new additions helped too!  

Although the competition is open to other scales, I'm sticking to my beloved 28mm and drawing from familiar periods, including the Indian Mutiny and the Crimean War; that said expect one or two surprises along the way!  

As an addition to the competition this year, Curt has asked us all to set a personal 'par' score.  After a little head scratching, I deduced that over a similar period last year I would have amassed 420 points ,(using the current scoring tariff - the link to Curt's blog at the top of the post gives full details.) it therefore would not seem unreasonable to hit a modest target of 500 points, now would it?

Here is wishing the very best of luck to all the fellow competitors; let the fun begin!  

Monday, 10 December 2012

Book Review#15. - Night of the Living Trekkies

I think we need to make clear from the start is that this is a silly book!  A ridiculous story, ludicrous characters and genre-splicing on an industrial level, but provided that you approach it with suitably shallow expectations then this most unholy of unions delivers at just about every level and I, for one, loved it! 

Our hero, Jim, is a former American serviceman; struggling to come to terms with the pressures of responsibility that he faced during two tours of Afghanistan. Now he languishes in a small conference hotel in Houston, hoping to never have to make another decision that endangers the life of an innocent.
What could possibly go wrong?  The Hotel reception was starting to fill with ‘Trekkies’ in homemade  uniforms preparing  for a science-fiction convention, but then Klingon, Vulcan and Ferengi start falling foul of an indiscriminate alien virus, transforming its victims into the living dead.

Jim now has to lead the ultimate ‘away team’ out of danger, before the blood lusting hordes totally overwhelm the hotel.  Punctuated throughout with references to the television series and wonderfully corny one-liners, there is a lot to treasure in this little gem.   This is a fabulously, entertaining piece of pulp and one that most definitely should not to be taken too seriously.  Any book that uses episodes of Star Trek as chapter titles certainly deserves three crowns.  
“Live long and aim for the head!”

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy...

December is upon us and the Christmas decorations have been dusted off and once again hoisted up to the title banner of '28mm Victorian Warfare'; all very festive indeed.  With three Sudan based posts and some form of game to play before the end of the year, it certainly promises to be a busy month!   So without any thought to my sanity, I decided that it was time to tackle my first box of Perry plastics!  Armed with side cutters, scalpel and a stiff upper lip - and trying desperately to recall the advice imparted by Dave Docherty of 'One Man and his brushes' fame - I sallied forth.

Within minutes the the work station was utter carnage!  There were dismembered bodies, blood and bad language in plentiful supply as body parts dived for cover in the seemingly impenetrable dining room carpet; spears snapped at the most awkward of places and don't get me started on shoulder slung scabbards and all the while I was thinking of Dave's advice, "a dab of glue to help 'melt' the pieces together."  Melt! Are you sure?  I was going to all this trouble to have them melt!  I was starting to think that my first batch of Beja tribesman were going to look more like the Toxic Avenger!

I need not have worried,  a few calming breaths and a slug of Earl Grey and things were looking decidedly brighter.  All the composite parts were washed and dried and suddenly it all came together rather well (in my humble opinion anyway) and once they were undercoated, I really was rather impressed at how characterful the sculpts actually were. 

Painted to represent the Beja of Kipling fame, all that remained was basing and that final touch, again supplied by Dave, a 'Flag Dude' standard and they were complete!  I was going to squirrel the remaining sprues away in favour for more esoteric shininess, but given that I have gone and thrown my hat into the ring to take part in Curt's '3rd Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' they may yet get a reprieve as I look to tidy up the edges of the decidedly unstable lead pile!

Fuzzy Wuzzy

WE'VE FOUGHT with many men acrost the seas,
An' some of 'em was brave an' some was not:
The Paythan an' the Zulu an' Burmese;
But the Fuzzy was the finest o' the lot.
We never got a ha'porth's change of 'im:
'E squatted in the scrub an' 'ocked our 'orses,
'E cut our sentries up at Suakim,
An' 'e played the cat an' banjo with our forces.

So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;
You're a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man;
We gives you your certificate, an' if you want it signed
We'll come an' 'ave a romp with you whenever you're inclined.

We took our chanst among the Khyber 'ills,
The Boers knocked us silly at a mile,
The Burman give us Irriwaddy chills,
An' a Zulu impi dished us up in style:
But all we ever got from such as they
Was pop to what the Fuzzy made us swaller;
We 'eld our bloomin' own, the papers say,
But man for man the Fuzzy knocked us 'oller.

Then 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, an' the missis and the kid;
Our orders was to break you, an' of course we went an' did.
We sloshed you with Martinis, an' it wasn't 'ardly fair;
But for all the odds agin' you, Fuzzy-Wuz, you broke the square.

'E 'asn't got no papers of 'is own,
'E 'asn't got no medals nor rewards,
So we must certify the skill 'e's shown
In usin' of 'is long two-'anded swords:
When 'e's 'oppin' in an' out among the bush
With 'is coffin-'eaded shield an' shovel-spear,
An 'appy day with Fuzzy on the rush
Will last an 'ealthy Tommy for a year.

So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, an' your friends which are no more,
If we 'adn't lost some messmates we would 'elp you to deplore;
But give an' take's the gospel, an' we'll call the bargain fair,
For if you 'ave lost more than us, you crumpled up the square!

'E rushes at the smoke when we let drive,
An', before we know, 'e's 'ackin' at our 'ead;
'E's all 'ot sand an' ginger when alive,
An' 'e's generally shammin' when 'e's dead.
'E's a daisy, 'e's a ducky, 'e's a lamb!
'E's a injia-rubber idiot on the spree,
'E's the on'y thing that doesn't give a damn
For a Regiment o' British Infantree!

So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;
You're a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man;
An' 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, with your 'ayrick 'ead of 'air -
You big black boundin' beggar - for you broke a British square!

Rudyard Kipling

Friday, 30 November 2012

Melton Prior...

embedded War  Artist!

Melton Prior was one of a group of extraordinary gentlemen artists prolific during the Victorian era. He began working for the Illustrated London News in the 1870s and covered numerous events around the world, but it was with the 'Savage Wars of Peace'  that he was to make his name.  First covering the war in Ashanti in 1873, he went on to cover conflicts in Egypt, Sudan, Somaliland, South Africa, Crete, Turkey, and Manchuria.

This rather wonderfully simple miniature is from the 'Bicorne Miniatures' War Artists range and depicts Mr. Prior at work in the Sudan; obviously thirsty work, given the wine bottle and glass by his side!  Although the quality of sculpt may not compare too favourably with the Perry brothers' version there is something quite endearing about this chap.  

Melton's greatest ability was to be able to sketch incredibly quickly.  These sketches would then be sent back to London, where they would be worked up in the offices of The Illustrated London News before being engraved on to wood blocks, ready to be printed.  

A Glimpse of the Enemy

The above sketch, 'A Glimpse of the Enemy' (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum collection) is undoubtedly an example of Prior's work that has been 'enhanced'.  The original pencil sketch has had a grey wash, highlighted with white and is believed to represent an episode from the Battle of Tamasi  in which, 1st Gordon Highlanders participated. 

And finally...

'28mm Victorian Warfare' was nominated for another two Liebsters!  The award that keeps on giving has been a phenomenal success in this corner of the blogosphere and it is lovely to see so many many superb blogs and bloggers being nominated.  With regards to myself, I continue to be incredibly embarrassed, but extremely flattered every time I'm nominated, particularly because of the outstanding blogs that have in turn nominated this collection of inane ramblings!

To that end I would like to formally thank, and in doing so actively promote, the following:

'The British Army At Waterloo', never ceases to amaze me with regards to the sheer scale of its undertaking.  The premise is simple,  "to have each British combatant at Waterloo represented in 28mm"; this, however, equates to 28,000 men!  Spare a thought for just how many tartan clad highlanders that would include, truly a must see endeavour. 

'Hurry Up And Wait!', is a "miniature wargame campaign to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict."  Like many children of the 70s the Falkland's War became the moment when warfare suddenly lept from the history books and was propelled to the domain of the headline news; I know that I found the whole experience very confusing at the time.  Rusty's informative blog is a tremendous and balanced 'tour de force', but don't take my word for it go and have a look yourself!

Thank you!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Birthday treats!

 I'm still the sort of chap that gets a little giddy when that most important of anniversaries is reached on the calendar - yes it's my birthday again.  The only problem is that here we are, only at Tuesday with the weekend so far away; the promise of fine ale and a frighteningly hot curry, barely a dot on the horizon of frivolousness!    The Saintly Mrs. Awdry has tried, heroically, to nullify the time spent at work by lavishing gifts and cake in a hugely generous fashion and with the arrival of little packages of loveliness, ordered strategically in advance, it has been a rather splendid day.

Zombies, Dinosaurs & the Indian Mutiny; so very me!

It seems that the generosity of my beloved family has been replicated by those friends is this rather warm and fuzzy corner of the blogosphere, we like to call home.   Not one but two further 'Liebster Blog Awards!' These were nominated by two of the finest gentlemen bloggers, not to mention talented chaps around.  For those of you that haven't visited either Curt's, 'Analogue Hobbies' or Thanos' 'Miniatures & Terrain', then grab yourself a cup of tea and follow the above links, you will not be disappointed.  

While I am happy to fully endorse this awareness of one another's blogs, I am starting to getting a little concerned that we might all be caught in a forever repeating loop of congratulatory compliance, still what better Birthday treat - thank you all.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Dismounted Camel Corps Command

Well half of it anyway!  More of the wonderful 'Perry Miniatures' Sudan range and whilst my observations, with regard to the amount of flash and tidying up haven't changed, the quality of the sculpts is undeniably good.  

Once they were finally on the painting table they really were a delight to paint and work with; these three were completed over the weekend.  I rather wish I'd prepared the full unit now; still, I have now managed to double my British forces in a week!

In other news '28mm Victorian Warfare' was awarded another Liebster award!  This virtual manifestation of all that is good in our little corner of the blogosphere continues to do the rounds, but I was genuinely flabbergasted when Roly, from 'Dressing the Lines' passed it on again!  Roly has a tremendous blog, which is often my first port of call when in need of research for all things relating to the New Zealand Wars; if you haven't visited already then I urge you to pay a visit.  Thank you Roly!

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Gordons, Alive!

If truth be told I have no right starting yet another period, but with December just around the corner I have to confess that I have one eye well and truly fixed on the now, seemingly ridiculous, self imposed targets - mental note:  set more realistic and practical targets next year!  Mind you it does mean that I had to pick up one or two new shiny things, but before we get to them, I found these three 'Perry Miniatures', Highland Command lurking around the periphery of the lead pile; the other half of the group had been used for the 'Carry on up the Khyber' post back in June.  

Although known as the Gordon Highlanders, the Regiment was officially designated the 100th Regiment of foot later becoming the 92nd Regiment of foot in 1798.  The 1st battalion of the Gordons was sent to Sudan where it was issued grey wool jackets.  These were worn throughout the campaign at the Battles of El Teb, and Tamai in 1884.

Loved the characterful sculpts, but my goodness they were a pig to clean up and get ready.  Great to have a go at a different tartan too, which was essentially a Government tartan, with the addition of a thin yellow stripe.  (my attempt at a 'how to' can be found here.)  Now let us what's next?

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Hip, Hip, Polish Hussar!

This rather fine Polish Winged Hussar was another one of those very generous, but very curious little packages that the great and good, 'Provost Marshal' secretly deposits on my painting desk after a visit to 'Awdry Towers'.  Sometimes they can remain undetected for days until a coded warning is released; this then brings about a spate of frenetic tidying up of the work station to discover the offending article before the Saintly Mrs. Awdry gets wind of the fact that even more contraband has found its way over the threshold.  

A more cynically minded chap might start think that the fellow was in cahoots with good lady wife in a bid to keep the every spreading workstation contained!

Not entirely sure of the make, but there was certainly a feeling of quality to him, even if the sculpt lacks some of the dynamism that we have become used to today.  Anyway, a much needed distraction without the need to amass too many troops on the painting table at any one time!

Monday, 19 November 2012

And the winner is...

'28mm Victorian Warfare' was created purely as a self indulgent distraction at I time when I desperately needed something to do with my hands!  It became intrinsically linked with the fledging development of this most wholesome of hobbies that we all share and it is now responsible for a good part of my waking day! 

So it goes without saying that when Anne O'Leary of 'Anne's Attic' left a post informing me that she was passing on a 'Liebster Blog Award' to me, I was absolutely thrilled - thank you so much Anne!  To be nominated by someone with a Blogosphere presence such as Anne, truly is a honour in itself and one that I am only too happy to pass on to fellow bloggers.   Now, I appreciate that it could be perceived as little more than a glorified chain letter, but when it is passed on with such good intentions then I think that there is still room for a little celebration in this often too cynical world.  

I thought I would do a bit of investigation as to the 'how and why' of the The Liebster Blog Award, but would you believe it the one time you need it, Wikipedia goes and lets you down.  After a little time trawling the infoweb I did manage to turn up that the 'Liebster', German for beloved, dearest or favourite, is awarded to relatively new bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  I was unable to track down the exact origins of the 'Liebster', but did manage to get back to 2010, during which time there have been many variants, but I've decided to go with the following.  

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it to you.

2. Pass the award to your top 5 favourite blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of their posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.

3. Sit back and bask in that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing that you have just made someone's day!

The hardest part of all this has been try to narrow whittle down my choices, but without further ado and absolutely no obligation on their part, my five recipients for a 'Liebster' are:

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Boxer Artillery

This final instalment for the Boxer Rebellion (at least for the time being anyway) sees the introduction of an artillery piece and crew.  As before, all are from ‘Redoubt Enterprises’ and have the same reassuring solidity to them.

I decided that I wanted to add a little ‘something extra’ to the base, perhaps to convey some form of defensive position, but also to hint at the urban setting of this conflict.  To that end a few ‘Ainsty Castings’ tea chests and a discarded piece of pottery (the pattern lovingly cribbed from a 19th Century Qing Dynasty vase – the infoweb is a wonderful thing!) were scattered about the front of the base.

I have to confess that I am rather pleased with the final result and thoroughly enjoyed tinkering around until I was happy with the base; perhaps I could have a month dedicated to artillery, but then again I could just try and stay on task!

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