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
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