My flirtation with second the Indochina War was always going to be a lighthearted affair. It was fuelled by the cinematic gems depicting the conflict rather than a desire to see history retold on the tabletop. That's not to say that I intended to belittle the sacrifices made by all combatants in what was a complex and enduring campaign, the ongoing question about how soon is too soon with regards to gaming modern warfare is a debate for another time, I was simply looking for an entertaining period to explore in miniature. With that in mind it was inevitable that a John Ramboesque miniature, or two as it happens, would be found.
Rambo, First Blood had, initially, passed me by, I was only twelve when it received its cinematic release, but I remember Rambo, First Blood part II causing a bit of a stir amongst us pimply faced chaps at school. Still a little too fresh faced to persuade the cinema intendant that I was old enough to witness the murderous intent of this one man army on the big screen, I had to resign myself to the book, which was a frightfully good page turner. Now I'm not here to tell you it was a quality novel worthy of critical acclaim, but it did suffice until a well worn VHS copy of the film managed to make its way to the senior common room.
All this is a painfully obtuse way of me saying that Rambo, as a character, was a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I couldn't be further removed from the muscle bound warrior of the silver screen and yet I could sit quite happily and root for him as bullets seemingly 'ping' off pectorals as he lays waste to great swathes of steaming jungle. This butcher of bad guys whose dialogue was barely decipherable as he mutters through his lines was truly mesmerising to young Master Awdry.
So where did I find my miniature versions of this often maligned veteran? Well in cinematic order, John of First Blood was from 'Studio Miniatures' where as John II is from 'The Assault Group'. Both great fun to do, although I always struggle when painting acres of flesh as in the case of the, 'The Assault Group's' bare chested Rambo. With belts of ammunition suitably slung and brandishing the now legendary M60* general purpose machine gun, you can almost hear the brass shell cases cascading on the ground as our hero sallies forth to save the day. Hopefully one more 'Nam themed post to come, before a complete change as I unearth some long forgotten draft posts.
*Not to be confused with the Manchester Outer Ring Road.