Above is a pic of Lt. Colonel James Galbraith, Regimental Colour in hand, alongside Bobbie the regimental dog and some of the other "Last Eleven" survivors of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, making their last stand in one of the walled gardens just South of Khig village, a few miles West of the Afghan town of Maiwand.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Musing over a couple of early "Maiwand Day" pics...

I've been putting together a selection of pictures taken over the past year or so, to go with an interview about my "Maiwand Day" project. Having taken hundreds and hundreds of photos at every stage of development, a handful have stuck with me, which I plan to send along with the interview, for possible inclusion when and if it's posted on the web.

Of the stand-out pics, my all-time favorite is the one below, which I have posted here along with its never-before-seen mirror-image twin (the first one served as the masthead image for this blog until after we held the 130th anniversary refight).

The two pictures were taken after I'd glued the foam boards to the cut-down Masonite (for those in the UK, I believe it's referred to as MDF for "Medium Density Fiberboard"), fit them together atop my table and drawn on Mundabad ravine and the three interconnected nullahs, as a guide for the carving to come.

They freeze a moment in time between when the whole thing was just an idea in my head and when it became a usable tabletop to play games on. I think the impact I get from them -- the reason I love them so much -- has to do with the multiple methods by which we get enjoyment from our hobby.

I'm by no means the first to point this out and it's certainly nothing new, but I feel it's worth repeating nonetheless: we research... we plan... we collect... we customize... we paint... we build... we write (or modify) rules... we play... we debate (more or less intensely!)... we win... we lose. All in the company of friends. Then, if we're lucky, we get to clean up and do it all over again... and again... and again.

I may be nuts but somehow the battle-line of finished miniatures arrayed atop unfinished ground with just a hint (via the barely-glimpsed rough outlines) of the work to come, makes me think of all the above -- and puts a smile on my face.

Hope it puts one on yours as well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

1st Bombay Grenadiers Officer's silver helmet badge

While googling around for all things "1st Bombay Grenadiers" I happened across this on BOSLEYS Military Auctioneers website. It was up for auction back on September 14th, 2005. If it were up for auction right now I think I'd have to bid. Maybe I'll get a mounted Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson figure -- regimental C.O. at Maiwand -- and put a tiny version of this badge on the front of his foreign service helmet.

Monday, June 20, 2011

FULL UNIT CONVERSION #2: 1st Bombay Grenadiers

I'm back again without much delay, since I don't expect to have another chance to do anything but work again before the end of this month. So without further ado, here's my second full unit conversion for Maiwand: adjusting the TURBANS on 20-odd Perry Bengal/Bombay infantry running at trail, covered turbans, as seen here:

These IMHO quite lovely figures are sculpted wearing smooth cloth covers over their turbans, so in order to accurately portray the 1st Bombay Grenadiers at Maiwand, I needed to carve the folds of their lungis (turban wraps) into their headgear and add both a pointed kullah and one end of the lungi poking up from the center of their turbans, as pictured in this illustration from Osprey Men-At-Arms #92, "Indian Infantry Regiments 1860-1914," written by Michael Barthorp, colour plates by Jeffrey Burn, seen here:

It was easy for me to convert a pair of standard bearers in time to use them during the 130th anniversary game last July 27th, but doing it for a full strength infantry unit was a bit more challenging!


The perfect "bits" to serve as kullahs and turban ends came courtesy of the Wargames Foundry FPW Prussian Command Staff pack (seen above!) which I'd already used for British and Afghan command figure conversions. The ribbon-decorated flagpole was the perfect resource, providing 2 separate folds of ribbon, each of which was perfect for use as one of the turban sticking up, and spike at the top of the standard-bearer's helmet, after being filed slightly smoother, made a perfect kullah point sticking out from the center of the turban. But I didn't have anywhere near enough such flagpoles to provide what I needed for the entire unit. So I cast a wider net. I used short lengths of the flagpoles themselves, field to a point on one end, as kullahs, and I used some short & flat lengths of scrap metal, folded over onto themselves to better resemble the ribbons from the Prussian flagpole, as ends poking up from the centers of turbans.

To scrape in the turban folds I used my trusty X-acto blades.

As with the Bengal Lancers in my previous post and nearly all the other conversions I've blogged about, I used a slow-acting superglue called SLO-ZAP which gives you at least 30 seconds to adjust placement of the pieces before they bond together, which for those of us used to working with instantly-bonding krazy glue, is a dream come true.

I like the size and design of these Perry Miniatures figures, so it was worth the time and effort to convert them all... but it did take a while!

Here's some pics (at the bottom are a few pics of the beautifully painted versions, courtesy of Igor Olshansky of Igwargminis.com)...

FULL UNIT CONVERSION #1: 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry

It's been awhile since my last blog post, between 2 out of 3 kids graduating from their respective schools, and 2 simultaneous July 1st project delivery deadlines at work, I'm stretched thin. But it's good to come up for air from time to time, and this is one of those times!

I have 3 "FULL UNIT CONVERSION" posts to do, and this is number one: turning 12 Perry Bengal Lancers into sword-armed sowars of the 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry, for service at Maiwand. (Luckily I only had to convert 9 of the 12, since the "command pack" of British officer, Indian NCO & bugler didn't need any work!)

(click on above pic of Perry Muslim Bengal Lancers to visit their site)

The key ingredient to make this work was tracking down loose swords of appropriate design and matching size. This took a while, but with help form the worldwide miniature wargaming community, via TMP, I was able to discover Dayton Painting Consortium, Ltd. (Click here to visit their homepage or here to visit their catalogue page including accessories).

Dayton Consortium's LIGHT CAVALRY SABERS turned out to be a perfect fit for the open hands of the Perry Lancers, and they also turned out to be a bargain at $3.00 for a bag of 20 swords. They were a pleasure to deal with and the swords arrived in the mail at hyper-speed.

I'll be the first to agree that gluing swords into open hands is not much of a conversion, but I feel a lot of satisfaction for having stuck to the belief over some time that I'd find a way to make the beautiful Perry Bengal Lancers work as sword armed cavalry, WITHOUT having to cut their right hands off and replace them with severed hands from Perry British Sudan hussars or, at slightly less expense, their plastic American Civil War cavalrymen.

Here's some pics: