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, October 30, 2016

October Surprise...

Well, it's been WAY TOO LONG since I've put a new post on this blog!  I've been very busy with work and family stuff, and I've had some problems with the new "Photos" system which replaced "iPhoto" and basically "shares" pictures from your phone with iCloud and your computer instead of the old-fashioned "downloading" of pics.  Needless to say I'm a bit of an old-fashioned guy, and I'm still struggling a bit with this new system.

On the bright side, hobby-wise, I've had a visit from a fellow blogger over in the UK, the illustrious Willie Anderson, who was kind enough to let me trap him in my house for a couple of hours, and even presented me with several generous gifts, including a trio of obscene Highlanders from his Scottish homeland! Willie, my sincere thanks once again!

(I heartily recommend CLICKING HERE to pop over and visit Willie's fantastic, "The Anderson Collection," blog which showcases his incredibly wide-ranging collection of brilliant armies and wonderful terrain!)

I've also taken delivery of a bunch of interesting books on various aspects of the Second Afghan War, which I hope to post about in the near future, and a few days ago I got a package with my last batch of converted figures (which I did a post on last December, which you can see by clicking HERE) back in the mail.  This painted versions of these figures were a long-time coming, but as my favorite commercial painter had officially retired from painting figures for money, and had agreed to come out of retirement to help me out, so I'm just VERY HAPPY he managed to get them done -- which is the reason behind the title of this blog-post "OCTOBER SURPRISE" -- since the figures SURPRISED me by arriving just before the end of OCTOBER!  Any allusion to the current political campaigns here in the USA will neither be confirmed nor denied.

And so, without further ado, here's the painted versions, hope you enjoy seeing them almost as much as I enjoy having them!

As you will see, there's a mix of historic and fictional subjects, but sooner or later each will find their way to serving as key elements in actual game scenarios.

1)  First up, from the fictional category, are Jakin & Lew, Kipling's drummerboys from the 'Fore and Aft:

2)  A recreation of the real cover of an 1880 copy of the Iluustrarted London News, showing an officer of the 92nd Highlanders and what I assume to be a British Army reverend chaplain watching as a pair of Afghans are marched past en route to their execution:

3)  Third stands right on the cusp between historic and fictional -- Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli, AKA: Sean Connery (in John Milius' THE WIND AND THE LION, one of the greatest movies ever made):

4)  Fictional, but may yet serve well in a purely historic game -- the "Sergeants Three" from George Stevens' 1939 GUNGA DIN (another of the greatest movies ever made):

...joined here by the better man than I, Din himself (aka: Sam Jaffe):

5)  Totally real but useful on historic and fictional tabletops alike, as I like to add details of day-to-day civlian reality to my battlefields whenever appropriate:

6)  Pure history, in the form of a WWI Wargames Foundry British officer interogating a German Prisoner, now converted into General Frederick Roberts seated in front of his tent on the road to Kabul in Fall 1879 (about the time of the Oct. 6th battle of Charasiab):

7)  Also straight out of history, though dressed in only an educated-guess approximation of clothing, is the rather ill-fated, short-term Amir of Afghanistan, Yaqub Khan, pictured after turning himself into General Roberts in the aftermath of the massacre of Major Cavagnari and his Guides escort in Kabul.  It is noted that General Roberts had the Amir treated with the utmost regard and assigned several particularly large Highlanders to serve as his "bodyguards" in the British camp:

8.  Back to fiction with our same Highland NCO now about to be strangled by the historic anomaly of a c.1840 THUG on c.1885 North-West Frontier (but who cares!):

9.  And finally, again potentially useful for either historic or fictional scenarios, a seated British officer or correspondent, busy drawing, perhaps a map for land navigation purposes... or a sketch for later publication back home:

That's it for now -- HAPPY HALLOWEEN -- and I hope to be back with a new post before too long!


  1. What a sensational post! So much to enjoy, I particular like the movie inspired characters and must now watch the Wind and the Lion again!

    1. Michael,

      Very happy to read your comment, my friend, and thank you for taking the time to leave it! If I have inspired a visitor to rewatch THE WIND AND THE LION, I must be doing something right!

  2. You have been so wonderfully creative/busy, thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. You are very welcome, Tragardmastre, thanks very much for your kind & thoughtful comment!

  3. The icing on the cake to an already outstanding and huge collection of figures and scenery that just keeps getting better and better.
    Good show for Willie to pop in and see you when in your neck of the woods.

    1. High praise indeed from you, Pat! Yes, meeting Willie in person was great! I just wish we'd had a bit more time so I could've taken him out to eat (and drink?) and maybe even played a game... but he was of course in the midst of a family vacation, do really we were lucky we got to see each other at all!

  4. When you post it often costs me! Two dvds and the officer interrogating a German prisoner today :)
    The Highlander about to be strangled - is he in sentry pose? If so, have you any idea where he is from, please. I'm after two sentries for the official residence (unbuilt as yet) of Brigadier McEvelly Resident of Wyndistan.
    Oh, and Photos: a nightmare compared to iPhoto. I cannot export a picture from Mail directly into Photos as I could with iPhoto.
    Thanks for any answers to my questions.

    1. Nobby,

      The Highlander "sentry" is a Perry Highland NCO from the Black Watch command pack in their Sudan range.

      ...and thanks very much for your very kind words, and I will hopefully assume you can afford any additional spending inspired by my blog, and take it as a HUGE compliment!

    2. I can afford the spend although the wife reckons she can't :0)
      I've just watched Gunga Din and the Lion and the Wind.

      Good for scenery ideas but the acting, oh dear!
      Thank God that thespians and film makers have constantly improved :0)

  5. Ethan,

    Thanks for hosting me at your place I agree it would have been great to have spent longer exploring your collection which is fantastic. These new additions look great GUNGA DIN is one of my all-time favourite movies you have captured the scene brilliantly I can almost hear the pipes in the distance. The flags in the grave yard are also a great touch. Good to see you posting here again.

    Best wishes


    1. Willie! It was GREAT to meet you in person, and I thank you again for finding a way to fit me into your family vacation schedule! Yes, it would have been nice to spend more time together, but still, it was great! If I'm lucky we'll get to do it again some time, either here or maybe at your place. And thank you again for the figures, the fudge, and the whiskey!

  6. Welcome back, and what a great display of Colonial gaming goodies!

  7. Great to see you back here, A J, and thanks for taking the time to leave your comment and for the kind complients therein!

  8. Nice to see you back and lots of lovely colonial vignettes.
    Best Iain

  9. Thanks very much, Iain! Hopefully I'll be back more often than I managed over the past 6 months or so!

  10. Thanks, Michael! Really hope to see you here for another Afghan game some time soon!