Friday, 22 April 2022

"You've had the Cowboys..."

 .".. now try the Indians". That was apparently the advertising slogan for a London building firm with South Asian proprietors some years ago - and good for them, I'm certain it worked a treat ( only bested by a plasterer I once used, whose business card said  'for surfaces rendered' ). But I digress.

'Time and Space' for hobby activities has been in short supply recently, but I hope to get a bit more time now, and I want to  try to get back to some painting. I thought I'd give these chaps  a go: 


I think my 'D-Day Dodgers' Italian Campaign's allied forces need to reflect the multinational nature of the real thing, and I know that Indian troops made up a significant part of the British Imperial army in Italy, so I reckon these are a must.   I picked up this set at SELWG Last year, and it's about time they came out of the box.  

No less than 56 figures on 4 sprues, which is probably more than I will need!  A nice variety of poses, armed with rifles, revolvers, Stens and Brens.  Here's a  slightly blurry close-up: 

The guy at the top centre looks rather splendid, that bandolier-style belt almost looks like the '12 apostles' of a 17th-Century musketeer. It'll be interesting to see how he turns out. 

It will be good to have a go at these - on thinking about it, I reckon these will be the first figures I have painted representing people of a non-white ethnic group ( which really only shows how little painting I've done! ).  In keeping with the existing British and German figures in the collection, they will be based singly, which should allow them to be used for pretty much any WW2 period  rules. 

Finally a  couple of little resonances, which gave me the 'nudge' to look at these. Firstly, I have been employed by an Indian company for the past few years,  which employment looks likely to end in the next few months. It occurs that these chaps may be a little memory-jogger for my time with my 'offshore' colleagues.  And lastly, a  reminder of  contemporary realities - the maker of these figures is of course Strelets, and they were made in Ukraine.

Given that, I feel I'd better make as good a job of them as I can.  I'll post again soon, I hope, to show how they turn out. Meanwhile keep well, and safe, everyone.

*** UPDATE ***  many thanks to the most excellent blogger  Nundanket  ( in fact, I should of course say 'Nun Danket' to you ),  who pointed out that the incongruous 17th Century-looking figure is indeed a quirky bonus feature from Strelets - a  different 'Streltsi' figure is included in every sprue of their range. See this page from Plastic Soldier Review for more details. Has anyone actually built up a 16th/17th Century Russian force from these? It could be fun, but you might have to buy quite a strange selection of other figures!  


Wednesday, 6 April 2022

I couldn't walk away..

Shopping at our local supermarket a few days ago, I took a quick look at the charity bookstall near the exit, It's usually 99%  trashy novels,  but every so often something interesting comes up - and lo and behold...

Last year we visited some 'senior' friends, and  Lawrence of Arabia came up in conversation. One of our  friends  ( who is now in his 80s ) said 'When I was a child, I knew a man who knew T.E. Lawrence'. Interesting in itself,  but when I asked who the mutual friend was,  he replied  'he was called Basil Liddell Hart'.  Imagine my surprise:  it turned out that Liddell Hart was a friend of our friend's family - indeed our friend remembered,  aged 7 or 8,  playing Croquet with Liddell Hart! It's not recorded who won, though I fancy he said Basil wasn't actually very good at croquet tactics..  I've never tried reading Liddell Hart, but remembering that conversation, I could hardly leave this book on the stall. 

Not only that, but also  this  rather nice old volume :


'Imperial Services Library, Volume VI', no less: published 1963, with illustrations by the author. The gentleman seems to have  produced a whole series of similar books ( 'A History of the Regiments and Uniforms of the British Army' etc ) ; this one is described as 'not only a history of every regiment which was first formed in London, but it also describes the uniforms they wore'.  It makes a point of including volunteers , militias and territorial untits,  not just regulars. Rather nice illustrations, too, both  monochrome sketches and colour plates, like this: 


Now I freely admit, this may not be a 'reader', rather a 'pick up and browse now and again' book, but at the very least the pictures are rather fine.   The various volunteer units look interesting and unusual, too - they may tempt me to read properly.   I have a very bad habit of being unable to stop myself 'rescuing' literary waifs and strays like this, so I couldn't walk away, could I?  They were in need of  a good home -  and   I  would assume  these two volumes must have come from the same collection, so it would be a shame to part them, wouldn't it?   So I laid paid the princely sum of 50p each, and here they are.  Two more for the reading backlog - when I retire ( which may be coming up sooner than previously  expected ), I may just turn into Mr Bennet, rarely leaving my 'library' and being very happily lost in books.  Keep safe, and well, everyone.