The occasional exploits of Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh and the Rhanzlistan Field Force

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The Old Red Fort of Rhanzlistan (Part 2)

I've spent the day off and on progressing the Supreme Littleness Designs MDF Fort kit. Having coated it in Basetex 'Dried Earth' and gritted the base with my usual basing mixture yesterday I left it all to harden overnight. The first stage is to paint the entire structure, I use Crafter's Acrylic Burgundy Rose as the base colour on all my sub continent buildings, and to was the base to match the figures, again using Crafter's Acrylic 'Country Maple' ~

















When the Base coat and the ground wash are dry I next dry brush heavily with Artiste Acrylic 'Burnt Sienna'. It's really necessary to dry brush this coat heavily to help the desired end effect ~

















The second dry brushing needs to be much lighter handed and its best to do two light coats rather than one thickish one I've found. For this stage I used Artiste Acrylic 'Clay' and you get this rich orange brown look ~


















The final stage of dry brushing is the lightest you'll find. I use a dry brushing of Anita's Acrylic 'Cream'. The effect is to wash down the whole colour while highlighting the edges and texture. The effect produces this look on my Rhanzlistan buildings ~

















I've painted the few pieces of exposed wood simply Foundry 'Bay Brown Shade' for now. I'll tinker with that tomorrow probably. Adding dark green static grass, dry green and dark green grass tufts and 'weeds' from various coloured clumps allows the ruin to be dressed and lifted ~


















Well,it's pretty much finished now and should blend in well with my other buildings in next month's Rhanzlistan game here in GHQ.



Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The Old Red Fort...

...or at least it will be red when it's finished! I'm taking a break from figure painting for a couple of days and adding a new terrain piece to the collection for use in our next Rhanzlistan game next month. It's a Supreme Littleness MDF kit which I bought on impulse at Claymore in August. After assembling the kit and leaving the glue to harden overnight I've textured all the building's surfaces with Basetex and the groundwork with my usual basing grit mix. I've added rubble, rocks, bricks and such to bring the whole up. I've also built a small well from rock pieces in the courtyard of the ruin. I'll build a wooden cover for the well later on and add some pots and such from the bits box. Here it is as it stands at present anyway ~























The rubble on the right is the punched out MDF pieces from the various lug holes and window features.
The metal rocks are from a Craft Store via Kevin!





















I've added the ladder detail from my spares box. The trapdoor is simply the MDF punched out piece from the access hole to the roof.

























The well in the foreground is made from rock pieces glued in place layer by layer. More Craft Store metal rock pieces filling the void in the wall as rubble. It all needs to harden off overnight now before I can start on painting it, red of course!

Monday, 13 February 2017

Bhurpa Gold

Earlier today Phil and I played out the latest game in our ongoing Tales from Rhanzlistan, our imaginary setting on the North West Frontier in the early 1920's. The game would be played using Bolt Action rules over six turns, with an optional seventh turn decided by a dice throw. Phil's S.P.I.F.F. had the task of looting a defended Bhurpa village in the foothills of the mountains of Rhanzlistan. Three objective markers represented the loot, worth respectively 5, 10, and 20 victory points as they were located further from the enemy. The Bhurpas, lead by the worthy if unmilitary Imran Bhykli, scored one victory point for every member of S.P.I.F.F. they killed. The Bhurpas defended their village, determined to repulse the infidel ~




















General Robinski organised his S.P.I.F.F. forces and began an assault on a wide front to feel out th strength of the Bhurpa positions. Imran Bhykli had chosen to defend the village with three large groups of Bhurpas, to maximise casualties on the enemy in the later stages, supported by long range artillery, and a MMG located in the foothills to the village's left flank. An 80mm mortar was located in the courtyard of the Headman's house ~

















Clearly speed in the assault would be vital for S.P.I.F.F. to achieve its objectives in six or seven turns, so Robinski sent his armoured car directly down the road to the village, spraying the defenders with the fire from its twin turrets ~
















Despite several rounds of mortar fire, no hits were scored on the armoured car, though the S.P.I.F.F. artillery did come under Bhurpa fire and their supporting MMG was destroyed by the Bhurpa machine gun team. Meanwhile, the defenders in the village were coming under serious threat from advancing infantry ~













With the Bhupa machine gun team out of action their left flank was suddenly open as the enemy's infantry dashed forward. Assaulted directly in their front the other two groups could not support the remnants of the third group to their left ~


















While the central group enjoyed some success in a fire fight with their opponents, the group on the Bhurpa's right flank were heavily pinned by fire from the armoured car, a MMG and the infantry to their front. With his left flank collapsing Imran Bhykli lead his personal retinue in a desperate charge to repulse the enemy  ~
















Fighting fiercely the superior numbers of the enemy were sent packing. With their blood u th small band of heroes now rushed the flank of an even larger enemy infantry group. Fighting was brutal and bloody, but one by one Bhykli's guard were cut down until only our hero remained ~
















His fate was sealed as the overwhelming odds were too much even for his mighty frame to resist ~


















The end of turn 6 saw the Bhurpas ahead on points but clearly so weakened that in any extra turn they could not resist the advance of the enemy's armoured car, which would give them possession of the final objective and victory by a narrow margin. Tension was high in GHQ as the dice was rolled:  wold have an extra turn! Sadly it proved all too much for the remaining Bhurpas and the armoured car rolled unopposed into the courtyard, securing the objective and winning the game for Phil!

Monday, 12 September 2016

On the Road to Rhanzlstan

Well, having taken delivery of the mountain terrain from Phil last Monday, deciding on today's game was a no brainer! Our game sees 'Robinson Force', a detached element of the Rhanzlistan Field Force, pitted against the dastardly Bhykli Khan, chief of chiefs amongst the Bhurpas of Rhanzlistan, who has been roused to open rebellion by the promise of gold from the Russian embassy to the tribes! Catching news of the uprising from native spies, Brigadie Bykleigh has dispatched a force to chastise the Bhurpas, yet again...














Robinson Force enters the table from the southern end and must force a crossing of the river in one of two spots in order to engage the natives. The armoured car, supported by Aston's Scouts force the village meeting little opposition, while the Gurkhas, supported by the South Staffords and the Jalfrezi Rifles attack along the western banks of the river.













The Machine Gun detachment advances on the Force's left flank to provide suppressing fire when the Bhurpas show themselves.


















The armoured car forces a passage of the village, coming under long range mortar fire from Bhurpas somewhere in the hills up ahead, while Aston's Scouts offer close support if needed.










Without wavering the Gurkhas advance swiftly on the bridge, determined to carry their objective whatever the opposition might be.



















As Robinson Force gathers for the assault the Bhurpas reveal themselves amongst the rocky heights and in the ruins of an ancient village. They seem to be supported by a motley crowd of Russian adventurers and ner do wells! They pour down fire on the armoured car and the Scouts, rather foolishly ignoring the Gurkha threat!


















While the Russians are alert to the growing threat to the bridge, the Bhurpas seem happy to continue to engage the armoured car and the Scouts!













At a crucial phase in the action the draw of the Bolt Action dice favours Robinson Force and the Gurkhas charge across the bridge taking only one casualty and defeat the first of the defenders in a bloody melee!


















Surviving flanking fire from the remaining Bhurpas and supported by the South Staffords the Gurkhas go on to clear the village. Their bold attack unsettles the remaining natives, as does the incessant machine gun fire from the left flank and the accurate fire of the mountain gun battery!


















The bravery and example of the Gurkhas serves to encourage the Scouts and they advance at the trot to put any surviving Bhurpas to the sword!


















At this stage Bhurpa resistance is almost wiped out, just the mortar crew and the Russian mercenaries are left in action. Its all up for Bhykli Khan he realises!

















As the Scouts advance briskly up the lower slopes, the mortar crew and the mercenary Russians melt away into the upper slopes of the mountains of Rhanzlistan...leaving Bhykli Khan to contemplate his errors.



















For those who like to know these things we used Bolt Action version 1 for the rules, adding a preliminary turn for Robinson Force to enter the table. We played over the usual six turns, though it was all up for the Bhurpas in Turn 5 as you've seen above! Though thoroughly chastised on this occasion there is no doubt that the Bhurpas will rise again or that the marauding forces of S.P.I.F.F. will once again test the metal of Brigadier Bykleigh and the Rhanzlistan Field Force over the coming months.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Hills Are Alive...

...with the sound of drybrushing! Dreadful, I know, but you will have to put up with it for now! How we went from this, rather twee Christmas Village display base ~









To this, a bespoke creation of the Mountains of Rhanzlistan; home to that most 'loyal' of tribesmen, the dreaded Bhurpas!












Well, to be more exact, to do this you need a 'Phil Robinson' in full 'Slarti Bartfarst' mode! Its a bit like having your own Dobbie I suppose. {I keep him in a garage workshop in Darkest Rawnsley, fed on scraps from the table and watered with coffee occasionally!} You see him here applying the finishing touches to the snowy peaks...

















But seriously, what a wonderfully talented chap and stout friend he is. {I'm even almost sorry I won today's WWII Bolt Action game now!} The process started in the last Blog entry took just one week to completion, starting with the painting of the MDF base to counter possible warping during the process; the application of coats of Polytex ceiling paint to the plastic vacuum formed shell of the mountains; repeated over spraying of colours to bring depth to the piece and bring it to life; endless drybrushing; adding rocky texture and static grass and clump vegetation; and finally, adding the green toweling to match our existing tiles here in GHQ and overspraying it to match ~


















































































To say that I'm chuffed to add this piece to my terrain collection is probably the biggest understatement of my wargaming life! Thank You, Phil! You are an ace bloke and no mistake! The Mountains will debut here in GHQ next Monday all being well, when the local Bhurpa chieftains take on the S.P.I.F.F. Pop back to see how it all unfolds next week and to see the mountains in all their glory!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Speaking of Hills...

...a few of my readers may remember this ~









Its a former display item for those cod Victorian houses which are sold in Garden Centres around Christmas time. Sue and I were out for a drive in early January this year when we called in at Mere Park garden centre, near Newport in Shropshire. They had a whole building given over to selling off surplus Christmas stock, amongst which were several sizes of these plastic vacuum formed range of hills. This was not the biggest, but it measures about 44" x 18", and seemed to me ideal for converting into some decent sized mountains for my Bhurpas to inhabit.
Now, only eight months later, Phil and I have begun to transform them for the tabletop in GHQ! The first stage was to acquire some 6mm MDF. Local DIY stores used to cut the sheets for you for free, no more apparently. The local builders' merchant will do this, but they were waiting for a part for the saw! Several weeks passed, cue our friendly builder neighbour Martin {Who converted GHQ very reasonably for me.} who offered to get the sheet and cut it for me. Cost £10.06 to him, as opposed to £24.50 to me ~ more incidental evidence of 'Rip Off Britain'!
Having acquired the MDF our first task was to cut off the lower lip around the form and to pad the interior of the vacuum formed hills to make it more sturdy in a game. For some strange reason I forgot to take any pictures of this stage! Sorry! Its packed with off cuts of polystyrene packing I collected over the year from new electrical equipment, held in place by seemingly yards of gaffer tape and all sealed in with clingfilm. It looked a right mess I can tell you but the hills were really solid when we turned them over to fix them to the MDF.














We fixed the hills to the MDF first with an upholsterer's staple gun and then with a hot glue gun to seal the edge to the MDF. It took four glue stick reloads to do the job! The whole piece of 4' x 2' MDF can now be safely handled for the next stages over at Phil's. The first of these was to paint the exposed MDF boards to guard against warping when the texturing and ground working get underway.


















While we are generally happy with the overall look of the piece in its raw form, we did agree that the left hand side was rather too stark and gamer unfriendly, so we added some polystyrene pieces to the board to represent a more accessible approach in a game. {By the way, the holes you can see in the flat areas are for the electrical wiring to light up those houses I mentioned.}


















The next stages are to coat the exposed polystyrene pieces in filler to give them the necessary strength and then to coat the plastic form, added pieces and the exposed MDF in Polytex flexible ceiling paint. As you can see, we ran out of filler, which Phil collected another tub of today, so I have no doubt the whole piece will soon be ready for the next phase, adding scree slopes and then spraying the whole with Humbrol acrylic 'Dark Brown' as the base colour to work up from.
This is where we are at now. More news of the Mountains of Rhanzlistan as the project unfolds over the next few weeks. Do pop back when you can to see how it develops.





Monday, 27 June 2016

Into the hills!

With the final thawing of the winter's snows here in Rhanzlistan it's time for our hero, Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh, and the Rhanzlistan Field Force to shake off the stupor of too long confined to barracks and march to further glory! Rumours have been heard over these past months in the markets and villages of the foothills of a great gathering of Bhurpa tribal elders in the palace of that villainous ruler, the Jakzi of Jimbai. Governor Godfrey Godalming has dispatched our hero and a column of His Majesty's finest sons to ascertain the truth behind these rumours, and if necessary to 'civilize' the Jakzi and those troublesome Bhurpas!
For our first return to Rhanzlistan for a while Phil would command the RFF and I would take control of the Bhurpas. Phil's game objective is to capture the Bhrpa tribal elders and their Soviet adviser, mine to survive 2 turns and inflict as great a loss n the RFF as possible; a line in the sand defence really. We used Bolt Action for the game's rules rather than the usual Setting the East Ablaze. In Turn 1 the RFF enters the table with the Bhurpa positions marked by counters, including 5 to mark sniper positions, of which more later. Piper Imrie leads the column across the Bykla river ~





















Phil's infantry on his right flank have already survived their first encounter with the Bhupa sniper concealed in the ruins of a village. For each of the 5 Sniper markers the Bhurpas get one shot at their chosen target only, then the opportunity passes. I chose to target the lead command figure in Turn 1 and promptly missed, a bit of a precursor to the rest of the game ~














A spotter in the hills on the Bhurpa's right flank guides the mortar crew concealed in a village courtyard onto their target, or not in my case ~


















The Bhurpa sniper was soon in action again, with Piper Imrie being the unfortunate victim of choice! But nothing daunted, the Gordons and the Bhyklabad Horse continue their relentless advance ~























On the RFF's right flank the infantry advance is hampered by the terrain, but they come on steadily despite the difficulty and the fire of the Bhurpas' antiquated artillery support ~


















By Turn 6 the action is heating up all along the front. The 18lb gun comes into action to support the Bhyklabad Horse's bold advance into the heart of the village and F.O. Bikklesworth arrives in his ageing A10 to provide support with two light bombs ~



















The first bomb destroys a Bhurpa group in the outskirts of the village, reducing the immediate threat to the Horse to the MMG on the roof of another building on the outskirts. Meanwhile tribesmen concealed in a dry stream bed are poised to threaten the RFF's infantry advance ~





















Not that they got very far! The second bombing run is equally devastating and the tribesmen and blown to smithereens. Back in the centre, the Bhurpa Maxim takes a heavy toll on the artillery, forcing them to withdraw, but other Bhurpa elements are less successful and the game tips beyond them in Turn 9. Despite the loss of the Bhyklabad Horse to a surprise flank attack and serious losses to their support from the South Staffords and the Gordons its all up for the Jakzi!
























The Jakzi, General Robinski and several Bhurpa tribal elders are captured and once more Rhanzlistan can enjoy a period of settled calm, until the next time of course...

An enjoyable game, for all that my fire was particularly ineffective bar the Maxim's efforts. The game was really swung by the A10's two bombing runs. The first destroying a whole group, the second almost destroying another. With such losses in two turns the Bhurpas could not inflict enough damage to slow the RFF's remorseless advance and Phil was able to achieve his objective in Turn 9. The Bhurpas had mauled the Horse, the 18lb gun, the Gordons and the South Staffords but it had not been enough to turn the game in their favour thanks wholly to the exploits of F.O.Bikklesworth, or Phil's dice of course ~