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

Friday, 27 December 2013

Air Support for the RFF

When the 2014 Campaigning season gets underway here in GHQ, the Rhanzlistan Field Force will have some added air support in the form of an Airco A10. Obviously very obsolete by the 1920's, but then Rhanzlistan is a bit of a backwater and is hardly likely to make the RAF's list of priorities for new aircraft after all! A couple of shots of the plane in the 'skies' over my tabletop battlefield ~

The plane will be in the safe hands of Captain Bicclesworth, DFC & bar, veteran Ace of many encounters with von Rhobinsaan's Flying Circus over the Western Front in the Great War ~

Look out for his exploits in the air over Rhanzlistan {and on the ground} in 2014! Happy New Year to you all!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Loyal Tandooris...

...have been posted to Rhanzlistan for the 2014 Campaigning Season. Having made their name in countless actions against Chief Bykelezi in Darkest Africa and the 'Barmy Bykli' in the Sudan, the Loyal Tandooris have now been posted to support the Rhanzlistan Field Force under the command of Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh.
The commanding Officer of the regiment. Lt Col Whyte, and his aide, Major Thomas ~

'A' company , commanded by Captain, the Hon, William Watkiss ~

'B' Company, commanded by Lt Norris, a short officer with a giant heart ~

With the exception of Lt Norris, commanding 'B' Company {who is a Pulp Miniatures figure from the British Officers set} the figures are all from Copplestone Miniatures' fine, if small range for WWI/the Back of Beyond. The range of Indian troops is partially incomplete, lacking Lewis gunners and a command for the Punjabi machine gun team. Sadly I doubt there is much prospect of any new figures in the range, it seems to me that he has at least partly retired!
The RFF project has almost run its course now. I plan to add some Brigade Games Indian cavalry, Aston's Scouts in the new year and perhaps either a second mountain gun or perhaps a battery of 13lb quick fire guns. I have a WWI limber set from Foundry which I could convert with some Gripping Beast/ Woodbine heads if I choose the latter option.
Whatever the outcome, I look forward to more gripping adventures and resounding triumpha for the RFF in 2014!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Test Pieces

I wanted a few figures to use as Bhurpa warriors in Pulp-style games rather than conventional wargames. I did n't think either the Foundry Hill Tribesmen or the Empress Pathans were quite 'Pulpy' enough, then I saw these 'old' Britannia figures on the Grubby Tanks stand at Colours. I think they'll do just fine, but I'd be interested in other folks' opinions...

I think there are several more poses in the range, so I'll probably pick up some more figures next year to add to the project. (At present though I'm painting Oshiro buildings for my Great Detective game, as I can't face the last Sikh  Indian Infantry unit from Copplestone Miniatures so soon after the Muslim unit. I do really think he should have tried to make the figures a little more varried. But, then again, he's not noted for his prodigious output really...)

Monday, 25 November 2013

Breakout at Jimbai

Phil and I got together today for our final game of 2013 in the Rhanzlistan Field Force campaign we have started. You might recall that in an earlier encounter the RFF, under Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh, repulsed the Bolshevik incursion into Rhanzlistan and sent them hurrying into Jimbai to lick their wounds { see, Encounter at Tikkabad}. This game sees the SPIFF under General 'Red'Robinski attempt a breakout from Jimbai, across the river Bykla to safety.
The general table layout, with the forces of the SPIFF entering from the far end. Some elements of the RFF are camped along the river, partly to guard against surprise and partly to cover the expedition of Professor Cohx to recover the Diablium he discovered on an earlier reconnaissance.

'Red' Robinski's plan was to rush the small force on the bridge with a two pronged attack led by his cavalry, supported by his infantry and artillery. On the road cavalry moved as normal, but off road they diced each turn to see if the terrain was difficult or good, with an effect of only half speed in difficult going ~ odds on a D x 6.


Seeing the danger of being attacked from two fronts, the officer commanding A Company, the Royal Surreys orders a withdrawal towards the cover offered by nearby ruins and the covering fire of B Company and a machine gun.


Caught in the open, A Company is charged first by one Bolshevik Cavalry regiment ~
Then by a second ~
In Turn 4 the RFF's reinforcements begin to arrive in the form of the Gurkhas and a second machine gun ~
Meanwhile, the Siberian Rifles attempting a sneaky shortcut over the mountains surprise a pair of Yetis in a 'private moment'! A vicious fight develops which sees the Siberians kill the Yetis, but at a cost of almost half their unit!
More reinforcements march to the aid of the Royal Surreys, who are hard pressed by now, in the form of the Shropshire Yeomanry and No1 the Baalti Battery Punjab Mountain Artillery.
The Gurkhas occupy the bridgehead and the situation of the RFF seems secure at the end of Turn 7, with one Bolshevik cavalry regiment driven off and the second gaining its second wind {missing a turn on a chance card}.
However, all turns on the run of the cards in Turn 8! The Bolshevik cavalry charges the Gurkhas at the bridgehead and inflicts serious losses.
Seeing the sole survivor fleeing across the bridge!
Now, despite the Yeomanry gallantly charging across the bridge, the Bolshevik artillery blows huge gaps in their formation as the dice were insufficient to contact the Bolshevik cavalry as it rallied after destroying the Gurkhas! All was up for Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh and he sadly led the remnants of the RFF from the table. 'Red' Robinski's forces had triumphed! The route home was clear, for now...
We were using 'Setting the East Ablaze' as our rules for the game. All the Russians are from Phil's wonderful Back of Beyond collection and are Copplestone Miniatures. My own RFF are from a number of manufacturers including Brigade Games and Pulp Miniatures. The buildings are from Mutineer Miniatures, the camp from Renedra and the bridge an old Ian Weekley Battlefield piece. Tune in for more action in 2014 from the hotbed of conflict that is 1920's Rhanzlistan!


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Lord 'Lippy' Rawnsley...

...moves from the Canadian frozen wilderness to the hot lands of Rhanzlistan. In other words, Pulp Miniatures' "Movember" charity figure sculpted by the talented Bob Murch. Super service as ever from Bob and a lovely addition to the back story of the Rhanzlistan Field Force ~

I hope he'll star in many stirring adventures in 2014 in the Back of Beyond that is Rhanzlistan.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Gals with Guns; Goats; Yetis...and Jats

Phil and I are hoping to get in another Back of Beyond game set in our imaginary world of the Rhanzlistan Field Force before the end of the month, and so I've been adding a few bits and bobs to my collection to enhance the look of the game a little. I've also been working on a few single items to use in the Pulp Adventures related games next year. First up, a more active representation of Dorothy Godalming and Edith Marsden. They are from the Copplestone Castings 'Female Archeologists' set ~

From Empress Miniatures some goats, and a donkey. Yes, I know I need more goats for a flock, but we have to buy what we can as Christmas approaches. I hope to get another pack at Warfare on Sunday! I painted them by the simple expedient of an ink wash and a light dry brush and I think "they'll do"!

From Pulp Miniatures two Yetis, to be 'discovered' by the RGS Expedition to Rhanzlistan perhaps next year? Matt painted one and I painted the other. Can you guess which is which? I've rebased them on MDF to fit in with the rest of my collection.

Finally, from Copplestone Castings again, I've added another Indian Infantry regiment, the Muslim troops set who will do service in Rhanzlistan as the 'Jalfreezi Rifles', a fictional Jat regiment. Not the most interesting figures I've ever painted to be honest. {I have a similar set waiting of Punjabi troops, the famed 'Loyal Tandooris'! I've put those back to next month, I can't face the same figures, with a different head, straight away!!!}

I used the same colour scheme as in the earlier Mountain Battery post as I liked the end result, but added a second highlight on the turban and haversack just to bring up the figures a bit. They should be in action towards the end of the month, so pop back from time to time to look for the 'Breakout from Jimbai'!

Monday, 14 October 2013

The Taxing of Ghi Mikha

Earlier today Phil and I played out a second game in our Rhanzlistan Campaign. The action moved to an area of mountainous terrain occupied by one of the many Bhurpa tribes. Their Headman, one Ghi Mikha, had been refusing to pay his due taxes, so the District Commissioner, Albert Atkinson, put together a small column to 'enforce' due payment. The rules we were using were Setting the East Ablaze and the figures and terrain are from our collections.

The numerous Bhurpas occupied excellent defensive positions amongst the rocky mountainous landscape, south of a swiftly running river with only one crossing point. Atkinson divided his forces from the outset, a major error of judgement as it happened...

The Yeomanry took advantage of the tracks to make rapid progress towards their objective, the only bridge across the river. Unfortunately there were three possible Ambush Points along that route, two of which turned out to be blinds, while the third...

Turned out to be a unit of Red Siberian Rifles concealed amongst rocky outcrops. Their deadly fire saw the Yeomanry scattered to the four winds to play no further part in the contest. Probably the most successful Ambush outcome I've ever seen in a game.

This left the infantry element of Atkinson's column to clear the approaches to the bridge the hard way. First the Gurkha machine gun attempted to cut down the Rifles, with little success. This meant the Gurkhas must close with the rifles and drive them out in close combat. Unfortunately, as it turned out, the order of the cards and a Chance element lead to the Rifles charging the Gurkhas. In the combats my dice were dreadful and the Gurkhas were soon fleeing back.

The crucial moment. As the Gurkhas close on the rifles they are unexpectedly charged and loose the combats! Threatened by the arrival of Bolshevik cavalry from across the river, Atkinson and the Royal Surreys take refuge amongst the hilly terrain, from where their firepower sees off the cavalry.

Having averted catastrophe, Atkinson orders the Surreys to clear the bridge. Unfortunately for him, large numbers of Burphas now lined the banks and the approaching Surreys were driven off with serious losses...

Sadly the remnants of Atkinson's force were soon heading back empty handed. There are sure to be questions asked, repercussions felt, and careers blighted after this reverse...

Saturday, 12 October 2013

New Playing Cards

The first game that we played here in GHQ in the Rhanzlistan Campaign we had to use a pack of hand written cards for each unit's Turn Card and Phil's own Event Cards, made for the Russo-Chinese Border where games are set at Olaf's HQ. I've had time now to make my own Turn and Event Card decks and thought they might be of interest to some visitors to Rhanzlistan.

I found the NW Frontier picture on the internet, its a modified India Railways poster. The Turn Card deck has one card for each unit and character and an Event or Chance Card.

I find writing Event Cards quite difficult actually, so I've borrowed heavily from Phil's for now until I get a 'feel' for what Rhanzlistan games will be like. Our first game using these two decks will be on Monday, The Taxing of Ghi Mikha...

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A Camel Caravan

I've just varnished some figures this afternoon, as the sun is shinning and I want to use this piece in a game next Monday with Phil.

The camels and the 'Bhurpa' I got from Tiger Miniatures at the Derby Worlds show. The camels look as if they might be the Ebob ones to me, with all the baggage and paraphernalia added on of course. Having sprayed them white, after minimal cleaning up, I gave them a wash of Burnt Umber artists' ink and then dry brushed them with Foundry Rawhide shade. I quite like the overall look it gave them! The figure was not quite to my taste, but passes the 3' rule so it will do! I think it will see service both for the Rhanzlistan Field Force and any 'loyal' Bhurpas who need to move goods and possessions about. Look out for it first in next week's game ~ The Taxing of Ghi Mikha...

Friday, 27 September 2013

The No1 (Baalti) Mountain Battery

As I said in the earlier post about the Action at  Tikkabad, I had to 'borrow' a mountain gun battery from my Darkest Africa collection for the first game of our campaign in Rhanzlistan. In the meantime, my order from Ironclad had arrived and was swiftly cleaned up, assembled and undercoated. I had  acquired a mountain gun kit from Ironclad and some mules from Tiger Miniatures earlier in the year, intending to make my own battery mule train at a fraction of the cost of the splendid Brigade Games one! You'll be the best judge of that though I expect.

The two figures escorting the battery's mule train are Copplestone Miniatures. They are spare Gurkha bodies,the heads went on the matching gun crew for the Gurkhas, while the heads are the ones removed from the Indian machine gun crew. A neat swap and nothing wasted! The mules cost £3, the gun £5.50 and the figures about £3 I suppose, a grand outlay of £11.50 or so. Now, I know the gun is much too early for our 1920's setting, but I justify its inclusion on the basis that new kit takes longer to reach remote areas. It suits us anyway, so let's not worry too much about it.
Now, the reason I chose the Ironclad set over the more suitable Brigade Games set was not just price, but rather the 'look' of the crew with their splendidly large turbans!

There they are in their full sartorial glory! For the khaki drill uniforms and turbans I used Foundry Buff Leather shade, highlighted with the same company's Base Sand Shade. It works for me and there they are ready for their baptism at the next game, Incident at Jakzi...

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


...some additional personalities into the 'back story' and for the more 'Pulp-style' skirmishes in Rhanzlistan. Firstly Mohammed Imran Waziri , the Jakzi of Jimbai, uncle to Prince Kasim, who governs the Bhurpas tribes in the 'enforced' absence of his young nephew as a 'guest' in Sir Godfrey Godalming's Residency in Byklabad ~

The Jakzi is a Mutineer Miniatures figure and his ageing adviser {and pots} are from Foundry. I got them all at Colours browsing through the boxes of singles at Mutineer's and Dave Thomas' stand. Oh, I do miss buying single figures if I'm honest...
Next up, two Memsahibs, from Copplestone Castings' Female Archaeologists. On the right, Dorothy Godalming, sister of the redoubtable Sir Godfrey, and her companion, Edith Marsden, a rather down at heel Gentlewoman with few prospects...