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

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Seasons Greetings from Rhanzlistan!

Not much activity in Rhanzlistan since the Wargames Illustrated photoshoot a couple of weeks ago as I have been in the sick bay! Dan has kindly sent me a CD with the photos he's selected for inclusion either with the article when it appears or on the Digital Issues site. I thought this one appropriate to accompany my Christmas Greetings to all who spend a while in Rhanzlistan from time to time. The Christmas Ball in full swing ~

And, since I must appear to be an impartial guide to the goings on in Rhanzlistan, the other side send their Proletarian Greetings ~

Merry Christmas to you all and best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year from all in Rhanzlistan!

Friday, 28 November 2014

The Gordon Highlanders

I 've finished the latest addition to the Rhanzlistan Field Force in the form of my converted Pulp Figures Highland infantry, which as you know I've painted as the Gordon Highlanders in honour of my good chum Kevin, who served in the Regiment as a young man. I removed the original heads, as they were mostly wearing steel helmets, with a jeweller's saw; drilled out the necks within the collars using my trusty pin vice; finally replacing the heads with some from Gripping Beast's Woodbine range. As I said in the previous post, with one exception I'm pleased by the results ~
The Regiment deployed to Rhanzlistan

The portly figure on the left is the one I mentioned in the first paragraph as being the one conversion I thought looked least convincing. I have to say that he does n't look nearly so bad in this photo, so perhaps its just me?
Major Hilton & Pipe Major Imrie

The Lewis Gun Section is made up of figures from all three packs Bob produces, unified by the advancing pose of the figures I think ~
Capt O'Brien's Lewis Gun Section

Again, the Rifle Section includes figures from at least two packs, all unified in appearance this time by their standing pose ~
Lt Jack's Rifle Section

The great joy, for me at any rate, is the fact that Bob's  sculpting style produces a figure which seems to really love the brush; an unfussy yet detailed end product will always result, even for a less than gifted painter like me. As I said in the last post, the kilts were my greatest challenge: painting thin, straight lines and following the flow of the kilt really is difficult, but I'm satisfied the end product will do, if you don't look too closely. They just need to be varnished now and they will be ready to take on those nasty chaps from S.P.I.F.F. or even those cunning Bhurpas!
Capt Calder

Capt Calder, seconded to the Royal Geographical Society's Expedition to find the Yeti! Note his patented waterproof sporran!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Gordons and Gunners

I'm a bit of a 'Billy No Mates' at present as far as games are concerned, with both Phil and Jon being mired in more pressing real life issues. As a result I've had a little more time to paint than I might have otherwise enjoyed. The product of this unexpected extra time has shown itself in part as welcome additions to the Rhanzlistan Field Force in the form of an 18lb field gun and crew and the first of the Gordon Highlanders.
The 18lb gun is made by Great War Miniatures and sold by Gripping Beast under their Woodbine Designs label. The six gunners come with a choice of different heads sporting all sorts of appropriate head gear. Mine have Wolseley Helmets of course ~

The Gordon Highlanders are my default choice when it comes to kilted chappies in any of my armies, a kind of 28mm homage to my chum Kevin who served with the regiment earlier in his life. The figures are by Pulp Figures, although you will search in vain for these in the web site's catalogue, as Bob only makes them in tin helmets {for some reason I really don't grasp, given all the other Brits are in Wolseleys!} But, his range, his choice I have to say. I might of course have chosen the new Empress Jazz Age highlanders but I felt, nice figures though they are, the slightly bulky look of Pulp Figures better fitted in with the rest of the RFF, being mainly Pulp Figures, Copplestone Castings and Brigade Games figures. I removed the heads carefully, using a jeweller's saw I picked up once on a visit to the Birmingham Jewellery quarter, and drilled out the neck of the tunic to take the neck stem of the Woodbine Design heads I had purchased at the same time as the 18lb gun. I think they look quite acceptable, with perhaps one minor exception which I'll get to in a minute. The most difficult decapitation was the piper, where the pipes were partly moulded on the head, but I don't think it turned out too badly myself even so ~

The enlarged photo following shows the figure I am least satisfied with {on the right}, as well as my poor kilt painting skills which I thought I ought to confess to now before folk pick me up on it. The head just does n't ring true for the portly look of the torso does it? Green stuff double chins are beyond my paltry modelling skills and I used up all my credit with Phil on the radio mule set conversions of the previous post. Perhaps its just that I know what the original looked like and the casual observer would not notice? I don't know, but you can perhaps judge for yourself.

I have the other nine figures in various stages of production so I hope they will all be posted to Rhanzlistan before Dan pops over from Wargames Illustrated to take the photos which will accompany my most recent offering when its published in a future issue. So, back to the painting table go I...

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Very Latest Technology

I've been trying to finish this piece for a while, but my putty pushing skills are far from the necessary standard, so eventually Phil found time to do the honours for me! The result is a vignette for the RFF, based on a photo I saw on the net when trawling for ideas one day. The very latest in modern technology, the mobile field radio makes it to Rhanzlistan at last ~

The mules are from Tiger Miniatures; the two figures from Copplestone Castings; the base from Warbases and the tufts from Mutineer Miniatures for those who crave to know such things. The radio set and battery pack, as I said, were made by Phil. I hope you approve!
I'm currently working on an 18lb gun and crew from Woodbine, via Gripping Beast. The gun of course comes from Great War Miniatures, which I've painted before for my 1914 game, but the crew by Woodbine are a first for me and I'm pleasantly surprised by them, as I'd always thought the style a bit awkward in adverts. Just shows how wrong you can be, does n't it? If I have time later in the month I have a few Pulp Figures Gordon Highlanders to paint ~ I swapped the steel helmeted heads for Woodbine heads with Wolsley helmets to suit the rest of the RFF. Pop back later to see how they turned out!

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Life and Times of Herbert Hardly-Standing VC, No1

Inspired by a thread on the Loose Association of Wargamers forum, a scene of daring do from the NW Frontier: Herbert Hardly-Standing saves the brigadier's life, again, from the unwelcome attentions of three swarthy Bhurpa warriors ~

The Bhurpas are from Britannia/Grubby Tanks, Herbert Hardly-Standing is a Copplestone figure and the Brigadier is from Pulp Figures. On a different note I've added something to the baggage and backstory theme of our games, a unit of RAMC on the move ~

The mules are from Askari, a firm from the USA who I've not seen before, while the casualty is from Redoubt's Zulu War range and the two Medics are from Pulp Figures. I thought the mules were poor sculpts but as they were a gift I'm not complaining! They are from the French Foreign Legion set I believe. The Redoubt casualty figure is obviously too large for the stretcher I've put him on, but I can live with that. I'm working on a mule born radio team now though,so hope that will appear here in due course.

Monday, 20 October 2014

A Dash for Freedom!

Phil and I recently were able to fit in a game here in GHQ from our ongoing Rhanzlistan campaign. Any who follow the adventures and exploits of our hero, Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh, and the villain of the piece, Comrade General 'Red' Robinski, will recall I am sure that during the last action fought by the opposing forces Brigadier Bykleigh was taken prisoner. Our game here features a daring escape and a bold rescue attempt coinciding on the table top battlefield. Having learned through the bold actions of HM Special Agent Bond that the Brigadier is being held under close guard in a small mountain village, the Governor decides to entrust Major Whyte with the command of a rescue force ~
One building is more closely guarded than the others.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Bykleigh is already planning his daring escape with his loyal batman, Pte Robinson PJ ~
Planning the escape!

Having secured a rifle by bribing a native servant, the two are ready to make a dash for freedom ~
The native servant arranges a diversion in the courtyard

But Robinski is taking no chances having learned from treacherous Bhurpas that a rescue mission is near the village ~
Red troops are occupying the buildings on the outskirts of the village

Escape will surely be difficult, there seem to be Reds everywhere you turn ~

As the escape begins more Reds are moving into the outskirts of the village

Reaching the bridge and crossing to safety is the plan!
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Even as the pair made their first move in their escape the relief column was nearing the village ~
The Byklabad Horse are advancing watched by the
District Commissioner, A Atkinson, and his staff

On the other flank the 2nd Gurkhas are approaching the bridge to distract the defenders from the main attack ~
A stealthy approach is called for to avoid alarming the Reds!

The main infantry force is scaling the hills to attack the village under the cover of the two diversionary attacks on each flank ~
The Indian infantry and machine guns move into position,
The Mountain gun battery can be seen in the distance.

The Brigadier and his batman make their break under the cover of the Reds' confusion caused by the sudden realisation that they are under attack ~
Leaving the building the pair find their route blocked by Siberian Riflemen

The Rhanzlistan Field Force mounts its main attack. The cavalry will gallantly charge the Red machine gun team and ride it down, leaving the Byklabad Horse to charge the Siberians as they emerge from the narrow streets of the village. The Indian Infantry will occupy the Reds defending the village, who find themselves enfiladed by fire from the 2nd Gurkhas ~
The RFF moves into action!

Under the very noses of the Reds' cavalry Bykleigh and Robinson dash across the narrow streets into a side ally. The Reds are preoccupied with the attack suddenly engulfing their positions ~
Safely across the village's main street under the noses of the enemy!

As the RFF's fire slowly erodes the Reds' ability to hold their positions the Byklabad Horse charges down the slopes and engages the Siberians in a drawn out melee. Ultimately the Siberians' morale fails and they route and the pursuing cavalry smashes the Reds' reserve before it can act!

As final Red resistance melts away and the final pockets of enemy troops are cleared out of the village Brigadier Bykleigh receives the congratulations of the District Commissioner for his daring and successful escape ~
"Well done, Brigadier, well done!"

The rules used for the main game were 'Setting the East Ablaze' while Brigadier Byleigh's escape was governed by movement restrictions keeping the two figures representing the escapees always away from any position blocked by Red troops. It has to be said that the order of the cards drawn for activation of the units and characters really did favour the escape!
The Reds are all from Phil's wonderful BoB collection and are all Copplestone figures I believe. The RFF are from my collection and are made up of figures from Copplestone, Pulp Figures, Brigade Games, Ironclad, Tiger Miniatures and Empress. The buildings are from Mutineer Miniatures, with the exception of the two small wayside shrines which I scratch built. The vegetation is aquarium plants and palm trees, from Tiger Miniatures in the latter case, a Garden Centre in the former. Keep an eye out for future adventures of the heroes and villains of Rhanzlistan in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh & Pte Robinson PJ

Three shots of the new foot figures for Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh and his batman, Private Robinson PJ. They are Pulp Miniatures figures from the set of British Officers & NCOs in Wolsey helmets ~

For the Pte Robinson figure the colour scheme for the uniform and equipment matches that of the South Staffs figures, which are Copplestone Castings, to distinguish the figure from one who already exists in the colour scheme for the Royal Surreys, which are Pulp Miniatures. Its actually less complicated than it sounds, honest!

For the Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh figure again I needed a colour scheme to readily differentiate him from the same figure found in the Royal Surreys' command base. As he's undoubtedly the 'Hero' of our story I chose an off white over light grey scheme. He's a good guy after all!

I'm quite pleased with how they turned out, especially the Brigadier's face which I feel has captured the spirit of the figure. Now we need a scenario for his rescue, as the Reds captured him in the last game...

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Returns From Rhanzlistan?

As any of you who visit my main hobby blog, Tales from GHQ, will no doubt know, real life issues have been somewhat disruptive of our little group's gaming in recent weeks. This means of course that I don't have any new games to highlight in our Rhanzlistan Campaign, but I do have a considerable number of mini projects reaching the top of the Lead Pimple's painting queue, so I thought my occasional visitors here might like to see what will be added to the Rhanzlistan games over the winter months.
Awaiting deployment to the Rhanzlistan Frontier

Two new figures for Brigadier Tubby Bykleigh & his Batman, Robinson.
Pulp Miniatures by Bob Murch of course,

Three recruits for the Shropshire Yeomanry. Brigade Games figures of course.

An 18lb gun and crew from Woodbine at Gripping Beast.

3 new officers, 2 Copplestone Castings & 1 Pulp Miniatures.

Recruited from the Highlands and Islands? Probably the Gordon Highlanders I expect they'll be in the end.
Pulp Miniatures with steel helmeted heads removed and replaced by Woodbine heads in Wolseys.

A closer look ~ the heads look quite OK I think on the bodies.

Medical Transport team ~ mules from Askari, Pulp figures, Redoubt casualty.

Mule born radio communications ~ Tiger Minis mules, Pulp Miniatures figures.
Phil is making a radio and battery set for me when he gets a moment.

And finally, though perhaps somewhat inappropriate for Rhanzlistan service ~
Royal Navy deck crew from Pulp Miniatures

Royal Navy Shore Party
An 'oddity' for the Bhurpas from Wargames Foundry.
Now, I have to say that I'm not sure when these will be painted if I'm honest, but I hope they will all be completed by the middle of next year (DV). This is just a section of the 'Lead Pimple' of course, you will be able to see the full extent over on the main blog later. Thanks for dropping by!

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Dawn Came Up Like Thunder...

Phil bought his Back of Beyond Russian force over to GHQ recently for a further episode in our ongoing Rhanzlistan Campaign, pitting Brigadier 'Tubby' Bykleigh {of doubtful military fame} against the forces of SPIFF under the command of the Renegade Red, General 'Red' Robinski. The table laid out for the game ~

Of the RFF there is no sign. No activity of the SPIFF has been reported in the past weeks, so Bykleigh has sent out patrols to ascertain the whereabouts of the foe. Meanwhile, things are looking decidedly grim for Robinski and his men. Unable to pay his troops and beset by Bhurpa harassment he has received intelligence that the fabled Golden God of Gheekistan, a life sized solid gold effigy, has been found hidden in Shuzzanabad. If he can reach the village before the RFF he may yet be able to bribe his men to continue with their mission ~
The Golden God of Gheekistan hidden in Shuzzanabad

In order to simulate the ad hoc arrival of patrols, the individual units from the RFF dice each turn when their Action Card is drawn, with a 5% extra chance of arriving in each subsequent turn. Their point of entry is measured by a throw of 4 x D6 in a random direction from the centre of the ford across the river ~
The Ford across the river

First into action for the SPIFF were a unit of wild Bolshevik cavalry! They struck out from the table edge and gained the high ground to better observe the lay of the land ~

There is still no sign of any patrols from the RFF, while hordes of men from the SPIFF hurry down the road making for Shuzzanabad ~

To simulate the difficulty of locating the enemy in the early dawn light {the first 10 turns of the game} any successful RFF units entering the table are marked with a blue counter and always move at 4 x D6. They can be spotted by the men of SPIFF on an even throw of a D x 6, although half their move distance must be forfeited to accomplish this. The Royal Surreys are discovered encamped in the ruins of Old Shuzzanabad by a unit of SPIFF cavalry backed up by Elite Bolshevik infantry and veteran Siberian Rifles ~

The Surrey move to engage the SPIFF cavalry, unaware of the masses of enemy infantry flanking their position ~

The Surrey's fire is ineffective and despite suffering two casualties the Bolshevik cavalry rush towards the ford while their supporting infantry gather in numbers to attack the Surreys' position. In the distance the Shropshire Yeomanry can be seen heading towards the ford to cut off the SPIFF attack ~

While the Yeomanry ready themselves to confront the enemy's attempt to cross the river at the ford, they are encouraged by the arrival of a troop of the Bhyklabad Horse to the enemy's left flank ~

The Yeomanry and the Bolshevik cavalry clash in the main street running through Shuzzanabad ~

The Bhyklabad Horse surge across the ford to attempt to relieve the pressure on the Surreys who are coming under very heavy attack from SPIFF infantry and a supporting armoured car. Worryingly there is no sign yet of the RFF's own artillery ~

Things are looking very grim for the hard pressed RFF, the Yeomanry are being hard pressed, when relief seems to arrive in the form of the Loyal Tandoori Rifles  just to the east of Shuzzanabad~

And at last the No1 Baalti Battery is seen exiting a pass through the hills and hurrying to deploy in a vain attempt to bolster the dwindling force of the Yeomanry ~

But disaster seems to have overtaken the RFF and their rotund ccommander, they see their inspiration being lead away as a prisoner under escort { Overtaken by the second Bolshevik cavalry unit in difficult terrain owing to yet another awful throw of the dice while attempting to join the Tandooris} ~

Before they can recover from the shock, the No1 Baalti Battery is overrun and the gunners cut down by the victorious Bolshevik cavalry after they rout the remnants of the Yeomanry ~

The remnants of the Shropshire Yeomanry in full rout leave for the safety of the table edge ~

Its all up for the RFF as the Tandooris are forced to flee for their lives in the face of overwhelming odds ~

Robinski's men pour across the river at the ford, eager to taste the spoils of victory and make off with the Golden God of Gheekistan ~

The game ended in Turn 15 as the whole of the RFF was either in full flight, destroyed to a man or in captivity! On reflection I probably made it too hard for the disparate forces of the RFF  to come together in time to make the forces of the SPIFF face a more serious tussle to gain control of the ford and the village. Of course, a series of awful throws of the dice both for arrival of units and for their subsequent movements did n't help (See the capture of Brig Bykleigh for one). Where the RFF did get into action they acquitted themselves well. Though often out numbered, the Surreys and the Yeomanry fought valiantly in a lost cause. The late arrival of the supporting artillery and the Tandooris seriously weakened the RFF's ability to contain and then repulse the SPIFF attacks, meaning that the usual attrition of war left them in an increasingly exposed position. The rules were as ever 'Setting the East Ablaze' from Caliver Books. A little blood at times perhaps, but they do the job mostly for us. The next adventure in our ongoing Tales from Rhanzlistan will be a Pulp game featuring the daring rescue of Brig 'Tubby' Bykleigh...