Sunday, 22 April 2018

Because photobucket is shite

OK - this is the best photo I could get I'm afraid, as the light was starting to go, and apart from that, I'm a muppet who can barely tell one end of a camera from the other.

I'm not sure who these chaps are yet - a Royal Regiment to be sure (hence the blue cuffs) but whether they're the Queen's Own Martian Infantry (a distinct possibility) or part of the First Battalion of the Royal North Surrey Regiment in their Martian Expeditionary Force uniforms (they were there 1886-95, according to this post, though maybe the bulk of the uniform is a bit earlier than that) is still up for grabs (a bit of both, probably). Once upon a time, they were my Aetherines - apparently I undercoated them 5 years ago but never got round to painting the rest. Well, here they are. Maybe I can still use them as Aetherines but I've abandoned the planned blue jackets - they just didn't look very good.

I'll be statting these guys up for GASLIGHT and IHMN. Probably, I'll paint Sergeants' stripes on one of them and use them as a 10-man unit.

Hey! I actually posted something VSF-y!

Unidentified British Troops looking all soldierly and that.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Socialist Party of England (Committee for an International Alliance of Labour)

Following on from the post where I put up the IngSoc flag alongside all the potential Fascist flags, I've decided that I may as well do the same with the Socialist side as I have (theoretically at least) with the Fascists in my version of the VBCW.

So, Socialist groups in the VBCW...

There is of course the organisation that becomes IngSoc/'The Party' of 1984. There are several versions of this flag and logo, the most common from the 1984 movie which came out in 1984 (there doesn't seem to be much from the 1956 version). Googling IngSoc produces multiple (different) images and logos. IngSoc stands for 'English Socialism', which may imply something called the English Socialist Party or Socialist Party of England... though it may not relate to the name of 'The Party' at all. Perhaps, it's the English Socialist Movement at this point. Either way, different IngSoc factions might have their own flags or banners. I like the invented name that I've entitled this post - "Socialist Party of England (Committee for an International Alliance of Labour)". Left-wing groups do like their alphabet-soup, and there are real organisations with worse sets of initials than this.

The leaders of IngSoc are 'Big Brother' and Emmauel Goldstein. According to Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: the Black Dossier, Big Brother is the codename of a British Intelligence operative who infiltrates the Labour Party and precipitates the revolution after WWII - this is Harry Wharton from the Billy Bunter stories, who was at Greyfriars in 1908. By the end of 1945, Wharton would be about 53, so in 1938 (the 'year zero' of VBCW), he'd be about 45-ish, and would presumably look something like Big Brother. There is a Jewish shopkeeper in the series When the Boat Comes In, called 'Manny' Goldstein, who is assaulted by the Blackshirts. Of course, he may as well be the revolutionary leader Emmanuel Goldstein, as Manny is short for Emmanuel. He's about 55 in 1937 or there abouts, as the action of the later episodes of fourth season of WtBCI takes place simultaneously with the War in Spain. By the time of the IngSoc revolution, he must be about 65.

The first of the images below is the 'standard' version from the 1984 film. I guess the others are different fan versions. They all feature a V sign, which is interesting.

Apart from IngSoc... from Jeeves and Wooster, there are the Heralds of the Red Dawn, a socialist group existing in 1922 ('Comrade Bingo'). They include Charlotte Corday Rowbotham, her father (unnamed beyond being called Rowbotham) and Comrade (also unnamed) Butt. Very briefly, 'Bingo' Little, nephew of Lord Bittlesham, joins the group out of infatuation with Charlotte. Interesting that Charlotte Corday Rowbotham is named after an assassinatrix from the French Revolution. In the TV series (but not the books), the Heralds of the Red Dawn get in a fight with the Saviours of Britain at Goodwood, which implies it is much later, as The Saviours of Britain don't appear in story-form until 1938, which puts them right at the outset of the VBCW. This could mark an early outing for the Saviours of Britain, or a late survival for the Heralds of the Red Dawn. But if the Saviours of Britain are around in the timeframe of the VBCW, then the Heralds of the Red Dawn might be too.

There are no images I can find for the banners of the Heralds of the Red Dawn, unfortunately. They don't seem to have made as much of an impact as Spode and his Saviours of Britain. But anyway, I would expect that the older groups in IngSoc might have a flag similar to the fourth one shown here. I'm hoping that the 'Freedom is Slavery' etc won't show too clearly on a small flag. These are the slogans of the Party after it has long-since established its total control over Oceania, not the pre-revolutionary groups of 1938.

And that's it... no more Socialist or Communist groups that I can find. Perhaps most of my workers' militia units will be flying INGSOC flags then...

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Another collection of flags for VBCW

This is the flag of the Saviours of Britain, AKA the Black Shorts, from the Fry & Laurie version of Jeeves and Wooster. A link to the original (on wiki) is here.

Their leader of course is Roderick Spode, sometimes the 7th Earl of Sidcup, and sometimes proprietor of ladies' undergarment sellers Eulalie Souers. Spode and the Black Shorts are first mentioned in 1938, in The Code of the Woosters. Incidentally, I heard a few days ago reading a thread on Lead Adventurer Forum (link) that he's referenced in the Inspector Morse prequel TV show, Endeavour, set in the 1960s.

In my version of the VBCW (it will happen, honestly) the real-world BUF is mostly replaced by the BLF (British League of Fascists). Spode perhaps can stand in for Mosely but either the Saviours of Britain are a constituent of the League, or perhaps a fore-runner or offshoot. Other fascist organisations exist or at least have existed. I'm not wasting all those fascist flags when there's so many to chose from (as detailed here and perhaps also here, where the fourth flag could easily be of some Yorkshire fascists).

One organisation I've just found out about (never read the book) is in Aldous Huxley's Point Counter Point, published in 1928Here, charismatic Everard Webley is leader of the paramilitary group the 'Brotherhood of British Freemen' or perhaps the 'British Free Fascists' (I will try to sort out which... I have some very contradictory info about this book, so I'm going to track down a copy). Perhaps these are also a fore-runner or constituent group in the BLF.

Potentially, and included because the lightning-strike on these can be taken as referring at least to the Black Shorts' emblem, these could be personal flags of SoB commanders, divisional ensigns or some such:

General Skar from Evil con Carne (link)

That hasn't come out very well but it's Transsexual Transylvania from The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Other flags, three of parties or organisations at least - one fascistic, one ambivalent, one ostensibly on the other side - and a city/region:

Norsefire (V for Vendetta) - there are several more variations on the Norsefire page at the Fictional Flags site.

This is a reconstruction of the flag of Viroconium (from Viroconium by M John Harrison) which also looks somewhat fascistic. I'd probably use it as the flag of a fascist group from Shropshire, as 'Viroconium' is derived from Uroconium which is the latin name for Wroxeter, near Shrewsbury.

This is the flag of the Northmen, also from Viroconium. In the novella The Pastel City, Canna Moidart's Northmen (under a banner something like this one) fight against Lord Waterbeck's Viroconium troops. They might be a militia, or they might be merely a rival fascist group (they don't look very friendly at least).

The only other flag I can come up with at the moment... IngSoc, 1984 (link)

I assume 'The Party' from 1984 would fight on the socialist side. But it's probably preparing the GULAG in the Essex Marshes even before the VBCW is won.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Yet more VBCW with Cluedo characters...

Right, well, the classic Cluedo characters are these:

Miss Scarlett
Professor Plum
Mrs White
Reverend Green
Mrs Peacock
Colonel Mustard

These are the classic Cluedo characters, or at least the Waddington's versions I used to play with when I was a kid (I don't know of any earlier versions of the characters than these) though to be honest they look a little more '40s than '30s:

Original Cluedo characters (c) Hasbro

and the use I have put them to in my speculation about using their appearance as randomly-triggered events (acting as randomly-activated effects) are as follows:

Miss Scarlett - Morale boost
Professor Plum - Ballistics boost
Mrs White - Close combat boost
Reverend Green - Morale boost
Mrs Peacock - Ballistics boost
Colonel Mustard - Close combat boost

and the factions to which they will belong are these (if the first listed isn't fighting apply the second):

Miss Scarlett - Fascist or Socialist
Professor Plum - Socialist or Fascist
Mrs White - Socialist or Anglican
Reverend Green - Anglican or Socialist
Mrs Peacock - Anglican or Fascist
Colonel Mustard - Fascist or Anglican

Every faction has two first choices and two second choices. The second choice depends on who's fighting. If Fascists (Miss Scarlett & Colonel Mustard) are fighting Socialists (Professor Plum & Mrs White) then the other two, who would normally be on the Anglican side, would go to their second choices (Rvd Green to the Socialists and Mrs Peacock to the Fascists). That seems quite self-explanatory.

What I'm thinking at the moment is making using the same principles but making the Cluedo characters unit commanders. Their primary and secondary faction attributions would stay the same. Their effects at boosting units' stats would be somewhat modified but would essentially affect the same stats - Scarlett and Green would boost morale, Plum and Peacock would boost shooting and White and Mustard would boost close combat.

I do wonder sometimes by the way if Mrs Peacock is the mother of Captain Stephen Peacock from 'Are You Being Served?'. The actor who played Captain Peacock (served in North Africa in WWII with the Royal Army Service Corps, and also possibly in the Royal Engineers and the Royal Marines) was Frank Thornton, born in 1921 (Thornton actually served in the RAF). Assuming that the actor was the same age as the character he played, Captain Peacock was born in 1921 and as I understand it he would have been eligible to join the Army any time after his 18th birthday early in 1939. Thus, we can be fairly certain that Stephen would have either joined up in 1939 or been called up some time a little later.

Frank Thornton as Captain Stephen Peacock in Are You Being Served? (c) BBC
If she had a child in 1921, who would have been 17 in 1938, then Mrs Peacock is likely to have been born earlier than 1901, putting her at a likely age of 'more than 37' in 1938. She's generally portrayed as being a mature woman perhaps in her 40s, which would fit pretty well.


Units with the Cluedo characters as commanders -

Scarlett's Newcastle Saviours of Britain Volunteers or Union of Actors, Dancers and Allied Theatrical Trades (Newcastle District) Militia:
Captain: Miss Rose Scarlett or Comrade Rose Scarlett:
Quirk: unusually high morale

Jarrow Mechanical Institute Militia or South Tyneside Free British Volunteer Rifles:
Captain: Reg Plum ('the Prof') or Professor Reginald Plum;
Quirk: unusually good at shooting

East Stanley Unemployed Workers' Defence Group or St Andrews' Parish Voluntary Defence Force:
Captain: Nora White or Mrs N. White;
Quirk: unusually good at close combat

Lanchester Anglican League Defence Force or Lanchester Workers' Patrol:
Captain: Reverend Hugo Green or Hughie 'Padre' Green;
Quirk: unusually high morale

Hamsterley Anglican League Defence Force or Derwent Valley League of Fascists Volunteer Brigade:
Captain: Mrs S. Peacock;
Quirk: unusually good at shooting

North Durham Loyal British Volunteer Regiment or North Durham Local Defence Force:
Captain: Colonel: Hammond Mustard, DSO, MC & bar;
Quirk: unusually good at close combat

I should probably make some flags to go with these units using the Scrontch's Flag Designer.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Meh, more flags, why not...

This is a really nice flag designer, that can be used for the flags of Imagi-nations, factions or units. Those above are somewhat random (the first is a randomised design that the website generated, the two below it just me playing about). Those below could be the flags of VBCW units/factions - the first a flag of Yorkshire Fascists (perhaps even the Wensleydale Loyal Militia AKA the 'Sons of Hawes', which is what the UNIT trrops/Northdale Rifles are when they're in their VBCW guise); the second is an Anglican unit (I might use it as a unit flag of NW Durham Anglicans and relate it to Consett's sword-making tradition) and the third is an Anarcho-syndicalist flag.

Designing the flag is actually the easy part: then there's a bit of a fiddly process to get the .SVG output to open in Inkscape or similar so you can save the flag as a .PNG. But it didn't take me long to produce the flags above.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Whimsy's Diary, 23rd October 1895

Oh, how wonderful to have visited Paris!

I know it was brief - merely a 'flying visit' - but it is a marvellous and thoroughly modern city. Men often do not wear hats - not a single stove-pipe did I see in my whole time there, though some men of poorer sort wore different kinds of flat cap, some pulled to the front and some that lean to one side. This sort, Rivets informed me, are a kind of fisherman's hat called a 'berry', though I cannot see why, as they resemble no sort of berry I know, but rather a kind of pancake, of which there many and excellent kinds for sale in the back-streets below the new church of Sacre Coeur. The women wear their hair long for the most part, and top this with either hats like a Homburg or another kind of fisherman's cap, this one less flat and somewhat resembling a pastry, of which there was also multitude of kinds on sale everywhere. Everyone, men and women alike, wears a kind of long narrow shawl called 'escarfe'. These come in a wide variety of designs and fabrics, and are knotted round the neck in a multitude of ways. But the most extra-ordinary thing is that some ladies wear trousers! Young girls, and many ladies of more mature years, wear respectable dresses it is true, but from about the age of 15 or so, up to 50, a great many women were wearing trousers. I can only assume this is due to the great love Parisiennes have of riding. Long coats vented so as to facilitate riding, as well as many short jackets, were much in evidence to support this notion. Of course, boots were also conspicuous, though as the weather was not exactly summery in late October, this may have been more to do with the water in the streets than any wish to exercise horses in the Bois de Boulogne.

We stayed in a small place in Belleville, which lived up to its name - a charming place and full of people from all over the globe from Africa to China, and even the far Americas, if you would believe such a thing. Walking down one of the broad avenues, intent on visiting the modern cemetery at Pere Lachaise, I happened to notice several ladies of Oriental appearance - though dressed in a manner indistinguishable from the French ladies - who seemed to be waiting for something while standing outside various establishments. Thinking perhaps that their husbands were conducting business inside, I asked Rivets if it was the custom that ladies of China would not enter the shops. Rivets seemed quite certain that these ladies did not have husbands. Asking how he was so sure, he told me that he was certain they were waiting for gentleman callers to approach them, at which point they would begin to conduct business on their own account. I was shocked, I must admit, as we don't have such a thing in Pootling Magna, I'm quite sure. I feel like such a silly girl sometimes, and am grateful to Rivets for his wide knowledge and wise advice. He turned even more red than usual when telling me, though.

At Pere Lachaise, I learned nothing. Neither Uncle Reg's grave, nor any of my grandemere's family, could I find. Certainly, I found many de Rieres in Paris, but never the right one. As to Uncle Reg, the story that he was given a hero's burial seems wide of the mark. I'll be very sorry to tell Aunt Eleanor, but those who died in that awful time are almost forgotten. What a waste, to have laid down your life for a city that pretends that nothing has happened! But, thoroughly moderne though it is, Paris bears the scars of war. Barely 20 years have passed since the war with Prussia, and only due the ingenuity of M. Verne's engines was the city kept safe at all. Here and there were memorials to those who fought to defend the city as well as partly-destroyed buildings - the results, I assume, of bombardment by the Prussian Kriegmaschinen. This latest calamity seems much more in evidence than the events of 1848. That escapade seems to have become something of a forgotten myth, and Uncle Reg has been forgotten with it - if his remembrance was ever more than our family's own myth to console us in our loss.

This is, I think, because Paris is always thinking of the future. The astounding metal tower built by M. Eiffel in the western part of the city is certainly a marvel of the modern world. I really cannot do it justice - the soaring iron beams seem to fling themselves into the sky, and one's eye is drawn irresistibly upward whenever one spies it above the surrounding buildings or at the end of a boulevard. The top floor, I'm told, is a tether-stage for airships of all kinds - though, as we were trying to stay somewhat inconspicuous, we set down Windhover on a small aerofield near Gare de l'est. I have taken many photomatographics of the tower; I shall study them in an attempt to better to understand this fantastical construction.

Peggy was transfixed by the whole adventure - perhaps by nothing more than our visit to the lingeresse that Aunt Eleanor recommended to me. She was right that their wares are far more sophisticated than anything I have seen in England! I am glad to say that Rivets did not accompany us on that trip - when I flatly told him we were going shopping for ladies' delicates, he turned scarlet (again) harrumphed very loudly and said that he would try to find some axle-grease from a mechanic's workshop. Peggy rolled her eyes at this - we both know that we're very well provided for grease and Rivets was making excuses, but it is for the best. I'm sure he would have been even more uncomfortable had he actually caught sight of any of the pretty under-things on display!

Sadly, in the end, our visit was fruitless. I am no further in my quest to find information on my father's mysterious disappearance and now, back in England, I can think of no other course than to venture into the veritable lions' den. I fear, I must make the trip to Ruritania - and soon, if I am not to find the trail utterly cold. It is not a prospect I relish...

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Now is not the time

I've been working on a post, to do with Rivets and Whimsy, about Paris. I love Paris, it's a marvellous city and I've spent many magical times there. I was there three weeks ago, and had decided that some of what I saw would find its way into a diary entry from Whimsy, while she is travelling across Europe searching for news of her missing father.

But I don't think I will be finishing it any time soon. I don't do 'historical' gaming because (other people's way of cutting the cloth is different and that's fine) because I want to escape from reality for a bit, and it seems to me that games can trivialise the horror of history. And what happened in Paris is not yet even history.

Solidarity with everyone, everywhere, who is living in fear and desperation, or mourning loved ones victim to the seemingly unending barbarity that surrounds us.