Friday, 22 June 2018

British Army organisation

50 Brigades
150 Regiments (= 3 Regiments in a Brigade)
450 Battalions  (= 3 Battalions in a Regiment)
1800 Companies (= 4 Companies in a Battalion)

According to Journey's End that the Younger Orc is watching (he's been studying it as an English set-text), that's a guess at the strength of the British Army in France.

A company I think is conventionally made up of 4 platoons, and I believe that a platoon is generally around 30 men. So, a company would be around 120 men (loosely).

However, this is the post-1913 organisation. This is the organisation that would for example be in use in Transcaspia.

In the later Victorian period, mostly infantry regiments apparently had four battalions, two regular, one reserve and one volunteer, though this could vary quite dramatically.

At present, I have around 90 minis that are vaguely 'Zulu War British', I think. This includes about 12 in Rife Green uniforms with khaki Glengarries (UNIT/Northdale Rifles), about 36 painted up as redcoats (11 are Brigade minis with rebreathers from their GASLIGHT/Steampunk range), and perhaps 10 in khaki jackets. 11 are Dwarves in pith helmets (10 from Old Glory and 1 GW example, that presently are serving as the 'Combined Atlantean Rifle Brigade'). The rest (probably about 20) are currently unpainted. The plan currently involves painting them all as redcoats. I really don't care about the Royal Wessex Regiment and as soon as I get around to it the khaki-jacketed ones will be redcoats too, and they can all be A Company of the 1st Battalion of the Royal North Surreys (except the Dwarves, difficult to see where they fit into that to be honest). The guys in re-breathers can just be regular North Surreys in Martian Expeditionary Force gear. There's no way I'm going at this stage to start faffing about with new units. Sod it. They can all be redcoated soldiers of the Queen and that will be much easier, no matter that some of the officers have newer designs of jacket (more suited to the Boer Wars than the Zulu Wars or Sudan). So, basically (as I think there's about 65-ish) that's half a company.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Flags of Khemed

I've been playing with Scrontch's flag-designer and inkscape again.

And Imagi-nations.

And thinking about Central Asia.

I'm being tempted by another Interwar adventure, this time the 'Back of Beyond' setting. I picked up 'Setting the East Ablaze' a couple of years ago but have never done anything with it. Still looking for inspiration I suppose, and also, I have a bazillion minis for games I don't play, I might not get more minis for games I don't play...

But anyway... messing about with the flag of Khemed, from Tintin.

You can see the original on the Flags of the World website (don't seem to be able to download them directly any more):

These are my versions, which are intended to represent 'pan-Khemedian' forces in Central Asia, on the somewhat tenuous analogy that Khemed is something like Turkey, and therefore there might be a 'Khemedistan' where Turkmenistan is now.


Here's the results - variations on a theme of green and red, with a white crescent-and-star motif. Someday they might get themselves on a battlefield, but we'll see...

Monday, 14 May 2018

More of why photobucket is shite

So it turns out I'm really bad at getting round to things. Who knew?

I haven't set up a new account at flickr or wherever, and I need some photo-hosting. So, save me trusty blog!

I'm after building some sci-fi or VSF or Pulpy terrain by re-purposing some old printer cartridges. I have 6 from my new printer and two from my old printer. The new printer ones will be a bit more tricky as they obviously have the word 'EPSON' engraved into the side so I'll have to find a way of using them that means only the other side is visible, either by positioning (eg I line them up along a wall) or through judicious use of some other covering like plastic mesh.

The old ones look like this (minor detailing is very slightly different):

Hope they're clear enough, it's quite eveningy here now so no time for decent photos.

So yeah, how to repurpose these thingies is the question.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

New Old Things

I've been helping my parents clear out their loft as they're moving house. Little by way of my gaming stuff left at their house, but I did find one of the old Matchbox Models of Yesteryear.

This is what it looks like (though the pic was ripped from the web):

Jaguar SS-100 from Matchbox Models of Yesteryear
It will possibly see service in VBCW gaming - that's the plan anyway. Maybe as the personal transport of the leader of any Fascist forces. I can just imagine it with a couple of pennants flying from the radiator grille.

Another find at my parents' house was a very old game called Scoop!. It's a newspaper game: the basic idea is that the players are the editors of daily newspapers (The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express and the News Chronicle, which ceased publication in 1960 and kinda dates the game). The editors spend resources to get stories that they use to fill in blocks on a mock-up of a front page; the winner (as far as I remember, I haven't played it in more than 30 years I don't think) is the first to complete the page.

The reason I bring it up is that there's a certain amount of Imagi-Nations goodness going on. One of the stories that editors can ... bid for? ... is about a war between the Stentorians and the Ugonians. I haven't examined the game in detail yet but there may be other stories which mention imaginary countries or other significant events. At the very least, there is a war between two Imagi-Nations that needs to be taken into account sometime in the 1950s (at a reasonable guess). The likely explanation is a Cold War conflict but like tension between Greece and Turkey or Chile and Argentina, it could be two Western allies that were in conflict. Or, like the USSR/Vietnam v China/Khmer Republic conflicts it could represent strife between different 'communist' countries. I shall do more research and think on.

I was reminded of another game from my childhood that features an Imagi-Nation, possibly the most famous of them all. As a kid I played a game called Contraband, which belonged to one of the friends of my parents. The game was a kind of card game that involved smuggling. Different cards involved different things that needed to be smuggled. I seem to remember these included some diamonds, a gun and the Ruritanian Crown Jewels. The game seems to have started production in the 1950s. I definitely played it around 1979, which suggests that between those times, the Ruritanian Crown Jewels were missing. I guess the reason is, Ruritania was an Eastern Bloc country between the 1950s and 1970s (probably something like 1948-1990) and the Royal Family (if it even survived) was in exile. We don't know exactly what the history of Ruritania is but that seems a reasonable supposition. If the 'ex-King' (or possibly ex-Kings) that feature in the works of Evelyn Waugh and PG Wodehouse are anything to go by, Ruritania had suffered at least one deposed monarch by the late '20s, though whether deposed by Communist uprising, a liberal democratic republic, or Fascist takeover is entirely unclear. But whatever happened between the wars, after WWII Ruritania was likely in the Eastern Bloc. The definitive history of Ruritania is yet to be written, but there are hints at least. Sadly I don't have a copy of Contraband but I'm thinking I might try and get one. Probably should get hold of Vile Bodies too.

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.