Tuesday, 28 December 2010

What figures to use...

Having started this blog to devlop 'Rivets and Whimsy' and not really doing that, I thought I'd start to get my thoughts in order.

"The Extraordinary Adventures of 'Rivets' McGurk (a gruff aeronef engineer), and Miss (or Lady, can't remember which) Whimsabella Pootling (the daughter of McGurk's former employer)" and their fin de siecle high-jinks in a clapped-out aeronef... that's how I described it back in March.

Shortly after I described as "a sort of VSF 'Odd Couple', where 'Rivets' McGurk, an irrascible aeronef mechanic (probably played by Robbie Coltraine c1987), was thrown into a tangled love-hate relationship with Miss Whimsabella Pootling, the posh daughter of the man who fired him (probably played by Felicity Kendal, c1972), with corsets, flying goggles and big spanners..."

One of these two will probably end up as my 'Rivets' I think. I don't yet have a 'Whimsey', but I have a potential mini for McGurk's daughter, Peggy, who also helps run the 'nef, getting into much smaller spaces than her dad:

Both of these are from the gorgeous (but very expensive) Warmachine ranges.

After that there are a couple of other characters I want to source - one is Kapitein Horst Van Dango, the dashing but deadly Dutch sky-pirate, and a pistol-popping French assassinatrix called Anna Baptiste, one of the sky-pirates that are on Rivets' and Whimsy's trail... both of these I'm sure I could use Warmachine minis for... but I'm hopelessly undecided. Watch this space (or not)...

Friday, 24 December 2010

Look to the Future now...

Sorry, no more gratuitous Christmas references.

It's not VSF, but I thought I'd post a photo of something in the heady future of the 1930s or there abouts - scientifical-speculative fiction for VSFers of course, but due to an imbalance in the Chronic Aether, it has been possible to extract a kind of temporal luxograph... the colours may be a bit washed out (which is why everyone looks grey) but there it is.

These are the members of an elite Investigation Unit of the 1930s... now, to make a 1890s version...

Thursday, 23 December 2010

More links

Added links - four sites of Martian maps and information, just the thing for a chap who wants to hop on an Aether-clipper and bag some six-legged beasts. One of the links is a PDF and I'm having a problem accessing it at the moment, but ho hum...

More fictional Eastern Europe

Hard on the heels of the Central Europe map, here is the corresponding South-East Euope version. I'll admit, I don't know as much about Samavia, Jiardasia, Wallaria and Molvania as I do about Ruritania, but it seems plausible enough for an alternate-history 1890-1910.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Fictional Central-Eastern Europe

After an evening messing about with google images and picture-editing software, I have this - a map of fictional Central-Eastern Europe as it might have existed in a VSF late 19th century.

Included are Ruritania, with Strelsau, Zenda and Hentzau marked; Molvania, with its capital Lutenblag; Graustark, with Edelweiss and Ganlook; Leutha, from Edgar Rice Burroughs' stories, and several other fictional territories.

It may have some relevance to the question of what exactly Whimsy's father was up to - then again, it might not.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Fictional British Army Regiments, part II

For the sake of completeness, I've compiled most of the other British Regiments from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_British_regiments into a list (part I of this list, known or presumed regiments from before 1800 to 1900, is in my listing for November and can also be found listed under 'British forces' to the left). Some or all of these may have existed in fictional Victorian times; if so, their early histories remain to be discovered, perhaps by intrepid chaps with large moustachios. Again, the format will be, under the date of the earliest reference, the name and number, if known; where they saw action, if known; and any pertinent info about them.

Fictional Regiments 1900-1920:
The Loamshire Regiment - saw service in WWI: Bulldog Drummond's regiment: in WWII - 1st Battalion the Loamshires in 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp'; 5th Battalion the Loamshires in 'Men At Arms'
Weald Light Infantry - still in existence after WWI?
12th Gurkha Rifles (Colonel Arbuthnott's regiment in 'Murder on the Orient Express')

EDIT: apparently the 43rd 'Prince Rupert's' Regiment of Horse, also known as 'The Fighting 43rd', was not involved in the Boer Wars, at least according to the Captain Cadman website listed on the left. However, the regiment's postings include both France and East Africa during WWI.

Caledonian Highlanders - served in NW Frontier province c1935 (Laurel & Hardy film, 'Bonnie Scotland')
Walmington-on-Sea Local Defence Volunteers (fictional Kent or Sussex town of Walmington-on-Sea in 'Dad's Army' - not included on wiki list)

Bombadier Guards (first mentioned c1848) - 'Put Out More Flags'
Duke of Glendon's Light Infantry, 'The Dogs'- North Africa, 1941
Royal Corps of Halberdiers (early history goes back to Elizabethan era) - Fall of Crete, 1941: 'Sword of Honour' trilogy; Guy Crouchback's regiment
Loamshire Regiment (1st Battalion; 5th Battalion) - Loamshires first mentioned in WWI; 1st Battalion in WWII in 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp'; 5th Battalion in WWII in 'Men at Arms'
4th Musketeers (surmised to exist before 1800) - North Africa 1941, Italy 1942, France 1944
Wessex Guards
Wessex Fusiliers
12th Indian Lancers

1st King's Lancers (must preeceed 1952; first mention 1964)
King's Own Fusiliers (must preceed 1952; first mention 1990s)
Queen's Own Scottish (Infantry) Regiment
Queen's Own West Mercian Lowlanders (Major Harry Kitchener Wellington Truscott's regiment)

Light Armoured Brigade
Royal Wessex Rangers - N Ireland, 1979, Germany 1980, Hong Kong 1981
Wessex Light Tank Armoured Brigade

New addition to 1970-90, not from the wiki article:
North Wessex Fusiliers - Falklands War, 1982: from 'Ashes to Ashes', series 3 episode 3

Bedford Light Infantry
The Cumbrians (Duke of Rutland's Own)
The Derbyshire Regiment
King's Own Fusiliers (must preceed 1952; first mention 1990s)
The Malvern Regiment
The Northdale Rifles - Iraq
Royal Cambrian Fusiliers
The Wessex Regiment
The West Yorkshire Fusiliers

I haven't placed 'special forces' in this list, nor the regiments from the 'Carry On' films or the 'Goon Show'. The world is not ready for the 56th Heavy Underwater Artillery I feel.

And for those who like that sort of thing, a Beyesian analysis of the locations of various fictional British place-names (I found this looking for Walmington: http://keithbriggs.info/Bayes_placenames-2.html#Walmington-on-Sea)

Later additions to this list after the original posting have been italicised.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Count Maximillian Disappears

This is the scrap of newspaper that Whimsy Pootling finds in the ransacked study... is it a clue to her father's disappearance? It's the front page of an old copy of the Strelsau English Gazette, Ruritania's only English paper. She is certain her father was on his way to Ruritania when he was last seen.

But what has it to do with him? The newspaper is nearly twenty years old, from the very month she was born. What can the connection be between the mysterious disappearance of Count Maximillian, whoever he is, and her father's disappearance? And who are the dour men in black jackets that have been seen about the village? Were they responsible for the break-in at Pootling Hall?

Whimsy really doesn't know, but she is beginning to suspect that things are going to get a lot more dangerous before she gets any answers...

The image, first posted over at the Lead Adventurers' Forum, is thanks to the wonderful engine at the Newspaper Clipping Image Generator, a fine place to start a story off indeed, and newly added to the links on the left there. Make your own Martian Invasion, Shrinking Ray Discovery, Custard Explosion or whatever you like. But beware (as all press barons should) that with great power comes great responsibility...

Monday, 8 November 2010

Fictional Army Regiments

I've been checking out the various fictional army regiments that different people have written about over the last... oh, 160 years or so, and of course there's a wikipedia page for them. As I'm not a total masochist I'm not going to type up every single one, but I will start adding a list of regiments, period of earliest (fictional) mention, and (where known) theatres of operations, for regiments up to 1900.

Details of the vast majority of these regiments can be found on the wiki page listed above. Some have an unknown early history, but their earlier existence can be surmised (eg the 'Musketeer' regiments probably pre-date the Napoleonic Wars). Some I'm making up on sketchy evidence I'll admit.

Regiments in existence before 1800:
4th Musketeers (early history unknown, but existed during WWII)
Duke of Buckingham's Light Infantry - Marlburian campaigns, Jacobite Risings
Lord Semphill's Highland Regiment - Jacobite Regiment
Royal Corps of Halberdiers (formerly Earl of Essex's Honourable Company of Free Halberdiers, founded in Elizabethan period, early history unknown, as RCH existed in WWII)
Royal Loyal Musketeers (Irish regiment, early history unknown, served in India in late C19th)

Before 1850:
6th Light Dragoons - Napoleonic Wars
Bombadier Guards
'Jackboot Guards' - regimental nickname, official name unknown
Lifeguard Greens
South Essex Regiment - Napoleonic Wars (Peninsula and Belgium): Under Major Sharpe

Before 1870:
27th Lancers - Crimean War
117th Foot 'The Royal Mallows' - served in India during the Mutiny? See 'Before 1890'
1st Bangalore Pioneers

Before 1880:
114th Queen's Own Royal Strathspeys Afghan Wars, after 1880 remained in the North West Frontier Province until at least 1897 - link here
Princess Hohenzollern's Own Merthyr Tydfil Light Infantry (this name has been considerably shortened from Kipling's original) - served in India
34th Bombay Infantry
77th Bengal Lancers - North West Frontier Province?

Before 1890:
117th Foot 'The Royal Mallows' - served in India until c.1885, potentially from 1850s; afterwards stationed at Aldershot by c.1888; from 'The Crooked Man' by Arthur Conan Doyle
Royal Cumbrian Regiment (though this may be anachronistic, perhaps they should be listed as the Royal Cumberland Regiment) - Sudan (took part in Gordon's expedition?)

Before 1900:
117th Foot 'The Royal Mallows' - information moved to 'Before 1890'
'The Black Boneens' - regimental nickname, official name unknown - served in India
'The Black Tyrone' - regimental nickname, official name unknown - served in India
Lennox Highlanders - Matabele Wars; Richard Hannay's Regiment
Royal Loyal Musketeers (surmised to exist before 1800) - served in India
Royal North Surrey Regiment - Sudan (took part in relief of Khartoum?)
'The White Hussars' - regimental nickname, official name unknown - served in India
19th/45th East African Rifles - served in West Africa (perhaps based in Ghana or Nigeria?)

And the only regiment that doesn't appear on the wiki page:
The 'Fighting' 43rd (Regiment of Horse, also known as 'Prince Rupert's Regiment of Horse') - South Africa if my memory serves (it was Captain Cadman's regiment in the stories of the cowardly Captain in the Victor comic when I was a lad - though see notes below, I may be mis-remembering).

I have not been able to place the Duke of Clarence's Own Clanranald Highlanders (the 'Invernesshire Greens') though I suspect that they go back at least to the mid-18th century.

Well, that's a start anyway. Of course there are regiments that are listed post-1900 that may exist beforehand... but they'll live to another day.

I've also noticed they have a list of fictional British Army Officers on wiki...

Later additions and corrections to the list are italicised.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Another new link...

... to a random scenario generator.

This is a great generator for 'Weird World War II' scenarios, but with very little work could be for Cthulhu as well. It's part of the 'Operation: Fallen Reich' site - tagline 'Can Evil Be Stopped In Time For Tea?' which I think is one of the best taglines ever.

I don't play the game so some of the terminology is a bit obscure (I think 'Fallen' are Nazi Black Magicians but I could be wrong about that) but one of the random story generations I just span is: Location - a mental institution; Basic Plot - a child posseses special powers and needs to be baptised; Sub-Plot - the location has bad energy which helps Fallen; Main Villains - a secret society influenced by Fallen. That without too much work could be useful for a lot of games...

The site also includes a brief listing and descriptions of wars from 1920-1940 that British Chaps might be involved in - also useful for fleshing out character backgrounds in Cthulhu/Pulp/Gangster/Very British Civil War games. One of the designers described the game as 'The X-Files sett in WWII with Mulder and Scully replaced by Jeeves and Wooster' - and what's not to love about that?

Saturday, 2 October 2010

New links

I've added some new links: one to TerraGenesis, in my opinion the best terrain-making site on the web; one to Seventh Sanctum a fantastic random-results generator for everything from names for Gundam robots to titles of books about dragon biology, from plots for B-Movies to names of sci-fi substances... there's so much to just wander through, it really is incredible; and also, a link to a relatively new sci-fi vehicle building forum called Universal Engineering, which though it's small at the moment I think has a lot of potential (and I'm interested in building sci-fi vehicles so there).


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Great new Random Name Generator...

... that one of the thoroughly lovely chaps at the Lead Adventurer's Forum posted, it's a Pulp story-name generator but it produces some great results, included in the 'Invasion of the Squirrels from Jupiter' stuff. I was particularly struck by 'Finlay's Eldritch Rockets', and now feel that I should build some, or write something about them at the very least.

It really is a very good story-name generator, I've added it to the links to the left.

Another one it produced was 'The Thieves that Misplaced Tomorrow' - and I have to go, I feel a scenario coming on...

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Well that's the summer more or less over...

I say, it's getting beyond a joke. No sooner had I complained that May was gone and I hadn't done anything, some sinister (and probably foreign) fiend made off with June, July and half of August too! Dashed bally rotters, that's what they are.

My Dwarves in the Service of the Queen-Empress are still languishing in their box... err... barracks, my King of Ruritania is still only half-painted, and I am very behind with my frankly not-very exacting schedule of getting units ready! I'd hoped to get a bit of VSF gaming in over summer but alas, it has not yet happened.

I have been playing some 40k and painting fantasy Orcs and making terrain though so I've been doing some gaming stuff... too easily distracted I suppose. Well, the Atlantis campaign over at Lead Adventurers is getting back on track, let's see if that can keep me focussed on VSF. Onward and upward!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Blimey where has May gone?

Assignments and exams have kept me very busy this last month - the last thing I had to report was my Dwarves in Pith Helmets arriving. Well, I've not even got them out of the box yet (OK I have, but I put them back in again).

Normal service will be resumed when I am no longer a Prisoner of the Fiends of the Ivory Tower. Or at least, when they let me out for summer.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The Short Red Line

My long-awaited Victorian Dwarves (from Old Glory's 'Dwarf Britannia' range) arrived today - eight rifle-troopers, a sergeant, and an officer. They're destined to be part of my current British forces on Atlantis, in this case a regiment of colonials. The plan is to add some Orcs in red coats and Pith-helmets when they become available from... I've forgotten. Anyway, the Orcs and the Dwarves will be 'combined' in one rifle brigade... and the 'Combined Atlantean Rifle Brigade' will see the light of day (even if it's a bit squinty and bad-tempered about it).

The Dwarves, being short, will be the 'Low'-CARBs; the Orcs are taller. Doesn't matter to the Tommy Lobsters, they think all Atlanteans are Morlocks anyway, which is nearly as bad as being French.

Also the other day a Cthulhoid entity with a squiddy-type head arrived through the post. D'Kuhl the Bathalian is almost certainly not part of the British forces, though he may be a diplomatic advisor or even ambassador of the tentacle-faced fishy-people, who knows? Though he might object to the words of 'Rule Britannia' at some event, causing a diplomatic incident. 'Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves...' 'Schhhhlllurp, I think, squelch flop, that you mean "Dread Lord Cthulhu rules the waves" suck bubble pop squelch' before eating several of the guests. Something like that anyway.

Pictures will be posted presently.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Ruritanian symbolism

So here's the thing. I bought 'Aetheric Mechanics' by Warren Ellis, and tried to glean some info about Ruritania from it, specifically iconography. In it, the insignia of the Ruritanian aircraft and giant war machines seem to be:
1 - a dark (maybe black) St Olaf's Cross;
2 - a 'flag' divided vertically, with the right-hand half further divided horizontally; the two right-hand quaters appear dark, but not as dark as the very thin lines that divide these sections, so I'm assuming the dividing lines are black and the right-hand sections are green and red; in the left-hand half, on a light background, there is the outline of what looks like a dragon eating a person, surmounted by 3 'ball' shapes and a crown - all are in light colours, so I'mm assuming gold on white.

This one may get a picture at some point, but it's pretty odd anyway.

Polling closed...

... thanks to all who voted.

It's a bit redundant of course, as Alfrik already suggested having alternate command figures for different regiments, which seems sensible. But, for those who did vote, the Trumptonshire Rifles came out top by a long way (err, given that there were only 7 votes. But 4 of them were for Trumptonshire).

So, my plan will be to have a Trumptonshire Rifles - or maybe Yeomanry, perhaps I should ask someone who actually knows something about historical regiments what would be the 'best fit' for a name, I don't want to call them the 'Fusiliers' for instance if they wore different hats in 1890 - Regimental banner with a guy waving it.

Thanks again, and like the Ruritania strand, don't expect pictures very soon (I don't even have the figures yet for this bit, it will take some time)!

Monday, 29 March 2010

WIP photos

As hinted, here are the WIP photos of King Albert II, Queen Olga (well, she looks Russian in that hat, so why not?) and Colonel von Kartoffeln. Oh, how I long for umlauts. Not sure if Olga is Queen of Ruritania however. She might be Queen of Molvania; or she might be Grand Duchess of Fenwick for all I know.

With them is a random cowboy who will likely become an adventurer or possibly sky pirate. I might call him 'Lee Scoresby' in homage to Philip Pullman's Texan balloning hero. He may or may not have something to do with 'Rivets and Whimsy', it's too early to tell.

Obviously, they're not finished, but don't hold your breath, because it'll take me ages and they still won't look very good. The main reason for posting it is to show off the mustard-yellow jackets on the King and the Colonel. These are the kind of colour I plan on painting the Ruritanian Infantry.

Models: the cowboy is by Artisan, the others from West Wind.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Sinister doings in Ruritania pt 2

Well I actually managed to get some paint on some figures today, alonside helping No. 2 Son paint some cheap plastic skeletons, I started painting up some of my Ruritanians, and an American cowboy-looking chap who will be some kind of gun-toting adventurer in forthcoming VSF. I hope.

Photos I hope will soon appear. Not that any of the figs are actually finished yet; but I have a Ruritanian Colonel almost finished, in his splendid mustard jacket and black trousers; also, I've painted quite a lot of the Tsar Nicholas figure. Until I work out when he fits into Ruritanian history I'll call him King Albert II. I suspect he's king about 1905, but I could be wrong of course. It is perhaps he who is on the throne when Ruritania absorbs Grand Fenwick. Perhaps not...

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Sinister doings in Ruritania

Well, I haven't got any photos yet, but I have been cleaning up my new Ruritanians along with a few other new(ish) purchases. Oh if only I had time at the moment to paint them...

Meanwhile over at Lead Adventurers, there have been some in-depth discussions about the idea of mapping out Ruritania as a joint project. Of course, we all have different ideas of what we can do with it, some of which don't match up with each other, but never mind, I'm sure we'll be able to muddle through somehow.

Favoured uniform colour for Ruritanian Infantry Regimets at the moment seems to be a mustard-yellow, and that's what I plan to do. "When" I get some Hussars for the force, they will be wearing purple.

Watch this space...

Friday, 12 March 2010

Soldiers of the Queen...

Right, these are photos of my British Line Infantry, lovely pieces from Ironclad, painted (and photographed, I hope he doesn't mind me using the photo, I'd better ask him) by the lovely and talented Majorsmith from the LAF.

British Line Infantry - Ironclad 2

British Line Infantry - Ironclad 1

I'm not sure if that's the good Major standing at the front, I don't see any reason why not (or maybe his great-great Grandad). So from now, it's Major Smith of the... now, I never did work out what fake regiment they should be from.

I'm currently torn between having these chaps related to Walmington-on-Sea (home of 'Dad's Army'), Melchester (for that 'Roy of the Rovers' feel) or Trumptonshire. They do rather resemble 'the boys from the Fort', with their Captain Snort and Sergeant-Major Grout (or 'Marginator Grout' as I called him as a child).

If you don't know what I'm talking about, there should be a link to the Trumptonweb on the left somewhere.

Things in the post

Hurrah! I got some new figures today. A parcel came from West Wind miniatures containing the beginnings of my Ruritanians (hey if we've got Atlantis in 1890, why not Ruritania too?) - 8 Zendarian riflemen, 4 Zendarian Vampire Slayers, and Tsar Nicholas and family. All are from their 'Vampire Wars' range.

I'm sure I'll be using these as generic German Empire or central/east Europeans as the need arises, and why wouldn't it?

However it's ages since I read 'The Prisoner of Zenda', can anyone suggest a good uniform for Ruritanians? They don't do an Osprey book of 'Ruritanian Infantry Uniforms 1871-1919' or anything...

Hopefully I'll get some photos of these chaps (and chapesses, as there's a Tsarina and a princess in there too) together soon.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

VSF blogginess, day 1...

Well, it's something like day 69 of the LAF Atlantis campaign, and I'm up to my ears in VSF-ness. Which of course is one of the main reasons I started hanging out at LAF in the first place.

In recent days the subject of what VSF gaming actually is has come up a couple of times and this led to my description of it as 'rivets and whimsy' which in turn led to...

"The Extra-ordinary Adventures of 'Rivets' McGurk and Miss Whimsabella Footling" or some such. Rivets and Whimsy have become characters in their own right, and part of this blog will I hope be about them, their aeronef, Whimsy's search for her father and attempts to clear his name, their adventures in Atlantis and Ruritania, and the trouble they have with the dashing but dangerous sky-pirate Captain Horst Van Dango.

No photographs currently exist; perhaps soon I will be able to get some up. Details are sketchy too. All I know for sure is that Whimsy is an excellent markswoman (Papa taught her to shoot big-game hunting as a child) and Rivets (Robertson Douglas James McGurk on Sundays) is an aeronef mechanic; and that they're on the run after Whimsy's father is disgraced and disappears. I'm not even sure what year it is. 1890? 1900? Something like that.

Expect updates.... unexpectedly.