Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Taliban cavalry take two (now with actual horses!)

After my previous post about Taliban motorbikes (where I jokingly referred to the motorized Taliban as cavalry), I reflected a bit about tales of Afghan mujihadeen fighting the Soviets from horseback, and how US Special Forces rode horses alongside the Northern Alliance in 2001, and in particular how Hollywood grabbed on to the idea of Afghan horsemen charging pellmell against Soviet fortifications.  Horses and mules as transport make sense where insurgents need to keep off the roads, and in particular need to get through mountain passes.  Now obviously no one would ride a horse into a battle in the modern world (the very few exceptions in the First and Second World Wars showed what a stupid thing that is to do).  But of course Hollywood cares more about show than than practicality, and we gamers follow suit!

In particular, 1980s Hollywood gave us Rambo III and The Living Daylights (Timothy Dalton James Bond), both featuring fearless Afghan mujihadeen fighting on horseback.  I'm not much of a Youtuber but I found these clips.  

This first one takes a few minutes before the mujihadeen rescue Rambo and the Colonel.

And in this one, James Bond rescues the mujihadeen!

So, where was I?  I had a couple of heavily armed Empress Miniatures motorcycle passengers. I'd originally thought they'd look good sitting in the back of a Toyota truck (like these blokes)

So finally I decided that if there aren't any 28mm miniatures of mujihadeen cavalry (or Taliban on horses for that matter), I'd make my own.  I went to the lead mountain, and dispossessed a couple of Perry Miniatures Indian Lancers of their mounts, and here is the result.

Svenn Olsen, backwoodsman, plus other denizens of the Yukon

Not the most original name, I agree.  Svenn wasn't originally going to be Norwegian, but as I attempted to give him a Stewart tartan scarf, something happened and he ended up with a Norwegian flag pattern.  As it was clearly meant to be, I decided to go with it, and here is Svenn!

Svenn has been in the North for a long time.  Not a garrulous man, he values solitude and resents those who intrude on him.  If you can get past his rough exterior, though, you'll find his heart is in the right place.


Beardie MacBeadface and Svenn need some leg hold traps for their fur trapping:

I've been finding inspiration for my painting by reliving my long-lost Canadian youth vicariously through The Forest Rangers on YouTube!  Kids living without adult supervision in an old fort!  Magic Indian First Nations friend!  Mountie mentor! It's all there!

These rugged sons of the Empire can also be found making their way in the Yukon.

And to get around the Yukon, a rugged bush pilot:

This last one is not a Pulp Figure, he's just one of my favourite gold miners, mostly due to his uncanny resemblance to Lee Marvin's character in Paint Your Wagon

Monday, 18 July 2016

Yukon fur trapper Beardie MacBeardface

The residents of the Yukon Territory are starting to gather!  Courtesy once more of Pulp Figures, here's an intrepid fur trapper warmly wrapped up in his HBC-blanket capote.

All that Jazz!

And now for a brief musical interlude.  For your listening pleasure, please put your hands together for Jinx Johnstone's Jazz Quartet, appearing one night only by special arrangement from Bob Murch of Pulp Figures!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Taliban cavalry!

Well, not actual cavalry, and not even all Taliban at that! 

These are from Empress Miniatures.  The two on the left are built as intended (well, mostly, I think I mixed the passengers up, should have been two beardies and two masked blokes sharing each bike). The two on the right have been civilianized.  I had to rather messily chop off the AK rifles that were cast on to these figures, and then cover up my hatchet job as best I could with paint.

Two civilian motorbikes.  I modelled some simple saddlebags for one of the bikes.  Afghans will modify or personalize pretty much anything, so this was my effort to pick up this habit.  I resisted the temptation to add a Mickey Mouse blanket. 

And two Taliban motorbikes!

My next challenge is to find one of these in 28mm!

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Afghan bakery and ANP sangar (pic heavy)

In a previous post (see here) I mentioned that I made a few shops.  Unfortunately, the two shops looked pretty dull, more like they had been abandoned than actual going concerns.  I have started to address that with my first attempt at some detailed scenery.  This shop is a bakery, providing the famous Afghan bread, naan-e-afghani for the local populace.  Delicious stuff, and in real life tasty as anything (but eat fresh, it goes stale quickly).  I'd stay away from the naan on this table, looks like it would be about as tasty as clay.

I even made furniture.  What has come over me?

My bigger project, now nearly complete, is a sangar for the ANP.  This one is supposed to represent a sangar made from Hesco bastions, which are a kind of metal gabion basket lined with kevlar, which can be readily filled with locally sourced rocks or soil.  And a sangar is a fortified outpost (read the wikipedia article if you want to learn more).  

I looked up a few articles on line before starting this project.  This one was particularly helpful. Being me, I didn't follow the article exactly so mine is slightly different. I'm the same in the kitchen:  the recipe is the start point, more a guideline than a strict rule.

I started with a plywood based, and a selection of small wooden cubes from the dollar store.

Using white glue, I built up the shape I wanted, with a volunteer from the ANBP to address concerns about functionality.

I used modelling clay to make a layer of sandbags for the sangar roof.

I left the clay sandbags to dry overnight, and of course the material shrank a bit.  So I added another layer the next day.

I wrapped the sangar in brown paper and then with drywall mesh to replicate the Hesco bastions/gabions.  What is the correct term here? Hesco seems to call them bastions but the sure look like gabions to me.

The exposed surfaces (tops) then got covered with a mix of sand, model railway ballast and white glue, and left to dry.

I then added paint and there you go.  I need to finish up the Afghan flag (it needs the national emblem to be added in white in the centre of the flag.  I doubt I can paint it properly so I may cheat and print it out instead.