I had a collection of 54mm Dorset Soldiers (lead) but the numbers of it were indifferent (modulated on 8’s + officers)… now after an additions bit (sharks frenzy feeding) I have 9 Companies of 12 men adapted to A GENTLEMAN’S WAR set of rules (I use modified if you please).
So yesterday I paraded the force to organize properly. Two of the Co’s are mule mounted (see pics), there are two machine guns, a Battery of Artillery, an Heliograph attached to HQ/Command and some Mounted Officers and ADC’s.
Since before X’mas (around the 22 December) when I got the parcel from Dorset I have been working (meaning mainly painting) 54mm Toy Soldiers on a regular basis (meaning about an hour a day)… things coming out nicely… and NO not ALL the figures in the pic are my work, some are part of my collection used like models to get the colors right! (you can see there are more officers than men in the pic!)… as it was the necessity of grouping my collection in units of 12 figures to play A GENTLEMAN’S WAR rules needed a “round up” of the collection which was badly underofficered as it was…
A book that is “different” in such a way… that the “lessons” you learn are not the same at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 or 70 years of age. I know because I have read it at those ages and the perspective changes a lot. A critic would accuse Wren of racism, xenofobia, antisemitism, prejudices, mysoginia, white (anglo-saxon) supremacy, his phobia about “mixing races” etc etc etc… but he penned a masterpiece about “the decent thing to do”. It’s a fictional novel but with “morals”, it is a novel of adventure (boy’s own) but only in the surface… it is a Police Mystery novel (a “polar” the French say) but not quite… is it a “love story” (only in a way)… it is a Military novel and the abuse of power… (not at all but it served me right when I did my compulsory military service in the Spanish Army when the Sahara was still in Spanish hands… 13 months of boredom… so I know what “le cafard” is first hand)… I recently gave copies of the book to my grandchildren… would they ever read it?… I do not know at all… but I have passed it away anyhow…
Hope they do a lavish edition for the Centenary of its first publication.
Not all of the restrictions of the pandemic are a boring thing, in fact it has given me time to do things I have done on my mind for several years and never materialized because of lack of time and sheer laziness. The normal live I live keep postponing those things ad infinitum.
To begin at the beginning, I have always had a set of building bricks called EXIN CASTILLOS, it was a wonderful Spanish toy of the sixties, I played with them and build castles, so did my children when young because I purchased sets for them (nowadays have done so with my grandchildren too), one day of “cleaning up” at home I rescued the discarded sets of mine&my children from the list of things to throw away, put them in a box and stored them in my (then) office waiting for better days.
In the meantime my collection of Dorset Soldiers (thanks again to Giles Brown) was slowly growing up and the French Foreign Legion in action poses (mainly) occupied three shelves of one of the cabinets in Pal. So, one day I took the box from my office, cleaned the plastic pieces with soap&water and produced a mini ZINDERNEUF in 54mm to play with my Dorset Soldiers set. On another trip I had brought to Pal my camera/tripod etc.
This is the result: a solo game I play against “time”, will the arabs kill all the defenders of the fort before help from Tokotu arrives? Will “Beau” and “John” survive as long as in the novel?.
By the way, if you considere the BEAU GESTE trilogy (in fact five books and some extra short stories!) too old fashioned for you, you simply pass…
Now, that was fun!, it has been years since I did a model with those blocks!, it’s like riding a bycicle… you never forget those tricks with the bricks.
I have done it in 6mm (still in my Baccus collection), 28mm (To The Redoubt… sold), 54mm (Dorset Soldiers) and in 75mm with Playmobils (now in the collections of my grandchildren).
Yesterday, and the day before, I included some pics of the French Foreign Legion in my post, well, let’s go through with it, I am a fan of this elite corps since I read the novel –Beau Geste– when a child, in fact I read the whole trilogy -which is not a trilogy- Beau Geste – Beau Sabreur – Beau Ideal (connoisseurs know there are two more books about the Geste brothers Good Gestes and Spanish Maine*). Ever since I have not resisted the impulse to buy minis related to it and that’s that. Whatever my main wargame interest or collector fancy, there are always FFL soldiers in it. *The Desert Heritage in the USA.
So to make a clean sweep of this particular topic I will give you today the pics that shows my love for it -Legio Patria Nostra- a very particular elite mercenary unit which incidentally serves under the French Flag of Madame la Republique.
I have had Rubber India 54mm soldiers, 25mm Minifigs proxies, 28mm To The Redoubt, 54mm Dorset Soldiers, never got the Airfix box because I did not found it in the shops when visiting England, 54mm Military Modelling stuff from Andrea Miniatures, and I had to build them in GodsOwnScale (6mm) using proxies (see other posts), and of course customized Playmobils!
Too many pics probably… but this takes out of the way a personal passion (mania) which would have appeared recurrently on the blog. This is it and we forget about the FFL. Curiously enough I did my own compulsory military service in Spain in the (then) Spanish Sahara… so I know a bit about the desert myself. Always have tried that my sons and grandsons did not get the chance to repeat such a silly ordeal… and I still like P.C.Wren.