Not that Mr. Kipling, the Kim one
A long time ago (both in internet terms, which is measured in months, and in real terms, which is measured in years) there was a very good Colonial wargaming website called Major-General Reddering or some such (after a brief search I found this image of it, it is well worth the perusal). This place was, frankly, just a bunch of fun, and I always thought that at some stage I would pursue some colonial stuff. Now my sons are old enough to be badgered into it, it would seem to be be time to go forward with the project.
Also of note on the site was a general statement, and I am paraphrasing here, that this was just a group of people having a little bit of goofy fun with toy soldiers, and no endorsement of colonisation, politics, or any form of racism was intended, or indeed, present.
Colonial wargaming, with it’s echoes of Kipling and 1930s Hollywood movies, warrants this warning more than most periods of gaming, I think, but it might behoove all us internet wargaming types to pop up similar warnings every so often, if only to protect the innocent outsiders who might stumble across our sites, lest they take up an unintended message from our rather strange hobby. So consider yourselves warned, innocent outsiders.
I decided to use The Sword and the Flame, one because it is a fairly general set, and I am familiar with it, and have enjoyed playing it. It also has a nice simple “Old Schooly” feeling to it with individually based figures and so forth which I am finding myself more interested in recently.
My intent is to act as an Umpire/Game Master running whatever form the local opposition to colonialism takes, and my sons will run the imperialist running dogs (I am gettin’ into the spirit here..). This is partially to ensure domestic harmony (they will actually have to co-operate to win) and partially because the non-imperialist player in these games tends to spend a lot of time dying, even when they are successful, and I think it better for me to take that role. If either of them suddenly profess an interest to run a hill tribe or whatever, I am sure we can work it out.
So, in order to put on a game I have been doing some painting. I am fairly sure what form the scenario will take, but I need to do some organistion of existing resources before I can get where I want to be.
However, I did dig out some embarrassingly old Old Glory 25mm Pathans and paint them up in the standard TSatF organisation of 3 groups of 20 chaps, with a tribal chief.
In my ignorance of what I needed, about 1/3 of them have “modern” rifles, 1/3 flintlock or jezzails or whatever, and 1/3 some form of pointy object. I am sure this is going to leave them very underarmed as opposed to their opposition, but but I fear the first outing for these lads is going to be of the nature of a guy with a red shirt in the original Star Trek, or an Orc in most modern fantasy books; they are going to perish swiftly to show the players how the game works. If the players are interested in more, we can organise the resistance to be tougher in subsequent scenarios.
I found the figures quite a lot of fun to paint; they were done with the customary (for me) acrylic with wash and highlight. A good variety of poses, especially as they seem to have varied the heads as well.
I based them with model railroad ballast and bunches of silfor flowers and grass tufts on top; as it was necessary to designate the leader for each band, I put him on a round stand. The colours of the tribesmen are probably a bit bright for “realism” but I was not all that bothered about realism for this project, as it would be fairly grim if realistic, so this particular bunch of native patriots are wandering around in particularly bright clothes.
The Tribal chief (the mullah of wherever, I suppose) I decided to put on a larger round base with a standard bearer, completely for decoration. The Flag (and a number of the shields) were Little Big man Transfers for Perry brothers Islamics. Yep, I know the writing is completely inappropriate for wherever these lads come from (have not figured that out yet) but once more it looks good, and I am not that bothered.
As you can see in one of the photos, I marked the (rather arbitrary) back of the bases with a marking showing what group the tribesman is in.