Friday, 15 February 2013

Now... completly different... something

A bit disjointed, I know. And I'm not having a seizure. I'm going to blog a real story later, but I've had something on my mind.

Well, two things actually.

What's not to love? An Argentine cavalry band helicon player
in a very Germanic tunic and a Swiss steel helmet.
 My mast head is a mounted bass horn player... and he's NOT playing a tuba. He is playing a bass brass insturment called a "helicon." These are rarely seen today. I played one - a 100-year old example - at a gig with a "hobo band" many years ago. (A "hobo band" is a Pennsylvania parade creature where all the players dress however they want - the more outlandish the better - and sometimes play marches "straight" and sometimes wacky. The Original Allentown Hobo Almost-Marching Band used to lie down in the street at intersections and play "In Heaven There Is No Beer" and then march on. The bass drummer stood on his head... while wearing a dress. I stood on the curb with the crowd and played the bass part.) Anyway... the helicon didn't play well.

Most United States marching units use the Sousaphone in their parade work. It's easy to carry and if it's made out of fibreglass, it's light. The tone is wretched, however.

A brass Sousaphone - straw boater optional
A tuba is a brass bass horn used in concert bands and orchestras. Tone is much better and the valves can be of the piston type (in Britian, Japan, and North America) or the rotary type (like a French Horn, usually found in European manufactured instruments.) It's still a bass insturment, but more refined than the Sousaphone. It's hard to carry and parade work usually involves a strap or harness. British military bands use a harness and a sort of apron which keeps (wait for it!) the insturment from scratching the buttons of the uniform coat! European military bands including the British (and Canadians, for that matter) use tubas on parade, the exception being the French military who are often photographed with Sousaphones.

See... I told you. A military band of the French Foreign Legion...

Your humble blogger and his old friend -
A Yamaha 4-valve 9/8 size upright tuba.
THAT was a nice horn. The case had wheels!
(Upright means the valves are vertical when the horn is played.)
Now I told you that story so I could tell you this one. (an old Bill Cosby line.) Years ago, I was on the old "Command Decision" message board and the question came up:

If you could see any figure or set of figures molded for table-top wargaming purposes,
what would it be?

The second question was like it:

In your opinion, what would be the most WORTHLESS wargaming figure or set of figures?

To answer the first one, things like WWII Algerian Goumier infantry (I see they're being made in 25mm), combat engineers, and even bands were included. Some correspondants poo-poo'd the band idea, but most folks liked the idear for "table clutter" and morale purposes. They would look absolutely too cool!

So here are the questions of the day:
If you could see any figure or set of figures molded for table-top wargaming purposes,
what would it be?
In your opinion, what would be the most WORTHLESS wargaming figure or set of figures?

No scale or period is out of bounds. You want Heinlein's Mobile Infantry in Marauder suits? Let me know. I have no power to make anything happen (as a married Lutheran pastor with children, I don't even know what  power is.) but this makes a good fantasy exercise.

I'll start.
     +  Bands in 15mm for Napoleonics or WWII (I have an ACW brass band, thanks to Peter Pig)
     +  15mm SYW Schaumburg Lippe Bückeburg Carabiniers (a beautifully weird outfit)
     +  15mm or 25mm US Infantry in tattered clothing for the War of 1812
     +  25mm Spanish Civil War Guardia Civil in that odd laquored tricorn
     +  15mm Combat Engineers for any nation
     +  25mm Gurhkas for the ETO (Kukri raid anyone?)
As to the worthless (These should NEVER be made):
     -  WWII US graves registration company
     -  Napoleonic Austrian Palace guard (with halbreds no less)
     -  Napoleonic French Customs Guards

That's enough. You're turn.

Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg Carabiniers between 1753 and 1759. - Source: Richard Knötel Uniformkunde
Schaumburg Lippe Bückeburg Carabiniers
You know you want them!


  1. I've painted up the Schaumberg Lippe Bukeburg Carabineirs, 15mm Frei Corps figures, now sold by QRF here in the UK. They did look nice in their strange uniform, with it wasn't so black though!
    As for worthless figures????

    1. I thought Freikorp made them; I'd just never seen them. (Sigh) Maybe some day.

  2. 25/28mm SCW Gardia Civil are produced by Empress Miniatures (sculpted by Paul Hicks). Very nice range of figures.

    Like to see: proper staff figures for just about any period, but let's start with AWI (28mm) and ACW (15mm & 28mm) and the obligatory Napoleonics (15mm & 28mm).

    Useless figures: other than ambulance troops, pontoon teams, engineers/sapper etc., which can perform a useful function in games,, ditch the increasing number of field kitchens, sleighs etc, which aren't even colourful like sutleresses. Waste of time and money!

    1. Thanks, Joe. Another friend directed me to Empress Minis. I looked at their site and the figs look good.
      Proper staff figs would be a help, indeed!
      Thanks for reading.