Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Street Without Joy

...is an excellent book written by Bernard Fall about the war in French Indo China in the late 1940's/early 1950's.

I read this in the mid 1980s and got very interested in this very interesting but little-gamed war, which culminated in a huge defeat for the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.    I collected and painted a few hundred Platoon 20 minis, which in those days were made from a rather brittle metal.  Unfortunately, I carefully  stored all the minis at the top of a high cupboard, and one day accidently dropped all the boxes from a height of 8'.  Almost to a man, they snapped off at the ankles (and many of the rifles broke).  See Exhibit A, below, for one of the four boxes. 

More feet without joy than Street without Joy!

It has taken me around 20 years to overcome the pain and return to the period, but this week I've started to repaint the surviving minis, and I'm going to order a few dozen more (well perhaps a hundred or so...).  I'll either use an adapted Memoir '44 ruleset, or write a simple set myself.  The battlefield of Zama, with some added hills and vegetation, is going to become Route Coloniale 19. 

Several things are a lot better in 2010 than 1990; firstly I'm a somewhat better painter now, and have a lot more nice terrain.  Secondly, the 1/72 diecast vehicles that one can buy these days look outstanding; the French transport pool is consequently going to be a whole lot bigger than it was 20 years ago!  Finally there is a lot of great material on the war that wasn't around in 1990, especially this excellent site on the war which has OOB's, which was information I could only dream of, twenty years ago.  En avant!


DeanM said...

Wow - big bummer about the drop & broken off figures. Will you use super glue? Should work - if not, and if you have the patience, Epoxy might also work - longer time to dry (you'd have to hold the figure in place while drying), but would be a stronger bond. BTW, did you ever watch "Lost Command"? with Anthony Quinn as Lt Col Raspeguy? A character in "The Centurions" - in turn based loosely on Marcel Bigeard. Great movie which begins with the fall of Dien Bien Phu; and ends with stuff in Algeria. Dean

BigRedBat said...

Hi Dean, I'll stick some of them on their old bases and strengthen with greenstuff "grass tufts". Some others I'll cut off at the waist and use in "fox holes". But quite a lot have broken weapons and are complete write offs.

Now I don't think I've ever seen Lost Command- I shall order, poste haste! Only £3 on ebay.

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Always nice seeing something off the beaten path.Good luck and hopefully they don't break this time around.


Anonymous said...

"The Last Valley" by Martin Windrow is worth checking out too, imho.

And another movie that you may wish to check out is Pierre Schoendoerff's dull but technically accurate "Dien Bien Phu."

I sir applaud your decision to stick to 20mm, a scale that seems to be increasingly ignored these days. Perhaps you'd augment your Platoon20 stuff with some of those nice offerings from Liberation?

I'm not sure if you know of it, but those fellas in Hong Kong can be mighty inspiring:

BigRedBat said...

Hi afewroundsmore, yes I'll be going for liberation minis, too. I'e seen the Hong Kong site, some nice battle reports on there.

Last night I excavated my 1980's French vehicle models; they should scrub up nicely... more anon.

Mad Dan said...

Thanks for the link to the Indo site - need to get some more bits done for it sometime!

"Lost Command" is pretty poor (I did buy it though...). Have a look at Nowfel's review on:



BigRedBat said...

Hi Danny, I read Nowfel's review about 5 minures after I ordered the film! Still it was dead cheap.

BigRedBat said...

Hi Danny; watched Lost Command; I quite enjoyed it! It was a bit two-dimensional but had its moments. I particularly liked the GMC trucks and jeeps, and the girl from the Casbah. ;-)