Monday, 11 February 2008

Cargo Cults

People possess the ability to construct a world model based on whatever little information they can gather. Polynesian Islanders saw peculiar white men arrive on their islands and set up stations (a wooden hut or two with a flag), and then great white ships would arrive bringing all kinds of marvellous goods.

Very sensibly, the Polynesians set up their own stations, ran up their own flags, and then sat down and waited for their initiative to be rewarded. Sadly, the great white ships failed to arrive. Cargo cults proved a disappointment to their worshippers.

I'm feeling today like one of those islanders. I have a tripod in the post somewhere, I have some paper flags on their travels too. All of which is to say - none of my (blurry) photos for the time being.

My Grenadier-Garde regiment has been lacking a standard. It took me some time to decide how to correct this omission. Prussian grenadier battalions did not have flags: the only battalion with mitre caps in the Prussian Army to have a flag was the Grenadiere-Garde. Not unnaturally then, the Stadden range does not have a standard-bearer wearing a mitre-cap.

I rejected the most obvious choice - take the musketeer standard bearer and put a grenadier head on it. The idea of using two figures to make one seemed an expensive choice with these figures. Secondly, from past experience, I know that you have to take a great deal of care to get head and body lined up together correctly. Any slight error and things can look very peculiar. There is of course the off-chance that the figure will literally 'lose his head' in the stress of battle. I'm not sure if having a headless standard-bearer doesn't require an immediate morale throw.

So I went for a second option. I've taken the 'sergeant with pike' figure, removed said pike, moved the left hand a little forwards, and added the flag-cover (wrapped around his body) using milliput. A brass rod was then inserted where the pike once was. The flag itself, when it arrives, will be from GMB Designs. I've never been able to paint flags and GMB's are the best commercial ones I've seen.

All very easy to do, although I'm not sure that the Colonel approves of his regimental standard being carried so carelessly in just the one hand.

Oh well, if nothing arrives in the post tomorrow, I think I'll try running up a flag.


Steve said...

...unless you've been there already and rejected the idea, I would also put in a vote for the Warflag.COM website - like you I can't paint flags but that site has been a god-send...

johnpreece said...

Cargo Cults, its been a while since I heard them referred to.

I incurred the wrath of our training department by suggesting that their adoption of the NVQ training system was abandoning education for cargo cultism.

Or rather I would have done if any of them had the faintest idea what I was talking about.