Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Beautiful Mind In A Terrible Place: Weird War Two Character Alistair Kitchings

This fellow was an entry in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge V and I promised when I posted him there that I’d provide a bit of fluff for his backstory.   He’s an Artizan sculpt, and a very fine one, from their Cadd’s Commandos set, which makes him sound like a bit of a rotter.  He’s decidedly non-regulation, shockingly long hair, a rather civvie looking scarf, no cap or beret, and the Webley in one hand and the bottle of champagne in the other suggests either a looter or someone who’s a bit unstable and possibly dangerous.  The Artizan catalogue describes him as “Captain Withnail” which suggests the film that I’ve never seen.

I gave him an officer’s British Warm overcoat, somewhat muddied, and painted the scarf in the colours of Trinity College, Cambridge, since I had an idea that my the Allied Force for my Weird War Two campaign needed a resident scientist and Trinity is famous for its science faculty.  So he’s Alistair Kitchings, a brilliant young physicist who finds himself in a world his research never prepared him for.   Possibly tedious fluff follows.  If nothing else, these sorts of posts help me sort out plot points that I may write up later.

Some years before the war, Kitchings got into a conversation with some fellow dons over whether it was possible to prove the existence of the supernatural.  That led him to write a paper speculating on alternate realities and dimensions that might be connected in some way to earthly reality.   The paper was entirely hypothetical, and done as a bit of a lark, simply to prove an intellectual argument made in the common room.  As a sceptic and non-believer, he was just interested in the mathematics of it, and was satisfied when it was published in a small journal dedicated to arcane theoretical physics, providing a pleasing bump to his career.   When the war came along he was working on particle physics, and was in touch with a team of emigre scientists now working in American universities.   There were rumours of a new US research project, and when the War Office called, Kitchings was expecting to be sent to the US to join his colleagues.  Imagine his surprise when he was told that he was being “recruited” as an expert in the occult.  He tore up the letter in anger, suddenly remembering the article, and forgot about it until three days later, when two burly detectives arrived at Cambridge and told him he had half an hour to pack and come with them.

In the year since, Kitchings has found himself in the secretive world of Project Alice, and is confronted regularly with evidence of things he wants to refuse to believe in.  His job is to conduct analysis of supernatural phenomenon, and to try and determine whether science and reason can provide explanations, and perhaps weapons, to fight this new menace.  However, since there is clearly a theological part to all of those - the undead, pure evil, etc - he has to work with concepts and people that he despises.   This will make Kitchings an excellent foil for Major the Rev’d Tristram Mercer, Project Alice’s senior clergyman and religious adviser.   I expect the two to be thrown together in several situations with some excellent opportunities for banter and debate.   

Since Kitchings regards himself as a prisoner, sworn to secrecy, cut off from academia, and unable to leave Project Alice until the war’s over, he’s a bit of a rebel.  He often wears his Trinity College scarf to show what he considers his true identity and to annoy the military types in Project Alice.  To manage the strain of dealing with things he would rather refuse to believe in, he’s also a bit of a functional alcoholic, and will grab a drink whenever he can, hence the champagne bottle.   Fortunately, the head of Project Alice, Brigadier McAllister, recognizes Kitchings’ brilliance and tolerates his behaviour, provided he gets the job done, and has appointed Fr. Mercer as a minder for the rebellious don.

I hope that if you don’t care for the fluff, you like the mini.  Thanks for looking, and blessings to your brushes!


These figures bring my 2014 totals to:

28mm Mounted: 13, 28mm Foot: 85, 28mm Artillery: 2; 28mm terrain pieces: 10 (counting that woods base from a recent post).

20mm Foot: 33, 20mm Artillery: 2, 20mm Vehicles: 2, 20mm Terrain Pieces: 2

15mm Vehicles: 5, 15mm Foot: 26, 15mm Terrain Pieces: 3

6mm Foot:  120, 6mm vehicles: 4, 6mm Terrain Pieces: 2

Kilometres Run: 1,086

Thesis Pages Written:  24


  1. Fantastic brushwork Michael! Love the backstory as well.

  2. Wonderful work Padre, and what a great backstory. :)

  3. I've been looking forward to ready this (as you know, I'm a fluffy kind of guy). Nice paintwork and nice story.

    Is the Revd Major to come, or have I missed him? I suppose it could only be worse for Kitchings if he was a Fellow of St Johns!

  4. Wonderful back story and lovely job on Dr. Alistair Kitchings (I assume he has a PhD, or perhaps he should be Professor? )

  5. If you have never seen "Withnail and I", you need to correct that, Padre. Sit Mrs Padre down with a nice beverage and enjoy some of the finest actors the Empire has ever produced deliver one of the strangest and yet loveliest movies ever produced.

  6. Great story and great figure too!

  7. Thank you all.
    Edwin, you fluffy fellow, there is some backstory on Tristram Mercer here: I see not all my Weird War Two labels are in place, I need to fix that I sort of write these backstories because there is a novel (a very bad one) lurking in my head and I might mine these posts for it at some point. It would be interesting if Fr. Mercer was a Johnian, I hadn't thought of that.
    Thomas - I'll try to catch it over the hols. Not sure if it will be the Mrs' cup of tea but you never know.

    1. It has Paul McGann and Richard E Grant. There are women out there who would not drool over these two, but they would not be married to you, sir. ;-)

  8. Nice figures and entertaining backstory. These should provide for a wonderful game at some point.

  9. Until I read your background fluff, I was thinking this chappy might turn out to be a forensic archaeologist, just the sort of fellow that would come in handy in dealing with zombie, vampire, Great Old Ones artifacts and associated places of interest. Mind you, I like your background. Alistair Kitchings seems to be carving out a novel and unique field in Phorensic Physics and Occult Mechanics and Dynamics. Solid.

  10. Michael the fluff was well worth reading and the miniature's paint job is the bee's knees!

  11. Nice looking mini and nice story too!

  12. Very nice indeed Padre - love it!
    Merry Christmas to you and I hope 2015 brings you health, happiness and lots of hobby time!

  13. Loving the scarf.... great paint job and background.

  14. Great work, Mike......I love the Trinity College scarf in particular!


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