Saturday, April 16, 2011

Zulu War British

Here, finally, is a complete “unit” of British infantry for the Zulu war. Depending on the scale of the action involved it could represent either a company or an entire battalion (or a platoon or a section for that matter... but that's not what I originally planned for...)

One of my projects for the year seems be the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. I’m not entirely sure how I got onto this… I think around the new year I was getting excited about Space:1889 and the whole Victorian/colonial era and I happened to stumble on a couple of really good deals on ebay for some Zulu War British and… well.. some Zulus… (ah, the not-so-practical TIM way of doing things – buy figures first, figure out what I actually need second… doh!). I also picked up a few books - most of the ospreys on the subject, a general history and a great Colonial Campaigns scenario book. Now I’m trying to organize what I have and sort out what else I’ll need and how I might get around to painting it all!?

I think I’m going to go with units of 15 infantry and 8-10 cavalry. WHY? Partly because Ever Victorious Armies (which I’ll probably make use of – though may modify considerably) uses 8-18 figure units. But mostly because I can fit guys in neat little rows of ten in the drawers – with the size of bases they’re currently on. Three complete rows are two units. Yeah… I’m THAT A-R about how I organize the little toys… (That’s really the only reason I bother making full strength sections for my WW2 forces – at least in the armies that had 10-man sections… armies that had largerer sections, however, are always going to be “understrength”!?).

The Colonial Campaigns book organizes the forces into units of 8 figures, but, for me at least, 10 (or less) infantrymen just isn’t enough to represent anything larger than a section… but for some reason 15, in my mind, can be seen a company or a battalion…?! I had thought of doing units of 20 (two very neat rows in my storage boxes)… but I’d need just waaaaaaaaaay too many toys…

Also Old Glory figures, which will probably be making up a fair chunk of the rest of the stuff I buy, come in bags of 30 infantry or 10 cavalry

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

These are all from Black Tree Design. Two of those pictures I had painted previously (though I have since fixed their pith helmets!) but I thought I’d take a picture of the whole unit.

I picked these up off ebay. I’ve read horror stories about ordering from Black Tree Design. Also a friend of mine locally orderd stuff and it took a LONG time for him to get his stuff… (4-6 months, I think…?). But I thought I’d try ordering just a couple packs to fill out complete units of 15 for these and I got a message saying the packs have been shipped – and I only placed theorder yesterday… so we shall see!

Eventually I hope to have eight units of British line infantry. That’s the largest number of units called for in the Colonial Campaigns book. The troubling bit is that there’s a great variety of units that fought in the Zulu war and they all have different facing colours and a number of the scenarios involve troops from only one unit – Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift scenarios both require eight “units” of the 24th (green facing), whereas in iNtombi Drift, eight units of the 80th are required (yellow facing), etc… There were also units with blue and buff facings. I think I’ll probably just do one or two units of each of the different facing colours…

Eventually I’d like to also have two units of Rifles and two units of Highlanders. The Rifles, insofar as I can tell had identical uniforms except they were all Rifle Green and the leather equipment was black.

The Highlanders were in trews – the only real difference was in the cut of the tunic and the cuffs. Black Tree, Redoubt Miniatures, and Foundry all seem to make the Highlanders in trews. Foundry is way too costly (packs of 6 for $24.50…. I’d have to order 5 to make the two units…. so ~$120… no thanks…). Redoubt looks like it’d be $30 plus shipping (whatever that works out to be…!?) per unit, while Black Tree, currently, would be $62 for the two units including shipping… If the currently order works out, I may try ordering from then again.

I guess I have no shortage of stuff to paint in the meantime before I get worrying too much about that. Currently I have three and half units worth or British. The Black Tree order will complete the fourth and I currently have a bag of Old Glory British inbound, which will make six of the line units. I’ll just need two more line units, the two Rifles, and the two Highland units, to finish up the British infantry…

Then there’s the cavalry… and auxiliaries… oi… what have I gotten myself into!?

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Zulus…? or maybe Hobgoblins…!?


  1. wow... and i was hoping to see more of your fantastic AK47 republic stuff... looks like i will have to wait

  2. Heh... well if you bug me enough it might get in my head. I did start re-basing all my 20mm modern stuff last sumer and the African stuff was one of the first I did because a friend of mine was wanting to play... but then we didn't... so I lost interest...

    One of these days someone will say; "Hey, lets play AK-47 REpublic" or "Hey, lets play Cold War Commander" and I'll bust them out and start painting them again and posting battle reports...

  3. Lovely work Tim on this collection.

    You must be over the moon with the upcoming release of Zulu plastics from Empress miniatures.



  4. Thanks Helen!

    I'm not a huge fan of plastic myself, so I'm kind of... "meh"... on the release of any plastics...

    I also picked up five lots of Foundry, Black Tree and other Zulus in January/February and have over 200 of them now... and have another 30 armed with firearms on the way... so I think I'm kind of set... for the time being...

    I do like the look of the Empress figures and will definitely pick up a few and "characters" or leaders!