AZW


Natal Native Mounted Contingent

Earlier in the Challenge, I painted some Natal Native Contingent and described how they were given relatively little equipment and their uniform consisted of a red bandana to wrap around their foreheads. Fortunately, there were some native troops that were better equipped. The Natal Native Mounted Contingent were relatively small in number and were formed into six Troops of approximately 50 men each, lead by a European Lieutenant and a native NCO. They were largely recruited from the amaNgwane (a tribe from Natal) traditionally hostile to the Zulus.These troopers were much better equipped than the Native infantry; troopers wore a tan-coloured European style uniform, their mount had full equipment and each trooper was issued with a breech-loading carbine. The European officers usually wore a blue jacket, brown trousers and white helmet although there was some variation. I decided to give one of my officers a soft hat similar to the troops under his command. This involved cutting the pith helmet off, then filin

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Natal Native Contingent

During this years Painting Challenge I am not focusing on just one army or new project. Instead I decided I would revisit some of my older armies and finally get around to adding to them like I have been saying I would for ages. The first of these additions are four of companies of Natal Native Contingent to support the British Infantry I painted in the Challenge last year.The NNC were an Auxiliary force of mostly Basuto and Mponso troops who were recruited to fight alongside the colonial regulars. They were generally organised along the same lines as the British troops with companies of about 100 warriors with 6 NCO's and three Officers per company. They were not issued with uniform and were only distinguishable from their Zulu opponents by a red bandanna worn around their heads. Fears about arming native warriors (even allies) meant that only one in ten were issued with a rifle.Some Imperial officers (such as Colonel Durnford, who died at Isandlwana) believed the NNC should have been used as scouts and ligh

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Planning for the Challenge

I've been feeling a little bit 'unfocused' for a while. Not quite between projects so much as struggling to bring several to a conclusion. I have a number quite usable armies for different periods that I want to expand and I have some vague ideas for future projects that I don't want to rush into. In short this particular wargames butterfly has become stuck in a web of his own making! Don't get me wrong, I'm not in a 'slump', I'm not struggling with time (any more than usual), I've just allowed myself to become distracted by multiple projects to the point where I have ground to a halt unable to make any clear decisions. So this week I have been giving some serious thought on how break the deadlock and I'm using the upcoming Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge to drag myself out of this stalemate. In previous years I have gone into the painting challenge with a very clear 'project' as my goal. One time it was painting 6mm armies for the 2nd Punic War; The year before last I focused on a  Pyrrhic army

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Living Dangerously at Albion Books

Over the weekend I went to Hastings for a short break with the wife and my youngest daughter. We tend to turn these sort of trips into a bit of book hunting exercise and this was no exception. One place I always try to visit when I am in Hastings is Albion Books as they have a lot of military books and magazines for sale. But be warned; a visit to this store is not for the faint of heart! The inside of this knowledge emporium is a Heath and Safety nightmare. And as that happens to be my job at the charity I work for, it does take some mental preparation (and checking of my Will) before I venture through the doors. Death by book avalanche is a very real possibility inside this shop! To the brave go the rewards however and if you are prepared to spend a long time browsing there is probably something for every wargamer in its tumbled and disorganised interior.   I was too timid to take a picture of the inside (I didn't want to offend the owner) but I found a great photo on Google Maps. Unfortunately I

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Shaka Zulu - TV Research!

I recently discovered that the 1986 mini-series Shaka Zulu was on Netflix and, although it is largely set some 50-60 years before the Anglo Zulu War of 1879, I was interested enough to take a look at the first episode. I wasn't expecting much from this 1980's South African made TV series but I couldn't have been more wrong and I have been gripped by all 8½ Hours of it. I was a little amazed that I hadn't seen it before but it does have a lot of nudity (entirely culturally authentic) and graphic violence so it's probably not the sort of show that would have got an airing on the BBC!The film is based on the writings of the first British traders to enter the Zulu Nation during the reign of Shaka. They were sent by the colonial administration of what was then the Cape Colony to discourage Zulu expansion south into British territory. What the 'traders' discovered was a highly organised and vibrant culture full of political intrigue and self confidence on a scale that utterly amazed these white men who had expected

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Building a Zulu Kraal

Earlier this year Postie very generously gave me some model Zulu huts he had made for my (at that point) fledgling Zulu War project. All that was needed was for me to make the enclosure fence to make these into a Kraal suitable for wargaming purposes. The Zulus call their home an 'umuzi'. The word 'kraal' is the European term for the rural homestead of a Zulu family. The build is relatively simple although it does require deft fingers and a lot of patience. That being said it shouldn't be beyond the skill of most terrain builders.A Zulu Umuzi, or Kraal.First off it has to be said that building a model Kraal for wargaming purposes requires a little poetic licence. My version has enough space for just under 20 huts but the real thing could have hundreds within its walls. I've tried to use a few contemporary etchings to get the general features right but there seems to have been a lot of variation, presumably depending on the size and location. Essentially the Kraal is a large roughly circular enclosure of thorn

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Shaving the Bear

I'm sure many readers will recognise this scenario, particularly if you make your own wargames terrain. You're working on a new project and you have a sudden moment of clarity when you see yourself from the outside and recognise the absolute absurdity of what your doing. I had one of those moments over the weekend and I'm still chuckling about it days later. I'm my case it all came about because the night before I was having trouble getting off to sleep and my mind just wouldn't shut down. There I was in the wee small hours, trying to get to sleep, when I had an idea; what if I shaved my teddy bear?OK, don't call the men in white coats just yet, hear me out first. I've recently play tested The Men Who Would Be Kings with my 6mm Zulu war collection and rapidly came to the conclusion that I need more terrain for my Zulu's to hide in. One type of terrain that I need is something to represent long grass and/or Mealie fields (ie Maize, derived from the Afrikaans word milie) but I wasn't sure how to repre

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The Battle of Ntombe Drift

Following on from my post last week about adapting TMWWBK I have now had a chance to run a couple of play test games. What I decided to do was play a couple of variations of the Battle of Ntombe. This relatively small engagement was none the less significant because once again units of the British army were soundly beaten by "spear wielding savages" (as they were described in the press). The historical battle involved just one company of Infantry against approximately 500-800 Zulu's and was another classic example of poor leadership, poor field craft and a complete underestimation of the enemy. Setup/HistoryWith the commencement of the Anglo-Zulu war in January 1879 the village of Lüneberg, situated in the disputed territories of Northern Zululand, felt very exposed to attack. Four companies of the 80th Regiment of foot were sent to reinforce the local garrison but by the end of February they needed resupply. 18 wagon of supplies were sent to the town and were escorted from the boarder by one compan

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Autumn Skirmish 2018

This morning I made the short hop across the river to Sidcup for the Autumn version of Skirmish. This is a small show but always a very enjoyable one and today didn't disappoint. As usual I spent more time chatting with friends than I did looking around, but I also took quite a 'few' photo's and came home with a nice haul of goodies. This definitely falls in the category of small 'local' show but  regularly manages to draw in gamer's and collectors from across Kent and London.The show seemed fairly well attended although again the trader hall wasn't as busy as it has been in previous years. I'm hoping this isn't a downward trend because the show has plenty to offer. The Bring and Buy certainly seemed to be busy all day and I picked up some good bargains. By the end of the day I came home with a nice haul of goodies and a camera full of pictures which makes this a success in my book.Postie and Ray looking for bargains at Col BillsMaidstone Wargames - 28mm WWI - 22 August 1914Platoon commander Ro

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TMWWBK for 6mm Zulu War

So after a long hiatus following the last Winter Painting Challenge I have finally found some time to go back to my Zulu War project to think again about the rules I want to use. This time I have been giving some thought to adapting The Men Who Would Be Kings rules, written by Daniel Mersey and published by Osprey. This exercise has been very interesting, shows promise and has even resulted in firm plans for a full scale solo play test sometime next week.This back to front approach - buying and painting the models before I have even settled on a rule system - is typical of me. Actually that's a little unfair as I did spend quite a lot of time thinking about rules and exploring several options prior to buying the figures, but I never really came to a satisfactory decision. In the end I just painted and based the figures in a configuration that I thought would be visually pleasing and practical, with my fingers crossed that I could make them fit a rule system further down the line. Again, typically of me, I got

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Zulu by Saul David

Despite my recent foray into 15mm tanks I am still working away on my Zulu War project (albeit slowly). While I was busy knocking out units for the Painting Challenge I was also avidly reading many of my reference books on the period. One of the most enjoyable was Zulu: Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879 by Saul David. I meant to write up a review at the time but got a little sidetracked so here is a slightly shortened version, late but none the less highly recommended.The book follows the usual format for these type of works, looking at the history of the region in the years leading up to the war of 1879. This sets the scene for a conflict that shouldn't have happened were it not for the ambition of certain individuals and the failure of a colonial system that inevitably ceded regional governors a lot more independence that the government back home would probably have liked.Like so many of the books on this short lived war I often found myself lividly wanting to shout at the idiots in charge through

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