Sunday, 9 September 2018

Zulu Rising...

"This blog will record my progress painting them up and hopefully playing a few games sooner rather than later..." 

Four years later... :-)

Followers of my day to day blog Bleaseworld will have seen that over the last couple of months I have been playing Osprey's The Men Who Would Be Kings. As George suggested we try the rules at Bristol Independent Gaming, and because he had a lot of unpainted Perry Madhists we are currently battling up and down the Sudan (though just to be awkward my forces are technically North West Frontier though I am trying to raise units that are useable both in the Sudan and on the Frontier).

What has this to do with Zulus you ask? Well, as we are having such fun with the rules, even if I have lost all four battles to date(!), we have been discussing other Colonial conflicts that we have painted and unpainted lead and plastic sitting around for. The French in Dahomey is on the cards as some stuff painted for that (and a bit not) but the one that we were bound to end up discussing doing was, of course, the Zulu War!

As George is having to paint up lots of natives for the Sudan and as I had four years of dust gathering on my largely unpainted Zulu army I said I'd raise the side with the pointy stabby sticks this time.

So, over the weekend I have dug out the boxes of Warlord plastic and spent a few hours sticking them together. As I would still like to use them with Bickley's Washing The Spears rules at some stage I am creating 32 figure units that are then split into two for The Men Who Would Be Kings (16 figures being needed for a Tribal Infantry unit).

Here is the fruit of my endeavours, a 24 point The Men Who Would Be Kings force of six 16 figure units (also three 32 figure regiments for Washing The Spears)...

Now where did I put that can of brown spray paint?

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Mounted Conversions

I was searching through various blogs for posts on the Zulu War using Blogs of War and came across these highly interesting photos of conversions on Land of the Lead of Imperial mounted troops using Perry ACW cavalry with Wargames Factory bits and pieces from their British infantry set. Very inspiring...

Saturday, 22 February 2014


Being a wargaming butterfly I sometimes lose track of projects and sadly my Anglo-Zulu War has been one of these. However thirteen months on(!) I have finished my second Zulu regiment - the iNdluyengwe!

The iNdluyengwe were raised in 1866 and fought at Isandlwana (22nd January 1879), Rorke's Drift (22nd-23rd January), Kambala (29th March), Gingidlovo (2nd April) and Ulundi (4th July).

As with the uMbonambi, the miniatures are all Warlord Games plastics which come with a white metal inDuna (from Empress Miniatures).

The models are painted using an Army Painter brown basecoat spray, some added details then painted over with Army Painter Strong Tone dip.

The thirty figure regiment has been based for use with the Washing the Spears rules.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


I managed to complete my first regiment of unmarried Zulus yesterday, the uMbonambi.

The miniatures are all Warlord Games plastics which come with a white metal inDuna (from Empress Miniatures). Some of the details on the miniatures are of doubtful historic accuracy (such as the leather bands on the upper arms) but they are well detailed, go together well, look good en masse and (a good point with Zulus) are excellent value for money!

I painted them up using an Army Painter brown basecoat spray, added some details then painted over with Army Painter Strong Tone dip. Unfortunately my tin had gone a bit gammy and the end effect is not as good as normal.

The models have been based up with the Bickley Washing The Spears rules in mind on 80x40mm bases, although one I split into two 40x40mm elements for flexibility.

The uMbonambi (also known as the iNkonyanebomvo) were formed in 1863 and were on of the main regiments of the war being involved at at Isandlwana (22nd January 1879), Kambala (29th March 1879), Gingindlovo (2nd April 1879) and Ulundi (4th July 1879).

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Off his block?

Fellow blogger David Crook has been inspired by this very blog to play some Anglo-Zulu War games using wooden blocks in place of traditional wargames figures and Bob Cordery's Big Battle: Portable Wargame. You can read all about it here.

Chelmsford inspecting troops crossing the Tagela (Illustrated London News, 10th May 1879)

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Organising the Imperials...

Numbers wise I have far less British and Imperial troops to organise compared to the Zulus, but it as still required a bit of planning to decide how to organise the big box of plastic sprues I have bought. My initial purchase of the Warlord Games British starter army seemed a good idea at the time (and it was good value even without the Jubilee sale discount) but the 60 figures exclude any dedicated command figures. I have picked up a Warlord British Infantry Regiment box off eBay that has 24 miniatures, four of whom are white metal Empress command.

Like the Zulus, the British infantry will be based in elements, this time four figures on a 40x40mm base. I'm not 100% convinced this is the correct look for the Zulu Wars, my reading of some actions seems to have infantry spaced rather than standing shoulder to shoulder, but it seems to be the accepted wargames norm and what the Washing the Spears rules suggest.

With this in mind I will be raising one 24 miniature unit, the 1/24th Foot and four 20 miniature units, the 90th Foot, 1/13th Foot, 80th Foot and 3/60th Rifles (for a change from all that red!). This will necessitate picking up some command figures for the four smaller units and four other ranks to bring one unit up to strength.

I also have a box of Warlord's Natal Native Contingent with 24 miniatures in to form one of the NNC regiments.

At a later stage I will have to make some purchases of Imperial cavalry (both regular and volunteer), artillery and maybe some Naval Brigade and Swazis.

On the road to Ulundi (Illustrated London News, 26th July 1879)

Friday, 2 November 2012

Organising the Zulus...

I've decided to start proceedings that I will try David Bickley's Washing The Spears rules as they seem appropriately old school but also contain mechanisms for the Zulus to be run by reaction tables with the player(s) commanding the Imperial troops. Accordingly all miniatures will be based in elements rather than individually.

For the Zulus I have decided to base the majority on 80x40mm bases with probably two elements per regiment on 40x40's. Having played around with the base sizes and some unpainted miniatures, five per 80x40 base seems the ideal, although I anticipate there may be some flexibility in odd instances.

So having purchased 144 married Zulus and 144 unmarried ones, this gives 4.8 regiments of each! A quick bit of maths showed that I could actually raise eight 30 figure regiments and two 24 figure regiments so I am going to work along those lines to start with...

Next I've done some research as to what Zulu regiments fought where during the Anglo-Zulu War. As I am not particularly interested in re-fighting the two big battles (Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift) wanting a more generic approach inspired by some of the smaller actions I have decided to raise the following:

Married: IsAngqu (30). uThulwana (30), iMbube (30), inDlondlo (30) and uDhloko (24)

Unmarried: uMbonambi (30), uNokhenke (30), iNdluyengwe (30), umCijo (30) and InGobamakhosi (24).

Arguably some regiments should be larger and some smaller, but I am trying to be practical from a tabletop point of view, with a thirty figure regiment having a 48cm width when in line.

Zulus charging (The Graphic, 2nd August 1879)