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)

Thursday 1 November 2012

Entering Zululand...

The Zulu Wars is a popular wargames period but one I have never really got into. Twenty odd years ago I started a 15mm scale project using Minifigs miniatures but this fizzled out before it went anywhere and my colonial interests moved to India. However, childhood visits to the South Wales Borderers museum in Brecon and countless viewings of Zulu and Zulu Dawn over the years has meant there has always been a simmering interest and when Warlord Games Jubilee Sale and some birthday money coincided, clearly something was meant to be!

I picked up the British and Zulu starter armies and then scoured eBay adding a few more boxes of Zulus to the mix resulting in my ending up with 288 Zulus, 84 British infantry and 20 Natal Native Contingent.

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

Natal Police on way to the front (The Illustrated London News, 22nd February 1879)