Saturday, 22 July 2017

Zulu! - 28mm Rorke's Drift - Trying the Terrain with the Figures

To help keep that motivation going I decided to set up the terrain for the battle and try my newly finished figures for size.

I only have the basic set, so the actual perimeter is somewhat curtailed. I'm thinking I may need to treat myself to another pack of Mealie Bag barricades and a Mealie Bag Redoubt, but the £30 price tag is holding me back!

The Osprey Campaign book about Rorke's Drift contains an article at the back of the book on how to approach wargaming the battle

This contains some really good ideas to consider. One of which is the concept of fighting the battle with far fewer figures than you might think you'd need.

This is based on the premise that the Zulus carried out a series of probing attacks at different points around the defence perimeter, throughout the 12 hours of fighting.

This invites the possibility of splitting the perimeter into zones and selecting them randomly for attack, through the game. This way you can keep recycling your Zulu forces.

The author also suggests just representing the area of the defences on the table to avoid the battlefield appearing devoid of Zulu Impis!

Now comes the interesting bit....what rules?

I have the Black Powder supplement, Zulu, which covers the battle with a modification to the main rules.

I picked up Osprey's The Men Who Would Be Kings, at a recent Firestorm Games Bring-&-Buy for £5. These I see were used by the Beasts of War for their refight.

And, as previously mentioned, I have a copy of Death in the Dark Continent, too.

I think the answer is to try each out and find which combat mechanisms I like the most and then use those with the Campaign book ideas to create a game.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Zulu! - 28mm Battle of Rorke's Drift, British Forces

As well as the historical hero figures that came with the Warlord set, I also bought myself the Holywood versions. These are great little caricatures of the stars of the 1964 film.

The Warlord plastic Brits need some assembly and I have to say I found them a little fiddly. Getting left & right arms to line up whilst still located correctly at the shoulder was quite a challenge.

The sprues each contain parts for 4 figures - two standing 7 two kneeling - so there's not much variety to be had between figures. There are parts for two to be aiming & firing their rifles, one at the ready and another loading. There's also an arm with sergeants stripes as an alternative to the loading arm.

There's a wiggly bayonet - which I believe would have only been issued to sergeants and a variety of heads. Most wear the colonial sun helmet, but there's also a forage cap and a wide brimmed, "Boer" style hat.

I chose to mainly use the sun helmet, with just a couple of forage caps thrown in. I was unsure of the wide brimmed hat to be honest, so left them  well alone.

Due to the lack of variety I purchased a single sprue from the new Perry Colonial Infantry set, from good old Ebay.

This gave me another 5 standing figures either firing, loading or high port. There were some nice optional heads with this set , including a bare headed figure that I modelled with the raised hand waving his helmet.  I mixed in some of these heads with my Warlord figures for variety, including a bareheaded figure with bandaging.

The first four Warlord figures and the two sets of Empress Metals have been completed so far and really look the part. I've tried to resist trying to paint in too much detail, but there's so much there to be picked out, it's hard not to.

I've still got twenty or so more to do so better get a move on.....

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Zulu! - 28mm Battle of Rorke's Drift

I occasionally put books I would like to buy, on my Amazon Wish list and then sit back and wait for a really cheap 2nd hand copy to come on the market. I've told you before I'm extremely "careful" with money....or as my family describe it...Tight.

A couple of weeks ago, the Osprey Campaign book of Rorke's Drift - "Pinned like rats in a hole" by Ian Knight, turned up for the princely sum of 50p + £2.80 P&P. I thought a bargain, so I had it.

Now a 4 day manic business trip around Western Europe gave me the opportunity to read it through and this, together with a re-watch of the seminal film Zulu! has re-fired my enthusiasm to get on and finish my Warlord Games Rorke's Drift set that I got for Xmas about 4 years ago!

First job was to assemble the remaining figures - 40 plastic married Zulus and 20 Plastic British Infantry. There were also 4 Empress Miniature historical British character figures (Chard, Bromhead, Bourne & Hook) plus a Martini Henry armed Zulu in a redcoat and a Zulu Chief on horseback.

All the infantry figures were based on Renedra 25mm plastic bases, textured with Vallejo grey pumice.

I came up with a plan to fastback the Zulus through the painting process.

1. Spray all with Army Painter Leather Brown primer
2. Once dry they were hand painted all over with Vallejo Black wash diluted 50/50 with water. (Figures below on the right)
3. Then when fully dry the details were picked out in various shades of brown.

  • Inside shield and loin cloth - German Camo Beige
  • Wood (spears etc) - Beauty Brown
  • Hair - Black
  • Head ring and leather strapping - Orange Brown
  • Shield Outer face - White with Terracota splodges
  • Feathers - White
Then when all were dry, these areas were given a coat of Vallejo Sepia wash
The bases only needed dry brushing with Vallejo Buff before the figures could be coated with spray Satin then Matt varnish.
Finally a couple of patches of static grass finished them off.
I've been toying with what rule set to use and having picked up the original Death in the Dark Continent for £2 at the Lincombe Barn table sale, I thought I might give them a go. They require figures to be mounted in threes on 60mm frontage bases. I bought some sabot vases from Products For Wargamers (absolute bargain at 10p per hole) which are 80mm frontage. However as everyone will be on the same bases I don't think this will be an issue. These sabot bases were finished in the same way as the figure bases so they all match up.
I'm chuffed with the results, and the speed of finish. This is a good job because I think I'll need at least one more box of Zulus for the game.

On with the British Infantry......