Tag Archives: cavalry

Zulu Wars: Dismounted Auxiliary Cavalry

When I got home from Wellington last week I found a package from Nathan at Elite Miniatures Australia waiting for me. Nathan had packaged these up and posted them to me before he left on his latest adventure in PNG.

These Empress Miniatures are lovely figures. I got the three sets of dismounted auxiliary cavalry (4 Natal Mounted Police, 4 Natal Carbineers and 2 each of Buffalo Border Guard and Newcastle Mounted Rifles).  These figures can easily be painted up as units that were attached to forces other than No 3 Column – such as the Stanger Mounted Rifles. They are on the small side compared to the Black Tree figures that make up the bulk of my miniatures for this project. Even Mrs Woolshedwargamer commented on the fact that “they look little”.

I now have to get some horse holders to make the unit “look right’ when deployed dismounted.  I think that these Empress Miniatures fit really well with my converted Perry Miniatures ACW cavalry.

Next on the wish list – horse holders for these guys and a unit of Mounted Natal Native Contingent, some Frontier Light Horse and Imperial Mounted Infantry.


Zulu War: British Volunteer and Auxiliary Cavalry

I have wanted to include a unit of Volunteer and Auxiliary Cavalry in my British force for some time but various reasons – mainly cost and other spending priorities, has put this on the back burner. However, I splashed out and ordered some Empress dismounted volunteer and auxiliary cavalry from Nathan at Elite Miniatures Australia.  While waiting for them to arrive I decided that of course that meant that I needed to represent these guys in their mounted form as well. So…I decided to give converting a go.

I looked through the lead/plastic mountain and found a box of Perry ACW Cavalry.  I also had sprues of Warlord Games British infantry and Natal Native Contingent available, along with a tube of really old greenstuff.

These guys came out a bit huckery in places but on the whole I was happy enough with the outcome considering it was a two day job.  I made four Natal Mounted Police, four Natal Carbineers, two Newcastgle Mounted Riflemen and two Buffalo Border Guard.

The horses were used as is. The tack and harness is not exactly Zulu Wars Imperial but I could live with that.

Bodies were mostly used as is, with some tunic lengthening and ration bags added with greenstuff. Helmets and hats came from Warlord Zulu Wars British infantry and cartridge belts from their plastic Natal Native Contingent sprue. I also took the odd NNC hand and rifle as well.  Not the greatest conversions but I think will pass muster on the tabletop and three feet of distance.

IMG_5138 IMG_5139 IMG_5141 IMG_5142And the finished product.

Natal Carbineers
Natal Carbineers
Natal Mounted Police
Left – Buffalo Border Guard – Right – Newcastle Mounted Rifles.

reduc_IMG_5166 reduc_IMG_5167 reduc_IMG_5172 reduc_IMG_5173 reduc_IMG_5176 reduc_IMG_5177   reduc_IMG_5190 reduc_IMG_5191And a Redoubt Miniatures Col. Durnford to lead them. I couldn’t remember what colour his uniform in the movie Zulu Dawn was so just went with the blue-grey tunic. Might get another Durnford at some stage and paint up as Burt Lancaster.


28mm Connoisseur and Hinchliffe French Guard Heavy Cavalry c1984

These cavalry figures were the first 28mm figures I ever brought. I remember mail ordering them from the UK in two batches – from Connoisseur when it was run by Peter Gilder and from Hinchliffe. This was back in the early-mid 80s. They took about three months to arrive and were paid for in postal orders that we could only buy at £2 per day from the Post Office. At the time most of the people I gamed with were using Airfix 1/72nd and Minifigs and these guys towered above them.

I have often considered stripping and repainting them but decided not to as the nostalgia factor was just too great.  I confined myself to some re-basing and that was it.  They had been based on cardboard painted green, then cardboard painted green and covered in bright green railway flock. What were we thinking about in those days?

So here is a regiment of Guard Heavy cavalry comprised of Horse Grenadiers and Elite Gendarmes. The Horse Grenadiers in cloaks are Hinchliffe and the rest are Connoisseur. The paint is all Humbrol enamel and plastered on thick!  These guys have had standards that were originally home made and then GMB ones that faded away since removed. Graham Black sent me some replacements that I have not yet attached to the flagpoles.






28mm Connoisseur Saxon Garde du Corps

Apologies for the poor photos but I just cannot seem to get the lighting right. More experimentation needed. The yellow of the coats is a more yellow-buff colour in real lighting conditions and they are not quite so glossy.

I think that these and the Saxon Zastrow Cuirassier figures were the best of the Napoleonic sculpts that Peter Gilder did for his Connoisseur range.  These are still available from Andrew Barret at Bicorne Miniatures.  They have an animation that modern figures seem to lack. The detail is a bit more sketchy and you have to take the odd guess as to what exactly has been molded but all in all, I think they stand up pretty well for models designed in the 80s.

These are based on 40x50mm bases. I have decided to base all heavy cavalry on this size base, and for light cavalry the bases are 50x50mm.


If the Connoisseur Range had one flaw it was the lack of trumpeters and standard bearer figures in the cavalry ranges. I understand that Peter Gilder consciously made the decision not to make them as a matter of economics. He would sell one or two of such figures for every dozen or so of the trooper models.  Bearing that in mind, the trumpeter and standard bearer are just trooper models converted. In the case of the trumpeter it is paint only and he must have dropped his trumpet.


In an earlier post I said that I wouldn’t even attempt the monograms on the pistol holsters or saddle cloths. As a great philosopher once said A man has to know his limitations.


The Zastrow Cuirassiers are next on the Heavy Cavalry to-do list. Just waiting on an order from Bircorne to arrive that includes a solitary Garde du Corps trooper who will become a trumpeter for the Zastrows.

Meanwhile, the re-basing of models painted over twenty years ago in the 80s continues. Next – A regiment of Hinchliffe and Foremost Dragoons.