Look what arrived in the post today. To be honest, this was the second largest order I have ever done from overseas. I usually get bits and bobs. I get nervous forking out large sums of money and waiting on an order to arrive – but arrive it did. An ACW Confederate cavalry brigade including horse holders and dismounted versions. Lots of guns, limbers and limber horses. Dismounted Union cavalry and horse holders – a brigade worth. Lots of generals, mounted cavalry command and various command sets. Also bulked out my Anglo-Zulu Wars – limbers, command, mounted and dismounted infantry and Frontier horse. Everything was well packaged and not so much as a dent on a box.
Having not been committed to the main battle, these are they units that made their way to and attacked Rorke’s Drift.
Love the pot bellied commander.
In my last order from Black Tree had one figure broken off at the ankle. Decided to use him as a casualty figure rather than repair him.
I now have a single solitary Zulu figure left to paint – a Zulu boy herding cattle. I have completed ten 36 figure units which I am pretty happy with, on the whole. If I had my time again I would probably not have based them individually but having had a few games, the sabot bases have presented no real issues. I did find that a tiny bit of Blu-Tac helps.
Time to return to Napoleonics or perhaps some fantasy stuff – not sure yet.
Over the Easter Holiday some of my old buddies came up for a weekend of drinking, eating, talking and some gaming. We always have the intention of getting a few games in but the inevitable gas-bagging over ‘times past’ eats up most of the weekend.
We got one game in though. An Anglo-Zulu War battle pitting ten Zulu regiments against a fairly strong British force (although they only started with some of their strength on the board).
Zulu Forces: Nine regiments plus one of skirmishers (two Zulu units were ‘hidden’)
British Forces: Boers, one company of British Infantry, an artillery battery and a Tiny Unit of cooks and bottlewashers held the Mission. From T2 the British could bring on two reserve brigades (one of one company each of British infantry and Natal Native Contingent and a Small unit of Lancers and the second consisting of two companies of British infantry, a unit of Volunteer Cavalry and a Gatling Gun).
The Zulus really had to win quickly, before all that firepower could be brought to bear. The four ‘generals’ had never played this period before and I took the role of umpire.
Rules were Black Powder (Zulu Supplement). Table 12’x6′ so plenty of room to run about on.
The British in the Mission Station deploy pickets on the hill, they quickly see large formations of Zulu entering the field of battle.
Initially this was all the British had on the board, but they were in a strong defensive position. One company of Infantry, a 7pdr and some non-combatants (A Tiny unit of British Infantry).
All hands to the defence – even The “Cooks and Bottlewashers Platoon” were assigned a building to defend.
Royal Artillery 7pdr ready for action.
Zulu Right Horn enters from beyond the mealie fields.
First British reserves arrive right on time. The other Brigade failed an order roll and remained off board.
The Boer sharpshooters opened fire on the advancing Zulu…
Casualties are caused, but saves meant that there were not enough to worry the lead regiments.
The Zulu Commander inched his way forward one move at a time (those command rolls were a bugger all day). He responded to the Boer with some of his fairly useless musketry.
Firing at skirmishers, one dice for shooting…how effective will it be?
The British Lancers show up. Better late than never.
Zulu skirmishers, including some from the uApache Regiment advance through the mealie fields to engage the Mission, leaving their support regiments far behind (those command rolls again)
On the British right all the reserves arrive and immediately advance to take the fight to the enemy. Except for the Volunteer Cavalry who fail their command roll and stay put.
Back at the Mission the British commander repositions his artillery.
…and pull sthe Boers back to the cattle kraal to rally in decent cover.
The British Artillery opens fire – what turns out to be the start of some fine shooting.
All along the defensive line the British keep up fire to make sure the Zulu don’t close.
Finally the Zulu commander of the Left Horn gets his men moving forward. They crest the hill into the teeth of British fire.
And leave their flank a tempting target for those British Lancers.
Meanwhile the Volunteer Cavalry blunder a command roll and retreat to their own table edge.
The Zulu left horn looks in trouble – taking fire from the front and cavalry almost on it’s flank.
USuthu! A hidden unit of Zulu springs to their feet – the induna blunders his command roll, then gets a random “Charge” result – Just what he wanted! Sometimes the dice-gods are benevolent deities.
The Zulu take the Lancers in the flank.
The Lancers are wiped out and the Zulu crash into the flank of the Natal Native Contingent. Those fickle dice-gods decided to intervene. That Zulu regiment (a Royal unit with Stamina 4) missed every roll, the NNC made every one they needed to.
The British player pulled his brigade back to form a new firing line. The second British brigade and the Gatling gun opened fire. This was not turning out how the Zulu players had wanted.
One round of shooting and eight unsaved casualties on a Stamina 4 unit. They still rolled a double six (the god were back in play) and stayed on the field – shaken and somewhat stirred.
The Zulu pulled back to lick their wounds.
Back at the Mission the Zulu attack finally crossed the river and charged home.
“How many melee dice do my artillery get? One? I hope this shooting works”
Artillery Closing Fire is devastating and the Zulu regiment breaks and is dispersed.
Shaken – one more Zulu push will probably overrun them.
Defending British take casualties and are hard pressed.
Finally getting orders they understand, the Natal Volunteer Cavalry rushed to help shore up the defence of the Mission. They take up a firing position along the river bank.
This allows the British to reposition their artillery again back to defend the centre.
The Zulu Chest attacks and is held.
The Zulu Left Horn had been pulled back behind the hill and commanders had been frantically rallying off casualties and getting ready to re-enter the fray.
But is was too late. The British pulled everything back to a strong, shoulder to shoulder defence around the Mission.
The game ended with the Zulus realising that they would, in all likelihood, not be able to breach the British defence. They retreated off leaving the field in the possession of the British.
Lessons: If I had been the Zulu Commanders I would have put my hidden units in the mealie fields as close as possible to the Mission. They tried to be clever and use their units to ambush the British – which while it killed their Lancers, was largely ineffective. To be fair they had some bad luck with command rolls (and I made all commanders a 9 so that everyone would likely make their rolls) but they did dither. Their one chance at victory was to get stuck in before the British could bring their reserves into play. Getting into musketry duels was only ever going to have one outcome. Still, it was a good game played in good spirits. And afterwards it was back to the kitchen to have Hot Cross Buns and cold roast meats left over from dinner the night before.
Over Easter I had friends coming up to stay at the Woolshed and I wanted to host a Zulu War game. I had already painted two more Zulu regiments this month and wanted to knock off a third. This regiment of thirty-six figures took me two days. I had got them assembled and undercoated black on the weekend before Easter. Started them on Tuesday and finished them Wednesday evening – based and ready to go.
uVe “The Fly Catchers”
One of the youngest regiments in action during the war. uVe were formed in 1875. At Isandlwana they were in the left horn that was engaged by Durnford’s cavalry and were part of the group that rolled up the British line. Farnsworth says that they may have been equipped with smaller umBumuluzo training shields rather than full sized war shield. I don’t have any shields that small so my uVe have full sized ones. I do like the mixed shields in this unit.
Once again these are Black Tree Designs. I have one solitary married regiment left to paint, and that will leave me with ten completed Zulu Regiments. I guess I will wait until BTD has another sale or I find more second hand.
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.
My Napoleonic armies tend towards being represented as wearing campaign dress. I like the somewhat ragged look and non-uniform uniform look if you will. But I do have a few units in Full Dress.
Same goes for my Zulu Army. I had to have at least one unit wearing parade dress, if for no other reason than they were on sale at 50% off! Black Tree Design have a couple of sets of troops representing the uThulwana Regiment. The eight figure poses give enough variety even in a large thirty-six figure unit as I have used them for. These figures could easily be used for any senior regiment in parade dress.
uThulwana were in the reserve at Isandlwana and for the most part saw no action in that battle. It later took part in the unsuccessful attack on Rorke’s Drift.
uThulwana was raised in 1850, it’s ranks filled with mature married men in their middle age. The regiment boasted some famous former recruits, with both Prince Cetshwayo and his brother Prince Mbuyazi having served in it’s ranks before they fought a civil war to decide who took the throne. I am guessing that Prince Mbuyazi’s name wasn’t mentioned too many times at regimental dinners and reunions after 1856.
Various sources have uThulwana shields as white with some small red patches.
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.
And the finished product.
And 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.
Yesterday I knocked out these casualty bases for the British side in my Anglo-Zulu Wars project. I had a few Redoubt casualties (all Auxiliary Cavalry) that I brought in an order last year – really to test the waters with Redoubt figures to see how compatible they were with my Black Tree Designs figures. Very compatible as it turns out.
I had no British infantry casualty figures on hand so turned to my Warlord Games plastics. I brought a bunch of sprues during one of their sales a year or so back and assembled one company of British infantry and got halfway through painting them before I decided that I didn’t like the plastic figures for this project….but that meant a lot of left over bits.
After a year of very limited painting I am slowly getting back into the groove. Last two weeks I have completed three units (two Zulu and one British – well four British if you count the sub units).
Today I am posting another Unmarried Zulu Regiment. This is uMbonambi “The Evil Omen”. It was re-constituted in 1863. It was originally formed in 1821 during the reign of Shaka. At the time of Isandlwana the majority of it’s men would have been in their mid thirties (35-37). The regiment was present at many other battles in the Anglo-Zulu War and by the time of Ulundi may well have been reinforced with younger replacements but I seriously doubt that would have effected their fighting ability.
At Isandlwana they formed part of the Zulu Left Horn that initially engaged Col Durnford and finally swept into the British camp from the south after overrunning the right flank companies of the British line.
Figures are all Black Tree Designs. Bases are 25mm rounds inset into 90x60mm rectangular bases. I have one more Unmarried Regiment to complete to finish the Left Horn forces. I have gone for these big thirty six figure units for no other reason than they look cool.