Wargaming the Exploration and Colonisation of Tropical Africa by European powers from 1850 until 1918.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Ngoni standard bearer and witchdoctor

In Chris Peers' Darkest Africa rules the leader in an Ngoni army has to be one of the warriors. The figure on the left, therefore, represents a standard bearer who can cancel out a compulsory morale test.

The witchdoctor can force an opposing unit to take a morale test but is really only effective against other tribal opponents, not white men or Arabs (the latter is not clear from the rules but can be inferred).

Female Tuta archers

The Tuta or Watuta people lived in Northern Tanganyika and were the northernmost of the Ngoni sub groups to have migrated from Southern Africa. They were feared raiders and provided Mirambo with large contingents of warriors. They also fought the Arabs in Tabora but later the Arabs themselves used them as mercenaries. At the end of the nineteenth century they were pacified by the Germans, peacefully, but that doesn't mean we couldn't do a what if scenario.

Both Sir Richard Burton and Grant say that Tuta women fought alongside their men, with Grant specifically mentioning they fought as archers. Whilst there were many examples of West African warrior women it is all a bit more debatable in the East. Both Grant and Burton's accounts were third hand from Arab sources. Nevertheless, I like the idea of a small unit of women archers as a bodyguard so this will make up half of the force of ten I am going to paint. There is only one odd thing about these figures: they have no quivers, so I am not quite sure where they keep their arrows!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Three more figures

I finished three more Darkest Africa figures this weekend. From left to right District Officer Hedley, Lord Greystoke and another Ngoni.

District Officer Hedley is actually a Copplestone Back of Beyond figure but I think he makes a very good fellow to look after a district up the Zambezi somewhere during the later colonial period. You'll find him living in his bungalow overlooking the steamer jetty, listening to Gilbert and Sullivan, hunting anything that moves, drinking gin and being "looked after" by a couple of native girls.

The original Daktari jeep.

District Officer Hedley is, of course a character from the 1960's TV show Daktari which I watched when I was little. It was mostly famous for its character of Clarence the cross-eyed lion and it's zebra striped jeeps, since copied by safari parks all over the world.

Hedley Mattingly.

District Officer Hedley was a minor character who popped up occasionally and was played by a British-born actor called Hedley Mattingly. This was all a source of great amusement in our house as my father's name was Hedley (as indeed is my second name) and it was the only other time that we came across the name (other than in the famous tort court case Hedley Byrne v Heller!).

He is wearing a Brasenose tie, of course.

The Lord of the Jungle figure is another Foundry Darkest Africa figure. I have never been a fan of Tarzan, my Edgar Rice Burroughs phase (when I was about ten) concentrating more on his Mars and Venus series, but in a Pulp Africa, rather than a purely historical one (and my universe contemplates both) then he should appear and, anyway, I have already painted Jane.

Monday, 5 May 2008

More Ruga-Ruga

At last I have managed to finish some figures. A trip to Turkey took out most of my week but over the Bank Holiday I finished these Ruga Ruga, bringing the total to fifteen.

I'm still working on some more Ngoni and a couple of Darkets Africa characters, including Tarzan.

I ordered some more Zanzibaris from Foundry and they arrived whilst I was away. I also got a copy of the Foundry book Armies of East Africa by Chris Peers. Haven't had a proper look at it yet but it looks good.