Sunday 17 July 2011

Hiatus over

Wow!  It has really been a while since I have done any work on the project and posted any updates on the blog. What initially started as a short few days break to enjoy the hot spell we had a couple months ago, evolved into a full wargame  hiatus, but I must say that I feel much refreshed after taking a bit of a break from doing all the painting and scenics. 

Anyway this week I finally resumed work on the project, and eased in by finishing some foundry Zulus that have been sitting on the painting table for the last few months. The one area that I was evidently short of for the rorkes drift game was Zulu’s with firearms. Hopefully this small lot will help to readdress that shortfall.

Also some of you may have also noticed that the general service wagons were painted in the wrong colour, this has been niggling  me for some time so finally I got round to correcting this error.

Well thats it for now and  hopefully I will not leave it so long before my next update.


Sunday 1 May 2011

doing a bit of work in the garden

Well I knew it  had been some time since my last update but I have only just realised quite how long, I seem to have missed out april entirely. So what is my excuse ... well actually I was just being rather lazy and enjoying the lovely weather we have had  during most of april.
I have not entirely ignored the project, in fact the hot weather was the perfect excuse to get out in the garden and make one of those scenic pieces that are a  a bit to messy to make in the house, well it beats mowing the lawn. So what was this piece of scenic? Ummmm how to describe it ... well maybe a few pictures will do the job for me.

some rough ground maybe?

Ok it was actully a large hill or is a mountain? that I plan to use as the hill behind the drift and also as a backdrop to the Battle of Isandlwana. 

Redoubt zulus on the hill

anyone bring along a ladder?

Well thats it for now ... I'm off  out into the garden to do a bit of sun worship.

all the best Terry

Monday 21 March 2011

Rorkes Drift Hospital part one

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last week but after completing the storehouse I took a short rest for a few days so as I'm able to make a start on the hospital afresh. That does not mean I have not been doing any work on the project, just that it has mainly been behind the scenes work IE research and preparation. Firstly I have to cast up a load more Linka pieces for the cladding of the foamecore walls as the storehouse, cookhouse and test piece depleted my stock pile to zero. The new linka plaster casts will also require a few days to fully dry out before using them and as I'm only able to cast up 12 pieces at a time I'm doing a bit of casting each day and popping them aside to dry so it will be a few more days till I have enough pieces done and they are ready to be used.

While I have been doing this I have also been doing a bit of research on the hospital, Its size its layout, the number of patients, the positions of the defenders, loopholes, evacuation route etc.

While I have been able to find a few diagrams of the hospital layout most of which differ on a few points they do on the whole agree on the major features, I have only been able to find the one description which gives any details although sparse about the actual size of the hospital.

Here is that description By Chaplain Smith.

“ A pretty farm was situated on an elevated rock terrace, about three quarters of a mile way from the ford. The buildings were erected by an old frontier agent called Rorke, together with the farm, which had recently been purchased by reverend Otto Witt, a man of Swedish church, aiming to establish a mission for the Zulu.
The hill situated at the rear was called Oskaberg, in honour of the Swedish King.

The house was situated within several feet of the edge of the rocky terrace, with two or three acre garden planted with ordinary grape vines and many oranges, apricots, apple, peach, quince, fig and other fruit trees. A path ran parallel to the front of the house, between the garden and the terrace, with a strong stone wall along the side terrace. The land sloped between the path and the terrace, occupied by an orchard of cape poplars, some large cork trees and various kinds of large shrubs.

The site of the house as described was 80 feet long and the left rear side wall was almost 60 feet long. The other block of buildings, including a stable was located forty paces to the left, with a 80 foot side parallel to the outer wall of the end of the main building. These buildings measuring 52 feet enlarged the house at the rear. Almost parallel to the end of the left wall of this block of buildings, with an area of ten or twelve feet, a stone wall extended to the edge of the rock shelf, forming the right wall of a kraal of some 50 feet, which was divided in half by another similar parallel wall.”

So using the above description and the space needed for each of the pallets*   in each of the rooms as a guide I have had the first go at drawing a rough plan. The plan is being revised as I find other information in my books, one revision since drawing up the plan are the loopholes. D Morris in " the washing of the spears" states that in the middle room on the side that three bricks were removed for loopholes and that there were three defenders in this room, John Williams Joseph Williams and the patient W Horrigan who was well enough to stand and help with the defence of the room, this in my mind equates to three loopholes rather than one big loophole. the same applies to the corner room that Hook defended It seems that at least two loop holes were made in this room one on the side wall and another on the back wall, also that Thomas Cole being claustrophopic left the defence of this room and the connecting room to Hook and went to help build the meelie bag wall, so there should only be one patient and one defender in this room

* A pallet being  a simple ticking bag that was filled with  straw, grass or other field fillings to make a  mattress

Below are the initial plans for the building that will be revised and used as a guide for the making of the actual Build Plan

 Initial plan a WIP 

for the basic layout of the rooms I used the picture below,  a plan by Lt Chard in september of 1879

As you can see its still WIP so if you see any obvious omisions or have any info that may be of help please leave a comment

thanks for reading 

Sunday 13 March 2011


With any military expedition there is the problem of logistics. How to keep your force supplied with all that it needs to fight, during the Zulu war this required vast numbers of wagons,carts,mules, and native bearers to transport everything that the Army would need during the campaign, supplies  such as ammunition, food, tents, and even the field  forge for replacing the cavalry horses shoes.

While I have already made the wagons that will be used as part of the defences in the rorke’s drift game I will also need a few more wagons for playing any of the three columns of the Invasion force.

“By January 1879 there had been collected 977 wagons, 56 carts,10,023 Oxen,803 horses and 398 mules with 2000 extra natives to drive and manage them.”
Michael barthrorp the zulu war a pictorial history.

As you can see from the figures above wagons, carts, and oxen  will  be required in good amount to play many of the actual  battles or fictional encounters, to this end I plan to make a few wagons and carts both limbered with oxen or mules for the wagon train on the move and unlimbered  for use in the camp or as a Laager.

While I still need to make a few more Colonial  Ox wagons, Colonial mule wagons, Carts and general service wagons I have made a small start on the wagon train.

 two finished wagons

the first two general service wagons both lledo conversions,I have a sneaky suspicion that I have the colour scheme wrong and they should be blue gray.

Native Bearers
The first lot of native bearers,while taking the photo's I noticed that a few of them will require another coat of matt varnish. This first lot of bearers are from the Dixon Dahomy range I plan to add a pack or two of the  foundry bearers to them.

water wagon 

The unlimbered water wagon made for the rorke's drift game but i'm sure it will come in very useful in other games as part of the camp equipment. I will be copying this and making a limbered version sometime in the future.

 another Lledo conversion
Another lledo wagon which is almost finished just awaiting the base and some oxen or mules.
A Lledo carriage

While not part of the wagon train I have also aquired another lledo carriage.This carrage has only recieved a basic paint job at  the present time and still requires a bit of work, Im planning on using it for the hollywood "zulu" game when it will be used as the Rev Witt's carriage.

 As you can see its a small start but there is still so much to left to do but for now work has had to stop until I get some more Oxen, mules, and Wheels

Wednesday 9 March 2011

TSATF Zulu markers

One problem that I found while playing TSATF with ten plus Zulu units on the table, was keeping track of which units had already moved in any one turn. We soon solved this small problem by using the  foam counters we use to mark moved units in Disposable heroes, but while they do the job very well they don’t really look the part so for purely cosmetic purposes I have made a few movement counters for the Zulu units.

Of course while thinking of what to use to make the markers I soon thought of other uses for which the use of a marker would be beneficial. One Idea was to put the markers to use as the markers for blinds.
During the Nightime sequence of the Rorke's drift game I plan on putting them to use to record the presence of the Zulus on the board but not within visible distance. So the British player will have to be careful or a possible Zulu attack on one wall could just turn out to be a few skirmishers causing a diversion.

Another idea I had was to paint up the shields in the different main colour schemes of the different Zulu regiments involved in the defence of the 1879 invasion. While it helps with unit recognition by 1879 most of the amaButhos contained mixed shield colours. This gives us another use for the markers, I can if needs arise  mix up and use the Zulus I already have done to represent a different iButho and differentiate the different amaButho's simply by using the correct colour shield for the  iButho I wish to  depict in front of the mixed unit  as a  unit recognition marker.

The sixteen markers in their movement trays which  I keep them in when not in use. Movement trays with a single shield placed with its back facing the opponent is  used as a blind representing the possible  position of zulu's  during a game.

the above picture is a still from the film Zulu. Lt Chard played by Sir Stanley Baker about to stick a Zulu shield in the ground the insperation for the design of the zulu markers.

I have started to collect the pieces needed for the different  British markers but they are still someway down the list of pieces to be made for the games.


Sunday 6 March 2011

the finished storehouse

Just finished applying a bit of paint to the doors and shutters, so apart from a bit of tinkering I.E applying the odd Highlight to the painting and a final coat of Mat varnish I think It is completed.

front view
I have used some artistic licence with regard to some features that I could not find out details about but overall I’m quite happy with the finished piece

The Veranda

rear view

The external Staircase

the small roof section removed
The roof sections are removable to allow for figures to be positioned inside the building, the single story section of the roof is separate from the larger double story section. This has turned out quite by accident to be a fortunate bonus, as this is the only real weak point in the store house, the one ground floor door that was outside of the meelie bag wall, So should the Zulus break in via this door the Zulu player will not know what is in the other rooms until he enters them.

To assist in this I have also made a couple of second story floorboard pieces that will be put to use as the floor of the small upper storeroom and also to conceal the occupants of the lower  rooms until they move or the Zulus enter the room. 

 one of the fllorboard pieces in place

Now to start work on the floor plans for the Hospital


Friday 4 March 2011

W.I.P the Storehouse update 3

Firstly sorry for the longer than normal delay in posting an update, but I felt it better to wait until I had more to report.

Well the  roof sections have been made and I have thatched the larger main section of the roof , just the smaller section left to thatch.

As you can see in the picture I have departed from the norm and I have gone for a dark, aged  colour  for the roof, which I think is in more keeping for Thatch that would have been approximately  thirty five years old at the time of the battle. I may well end up drybrushing in some highlights but I will wait until I have finished the whole building until I decide if it needs it.

The ground has been completed and is awaiting a few tufts of static grass,and as you can see I have made the external staircase. This still of course requires a bit of painting.

This evening I am working on the second section of roof that requires thatching and tomorrow I can hopefully make a start on all the doors, windows and shutters.