Sunday, 20 March 2011


In truth I had been putting off painting Zulus for some time, fearing that I would just end up creating a monotone collection of warriors - so much flesh and so little personality. I needn’t have worried; once again the quality of the Empress Miniatures sculpting gave plenty of opportunities to create rewarding characters. This coupled with excellent reference in the form of Osprey’s ‘Zulu 1816-1906’ (Warrior 14) have allowed me to produce a small unit that I am ultimately pleased with. Still room for improvement though!

Empress Miniatures Unmarried Zulu
Empress Miniatures Unmarried Zulu with Musket (rear)
I really enjoyed painting this Senior Zulu Induna but was fortunate to find an illustration by Angus McBride in the book 'Zulu' by Ian Knight.  The model is almost exactly the same giving all the reference I needed, this was particularly important to me as I still worry about being as accurate as possible to the material.  The plate description read,

"This man's appearance hearkens back to the days of King Shaka: he is wearing the full ceremonial costume of a Zulu General which, though probably limited to only a handful of the most senior commanders in 1879, would be characteristic of the conservatism of old age.  The magnificent 'kilt' is made of twisted civet and monkey fur; cow tail festoons are worn around the neck and limbs; he has a stuffed otter skin headband, and blue crane and red and green lourie feathers - both marks of seniority.  He carries the full size isihlangu shield, and an axe of the tanged pattern most common in Zululand."

Empress Miniatures Zulu Induna 
Empress Miniatures Zulu Induna (rear)

The cow tail ornaments on this sculpt are particularly effective; I used a base of Foundry 'British Gun Grey' then 'Buff Leather - light' and a final highlight of 'White'.
Empress Miniatures Married Zulu
Empress Miniatures Married Zulu

Another fabulous sculpt in the same command pack is this Isangoma.  Once again I was fortunate enough to find the perfect reference for the paint job this time in the Osprey Elite 21 - 'The Zulus' again written by Ian Knight with illustrations by Angus McBride.  The plate notes for this colourful character read,

"Isangoma.  Braided hair and a plethora of magical charms distinguish the dress of the diviner; he also wears rattles made from insect cocoons around his ankles.  As part of the ceremony the isangoma cut strips of meat from a slaughtered bull, treated them with magical potions, and threw them to the warriors, who were expected to take a bite."
Empress Miniatures Isangoma
Empress Miniatures Isangoma

Empress Miniatures Induna and scout
Empress Miniatures Induna and scout (rear)
Another stunning piece of work from the Empresses.  By 1879 a number of individual chiefs had acquired horses from white traders.

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