Monday 14 March 2011

Where did it all begin?

Just like many young boys growing up in the 70's my room was filled with plastic Airfix soldiers, Action Men and Star Wars toys.  Most have now long since been broken, swapped or gathering dust in forgotten attics.  However, recently I found myself drawn towards the hugely expansive field of miniature wargames figures.  It is difficult to explain why now?  I suppose you could argue that Boys never really grow up but I was also conscious that I needed something to distract me from the ever demanding day job.  I was becoming painfully aware that I was bringing the difficulties of work home with me, clearly not fair on my beloved wife. I felt that this would give me an outlet, something I could do quietly on a corner of the dining table whilst the 'Square of Despair' droned on;  dearly beloved transfixed. 
The only remaining question was which era to choose?   I had dabbled, with limited success, with Games Workshop's Lord of the Rings range so I was familiar with the names of Michael and Alan Perry. Little did I realise that they had created such an extensive range of historical miniatures.  I was drawn to the completeness of the Sudan range but knew little of the conflict and instead found myself reverting to the familiar imagery of the Anglo-Zulu war.

I have fond memories of of watching the classic 1964 film, 'Zulu' with my father on a Sunday afternoon somewhere in the dim and distant past.  The humour, pathos and rip roaring story all combining to leave an indelible memory.  I think that it fair to say that naivety played a huge part in the decision to start to collect this period.  Little did I realise the sheer injustice of the decision to invade Zululand not to mention the later ferocity the British met out in bringing the campaign to a conclusion.  At the time it was all about the smart red uniforms, gleaming buttons and Men of Harlech!

Men of Harlech stop your dreaming
Can't you see their spear points gleaming
See their warrior pennants streaming
To this battlefield
Men of Harlech stand ye steady
It cannot be ever said ye
For the battle were not ready
Welshmen never yield
From the hills rebounding
Let this song be sounding
Summon all at Cambria's call
The mighty force surrounding
Men of Harlech on to glory
This will ever be your story
Keep these burning words before ye
Welshmen will not yield

And so it began; period of focus established all I needed now was some models to paint.  A considerable amount of web based research later it appeared that I had, in effect, a choice of four.  There was what looked to be a very complete collection by Redoubt Enterprises but these appeared to be 25mm.  Some interesting looking poses were found at Black Tree and of course the plastics from Wargames Factory. 

Finally of course there was Empress Miniatures, a relatively new company at the time but with a commitment to portraying the period in its entirety.  Surely too good to miss!
Now whilst the initial point of interest was to be the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 I have also allowed myself to be distracted, as the need arises, by other Victorian conflicts so anything that falls between 1837 - 1901 should be considered fair game.
So three cheers to Her Majesty Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India.


  1. great little intro, I will look forward to seeing this collection grow
    Peace james

  2. You and me both! That said many thanks for your words of encouragement. All the best,



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