Monday 29 October 2012


We might need a bit of a spoiler alert here!  Regular visitors to '28mm Victorian Warfare' will no doubt be aware of my self indulgent habit of seeking out and painting miniatures that, in some way, have a connection to one's most recently finished literary companion.  So with Robert Edric's, 'The Book of the Heathen' safely back on the bookshelf the search was on for something to represent the story.  If truth be told, I had been looking for an excuse to purchase some of these wonderful 'Hollywood' style Cannibals from 'North Star Military Figures' for some time.

This post is made up of two packs, the 'Jungle Cannibals in Ritual Masks' and the 'Cannibal King'.  Both packs contain wonderfully sculpted and detailed miniatures, that really were incredibly good fun to paint up.  How accurately they depict the tribes of the Congo in the 19th century is open for debate, but they certain work for any sort of campaigning game sent in this era.  Tempted as I was to really go to town with the masks, in the end I went with a much more organic palette once again hoping to tie the miniatures together with the touches of red.  

Things were not looking good for our heroine...

A huge distraction, but sometimes that is exactly what is needed to keep the enthusiasm going!  More Boxer Rebellion on the work bench and the possibility of something to celebrate ‘All Hallows’ Eve’, if I get a wiggle on.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Book Review#14. - The Book of the Heathen

This book seems to have taken up residence on my bedside table for an inordinate amount of time; partly because my evening reading habits changed when I was gifted a wonderful resource of 1970s Military Modelling magazine - thanks again to the 'Provost Marshal'.  More recently, I've just been too ‘dog-tired’ to read more than a couple of pages before the lids of my eyes snapped shut with the force of a bear trap!

Returning to the Book of the Heathen, which is set in and around an isolated trading station in the Belgian Congo of 1897.  The book owes much to Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' and addresses similar themes of misplaced loyalty, crumbling Imperialism and the manipulation of Christianity by those seeking to take power in the vacuum created when the colonial powers fall away.  The story revolves around a man who is awaiting trial for the murder of a native child, but there is a darker secret that needs to be unlocked and the narrative draws together the various characters and weaves a complex yet plausible relationship between them all. 

It has been sometime since I have felt so disturbed by a passage of literature as I was during the closing stages of this novel; the final realisation as to why Frere will ultimately find himself alone as his peers jostle for the moral high ground.  There is no question that this is a slow burner, but it is a believable and intense tale and manages to capture the isolation and faded dreams that must have been commonplace at this point in history. 

My opinion of Robert Edric's tale is probably unfavourably tarnished by the fact that it took so long for me to finish it, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact this is a very good book and well worth investigating if you enjoy the era in which it is set; a favourable three crowns.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Fortune favours...

...more Kansu Braves.

Finally managed to catch up on a bit of painting and blogging this weekend, part of that included the second half of the Kansu Braves unit.  Looking at the photographs here it would appear that I have overexposed them a tad, which has had the effect of neutralising the details in their faces; that said they do like a bit of the refinement in the facial area to begin with.  

The unit certainly brings a bit of colour to the table, particularly when their  numbers are bolstered by the 'fearsome' Tigermen and as mentioned before both sets are from 'Redoubt Enterprises'


With regards to scale they seem to fit in pretty well with other makes as you can see in the photograph below.  From left to right we have Empress, Foundry, Redoubt and Mutineer Miniatures.  

Saturday 20 October 2012

Kansu Braves

Continuing with the Boxer Rebellion theme with have more from 'Redoubt Enterprises', this time my test miniatures for Dong Fuxiang's, Kansu Braves.

These fearsome Muslim warriors are wearing their bright and distinctive uniforms and must have been a terrifying sight as they laid siege to the Legations.  Organised into eight battalions of infantry, two squadrons of cavalry, two brigades of artillery, and one company of engineers, the Braves were also familiar with and used modernised weaponry.

This, sadly, is all I've managed this week and although I put in a brief appearance at some of your blogs I'm looking forward to spending a day trawling around and catching up tomorrow.  In the interim I just wanted to show off my new favourite gaming accessories - aren't they just gorgeous?  These beauties arrived in the post this morning courtesy of 'The Angry Lurker'; they were commissioned as part of a giveaway to commemorate his outstanding blog reaching its second anniversary.  A wonderful milestone indeed;  THANK  YOU  Fran.  

Sunday 14 October 2012

Royal Marine Light Infantry

I need to say a big thank you to all those who have continued to browse the pages and leave comments here at '28mm Victorian Warfare'.  I have continued the lurk around the many blogs I follow and  have seen some tremendous work this week, not to mention Fran and Ray's tremendous giveaways - go and have a look before they make the draw next week.  Work continues to demand much of my time, but I'm looking forward to a break in a couple of weeks time.  

Until then just the briefest of posts to showcase these members of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, part of the British force during the Boxer Rebellion.    These are from 'Redoubt Enterprises' who, it has to be said, seem to do the most 'complete' collection of the period.  There is something wonderful reassuring about the 'chunky' feel to their sculpts and whilst not to everyones' tastes, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy painting them. 

That said I have recently discovered that 'Studio Miniatures' have released a splendid new range of colonial figures and I may need to invest in a couple, purely in the interests of comparison and as a general service to the hobby community as a whole you understand! - at least that is line that I'll be taking with the Saintly Mrs. Awdry, when yet another packet lands on the doormat of 'Awdry Towers'.   

In addition to the 'Studio Miniatures', I've stumbled across some rather nice examples over at 'Oshiro model terrian' of the Japanese delegation, so it might be prudent to wait a little to see how these ranges develop before diving headlong into yet another project.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Dong & Dim...

a Chinese Warlord and his Bodyguard.

These two gentlemen are from the wonderful 'Black Hat Miniatures', the wizard from their 'Tales of the Dragon Kings' range and the human tank from the 'Mutants and Madmen' collection.  I can't claim any creativity with regards to colour palette as they are pretty much as illustrated on the company's web site, that said there are some rather lovely examples of the range over at Auton's, 'The Lead Mountain'; well worth a look.  Both are been used as characters in the 'secret project':

Din Dong, is the self proclaimed leader of the international smuggling ring that operates from the comparative, and sweetly scented, safety of the laundry.  A calligrapher by trade, Mr. Dong was famed for his incredibly long...
scroll work back home and blessed with a good education has found it easy to maintain the charade of International Crime Lord.  This has been made somewhat easier by Dim, his bodyguard, a giant of a man who can crush the skull of a man with his bare hands!   For Dong the real problems started to arise when during the routine pillage of long lost treasures he stumbled across an ancient manuscript containing a fragment of a reanimation spell...

The gang outside the 'still yet to be completed' laundry!

 A two for one offer!

Now in a bid to justify another purchase along historical lines, it just so happens that this miniature can also represent another Dong - it's a small world!

Dong Fuxiang was a Han Chinese General who commanded Muslim soldiers during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. The Chinese Muslim armies of Dong Fuxiang were known as the Kansu Braves and formed the rear division, picking up the unfortunate title of the '10,000 Islamic rabble'.

They proved to be an effective and ferocious force, striking fear into the minds of the westerners who considered Dong to be an ogre.

I also need to apologise for the apparent lack of presence around the blogosphere at the moment, Im afraid the work/life balance seems a little out of kilter and with no apparent let up until the end of the month.  I am hopeful that I can get some bits and pieces painted in the coming weeks and rest assured that I am still lurking around your blogs, even if the comments fall off for a week or two.

Friday 5 October 2012

Chinese Tongs

More characterful loveliness from 'Obelisk Miniatures' via 'Black Cat Bases'; once again held together with a unifying colour palette. These chaps have a much more sinister feel to them as opposed to the civilians from the earlier post and represent a more definite obstacle for our heroes. I love the chap casually leaning on his post, the barrel of his revolver just visible at the end of his jacket sleeve.  So how do they fit into the 'secret project'?

Fleeing from the social unrest, that was ultimately to lead to the Taiping Rebellion, the relatives of these fierce looking bunch or ne'er-do-wells, looked to make their fortune in the 1849-era California Gold Rush. The Chinese did not, however, only come for the gold, but also helped build the Transcontinental Railroad; not that they were thanked for their endeavours!  From the outset, they were faced with persecution from the settled population; not surprising then that they formed secret social clubs known as 'Triads' or 'Tongs',  just as they had done back home.  In the remote area of North America that is home to the 'secret project', things are a little more bearable for this most industrious of peoples.  Many of the extended family have secured work mining in the mountains above the cove, or helping lay that the final stretches of rail track that will help bring civilisation closer to this long forgotten corner of the wilderness.  Many however are seemingly employed at the local laundry, a surprising frenetic hive of activity given the begrimed nature of the other inhabitants of the town.   

Although the casual observer may be fooled by the carefree playing of the children in the street, seemingly watched over by an elderly relative, they are, in fact, an elaborate early warning system for  the 'family' who have been using the laundry as a cover for the wholesale import of ancient Chinese artefacts; a lucrative trade but one that would mean certain death to those back home if ever discovered.  

Finally the answer as to how an army of terracotta soldiers found itself taken from the 'Middle Kingdom' to the 'Land of the Free' is unearthed, but who holds the power to bring them to life...?

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Chinese Civilians

As we move into October and with the end of the year just a hop, skip and a jump away, I have one eye well and truly fixed on those self-imposed targets that were 'oh so en vogue' back in January.  I’ve been trying to readdress the shortfall in historic posts of late, but in many ways my love for this most wholesome of hobbies is still very much in its infancy and all too often I find myself darting between projects with the focus of a... oh look more shiny things to buy!

So it was that whilst painting up these rather lovely Chinese Civilians as part of the ‘secret project' it occurred to me that they could be used, albeit at a pinch, in other theatres such as the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, thus killing two birds with one stone as it were - cunning eh.

Civilians in wargames seem to spark much debate and often court controversy, but I envisaged these being used very much as 'set dressing'.  They were originally part of the 'Black Cat Bases' Chinese Tong and merchants sets.  They are rather lovely, characterful sculpts, but lack some of the definition say of the 'Empress Miniatures' range that I'm more familiar with.  Just as with the recent Boers, I wanted to create a unifying palette, in this case blue, and hope to carry it on with the second batch that are currently awaiting my attention on the painting queue; provided of course that I'm not distracted between writing this and getting back to the painting table... must just add those to basket!

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