One of the big goals I set for myself this year was to have at my Anglo-Zulu War era project in 28mm. Most of my gaming interest has a US tie-in — American Civil War and WWII — but I am just fascinated by the dynamics of the in late 19th-century British campaigns of invasion fought in Sub-Saharan Africa . Now, after a few months of on-again-off-again toil, my British forces are looking pretty sharp and battle-ready.
I first picked up a couple boxes of plastic Anglo-Zulu War era British from Wargames Factory at a convention flea market for just $8 each (quite a deal from the $20 retail price). At 25 figures per box, these run under a buck per soldier at full cost. The sprues come with head and arm options for firing, loading, advancing and at-the-ready pose variations. The casting is a bit chunky, all figures are standing fully upright and no command figures are available, so there are some trade-offs for the relative value of these figures. Wargames Factory’s Anglo-Zulu War line is also very limited in that they only offer this one box of British and another of Zulus. Still, they’re a great bang-for-your-buck option, especially for an era that requires fielding a lot of soldiers on the table.
For variety and comparison’s sake I next bought a box of British infantry from Empress Miniatures and Warlord Games. Their expanding “Anglo-Zulu War 1879” line offers a nice mix of plastic and metal British, Zulu and allied forces along with terrain, artillery, cavalry and other nice models. Their British infantry box runs about $32 for 24 figures making their cost-per-figure a bit pricier than the offering from Wargames Factory at over a dollar each. However, their figure sculpting is a fair amount finer and the pose options allow for more variety. The boxed set also includes crouching figures, making double-ranked firing lines a possibility. Along with twenty plastic infantry armed with rifles, the box comes with four metal command stands which fill a basic need for most Anglo-Zulu War gaming. I’ve rounded-out my force with an additional 16 metal figures in various crouching poses and four more metal officers from Empress Miniatures in poses that vary from those in the box set. The metal figures run more than $2 each, but by spreading them among the less expensive plastics I’ve achieved what I think is a nice variety.
In sum, my first round of modelling the 24th of Foot will net me 76 infantry stands commanded by 8 officers. This will give me a nice Company-sized British force broken out into two Platoons of two Squads each of 20 figures (including command).
Here’s a couple work-in-progress photos:
My challenge now is to tackle my Zulus which are typically fielded in a ratio of (at least) 3:1 to British figures in many gaming systems. I have a few Zulus already painted shown along with some of my new British below, but it looks like I’ve got many hours of painting still to go in the coming months.