Saturday, August 15, 2020

Sudan Buildings No. 4 and No. 5 Finished

The central market place in Khartoum.
General Gordon (on camel) watches a beggar who is trying to squeeze a few piasters out of some European ex-pats.
The Governor's Palace (left) is unfinished. The city walls loom in the background.

My architect in Khartoum, Mr. Christopher Wren-Pasha, has been very busy of late churning out more houses for the town to use in my 54mm toy soldier Sudan Project. Last weekend I finished my fourth Sudan building and I quickly followed on with a fifth building.

This afternoon I resumed work on the Governor's Palace, shown partially made in the first picture at the top of this post.

Some Background on the Sudan Project

Major General Pettygree and his wife were accompanied by Colonel Sinclair and his wife on a holiday tour of ancient archeology in Egypt and the Sudan. There current stop finds them in Khartoum. The actual purpose of their trip is to gather intelligence about a possible uprising of the Mahdi and his followers. The travelers have arranged to meet with General Gordon in Khartoum to receive a briefing about the lay of the land.

Building No. 3
General & Mrs. Pettygree on the  balcony (right) and Colonel & Mrs. Sinclair (left).
Time has gone rather amok in this 19th Century Imaginations world. The British are firmly in control of Egypt and parts of the Sudan. Major General Charles Gordon is already the Governor of the Sudan well before the Mahdi unpleasantness has begun. There is a small contingent of British infantry and Camel Corps garrisoned in Khartoum, but the Egyptian army bears the brunt of the work in the field.

My thinking is that the political situation heats up rather quickly after Gordon goes into retirement back in Cairo for a spell. The new Sudan Governor will likely make a muck of things and then all Hell will break loose as the Mahdi increases his number of followers. There will probably be a Hicks-like expedition disaster that will draw Gordon out of retirement, forcing him to return to Khartoum in order to right the ship.

The Dervish will close in from the south and cut off communications between Kartoum and Cairo, while Osman Digna will be whipping up the Bega in the eastern Sudan around Suakin. With Khartoum now cut off from the friendlies, there will be a rescue expedition headed by Major General Pettygree and friends.

Architectural Details

All of my Sudan buildings are made with half-inch thick black foamcore board. Thinner quarter-inch and eighth-inch foamcore is also used along with liberal amounts of balsa wood, cardboard and basswood. Building details for things such as cornices and columns are sourced from Home Depot (trim decoration pieces for stairs). I also take weekly excursions through Hobby Lobby, Michael's Stores, Joann Fabrics, Home Depot and my local hardware store for various finds that will one day make their way into a building model.

I switched to a darker wall color for Buildings 4 and 5 so as not to have everything in cream-yellow. As with the other buildings, these new models use a chalk paint which has a nice matte finish. The walls and the architectural bits are then dry brushed to complete the painting of the model.

Here is a picture of Buildings 4 (left) and 5 (right) looking down High Street in Khartoum. A squadron of British Camel Corps are on parade through the town.

Building No. 4 (left) and No. 5 (right)

A view of the main thoroughfare in Khartoum.

Building Number 4

This model was inspired, a bit, by Building No. 2 which had a two-story house with an outside staircase leading to the top floor. I wanted a similar building, but with the staircase between two house. This is the first model that adds extra details such as mesh screen on the windows, wood balconies, and arched windows.

The front view of Building No. 4

The rear view of the house. The wood balaconies are a new feature in my Sudan models.

A view of the pair of arched windows on the front and side of one of the buildings.

Building No. 5 - A Merchent's House

I had pulled a picture off of Pinterest showing some buildings in a nativity scene and I liked the look of the open air archways connected to a house. I would imagine that a grain merchant might live here and sell his wares in the arched half of the building.

Building No. 5
Merchent's House

Building No. 3 (left), No. 5 (center) and No. 4 (right)

Building Number 2, 3, 4 and 5 are shown in this picture.
No. 3 is partially shown (with the 3 civilians on the roof at the right)

I hope that you have enjoyed my tour of the growing city of Khartoum. In recent days, I have started looking for 54mm and 60mm civilian figures to populate the town and other remote villages in the Sudan. King & Country's "The Life of Jesus " toy soldier figure range provides a fair number of civilians that can easily pass as 19th Century middle eastern civilians. I also use Europen civilians from Trophy Miniatures, Imperial Miniatures and Tradition of London. These are all 54mm toy soldier figure ranges. I have also had some discussions with a gentleman about commissioning some special Sudan civilian figures. Stay tuned on this one.

I have returned to the work on the Governor's Palace this week. It is time to finish it. I have gained more modeling skills over the course of the last three houses and I am ready to apply what I have learned to the Palace and a mosque in the town.


  1. Great job! These are outstanding and if diorama quality.

  2. I am speechless (a rare thing)! Just a simply amazing atmosphere you have created for your period armies. I can almost hear the crowds, smell the food and spices in the bazaar, and see the snake charmers.

    Best Regards,


  3. Great work. Any chance of an explanation of how you made the balconies?

    1. Sure, I will gin up a short tutorial within the next couple of days.

  4. Jim what a wonderful display. The buildings are most impressive well done

  5. Most wargamers make buildings, or towns for their games, you are well on the way to a metropolis!
    A Bazaar project, to be sure!

    1. Sometimes these projects take on a life of their own and take off in unexpected directions. I’ve already made more buildings than I had originally planned because I’m having so much fun making them.

      Now I am envisioning a game that features a Dervish assault on the town and house to house fighting within the town walls. So the whole table could be nothing but the city of Khartoum. Yikes!

      Of course this goes way beyond the scope of the original project wherein Khartoum is a part of a larger conflict over hundreds of miles.

    2. My friend Lawrence at our club has been trying to get enough buildings to do a colonial game in a town covering the whole table too! Great minds think alike!
      (PS: I like your buildings a lot more!!!!)

  6. Prodigious Jim,
    Inspired and well-done.
    Compelling too.
    Bill P.

  7. Grand work Jim and going along at a good pace!

  8. Outstanding builds, I love what you’ve done. I feel motivated to work on my Sudan project.