Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Old Britain's Arabs of the Desert Grow In Numbers

A hoard of some 80+ Britain's Arabs will pose quite a challenge for our intrepid General Pettygree.

My collection of forces fighting under the Mahdi's banner has grown substantially over the past month, due in large part to acquisitions of Britain's Arabs of the Desert toy soldier figures, via eBay and other sources. My count from last evening was 84 Arabs on foot, 8 on camels, and 38 on horse (these are just the old Britain's figures). I would like to grow the force to around 100  foot, 12 camels and 40-48 horse.

Britain's Arab Bedouin horsemen and camels and some of the large New Britain's on the camels in the background.

The most recent figure count indicates that the Dervish will have approximately 400 figures (318 foot and 82 horse and camel mounted figures) available to fight around half that amount of British troops.

Most of my eBay purchases arrive well packed and packaged, sometimes to an extreme. It can be a little bit annoying to cut through three layers of clear packing tape binding three layers of bubble wrap, which in turn, are placed inside a second or third box and smothered in plastic packing peanuts. On the other hand, it shows that the seller really cares about delivering an undamaged product so I appreciate that aspect of it.

Once in awhile, though, you see something that makes you shake your head in amazement. I offer you this photographic evidence depicting two lots of Britain's Arabs "as they arrived" as I opened up the box in which they were "packed":

I swear that this is how the figures arrived once I opened the red Britain's boxes.

What makes this even stranger is the fact that the seller went to great pains to protect the boxes in layers of plastic bubble wrap and peanuts. Note that I did not mention the word "figures" in the previous sentence. So while the boxes were wrapped in three layers of bubble wrapped, then placed in a huge shipping box that was filled with peanuts, guess what the seller forgot to do.

That's right, he left the figures loose INSIDE THE RED BOX and I could hear them rattling around inside the boxes as I gingerly removed said boxes from a deep pool of packing peanuts. So what good was it to carefully protect the boxes when the figures were left loose inside the boxes?????

As Bugs Bunny would say, "what a maroon!"

The seller should have either wrapped each individual figure in bubble wrap or tissue paper and then pack them inside the red Britain's boxes, and then maybe add a bit of foam or bubble wrap inside the box to ensure that nothing was going to be loose inside and rattling around. In fact, most eBay sellers would have wrapped the individual figures.

Miraculously, the figures did not seem worse for wear and nothing arrived broken. Admittedly the figures are well-worn from years of play, some with chipped paint and exposed metal, some with broken muskets, but on the whole they had the patina of age that I was looking for. It is kind of like the show "American Pickers" where they are searching for rusty gold and the more beat up an item is the better. These figures were purchased by me with the intent to use them on the table top so I do not require them to be in tip top mint condition. I like them sort of beat up and used - makes them look like the veterans that they are meant to depict.

The other day I also acquired 9  Trophy of Wales brand of mounted Dervish figures on eBay. If you were one of the other bidders on the lot, then my apologies go out to you, but rest assured, they are being put to good purpose. I wonder how many of the "collector quality" figures actually get to experience a table top battle.

We are now about 9 days away from our big toy soldier battle. There will be 8 players (maybe 9) with three on the British side and 5-6 on the Dervish side. Each player will command from 60 to 100 individual figures that are not mounted on sabots or stands or movement trays. It should be quite something to see once all of the forces are out on the table.


  1. Nice additions to the arab 'horde'

    1. Thanks to some judicious use of eBay purchasing, I've been able to acquire the Arabs at reasonable prices, thank goodness.😅

  2. A wonderful project, but beyond my resources! I'll stick with my 28mm figures. Looking forward to seeing the big battle though!

    1. I've had most of the figures going back to circa 1980 so,the cost has long been amortized over the years. Our group also games the Sudan in 28mm and that looks pretty nifty too.

    2. We also got lucky that a local store that sells toy soldiers was closing up shop due to the owner retiring.

  3. I have set up the new British encampment along the Nike to accommodate the build up of arriving British forces in preparation for the campaign against the Khalifa. I will make a new post later today, including some amazing new pictures.