Friday, August 26, 2016

New Toys For the Sudan Arrived

Camel Corps patrol with various brands (l-R) Trophy, Red Box - medical team, Imperial Productions, and old vintage Britains. They all fit in well together. CLICK ALL PIX TO ENLARGE.

Christmas has arrived early in the Sudan in the form of about four packages that arrived today, including three from the UK. I was particularly joyful over my first sight of the Camel Corps medical stretcher (a three piece set consisting of 3 camels and a foot orderly). In the above picture we can see how various brands of camel corps figures work well together. From left to right, the first four figures are from Trophy, the middle three extra glossy fellows are from Red Box Miniatures, next are two Camel Corps from Imperialist Productions of New Zealand, and bringing up the rear on the far right, some old vintage Britain's Egyptian and Bikkaner Camel Corps riders.

Camel Corps doctor rides the lead camel, followed by an ambulance for two men, and followed up with  one armed trooper to keep the Dervish away.

A view of the camel ambulance from overhead so that one can better see the two wounded soldiers riding in the panniers. I like the extra glossiness of the finish.
 I also received a box from Matt containing the new Britains WAN Camel Corps doctor and camel ambulance. Now I have two of them, albeit in slightly different sizes. Compare the two pictures.

Here is the New Britains' War Along the Nile Camel Corps doctor mounted on his camel and the camel ambulance with two resting soldiers.
The next item to arrive was a set of a British general in his blue tunic and an aide writing down orders. They must be getting ready to play some Old School wargaming. When I bought the set I was thinking that it was just a generic officer for the Sudan, but upon arrival, I realized that the set depicts Lord Chelmsford from Trophy Miniatures' Zulu War range of figures. What a pleasant surprise that was.

Who is this chap? Why it's Lord Chelmsford!

The final picture depicts the new Naval Gatling Gun set, also from Trophy, that is shown in the picture below.I don't believe that I had previously posted a picture of the new Gatling, so here it is below.

The camp at Dongala adds an extra Gatling Gun manned by some naval personnel. Lord Chelmsford surveys the landscapte while The Sirdar rides past him.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The 24th Regiment - Trophy Miniatures Toy Soldiers

24th Warwickshire Regiment - Trophy of Wales toy soldiers

I set up another studio of risers using old leather bound books so that I could take some more pictures of some of my favorite sets of Trophy of Wales Miniatures British Army of the 19th Century Colonial period. I rather liked the way that the Dervish pictures turned out in yesterday's post: the patina of the old leather bound books, the dark copper table surface (replaced with a granite countertop today) and some splendid old chaps in red coats with green facings, the 24th Warwickshire Regiment.

A nice close up view of the regiment.
I used some architectural books on historic homes and castles in England and Scotland as a backdrop to block out the clutter of a 21st Century home kitchen counter. In the picture above, I like the way the hallway on the right seems to flow naturally into the picture setting, as if the photo shoot was done inside some old country manor house.

The lads step up on the risers of books to make ready for their photo shoot.

Here are a few more of the pictures that I took this evening, all pretty much the same, but the pictures are too good not to post, even if they are a bit redundant.

There are 26 foot and 2 mounted officers shown in the pictures above, and I think that I have another 14 more, at least, en route from the figure sellers (bless them!) which will bring the regiment up to 40 foot and 2 officers. I also have some of what I call vignette figures - at least three on hand (one casualty, one wounded and one running with some ammunition or popcorn in his pith helmet).

Several readers have stepped forward and answered my call for reinforcements of the Trophy Miniatures toy soldier collection that I am building up. I want to thank them and encourage others to step forward and let me know if you have any old Trophy toy soldiers that you do not wish to keep. I will gladly add them to my army and pay a good price.

I think that I will have to do a few more of these photo shoots on this stage. Unfortunately, I have to take down all of the back drops and riser books and stash the 24th Foot back on its display shelf, for the photo studio is actual the kitchen counter in our home and Mrs. Fritz needs the space in the morning.

Here is a preview of the next photo shoot: generals and Gatling Guns:

Two of the newer model Gatling Guns in the front row; some Maxims in the second row, and Kitchener and his staff are atop the third level.

And here is a picture of some new Camel Corps figures that are en route to join the force of Colonel Sinclair at Dongala in the Sudan:

Trophy of Wales Camel Corps figures.

Chin chin, and all that.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New (Old Style) Trophy Dervish Reinforcements Arrive

Old first edition Trophy of Wales Dervish and Beja plus some Sudanese Regulars deploy on a first edition of "Thiers' History of the First Consulate." (CLICK PIX TO ENLARGE)

I received a shipment of Trophy of Wales toy soldiers Dervish figures today from one of the members of the AMG (A Military Gentleman) Forum in the UK and you can see the pictures here on today's blog. I staged them for a photo shoot atop a copper reading table and created a sort of riser with some old leather bound books that I have in my library. The books are two volumes from Thiers' History of the First Consulate and they lend a certain bit of style and panache to the tableau.

Sudanese Regulars for the 1898 Omdurman Campaign (5 firing on the left), 4 Beja warriors charging (center) and 8 Dervish ansar in jibbahs (right)

In a few more days, I will post some comparative pictures of the original Len Taylor Trophy Dervish figures and the second edition Dervish.

Attention: if you have any Trophy of Wales toy soldiers that you are willing to part with (cash or even some trade for Minden/Fife & Drum figures will be considered) then please contact me via my blog or at ( so that we can make a deal. I assure you that your figures are going to a good home and that they will have the opportunity to exercise themselves on the tabletop Field of Mars once in awhile.

I would love to find some Trophy Dervish riding camels. I have only seen pictures of them, so I know that they exist.  A general expansion of the Trophy Dervish is also hoped for.

While all of this has been going on, I've also started to accumulate some of the 24th Foot in red coats from the Zulu War period that preceded  all of the troubles in the Sudan from 1884 to 1898. I don't know if I will acquire any Zulus at this time, but I wouldn't be surprised if a few made their way to Hesse Seewald.

Trophy of Wales - 24th Foot from the Zulu War era.

My 24th Foot will serve as stand-ins for some of the regiments that still wore the red coat during the first Sudan Campaign or the Gordon Relief Expedition. I currenlty have 29 foot and 2 mounted officers on hand, with another 12 infantry en route, a set of artillery and crew in blue coats, and some mounted generals (in blue coats) and a few vignette figures. I'm sure that there will be more to add to the collection, but for the time being, this seems like a good start on the project.

Same figures, viewed from the side.


Monday, August 22, 2016

In Praise of Tim Horton's and Britain's Camel Corps

Is this what heaven looks like?
We just returned home from a long weekend's drive to Canada and back to pick up our daughter from her summer camp, somewhere north of Perry Sound, Ontario. This is the fourth consecutive year of taking her to camp and we always drive the 1,000 miles or so that it takes. In all of our travels, we had never stopped in at one of Canada's famous Tim Horton's donut shops, so I resolved to cross that item off the old bucket list.

Let me just say that the donuts are every bit as good as advertised via word of mouth. If you are travelling in Canada, take the time to stop at a Tim Horton's and buy a bag of donuts. I had a Chocolate Raspberry Truffel donut, see below, that was to die for. If I am so lucky as to one day pass through the pearly gates of Heaven, I'm convinced that there will be a Tim Horton's there (and a long line to boot).

I had the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle in the upper center as well as one of the Maple Dipped  donuts in the lower center. Yummmmmy!

The journey set my shipping of orders back a little bit this week, but I will catch up with everything by the end of this week.

As long as we are talking about Good Things, let me show you a couple pictures of my growing collection of Britain's War Along the Nile Camel Corps, as shown in the two pictures below.

As usual, click on the pictures to enlarge the view (you can even double click, if you dare).

RN Gatling Gun Crew

Britain's Camel Corps from its War Along the Nile range of figures.

Over the last several weeks, the Camel Corps has grown from 9 figures to 46 figures as of today. I want to thank Matthew in particular for selling me a large chunk of the collection, including the suppine camels and the Naval Gatling Gun and crew (both of which are hard to find). Add in the 60 York & Lancaster Regiment figures from the same range, and I've got a square of 106 figures plus a Gatling Gun PLUS Fred Burnaby! I think that I am ready for the Dervish this time.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Camp Scenes in the Sudan

Lt. Simon Ward and his troop of Camel Corps bring Colonel Barlow back to the camp at Dongala.
While the great battle was going on back at Dundee's Zeriba, Lt. Simon Ward and his troop of Camel Corps were able to sneak back into the British camp at Dongola without much interference from the Dervish. Colonel Barlow made the bumpy ride in a Camel Corps Ambulance, much like the one shown in the picture below:

Typical "Camel Corps Ambulance" in the Sudan (figures are Red Box Miniatures and the picture comes from the web site of the same name).

Once the Camel Corps had safely cleared the zeriba, attendents rushed to the ambulance and carefully lifted Colonel Barlow off of the camel and onto a stretcher, where he would be taken to the infirmary tent for medical care. See the arrival of Barlow in the two pictures below:
Colonel Barlow is off-loaded from his uncomfortable ride on the Camel Corps ambulance and is taken by stretcher to Colonel Sinclair's tent, where there is a staff meeting in progress.

Another view of the medical team with the stretcher and the wounded Colonel  Barlow.

Meanwhile, take a stroll around the camp at Dongala and see what is going on in normal and routine camp life.

Camp life: soldiers taking a break to sip some water from the water barrel wagon.

At the mess tent, Mess Sergeant Schwartz keeps an eye on his cooks, while in the background, a few of the lads brew up some tea and take a break from guard duty.

Two of my newly acquired Imperial Productions of New Zealand Camel Corps troopers. Aren't they little beauties?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Britain's Camel Corps Figures Wanted

Britains War Along the Nile range of British Camel Corps troops dismounted.
 As I am working on my Sudan toy soldier collection, I am simultaneously building up a square of 100+ of the "new Britains" matte finished War Along the Nile range of figures. Right now I have 60 of the khaki clad York and Lancashire Regiment and 25 of the dismounted Camel Corps figures.

Most of the Camel Corps have been "retired" which is Britains way of creating an artificial shortage of the figures and ostensibly increasing their value as collectibles. This makes it kind of hard for someone to come along and start building up his collection for wargaming.

I am looking for more Camel Corps figures!

If anyone has any Camel Corps figures that they don't want or would consider selling, then I'm your man. I would like to buy your Camel Corps figures. If interested, then please contact me at

Just for grins, a picture of the York & Lancs regiment is shown below. I don't need as many of those, but if you want to dispose of any extra figures in your collection, then let me know that too.

York & Lancashire Regiment on the top shelf and Camel Corps on the lower shelf.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Major Dundee, sir, Here They Come Again!

Here they come again!


Just when we all thought that things were going to quiet down at the Oasis of El-Dubie,  the sound of the war drums beats again signaling a new Dervish attack is imminent.

The purpose of all of this is to give the BAR Colonial rules another work out or play test. The last battle proved that the Dervish require large numbers of men, so instead of 50 to 70 figures, this time they have over 100 charging figures and the same dozen riflemen in support. I also massed the 14 Dervish horse together rather than spreading them all over the table. The 21st Lancers still have 10 troopers.

A panoramic view using Cinemax provides a colorful view of the Dervish attack.

A few men are stationed at the side and rear of the zeriba, just in case another attack develops there, but otherwise, it's every rifle to the front.

The Dervish emerge from the Acacia brush, this time with over 100 figures  instead of 50-70.

This time the fanatical Beja and Hadendoa tribesmen from Eastern Sudan join in on the attack.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Battle of Dundee's Zeriba

The Dervish emerge from the Acacia trees and get ready to charge the Oasis.
Click or Double Click all pictures to enlarge the view

While Lt. Simon Ward and his troop of Camel Corps were transporting their valuable passenger (Colonel Barlow) back to Dongala, they could hear the crackle of rifle fire in the distance. It was a sure sign that the Dervish had indeed launched a dawn attack against Major Dundee's zeriba at the Oasis of El-Dubie.

The Dervish had 70 sword and spearmen plus 10 rifles at their disposal for the attack, against a defending force of 40 British and 10 Sikh infantry. Only one unit of Beja warriors were rated as "fanatical" (saving throws on anything but a "1") as the rest were everyday run of the mill Ansar.

The first wave of three warbands (20-15-15 figures) emerged from the scrub bush and rushed the Oasis. However, the British had the advantage of rifles over melee weapons, which allowed them to thin down the ranks of the Dervish charge before it could reach the zeriba:

Turn 1 -   3 Dervish casualties
Turn 2 -   6 Dervish casualties
Turn 3 - 13 Dervish casualties
Turn 4 - 20 Dervish casualties

As you can see, the closer the Dervish got, the more casualties they took, losing 40 to riflery

Dervish charge Dundee's zeriba at the Oasis

Aerial view of the mass Dervish charge. The 21st Lancers support the flank of the British zeriba.

Dundee shifts all of his fire power around to the western side of the zeriba in order to train every possible rifle onto the Dervish charge.

While Lt. Simon Ward and his Camel Corps troopers were carrying their valuable cargo, Colonel Barlow, back to Dongala, a new battle erupted back at the Oasis of El-Dubie.

The Surreys and the Sikhs brace themselves for the impact of the charge.

The first British volley thins out the Dervish mass considerably.

Yet they still come on...

...but the result is inevitable  when steady hands calmly volley fire from behind a secure zeriba.

The 21st Lancers hew into the flank of one of the Dervish warbands.

The survivors rout! Some supporting Beja fanatics, decide that today is not a good day to die, so they pull up and watch the Ansar run past them.

The 21st Lancers resist the urge to pursue the foe (thankfully).

The British scored a lopsided victory, inflicting 42 casualties on the Dervish, while only losing 3 of their own (all of which came from the Lancers (2) and the skirmishers (1) of Colonel Burnaby's force. There were no British casualties inside the zeriba due to the fact that the Dervish were mostly cut down before they even reached their target. Only 2 of 50 Dervish made it as far as the zeriba. The game was over in four turns, so decisive was the action.

Major Dundee undoubtedly sent several messengers back to Dongala to report the events of the battle to Colonel Sinclair. Sinclair would send one of his gunboats down the Nile to the telegraph station so that the news could be relayed first to Cairo and then on to London. This more than made up for the setback that the British faced two weeks ago. In fact, Sinclair was considering keeping Dundee's force at the Oasis of El-Dubie and reinforcing it with several more companies. Another possibility was to build another zeriba half-way between Dongola and El-Dubie to secure the supply line from the base camp to the Oasis.

No matter how one looked at it, Dundee's victory gave the British campaign along the Nile a huge lift for it achieved the aim of securing the water wells at El-Dubie, but also gave the army a morale boost, while sapping the morale of the local Dervish forces.

It was time to go back on the offensive, reasoned Colonel Sinclair.

Final Notes

There will undoubtedly be another small skirmish within the next month, a sort of prelude to our next big toy soldier battle in the Sudan in late October 2016. British reinforcements continue to flow into the British camp at Dongola with the notable arrival of more Camel Corps and the Yorkshire & Lancashire Regiment at the camp.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Race to Dongala

The Camel Corps caravan steals out of the Oasis at the crack of dawn, hoping to gain a head start on any Dervish pursuit.

As the sun rises and brightens the sandy Sudan desert, the Camel Corps caravan gains a head start on the shadowing Dervish horsemen,  while British skirmishers and Lancers protect the flank.

At dawn a troop of the Camel Corps slipped out of the zeriba at the El-Dubie Oasis and made for the trail back to the British base camp at Dongala. They carried some valuable cargo with them in the form of the severely wounded Colonel Barlow. It was of the utmost importance to get Barlow back to Dongala for better medical care and for safety.

A company of infantry, commanded by Colonel Burnaby, was to accompany the caravan for a short distance in order to provide some skirmish cover. They could not stray too far from the Oasis otherwise they would not be able to keep up with the camels, which would leave them out in the open and vulnerable to a Dervish ambush or attack. To mitigate that possibility, Burnaby was also given a squadron of the 21st Lancers, who would provide cover for the infantry. Once the Camel Corps caravan got a head start, the infantry and Lancers were to fall back to the Oasis.

Colonel Burnaby fans out a company of skirmishers to protect the western flank of the Camel Corps caravan. Off in the distance the caravan is shadowed by Dervish horsemen. Beware of an ambush too!

Some Beja riflemen pop up out of nowhere and start shooting at the Camel Corps as it passes.
The 21st Lancers formed into two ranks and advanced on a small group of Dervish horsemen, who wanted nothing to do with the Lancers, so they retired back into the scrub bushes. Some rifle fire from the British skirmishers killed two of the Dervish horse, providing them with further incentive to move out of range.

British skirmishers deal with the Beja threat, but meanwhile, Dervish horsemen race ahead of the caravan to cut them off from the safety of the camp at Dongola.
A small group of Beja riflemen popped up out of the scrub brush and peppered the camel caravan with rifle fire, but their aim was poor and the caravan passed by unharmed. The British skirmishers, however, did advance towards the Beja and drove them off with rifle fire. At this point, Burnaby realized that he was on the verge of straying too far away from the Oasis and that his Lancers were being caught up by the events that were unfolding back at the Oasis. He could hear the crackle of rifle fire back at the Oasis and knew that Major Dundee and his comrades were probably under attack. It was time to fall back to the Oasis and provide some necessary reinforcements for the camp. It proved to be a wise decision, as future events will confirm.

The Dice Gods smiled kindly on the Camel Corps that day. The British won the first movement initiative  on each of the first two game turns. 
The Camel Corps caravan made it back to Dongola without further incident, but what was the fate of the rest of the patrol back at the Oasis? The increasing volume of rifle fire from that direction was troubling to Lt. Ward. He would have to report the events to Colonel Sinclair post haste.

Be sure to return tomorrow to find out what happened at the Second Battle of El-Dubie. Would the Dervish prevail once again, or would Major Dundee successfully hold them off?