Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sudan Project Painting Update

The Ansar charge into a steady line of Egyptian troops with Royal Artillery supports.

Click or Double Click the pictures to enlarge.

I have painted approximately 225 Dervish since March 19th and another 100 or so British and Egyptians since the project began. The Armies In Plastic ("AIP") figures are so easy to paint that the brushes almost work and move by themselves -- I'm just going along for the ride.

So here is the update on the Dervish portion of my Sudan Project:

                  Finished    WIP       Extras        Total
Beja #1          60            0            0               60

Beja #2          20           25           15             60

Ansar #1       60            0             0               60     -- cream jibbah and green patches

Ansar #2       24            0            36             60       -- all with round shields

Ansar #3       24           24            12            60       -- all spearmen with wicker shields

Ansar #4       24           14            22            60       -- all swordsmen with wicker shields

Riflemen       20           20            20            60

The WIP (work in progress) column represents figures that I have that are in primer or upainted figures on hand. The term Extras indicates the number of new figures that I will need to order to complete the unit.

Beja #1 unit

Beja units #2, #3 and #4

My original roster called for only two Ansar units plus one Riflemen unit. However, noting that the Ansar can be grouped into poses of (1) swordsmen carrying a wicker shield, (2) spearmen carrying a wicker shield, and (3) swordsmen carrying a round shield, I decided to separate the three categories into their own 60-figure unit. Thus the original Ansar #2 was supposed to be a 60-figure unit, of which 72 figures have been painted as of today. Ansar #2 has been subdivided into Ansar #2, Ansar #3 and Ansar #4, each having 24 figures painted as of today.

The Beja warriors are so easy to paint that I decided to paint a second unit of them for my Dervish army. I dare say that a third Beja unit might be possible as well.

Royal Artillery infantry, in grey, provide support for a British 12-pounder. The cannon can be converted into a Gatling Gun by swapping barrels.

So at the end of the day, it looks like I am working towards painting seven units of 60 Dervish for a total of 420 figures. Now anyone who regularly follows this blog knows that Der Alte Fritz likes symmetry knows that he is not likely to stop short of a nice round number such as 500.

And after 500, could 1,000 be too far behind?

Major General Pettygree and I have a collective 430 figures, largely metal, outside of the 420 plastic figures that I am painting. So with 500 + 430 = 930, you just know that DAF is going to have to paint those last 70 figures, don't you?

This all adds up to a recipe for a grand wargame event. Bill and I are planning our annual Big Battalion Game and this year's event will be 54mm toy soldiers in the Sudan. Assuming that pandemic events improve sufficiently, we could stage the game around September 2020. If gathering 10 people together is still not safe, then we will postpone the game, maybe into 2021 or until the environment changes for the better. Nevertheless, I will plough on and paint figures and make terrain as if the game will be played in September or October of this year.

The planning of a game provides the inspiration that I need to start a project and see it through to its end. I am well along the path in that regard.

So what do you think? Please feel free to leave comments.


  1. Jim, you continue to crank through a lot of figures for this project. Terrific progress and I wager 1,000 figures is not far off the horizon. Your Natives really look good.

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  2. This is a splendid project Jim...
    I don’t know how you can maintain the momentum...
    I would have probably taken a long rest after one box...
    I look forward to seeing it all on the table (or will it be a floor?)when you are finished...

    All the best. Aly

  3. Agreed. I am absolutely floored with each update.

    Best Regards,


  4. Jim,

    Wow. I am still stumbling along with my first batch of Beja. Getting ready to glue the shields back on the backs of the spearmen. Chris B.

    1. I didn't bother to glue the shields because they stick fairly tight in the pin holes. I find Beja fast to paint because you don't have to,paint colored patches on their clothing. I love painting Beja.😎

  5. What do you use to prime the plastic? I always have trouble painting plastic figures.

    1. I just use regular hobby primer and have had no problems with it. I do give every figure a double coating of Gloss spray.

  6. A mighty project - looks great

    (if I had space my 54mm romans/gauls collection would grow ....)

  7. Very original - love the idea and your figures look fantastic- inspirational stuff!

  8. Are the weapons normally that straight with the AIP figures or do do to something to correct that. I have no experience with them.

    I love the photos. This is better than the Four Feathers!

    Thanks, John

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  10. What an outstanding collection and output, Jim. It reminds me of a collection I saw when at Uni many years English friend of an uncle had a huge collection of Britains soldiers of the Empire - your figures have the same look as those.

    Have you considered a head swap for the driver of the wagon in the 4th photo?

    Also, does the small mountain gun in the 1st photo have a crew? If not, the soldier kneeling with rifle at an angle could provide 1 crew member if the rifle was removed, and the artilleryman leaning forward the other, with the chap with binoculars as a third.

    I hope you and Major General Pettygree can get together soon, and look forward to the write up of the game.

    Cheers, Rohan.

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