Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Sudan Eye Candy & Project Update

British Camel Corps on Parade.
Armies In Plastic 54mm figures and Trophy Miniatures metal officer in the lead.

Click on all pictures (or twice, if you dare) to enlarge.

Over the weekend I finished painting 8 Camel Corps and 5 Dervish cavalry, bringing those forces up to 24 and 25 figures, respectively. I am halfway in building up both units. I currently have 4 more camel corps on the painting table, work in progress at this time. It should take a day of painting to finish them. There are three more boxes (4 per box) of CC yet to be painted.

I did a little rearranging of the game table to set up a vignette of the Camel Corps riding out of Khartoum. I know, the Camel Corps was never in Khartoum, but they look cool emerging from the town gate.

General Stewart leads the Camel Corps out of the city.

Close up view of the camel caravan departing Khartoum.

Let us not forget the Dervish either. Bad things can happen in the Sudan when one forgets the Dervish.

The Dervish cavalry now has 25 riders after the completion of 5 more figures.
Close up view of the flag bearer.
A view of the cavalry from the front.
I have to place an order for three more boxes (5 figures per box)
so as to build the Dervish cavalry up to 40 figures .

The whole hoard of plastic Dervish cavalry and foot. There are 275 total figures in the picture.
I have been painting these since the beginning of March 2020/

An overview of the table display. I have it set up in a 6ft by 10ft size,
although it actually has two more feet of length just beyond the rock outcropping .

The Camel Corps is probably my favorite unit in the Sudan Project.
I like the Egyptians too, because no one seems to use Egyptian or Sudanese allies
in their colonial games.


Richard Ansel sent me pictures of the greens for the AWI Morgan's Rifles at Saratoga. These are really nice looking figures that can be used for Saratoga and other AWI theaters of war. I will post the pictures within the next couple of days.

I primed my first 38-figure Saratoga British regiment yesterday and will get to them after I finish four more 54mm Camel Corps figures. It will be the 21st Regiment in blue facings. Flags from GMB Designs are on order.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Saratoga Project Kicks Off

Four British regiments and a brigade commander

Since the Covid-19 lockdown began in March 2020, I have been focused on building up a Dervish army using 54mm plastic figures. I have painted approximately 250 Dervish and 100 Egyptians and British figures. Eventually, I will reach burnout on painting these figures and will need to paint something else for awhile.

I have the perfect candidate.

The Fife and Drum Miniatures "Saratoga Range" has been available for about six months now and so I decided that it is time to start painting a British army for the Saratoga Campaign in 1777. 

The first order of business was to identify the regiments that I would have in the army and for that I turned to an excellent article about this army, written by Brendan Morrissey, which you can find on the Perry Miniatures web site. See the link below, as well as links to Brendan's other articles on the German troops and Continental troops at Saratoga. (all three links take you to the Perry Miniatures web site - lots of good information there).

The second item is to determine how many figures per regiment and how to base them. Using Brendan's article as my guide, it appears that the average strength of British regiments in the campaign was  between 380 and 390 officers and rankers. I think that these might be unit strengths at the beginning of the campaign. These figures do not include the grenadier and light companies, which were hived off and converged with other similar companies from the other regiments to form a converged Grenadier Battalion and Light Battalion.

Basing Options, from top to bottom: #1, #2, #3 and #4.
Compare these to the basing that I use for my Philadelphia Campaign British regiments (the painted unit at the top of the picture).

Looking at the picture above, the painted unit is a British regiment from my Philadelphia Campaign army of General Howe. There are 32 figures on four bases (8 per base). The only problem with this arrangement is that the colours will always be a little bit off-center when the regiment is deployed into line formation.

Base system #1 shows the same four stands of 8 figures, but with the addition of a command stand that holds 6 figures. I have turned the command stand on its verticle axis so that the front juts out a bit in front of the rest of the regiment's bases. This is a 38-figure arrangement.

Base system #2 shows the same arrangement as #1 except that the command stand is placed on its horizontal axis. This places the colours in the middle of the regiment when it is deployed into line. This is also a 38-figure configuration.

Base system #3 shows six stands, each with 6 figures, or 36 figures in total.

Base system #4 has five stands, of which 8 figures are crammed onto four stands, plus there is a command stand of 6 figures, for a total of 38 figures. The purpose of this arrangement is to place the figures shoulder-to-shoulder, rather than in a more open file system that are shown in the first three options.  Knowing my readers, a lot of you will prefer system #4 because you like the shoulder-to-shoulder look. I think that this might be fine for infantry regiments operating in Europe during the SYW, but not so much for the loose files used by the British in North America.

My inclination is to use Base System #2. However, I will entertain your thoughts, ideas and comments about the basing system that you think looks best. Please leave your comments in the comment section at the end of this blog post.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Sudan Project Update

Der Alte Fritz, master of his domain.

The accumulated collection of painted Dervish warriors is proceeding at a fast pace as I increased my Dervish cavalry contingent to 20 figures this week. The unit will eventually have 40 figures.

So here is a progress report on the Dervish as of today:

                     Painted       WIP        Unpainted           Total Goal     Comments
Cavalry           20               5              15                       40

Beja #1           60               0                0                       60

Beja #2           40              0               20                       60

Ansar #1         60              0                 0                       60                 Green patches

Ansar #2         20              0               40                       60                 Spearmen

Ansar #3         20              0               40                       60                 Swordsmen

Ansar #4         24              0               36                       60                 Round shields

Rifles              20             20              20                       60

Totals           264             25               171                    460

I plan to paint 5 more Dervish cavalry and then switch over to another dozen Camel Corps and then 20 more riflemen.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Fierce Dervish Cavalry

Armies In Plastic 54mm Dervish Horsemen

Yesterday I finished and gloss coated the final 6 of 15 new Dervish cavalry to my 54mm Sudan Project. This increases the Dervish cavalry to 20 figures.

I have another box of 5 cavalry that I will work on next. I think that they look pretty good in mass, don't you?

Here are some pictures of the 15 horses that I painted prior to painting the riders:

Armies In Plastic horses.

I think that a unit of 40 cavalry would look particularly nice, so that means another three boxes (5 per box) need to be ordered. At around $10.00 per box, plastic figures are quite economical.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Camel Corps Reinforcements

British Camel Corps on maneuvers.
Armies In Plastic 54mm figures.

I was getting a bit burned out on painting hundreds of Dervish warriors so I decided to get back to painting more of my British Camel Corps figures: 54mm Armies in Plastic ("AIP") figures.

Yesterday I put the finishing touches on four more mounted Camel Corps troopers and gave them a double coating of gloss coat

British Camel Corps

The more mass of Camel Corps figures painted, the more impressive they look. I have four more CC in primer plus 1 pack camel, and 2 camels carrying parts of a 7-pound screw gun. I also ordered another six boxes of Camel Corps figures from AIP. At four figures per box, that's another 24 figures, bringing my total up to 40 figures once they are painted. I will need 50 camels to match up with the 50 CC figures on foot that I have.

Camel Corps figures are really hard to beat when it comes to painting figures for the Sudan Campaign.

Monday, June 8, 2020

The Camels Are Coming Tra La, Tra La

Armies In Plastic 54mm camels.

Today's fox is the painting of seven AIP 54mm plastic camels for my British Camel Corps. I'm painting the riders separately from the camels and so I will start working on the riders tomorrow. I have 50 Camel Corps dismounted so my plan is to paint a mounted version for each foot figure. So today I finished six camels for the riders and one pack Camel. 

At my current painting rate of speed, the six riders might be done tomorrow evening or a day later.

Over the weekend more AIP reinforcements arrived, including four boxes of Dervish cavalry, which I will likely tackle after the current group of Camel Corps figures are painted.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Remember These? Parchment Maps & Documents

Parchment map of the AWI battlefields and a brass trivet that I purchased at Colonial Williamsburg
(it is the coat of arms of King George III)

A view of the parchment map without the photo staging.

I was sorting through the accumulated junk in my Man Cave this morning, when I found some of those old parchment maps in a box. You probably remember these: they were prints of copies of the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Colonial Currency, and battlefield maps. These first appeared in the early 1960s as part of the American Civil War Centennial celebration (1961 - 1965).

The company that produced the maps did something that appeared to age the parchment paper, giving it a brownish hue that made the document look like an old find.

These were fun to collect and I had a large collection of parchement documents when I was a young lad. I bought this map and some reproduction Colonial currency when I visited the Saratoga National Military Park circa 2000 (or it might have been purchased at nearby Fort Ticonderoga). 

I want to post it on the wall in my Man Cave, but the wall space is fairly well used up and I don't want to make things look cluttered with too many pictures and posters.

I hope that these images bring back some fond memories for you too. They make me want to break out my AWI figures again 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

More Painted Dervish Cavalry

Dervish mounted riflemen

Same as the first picture, but different angle.

Yesterday, I finished painting the five Dervish cavalry that come in each box of Armies In Plastic 54mm toy soldiers. The infantry boxes have 20 figures.

I was a bit leary of painting the cavalry at first, thinking that the horses were a tad too large relative to the size of the infantry and Camel Corps mounted figures. However, once I started painting the figures I really enjoyed working with them. The poses are very dynamic and the horses are some of the most elegant horse models that I have ever seen.

I finished the figures off with two coats of Testors spray gloss coat. The gloss coating seems to be thicker and more protective than the Dull Coat matte spray. Stronger and tougher is very important when you are using soft plastic figures.

I like these models well enough to buy more boxes of the figures and eventually create a 30-figure regiment of Dervish cavalry (I know, the Dervish didn't have "regiments" per se, but I don't know what else to call them.). So four more boxes are on order from Armies In Plastic which will give me 25 cavalry figures. I will order one more box after I have worked my way through the new lot.

Here is what the contents of one AIP box looks like when painted

The picture above gives you an idea of what one box of the AIP Dervish cavalry will look like after it has been painted. They are easy to paint and simply a joy to work with.

My next unit is a 20-figure group of Dervish riflemen. I already have 20 riflemen painted and this will eventually be a 60 figure unit.

After the riflemen, I think that it is time to get back to painting the British Camel Corps.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Dervish Cavalry Are Coming

AIP Mounted Dervish Cavalry 

On a whim, I bought one box of Armies In Plastic 54mm mounted Dervish warriors just to see what they looked like. The horses struck me as being overly large, but why not give them a try.

The box contains five poses, of which two are carrying rifles (one firing and one holding gun) and three have wicker shields and melee weapons. The mounted firing poses is in the "useless or silly pose" category, but the rest of the poses look nice.

I painted two of the figures yesterday and was really pleased how they looked painted. I bought four more boxes today as a result. The horses, while big, look very elegant and graceful and they were a joy to paint.