Monday, August 31, 2020

Scaling the Walls

Things look all quiet as morning dawns over the city of Khartoum in the Sudan

Well, maybe not so quiet after all. Here they come!


This week I will travel to Major General Pettygree's headquarters to play test the scaling of walls mechanism in his Colonial rules that we use for all of his battles. To that end, I made a few ladders that can accomodate the 1.5-inch round bases that I use for my Dervish soldiers.

Dervish riflemen rush forward to provide covering fire as the scaling parties run towards the walls.
The riflemen of the Red Banner fan out onto the plain.

Ladders are brought forward and the Dervish begin to scale the walls.

The Dervish find the vulnerable part of the walls, the artillery bastion.

"You there, pot that fellow"

One unfortunate crew man becomes the first Egyptian casualty as the Dervish crest the walls.

On another section of the walls, a desperate struggle begins.

Can the Egyptians fend off the attack?
Perhaps, as more Egyptian soldiers advance towards the walls to reinforce their comrades on the walls.
Major General Charles Gordon is on the rooftop of the Governor's Palace, looking in vain for the promised British gunboats that would help relieve Khartoum

Another view of the scaling of the walls provides a closer look at the ladders.

The ladder on the left was my first attempt, having a 2-inch wide rung
to accomodate the 1.5-inch round base of the Dervish figures. I have since reduced the
rung width to a more aesthetic looking 1.75-inches.

A view of two more wall sections that I constructed last evening.
They still need the floor decking to be glued and for the walls to be painted.

View of the new wall sections from the outside.
I have been gradually replacing the double decker walls with my own single deck walls.

The long view of Khartoum and the Dervish attack.

These pictures were staged to see how the Dervish would look whilst scaling the walls with ladders. The ladders accomodate up to three figures, which don't appear to be falling off the ladders. As I have stated in one of the picture captions, my goal is to replace all of the King & Country double decker walls with my own single deck walls, which I think look better and accomodate the use of scaling ladders in a game. Next on the list, another corner piece to place on the right hand side of the walls, as shown in the last picture above. I also want to make my own gateway and tower. The final building in the city will be the mosque, after which the building phase of the project will be finished.

Or will it?

I'm looking forward to hearing some of your comments, which is soothing to the soul of every blogger as opposed to the silent sound of crickets.

Wednesday evening is the official play test and will be my first war game since the pandemic started to grab hold in the United States. I will post a report of the test with some pictures, probably this coming Thursday.


  1. Wonderful pictures, terrific scenes of the siege.

  2. An amazing project, considering that these are all 54mm. I have some of the Britain's figures, which are superb.

    Good luck with the siege. Back in the 70s I was involved in a Sealed Knot muster at Gwrych Castle in North Wales, which involved scaling the walls with ladders – not easy trying to carry a weapon and having thistles and stinging nettles dropped down from the ramparts (rather than rocks and boiling oil!)

    My grandad fought the Dervishes at Gemaizah/Suakin in 1888 with the 1st Battalion The Welsh Regiment, so I have been following your progress with great interest.

  3. I am stunned by the beauty and complexity of the various scenes here. Absolutely wonderful stuff. Toy soldiery and wargaming at its best.

    Best Regards,


  4. This is a terrific project and the buildings have really brought it all to life. You've got me thinking about larger scale figures.
    I do like your new walls but I am a fan of the double decker walls especially from the inside; mainly because it's so unusual to see figures above ground level but not on the wall top. Would you consider making a couple of transition wall sections [perhaps with steps on the inside] so that you could neatly join the two heights of wall section? Your rapid progress in the building industry has been impressive and we're all looking forward to the mosque.
    all the best


    1. You’ve got some good ideas that give me something to think about in my urban planning.

      How does 54mm SYW sound?

  5. Great setup, the ladders are simple but work very well

    1. Yes, we did a play test of the scaling rules this evening and the ladders worked like a charm.

  6. excellent stuff mate, a great project!

    French Wargame Holidays

  7. I get the desire for consistency, but I must confess deep envy even as it stands - that is a smashing-looking table.