Sunday, August 14, 2022

Oh Dear, What Have I Done Now?


Egyptian Krupp gun mounted on a G Scale railroad flatbed car.
Heritage Camerons provide some support.

Click on all images to enlarge

I was looking at one of Dave Docherty's pictures of his 28mm Sudan game (aren't those Perry figures wonderful?) and noticed that he had a train, tracks and various workers laying new railroad track in the Sudan. So naturally the thought of adding an electric train to my 54mm Sudan Project started whispering in my ear (do it! do it! you know you want to). Here is a link to Dave's fine blog One Man And His Brushes .

Carlo Pagano offers another outstanding Sudan blog:    With Pyjamas Through the Desert . Carlo is the author of the "Sands of the Sudan" rules, which have their origins from Peter Gilder's Wargames Holiday Centre.

Both of these blogs are a must see if you have an interest in the Sudan campaigns of the 1880s and 1890s. The modeling and creativity of both men are truly inspirational.

Dave Docherty's Sudan game at Partizan this year.
Dave is the source of much of my Sudan inspiration.
(Photo by Dave)

So I started an investigation of train scales and sizes that might be compatible with 54mm and 60mm toy soldier figures . It turns out that "G Scale" is a very close match to my Sudan figures. G Scale is the largest size of model/hobby trains and it is often used for outdoors track setups in one's garden.

Yesterday I visited a local railroad train hobby store to get the lowdown on G scale versus O scale (the next size smaller). I brought several wargame figures with me to see how they looked with the two different scales. G scale was the obvious winner, so I bought four sections of railroad track and one LGB flatcar so that I can put them on my game table and see how they look with my 54mm figures.

Take a look for yourself:

And these:

The Egyptian artillery crew and Krupp gun are from the Britains "War Along The Nile" range of 54/60mm figures for the campaign to rescue Charles Gordon at Khartoum. The Cameron Highlanders are from a company called Heritage, if I recall correctly. Another company called Little Legion also makes suitably sized figures that are similar to the old Trophy of Wales figures. It looks to my eye that all of my metal toy soldiers look perfectly at home with the G scale railroad rolling stock. The 54mm Armies In Plastic figures look a little on the small size, in so far as the cars are high above ground, but I think that they will work as they look just fine standing on the train models.

Well, if I'm going to have an electric train set on my game table, then I certainly must have it in working order. Fortunately, track can be set up in a "point to point" arrangement so that I could have a straight line of track going down the length of my game table. It would look a bit silly to have an oval layout on the table and the extra track would take up too much space (as if the train models don't take up a lot of space). 

The rolling stock and engines are approximately 12-inches in length so I think that a maximum of 3 to 4 cars is more than enough. I would need the locomotive engine, a coal tender and a flat bed car to carry track and ties or armed with cannon or Gatling Guns to protect the train.

I would have to decide on a brand of rolling stock to use. LGB track can be used with nearly all G scale trains. I'm told that the problem is that one brand of cars may not be compatible with the other brand in terms of hooking up the cars together. I've kind of narrowed it down to either LGB or Piko trains, both of which are made in Germany.

So am I going to add a train to my Sudan campaign? What do you think?

Painting Update:

I finished 10 more Haddendowa warriors over the weekend and now I'm started on 16 Sudanese infantry in the service of the Egyptian Army during this period. Check the running total of new figures painted for this project in the upper righthand corner.


  1. The idea of a railway looks cool, but potentially expensive! Normal OO locomotives and rolling stock are expensive enough, I can only imagine what G scale is like....good luck!

    1. There are some deals to be found on eBay. I’m not going to go crazy on the investment.

  2. A train, it had to be done really, didn't it.
    Looks like a lot of fun.

  3. Now that looks stunning Jim. This 54mm “madness” of yours is just what I love and what makes the hobby so wonderful. Following with intent interest that’s most certain.

  4. A train sounds like a lot of fun. You will need to find a poor damsel to tie to the tracks though - a good objective for a timed game. :-)

  5. Oh wow! That looks stunning, but I bet it's not going to be cheap!

  6. Welcome to the world of trains :). I have G scale trains to play with.

    Some pic links that may be useful for reference

    LGB/Piko (and Bachmann) standard couplings do interlink OK; need a more European feel to the train so suitable choice.

    Wagons probably did not have a small brakeman cabin; however pick up what you can get that is most suitable (a bit of Ebay looking may be fruitful). The loco is the big ticket item.. probably best would be: Bachmann's Lil Big Hauler 0-4-0 which can be found on Ebay, see here...


    1. Thank you Allan. Lots of good information here. Glad to hear that I can interchange the cars and engines. I like the look of the Bachmann engines and there seem to be some decent prices on eBay, depending on the condition. I'm going to see if I can remove the brakeman cabin and maybe paint the flat car.

  7. Glad to have helped inspire Jim.. I am going to enjoy watching the rail line expand . Great opportunity for scenarios

    1. Yes, I'm looking forward to the train scenarios. Now, about that observation balloon...

    2. A few hours work - and all scaleable I reckon !