Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wargames Factory Plastic zulus review

Hello all,

A year or so ago, Wargames factory released zulu war 1879 British in 28mm in Plastic. I already had some 28mm Eureka metal british infantry painted up for a future zulu war game when I could find the pile of money I would need to put together the 300 odd zulus I would need. So the appearance of plastic brits obviously lead to the next question when are the plastic zulus coming?

Well they have finally arrived, and when they finally arrived here in Oz I grabbed the first pack I came across. I was in wargamming heaven, the possibility of playing the zulu war in 28mm without taking out a 2nd mortgage to buy the figures was now a reality.

The following is my review of these figures.

Firstly, value for money. You get 30 figures with lots of weapons. You get throwing spears (assegai) and stabbing spears (iklwa) , clubs (knobkerrie) , antique percussion muskets and captured martini-henry rifles. There are 30 cowhide shields and enough heads to do the zulus as unmarried or married (with head ring). The price works out around the same price of 15mm figures.

The plastic revolution has gripped the historical wargamming world with Wargames Factory, Perry Brothers, Victrix and Warlord games all bringing out superb products but to me they all have one annoying trait... too much variety and options.

I know this may sound a bit silly but these products offer lots of equipment, heads, hats etc options and separate arms as well. More options than you could poke a stick at, however once you choose the different options, clean up the parts to remove flash etc and then glue it all together it takes ages. I would personally sacrifice a little variation so that I could get painting them quicker.

Anyway I sorted my figure options and cleaned the parts up and assembled the 30 zulus. I made one unit (10 figs) unmarried and 2 units of married. I decided to make my zulus pre-isandlwhana so they only had a few percussion muskets among their traditional weapons.

My first criticism with the plastic zulus. No bases are supplied with the figures. I ended up sticking them on Games Workshop round bases and using war of the ring movement trays. I would have liked some plastic bases like are supplied with the warlord games ECW range.

Here are some pictures of the assembled zulus:

Once I had assembled the figures I was a little dissapointed with them. Firstly the arms seemed to be a tad short, and the arms had a couple of poses which meant the shield was held akwardly.
The zulu heads sit pretty low on the shoulders giving them very short necks and looking a bit like ex english fast bowler Gladstone Small. The hands for the weapon arm are badly sculpted so that the hand doesn't look like it is grasping the weapon tightly. Lastly the shields have no hollow cavity where the fist should go so that it looks like the hand is holding the shield. I had to get out my dremel and grind cavities in each shield so the fist went in properly.
I then sprayed the zulus and movement bases black and drybrushed the movement trays and bases with GW bestial brown, snakebite leather and bleached bone.

I recently bought some of the army painter "miracle dip" stain varnish and I have tried it out on a few sample figures with good results. I wanted to get these zulus painted quickly and decided for a basic paint job followed by a coat of army painter stain ( don't dip it, paint it on with an old brush) . The zulus were painted with games workshop acrylics. I used bestial brown for skin, snakebite leather for spear shafts, knobkerries etc. loin cloth was snakebite leather and bleached bone, spear heads were boltgun metal. I suggest you paint the zulus before attaching the shields as it is a lot quicker. Once the shields are attached I painted on the stain varnish and then once dry, gave them a good coat of matt varnish (very important to get a good result using the army painter system).

And ta daaaa! Here they are zulus "thousands of em!"

Once they were painted and set up en masse I have to say they look very good. I was quite surprised how well they came up compared to my opinion of the assembled unpainted figures.

I just need to add some flock and static grass to finish them off. 30 zulus down, now only 270 more to go!!

So in conclusion, I think I would give the plastic zulus a 7 out of 10. A few annoying things about the design of the figures, in particular the shields but they paint up very well and at such a reasonable price I will be buying a lot more of these for my zulu war games. In the future I would probably add just a few empress miniature zulus for chieftains, commanders etc for a bit more variety.

I hope you enjoyed the review.



Thursday, September 3, 2009

Canvas Eagles dogfight latest.

Hello all,

Here are some pictures of the last game played in our NWA Canvas Eagles campaign. The game was a Fighter sweep mission with three Germans ( Fokker DR1, Fokker DVII, and Roland CII two seater) versus 3 Brit Sopwith Camels.

The game was quite bizarre. The British had an early set back with the first Sopwith Camel shot down by the Roland on turn 4. I was flying a camel and suffered some nasty damage in two separate head on encounters with the Dr1 and DVII. I tried to make a run for home but my son flying the DVII chased me down and put me into the dirt. 2 down for the Brits.

At the same time as I was shot down the Fokker Dr1 and Roland had a mid air collision in their eagerness to shoot down the last camel.The Roland survived but the Dr1 fell apart and crashed to the ground.My son in the DVII was flying back to his own line being very low on fuel but managed to get a burst off at the last remaining camel sending it into a spin from high altitude from which it never recovered.

With the British wiped out the Roland limped home. My son flying the DVII and out of fuel, fell one hex short of making it back to his own lines and crash landed in no mans land suffering a minor injury.Unfortunately for him he was taken prisoner! So out of the 6 players on the night 4 were dead and 1 POW!!

My son is leading the campaign with 4 kills, but his plans to become the first ace of the campaign has been dealt a savage blow as he faces a long stretch in a English POW camp hoping for a prisoner exchange.

The game was a lot of fun.