Friday, August 5, 2011

Soldiers of the Queen

I have gone through a number of phases with my on again, off again love affair with the mid to late Victorian colonial era. I received my first two figures as a gift. A fellow gamer, Joseph Lappin, had gone on a summer pilgrimage to the old country, and when he returned he presented to his friends in the local gaming club two figures. One was a hills-man and the other, a member of Her Majesty's Forces. One of the two figures I received still survive in my collection, sans bayonet.

Colonial Highlander (painted I think by John Saranic)

In the first incarnation in the early 1980s I built a small force of British and Zulus with 15mm Mike's Models. I based 4 figures per stand, and I don't even know what rules I had in mind. Nor do I know what became of the figures. About the same time I picked up two packages of either Ral Partha or RAFM colonial Egyptian Infantry for sale at a local Halifax gaming store.

Egyptian/Sudanese Colonial Infantry

I decided that I wanted to increase the scale of figures I was using. About the same time ESSI came out with both British Colonial Infantry and Zulus. I bought three boxes of each and spent a summer painting. They were the last soft plastics I painted, but they allowed me to run a good number of the Sword and the Flame Colonial Skirmish games.

The ESSI figures were retired and sold on eBay. Part of the proceeds were able to cover the cost of two boxes of the Space: 1889 Soldiers of the Queen. These troops were sculpted by Bob Murch, and produced by RAFM for GDWs Space 1889 RPG.


Soldiers of the Queen First Company Forming Firing Lines.

I know I am going to take some heat on these figures. The colour is wrong, the facings should be on the collar and not the shoulder straps, etc, etc, etc...I admit that I am not a historical purist. Like the song goes, " Wargamers just want to have fun." I look at my figures as toy soldiers to be played with.  In that, my armies succeed.

Soldiers of the Queen, 2nd Company
(notice different colour painted on the washer)

I have had these figures for a while and I cannot say that they are a new project. But recently my interest in the colonial period has been stirred. I won at auction, 20 British Colonial Lancers, which are my current painting project. I have been meaning for some time, to finish the bases of Her Majesty's Forces. In addition to the two boxes of Soldiers of the Queen, I purchased a NW Indian frontier force that was for sale about 5 years ago. At the time it was a very good investment (cost vs already painted) and it filled the spot that was open due to the sale of my plastic Zulus.