Hot off the painting desk, here are my first eight 1840s New Zealand Wars figures from Empress Miniatures.
The first four figures depict some of the Māori characters in Empress’s range. They include one of the basic warriors, another rather portly Māori warrior, the elderly chieftain Kawiti, and (of course) Hone Heke, wearing his oft-portrayed merchantship captain’s hat.
It is hard to detect in this photo, but I have indicated the tattoos on the faces with pencil. This has come out very subtle indeed – possibly even too subtle, some might say. But I am concerned that anything darker will look wrong, as it would be too hard to do justice to the full facial tatoos of those times.
The second four figures I’ve painted are two privates and two officers of the 58th ‘Black Cuffs’ Regiment. I love the characterful faces (not too successfully reproduced in these photos). The uniforms are quite simple, but did still take me a while to paint, as it took some work to get the straps looking right. This is because Empress (like Perry) sculpt straps of realistic thickness, unlike those of other ranges such as Front Rank, where the straps are more exaggerated in depth, but are therefore more simple to paint cleanly.
I am particularly pleased how dry-brushing a light touch of mud colour to the bottom of the trousers and shoes has given the figures a nice campaign look.
The last photo includes the plastic bell-tent that Empress threw in to our order – a nice touch. You can also see some of my other Empress figures waiting on the sidelines for their turn to face my paintbrush.