Empress 1840s New Zealand Wars Māori and colonial figures

My 28mm Māori warriors brandish their weapons in the face of their British and colonial opponents during the Northern Wars in New Zealand during the 1840s.   I’ve now finished basing the first eight Empress Miniatures figures I painted, and have also added a further eight figures to the complement (click on the pictures below to see them more clearly):

Māori chiefs and warriors, including a female warrior (far left), Chief Kawiti (third from left) and a wonderful portly warrior (far right).  Note the ferns and tussock – typical Kiwi plants.

Māori warriors, including the famous chief Hone Heke (second from left) and a conch blower (third from left).

Soldiers and officers of the 58th Regiment of Foot (the Black Cuffs).  

Civilians and uniformed militia.  The gentlemen on the right is painted in the uniform of the Magistracy Police in Kororareka during the early 1840s – it was pure chance that this figure matched the uniform (which consisted of a top hat and a white coat with black armbands carrying small brass badges). The Magistracy Police were not normally armed with anything more than a truncheon, but I’m sure in a Māori raid they would’ve grabbed something a little more effective.

I used heavy galvanised steel washers for the bases.  These seem to have taken my automotive black sanding primer paint well, and give real heft to the figures.   I can’t recall if galvanised steel is magnetic or not – if it is, then I have the bonus of being able to attach these figures to magnetic sheets to transport them.  

Basing is my usual combination of PVA glue and a mixture of various types and colours of beach sand.  On top of this I have glued patches of flock and static grass.  I gave them a New Zealand feel by adding clumps of nylon tussock grass and some ferns.  The latter are laser-cut paper railway scenery products from Noch.  The Noch ferns, although only HO/OO scale, are actually much too big to decorate individual figure bases, so I have snipped off the ends and used only those.  I also repainted the ferns, as I found the paper colour too vivid.

9 thoughts on “Empress 1840s New Zealand Wars Māori and colonial figures

  1. Fantastic, love the results on the Maori Warriors. Mine are coming along slowly but have also decided that a few silver ferns will give it a more authentic new Zealand feel. I’ve gone for etched brass, which will be a new departure. If it ok with you I will definitely be drawing my inspiration from you figures.

    All the best,


  2. Fantastic Roly. Ferns look really good. Also love the look of the greenstone Meres. Yes, the steel washers will be able to be used with magnets or magnetic sheet.

  3. Hi Roly – very nice as usual. I saw on Lead Adventure Forum someone had painted some of those Empress Militia figures as Texicans. Very versatile figures.

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