I’ve been making some slow but steady progress on my colonial New Zealand Wars project, having painted eight more Māori warriors and eight militiamen over the last couple of weeks.
They’re all from the wonderful Empress Miniatures range of 28mm figures for the New Zealand Wars (or the Māori Wars, as some call them) of the 1840s.
Firstly, here are the eight warriors. Half of them are armed with muskets, whilst the others have the double-barreled shotguns that were very popular with Māori warriors in this period. They called the shotguns ‘tupara’ (based on the Māori pronunciation of the English words ‘two-barrel’).
I don’t try to paint the intricate tattoos with which Māori warriors customarily adorned their faces and other parts of their bodies. I did try once, but the results looked too clunky and crude. So I think it is better to ignore them, as the skin is quite dark anyway.
The background is a mixture of trees and ferns from a range of sources, as well as a couple of sections of scratch-built palisade.
Empress have had a pack of militia figures for some time, but recently added another pack with a mixture of civilian hats. This gives a suitable ragged look, I feel. I’ve painted them in a mixture of grey and blue shirts, but all with the red-striped trousers they obtained from British army stores.
I plan to base all these figures on sabot bases, similarly to how my friend Brian Smaller is basing his Zulu wars figures. I’m currently getting some pricing on such bases from the same New Zealand company he uses, Dopey Dog.
Finally, as a little sideline project, here is an unfinished progress shot on a couple of “ladies’ I’m working on. These were an unexpected gift from my good friend Scott Bowman, who had a spare pack, and obviously felt my troops needed some female company!
An intriguing painting project, to say the least. I still haven’t decided what colour to do the older madam’s dress and hair. But her … ahem … assets have come out quite well.