Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fuzzy Wuzzy...

I seem to have been bitten by the painting bug, so, pushing my luck I've been racking up some painting points while I'm still keen... With nothing to hand to paint last night I quickly under-coated enough Dervish troops to make up an additional two bases of sword & spear armed Beja, or Hadendoa, troops.

These are the first Hadendoa to join my Dervish forces as all the rest are Ansar, so all the more welcome for the variety they bring.. they are the guys immortalised by Kipling as "Fuzzy Wuzzy", nicknamed for their elaborate hair styles, but universally admired by the British soldiers of the time for their brave fighting ability.

The most famous of the Hadendoa leaders was Osman Digna, a former slave trader. He joined with the Mahdi shortly after the battle of Tel el Kebir, and his army operated mostly around Suakin on the coast. Osman and his troops have the unique reputation of being the only Dervish troops to break a British square which they did at the battle of Tamai, but despite this, Osman was unable to win the battle.

As arguably the Mahdi's best general, he was largely responsible for the fate of Gordon & Khartoum, and the loss of the Sudan to Egypt. Despite losing an arm at Suakin he went on to serve the Mahdi to the end of the war, was captured, imprisoned, and eventually died at the age of 90 in 1926! Not too bad a life...

These figures are 15mm (naturally) and this time from the Peter Pig "Patrols in the Sudan" range..

"We've fought with many men acrost the seas,
And some of 'em was brave an' some was not:
The Paythan an' the Zulu an' Burmese;
But the Fuzzy was the finest o' the lot.
We never got a ha'porth's change of 'im:
'E squatted in the scrub and 'ocked our 'orses,
'E cut our sentries up at Suakim,
An' 'e played the cat an' banjo with our forces.
So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;
Yore a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man;
We gives you your certificate, an' if you want it signed,
We'll come an' 'ave a romp with you whenever you're inclined.
" - Kipling "Fuzzy Wuzzy"


The sailing season may well be coming to a close, but the summer down here in the south of England is gripping on by the skin of its teeth, and so yesterday found me out on the boat for a n afternoons sailing, in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, despite it being the second week of October! Winds were westerly (with just a little south in it) and I guess force 3 predominantly, though there were a few agreeable gusts to keep you on your toes...

Beautiful afternoon with little motoring (except the last bit to get home) and another first as this was the furthest I'd poked my nose out into the Solent all summer as I rounded the Eastoke mark before turning for home..

I think I'm ready for my first big trip now, and to get more prepared I've even started shopping around for GPS equipment smileys. I strongly suspect that it's not going to happen until next year (simply not enough time left this year) but it's something to look forward to over the winter... the first trip I'd like to do is to the Nab Tower [click here] (pictured right), for no other reason originally than that I've always fancied seeing it (!), but I now understand that there is a second reason, as it also has a military heritage... more on that when I get there (and more importantly get back!)

Distance: 10 miles (125 miles year to date)
Wind: Force 3 occasionally gusting force 4.


  1. Great figures, Steve, and I really like the way you've done the basing as well - those chunks of rock are very effective.

    Best wishes


  2. Great stuff Steve, I always like the information and background you provide to the good looking figures.
    Also I'm glad to see you went with nice sharp pointy bits of rock rather than smooth pebbles like some. desert rocks are sharp because they're shaped by wind not water (making them smooth).

  3. Lovely stuff!

  4. The figures look really good and I really enjoy the poem, I may have to memorize it for a toast one day.

  5. Fuzzy Wuzzies you can't beat them! I've now painted 120 of the 300 I need, sigh!

    Agree about the bases. Excellent!

  6. Congratulations on your inspiring Sudan blog; it's set me off and I've now got some Essex and Peter Pig figures to get me started. However, before I get much further I need to sort out basing and rules. I've downloaded the AWI rules and applied to join the Old School Wargaming site for the Peter Gilder bits but Pony Wars seems to be unavailable so is there any chance of a copy of your rules?

  7. Rob - welcome to the heat and dust of the Sudan....!

    Contact me through the OSW group and I'll send you a set - I should war you that they are in a perpetual state of change though they are nearing some level of steadiness...

    It's mostly down to trying to fill the gaps Mr Gilder left us!

    See also the following - I have already registered an interest... :o)