Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Beja Shields

Finished three more figures today. Two more riflemen for my fourth unit of Beja, who will be an ambush type unit in crouching poses, and another camel mounted tribesman.

Decided to do the shield on this one differently. I had been copying the painted ones on the Peryy website which had a sort of star effect on them. Real Beja shields were more uniform in colour however. I think I overdid the contrast on this one so will tone it down for the next ones.

I have now based another nine infantry which will finish my third unit of Beja. I have now painted 53 infantry, 3 camels and the command group. Not bad progress.


Giles said...

Excellent post. I also came to that conclusion about the shields shown on the Perry website - they didn't seem to match pics and photos I'd seen which show the shields as just plain, battered, brown/sand coloured things.

The painting on the Perry site is ace, but you have to be careful. Some of the AWI figures have real howlers (reversed colours on the coats of musicians in "royal" regiments, for example).


Anonymous said...

Brilliant photo of the Beja shield! Where did you come upon it?

I think for the painting of figures, it's all a matter of where one gets the source material. A very good inspirational book on colonial warfare is Howard Whitehouse's "Battle in Africa." The Dervishes on the front cover have the star pattern creases on their shields. http://www.principlesofwar.com/miva/ merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=BIA&Category_Code=PG
I know I have seen the star shape somewhere else too in a modern color painting of Beja warriors.

It would be interesting to read or see the source of that artist's interpretation. From what I understand the tribesmen used different materials to make the shields...perhaps one of them produced the star effect? Or it could be fuzzy history (no pun intended) where innacurate sources are copied and thus create new incorrect sources that validate and corroborate each other.

I must admit that my source is the 1939 Korda version of the Four Feathers where the shields appear very plain. Too bad there weren't more cell phone cameras available in the 1880's.

The Perry miniatures inspired me to reenter the Sudan theatre. I enjoy your blog and look forward to more.

David S.
Minnesota, USA

legatushedlius said...

The Korda film is as close as we will get to being there! Shot on location with real tribesmen using their real native costume it's as good as it gets!

Geir said...

Hate to be a spoilsport, but the shield on the photo looks like rusted metal to me. Maybe they used rusted shields in battle if nothing else was available, but judging from my old Ford Escort it wouldn't be much in the way of protection. I would assume they were either bare metal or painted in whatever sort of paint you could get in the desert.

legatushedlius said...

More likely to be metal from an old Toyota pick-up, in the Sudan, rather than a Ford Escort. The British might have used Ford Escort plating to supplement the fact they weren't receiving the body armour they were promised.

Jersey Lew said...

The shield is pretty accurate the colors do vary from shield to shield depending on condition most were made from rhino hide. I have two 19th century shields which are from the Somalia/Sudan region Along with a number of sword,spears and daggers from the battle at Omdurman and Khartoum. How can one post pictures on this page?


legatus hedlius said...

Very interesting! Only I can post on this page. If you have any pictures/info I'd be happy to post them for you.

send to sudanblogspot@yahoo.co.uk