The wonderful thing about our North Star 1672 range is that the figures will do for many different nations armies in the period 1665-1680. This is
because it is a time just before uniforms, and the figures are all dressed in the fashions common amongst soldiers throughout Western Europe.
This of course includes Britain.
The years covered by our range is called the Restoration Period in
Britain as it was the time the monarchy, represented by Charles II,
was restored after the English Civil War.
It was also the genesis of the British Army. Britain, tired of soldiers
and war, had disbanded much of it’s forces after the Civil War and
Oliver Cromwell’s reign. With the return of Charles II to England in
1660, the units still under arms swore allegiance to the King and
became the senior units of the British Army.
Some of the infantry regiments:
1st Regiment (Royal Scots)
2nd Regiment (The Queen’s)
3rd Regiment (The Buffs)
Painting the Ila
The most distinctive feature of Ila warriors was the
extraordinary hair cone or “isusu”, which was allegedly
designed to allow the members of hunting or war parties to
see each other over the tall grass of the Kafue floodplain. It
consisted of a short ponytail at the back, wrapped with cloth,
and a circlet of small feathers surrounding a tall pointed cone
made from plaited hair stiffened with a sliver of antelope
horn. Unlike the hairstyles of some other African tribes the
“isusu” was not permanent, but was usually worn for two or
three months before being shaved off. Feathers might also be
worn in the hair; black cock feathers or the long grey plumes
of the crane were popular for decoration, but others were
marks of skill or courage. Blue jay feathers were the sign of a
particularly brave man, while one who had killed an enemy
warrior or a lion or leopard was entitled to wear the metallic
green, blue or yellow tail feathers of the touraco.
A shell ornament, known as an “impande”, was worn either on
the front of the head or on the chest. Apparently most Ila men
originally went naked, but hide loincloths and cloth blankets
were coming into widespread use by the late 19th century.
Chiefs would substitute lion or leopard skins for the normal
brown cow hide, and might add a ruff around the neck made
from the mane of a lion or the greyish coloured hair of a
baboon, and smaller black and white striped zebra-mane ruffs
on the arms. Warriors painted their faces and bodies white for
war, often in varied patterns of lines and dots. The most
popular colour for trade beads was also white, and ivory or
copper bangles could be worn around the wrists and ankles.
An Ila Army for “Death in
the Dark Continent”
The Ila are covered in Army List number 16, “The Warrior
Herdsmen”, which means that they are all basically Skirmishers
armed with spears. However because of their fighting
reputation they are allowed to upgrade any or all of these to
Elite, which makes them a very different proposition from the
ordinary villager type. Most usefully, Elite Skirmishers can
initiate a charge into hand-to-hand combat, and as long as they
keep the initiative they are fairly effective in that role. They
should be able to sweep away ordinary Skirmishers and even
give a good account of themselves against Soldiers as long as
they can avoid getting shot on the way in. To do that, of course,
they need to take maximum advantage of cover, but as their
home terrain is Grassland and their aggression factor is 0
(which means that most games will take place in their own
territory) they should get plenty of tall grass etc. to conceal
their movements. Against Warriors like the Matabele and
Ngoni the Ila will have to try and keep at a distance and rely on
missiles, but they will be more mobile than their opponents,
especially in difficult terrain.
It is perhaps worth mentioning that this is an army which can be
completed with a relatively small number of figures. At 8 points
per base for Elite Skirmishers, and 2 men to a base, you can do
a 300 point army with less than 70 figures - especially if you do
what I do and include some bases mounting a single figure and
a lot of vegetation, to represent men hidden in ambush. Above
all it should be a fun army to use if you like manoeuvre and
dirty tricks rather than brute force and firepower - perfect for
ambushing unwary explorers - and I am looking forward to
getting mine into action.
Below. Chiefs would substitute lion or leopard skins for the
normal brown cow hide, and might add a ruff around the
neck made from the mane of a lion or the greyish coloured
hair of a baboon, and smaller black and white striped
zebra-mane ruffs on the arms.
Above. Warriors painted their faces and bodies white for war,
often in varied patterns of lines and dots. The most popular
colour for trade beads was also white, and ivory or copper
bangles could be worn around the wrists and ankles.