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: Coldstream GuardsGrenadier GuardsScots Guards1st Regiment (Royal Scots)2nd Regiment (The Queen’s)3rd Regiment (The Buffs)
PAINTING THE ILA
SpearsWhile I was cleaning the warriors up, I was deciding what and how many spears to give them. The Ila carry no shields but are often seen carrying numerous of their very long thin spears, at least two and sometime more! So it thought I would give them as many as looked good, and that was three for most of the models. Now that is more spears than comes in the pack so you will need to buy a pack of extra spears (NSS101 - 50mm long Wire Spears), but they will be useful for other project in the future. Fitting the spears proved less problematic that I expected, as all the models have good sized, well formed, hands and the spears are quite fine, so even carrying two in one hand wouldn’t be a problem for the diminutive Ila. I drilled out the hands with closed fists with a 0.5mm bit to receive a spear, and for the open hands I trimmed away the inside palm of the hand to give enough room for two spears. Once I was satisfied I had enough room I placed two spears in the hand and then carefully closed the fingers around the spears. This takes some practice; I use a blunt bladed sculpting tool to gently push the fingers into place. I then secured the spears in place with superglue. When you are gluing the two spears in place make sure you don’t get to much glue running between them and forming an unconvincing web of glue, remove excess glue with some toilet tissue. Where I could manage it I attached the spear to another point on the model, like the kilt, again using superglue. The models were then put aside for the glue to harden; I don’t use accelerators as they can make the superglue brittle. I then glued the models to a piece of scrap card ready for painting. UNDERCOATINGUndercoating is essential as it provides a consistent surface on which to apply the next coats of paint, and it shows up the detail on a model much more clearly than shiny bare metal.
BACKGROUNDThe first thing I did was take a good long look at the Ila. They are a fairly obscure tribe but quite a lot of very useful information does exist, mostly written by Chris Peers. In fact we also have a companion article detailing their history and background by Chris and even more information can be foundry in his book CENTRAL AFRICA, Tribal and ColonialArmies in the Congo, Gabon, Rwanda, Burundi, NorthernRhodesia and Nyasaland, 1800 to 1900. The other good thing about them is that they are very distinctive; your Ilatroops won’t be mistaken for anything else on the field of battle!The second thing you notice about the Ila is that they carry very long spears, but the first thing you notice is inevitably the hair! Both these things add up to unique looking troops and make them a worthy addition to any African collection. The other good thing from a painting point of view is that the senior warriors would often wear colourful cloth instead of the animal skins of the rank and file warriors. PREPARATIONThe first task with any model is to have a good look at it, see what you are going to have to do to it. For this article I am painting the pack of models NSA3002 (Senior Ila warriors),which has four noble models in good haughty poses. CleaningThese models required some “cleaning up” before painting. Using a scalpel and needle files I removed all the visible mould lines – these are the thin lines that run right around the model. Scraping the knife blade carefully along the mould line, as if you are peeling the skin from a potato, holding the blade at roughly ninety degrees to the surface. Finishing off the scraped surface with a small file to ensure that the area is all nice and smooth. As a final word on preparing models, please be careful when using any sharp modelling tools.