Sunday, June 14, 2015

Ruga Ruga

Spot of formation dancing on the porch. 

These chaps are Hat Models Ruga Ruga from the box of the same name. These guys existed between about 1800 and the Great War and were essentially mercenary soldiers who served tribal chieftains, similar to the Scots-Irish Gallowglass in that respect. Their defining characteristic was skill with firearms and they made their way serving as guards for the caravan trade. 

You can read a bit more about them here

The huts are cut down plant pots. I got a stack of 10 for a euro and they do very nicely thank you very much. I'm all about the high speed low drag approach to terrain. 

From the front. 

These guys were dealt with as follows. 

1. Quick run through in the dishwasher to clear any grease. 
2. Base and then give them a coat of PVA. 
3. Let the PVA dry over night and then spray undercoat in Army Painter Brown. 
4. Wash the whole figure in Army Painter mid tone ink straight from the bottle. 
5. Paint the robe white and then wash with another colour. Add a highlight if time permits. 
6. Paint the gun and add hair to taste. 
7. Dry brush a white highlight onto the base, add static grass. 
8. Spray varnish. 

And the rear. 

These came along very quickly, I did them in between more demanding figures and knocked out the lot in a couple of hours split over a few evening. They will no doubt do good service protecting my porters from similarly armed young chaps. 

I intend to use these with The Sword in Africa small unit TSATF variant for African exploration games. The problem has been finding some opposition, my afghans will do for Arab slavers and so on, but there was a distinct lack of general tribesmen that weren't Zulus. 

I had a bit of a brain wave and had a look through the Ancients section of Plastic Soldier Review. Both HAT and Ceasar do biblical era Nubian figures who look close enough to 19th century African tribesmen. I reckon they should do the trick. 


  1. Have played the Africa version of TSATF and it gives a excellent game - with a slightly different feel to the Colonial one , Tony

    1. It might be a little while before we get to it - but I think it might be worth giving a punt. I might have to see if I can find a box of that airfix Tarzan set.

  2. Conrad Kinch,

    Very nice figures and an excellent paint job. Well done!

    If you can find some generic 'man in loincloth with spear' or 'man in loincloth with sword' figures they would probably be ideal for non-Zulu African tribesmen. No a solution for the purest, but better to be wargaming with something that looks about right than not wargaming at all.

    All the best,


    1. I think the problem is that there is so much wonderful stuff for the Masai, Azande, etc in 28mm that the 1/72 chaps feel a little inadequate. I'm sure my chaps will do the business. Thank you very much for your kind words regarding the painting. More serviceable than anything else.

  3. Effective, looks good. Bases have always been my weak point - must admit, never do them well. Quite a few Ancient figures work well into the 'modern' period though I go the other way - have been known to use Zulus as various Ancient Kushite/Nubian tribal levies.

    1. Thank you very much. I went and had a look at some of your ancients. Also followed your blog while I was there, remiss of me - should have done so long ago. My apologies.

  4. Did I read that correctly, you washed them in the dishwasher? No problems with heat / warping?

    1. No problems whatsoever - just make sure there's nothing pressing on them. Otherwise they come out degreased and ready to go.

  5. Very well done! I too would be interested to hear how the dishwasher worked; I've heard about this technique before with plastics (and have raised my eyebrows in astonishment) and on a certain level it's obvious it worked just fine, as your figures look splendid, but like Monkeyboy I'd be interested to hear any tips. Do you put them in the cutlery compartments?

    I'm really enjoying reading about your forays in TSATF. Keep up the great work!


  6. Thank you very much old chap. With regard to the dishwasher, I just leave them on the sprue and drop them in with the rest of the dishes. So long as there's nothing pressing on them, there are no warping problems.

    I'm enjoying TSATF. I'm looking forward to giving the Zulus a go, I imagine they'll give a very different feel to the Pathans.

    1. Thank you for the response, old boy. Very good to know. And I beg your pardon for that sentence of mine above: typing fast whilst chugging old claret is my excuse, and I'm sticking with it. (Grabs pith helmet and exits blushing, nonetheless)

  7. The Ruga Ruga (such a fun name, I would play them every time in a game if only to say Ruga Ruga loudly while my imperial opponent was thinking and prone to distraction) look very good. Nice domiciles behind them.
    I may have something for you along this line. Watch your email.

    1. Now that you mention it - it is fun TK say.

      I shall abide my soul in patience with regard to the other.

  8. Good to see you doing some Colonials. You are getting far too good at this painting 20mmm thing. Maybe there is something to be said for over specialisation! Really like your Bill and Ben huts.

    If you are stuck for different opponents for your British how about looking at some of HATs Almoravid range. They would be perfect for the Hausa Caliphates in Northern Nigera and Chad as would many of your buildings. Another reason would be Lugard’s campaign against them had some fantastically turned out native chaps in almost Zouave pattern uniforms complete with jangling johnnys. Go ahead Google search Jangling Johnny you won’t be disappointed.

    Another source of suitable figures would be some of HAT’s Sassanid range. Many of the poorer quality infantry (especially the Archers) look suitable for “Man who would be King” style Kafiristan forces.

    Finally HAT’s Numidian Cavalry mixed with the Infantry and Camels on show in your last report would make suitable Baggara Arabs or Somali Raiders.

    I strongly recommend the Foundry Colonial Africa books, a better read is hard to find. Especially if you want to do some more "mainstream" colonial conflicts. Like the Portuguese conquest of Fernando Po or maybe the Germans in the Pacific!