RORKE’S DRIFT

My interest in the Zulus goes back to my childhood.  At some point I came in contact with this warrior society that reminded me of the Indian tribes of the American Great Plains.  Looking back, I remember searching for the book The Washing of the Spears for years (This was decades before the Internet made everything easily available.), and, even as a kid, I was not unaware that the great Indian victory at the Little Big Horn and the Zulu victory at Isandlwana were only three years apart.  Both were victories of warrior societies over European-style armies, and both victories led to the ultimate defeat of the victors.

My Rorke’s Drift Gallery is not an attempt to capture accurately any particular moment in the battle.  It is an effort to portray the defenses established at Rorke’s Drift and the basic look of the two confronting forces.  The majority of the figures are by Old Glory, but they include figures from Essex and Minifig as well.  I completed this grouping approximately fifteen years ago, and so my memory is not absolutely clear on where all the items were obtained.  For example, I think that the buildings and mealie bag defenses are by Hovel, but I’m not sure.  The mealie bag redoubt is something that I scratch built as is the case with the outhouse and the cookhouse.  The water cart is something that I put together from odds and ends of things I found in my odds-and-ends box.  I assume we all have one of those boxes.  The wounded figures being help by fellow soldiers (whether British or Zulu) are conversions from figures by Old Glory (mainly from their Civil War line) and Battle Honours.  The figure combinations in hand- to-hand combat are also conversions from Old Glory’s Civil War range.

I have long since forgotten where I got the wagons or the stone walls used for the two kraals.  I have had the foam hill pieces for years and have no idea who manufactured them though I am sure that someone is making something better today.  One set of trees is the same I used in the Samurai Gallery; the other group of trees is the first I ever purchased; I bought them more than thirty years ago, and I have no clear memory of the manufacturers.  Once again the ground cover is indoor-outdoor carpet that I purchased for this purpose more than twenty years ago.  The background murals were painted by my daughter who also took the photos.  I used Osprey’s Campaign Series #41 entitled Rorke’s Drift 1879 ‘Pinned Like Rats In A Hole’ as my source for the overall layout. The table it was displayed on is 5’X7’.  My Rorke’s Drift collection consists of about 700 or 800 figures.  I guess I used about two-thirds of them in this gallery.  Following the recommendation of the Perry twins, we do all the photography outside in the backyard.  I began setting up a 10:30 a.m. and finished with the photography and take down about 1:30 p.m.  That has been pretty much the case with all four galleries I’ve done so far.  I expect that more time will be involved when I do my galleries involving Napoleonics, Aztecs and Conquistadors, the Sudan, and the American Civil War because those fours are more complex.  Hope you enjoyed the gallery.

I ended this gallery with a bit of poor taste that I titled “After Battle Report.”  I hope it brought a smile and not offense.  The figure “mooning” the camera is a Peter Pig figure I converted from American Civil War to British colonial .  I hope the overall experience of this gallery was enjoyable.  These are among my favorite figures.  The childhood bond is a strong one.

Rorke's Drift