Tuesday, 21 July 2020

First Painted Perry Miniatures Beja. And kit bashing too!

Perry miniatures, Plastic Beja

OK, these are not the really the first Perry Beja that I have ever completed. I did manage to get eleven done half a decade back with what felt like a very laboured layering technique. It simply took me way too long to get enough miniatures onto the table top for anything short of a very small skirmish game. Time to chance tack!

I have been inspired one again to get back into the Sudan after a hiatus of what must be more then five years. The culprits/inspiration? A combination of Kevin Calder's Up the Nile rules and Mark Hargreaves excellent Painting 28mm Wargaming Figures, The Mahdist Wars 1881-1885 both available from Caliver Books. Both come highly recommended. Up the Nile has a real Boys Own feel and is attrition based for firing and combat. It's a simple but very elegant system that after only one read you will have absorbed the rules and be ready to play. I cannot speak highly enough about Mark Hargreaves miniature Painting book/s. Upon completing his Sudan book I immediately ordered both of his World War One Eastern Theatres "How To" books which are actually even more interesting than his Sudan book! 

These Beja were painted at some speed. As mentioned above, having painstakingly painted up 12 using a six tier layering system I can remember thinking that there was no way that going at that particular speed was going to do the job. Not if I wanted numbers on the table!

Beja From Five Years Ago: 

Beja Unit Using the Many Layers Technique:

For the speed painted route I used a mix of VMC Cammo Black Brown as  a base followed by WF Dark African Flesh A, then B on some the highest points of the facial features and then the hands and toes. As time was of the essence I eased off on using C (the lightest highlight) unless it was necessary,  They really took no time at all and if you take the gloss varnishing and matt varnishing out of the picture then they were completed in one sitting of about four or five hours. Not bad. Good job too as I have literally hundreds of them to finish! I'm going to be mixing in the plastic miniatures about 50/50 with the Perry metals from their excellent range.

The vast majority of the Beja wore the Toba,  adopting small irregular coloured patches around 1884 (The Battle of Tamai). I have chosen to leave the patches out for this unit which will be 30 strong. I may well add a few for the next block of 30 so I can mix and match as appropriate for whatever battle/year I choose to fight.

I chose two WF triads to paint their Toba's those being Bleached Bone and Buff Leather respectively starting with the darker tone from each triad. The Bleached Bone was then given a quick wash of Citadel Sepia ink and the Buff leather one of a mix of Citadel Agrax Earthshade and Sepia as this tone was darker and called for a deeper contrast. I;m going to be doing a lot of experimenting with earthy ink washes as I want to achieve a varied set of tones and it might very well lead to some interesting discoveries. In fact, I've just taken delivery of a set of Vallejo Game Colour inks that have some interesting inks that can be either mixed together or added to the Citadel washes.

The kit bashed models:

Shortly before painting up the models above (along with seven metals which had the misfortune of needing a gloss varnish layer (this is not necessary on the plastics as they are far less prone to chip) I did a bit of kit bashing.  

One model had a hand modelled to look like it was loosely holding onto the sword and scabbard as he charges in wielding his spear.

The odd sword/spear was removed, a very fine wire pin put through hand and both the business and butt end of a throwing stick was added.

The last kit back was the one that took a little bit of planning as it was based around the two arms attached to a rifle. The rifle was very carefully snipped then filed so that only the hollowed out hands were left on the arms. The hands were repositioned, pinned with fine wire a natural look to holding the scabbard. The scabbard was taken from the sprue in one piece and slid into the hands. Any mistakes and gaps were then filled with the polystyrene cement which makes a wonderful filler. Just add a little at a time until any gaps have been filled and one cannot tell the difference between what was plastic and what was cement when undercoated.

Another with shield added in place of the weapon carried in the left hand


  1. Looking good, great conversions, I have a similar AZW project in the doldrums! What cement are you using to take advantage of it’s gap filling properties

    1. It's just Revel. I think the secret to filling the gaps is just to add it layer by layer letting it go off in between applications. It worked for me :>)

  2. great work on those Darrell - I got mark's book too as i'd love a Sudan collection and speed painting Beja is essential.
    cheers, Simon

    1. Thanks Simon :)

      Did I tell you I have an Afghan horde on it's way to me at some point too lol.

      Interesting times :>)

  3. Superb. So much better than my efforts with the same figures.

  4. Splendid, outstanding details and great poses!!

    1. Thanks Phil- more tomorrow when the varnish has dried :)

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Paul. More tomorrow. They just need one more sprinkling of matt varnish.


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