I hope it will become evident why the title of this post is the thin blue and red line but it’s also a nod to the movie The Thin Red Line, which I wasn’t a fan of, and also the comedy tv series called The Thin Blue line which I was a big fan of.
Well worth a watch.
It must be the fact that I reached a milestone, turning 40, that I’m feeling quite nostalgic lately.
The other day I published my debut post on a pirate project I’ve been planning for a couple of years. Loved pirates as a kid and was introduced to them via the movie and book Treasure Island.
Another movie that stood out when I was a boy was the iconic and classic “Zulu” (1964) based on the battle of Rorke’s Drift. As a kid all I cared about was the action and that Zulu’s were the bad guys and the red guys were the good guys. Obviously over time and with reading more and more about the historic battle and the massacre at Isandlwana beforehand I’ve learnt that the zulus were far from the bad guys. Still, it was incredible that 140 British troops and 11 colonial troops stood firm up against about 4000 Zulu’s. Wow. That’d require some big bloody balls. Every inch of you would want to turn and run but they did the opposite. Now the movie would have you believe that they were singing and making jokes haha but I highly doubt that was the case. I think there would have been a lot of praying and maybe even some heavy drinking for a bit of courage.
The movie has always been a favourite of mine and the best thing about it is the whole “last stand” thing. I’m borderline obsessed with that concept. It’s why I love the story of The Alamo too. Whenever I’ve played video games or with soldiers I’d always want to be up against crazy odds. It didn’t matter if I lost or won it was all about being the under dog. The second best thing about the movie/event were the uniforms of the British. They were very British haha. Arrogant and pompous. Bright red coats and white pith helmets. Not exactly camouflaged haha. The uniforms along with the Zulu warriors left a lasting impression and for a very, very long time I’ve wanted to build a diorama of the battle of Rorke’s Drift. I’m yet to get to that point BUT I have finally painted my first 24th foot inspired miniatures albeit for the 41st millennium hehe.
I first saw the Praetorian Guard from games workshop in the 90s and, because of my love for Rorke’s Drift, fell in love with them. I never got around to buying any and then, back in 2015 when I was drawn back into the hobby, I went on the hunt for them. After picking my jaw up off the floor when I saw the pricing I decided to shelve the idea. An original box of praetorian Guard was going to cost me at least $500. The money wasn’t the issue but the justification to my wife and myself was haha. A little while later I discovered Victoria Miniatures and found out she was local (Adelaide) AND she had a range of 24th foot/Praetorian Guard – esque miniatures at reasonable prices WooHoo! As is my way (easily distracted) I still didn’t get around to acquiring them until recently.
So, finally, after dreaming, pining and planning, here are the first few models, from the command squad, I’ve painted for my 31st Praetorian Guard Army.
This post is in honour of Rorke’s Drift which took place 140 years ago TODAY.
Colonel Mad Mitchell (a nod to the British soldier Colin Mitchell. If you don’t know anything about him I urge you to look him up. He’d carry a broadsword into battle during World War Two). Can you see his Medal? Gold with blue ribbon. I made it from green stuff putty. It’s the smallest thing I’ve ever made from green stuff haha.
He was was the first I painted but I actually made him a while back. I made the crutch from a spear, not a Zulu spear mind you.
Corporal Dalton. A name from Rorke’s Drift, although he wasn’t a corporal. I didn’t want to have an exact Union Jack but I wanted somethink linked to the Brits for the flag so the good old Saint George’s Cross worked well. Plus it was a lot simpler to paint haha.
Private “Keen Eye” Kelly. Sniper.
In the command squad there will also be a Sergeant Frank Bourne model and I’ve just ordered an original Praetorian Guard model from eBay who will be Captain Chard.
There will also be two infantry units but that will be all for this project.
I also finished a Leman Russ Battle Tank for the Stouthearted 31st Praetorian Guard and it’s the first time I’ve ever used “decals” for a model. The “31” on the turret are the decals and were easier to apply than I thought. Nothing too special but it gives the tank a little something. I went for dirty white for the bulk of the tank hull but wanted to add in some red and blue to go with the overall British-esque theme. I really enjoyed painting this tank and its driver, Commander Bromhead, haha.
Happy Rorkes Drift Day. I hope you enjoyed the start of my Prateorian Guard Army.
A special mention goes to Alex from https://leadballoony.com and his very own inspirational Praetorian Guard army he calls The Dauntless. Look up the dauntless on his page. His steampunk tanks for the army are a real stand out!
Oh and remember…