I know what you were think, you thought I’d given up on my Rorke’s Drift project. I can’t blame you for thinking that because my track record for finishing projects (especially big ones) isn’t great haha.
Have you seen casualties of war starring Michael J Fox and Sean Penn? It’s brilliant and probably my favourite Vietnam War movie.
My casualties of War are to do with that famous battle engagement back in 1879 though.
Believe it or not only seventeen defenders of Rorke’s Drift lost their lives in the battle. Quite remarkable really especially if you compare it to the events that unfolded at isandlwana earlier the same day.
Sadly, there were many more losses on the Zulu side. However, as already mentioned in part 2 of this project, many of those casualties were slain after the battle by the vengeful British.
I sometimes wonder how much longer the defenders could have held out? Ammunition was severely depleted by the end so they would have, eventually, resorted to hand to hand combat only. Even though it is said that the Zulus feared the long bayonets affixed to the Henri Martini rifles of the Brits I still think the Zulus superior number and hand to had fighting prowess would have made light work of the red coats.
So really, it was only because the Zulus (so called savages) showed mercy and respect for their adversaries and left the battlefield that the Brits claimed victory.
I think the Brits were lucky to survive.
Now that’s not to say that the defenders didn’t put up a tough and brave fight. To face off against thousands of zulus must mean they had balls of steel in my opinion.
I decided to paint one casualty, per side, for my Rorke’s Drift project for two reasons.
1. To sort of pay homage to both sides of the conflict.
2. To trial the colours and techniques I will be employing for this project.
I’m not entirely sure who died first, on the British side, that fateful day and there’s no particular reason why I’ve chosen this bloke but here he is.
Fagan, John. Private. 25B/969 B Company, killed in action 22 January 1879.
Unfortunately I don’t have a list of the Zulu warriors that died but I decided to call this poor chap…
As it, ironically, means “Peace”
To be honest I felt confident with painting the British trooper because of my experience with the Praetorian Guard, but I was a little worried about getting the Zulu skin just right. I’m really happy with the result though.
They were both a little tricky to photograph but I hope you can see what I’ve done with each of them.
One more thing…
I wanted to recommend a film to you all. It’s a classic from 1984 and based on true events.
It’s The Bounty, starring Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson. Also starting a young Liam Neeson, Daniel Day Lewis and that dude from Men Behaving Badly.
I saw it as a little tacker and enjoyed it back then but as an adult I enjoyed it even more so.