Another army that I really like: the Imperial Chinese with a few Boxers added in for good measure. This is another army made up of figures from a painting service and, again, I can't remember which service it was or even who the figure manufacturer is...I think it's Irregular, and I think that it was their in-house painting service, but I'm not sure.

 The great thing about the Imperial Chinese is how unrelentingly rubbish they are! A loss can be greeted with a shrug of the shoulders and no shame, a victory can be celebrated as an incredibly impressive achievement, especially as they are usually fighting much smaller but much better armies from France or Britain. I think the trick is not actually to engage the enemy at all ("the art of fighting without fighting") at least until you can get close enough to overwhelm them through sheer numbers. Oh, and don't tell the Boxers that their lucky amulets don't work very well!


Imperial Bannermen


"Buy your lucky bullet-proof amulets here!"


My French figures have fought throughout the nineteenth century from the Crimea through the Franco-Austrian War, the Maximillian Adventure in Mexico, the Franco-Prussian War right up to the Boxer Rebellion in China. Obviously some of the units are specific to specific campaigns (the sombrero-wearing Marines for Mexico, for example) but I've never worried too much about getting exact representations.

The figures are almost from Freikorps: a manufacturer that I used a lot for my 19th century European armies. Must confess that I don't even know if they still exist now (if only we had an easily accessible source of the world's knowledge!) but I used to pour over the catalogue for hours on end.

These are still painted in simple block colours style, but are an improvement on some of my earlier work. I will eventually get around to highlighting them and flocking the bases which, I think, will improve them no end.


Line Infantry

Troops for Colonial Service

Line Cavalry

Guard Units

Artillery & Supply


The Prussians: a small but perfectly formed army!

Small because the rules we play work on a points system...and the Prussians, with their breechloaders, big units, Guard troops, excellent artillery and cavalry etc. tick all the boxes for maximum points values and, as they have shown many times, are very well formed indeed.

Most of these figures aren't actually mine: all except the Cuirassiers and Dragoons belong to a friend who used to be a regular part of our wargaming group. They have, however, lived with me for so long that they are part of the collection in spirit if nothing else.

If I remember correctly, the figures are all Freikorps 15s, with the possible exception of a few Essex Napoleonic command figures.


Prussian Infantry

Prussian Cavalry & Artillery


Partly inspired by Flashman at the Charge, partly inspired by the 1968 film The Charge of the Light Brigade, my Crimean War British army are a mixture of models bought painted and the best painted models I've ever done.

It's a powerful army: three excellent battalions of infantry backed up by  "the finest light cavalry in the world". Add in the often forgot Heavies and artillery and it's a very good match for my hordes of Russians.

Infantry Brigade

Light Cavalry Brigade

Other Troops


I've always been fascinated by the Crimean War: one of the last few classically 'Napoleonic' wars before technology changed things again.

My Crimean Russians are a nice little army: solid battalions of drab-coated infantry commanded by glittering officers, supported by equally solid masses of cavalry and hordes of Cossacks. Although most of the army is painted to the standard I was achieving at the time, the officers and Dragoon Guards show that I was reaching for more.

The figures are mostly Essex, IIRC, with quite a few Minifigs thrown in, and one unit from Irregular. Confession time: the Hussars were bought painted at a Bring and Buy, and the Don Cossacks were painted by the Irregular Miniatures painting service. All the rest are my work...and I do love the Dragoon Guards!


Line Infantry

Line Cavalry

Artillery et al.



My Mexican Juarista army is one of my absolute favourite armies from my collection of nineteenth century figures. Nicely painted, full of character: a wonderful mix of uniformed line infantry, less well-uniformed line infantry, and Mexican peasantry.

Another confession: I didn't paint this army either. Obviously feeling flush, I paid for this army to be painted and based for me...although I have added a few bits and pieces over the years.

The Juarista's have fought the French invaders many times, sometimes successfully, and have also swooped through history to fight the Americans and Texicans in earlier wars. A great excuse to showcase a range of appalling accents as well!

Command & Elite Troops

Line Troops

Line Cavalry

Artillery & Tail

Peasant Infantry

Peasant Horse

Odds & Sods

The Stage


My Later British armies were the first 15mm figures that I ever painted...and it shows! They are simple block paint jobs, no shading, no washing...and those eyes!

I look at these now and almost cringe...but then I remember that no-one starts out a genius painter: it's something that has to be learnt, like any other skill. I might be able to paint a lot better nowadays (as I said, to the point where these make me cringe) but everyone has to start somewhere. These serve as a good reminder of that. And, anyway, a quick wash and then a couple of highlights, and these would fit right in with my later efforts.

The army is split into two parts: those in mainly red jackets and based on 'grass'; and those mainly in khaki and based on 'sand'. Almost all the figures are from Essex Miniatures.

For South Africa

For the Sudan & North West Frontier


I had forgotten how much I like the look of my Egyptian troops until I got them out of storage in order to photograph them. I think it must be something to do with Jon Courtney Grimwood's Arabesk trilogy, but I have a soft spot for troops in fezs!

My Egyptian force consists of two brigades, with each brigade having the same composition: three battalions of infantry, a squadron of cavalry, and a couple of guns. 

These days, as I don't play much 19th Century at the moment, my Egyptians will probably find themselves proxy-ing as Libyans for my Operation Compass games...but at least they'll be on the table!


1st Brigade

2nd Brigade


My 1879 Zulu Wars Zulu army was the first army I ever bought pre-painted. It must have been sometime in September or October 1987, and I had my first 'proper' job in an office on the Grey's Inn Road.

I had just decided that 15mm colonial gaming was the thing for me, and had started painting up some British troops for the Zulu War: Essex figures if I remember correctly. Anyhow, up the road in King's Cross was a wargames shop called Gamers In Exile, now sadly  departed. I remember it as a cornucopia of painted armies for sale, one of which was the Zulus that form the bulk of what you see below.

The Zulus have been well worth the money I paid for them (£300 IIRC). I only wish I knew the name of the person who painted them so brilliantly so that I could give him a credit here.

Command Figures

Core Troops


The Mahdists, or Ansar if you like, are one of the earliest 15mm armies that I actually painted myself. Fresh out of university, determined that 15mm 19th century gaming was what I wanted to do, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a beautifully painted, second hand Zulu army, and then painted (badly) a whole lot British figures to fight them. Once they were done, and I'd had enough of Brits vs Zulu games, I decided that the next conflict to model were the various Sudan campaigns.

I'd also heard about this marvellous new painting technique called dipping or washing, where you roughly painted a figure (phew!) and then covered it in brown wash or magic dip. This I could manage, so away I went and produced the figures you can see below. 

Now almost thirty years old, you can see how dark they are: at that time I didn't know the maxim "paint 15s one shade lighter than you would anything larger" that has recently seen me in good stead. The finish I use has also darkened over time. But, as I said, at the time these were the best figures I'd ever produced. You can also see how I've more recently added some command figures that are painted with highlights rather than wash: good to see how one's painting technique improves over time!

Main Infantry Force

Skirmishing Infantry

Mounted Troops


Guns & Train

The Mahdi & an Emir


A small but perfectly formed army representing a United States army force for the Spanish-American War of 1898, although they have been used to fight Mexicans in 1840 and Native Americans throughout.

Another army that I bought rather than painted up myself. I was at Warfare in Reading when I spotted this big box of figures in the Bring-and-Buy. Now I'm not normally a B&B kind of person (I prefer to paint my own or buy painted from new) but the box was full of the army below and a Spanish army for the same period (c.f.). This was too good an opportunity to miss: as the sheer obscurity of the theatre was enough to suggest that one would never come across anything like this again.

I think the figures are from Freikorps. I did need to re-base them (surely the worst job in the world!) but that was a small price to pay for troops to fight in such a "splendid little war" (US Secretary of State John Hay).

Command & Supply Chain

1st Brigade

2nd Brigade

Cavalry & Artillery