|From Armies of the Nineteenth Century: Africa - Central Africa by Chris Peers (p112)|
Saturday, 8 October 2011
Darkest Africa Nkonde 
My gaming nemesis Jon has decide to revive his long lost Darkest Africa project, with a fledgling but no doubt potent Arab Slaver force for Nyasaland. I've always wanted to paint up an army for In the Heart of Africa but haven't taken the plunge despite collecting at least half a ton of figures. However, now that I have a potential opponent, it would be a great idea to crack ahead!
I'd been thinking about starting an army this autumn once the AK47 stuff was out of the way but had originally intended to build a French colonial force for West Africa. I don't have enough figures for this yet, although Artizan will be bringing some more out soon, so the switch to Nyasaland is no great problem. I have plenty of suitable figures for a number of armies that might fit the region but I've decided to opt for the Nkonde.
The Nkonde are covered by List 21: The Generic Villagers, so don't seem to be particularly exciting compared to more exotic or powerful options like the Ngoni, Masai or Hehe. However, they have a number of positive features that make them perfect as a painting project. They're also ideal as an opponent for Jon's Arab slavers, being the target of slave raiding expeditions for many years.
1. They are easy to paint, having virtually no clothes except a loincloth and no fancy headgear or
weapons (but see 7. below)
2. I have plenty of figures for an army including spearmen, archers, musketeers and baggage.
3. They can have a chief's bodyguard with feathered head-dresses, for which I have some figures.
4. They can have a witchdoctor. Cool!
5. They can be allied to a British force, should I decide to go off in a colonial direction.
6. They can have colourful war costume of red, yellow, grey and white faces, backs and legs (if I want to add a bit of colour to the army)
7. They have distinctive narrow rectangular shields, which I'd have to make but which would make them stand out the from the usual and give them a bit of identity.
8. They fought against the Matabele, which I have in the leadpile.
9. They fought with Lugard against the Arabs.
10. They were not 'great warriors' but were 'brave and warlike' which is good enough for me!
I'm planning to take a pile of figures with me on holiday to Cornwall in a couple of weeks time so that I can clean them up and base them ready for the start of the In the Heart of Africa winter project 2011. If I can get them painted up by the end of the year, I'll have cracked it!