21 December 2015

Azara concludes...but not without some modern day hiccups!

The Hussars earn their salt!

Well it has been much longer than I would have anticipated in terms of updating the blog with the events of the battle of Azara.  However modern technology conspired to make the next, and final instalment, a brief one.

Having played the game out and taken many photographs over two sessions, it appears the concluding myriad of images have been corrupted in some modern way which this poor Luddite was unable to fix.  Suffice to say that though the game was great fun, the images are never to be seen again.

Oh well.

I will add in some shots of the game that have survived and then give a bit of a summation of events at the end of this all to brief post.

Camels and Fuzzies in the rear - however the screw gun played its part

The column continues their advance towards Azara

The forces are starting to split and that could prove hideous.  These lads were to dish out a fair degree of pain upon the
pursuing enemy forces especially the hordes of camelry they consistently threatened the rear without ever closing 

Fresh Mahdist cavalry arrive on the flank

The battle was an intriguing one which could well have proved disastrous for the Imperial forces if not for some very poor reaction tests from the locals and some even worse melee roles from the same.

The precious surveying equipment was recovered in part however so the mission was deemed to be at the very least a muted success.  However the team of engineers and surveyors were not to be found and local intelligence from one Lieutenant Faversham indicated that they had not met an evil and final fate bit had been moved to a nearby village.

One thinks a fresh game with a new camera may well be in order.


2 November 2015

Action at Azara - Part one

"No sign of those blighters Smythe?  Roll the lads on then my boy"

The past few weeks have seen the ongoing adventures of the Reconaissance Column under the command of Colonel  Ben and his second in command Lieutenant Colonel Alexander as the come to terms with the dangers that the Sudan can unleash upon the unsuspecting.

As you will recall,  Suakin High Command have been tasked with helping local and British Civil authorities to help construct a rail link between Trinikat and the outlying regions. A line is already in place from Suakin however activities in the west have curtailed progress for a time.
Having sent off three companies of Sudanese Infantry as well as a company of Kents', the engineering officers and surveyors have not been heard of for over two weeks. To make things more intriguing, the Gunboat Sapphire which was dispatched a week ago has also not been seen or heard from.

The column takes off with the Yorks and Lancs to the fore electing not to scout the rough terrain ahead
It is essential that the War Office knows what has happended and most importantlt that vital and valuable surveying equipmemt is recovered so as not to hold up work in the field.  To have to send to Cairo or even worse, Europe, for replacement gear would be dissappointing to say the least.

So the good old chap General Graham has sent off  our two intrepid lads with the following forces:

  • Yorks and Lanc - A, B & C Companies
  • Kents                  - A, B, C and D Company
  • 3rd  Dragoons (dismounted)- Two equivalent companies
  • "C" section - RA - one screw gun
  • Naval Escort - one company plus one Nordenfelt gun
  • 19th Hussars - 1st Squadron

An early surprise as Mahdist rifles reveal themselves

Early in teh piece our Imperial Comm anders know they are entering hostile teritory.

The Yorks and Lancs immediately are surprised by a hail of small arms fire as 200 marksmen make their presense felt. 
Despite their enterprise a -3 on their fire roll made the initial volley reasonably ineffectual

With a stout determination the Yorks and Lancs returned fire and the ensuing reaction test from the brave Mahdists called for them to withdraw out of range.  However the Nordenfelt decides to have a crack at range and succeeds in jamming the gun with sand and debris.  That will need some cleaning fairly rapidly I would imagine gentlemen.

A small force of Fuzzy Wuzzy warriors appear up ahead

The crack of rifles brings the field to life as some enemy appear from various points on the table, not in large numbers mind, however enough to demonstrate to both Ben and Alexander that some mischief has befallen the previous two expeditions.

Skirmishers are sent off ahead of the column

A force of Fuzzy Wuzzy warriors, their hair stiffened and high and look incredibly fearsome, observe that the first ambush has not been successful and decide to retire of the field to regroup and wait further instructions.

This may well lull our two commanders into a false sense of security perchance.

The Naval Escort and Hussars see what they can do to assist the situation...interesting little rise over there chaps...anyone having a look at whats on the other side??  

Thought not!

Camels appear in great force to the rear of the column

The 19th Hussars quickly turn to face the impending threat

The screw gun turns about to see what it can do to allay the threat from the camels

The Dragoons wish their horses were at hand as they also turn to face

We do like these figures in their boaters.  Better unjam that gun me lad!

A small Fuzzy Wuzzy force awaits reaction dice to determine what they will do.

The naval escort elect to face the enemy as well and all the while desperately attempting to clear the gun.

The Mahdist marksmen have rallied around the oasis and look on for further targets

And so as this instalment ends we find the column under some pressure early from local forces loyal to a yet unknown Emir.  The drums have not yet started to beat which would infer that the full forces of the Ansar are at hand just yet.

Colonel Ben has a strong force of Mahdist's Camels to the rear which need to be dealt with and already his formation is under a fair degree of harassment.

What will happen next?


16 October 2015

Set up for the weekends game...

Looking down the table towards the Imperial starting positions

It has been far too long since the Sudan figures and boards have been out upstairs so this weekend will be a milestone.  Both my sons will play the part of our British commanders and this can be a refresher in time for a larger game with some new players to the Sudan from the club scheduled for before Christmas.

Hope the scrub has no surprises!

The scenario should be an interesting one.

The High Command have been tasked with helping local and British Civil authorities to help construct a rail link between Trinikat and the outlying regions.  A line is already in place from Suakin however activities in the west have curtailed progress for a time.

Having sent off three companies of Sudanese Infantry as well as a company of Kents', the engineering officers and surveyors have not been heard of for over two weeks.   To make things more intriguing, the Gunboat Sapphire which was dispatched a week ago has also not been seen or heard from.

Bit more gloss varnish needed for those rivers methinks.

Even though the river runs the length of the table, surprises can still pop out!

Suspecting foul play, General Graham has sent off a small column to see what is going on, rescue anyone who may be in distress and most importantly, retrieve that all important surveying equipment.

Stay tuned for updates over the weekend.

6 August 2015

Sudan rules back in stock, new figures to base and some advice on the deck!


Some basing work that starts tonight!
  First up please accept my apologies for the lack of posts on the "Through the Desert" blog in recent months.  Those of you who have been following my gaming exploits on the "Through a Whiff of Grapeshot" blog would see that I haven't been the lazy so and so some of you may have assumed I have become!

Our clubs Waterloo celebrations and my role as the President of the Napoleonic Wargaming Society required just a bit of a prioritising through March, April, June and July.

However the time has come to get the desert juices flowing again and see what we can do to add to the collection.

Firstly can I say that the third printing of "The Sands of Sudan" is now complete complete.

If you know anyone who may be interested in grabbing a copy please pass them onto this site.  The Australian dollar is as low as it has been in five years so probably never a better time to grab a copy:

"The Sands of Sudan" Rules, laminated Quick Reference Sheet and the deck of Random Event Cards.  AUD40.00 plus AUD18.00 worldwide postage and packaging.

Email me at : carlopagano@bigpond.com to order.

The new addition to the deck for explanatory purposes

Talking about the deck, we have printed an additional card as seen above which helps answer a few queries about how best to use them when playing your own scenarios and games at home or club.  I have included it here so anyone who grabbed the first edition can have a look just to make sure they up to speed on what the intent of the "Random Events" are within the structure of the battle.

Some very diverse figures awaiting some tender loving care and action on the table.

Those of you who have been following my blogs for awhile realise that cricket is a great passion of mine.  Ashes cricket is close to heaven as far as I am concerned and a tour of England even better still!

The plan is to try and knock off the Royal Marine Light Infantry resplendent in their grey trousers and tunics with white helmets and webbing whilst we Aussies are endeavouring to knock off this 2-1 deficit after the disaster at Edgbaston!  More runs on the board lads, more runs.

Fuzzy Wuzzies seeking a base, some sand and a bit of British sticking practise.

Connoisseur artillery crewmen alongside Fred Burnaby from Redoubt - all ready for some treatment.

Hopefully we can very much get quite a few of them based in the next week and then get into the scenario and campaign book that has been on the cards for quite sometime.

At present I am seeking some guidance from Sudan wargamers across the globe to see if they would prefer another print version or one in a pdf format.  If you have an opinion, please let me know.

With promises of another update within the month, enjoy the hobby, lets hope we win the toss and make a few on day one.


9 May 2015

Old Gilder figures from the collection

Beautiful Sudan British Infantry from Connoisseur

 Apologies for the lack of posts in the past two months.  The focus has been on getting copies of rules out (a big thank you to all who have ordered rules so far!) as well as getting my tasks completed for our club Waterloo commemoration game.

I thought that this would be the ideal time to photograph some units that I acquired many years ago.

Close up as the Colonel leads his men by exemplary example.  Steely determination methinks.

 I had the good fortune of timing a business trip to England with a weekend in Scarborough attending the Austerlitz weekend re fight at Mike Inghams and Gerry Elliot's wonderful WArgames Holiday Centre.  Attending on the weekend was Chris Cornwall who at the time had been up only a few months before, the agent for Connoisseur in the UK.

Wonderful and practical style of painting on these figures.  They do look tremendous.

Chris very kindly offered to drive me back to London and mentioned he had some castings still in stock as well as some painted units that had been used by him for adverts in Miniature Wargames and Wargames Illustrated if I wanted them.

I leapt at the opportunity and Chris, always the gentleman, let me have them at a very, very generous price.

This firing line pose is a favourite of mine.

According to Chris they were actually painted by Peter Gilder many years ago however he also told me that many units out there were "allegedly" painted by Peter but in fact done by a veritable team of painters in order for projects to take shape rapidly and quickly.

As they appeared in the advert.  I also have the Nordenfelt and the screw gun.

These take pride of place and though only two companies strong, still get the opportunity to serve for Queen and Country on many occasions.

Till next time...and I promise it won't be so long.

25 March 2015

"The Sands of Sudan" rules sell out - but reinforcements are on their way...

The camels are waiting patiently for the rules to arrive back from the printers and then
its top speed off to the Post Office for mailing!  "Can you see anything coming down the Nile Gordon old chap?".
  Well if you told me when I started this project that the rules would sell out within three months of being published I would have said you had sand in your head...literally!

However that is exactly what has happened.  On the back of some excellent word of mouth between the wargaming fraternity and some additional publicity at Cancon in Australia (our big wargaming weekend) and through Miniature Wargames, the first print run is simply a memory.

Never mind though as another print run is due to be delivered this week and ready for immediate dispatch.  To all those patient souls who have paid and await the rules apologies for the additional time taken to get them out.  I have added in a explanatory "How to prepare your deck" card in the Random Events just to further clarify how to use them to their very best effect in your games.

A copy will be loaded up on the blog as well for those who received the first print run.

Will keep everyone posted on further developments. 

13 March 2015

The Sands of Sudan catches on...

A shot showing Nathans "The Sands of Sudan" rules being used for Zulu Wars

One of the most satisfying aspects of bringing together the famous Gilder Sudan rules has been the photographs, links, comments and blogs where gamers from all over the world have sent through details of their projects and work.

To be a small part of the resurgence in wargaming the Sudan, along with other publications such as Black Powder, Sword and the Flame, Science versus Pluck etc. is sensational.

I thought it would be a great opportunity to show off some of the fine blogs from some very talented wargaming folks from all four corners of the wargaming world.

Firstly the very famous Lonely Gamers site has a cult following amongst the hobby and Nathan is a friend as well.  He has played games not only in the Sudan but also adapted the rules to fight the Anglo invasion of Zululand.  As most of you are aware the plan is later in the year to produce a Sudan Campaign set of rules as well as the first adaption of the "Sudan" to be able to play Zulu Wars alongst with a dedicated Random Event Card deck as well.

In the meantime check out Nathans work at :


Nathans Zulu game can be seen here:


Stephen Dix at the Norsey Gamer is really cracking away at his Sudan battles:


Graham C is building his Sudan force in 15mm and it should be spectacular.  Graham is extremely well known around wargaming circles as the fine proprietor of Crann Tara Miniatures and his talent knows no bounds as his blog will attest:


Though there are no Sudan pictures on his blog yet, be assured his work is sensational and we are all looking forward to his first battle report.

Andy Lawson from Legendary Wargames in Yorkshire has a seriously wonderful Sudan collection and his their new blog promises to have many photographs of the collection in coming months:


Now lets talk about someone with a serious megalomania problem...and I say that in the most endearing fashion possible.

Dave Doc is single handedly painting every Connoisseur figure ever cast since Peter Gilder was in short pants.

Check out the uprising at:


Please keep on sending through photographs, stories, anecdotes and plans as I enjoy all my correspondence and promise to reply to each and every one.  In fact the fear may be that you keep on hearing from me!!

1 March 2015

Mahdist Commanders in the Sudan - Perry Miniatures

The Chosen One in all his glory 
I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to post some pictures of some Sudan Commanders for the Mahdists that I have recently based.  These are all metal figures from the excellent Perry Miniatures Sudan range and the detail on all of them is particularly exquisite.

Love this figure - looks suitably menacing with his sword over his shoulder.

Leading on the brave Hadendowah is this beautiful Commander from the range

Rearing on its hind legs this particular commander is a favourite

Osman Digna himself.  The character is full of the details that one sees in the famous photograph of him following
his capture by the British. 

I will post some slightly older Mahdist Commanders later in the week including some favourites on foot from the Connoisseur Range.

27 February 2015

Naval Brigade Commanders for the Sudan

Lovely figure full of character and certainly a naval air about him!

Just a quick post today to show the wonderful figures available from other ranges you may not always consider when looking for figures suitable for the Sudan.

The figure above is a lovely, characterful mounted officer from the Empress Miniatures range.  Beautiful sculpt and looks the part commanding my Naval detachment and Nordenfelt gun and crew.

Can never have enough officer figures with facial hair!!

25 February 2015

Perry Miniatures Sudan Commanders

General Stewart in the Perry pack is my Regimental Colonel for the Buffs.

Perry Miniatures, the world renowned manufacturers of some of the best wargaming figures in the universe,  also have a sensational metal and plastic range of figures for the Sudan.

What I have used so far are some of their lovely personalities to represent some more commanders for the various units in the Imperial force.

These horses are majestic.  They look like good, thoroughbred English stock!  Probably wondering what happened to all the grass they were galloping on last month!

Perry General Graham doubling as one of my Artillery Battery Majors

Binoculars in hand seeking good ground with minimal dead space and maximum firing arc no doubt.

Wolsely with undress coat - another Regimental Colonel, possibly of the Scots Guards.
 They are lovely, detailed figures and a pleasure to have on the table.

Over the past few months I have been very fortunate to see some wonderful armies being raised for fighting the campaigns in the Sudan.  So many wonderful manufacturers are out their in a variety of scales - Perry, Essex, Old Glory, Connoisseur Miniatures and Redoubt in 28mm as well as Peter Pig (G'day Graham), Essex again and even some old Minifigs.

Wonderful stuff!