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The Death of Lt. Frith, 17th Lancers.
Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale Screenshot-20190305-200950-Gallery-181x240 At eZungeni, Zulu War of 1879" original painting by Hermanus Willem Koekkoek (1869-1929) (Isandula Collection)
Isandlwana & Rorke's Drift 22nd January 2019
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 Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale

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ArendH



Posts : 14
Join date : 2018-10-12

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PostSubject: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptySun Nov 11, 2018 1:59 pm

Hi everyone,
I am new to the Forum so I thought I would share my diorama project with you.

I am in the process of building a 1:72 scale diorama of the Defence of Rorke's Drift of 22/23 January 1879. The diorama is a little different in that it will consist of a number of scenarios at different times during the battle. The scenarios will be built on small perspex "plates" which can be removed to change the scenarios. The main base is 2.5 metres by 1.2 metres.

As you can imagine, there are a number of challenges in this construction, not least of which is the painting of 3,500 1:72 scale Zulu warriors! The use of plates for the different scenarios means that I can move the buildings around (Of course, there is a different set of buildings for each scenario and different figures.) to reflect the different focusses of the Zulu attacks at different parts of the defended area during different times of the evening and early morning. I am basing the modelling on the Italeri Rorke's Drift kit (including buildings) and the associated Italeri figure sets of the 24th Regiment and the Zulu warriors. I am applying "surgery" to the "useless pose" figures to extend the range of poses that I need. For example, patients in the hospital did not wear full uniforms and I need prone figures lying down and I need to modify some of the soldiers and Zulus into more active poses relating to the described fighting actions. I already have a stretcher bearing party and some prone patients.I have also tackled modifications so that I have a few extra figures in the Commissariat uniforms. (The figure kits have just two identical Commissariat figures crouching and dragging an ammunition box each.)

I have had to build a separate "Oscarberg Ridge" so that I can represent the impact of the sniping by the Zulus from the caves down onto the defended area. I will have an accurate vertical scale but will have to be circumspect and inaccurate on the horizontal scale to avoid the horizontal scale becoming to large to manage. There again, I am having to apply "surgery" to some of the existing Zulu figures to obtain a variety of extra poses to add some realism to the scenes.

If there is any interest, I'll keep you posted on developments.
Cheers,
ArendH
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SRB1965

SRB1965

Posts : 686
Join date : 2017-05-13
Age : 54
Location : Uttoxeter - the last place God made and he couldn't be bothered to finish it.....

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptySun Nov 11, 2018 4:16 pm

Hi,

It may be worthwhile looking at their other figures to see if they make anything you can convert into RD figures - perhaps the ACW ranges of the British/Sepoy set or look on e-bay for anyone selling part sets off.

In 1:72 simple head swaps or paint jobs may suffice (but of you're taking on a project of this size - you probably know that anyway....

Just out of interest - do you need 3000+ Zulu figures for RD? - OK so historically there were that many in the area but I doubt they all made themselves visible at any one time.

Maybe historically if Dabulamanzi could have coordinated a mass attack at all points, with his total strength - Michael Caine's first big break may have been another film.

Look forward to seeing photos of how you go on.

Cheers

Simon
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ArendH



Posts : 14
Join date : 2018-10-12

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyMon Nov 12, 2018 5:05 am

Hi Simon,
Thanks for your kind feedback.

Yes, I did look at other kits as well as Zulu warriors (Italeri No 6051) and British Infantry (Italeri No 6050). I found that with a bit of judicious use of a fine sanding bit on my Dremmel, I could could get some useful figures from British Infantry - Waterloo (Italeri No 6095) and British 95th rgt "Green Jackets" (Italeri No 6083). However, the two Waterloo figure kits need a lot of removal or superfluous clothing, kit and webbing and "rebuilding" using glue to fill moulding holes.I live in South Africa where obtaining specific kits can be very difficult, so I have to make do with what I can get "off the shelves". This is made worse by a South African postal service that is perpetually on strike and deliveries can often take several months, if they arrive at all.

Yes, I have done a number of head swaps using the helmet waving figures in Kit 6050. I found that just doing paint jobs on figures is not sufficient - hence the Dremmel work.

Your point about numbers is well taken. However, to create the realism of the sheer force of numbers, all the scenarios combined will need at least 3000, possibly going up to 4500, which is closer to the actually estimated numbers to have been involved. An important factor is that as the battle progressed, the piles of dead Zulus created additional barriers and probably aided the British defence. I am therefore including "body piles" in the latter scenarios on the perspex plates so I will need the numbers.

Agreed, over-confidence and lack of sufficient focused strategy could have contributed to the battle going on for as long as it did.

Thank you for your interest and valuable comments. Once I start "loading" the perspex plates, I will include some photos. If I can figure out how to load photos onto this forum, I will try and put up some shots of the test painted figures and the plates later on.
'Best
ArendH
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90th

90th

Posts : 9956
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 63
Location : Melbourne, Australia

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PostSubject: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1;72 Scale    Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyMon Nov 12, 2018 8:03 am

All the best with your project , I'll certainly be looking forward to seeing it's progress .
90th Salute
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ArendH



Posts : 14
Join date : 2018-10-12

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyWed Nov 14, 2018 6:09 am

Thank you. I hope to start posting photos shortly.
'Best
ArendH
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steve.333



Posts : 37
Join date : 2018-05-15
Location : New Zealand

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyWed Nov 21, 2018 6:05 pm

Wow - great project! Sounds like you are taking care of every detail. Just curious - why did you choose Rorke's Drift?
Cheers, Steve
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ArendH



Posts : 14
Join date : 2018-10-12

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyThu Nov 22, 2018 6:19 am

Hi Steve,
The big lesson I've learned is that there is always more detail that you need to make provision for! The project started several months ago but it was a good three months before we physically did any work. The preparation and research we did was extensive and is still on-going. A project of this nature also makes you realise how many differing views, perspectives and versions there are of different activities, actions, timings, involvement and locations of what seems, initially, to be simple statements of fact. One must find a middle path, particularly where there are conflicting views from authoritative sources.We continue to read, study, review and listen, even as we build.
Why Rorke's Drift? That is a long story. However, I had the privilege of spending time at Fugitive's Drift and was honoured to listen to Andrew Rattray (David's son) tell the story of Rorke's Drift during a golden sunset sitting on-site, inside the Rorke's Drift defensive perimeter. I was mesmerized by the visual images as the story unfolded. The only downside was the precursory comment to the story which was, "Ignore everything you see here because it was different at the time." So I decided that I would try and re-create what it really looked like.
I have built 1:72 scale models for decades. Coincidentally, I had bought the Italeri Rorke's Drift 1:72 kit and then I decided to build a diorama, built around the kit, and the 1:72 scale figures. We'll have to see if the final result matches the visual and mental ideals created.
Cheers,
ArendH
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

Posts : 7191
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 72
Location : Cape Town South Africa

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyThu Nov 22, 2018 6:43 am

Arend
If I had to offer some comments it would be firstly to explore Chards ORIGINAL hand drawn sketch, not the draughtsman prepared units and secondly invest in Neil Thornton's RORKES DRIFT.
Looking forward to seeing the results.
But lastly, Andrew, lovely man, is a carbon copy of his dad and delivers exactly the same way on his talks. Davids all time motto was "never let facts get in the way of a good story".

Cheers
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ArendH



Posts : 14
Join date : 2018-10-12

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyThu Nov 22, 2018 7:32 am

Hi Frank,
Thanks very much for your interest and advice.

Yes, my starting point was Chard's sketch, his two reports and the various survivors stories, both accounts and newspaper interviews. Also Bourne's comments and reporting made very interesting reading. My main hard copy sources have been:- "Rorke's Drift" by Adrian Greaves, Neil Thornton's 'Rorke's Drift: A new perspective", Mike Snook's "Like Wolves on the Ford: the Defence of Rorke's Drift" (I enjoyed this one as it was written by a soldier); "David Rattray's Guidebook to the Anglo-Zulu War Battlefields" edited by Adrian Greaves; and Ian Knight's "Rorke's Drift 1979 Pinned like rats in a hole". I am still waiting for Ian Knight's tome.

I am also redrawing profiles from the contours on the 1:50,000 ordinance map which is proving very helpful in getting my topography alignment correct (as far as possible).

Your comment on Andrew is spot on. Oxford-educated Brian, one of Fugitive's Drift excellent guides, gave a riveting description on Isandlwana from a Zulu perspective (his great-great grandfather was at the battle.) Listening to Brian talk about the various battle cries and the handed down stories was positively spine chilling.
Cheers,
ArendH
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

Posts : 7191
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 72
Location : Cape Town South Africa

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyThu Nov 22, 2018 7:36 am

The really interesting thing about iSandlwana and surrounds is that EVERY single person in the area claims to have had a relative in the battle. even a barman in a 'local' hotel bar claimed that, until it was pointed out that he was from Angola ! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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ArendH



Posts : 14
Join date : 2018-10-12

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptySat Nov 24, 2018 4:12 am

Mmmm, maybe he was from the Angolan branch of the family...

Seriously though, the importance of family links and the handing down of knowledge from father to son can, in my humble opinion,  never be underestimated. There will always be exaggerations, "Chinese whispers", and "fisherman stories" but every good historian and detective will tell you that by piecing together different accounts, comparing common threads (and even different threads), a great deal of useful information will emerge. I am a non-financial auditor by profession, and over the decades, I have learnt to ask the same question in different ways to different people and found out a great deal about the differences between policy and practice. Obviously, the further away in time one is from the actual event,the more the accuracy will suffer but, heck, life's not perfect.....
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ArendH



Posts : 14
Join date : 2018-10-12

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptySun Dec 09, 2018 5:19 pm

Hi all,
We have begun to experiment with ground cover, scenarios and painting. I put together a pilot "mini-scene" to get a visual "feel" of a very small part of the diorama (I called it "Rorke's Drift - Hold the Line!"), and to experience the practicalities of figure placement and securing, applying "surgery" to poses, and figure interaction. Here are a couple of shots for interest's sake.
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If you look carefully at the images, you might be able to spot the infantrymen who are taking time out to do a bit of aircraft spotting! Shocked  (It was a salient reminder that when posing figures, remember to adjust the leg angles if you intend to change the action of a figure - for example a running figure who is made to climb over a barricade needs leg adjustment for gluing purposes otherwise his head position becomes all wrong!)
Cheers,
ArendH
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ArendH



Posts : 14
Join date : 2018-10-12

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyThu Mar 14, 2019 10:02 am

Hi Guys,
Scenario 1, "Opening Overtures" is complete! See below a couple of "hot off the press" shots of the diorama. It is now displayed in the museum at the Fugitive's Drift lodge. Once i work trough the photos, I try and post a few others from different perspectives.
Kind Regards
Arend H

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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

Posts : 7191
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 72
Location : Cape Town South Africa

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyThu Mar 14, 2019 10:47 am

Well done Arend, look forward to seeing it on my next trip. Small point, the two wagons in the rear wall?
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ArendH



Posts : 14
Join date : 2018-10-12

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyThu Mar 14, 2019 10:52 am

Sharp eyed as ever!

We battled with sourcing appropriate scale 1:72 wagons and I couldn't find any. Consequently, I am having to scratch build two but I couldn't finish them in time. They will be slotted in when we deliver Scenario 2 later this year.

'Best
ArendH
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timothylrose



Posts : 46
Join date : 2013-09-07

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyThu Mar 14, 2019 11:39 am

HAT do both a British general service wagon and ox drawn colonial ones in 20mm plastics always worth checking Plastic Soldier Review to see what is about as the cover off 20mm plastics by era so list all available Zulu stuff - atb Tim
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ArendH



Posts : 14
Join date : 2018-10-12

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale   Rorke's Drift Diorama - 1:72 Scale EmptyThu Mar 14, 2019 11:45 am

Thanks for the advice Tim, much appreciated,
I'll certainly check that out. During my research, I spotted a number of "nasty little wagons" which were either too small to effectively use or had insufficient detail to be of use. There is a fair amount of useful pictorial and technical data on the wagons so its just a case of me getting down and finishing the scratch build.
'Best
ArendH
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