Having now finished the British force (except for the gunboat) I have moved on to the Arabs, who are the most numerically large of the various forces needed. The first unit I have finished is of 14 Wangwana: the freed-men of Zanzibar.
These Swahili of the East coast of Africa supplied most of the troops for the Arabs from Zanzibar and, indeed, those who had settled further into the interior, like our theoretical slavers in these scenarios. They also worked for European explorers and this picture of Speke's "faithfulls" gives a good idea of their apperance.
In most pictures I have seen they are shown as wearing white, although they did wear blue and red tradecloth and even some striped material in the later period. There seems to be a suggestion that they may have saved these brightly coloured clothes for best so, on the whole, I am going to keep them dressed in white.
I need to paint three units of fourteen of these and have already got the second unit based and undercoated and the third unit based. I will alternate painting them with other figures I have part-painted on the workbench, so I think I will take a break from these for a bit and finish some Zulus that have been sitting around for far too long.
Leading the unit is an Arab from Zanzibar. In fact many of the "Arabs" at this time had interbred with Africans and, indeed, it was said that they were successful at settling in the interior as they had inherited some resistance to malaria from their African forbears.
These will be useful figures I can use in explorers' forces as well. I thought they might be a bit boring to paint but found the simple colour scheme quite relaxing!