Tuesday, September 29, 2020

New Media Ventures

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Everybody, lets jump on the Hype train

[Hype train has left the station]

Yes, whilst I felt like an early adopter of Blogger, after close on 15 years on here, its not the platform it once was, in as far as it isn't the prime channel it used to be.  TML isn't going away just yet, but I've decided to expand my channels, specifically for miniatures painting at least.  

 

www.instagram.com/dean_aki_uk will now be a new venue to see some of what I'm doing, with some projects that don't really fit on TML at all being exclusives to there, it looks like I can experiment with videos and other things on there too, but for narratives and those rare thought pieces it's less than suitable.  Be assured all gaming material will still show up on here in due course.

Please feel free to check it out, if you are already cooler than me and all over Insta!

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Researching Mali....

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Is not that easy.  Of course, if you want material on Western military history; or to a slightly lesser extent Arabic derived Muslim armies?  No problem.  Step south of the Sahara, and the material relating to before the colonial period is rather limited.

First off there are few good books on the subject, partly as there are few if any written histories or contemporary accounts out there.  It is possible there is more in French, but at this early stage in my project I've not been able to track that level of material down.  I've grabbed a couple of the limited English language material available; W.E Conton's West Africa in History Vol.1 and John Parker's African History: a Very Short Introduction; but beyond those there seems to be a split between material for the very casual reader and heavy academic volumes little concerned with military history.

At this point you have to give a nod to Wikipedia, who thanks to the enthusiasm of amateurs, and the inclusion of chunks of knowledge from other languages, can off a decent primer on many subjects.  It's generally reasonable material, as long as you check your sources!

No surprise, there are no ranges already available for the period and region, my intent now being to produce an army for the Manden Kurufaba, or Mali Empire, I have no obvious shortcuts to a fair amount of conversion work.  I did discover an article on the Mali Empire in Wargames Illustrated, issue 375, but the writer had done scarcely more research than I've managed in the past two weeks, and the mandatory pictures of figures were simply of Muslim warriors with vague 'I guess these would do with a different paint' statements attached.  Harrumph.

However, There are lots of models for 'Darkest Africa'  And some of these will work as a basis for some of the forces; also undeniably some Arab styled models will work as a good starting point, for cavalry especially.  However few if any of the plastic figures out there appear to meet my needs...

Image research was my next stage, to see what inspired, get some history together, and to work out how I could use the models out there. I'd direct the interested parties to my Pinterest board of West African Images: