So, Dear Reader, what strange sequence of events makes an otherwise normal, everyday, out of work chef with a penchant for sausage sandwiches, Woman's Hour and tea suddenly decide to embark on painting 96 pointy haired African tribesmen? the answer is Love... Read on.
I am very new to wargaming/modelling but settled quite quickly on the subject of Darkest Africa having enjoyed the stories of Livingstone and Stanley when I was knee high to a pygmy. I had already bought a couple of packs of Ila from North Star and was quite happy with my early painting attempts My wife was too and was pleasantly surprised at the Ila figures as she comes from their neck of the woods. As any fule kno the Ila [...] are a cattle-herding tribe inhabiting the valley of the Kafue River, a northern tribitutary of the Zambezi, in what is now Zambia. My wife had studied them at school in her history lessons and on the basis of this connection she sort of gave me permission to spend a few bob on my first army. A little unsure about basing etc I fired off an electronic missive to the chief of North Star, Mr Nick Eyre, mentioning Mrs Zulu Dalek's Zambian origins.
When Nick replied it transpired that he grew up not just in Zambia but in the town my wife comes from! Nick and his family lived there in the 70's. The youthful Mr Eyre attended the school where my wife eventually worked as a secretary. He even trod the boards on the stage at the Arts Theatre where my wife and I held our wedding reception!
When Nick grew up he remembered the Ila from his schooldays and from a magazine called Orbit in which they appeared in a cartoon strip. He eventually got together with a gentleman called Chris Peers who is an expert on African tribal warfare and the North Star Ila figures were born. With so much serendipity going on how could I not build an Ila army.
There in a nutshell is how all this came about. I think it is a cracking little story; Nick created the Ila figures because of his childhood and I am involved because of my lovely wife's childhood. Splendid!
If anyone wants to read a bit more about the Ila before my next post go to this page. It shows Nick's figures and has a link to Chris Peers' notes on the Ila: