Palate cleanser: Jolly Good Chap Drinks Cup of Tea in Zomba c. 1891

Jolly good chap 01

I quickly painted this Wargames Foundry Darkest Africa British Gentleman (from their DA091 Stouthearted Brits pack) as palate cleanser from ‘eavy metal style bright colours. I imagine this chap’s name is something like Sir Reginald Thomas de Pfeffel Taylor-Walker KBE CMG and he is a member of good standing in the Athenæum Club. I think it’s a cracking figure, sculpted by Mark Copplestone, some sort of officer or official attached to The African Lakes Company Limited or similar, he’s having a break from protecting the Ngonde from Zanzibari-Arab slavers and burning Swahili settlements to reflect on the wise and benevolent rule of Her Majesty the Queen (Vicky, Gawd Bless Her!).

It’s a fascinating period of history, and one I really should read more about one day. A strange mix of exploration, Empire, mercenary mercantilism, and all the worst and most hellish excesses of capitalism and its allotropes: monopoly, piracy, exploitation, greed, murder, &c. all dressed up as the trappings of empire. How much was sanctioned by the Foreign Office and how much was simply jolly good chaps heading off to Africa to make a fortune, whatever it took? The asonishing thing is that there were worse out there than these reprobates (far worse, far far worse) and one good thing you can say about them is that they did a fair bit to stunt the slave trade run out of Zanzibar.

I picked this fellow up maybe 10 years ago, when I was on a bit of a Victorian Science Fiction kick, amassing a small army of 1890s British with squads of riflemen backed up by gatling-armed steam tanks and other astonishing contraptions. I never did get around to the Prussians who were to be their enemies, or even to painting all the British. I really love the era of “ripping yarns” and tales of high adventure like Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, et al though it has been many years since I read any of those books. I could never make up my mind whether I wanted to do something loosely based in history but with better technology (ie an alternate history if steam had taken off instead of the internal combustion engine) or something really wacky like dinosaur hunting, missions to Venus and Mars, aeronefs (flying steam powered ships)…. I also like the comic potential of Victorian era hypocrisy such as the Flashman stories and the comic streak that runs throught the genre in general.

Most of the Brits are currently in storage but I had this chap, my favourite out of all my British VSF collection undercoated and looking at me forlornly and so I decided to paint him up just for fun. I took less than 2 hours in all, but I’m happy with the end result.

I was wondering how it was that I ever got into VSF in the first place, and I think it was this picture by the legendary Kevin Dallimore that really kicked it off:

jolly good chap A
From Kevin Dallimore’s Foundry Miniatures Painting and Modelling Guide page 151 (ISBN: 1-901543-13-7)

The submarine is by the now defunct Flagship Games, sadly, as I would love to get one.

EDIT: I managed to get my hands on the Victorian Submersible, from Scale Creep Miniatures. The shipping was hellishly expensive but worth it to have this in my collection. Now I just need to paint it! I don’t think it’s still available but if you email Mark (the owner) you may be able to get one. Thanks to reader DaveB for helping me to find it

VSF is something I would like to do more of one day, but 40K, WHFB, and Mordheim have kept me happily occupied for the last 5+years and there is still lots to do (as well as WWII project!). But, we shall see.


The pith helmet is Foundry Boneyard triad shaded with GW Contrast Snakebite Leather.

The rather dark Khakis are Foundry Drab Triad shaded with GW Contrast Gor Grunta Fur.

The white is GW contrast Apothecary White highlighted with pure white.

23 thoughts on “Palate cleanser: Jolly Good Chap Drinks Cup of Tea in Zomba c. 1891

    • Thanks Dave–I did look before posting but did not come across that. I’ve attempted to order one, we’ll see what happens.

      Thank you–much appreciated!

      Aeronefs on Mars is a great opportunity for some wacky games….maybe one day 😉


  1. Lovely job…chin chin and all that. I absolutely adore that range….I have most of them painted up, but sadly don’t get to game it much. Hope to see you do some more of these in the future. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very neat, that sculpt made me chuckle. That is good they did at least one good thing with their empire and if we cast about for more good things to say about them, I bet they could brew one great cup of tea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tea should never be overlooked as a lasting legacy of Empire. Like everything, the Empire did both good and bad things. I prefer to focus on the romanticised and comical side of it for miniatures and gaming, but I don’t think the terrible real life consequences for many people should be forgotten or overlooked.

      Glad you like the figure though. I imagine his name is something like Sir Reginald Thomas de Pfeffel Taylor-Walker KBE CMG or similar and that he is a member of the Athenaeum Club too no doubt.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That is pretty much how I approach talking about things in my blog as well, when things turn to historical events. I have to admit for me that isn’t very often since most of the time I’m talking about stuff like 40K, dwarves, and bugbears though every once in awhile I manage to get a foray into the historical side of things with games like Bolt Action or Muskets & Tomahawks. Not as often as I’d like though.

        Yes, I do like the figure. Very whimsical and fun. 🙂 I wonder if in addition to all of his other honours and such, perhaps he is also does botany or anthropology or whatever and is a member of the Royal Society too?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Probably, he may also have got some medals in the Second Afghan War as a younger man… 🤔

        The historical stuff is good fun and the real world interest drives hobby passion; sadly there’s just not enough time for everything!

        Liked by 1 person

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