The Tuareg people also known as Twareg or Touareg, or in Berber: Imuhagh are a Berber nomadic pastoralist people. They are the main residents of the Saharan interior of North Africa.
Tuareg call themselves Kel Tamasheq
("Speakers of Tamasheq" – their native language), Imuhagh
("the Free people") or Kel Tagelmust
("People of the Veil" – because of tradition that orders Tuareg men to cover their faces). The name Tuareg was applied to them by early explorers and historians (since Leo Africanus) but it’s origin is still discussed.
Tuareg people are mostly nomads. For over two millennia, the Tuareg ran the Saharan caravan trade connecting the great cities on the southern edge of the Sahara with Mediterranean coast of Africa.
They were also slave-hunters trading slaves with Romans and later with Europeans.
Interesting thing about Tuaregs is the matriarchy. Although they are Muslim Tuareg women have very high authority. Also Tuareg men are the ones who cover their faces (tradition that probably started with necessity of covering face for protection from wind and sand in deep desert). Women are bound to cover their faces neither on the desert nor in the cities.
In the late nineteenth century, the Tuareg fought against French colonial invasion of their homelands. Tuareg swords, taghedas
and few guns were no match for the more advanced weapons of French squadrons. After several massacres on both sides, the Tuareg were subdued and required to sign treaties in Mali 1905 and Niger 1917. In southern Morocco and Algeria the French met some of the strongest resistance from the Ahaggar Tuareg. Finally, Tuareg territories were taken under French governance, and their confederations were largely dismantled and reorganized.
Right now Tuareg people live in Libya, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Mali and Niger. Many of them live in cities, some of them are working as tourist guides. Their economy is based on livestock breeding, trading, agriculture and salt mining from salines in the desert.
offers kit from their Series General 54mm showing Tuareg warrior from 1916 – last period of fights against French invasion.
Tuareg warrior sits on a camel holding ornamented front-loading flintlock musket called jazail
above his head. He holds one of camel’s reins in his left hand.
On his head he wears a tagelmust
– turban; his face is covered by alasho
: veil worn by Tuareg women and men (traditionally alasho
is blue indigo but coverart picture shows it painted white, other colors of veil are now used as well so it is not an inaccuracy).
He wears short white shirt – takarbast
with red sash around his waist. Long blue shirt – takatkat
– is his top cloth. His legs are covered by akarbey
pants. He is shoeless.
sword in ornamented scabbard is attached to his sash. Three tagheda
(short javelins) are in the quiver attached to the saddle on the left side of rider. Agher
– 1,5m high shield is attached on the righ side of a camel.
Warrior sits on Tuareg camel saddle with very high back support and a trik
in the front (you can see good example of how authentic camel saddle looks like HERE
). Saddle decorations are important part of Tuareg art and these are nicely shown on the figure.
Both saddle and bridal of camel are decorated with ornaments and tassels.
Camel stands still rising his head as one of the reins is being pulled by the warrior. Second rein is attached to a saddle.
Whole figure stands on a small base showing desert ground with few stones on it.
Kit comes in quite a big cardboard box: 21,5x9x4cm. In front side of the box there is a picture of painted figure on the base, back shows three pictures revealing more details of this figure. One side of the box shows information about other figure offered by Andrea Miniatures and the second side shows chart of suggested paints from Andrea range and wooden base matching the size of this figure.
Inside the box we find… a box - brown cardboard box holding strip of cardboard with thick slab of polyfoam attached to it. Whole thing is bended in a way that holds and protects parts within from both sides. Perfect protection? Unfortunately no, but I’m going to return to this issue later.
After opening three layers of packaging we find basic painting instruction added to each and every Andrea Miniatures figure, small piece of paper confirming quality control and parts. Some of them directly between the foam slabs and several smaller and more delicate parts in two small plastic bags.
Whole kit contains 18 (or 21 after removing javelins from block) parts:
- base with three holes for pins placed on camels legs
- left side of camel
- right side of camel
- camel’s head
- ornamented straps being part of right side of saddle
- right side of figure including right hand holding musket and right leg
- warrior’s main body with head, left leg and upper part of quiver but without left hand and whole right side
- agher shield
in first bag:
- front and rear part of saddle
- camel tail
- tassels for right side of camel’s bridle
- tassel for front left side of bridle
in second bag:
- left hand holding rein
- 4 tagheda
javelins attached to one block
- left rein
- right rein
Assembly and painting
Despite for many parts (for a figure of course) assembly should not be a problem for anybody. Pictures printed on a box and available on Andrea Miniatures website show figure from enough angles to see where and how each part is supposed to be assembled. Many parts has assembly pins matching holes in areas where parts are supposed to be placed (like a sword and a sash, shield and a side of camel).
Cover art is also enough for painting scheme. Paint chart printed on a box may also be found useful.
Some parts will require assembly in specific order because in other case assembly may be impossible – be careful and check if part assembled will not block other parts later (i.e. warriors legs and front of saddle).
Detailing and quality
Detailing level is quite high on this figure – decorations on saddle, tassels, plaited bridle elements, sword and scabbard, shield etc. – all these elements are carefully and precisely sculpted showing great resemblance with Tuareg ornaments.
Facial details are almost not visible – only eyes and part of nose cane be seen above the vail.
Warrior’s clothes have natural look and should be great for painting – all the folds will make a great shading exercise.
As mentioned before the packaging caused some serious quality problem – first thing visible was bended musket barrel. Fortunately kit is made of white metal and it was possible to straighten the part easily – resin part would surely break if bended that far. Other elements seriously bended in transport were camel parts – the body of camel is quite firm and was not deformed (they fit very well) but the legs were bended so much that it was impossible (in my kit) to fit them into the matching holes in the base. At least two of three legs standing on the ground require correction and it is quite difficult to correct all of them and still keep the natural look – no Tuareg warrior would like to ride the camel with rubber legs… Same problem concerns javelins – fortunately they are thin and easy to correct.
Flesh is almost not present and only few seam lines are visible on some areas. They are delicate and should be very easy to remove.
Surfaces are clean, details are quite crisp. Ornaments on the saddle are marked delicately but clearly and it should be a great help during painting.
Some joint surfaces will require preparation since they don’t match perfectly one to another – Tuareg’s arm to body or camel’s neck may be a good example.
Very nice figure filled with details showing as much of Tuareg culture as possible on figure of a warrior. Exotic look, really nice pose of mounted figure, a lot of interesting details to paint and good quality of parts are big advantages of the kit. From my point of view the greatest disadvantage is the fact that some parts were deformed in the package. It may affect the assembly and cause unpleasant surprise for unsuspecting or beginning figure painter expecting the figure to be “ready to assemble” kit as written on the box. Some flesh and seam lines are on average level and they have no influence on final rating.
Pictures of painted figure come from Andrea Miniatures website.