Gisby's Gaming Blog

Darkest Africa: The Shostim Trading Company


I’m a slug. A lazy slug. I had an idea for a birthday gift for my pal Chick, and it took two years to finish it.

In this time, I did a lot of other stuff: A half dozen websites, masters for 50+ miniatures, painted about 1000 figures. In the end, I decided to just FINISH it, and it took… 3 days. It was sitting at that stage for months. I am a slug.

When it was done, and in the post, I put up a website with these pictures, and invited the guys at ColonialWars to comment on it, but Chick wasn’t allowed to peek.

I only hope he got as much satisfaction out of it as I did in making it.


The view above shows the building with a 28mm Warrior Zulu for scale. The building is made from craft sticks and bamboo skewers. As usual, the roof is cardboard, thatched with brushed-out string. The factory is designed with small windows for ventilation, and loopholes in the walls.

Here’s a view from the front: It looks bowed, but that’s caused by the close-up lens. The door near the sign is the door to the factory, the double door leads to the storage room. (There is also access from the inside)

Another front view, below. I haven’t showed the back because it’s just a blank wall with some loopholes in it.

I wanted it to have a generally ramshackle, rundown air: Like it was a forgotten post in the middle of nowhere.

Thankfully my work always looks like that.

Of course the doors open and the roof comes off, otherwise it’s far less useful for gaming. It also needed some interior detail, or it would just be a badly-made box. I swear it is not bowed like this!

To the right we see the main sales area: I tried to make the goods at least sort-of-identifiable. There are books (each one with a hidden treasure map) and ammunition on the top shelf, with canned goods and flour below. A rack displays a number of guns for sale.

The front counter has bolts of fabric in unattractive colours. The black pad is magnetic rubber, to hold various artefacts.

Here’s another view from the back: There are a pair of hoes in the corner and a few cases & barrels.

The shelves are glued in place, but the barrels & crates are loose so they won’t get in the way of figures.

Finally, we have a general overview, showing the ‘storage’ area and the treasures within. Barely visible are a pair of hats on the wall by the door, and the factor’s grubby, unmade bed..

Here are the various treasures and accessories: Chick already has plenty of treasures, but I thought the factory shouldn’t be empty. Also shown are the front bench and grimy unmade bed. All are made from craft wood and various putties.

This is the underside of the bed: It’s a slat bed and they are not very comfortable.

The goods can also be used as cargo in boats, whatever.

The factor’s “wife” lives in her own hut on the other side of the clearing.

It’s made from a papier mache birdhouse bought at Michaels. I just thatched the roof and cut a door into the side. There’s also a natty plaid blanket on the floor. The pot is a bead with a wire rim.

The factor’s ‘wife’ sets out a blanket when she sees visitors coming. The blanket is cotton cloth, glued to magnetic sheet, with the ends frayed. The bowls are thumbtacks, the fruits are mustard seed.

This was originally intended as a palisade, but can be used as a palisade, herd enclosure, or barracoon.

It’s made from bamboo skewers, strengthened with bands of dyed string glued to the inside. The gates are hinged as seen at How to Hang a Door. (For that matter, so are the Factory doors)

Chick likes horror, so I thought I’d give him some mystery toys.

The two carved pillars are craft store beads, as are the two blue pots. Their bases are magnets, and the tops and spots on the bases are magnets too.

The various ritual items (Jade head, ebony head, skull, pots, food offering, mummified baby, blood-smeared stone) are also based on magnets. This allows them to stay on the idol or on the counter of the factory. (Chick lives in earthquake-land, and magnet bases are handy when the house moves!)



  1. […] In this time, I did a lot of other stuff: A half dozen websites, masters for 50+ miniatures, painted about 1000 figures. In the end, I decided to just FINISH it, and it took… 3 days. It was sitting at that stage for months. I am a slug. More… […]

    Pingback by Darkest Africa: The Shostim Trading Company « Gisby’s Gaming Blog — December 1, 2008 @ 21:12

  2. Yes, this little beauty has been on the table at least a half-dozen times. No other wargame building I have seen so perfectly captures the ‘way out in the sticks’ flavor half as well. The folks at the Bengal Club always admire it when it travels there.

    Thanks, Tim, for such a princely gift.


    Comment by Chick Lewis — August 24, 2011 @ 00:28

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