Monday, November 23, 2015

Indian Pondering

Sikhs charging tribesmen in Afghanistan
From Great Battles of the 19th Century
(click to embiggen)

So I've been thinking about the order of battle required for Afghanistan.  The Sword and the Flame doesn't actually require that many figures and I've managed to get by with only one unit of Indian infantry so far, the Ludhiana Sikhs. 

Looking through my boxes of toys, I've found a box of HAT Indian Infantry, which would give me another two TSATF platoons worth. If I use half units for the Second Afghan War, that should put me well on the way to filling the requirement for Indian troops. 

Picture by S. Mannix from Hat Website
Uniformed as the 3rd Sikhs of the Punjab Field Force

The trick is of course, how to get them on the table relatively sharpish. I found this on the Hat website and it looks like it could be very easy to replicate quickly. Once based and given a coat of PVA, a spray of Army Builder Desert Yellow should do the trick for the basic colour of the uniform.

Then it's a matter of detailing.

This is what I think of when I think of Afghanistan

Now, I'm not that punctilious about uniforms, I intend to use my reassuringly red coated Zulu War British infantry for Afghanistan. Firstly it seems silly not to, I have them already and secondly, while I know that the British soldier of the late Victorian age wore khaki as often as he wore red, I always think of them as redcoats.

To misquote "The Man who shot Liberty Valance", when the legend becomes fact, wargame the legend. 

From Boris Mollo's "The Indian Army"
(courtesy of Vintage Wargaming)

While the red coated Britishers are troops I have already, the Indians will be new and it makes sense to get them right if I can.  Now, as I lack the appropriate reference material, I asked some of my smarter friends to lend a hand and they responded manfully. 

Clive provided the image above, though it should be noted that the 3rd Sikhs and the 3rd Punjab are not synonymous as I had imagined. There are small differences in the arrangement of the turban. 

1880s Ghurkas dashing into action

Ross was kind enough to forward me this link, which has a huge selection of uniform plate and other resources, all of which are in the New York Public Library from the Vinkhuijzen Collection.  There's plenty to look at there, though the captions can be a bit ropey. However, if you've some idea of what you are looking for, there's a lot of stuff available. 

John chimed in with some additional advice,

"[...]blouse trousers all the same shade of khaki. Puttees normally khaki, green or blue are mentioned. Equipment medium shade brown leather. Pre 1890s blouse has cuffs collar shoulder straps in facing colour also the turban fringe in same facing colour. Medium Brown footwear.  Turban colour- often exactly the same, but there are some watercolours for 1879 which show the 3rd regt with a lighter shade for puttees and turban which looks quite nice, facings mid green.  

And also directed me to this website, the Victorian Wars Forum, which he'd actually sent me to before, but which I'd forgotten about. Now that I've put it here, I won't forget again. 

At least until next time.


  1. Being the North West Frontier you NEED. a mountain gun and mules as well, Tony

    1. I have mules, but I don't think anyone runs to a mountain gun in 1/72.

      I do appear to have acquired some elephant drawn artillery though.

  2. One of the things I love about the Wonderful Modern World of Wargaming is discovering new sources on info on the internet - thanks for the VWF tip, it'll come in handy when I eventually fall down the colonial well.

    1. You're very welcome. I thought it would be best to share my pals largesse.

  3. Yes - redcoats all the way :-)

  4. Great colonial have a 25mm screw gun, which might do
    All the best Iain

    1. Thank you very much. Do you mean Great Endeavours?

    2. Thank you very much. Do you mean Great Endeavours?

  5. Thank you very much. Do you mean Great Endeavours?

  6. Sikhs are quite splendid fellows, always are. Google Canada's new Minister of Defence, a Sikh Canadian and former soldier. The other day in the Mess at work I saw a young Airman in a sky ble RCAF turban and martial beard - very smart.
    I concur - red in Afghanistan works for me.