Monday, June 27, 2011

How to Paint the Bengali Sepoys (aka Telinghas)

I have had a couple of people ask about clothing colours for the Bengali sepoys.

The figures can be used for a fairly lengthy time span. I had them designed to be suitable for the 8 battalions that fought at Buxar against the British in 1764 (although some appeared to be in European style jackets). They can be used for up to the 1850s.

All that I can turn up for Buxar is that they were uniformed and under 4 mercenary officers, one of whom was Armenian and another being Walter Reinhardt, also known as Sumroo due to his dark complexion. Each battalion is said to have had its own triangular flags although as far as I am aware there are no contemporary illustrations of these or the uniforms.It would appear that at least the turbans and waist sashes were uniform in colour. You would not be far wrong in painting the turbans and sashes the same or a similar colour. Yellow, blue, red and orange would be typical. An earlier posting on Buxar is here.

If used as Prince's sepoys the figures could be much more colourful - lilac clothing could be used. In that case, a yellow or linen turban and pants could be painted, but pretty much anything is the go...

Colours that could be used for a prince's sepoys.Miniatures by 1st Corp

Of course, the clothing could be as simple as just an unbleached linen for the poorer mercenary sepoys. White was also a popular colour.

A procession, but a good idea about possible colours.
The figures can also be used up to the early 1850s, pre-Mutiny, as part of the mercenary armies that roamed India. One such army was under the command of Begum Sumroo (died 1836), the widow of Walter Rheinhardt. The uniforms of that army were red turban, dark blue tunic, white pants, white cross belts, orange/ saffron sash. The flags of the battalions in her service were plain red and square for the infantry. As far as I can establish, there were two battalions under her control which appear to be uniformed identically.

Note the officers at the front in different uniforms.
Drums could be plain wood or painted colourfully.

Powder horns could be metal, horn or mother of pearl. cartridge boxes could be raw or blackened leather or even embroided.


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