Sunday, February 27, 2011

First Figures are now available!

Well, been rushed off my feet with work and the posting has been a bit slow -sorry!

The good news is that the first 8 figures are now commercially available. I have arranged with Nic at Eureka to sell the figures. They aren't up on the web site as yet, but if you are interested email him and he will be able to sell you some. There will be some variants of these available shortly.

Eureka's site is  here

You can see the greens of these if you click on the link to the left entitled, suprisingly, "greens."

Rajput & Moghul officers

Matchlock 1 & 2

Matchlock 3 & bow

Swords 1 & 2

Comparison with Foundry Mutiny figure

Comparison with Foundry Afghan

Comparison with Foundry Mutiny matchlock

Comparison with Eureka AWI figure

Comparison with Crusader SYW British
More in the pipeline in about a week!!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

De Bussy's Grenadiers a Cheval

Like the HEIC, the French Company generally recruited its own troops.

De Bussy's army in the Deccan had Dragoons and Grenadiers a Cheval serving in it, although not in large numbers. The units in De Bussy's army all appear to have been volunteers, mostly raised by Johan-Christian Fischer. For a good summary regarding Fischer, his Chasseurs and other things see  Fine & Dandy

The information on the uniforms of De Bussy's troops in general  is not consistent. However, there is consistency regarding the Grenadiers a Cheval - blue coats with red cuffs and lapels, and hats. The lace colour is unknown. Gold is suggested, although other units transferring to India did change to silver.

Front Rank figures, painted by Peter. Again, based for Might & Reason, or similar system.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011


"Fanatics" were usually present in Indian armies in small numbers. They could be Hindu, Sikh or Muslim in their beliefs.

These Foundry figures are mostly Sikh fanatics, known as Akali ("followers of the Divine/ Supreme power"). Throwing quoits ("chakra") were popular weapons. Firearms were few in number.

They can't all be Sikhs - 2 are missing turbans!
Bairagis (meaning "dispassionate") were Hindus who eschewed emotions and colour. They would grow their hair long and matted and often rub ashes over their bodies. They would also display forehead markings to indicate which subgroup they were part of.


Ghazis were followers of Islam and who also had a reputation for being fanatics.

Akali from Osprey # 219 - Queen Victoria's Enemies (3) - India
Painted by Peter as is usual!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Compagnie Liebig

Clive at Plassey - Talk about fantasy!

No, not a unit in French service in India, but the company that invented Oxo meat extracts and stock cubes!

What has that got to do with things? Well, Liebig produced a large number of collectible cards which were given out when you purchased its products. The cards ranged over a wide range of subjects, including India.
Rajah's Residence
I have a small collection of these cards, for no reason other than I like the pictures : )


How accurate are they? Well here is the card:

Temple at Benares

And here is the actual temple:

Slight exaggeration, I think! Or the tide is in...

Other than Plassey, here is my favourite:

It begs a competition  to come up with what fellow in the howdah is thinking!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Indian Rope Trick

How does he do that?  : ) - Eureka Miniatures
The earliest written account of the Indian Rope Trick comes from the Arab traveller Ibne Battuta, who said that he saw it performed  in 1346, while travelling in China.

I have just purchased The Rise of the Indian Rope Trick: How a Spectacular Hoax became History by Peter Lamont.

The author is apparently a magician, and at the time of publication a researcher at the University of Edinburgh. In summary, he argues that the trick was all a hoax to increase the circulation of the Chicago Tribune in the late 1800s.

I am looking forward to seeing how he addresses the earlier reports of the trick.

How was the trick allegedly performed in India? There are a number of versions known. For example, one version allegedly involved pushing up a pole disguised as a rope out of a basket. Another took place at dusk near trees, between which a line was run. The rope thrown upwards would have a heavy black ball on the end which would hook over the cord and which would be strong enough to allow a young boy to climb it.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Native Grenadiers

Having posted pictures of the British Grenadiers, here are some native grenadiers.

Not the best photos, as they turned out a bit fuzzy - sorry about that.

Figures by Perry Miniatures.

Basing is one of my earlier jobs and I may go back and rebase them, although they do look better in the photo than in real life!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Controversy! Did British Grenadiers wear Mitres in India?

Here are pictures of my combined British Grenadiers. One base is painted in a style for East Indies Company and the other as the Grenadiers of the 84th (Coote’s Regiment), which arrived in India in September 1759. 

Grenadiers would often be combined to form shock units, such as at Wandiwash in 1760 and Buxar in 1764. 
Originally, I wanted the Grenadiers to stand out visually on the table.  I thought using infantry in hats may not distinguish them enough – they would look like line infantry but without flags. 

Information on the Mitre caps was difficult to come by. There is a nice two-part article in Military Modelling, based upon the  paintings of David Morier, painted for the Duke of Cumberland c 1751. There was nothing conclusive for the 84th in the article, nor anything about the EIC (but that's not surprising, is it!?). Nor was their any specific information in A History of the Uniforms of the British Army by Cecil Lawson.
If I were to redo this unit I would probably go with hats. Having said that, these really look great! Figures by Front Rank, painted by Peter.

British Horse

 Here is a unit of mounted British, in East Indies Company uniform.

There were small  numbers of British mounted troops in service - essentially two troops of mounted infantry in their issue uniforms.

Officer soon to experience heat stroke...

Figures are from Foundry's SYW British range. They are, in my opinion, okay, but not the most exciting figures... There were issues ensuring that the riders sat upon the horses correctly.



Mansabdaris were cavalry of officer rank generally armed with sword, lance, shield, mace and bow. Armour was of the finest quality, denoting their rank. Mansab means "rank" so Mansabdar essentially means "rank holder."

Their mounts were, generally, of excellent quality. The horse armour could be mail but more often quilted or cloth barding.

Numbers of these officers could be organised into bodyguard units, which is what I use this unit for.

Figures are a mix of A&A Miniatures and Musketeer Miniatures. Peter has done a great job on these. Based by me...


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

African Mercenaries

It isn't well known, but there were also Africans, and their descendants  serving as mercenaries in Moghul and other Indian armies. Small numbers of Negro troops also served European powers.

Siddis are descendants of Africans who, generally, were bought to India as slaves by the Portuguese. Many escaped and started their own communities. The Siddis remain an identifiable group within modern India.

Many Siddis and native Africans rose to prominence under the Indian princes. Yakut Khan , a Siddi, rose to the rank of admiral under the Moghuls, beseiging the British in Bombay in 1690. He died in 1733.

High ranking Afro-Indian - thought to be Malik Ambar
 Malik Ambar was born in Ethiopia and sold into slavery in India. Nonetheless, he raised a personal army based in the Deccan which was hired as mercenaries to local Princes. He rose to the position of Prime Minister of Admadnagar, dieing in 1626. He is thought to have trained the Marathas in the art of war.

In 1833 three of the ruling Indian princes were of negro descent. As late as 1843 there were still prominent generals of African descent. Hoshu Sheedi commanded a native army against the British in the annexation of the Sindh.

The sources I have read indicate that the African mercenaries remained within their own communities and their descendants retained their customs for many generations. Based on that I thought I couldn't go wrong using Copplestone Miniatures Somali figures.

The number of African mercenaries was never great so I have limited numbers to one foot and one mounted unit (now where is that photo of the cavalry?)


Arab Cavalry

Mercenary units of Arab cavalry and infantry were common in India. Even some units of Arab camelry could be found in the armies.

unit 1

As a general rule, the Arab units were trustworthy and of higher quality than other units - well, at least for mercenaries! The cavalry were usually mounted on quality mounts. As a result they were usually the highest paid troops in the army.

unit 2

 I have two mounted units in the army. I usually base cavalry in units of two bases of two  figures each as they are irregular. Even the European cavalry in India was irregular! However, I have based the Arab cavalry in a denser formation to easily identify them.

All figures are Perry Miniatures from the Crusades range. Its a good thing that armour and weapons changed little!

Painted by, well, Peter as usual!

Silahposh of an Indian Prince

Silahposh were infantry fitted out with a panoply similiar to that of heavy cavalry. "Silah-posh" is a Hindustani word meaning "one who is armed."

They served in small numbers as a Prince's personal bodyguard. That still didn't ensure that they were loyal or would necessarily fight well  : )

They were generally armed with swords and muskets, although the ones I have are armed with hand weapons only - mostly due to the fact that finding armoured infantry firing or armed with musket was impossible!

Figures are a mix of Black Tree Design, Perry, Mithril Miniatures and Foundry.