Sunday, 26 April 2015

Size comparison Iron Duke vs Mutineer Miniatures Indian Mutiny

I picked up a pack of Iron Duke's new Indian Mutiny figures from the Empress stand at Salute yesterday.  A few years ago I bought a fair number of Mutineer's figures but had heard that the Iron Duke figures, sculpted by Paul Hicks, were very small.

So I stuck one on a base and took a few comparison shots this morning.  Now, I am notoriously fussy about mixing figures from different manufacturers because I hate size variations in my armies but, much to my surprise, I would happily field both in an army. Height wise they are identical, for a start.  Now the Mutineer figure is slightly bulkier but he is in a jacket whereas the Iron Duke one is in shirtsleeves.

This shot demonstrates how the diameter of the top of the hat is identical too.  Also surprisingly, the muskets are the same length and pretty much the same bulk.  My Mutineer figure was from an early run that didn't have bayonets whereas the production figures do.  Speaking of bayonets, the Iron Duke ones are really, really fragile!  One broke off just in the process of bringing it home in my bag.  I suspect there will be high attrition rate on these.  I am going to try to glue it back but there is almost no surface area to do so with.  

This shot demonstrates the difference in level of animation but you can also see how the rear pack is identical in size.

The Mutineer head appears slightly bigger because the neck protector is sculpted looser but width and height of face is identical.

So, much to my delight, I will have no problem mixing the two manufacturers figures, even in the same unit.  Happy days ahead for Indian Mutiny fans!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

First riflemen for the 70th Foot

I've finished the first four riflemen for the 70th Foot for the Second Afghan War.  These Artizan Design figures were, as ever, very easy to paint and I am looking forward to getting more figures in what is a growing range.  However, it has to be said that I am not 100% happy with the accuracy of them and this put me off painting them for some months.  My main concern is the helmet, which comes with a flash on the left hand side, a rather puffy pugaree and the strap universally (at least on the figures I have got) across the front of the helmet.  

It looks like the figure is modelled on this illustration from Osprey's North West Frontier 1837-1947 which would be fine except this is the 1897 uniform.  I haven't seen any examples of helmet flashes in 1879 so I filed mine off but the helmet still doesn't look quite right and most of the pictures of troops from the region for this time had their metal helmet chains diagonally across the helmet (as the Perry Indian Army troops for the Sudan do - see below).

In addition they are not wearing the Indian pattern water bottle but the same one as seen in Zululand and Egypt.  For this reason I have given the canteen a white strap not the brown one usually seen on Indian pattern canteens.  The above model shows the Indian pattern water bottle and also the distinctive helmet chain.

On an artistic note, I don't think Mike Owen has really sculpted the puttees very well compared with the Perry Miniatures figures.  They are not flat enough but are like rounded hoops. The Perry Indian Service Dress infantry from their Sudan range are much more what I was expecting from the Artizan figures.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Update on the 2nd Afghan War project

Well, one of the things I was worried about as regards the Artizan Designs figures was that the releases would dry up, as has happened to Artizan ranges before.  This, however, does not seem to be the case with the North West Frontier; with a lot of new releases appearing lately.  I managed to paint one each of the initial release of Afghan tribesmen.  There haven't released any more of these but I do have some Studio Miniatures Afghans on the go too.

Next, I started work on the initial release of the British and Indian troops: Two packs of Sikhs and four packs of British.  I stopped work on them for quite a few months as I wasn't convinced about the accuracy of the British troops' helmets, which seemed to be modelled on the appearance in 1898.  Anyway, I filed off the 1898 style square flash on the helmet and decided to just get on with them.  In the last week I have painted the base coats of the puttees and rifles of the Sikhs and got the base coats of the jackets, helmets, trousers, puttees and flesh of the sixteen British done.  Still a long way to go but some more progress at last.

Corps of Guides

In the interim Artizan have released a host of new packs and this has got me painting again.  For the Afghans there are three types of regular infantry but no officers as yet, so I will leave these for a bit.  There is one new pack of (kneeling) Sikhs so I may get those sooner rather than later.  The first of a planned six packs for the Corps of Guides has been released. I bought a pack of these and have now based and undercoated them.  There is one issue with them in that their rifles are not modelled with straps (unlike the Sikhs) which makes their rifles rather thin and delicate.  They are very easily bent so I will need to be careful with them.  Actually, I discovered that yesterday two more packs of Guides have just been released!  There are also two packs of Punjabi infantry now and a Sikh mountain gun and crew.  Indian artillery crews were notably effective in the mountains.

For the British there have been four more packs of standard British infantry, including a bare headed set and a pack in poshteens plus a mountain gun and crew.  In addition, there have been five packs of Highlanders in kilts and one pack in trews.  

So that is twenty-two packs that have come out since I bought the initial release! 

Encouraged by this flurry of new releases I have painted the first two officers for my first British unit.  One is the North Star tea time figure and I have given him a rather floral Victorian cup and saucer based on a Victorian example I found on the internet.  A present from the memsahib to enhance his Darjeeling!

The second officer is one from the initial Artizan Designs release.  I have put both my officers in the standard blue home service trousers which some units wore at the beginning of the war.  Partly, this is influenced by the old Esci Khyber Pass box which had the British (really just their Zulu War figures re-boxed with a few new Indian army figures) in blue trousers.  I painted some of these many years ago and really liked the look of the blue trousers with the khaki jacket.

Mainly, however, I wanted my first unit to represent my local regiment: The 70th foot, the Surreys, who saw action in Afghanistan in 1879.  There is an illustration of them in the transitional uniform (khaki jacket with blue home service trousers) in Afghanistan on the Queen's Royal Surrey Website.  More on them when I finish my first batch of troops.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Studio Miniatures and Artizan Afghans compared

Artizan far left and right.  Studio Miniatures in the centre

I decided on Thursday morning that I was going to order a sample pack of Studio Miniatures Afghans.  I had bought into their Sikh Wars Kickstarter (and no, I haven't even based any yet) and these figures were quite slim so I didn't have great hopes of them being compatible with Artizan's chunky figures.  Much to my amazement my sample pack arrived less than 24 hours after I ordered it and I based them this evening to see how they compared. 

Now I am notoriously fussy about mixing figures from different manufacturers but these work perfectly and by the time they are painted I suspect it will be very difficult to tell them apart.  This is good news as Studio Miniatures have seven packs of Afghans, twenty six poses in total.  In many ways they are nicer, I think, than the Artizan ones in that they have, for example, daggers in their belts and the swordsmen have shields.  I will certainly be ordering more.  They also do eight packs of British, including a nice mounted command set so these will be worth investigating too!  Very pleased!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Artizan Designs new 2nd Afghan War British and Sikhs

Artizan have just put their first (at least I hope it will be the first) batch of British and Sikhs for the 2nd Afghan War up on their website.  I have seen a few previews of these and they are completely gorgeous!

Needless to say, I have just ordered all five packs but sort of hope they may be delayed a little as I have to finish my Afghan tribesmen first.  These are well on the way, however, and, hopefully, if I get two weeks of work done on them that will finish the first seven packs.

Maybe I will be able to take them to Cowes for a bit of work there in August.

I do really need to think about some North West frontier scenery.  Everyone else seems to do clever things with blue polystyrene and cork bark.  Where on earth do you get stuff like this?

Friday, 27 June 2014

2nd Afghan War posts

These are the edited posts on the Afghan figures I have painted so far.

Now, Wargames News and Terrain is an excellent site for spotting the new and shiny (I probably shouldn't look at it) and today they have a picture up of the first in what will be a Second Afghan War range from Artizan.  Now this really is a conflict I have always wanted to game but there isn't a good range of figures out there for it.  Artizan, however, have a patchy record on completing ranges.  Their Arab Revolt range never took off at all and while their French Foreign Legion range has an impressive 34 packs their opponents have just four and no cavalry (which is a common complaint I have with many of their ranges).  So an Artizan range is a risk.  Still, I'm prepared to take a punt on these!


I will be working on my new Artizan Afghans which arrived last week and I have already started.  These are very easy figures to paint.  The faces are very full of character but if I have one criticism of them is that they don't have a lot of equipment.  No-one has a scabbard, a dagger or the pistols stuck into their belts that many contemporary illustrations show.  

In short, they look just a little too tidy.  Studio Miniatures have a few Afghans and they do, at least, have daggers as well but I'm not sure how well they would go with the Artizan figures size wise as their Sikh Wars figures are quite slight.  It might be worth ordering a pack once I have painted the ones I have got.  I have started eight Afghans (Pathans, really, I suppose) nearly finished another and have seven more based but I have now run out of suitable washers.


I also finished off my first of Artizan's new Afghan tribesmen.  More of these on the way soon.


Next up were another three Afghan tribesmen from Artizan Designs.  Although irregular figures always take longer to paint, I am keeping a batch of these on the go and just painting the odd colour when I have time.  I have another six under way at present.  Very easy figures to paint.  

Indian Mutiny Posts

Here are the posts I did on The Indian Mutiny for my Legatus Wargames Armies blog.  I have put them all in one post and edited them somewhat.

Oh no! More Highlanders!

I was intrigued by the announcement of the new firm Mutineer Miniatures on TMP the other day.  The good (or bad) news is that they intend to launch a lot of packs (they now have 30 listed on their site) at once. Of course, the last thing I need is yet another army to start but I have been interested in wargames set in India for some time, partly as I usually travel to India once a year on business and the relics of the Raj are still much in evidence in Indian cities. The Indian Mutiny was, in reality, a particularly nasty conflict involving atrocities on both sides but the uniforms, of course, were gorgeous.

My knowledge of the period is almost entirely based on reading George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman and the Great Game so today I picked up The Indian Mutiny by Saul David on the basis that I enjoyed his book about the Zulu War (even if Ian Knight didn't!).

So I intend to start reading it when Mike Owen's figures make an appearance!  Can't wait!


I spent ages painting subtle shading on the off-white trousers. All invisible because of the flash!

I have just painted my first Mutineer Miniatures new (ish) Indian mutiny figure sculpted by Mark Owen.

I hadn't got any information on uniforms so didn't start the figures I bought at Colours (or was it Warfare?) but I picked up the Foundry book The British in India by john French and The Indian Mutiny by Saul David. The latest release by Mutineer announced on TMP got me to base the 12 figures I had got and over the last few days I have painted my normal test figure. Like all of Mike Owen's figures it was a delight to paint. So much so that I have now started work on three more and have undercoated the other eight. Worse than that, I ordered enough extra figures to form a TSATF unit of 20 of my first chosen unit: the 53rd foot. I found some TSATF Indian Mutiny rules on the net so now aim to get a unit of each done in the next month.

I have also just started the Saul David book and it looks like it will be as enjoyable as his one on the Zulu War (even though that was not well received by the likes of Ian Knight).


Mutineer Miniatures figures under way.

Having painted my first figure from Mutineer Miniatures range, and started the other ones I had bought, I decided to order enough for a The Sword and the Flame unit for the British. I got these cleaned up and based whilst watching Dancing on Ice with the family yesterday (that Emily Atack is a finely wrought young woman, I have to say). I returned from London a bit early today to watch the mens' downhill from Whistler (a place where I had a very enjoyable week's mountain biking about ten years ago) and had time to undercoat the figures and put the base coat of flesh down too.

Spot the difference. The original figure I bought last year and the one I got from Mutineer last week. The head is in a different position, added cuff and rifle strap

Whilst doing this I noticed something I have never come across before: the figures I bought recently are very slightly different from the original pack I bought when they first came out. In particular, they have all had straps added to the rifles. In addition, one figure has also had his head re-positioned slightly and has had cuff detail added which was missing on the original figure.

I am enjoying painting these very much, as I always do with Mike Owen's figures. I had a bit of a panic at the weekend as someone on TMP said that there was a new sculptor for the range which usually presages disaster! Fortunately, the latest figures up on the Mutineer website are also by Mike Owen so perhaps its all an unfounded rumour. Certainly Mike's splendid work is the main reason I am buying these figures as I never had an interest in the period before, despite visiting India quite regularly.

I am struggling a bit with the research on the uniforms. I have the Foundry book which is pretty informative and have bought the Osprey History too. The first unit I am working on is the 53rd Foot and I spent quite a lot of time tracking down details of their colours (as there is a standard bearer in the comand pack) but I think I have enough information for a fair representation of it. The next unit I am looking at is the 32rd Foot who were besieged in Lucknow. The Foundry book has them in forage caps with pugri and in khaki-dyed shell jackets and blue trousers. The problem is that there is quite a famous illustration of them on a sortie wearing the more traditional red, with grey trousers and wearing covered forage caps with a neck flap. The Mutineer website has them in a different uniform again.

Oh well, It would take too many units to build my usual historical armies so I am just going to get some representative units and play some fictional games, in which case it doesn't matter too much what uniforms they have.  Except, of course, it does.

I also find that a novel set in the period helps my concentration on a project so I picked up the splendidly titled Nightrunners of Bengal by John Masters. Masters was an Indian Army officer who also wrote the well known novel Bhowani Junction (made into a film starring Ava Gardner). The fictional Bhowani is also the setting for Nightrunners. This, his first, novel was written in 1951 and by all accounts he was a first rate writer so I am looking forward to it.


Mutineer Miniatures 53rd Foot

Anyway, last weekend I did get some painting done as I attempted to reduce the number of half painted figures on my desk. I had some success on Saturday as I finished seven of the Mutineer Miniatures Indian Mutiny figures. I've now done eight and have twenty four more on the go. I used the new(ish) Citadel Dead Grass on these which looks quite good.

Mutineer mutineers

I haven't decided which unit the mutineers belong to so haven't given them a number on their hats yet. I am reading Saul David's Indian Mutiny but it's taken about 120 pages before we have had any wargameable action yet. Once I have a better feel for what units were where and who they fought against I can work out what units to paint.