Some projects remain on the back burner for a long period and Colonial India of the early 19th century was on such project. I held a fascination of the Sikh Wars and those conflicts in the Sind and Afghanistan; red coated infantry, cavalry in near full dress uniforms and the only concession to an overseas kit was a white cloth cover over a headdress.
Three days ago, I was looking at old files and spotted an illustration of Bengal Native infantry on exercise. Eureka! Similar style headdress and repainting the breeches white, coat red, my problem of excess Grenzers was solved.
Further research showed a number of reforms regarding native uniforms, but I selected the period of the late 1830s and 40s (no horizontal braid).
India, at this time was governed by the British East India company. Divided among three presidencies, the Bengal, Bombay and Madras, each fielded an army.
I selected the Bengal Native troops as these played an active role along the frontier.
Pictured in the photos are twelve elements of Bengal Native Infantry and two Gurkha battalions, the Nasiri and Sirmoor.
Purist may wish to point out the minor differences in kit, but I am pleased with the look. Campaign kit, no rib crushing back pack, but a functional linen bag to hold their twice baked chapatti and other personal items. The regiments did not remain long in service as all the regiments that did not mutiny during the Rebellion, were disbanded. Further, the British East India company was dissolved with the entire sub-continent becoming part of the British Empire.
Now for the guns and horse.
Good news from Black Hat Miniatures, they have announced the soon to be releases Sikh Wars line in 15mm. A pre-order list should be out after Easter.
Readers wishing to explore further the history of this period I would recommend the following sites: