I mentioned in an earlier post, both European and Native units serving in India can be found in the Nafziger collection. This was particularly helpful in determining which cavalry units served and where.
Prior to the First Sikh War, these were Light Dragoons, Lancers and one Hussar regiment that represented Her Majesty’s cavalry. The number of Native cavalry per Presidency was actually large by comparison.
At the top rung of the ladder were the Governor-General’s Bodyguard. I added these to the collection as their red coat faced with blue uniform would contrast nicely with the shades of blue worn by other units.
In the period 1830 to 1845, the uniform remained little changed. The headdress however, was another matter and one I had to rectify with Milliput. I had a choice between bell shako or undress cap and either or both could have a cover. This would prove an ideal way to distinguish European from Native units.
If you have ever used Milliput you will need to plan the adding of detail at later stages of curing. Case in point, the bell shako (uncovered) would need a Maltese cross plate, leather band at the top and plumes or worsted tuft as a rank distinction.
Milliput takes on average four hours to dry. During the process, you will find shaping the shako to a nice round cylinder will be easier after 20 – 30 minutes. After an hour you can make a clean cut to make a flat surface on top. After four hours, with a fresh batch of Milliput you then add the detail to a rock hard surface.
Interim photo show the shako neatly trimmed. I have decided to have the Light Dragoons with covered shako and Native units “uncovered”.
Next post, the finished elements.