Saturday, April 22, 2017

The SYW in India Project

The British General's Command Stand - Indus Miniatures figures.

Who would have believed it, but I'm painting Indus Miniatures figures for a SYW in India game at Bill Protz's home on May 6th. I already had about 60 of the Indus British Sepoys that I bought about a year ago, but had never gotten them to the painting table. The pending game at Bill's provided the impetus to go ahead and prime the figures and pitch into the painting.

For starters, I painted one company each (remember, these are units for BAR rules) of 15 figures for the 1st Madras (blue facings) and the 2nd Madras (yellow facings) regiments with the idea of painting one company at a time so as not to get overwhelmed by the project. You can see the results below:

One company each of the 1st Madras (red turbans) and the 2nd Madras (white turbans) Sepoys.
Now I will go back and paint a second company of 15 figures for each regiment to give me 60 figures in total. This is enough to give me one converged battalion of Sepoys to use in the game on May 6th. I have a few more figures on the way from Indus so that I can either paint the 3rd Madras up to 30 figures, or paint two more companies of 1st & 2nd Madras to increase both units to 45 figures.

You can see close ups of the two regiments below:

Close up of the 1st Madras Sepoy Regt.

Close up of the 2nd Madras Sepoy Regt.
I am trying to keep the painting simple and basic with a minimum of two or three tones of each color. This makes the painting go faster. For example, the red tunics only get one hue of red - no highlighting except for the officers. Then some of the other uniform pieces will get two-tone coloring to make the whole figure stand out. An example of this is the turbans that each figure wears - painting two hues of the turban color makes the head stand out to the eye and one doesn't really notice the lack of color depth in the tunic.

I also plan on keeping the bases Old School with just a coating of green paint and no fancy terraining on the base. The figures are mounted on 3/4-inch fender washers and placed on a magnetic movement tray. Again, I don't want to give every figure the full treatment with my paint brush, but there is enough there to give me a good looking army.

The elephant and the artillery crew & cannon were a blast to paint, so to speak. I am also toying with the idea of having three or four command figures (brigade commander stand) on foot on a round stand. The army commander will be the elephant stand. See below:

Artillery stand, some command figures and the elephant.

I had never painted an elephant in my entire life, so I really didn't know where to begin. I did a Google search of Indian elephants and turned up a number of pictures which gave me some ideas for the colors on my elephants furnature.

I went with Ral Partha Sembia Red (sort of Rose in color) for the head and saddle blanket. I didn't want to add any complicated floral designs on the elephants thinking that these might clutter up the end result. Also, I want to practice on painting some designs before painting them on my elephants (plural, yes there might be more of them coming).

A little bit of inspiration for the painting of India elephants.
Finally, we have the gigantic artillery pieces from the Indus figure range. One of the cannons has a lion's head on the mouth of the barrel while the second variation has a plainer appearance. So I had to paint the lion's head first. I just made up the color scheme as I had no idea how Indian cannon might have been painted. I figured that the big huge guns were probably ceremonial in nature, so I gave them a multi-color green with red wheel spokes and painted some of the iron work with a gold-brass color. I doubt that cannon had brass on key elements of metal work, but I liked the way that this cannon turned out. I have the other one to paint prior to the game.

The artillery will not be attached to a stand, The crew are on single washers and the cannon will sit on the table top. Eventually, I'd like to convert some of the Indus elephants to haul a heavy limber to transport these big brutes.

Indus Huge Cannon with artillery crew

I had also never painted skin colors for Indians. I chose two different color schemes. One employed Olive colors with shades and highlights and the other used dark skin base plus dark skin highlights. I mixed some cream color into the dark skin highlights to brighten it up a little. I like mixing up the color schemes as I don't want every figure to look the same.

The Indus Miniatures range is very compelling to look at and to paint. They have some wonderfully exotic cavalry and a wide variety of native infantry.


  1. Lovely figures and your painting does them justice.

  2. Nice to see SYW India stuff. Great work on the elephant. The Indus Miniatures paint up very well.

    Once you've finished the sepoys - some East India Company troops ? and then .... :)

    1. When you say EIC troops are you referring to the European soldiers?

      I ordered some peons in loin cloths and plan to have a unit of them as Untrained militia in EIC service.

  3. Yes, a veritable feast for the eyes! You are a painting machine, Fritz. A painting machine!

    Best Regards,


    1. Retirement gives me lots of time to paint figures. I paint during the daytime when no one else is home and then don't paint when family is home. It's a win win.

  4. Hi Jim - I didn't know you were retired. Congratulations. Love your new project with Bill. I have the guns and crews and elephant. Very nice indeed. Looking forward to seeing more of this period from you. Kindest regards - Hal

  5. I have some Indus figures, they are rather nice and you e done a lovely job on yours.

    Treat yourself to some rocketeers!