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Friday, July 29, 2022

Tips for Modeling and Assembly of Perry Miniatures Afghan Tribal Infantry, Part 1

I have become a big fan of Perry Miniatures Hard Plastic Afghan Tribesmen over the last year and wanted to pass on some tips that I have learned now that I am starting my second box. Now these are only the "tips" and "techniques" that I use and learned while putting together the miniatures - don't feel you have to do it my way. This is what works for me and I have had fun!

I base my figures for The Men Who Would be Kings, and fortunately, it works for other popular rules. I like to do circular bases with 1 figure, 2 figures and 3 figures which allows some creativity and the ability to make some "vignettes". What I do first (after experimentation with the first figures!) is get a minds eye of what I what on the bases and the overall look of the unit. The unit I chose to walk you through is a "Tribal Infantry" unit - so expect a lot of swords and men that want to get up close and personal with the enemy. Here is my preferred method step by step:

The first thing I do is to make sure the figures I want to use will fit on the base. Even though there are 4 figures above, for now I'm going to concentrate on a 3 figure base. The figures will be charging and note that I have trimmed one of the figure bases so it will fit properly on the circular base I am using. I then use white glue to adhere the bodies to carbonated beverage lids.

Once the bodies have dried on the caps, I then start experimenting with how I want the arms positioned. I have found it easier to do the arms on the bodies once they are firmly affixed to the caps instead of putting the whole figure together and then gluing it to the caps. Whichever method works for you I would do. Regular modelling glue is what I use and since it melts the plastic to get a good bond, check the position of the arm you want!

Get creative with the placement of the heads. The first figures I did I positioned the heads facing forward in line with the direction of the bodies. It's amazing that just by tilting or moving the head left or right adds a dynamic to the figure.

My very first figure. "Sir! My eyes are straight ahead so I can see the enemy, Sir!"

Now some fun which is why I love hard plastic figures. (The price doesn't hurt either) I have the decide that the figure all the way in the back in the picture of unpainted that I just added the heads to will be carrying a jezail. Well, there are no arms that are carrying a jezail for a charging figure - but there are plenty of spare jezails with the box.

One of the spare jezails.

What I did next was look at pictures of men running with rifles/muskets to get an idea where the closed hand that is gripping the jezail will actually be holding the jezail while running. I then brought the jezail up to the hand, carefully marked with my hobby knife where to cut and the then sliced that wonderful weapon apart.

I glued the bottom stock first and once dried, lined up the barrel and held it in place because let's face it, no one wants a crooked gun.

Here are two more of the figures that will be carrying shields. I do not glue the shields, scabbards, etc., on at this time because it makes it hard for me to paint the figure with the shield, scabbard, etc., in the way. We'll do those later.

It really doesn't matter whether you use white, grey, black or the color of your fancy to prime your figures. BUT PRIME YOUR FIGURES!!! Okay, that's the only part of this tutorial I'll make mandatory. Note I said nothing about washing the figures in warm, soapy water. Some people do but with hard plastic, I don't think it is necessary. But always prime your figures. Paint sticks to paint better and you'll thank me later. I usually use black as it can hide a multiple of painting sins and for me, helps with the shading.

I paint figures for how they will look at gaming distance.We'll get to my painting style in Part 2.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Operation Heinlein: The Mobile Infantry (Okay, they are GW Space Marines)

"We are the boys who go to a particular place, at H-hour, occupy a designated terrain, stand on it, dig the enemy out of their holes, force them then and there to surrender or die. We're the bloody infantry, the doughboy, the duckfoot, the foot soldier who goes where the enemy is and takes him on in person. We've been doing it, with changes in weapons but very little change in our trade, at least since the time five thousand years ago when the foot sloggers of Sargon the Great forced the Sumerians to cry "Uncle!"

Maybe they'll be able to do without us someday. Maybe some mad enius with myopia, a bulging forehead, and a cybernetic mind will devise a weapon that can go down a hole, pick out the opposition, adn force it to surrender or die--without killing that gang of your own people they've got imprisoned down there. I wouldn't know; I'm not a genius, I'm an M.I. In the meantime, until they build a machine to replace us, my mates can handle that job--and I might be some help on it, too.”     

On a whim, since I've been playing with Contrast Paints for my 19th Century Indian Army, I purchased a GW magazine that had some snap fit Space Marines. I love the snap fit! Advantage: No glue, easy to put together and the parts fit. Disadvantage: Limited conversion possibilities but I'm sure I'll figure something out.

“I hate to tell you this, but you are just stupid and eager and sincere enough to make the kind of officer that men love to follow into some silly predicament.”   

Games Workshop, you either love 'em or hate 'em. Personally I think the company has done more to promote the gaming industry than just about anyone. Between the way they package their games to give you everything you wanted to their pioneering work in hard plastic, they have pushed the gaming industry to get better and better. Now their prices . . . the purpose of a business is to make money . . . and that's why there is eBay.

“There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.” (Note: I hope the ribbons don't get stuck in the upper receiver and bolt)

I used to play a lot of Warhammer and Warhammer 40K. Price drove me away from Warhammer plus the silliness of "The Age Of Sigmar" - I prefer now Dragon Rampant. I like hard Science Fiction and Warhammer 40K got too weird. Don't get me wrong; I love the Space Orks and the Eldar were pretty cool. But the cult of the God-Emperor, Space Demons and the overall depression of their universe started to wear thin on me. On the other hand, they did come up with the Tau which is my kind of alien race! But the price!

Social responsibility above the level of family, or at most of tribe, requires imagination-- devotion, loyalty, all the higher virtues -- which a man must develop himself; if he has them forced down him, he will vomit them out.” 

I do like what they are now doing with their new box games (cough, cough, price) and I'm thinking of giving 40K another go - but without the gothic silliness that turned me off. I have always been a big fan of Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein (the book, not the abomination of a movie) so my Space Marines will be basically the Terran Federation Mobile Infantry. In fact, Starship Troopers was one of the major influencers in my decision to serve in the Infantry for 26 years. And this quote from the book is true: “Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.”

“Citizenship is an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part...and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself that the whole may live.”   

All of the figures, except for the bases, were painted with GW Contrast paints. I primed them with Krylon Flat White spray paint as I like my figures to be a bit lighter to let them stand out at gaming distance. For the record, the GW spray paint is great quality spray paint, and the cost is for great quality primer. For the armor I used Contrast Ultra Marine (duh!) blue being careful to leave the leather, seals and ribbons white. The leather and ribbons were painted with Contrast Snakebite Leather and the seal with Contrast Nazdreg Yellow. The bolter, chains word (who doesn't like a chain sword?) and parts of the armor were painted Contrast Chaos Black (BWAH HAH HAH!). That's it and 5 Mobile Infantry, err Space Marines, were done lickety split.

“The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion . . . and the price demanded for the most precious of all things in life is life itself - ultimate cost for perfect value.” 

"I always get the shakes before a jump."

Friday, July 22, 2022

Mystery Hard Plastic Conversion

 Regular readers of this Blog (and in various Facebook Groups!) know that I think that the Perry Miniatures Hard Plastic Afghan Tribal Infantry is one of the most versatile boxes that they have produced. Sure I get a small percentage if you click the link above and buy it! But I don't put products on this Blog for Amazon unless I think they are good quality.

I have seen some amazing conversions using this box; everywhere from gaming forums to Facebook groups. The box is perfect for India and nearby lands for the period 1700 to the early 20th Century. I have seen everything from using them as Indian Troops in the 1700's, Ghazi Fanatics on the Frontier and the most amazing: Indian Artillery men of Princely States.

Not only have I been using the box to build my forces for the Northwest Frontier, but I have also used the parts to make some special characters for Colonial Gaming. The pictures is my latest; using parts from the box, Gripping Beast Vikings, Games Workshop Pistoliers, and some regular household string. So for something different, I would like you to guess which special character I am doing. Once we have a correct guess in the comments, I will add labels to the post. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The Queen's Own Guides, Infantry, Punjab Frontier Force

The Guides Infantry seize the kotal (summit of a pass or hill) in an early dawn attack on the Frontier.

The Corps of Guides was raised at Peshawar on 14 December 1846 by Lieutenant Harry Burnett Lumsden on the orders of Sir Henry Lawrence, the British Resident at Lahore, capital of the Sikh Empire. Initially composed of a troop of cavalry and two companies of infantry mounted on camels, the Guides were organized as a highly mobile force. The corps was ordered to recruit: 

" . . . trustworthy men, who could, at a moment's notice, act as guides to troops in the field; men capable, too, of collecting trustworthy intelligence beyond, as well as within, our borders; and, in addition to all this, men, ready to give and take hard blows, whether on the frontier or in a wider field."

The Subedar Major and his steely eyed escort.

Although the corps recruited men from all over the country and even beyond the Frontier of India, Pathans, Punjabi Muslims, Sikhs and Dogras later formed the bulk of their manpower.

Lumsden left a lasting imprint on the Guides, who first fought in numerous frontier operations. Believing that fighting troops were for service and not for show, Lumsden introduced loose and comfortable dust-coloured uniforms for the first time, which would soon become famous as "khaki" and within decades would be adopted by the British Army for service in India. In 1851, the Guides established themselves at Mardan, which would remain their home until 1938.

The Guides are proud of their uniform; drab but efficient. Note the poshteen (sheepskin lined coat).

For the period I am gaming, here are the Battle Honors awarded:

Delhi 1857
Ali Masjid Kabul 1879
Afghanistan 1878-80
Punjab Frontier

The infantry component of the Guides is my latest addition to my British Indian Army (hmmm, I'm starting to see a trend) that I game using the rules The Men Who Would be Kings. The figures are all by Artizan Designs and this unit was the first unit that I tried to use mostly Games Workshops Contrast Paints. Contrast Paints are not for everyone; you have to paint faster than I am used to doing. Also, the recommended time for drying is 30 minutes before using another color.

Another GW Contrast Paint experiment - and it was successful!

There are many tutorials on YouTube and I have discovered, within reason (mine that is) that there are some advantages to using Contrast Paints when you are used to a different style of painting.  In addition, the Contrast Paints cost more and I noticed that you tend to use quite a lot! Still, I am happy with the results for my Guides. The Guides were perfect as they are primarily khaki with various browns. Here are the paints I used:

Uniform and Pagri (turban): Contrast Skeleton Horde (BWAH HAH HAH!).
Kulla (the pointed skull cap): Vallejo Flat Red. I painted the tip Vallejo Gold for the tip to denote the officers.
Poshteen: Contrast Nazdreg Yellow.
Fur Trim on Poshteen and boots:  Contrast Cygor Brown.
Skin: Contrast Snake Bite Leather. By varying the amount of the paint on the brush you can make the skin lighter or darker.
WebbingContrast Gore Grunta Fur. I have recently discovered that a Gore Grunta is a large Ork War Boar.
Haversack and Puttees: I painted Vallejo Ochre Green over the Contrast Skeleton Horde  (BWAH HAH HAH!).
Rifle: Wood Vallejo Mahogany Brown. The metal parts are Vallejo Gun Metal dry brushed with Vallejo Silver.
Bayonet Scabbard and Hair: Contrast Chaos Black.

Jemadar (Captain). Note the gold tip on his red kulla which denotes commissioned rank. He would also have his rank insignia on his shoulder epaulets but these are hidden by the poshteen.

Sepoy (private soldier).


Bugler (thank you Colonel Obvious!).

Halvidar (sergeant).

Subedar Major (Major).




The mission of the Guides, both Infantry and Cavalry components, was to maintain order on the Punjab Frontier; a task they performed efficiently during the next fifty years. Between 1847 and 1878, the corps participated in fifteen major frontier expeditions and operations. Their formidable reputation soon spread far and wide, and was immortalized by Rudyard Kipling in several of his works such as The Ballad of East and West. In 1876, Queen Victoria rewarded the Guides by granting them the use of the Royal Cypher and they became the Queen's Own Corps of Guides with the Prince of Wales as their Colonel.

Corps of Guides Infantry, Afghanistan, circa 1880. Note the variety of pagris (turbans) which is determined by religion, caste and ethnicity. 

"We are the Guides Paltan! Rough and Ready!"

"On the Indian frontier the mountain tribes are continually fighting, and our troops there are renowned for their splendid achievement and gallant conduct. The best known of all is the corps called "The Guides" … To be a Guide out there means you are one who can be relied upon for pluck, for being able to endure difficulty and danger, for being able cheerfully to take up any job that may be required, and for readiness to sacrifice yourself for others." - Lieutenant General Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, from the Girl Guides' Handbook.

True to his salt.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Second Quarter 2022 Update: How's the Plan (cough, sniffle) going?

"Well, based on the latest intelligence from the field, we will have to modify the plan."

Here is the plan I developed for 2021; let's see how it's going. If you remember the 1st Quarter was almost a complete bust - some good and some bad. January was a major setback fighting infectious diseases as I came down with strep throat and the virus that rhymes with moped.
Throughout the quarter we did some serious travelling visiting my Honorable Sons and Beautiful Daughters-in-law. So what happened in 2nd Quarter? How did it go?

In June I got the virus again that rhymes with moped - and we did some serious travelling visiting my Honorable Sons and Beautiful Daughters-in-law. Oh well. 

I really overestimated how long it would take me to paint my Afghan Tribal infantry - but I think they look good! It is easy to happen; I based it on the last two years when I had gazillion hours to paint so I am now modifying the plan with a mid-year correction:

1. Continue to make my hobby self-sustaining as much as possible with eBay sales, commissions and the blog. By the way, if you are interested in having figures painted, feel free to contact me at No auctions this quarter but I did find some good deals using the money from the previous quarter's auctions.

2. Scottish Units for the English Civil War. Nothing like already having unpainted figures to encourage you to save money - especially when you really want to paint them! My goal is to:
    a. Paint one to two Regiments of Foot. The actual number of regiments will depend on some conversions I need to due for musketeers as I have plenty of pike.
    b. Two units of Horse/Mounted Dragoons. No dismounted dragoons yet!
    c. One big honking cannon - pretty sure it's a Saker from Warlord Games but I'm too lazy to go up to the War Room and look right now.

The Scots will be painted later in the year (I hope!)

Where is my cavalry?

3. Imperial Russian Army circa somewhere in my imaginary universe from 1880 to 1910. I've been having fun with my Fictional conflict of the Anglo-Russian War. Be a Daniel Mersey fan of many years, I use The Men Who Would be Kings (Paid Link) as my rules; though, I am thinking about giving The East is Ablaze a try. (Ministry of Finance) Yep, a sucker for Hollywood style and fun rules.
    a. One unit of Regular Infantry. (Ministry of Finance)
    b. One unit of Dragoons. (Ministry of Finance)
    c. One unit of Cossacks. (Ministry of Finance)

This one is iffy. Now I don't want to talk politics because this is a fun blog on Toy Soldies, but I wrote down my predictions in December about fuel prices, etc. Time will tell whether the Russians will get their reinforcements. Plus I have been putting more effort, and some changes, into the Army of the Raj and Afghan tribal infantry.

"Where are my fellow Sowars?"
4. The British Indian Army.
    a. One unit of Sikh Cavalry (The 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry). Complete!

The 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry mounted with the alternative basing method for The Men Who Would be Kings (Paid Link).

    b. One unit of Bengal Lancers.  Complete!

    b. One unit of Highlanders. Purchased!
    c. One unit of Gurkhas. (Ministry of Finance) Not yet purchased!
    d. A British Political Officer in Native Dress. How can you have the Great Game without a Political Officer? I'm planning on using a figure from the Perry Miniatures Hard Plastic Afghan Tribesman (Paid Link) box. Done!

Not only did I do a Political Officer in Native Dress, but I did the fictional character Mahbub Ali "The Red Beard" from the classic novel Kim, by Rudyard Kipling.

Colonel Sir Robert Warburton, KCIE, CSI

Mahbub Ali, "The Red Beard"

    e. Remember that deal from eBay? The Guides Infantry and the 20th Punjabs will be joing the British Indian Army.

5. Afghanistan.
    a. Two units of 16 figures each of Perry Miniatures hard plastic Tribal Infantry. (Paid Link)
    b. Anything else will depend on tribute . . . err . . . subsidies from the British Raj or Imperial Russia.

Making progress on my tribesman . . . but there is a change of plans. After doing more research I'm going to do two units of 12 "shooters" and 2 units of 16  figures for the more melee focused troops. The first 16 figure unit is done, one of the units of "shooters" and 1/2 of a unit of shooters. I also coverted a Brigade Games figure that I had for one of the numerous Mad Mullahs and did a Victorian Sci-Fi Pashtun leader using some additional bits.

First Irregular unit of Infantry - my shooters.

The Mad Mullah: Sartor Faqir!

First Tribal Infantry Unit.

Major Ivan Rostov of the Russian Imperial Army and The Golden Sheik of the Pashtuns.

Russian gold and weapons are flowing into the frontier.

Special Characters for the Frontier.

Second Irregular Infantry unit is half complete; and the next box of Afghan Tribal Infantry will arrive on Monday courtesy of Amazon Prime Days.

Arithmetic on the Frontier.

6. French and Indian War. Did someone mention I'm a Daniel Mersey fan. Continuing on with the French and Indian War using Rebels and Patriots. (Paid Link)
    a. Finish one more unit of Native Skirmishers. Complete!

    b. One unit of French Regulars.  I'm estimating there will not be enough time.
    c. One unit of British Regulars or Colonial Regulars/Militia. As above.

7. Elite Heavy Elf Infantry for Dragon Rampant (Paid Link): This is a carryover from last year and won't take too long to finish these old GW Warhammer Elf Infantry. Complete!

8. In Her Majesty's Name, 2nd Edition.
    a. Update my Adventuring Company's to the 2nd Edition. In Progress!
Slowly but surely.
    b. Finish drafting and then play our campaign for 2022. Locally we had a multi-year campaign called "The War of the Witches" which involved, whenever available, friends, kids of friends, my Honorable Sons, and me (usually getting my butt kicked or being the gamemaster/umpire). With the victory of the Forces of Good (they had Teddy Roosevelt!) over the Forces of Evil (BWAH HAH HAH!) it's time to start another campaign. Two of the main, evil Adventuring Companies somehow managed to escape the defeat . . . and of course Professor Moriarty figured out which way the wind was blowing and helped (kinda). The first game will have the premier of my new Adventuring Company in the Highlands of Scotland.

The campaign has been delayed but will happen and will bring us from Scotland to India and who knows where? Plus the return of everyone's favorite villain (BWAH HAH HAH!).

The fools THINK they won. BWAH HAH HAH!!!

    c. Do some odds and ends that will be needed for the campaign; you know - unexpected surprises! And here they are:

9. Terrain.
    a. Paint the roof of the mill and some other parts! I spent some time in New England visiting Honorable Son #1 (The Librarian) and his Beautiful Bride (The Doctor) plus Honorable Son #3 (The Engineer) and his Beautiful Bride (The Social Warrior) and was able to take a look at some real mills in the area. And some other areas of interest - but that is for another post.
I finished painting the mill but need to take some pictures!

    b. Put together an MDF Tavern that was given to me by Honorable Son #2 (The Captain) and his Beautiful Bride (The Lawyer). Looking forward to putting this together and using it on the tabletop. 
I still need to put it together.
    c. Scratch build a frontier fort. It's coming.

10. Play gamesTwo mass Napoleonic Battles. Epic!
    a. English Civil War.
    b. The Anglo-Russian War and the NW Frontier.
    c. The French and Indian War.
    d. The IHMN2 campaign (need to come up with a name of impending doom for the world). Mmmm . . . is this going to happen?

11. Secret projects.
    a. Getting back to my gaming roots. This will be the subject of a future post whether it is financed or not. (Ministry of Finance) Done! Back to mass battle Napoleonic's with WoFun Miniatures.

Converted Dutch Infantry into Frankfurt Infantry.

b. A board game/miniature project.  I'm estimating there will not be enough time!

Time to hit the last part of the year running!