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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Introducing the Indian Infantry

India, a British colony during WWII contributed a substantial amount of manpower to the Allied cause. Between 2 and 2.5 million men volunteered to serve. They fought in places like North Africa, Burma, and up the Italian boot. I actually started looking into Indian troops after I read a book on Monte Cassino, where they also fought. A less known part of history is that Indian troops also fought on the Axis side. Both Japan and Germany formed several divisions mainly from prisioners of war whose motivation was to seek independence from the British. The guys in these pictures represent the men who fought on the Allied side. Indian troops are sometimes also referred as Sikh Infantry because of many of the men's religion. However, not all of them were sikhs, many were muslim. Apparently, the way to tell them apart is by the head dress. The muslim head dress has two parts. The Khulla is a conical cover for the head, which is then wrapped many times with a Pagri. The Sikh troops on the other hand wear a turban that does not have the conical Khulla in the middle.

Atlantic Indian Brigade - Part 1
These are really the only WWII Indian troops that I have come across. They are nicely done, however their uniform seems better suited for the jungles of Burma or the North African desert, than for the cold and damp mountainous terrain of Italy at the time of the Monte Cassino campaing which is what I originally wanted them for. But I guess they will have to do. Note that these figures have been manufactured in several different shades of brown. But don't worry, each set only includes figures in one color. The machine gun in this set is a nice touch that provides the unit with a good dose of fire power.

Atlantic Indian Brigade - Part 2
The most interesting part about these figures is that three of them offer the possibility of inserting swords and large knives into their hands. Depending on what weapon you use and whether it points forward or backwards, the figure can be stabbing with a knife or striking a blow with his sword. You can also give them other types of accessories (if you have spare weapons from other manufacturers), for instance, the guy in the middle can also be carrying a bazooka across his back and holding the handle in his hand.

Charbens Punjabs - Part I
These guys are supposed to be from around the turn of last century (1900), but given the scarcity of manufacturers tackling these figures I have decided to recruit them into this unit. The main thing is that they are wearing a similar head dress -albeit Sikh- and the rifles and swords dont look that different from what the Atlantic guys are carrying.

Charbens Punjabs - Part II
Here is the original, vintage officer. Still in decent shape, with most of the original colors on him. And he is a bit larger than the clones pictured above, which is no surprise, as there's often shrinkage when the figures are cloned. 

Cherilea 60mm Sikh Infantry
Here are a few other guys that I recently found. Being 60mm, they are indeed on the larger side, but I think they will still blend in once they are painted. The poses are well sculpted and dynamic, plus they provide the only prone guy that I have come across. Too bad I could not get a hold of the whole set (usually 6 from Cherilea).

Cherilea 60mm Sikh Infantry - Part II
Here is another guy from the same set. I got it after the initial post. Unfortunately the tip of the gun is missing, but overall it is a nice pose. Will need to give it a good scrub before painting it.

Cherilea 60mm Sikh Infantry - Part III
Here is another guy from the set. I've had to get the missing figures individually.

Cherilea 54mm Sikh Infantry?
This guy came with the other 3 above, but I suspect he is from a different set as he is a bit smaller, plus the shape of the base is slightly different, not to mention the slightly different material. I have to say however that I don't know for sure if Cherilea also released a set in 54 mm, so maybe they are from an entirely different manufacturer. If you know, let me know!

Crescent Sikh Infantry - Part I
These are some guys that I have been trying to get for a while. They are 54mm figures. I believe the set contained 6 of them, but I have only been able to find 3. They are also pre-WWII figures, but as you can see, they should blend in.

Crescent Sikh Infantry - Part II
One more from the set. I actually had to get a batch of 20+ mixed figures just to get this one extra pose. I find the figure a bit puzzling. On the one hand he appears to be leading a charge, but in that case, you would expect his expression to be more lively. Perhaps he jut got hit? But then he would be losing his balance, wouldn't he?

Crescent Sikh Infantry - Part III
And one more, with a good deal of original paint left on him.

Crescent Sikh Infantry - Part IV
This is the last one. An action pose, rallying his comrades to move forward. This guy's paint has been touched up by the previous owner, which actually makes his beard look pretty good.

Armies in Plastic WWI Indian Army - Part I
I had been looking for Indian troops for a Monte Cassino scenario and was pleased to run into these guys which were recently released. The poses are nicer than some of the previous AIP figures. Less bulky and with some good movement in them. The level of detail is good and the turbans and beards make them inequivocably Indian. The uniforms and weaponry are close enough to make them pass for WWII figures. 

Armies in Plastic WWI Indian Army - Part II
The first picture shows some of the more active poses. This other five guys are in a more static or defensive stance. Both are needed to depict a good battle scene. All in all, a nice and useful set from AIP. Will paint up well next to the Atlantic, Cherilea, Charbens and Crescent guys. 

Click here to see a description of the Gurkhas, who fought next to the Indian troops at Monte Cassino.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I have one Indian (Made in India) 2" tall army man. Would you be able to tell me anything about it? Is there a way to send you a picture?

    Thank you!