Now the only option was to reach for the small hacksaw and needle files, which if you've ever tried it on the thickly based and tightly packed blocks from Irreg, you'll know this was no small undertaking! After much swearing and groaning (Note to self: buy sharper files!), I managed to massacre the six man blocks down to some manageable pairs or trios, which could be mounted on half scale bases at 30x15mm.
The glowing exception was the mounted half of the Brigadier's stand seen in the photo above; this is an absolutely cracking mini with great character and animation, with the two officers discussing the campaign over a map. The only slight issue with this, Z8, British Generals mounted and dismounted, was the dismounted pair provided, in that for some unknown reason, the heft and size of these had more in common with the much smaller figures from Heroics & Ros, so they got thrown in the spares bin, and after a bit of surgery on a Z7 block, with one flag removed, the Union flag was raised resplendent as above.
The results with the survivors of the block surgery, with the addition of two WWI Officers, GWC3 (the bracketing figures on the leftmost stand) can be seen below:
The Highland command stand is a good block, but again with the problems of the Colours being carried, I had to reduce it thus, which turned out alright, although the bagpiper on the right of the stand looks a bit lonely!
Next we have another great sculpt, and crucial for any Colonial campaign , a couple of Kipling's screw gun, seen here in the shape of Irregular's IND64, late 19th/20th Century Mountain Gun with crew and Mules. The mules in particular are really good, you receive one block of three per gun.
Having dealt with the 5th Bombay Mountain Battery, Punjab Frontier Force, where would we be without the 18th Bengal Lancers? Thankfully, Irregular's IND62 report for duty here, although I have to say, in common with a lot of their 6mm cavalry, the horses are a little bit too well fed! I guess if I'm honest, these are rather dumpy and blobby, none of the elegance you might expect from such a romantic regiment, but then they are on campaign, you know...
The next stage is a quick look at what is next on the painting table, the Pathans themselves. (Although in Tirah, I suppose we should strictly call them Afridis, or Khambar Khels, or Orakzais, or somesuch...)
Below we have the IND39 tribal command block, although I have removed a figure from the right hand side of the base, a chap who should be holding a sword above his head, however, in an unfortunately all-too-familiar way, he is often miscast, rendering him a bug-eyed mutant.
These miscasts can be a problem when ordering from Irregular, although at this scale it isn't always so obvious, and the company has good customer service, so, in my experience, are happy to replace the worst examples if you receive a lot of them in one order.
Next we see the IND38 tribal infantry with Jezails. These sculpts have good detail, but are rather passive in their pose for my liking; they look more like a bunch of friends lined up for a fishing trip photo than fierce tribal warriors!
That's why I have decided to scatter a selection of IND37, tribals with swords, and IND44 Sikh/Afghan Ghazis/Zealots in amongst them, to add a bit more animation. Ideally, of course, you'd have some blocks in skirmish order aiming their weapons, but given the excellent value for money offered by Irregular at this scale, you can't have everything I suppose....
Finally we have a couple of shots of something I just couldn't resist, the IND59 Siege Gun with Elephant Team, yes, it belongs to an earlier era than 1897, and might be more comfortable at Maiwand than the Dargai Heights, but just check it out! This is the Tiger Tank of it's day...well, something like that....it comes with a base that depicts a number of artillerists, both colonial and native, behind an earth embrasure, as well as the neat Heffalump we see here.
Can't wait to have a go painting it, I'll update with some pictures of it, and the Pathans, as they come off the workbench.