I've wanted to do a game set in the North West Frontier for a long time. The original Wargames Foundry Afghan miniatures by the Perrys were first historical miniatures I bought. Look what they sparked off!
However, I have a Zulu War game which scratches my colonial itch and producing another 'few vs many' game in the same style didn't seem very worthwhile so this idea languished at the back of my mind for several years.
Recently, my daughter and I watched North West Frontier (or Flame Over India as the Americans renamed it) because she wanted to see a film about trains, she like trains, and it struck me that this would make a good cooperative game for a group of players trying to overcome various hardships in order to get the Prince to safety in a mash up of a roleplaying game and a skirmish game. The game itself could generate and run the opposition.
Sarissa Precision make a rather nice little engine and suitable rolling stock which removed the problem of scaling a model train to match 28mm miniatures so I've gone with them for the scenery.
Perry Miniatures make a small range of Afghan tribesmen which made choosing them for most of the miniatures an easy choice. I did consider the Wargames Foundry Afghans which are still available but the range is not complete (there is a charging swordsman missing) which annoys me more than it should and I thought they'd be a bit small by today's standards and corespondingly harder for me to paint.
The Perrys also produce a pack of Indian soldiers.
The rest of the British contingent will come from Artizan Designs and Bob Murch's Pulp Figures with Gupta, the train driver being supplied by Eureka Miniatures.
I have a set of Pulp Miniatures Thugees too so they'll be drafted in for added colour and thrills with the possibility of adding a Crooked Dice animated Kali statue dpending on how 'pulp' I want to go.
Items in italics I already have.
3x £9.00 Cavalry
4x £7.50 Infantry
9 Cavalry and 24 infantry
2x Kali statues
1x £7.50 Infantry
1x £6.00 Civilians
1x £10.00 Civilians, Prince and British Officer
2x Train crew
1 Officer, 6 soldiers, 4 civilians, 1 Prince, 2 train crew
1x £12.50 engine
1x £10.00 passenger car
1x £7.50 goods wagon
2x £15.00 track
1x £2.50 buffers
1 Locomotive, 1 passenger car, 1 goods car, 10ft of track, buffers
1x £20.00 station
1x £7.50 water tank
1x coal bunker
1x £7.50 points
1 station, 1 water tank, 1 coal bunker, 2 sets of points
Markers for coal and water from trade goods (resource management)
Total cost £160.00 plus postage
Unforseen or unplanned extras
1x £6.00 British officers
2x £6.00 British infantry
1x £7.00 British mountain gun
3x £6.00 Sikhs
1x £36.00 Foundry Afghans
7x £1.30 Highlanders
1x £3.90 Heliograph team
14x £1.30 Afghans
1x £17.95 Tiger and Elephant
Total £142.35 (inc postage)
4 officers, 10 Sikhs, 8 British infantry, 1 gun and 3 crew, 7 Highlanders, 1 Heliograph team, 14 Afghans, 1 Tiger, 1 Elephant
Total miniatures 136 (newly painted)
Total scenery items 20 (newly painted)
Total cost £302.35 (not including miniatures already owned)
Total time Three months
My 55 year old coal bunker.
Some suitable Ian Weekley scenery pieces.
The Pulp Figures Thuggees.
A Crooked Dice animated statue. An optional extra if I decide to go full 'pulp'.
Civilians from Eureka. The single figure wth the blue head covering is a Pulp figure.
The train crew from Eureka with a Pulp monkey.
Here's the painting update covering these miniatures.
The train passengers are done.
From left to right: Peters (the arms dealer), Bridie (Government official), Prince Kishan (the Prince), Catherine Wyatt (the Prince's governess) and Van Leyden (the journalist).
A mixture of Artizan Designs and Pulp Figures.
Captain Scott, I'll pick one to use. More Pulp Figures.
Change of plan with these, Captain Scott will be an Artizan miniature.
The three sergeants as sergeants again.
The second Kali statue.
My Perry Miniatures order of Afghans and Indian infantry figures. Whilst these Afghans are very nice they don't have the character of the original Foundry Afghans so I've decided to buy them as well once these are done.
The first of the Afghan infantry.
The last sixteen with guns.
All the guns together.
All the Afghan infantry.
The Afghan cavalry.
I've decided to add a unit of Sikhs into the mix as possible reinforcements for the train that can be picked up along the way. I didn't want the game to just be a game of attrition and diminishing resources for the players. These are all from Artizan Designs. One of the Sikhs arrived broken so I've dropped another one to leave me with six and an officer like the Indian troops.
Some British and Sikh officers from Artizan Designs. One of these will be Captain Scott, the others may be used as extra personalities, who knows?
The new Captain Scott and the Indian troops.
I bought a new drawer unit for the games cabin so everyone is settled in their new home,
My Foundry Afghans have arrived and they're lovely. Great animation and posing, crisp detail and clean mouldings. They even came with three wire sprars for the standard bearer.
Comparing the miniatures from the Perrys themselves, made nearly 30 years later is quite disappointing. The new miniatures don't have the same level of posing and are afflicted with shallow, almost sketchy detailing of hands and faces. The moulding is abysmal with in-fills where parts of the mould are missing, lots pf flash and innumerable venting tails, some in the most unikely positions.
Originally I decided not to go with this Foundry range in case the miniatures were too small. They're not and I should have.
All the Afghans.
I've decided to do a unit of British infantry and a small gun from Artizan Designs to expand this project into a full-blown skirmish set. Later, I may add some British cavalry and an Afghan gun if I feel the need.
All the Imperial forces so far.
Since Britannia Miniatures do some Pathan revolt Highlanders and Afghans and since I like Britannia Miniatures' figures I've ordered a sampling of each.
The scenery has arrived.
I started by assembling all the track pieces.
I tried out the linking mechanisms and they proved too complicated and fragile to allow easy track changing during play which is a major factor of the game for this project so I clipped them all off. This still leaves me with over nine feet (270cm) of track which is more than enough.
Next I made the water tank as it was the simplest of the kits.
And then I tackled the engine as it was the most complicated of the train kits.
Next I built the goods car. I left off the brakes to keep things simple and because I'd made a small mistake fitting the chasis together.
Finally I made the passenger car. The roof is separate and lifts off.
Here's the complete train.
Here's the station. I added some tiles to the roof from some laser cut sheets of card I got from somewhere.
Like the passenger car, the roof is separate.
I made some bases for the track sections from cork tile cut to size and with the sides champhered. This will add stability and weight to the track so it doesn't move around too much during play as well as making it look like the rails have been laid properly.
I then decided to add a base to the station to raise it up a bit too.
painting the track was quick once the base colours were done.
I daubed some of my basing compound in places to attach some grit and add a bit more texture then drybrushed everything with my usual two basing highlights before adding some static grass.
Finally I painted the tops of the rails with a gun metal colour.
The painted station.
The finished water tank.
Victoria and the goods wagon.
I printed off a pair of name plates.
With the passenger car completed the train is finished.
The train set.
These are my Britannia Gordon Highlanders. A unit of seven men and a heliograph team. There's also a tiger here that I'm painting at the same time from DeeZee Miniatures.
The animals. The DeeZee tiger came out looking nice I think. The elephant looks like the Ebob one but the casting is poor. Maybe he sold the rights to someone (I got this off eBay).
With these Britannia Afghans complete I think this project is finished.
An unexpected and non-historical addition, some Britannia Camel Corps.
The original advert in Wargames Illustrated #54 (the first issue I bought) for Wargames Foundry Afghans which started me buying historical miniatures.
Sorry, this one's unfocused :(
All my Afghans.