I've always fancied doing something in British India, not least because you get to 're-use' all your British armies, ie. 7 years war/AWI, Napoleonic and late Victorian/early 20th century etc., etc.. But without any dedicated figure ranges (and in fact a general shortage of books, prints, images of the native Indian forces themselves), it is not that easy, especially in 20mm.
I was looking through some prints of British troops at the time of the Indian Mutiny, and I noticed most British troops were wearing a kepi and neck cloth, and was looking at Esci's French Foreign Legion and a little light bulb lit up in my head. Having sat at the back of the cupboard for several years, I got some out at the end of last year, looked up some references including some painted minis on the 'Mutineer Miniatures' site and this is the result...
First up a unit in redcoats (closeup above, unit shot below):
Next a unit in khaki which was increasingly being adopted as a service dress by this time. I've nicknamed these my '17th King Prawn Jelfrezi's':
With a couple of closeups:
I've got a box of Italeri's Napoleonic Highlanders knocking around, which I bought out of curiosity and don't really need having plenty of Airfix Highlanders painted up. I've based them individually and will probably paint them up some time, using them both with my Napoleonic skirmish set, and for postings to the Raj, the highland uniform remaining in service right through to the Crimean war era. In fact the Sikhs were so impressed they even equipped their own highland regiments - complete with kilts, bagpipes- and of course turbans! It's that sort of stuff that makes gaming the Raj irrestible!
The Hat Colonial Sikhs I've just bought will serve for the Mutiny too, the Sikh troops stayed loyal, and can be painted khaki or red for the period.
The main thing that is lacking at the moment is mutineers (planning simple conversions of Hat Zouaves). These will also serve as sepoys for earlier and later wars, and with a rush of blood to the head and a future improvement in my wallet a few more boxes of Sikhs could be purchased to equip a Sikh army with regulars for the Anglo-Sikh wars.
I also saw on the Hat website an interesting simple conversion of Cossacks into Maratha cavalry, and have various turbanned Hat Marmaluke cavalry too use as the cavalry of some Marharaja.
Overall, this project is on 'slow burn', but might get there in the end.
To finish off, some figs I painted up for the NW Frontier, but could easily be employed as 'Badmashes', the rampaging mobs of the Indian cities who attacked the British during the mutiny, or other native troops. Figs are Esci (now re-issued by Italeri) Muslim Warriors. There are 'too many' rifles in the set (at least for 'Sword & the Flame' troop ratios) so some riflemen are scheduled to conversion to spear and shield men before painting, which should swell this force.