Iron Duke Miniatures

Iron Duke Miniatures

'Hard pounding, gentlemen!'


Here is a glimpse of products the Iron Duke has us working on presently. We know it's a bit frustrating to see the lovelies on display here and not be able to buy them straight away but, trust the Duke, it does take time to bring items to market at the standard you have a right to expect and the standard his lordship will always insist on. Nothing can ever be done in less than a month, counting from the time the sculptor puts his tools down, while some items have to wait a while longer for essential bedfellows to be finished: for example there's no point bringing the limber horses to market until we have some action packed artillery drivers flailing their whips about to go with them. They say that 'patience is a virtue': we're all collecting these things too, so we're all sharing the same journey together! But our notion is that a discerning customer base like ours would much rather see us getting things right than wrong, and would much prefer to see what's around the corner than be left in the dark waiting for something, anything, to happen!  So, for your delight and delectation, the Iron Duke presents.....   


Salute 2017 Release

Below you can see the shape and size of our Tranche 1 release of cavalry (7 sets) and horse artillery (2 sets), which will be available for the first time from the Empress Miniatures Trade Stand at Salute 2017, EXCEL Centre, London, Apr 22,  and which will go into their online store over the ensuing days. What you see illustrated here are what we call the 'Set 1' codes (8 riders) for each unit. These include 4 command figures and 4 'sowars' or troopers. In Tranche 2 we will release 'Set II' codes for each unit, which will consist of 8 sowars only. Sword arms and carbines are separate.  Discounting the command figures, there is always a 50/50 split between sword arms at the point (front rank) and sword arms at the shoulder (rear rank), in reflection of the 'cavalry drill' of that time. There will be no Set II code for the set we call Havelock's cavalry, (or the 'Allahabad Volunteer Cavalry' as it was officially known), comprising 4 overthrown EIC officers/civilian volunteers and 4 mounted infantrymen, as this unit started life with only 18 members and, up to the time Lucknow was relieved, never exceeded squadron strength.  Remember the horses are sold separately and come in packs of 4, so two packs of horses required to every set of horsemen. We have provided a guide to mounting your cavalry units at the foot of the page and will leave it there for a good while yet, before eventually transferring it to the Products Page. Incidentally, quite a lot of these new figures are useful for the North-West Frontier campaigns of the late-1840s and the 1850s. The Bengal/[also Oudh Contingent] Irregular Cavalry in alkaluks are also suitable for the two Anglo-Sikh Wars.  

IMREB 19 Bengal Light Cavalry Set 1. All ten regiments of BLC mutinied, so there is no British officer in this code: rather there are two mutinous 'leader' figures, one a senior sowar or native officer in a turban and the other a native officer in his lightweight summer clothing. A very colourful unit clad in French grey, akin to a sky blue, with orange facings (black in one of the regiments) and white piping. With the exception of one of the leaders, all other figures in Set 1 come in forage caps, allowing you to portray the very early period of the outbreak when odd detachments and squadrons remained loyal, before eventually turning against the EIC.  In Set II, however, there will be 4 sowars in forage caps, 2 in turbans and 2 in skull caps. [Note that there is a Britsh BLC officer in the Havelock's cavalry set.]

Bengal Light Cavalry - to illustrate the impressive appearance on the tabletop of the 16 figure unit. 


Close-up of BLC sowars and one of the leaders (in turban).
Here you can also see two of the Set II sowars (not yet available), half of whom will be in turbans and skull caps.


IMBC 35 Guides Cavalry, Set I. The cavalry wing of the Corps of Guides was recruited mainly from Afghans and tribes of the NW-Frontier. In Set II there will also be 2 much more obviously Sikh sowars.   

Close-up of Guides Cavalry, including a British officer in a frogged lightweight jacket. Lumsden of the Guides was the inventor of khaki and the unit is described at the siege of Delhi as having 'every atom' of their clothing in khaki.   

IMBC 30 Havelock's Cavalry. Formally known as the 'Allahabad Volunteer Cavalry', the unit started from Allahabad only 18 men strong and at that juncture was made up entirely of overthrown EIC officers and civilian volunteers. After the first battle of his campaign to relieve Lucknow, at Fatehpur, General Havelock disarmed his squadron of irregular cavalry and turned its horses and equipment over to small detachments of volunteers from his British infantry regiments, amounting to about 40 infantrymen in all. By the time of the First Relief of Lucknow, more volunteers had been added and the unit had risen to a strength of about 110. We include here 4 overthrown officers/civilians and 4 mounted infantrymen.

IMBC 37 Hodson's Horse, Set I. Always identifiable by their red turbans and red shoulder sashes. Hodson's unit was recruited in the Punjab and comprised a majority of Sikhs. In the Set II code there will be 6 more Sikhs and 2 Muslim sowars.  

Close-up of Hodson's Horse.

IMBC 27 Bengal Irregular  Cavalry or Oudh Irregular Cavalry in akaluks, Set 1. About half the BIC regiments and all the Oudh Contingent regiments mutinied, so these can be used on either side (less the British officer who will have a very definite opinion on the matter!) Very colourful units. Red, blue and green were the most usual alkaluk colours. See our uniform guide.  The British officer's helmet is blue with gilt fittings. 

Close-up of Bengal or Oudh Irregular Cavalry.

IMBC 31 Punjab Irregular Cavalry in alkaluks, Set 1.  These are designed for the predominantly Sikh 1st, 2nd and 5th PIC, units of the Punjab Irregular Force (PIF), which served both at the Siege of Delhi, where they wore alkaluks, and in the Second Relief of Lucknow, where they wore lightweight frocks (see separate code below).  The Set II code will include 6 more Sikh sowars and 2 Muslim sowars. 

Close-up of Punjab Irregular Cavalry in alkaluks. 

IMBC 33 Punjab Irregular Cavalry in lightweight frocks, Set I. 

Close-up of Punjab Irregular Cavalry in lightweight frocks. That's a British officer in front there. 

And now the Horse Artillery...


IMBC 22 Olpherts' Battery at the gallop. A Bengal Artillery unit (present in the campaign to relieve Lucknow) commanded by Capt. 'Hellfire Jack' Olpherts.  The native gunners seemed untrustworthy and were dismissed by General Havelock on their arrival at Cawnpore.  Olpherts was given a detachment of Madras Fusiliers to serve as drivers and also trained some of his civilian syces (grasscutters) to the role.  He also rounded up two complete sets of limbers, so that he could move his guns on the march by bullock draught and, on coming into action, could whistle up six horse drawn limbers to take over the guns. Now that's unusual! 

IMREB 21 Mutinous battery of the Bengal Artillery at the gallop. 

Same IMREB 21 Mutineer battery again, different angle. 

Captain 'Hellfire Jack' Olpherts, Bengal Artillery. Splendid!


The driver seen here is a Bengal Artillery European. There will be a complete 8-figure set of BA Europeans in the second tranche of horse artillery.


Here's a couple of the infantry dollies we have in hand at present, destined in this case to end up as codes of 'matchlockmen'.  

'All the Duke's Horses...'

The IDM Guide to Mounting Cavalry Codes

Our riders are sold in codes of 8, whereas our horses are sold in codes of four. All the horses codes are illustrated below. Here is the list:

IMH 1 Four Horses with basic hunting saddles (Suitable for commanders, field officers and staff officers).

IMH 2 Four Regular Cavalry Horses Set A

IMH 3 Four Regular Cavalry Horses Set B

IMH 4 Four Irregular Horses Set A

IMH 5 Four Irregular Horses Set B

IMH 6 Eight Artillery Horses (6 horse team in artillery harness and two saddle horses for outriders)

In the case of the regular and irregular cavalry codes, buying a Set A and a Set B together will give you 8 differently animated animals. Which horses for which units then? It's easier than you think! The simple rule of thumb is that if the troop type has the word 'irregular' in the title, then you will need our irregular horse codes (IMH 4 and 5) to mount it How easy is that! Otherwise its regular horses for the Bengal Light Cavalry, Guides Cavalry and Hodson's Horse. For Havelock's Cavalry, uniquely, you will need one set of either regular or staff officer's horses for the 4 overthrown officers, and one set of irregular horses for the mounted infantrymen. 

Our horses are sold in codes of 4 animals, (as illustrated below), separately from our horsemen, in order to permit maximum flexibility in how you mount your units: in other words no horses will necessarily be forced on you by your choice of riders.  Additionally if you want a few more of a particular code of riders, perhaps for conversion purposes, you won't have to pay over the odds by buying horses you don't necessarily need. The exception to the general rule of four horses to the code is a horse artillery code of 8 animals, consisting of a limber team of six horses plus two saddle horses for outriders. The set serves equally well for British and rebel horse artillery. The corresponding sets of 8 artillerymen consist of an officer, a second outrider, three drivers and three seated gunners to split between the limber and the axle-tree seats of the guns.  Our existing limber kit comes with the parts necessary for it to be used for either bullock-drawn guns or horse artillery.

Attaching Carbines

It is a common misconception that cavalrymen rode about with their carbines attached to the sling swivels on their carbine belts, but in fact they were routinely secured to the saddlery forward of the rider's right leg, by means of a securing strap around the small of the butt and a leather bucket for the barrel. Because good history dictates that we should, this is how we have modelled our carbines.  Only after the cautionary command, 'Prepare to dismount', did the soldier unstrap the butt of his weapon and secure it to his person, by clipping the sling swivel on his belt to the bar on the left-hand side of the weapon. The weapon was then temporarily moved to the opposite hip to facilitate the physical act of dismounting. 

At the risk of teaching grannies (experienced modelers) to suck eggs (!), this how we attached the carbines to our figures. The carbines have been modelled with a locking on the inside of the butt, but because the carbine rests in a rather awkward spot between the rider's leg and the horse, (often in a slightly different position depending on your choice of horse), it has not been possible to position a corresponding receiving hole in either the rider or the horse.  Having made a decision on which riders and horses are to go together, those who wish to do so could drill a hole for themselves, but we found that this was by no means essential, as it was perfectly possible to secure the carbine with superglue, with no real prospect of it ever coming off, (save through the sort of rough handling that nobody in their right mind exposes painted figures to!). So we cut off the locking pin and proceeded without it. We found that the easy and quick technique was to rest the rider and horse on its side, place the carbine in position and then drop two subtle drops of glue onto the weapon, one high on the butt and one lower down - typically where the barrel bucket will be resting against the top muscle of the horse's foreleg (or thereabouts)...and 'bob's your uncle', as they say! All being well, your glue will flow nicely around to the rear of the weapon and perform its magic in an imperceptible way. Top tip: be sure to use a new bottle of glue, or one with a still neat neck, so that you don't get a massive outflow from a battered old bottle that you've unclogged countless times in the past! You will have a few seconds in hand while superglue will run, if not quite like water, then at least pretty readily, so  that if by chance you get a blob of glue resting on the visible surface, you will be able quickly to push it over the edge of the carbine, to the invisible rear surfaces, using a pinhead or similar. Job done. Here's a good picture from the Duke's collection demonstrating how the carbine was secured to the saddle, and you can see from the photos of our own figures just where we have positioned them:


The Horse Codes

IMH 1: Basic Hunting Saddles (suitable for Commanders, Staff Officers and other miscellaneous purposes). There is a saddle holster on the other side of the horses.

IMH 2: Regular Cavalry Horses Set A.

IMH 3: Regular Cavalry Horses Set B.

IMH 4: Irregular Cavalry Horses Set A. 

      IMH 5: Irregular Cavalry Horses Set B.


IMH 6 Artillery team of six with two saddle horses for officer/crewmen outriders.

   Saddlery and Harness Close-Ups