Iron Duke Miniatures

Iron Duke Miniatures

'Hard pounding, gentlemen!'


Iron Duke Bulletin 2/2016

Havelock's infantry and artillery, mutinous Bengal Native Infantry (in uniform and in mufti), rebel artillery, guns, limbers and baggage are all 'in the bag' and selling well through our chums at Empress Miniatures. As we all know it's cavalry and horse artillery next.  We are, however, just a little bit behind the original schedule and should provide you with an update accordingly. One of the emerging problems for companies like IDM is the increasingly obvious divide of historical gamers into a 'big  battalions' faction and a 'large skirmish' faction, groups which obviously work at quite different tempos, each with their own particular needs. The former are patient accumulators and look for a range to be comprehensively filled out. The latter get through very small infantry armies very quickly and then clamour for a full array of releases covering all the other arms. We love both types of customer of course, but frankly it is difficult to serve the needs of both and leave all of the people happy all of the timeWe're quite sure that the patient accumulators will not yet have painted their artillery and infantry and won't even notice the delay, while the skirmish guys, inevitably, are simply bursting for some cavalry! We can only do our best to keep everybody tolerably happy. 

Let's move on to explain why we are a bit behind then. Fans of the Iron Duke range will know that it is supported by original research, in pursuit of a high degree of historical authenticity. We like to think that this sets our figures above anything else available for the Mutiny as a gaming period As most customers will appreciate, because authenticity is a key hallmark of the range, we are not in the business of 'rushing around like wet hens', (as the original Duke might have put it!), and making irrecoverable errors in consequence - or to put it another way we are not interested in relieving people of their hard-earned money for sub-standard products. The IDM project is a 'labour of love', not a relentless capitalist enterprise! In the event we make a mistake, (infallibility being unattainable!), it will be a sincere one, not for want of effort. Bona fide historical research is not merely a matter of turning up the nearest Osprey plate and sending it off to a sculptor: rather it takes time and painstaking effort. That, coupled with the outstanding endeavors of our sculptors, who must necessarily receive very detailed briefs to work their magicis why our figures are so distinctive and why they have been so well received by the historical gaming communityHaving been slightly detained, by a number of months, advising his chums at Perry Miniatures on their excellent new Cape Wars range, (which entailed two and a half years writing 'Cape Warriors', and then editing it himself into the bargain), the Duke has had no time left over to devote to further researching the finer detail of the cavalry units in the Mutiny. We're inclined to think that those gamers who collect Mutiny are likely also to be drawn to the Cape Wars, so to some extent it's all part of a bigger picture across the hobby. As a consequence of the work with the Perrys there has been an unavoidable knock-on effect to IDM work, leaving us roughly three months behind where we wanted to be, in terms of the first of our cavalry releases. But apart from the timetable nothing has changed plans-wise from the bulletin below, so we won't repeat anything you can read there.  The best steer we can presently give as to timings is that cavalry and horse artillery releases will come over the winter ahead, with a view to having a good array available by the time we get to Salute in the spring. We apologize for the delay, but are quite certain that it's better that releases are a bit late than rushed and inaccurate. We haven't forgotten either about working in a bit more Ferezopore Regiment, with a second ensign, and already have a design in hand for that. With Best Wishes as ever to all our Customers. 

Iron Duke Bulletin 1/2016

We're in the run in to the annual gamers jamboree at Salute on 16 April and with it the first anniversary of the launch of Iron Duke Miniatures.  The Empress Miniatures trade stand will be carrying our products at Salute and are presently advising that pre-ordering by email, for collection at the show, is a sound idea. We are hoping to field the codes presently displaying on the 'Workbench' page of the website, and a few posts down on the Facebook page, in time for Salute, including the two new mutineer gun crews. IMREB 18, however, which is Gwalior Contingent in shakoes, we're going to hold back a bit, so as to put together a fully uniformed command pack to go with them. The codes we are hoping to squeeze in can also be seen on the 'Products' page of the website under the 'next for release' listing: in essence we are talking three new sepoy codes, a second code of four mutineer ensigns, a second mutineer command code in firing  line poses and two rebel gun crews. The gun crews will also be offered as part of two discounted package deals, in bullock-draught mode, (much like the Maude's Battery sets)along with a gun, a limber, 2 Indian civilian drivers, 6 bullocks and one or other of the gun crews. These sets come in 16% cheaper than buying the components individually. Once we've got all those items on sale, we'll turn post-Salute to cavalry and horse-drawn artillery for both sides. We'll also fiddle into the schedule some bhistis (water carriers), some seated civilian drivers for the hackeries (bullock-carts) and a second Ferezopore Regiment ensign The first cavalry releases will probably come in late-summer or autumn and will be drawn from a cast of Allahabad Volunteer Cavalry, (made up of overthrown HEIC officers, railwaymen and mounted infantry), some mutinous Bengal Light Cavalry, and figures for Bengal and Oudh Irregular Cavalry (in alkaluks) which can be either loyalist or mutinous. Thrown into the mix along the way will be some mounted general officer personality figures and some mounted field officers (suitable as battalion commanders and staff officers).  We've already got some tremendous horses, tailor made by E-Bob for Iron Duke, in the bag, so it'll be good to start fielding those alongside horsemen sculpted by Paul Hicks.  After that some casualty figures. By that time it'll be Christmas!  

We're grateful for the warm reception the figures have been afforded over the past year and delighted that you like them.  The sculptors have done a tremendous job and, like our customers, we're looking forward to seeing the goodies to come with eager anticipation. 

On another matter His Grace will be signing copies of his latest tome, Volume I of Cape Warriors, on the Perry Miniatures stand at Salute, so do come along and say hey-ho...perhaps even buy a book! Keep an eye on the Perrys' Cape range as there will be figures there, especially slackly dressed officers (typical!), which will happily migrate across to a Mutiny setting, and there is a high order of compatibility for height and build between the sculpting style of the Perry Twins and that of Hicks Pasha.  


Iron Duke Bulletin 3/2015

Here's a little update on how we're getting on with the Mutineer launch. The first three codes (12 figs) of Mutineers made their debut at 'Warfare' in Reading on 14 November and are just becoming available for online shopping with Empress now.  Two of those codes have just gone back to the maestro for 2 head swaps each, which  will give us another four codes (16 figs) fairly quickly. In the meantime Paul has finished another four new codes of mutineer infantry (16 figs) which are on display on the workbench now. They will be going off for moulding today. Paul is presently working on four command codes (16 figs) which we hope will be finished before Christmas. So, if we do the sums, there'll be 60 Mutineer infantry figures available relatively early in the new year.  We already have 6 flagsheets for Bengal Native Infantry Regiments ready to go, which will be launched with the command packs.  If you're feeling a touch rebellious or if you want to get a great club project off the ground for 2016, now is the time to join our happy crew!  

Iron Duke Bulletin 2/2015

A great day at Salute with the range safely launched and being snapped up. Grateful thanks are due, as ever, to the the South London Warlords, the hardworking hosts of a splendid showcase event. Thanks so much to those IDM customers who stopped to talk; it's good to know that we're pressing the right buttons and that the figures have been so well received. Now that they're out there, the old paintbrushes will be coming out again, so check out the uniform guide at the dropdown on the Historical Notes section of the website. The guide will take time to populate, but we'll add to it gradually and well in advance of the figures in question being released. There is not uncommonly quite a bit of doubt about which types of trousers were worn in any given unit, but we have included a general guide to the types of trousers in service at the time of the Mutiny. The guide cross-refers the colours/shades of the various patterns of trousers to relevant plates from the Osprey Men-at-Arms series (which many Iron Duke customers will already have on their bookshelves):

67 is The Indian Mutiny by Christopher Wilkinson-Latham, with plates by G A Embleton.

193 is The British Army of Campaign (1) 1816-1853 by Michael Barthorp, with plates by Pierre Turner.

196 is The British Army on Campaign (2) The Crimea 1854-56 by Michael Barthorp, with plates by Pierre Turner.

198 is The British Army on Campaign (3) 1856-81 by Michael Barthorp, with plates by Pierre Turner.

268 is The British troops in the Indian Mutiny by Michael Barthorp, with plates by Douglas Anderson.

Our figures and the historical guidance we give here are based on original research conducted across a vast array of primary sources, not simply permed from the first Osprey to hand! We don't unequivocally endorse every single Osprey plate ever produced but, that said, there is a high degree of accuracy to be found in the volumes referred to, as you would expect of such industrious authors and illustrators. At the end of the day these are your figures, whose only purpose is your pleasure, and you should of course paint them as best suits your object and personal preferences. What we'll do at Iron Duke is provide the best information we can for those who wish to follow, as accurately as possible, what the pages of history tell us. But there are plenty of gaps and grey areas in the data, where you will have to decide for yourself which road to march down. As to dying clothing 'khaki', (or karkee or any one of a number of other spellings), well, it's best to think of that as a practice, rather than a colour, so in that respect the world is your oyster. There are, in essence, two modes of khaki, one resulting in shades of grey and one resulting in shades anywhere from cream to buff to dark sand. Sometimes there are clues in the sources in respect of a particular regiment, but most typically there are not.    

I can confirm that we have now commissioned 16 sets of Colours which will be exclusive to IDM and which we'll bring to market as they come on stream:

HM 64th (Regimental Colour with black field), HM 78th Hldrs (buff), 1st Madras Fusiliers (blue), 1st Bombay Fusiliers (blue), 2nd Bombay Fusiliers (blue), HM 84th (yellow), HM 93rd Hldrs (yellow), Ferezopore Regt (yellow), 1st Bengal Native Infantry (white), 10th BNI (green), 17th BNI (black), 42nd BNI (yellow), 53rd BNI (yellow), 56th BNI (white), 57th BNI (buff).

There is a list of all the BNI facing colours at the Historical Notes page. We won't produce any more BNI colours than are listed already, as all the primary facing colours are incorporated in the array of units above and the only significant variations in design for the other regiments are the number of battle honours and the roman numeral in the centre (which can be painted out and repainted afresh easily enough). If anybody is desperate to know which battle honours any particular BNI regiment had, send me a contact message through this site and I'll provide you with the answer. We'll come to cavalry and Indian irregular banners when we have some figures to populate those domains. 

So that's where we are as the dust settles over Excel. Next to market will be generic infantry officers and ensigns in shell jackets, the first artillery crew and then bullock carts, the three field guns, the limber and the bullocks. Next onto Hicks Pasha's workbench will be mutineer infantry. It all takes time, care and effort to get things right for you, so bear with us while we get beavering away in the background. Thanks once again for your support and encouragement. It means a lot to us. 

With all best wishes


Iron Duke Bulletin 1/2015

Greetings all. A new caper, but one which I hope the wargaming community will consider well worthwhile and enjoy to the full. My first duty is to express gratitude to all those illuminati of the wargaming world, many of them good friends, who have helped with their advice and encouragement in getting IDM off the ground. I thought it appropriate in the bicentenary year of Waterloo to name the new company after the great man, so Iron Duke it had to be. The company’s genre will be 28mm Historical, with a twin-track emphasis on top quality sculpting and historical authenticity. Retail of IDM products has been placed in the hands of the good people at Empress Miniatures, the firm with which customers will be trading directly, where they can be sure to receive the efficient service they both expect and deserve. IDM figures will be retailed in a mirror image of the tried and tested Empress model, with codes consisting of four infantrymen or two cavalrymen complete with trusty steeds. Pricing policy will also mirror that of Empress. We get the ball rolling with an extensive range for the Indian Mutiny of 1857-8. This dramatic and historically fascinating conflict will be addressed by IDM in three major phases:

  • Phase 1. Brigadier General Henry Havelock’s operations (Allahabad Moveable Column).
  • Phase 2. Siege of Delhi.
  • Phase 3. Sir Colin Campbell’s operations for the 2nd Relief of Lucknow.

It follows that not every unit which fought in the Mutiny will be replicated, but between the three major campaigns listed above the scope of the range will be extensive and is certain to embrace all significant troop types. There will be plenty of time to talk about Phases 2 and 3 as we go, so for the present this first bulletin addresses only the opening shots of Phase 1.

The first items we will release will be 16 codes covering the five small battalions with which Brigadier General Henry Havelock set out to relieve Cawnpore and Lucknow, namely HM 64th, HM 84th, HM 78th Highlanders, 1st Madras Fusiliers (‘Neill’s Bluecaps’) and the Ferezopore Regiment (Brasyer’s Sikhs). We hope to have all 16 codes on the Empress stand at this year’s Salute. One of the important historical factors we have gone to some lengths to address is the distribution of weaponry in Havelock’s force. Only the Madras Fusiliers were fully equipped with the P1853 ‘3-band’ Enfield rifle. In the Queen’s battalions, there were only enough Enfields to equip the flank companies, so the centre companies continued to carry the P1842 percussion musket. There were no Enfields in Brasyer’s regiment. The figures are equipped with the right type of pouches for the weapon with which they are armed.

The numerous actions fought by these five regiments were always in the offensive mode, so we have reflected this in the animation of our codes, with the front rank of centre companies attacking with bayonets at the charge and the second rank with arms at the slope. It would be entirely legitimate to have whole units at the slope, a mixtures of both poses, or whole units at the charge; three options which reflect the drills adopted by the infantry as the distance to the objective progressively reduced. In addition there are skirmisher codes to screen your battalions or secure your flanks. Command codes come with a company grade officer, an ensign, a sergeant and a drummer/bugler (or piper in the case of HM 78th). One ensign: what about the other colour? Fear not, following on very shortly will be a pack of four ensigns clad in shell jackets, each of them able to legitimately find a place in any Queen’s or HEIC European battalion.

Havelock’s force was rushed into the field, with no time for the Queen’s battalions to make preparations for hot-weather campaigning, so the three units in question were obliged simply to strip down to their shirtsleeves and improvise ways of protecting their heads from the sun. There was no appreciable difference in dress between HM 64th and HM 84th, so codes IMBC 1-4 inclusive address both these battalions and moreover are also adaptable to many other purposes: for example they will serve perfectly well as HM 32nd (no Enfields) – the battalion which defended Lucknow. There will be later codes addressing the 32nd fighting in defensive mode, but these will do nicely for the action at Chinhat and the many raids carried out by the regiment against Sepoy batteries and strongpoints in the city.

It is worth noting that there were changes in the dress and equipment of Havelock’s force as the campaign to get to Lucknow ground on. In essence the troops were equipped with smock-frocks and flannel shirts, (like those worn from the outset by the Madras Fusiliers); were re-armed with Enfields; were issued with personal waterbottles; and, certainly in the case of the 78th, were issued with a cane sun-helmet. All these changes will be reflected in subsequent editions of the Madras Fusilier codes, so there is no need to set about converting from the outset.

In due course there will be bhisti water carriers, Gunga Din types, complete with a bullock to carry the water skins, to support the Indian troops who did not carry water for reasons of caste, and the thirsty Queen’s troops who quickly came to appreciate the need for personal water bottles in a hot weather campaign, (mutinies can be so inconveniently timed), but who could not at first get their hands on them – little wonder heatstroke was so prevalent. Later releases will also include mounted field officers to lead your battalions and casualty figures to serve as gaming markers and, I dare say, a reminder of the unpleasant realities of war, so keep your powder dry for those.

I can state with confidence what releases our customers can expect to see in very short order post-Salute. Thus far we have three HEIC field guns, together with the appropriate limber, ready to go: a 6-pounder, a 9-pounder and a 24-pdr howitzer. The heavy and siege guns are also well on the way, an 18-pdr, a 24-pdr and a 'Tiger' gun for the nawabs and maharajahs. The first type of draught animal for the field limber will be bullocks, with horses to follow in due course. The first gunners to appear will portray the gallant Captain Francis Maude’s battery (he won the VC at Lucknow). You will of course be needing some logistics to get your column on the road and we have two excellent bullock carts, complete with Indian drivers, just about ready to go. As soon as we have these items out, we will turn our attention to mutinous sepoys, the dollies and weaponry for which are already done. What of the cavalry? Well we have some superbly animated horses ready, which are presently being fitted with their saddlery. The first cavalry codes will be the volunteer horse and Oudh Irregular Cavalry for Havelock’s force, (the latter will also be suitable as mutineers), with Bengal Light Cavalry for the Nana Sahib’s forces. 

At the 'Catalogue Listing' page you will see descriptions and code numbers for the first 16 codes of British infantry. At the 'Miniatures Gallery' page you will see the four codes already on sale at the Empress webstore, some taster photographs from the workbench of sculpting maestro Paul Hicks, while at the 'Inspiration' page there are some interesting contemporaneous prints and photographs. Atkinson, by the way, was an officer who was actually present at the Siege of Delhi. There is also a 'Historical Notes' page where, from time to time, I intend to put up material which I think will be of use or interest to customers. I'll begin by putting up an order of battle for Havelock's 'Allahabad Moveable Column' and will provide some notes on the dress of the various units concerned.  

May your Enfields arrive soon and your sepoys remain true to their salt.  In the meantime what about a spot of tiffin?      

With best wishes