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Esci

Set 232

Colonial India British Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 1986
Contents 50 figures
Poses 18 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Mid Brown, Light Brown
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

This set is rather clumsily titled 'Indian War Kiber Pass British Infantry'. In fact the British were often involved in wars around the Khyber Pass, principally because they feared a supposed Russian threat to India from that direction. The set makes no mention of dates, but these figures also appear in the Esci battle set named 'Kyber Pass 1879', so we must assume they date from that era, the era of the Second Afghan War.

The first thing to say is that this set is one of those where Esci sought to create a new product with very little investment. All the European poses in this set (the top three rows above) also appear in their earlier Zulu Wars British Infantry Soldiers set, so only the three Indian poses were actually new. As a result, our comments on that set apply equally here, though there are also some further comments regarding dress. Since these troops are fighting in India, they should wear a puggaree around the crown of the helmet, or even a full cloth cover over it. Also they have the standard water canteen of the time, but in India a square version was issued which is not here.

The three sepoy soldiers are much more appropriate, which is natural since they at least were specifically designed for this subject. They represent the Indian regiments that served during this period, and for the most part have been correctly sculpted, with the blouse or kurta and native shoes rather than army boots. Our only concern was with the equipment, which seems identical to their British comrades, and in all three cases includes the 1871 valise (below the knapsack on the back), which was very rarely actually worn in the field, and represents full marching order anyway, when a lighter order would have been normal for action. In addition they seem to have been provided with Martini-Henry rifles like their British colleagues, when in fact they usually carried an older model of rifle as they were last in the queue for new supplies, so for the 1870s this would probably be the Snider-Enfield. Also, like the European infantrymen, the bayonet is offset above the barrel of the rifle, which is wrong and would impede aiming. Otherwise their appearance is fine, though clearly only three poses will not achieve much for wargamers or modellers.

The ever consistent Esci sculpting quality is still in evidence here, as is the style of the poses. Detail is well done and there is little flash to worry about. However we were naturally disappointed to find so few new poses, and the situation is only made worse when the repeated poses mean certain mistakes are also repeated. This could and should have been a better set, but the requirement to make a 'new' set on the cheap seems to have been the main motivation here.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 8
Pose Quality 8
Pose Number 9
Sculpting 9
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"British Infantry Equipments 1808-1908" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.107) - Mike Chappell - 9780850453744
"British Infantry Uniforms Since 1660" - Blandford - Michael Barthorp - 9780713711271
"Indian Infantry Regiments 1860-1914" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.92) - Michael Barthorp - 9780850453072
"North-West Frontier 1837-1947" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.72) - Robert Wilkinson-Latham - 9780850452754
"The British-Indian Army 1860-1914" - Shire - Peter Duckers - 9780747805502
"The Indian Army" - Blandford - Boris Mollo - 9780713710748
"Victorian Colonial Wars" - Arms & Armour Press (Uniforms Illustrated Series No.21) - Philip Haythornthwaite - 9780853688693

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