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"Pulp Figures' Thuggee Stranglers Preview pt 2" Topic

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5,945 hits since 25 Feb 2011
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Bob Murch25 Feb 2011 12:00 p.m. PST


I'm currently working on these sinister chaps. The first 10 figs are nearing completion. One pack will have the strangling cloths, and the 2nd will have improvised weapons: swords, shovels and the holy burial pick-axe.

I actually knew nothing about the Thugs except from what I had seen in ‘Gunga Din' and ‘Stranglers of Bombay' but when I was searching for images of the burial pick-axe I came across a picture of my previous preview Thug on the ‘Indiana Jones' site below. Ironically, they had posted the image and had assumed I had been following their discussion because of my Thuggee project. I hadn't read their posts yet but when I did I found much interesting info! The description of the preparations of the holy burial pick was particularly good!

BTW, if anyone has a good picture of the pick from Gunga Din or elsewhere, please post it here (ASAP please!).


As a side note, I have some more PGJ-19 special casts. Anyone who orders 2 packs or more in the next week or so (lets say the first week of March) can ask for one and I'll add it to the order for free.

Bob Murch

Lee Brilleaux Fezian25 Feb 2011 12:14 p.m. PST

Bob, these are just great. Oddly enough I just fell in with a few of these chaps on the road to Bunglapore and --- aagghh!

abelp0125 Feb 2011 12:19 p.m. PST

this might be of some interest to you:

Bob Murch25 Feb 2011 12:19 p.m. PST

'Oddly enough I just fell in with a few of these chaps on the road to Bunglapore and --- aagghh!'

When you are hiring your porters, sometimes the lowest price is not the best deal Mexican Jack!

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP25 Feb 2011 1:11 p.m. PST

Read "Nightrunners of Bengal" by John McMasters. Excellent novel about the servants of Kali.

Super Mosca25 Feb 2011 1:45 p.m. PST

Those look excellent! The Thuggee strangling cloth was called the Rumaalāl

This recent book has loads of information, as well as some images that may be of use… just what you want to show up when you've nearly completed a project;)



consectari25 Feb 2011 6:16 p.m. PST

Wow those are very tempting. Now, how do I plug them into a post apocalyptic setting?

Jamesonsafari25 Feb 2011 6:36 p.m. PST

A Hindu fanatical sect bringing back Kali worship after the collapse of world civilization?

mweaver25 Feb 2011 9:17 p.m. PST

OooO nice!

Evil Bobs Miniature Painting26 Feb 2011 3:48 a.m. PST


Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Feb 2011 2:03 p.m. PST

Dear Bob,

There is no need to worry very much about costume for Thugs. Remember, they pretended to be anything but what they were as they usually worked the "roads" between cities and towns. They could dress as pilgrims, merchants, farmers, or even as bodyguards of some important personage.

They were not called the "Deceivers" for nothing!

Also, as you may already have read, Thugs worked in small teams of four, each with a distinct role to play in the act of murder. Ideally, your future poses would suggest their positions/roles in the practice, partly to provide greater variety within the fairly narrow range, but not least for authenticity.

Specifically, and in order of Seniority, there was the Bhurtote, the strangler himself, then one or two Shumsea who would hold the victims hands, and another the feet, and finally--and crucially--the Chookadena who would get the victim to look up at the fatal moment.

So, a figure or two pointing up, and one or two more posed to be going for the victims arms and feet, plus the exisiting Bhurtote's you show, would do the job nicely.

With five figures in a pack, you might consider even providing a standing (or sitting) victim, plus his four killers in each.

I'm sending you a couple of scans I have of Thugs and their ritual pickaxe (traditionally one of Kali's teeth and which will make no sound while digging the grave before the crime).

I've been hoping for such figures for years, and these could be a gruesomely useful bunch o' bad boys for RPG's in a any number of settings.

Thank you, Bob, and good luck!


The Dozing Dragon Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Feb 2011 4:51 p.m. PST

A great book to read on this subject is 'The Decievers' although embarrassingly enough I can't remember the author's name!

Bob Murch26 Feb 2011 5:17 p.m. PST

Obviously there is more to this subject than I had thought VAG! Thugs are not your average villainous pulp mooks.

As a heads-up, I discovered this morning that my site's mail server seems to be down and has been for a few days. If you want to contact me please use;

If you have made a Paypal order in the last few days, please contact me.

I'm shaking the tree as much as possible to see what is wrong and in the mean time, my web designer Tony is making some adjustments to the site so I can access new Paypal orders. The credit card orders remain encrypted and secure and I can get at those without a problem. Its just my regular email and the Paypal orders which only exist as an email that seem to be trapped on the server at this time.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Feb 2011 12:44 p.m. PST

Dear Bob,

Fortunately, I directed the images I found to your bmurch… address, so they should be in that mailbox.

Here is a link to a website page that seems to have a fairly even handed account of Thuggee which you may find "inspiring":


Oh, be careful of sites that will try to tell you Thuggee never existed, that it was an invention of the Brits to give them more police power of their Indian subjects, etc.

What the Revisionists never address is the number of mass graves revealed by confessed Thugs, and the end of tens of thousands of disappearances across central India with the passing of the Cult.

The rituals for disposal of the dead, and others, were so nearly uniform that one Thug grave was very much like another, and all were unique, as you will read.

No, the Thugs (remember, that's "Tugs") were not just a low crowd of all round ne'r do wells. They were a serious religious cult who were true believers. When not on the roads killing and robbing, they could hold jobs at all levels of Indian society, including working for their Feringhee masters, and never commit a single evil act--until it was time to serve Kali!

And speaking of Revisionism… I wonder how long it will be before some twit comes along to say the SS never really existed, but was a creation of the Allies in order to heap responsibility on Germany? One hundred years or so should be enough, rather like the Thugs.


Amalric03 Mar 2011 8:43 a.m. PST

Great link, thanks for posting it.

The above link mentions;

'The Thuggee had their female counterparts in a secret sect of Tantrists who held that it was only by a constant indulgence in passion that a human could ever achieve total union with Kali. Only indulgence in the five vices that corrupt the soul of humankind— wine, meat, fish, mystical gesticulations, and sexual indulgence—could drive the poisons out of the human body and purify the soul.'

How about some attractive female Indian killer tantrists?


Bob Murch05 Jul 2011 1:35 p.m. PST

The first two Thuggee sets are now available. Please drop by the Pulp Figures site for a look.

PBT-20 is the 'stranglers' set and PBT-21 has a good assortment of separate weapons and tools.

Bob Murch

On Twitter: (@PulpFigures)

spontoon05 Jul 2011 2:20 p.m. PST

What about some pics of your new Highlanders?

The Shadow05 Jul 2011 3:59 p.m. PST


Any chance that we'll be seeing the three sergeants?

Bob Murch06 Jul 2011 9:29 a.m. PST

I'm planning on it Shadow. Din and the mad Guru too. I can't say when though. Time is pretty crunched these days. I intend on using the movie poster as reference as you have suggested in the past. Its good because it doesn't really make them look too 1890's. I'd like these guys to inhabit a Pulp Era India whic would be non-specific in time.

Spontoon, the Highlanders, 1st 2 pack, are in the catalogue now and available as of this release. The Highlander personalities are on my sculpting bench now.

Then there is the Highlander/India crossover set-Stan and Olly in Bonnie Scotland….

Thanks guys!

The Shadow06 Jul 2011 7:07 p.m. PST


Is it possible to sculpt them in the poses depicted on the posters? The poses differ slightly from poster to poster, but they are all similar, so you might make it easier on yourself to pick the least difficult pose from each group.

Here are the links:





The Shadow06 Jul 2011 7:10 p.m. PST

Hmmmm…I don't know why that didn't work. Well, anyway, here's a whole page of posters with the trio:


Bob Murch10 Jul 2011 4:13 p.m. PST

It wouldn't be possible to do the poses exactly, and be able to cast them in one piece anyhow. The thought would be to capture the essence and feel more than to copy them; the three sergents fighting back to back.

Thanks for the poster page Shadow! Very useful.


The Shadow10 Jul 2011 6:03 p.m. PST


I can see that it wouldn't be possible to create them exactly without casting separate arms and weapons. That would probably make them more fragile too. IMHO the poses should capture the spirit of the trio each with a sword in one hand and a pistol in the other though, so i'm glad that you see it that way. They never looked completely "regimental" either. They had a rough and ready look with opened collars to the third button. There are also scenes with MacChesney and Ballantine wearing bandoliers. A bandolier on one of them would be a nice touch and make them look tougher.

Mad Guru10 Jul 2011 9:39 p.m. PST

Bob, please, I beg you -- DON'T FEAR THE 1890's TOO MUCH!!! Let the Sergeants Three be rugged, tough individuals, but let them also appear as the serving senior British NCOs of a late 19th Century Indian Army infantry regiment which they so eminently are!!!! I love the movie and I love gaming the North-West Frontier from 1878-1900. I totally get you wanting them to be able to exist in a c.1919-1939 "Pulp Adventure/Back of Beyond" universe, but I humbly ask you please remember to let them fit into the late 19th Century too.

The Shadow11 Jul 2011 5:55 a.m. PST

I totally agree with the Guru. If they don't look like the Gunga Din sergeants they aren't the Gunga Din sergeants. So the uniforms need to be dead on for the period. If, for instance, you change the pith helmets and boots to fit the WW I period you will just have three minis of soldiers from the WW I period.

Bob Murch12 Jul 2011 10:19 a.m. PST

"Dead on' might be too strong a description Shadow, considering that historical accuracy wasn't usually a huge priority in Hollywood at the time ;)

Boots and uniforms- I'll err on the side of the 1890's as Historical gamers will want the period sculpts but Pulp gamers won't care as much. The pith helmet pattern is fine too, as that pattern was still very much in use in the 1920's-just not by the British army. The French and others could still be seen in it here and there.

However-if I'm going to sculpt Carey Grant, there is no way he will be wearing the helmet. Cover up Grants hair? You might as well not bother doing him. McLaglen and Fairbanks Jr, sure they can be in pith helmets, but I draw the line at Grant.


The Shadow12 Jul 2011 12:25 p.m. PST

>>However-if I'm going to sculpt Carey Grant, there is no way he will be wearing the helmet. Cover up Grants hair? You might as well not bother doing him. McLaglen and Fairbanks Jr, sure they can be in pith helmets, but I draw the line at Grant.<<


You're right Bob. I certainly concede to that! Anyway, Grant spends a *lot* of time without a helmet in the flick. In fact, he's wearing a ragged bandana right after the battle in the village. Notice that one of his sleeves is completely torn off too! Click and enlarge the first photo in the third row on this page:


Bob Murch18 Aug 2011 9:19 a.m. PST

I've just posted the preview pics of PBT-22, 23 Thuggee Fighters with Rifles.

Bob Murch
On Twitter (@PulpFigures)

LTC Fraiser20 Aug 2011 2:06 p.m. PST

Jamesonsafari wrote: "A Hindu fanatical sect bringing back Kali worship after the collapse of world civilization?"

And what makes you believe that the cult of Kali Durga ever ceased to worship Her or was successfully suppressed, which would require that it be 'brought back'? ;)

abdul666lw25 Aug 2011 7:16 a.m. PST

Gypsies come from India, and the statue of St Sarah 'Sara la Noire' they come each year to honor and pray at the Saintes Maries de la Mer is called in their tongue Sara e Kali;
I don't wish to worsen their already bad press everywhere, but *for gaming purposes only* I like the idea of a secret cult / sect of Gypsy 'deceivers / stranglers'.
(Reliable allies to the 18th Monte-Cristan Secret Service, btw.)

DLIinVSF25 Aug 2011 2:58 p.m. PST

What splendid figures.Now to think how to add them into my Space 1889 game?A cult hidden on Mars in the British sector?

Bob Murch22 Sep 2011 9:54 a.m. PST

Movie Alert Heads Up!

'The Deceivers' is on Turner/TCM Classic Movies tonight, 10pm Eastern, 7pm Pacific.

On Twitter (@PulpFigures)

Durando22 Sep 2011 12:58 p.m. PST
Bob Murch22 Sep 2011 1:40 p.m. PST

Or you might enjoy the two part Jack Benny radio show Gunga Din themed broadcasts:

See show No#120 1939-05-14 & show No#121 1939-05-21


CAPTAIN BEEFHEART22 Sep 2011 6:38 p.m. PST

Duly bookmarked! OTR is one of my choicest aural wall paper for painting. Especially your stuff.

Bob Murch24 Sep 2011 8:12 a.m. PST

I caught all of 15 minutes of the film 'Soldiers Three' yesterday on TCM. Its a film I was unaware of and it looks very much inspired by 'Gunga Din' in it's comedic/adventure approach. The villains weren't the Thugs but instead rebels, but otherwise it seems pretty much on-topic here.


Bob Murch

The Shadow24 Sep 2011 10:58 a.m. PST

Hey Bob! I wonder why everyone keeps sending you photos of the characters from "Gunga Din" with great close-up shots of the their faces? Anyone would think that we want sculpts of our beloved sergeants and their water boy bugler in action poses. (-:

Bob Murch24 Sep 2011 2:00 p.m. PST

If I could sit down this afternoon and sculpt them in a few hours you'd have'em by the end of next week Shadow. If only t'were possible.

All I can say is they are in the que.

LTC Fraiser24 Sep 2011 5:23 p.m. PST

Thugees in the mix in S.M. Sterling's "Peshawar Lancers"; recommended for alt-history VSF or pulp ideas and/or setting.

The Shadow24 Sep 2011 5:40 p.m. PST

>>All I can say is they are in the que.<<

They are??!! You didn't say that before you sly devil. (-:

Bob Murch25 Sep 2011 8:34 a.m. PST

They are??!! You didn't say that before you sly devil. (-:

I try not to be too definite about future projects because sometime circumstances and my personal tendency to get distracted gets in the way and I might not be able to fulfill the promise.

The Soldiers 3 & Din are pretty important though, judging from the input from you chaps. I'd probably get hung up by my thumbs at the next convention I attended if I don't deliver on that one.

The Shadow25 Sep 2011 10:52 a.m. PST

>>I'd probably get hung up by my thumbs at the next convention I attended if I don't deliver on that one.<<

Oh hell, Bob. You're one of the most important producers of "pulp" figures in the hobby and we all appreciate that very much. The worst you'd get is some disappointed guys. (-:

Now…when can I fly up to Canada to help you with the poses. (-:

Bob Murch25 Dec 2011 2:09 p.m. PST

Bob Beattie has notified me that TCM will be showing 'The Drum' Monday, 4:15pm EST, 1:15 PST.

Highlanders, Indian Princes, Thuggee type villains all in a Pulpy 1930's version of India. Its a good one!

Bob Murch

Bob Murch24 Feb 2012 1:38 p.m. PST

The Sergeants 3 near the finish line:



Mad Guru24 Feb 2012 2:24 p.m. PST

Oh, man… oh, man… barrel chested McLaglen arching his back, with sword and pistol in hand, looks like the winner to me. Can't wait to shell out some bucks for these guys!

The Shadow24 Feb 2012 3:45 p.m. PST


OMG! They are *so* Gunga Din! They are *so* completely outstanding! There's no mistaking them for anyone else!

Will Sgt. Cutter have interchangeable hands/weapons? The idea of having Sgt. Cutter swinging a thugee pick axe is great, but I thought it might be fun to paint him in two different versions. One with a pistol and one with the pick axe. His arm and hand is in a perfect postion for both. You've done that sort of thing before and it always worked well.

Thank you.

The Shadow24 Feb 2012 3:47 p.m. PST

Further to the above post. Cutter's other hand, holding the sword, would also be a great candidate for an interchangeable pistol. Either hand would work.

flooglestreet24 Feb 2012 5:27 p.m. PST

I think you could also use these thugee figures as dacoits in any era. That would include the packs with rifles and muskets. Dacoits figure into several Fu Manchu novels. Look here link if you are not familiar with the devil doctor. BTW, are the Koo figures coming out soon?

The Shadow24 Feb 2012 8:53 p.m. PST

>>Look here link if you are not familiar with the devil doctor.<<

You're kidding, right?

BlackWidowPilot Fezian24 Feb 2012 9:02 p.m. PST

"Imagine a person, tall, lean and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of the true cat-green. Invest him with all the cruel cunning of an entire Eastern race, accumulated in one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present, with all the resources, if you will, of a wealthy government--which, however, already has denied all knowledge of his existence. Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the yellow peril incarnate in one man."


Leland R. Erickson

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