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"28mm 1890s British Pioneers and Impedimenta " Topic

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MiniPigs10 Apr 2019 9:46 p.m. PST

All the good stuff like tents, barricades for camps, Porters, civilians both British and Afghan, pack mules, Camels, pioneers and engineers.

For fans of everything from 1890-1914 British Colonial campaigns, who makes the most authentic and the best sculpts and products?

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2019 3:03 p.m. PST

Hi MiniPigs,

That's a very broad question!

But since you mention "British and Afghan" I will assume you are mostly interested in those campaigns, and give you info focused on them. My overall qualifier is that there is limited number of such figures available, so in terms of "best sculpts and products" at least IMHO it's more a question of "Does anyone even make this?" as a bespoke sculpt, rather than a figure you will have to convert yourself.

You're probably familiar with Empress Miniatures, which makes an awesome range of 28mm 1879 Anglo-Zulu War figures. They don't have any bespoke Royal Engineers figures but they have several great character and officer packs, and a ton of British Infantry, which can be combined and converted into useful British Sapper or Pioneer types.

Also, many of the figures I'll discuss below really belong to the slightly earlier period of say 1878-1890, but it's a question of how much of a stickler for absolute accuracy in uniforms, equipment, and weapons detail you are.

That being said, there are some nice choices available…

The Australian company EUREKA MINIATURES makes "Sikh Pioneers c.1880" and "Punjabi Pioneers c.1880," as seen here as raw lead and also my own painted version:


Eureka figures are on the smaller side of 28mm, similar to old school Wargames Foundry, but I use them in the same army as slightly larger Perrys, Empress, and even larger Artizan Designs.

Here's a LINK to the "Colonials" page on their website, which includes both packs:


The only other later 19th Century Afghan War/NWF "pioneer" or "sapper & miner" sculpts I know of were made by an old company named, appropriately enough, Pioneer, but sadly have not been available for maybe two decades. They were very nice but also old school "true 25mm."

In its original version the Wargames Foundry Zulu War range sculpted by the Perrys included British soldiers in shirtsleeves with open hands, who you could turn into RE sappers with relative ease. They are not currently available on their website but if you emailed to ask you might be able to get some. These are also on the much smaller end of 28mm scale.

Speaking of the Perrys, their hard plastic NWF/Sudan infantry could be similarly converted into RE types with relative ease, if you are up for the conversion work.

RE: Porters…

About 25 years after it was introduced, the Wargames Foundry Indian Mutiny range remains the best source I know of, at least for NWF and 19th Century Afghan War stuff:


If you are looking for African porters, in addition to the "Darkest Africa" ranges from various ranges there are some nice ones in the Eureka Colonial range.

For Indian/Afghan civilians, there are a couple of appropriate packs in the Foundry Indian Mutiny range. There is also a wide selection of useful Indian and Arab types, including women and children, in the 28mm Eureka "Civilians and Vignettes" range, listed here:


There is also one great pack of "Muslim Civilians" in the Perry Crusades range, as seen here --


-- and available here:


The Perrys also have a pack of Ottoman Civilians in their Napoleonic French in Egypt range which could be of use.

Some great choices for ambulances include the Foundry Indian Mutiny "Dhoolie" pack, seen here:


…and available here:


…and the Castaway Arts camel ambulance:


Available here:


Castaway Arts also has baggage mules, water mules, and pack camels on that "Baggage & Transport" catalogue page.

Other pack camels and pack mules are pretty easy to find from various manufacturers, including Foundry, Northstar, etc.

RE: tents and barricades… again, you can find them pretty easily via a Google search, but a few easily available and nice choices are the Renedra plastic tents range available here:


…and Empress has a wide range of accessories useful for barricades in both their Zulu War range and also in their "Builders Yard" here:


Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2019 5:03 p.m. PST

Whoops sorry but I am getting really old the old company that made 25mm Indian pioneers/sappers & miners wasn't named "Pioneer" it was FRONTIER.

MiniPigs14 Apr 2019 5:15 p.m. PST

@Mad Guru

Very well done and appreciated sir.

There are also the offerings of Bicorne Miniatures, mules, merchants, merchants stalls, pack camels, riderless camels, men herding goats; all good for India/Sudan?NW Frontier


Irregular Miniatures offer 28mm mules too: In their 28mm Colonials: Zulus, British, Afghans, Abbysinians, Mahdists, Bornu, Sailors, Persians range Ref#COL42 Pair of unladen, harnessed pack mules.

I couldnt get a linkable image but theyre only 3 GBP for a pair (Although, they are without loads)and it's 12 GBP for three Bicorne mules! Although you do get two handlers with them.


Irregular do Laden mules too in their 28mm "Siege Equipment, Wagons, Workers, Artillery etc." link Ref#25/49

Yeah, well you're not the only one getting older. My mother found photos I took of wargaming figures from when I was in Jr High!

Apparently Frontier minis are making a comeback?:

TMP link

You mean these from Foundry? Can these pass as Ghurka pioneers? Was there even any such animal? link

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2019 10:22 p.m. PST

@MiniPigs: You are very welcome and I'm happy you found the info useful.

RE: African porters from Foundry, I meant these older sculpts:




All available here:


RE: using those African Gurkha pioneers… NO, I don't believe there was any such animal, at least in an official "regimental" sense. As far as I know all 19th Century Gurkha regiments were designated as "Rifles" or "Light Infantry" and maybe in one or two cases "Legions", never any pioneers or sappers & miners.

But that doesn't mean that no Gurkha riflemen ever used a pick, shovel, or axe for some purpose in the field which his kukri wasn't quite right for. I'm not a fan of the Foundry "Casting Room" figures, I just don't really like their sculpting style, BUT I'd never seen that pack of African "Native Pioneers" before, and I may get one just to convert those few pillbox cap figures into Gurkhas for a specific scenario involving a small unit attack by Gurkhas on some Afghan or tribal fortified position, so thanks for suggesting it.

Last but not least, that "Frontier Miniatures?" thread you resurrected was started a year ago and the last comment was from 7 months ago, and sad to say, none of the 17 posts say anything concrete about Frontier Miniatures figures being available in any way, shape or form. Never say never, but it doesn't seem too promising!

Basha Felika16 Apr 2019 6:02 p.m. PST

Though designed for 1857 India, the Iron Duke range (available via Empress) has some lovely baggage models eminently suitable for later periods

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2019 6:19 p.m. PST

YES!!! Great call, bash Felika!

Here's a couple of pics of my own Iron Duke supply carts:



Lion in the Stars16 Apr 2019 8:58 p.m. PST

Paper Terrain has a set of tents, I have a large pile of them in 15mm for some NWF work.

MiniPigs19 Feb 2020 8:29 p.m. PST

Who makes the best late 19th century colonial pack mules or best mules and maybe someone else sells the ammunition boxes (or other loads)that look officially British?

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