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"Plains Indian figurines disgusts me." Topic

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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2023 1:55 a.m. PST

Hello everyone ,

The generic side of the plains Indian figurines disgusts me. I know well that the Indian warriors are irregulars not wearing uniforms and fortunately, otherwise they would have much less interest…

So my question is how by painting or by transformation, inevitably distinguishing – tribe by tribe – the warriors of the plains Indians?

gavandjosh0208 Sep 2023 2:28 a.m. PST

what army are you building?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2023 4:31 a.m. PST

You will have to research tribe by tribe such things as beadwork, hair styles, headdress, etc.

You should own a copy of " Mystic Warriors of the Plains" by Mails.

Most differences are indiscernable at arm's length.

42flanker08 Sep 2023 5:57 a.m. PST

Free online here


Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2023 6:57 a.m. PST

Agreed: at arm's length, or more often, further, atop the table, they will be difficult to tell apart.

For many modern armies, it can be challenging to discern friend from foe, by uniform, as many military uniforms are very similar.

You may want to try marking their bases to differentiate one Tribe from another. On the battlefield, it would be easy to tell them apart, but from a 500 foot perspective from above, not so easy. Cheers!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2023 7:52 a.m. PST

Well, the convenient thing at this stage is that you can pick your tribes. If you can find one thing that the Keewazi sometimes wore, and the Hekawi never wore, and you only want two tribes, you're in business. Of course, the more plains tribes you want to represent, the harder this sort of thing is. How many tribes do you want to represent? And are you determined to include specific ones?

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2023 8:16 a.m. PST

For example to begin with, the differences between the Lakota and the Northern Cheyenne, but maybe my very old "S" series Minifigs are too small for that?

Grelber08 Sep 2023 8:59 a.m. PST

Something I have found with the Pathans and the Moroccan tribes, and I think is probably true of the Plains Indians as well, is that the later in the century you get, the less difference there is between individual tribes. It doesn't seem to work like the movie "Lawrence of Arabia" where Lawrence can easily identify a man's tribe by his outfit.


Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2023 10:15 a.m. PST

As figures go, you don't have much variety for tribes. Almost everyone just casts Northern Plain figures (for Little Big Horn ect) and Apaches. You won't find Southern plains tribes like Comanches, Kiowas ect. Nor Modoc, Nez Pierce or Ute for other Indian Wars. So you can't really do a lot of individual type painting. Funny how we can have just about every regiment that ever fought in the Napoleonic Wars but only Sioux, Cheyenne and Apaches for the Indian Wars.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2023 11:03 a.m. PST

Foundry makes a handful of Blackfoot.

cavcrazy08 Sep 2023 1:04 p.m. PST

Warlord makes Comanches.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2023 2:21 p.m. PST

By 1876, I'm not sure the Lakota and the North Cheyenne themselves could have told one another apart by costume. On the other hand, "all clothing was discarded in battle" by the North Cheyenne, which should make them pretty easy to paint if you can find the castings. Maybe if you do them starkers and the Sioux in war bonnets…?

doc mcb08 Sep 2023 4:49 p.m. PST

I own and enjoy MYSTIC WARRIIORS.

But come on:

We know how REGULARS look on campaign, in what are supposed to be UNIFORMS. Not much uniformity and lots of dirt.

One of the features of Indian culture was the independence of individual warriors. (Including to go home in the middle of a campaign.) Are we seriously saying that entire tribes could be distinguished from entire neighboring tribes on the basis of hair styles and shield designs and such? The whole POINT of the war paint etc was to look COOL as an individual.

I have 50 or 100 Plains Indians pairs (mtd and dismtd) and they are whichever tribe I need them to be.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2023 6:56 p.m. PST

" Mystic Warriors of the Plains" is a must-have for this period. I also recommend "Becoming Brave: The Path to Native American Manhood" by Laine Thom.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2023 6:59 p.m. PST

Enhance your calm, doc. I bet it could be done--probably not enough to be certain of an individual warrior, but with enough differences to say, "this band is Commanche and that one is Sioux." There were cultural differences, after all. I'm just not convinced it could be done with Sioux and North Cheyenne in 1876: they'd been allied and intermarrying too long.

If I were doing Plains Wars I'd be asking the same question Paskal is. I might USE the finished warriors for everything, but I'd want them to BE one identifiable thing if I could.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2023 7:40 p.m. PST

Doc, no one has suggested that body paint and shield designs are associated with a particular tribe, so I am not sure where that came from. Can hair style, beadwork design and color, and arrow markings be associated with particular tribes? Certainly.

doc mcb08 Sep 2023 8:25 p.m. PST

I remain dubious. I think we are trying to impose order where little existed. But that's fine. I don't paint bastion lace on my British who had it, either. And my militia carry a number of flags designed by ME (and made by the Flag Dude).

Look, I'm a trained historian. When evidence is fragmentary, we have to fill in the gaps. With no way of knowing wheter we did it correctly.

Do we remember how many errors have appeared in one book and then get picked up and copied by so many respectable authors that they become "fact"? When I was young every book on the Alamo had the last officer (who was probably Dickinson) trying to blow up two tons of gunpowder (which was next door to where his wife and daughter were). And of course the Duke DOES IT! But it turns out there is NO contemporary evidence of any such plan. Great story, though, and so it gets told and retold.

Warriors brag. And then describe their exploits to credulous whites. Yes, we DO have artifacts. And make up stories about them. And so we have certain illusions that may or may not be based on reality.

But of course to each his everlovin' blue-eyed own.

doc mcb09 Sep 2023 6:44 a.m. PST

Yes, I use the buffalo hats often as an identifiable group. Don't have enough wolf heads but they'd work too.

I've read that Comanche tended towards buffalo bonnets, but who knows.

And top hats. and umbrellas. (which tends to support my point!)

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2023 7:05 a.m. PST

Yet without uniforms, there are many things that allowed the Indians to recognize each other, you have to read a lot and help each other like on this forum

At the Little Big Horn, how did the hostiles manage to recognize the Arikaras, or as they preferred to call themselves, the Sahnishs, who accompanied the attack of the battalion of Major Marcus Albert Reno, these Indians not wearing the U.S. uniform?

Well it was written that during the battle Chief Cheyenne Lame White Man wore a captured cavalry jacket, found attached to the cantle of a saddle. This account is disputed by his grandson, John Stands In Timber. He stated that he wore nothing during the battle except for a blanket tied at the waist and moccasins. This information was told to him by his grandmother, Twin Woman.

Yet Yellow Nose present a la Little Big Horn, said that Lame White Man was mutilated and scalped by Lakota warriors, who in the heat of battle mistook his body for that of an U.S.Army scout.

Lame White Man was shot by American soldiers on the western slope of Battle Ridge, where he had been leading a charge. Later, a miniconjou warrior (possibly Little Crow) mistook him for an Indian army scout and scalped him before realizing his mistake.

Lame White Man was the only Cheyenne chief to die at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Why did Little Crow mistake him for an Indian army scout?

I read that it was because Lame White Man's hair wasn't braided…

So Cheyennes usually had braided hair?

Zephyr109 Sep 2023 2:36 p.m. PST

Antiques Roadshow often has Amerindian items shown, and the experts (usually) have no problems identifying which tribes they came from (lots of times just from the styles of beadwork, I've noticed), so the differences are there, but most people (like us? ;-) just don't know what they are…

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2023 11:07 p.m. PST

Lame White Man was wearing a US Cavalry jacket?

This account is disputed by his grandson, John Stands In Timber. He stated that he wore nothing during the battle except for a blanket tied at the waist and moccasins.

This information was told to him by his grandmother, Twin Woman. So why would Little Crow have mistaken him for an Indian Army scout?

Some said, others wrote that it was because Lame White Man's hair was not braided…

So the Cheyenne usually had braided hair?

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2023 1:42 a.m. PST


I wrote what I read, you can see that opinions differ, so would Lame White Man have been scalped and mutilated if his hair had been braided?

Lame White Man was shot by American soldiers on the western slope of Battle Ridge, where he had been leading a charge.

Would he have been killed if he had worn a US cavalry jacket?

For example how the Arikaras who accompanied the attack of the battalion of Major Marcus Albert Reno did to distinguish themselves from the nice Indians?

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2023 11:25 p.m. PST

You're right Brutus LOL

TimePortal23 Feb 2024 10:54 p.m. PST

Plenty of General table books on the Native cultures. Not really war or military but you will find many of the features mentioned above.

I have written more about the eastern region and their use of color, hair factors. One feature that the Muskogee and Chickasaw used to identify Choctaw enemies were facial and head features. It seems that the Choctaw practiced flat head deforming. I mention this since some NW Pacific tribes practiced it as well.

Much of plains region and Texas area research and articles were on pre-Colombian conflicts. Drawings often shows identifying methods used to denote enemies.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2024 3:05 a.m. PST


Now I have all the figurines from the two ranges of 25mm Minifigs – including the "S" series – called "Wild West – Indian Wars" about the plains wars…

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