Above is a pic of Lt. Colonel James Galbraith, Regimental Colour in hand, alongside Bobbie the regimental dog and some of the other "Last Eleven" survivors of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, making their last stand in one of the walled gardens just South of Khig village, a few miles West of the Afghan town of Maiwand.

Friday, April 13, 2012

9th Lancers in Afghanistan -- and a brief increase in scale...

It's been a while since I've posted anything new here, but there's some good stuff in the pipeline...

(1) I'm almost done with my second "vertical wood-chip" hill -- here's a few WIP pics as a teaser:


(2) I recently played a brief but rather decisive game of the battle of Charasiab, fought by General Roberts to clear the way through the last mountain passes between his army and Kabul, following the uprising which led to the massacre of Major Pierre Louis Cavagnari and his escort of Guides, who were at the time ensconced in the Afghan capital. This was the first major engagement of the second phase of the war. The first phase had ended in May 1879, when the Amir, Yakub Khan, signed the Treaty of Gandamak with the British, amongst the various provisions of which was his acceptance of a permanent British embassy in Kabul, to be led by the aforementioned and ill-fated Major Cavagnari.

Once again, here's a few pics (first of which features my son & one of my two daughters setting down troops):

But I'm not posting just to tease with things to come, I'm really here to share something I feel lucky to have discovered, thanks to fellow blogger, colonial wargamer, and transplanted Southern Californian, Michael Davis (CLICK HERE TO VISIT Michael's excellent "Horse & Musket" blog)...

During an email discussion on the 9th Lancers and their service during the Second Afghan War, Michael sent me an image of a 1/6 scale (12") trooper of the regiment, uniformed, & equipped in incredibly accurate detail:

Although this blog is devoted to 1" or slightly larger figures/miniatures/toy soldiers, the 12" tall variety hold a nostalgic place in my heart, as I imagine they do in the hearts of all those who played with GI Joe &/or "Action Man" when they were growing up. Discovering an exquisitely-converted Second Afghan War GI Joe... well, it blew me away -- in a good way!

The above figure, whose dress, weapons, & equipment -- as well as his very characterful head -- are nearly all custom-made -- is the work of an incredibly-talented gentleman by the name of Tony Barton. I've taken the liberty of reproducing a couple of images here, but I STRONGLY encourage you to click on said pic in order to visit a 1/6 scale forum page with much more information and a bunch more pics of the same figure, wearing multiple uniform variations, including almost every known order of dress the 9th Lancers wore throughout the war in Afghanistan. I also encourage you to visit Tony's own website at Tony Barton's website LINK, where you can see many more of his custom-built 12" figures, spanning British military history from the English Civil War to the Falklands, and as you can see from the image below, including colonial subjects!

*NOTE: Tony has yet to add the Afghan War lancer to his own gallery as of yet, so if you want to see it all, you'll have to visit both sites!


Tony was kind & generous enough to send me a pic of a pair of 12" figures he made but had never taken any pics of previously, and which he though I'd appreciate -- and man was he right!

It's Gunner James Collis, VC, of E/B Battery, RHA, and an unnamed soldier of the 66th Regiment, at Maiwand. Talk about appealing to your target demographic, it's hard to imagine anything from the 1/6 figure world that could fit as well here on "Maiwand Day"!

Many thanks, Tony!


  1. What an amazing creation; 'Action Man', but not as I remember! Fantastic site he has too. You must be tempted to have a go yourself.

    1. Glad you appreciated it, Michael, and thanks as always for taking the time to leave a comment! Yes, I must admit it is a bit tempting to "UP" the scale size and start collecting superbly -ustomized 12" miniatures... but for better or worse I think this hobby will have to remain enough, at least for the moment!

  2. Looks like you have a fantastic wargames room and book collection there. The table is stunning with lots of superb terrain and massive collection of figures, very inspirational.
    Thanks also for the links.

    1. Hi, Silver Whistle! Just saw your Isandlwana donga, built from wood-chips! Looks excellent!

      Re: my fantastic wargames room... well, it would be quite fantastic indeed if it were so! Truth is that's my home-office, but I pushed my desk up to the wall in order to make room for the table, so I could lay the game out while a close wargaming friend was in town visiting from out of the country. My partner has been understanding, but sooner or later I am going to have to clear the terrain off, remove the table, and move my desk back away from the wall... at least, I think I'm going to have to do that!

  3. That is a fantastic looking game an inspiration. Afgan is another period I am keen to expand into very soon. Thanks for placing the images up.

  4. I think your idea with the bark is really catching on seen it used on a number of blogs now!!
    The large figures are great but you would need some size of barracks to house an army of those!



  5. Hahaha!!! You certainly would, Willie. I am completely slammed right now, prepping games for my youngest child's school fair (not wargames, carnival-style games, but still a lot of fun -- especially for the kids who get to play when the adults are finished building, decorating & painting them all!), plus tons of work, plus kids' sports, etc., etc... BUT I am going to try hard to put up a post on completing my second "vertical wood-chip hill" as soon as humanly possible. It's a bit smaller than the first one, but still quite nice IMHO!


    Also hope to put up a ton of picks from that Charasiab game, which was quite exciting, albeit a bit of a disaster for the Brits, quite unlike the real thing, which was a rather triumphant victory! In my opinion, the Second Afghan War/North-West Frontier is a fantastic period for miniature wargaming, filled with a great variety of troops, large and medium size battles, and small skirmishes, and lots of potentially gorgeous tabletop terrain! Glad you enjoyed the images, and hope you return for some more.

  6. Hi, I am very impressed by the level of detail in your excellent recreation of the battle of Maiwand. Can I ask a question? I am writing a Sherlock Holmes pastiche novel and I'm trying to find the uniform colours for the 66th (the regiment Watson was seconded to and in which he was struck down by a Jezail bullet).
    By the way, I looked closely but I cannot see Watson - he was rescued from the murderous Ghazis by his faithful orderly, Murray who threw him over the back of a packhorse and brought him safely through the lines.
    Thanks for a wonderful recreation,

  7. Hi, Mike,
    Glad you enjoyed your visit here at "Maiwand Day."

    With regards to the uniform worn by the 66th at Maiwand, if you search for "66th" in the search bar at the upper left of this page, you should find a few of my past blog posts detailing various elements of said uniform.

    As a brief summary, they wore khaki uniforms, dyed by themselves at the regimental/battlaion level (as opposed to the uniforms made available a couple of years later, which were dyed khaki back in the UK at a perfectly consistent "industrial" level, as opposed to the local use of materials such as tea, dirt, etc.

    NCOs wore red stripes on their sleeves, and everyone wore foreign service helmets draped in khaki cloth covers, with a brass scale chin-chain, usually worn hooked up at a rakish angle across the helmet front, from lower left to upper right if you were wearing the helmet yourself.

    Most everyone wore puttees, brownish drab for other ranks, blue-gray for officers (such as Watson would have been), though some officers may have worn riding boots, those on horseback especially.

    Officers occassionally wore "patrol jackets" of dark blue/black with varying amounts of lace on the front and up the sleeves, but this was far more common in South Africa than it was in Afghanistan, especially during the hot Summer months, such as July 1880, when Maiwand was fought.

    When Murray brought Watson "safely through the lines", in historically accurate Maiwand terms, this would refer to the rather horrible retreat of the survivors through the late afternoon and night of July 27th and into the early morning of July 28th. It was approximately 40 miles from the battlefield to the walled city of Kandahar, where the nearest Anglo-Indian forces were stationed. Many casualties were sufered during that awful retreat, and some of the most heroic acts of the battle actually took place on the road from Mundabad and Khig villages to Kandahar. Who knows what Murray went through to get Watson safely from one place to the other, and who knows if Watson ever regained consciousness during the process.

    The real life medical officer of the 66th, Surgeon-Major A.F. Preston, was saved by a soldier who put him onto an artillery limber, on which he travelled all the way to Kandahar, going in and out of consciousness along the way, if I remember correctly.

    One thing mentioned by everyone who survived the retreat was the horrible thirst, caused by the fact that the army had not brought enough water with them when they went into their fighting line on the morning of the 27th, and the local Afghan villagers had damned up the manmade waterway serving those 2 nearby villages, making it impossible for the retreating troops to drink or replenish their water supply while retreating South, and once they were on the road to Kandahar, all the drinking water between them and kandahar was watched over and cut off by unfriendly inhabitants along the way.

  8. Many thanks for your interesting and useful reply. I will check your blog for the uniform details.
    It is quite possible that Watson was unconscious for all or part of the journey: he seems to have retained a very vague recollection of the whole affair. In one of his stories, he maintains that the bullet injured his arm, in another that it hit his leg. In a third note, the wound was in 'a limb'. It has been suggested that, rather than being hit by a magic musket ball, he was wounded through the arm and leg while kneeling to attend a patient.
    I imagine that the reason Watson is not mentioned in accounts of the battle is that he was on attachment to the 66th from the Northumberland Fusiliers, and therefore did not appear on the roll of the Berkshires.
    Again, many thanks for your help,

  9. That's a wonderful searching online game a good motivation. Afgan is actually an additional time period I'm eager in order to increase in to soon. Many thanks with regard to putting the actual pictures upward.

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