Well the last post was written in a hotel room at the start of the week with the start of a cold, and this one sees me back home at least, although I’m a lot more snotty and grumpy!
Figures featured in this post are the last ones painted in 2016 (as usual, posts run a couple of weeks behind) and they are late 19th century Chinese Tigermen! But that’s not how they started! Honest! Ever since starting Boxer Rebellion figures in 1996 (see this earlier post) I’ve wanted Tigermen, but just couldn’t get the ones I wanted in 20mm. SHQ/Kennington Miniatures do some, based on an illustration in the Osprey Boxer Rebellion book, and I’ve got some of them, but they’re quite stylised and I’ve always wanted some in the more traditional costume.
So last year I found that Elheim Figures do a range of 20mm WW2 Russian infantry in snow suits with minimal equipment and I thought they looked as though they might convert to passable Tigermen. I couldn’t quite tell the exact details of their uniforms, but I bought a couple of packs anyway to have a go!
The figures come in two styles, wearing either a two-piece snow suit or single-piece overall – the former seems more accurate for Tigermen but I used both. They appear to have hoods pulled up over helmets, but that might just be the bulky appearance of them anyway, and they are wearing belts with cartridge pouches only. They all carry rifles, but I’ve seen a Tigerman illustrated carrying a rifle and equipped as a normal Chinese infantryman, so I was happy to use them like that (as opposed to sword and shield wielding troops).
So, now for the extensive conversion – not! All I had to do was add very small plasticard bits to the hoods to represent ears and then soften their appearance with green stuff! The rest was just in the painting! I’ve found from experience that any form of camouflage clothing is best shaded in black, so I opted for the time-saving black wash. I painted the two different suits in different fashions to represent illustrations I’d seen – those in the overalls got tiger “stripes” all over, whereas those in the two-piece suits got a tiger hood with blue tunic and black trousers (plus red edging and a white identification disc on it).
Because of the camouflage effect of the tiger stripes it wasn’t so obvious that the figures in overalls weren’t wearing two-piece suits, which I was pleased about. I painted the first couple in what I thought looked like a tiger stripes, but on checking up in my Wargames Foundry Chinese armies book it appeared that straighter stripes were used, so I painted one in horizontal stripes and another in diagonal ones. The different uniform styles mean I can either have two small units, one larger unit or allocate them as sub-units attached to regular infantry units. Although they started out as elite/bodyguard units drawn from the Chinese emperor’s hunting retinue, by 1900 most would have served as normal infantry, but I need to get reading up on them again! Well, having a cold means I’ve got plenty of time to read I suppose!