The forces of the British Empire where compiled of men and women from all over the globe. Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Indians, Ghurkas, and Sikhs, to name a few, all fought against the forces of Japan and Germany. With more than 2.5 million men under arms, the Indian Army was the largest volunteer army in the history of humanity. While most people remember the men who fought with Sikh and Ghurka regiments, there is very little attention paid to the average India soldier who fought in places like Ethiopia, the Middle East, Burma, India, North Africa, Italy and Greece. By wars end, more than 70,000 Indians were killed or wounded. Indian troops served with honor, with 4,000 of them receiving awards for bravery, including 38 Victoria Crosses.
My Indian force is primarily Perry Brother Plastic Desert Rats with head swaps from Woodbine Miniatures World War I Indian heads. I removed the plastic desert rat heads and replaced them with the Indian heads. I did not want a pure Sikh or Ghurka force, which are fairly common. I wanted this army to represent the regular Indian troops the fought during the War. The Indian heads from Woodbine work great because they do not have full beards and have the Khulla turban instead of the Dastar turban of the Sikhs. The Khulla was a cone that was wrapped in a Pagri. A Shamla was used for unit identification. The Dastar of the Sikhs do not have a Khulla.
HQ - My HQ section is made up of a British Officer and an Indian Radio team. Indian Brigades comprised of a mix of British and Indian Battalions. Usually a 1 to 2 ratios. However in Southeast Asia it was not uncommon for the entire brigade to be made up of Indian troops.
Support Section - The Vickers and medium mortar are Battle Honors figures and not Perry Brothers. Battle Honors is 25mm and more closely matched Perry Brother in scale than other 28mm ranges.
One issue I ran into was that the heads are metal and the bodies are plastic, making these figures a bit top heavy. This is exacerbated by the smaller round bases provided in the Perry Miniatures box set. Luckily the bases are the size of US penny, so I glued a penny to each figure's base to give them a little extra weight. This seemed to work and stopped the figures form tipping over all the time.
This is just the beginning of this new army project. My plan is to add more infantry, which will include Sikhs and Ghurkas as elite troops, and lots of desert vehicles. While this force will be my primary desert force I will also likely add stuff for fighting against the Japanese in Burma and Indian. Stay tuned for future projects involving this Indian army.