I have a long term interest in the Portuguese colonial exploration. Amongst a sea of possibilities, two locations stand out for me: Malacca on the Malaya peninsular and Sri Lanka. So I wondered what 15mm Wargaming Figures are available for Malay and/or Sinhalese. It happens that most people use the same figures for both so I can imagine a combined force that mixes the figure options. So here are the options and a bit of a commentary / comparison at the end.
Grumpy Miniatures do proper Indonesian and Malay. They are currently only available from Eureka Miniatures. See Eureka Miniatures: Grumpy Indonesian & Malayan. All figures are individual.
- GRU-MAL01 Chieftain or officer
- GRU-MAL02 Drummer
- GRU-MAL03 Gong player
- GRU-MAL05 Umbrella or standard bearer
- GRU-MAL06 Kris swordsman (2 variants)
- GRU-MAL08 Spearman (2 variants)
- GRU-MAL07 Archer (2 variants)
- GRU-MAL04 Blowpipe native
- GRU-MAL09 Musketeer (2 variants)
- GRU-MAL10 Artillery crew (2 variants)
- GRU-MAL11 Mounted chieftain or officer
- GRU-MAL12 Noble cavalry (2 variants)
- GRU-MAL13 Elephant, mahout, howdah and two crew
I like this range. Where possible I’ll use it.
Outpost Wargaming Services
Outpost Wargaming Services have a Hindu and Tamil Indian Range 500-1500AD. I think that is close enough for Sihalese. The figures are 15mm Pewter Figurines. Based on other ranges they will be compatible with the Grumpy Miniatures. They come in packs: Foot = 8 figures, Mounted = 4 figures, unless otherwise stated.
- HTI1 War Elephant (fully armoured) with Archer and driver
- HTI2 Spearmen (3 variants)
- HTI3 Javelinmen (3 variants)
- HTI4 Archers (4 variants)
- HTI5 Tribal Archers (3 variants)
- HTI6 Rajput or later Swordsmen (3 variants)
- HTI7 Matchlock men (2 variants)
- HTI8 Cavalry (2 variants)
- HTIC1 Foot Command ( 2 sets of 4 figs – Officer, Umbrella man, Drummer, Trumpeter – well, some sort of wind instrument!)
- HTIC2 General on Elephant (Officer and umbrella from HTIC1 on HTI1 plus driver)
This range suffers from a couple of problems for my purposes. Firstly, there is quite a lot of armour which isn’t appropriate for Sinhalese or Malay. Secondly, many of the unarmoured figures are wearing shorts, again not so appropriate.
I think I’d have to give the armoured elephants a miss, with the possible exception of a general figure.
Similarly I’d have to forgo the armoured infantry.
That leaves us with a few packs. I think these would all be fine although many are wearing Indian style shorts.
Essex Miniatures have a 15mm Renaissance Moghul Indians range. The only figure I think could be used is …
- MOG10 Moghul Indian: Swordsmen
Comparing Grumpy and Outpost
I thought it might be useful to put the Outpost and Grumpy figures side by side.
The Sinhalese army needs a lot more archers than the Malay. So I’m thinking of using the Grumpy figures for the purely Malay bow elements an the Outpost Tribal archers to bulk out the archers for the Sinhalese. That means the Indian shorts will only appear in the Sinhalese army.
The Sinhalese don’t get cavalry and the Malays only get a modest amount (one element). So I’m tempted to stick to Grumpy for the authentic Malay look.
There are a couple of elements of Elephants in both the Malay and Sinhalese lists. I think I’d get a couple of the Grumpy elephants for one element and for the general element use Outpost.
In addition the to Elephant option, the Malays can have a general in their foot warriors. So I’d go for the Grumpy option to get the authentic Malay look.
The bulk of the Malay army are foot warriors with kris or spear. I used the Grumpy figures for most of these. But supplement with Outpost unarmoured spearmen for variety. Most Sihalese shields were small so I could use the small shields that come as an option with the Outpost unarmoured spearmen.
I’d also have a couple of stands with solely Grumpy kris-men and Outpost swordsmem; these would be for the Valpera Swordsmen I need. For the Malays the Valpera Swordsmen would just merge into the general mass of warriors.
Early Malay armies might have a single stand of skirmishing handgunners. But later Sinhalese armies swap out the bow for the arquebus and then musket. So I might need a bunch of these chaps.
3 thoughts on “15mm Wargaming Figures for Malay and/or Sinhalese”
Thanks for a very interesting and useful article. I have a Portuguese early 17thC army for Irregular Wars using Grumpy Miniatures. Eventually I’d like to do a couple of Indian ones too.
I’ve got Grumpy’s Portuguese as well. I got enough for DBA but with my move to Big Base DBA suddenly that only gave me 3 elements. Sigh. I’ll have to expand.
A couple of my wargaming mates have got keen on Irregular Wars recently so I’ve been having a look. I know you are linked to them somehow, more than just collecting armies … ?
I discovered IW just before it underwent an upgrade and volunteered to play-test the second version. I think my friend Ian and I played about 30+ games. We are exacting and gave the author a really tough time! We also helped with one or two of the lists. I also did the diagrams but not the nice illustrations.
Anyway, with or without our participation, it’s a great game and appeared at a time when I was looking for more compact games.
Do give it a try. I’d be very interesed to read your opinion.