An army with an exotic theme – Chindits for Bolt Action

I have this lot of chindits lying around for quite some time now, and I want to explain why I chose these and what is the motivation behind it.

First of all, why a themed army? I always liked from background to my projects, wether it is sourced ficitional or historical. I like to have a proper base to start from. A source to begin with, a common thread that combines the miniatures. And it doesn't matter, if it is sci-fi, fantasy or historical. Simply painting your marines blue like on the box, is less interesting to me, than to read the books and see for something that catches my eye. I have to go back in my arguments, back when I started wargaming, I played Warhammer Fantasy and 40k, like many others do or used to do. A regular army project was already an invest and a themed army would easily be something that would drive up the costs by at least 50%, as you had to gather specific bits and pieces for conversions etc. But historical wargaming is usually much cheaper, as there are more companies offering the same ranges.  Exotic or themed armies can still be difficult or more costly, as in some cases only one or a few companies are covering specific nations or conflicts.

In this case, as we're talking Bolt Action, we're talking World War II. The conflict is rather Euro-centric and most go for the elite or well known armies, US Airborne, Afrikakorps or something similar. You have battles between Americans, British or Russians on one side and Germans on the other. There is often not that much variation, as you more or less see the same armies. As with the armies I already have, different German forces, US American and British late war western front forces, those have broad vehicle pools, only a few limitations. So I looked for something far from home. I could have gone with the blue division (spanish volunteers on the eastern front), but that is more or less a regular german army with a minor different paint job. Along the campaign supplements for Bolt Action "Empire in Flames" was a very interesting read for me, as it showed that there many conflicts that lead to a global war scenario, beside the tension after World War 1, but I don't want to go into detail on that, I'll pick up the conflict in the pacific in the upcoming review on the Campaign: New Guinea. More interesting was for me this specific special army of the British in Burma. Warlord has these in their Bolt Action range and they were sculpted by the talented hands of Paul Hicks, so the miniatures had it easy to "lure" me in.

As the chindit range is entirely metal, it is spread across a couple of blister codes and a single larger box, with lots of different poses. I went more or less with ordering one of everything, as you can see below. And as we're talking Bolt Action, around 1,000 pts should be enough and not to costly.

Bolt Action - Chindits

  • Chindits boxed section (21 miniatures) - 29,50 GBP
  • Chindit Characters: Wingate, Fergusson and Cairns (3 miniatures) - 6,00 GBP
  • 2x Chindit Section (old blister pack now boxed repack, 10 miniatures) - 30,00 GBP
  • Chindit Mule Teams (4 miniatures) - 8,00 GBP
  • Chindit Piat and Anti-Tank Rifle Team (4 miniatures) - 6,00 GBP
  • Chindit Vickers HMG Team (3 miniatures) - 7,00 GBP
  • Chindit Flamethrower and Light Mortar Team (4 miniatures)- 6,00 GBP
  • Figure Head System - Chindit Heads 1 - 4 (16 heads) - 10,00 GBP
  • British 6 pdr AT Gun (3 miniatures) - 13,00 GBP

A solid lot that will be possible to field around 1,000 pts, with a total of 62 miniatures for just over 115 GBP. A rather decent price for a special projects. But first of all, who are the Chindits and what fascinates me about this project? Chindits are a special operation unit of the British and Indian armies, and they have a rugged and raw look to them, not fighting in the bocages of France or fierce winter of Bastogne, but the hot, rainy jungle of Burma. So the army moved by foot and little support of those vehicle that would be able to operate in those conditions. This is going to be interesting, as this is different terrain, different bases and paint jobs. Mel the Terrain Tutor did a couple of videos on Bolt Action in the pacific, along with jungle scatter terrain.

The heart of this army is the chindit boxed set, it gets you started with 21 miniatures, covering a command group, a regular squad and some specialist, like a mule handler team and some burmese scouts.

Bolt Action - Chindits Bolt Action - Chindits

And such a wild bunch need proper leaders, Major-General Orde Wingate, Major Bernard Fergusson and George Albert Cairns.

Bolt Action - Chindit Characters

I buffed the core of the army by adding two further sections of ten, each with a mule handler team, and of course a couple of specialists and weapon teams. The 6pdr will get an update on the crew, to make them jungle fit.

Bolt Action - Chindit Section Bolt Action - Chindit Mule teams Bolt Action - Piat and AT rifle
Bolt Action - Flamethrower and Light Mortar Bolt Action - Chindit Vicker HMG Bolt Action - Chindit / British 6 pdr AT gun

So here are the miniatures, casted from pewter, a lot of different poses, more than you would expect, and thanks to the separate head system a good possibility for varation. Cast is properly and the sculpts are well done.

Bolt Action - Chindits Bolt Action - Chindits

I packed the whole project into zip bags until further progress, as other projects are more urgent and I wanted to see if everything is complete and intact. All bags fit quite well into the chindit box and weigh a total of 800g (1.7 lb). That is quite a bang for your buck.

Bolt Action - Chindits Bolt Action - Chindits

The army will be set up by the Armies of Great Britain Theatre selector of Burma. With at least 1,000 points and 12 order dice, as well as a broad sideboard, this is a round project.

Officer: Second Officer with the support of a medic, Legend of the commonwealth Orde Wingate

Infantry: 3x full sections of Chindits, Native Irregulars

Support: Vickers MMG, 6 Pdr AT Gun, PIAT, AT Rifle team, flame thrower and light mortar,

Tanks: Wasp flame thrower carrier, M3 Lee, Daimler AC, M3A1 Stuart with flame thrower

We're talking just over 60 miniatures and a handful of vehicles. I have to take a look into a proper painting guide, for the infantry as well as the vehicles. Have to take a look across my paint palette and add a few of the Vallejo MC and newer Army Painter for this project. And maybe add a further blister of Burmese scouts along with the wounded chindit blister, to have the unit of the native irregulars complete as well as some "objective markers".

As the heads are available separately, and if you're not a big fan of metal miniatures, you could convert chindits by using the british infantry set with the american marine arms (they have ripped and rolled up sleeves and some jungle fit weapons).

And of course, with such a project, Osprey has your back. They have the Warrior Issue #136 on Chindits from 1942 to 1945, Warrior #66 British Infantrymen in the Far East, Man-at-Arms #375 British Army Far East and Combat #10 Chindits vs. Japanese Infantry. Never forget the lovely artwork that Peter Dennis adds to the Osprey books.

Peter Dennis - Ltn George Cairns, VC Peter Dennis - Chindit Mule Handler Peter Dennis - Chindit Patrol

But as mentioned earlier, I'll stay in the pacific and introduce the Campaign New Guinea along with some vehicles fitting to support the Chindits in their fight in the jungle. What themed armies are you thinking and tinkering about? What would get you excited if there was a range available?

Posted by Dennis B.

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