Sunday 1 May 2011

Irregular Wars - The Caribbean Indians arrive!

After a long(ish) spell in the lead pile, I have finally painted up the last companies for my battle of Caribbean Indians. Some of these have previously fought on behalf of other battles - the scouts and Cimaroons for the English Adventurers and some of the archers for the Colonial Spanish. Now they can fight for their own independence against the depredations of the vile European colonials.

The battle arrayed. I still only have enough painted companies to field one set of options but the force should a) be quite versatile, especially in rough terrain, b) out number their opponents (dice-gods willing) and c) out shoot their opponents. Most of the figures are sold as Tupi - Brasilian natives - but they are certainly useable for Caribbeans. Many of the Caribbean tribes seem to have originated in NW south America and traveled up through the islands. Indeed, there are still populations who speak Carib languages in norther Brasil today.  

Cacique head-hunters - these are the chiefs and bigmen of the islands. They are also the only real melee companies available to the battle. Being 'head-hunters' means that anyone they charge immediately suffers a lose of resolve. As long as they don't get stuck in a drawn out melee they should be quite powerful. The figures are 15mm Grumpy Tupi.

The scouts - obviously from the same tribe as the head-hunters (purely on account of their hats!) the figures are Grumpy Tupi.

Boucaneers - the native (Man Friday-esque) figure is from the Grumpy Tupi range. The European boucaneer is a head-swap conversion using a Grumpy Cimaroon body and Portuguese head.

Cimaroons - escaped African slaves, these companies have some of the best resolve in the battle. Historically the Cimaroons fought both with and against the indigenous populations. The figures are Grumpy Cimeroons from the Buccaneer range.

Archers - these guys have come to fight wearing nothing but war paint and a smile. Conceptually I'm happy to say that they are from a neighbouring or subject tribe. The figures are again Tupi, but from the 15mm range by Eureka miniatures.

The priest - Finding an appropriate priest figure was difficult. I ended up settling on this bird-man priest from Eureka's Mound Builder's range. I painted up his headdress in the same way as the cacique and scout hats to make him more tropical parrot than eagle. Not sure how successful that was, but I am happy enough with the result.

Just out of interest, I have appended a few more modern depiction of the native populations of the Caribbean.
Carib family from an 1818 engraving.

An early 20th century (heavily manufactured and highly romantacised ?) image of Arawak warriors.

Modern Dominicans at Carnival.

Another modern re-imagining of Caribbean natives and their king!


  1. Brilliant figures. The paint job is really evocative!

  2. Really useful inspiration. I love your rules, but their niche character makes finding figures quite a challenge.
    More suggestions for suppliers for each army would be excellent (also for the Galleys and Galleons)