Britains Special Paintings and Conversions

A small number of Britains KAR sets have been found with an unarmed African effendi (warrant officer) and askari with rifles but without bayonets.  These were probably special paintings made on demand for sale at Hamleys – the famous London toy store.

Britains standard KAR (left) and special painting with warrant officer (right)

Egyptian infantry – special painting of Britains KAR figure

Special paintings of the KAR figure in blue with white puttees were also sold as Egyptian Infantry.

A single set with an officer wearing a peaked cap has been found painted in olive-green and labelled as Portuguese East African Native Infantry, but it is not known whether this is a special painting or Britains’ prototype for a set they did not subsequently produce on a commercial scale.

Portugese East African Native Infantry by toy maker Britains

Amateur model makers also make conversions of the Britains figure.  Similar to Britains own special paintings, the most common conversion is for a standard KAR figure to be converted into an officer or effendi – as in the seven-figure set below, which has had a sword-carrying officer added.

Britains KAR with officer conversion

Amongst the most interesting conversions I have found are the askari pioneers below, marching with pickaxes, spades and sledge hammers and their rifles slung over their right shoulders. The East African Pioneers were a sister unit of the KAR in the Second World War.

Britains KAR converted to pioneers

Britains KAR with rifle and sling, from left

Britains KAR with rifle and sling, from right

Some conversions are very straightforward but create unique, interesting figures, like this Britains KAR askari that has simply had the standard rifle and bayonet exchanged for a rifle on a sling – the whole figure has also been re-painted.