Wednesday, January 11, 2017

KNIL Army for Adepticon - Conversion How-To

Hello all.

It's been a while, and since I have been asked lately to show how I am doing my KNIL force so I thought I would show you my simple process.

Little History of The Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger; KNIL)

The KNIL was formed by royal decree on 10 March 1830. It was not part of the Royal Netherlands Army, but a separate military arm specifically formed for service in the Netherlands East Indies. Its establishment coincided with the Dutch drive to expand colonial rule from the 17th century area of control to the far larger territories comprising the Dutch East Indies seventy years later.
The KNIL was involved in many campaigns against indigenous groups in the area including the Padri War (1821–1845), the Java War (1825–1830), crushing the final resistance of Bali inhabitants to colonial rule in 1849, and the prolonged Aceh War (1873–1904). In 1894, Lombok and Karangasem were annexed in response to reports of the local Balinese aristocracy oppressing the native Sasak people. Bali was finally taken under full control with the Dutch intervention in Bali (1906) and the final Dutch intervention in Bali (1908).
In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the KNIL prosecuted the conquest of the Indonesian archipelago. After 1904 the Netherlands East Indies were considered pacified, with no large-scale armed opposition to Dutch rule until World War II, and the KNIL served a mainly defensive role protecting the Dutch East Indies from the possibility of foreign invasion.
Once the archipelago was considered pacified the KNIL was mainly involved with military policing tasks. To ensure a sizeable European military segment in the KNIL and reduce costly recruitment in Europe, the colonial government introduced obligatory military service for all resident male conscripts in the European legal class in 1917. In 1922 a supplemental legal enactment introduced the creation of Home Guard (Dutch: Landstorm) for European conscripts older than 32.
No large-scale armed threat to Dutch rule existed until World War II.

World War II

Dutch forces in the Netherlands East Indies were severely weakened by the defeat and occupation of the Netherlands itself, by Nazi Germany, in 1940. The KNIL was cut off from external Dutch assistance, except by Royal Netherlands Navy units. The KNIL, hastily and inadequately, attempted to transform into a modern military force able to protect the Dutch East Indies from foreign invasion. By December 1941, Dutch forces in Indonesia numbered around 85,000 personnel: regular troops comprised about 1,000 officers and 34,000 enlisted soldiers, of whom 28,000 were indigenous. The remainder were made up of locally organised militia, territorial guard units and civilian auxiliaries. The KNIL air force, Militaire Luchtvaart KNIL (Royal Netherlands East Indies Air Force (ML-KNIL)) numbered 389 planes of all types, but was largely outclassed by superior Japanese planes. The Royal Netherlands Navy Air Service, or MLD, also had significant forces in the NEI.

During the Dutch East Indies campaign of 1941–42, most of the KNIL and other Allied forces were quickly defeated. Most European soldiers, which in practice included all able bodied Indo-European males, were interned by the Japanese as POWs. 25% of the POWs did not survive their internment.

A handful of soldiers, mostly indigenous personnel, mounted guerilla campaigns against the Japanese. These were usually unknown to, and unassisted by, the Allies until the end of the war.


The KNIL uniform was a cotton jacket with a harness for ammo and other supplies.  They wore a khaki to brown set of let wraps (Puttees) with Black boots like the photo below:

As well as wearing the traditional Dutch Helmet, the jungles of the East Indies made wearing the "Slouch Hate" another common site, more among the Dutch and seen much less in the Indonesian troops, who wore the helmet more often.

The KNIL used the following arms during the East Indies campaign:

Model 1873 9.4mm service revolver.
M1903 Browning 9mm long service pistol
9mm kurz/.380 Browning M1922 pistol [Pistool M25 No.2]
9mm Luger, some German made, others Vickers/British made or assembled.

Service Rifles
Model 1895 Mannlicher 6.5mm rifle. [Basically the same as the M1893 Rumanian rifle] Caliber 6.5x54R Mannlicher.
There were at least seven different carbine variants.
In 1940 quantities of .30-06 Johnson semi-autos were purchased for colonial forces in the Dutch East Indies [Indonesia] and the navy.

Machine guns:
Schwarzlose 07/12 machine gun in 7.92mm.
Among largest users of the Madsen LMG:
Model 1919, 1923, 1926, 1927, 1934, 1938 and 1939 all in Dutch 6.5mm Mannlicher cartridge.
Some Lewis guns from the British in the 1920s, but in 6.5mm.
A few Vickers HMGs.

AT Rifles:
Rifle, Anti-Tank, .55in, Boys

On to the Conversions......

I picked up a box of IJA troops and bought about 9 sprues extra when Warlords had a 50% off plastic sprue sale.   Now, the uniforms are very similar so it's not going to take much converting really more then a head swap and some other finishing touches.

First... the Arisaka rifle is a long rifle at 4'2" and the Mannlicher is 3'3" first thing you need to do is cut this section out.

Then you glue the barrel tip back onto the rifle.  It takes approximately a foot of length out of the gun.

Now I let that dry.  Take a head from either the Ghurkha in Bush Hats or the Chindit heads from Warlord games and take a padded pliers and bend the side of the slouch hat up on the right side

Take all your parts and Assemble them like so.

If you need to add special guns, sells weapons in their AFV Accessories section, the Boys AT rifles and the Madsen LMG.

You can simply use the empty hands from the IJA sprue or cut existing weapons away and replace with the above.

This is as simple as it gets for the "conversions."   Here are some picts of my Current KNIL Project.

Regular Section of Dutch KNIL with Madsen Support Weapon

And here is an AT rifle Team

And this is a 47mm AT gun using the italian models, which are similar to the KNIL uniforms enough to get it close.  :)

And some WIPs.

I hope this helps!!!

Be sure to check out the Northern Front Podcast   :)



  1. I would recommend moving the action figures on top of the post because that is what grasp my attention. But good post nonetheless. Thanks for posting.