The recent Perry uniform guide in Wargames Illustrated showed them as wearing the same grey uniform as the other troops, except with their usual black leather equipment. I started to paint the 18 figures I needed in this way. Then I picked up the Mahdist Wars Source Book from TVAG and there it said "Marling mentions that while in Egypt after Tel-el Kebir the 60th rifles wore green serge jackets". Then it mentions a print of the Battle of El Teb at the Royal Engineers Museum at Chatham which shows them wearing green jackets with red collars, Black trousers and white helmets. The Donald Featherstone Osprey, Khartoum 1885 says the same thing.
Now "Marling" is Lieutenant (later, Colonel Sir) Percy Scrope Marling VC of the KRRC who served with the mounted infantry (why don't the Perries make a mounted infantry pack?), won his VC at Tamai and published his memoirs Rifleman and Hussar (London: John Murray, 1931).
Here is his grave in All Saint's Church, Selsley. He died in 1936.
Now my thinking has gone as follows: both the Osprey and the Savage and Soldier article reprinted in the Mahdist Source book are fairly old items (around ten years). Also, the uniforms worn in Egypt in 1882 were different from those worn in 1884 (line troops wore red in the Egyptian campaign, for example). If new uniforms were going to be issued specifically for this campaign then surely they would have been issued to everyone? I would also have thought that the Perries research would have been more up to date.
Yet, there is a quote that says that when the KRRC arrived in Suakin from Egypt they wore "stained and tattered fighting kits" which indicates that they were not, in fact wearing the new uniforms (introduced in January 1884).
So, on balance, given the existence of the coloured print in Chatham (I am going to try to get hold of a reproduction of the print from the Royal Engineers Museum) which, interestingly shows all the other troops, accurately, with grey coats (as opposed to most contemporary paintings which show the red home service uniforms in a bit of artistic licence) then I think I will go for the dark green uniform.
The white helmet is odd but not unknown (the Royal Marines had white helmets in the Sudan) although earlier in the Zulu War the Rifles helmets were dyed khaki (with tea, usually).
I think the final decision was made for me this evening when I painted up the base colour of one of my riflemen as green. He just looks better! Of course it will be a fiddle painting the other five figures green when I have already done their black belts but the rest will just need a quick coat over the top.
Maybe now I will actually get going again.