Saturday, 7 April 2007

American militia (1)








I commented recently that if I was starting the period from scratch something I would do differently would be my first couple of militia units. These are a bit of a mess and not a huge amount of thought went in to them, partly because I was selling my flat at the time and I had to paint in quick 10 minutes snatches in between viewings! That said, I find it can be tricky to ensure that militia don't look a mess, because by definition they won't all be wearing the same uniform. This is the second I painted and uses a wide mix of figures. The figures are mainly in civilian clothes or hunting shirts and there are a couple in shortened uniform coats. One figure wears a red faced buff coat which I took from a picture of the Boston Independent Company of Cadets in 1772, in the second volume of Osprey's "Colonial American Troops (1610-1774)".

In addition to Foundry "minutemen", there are Perry Continentals in hunting shirts, Foundry "uniformed militia" and figures from West Wind's "Headless Horseman" range. As someone once pointed out, these West Wind figures are "more regency than revolutionary", with their long tail coats and rather strange cravats, but they are at least wearing civilians clothes and that's what matters. The standard bearer is a converted West Wind figure - he was carrying a flaming torch in his left hand, but I cut it off and fiddled around a bit to give him an open hand to which I could attach a standard; he looks as if he's about to run away. No one as yet seems to make militia "command" figures as such, so some improvisation is necessary, unless one just uses suitable figures in hunting shirts (which I think look fine).

Painted June 2004. 18 figures. Flag by GMB.



11 comments:

Alex said...

Giles,

This stuff is incredible. May I ask what paints you use?

Giles said...

Hi Alex

I use mainly Foundry paints with a few Games Workshop and Coat d'Arms ones. I find Foundry a bit inconsistent but very easy to use and they give good coverage. I usually mix another couple of extra layers in between the standard 3-colour system in which Foundry sell their paints. There are about half a dozen Games Workshop paints that I can't live without (e.g. "scab red" which is the base colour for all my red uniforms), although their tendency to harden up after a few weeks is becoming increasingly irritating. I will slowly be replacing those with Coat d'Arms (which are the paints that GW ones ued to be), although I stil haven't found a red that gives as good coverage as GW's "scab red".

I also use inks, particularly for washes over flesh, metal, leather work etc. Those are largely Winsor & Newton. I use GW's "chestnut" ink for washes over gold.

Best wishes

Giles

Anonymous said...

Giles,

Would you be willing to share your thoughts on how you organise your regimants and battalions? I like many of the packs produced by the Perrys but somehow want at least the brigades to have a good degreee of uniformity in basic pose. Yet, at the same time, I do not want the whole army to be in 'march attack' pose!

Thanks for troubling to display your figures.

Theo

Anonymous said...

Giles,

Can I also ask if there are any photos you could post from your Brandywine game at the army museum?

Theo

Giles said...

Hi Theo

Thanks for stopping by the blog. I didn't take any pictures of the Brandywine game, but those that were taken are still be up on the General de Brigade website (try this link: http://generaldebrigade.13.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?p=10562#10562).

I have found it easiest to build up forces by concentrating on a particular oder of battle. With the Americans, I then look at what the units did on the day and "pose" them accordingly. Given that the pitched battles usually involved Brits assaulting American positions, most of my American units (to date) are in firing/standing poses. For a brigade, you could have 2 firing units with 2 support regiments in standing or marching poses.

You can also bring variety into your regiments by mixing up the figures as I do - i.e. using coated continentals, hunting shirts, slightly more ragged-looking militia and the Eureka Valley Forge types all in the same unit. I think between the Foundry, Perry and Eureka ranges there are something like 40 different firing line figures!

Giles

Anonymous said...

Giles,

Thanks. And the British and Hessians?

Theo

Giles said...

Theo

I adopt largely the same thinking for Brits and Hessians, so most of my British regiments are in marching/advancing or charging poses (as that's what they mainly did). I think the "attack march" somehow looks best for Brits, particularly the tricorne chaps in full Royal Warrant dress. I have 3 or 4 firing line posed regiments to add variety (largely the units present at White Plains, where the initial attacks faltered because the Brits kept stopping to fire off volleys, so losing the momentum of their charge). The Brits I paint later in the year for the Saratoga campaign will be mainly in firing and standing poses, as they fought defensive actions.

Perry have 3 poses for each type of Hessian (i.e. grenadiers, musketeers and fusiliers), and as I don't need too many I will paint up one regiment in each pose. I wouldn't want any of those gorgeous Perry figures to go to waste!

Giles

ps How's Hellas? Are you still in Thessaloniki?

Giles said...

pps I find "charging" figures tricky to paint because (a) the pose requires the sculptor to "fill-in" the space between the chest/abdomen and musket, which can look a bit crappy (what do you do, just paint it black?), and (b) muskets held up across the face make the face very difficult to paint. I had this problem most particularly with the Perry charging Hessian musketeers (which I haven't put up yet).

Anonymous said...

Giles,

Firstly let me say that I am a different Theo! I hail from dear ol' Northern Ireland rather than Hellas - a land I would dearly love to see, nevertheless.

Secondly, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have been looking again at the pics from the Kapiti games of Saratoga and Guildford Courthouse where the British are mainly in "attack march" pose and look very impressive.

Thirdly, what do you think of using Perry's 'saratoga' figures for the light infantry battalions in Howe's army of 1777? I think I'd like to field mine as proper battalions rather than a big mass of skirmishers.

Fourthly, did the Guards carry colours in America?

Fifthly, does Attwood's book on the Hessians give any detail about regimental histories - in Novack's book it is hard to work out which regiment is where!

Thanks again for the blog and the pics - inspirational.

Theo

Giles said...

Theo

Apologies for confusing you with the other Theo! I assume you're not Greek then...

In answer to your questions:

1. Light infantry: it's been a qhile since I studied the Saratoga sculpts. RtL might be abel to opine, but in theory I suppose there's nothing to stop you using them as light infantry (given that Burgoyne wanted his troops to look and act like light infantry) but the leggings will look out of place in Howe's army. I'd suggest the Foundry light infantry in chain helmets figures. Again, RtL can opine, but the British light infantry tended to be used in non-skirmishing battalions anyway; the combined light company battalions were used as elite shock troops rather than as skirmishers. So it's correct to moel a light infantry unit in close order all in the same pose (although you should have a few in skirmish poses in case they are required). I'll post some pics next week.

2. Then general consensus is that the Guards had colours but didn't take them to America. That won't stop people of course, and it won't stop me - colours rock!

3. Attwood contains an appendix which lists all the Hessian units that went to America and details the garrisons they were in and the battles in which they fought. The narrative is very detailed and I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking at building Hessian troops for the war. It is full of anecdotes and other useful information.

Anonymous said...

Giles,

Thanks. I look forward to seeing more pics - inspiration as I do my own research and plan my own army.

Theo