Tuesday, 22 July 2008

American dragrope men

This is the American version of Alan Perry's earlier British dragrope men pack (see here). Quite nice figures these, and a couple at least can be used for all manner of thinkgs other than hired help for shifting artillery (such as farm hands). The two Perry packs of dragrope men will, I suspect, see more "action" than the rest of my collection as they will appear whenever artillery is on the table, which is in most scenarios. Alan Perry must like sculpting figures like these, as I see he has made some for his 1815 French range. (Incidentally, my apologies for the lack of "background action" in these photos .)

I have spent some time recently thinking about my Continental forces. As anticipated at the beginning of the year, I think I am close to closure on American infantry. The next regiment is almost finished (the 6th Virginia) and I am half-way through the 2nd Pennsylvania. I have about 4 regiments' worth of unpainted figures and there are a couple of other hunting shirt-clad regiments I particularly want to do (the 1st Pennsylvania and Smallwood's Marylanders). Then of course there will be a few more militia battalions. But I should have finished the Yanks by the end of the year, subject of course to whatever else Alan Perry or Eureka decide to release (and I'm thinking here of South Carolina Continentals, light infantry, negro troops, the legions etc).

When the next couple of units are finished I will take stock of where things stand, perhaps taking the American troops out for a rather late 4th July parade if the sun comes out (and I can persuade the Kiwi to relinquish her usual weekend position of sitting at the head of the garden table). The touchstone here is the Brandywine orbat; I suppose no AWI collection is absolutely 100% complete until one can put on this battle in its entirety. But then one has to consider that the scope of an "AWI collection" has changed substantially over the past few years. When I first started out, at the time the Foundry range was being released, there were really only two choices: Americans in uniform coats, with a few in hunting shirts perhaps and some militia; and British in Royal warrant full dress, with perhaps a few "campaign dress" light infantry. That was it. Now, thanks largely to Eureka, Perry Miniatures and a couple of other ranges, you can pretty much build up different armies for each year of the war. Perry have given us the choice of northern and southern militia, and Brits for the 1777 Saratoga campaign . Eureka allow you to build a "Valley Forge" Continental army. One can also build "hot weather" Continentals in shirt sleeves and then "cold weather" regiments in coats.

Thinking about the forthcoming Long Island game has made me realise that Howe's British army of 1776 dressed very differently to Cornwallis' army of 1781 - with the figures available you have the option to model both forces in their own particular styles of uniform. In short, the AWI these days is rather like WW2, with manufacturers catering for "early", "middle" and "late" periods. It's all excellent news for the gamer/collector, particularly as research is bounding along just as eagerly and we are beginning to receive a much clearer picture of how soldiers dressed during the war. Howver, this also means that obsessives such as I will be painting AWI for much longer than anticipated when we started out....

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