Monday, 9 November 2009

Civilians (10)

You can't have too many civilians for the AWI. Well, I suppose there probably is an upper limit on what would look good on a table, but non-combatants always enhance a game and can make a welcome change to painting military types. Many of the AWI's engagements were fought across villages and townships and civilian onlookers have provided memorable accounts of the fighting they witnessed (for examples, do visit the utterly outstanding "Boston 1775" blog).

These figures are from Front Rank and are the contents of one of the packs in their 18th century civilians range. The figures have the trademark Front Rank chunkyness that makes them look very Billy Bunter-ish in comparison to Perry Miniatures, Eureka and some other manufacturers; it's not so much the faces but more the enormous calves that look a bit out of place - in this they are a better fit with the Foundry 18th century civilian figures. That said, I'm quite fond of Front Rank and these figures are a useful addition to the non-combatant ranks. There seems to be a "labourers" theme to this particular pack and I bought it for last November's Long Island game. I had intended to paint all 4 figures to put in the Brooklyn earthworks as hired help. As it happened, the only figure I managed to complete in time for the game was the chap with the shovel. I saw the other 3 figures in my "to do" box the other week and decided it was high time to finish them off. The only other Front Rank figures that I have in my collection are some militia based up as skirmishers and a couple of casualties. The 25mm range as a whole is nicely sculpted, if you like the chunkier style, but I think it is now showing its age and has been eclipsed by the Foundry/Perry/Eureka troika. But the civilians are still worth buying!

4 figures. Painted October 2008 and October 2009.


Andrew said...

I whole heartedly agree. You can't have too many of all kinds of civilians. MIne are all Iron Age - Dark Age, but I have my eye on those plastic 17th century villagers by Warlord Games.

I like the voyageur's cap worn by the shoveler. I recently bought myself the same cap for winter. My wife thinks it's silly, but you should see her eccentric knit cap.

Sire Godefroy said...

Very good. If support is needed: you're absolutely right in painting as much civilians as you can. On my favorite list they are close followers of casualties - both indeed do 'enliven' your gaming table. ;-)

Tilman / SG

johnpreece said...

18C just demands sheperdesses, milkmaids and as bucolic types as can be gathered.

I have a set of those,(though not as well painted). In spite of all their faults I still have a fondness for Front Rank. Indeed if the legs were only 4mm longer they would probably be perfect figures.

Even so with hands the size of those I cannot see why he needs a shovel.

Greg Sapara said...

The very first AWI miniatures I ever collected were FR, and I was so dissapointed with them I painted fewer that 1/3 of my order.

It's the "pumpkin head" syndrome that did if for me. And their hands look under-sized (at least on the figures holding rifles).

However, if you can get past those things, they DO paint up nicely, as you have shown.

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Very nice painting Giles and I feel exactly the same as you do in regards to civilians.


Grimsby Mariner said...

a tribute to qulaity painting despite the shortcomings of the figure sculpting.

Tom Semian said...

I agree about "a gaming table can never have enough background figures" (civilian, farm animals and such). However, I disagree about Front Rank being out of style. When was the last time a Front Rank figure snapped off at the base. Also, they are much easier (at least for me) to paint up than Foundry/Perry figures.

legatus hedlius said...

Not enough firms do civilians; the Perries are usually very good. I wrote to The Assault Group once looking for civilians for one of their periods and got a very sniffy reply saying that they will never do civilians for their ranges!

Poacher said...

Still as prolific as ever, Giles..!

Yes, Front Rank are an acquired taste for many.

But having said that, they do have character and IMO that's important for the civilians, as each tends(and is meant) to be seen as an individual, rather than as part of the homogenous block of a unit of ranked soldiers.

Add to that character a rather excellent paint job, and Bob's yer aunty's live-in Significant Other!