Monday, 14 October 2013

American Militia (7)

This is the first proper AWI unit I've finished since my first go at the Perry plastic British infantry.  I bought a couple of packs of the new-ish Perry "northern militia" packs at Salute and decided to have a crack at them a few weeks ago.  Once again, I needed a bit of a break from painting red-coated highlanders.  This unit mixes figures from those Perry packs as well as some of the figrues in the older Foundry "minutemen skirmishing" pack that Alan Perry made years ago.  The Perries have now released figures described as "southern" and "northern" militia (and some very useful marching negroes).  This distinction is largely shown by the former being in shirtsleeves and the latter in coats.  There is some difference in headgear too, with some northern types wearing a sort of skull-cap that I gather was popular in the northern states and the southern types wearing a variety of broad brimmed hats to shield their faces from the sun.  The northern guys are carrying rather more kit. 

As a general concept this north/south distinction clearly works.  I've been to South Carolina and seen how hot it can get there and the shirtsleeve types are more suitable for summer campaigning in the South.  But of course it gets hot in the northern states as well and it's worth remembering that two of the best known southern theatre battles, Cowpens and Guilford Courthouse, were fought on damp, cold days in January and March respectively (I've seen references to the temperature at Guilford as being around 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit or 7-10 degrees Celsius).  So another way at looking at these militia figures is to think of them as being suitable for "hot" days and "cold" days.  The Perry southern militia figures with bayonets are perfect for representing Continental infantry in battles in the north such as Monmouth, which was fought in June on such a hot day that troops on both sides collapsed from the heat and many Americans took off their uniform coats and fought in shirts and waistcoats.  Bunker Hill was fought in mid-June and while I've experienced first hand how utterly freezing Boston can get even as late as April, I expect by June it's usually reasonably clement.  Don Troiani's excellent painting (see here) of the "whites of their eyes" moment certainly has men in coats and shirtleeves  Of course, on the tabletop none of this really matters - militia are militia irrespective of what they're wearing - but the choice is there if you want it.   

This unit, the first of two militia "firing lines" that I've been working on, is designed for cold weather service.  To build a 16-figure unit requires a bit of doubling-up on figures, but I think there are only 2 pairs of the same figure, such as the Foundry figure in the liberty cap - I stupidly painted both caps red, which makes the figures jump out a bit.  Those caps aside, I deliberately used a more muted palette on these - lots of greys, browns, dark greens and tans on the coats, many from the Foundry WW2 and ACW paints.  In most cases I painted the breeches and the waistcoats in the same colours, as wearing this kind of "suit" seems to have been popular (according to contemporary portraiture, which of course probably reflects the richer end of American society; but then again Don Troiani has militiamen dressed like this too).  I painted the officer in the dark blue suit Troiani uses for a similar-looking chap in his Bunker Hill painting - I'm not entirely sure which of Stark, Warren or Putnam this person is supposed to be (if any of them - I'm assuming the other Perry officer figure is modelled on Troiani's William Prescott, the person in the long, grey coat).     

There's then the question of flags and whether militia carried them.  I've already used my "Bunker Hill" flags (on very early units that aren't anywhere on this blog) so selected one of what GMB call "ex King's".  I understand that this type of flag would have been a pre-war militia or provincial flag with the union jack in the corner removed.  I think it looks pretty nice.  The photos aren't the best, I'm afraid.  I find taking shots of firing line figures can be tricky to focus correctly.

16 figures. Painted August/September 2013.  Flag from GMB.  




 

22 comments:

The Wilde Goose said...

Very nicely painted indeed. I got these packs at Salute as well put they remain unpainted :-) I plan to paint them up as part of a Royalist peasant army for the Vendee Revolt during the French Revolutionary Wars.

Sire Godefroy said...

He's back at painting AWI, huzzah! :-)

But, please, don't tell me you're now painting units dressed correctly for each season. That'd be madness…
I like both attires and happily mix and match – though I stick with a predominant dress within each unit.

Anyway, cracking paintjobs, Giles! You never fail to inspire.

Cheers, SG
mountainsoflead.com

Will McNally said...

What a splendid looking unit (for militia) and removing the union from the upper canton of an earlier militia flag is a great idea.

Looking forward to seeing more, and some of the "southern" ones too.

Will

Pierre le Poilu said...

Nice figures, tres bon

Chris Stoesen said...

These look really good. Love militia figures.

AJ (Allan) Wright said...

Great unit. I particularly like the flag and the various grey coated men. Shading grey coats always gives me troubles, but you've got them spot on.

Another beautiful unit for your collection.

El Grego said...

Very nice, per usual!!

Michael Awdry said...

Superb work Sir!

Phil said...

Great looking militia, the clothes are really impressive, beautiful paintwork!

painterman said...

very interesting views on using the Perrys 'north and south' militia packs Giles. Am doing some of the southern militia now (which you've done) and considering if the North command pack would fit in, with all the shirtsleeves etc.
Will see if I need anymore figs when it comes to basing up.
Great to see you back with AWI...
Simon.

Phyllion said...

Lovely painting, your natural tones are amazing

Dalauppror said...

Truly stunning looking unit !!!

Best regards Michael

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Yes!

Best Regards,

Stokes

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Ah yes the pre-eminent AWI figure painter delivers yet another master stroke! Fantastic work Giles!

Christopher

G. Thomas Fitzpatrick said...

Great paint jobs! I live the concept of dividing into Notthern & Southern militia products. New England militia, as a rule, did not wear hunting shirts or carry rifles. All were clean shaven. No coonskin caps. They wore their every day work clothes, the clothes of farmers, laborers, tradesmen, and merchants and clerks. Living in Puritan New England their clothes tended to be very subdued in color. Grays, browns, and unbleached wool and linen. Most farmers wore grey stockings. No company "uniforms" like minuteman companies established for the Bicentennial.
You did a great job capturing Eastern Massachusetts militiamen on April 19, 1775, when it was only about 56 degrees.

LittleArmies said...

Great looking unit - "skull caps" - they look more like woollen caps to me - that chap in the grey made me instantly think of Bennie (?) in Crossroads!

I tried a couple of cracking wines from Utiel-Requena on my trip to Valencia - I'm just seeing if I can source them in the UK. Are you going to any of the November tastings?

David said...

Excellent work, Giles!

Giles said...

Thanks for all your kind comments! These were fun to do.

Giles

legatus hedlius said...

Really like these. I have some half painted Foundry figures somewhere!

Silver Whistle said...

What a superb looking unit, you have captured the look of the militia with your choice of figures and colours. A nice touch with the flag also Giles.
Cheers,
Pat.

Stef said...

Big big fan of your AWI blog, very inspiring !

Bluewillow said...

great Work Giles, enjoy your summer in NZ

cheers
Matt