Saturday 30 June 2007

American artillery (1)

This is a Perry 3-pounder and crew that I painted last week. The 3-pounder was extensively used throughout the war and it is good news that Perry have released plenty of these guns with different crews. It was a ncie touch to sculpt this crew in hunting shirts. A Bunker Hill scenario will call for a 3-pounder on the American side and these chaps will do nicely for militia. Apparently the Americans often painted the woodwork of their guns a dull red colour. Dave Woodward has done this very well in the pictures of American 6-pounders that are on the Perry website. All my other American guns are in a natural wood colour, so I decided to stick with that to give the guns in my collection a consistent look. The woodwork here was painted using a base of Games Workshop "Scorched Brown" followed by highlights of GW "Bestial Brown" and then the Foundry "Spearshaft" palette.

Painted June 2007.

Thursday 28 June 2007

Saratoga is coming...

Apologies for the lack of new posts over the past week. A crisis at work and the resulting long hours meant that I have not yet finished basing the British artillery train and variousn other bits that I have been working on. In any event, the ghastly (and in some places very dangerous) weather in the UK of late has also made it too grey and miserable to obtain any decent photos. But hopefully there will be more figures to look at by the weekend and an ensuing torrent of posts. Anyway, for the second half of this year I will be concentrating on the Saratoga campaign of 1777. To date I have been mainly drawn to the larger battles of the northern theatre, but the Saratoga campaign offers plenty of painting/modelling interest: Indians, Brunswickers, Morgan's Rifles and of course the British troops in their specially modified "light infantry" uniform. I will post up orders of battle as this sub-project progresses but the first objective will be to paint the British regiments that were engaged in the two battles of Freeman's Farm and Bemis Heights: 9th, 20th, 21st, 24th and 62nd. These regiments are quite small - the 20th and 21st are only 12 figures each and the largest is the 24th with 20 figures. Hopefully they won't take too long and there's also the new Perry Saratoga Royal Artillery packs to think about. I then want to add some particular American regiments that featured in the campaign, such as the 2nd New Hampshire with its distinctive flag(s). This is also an excuse to return to the Indians I began painting last year - I have various Conquest packs to finish off.

By way of a taster, attached above is a photo of my John Burgoyne command stand, painted a couple of years ago. The Burgoyne figure and his aide are both Old Glory sculpts. I think the aide is actually from the Continental Mounted Officers pack. The foot figure is the officer from Eureka's useful F&IW Highlanders range, painted as a loyalist. Fortuitously, the July issue of "Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy" magazine has a feature on the Saratoga campaign, along with some stunning pictures of the Perries' collection. This should prove to be essential reading and excellent inspiration.

Wednesday 20 June 2007

Just for fun...

Whilst I'm finishing off basing the AWI stuff I've been painting over the past couple of weeks (4th Foot, Stockbridge Indians, more Royal Artillery and various limbers and ammunition carts), I thought I'd just post some pics of some more Perry Mahdists that I painted over the weekend. These are Nile Arabs, as opposed to Hadendowah tribesmen, although I painted the skin in exactly the same way - base coat of Games Workshop "Negro" followed by a dark brown ink wash and then 3-4 highlights using the Foundry "Dusky Flesh" palette. These are the last Mahdists I will be basing on single pennies. Going forward I will be using bases similar to the size that the late Peter Gilder used for his Sudan project, and which I gather Two Fat Lardies are using for their forthcoming rules: 8-10 figures on a base of 100mm x 50mm. I have lots of Connoisseur Figures Ansar that I bought at my very first Salute in 1986 (on my 13th birthday!) and painted shortly thereafter, which I need to tart up a bit (ok, a lot) and then base on these large bases. The terrain used in these photos is a new TSS tile I bought the other day and which was delivered within 48 working hours!

Next up are Royal Artillery in Southern campaign dress, a British artillery train and thoughts on putting together Knyphausen's division of 1777.

Friday 15 June 2007

British Light Infantry (1)

Light infantry battlions, as with grenadier battlions, were composite units formed by combining together the light companies of different regiments. At the start of the war the light companies had a distinctive uniform that was quite different to the centre companies: shortened coats, red waistcoats, black leather cross-belts and "chain" helmets. During the course of the war the British light infantry companies adopted a campaign-style uniform of "roundabouts", i.e. their red waistcoats with sleeves sewn on to them, and with slouch hats replacing the chain helmets. Slouch hats would have been much more effective at shielding the men from the glare of the sun, no doubt assisting their aim in the process.

For all but the largest scenarios, one battalion of light infantry will suffice. As with British line generally, in 25mm the gamer has the choice of the early war regulation look or the later war campaign dress look. Given that you are unlikely to need more than 24 figures in the unit, it's not too much work to have a battalion of each. One advantage of the later war figures is that with the addition of a command stand the unit can always double-up as a regular line regiment on campaign in the south (although you would have to ignore the black cross-belts). A second decision to make is whether to model the battalion in close order or skirmish order. Light infantry naturally suggest the latter, but there is plenty of evidence from the war that the light infantry battalions often fought in some kind of ordered formation as elite shock troops. In the AWI, light infantry did not act as skirmishers as such in the way that light infantry did in the Napoleonic Wars (for example). Rather that providing a screen for the main assault, the light infantry often werethe main assult, backed up with battalions of regular line troops. This is certainly how they fought at Bunker Hill, for which I prepared this unit here. During the course of the war light infantry tactics evolved considerably and a gamer will probably need some light infantry on skirmish bases for flexibility.

When painting this battalion I consulted Brendan Morrisey's excellent Osprey Campaign book "Boston 1775". This book is invaluable for anyone planning a game of Bunker Hill, as it has excellent maps and a detailed description of the terrain. Best of all, the book has full orbats and tells you which regiments contributed to the grenadier and light infantry battlions. I used this information to piece together thr light infantry battalion company by company. The different facings are not really apparent from the main photo above, but from left to right the regiments on each stand are as follows: 5th; 10th and 43rd; 4th and 23rd (the command stand); 47th and 52nd; Marines and 59th; 63rd and 64th. I have further figures for all these regiments also based in twos, so the battalion can be deployed in either close or skirmish order. The close-ups below show the 5th Foot in its distinctive horse-hair, crested hats and the command stand. In the photo above you can see the sergeant of the 10th reaching to pull out his bayonet, and I like to think that this unit captures the moment when Lietenant Colonel Clark, of the 23rd Foot, orders his men to charge after firing a volley.
24 figures. Painted April 2006.

Wednesday 13 June 2007

Basing for "British Grenadier!"

In response to a couple of queries, I thought it might be useful to have a quick run-down on the base sizes I use for the "British Grenadier!" rules. The sizes set out below are commonly used, at least by the London BG fraternity, although they are not essential. Like most rules, BG can be played with different sized bases so long as there is consistency within the troops used on the table. As I have said in some earlier posts, I have introduced more flexibility with the basing of skirmishers (as shown the photo and explained below). I have seen games that have skirmishers based in all kinds of ways, and it makes no difference to how the rules are played or the success of the game. Troops in this war often adopted loose formations and there is no reason why the basing of light and irregular troops should not reflect this. All the measurements given are for 25/28mm figures.

Line infantry: based in fours on 36mm x 50mm or in sixes on 54mm x 50mm. It makes no difference whether you base the unit in fours or sixes. There is no need to try to replicate any company structure in a line unit and the grading of a particular line unit does not affect how it is based. I prefer fours for flexibility, but will happily go with sixes when building units with a strength of 18 or 24 figures. My American regiments are usually built in fours, as I like to have the option of fielding them as 16, 20 or 24 figure units as the scenario requires. Most British regiments in the scenarios tend to be 16 or 18 figures, so I just look at the battles each particular regiment fought in and go with the most common strength. BG requires a certain amount of record-keeping, to monitor casualties and the accumulation of disruption points, so if your 33rd Foot, for example, has 18 figures but the scenario requires only 16, then it is easy to make a note to that effect on the casualty list.

Skirmishers: based in twos on 50mm x 25mm or threes on 75mm x 25mm. The base requirement for each individual figure is therefore 25mm x 25mm. As stated elsewhere on this blog, in BG skirmishers are rated according to grade: First Rate or Second Rate. Examples of First Rate troops would be Hessian jaeger, British light infantry and top class American riflemen. Second Rate skirmishers would be everyone else. The First Rate chaps fire with one D6 for every 2 figures, whilst the Second Raters fire with one D6 for every 3 figures. Therefore, it helps with firing calculations if you base the figures according to the unit's rating: either in twos or in threes. Once you decide on the rating, it is possible to build a bit of flexibility into the basing. I have some American riflemen on larger format bases, to add some terrain features and also because the Perry "prone" figures need a greater depth than 25mm. These bases are 50mm x 40mm. I also base Indians on individual bases of 25mm x 25mm. This is mainly to allow their use in F&IW skirmish games but also reflects my feeling that having 3 Indians in a line on a standard 75mm x 25mm base simply doesn't look right. There is no reason why you couldn't have Indians (or militia for that matter) on a larger round base. Basing skirmishers like Indians singly actually works quite well because you are never going to need many of them for a game (for example, the Freeman's Farm scenario only requires 6 Indians). The photo above shows the different types of skirmish bases that I use.

Cavalry: based in twos on 40mm x 50mm. You can also base them in threes but should keep the frontage to 20mm. I have a number of figures on single bases of 20mm x 50mm, such as the Perry British dragoons in "skirmish" poses, and to assist in the removal of casualties.

Artillery: 1 gun and crew (4 figures) based on 60mm x 70mm. I find this base size can be too small for some gun crew packs, such as the Perry packs of figures aiming and loading guns - you need a bit of extra depth to enable the figures to be positioned properly around the cannon. I just base any figures that need more space separately on pennies.

Brigadier Generals: based singly on 30mm x 50mm. The rules say that Divisional generals should be based on 54mm x 50mm bases, but you are not going to need specific divisional commander figures unless gaming one of the largest battles like Monmouth or Brandywine.

Commanders-in-chief: general and retinue based on 70mm x 60mm (i.e. an artillery base). The Washington, Knyphausen and von Heister stands that I posted on this blog are on bases of this size. Some generals commanded troops at different levels at different times and in my collection this sized base tends to do for any "personality" generals. Greene, for example, commands a division at Brandywine, under Washington's overall command, but reaches c-in-c level for Guilford Courthouse and Hobkirk's Hill. There's no point in buying and painting two Greene personality figures and putting them on separate "divisional general" and "commander-in-chief" stands, so my Foundry Greene figure just gets a 70mm x 60mm base. That worked perfectly well at our Brandywine refight in 2005. Given the relatively smaller number of figures and units involved, AWI games do not become crowded in the way that Napoleonic games at 1:20 scale can often do, so you can afford to be more generous with the basing of generals and staff.

The photo above shows, clockwise from top left, the following based as skirmishers: British light infantry from the 5th Foot, a stand from the 13th Virginia Regiment, an Iroquois indian, American riflemen on the larger format base.

Sunday 10 June 2007

Rall Grenadier Regiment

Rall's Grenadier Regiment was not formed out of the grenadier companies of other regiments, but rather was a unit in which all the men were designated grenadiers and were uniformed as such. The regiment's primary claim to fame is that it was part of the brigade defeated (and captured) by Washington at Trenton on 26 December 1776. The brigade at Trenton was commanded by Colonel Johann Rall himself, who was too junior an officer to hold the position but had been given it since most other Hessian candidates were either ill or recovering from wounds. Rall was an able officer who was considered to be an inspiring and courageous leader on the battlefield. However, his reputation never recovered from the disaster of Trenton, even though many contemporaries felt that the harsh criticism meted out to Rall was far from justified (Captain Ewald of the Hessian jaegers wrote that many of those who criticised Rall after his death were not fit to have carried his sword). That said, Rall and his subordinates clearly failed to guard and fortify Trenton properly and Rall's failure reflected badly on the Hessian corps generally, which from 1778 onwards was largely confined to garrison duty.

Rall's Regiment had distinguished itself at the battles of White Plains and Fort Washington. Most of the regiment passed into captivity at Trenton and Rall himself died of his wounds the evening after the battle. Washington took 919 prisoners (20 Hessians were killed) at a cost of only 4 Americans killed and 8 wounded. Part of the Hessians' difficulty at Trenton was that their muskets would not fire in the cold, snowy weather, but the regiments were also too rigidly drilled to be able to adapt to street fighting. Instead of breaking themselves up into groups of skimishers, the Hessians formed up in close order and tried to fight as if they were on a typical European battlefield. The regiment was reconstituted in 1778 and fought in the Savannah expedition that December, in the Charleston expedition the following year and then helped defend Savannah against the French. Rall's regiment finished the war with casualties that were considerably higher than most other Hessian units, but it had recovered some of its self-esteem and, more importantly, had been restored to the Landgraf's "gracious favour".

This is an interesting unit to model as the Hessian combined grenadier battalions did not carry flags and Rall's regiment has some quite pretty ones. Perry make specific Rall regiment figures, in grenadier mitres and with uniform coats that don't have lapels. For some reason the command pack only has one standard bearer, but luckily one of the officer figures has an open hand so he can be given the second flag.

24 figures. Painted June 2005. Flags by GMB.

Tuesday 5 June 2007

News and views

For reasons I can't quite fathom, my painting output has slowed down over the past couple of weeks. I have slipped behind my 12 figures a week standard and the 4th Foot, which should have been finished by the end of May, is still 6 figures away from completion. Two long weekends were lost to a trip to Turin (alas, the Risorgimento Museum was closed for renovation) and a particularly arduous New World wine tasting in London (those Californians sure know how to make cabernet sauvignon; shame it's so expensive over here). I have also turned my attention to the Perry Sudan range as a bit of an antidote to my recent Napoleonic excesses - the first fruits of this project can be seen below. The American Civil War is also beckoning, a period I have long wanted to investigate. Anyway, my Kiwi chums over on the Kapiti Fusiliers forum run a monthly painting target system called "The Pledge" and I have committed myself to painting the 21st Foot, 4 guns and crews, the Perry Stockbridge Indian pack and a couple of the new ammunition carts by the end of June. Golly.

Times remain good for AWI enthusiasts. Alan Perry's 25mm range seems to have been rejuvenated and new packs are being released with the Perries' customary alacrity. I am currently waiting for the new 3-pounders and ammunition carts to arrive. Next up we are promised "amusettes" for Hessian jaeger and the Queen's Rangers - a sort of AWI equivalent of Napoleonic Swedish Guardsmen or Volksturm bicycle couriers. Front Rank have recently released a new 40mm line, starting with British regulars in Royal Warrant dress. I can see the attraction of 40mm for collecting or skirmish games, but for me it's a scale too far. One of the joys of wargaming the AWI is that the battles are of a size that is quite easily recreated on the tabletop and readily lend themselves to 25mm treatment with a generous figure to soldier ratio. Furthermore, the figures available in 25mm combine to make ths AWI in this scale one of the most complete ranges avaliable for any period.

A trio of new books have recently come to my attention. "George III: America's Last King" by Jeremy Black was published in November last year as part of the reliable Yale English Monarchs series. I have not had a chance to read it yet but a quick perusal shows that, as the title suggests, the book seems to concentrate on George as a political figurehead rather than providing an analysis of his private life and character (for which Christopher Hibbert's "George III" remains an excellent read). "Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought" by Michael Stevenson also looks interesting; it was published by HarperCollins in April. Lastly, from an online remaindered book service called Postcript Books (, I picked up a history of liberal thought in the 18th century called "Nobody's Perfect", by Annabel Patterson (also published by Yale). This is clearly a weighty read, being an account of how "Whig" ideas developed in English society, but contains some interesting information. Looking up references to the AWI, for example, told me that Sir Joshua Reynolds announced his firm belief that the Americans would (and deserved to) win the war by betting with his friends that he would never be asked to paint the portrait of a captured George Washington.

The photo above shows fusiliers from the Hessian von Buenau Garrison Regiment. These are Perry figures I painted last November and it will prbably be a while before I complete the unit. Below, just for fun, are pictures of some Beja tribesmen from the Perry Sudan Wars range, clearly a long way from their desert home. These were painted the week after the Salute show in April this year. Later this week I will post some pics of the Rall Grenadier Regiment and British light infantry.

Monday 4 June 2007

American generals (1)

These are the three figures from the Perry pack of Continental mounted infantry officers. These are not "personality" figures as such, although I heard a rumour once that Alan Perry had certain generals in mind when he sculpted them (I don't know exactly whom, but I recall they were the senior officers at one of the Southern battles, Camden perhaps). The officer in a hunting shirt certainly makes a very good Daniel Morgan. The chap waving his hat is a particularly dynamic and elegant sculpt. I cannot quite remember why I gave the coated officers red facings rather than buff, probably because Mollo's "Uniforms of the American Revolution" has a picture of an officer of brigadier general rank with red facings. Given that my c-in-c personality figures do have buff facings, I'm not sure this matters much anyway. In the "British Grenadier" rules, brigadiers are based on 60mm x 30mm bases. As I have stated before, generals in these rules play a very important role, as they need to be in base-to-base contact with units to help rally off disruption points and order charges.

Painted some time in 2004.

Friday 1 June 2007

Sherburne's Additional Regiment

Colonel Henry Sherburne raised this regiment in Connecticut in January 1777. It lasted until 1780, when it was broken up and many troops were transferred into Webb's Additional Regiment. I have not been able to find out much about this regiment. It may have fought at White Plains and was certainly present at the Battle of Rhode Island in August 1778. Deserter descriptions refer to brown coats faced yellow and green "small clothes". The colours used here were various Foundry palettes - "Bay Brown", "Ochre" and "Forest Green". I gave some figures different coloured breeches to suggest new recruits waiting for the next shipment of regimentals. I am not sure what the standard Continental army policy was on musicians wearing coats with reversed colours, but this fashion seemed appropriate for a neater and more tidy regiment such as this.

Now that I have over a dozen American regiments, mainly in blue and brown coats, I intend to model future Continental units on those regiments that had (or are thought to have had) particularly colourful uniforms or distinctive flags. So whilst this unit does not fit into any of the orbats I am working on, I wanted to paint it due to the unique uniform. Sherburne's regiment will be followed the 2nd New Hampshire with their sky-blue coats and I have been trawling the GMB lists to see what interesting flags they do. These standing Foundry figures were very easy to paint and I wish I had bought more packs before Foundry increased its prices in April. Thanks are due to RtL for donating a pack so that I could complete the unit (there were several of us at Salute who benefited from his largesse!).

20 figures. Painted January and May 2007. Flag by GMB.