Wednesday 28 November 2007

24th Foot

The 24th Foot, nowadays immortalised as the regiment of Rorke's Drift, Isandhlwana and Michael Caine, arrived in Canada in May 1776. Their commander was Lieutenant-Colonel Simon Fraser, shortly thereafter promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General. When Burgoyne formed his army for the 1777 campaign, Fraser was given command of the Advance Corps and the 24th went with him. The regiment was then commanded by Major Robert Grant until his death in July at which point command passed to Major William Agnew. The 24th was engaged throughout the Saratoga campaign. Two companies fought at Hubbardton and the regiment was present at Freeman's Farm and Bemis Heights (where Fraser was killed).

The "British Grenadier" scenario for Bemis Heights requires 16 figures for this regiment, whilst Freeman's Farm needs 20. I stuck with 16 on the basis that the Freeman's Farm scenario does not permit the 24th to move out of a redoubt, and so the full 20 figures won't be required unless the Americans get very lucky and manage to assult the redoubt itself. The forthcoming second scenario book will contain a Hubbardton scenario so I may need to add some more figures to the unit later on anyway. Again, I consulted Brendan Morrissey's invaluable article on the Perry Miniatures ebsite to check the uniform. That article told me that all companies of the regiment had black cross-belts and also grey socks; the latter particularly I would not have thought of. He says that the horse-hair crest could be black or dark green; I went for green simply because it looks nicer.

16 figures. Painted November 2007. Flags by GMB.

Monday 26 November 2007

Lord Dunmore's Ethiopians

One of the fears of Americans both immediately before and during the AWI was that armed slaves would revolt and roam the countryside causing carnage. The decisions of English courts showed that runaway slaves could expect sympathetic treatment by the British (as opposed to colonial) authorities. The governor of Virginia, John Murray the Earl of Dunmore, was very much alive to the tensions that slave-ownership created and the prospect of enlisting slaves into armed service in the event of hostilities between crown and colomies. When war finally broke out in 1775, Dunmore proclaimed that negroes who joined him in arms would be declared free men. Virginians described Dunmore's initiative as "most diabolical". By the end of the year, some 300 men had flocked to his cause, mainly slaves but also some local loyalist sailors. So was born Lord Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment. It saw action against American militia, notable at the Battle of Great Bridge on 9 December 1775. Dunmore's force grew to over 800 men by the summer of 1776 but it was then much depleted by fever and the regiment seems to have been disbanded by the end of the year.

I've named these figures after Dunmore's regiment, because ever since I first read about it I have wanted to paint up a few "Ethiopians". But in reality these figures are generic militia types that I hope to use all over the place, as black troops fought on both sides in the war. They can be used as Loyalist toughs in the southern campaigns - I have seen references to a loyalist unit called "Savannah's Armed Negroes", which is the kind of thing I have in mind. I will probably also add a figure or two to American militia skirmisher units; I actually retained a couple of figures to add to my next rebel militia battalion.

So these figures have a fairly wide potential use and they were great fun (and pretty easy) to paint. The figures are all from the Foundry "Cutthroats" range, save for the officer which is a Perry Miniatures British officer. I wavered over whether to give him a red or a green coat. Whilst loyalist troops started off wearing green uniforms, most regiments had switched over to red ones by the late 1770s as if to confirm that loyalists were not second-graders and deserved to dress like British regulars (a notable exception being the Queen's Rangers, whose commander insisted they remain in green). I went for green because it just looked better and because I can employ this officer as a generic loyalist skirmisher. Dunmore's men apparently had the legend "Liberty to Slaves" written on their chests, but that just wouldn't have worked in 25mm (not by me, at any rate). As Dunmore recruited some sailors, I added one white "pirate" to the unit.

12 figures. Painted October/November 2007.

Thursday 15 November 2007

Current wip

The AWI production line is at full throttle, but I have reached a posting hiatus whilst I finish basing the last couple of weeks' work. I managed to paint the 24th Foot in 8 days, and this 16-figure regiment is about 2 days away from being fully based (I actually finished them last Sunday, but varnishing etc has taken longer than expected). This evening I finished the final batch of my loyalist negro militia, which brings the completed unit up to 12 skirmishers. 6 are already based and I've included a rather moody photo of a couple of them so you can see what I've been up to. The figures are "maroons" from the Foundry pirates range. Below are two work in progress shots of the 24th Foot.

I've started work on the 2nd New Hampshire. It's already grown from a 16-figure unit to a 20-figure one, so it will probably take me the balance of the month to finish it. After that I have the von Bose Musketeers, 1st Pennsylvania and more Conquest F&IW figures. Latest AWI news is that the second scenario book for "British Grenadier" has been sent to Caliver for printing and I hope that won't take too long to be produced. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing how Trenton is handled. Talking of which, there is an Eureka Miniatures 100 Club request for a model of Washington crossing the Delaware on his way to attack Trenton - do sign up if such a set appeals (although admittedly it has little practical wargaming use). Other forthcoming Eureka goodies include Provincial Infantry for the F&IW. I signed up for about 50 of those figures and can't wait to see them. As with the other "F&IW" figures that I buy, some will find their way into AWI militia units. Hopefully by the end of the year Eureka will have formally released the SYW Saxons, at which stage I'll be able to show you how I have adapted some of them for service as AWI Brunswickers. December will also see the next release of Perry AWI figures; the latest edition of "Wargames Illustrated" tells me that we will have limbers and a couple more ammunition wagons. Just in time for the xmas wish list.....

Saturday 10 November 2007

Civilians (7)

Meet the Duke family from Albany, NY. Bo and Luke are the local tearaways and have been the heads of the family ever since Papa Duke had that nasty encounter with the local Huron. As you can see from the way they hold their muskets, they are at their happiest when playing their mandolins; it's unfortunate for them that they were not born 200 years later, since they undoutedly would have been rock stars. Daisy Duke ensures she always wears the latest Parisien fashions, paid for by her brothers' illegal moonshine operation. When those three are off boozing and scalping their way across New England, Mama Duke does her best to keep young Pip and Puck on the straight and narrow. Alas, all the youngsters seem to want to do is to fire the odd pot-shot at the residence of the local British governor, Quentin Hogg.

These are most of the second pack of Conquest Miniatures' settlers. There are two others, the men of the family, who will be drafted into my next militia unit. Again, these are lovely figures and will be used for all kinds of things. Mama Duke and the kid who's running (and no doubt shouting something rather rude about the British) would look very good in the redoubt at Bunker Hill. Anyone wanted figures for a "The Patriot" game need look no further. The sculpting on these figures, the faces in particular, is first rate. Todd Harris is one of those rare sculptors who can really show age in a face - probably difficult to see from these photos (and those of the previous pack) but very noticeable up close.

6 figures. Painted October 2007.

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Major General Johann Daniel Stirn

Stirn was one of the three Hessian brigade commanders subordinate to Heister and Knyphausen, the two divisional commanders. I have not been able to find much information about Stirn. He is noted for having given 12 strokes of the cane to a British seaman who threw a burning coal at a Hessian sentry during the voyage to America in 1776. He seems to have been honorary commander of the Erbprinz Fusilier Regiment and his brigade saw action at Fort Washington, Brandywine and Germantown. Stirn was sick for most of the 1776-77 period and picked up a wound at Germantown. He returned to Hesse in 1779.

This figure completes the trio from the Perry Hessian generals pack. I painted Knyphausen and Riedesel (strictly speaking a Brunswicker rather than a Hessian) back in January. A couple of years ago I painted up the Old Glory Knyphausen personality figure as Stirn, but this Perry sculpt puts that figure completely in the shade. I have not been able to find out how old Stirn was in 1777, but the Hessian divisional commanders were both pushing 60 and I imagine Stirn was not much younger. This sculpt certainly captures the image of a weary, battle-hardened old veteran and I particularly like the way the figure slumps in the saddle; he looks like someone who hasn't quite recovered from sea-sickness and just wants to go home. I can't see any reason why this figure could not be used for the SYW.

I gave Stirn the facing colours of the Erbprinz Regiment - a kind of dark Burgundy red, which may or may not be entirely accurate. The close-up above shows that I completely forgot to paint the buttons on the waistcoat. I only realised this when I looked at the photos! The buttons are now finished, but to be honest I just couldn't be bothered to re-take the photos. I hope readers will excuse this lapse. As the saying goes, even Homer nods (although I'm not sure the likes of Messrs. Woodward and Dallimore ever do)....

Painted October 2007.

Thursday 1 November 2007

Civilians (6)

These chaps are more than just civilians, I suppose. They are the first "Settlers" pack in Conquest's marvellous F&IW range and are clearly designed to fend off rampaging natives rather than stand around as innocent bystanders. One or two might be able to stand duty as militia skirmishers, but I see these figures being used more as farmers protecting their farms and families from the dangers posed by passing soldiers. I will place the figures next to farms and other buildings and perhaps invent a rule that allows them to fire off a shot or two at any soldiers who pass within, say, 6 inches: roll 2D6 and a double six gives the soldiers a casualty, something like that. I suppose a couple could be used as Tory or Patriot scouts as well. With these uses in mind, I based the figures on standard 25mm x 25mm skirmish bases, as opposed to the pennies I usually use for civilians.

The chap on the right in the first photo below, in the blue waistcoat, is a dead ringer for Mel Gibson from "The Patriot". He's certainly going to find his way into southern campaign battles. I'm not entirely sure who the person on his left is supposed to me - an irate chef perhaps.

8 figures. Painted October 2007.