EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Choosing your facts

The latest unit to join my 40mm AWI forces came from buying some Sash & Saber British Light Infantry at Cold Wars, not because I knew what I was going to do with them, but because I liked the figures. Along with the Hessians, they are amongst the best figures S&S have done (IMO of course).
Spot the Trident figure lurking in the ranks 

My previous AWI (or AR) armies,  1/72nd  and 54mm plastic, were largely painted with Quebec and Saratoga in mind so doing something different with the 40mm troops made sense. Unfortunately, the only AWI campaigns that I`m interested in really are the Invasion of Canada and the follow up Saratoga Campaign, the brief rebellion in Nova Scotia and to a lesser extent, the border war carried on largely by Loyalists and Indians. I already had some Americans, mostly militia, Indians, some Brunswick Grenadiers and a few Butlers Rangers made up of Trident samples. Unpainted, I had some Hessian Jaegers, the British light infantry, more Indians and various militia types. I decided to start with Oriskany, a side show if you will to the Saratoga campaign but one which could use pretty well all of my unpainted figures as well as most of the painted ones and leave me ready for the Mohawk Valley should I choose to go that route.

Thanks to childhood influences, the two most famous Loyalist Units for me were Butler`s Rangers and Johnson`s Greens (aka The King`s Royal New York Regiment) with Simcoe`s Queen`s Rangers coming in third.  Since I had a handful of Butler`s done up using Trident figures, I thought perhaps I would stick with them but Butler`s hadn`t been formed yet at the time of Oriskany so I turned my attention to Johnson`s Greens. Flipping open one reference I quickly found uniform info, flipping open a second book I found a variation. I decided to check the web starting with the very good site of the re-enacted regiment. Eventually I decided that there was just enough information floating about to make it impossible to be absolutely sure of anything but that there were probably various things worn at various times and that it appeared that infantry in short green coats and cut down caps are quite credible for Oriskany and that I could pretty much choose white, blue or red facings as I chose. A little experimentation led me to conclude that red looked the best and besides, it echo`s the red faced green uniforms worn by the sons of the Loyalists in 1812.    

After languishing unpainted for months, they were finally rushed them into service for last Saturday`s game in which they held a redoubt with distinction. One of the heads had managed to wander off on its own so the officer was graced with a floppy hat of his choosing. The S&S packaging supplied me with 5 privates, a hornist and an officer. An annoying total of 7 figures, an odd number indeed. Luckily I had painted my Trident Loyalists with red cuffs and was able to slip one in, more of a grenadier than a light infantryman but Loyalists couldn`t be choosers. I will confess that while I like the Ranger that I have and want more, the light infantryman is not my favorite Trident figure and the S&S light infantry are more to my taste. The Trident infantry in tricorne are however, more to my taste that S&S`s so any further expansion of the regiment will come from that source. Nothing like having a choice!
One of Butler`s Rangers in hunting shirt joins in.  


  1. Very handsome sir!

    Actually could I press you for a book recommendation on the war of 1812? I have Elting, who is very fine - but I'd like to find something from the Canadian perspective as that is where my sympathies naturally lie.

  2. A pleasure.

    For a Cdn military historian's POV
    Stanley, George F.G. The War of 1812: Land Operations (1983) Macmillan of Canada. ISBN 0-7715-9859-9

    For a more more personal, possibly less rigorous but very engaging and entertaining view, almost a docu-drama sort of thing in places is the 2 volume set by Pierre Burton.

    Berton, Pierre; The Invasion of Canada: 1812-1813 (1980). ISBN 0-7710-1244-6; Flames Across the Border: 1813-1814 (1981). ISBN 0-7710-1235-7

    and pretty well anything by Donald Graves (haven't read them all)