EXERT 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, January 31, 2015

The War of 1812-1838

Yes yes, I know, I'm conflating two conflicts but its on purpose. I realize that there are those who feel that a game is not  a valid historical wargame if one unit has the wrong hat or the wrong shade of facing but obviously I am not quite so fussy. A few years ago I decided that I was building too many armies for very similar games, same weapons, tactics, troop types and terrain, different hats.

I started looking for ways to indulge the desire to paint such and such a uniform without building whole armies for each. One option is of course the fictional army route but another is to allow similar uniforms from different wars to be used together despite small differences in style of shako and the like. I had almost forgotten that decision as I started looking at what I have on hand for the War of 1812.

What there is and what will be.
40mm figures of various makes.

Once I had decided that I could live with the way existing units included officers and ncos in the ranks as fighting figures, I found that I have enough units on hand to fight most actions in proper uniforms and to fight the biggest games that I want to play with slight inaccuracies. I only need to paint 28 new figures, 12 of which are on hand, to  complete the basic force. At some point though I still want to add a troop of 1812 Light Dragoons and a unit of Voltigeurs. Without the optional wants I have 8 line infantry, 2 light + 1-4 Indians, 2 cavalry, 3 guns, a platoon of pioneers and an HQ group, 1 infantry, 1 light, 1 gun, 2 cavalry, the pioneers and the command group are from 1837 but close enough. I might actually try to sell the 4 chunky navy gunners instead of painting 2 more because I like the slightly later homemade ones better.  The unit needing the most new figures is the 49th Foot which is starting with 6 leftovers from the 89th Foot and 7 castings. Oh, there are 78 infantry to shift back on to washers.

I haven't laid all of the American forces out but it will come to 10+ infantry, 3 light, 1 gun, 1 cavalry and 2 militia. Obviously some holes to fill. Only 2+ of the infantry units are from 1837 but there is a stray unit of French converted to Mexicans to fit in as volunteers.  That's about 32 figures to  repaint and possibly re-convert. I do intend to add a troop of US Dragoons though and more gunners.

Not so scary after all. I'm going to start by fixing some broken figures then try to do a couple of figures each month until all units are up to scratch.






12 comments:

  1. Ross,

    You work with so many different scales that I do not know what size these figures are . . . so what are they?


    -- Jeff

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    1. Sorry Jeff I suppose after they've been posted in a few hundred battle reports I start taking them for granted. These are 40's.

      (So many scales? I'm only actively working in 2 these days, 90% 40mm, 10% 22mm to 25mm. Used to be 7 at one point! I thought I was doing good!)

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    2. Sorry Jeff I suppose after they've been posted in a few hundred battle reports I start taking them for granted. These are 40's.

      (So many scales? I'm only actively working in 2 these days, 90% 40mm, 10% 22mm to 25mm. Used to be 7 at one point! I thought I was doing good!)

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  3. That's an inspiring photo and good to hear not much extra work required, well it sounds doable anyway. I don't find the different sculpting styles jarring - the quite chunky S&S in the front and the Zinnbrigade (and Scruby?) behind - and I guess that illustrates the unifying effect of common painting and basing.

    I've almost certainly asked this before, but what is the diameter of the washers again?

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    1. I must be mellowing, I only find it a little jarring now when I stand them side by each and look closely. The height is similar which helps. Oddly, the older figures were done with 3 levels of shading and finished with dullcote while the later units are gloss coated and not shaded at all. The dullcote has worn to semi-gloss and the paint has faded and I have to look closely to see the difference. or it could be my eyes and the dim light.

      The washers are around(sic) 23 mm. The scrubies in Waterloo shako are cast with 13mm x 20 mm bases. An ideal base size and shape and every bit as stable. I have been contemplating ordering wooden equivalents but not only am I too cheap, I can't face the thought of re-rebasing these guys for the 4th time and anyway, the metal washers are heavy and add stability. :). '

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  4. Sounds like a fairly modest project promising far-reaching results!

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  5. Ross Mac,

    I see no reason why you should not mix troops in sightly different uniforms with each other on the tabletop ... after all, real armies do it all the time! Changes did not happen overnight, and sometimes it took years. I seem to remember that the Danish Army in 1939 was still using greatcoats from the mid-nineteenth century.

    All the best,

    Bob

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    1. Bob, I have no qualms about it at home and only a few left for a public game. Its more the different sculpting style that jars me a bit when not actually playing. Once the dice roll, none of that matters at all.

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  6. That is a truly impressive muster, Ross. I would love to do Napoleonics in the big scales, and then, sometimes, I think the War of 1812 would be the way to do it. Perhaps a project for retirement.
    Incidentally, you mentioned washers. I mount my figures on washers as well - i went to Home Depot for some the other day and they are bloody expensive! When did that happen?

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    1. The bigger the figures the more impressive a given number of troops will look, all of both sides together don't add up to 500. That won't get you far with Napoleonic battles at 1:50 but is too many for many 1812 battles at 1:20, besides its patriotic and you get to reuse ACW scenery.
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