Battleshed Diaries

Monday 14 March 2016

The paths to glory lead but to the grave

My latest troops to march off the paint table this week are 18th century British regulars and, for me, a tentative foray into a more historically documented period.
These Redcoats were purchased after an introduction to the French and Indian Wars by way of a game of Muskets and Tomahawks at the start of this year.

When I say tentative, that's probably just typical caution when straying from the comfortable freedoms of painting fantasy and SF miniatures to the constraints of the historical arena. 

With the exception of a couple of companies of British WWII troops for Flames of War most of my historical painting has been with Dark Age miniatures which, I've observed, is often used by fantasy painters as a relatively easy bridge to the historical.

For example, there is still a lot of conjecture about the types of clothing and weaponry used in this period. Enough, at least, to lesson any nervousness about provoking the ire of the historical purists. You still get them though! This probably explains why games such as SAGA are so popular with both camps.

Now I've scrolled on a good few centuries I've arrived at a much more historically chronicled period where accuracy, and therefore the painting, becomes a lot more structured. And challenging too. I'm out of my comfort zone. The uniforms are often quite intricately decorated. Especially the musicians for some reason. They really could give my fantasy figures a run for their money in the 'garish uniform' stakes!

I was asked by a fellow gamer recently, "Why start with the British?" I found this a rather puzzling question at the time. "Why not!" is a flippant reply. After all, they are one of the major powers central to this often overlooked period, (at least on this side of the Atlantic), so its reasonable to start with one of the larger factions.

However, after learning more about the French and Indian Wars (1754–1763), from the set-piece battles and sieges to the numerous skirmishes - more often involving a loose alliance of indigenous tribes and settler militia - coupled with the fascinating exploits of individuals, I'm starting to understand possible reasoning behind the question. But at least its a starting point for me. No doubt my collection will start to take on the diversity of combatants as it expands. So more painting then!

These miniatures are from Warlord Game's French Indian War British Regular infantry boxed set (£27.50). It contains 12 metal musketeers (4 shooting, 8 marching) and a 6 man Command group.

Included is a nice little background leaflet with a brief introduction to the British campaigns and 10 full colour flags (Regimental and King's Colours) for the 27th, 44th and 55th Regiment of Foot, 62nd Royal American Regiment and the 1st Royal Scots. Also included are two wire standard poles and metal finials.

Command Group: two NCOs, Officer, Drummer and two standard bearer options
I decided to use slightly larger flags, purchased from GMB Designs, who have a comprehensive catalogue of historical flags for 28, 15 and 40mm.

The complete unit painted in the colours of the 44th Regiment of Foot
All the miniatures have nice detailing and needed very little prep before priming.

Although these miniatures are inevitably generic for the period, I've painted these in the colours of the 44th Regiment of Foot, aided by various online sources and 'Wolfe's Army' from Osprey Publishing's men-at Arms books.

The ranks of my 44th Regiment of Foot with brown 'campaign' gaiters
I found this Warlord set a perfect introduction for someone new to the period. Nice artwork on the front cover and some useful examples of painted miniatures on the reverse.

Of course, I've done what most us in our hobby do nowadays - spent far too much time searching around the internet for alternative miniature producers. There are a few around, so it'll be interesting to see where I go next with this foray into the French and Indian wars.

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