Saturday, March 4, 2017

War of 1812 special

Hello, hello!

I'm still there. Don't panic. Not that I haven't painted something during February, but it was all too diverse and too many things still lay on my desk. I had been experimenting for a while, which was the fact that kept me from completing many things. Today, I have some snapshots of what I'm currently working on and that's:

Soldiers of the British/US war of 1812

Some may say: pretty unusual stuff for someone who lives in Europe. And yes, that's right. European history has Napoleon and his wars so much in focus that you don't read much about the things that were going on in northern or southern America during the 19th century, except from the well-known American secession war, some WildWest-stuff and (if you're lucky) the Alamo (as if that wasn't just a single battle). Not to speak of the liberation and unifications wars on the Southern American continent... (total blank in German schoolbooks)
South Carolina militiaman

Well. Research on that matter wasn't as hard as I had expected. And due to my surprise, I found a hell of a lot different uniforms. In fact, back in 1812 even the US Army hadn't adopted a completely uniformed appearance. From grey to brown to blue to black to fawn, in the beginning of the war there was a large number of uniform colours to be seen even in the regular regiments, not to speak of all these militia units that were sent by the different states.

One thing that makes it fairly easy to make up an army for the US/British war of 1812 is the fact that both armies used pretty much the same sort of uniform and equipment. Differences, as for example the backpacks that looked different in US use (or were just the same backpacks, but covered with blue cloth that often had a 'US' or state mark on it), can be easy emulated.

Early Upper Canada militia

I had seen on the pages of Hagen miniatures that they offer a range of British soldiers in colonial uniforms for the early 19th century campaigns. As many units, especially in the early phase of the US/British conflict, wore these hats as well, I thought that these figures could be a good basis for my little '1812 tryout'.

Canadians, Left: Montreal militia

Canadians, Right: sharpshooter of the Leeds rifle company
2nd Glengarry regiment (Canadian)
At first I found out that these figures are not as hell of a much detailed as the Rifles from Hagen were (see on the right side, you can use them as light infantry (i.e. the Glengarry regiment) as well). But thinking about it again when I had the first ones painted, I don't think that this matters much too much.

First: these are still very nice metals. Not chunky, not clumsy, though not too crisp. But they have their details where you need them and will surely make a great appearance in masses on a wargaming table or in groups on a diorama.

Second: their uniforms aren't that splendid anyway. For many units, you need to trim away all the laces, slim up the cuffs, cut away the plumes etc., so all that's left is more or less a very blank uniform.

Pennsylvania militia (l-t-r): volunteer brig.Porter/113th regiment/Pittsburgh blues
So do these figures do their job as War of 1812 militia? Yes, of course they do. And as a Napoleonics enthusiast, I can only recommend other miniature painters to give that theatre a go because what I show you here is only a slight piece of the mass of different units you could paint.

There's loads of different militia units. There's lots of different line infantry units. There's lots of colourful flags never to be seen on the European continent.

And there's a lot to be learned about the early years of US/British policies and to what this war (which is not even that much noticed in the USA itself) led concerning the development of the USA and it's neighbours.


  1. Nice work, and no Nappies...
    Getting better every time!!

  2. It is nice to see more people gaming/collecting/painting War of 1812 figures. As you state, it is a varied period in many ways, which makes it continually challenging but interesting. I have been focusing on this period for nearly ten years and I am not tired of it yet.

    I am not familiar with Hagen figures but I am assuming they are 1/72 or 20mm. Is that correct?

    Your painting is excellent. Well done.

    P.S. Your blog link was posted to TMP by the intrepid "Tango", which is OK because otherwise I would never have seen it.

  3. Great job!
    I am interested in this period.

  4. Thank you for the compliments! :-)

    @Remco: It's the same period... ;-P
    @Rod: I can really understand you. I'm currently converting Strelets Brits into US infantry and I can't wait having them ready. :-) Great you found my blog - yes, all I'm doing here is 1/72 (20mm). That's a lot of cool pics on your blog btw - 1812 wargaming all over the place!
    @Syl: Thanks for the link - that's great stuff. What scale is that?