Friday, June 9, 2017

American War of Independence Officers

Pictured are three "command" figures from the Perry brothers' American War of Independence (AWI) range of 28mm miniatures:

Fig.1 A trio of Perry AWI figures: two officers and a drummer. 

Fig. 2 Very smart-looking late 18th century uniforms. 
The coats of the 1770s have become closer-fitting than the larger coats of the 1750s, with smaller cuffs. "Small clothes" - waist coat and breeches - are now often white (really a linen off-white), and the long over-the-knee gaiters of the Seven Years War era have shrunk to "half gaiters" that leave the top halves of the stockings exposed. These shorter gaiters are lighter, have fewer buttons to fasten, and probably do just as good a job of keeping stones out of one's shoes.

Fig. 3 The drummer wears "reversed colors", red with blue facings.
The drummer in figure 3 wears "reversed colors": a coat of the regiment's red facing color, with facings (collar, cuffs, and lapels) of the regiment's "base" color (dark blue). This would have helped drummers to stand out from the rest of the soldiers, either as an aid to signalling, or merely as a decorative conceit.

Fig. 4 An epaulette on the right shoulder means this is a sergeant or corporal - the silver lace is my mistake. 
The epaulette in figure 4 should either be green (for a corporal) or red (for a sergeant). Only an officer would wear an epaulette of silver bullion, and it would be on the left shoulder.

Fig. 5 A proper Continental lieutenant, with a silver-laced epaulette on his right shoulder. 
I have read that George Washington ordered foot officers in the Continental Army not to carry muskets or fusils, but to carry a spontoon (half-pike) instead. The reasoning was that foot officers should pay attention to directing the actions of their soldiers, and not become distracted by loading and firing a weapon themselves. The lieutenant in figure 5 seems to have ignored this regulation, and equipped himself with a firearm and cartridge box. 

Fig. 6 Where did this cad come from? An officer or sergeant of the loyalist Queen's Rangers.
Lastly, an officer or a sergeant - hard to tell which - of the British loyalist regiment the Queen's Rangers. He wears a short "roundabout"-style jacket in hunter green, which was surely lighter and more comfortable than a full-length coat. As the war progressed, the British adopted more practical uniforms, so that by 1780 or so they don't look much like our conception of the "redcoat" in cocked hat and full gaiters.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Crusader 28mm Apulians

From spring 2014: 28mm Apulian spearmen by Crusader Miniatures, bought from Age of Glory. Shield transfer decals by LBMS.

Apulia is a region in the southeastern "heel" of the Italian peninsula, which experienced Greek colonization and influence as early as the Myceneans.

These figures from Crusader carry Greek-style hoplon shields, colorful tunics that remind me for all the world of soccer jerseys, and what look like lace-up wrestling-style boots.

Fig. 1 Based and primed brown.
At the time I started these I was using 20mm square magnetic bases from GF9, which are no longer made. I don't like how the angled "glacis slope" looks on such small bases, though. 

Fig. 2
Since I did these, I discovered that merely super-gluing the shields to the figures' arms wasn't strong enough to hold them, even when both surfaces were clean and roughed up. Since then I've started pinning the shields to the arms of these figures with short (5mm) lengths of brass rod; to be detailed in a later post.

Fig. 3 The Apulian tunic designs look a lot like soccer jerseys. From the back you can see the Greek-style swords.
These are probably middle- or lower-class members of Apulian society, as they can't afford helmets or body armor. Note that they do wear bronze belts, sort of like a wrestler's championship title belt, the same as the Samnites and other Italian tribes of this era. These belts apparently had some cultural meaning:
Wide bronze belts with several clasps, often in the shape of palmettes, are well known from finds, especially in the regions of Apulia, Lucania, and Daunia, and from representations in Campanian and Lucanian painting. The term Samnite applies to one of the indigenous peoples of Southern Italy whose language was Oscan—thus, for instance, the Oscan warriors on Apulian vases. The belts are connected with warriors and often occur in graves with other military equipment.
I wonder if there is some historical connection between modern championship belts, and these ancient warrior belts.
Fig. 4 The headband only adds to the FIFA impression.

Fig. 5 Shield decal transfers. I can't paint this level of detail freehand. 

Fig. 6 The abstract shield designs are a nice change from the simpler representative images on greek hoplons.