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"Best AWI Painting Guide?" Topic

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Private Matter20 Dec 2017 6:46 a.m. PST

I am beginning to finally assemble the many boxes of AWI figures and plan to focus on primarily the Southern campaigns. I am looking for a uniform painting guide that enables me to 'recreate' units for this campaign. Most of the guides I have found deal with the pre-1779 period. Can you please let me know your best recommendations for painting guides for the Southern campaigns?

Also, as my boxes of infantry to be assembled are all Wargames Factory, Warlord Games and Perry plastics, and thoughts on how to assemble them to represent the southern campaigns would be appreciated. ( I know there are some difficulties with accuracy but I want "close enough" for gaming purposes )


princeman20 Dec 2017 7:37 a.m. PST

The internet works for me. You can even find flags and drum patterns.'

Supercilius Maximus20 Dec 2017 8:21 a.m. PST

Most sets of figures nowadays will include uniform sheets containing dozens of examples. However, what they won't normally have is an indication of which of those regiments served together so that you can build up an accurate order-of-battle.

Despite its age, the Mollo/McGregor book is very good (if not quite faultless) for the Crown forces; Lefferts is similarly a good bet for the Rebels. You need both because each author was slightly weak on the "other" side – M/M relies too heavily on deserter reports (hence the Mass. regt in "peach" trousers), whilst Lefferts had gone with "official" clothing records for the British and Germans, which ignored field mods (he also confused some units with later re-incarnations – eg the Queen's Rangers).

Both books contain useful examples of post-1779 uniforms.

Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2017 9:08 a.m. PST

There's also the "Military Uniforms in America-The Era of the American Revolution" put out by "The Company of Military Historians" which has numerous units that fought in the American Revolution which include information on the units and color paintings of the units they cover. They cover the British, American, Hessian, & Loyalist forces plus some French. They even cover some of the French & Indian War units. Although it isn't comprehensive it is a great addition to your painting guides.

Desert Fox20 Dec 2017 9:26 a.m. PST

Find a copy of the miniature rules 1776. It features a pretty extensive paint guide.

coopman20 Dec 2017 10:16 a.m. PST

The uniform info that is included in the Perry plastics boxes is really pretty good, IMO.

Bill N20 Dec 2017 10:56 a.m. PST

This is my best guess for the Continental Infantry in the South:

Georgia 1778-79: Some reports indicate some troops were black faced red, but most were probably in civilian clothes or hunting shirts
South Carolina 1778-1780: Either blue faced red or black faced red
North Carolina at Charleston: Blue faced red
Other North Carolina: unknown but probably civilian clothes
Virginia at Charleston: Blue faced red or brown faced red, red or white waistcoats, white, red, blue or green overalls or breeches
Virginia from Guilford Courthouse on: Some may have worn blue jackets with sleeves, red collars and cuffs
Virginia State at Camden: Blue faced red, red waistcoats and breeches/overalls
2nd Maryland from Guilford Courthouse on: Troops are brown faced red. Officers mostly blue faced red
Other Maryland: Blue faced red
Delaware: Blue faced red
Maryland, Delaware and Virginia Continentals summer 1781: Hunting shirts for troops. Officers may have been in regimentals.

coopman20 Dec 2017 11:03 a.m. PST

Princeman is right – there is a LOT of info on the web now. Try image searches for the units that you are interested in and see what you can find.

nevinsrip20 Dec 2017 12:03 p.m. PST

For Continentals you can't go wrong with blue faced red.
The cream of the Army were the Maryland/Delaware troops and that's what they wore.

That being said, the majority of battles in the South were fought in civilian clothing. Sumpter, Pickens, et al never had uniforms. Especially in S.C.

It's not until Yorktown that unformed troops show up
en masse.

rmaker20 Dec 2017 12:54 p.m. PST

Another good source is Timothy Reese's Art of Wars CD – Uniforms of the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume 1.

Volume 1 covers the Americans and British, Volume 2 the Germans and French. Unfortunately, nothing yet on the Spanish or the Provincials.

Yellow Admiral20 Dec 2017 2:41 p.m. PST

Not much to add here except to clarify some of the above:

I have found the Reese CDs most useful as painting guides. His images are simple cartoonish line drawings, which actually helps clarify which components of the uniform get which color. He also includes numerous back views.

The Mollo/McGregor book is called Uniforms of the American Revolution In Color.

The Lefferts book is called Uniforms of the American, British, French, and German Armies in the War of the American Revolution 1775-1783

The book Military Uniforms in America: The Era of the American Revolution 1755-1795 is by Colonel (Ret.) John R. Elting.

- Ix

Yellow Admiral20 Dec 2017 3:24 p.m. PST

I did think of one to add:

The Whites of Their Eyes, the (now old) rules by Bruce MacFarlane, originally published (in print) by the Canadian Wargamers Group, but now available as a PDF. The background information section contained tables of basic uniform colors listing coat color, facing/color/cuff color, and lapel color for each unit or region's units. Not fancy, no illustrations, just basic info, but potentially still useful.

- Ix

dantheman Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2017 8:48 p.m. PST

Lefferts is on the web: link

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2017 11:38 p.m. PST

These are some of the resources that I use. I check each one of them for each regiment. The British are much easier to research. Rebel uniforms are quite challenging. However as difficult as uniforms are, I find that Rebel and Loyalist flags to be the most difficult if not impossible. I try to check at least three sources usually more. It also depends on when and what campaign, that is also true for the British.

"Uniforms of the 1775 1783 American, British, French, and German Armies of the War of the Revolution"
By Lt. Charles M. Lefferts, USA.

"Uniforms of the American Revolution in Color" by John Mollo

"Military Uniforms in America, the Era of the American Revolution 1755-1795" from the Company of Military Historians.

"Don Troiani's Soldiers in America" by Don Troiani and James L. Kochan

"Soldiers of the American Revolution" by Don Troiani and James L. Kochan

Osprey books There is some good and bad. The British books are not that helpful. Be sure to triple check with other sources. They are worth having.

The Military & Historical Image Bank

These two blogs are an excellent resource and I am never above pilfering ideas from them.

Some reenactor sites are good. While some are misleading. It depends on the group. Again triple check. In my experience they rarely answer questions. I think because they are not sure themselves or no one is minding the store.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2017 11:55 p.m. PST

I actually had a reenactor answer several questions over several emails, in first person, in character. Hey buddy, you do realize you are talking to me like a soldier of the revolution in an email!

historygamer21 Dec 2017 5:08 a.m. PST

Here is an Osprey book I think worth having:


Also, any of the Osprey books by Brendan Morrissey are very good, though more focused on the battles that they cover than uniforms per se.

Rallynow as a minder of one of the re-enactor stores (well, a couple of them really), we often get bombarded with questions people doing genealogy, or ask us to tell them where to get every piece of uniform equipment and clothing, so don't take it personally. And yes, some of them just aren't minding the store. :-)

Virginia Tory21 Dec 2017 5:14 a.m. PST

The Osprey reprint about the British Army is pretty good.


Also the one on Loyalists.


AuttieCat Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2017 7:50 a.m. PST

M7 $.02 USD cents,

'Uniforms of the Continental Army' by, P. Katcher is in my opinion the best single source book for uniforms of the Continental Army (only).

Tom Semian
Avalon, PA. 15202

Personal logo Baccus 6mm Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Dec 2017 7:53 a.m. PST


I think there are pretty comprehensive and FREE.

coopman21 Dec 2017 4:53 p.m. PST

Warlord's Black Powder AWI supplement "Rebellion" is good too. It has tables of uniform information in it.

23rdFusilier22 Dec 2017 9:39 a.m. PST

Agree with AuttieCat. Katcher is under appreciated.

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Dec 2017 1:52 p.m. PST

Uniforms of the American Revolution John Mollo
John Mollo

You can't go wrong with Mollo for starters.

I have a short review at History Books in Review.



Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2018 12:43 p.m. PST

I just got my copy of 'Uniforms of the Continental Army' by, P. Katcher through Amazon. While the narrative is great the lack of color plates is a huge disappointment. Black and white photos of original uniforms are useless. Same with Leffert's book.

I would not have published without color plates. I get it that the narrative is great and color is expensive. But it is like a NAPA color chart with a bunch of black or white dots and you have to go by a description to decide what color to paint your car.

Especially disappointing that I spent over sixty bucks for a uniform book without color plates! At least it helps to semi-confirm other sources.

Supercilius Maximus05 Jan 2018 3:13 a.m. PST

Lefferts was originally produced with colour plates; it was the modern reprint that was B&W only.

nevinsrip06 Jan 2018 2:49 a.m. PST

In terms of value for the money, you can't beat Mollo.
I have all of the above listed books and I even printed off color copies of the Lefferts book that's on the web.
Mollo is still the best, in my opinion.

Normal Guy Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2018 7:23 a.m. PST

It is hard to beat the number of different uniforms in so few pages at such a reasonable price. It was my first such book and still my favorite source.

Supercilius Maximus08 Jan 2018 8:20 a.m. PST

Mollo/McGregor has weathered the test of time better than most.

95thRegt11 Mar 2018 5:53 a.m. PST

Mollo is good for Brits. Not so much for Americans. Too many people use his book as Gospel. I've seen whole units painted as that guy in the peach color trousers! The American plates are BASED on deserter descriptions of one or two men in some cases. I've found that book flawed in many areas over the years. and I got it as a kid in the 70's. Now,my go to guys are Katcher and Troiani.

Bob C.

Winston Smith11 Mar 2018 8:40 a.m. PST

A while back I found a site in California that had online colored Lefferts plates.

Uniforms index:

In calling up a few, I would only note that there is an awful lot of yellow that was much more likely buff. Perhaps the printed plates that were scanned had faded buff.
I own the black and white reprint. I was very happy to find this site.

FlyXwire11 Mar 2018 9:05 a.m. PST

An Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Uniforms From 1775-1783, The American Revolutionary War is amongst the best in total coverage.

It's online here, whether legally or not, that's my call -


Bill N11 Mar 2018 11:59 a.m. PST

Mollo is a serviceable source for AWI Continentals, given the limitations of its format. Uniforms could vary from year to year, and even from company to company. Troops might be wearing nonstandard clothing items, or even civilian clothing. Record keeping was poor, and the data we do have is subject to interpretation. It isn't possible to adequately cover this in a picture book that illustrates fewer than 100 continental figures covering the period from 1775 through 1781. However because it is a picture book it can be more helpful to some users than a more text based work such as Katcher or Lefferts. My preference is to use a number of sources together.

Mollo tends to focus more on units involved in the Canada-New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania campaigns, which means there is less information on uniforms worn in the southern campaigns.

Holdfast14 Apr 2018 4:48 a.m. PST

I have rashly bought enough figures for two Hessian Battalions and two Hessian Musketeer battalions.
Help please in recommending four units that worked together and facing colour hints.

Terry3718 May 2018 7:29 p.m. PST

This link will take you to the excellent if you can find it Lefferts plates in color and the associated text. Sadly, it does not give all the great additional text found in the book. An original with hand colored plates is in the $500 USD-$750 USD price range, but there was a reprint done in the 70's that has the plates in black and white, but all he text.




mindenbrush28 Apr 2019 5:02 p.m. PST

I have Mollo's book and An Illustrated History of Uniforms from 1775-1783: The American Revolutionary War which are good references right through the war

FlyXwire29 Apr 2019 6:54 a.m. PST

And, maybe more of a style guide, but Richard Scollins' article artwork for Guilford Courthouse probably captured the "look in the field" rather 'nicely' -


Bill N30 Apr 2019 11:06 a.m. PST

The Scollins article does make an excellent style guide. When it comes to actual uniform selection some further research might help. Here is a list of my quibbles.

The 5th Maryland was not at Guilford Courthouse. The regiment was known as the 2nd Maryland. Reasons for the confusion were discussed in other topics on this site. Sources say the units identified here as the 4th and 5th Virginia were actually called the 1st and 2nd regiments. Also was the 4th Continental Light Dragoons present? I have seen occasional references to it, but they don't show up in any GCH OOB. It is usually Lee's Legion and the 3rd, sometimes with elements of the 1st Light Dragoons attached that are listed.

The 2nd Maryland officers and a few men may have been wearing blue faced red regimental coats. My guess is that at Guilford Courthouse most wore the brown faced red regimental coats they had been issued when they were originally formed as the Maryland Extraordinary Regiment. They may also have worn leather breeches according to Babits.

Did the Virginia Continentals wear blue faced red regimental coats at Guilford Courthouse? Did most even wear regimental coats? I haven't been able to find anything on this. There is a reference to some of the Virginia Continentals marching south in late 1780 with unlined jackets with sleeves, one shirt, linen overalls, knapsack, blanket and shoes for each. Babits says some clothing was issued to the Virginia Continentals at Cheraw, and shirts and shoes were issued elsewhere but no specific information about whether new regimental coats or jackets were issued before GCH. Also when the word "shirts" are used to they refer to the undershirt that troops wore under their coats or jackets, or do they refer to hunting shirts that would have been worn over the other clothing?

The figure identified as the Third Continental Light Dragoons appears to have green facings. Lee's Legion may have had green facings at one time, but the Third is usually depicted as having blue facings.

Babits has argued on the Battle of Camden site that the Delaware Continentals were not issued hunting shirts and matress ticking overalls after Camden like the b&w picture indicates, but instead wore a uniform similar to the 1st Maryland with yellow lace on the hats. My theory is that the Delawares did wear the uniform depicted, but not until after Hobkirk's Hill. So for GCH I would go with Babits description. When Morgan's troops joined up with Greene in the Retreat to the Dan there is a reference that some of Morgan's men were wearing red or green coats.

The figure for the 71st shows the soldier wearing lace. I have read at least one report that Cornwallis ordered the 71st to remove their lace after Cowpens. Since the facings are white anyways it may not matter in your painting. Did the Guards Grenadiers wear bearskins at GCH? It would look cool if they did.

That said, show up with armies that looks like the Scollins artwork and I guarantee you I will be impressed.

FlyXwire01 May 2019 4:38 a.m. PST

I bet Scollins would have appreciated your suggestions Bill, as his experience no doubt made him aware of the inexactitude of portraying uniforms as single-plate subjects, and as his article richly illustrated, there must be latitude made to contrast between smart, garrison duty appearances, and variations brought on by rigorous field duty and dull reality.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP01 May 2019 11:06 a.m. PST

If you buy a box of Perry plastic AWI Continentals, it includes a very good painting guide which makes the purchase of the figures worthwhile for the guide alone. Plus you get some good figures as well. Win-win.

barcah200101 May 2019 4:55 p.m. PST

Don Troiani's Soldiers of the American Revolution is a very good book. I use this along with the pieces mentioned above.

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