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"Help with starting 28mm AWI (Skirmish and small battles)" Topic

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Pyrrhic Victory19 Apr 2019 2:21 p.m. PST

Ok folks, I am brand new to this period and I have questions…

At least initially, I'm targeting large skirmish rules (Sharp Practice & Rebels and Patriots) with an option to grow into mass battle rules (British Grenadier?) over time. John the OFM's thread on starting AWI has been very helpful, but since its really directed to building armies for mass battle rules, I need advice for getting playable forces for large skirmish armies built with an eye to growing into what John the OFM is describing.

As far as where & when I'm trying to focus my efforts, like many folks new to a period, I'm all over the place. Going in I'm interested in 3 areas – South Carolina 1780-81 (My wife grew up in Charleston and has connections to the loyalist leader Moses Kirkland, so the Swamp Fox SP campaign seems like a natural starting place), Virginia 1781 (I live in Richmond and like having non-ACW battlefields local to me) and Boston 1775 (Ancestor participated in the siege then went back to the farm). I know, opposite ends of the war, as is tradition… So, building for Swamp Fox based Sharp Practice campaign seems like the right step, while keeping an eye towards further expansion.

My only sunk cost at this point is that I pledged at Lieutenant level for the KS (i.e. 10 packs plus 2 "free" command packs).

British Forces for Swamp Fox

32 x British Center Company
16 x Provincial Regulars
6 x Provincial Ranger Skirmishers
6 x Light Infantry Skirmishers
30 x Loyalist Militia
18 x Loyalist Militia Skirmishers
16 x Provincial Cavalry

Continental Forces for Swamp Fox

32 x Veteran Militia
30 x Newly Raised Militia
50 x Time Served Militia
12 x Militia Skirmishers

That is a ton of militia and finding a way to visually differentiate between the different kinds of militia is going to be a challenge. Luckily, I don't need all of it at the same time, but even if I use ragged continentals for the veteran militia, I still need a ton of militia (90+ figures) for some of the scenarios.

This leads to several questions:

1 – Do you think its ok to mix militia figures from multiple manufacturers? I'm looking at Brigade Games, Perry, Wargames Foundry and maybe the plastic Warlord ones.
2 – Since there is often more than one type of miltia on the Continental side, what would be the best way to visually distinguish the different types? I was thinking marching vs firing, but there are several other methods that might work…
3 – How much militia is the maximum required in the BG scenario books? I don't want to over-militia from the start, so maybe mixing in guys with hunting shirts might be in order?
4 – And a non-militia question: Since I'm looking at doing British Legion for the Provincials, would using Light infantry figures in leather caps and green uniforms work? I've seen some folks do that with foundry and front rank light infantry, but am unsure what the real answer on uniform is?


SOB Van Owen19 Apr 2019 3:17 p.m. PST

1. I mix vast numbers of manufacturers.

2. Vary your basing and flocking methods.

4. Old Glory makes both mounted and foot British Legion figures. Also Queen's Rangers, with both Grenadiers and Highlanders
Fife and Drum makes a specific Francis Marion figure. I believe they also do specific SC Continentals, with the crescent on the cap.

Viper91119 Apr 2019 7:53 p.m. PST

Pyrrhic email me at I can help with figs.


Old Contemptibles21 Apr 2019 1:48 a.m. PST

Well there used to be a getting started with the American Revolution board but it has vanished.

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP21 Apr 2019 5:47 a.m. PST

I wouldn't differentiate your militia too much, either through distinctive painting, or by segmenting them through their sculpted postures or attire I'd just use flag and/or command stands [or officer figs] to mark your unit breakdowns. This will allow you to group your militia figures into larger or smaller units as needed for your scenarios, and also as you work up towards other rulesets or battle scales. This approach will only require distinctive flag/command stands to differentiate your militia units from one another. You might also consider that the color guards and officer figures for these flag/command stands could be attired in more formal uniform bits worn, or left-over regimental coats, a tricorn here or there, and in different uniform colors and facings too this being a way to further visually differentiate between your various command stands and therefore make them look 'distinctive' within and between their unit assignments.

One exception you might consider for your militia, would be those figures in hunting shirts, which would allow you to create a distinct unit if you arrange these figures together into a single unit(s) which then could step in for a line unit, or rifle unit when needed. Otherwise, you could just leave them mixed into your various militia formations to augment your collection's figure count.

Since you're starting up your collection from a beginning concept here, I'd be wanting to make the figures as versatile as possible, and certainly not mounting them for a particular rule set. Since you're starting "skirmish" focused, can we assume you're planning on mounting your figures singularly and maybe using sabot stands if you play larger scale rules in the future?

Btw, here's some example of using a larger command stand with multiple figs mounted, but for the ACW -

The method (the command stand still just counting as a single-figure/base in our games) allowed easy to move, multiple flag stands in our lower-figure count games. Also, it allowed us to work up our small ACW collections from skirmish-mounted, single figure stands, to be able to do "grand-tactical" games with them also -

Spread into a single rank formation, and/or to note a skirmishing line -

Perhaps something like the command stand mounting we used for our ACW gaming might work for your AWI unit concepts – and with even more variety in figure combinations available to consider for the American Rev.?

Pyrrhic Victory21 Apr 2019 7:56 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the help with this!

@ SOB Van Owen – militia is one of those things where I think lots of pose and clothing variation really helps, so mixing manufacturers will allow for a more motley crew! I looked at the Old Glory "Dismounted Tarletons" and I think they have the same headgear as the mounted British Legion figures (i.e. are dismounted Cav rather than infantry), so am not sure those will work? I'm way out of my depth on this…

@ Viper911 – Will do!

95th Division21 Apr 2019 3:31 p.m. PST

There is a lot of discussion concerning what uniform the British Legion infantry wore. Most sources I have seen say a short green jacket with black facings, white waistcoat and breeches. Whether they wore the Tarleton helmet or not seems open to debate. Some sources have them wearing standard light infantry head gear. The old glory figures are wearing the Tarleton helmet. there is a Don Troiani painting that shows them in a sort of light infantry cap. I've used my Queen's Rangers infantry to stand in for the Legion infantry.

Pyrrhic Victory22 Apr 2019 5:42 a.m. PST

FlyXWire – Thank you! That was very helpful and I like your basing scheme. I think I'll end up going with sabots for most of the troops with Leaders/Colors/Musicians on larger bases. If only basing schemes were uniform across rules….

95th Division – using Queens Rangers to stand in for British Legion sounds sensible. I'm not going to do every Loyalist unit, so having one to stand in for all is probably the right answer. Whose figures are you using for them?

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2019 6:18 a.m. PST

" If only basing schemes were uniform across rules…."


I play Muskets & Tomahawks for the AWI, but when doing our 28mm iteration of it (vs. 15mm), we use special one-time-only rules for flag and musician figures, where these two types can allow a re-roll of a reaction test, or an extra interrupt action but then the granting figure is removed (killed during this heroic act of bravery). For this reason, I need to have these figure types mounted separately, so they can be removed separately. I wish I could permanently group, say a musician onto one of these larger flag stands, for variety and "vignette-ness", but our special figure functions preclude this.

Btw, I think having single-mounted figures can create a certain in-game "work load", that imparts to players a sense of quantity as opposed to when moving fewer, but multi-figure mounted bases it's not a visual sense for sure, but almost psychological one I think.

95th Division22 Apr 2019 7:36 a.m. PST

My Queen's Rangers are all Old Glory.

krisgibbo24 Apr 2019 8:51 a.m. PST

All of the above and try not to be too hard on yourself. I've seen artwork of an unshaven and shoeless British regular in the ragged remnants of his uniform; but I doubt we'll ever see a sculpt.
I've tied myself in knots reading the research carried out by people who've studied the period and settled for what works for me.
So for example my Grenadiers and lights are either marching in good order; or running at you with the bayonet. Some of my militia seem undecided and others are obviously resolute and determined. And they're led on foot by the Rt. Hon. Col. Hugh Hampton who carries a sabre. Works for me.

SOB Van Owen24 Apr 2019 10:43 a.m. PST

A good "generic" Loyalist unit could be made using "Continental" uniformed figures. Why? Because they won't have lace, and usually look a bit more campaignish.
Early War Generic Loyalists could have green coats. Later would probably be red coated.
I have made a few units doing head transplants with Kings Mountain heads with slouch hats, preferably with ostentatious plumes. Or you can buy KM Continentals with those supplied heads.

Bill N24 Apr 2019 10:44 a.m. PST

I am at a loss on how you'd visually distinguish Veteran Militia from Newly Raised Militia from Time Served Militia. The primary factor determining the appearance of militia would be where the troops were raised rather than the amount of service. I suppose more soiled or ragged clothes might be a factor. If by newly raised you meant fresh from behind the plow then maybe men in shirts or vests rather than coats or jackets.

I like the Wargames Factory/Warlord plastic militia. I own several boxes of them. I would not suggest mixing them with the other manufacturers that you are considering. The build is different and the weapon sizes are different. However one way to visually distinguish between your different militia types would be to have three different units each of which are made up of figures from the same manufacturer. So for example one unit could be made up of Warlord plastic, a second from Perry figures and a third from another manufacturer.

Pyrrhic Victory25 Apr 2019 2:52 p.m. PST

@FlyXWire – exactly and different unit sizes for different rules complicates even putting individual figures on group sabots.

@krisgibbo – I'm trying to get as much right as I can without going crazy about every single detail. Easier said than done I fear…

@SOB Van Owen – a generic loyalist unit makes some sense to me, maybe using the perry plastic continentals with hats from the perry British box? Will take a look at that!

@Bill N – good to know about the warlord plastics! Right now I'm leaning towards a unit of Brigade games militia, a unit of Perry Southern militia and a unit of either Warlord plastics or Old Glory Minutemen with some ragged continentals standing in for vets

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