French and Indian War: Woodland Indian Civilians from Sash and Saber Castings

So much of history focuses on armies that it is hard to remember the vast number of civilians swept up into grand conflicts. By many estimates, more than 10 million native people occupied the North American continent through the 18th-century, and only a fraction of them were direct and active participants as warriors.

Recreated 17th-century Seneca longhouse at Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor, NY

Visiting sites like Ganondagan State Historic Site is a real opportunity to step back and experience the life among the men, women and children of the Seneca and other members of the Haudenosaunee. Passing through the introductory cultural film and exhibits of the modern museum, a traditional longhouse greets visitors as a passage back in time to the true experience of the people who once populated Western New York in the centuries predating European arrival.

Everyday 17th-century Seneca items at Ganondagan State Historic Site

Within the natural light of the longhouse, central cooking fires are surrounded by stacked levels of storage and sleeping platforms. The immersive exhibit teems with traditional wares of everyday life and also reveals the influence of European trade goods. Although tour guides will caution visitors against it, one can reach out and feel the trappings of a indigenous civilian just as it was in the 17th-century and years before and after.

Iroquois Unarmed Men (FIW8) from Sash and saber castings

The 2018 Kickstarter from Sash and Saber Castings launched a broadly comprehensive line of French and Indian War miniatures. Along with the usual military models, the range presented a nice selection of Indian civilians often ignored by wargaming manufacturers.

Iroquois Women (FIW9) from Sash and Saber Castings

In my pledge I included all the Indian civilians packs, including Iroquois Unarmed Men (FIW8), Iroquois Women (FIW9) and Iroquois Children (FIW10). As with everything in the range, the figures present some nice detail in naturally lean sculpts that hew toward 25mm rather than the larger, more common 28mm heroic scale models of today. The inclusion of children and adolescent figures is of particular note as these are almost completely absent in the hobby.

The full line is now available on the company’s website, retailing for $8 a pack. Taking a dive into the Sash and Saber range is endlessly rewarding whether your armies need more troops or whether you want to get some realism on the table with these native villagers of the period.

Iroquois Children (FIW10) from Sash and Saber Castings

Star Wars Legion: Terrain

Star Wars: Legion – Priority Supplies Battlefield Expansion, Fantasy Flight Games, 2018 — front cover (image provided by the publisher)

One of my favorite aspects of the Star Wars franchise is the environments in which the space opera is set. From the desert planets of Tatooine and Jakku, the snowy Hoth, swampy Dagobah and the volcanic surface of Mustafar, the universe created from the imagination of George Lucas is one of varied settings. Gaming this universe in miniature provides a great opportunity to model and play within terrain of all types. Judging from online photos from the wide community of players of Star Wars Legion from Fantasy Flight Games, fans of the game love terrain.

As a miniatures wargamer for over 30 years, creating and using terrain is one of the many rewards of the hobby. In building out my Star Wars Legion games I’ve relied on my existing collection of trees from Woodland Scenics and other manufacturers, thus creating a forested table like the forested moon of Endor from Return of the Jedi. I glue the trees to round, flocked bases to provide stability on the table and additional visual interest. I also have a big bag of scatter made up of clumps of foliage, lichens and small twigs that I toss around on my flocked green 4′ x 6′ playmat to visually fill in otherwise flat open space.

Fantasy Flight Games includes some simple plastic barricades in the base starter kit for the game and the Priority Supplies expansion with moisture vaporators, communication terminals and crates. I painted up all these pieces in simple layers of grey and metallic dry brushing, picking out some computer panel details in other brighter colors.

Moisture vaporators communication terminals, crates and barricades from Fantasy Flight Games

My existing terrain collection also includes a number of cast, pre-painted rocky hills from Gale Force Nine which can be used in just about any setting. Their Battlefield In A Box line offers a bunch of historical, fantasy, scenic and sci-fi terrain, and the generically-named Galactic Warzones pieces provide some great models for playing Star Wars Legion.

Rocky hill from Gale Force Nine and various pieces from Fantasy Flight Games

I picked up the bunker which is modeled on the one on Endor in ROTJ. Right out the box, the painted resin bunker is ready to play and the removable roof is a big plus for scenarios involving raids or rescue missions. Fantasy Flight also offers an official Imperial Bunker expansion that is slightly larger with additional detail like a sliding blast door. That said, at half the price, I am more than satisfied with the Gale Force Nine model.

Bunker from Gale Force Nine

Finally, Star Wars Legion arrived right at the time when 3D printing has been exploding in the gaming hobby. Countless manufacturers and individual hobbyists have created hundreds of custom, non-licensed models to fill tabletop Star Wars settings with all sorts of alien races, characters, spaceships, buildings and terrain pieces. I’ve grabbed a few spaceship wrecks from Extruded Gaming, each of which also comes with a small rocky outcroppings.

With my existing terrain and few models I’ve recently picked up, I’ve quickly pulled together a nice selection of tabletop scenario options. With Star Wars Legion the terrain possibilities are as vast as the entire Star Wars universe.

Spaceships wrecks from Extruded Gaming

French and Indian War: False Face Society Shaman and Jesuit Priest from Sash and Saber Castings

North America in the 17th-and-18th-centuries was a clash European and Native cultures in many ways – ways of life, ways of trade, ways of war and ways of faith. Faith for all people in this era was not an abstract but a truth that informed every part of their existence. Finding ways to incorporate the dynamic push-pull between these faiths into games provides an interesting challenge and opportunity.

Free RPG Day 2019 edition of Forts &Frontiers The Feast of the Dead

In 2019, two partners and I in a founded Campaign Games to create games with a focus on history and narrative play. That spring, we introduced a Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition compatible role playing game adventure called Forts & Frontiers: The Feast of the Dead as part of Free RPG Day. A month later, we successfully funded a Kickstarter to expand the game into a deluxe version with a more fleshed-out game system focused on the friction among cultures in colonial America.

As part of the Kickstarter, we were thrilled to partner with Sash and Saber Castings to create two exclusive miniatures as part of their expansive French and Indian War line of 28mm models.

False Face Society Shaman

Traditional False Face Society masks

The False Face Society figure depicts a member of the Haudenosaunee healer tradition. Wearing a fearsome carved and painted wooden mask and carrying a turtle shell rattle, a member of the society would make rounds twice a year to chase away evil spirits and disease from a village. Masks came in a lot of varieties, including some woven from corn husks, and the healing rituals would also include singing and burning tobacco.

False Face Society figure from Sash and Saber Castings

Jesuit Priest

Martyrdom of Jean de Brébeuf as depicted in a 1657 map by Francesco Giuseppe Bressani

The Jesuit Order was founded in Spain in the mid-1500s and its member missionaries spread through North, Central and South America in the 17th-and-18th-centuries. Rooted in Catholic faith, Jesuits lived a life of meditation and contemplation of Jesus Christ. Intellectually, they sought to bring formal education of languages, history and science in a reform of church leadership.

Missionaries to what Europeans called the New World viewed natives of these regions to be in need of saving through baptism and rejection of their perceived savage rituals and traditions. At the same time, Jesuits were at odds with European secular colonial governments for their documentation of native cultures and languages during their years of living among these people. Effectively living between the two societies, Jesuits were famously the victims of torture and martyred execution by natives who recognized the threat they symbolized.

With no experience in the wilderness of the Americas and only their faith to guide them, Jesuits ventured deep into heart of the country largely unexplored by other Europeans. The Jesuit figure depicts the plain dress and spare possessions of a missionary of the era, clutching a Bible close to his heart and a cross hanging from his waist.

Jesuit Missionary figure from Sash and Saber Castings

Together, the False Face Society Shaman and Jesuit models depict two competing traditions of faith in the Americas during the era of European colonization. In each tradition, rituals and physical items — whether a turtle rattle, mask, Bible or cross — provide opportunities for contrast but also a shared belief that something exists beyond the physical land where people clashed for domination.

28mm: German 10.5cm leFH 18/40 Howitzers from Warlord Games

Pin on Artillery

I’ve had a project on my list for a long time to fully model a game of the Brecourt Manor Assault from June 6, 1944 (made famous by HBO’s Band of Brothers series) in 28mm. I’ve had all the individual German and American 101st Airborne figures for quite a while but on of the primary obstacles was modelling the four 10.5cm leFH 18/40 howitzers which were the objectives in the famed US assault.

Unassembled German Heer leFH 18/40 10.5cm howitzer (1943-45) from Warlord Games

I finally broke down and picked up four of the models from Warlord Games at about $30 USD each. As pure objectives, this was a high rice to pay for models that were going to serve no game purpose other than table decoration.

Assembled German Heer leFH 18/40 10.5cm howitzer (1943-45) from Warlord Games

I have a lot of Warlord’s metal (always metal) models from their Bolt Action line, and I’ve always found the casts to be detailed and clean. The package comes with the gun, four crew figures and a couple pieces of crates to add flavor to the set-up. Assembly of the howitzers is a bit finicky but Warlord offers a diagram online to guide gluing up the kit. My one knock is there is no option for variation in the crew, given I’m fielding four of these, but this is a minor complaint.

Primed German Heer leFH 18/40 10.5cm howitzer (1943-45) from Warlord Games

I mounted up the figures and extra pieces on washers, filled the bases and primed black. Once I got to the painting, the work went fast with simple color schemes and just a few details picked out on the crew. Assembled and painted, the howitzer and crew really pay off. With one done, I had three more to go to get another step closer to getting my vision for the scenario closer to a gaming reality.

28mm: US Airborne HQ, Jeeps and 57mm Anti-Tank Gun from Warlord Games

Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division load an M1 57mm Anti ...

I took the occasion of the 75th anniversary of VE Day recently to revisit some long-neglected World War II US Airborne models from Warlord Games. I model all my 28mm WWII figures in metal from a variety of manufacturers, preferring the heft, durability, speed to complete and detail to that of miniatures cast in plastic.

Warlord sells their models in conjunction with their Bolt Action game, but I use the miniatures in a variety of systems. The HQ set includes a radio operator, medic and two officers, including one chomping on the stub of a cigar. Each of the jeeps (sold individually) have a group of soldiers piled in and a wire catcher extending up from the front to prevent wire traps from injuring the riders. Finally, the M1 57mm anti tank gun features two loaders I mounted directly to the gun’s base while keeping the command figure separate in case I want to field him separately.

These models paint quickly and I finish them off with appropriate 101st Airborne insignia decals from Company B. As with all Warlord casts, these models all feature some great detail, poses and personality, making them a great mix and addition to my miniature WWII allied forces.

US Airborne HQ (1944-45) from Warlord Games
US Airborne Jeep (1944-45) from Warlord Games
US Airborne 57mm Anti-Tank Gun (1944-45) from Warlord Games

French and Indian War: Pennsylvania Provincials and British Command from Sash and Saber Castings

One of the joys of painting figures for the French and Indian War is in the diversity of uniforms among British colonial forces. Previously I’ve painted up units to reflect Virginia Provincials and the British Royal American Regiment which allow for uniforms that deviate from the usual red-coated British Regulars of 18th-century England.

I took advantage of having a few four-packs of unpainted British Provincial models from the relatively new and extensive line of FIW models from Sash and Saber Castings to add a Pennsylvania Provincial Regiment to my collection. My force consists of Provincials Firing (FWB28), Loading (FWB29) and Advancing (FWB30), plus Provincial Officers and NCOs (FWB213). With green coats, red vests and tan leather breeches, the color scheme provides a great break from the more typical mix of red and blue clothing on most British soldiers. Together, the sixteen figures allows me to field two units of Pennsylvania Provincials.

Sash and Saber sculpts hew toward the smaller side of 28mm figures (like those from Conquest and Perry Miniatures) with thinner, naturalistic scaling still filled with decent variations in pose and personality. While details fade a bit in faces, sculpted equipment, uniforms and poses all offer the kind of variety I seek in the models I like to paint.

I also purchased the British Personalities pack (FWB402) which includes Lt. Col. George Washington and Jeffrey Amherst, Commander-In-Chief of British Forces in North America during the FIW. The Washington figure is one of three I own of him (along with those from Eureka and Warlord), and he is dressed in his blue British Virginia Provincial officer uniform he wore during the war. Amherst stands with orders in his hand by his side, a nice detail that makes Sash and Saber sculpts unique within such an extensive line.

French and Indian War: British Regulars from North Star Military Figures

At the beginning of 2020, Studio Tomahawk announced the release of the second edition of Muskets & Tomahawks, some ten years after the release of the much-beloved miniatures game. Set in the 18th-and-19th North American skirmish eras of the French and Indian War, American Revolution, War or 1812, US Civil War and various worldwide conflicts, the second edition of M&T was hotly anticipated by a worldwide community of gamers hungry for the long out-of-print rules.

In conjunction with the release, North Star Military Figures re-launched their line of 28mm FIW figures as an official tie-in with M&T. A long-time fan of their sculpts, I snapped up a unit of British Regulars and an officer to add to my collection.

North Star figures, cast in my preferred material of metal, are on the large end of the 28mm spectrum and showcase thick, broad details that make them a joy to paint. Features really pop on their castings, allowing my painting to capture a lot of the intricacies of the 18th-century uniforms and equipment.

With my order, I also added in an Indian warrior figure clad in a stolen red coat, ostensibly taken from the corpse of a fallen British soldier. This kind of unique character figure is what makes me a fan of the period and North Star’s models.

As a collector of all their previous FIW miniatures, I was so glad to see the return of North Star’s FIW figures after many years of being out of production and only available on the secondary market. Aside from my British Regulars, they’ve also released new sets of British Rangers, Highland Light Infantry, Indians and Canadian Militia. For gamers in the US, North Star’s figures are available from Brigade Games, a distributor I’ve used for many years to source models from many eras. I’ve also heard they are about to launch their own lines of new FIW figures, something I am very excited about as I continuously build out my 18th-century tabletop forces.

French and Indian War: Campsite Terrain from Renedra Limited, WizKids and Mantic Games

Gaming miniatures scenarios in the wilderness of 18th-century America and the French and Indian War period necessitates terrain that speaks of the period’s stories, often played out far away from towns and homesteads. With campaign seasons hacked through the woods of the Northeast, Ohio Country and Great Lakes region, impermanent campsites are often the more regular terrain encountered during play.

I’ve found a couple manufacturer’s that provide some great, inexpensive plastic terrain to create campsite vignettes on the table. The Terrain Crate Hunter’s Camp from Mantic Games, while produced for fantasy role-playing gaming, is a great out-of-the box foundation for any wilderness camp. The inexpensive box comes with a tent, campfire, bedroll, stack of gear and firewood pile. My one knock on the set is the rubbery plastic that takes flat paint and creates a bit of a gloss.

To supplement this set, I have a couple more bedrolls from the blisterpack from WizKids. These casts are primed and take paint exceedignly well right out of the box. The company has been adding all sorts of terrain, bits and pieces to their line of figures over the past few years including cannons, barrels, boxes, furniture, etc., all of which can find a home in a historical setting.

I painted and glued up all the smaller WizKids and Mantic pieces onto a freeform cut balsa base which I flocked. I kept the tent and campire (mounted on a large metal washer) separate from tha larger campsite scene for ease of tarnsport and a bit more flexibility of use on the table.

I also have a number of ridge tents, a campfire and barrels from Renedra Ltd. Like the other manufacturers above, this UK-based company manufacturers a variety of plastic terrain including buildings, fences and gabions apprpriate to the 18th-century. The barrels glue up from two halves and I mounted them up in various piles on smll strips of balsa.

Along the way, I’ve also picked up a resin cast of a pile of beaver pelts, a key item for traders making their way through the North American back woods of the 1700s. All together, these elements from three manufacturers combine to give me a pretty good sized campsite for trappers adventuring in the wilderness or a European army on campaign.

French and Indian War: Comparing 28mm Miniatures Scales – British

Looking across my couple hundred British metal models, they are reflective of the diversity of the British in North America of the 18th-century. These include regulars, irregulars, colonial forces and civillians. Following on my recent post comparing 28mm Indian scales, I’m having a look at these British figures and their comparitive sizes for French and Indian War tabletop gaming.

My British collection spans about ten manufacturers and I’ve lined up a selection of miniatures in the photos below. Elsewhere on the site you can see the separate, detailed posts for Conquest Miniatures Regulars, Front Rank Light Infantry, Blue Moon British Royal Regiment, AW Miniatures Lights Infantry, Blue Moon British Regulars, Redoubt Enterprises Light Infantry and Galloping Major Virginia Provincials.

As with other sculpts in their lines, the traditional Conquest models (now distributed by Warlord Games) tend toward a 25mm scale along with those from Front Rank. On the other end of the spectrum, figures from Redoubt Enterprises and Galloping Major Wargames stand a head above other makers with their heroic-scaled 28mm. Two different sized casts from the Blue Moon Manufacturing shows how their can be significant variation even with the same manufacturer’s offering.

In the above, I’ve got common British Regulars (“Redcoats”) from both Blue Moon and Conquest side-by-side to show the extremes in scale. By keeping my units grouped by manufacturers when I play, I can generally avoid any of this standout size difference that practically disappears at arm’s length on the tabletop battlefield.

On the smaller side of the 25/28mm range, I’ve got three officers above from Warlord, Eureka Miniatures and Sash & Saber Castings. Again, I find these three companies mix pretty interchangeably with each other with accurately-scaled features and equipment details. (I also can’t speak more highly of the Sash & Saber models which launched a huge line of figures over a year ago. I syill have a bunch on my workbench in progress).

Finally, my British inventory holds a fair number of civillian models as laborers of frontier fighters. Workers from Front Rank and the Perry Miniatures American Revolution line have sharp, realistic scaling toward the 25mm side. As with their other castings, Galloping Major and Redoubt civilian figures offer a lot of animated variety at the larger 28mm size.

As with my Indian FIW models, its the variety to be found across manufacturers the weighs heavier than any difference in side-by-side scaling. The differences in kit, headgear, uniforms, poses and personalities are what call out to me strongest for the period and keep me coming back to the table again.

French and Indian War: Mounted Officers and Characters from Sash and Saber Castings and Warlord Games

In the close forests on 18th-century North America during the French and Indian War, the vast majority of the skirmishes and battles among French, Briitsh and Indian forces took place on foot among individual warriors. That said, especially among Europeans, mounted officers still held a place on many battlefields.

Of the hundreds of figures in my collection, few are mounted for this very reason. Aside from that, I’m not a big fan of painting horses although I’ve developed some quick techniques to get tabletop quality mounted models on the table. With this in mind, I recently set to fiishing up some horses and riders for the period.

First up, I bought the excellent three-figure set of British Characters from Warlord Games. This trio includes the young Virginia Colonial Militia officer Lt. Col. George Washington, a mounted figure of British Lt. Col. George Munro and General James Wolfe on foot. These metal figures each come packed with some real animated personality, and I’m a particular fan of the young Washington brazenlt cocking his pistoal as he charges forward.

One other Warlord figure is a plastic officer on a rearing horse. I pulled this figure from the Field Artillery and Army Commanders box made for the American War of Independence. This is one of the few plastic figures in my entire collection, but its sprue provided some options for choices in heads and poses. I’ve modelled mine as a British officer, and atop his bucking horse he is serviceable as a command figure for the earlier period.

To these Warlord figures, I also added four figures — two more British and two French — from Sash and Saber Castings. These sculpts are from the huge line of FIW figures launched via Kickstarter that makes it one of the broadest lines currently available for the period. Like the Warlord models, the Sash and Saber figures tend more toward a leaner, smaller 28mm scale. The horses reveal a lot of detail and varied poses while riders can be a bit flat in their facial expressions.

Together, this half-dozen mounted officers made for a bit of a break in my usual rotation of purely foot figures. Set at the lead of dozens of other soldiers in the American wilderness, they’ll be a great fit with any number of units of my tabletop.