Moving armies and settlers through the 18th-century North American wilderness during the French and Indian War often involved widening old trails, clearing new routes and building new roads. Hired crews of civilian workers and military pioneers usually led the way, felling trees far in advance of military columns.
Referred to as lumberjacks on this Germany-based manufacturer’s site, the pack of three models could easily find a place on a military road or on a settler’s farm. I love the mix of poses and clothing with hatchets being wielded to split logs and a hack at branches. The largest of the castings is dragging a large tree branch to which I added some additional twigs as stumps on a large metal washer base.
I’m always thrilled to find a new source of models, and I’ve quickly added these and some other minis from Black Hussar to my collection.
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.
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.
Sometimes it seems the #1 topic all miniatures gamers have is one of scale and how miniatures from different manufacturers scale together. When I run convention games or post photos of scenarios online, people don’t ask about what books I used in my research or what sites, museums or archives I’ve visited. What they do ask about is manufacturers and scale.
So here it is, taking the first of a couple swings at addressing scale for French and Indian War tabletop gaming with a look at Indians from my collection. After some visual comparisons, I’ll weigh in at the end with some commentary about how I feel about the scale conversation.
In the next photo, I’m showing a zoomed-in look at the manufacturers on the smlaller side — Conquest, Sash and Saber and Knuckleduster. I find these three hew more toward a thinner, more traditional 25mm scale.
On the larger end of the spectrum, I’ve shown a line-up of North Star, AW, Galloping Major and Redoubt as the modern 28mm “heroic” scale.
Finally, I’ve placed two Indian leaders side by side with the Conquest model at one extreme and the towering Redoubt figure on the other.
So there you have it, some visual comparisons of what are broadly viewed as 28mm Indian miniatures. And with that, I have a lot of opinions.
The first one is that many manufacturers use different sculptors over time, creating variations even within one company’s lines of figures. For example, Warlord Games uses older Conquest sculpts in their FIW offering but have also added work from other artists. Companies like AW, Galloping Major and Sash and Saber have a lot of consistency in their models since they are owned and operated by the sculptors themselves. So, broad statements like “X manufacturer always scales well with Y manufacturer” are not always 100% accurate.
Next, my bias is toward metal castings and I try to avoid plastics. I like the heft of metal on the table, I don’t like to put in assembly time and I like how metal takes paint. This means I’m not looking at a very popular manufacturer like Perry Miniatures in the photos above. I have played with Perry plastics and I own some of their wagons cast in metal. Mostly, I find their sculpts are thin, with very acurate real-life scaling that tends toward the smaller end of the 25mm scale.
As a third point, few players I know put their heads right down on the table at figure eye level when playing. Figures used in actual play are seen at arm’s length or table distance of some three feet or more, obscuring fine differences of a millilmeter or two between models. Differences in models on the table can be further obscuredby keeping manufacturers together in cohesive units. I use the approach, and my “tabletop quality” of painting allows my miniatures to fight just fine (provided the dice are cooperating on any given day).
Finally, variety to me is so much more important than scale. With over 120 Indians painted up in my collection (and probably more on the way), I’ve always been more focused on the visual interest of the sculpts than height of one versus another. By stretching across seven manufacturers I’m supporting more companies and artists feeding the hobby and getting a ton more interesting looking Indian units on my table.
Redoubt casts are a joy to paint with old-scale, stockier molds that take paint well on broad surfaces. In six-figure packs of firing and advancing poses with both bare chests and more European-style clothing, these figures showcase minimal detail while also offering a bit of nuanced variety. These figures scale well with my more than 120 Indian warriors from some six manufacturers now all ready to hit the table.
During the French and Indian War, tactics by necessity evolved quickly in the North American wilderness. After some initial bloody tactical disasters, British leadership rapidly recognized the need to adopt a new way of warfare, shifting from a regular European style of fighting to more irregular tactics led by light infantry units. The recruits in these groups wore cut down hats, coats and leather leggings and carried equipment focused on swift movement and close, skirmish-style combat. To build out my FIW Britsh light infantry units, I’ve drawn upon a variety of manufacturers.
To begin, I purchased the single offering of British light infantry models available from AW Miniatures. This small package comes with two copies each of just three different poses with two firing variations and one model loading on the move. The figures are dressed in the popular jockey caps of light infantry soldiers along with spare equipment on chunky molds which scale well with a variety of manufacturers.
Seeking to layer in some significant variety to my forces, I went next to Redoubt Enterprises and their large offering of FIW figures. Redoubt offers two six-packs of British light infnatry, one with jockey caps and the other wearing basic round hats. The packages each come with no duplication of poses, offering a lot of variety in firing, loading and advancing sculpts. One figure in each set comes with a separate hands and rifle piece meant to be glued with the musket raised high in melee mode. I chose to invert the piece in a loading posture on each of the two models.
Finally, I went to Front Rank Figurines with their vast listing of FIW models available individually for purchase. Again, there was a lot of variety here with shooting, advancing, loading and at-the-ready troops, many hauling small campaign-ready backpacks. To these, I added two NCOs — one at ease and one commanding trops forward — along with a more formal officer sold as Major General James Wolfe (middle above).
Across three UK-based manufacturers, these figures all fit well together as heftier 28mm casts. With them, I’ve been able to create 3-4 small units of British light infantry which serve as key components to so many FIW engagements on the table.
I’m always on the hunt for different kinds of figures, poses and little stories to tell by scouring through the offerings of as many manufacturers I can find. I’ve been adding more figures from Redoubt Enterprises to my French and Indian War collection, and I’ve found a number of their civilians to be good additions.
A pack of six figures of standing and firing settlers has a nice amount of diversity in poses. Two men stand at the ready, two are firing and another is waving them on in encouragement. My favorite in the set is the sculpt of the rather distinguished gentleman with a pistol extended at arm’s length to calmyly fire. I also like that half the figures are not wearing hats like the vast majority of figures found for this 18th-century colonial era.
Another kind of figure that is hard to come by is basic laborers, like those so important to the wilderness campaigns of the FIW period. Luckily, Redoubt has a very specific set of working pioneers found deep into their exetensive catalog. The package comes with two men moving fallen timber and another swinging an axe. All three wear the heavy leather aprons that worn by men doing this rough forest-clearing work.
Overseeing them and on guard are three soldiers, also included in the pack. I’ve painted them up as somewhat generic British provincials, and I usually field them with other colonial units. The six of them together on the table can find their way into a number of scenarios, especially as the lead units in the Braddock Expedition at the Battle of the Monongahela.
Combined with my wagons and other workers, these figures create opportunities to tell more of the story of the FIW. Beyond soldiers, it was the average settlers who were rallied to work or fight for both the French and British during the war. It’s great to discover more figures to act as characters in these tabletop wargaming dramas.
Their FIW line includes vast selections of British, French and Indian models, including warriors, canoes and civillians. Sculpts from Redoubt tend toward a traditional, heroic scale that tips heavily toward 28mm with chunky casts filled with unique personality that are a joy to paint and really pop on the table.
The ‘warriors with firebrands’ pack includes a raiding party, armed with blazing torches and a leader drinking from a clay vessel. The models are great for attacks on villages, farms and fortifications on the frontier. These are unique, ferocious characters modelled to bring high drama to the tabletop.
Another favorite is the ‘sachems and warchiefs’ set. These models are a mix of calm Indian leaders wrapped in a blanket with a mystical crow’s wing, holding forth a wampum belt and standing gracefully in a commanding pose. Others in the pack show more agressive leaders on the run and commanding their people in the field, looking to roll back the onslaught of European incurisions into their lands.
Both sets have brought a great deal of variety and personality to the regular warrior models from other manufacturers in my collection — moreso than just about almost any other company. For miniatures wargaming, they offer an opportunity to inject roleplay into games with the story each sculpt looks to tell — a welcome place in any gaming session with a wide range of characters to act.