I've completed the British Rangers force (pics to follow) and I need something to use against them - step forward Wargames Factory American War of Independence Militia!
I ordered a box of these after getting a look at the sprue my regular opponent Paul had picked up. I was rather impressed, or at least impressed enough to part with £20 of my hard earned cash. They duly arrived and I remained impressed, in fact if anything my enthusiasm stepped up a notch. These are very versatile figures. OK technically, they're the wrong war, but I'm guessing styles of civilian dress out in the woods of North America didn't change too much between the 1750s and 1770s.
The box has three figure sprues plus a sprue of bases. Each figure sprue has 10 figures on it, 5 in fringed hunting shirt, 2 in long jackets, and 3 in shirts, along with a wide selection of arms, plenty of muskets, rifles and tomahawks, and three head types, a tricorn, round hat, and a Liberty cap - basically a woolen bobble hat. It was this last head that caught my attention because I had recently been flicking through the Blandford book on the Seven Years War and in there is a plate showing Canadian Militia. The text associated with it says the only piece of uniform issued to the Canadian Militia in French service was a woolen hat - pretty much identical to the "Liberty Cap" in the Wargames Factory set. The colour indicated which Militia the troops belonged, white for Trios Riviere, red for Quebec, or blue for Montreal. That will do nicely. Canadian Militia in M&T are quite effective troops, being recruited from the local population of Woodsmen, Trappers, Traders and err Lumberjacks :-) . They will make a nice opponent for my British Rangers.
I stuck the figures together - not as easy as it first would seem as the arms had to be different for the fringed hunting shirts so there is not as much variation available as first impression. The main "miss" in this set also became obvious - no pistols, just one per sprue would have been nice. Heres 20 given a quick undercoat.
I then looked up pics of buckskin shirts on the net - and was rather surprised to discover they were a lot brighter colours than I imagined. I was in a bit of a rush so I quickly painted up a group of 8 (the Militia unit size) using a selection of tan and sand colours on the buckskins, plus the ubiquitous blue bobble hats - basically they're Smurfs! I gave them a coat of GW wash and touched them up a bit to highlight - I'm not the greatest painter and I'm happy enough with the result, particularly at "table distance".
What really struck me was just how versatile these Wargames Factory figures are. You can use them as Militia for both sides in the FIW, or as intended in the War of Independance. I intend to paint a second unit of Canadian Militia , then form up another generic Militia unit out of the rest of the box - or rather I suspect I will pick up another box just to give me the options - so much for a side project :-)