Thursday, December 30, 2010

That "1812" thing...

OK, so I've been dancing around the idea of gaming the War of 1812 for a couple of years now. For those who don't know, the War of 1812 was a conflict fought between the early United States and the British North American
s (and early Canadians) along with their Aboriginal allies, at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. A friend of mine, Tim, is interested in the French & Indian Wars period and I thought he might be interested in the "1812" thing too. I've sent him links to various 1812 web pages, books, scenario books, etc. for the last couple of years, and he finally said, "...why don't we already commit do doing something for War of 1812?..."

...I decided it was time to get off the proverbial pot!

I wasn't sure what to do for figures, and Tim suggested an "1812" line by a newish company, Knuckleduster Miniatures. I had a look at their website and liked the look of the figures, so we decided to order a few packs and check them out!

I ordered one pack of "British/Canadian Command, Marching" and three packs of "British/Canadian Center Company, Marching" for a total of 24 figures (6 figures per pack). At only $10.00 US per pack, I thought this was pretty decent value for metal figs! Certainly beats the 8 figures for *whatever* that Foundry charges!

While waiting for the figures to arrive, I started researching the War of 1812 in earnest! (I've always had a passing interest in the conflict as it's part of Canadian military history). One regiment I came across in my research was the 49th Regiment of Foot. They had a young Lieutenant by the name of James Fitzgibbon that bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain "sharp" British Napoleonic soldier of television and literary acclaim! His exploits harassing the US forces on the Niagara Peninsula looked like they'd be perfect fodder for skirmish gaming! He was also the British officer that Laura Secord traveled through the wilderness to contact! With all these things in mind, I decided the first unit I would paint for War of 1812 would be the 49th Regiment.

The figures arrived in a timely manner and were well packaged. I set about to cleaning and basing all 24 figures. Since part of our usual gaming is 'skirmish' gaming, I based my figures on individual, 20mm metal bases by Wargame Accessories.

Aside from just showing off my painting, I thought I'd give a bit of a review of the Knuckleduster figures themselves. A comparison picture on the Knuckleduster site shows that they are comparable in size to Perry and Front Rank Napoleonics, so should mix reasonably well with those figures. Personally, I like the 'heft' of metal figures, so I was more interested in the KD line, over the plastic Perry or Victrix lines. But that's not to take anything away from Perry or Victrix - they certainly look like beautiful figures!

The KD figures have a certain 'chunky' quality to them. Some of the detail is also a bit 'over large' - as an example, the cuff buttons look like they would be about 1/2" thick if scaled up to "life size." Sometimes, there are mould lines running down the face of a figure - while this is annoying, it's also a function of the casting process and something that's difficult to avoid. In some cases, the sculpting could be a little crisper, but until I can PERSONALLY sculpt figures, I'm not going to complain too loudly!

Overall, I'm very happy with the Knuckleduster figures! They painted up very easily, and look great marching across a table!

The flags used are produced by a local fellow, Brian, who runs Vaubanner Graphics.

One thing that I like about KD's "1812" line - they plan to release figures that (to the best of my knowledge) are not available from any other company. One of the first "Big Battles" we plan to undertake will be the Battle of Crysler's Farm - involving a greatly outnumbered force of British veteran units, Canadian Fencible units and a small force of Aboriginals versus a large force of US units that were bound to attack Montreal. One unit in the British force were the Canadian Voltigeurs - basically a Lower Canada/Quebec Militia force, but they were trained and equipped at a level comparable to a British Light Infantry regiment. Knuckleduster already has plans to produce Voltigeur miniatures! KD also has plans in the works to produce characters such as Laura Secord, as well as James Fitzgibbon and figures to represent his "Green Uns" (a small force of 50 'Chosen Men' who operated as guerrilla troops, along side their Aboriginal allies, harassing the US forces on the Niagara Peninsula).

I was happy enough with the KD figures to be a 'repeat customer.' I took advantage of KD's recent Christmas sale (20% off per pack), to order enough figures to do two more units for the Crysler's Farm battle - the 89th Regiment and some Canadian Fencibles - and a couple of packs of Glengarry Light Infantry (useful for a number of other battles we may undertake, but eminently useful for skirmish games!). I will post again on this "1812" thing when I get some of those figures finished!

Oh, and for those who are interested, we plan to use the "Rocket's Red Glare" rules from Canadian Wargames Group.

Cheers, and Happy Gaming!

(footnote: ...and with this, I'm no longer in the "basement" of the Painting Challenge!! --woo-hoo!)


Greg B said...

Kevin - outstanding work. Those look beautiful!

Dallas said...

Beautiful stuff, Kev. You should bring them to show off next time you're over!

Kevin H said...

Thanks guys. Once I got the first couple of figs done, the rest were much easier to deal with!

Curt said...

These look fantastic, Kevin! They look like the Napoleonic equivalent of those Easy Eight castings for 28mm WWII from years back. Nice to have you on the board as well!

DaveV said...

Great looking figs. I saw some of the singles you brought over. As a unit they look even more impressive.

Kevin H said...

Thanks guys, they turned out pretty good in the end. @ Curt - interesting you should mention those old Easy Eight figures - that thought had crossed my mind while I was painting them. But, while similar, they aren't quite as "cartoonie" as the Easy Eight figures.