Friday, March 17, 2017

Cowpens Update - lots of pictures!

Battle of Cowpens wargame table setup. (click all pix to enlarge)
 It has been nearly two weeks since my last report on my Cowpens project and I am very pleased with how the whole thing is coming along. Virtually all of the figures required for the game are completed, so I am working on a few vignettes, or "tut" as John Ray calls them. They are not part of the game, but they add some extra color and visual pleasure to the game.

The most important progress point is that I finally had time to clear off my game table of tons of Fife & Drum AWI and Minden SYW figures that arrived last week. Sorting and cataloging all of the new inventory takes up a lot of table space. Without the game table set up for the Cowpens scenario, it was kind of hard to visual things and determine important factors such as (1) can all of the required figures fit onto the table without clogging up the board, (2) does the initial British starting point allow them to travel far enough to get into the fight, relative to the movement distances allowed in the rules, and (3) are there any figures that need to be painted to finish off the forces.

South Carolina mounted militia - almost all of these figures are conversions from existing Fife & Drum figures.

I had to do a number of figure conversion to fill in some gaps in the Fife & Drum AWI range, so as to have some of the needed troops for the Cowpens game. Chief among these were the various South Carolina mounted militia units. I don't yet have mounted militia figures so I made my own from the civilian artillery train drivers as these were wearing brimmed hats. I also used the British 16th Light Dragoon figure wearing a hunting shirt as the basis for my militia wearing hunting shirts. This involved a simple head swap to give the hunting shirt figure a brimmed hat or a tricorn. I took a 1st Continental Dragoon firing pistol and lopped off his head, replacing it with a brimmed hat from the civilian train driver.

My favorite conversion is the fellow in the front row of the picture above who is firing a pistol. He wears a waistcoat and sports a tricorn hat. The hat was donated by the tricorn version of the civilian train driver ( see the fellow in green coat in the second row), the arm firing the pistol was nicked from the 17th Light Dragoon firing pistol - I had to saw off the arm of the civilian train drive, create a socket in the torso and then add the arm (with cuff and shoulder tab shaved off).

The Bad Guys: Tarleton's British Legion form the reserve of the British army.
Here is a close up view of some of the different poses in the F&D British Legion figures.  While only four poses are seen here, there are a total of 7 different poses available for the British Legion plus a Banastre Tarleton personality figure.

The next group of figure conversions involved creating British artillery crew wearing brimmed hats with the left side turned up, rather than the existing leather helmet. This reflects the likely uniform appearance of the British artillerymen in the Southern Theater of War. Below is a picture of the original figure standing next to the converted figure.

British artillery crewmen loading poses.

Two three pound galloper guns with the converted British artillerymen.

The finished product all painted up and terrained.

Galloper gun set shown on the left with the 3-pounder attached to the limber. Since the limber has no wheels on it - relying on the wheels of the cannon - I had to attach the limber section to the limber horse using two pieces of wire on each horse. The cannon is not glued to the base so that it can be attached to the limber.

Colonel Andrew Pickens (using the Francis Marion personally figure).

The 17th Light Dragoons from the front.

The 17th LD shown from the side.

Well, there you have it - you are now up to date on the behind the scenes preparation for the Cowpens game at this year's Seven Years War Association convention.

If you had been a member of the fifeanddrumminis forum you would have seen the pictures a lot sooner than when they were posted on this blog. The last time I looked, we had 153 member; 1,145 total posts; and 140 different threads on a wide variety of topics germane to the 18th Century. I invite you to click on the link below and become a forum member. There is a lot of action going on at the forum, so sign up today!

Fife & Drum Forum

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Successful Launch of the Fife & Drum Forum + Cowpens Project Update

Fife & Drum British Legion figures recently painted for my Cowpens game.

I am very pleased and excited by the successful launch of the new Fife & Drum Miniatures discussion group and forum at:

Fife & Drum Forum

As of Sunday morning (March 5, 2017) there are 108 members, 55 threads and 360 posts since the forum was opened on February 28, 2017. I think that I can safely say that the new forum has legs and momentum to keep going.

The topic categories include:

General Topics
Fife & Drum AWI Figures
Minden SYW Figures
Crank Tara Miniatures
Picture Gallery
Der Alte Fritz Rules

There are a lot of interesting topics including polls on your favorite battles and generals. Fontenoy and Minden are leading the battles poll and Maurice de Saxe and Frederick the Great are leading the fave generals as of now. Even dear sweet loveable Soubise and the not so loveable Cumberland are garning votes in the poll.

The forum will be a site where you can get updates on new figure additions to all three miniatures lines, all of which have the common denominator of having been sculpted by the talented Richard Ansell. We have also had discussion about which figures should be added to all the figure ranges. So if you want to have a little bit of influence over the figures added to the ranges, then this is a place that you should visit.

Other discussion topics as of now include the development of my Cowpens game scenario for the SYW Convention (There are pictures of the American mounted militia figures that I have converted from existing Minden and F&D figures),  various work in progress projects of the members, book recommendations for the AWI and SYW periods, artillery effectiveness in the SYW and the merits or not of selling your miniatures.

If you are a regular following of this blog, then I think that you will enjoy your experience of participating or reading the topics on the forum.

Cowpeas Project Update 

I needed some South Carolina mounted militia figures to use in the game, and since Fife & Drum Miniatures does not yet have such figures, I decided to try my hand at converting some existing figures into mounted militia.

These are fairly easy to do. I did one head swap taking the head from a civilian train driver with brimmed hat, doing the guillotine business on a 1st Continental dragoon firing pistol and voila, a militia dragoon wearing a brimmed hat.

I then selected the civilian train driver wearing coat and tricorn hat and simply affixed a musket to his back and made a string musket sling out of green epoxy putty to help hold the musket onto the figure.

Next there are three variants of the civilian train driver wearing just a waistcoat and a brimmed hat. One version cut out the whip in the right hand and placed a musket in the hand; next was to simply add a blanket roll to the figure and a feed bag to the saddle, the third included the feedbag and a sword strapped around the waist.

I kind of rushed the putty work and it gave me a few ideas on how to make the figures even better. Several people have encouraged me to make some more conversions so that I can make production castings from them. I would like to do this, but as stated earlier, I would have to improve the quality a little bit more.

Mounted Militia figures converted from existing F&D and Minden figures.

The SC mounted militia figures (as shown in the first picture) shown in their painted state.

Rear view of the SC mounted militia. Figures are converted from (L to R): 1st Continental Dragoon firing pistol (with a head swap), soldier in coat and tricorn (from Minden civilian train driver), militia holding a rifle, militia with sword, and militia with blanket roll. The last three figures are converted from the same civilian train driver figure.

I will be posting more updates on the Cowpens project which culminates in the game that I am hosting at this year's Seven Years War Association Convention on March 31 and April 1, 2017 in South Bend, Indiana at the Waterford Estates Lodge hotel.