Thursday, May 14, 2020

Upper Canadian Militia - Volunteers

Back last year when I did my first batch of Canadian Militia for the War of 1812, I suggested I would produce another batch, but was stumped as to what models to use.  Well I eventually made a decision and bought a bunch, which sat and waited on the modelling shelf for months for their moment.

Of course, these days, every painting projects' moment is here!

This image from the old Osprey book on the British and Canadian forces in 1812 was to serve as my inspiration, there are only a few images out there, and few if any contemporary, but the look is typical of English dress of the working classes in that period:

What did I choose in the end as a base for the project?  Well, after looking at all the options, for simplicity of kit and value I went with picking up a couple of Sprues of Perry Austrian infantry off the eBay:

About £4 for 6...
The benefits of these models are the relatively simple, clean uniforms, and have the advantage of some likable elements to the present kit for my purposes; but there would still be a fair amount of work, in short:
  1. cut away all the straps for the knapsack, as I decided I wanted them without it.  This means a lot more work in conversion and assembly, but much less hassle in the painting.  This was a job for a fresh craft knife blade, as steady hand and a lot of patience.  Personally though I've always been better at carving away than sculpting on.  Alas; we'll do some of that too
  2. cut charge pouch, canteen and bayonet from the knapsacks and attach to the backs of the models
  3. sculpt replacement webbing onto the backs of all the models, connecting up the new kit and rebuilding the bread bag and charge pouch straps.
  4. trim the buttons off the gaiters and soften (scrape down) the edges of the trews.  now the gaiters will simply paint over as relatively skinny trousers, which were at least the fashion of the time, even if realistically a bit less likely for the hoi-polloi!  If you really care you could sculpt up baggier pants I guess, but at that point you might as well spend £2.50 a figure on some Knuckleduster Miniatures on import.
  5. cast up some homebrew top hats (see my post on Blue Stuff from last year too).  Trim some of the Austrian heads and mate the two elements, add them and we're good to go!
Only took a few hours once I girded my loins to the task.  I also took a couple of extra bits to make one figure stand out as probably a Sergeant:

In the raw from the side where most of the work is 
So the next task was altogether quicker and more fun, given the general lack of a fixed uniform, as can be seen in the header image.  I went with a good range of browns, creams and washed out blue-greys/blue-greens.  For the kit I decided for simplicity that they would have Quartermaster issued equipment.  This meant that using my typical subtle three-four highlight paint job these came together in just a few hours of painting

We're Canadian, ey?!
The trews more or less painted out okay, and the rest of the models looked exactly how I hoped:

Let's all stand aboot
I decided not to add the armband, so they can do double service as American militia if required.  All wrapped up these are a tidy little addition to the 1812 forces.  I now need to finish another 8 Natives, and some American Cavalry and it's another project I can pin a tail on for a while.


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