Sunday, 4 December 2016

AWI: The Problem With Light Infantry

So here's my first British light infantry unit for Black Powder: Rebellion! and the American War of Independence, which I painted last year while getting a commission done for some other Brits.

This unit has yellow facings and cuffs and really could be for any of the units with this regimental colouring - e.g. 6th, 9th, 10th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 20th, 26th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 34th, 37th, 38th, 44th, 46th 57th.

There are however, several minor but nevertheless enjoyable issues to overcome when producing British light infantry in this scale, for this period and rule set.

Firstly, for plastics, the only figures available are the A Call to Arms range's Set 65 British Infantry 1775 which contains British light infantry and grenadiers. Although these are highly detailed with accurate proportions and uniform, they're a little bit short.

Left to Right: Imex officer with helmet conversion, ACTA LI, IMEX Drummer, ACTA LI, Revell Jager (SYW Austrian)

Against the Accurate/IMEX figures they're short and against the other figures in this range and other periods close by, they are even shorter - almost by a head - closer to 18mm than 20mm/25mm.

As you can see, for instance, the IMEX drummer is a giant of a man compared to the light bobs. So what's to be done?

Cuban Heals is the answer or more precisely Cuban Bases. These guys and the shorter Accurate/IMEX figures are getting high heals in the form of 3mm thick bases from Litko, while the taller figure ranges get thin plastic or card for their bases.

This at least puts everyone's head near the right height which works well for units and for festooning the Brit LI battalions with command and musicians, then shaving off the molded plastic base on IMEX figures also evens the playing field.

The next issue, to overcome confusion during a game regarding which stand belongs to which unit, is how to dress the unit.

For this war it was common practice to combine companies of light infantry and grenadiers into their own battalions, stripping them from the line regiments to form their own units.

In a period where the only real discernible difference between regiments were the colours of facings and cuffs, this creates an issue.

Although BP: Rebellion! has many different (awesome) scenarios and hence unit size for these troops (they can be Small, Standard or Large), if sticking to history then each base in a unit should have a different colouring; and each unit of LI (and grenadiers for that matter), should have several colour facings/cuffs.

As light infantry regiments weren't formed until a few years after this conflict, in the early 19th century, you can either go with different colours and potentially get confused - i.e. which green stand goes with which unit, or paint the entire battalion in one facing/cuff colour.

As I wanted some LI unit's at battalion level and to act 'in line' with the cool shooty stats, I've opted for one facing/cuff colour for this unit which is technically incorrect but at least looks cool (unless of course the LI companies were taken from several line battalions, all with yellow facings - :o !).

It'll probably turn out that it really doesn't matter in terms of playability and each base will get its own colours to represent an individual company at battalion level. The rest will be formed as small skirmishing units in any case.

In fact I've probably overthought the problem but:

a) even with the molded base cut away, that drummer is huge! That's the last time I use one on the same base as the ACTA figures!

b) at least the hobby has, yet again, taken up a decent amount of my time and prevented me from hiring prostitutes and doing drugs :)

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