Saturday, 9 May 2020

American War of Independence Commanders & New Sabot Bases

It was way back at the end of October last year that I last posted on my AWI Niagara-Mohawk Campaign collection of figures when I presented the last addition to the collection which were my Butler's Rangers conversions and a selection of Iroquois Indians, before Warlord Games launched their 1:700th range of Napoleonic ships that set me off on another tangent to build a quite different collection.

AWI - Butler's Rangers & Iroquois Indians
AWI -British Light Infantry
AWI - Kings Royal Regiment of New York

The Burning of the Valleys, by Gavin K. Watt provided the inspiration to work on my AWI Collection and the cover artwork captures the look of the British and Allied troops that fought along the Niagara-Mohawk frontier, that I wanted with my general officers 

As well as just indulging myself by 'sailing off'', if you'll excuse the pun, on another project, the ship building allowed me to pause on the AWI collection as I considered how I wanted to base my figures using an appropriate sabot set up.

This portrait of Sir John Johnson provided the inspiration for the look of my
sword waving British General Officer dressed in 1760's style dress regulation, rather than the more 
campaign style dress code of his likely subordinates, seen worn by the other general officers.

This plan incorporated the rather nice sabots from  Supreme Littleness Designs (SLD), who uniquely offer sabots with card rather than mdf bases, giving them a much reduced profile and with their irregular cut edges, a more softened look on the table.

Until recently SLD had been reorganising their business, which entailed their ordering page to be deactivated during the process, and so I took the time to focus on ships during that time and as soon as they were available ordered up the new bases together with some pill bases for my mounted commanders for which I had painted the figures in early November but were unbased and not ready to show.

I really like the SLD Command sabots that allow a space at the back to place an identifier marking to make spotting a particular commander on the table that bit easier but keeping things relatively unobtrusive and I had used them before with my Augustus to Aurelian collection of Romano-Dacians.

Command Sabot Bases for Augustus to Aurelian

The bases are marked up in a similar style to the command chits used in Sharp Practice and help make the relevant commander stand out from his units.

The mounted British commanders are completed to represent Royal Regiment of New York senior officers together with Sir John Johnson, Officer commanding on the Niagra Frontier and as well as my foot commands for my Rangers and Indians I now have 'Mad Dog' mounted, wearing his Seven Years War British Colonel's jacket and tricorne.

As well as the British and their Indian allies, I have started to put the first parts of the American part of the collection together with my mounted American Militia general officers, suitably adorned in a mix of military and civilian garb and the infantry I put together for a Devon Wargames Group club game have been rebased ready to join others when I get the opportunity to add them over time.

The look of my American militia units and their commanders will take inspiration from pictures such as this of the defenders of Breeds Hill by Don Troiani

The Perry militia officers are such a nice set of sculpts and will add lots of character to my American army of State and colonial militiamen.

However with Spanish naval reinforcements ordered up and two other projects to get done before they arrive, I will turn my attention next to the medieval period with some Perry plastic 28mm hobilars currently underway that I am painting for a friend.

More Anon 


  1. Aaargh! Another 'revised' edition, in this case 'The Burning of the Valleys'. I always wish they would be explicit about what has changed and whether it's anything substantial. Has my old edition just got a few typos and/or poorer maps or has the American Rebellion failed and the French now won Waterloo? A revision always suggests that new evidence has been found causing the author to change their interpretation of history, so do I need to buy a new edition or not?

    1. Hi Rob,
      Ha! Yes I know the feeling, I'm very happy with my original edition picked up from Foyle's in London back in the late ninetees, and I don't think I will be getting a revised edition anytime soon as I'm sure it will contain the latest thinking on the dress code for Butler's Rangers which is interesting but not exactly earth changing to the fundamental facts that underlie the campaigns described in the book.

      Instead I think I will focus my efforts on recreating the look and the exploits of Butler's Rangers, The Kings Royal Regiment of New York and Brandt's Indians on the wargaming table, as my preferred way of interpreting some of the key aspects of those times.


  2. Your smiling face on the reply made me click on your profile - Devon! You lucky man, no wonder you're smiling! Most of my childhood (and many adult) holiday memories are of Devon and I went to Uni in Exeter but jobs were not so easy to find down there. I still have several friends from then, mainly in Plymouth, so occasionally go to PAW to catch up. Keep posting as I regularly check your blog for a bit of motivation when the lead pile gets too threatening.

  3. I like the concept of sabot bases and I'm seeing more and more of them in use across a range of blogs. Note to self: check then out for my WW2 project. The "Mad Dog" figure certainly adds a lot of character to your collection. Cheers Greg

  4. Thanks chaps.

    The AWI in general and the Niagara frontier in particular lends itself well to using large skirmish rule-sets such as Sharp Practice or indeed Rebels & Patriots where individual figures are removed to indicate losses and sabot basing comes in handy to facilitate that. Likewise WWII and the spread out empty battlefield is equally suitable for their use a Chain of Command is one I would use them for.

    I did like the idea that Michael Leck came up with in Rebels & Patriots where he based his figures in threes, twos and singles to build units, removing and bringing back figures to show the losses as required as an alternative to sabots and making groups look a lot less defined than a larger formation.

    I was tempted to go down that route, but we play a lot of Sharp Practice in the club with others using sabots so I opted to adopt the club approach.

    The Perry Miniatures are a class above, and their character is something you start to come to take a bit for granted after a while, but I really like the look and the attention to detail, which makes painting them so much fun.


  5. Very nice AWI miniatures JJ, this period has always interested me. I look forward to seeing these on the table at some point mate 👍😁