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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Saturday 7 November 2020

The War of 1812

As many of us have been glued to our TV screens this week as the US elections play out, it seemed an appropriate time to put in some work on my long outstanding War of 1812 project. This originated in a classic case of wargamers disease after I visited the battlefields around the Niagara River a couple of years ago, and more recently finished the excellent historical fiction series on the war written by A.J Mackenzie. 

The War of 1812, also called The American War 1812-14, started when the USA declared war against Britain and invaded the colonies in what is now Canada. The ostensible cause was the Royal Navy's impressment of American seamen, although imperialist American politicians also regarded Canada as unfinished business from the revolution. Thomas Jefferson thought the war would be quickly over given the small British garrison, "a mere matter of marching". It didn't quite turn out that way. The invasions of Canada were repulsed and the war ground to a halt with a peace treaty in 1814. The border has remained ever since.

I decided to do this project in 15mm, primarily for speed and cost reasons, and I have plenty of British troops of the period. Looking at the figure options I decided on Old Glory figures, even if the packs are a little on the large size. I plan to mainly use the 'Rebels and Patriots' rules, which suit the many small scale engagements that were a feature of the war. 

First up is the US Rifle regiment, one of the better quality units and I like the uniform.

Then the militia who made up the bulk of the US army of the period. The quality of these troops varied considerably and were not always uniformed. Hunting shirts were popular, particularly in the summer.

Next the artillery - more than I really need but a consequence of the pack sizes.

There is a similar issue with the cavalry. I really only need one unit but have enough for three. Still, they will work if I do a game using the Black Powder rules. These are the rather splendid US Light Dragoons.

Finally, some Major-Generals.

That's enough to get a balanced force on the table. I have a Zoom game planned with an American friend who will be pleased with the election outcome. I have promised not to burn the White House down this time!

I have US line infantry and some Canadian militia still to finish and that is the project done. At least until the next outbreak of wargamers disease!


  1. I see what you mean about the rifle regiment uniform! Nice looking units all round. I shouldm imagine you could use those militia for the Texican War too if you ever get the urge.

    1. Good point although I don't need any encouragement to drift into a new period!

  2. Nice work - I have the riflemen too but mine are in a much more lurid "electric" green - maybe I overdid it, but it seemed to match a number of coloured illustrations I found. The Old Glory range is pretty good for this period

    1. I know what you mean, although the Osprey colour plate I used is darker. I dulled down the Canadian militia as well and they look very different from my bright scarlet British Line painted many years ago. In practice the rigours of the weather, unstable dyes etc would result in a more varied and battered range of uniforms than our miniature warriors. It is strange that I have no compunction in showing this for ancient and medieval figures but baulk at doing the same for my shiny Napoleonics!