Monday, 3 January 2011

Rhode Island Regiment

Front view of officer's group
Well, the figures I bought for this unit are not flats, not really. But the figures are somewhat two-dimensional, as you can see in the front view. This reminded me of the lead-soldiers we cast as boys with metal from lead pipes procured from bombed out houses (no shortage of material in post-war Germany as you can imagine).

Unfortunately only Old Glory offer figures for this valorous regiment, a soldier of whom was depicted by Verger in his famous watercolour. So I had my first experience with this brand. The figures arrived in a plastic bag, somewhat twirled and with U-shaped bayonets and guns. But fortunately only the officer's sword was broken. So he got a new, much sturdier one, of copper sheet.

The miniatures are a bit smaller than my Perry or Front Rank ones, but in a unit of their own, this does not matter so much. They are not too exaggerated in their poses, and the faces of the White officers are less caricature-like than those of the coloured soldiers.
Integrated company

Another company with Indians
Sergeant and Indians (with long hair)
Officer, standard-bearer and drummer

As the regiment did not only consist of Afro-Americans but also Whites and of "Mulattoes and Indians", I had some sculpting at hand to alter some of the figures to have a more multi-ethnic unit. I scratched off some soldiers' Negroid lips, changed their noses and hair with the help of painter's putty, and gave them a European and Indian skin colour. Not too difficult, it turned out. My two Narrangansett Indians got long hair and have put on war paint (although this was rather improbable in reality).
Attacking column

The uniform was no big problem, thanks to Verger's sketch and David R. Wagner's research. For the flag I had to do some researching of my own, though. In the beginning there were two Rhode Island regiments, each with a slightly different flag. In 1781 the First Rhode Island Regiment (The Black Regiment) was amalgamated with the Second, and the new regiment that fought at Yorktown together with the French Allies, had a flag that was nearly identical with that of the Second Rhode Island Regiment.

1st Rhode Island Regiment

2nd Rhode Island Regiment