Painting AWI American Militia Update

Work is progressing on my American War of Independence (AWI) American Militia army for use with Warlord Games’ Black Powder rules by Rick Priestley et al. I have completed the next batch of six militia men. They were painted differently from the first batch as part of portraying the ragtag militia nature.

GW’s foundation paints are a godsend. They evenly cover the model and provide a great surface for successive coats to adhere to. On this batch of six infantry the paint scheme is alternated at such:

Brown coats/tops
Black hats
Black shoes
Green pants
Blue accessories (haversacks, backpacks, etc)
Brown guns/metallic barrels
Flesh skin tone.

The painting process was further simplified on the new models in anticipation of painting an entire army’s worth of miniatures. Each was primed with Chaos Black, base coated with the foundation paint of the appropriate shade, inked with a related tone, and then highlighted with an appropriate color dry brushed on before receiving two coats of ‘Ardcoat and one coat of Testor’s Dullcote.

Since last time I purchased Thraka Green wash, which creates a nice effect on the green pants. The trousers are major real estate on these models and it is important that they look good. The Knarloc Green/Thraka Green/Goblin Green combination just works. The same is true for the Mordian Blue/Asurmen Blue/Regal Blue palette.

When painting the coats I tried something, which didn’t work as planned. For the dry brushed highlight I was at a loss. Snakebite Leather and Dark Flesh both interested me. I tried a dry brush of Snakebite Leather but it just didn’t look right. Luckily, one model was the guinea pig and after two coats of gloss varnish it doesn’t look half bad. I changed over to Dark Flesh for the rest of the figures. It creates a nice definition between the surface and the recesses on the coats. But, it almost blends too much with the base coat and the ink wash.

Before I began painting these models I knew they would be completed in a short period of time. So, I bent the promise I made where I would not purchase any new models until I completely painted models already in my possession. I ordered a 6pdr battery and more militia infantry from The Warstore (my FLGS cannot get Perry Miniatures for me).

The question now becomes what do I paint next? My options are:

1) Southern Militia Command (my wife picked the drummer and standard bearer versions for me to paint)
2) More militia infantry (I have 1-2 “blisters” of 6 guys each)
3) The cannon.

I want to reward myself for finishing 12 models. That is almost a full infantry unit for me. My reward could be painting six more infantry thereby finishing my first infantry unit. It could be painting the command squad of leader, musician, and standard bearer. Or, it could be painting the cannon with crew.

What do you think I should paint next as my reward?

15 Comments on “Painting AWI American Militia Update”

  1. Adrian

    If we’re going to go with 16 figures as our base ‘normal sized’ infantry unit, I’d paint 4 more militiamen, that’ll give you a regiment. Then I’d reward myself with doing the artillery and crew (and limber if you have one).

    I have 10 more Hessian musketeers laid out on the table to be prepped tonight. When they’re done I’ll have 16 painted, but not based. I ordered some 40mm x 40mm Renedra bases from the Warstore, but now find that the order is delayed since they’re out of stock. They weren’t listed as out of stock on the website when I ordered though (or obviously I wouldn’t have ordered them) so I’m more than a little put out with The Warstore at the moment.

    No huge hurry I guess since the minis aren’t all painted yet anyway, but still…

    1. Jonathan J. Reinhart Post author

      That’s a good idea. If I paint more guys, then I’ll just do another blister/box (seriously, what are we supposed to call those things?) of 6 guys because of my assembly line method. The remaining 2 guys would start off the next unit.

      That cannon really tempts me and provides a great excuse to pick up more metallic paints. I have Boltgun Metal and I think Chainmail but am lacking the rest. Dwarf Bronze and Tin Bitz could be interesting choices. I did come across an intriguing article at Dakka Dakka on using washes to “stain” the metallic paints. Check it out at

      I have a strong love of cannons and may find myself so enraptured that I wish to field a plethora of the dang things. The downside is it requires assembly, nothing major, to field. I’m going to paint it before assembling to make it easy to reach all the internal areas.

      Might I suggest the GW bases or just making your own out of plasticard? I bought a bunch of the GW bases from BG, which I intend to use. I may buy, or make, movement trays too. GF9 would be another option for bases, and movement trays.

      Are you planning to base a unit at a time or the entire army in a go? Over the weekend Derek was working on a Orc & Goblin army for WFB. He based it a unit at a time using a big bag of sand he purchased from Home Depot. He keeps it in one of those 5 gallon buckets, used an old coffee mug to scoop up the substrate, “painted” on the white glue (he didn’t like the GW PVA, moved on to Elmer’s white glue but I’m a fan of wood glue if you can get it cheaply) to the base (I usually water mine down a little to ensure it gets everywhere), and then dipped the figure into the mug before shaking off the excess. I imagine he’ll paint the sand, which is not something I’d want to do.

      1. Adrian

        I looked at the GF9 magnetic bases. They’re a bit pricey though, and I don’t love the rubbery feel they have. I doubt paint and whatnot would stick to them very well.

        What I would actually like to do is base each individual figure on its own thin metal magnetic 20mm x 20mm base and then stick 4 of these on a thin metal 40mm x 40mm base. This would give a lot of flexibility and would be especially useful for units that are able to go into skirmish order. I haven’t been able to find a supplier for anything like this though.

        As for your desire to field a flock of cannons, keep in mind a.) they aren’t wonder weapons by any means, at least not in BP and b.) if infantry or cavalry touches them, they die.

        1. Jonathan J. Reinhart Post author

          That’s why I need to “dirty” them up! They’ll already look battle-damaged so the enemy will ignore them. Seriously though I agree with you. Using the Battle of Olustee as an example I saw how ineffective they could easily be.

  2. Henry Hyde

    Finish your infantry unit, including the colour party, then paint a cannon with three or four crewmen (and a horse or two to pull it) as a reward. For basing, I recommend very thin MDF or plywood, or thick card (old beermats are good). You probably have someone in the States like doing cheap, thin bases en masse.

    If you can’t stand the idea of painting sand, then it’s simple: just mix wood glue, sand and green paint up together in an old tub or spray can lid and smear that over the base with an old brush or coffee stirrer. A light green or yellowish drybrush when it’s dry, job done. Add a few brown mud patches, rocks and tufts of grass if you feel like it.

    Remember your cannon barrels are mostly polished bronze, which looks like brass. I find that the GW Shining Gold, followed by a wash of Devlan Mud, then highlighted with Burnished Gold, looks perfect.

    See Giles Allison’s brilliant Tarleton’s Quarter blog for inspiration

    1. Jonathan J. Reinhart Post author

      Giles’ work is both inspiring and terrifying at the same time if that makes any sense. I look and think “how awesome, that looks great” and those thoughts are quickly followed by “I can never make it look that good…why bother” :(

      I was considering Dwarven Bronze (or Tin Bitz) with perhaps an ink wash, I do like that Devlan Mud, for a quick and dirty (pun intended) barrel. The GW bases I picked up should be suitable for me. Adrian, I think you could use another source. Three packs of the Citadel Square Bases and one pack of the Citadel Round Bases are in my possession. Unfortunately, they are a tad expensive at $8.25 per bag. The bags do include:

      Round Bases
      20 25mm Round
      5 40mm Round (monster)
      1 60mm Round
      5 Bike Bases

      Square Bases
      20 20mm Square
      12 25mm Square
      5 40mm Square (regiment)
      5 Cavalry Bases

      My thinking was the round would be good for characters, unit leaders, artillery and anything that doesn’t need to base up such as Regulars in skirmish order and Irregulars (mainly). The square bases are better for ranking up and so everyone else goes on them. Yes, the cavalry too.

      Diane Sutherland’s article titled Meet the flockers has some great advice on making homemade flock, which is a little different than what you suggest Henry. It looks good but is a thicker and coarser consistency than the sand, which may produce a better result for the infantry.

      I’m tempted to create a “cool” vignette style piece for unit leaders/army leader/artillery pieces using the Woodland Scenics field grass, lichen, and branches I have. The field grass takes longer to set and dry but produces a nice result. The lichen could be interesting and the branches would make nice logs for an impromptu defensive redoubt for those cannon. Not sure if it’ll happen but maybe. I still need to spray Dullcote on my latest 6 militia.

      The consensus, so far, seems to be for me to finish my first infantry unit (to some degree) and then tackle the cannon. Horses didn’t come with this piece, it is AW101. So, suggestions for 28mm horses (at what I consider a reasonable price…coming from my GW background) are welcomed. The Perry options for horse and cannon, with limber, are 3pdr Butterfly or 3pdr (AWI 117 and 119 respectively) but not the 6pdr like I have. Or, I could go for AWI 128 (see, which costs almost $19 and I don’t really need another cannon…just the horses.

      Despite the significantly higher price I’m planning on picking up some Wargames Foundry items. In particular I want to get (it is out of stock, don’t know if/when it’ll ever be back in stock). That is my only option, so far, for an army general and for mounted unit leaders. could be an option but they are British mounted officers. It may be too difficult to pretend they’re Americans. ($23.99) is tempting because I’m not sure how much I like the Perry’s Mounted Riflemen ( and having mounted close combat could be useful.

      Finally, ($21.99) and ($21.99) are of interest. Having actual Minuteman models would be awesome considering where I live. All of the Foundry stuff is nice but so much more than the other stuff the Perry’s are doing, which makes it difficult to justify the expense. Sadly, I haven’t come across any other more reasonably priced manufacturers that make the pieces I want (cavalry, army general and unit leaders all on horseback, and minutemen) that would fit in with the figures sculpted by the Perry Brothers.

      Maybe one exists but I haven’t come across it yet. :(

      1. Jonathan J. Reinhart Post author

        As a side note I should say that the GW bases and all my GW paints are purchased at my FLGS and other area game stores. I buy the Perry Miniatures and Wargames Foundry, if I get any, online because my FLGS cannot get them and the owner has told me to get them however I need to and for me to not feel badly about doing so. The Woodland Scenics is purchased at The Whiz on Rte 9 East in Westborough, where a large selection of Woodland Scenics products can be found.

        1. Jonathan J. Reinhart Post author

          I blame my peculiar desire to “dirty” everything up so that it might appear as if it spent a decade residing in the mud. Of course, even that desire coupled with the Tin Bitz and Dwarven Bronze wouldn’t result in what I’d be hoping for. Wow….shiny guns is surprisingly different than what I’m used to. Must spend more time thinking about polished artillery. Hmm…maybe I can dirty up the gun carriage……

          As always Henry you keep me on the straight and narrow. I’m eternally grateful to you. But, you’re becoming used to that.

      2. Henry Hyde

        Jonathan — new manufactuer of AWI minis *Stateside* is Fife & Drum, run by one of my contributors Jim Purky. See

        Jim is a really nice guy and an expert on the AWI and 7 Years War. He lives near Chicago — drop him a line.
        Prices: $1.80 per figure, sold as single figures + applicable postage

        My only complaint is that a blog isn’t the ideal vehicle for a commercial range of figures!

        1. Jonathan J. Reinhart Post author

          They look nice, a little slender, but I chalk that up to their 30mm height. The Figure Comparisons post is nice to see. It would be nice to see the F&D figs compared to metal Perrys. Hmm….I wonder…..

          One initial complaint I have, which piggybacks onto your blog remark, is the difficulty I’m experiencing in trying to see all of the models available for sale. Perhaps a list, maybe with pictures, would be helpful.

          I’m game to give them a try though.

  3. Cort N


    I just got my British line. I thought that would be a safe bet at this point. I did not know what other people where ordering. I probably should have ordered French. If I ever finish painting them, I will order some continentals to balance thing out. 16 is the base unit?

    I am presently planning on using Yellow or Blue for facings.

    For basing, I was thinking of using 3/4″ Fender washers with a magnetic moving tray. This would give me the flexibility to build the unit to your specs. and use them for skirmish games too.

    For the magnetic tray, I use business card magnets and balsa wood.

    Does that make sense?

  4. Cort N

    For Cannon, I agree with Mr. Hyde. I would use a gold with a black wash then dull coat.