I’m in the middle of reading Donald Shomette’s wonderful book on the Chesapeake campaign that resulted in the burning of Washington D.C. and the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1812, Flotilla. Though nominally it’s the tale of Commodore Joshua Barney’s gunboat flotilla on the Patuxent River, it’s really a story about the ease with which the British, with their incredible naval superiority were able to threaten, terrorize and dominate the eastern and western shores of Maryland and Virginia in 1813 and 1814.
The chief instrument of their effective campaign was the Royal Marines. Because I am in charge of assembling forces for the 1814 battle of Bladensburg, I’ll need plenty of Marines for the battle. There were four different units of Royal Marines at the battle, including some light infantry, as well as the Colonial Marines. The Colonial Marines was a unit composed of freed slaves. Though only about one in three escaped or liberated slaves were eligible for service, those who did don the uniform were quite effective at looting, burning, serving as guides, and, when rarely necessary, fighting off the local militias. In all, some 20 stands, or eighty figures are necessary to complete all the Royal Marines at Bladensburg.
I’ve completed seven stands of Old Glory Royal Marines. I like the figures. They aren’t perfect, but certainly adequate. There are some nice variations, they are well proportioned and you certainly can’t beat the price. I painted up four stands of Marine light infantry and stuck them on half bases so they could be in extended order. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. The other three stands are painted as the Colonial Marines. They’re black, with a white officer.
In addition to the Old Glory figures, I have eight stands of Marines I received from Doug Hamm. I painted them long ago, and I am considering a repaint. The base color I use for my redcoats in both War of 1812 and the American Revolution is Vallejo Vermillion. It’s a shade darker than scarlet, but in the same color family. These look to be either Hinchcliffe or Connoisseur. They have that tall, lanky Peter Gilder look to them. Nice figures but single poses. They are my 2nd Battalion Royal Marines, part of the 3rd brigade at Bladensburg.