I’ve waxed on about the 1898 Miniaturas Spanish American War/Philippine-American War range. Make no mistake, they are very nice miniatures. I’m writing this from summer journalism camp and I’m plotting how I will use my part of my stipend to purchase miniatures for a couple of my projects–final plane purchases for Malta, and acquiring more 1898 Miniaturas for the Philippines.
Don’t fret. It will be my big purchase for the year, and it will provide a handy stockpile that should obviate a need for any further major purchases. Don’t laugh. I’m trying to be proactive here.
1898 Miniaturas has some really beautiful figures, but I gotta tell you, there are some significant holes in the range if we’re talking about the Philippines, or even Cuba for that matter. There are no mounted troops. None for the Spanish and none for the Americans. Any American army for the Philippines needs at least one unit of cavalry, and probably two. The dismounted cavalry figures are cool, and they were in both Cuba and Luzon, but mounted guys would be great. No American machine guns or Gatlings. That’s a problem. The only American artillery available are 3.2′ inch guns that are really nice, but a mountain gun is a must. For those guns, it would be nice to have limbers and draught animals. Philippine Scouts, mounted and dismounted and Philippine Constabulary would contribute toward some great scenarios. American sailors and Marines seem like a must.
The releases by 1898 Miniaturas come slowly, but hopefully we’ll see see more of these soon. I’m planning a big order with my camp wages, but I’m not resting on my laurels and hoping the Spanish company fills in their range. I’ve turned to UK company Tiger Miniatures to fill in some of the gaps.
Let’s be clear, Tiger’s figures aren’t as nice as the 1898 minis. But they aren’t bad. They are a bit chunkier and lack some of the deal and variety between figures. But they are decent and definitely fill in some of 1898’s holes. I took a chance and ordered from Tiger’s U.S. distributor Recreational Conflict in Kentucky.
Three photos of the Tiger Miniatures. From left. The American mountain gun includes two crew and a mule. Top right is the unit of Philippine Scouts (though they are made of the Tiger Philippine Constabulary figures. The officer and bugler on the right are from the Tiger U.S. Command pack. Lower right are U.S. Army with Colt machine gun. Deployed version left and packed version right.
1898 does a great job with the basics. The infantry is there. They offer flags and some artillery, and even a few personality figures. But nothing on a horse, and nothing outside your basic Americans, Spanish and Philippine guys with a gun or a bolo. I selected a few Tiger Minitatures I thought would help out.
One unit I felt I had to have was a unit of Philippine scouts. There were about 1,500 of these fellows in American service, they were quite good if somewhat vindictive, and they would be a great add to a scenario. So I ordered some of these guys . . . sort of. Tiger also offers figures for the Philippine Constabulary, native police intended to keep the peace in large towns. But they got it wrong. They put the scouts in a fez, which I’ve never seen any photos for. They put the constabulary in the U.S. slouch hat, which the scouts wore with a red band around the edging. So I bought the constabulary together with a U.S. command pack. I am not unhappy with the product.
I also ordered some additional bits. I grabbed a Colt machine gun deployed and one being packed about. Brian McAllistar Linn makes a couple of references to single Colts in his essential The Philippine War 1899-1902. I also ordered a mountain howitzer. It’s nice but only comes with two crew, sadly. The Americans simply had difficulty dragging around their 3.2″ field guns as the battlefield got further from Manila and deeper into jungle, swamp and broken terrain. I don’t have the sense there were loads of mountain guns, but, again, Linn makes reference to them. I’d like to eventually order a stack of the mules offered. They look workmanlike and quite servicable.
As to the rest of their figures, if you’re interested in this period and for some reason find the 1898 Miniaturas perilous, these will do. They’d also work with the Old Glory range, which likewise has holes. I am not terribly wild about the US mounted cavalry figures. They seem very stiff and cartoonish from photos, so that might be something to avoid.
Just a quick add, Recreational Miniatures was super easy to work with. When there was a snag with my order, he contacted me immediately and we arranged a substitution. The order arrived very quickly, about a week after a weekend order. Not the best packing job, but everything came in one piece. I would definitely recommend.
The next couple of weeks I’ll mostly be at home, and trying to be a painting fool. The last two weeks of the month I’ll be back and forth between home and school, with time in the evening to get stuff done. These are the items I hope to get done this month:
Crucible Crush Flint and Feather figures nearly completed. Hope to wrap them up tonight. Right, a Huron warrior with Turtle standard. Every brush stroke has been an absolute pleasure. I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed painting a figure range so much.
19 Flint and Feather Indians for my project with David Sullivan. Those are all the figures I expect to need along with the five already done, so figures will be pretty much done.
Two Acheson longhouses–I actually I have four of these, so if I can squeeze all these in now, that would be great. But I’ve had these for many years, so if it’s two in August and two in September, that’s fine too.
24 Old Glory HYW Longbowmen. This will wrap up all the longbows I have and advance my HYW project that much farther.
Six Fiat BR 20 Cicogna bombers waiting for paint. Soon. Soon. Four from the Dave Smith bounty, two more from Heroics and Ros. Six more are on the way from Scotia.
Six Fiat BR 20 Cicogna bombers. These are ugly little bastards, and shouldn’t take long to wrap up.
Eight Scotia Hurricane IIC’s. These appeared in the mail while I was at camp, and look pretty nice. At 80p, they were a lot less expensive than the very nice GHQ planes at two for twelve bucks.
The Big Buys
I’m safely back from camp with my well-earned stipend. I get to keep half and the other half goes to pay off part or our wonderful summer trip. A big chunk of it will go toward the Philippine project. Americans, Philippine troops and even a few Spanish will join my growing pile of unpainted lead. Which means I need to start painting. I should begin in September. I’ve ordered from Badger games and Wisconsin, and they ‘ve already informed me my order will have to go out mid-week because they are out of some of the flags I’ve requested. Remember when it took a month or more to get shipments from Modeler’s Mart? The rest gets sent to the UK for the remaining planes I need for the Malta campaign. Some Brits, some Germans and some Italians. I’ve already gotten word from Robbie that they are working on it. Soon I’ll be up to my neck with more unpainted lead. What’s wrong with this picture?