The Great Puget Sound Snowpocalypse of 2019 played havoc with the school schedule, but it did contribute to progress on Smyth’s painting table. I wrapped up the light infantry and militia for the Concord project. I also began work on the grenadiers for the same battle.
But I took some time out to work on a different unit for my Philippine-American War project. I decided to do one of the Tagalog tribal units. These unit were pretty ubiquitous, particularly on the islands other than Luzon where firearms could be a bit less plentiful. In The Men Who Would Be Kings, these are 18-figure units. No rayadillo to worry about. Most of the figures would be wearing white.
Miniaturas 1898 has some very nice figures for Tagalog insurrectos, as opposed to the troops in the Republican army. They have figures armed with just bolos, the long machete-like knives the tribal troops became infamous for. There is also a pack of fighters armed with mixed melee and missile troops, including bamboo spears, bows and arrows and even a crossbow. I added these troops together with six rifle armed figures to give me the kind of mixed shooter and melee troops I was looking for. I gave them one of the “special” Antonio Bonifacio figures as a leader and standard bearer.
Hard to see the rayadillo in the photos, much easier to see with your eye. It’s hard to paint, but very satisfying when finished.
The unit was pretty easy to paint. Most have a first coat of Vallejo Grey-White. Then I highlight with white and go back and paint the creases with a mix of Grey-White and Vallejo Light Grey. It provides a decent contrast with the light base color without the starkness of just Light Grey alone. I also used Vallejo Tan Earth, lightened for highlight, as well as Vallejo Flat Red. The latter I highlighted with Scarlet, and then lightened for a second highlight.
All this highlighting and drybrushing is kind of new to me, so I’m learning a lot with this project. But it’s fun and hasn’t turned out badly. I’ve also changed my rifle-painting for this project. Instead of using metal, I’ve gone to Vallejo Neutral Gray for the barrels and gun furniture, It’s still a darkish color without the sheen of a metal color. The Philippine troops would have used Remington Rifles with a few of the modern Mausers thrown in. The Americans would have used Krag-Jorgensen rifles and carbines, with volunteer troops and the Philippine Scouts using old trapdoor Springfields.
I did make a purchase this month. I picked up a pack of Old Glory U.S. Cavalry from their Spanish American War range. There isn’t a rush to do them. I’m sure I’ll stick to the Philippine figures until what I have is done or nearly so. I also picked up their bag of U.S. volunteers.
Originally the Volunteers were drawn from the states, and they served generally quite effectively in the campaign outside of Manila. They are replaced by regulars and U.S. Volunteers as the battle shifts north and south away from capital. The difference is the weapons the state volunteers begin the campaign with 1873 “trapdoor” Springfield. They use it fairly effectively, but it is not a repeating rifle, just a breech-loader, and it fires black powder cartridges. There is a battalion of Washington State Volunteers on Luzon, together with a battery of artillery, and homer that I am, you can imagine what I’ll be painting.
Looking at the Old Glory range, they have a couple more desirable packs. I’m sure that at some point I will also order a bag each of sailors and Marines. These troops played a valuable role in the amphibious operations that were necessary in all parts of the archipelago.
With all the snow, we had to postpone our big Concord walk-through all the way to March 23rd. I’ll have all the troops I need to paint completed by then. I’m anxious to finish the 36 grenadiers I have left so I can paint–anything I bloody well please. Got lots I’d like to mess around with.