State Volunteers in the Philippines

I’ve switched my priorities for the Philippines to painting some Americans.  I’ve been focusing on Old Glory Americans.  Coming 30 to a bag, I can squeeze two units out of each pack.  I only buy OG figure types I can’t get from 1898 Miniaturas.  These include state volunteers, Marines, sailors and some mounted cavalry.

Volunteers 2

Old Glory Volunteers. Though the angles and crevices created by the angles of the rifles can pose some challenges, they are still quite good figures.

The Old Glory figures lack the elegance of the Spanish miniatures, but they are sturdy and representative of the period.  They aren’t as nice as 1898 Miniaturas, but much better in proportion and casting quality than Tiger Miniatures. I also seem to still have an Old Glory Army membership, so when I get logged in they are very inexpensive.

The Philippine-American War is separate from, but very related to outcome of the Spanish American War.  That war, and the subsequent conflict in Asia found the U.S. Army woefully unprepared for the conflict, depending as they did on a small frontier army, dispersed in small units across the country to keep the peace on the borders, near recently pacified native populations.

As the army did during the Civil War, it depended on states to supply volunteer troops as war broke out against a more modern, better-equipped European power with outposts flung, literally, around the world.  We remember Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders as the chief non-regular army unit in Cuba.  But there were others from New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois that served in Cuba from the action Las Guasimas to the siege of Santiago.

With most of the regular army tied down in the Caribbean, and a budding rebellion to quell in the newly acquired U.S. colony in the Philippines, the army turned to the states to supply the bulk of troops.   13,000 of the 15,000 troops deployed to take over Manila from the Spanish were volunteers from California, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, Kansas, Montana, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington.

Volunteer troops in the Philippines looked similar to US regulars with the dark blue serge shirt, light blue pants, with light brown drab hats and leggings.  State volunteers were mustered back to the US after the first year of the war in favor of federalized US volunteers, so they tended not to have the later brown khaki shirts and pants of troops that appeared after ’99.

A critical difference between volunteers and regulars was in their arms.  US regular infantry and cavalry in the Philippines were armed with the Krag-Jorgensen .30-.40 magazine rifle or carbine that fired smokeless powder cartridges. There were not sufficient Krags to arm the volunteers, so they were given the venerable 1873 model “trap-door” Springfield rifles. These single-shot weapons fired a black-powder cartridge, which left their owners in a more revealing position when fighting Mauser-armed Spanish and Philippine republic troops, though the equal of those with the rolling block Remingtons also widely used.

Volunteer units performed well in the Philippines.  They participated in the campaigns around Manila, assaulted Philippine trenches and blockhouses, and despite their outdated firearms, usually out-shot and out-fought their often better-armed opponents.

Painting the Old Glory figures require persistence.  Many of the rifles are at unfortunate angles and it is critical to remember to get a brush in those hard to reach places with primer (because your spray won’t get there) as well as your paint colors.  I went with Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue for the basic shirt color, and then dry brushed with a mix of DPB and Vallejo Light Gray.  The blue is very thick, so thinning is advised. The pants are painted Vallejo Light Blue-Grey, and the hat and leggings are painted Vallejo Beige-Brown and highlighted. I’ve gone to using Vallejo Neutral Grey for the metal parts of rifles, rather than gunmetal or something else.  I think that works best for late 19th century firearms.

I’ve also acquired additional figures from OG that 1898 Miniaturas show no signs of producing.  These include U.S. Marines, sailors and mounted cavalry.  I’ve finished two of units of Marines.  Not surprisingly, they very much resemble the volunteer figures.  That’s kind of a OG model for completing their ranges.  Honestly there aren’t a lot of differences–the cap replaces the broad-brimmed campaign hat, the shirts are wrong, I think.  The sleeves would have been longer, though the figures do have a higher collar.  Rifles are correct on the model as the Marines carried the unique bolt-action Lee Straight Pull Rifle.

Marines 2


I have tried to stick to my pledge of twelve figures per week and if you average things out, I”ve sort of done that.

July 8th–12 OG Marines plus 8 buffalo of various manufactures.  Remounted one unit of AWI for Rebels and Patriots (which doesn’t really count toward a painting goal.)

July 15th–Finished 5 West Wind buffalo-didn’t quite wrap up those twelve Marines I was working on.  Did remount four American units and one British unit for Rebels and Patriots.

July 22nd–Finished 12 Marines and 8 buffalo from Monday Knight Productions.

So, 45 figures over three weeks, plus some remounting projects.  I’ll take it.  I’ve also started working on William Washington’s 3rd Continental Dragoons for Rebels and Patriots as well as the next round of volunteers for the Philippines.

Status of the Philippine American War project–Five completed American units, six completed Philippine units. About 35% of project complete not including terrain making.

If you’re on Facebook-and I know many of you are not.

I get it if you’re not as more Facebook stupid stuff is revealed every day.  But there are some interesting miniature gaming groups on Facebook, including a Naval Miniatures group, an Air Miniatures group, and a Northwest Historical Miniature Gaming group.

This week David Sullivan created a Vintage Miniature Wargaming Rules Group that has just been hilarious to watch.  All the rules that posters have shared.  It’s been great.  Only a couple of rules sets have been trashed and most are simply haloed by fond memories.  Great job David. Here are some that I have shared. (Yes, I do actually own them, and lament the passing of many sets I once owned but no longer have.)


2 comments on “State Volunteers in the Philippines

  1. Clyde Carpenter says:

    Very nice article Kevin. I enjoyed your description of the various figures used in your project . I will try your 12 figures a week idea too, as I have always been a slow painter. I still have a copy of the old Gush rules and army lists.

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