I don’t know how others do it, but like most wargamers I have more than one thing going on. In a moment of Covid-boredom, I counted my projects. There are over 40–something like 43. Some, like my Song of Drums of Tomahawks project–Beaver Wars in the 17th century–are quite small-26 figures. Others, like my Hundred Years War project are massive and beyond numbers. I’d guess at over a 1,000 with many, many unpainted figures.
So wrapping up a big project is a big deal. Today I finished my last figures for the Philippine-American War. For those not in the know, this little-known conflict lasted from 1899-1903 and was fought by the United States against armed rebels throughout the Philippine archipelago. It’s different than Moro rebellion which officially began later, and was largely confined to Mindanao.
No, I had a specific reason for choosing the Philippines. I view the conflict as America’s most important foreign imperial experience including regular troops and volunteers from all over the U.S. America suffered about 4,200 war dead and the conflict offered a preview of what fighting a guerrilla war in Asia might look like. Though the U.S. achieved its war aims but the cost to the Filipinos was horrendous as death estimates vary from 200,000 to three million. The army that fought the war included elements of local Washington volunteers-the kind of thing that always gets my attention. I was at a point where I was really interested in a colonial project and I decided this was it.
Three years ago (2017) I began buying figures for the project. I was drawn to the 1898 Miniaturas figures though I took at look at the Old Glory range and Tiger Miniatures as well. It was clear that the basics of the range had to be from 1898, but there were also holes, and I could fill those from the other makers. I detailed availability here. Today I’ll finish basing the final unit.
Overall this was a project based on the 1898 range. I estimate 350 of the nearly 500 figures were from 1898. They were a pleasure to paint. The figures were varied and authentic. The American Krag-Jorgensen rifles were very Krag-like with their goofy side-loading magazines. The Philippine militia had lots of varied weapons, poses and dress. Just some great stuff. I have just one complaint: though the American cannon and crew were great, the Gatling guns with fiddly bits a-go go were just overreach. There are lots of great Gatlings out there, but these had too many pieces with no explanation of where they go. The detail is great, but in the end I assembled it incorrectly
I used lots of Old Glory figures for the Americans. Never underestimate the quality of these figures. The Marines look like Marines, the sailors work, and having the volunteers captures the difference between the better armed regulars and those who were in the Philippines in greater numbers and made do with less. They may not stand out like the 1898’s but they definitely do the job. I used extras as members of gun crews.
Tiger Miniatures has some great weapon and accessories packs, but the crews and infantry figures seem large and caricatured. They aren’t terrible, but just not my first or second choice for large numbers of troops. Their extra bits, however, are very useful.
This was a great painting project, but I’m glad it’s finished. Now the big challenge will be getting a chance to play with it. Count on a Philippine scenario for Enfilade 2021 using The Men Who Would Be Kings, all things being equal. I still have some terrain to build, but most of it is done. On to other things.
1 X 12 Spanish deserters (1898 Miniaturas)
10 X 12 Philippine Republic Infantry (1898 Miniaturas)
6 X 18 Philippine militia armed with bolos and rifles. (1898 Miniaturas)
3 X 4 Latanka cannon (1898 Miniaturas)
3 X 3 Command stands (1898 Miniaturas)
Total- 261 figures
3 X 12 Figures U.S. Regulars (1898 Miniaturas)
3 X 12 Figures U.S. Dismounted Cavalry ((1898 Miniaturas)
4 X 12 Figures U.S. Volunteers (Old Glory)
2 X 12 Figures U.S. Marines (Old Glory)
2 X 12 Figures U.S. Sailors (Old Glory)
1 X 12 Figures Philippine Constabulary (Tiger Miniatures)
1 X 8 Figures Mounted U.S. Cavalry (Old Glory)
1 X 4 unlimbered and 1 X 4 limbered Colt Machine gun (Tiger Miniatures)
1 X 4 unlimbered mountain howitzer (Tiger Miniatures)
1 X 4 unlimbered Marine 1 pdr. (Tiger Miniatures)
1 X 7 mule train (Tiger Miniatures)
2 X 4 3.2″ field guns (1898 Miniaturas)
2 X 4 Gatling guns (1898 Miniaturas)
4 X 1 mounted command figures (1898 Miniaturas)
Total= 231 figures