Shiny Objects-My Dance with 1898 Miniaturas.

You’re miniature wargamers.  You know what I’m talking about.  A manufacturer comes out with something new–maybe it’s a period that’s always interested you, maybe it’s an interesting set of rules to go with interesting miniatures, maybe they’re simply the nicest miniatures you’ve ever seen from a period that holds a magnetic attraction on your passions.

I can say, honestly, that I’ve always been attracted by periods and passions and not to figures.  The Hundred Years War, American War of Independence, and a host of other periods have attracted my gaming dollars and the time it takes to paint up a project because I have a deep interest in the period.  Aside-most mainstream interest; War of Independence.  Least mainstream project: Tie between the Lewis and Clark Expedition and The Burr Conspiracy.

About three years ago, at age 61, I was looking around at a last new project.  Let’s just define our terms here, since that often breeds confusion.  By last project, I mean a last new, never begun before new project.  It would mean buying and painting both sides, and all the time that demanded. I was particularly interested in a colonial project.  Osprey had just released Daniel Mersey’s The Men Who Would Be Kings, and I loved Lion Rampant.  Lacking any armies from that period, I was intrigued.

Vols 1

Vols 2

A couple of photos of Old Glory’s volunteers.  State and U.S. Volunteers fought in the Philippine War.  The chief difference between the regulars and the volunteers is that the latter was armed with the 1873 pattern Sprinfield (trapdoor) rifle that fired a black powder cartridge.  Regulars carried the Krag with its distinctive side mount magazine and smokeless cartridges.

My first choice was Egypt and the Sudan.  I was in from Tel-el-Kebir all the way to Omdurman.  The Perrys had a nice range of figures, and I could fill in from other manufacturers, so I was kind of hot to go.  With a conflict lasting from 1882-1898, there would be plenty to keep me busy.

At about this time 1898 Miniaturas appeared on The Miniatures Page.  The photos showed the figures to be truly beautiful, and the announcement that the Spanish company would focus on the Spanish American War AND the Philippine American conflict got my attention.  I decided to follow the range and save my shekels for a future purchase.

At first I was interested in doing both conflicts, but in April of 2018 Lorri and I agreed I would retire after the 2019 school year. That would mean less hobby money along with my reduced income, and I focused instead on the Philippine War. Why?  Well, it seemed more colonial and provoked a real debate in the United States whether our country would join the ranks of other imperialist nations. It had the added benefit of including more state volunteers than U.S. regulars because most of the latter were packed off to Cuba. Those volunteers included an infantry battalion and a battery from Washington state.  I’m such a homer.

I invested some of my summer camp earnings toward the a down payment on the period, and by August of 2018, I had plenty of figures to work for the U.S. invaders and the Philippine defenders.  There were still some holes the 1898 Miniaturas range, but they were still adding some figures.  Last year, they supplemented their excellent collection of infantry with some very nice mounted leaders and an American Gatling gun.

Unfortunately, the death knell of all figure ranges happens when a manufacturer moves on to another range.  The 1898 folks have done exactly that by creating a range of Spanish miniatures for the early 17th century and Thirty Years War period. They’re nice, but not a range I have any intention of doing, and exactly nothing has happened with their colonial range in over a year.

Tiger 1

The Tiger mountain gun.  The gun is quite serviceable, and comes with a mule and two crew.  The crew members aren’t great, but the mule is awesome. The rules call for four crew so I added a couple of leftover volunteer officers from Old Glory.

What does that mean?  Well, there are definitely some bits that are missing.  No American volunteers, sailors or marines.  No mounted cavalry for the Americans.  There are still some weapons that would be nice to have-Colt machine guns, light artillery more maneuverable in the jungles and mountains of the Philippines.  Philippine soldiers in American service-the Philippine Scouts and Philippine Constabulary would be valuable units in many scenarios.

Tiger 2

This is the Colt machine gun by Tiger in being schlepped formation.  I had an extra Tiger officer to add to the three man crew. I liked these guys.  Big and a little goofy, but not bad at all.

Tiger 3

The ready for battle version of the Colt.  Another Tiger miniature.

To be clear, all the miniatures are available.  Old Glory makes all the extra American infantry and cavalry.  Tiger Miniatures has some of the extra weapons bits.  All the figures are very serviceable, but don’t quite match the quality of the Spanish company’s figures.

It’s got to be really hard to sustain a business in this hobby.  Gamers move from game system to game system, and are attracted by new interests and miniature ranges all the time.  A regular customer becomes a former customer easily and predictably. Balancing a company’s offerings with additional and alternatives to attract the maximum number of buyers only makes sense.  But I won’t hide my disappointment that 1898 Miniaturas has not finished what it began.  Yes, the major pieces are there, but there is still plenty to complete the range.

Just in case you’re interested here is what is available for the Spanish American War and Philippine War from 1898 Miniaturas, Old Glory and Tiger Miniatures


  • Regular Infantry-1898, Old Glory, Tiger
  • American Buffalo Soldiers, Infantry-1898, Old Glory
  • Dismounted Cavalry-1898, Old Glory, Tiger
  • Dismounted Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers-1898, Old Glory, Tiger
  • Dismounted Rough Riders–1898, Tiger
  • Volunteer infantry–
  • Mounted Cavalry–Old Glory, Tiger
  • 3.2″ gun and crew–1898, Tiger
  • Artillerists–Old Glory
  • Gatling guns and crew–1898, Old Glory, Tiger
  • Colt machine gun and crew–Old Glory, Tiger
  • Dynamite gun and crew–Old Glory, Tiger
  • Mountain gun and crew–Tiger
  • Marines–Old Glory, Tiger
  • Marine Artillery (one pounder)-Tiger
  • Marines w/Colt machine gun-Tiger
  • Sailors–Old Glory
  • Philippine Constabulary-Tiger
  • Philippine Scouts–Tiger
  • Mounted personalities–1898, Old Glory


  • Spanish Infantry–1898 (many variations), Old Glory (two variations), Tiger (two variations
  • Spanish Civil Guard-Tiger
  • Spanish sailors–Old Glory
  • Spanish Marines–Tiger
  • Spanish Cavalry–Tiger, Old Glory*
  • Spanish mounted infantry-Tiger
  • Spanish mounted personalities–1898
  • Spanish artillery–Old Glory, Tiger
  • Spanish mountain gun–1898, Tiger
  • Spanish Gatling Gun–Tiger
  • Cuban Rebel Infantry–Old Glory, Tiger

*Both Old Glory and Tiger use cavalry interchangeably for Spanish and Cuban rebels.

Philippine Troops

  • Philippine Republic/Native Tagalogs–1898, Tiger
  • Philippine militia w/mixed hand weapons-1898
  • Moros–Old Glory
  • Personalities–1898

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.)


Dipping your toe in the Lion Rampant pond.

If you’re thinking about trying out these rules, whether you have stuff or not, I hope, with this post, to offer some guidance to you.

First, a bit about my decision to go with this game rather than another. I am the owner of some 500 singly mounted Hundred Years War figures.  I have more than a hundred painted longbowmen.  I have more than a hundred painted dismounted men-at-arms.  I can field seven units of foot sergeants and multiples of most other units from this conflict.  I am also a devoted student of the period.  My interest in these rules was only natural.  All I needed was to try them out to see if they met some simple requirements

  1. Were they easy to play?  Could I easily run them at a convention with folks who didn’t know them at all?  The answer was a simple yes. I’ve played with at least a dozen of my gaming friends. Of those only one has had a less than enthusiastic response.
  2. Were they suitable for making well thought out scenarios?  I didn’t want a game that was really designed for head to head games.  Again, I’ve tried several multi-player games and have reported on the Agen scenario.  I’ll likely run that one at Enfilade, together with a second scenario based on the 1340 raid on the Boulogne docks.

I find Lion Rampant to be a great set of rules.  Of course, I feel fully prepared to play them with figures, high interest and research material galore.  What if I wasn’t?  How could I get started?

First, some basic parameters.  If you’re interested in refighting Agincourt, or Bannockburn, or Mortgarten, these are not the rules you want.  These are small unit actions.  No archers behind stakes, no Flemings defending ditches, no massive schiltrons of Scots spearmen driving foolish English knights into swamps. Those troop types might be available to you, but they won’t quite function the way they would in large formations. I confess I haven’t quite found the right set of rules for fighting big battles in the late middle ages, but Lion Rampant won’t do the trick either.

I always worry about the cost of rules sets. Rules books that cost forty or fifty bucks really annoy me.  They better come with their own electronic service like Siri to answer my questions, a useful painting guide, complete army lists and an introduction by Anne Curry.    Worse than rule books that cost forty or fifty bucks are rule books that cost forty or fifty bucks and will require the forty or fifty dollar expansion or two.  I don’t care what the logic is, it’s ridiculous and inexcusable.

If you’re worried about the cost of Lion Rampant, you can buy it at your local game store for $17.95.  You can order it at Amazon for $13.62.  You can order it for your Kindle or Kindle ap for $10.49.  I bought two.

What do you get for your dough? A complete set of mechanically simple, grammatically clean set of rules. There are some quirks to the game, but nothing that is unreasonable or unfathomable.  There are a plethora of handy color plates and game photos.  There are eleven troop types and 40 sample retinues to muster them into. Finally there are twelve sample scenarios. That’s a lot for less than twenty bucks.

This is a highly adaptable rules set.  Though the sample retinues cover England all the way to Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Thomas Mallory Arthurian legend, there is definitely room for more.  I see these rules as something to experiment with, as many did with The Sword and the Flame. A friend has been playing Korea and Japan.  I plan to build something around the Spanish conquest of  Mexico.  It should work for any region up through the early gunpowder age. Not only that, but author Daniel Mersey is highly accessible, regularly answering questions on a Lion Rampant forum on BoardGameGeek.

So what is the cost to get in on Lion Rampant? Units are either six figures or twelve figures.  I’d suggest starting out with a retinue which is usually 4-6 units.  If your army is infantry-heavy, like the Swiss you’ll need more figures, say 60 figures.  If you have expensive troops, like the English you’d have fewer, say 42.  Armies with cavalry like the French Hundred Years War army, the Normans or the Ottoman Turks makes an army more costly in real dollars. Be sure what you buy fits in with your friends, and is an army you are really interested in.

There are lots of great figure manufacturers for the Hundred Years War.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Old Glory Miniatures–They have a huge range for this period.  They are relatively inexpensive per figure, especially if you are an Old Glory Army member. They are also quite nice and draw a distinction between the early period of this war (say until 1380) and later.  The drawback is that you have to buy the figures in pretty large quantities.

Front Rank Miniatures–A very nice range of miniatures for the Hundred Years WAr and the Wars of the Roses.  The range is older, so not tons of variety between figures of the same type, but a huge range of troop and armor types.  The mounted figures are really awesome.  They also have some great accessories and wagons. The downside is their size.  They are huge.  They don’t mix well with other manufacturers in the same unit.

Crusader Miniatures–Some great figures, but not tons of different troop types.  Sized well, all the major troop types are covered. Some very nice command figures too.

Perry Miniatures–The Agincourt to Orleans range is geared strictly for about 50 years of the conflict. Absolutely stunning miniatures, but a little spendy. The Perrys have a number of plastic boxed sets that are super reasonable covering the Wars of the Roses.  They plan to release an English boxed set for Agincourt to Orleans before Christmas (hark, I hear sleigh bells.)

Before I close, I’d simply add that no I am not an Osprey employee, nor do I hang out with Dan Mersey.  I do believe this is a great set of rules. Not perfect, and with limitations that are clearly stated.  If you believe you’d enjoy a skirmish set of rules for the late middle ages, these may work for you.  They definitely work for me and my interest in the Hundred Years War.