Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Summary of All Things Legion - Part I: Figures

For those of you who may know me from The Miniatures Page, you will see an occasional post or response when someone asks about Wayne's Legion, known as the Legion of the United States.  The legion was only in existence for a few short years, fight one short "battle" at Fallen Timbers in 1794, and built a line of forts during the Fallen Timbers campaign, but there are a few companies making figures for this period, and I thought it might be a good time to summarize the existing ranges as a "one stop shop" so that gamers can find all the info they would need to make an informed choice as to what range to consider.

As I grew up about ten minutes from the location of Fort Hamilton (part of St. Clair's failed 1791 campaign that resulted in the Battle of the Wabash), I started an interested in what the U.S. Army calls the Miami Campaign decades ago.  Over the years I have collected sixty books on the period, have visited nearly every site associated with Harmar, St. Clair, and Wayne (many of them several times), and collected figures.  Not certain if I am an expert, and I certainly do not agree with many of the uniforms depicted in the Osprey series, but I think I can provide a fairly good summary of the battles, personalities, and miniature figures from a gamer's perspective.



Blue Moon Manufacturing

Picture from Blue Moon's website
I have a love/hate relationship with this range.  I love the castings as they are animated and chunky, and they offer multiple poses, but the range is extremely limited in scope.  There are no rifle figures that would be carrying a tomahawk on their belts, there is no high command (although one could get away with using Rev War American high command), there are no artillery crews (some confusion exists on headgear...Legion hat or cocked hat), no King's Howitzers (small pop guns that Wayne used nearly exclusively), and no mounted militia (the Kentucky militia from their War of 1812 range would not be correct...too many top hats and fringe).  From a cost perspective the figures are reasonable - .53 cents per infantry figure, .70 per foot command figure, and $1.37 per mounted figure.


Frying Pan & Blanket Amalgamated

These are older figures with very little variation in poses.  Some would almost call them stiff I would imagine.  But, this is the most complete and accurate range available, which is strange considering how long the range has been in existence; one would think newer ranges would be more accurate, but they are not.

There are Legion line infantry. light infantry, rifles (with tomahawks), dragoons, artillery crews with King's Howitzers (but with potentially incorrect headgear as I believe the legion artillerymen wore a cocked hat), and high command.  Flags are cast on, which may be a concern for those not wanting to paint flags.  The cost for figures is very reasonable, almost ridiculous, with foot figures coming in at .42 cents and mounted at .83 cents.  Yes, you read that correctly, these 20mm figures are more less expensive than the 15/18mm figures offered by Blue Moon.  But, they are not everyone's cup of rum as they are stiff, almost toy soldier-like in their pose.  Also, ordering these figures can be a real pain.  The owners do not have a website, they do not give out their email, they do not accept PayPal, so basically no online presence.  One must write to them, obtain their figures list, then submit your order old school.  Their service in terms of turnaround time is not great, expect to wait a month for your figures.  Bear in mind that the owners both have full time jobs, so this is certainly a cottage industry-type company.  You must weight the advantages (complete and accurate range and cheap cost) vs. the disadvantages (older poses and old school ordering) of this line.


Parkfield Miniatures

Disclaimer: I had some input into the design of this range, so I am a bit biased.

Picture from the Parkfield website
This small but useful range offers only infantry, but for the most part Parkfield are accurate when compared to Old Glory (see below).  There are nine foot figures in this range, with a general and a line officer, an ensign (flagbearer), three line infantry, two light infantry, and one rifleman.  The latter three are wearing the light infantry cap from the Rev War period (which may or may not be accurate, but based on the materials I have researched I believe this to be correct), and the rifleman is carrying a tomahawk on his belt.  And while these figures are advertised as 25mm, they blend very nicely with the Old Glory range (which are probably closer to 27mm).  The figures are $1.15 each but for those living in the U.S. you have to consider shipping from the U.K.  However, these are nice figures to supplement the Old Glory range.

Old Glory Miniatures

Another love/hate range for me.  They were the first Legion figures I purchased at Cold Wars many years ago.  The gaming group did this as a joint project, painting up each sub-legion and Indians.  I even wrote a set of rules (Our Moccasins Trickled Blood which one can buy on Wargame Vault) and hosted a few games at the local game store and local conventions.  So I am fond of them for getting me into gaming the Legion, which is something I had dreamed about for years (being ignorant of the Frying Pan & Blanket figures at the time).  However, they are simply Rev War figures with new heads sporting the Legion headgear.  There are two packs of line infantry (advancing and skirmishing).  The light infantry pack has the traditional Legion headgear, which is most likely incorrect, and there are no riflemen.  They make dragoons and mounted Kentucky militia (the latter more accurate than using War of 1812), but no guns nor artillery crews.  Prices have certainly increased over the years, with a foot figure is $1.20 and a mounted $3.60!


I hope I have been able to give the potential Legion gamer the salient pros and cons for each range.  It really comes down to how much of a stickler you are for accuracy and completeness vs. cost and ease of ordering.  If Blue Moon were to expand their range with correct figures then I would be personally very tempted to sell of my Frying Pan & Blanket figs (gave my Old Glory ones to a gaming buddy) and go with them as the cost isn't bad when compared to the quality and animation of their figures.  However, until that happens (and no inkling that it ever will) I would recommend Frying Pan.  It is a complete range, nearly 100% accurate in the uniforms and equipment, and they offer some nice militia (both mounted and foot) and Indians in their Rev War range.

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