Pirates obviously need opposition, and who better to fight them than good old redcoats. An iconic piece of Hollywood pirate imagery, the British soldier were always going to play a part in my project. I’ve actually amassed a fair few, and finally got some painted.
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The miniatures, that I picked up at Salute, are from Casting Room Miniatures, who are an offshoot of Foundry. The soldiers are part of their wonderful War of the Spanish Succession range. I love them for their character – some of them really don’t enjoy their stint in the Caribbean. I imagine this lot has ended up here after lots were drawn, or maybe they came looking for a nice, sunny holiday. In my mind they draw inspiration from late Terry Pratchett’s city guard, turning a blind eye to the occasional bit of smuggling for personal profit and safety. Obviously a Serious Military Man is coming along to put these miscreants into some sort of shape…
As you can see from the photos, I had to build up the miniatures’ bases quite a bit, as they’re a fair bit smaller than my Galloping Major soldiers. I stuck some plasticard under the minis and covered it in putty, and it turned out quite ok. They’re still less bulky than the Galloping Major ones, but now they’re of a similar height. I wanted to base them similarly to my pirates, but to distinguish them I replaced the tufts I use on my pirates’ bases with flower tufts.
Another thing you probably noticed is that I used one of my buildings as background for the minis, and the pure white background was making everything look a bit too clinically clean. What do you think? I’d love to hear your input on this new, hugely dramatic change.
The minis’ uniforms forced me to spend a bit of time thinking about historical accuracy. It’s not a big issue in this project, as it’s Hollywood pirates after all, but this stuff is often (sort of) interesting. The War of the Spanish Succession was fought from 1701 to 1715, putting it just before the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean (1716-1726). The other redcoats I have are from Galloping Major’s American War of Independence range, and that war was fough 1775–1783, sixty years later. As it is, uniforms had changed by then. Funnily enough, the Pirates of the Caribbean films, that are a big inspiration for the project, are supposedly set around the Golden Age of Piracy, but feature British soldiers with much later uniforms, and so the historically inaccurate uniforms are the ones we associate with the era.
I solved the problem by not caring. I’m sure grognards would gag at this approach, but from where I’m standing, it’s a project with undead pirates, so a bit of historical inaccuracy regarding uniforms isn’t a deal breaker. This is an approach I’ve learned in years enjoying the hobby, and following fellow bloggers has reinforced this way of thinking. It’s painting with broad strokes, having fun and buying miniatures I enjoy painting instead of leaving them on the shelf because of trivial issues.
However, and creating a bit of a conflict, despite this approach I have a tendency to strive for some internal coherence. Even if I’m not too concerned with exact accuracy, there has to be something to tie it all together. In this case I think of two things: one is the idea of the redcoat, and the second is a sort of historical explanation. The idea of the redcoat is simply that in my mind the defining visual characteristics of the 18th century British soldier are the tricorne hat, the red coat and the musket, and everything else is fairly irrelevant detail. The historical explanation is a bit more fudged (obviously, as the game isn’t set in a fixed year), and basically focuses on the idea that troops in the backwaters of the Caribbean will have older gear, whereas fresh troops shipped in from England or the American colonies will have crisp and more modern gear. There you have it, I sort of had to get it off my chest!
These bring my miniatures painted this year to six, literally doubling my output. Oh my. At least I’ve built a lot of terrain!