Saturday, June 27, 2020

Saratoga Project Kicks Off

Four British regiments and a brigade commander

Since the Covid-19 lockdown began in March 2020, I have been focused on building up a Dervish army using 54mm plastic figures. I have painted approximately 250 Dervish and 100 Egyptians and British figures. Eventually, I will reach burnout on painting these figures and will need to paint something else for awhile.

I have the perfect candidate.

The Fife and Drum Miniatures "Saratoga Range" has been available for about six months now and so I decided that it is time to start painting a British army for the Saratoga Campaign in 1777. 

The first order of business was to identify the regiments that I would have in the army and for that I turned to an excellent article about this army, written by Brendan Morrissey, which you can find on the Perry Miniatures web site. See the link below, as well as links to Brendan's other articles on the German troops and Continental troops at Saratoga. (all three links take you to the Perry Miniatures web site - lots of good information there).

The second item is to determine how many figures per regiment and how to base them. Using Brendan's article as my guide, it appears that the average strength of British regiments in the campaign was  between 380 and 390 officers and rankers. I think that these might be unit strengths at the beginning of the campaign. These figures do not include the grenadier and light companies, which were hived off and converged with other similar companies from the other regiments to form a converged Grenadier Battalion and Light Battalion.

Basing Options, from top to bottom: #1, #2, #3 and #4.
Compare these to the basing that I use for my Philadelphia Campaign British regiments (the painted unit at the top of the picture).

Looking at the picture above, the painted unit is a British regiment from my Philadelphia Campaign army of General Howe. There are 32 figures on four bases (8 per base). The only problem with this arrangement is that the colours will always be a little bit off-center when the regiment is deployed into line formation.

Base system #1 shows the same four stands of 8 figures, but with the addition of a command stand that holds 6 figures. I have turned the command stand on its verticle axis so that the front juts out a bit in front of the rest of the regiment's bases. This is a 38-figure arrangement.

Base system #2 shows the same arrangement as #1 except that the command stand is placed on its horizontal axis. This places the colours in the middle of the regiment when it is deployed into line. This is also a 38-figure configuration.

Base system #3 shows six stands, each with 6 figures, or 36 figures in total.

Base system #4 has five stands, of which 8 figures are crammed onto four stands, plus there is a command stand of 6 figures, for a total of 38 figures. The purpose of this arrangement is to place the figures shoulder-to-shoulder, rather than in a more open file system that are shown in the first three options.  Knowing my readers, a lot of you will prefer system #4 because you like the shoulder-to-shoulder look. I think that this might be fine for infantry regiments operating in Europe during the SYW, but not so much for the loose files used by the British in North America.

My inclination is to use Base System #2. However, I will entertain your thoughts, ideas and comments about the basing system that you think looks best. Please leave your comments in the comment section at the end of this blog post.


  1. really looking forward to this :-)

  2. Really looking forward to seeing this project develop! Hopefully we can see a British firing line enter the range soon too. Add some variety and standing officers and musicians are always useful!


    1. British firing lines are in my plans. The Saratoga range has flank company firing line figures as do the Highlanders.

    2. Lol. I should have specified Saratoga British firing line. I’m using the firing flank troops for my converged lights, but some center company troops and command would add some nice variety! Looking forward to seeing what comes next!


  3. I like basing method #2, but what about an 8 figure command stand?
    Some Wargamers also like to add the command figures as an half base (half esagonal or semi circle) just in front or back the line. This will always put the colors in the middle...

  4. Good luck with this project Jim. I think #2 will serve you best, though I like the shoulder to shoulder look you need to have the variety of looser files that AWI gives you over SYW.

  5. This should be fun to watch, Jim. Option 2 would be my selection of the 4 options, too. Cheers, Rohan.

  6. Wow this is such a brilliant blog ! Much better than mags at the moment