Monday, November 8, 2021

¿Por qué no los dos?

So, a short while ago we got the ball rolling on a Mexican-American War project.

Since COVID and the closure of The Panzer Depot, my gaming group has gotten a bit tighter. We've weathered the chaos with gaming on Dave Schueler's lawn in warm weather, Kevin Smyth's garage in sub-freezing weather, Eric Donaldson's basement, and a few public venues like Zulu's Board Game Cafe in resplendently reborn Bothell, WA. In the aftermath of a Rebels and Patriots ACW game in September, I broached the question about a group project for the Texas Revolution of 1835-36 or the Mexican-American War of 1846-47. My question was really more of a "I'm doing Texas Revolution; who's in?" However, when the dust settled we were all on board with Mexican-American War. Baby blue uniforms were looming in my future.

Within a day, several of us had already ordered figures from 1st Corps Miniatures in the UK or Scale Creep Miniatures in Evanston, IL (US distributor for 1st Corps). I'm sure both were surprised to be deluged with several orders from from people in Western Washington. It's not an understatement to say that things escalated quickly.

My initial order to 1st Corps arrived within 10 days, which was similar for others. Other orders to Scale Creep took about four days to arrive. In no time we were swimming in lead.

This was my third attempt at a Mexican-American War project. The first one was in the 70s when there was no commercial range available except Scruby. I started converting Minfigs Napoleonics, which taxed my already short attention span and low commitment level, so it ended quickly—but not after a lot of filing to convert British stovepipe shakos to Mexican ones.

The second attempt was in the 90s and I used 1st Corps minis. It didn't get very far and my only remaining piece was El Supremo:

This is a better example of my pre-dippy days style. I was a slower painter then (much slower) and sustained projects often went nowhere. I've had my painted and based El Supremo sitting on a shelf for years with no one for him to command (¿Dónde están mis soldados?). I'll dust him off, touch him up, and then give him a dip so he matches my current style—and I'll have soldados for him to command.

The Mexican-American War

I ordered from 1st Corps on September 20 and received my first minis on October 5. I started out working on two units of US regulars, a 6 pdr. gun and crew, and two mounted officers. 

I also painted two cats for use on my command stand. They're painted (rather impressionistically) to be Tybalt and Maebh. They come from a pack of 28mm cats produced by Bad Squiddo in the UK.

Going back a way, I've added a cat or two (or four!) to various command stands. It started with an ECW officer. I figured if Rupert can have his dog, my man can have his cat(s). I also added cats to my ACW command stands for Jubal Tardee and Lt. Beauregard Lemieux. Now, I just can't stop myself. Sometime after I'm gone, assuming my minis survive me, some future owner will look at an officer stand and ask, "Why the hell is there a cat there?"

In addition to my regulars, gun, and officers—which are complete and only need to be based—I am nearly done with 24 US volunteers and 6 dragoons. Mere sloth has prevented their being done by now. I expect to have them dipped this week (as I expected it to have been so last week, so place any bets with caution).

I love the 1st Corps minis. I'm glad to have returned to a Mexican-American War project with them. I supplemented my 1st Corps order with a few smaller orders to Scale Creep, which helped me round out another 12 US regulars as well as a lot of Mexicans.

I have many packs of Mexicans to start on now. They're a little more challenging because they have all that piping 'n' stuff on their uniforms. Their shakos alone are a painting project within a project.

Eric Donaldson has completed his force of Americans with no plans to paint Mexicans as far as I know. Kevin Smyth has 2 units of US regulars and 4 units of Mexican line completed with more to come. He's blogged about it. I'm not sure where Dave Schueler and Bill Stewart are at. Both have minis to paint.

John Gee, an ardent fan of Mexican-American War gaming, has long had a large collection of figures (all old Minifigs, I believe), which he's rebased for Rebels and Patriots.

We're looking at maybe early in the new year for our first game. By then, we'll have enough figures painted among us to put a game together. The rules, of course, will be Rebels and Patriots.

So that's where we're at with the Mexican-American War project, but wait! There's more.

Texas Revolution

So, despite all the activity for the Mexican-American War, I always intended at some point to go back to my plans for the Texas Revolution. Between the two, I find the Texas Revolution to be more interesting. It's got a lot more drama to it and there seems to be more potential for interesting small-unit actions. The whole revolution was just a bunch of small-unit actions. I think, too, that the forces were more evenly matched. The revolution ended when Santa Anna was captured after San Jacinto, a victory won by means of a surprise attack. Because Santa Anna was both generalissimo and president of the republic, his capture and coerced cession of Texas ended the fight with strong Mexican forces still in the field. The Texas Revolution of 1835-36 might easily have ended as badly for the rebels as the rebellion of 1813.

I was planning to use the Old Glory range for Texas Revolution. I recall when they first came out. I even bought a pack or two (whose location in my garage of wonder and despair I have yet to ascertain). Overall, it's a good range, but I was concerned about their lack of dismounted cavalry and the fact that there are no Tejanos, despite their playing a key role on the Texian side.

On Saturday, Kevin, Dave, John, and I were partaking of our weekly Zoom 'n' Paint meeting. It's another of these COVID things that keeps us together. We started a Saturday night Zoom meeting where we all just sit at our painting tables Zoomed into our meeting and talk, paint, and share glimpses of our WIPs (yeah, I know that can be taken the wrong way). Dave mentioned that he'd seen the Boot Hill Miniatures site and was impressed by the figures. I wasn't aware that there were any other 28mm Texas Revolution ranges (at least not of any size) than the OG one. Looking at it later, I couldn't help myself but pitch in and order what I thought might be a small number of figures, but then grew. Postage pricing will do that. I hate to buy a small amount and pay big postage, so I feel compelled to buy bigger so the order is a bit more commensurate with the shipping cost.

Needless to say, I ordered because the figures look muy bueno. The sculptor is Matthew Bickley, who's done work for Foundry, Footsore, Warlord, Claymore, and Westfalia, among others. They're very animated and the range is extensive enough to cover all aspects, even those previously forgotten dismounted cavalry and Tejanos.

My "small" order focused on the Mexican army. I got some line infantry marching and command for the same.

And line infantry skirmishing.

I got some cazadores (skirmishers with British Baker rifles).

With command.

I got some dismounted Mexican officers.

I got a pack with a mounted colonel and the "governor," whom Nick Futter of Boot Hill says is really Santa Anna in civilian clothes as he was at the Alamo.

And finally, a pack of the Napoleon of the West himself in gloriously full uniform, mounted and on foot drinking café with his servant in attendance. 

I don't expect to see anything arrive from the UK until mid to late December.

My next order will likely be for Texians. There's a lot there. There are 6 packs of unique basic Texian types, 2 command packs, several packs that contain mounted and dismounted versions of historical characters, 3 packs of mounted and dismounted vaqueros (who can be used as Tejanos), plus a pack of dismounted Tejanos, US Army deserters, Tennesseans (with Davey), New Orleans Greys, Alabama Red Rovers, and the Gonzales cannon on its ungainly carriage. Nick says other artillery is coming.

So rather than be faced with a one or the other proposition, I answer the question, "¿Por qué no los dos?" with "¡Sí, por supuesto los dos!" I'm not sure whether or not I'll be doing this project alone. Eric commented on how nice the figures look. I can see his mind turning. He might yet jump on board. After all, he's finished his Americans. 

I'm not sure who else will follow, but I expect it to be a going concern like my Irish Project that grew and grew, even though I'm its only participant.


  1. Can't wait to see your Mexican's all painted and dandied up ready to fight. I assume a "dip" is in their future? Sounds like a great project!

    1. Yes, the dip is here to stay. I plan to use Howard's Hues Union Blue for my Mexican coats, but they may need a lightened dry-brush as well. My first Mexican for the MexAm project will be some militia.

  2. Great flesh tones on those last two.😁

  3. Really enjoyed reading about the project. The Boot Hill figures are terrific. Any suggestions for books to read on the period?

  4. I can only underline how wonderful the Boot Hill Miniatures are! I've also used some of eth 1st Corps castings as well for US & Mexican forces. Looking forward to your future posts. You can get a taster for what I have done here:

    1. Very nice. Are the Texas Glory rules available anywhere?

    2. I'll try and find them! THey are in a Word Document and I had a disk drive failure and they are not where I thought I'd find them :(


    3. I found them on OneDrive! here is a link to teh rules - I have posted them on this page:

  5. I love Rebels and Patriots and it sounds like you have a great project started.