Sunday, October 2, 2016

Niagara 1814

Back in 1985 as part of our honeymoon Janine and I traveled around the Niagara Falls area.  Our visiting the battlefields of Chippewa, Lundy's Lane, Forts George and Niagara was the start of a life long fascination with not only the War of 1812 but especially with the Niagara campaign of 1814.
It was also the start of my interest in wargaming this campaign on the table top and collecting its armies.

For the miniature war gamer this is an ideal conflict to game.  The armies and leadership were equal.  No difference in weaponry and tactics.  And the armies were sized for the table;  a very economical endeavor.  Figures are provided for by a great number of companies.  All are wonderful and provide for almost everything you would need.  So, this long deserved project is finally under way. For those who are also interested in gaming this conflict here are some suggestions I have discovered.

 I picked the outstanding miniatures from Kuckleduster for my collection. They are little works of art with great animation.  Most importantly Forrest Harris (the owner) has provided a complete line of figures. There are few gaps in the line and these are rapidly being filled.  He is also a joy to buy from with outstanding customer service.  His web site provides excellent down loads and suggestions for the novice gamer on campaigns, figures and unusual regimental details.  There is a guide to which figures to buy to correctly portray a regiment for each year of the war. Please visit both his website and blog.  You will be glad you did and rewarded by the experience.


A challenge for any gamer creating an army is getting the details correct. For the War of 1812 the details of uniforms are few and often contradictory. American uniform details changed almost yearly.  British uniforms also had major changes.  The Canadian militia system and uniforms are almost a study in themselves.  So good research materials are desperately needed.  Fortunately they are out there.  Mandatory for any uniform study are "A Most Warlike Appearance: Uniforms, Flags and Equipment of the United States in the War of 1812" and "The Scarlet Coat" both by the authoritative Rene Chartrand.  These are must have and should be in your library. Within each volume are most of tiny details of uniforms you will need.   They are expensive but also available through inter library loan.  Your local library is your friend and there to help you.

 For battles and campaigns you cannot go wrong with Donald E. Graves' books.  His books on Chippewa and Lundy's Lane are must reads and incredibly details studies of this battles.  His biography of Thomas Pearson made me want to paint up his light brigade and game with it!   Another author Richard Feltoe has provided details campaign histories of the various Canadian campaigns.  His battle studies are wonderful, and the plentiful maps and detailed orders of battle a treasure trove of information.  I highly recommend his regimental history "Redcoated Ploughboys: The Volunteer battalion of incorporated Militia of upper Canada 1813 - 1815."
Again made this a must have regiment on my table top and finally led me to understand the various Canadian militia type units.  Plus it's a fun read.

  For websites you can do no better then  It is an outstanding reference and beautiful art work.  Great details for uniforms.  All you need at your finger tips. I would recommend the following warga me blogs that have inspired me and thought me a lot about the period, and

 Lastly for regimental flags I suggest the ones by Flags of War.  Great details and wonderful colors. They provide correct flags for almost every British and American Regiment.
 They are works of art.  If you are looking for tassels and tops for your flag poles try the ones from Front Rank miniatures.   The only gap in flags is American militia and Volunteers colors.  The Flag Dude has done these but I have been unable to contact him recently.

So there you have it.  My list of helpful hints to get you started in this field.  In my next posts I will be sharing my table top army that came about from this study.  As mentioned before it is a work in progress.


  1. A quick and useful guide to wargaming the War of 1812. Nice!

  2. A real temptation for us, thanks for this post...

  3. Fine overview, Mark. Well done. Funny that you should hit on the topic of gaming the War of 1812. Our wing scale VnB Napoleonic system was originally created by Mark D to game the War of 1812. It's ideal for the scale of the action in the period. You and he would have much to discuss, I think.

  4. Great to see your blog on War of 1812, Mark! I am doing the same primarily with the Knuckleduster figures and would second your positive thoughts on Forrest. He's great to work with. Keep up the good work. Anxious to see more.

  5. Hal, many many thanks for the kind words. I will be posting more pictures of my regiments and artillery soon. This is a long desired project and the knuckleduster figures are outstanding. Would love to hear more about your project!