Saturday, May 12, 2018

Getting started in the War of 1812

The War of 1812 is a fascinating period and provides great opportunity for miniature war gamers.  The armies are perfect for table top battles.  They are colorful and offer a wide variety of Uniforms and troop types.  In addition due to the recent anniversary there is a abundance of materials out there.  I just (nearly finnished) my Niagara 1814 project and am branching out adding more colorful regiments.  If you are interested in gaming this conflict here is a short guide to help get you started.

Uniform guides:
When staring the period I found these guides to be very helpful.  They are moderately priced and avalible from On Military Matters.  They provide the basic material you need for organization and uniforms.

Barbuto, Richard & Manley, Stephen WAR OF 1812:V1-Uniform Guide of the U.S. Forces

Barbuto, Richard & Manley, Stephen WAR OF 1812:V2-Uniform Guide of the King's Forces

If you get into the period and want more these two books are the definitive uniform bibles.  Outstanding!

Chartrand, Rene A MOST WARLIKE APPEARANCE: Uniforms, Flags and Equipment of the United States in the War of 1812

Chartrand, Rene A SCARLET COAT: Uniforms, Flags and Equipment of the British Forces in the War of 1812

 Berton, Pierre.  Flames Across the Border: 1813-1814
Volume 2 in his general history of he war.  A very evan handed popular history. He has a great number of characters he follows throughout the war.  If your looking for a military history this is not it.  But it grabs your attention and holds your interest.  One of the two books that got me interested in this strange conflict.

Eshelman,  Ralph E.  In Full Glory Reflected: Discovering the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake .
More of a coffee table book.  But the illustrations by Gerry Embelton are outstanding.  Great for inspiration.

Feltoe, Richard.  Redcoated Ploughboys: The Volunteer Battalion of Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada, 1813–1815
Great regimental history of one of my all time favourite regiments.  

Feltoe, Richard.  A Crucible of Fire: The Battle of Lundy's Lane, July 25, 1814 (Upper Canada Preserved - War of 1812)

Feltoe, Richard.  Upper Canada Preserved — War of 1812 6-Book Bundle: six book series
A six volume set of the War in Canada from start to finnish.  Outstanding!

Graves, Donald E.  Field of Glory: The Battle of Crysler's Farm, 1813

Graves, Donald E.  Red Coats & Grey Jackets: The Battle of Chippawa, 5 July 1814

Graves, Donald E.  Where Right and Glory Lead! The Battle of Lundy's Lane, 1814
Again, a great fan of the author.  Great military history studies of these battles but a top notch historian.  

Lord, Walter.  The Dawn's Early Light.
The other book that got me interested in the ad or 1812.  Covers the Bladensburg/Baltimore campaigne.  Again more of a popular history.  I am a huge Walter Lord fan, and enjoyed this very much.

Malcomson, Richard.  A Very Brilliant Affair: The Battle of Queenstown Heights, 1812
Brilliant history of this battle.

Before starting your collection I would recommend picking a year.  This is because American regular uniforms differed greatly from early war to mid war to late war.  While I might mix mid and late war I would not recommend mixing early war.  The British and Canadian units had some differences by year but not as much.

Early war  US uniforms

Mid war

Late war

I would highly recommend these two figures lines.  The majority of my collection is from Knuckleduster miniatures.  They are very reasonably priced and cover the entire war in all its uniform variations.  all pictures on this article are Knuckleduster miniatures.  The  Brigade Miniatures fit in very nicely with Knuckleduster.  They are very well sculpted and detailed.  As of now they have figures for  1814.  In addition Old Glory miniatures has a fine of figures for the conflict with some specialty figures no one else has (including President Madison).
(Look under free down loads.  Forrest provides great unit guides on how to build your regiments)

 These blogs have inspired me and provided great assistance in starting my own collection.

Lots of very good uniform information here:

Rod has been my mentor and guru for all things War of 1812:

Chuck Smith's blog filled with wonderful infirmation:

I will not give out any suggestion on rules.   Each table top gamer has his or her idea of what makes a good rule set and what they like to play . For me, I have settled on my Mr Madison Mets Fife and Drum.  These are the rules for Rev War found  on the Fife and Drum miniatures site.  I have made a few twists and turns to them.  They provide a fun, fast and old school type game which I dearly enjoy.  My Advice is find a set of rules which mirror your tastes and use them.

Good luck, and happy gaming!


  1. Nice collection of resources - thanks.

    1. Thank you! I hope that it is useful to possibly gamers interested in the period.

  2. Thank you for the concise listing of resources for this era. I am slowly turning more thoughts towards the land side of the conflict and your post is timely!


    1. Good luck in your future project. I hope I can be is some help.

  3. Some excellent resources there Mark...

    I think that both of Pierre Berton’s books ...The Invasion of Canada and Flames Across the Border ... are superb... very informative and beautifully written.
    My Donald Graves books ... like Pierre Bertons have been re read almost to destruction...

    If you can get hold of a copy... I would highly recommend Lossings Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812...

    I really must get back into this period... I still have lots of books but no toys...

    All the best. Aly

    1. Just picked up the Field book. You are right it is very interesting.

  4. Great work - most people simply do not have time to examine obscure items on Google books, so more information makes a subject more accessible and builds interest.

  5. Thank you. I hope this will help gamers get into this exciting and colorful period.

    I enjoyed your book on Morango very much sir.

  6. You have done a great job on these 1812 figures Mark

  7. Very helpful post... or perhaps not as I may now have to add The War of 1912 to The List!

  8. It is a most tempting period for table top gaming.