Fife & Drum Miniatures is a range of 1/56 scale figures (approximately 30mm in height) sculpted by Richard Ansell, and is devoted to the American War of Independence. The figures may be purchased from Der Alte Fritz through this blog, using Paypal for payment. Click on the page tabs for Crown Forces, American forces and artillery equipment to see pictures of the individual figures.

Winner of the "Best Historical Miniatures Range of 2011" by The Miniatures Page.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

British Light Infantry Battalion

British Light Infantry Battalion (36 figures)

I have been working on the first battalion of the British Light Infantry establishment during the AWI, circa 1777. Using Greg Novak's book, "The War of Independence in the North - We Have Always Governed Ourselves," as a guide (page 24), I selected the first battalion for the reason that it had 8 companies and I thought that would be a large enough unit for wargaming purposes.

The first battalion consisted of the following flank companies, drawn from their parent regiments: 4th, 5th, 10th, 17th, 22nd, 23rd, 35th, and 38th.

Their facing colors are as follows:

4th and 23rd  (Blue)
10th and 38th (Yellow)
5th (Green)
17th (White)
22nd (Buff)
35th (Orange)

This gives me a nice variety of facing colors. In my organization, each stand of 8 figures (on a 40mm side by 80mm length stand) will represent one of the companies listed above. Thus, each stand will have its own distinct facing color. That should be kind of cool!

British light infantry with 4 companies deployed to the front and 2 companies providing a reserve or support.

The picture above breaks the unit down into two parts so as to shorten the frontage. Eventually, I will have 8 stands of light infantry and separate them into two "wings" of 24 figures each.

I like to trick out the bases a bit by adding parts of rock walls, boulders, tree stumps and dead tree trunks to create a mini diorama on each base. Click on the picture above to enlarge the view and get a closer look at the terrain effects. I used all 8 of the Fife & Drum British Light Infantry poses mixed in a variety of ways on each stand. I found that the 40mm depth (width) was sufficient to ensure that the bayonet did not extend over the front edge of the stand. This will minimize damage from handling and also allow one to form columns of companies without fear that one stand will be bayonetting the backs of the stand in front of them.

I really like the way the individual figures work together in a dynamic way: lots of action and lots of diorama possibilities with the available poses. I like to stick at least one figure on each stand towards the front of the base. Once you push all of the stands together, the one figure at the front per stand gives the appearance of a loose files two-rank line. Again, this is done with the idea of minimizing damage from handling the figures.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fife & Drum Continentals - Painted

Fife & Drum Continental Drummer
I have not posted anything in awhile, but that is largely due to the fact that I have been busy painting samples for show as well as some Continental regiments for service in my AWI wargame army. With sales rather brisk and pulling figures out of the inventory bins for my own usage, I had to restock more of the Continental command and firing line figures, which will probably arrive next week. So if you want to order some figures in time for Christmas, then send those orders in ASAP so that I can get them mailed before the last minute Christmas rush.

If you would rather use the old fashioned method: US Postal service, then feel free to send me your order along with your personal check (US customers only) to me at:

Fife & Drum Miniatures
67 W. Mallard Lane
Lake Forest, IL 60045
Phone: (847) 924-1518 (cell phone number)

Fife & Drum Continentals in brown uniform coats. Buildings were made by H.G. Walls.

1st Pennsylvania Regt. circa 1777 - firing line.
I wanted to see how the Fife & Drum firing line poses would look as one regiment. So I chose the 1st PA regiment (brown coats with green facings and red lace) using all of the Continental firing figures. For variety's sake, I also recruited some of the American militia figures so that I could get some brimmed hats and long coats into the regiment. I think that you will agree that the end result is very pleasing to the eye. I particularly like the sense of "action" and dynamic energy that the figures have when they all come together in one unit.

The following figures were used in the firing line shown above (30 figures):

1 x A20 Continental officer
1 x A21 Standard bearer
1 x A22 Drummer
6 x A24 Continental standing firing
5 x A25 Continental at the ready
4 x A26 Continental with ramrod, loading
6 x A27 Continental cocking musket

1 x A1 militia officer holding sword in both hands
2 x A4 militia standing firing - tricorn
2 x A5 militia standing firing - brimmed hat
1 x A7 militia cocking musket - brimmed hat

I hope that you find this "recipe" helpful in constructing your own units.

One more thing about firing lines: I hear wargamers say that they don't like this kind of pose because the muskets extend over the base and can either break off or bend from wear and tear, or they prod the stand in front of them when they are lined up in a march column. My solution is to place most of the actual firing poses in the back row and have their guns pointing forward at an angle of say 30 to 45 degrees. The figures that do not have guns and bayonets sticking out can be placed in the front row. One of my favorite poses is A27 Continental cocking his musket. I tilt him sideways so that his musket extends across the front of the stand rather than sticking out over the edge. The effect is very nice. Give it a try yourself. I can say that none of these muskets are going to break off, nor are they going to stick the guy in front of them since all muskets are at an angle.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Continental Command Pictures

Pennsylvania regiment with skirmishers

I have some new pictures of the Fife & Drum Continentals that I painted over the past couple of weeks that I am posting today. The pictures show what the new command figures (officer marching, NCO, drummer and standard bearer) look like.

Close up view of the command group. The NCO is on the stand to the right of the flag stand, first figure on the left with musket in his right hand.

Some of the skirmishing figures depicted in both brown and the traditional blue uniforms.

I am currently working on a unit of the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment, decked out in brown coats with white facings and buff trousers. I hope to have them done within a week from today, afterwhich their pix will be posted on this blog.

The next items in the design queue will be British line infantry and British grenadiers in bearskins. These will probably roll off the production line in January 2012.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Continental Command Figures Arrive!

This is just a quick note to let everyone know that the Continental infantry command figures arrived today along with considerable reinforcements for the rank and file and for the British Guards. So now we have everything that you need in stock to create Continental regiments (marching and firing), British Guards, British light infantry and American Militia.

I will post pictures within the next couple of days and hopefully paint some samples over the weekend.

Monday, September 5, 2011

British Guards & Continentals Pix

British Brigade of Guards figures from Fife & Drum (click pix to enlarge)

I have finally been able to post some pictures of the painted samples of the latest figures that are now available from the Fife & Drum range of AWI miniatures. The picture above depicts the eight figures representing the Brigade of Guards. The two figures on the left are the flank companies soldier and NCO, both are wearing the hat-cap with a front plate and horsehair roach. The grenadier and light companies are only differentiated by the ensignia on the plate of the cap: a grenade for the grenadiers and the letters "LI" for the light infantry.

In a pinch, one could also use the centre company figures for line infantry. The main difference is that the Guards wore a bayonet scabbard on the front right side and they had a "tub & strap" water canteen instead of the metal canteen used by the line regiments.

Please note that when you click the picture to enlarge the viewing, that there is some distortion in the pictures which become larger than the actual figures.

Guards centre company men skirmishing.

Guards centre company command.

(L-R) Guards centre coy. man, centre coy. NCO, flank coy. man, and flank coy. NCO

Same as previous picture
I also have some of the Continentals samples painted for your inspection. Please note that the infantry command figures (officer, drummer, standard bearer and NCO) are at the caster's having the moulds made for production, so I should have Continental command and marching and skirmishing figures shortly.

(L-R) Continental mtd officer, 4 marching variants, Continental general.

Continentals skirmishing or use for a firing line.

Continental skirmishers face off against British Guards.

As always, if you are interested in ordering these figures, then contact me via e-mail ( to place orders or obtain more information.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Continentals & British Guards Castings Arrive!

This afternoon I came home from work and found a large box sitting on the front hall table in my house, and much to my great surprise, it contained a ton of new Fife & Drum Miniatures hot off the casting machines at Griffin Designs in the UK. Needless to say, I was very excited and opened the box with a great sense of anticipation. The castings are beautiful and they are very crisp and clean, just as one would expect from anything done by Griffins.

The British Brigade of Guards
First of all, we have eight castings to represent the British Brigade of Guards circa 1776-1777, both centre and flank company headgear. To my knowledge, no one else has ever designed the Guards Brigade in the 28/30mm size. So this is quite a first. I will post pictures and stock numbers for the Guards over the coming weekend, so keep on coming back for a visit.

B10 Guards Officer marching with fusil
B11 Guards Drummer - centre company
B12 Guards NCO - centre company
B13 Guards centre company man marching
B14 Guards centre company man standing firing
B15 Guards centre company man cocking musket
B16 Guards flank company NCO/Officer in cap
B17 Guards flank company man in cap marching

The centre company officers, drummer and rank and file are all wearing brimmed hats, turned up on the right side with a feather in the hat. I suppose that in a pinch, you could use these figures as line infantry figures. The primary difference between Guards and Line is that the Guards have a bayonet scabbard and a wooden canteen (think St Bernard Whiskey canteen). The Line would not have the bayonet scabbard and would have a round canteen.

The flank company figures are wearing a sort of jockey style cap with a front plate and a brim, with roach/plume on the top and back of the cap. You can paint the flank company figures as either grenadiers or light company men simply by painting a grenade or a hunting horn on the front plate. The Guards did not carry standards during the AWI so there are no standard bearers with this batch.

Stay tuned for pictures over the weekend. I hope to have some samples painted by then.

The Continentals
Next we have the American Continentals in tricorn hats, with a nice assortment of marching and skirmishing poses. The first four poses are being worked into moulds, but they have not been shipped to me in the first shipment. They should follow shortly. The other 8 foot and the officer sets are now available.

A20 Officer marching                  NOT AVAILABLE YET
A21 Drummer marching                "         "                      "
A22 Standard bearer marching      "         "                      "
A23 NCO marching                      "         "                      "

A24 Continental man standing firing
A25 Continental man standing at the ready
A26 Continental man loading musket with ram rod
A27 Continental man cocking his musket

A28 Continental man marching (breeches, tumpline, half gaitors)
A29 Continental man marching (breeches, tumpline)
A30 Continental man marching (trousers, blanket roll across chest)
A31 Continental man marching (breeches, tumpline)

AC1 Mounted general with horse  ($5.00 including horse and rider)
AC2 Mounted officer or ADC with horse ($5.00 including horse and rider)

All infantry figures are $1.80 per figure, sold as individual figures. All mounted figures come with the horse (2-piece castings of rider and horse) and are $5.00 per set.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Continental Mounted Officer Greens

I received a pleasant surprise today with the arrival of these pictures of the Continental officers and horse greens that were sent to me by Richard Ansell. Good things are well worth waiting for and these certainly fill the bill. As shown in the pictures, we will be adding two American officers to the range: one pointing and one riding with his sword drawn at his side.

Their faces seem to have a lot of character, as you can see by clicking on the pictures to enlarge the view. With the completion of the mounted officers, Richard now has a full set of 16 figures to take to the caster (12 foot, 2 officers, and 1 horse - which takes up 2 slots in the mould). So it shouldn't be too long before we get these gentlemen into production.

I'm excited. Can't you tell?  :)


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Continental Greens

American Continental Command figures by Richard Ansell

I have already posted these pictures of the new AWI Continental greens over on my Der Alte Fritz Journal, but figured that it would be a good idea to post them on the official Fife & Drum site as well. I note that many of the "followers" listed on the right hand side of this page are also followers of my SYW blog.

There are a total of 12 Continental foot figures, including four command, four different marching  poses, two firing (one of which is loading his musket) and two of what I would call "standing at the ready". Richard is also working on two mounted officers: a brigadier general and his ADC, as well as a standing horse. Eventually, I will also add walking and trotting horses to the herd.

Rear view of the command figures. Click photos to enlarge the view.

Here are the front and back images of the skirmish or firing line poses:

Here are the "at the ready" set which could be used to make a complete regiment of Continentals waiting to receive the British attack:

I also think that the two figures above would also look good paired up with the two firing line figures, given that one of these fellows appears to be cocking his musket, which would fit in with the "firing line" theme.

Finally, we have the standard of every wargamer's army: the marching poses:

The rear view illustrates the variety of tumplines, packs and blanket rolls on the figures.
I don't have a timetable on the arrival of the greens as yet, but I would assume that they will be ready to send to the caster in the near future. Once the mounted officers and horse are completed, then we can send them off to the caster and start spinning metal.

I'm really excited by what I've seen so far and like you, I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to paint some of these miniature master pieces.

Cheers everyone,

Der Alte Fritz

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Militia Advancing Regiment

American militia regiment using all of the advancing poses in the Fife & Drum range of figures: A1 - officer; A2 - at the ready; A3 - advancing; and A8 - advancing

I just finished basing another American militia regiment to show what a unit looks like when using all of the advancing figures in one unit. The figures used were:

A1 - officer holding sword
A2 - militia at the ready, wearing tricorn hat
A3 - militia advancing, musket down, wearing tricorn hat
A8 - militia advancing, musket up, wearing brimmed hat

And here is a picture of the brigade of two militia regiments, showing one comprised of firing poses and the new unit comprised of the advancing poses. I really like the way that the poses work together in a natural looking way.

American militia firing line, supported by another unit advancing. Please click on the picture to enlarge the view.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Militia Bases Completed

American Militia Firing Line

Rear View of the Same Unit. British Light skirmishers lurk in the background.
I finished basing the four American Militia stands last night and thought that I would post a couple of pictures of the finished product on this blog. Please click on the pictures to enlarge the view and feel free to leave a comment on this blog. I enjoy reading the feedback, both good and bad.

Shipments to the UK
I packed up my first order to the UK this evening (about 36 figures) and put them in a US Postal Service Priority Mail Small Box. The shipping cost to the UK is a flat rate of $13.95 for anything up to 4 pounds of weight and/or valued at less than $400.00. I was doing a little "cypherin'" on my slate tablet and estimated that I could, in theory, pack about 200 figures into the Small Priority Mail Box and still be under the 4 pound weight limit and the $400.00 value limit. That works out to approximately $0.07 (seven cents) per figure for shipping figures across the pond, which doesn't seem too excessive to me. (It's far less than a certain company in the UK charges for its shipping to customers in the US, and you all know who I mean). I don't believe that shipping should be a profit center, so I will never charge more than my postage cost for any shipment. I have no idea what the import duties would be once the figures land in the UK, so that might add to the overall cost.

I am in the process of exploring the idea of casting figures in the UK and then selling the figures throughout Euroland via a UK-based distributor, provided that I can find someone to fill that role. Stay tuned for more information about this in the future.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

American Militia Painted Examples

Fife & Drum American Militia Firing Line (click image to enlarge)

I have been busy painting some of the new American Militia figures so that everyone can see how they look once they are painted. I still have to add the ground terrain effects, but these pictures should give you an idea of how they look. For light infantry and militia, I like to make each stand (40mm x 60mm) a mini-diorama by adding tree stumps, piles of logs and stone walls etc. In my mind, the Militia would probably be seeking some kind of cover, so I picked up some small pebbles and rocks along the roadside, added some twigs, and I was ready to go.

American militia firing line using the shooting and loading poses from the Fife & Drum range.

Since there are basically four poses in "firing line" mode and four more in "advancing" mode, my plan was to paint one battalion as a firing line and one as an advancing unit. Why? Because militia clothing is not uniform, so I figured that the best way to tell the two regiments apart was to have them split into advancing and firing.

The pictures above use the following Fife & Drum figures:

A1 Militia Officer (the fellow standing bravely in front of the wall.
A2 Militia standing at the ready (1 figure in the back row, first stand on the left)
A4 Militia standing firing (cocked hat/tricorn)
A5 Militia standing firing (brimmed hat)
A6 Militia kneeling firing (brimmed hat)
A7 Militia cocking his musket (brimmed hat)

These figures, in combination, make for a nice firing line with lots of action and variety to it.

I am waiting for the white glue on the stones to dry, and then I will slather a layer of spackling compound mixed with brown paint over the stands. Then I dip the stands into a bowl of fine railroad ballast from Woodlands Scenics, and let the stands dry overnight. Tomorrow, I will add a brown ink wash over the stands, and after the ink dries, I will lightly dry brush some tan or beige paint over the surface to highlight the ground relief. Finally, I will dab some white glue onto the bases and apply static grass to finish off the base.

I hope to have a similar advancing militia regiment painted and ready to photograph by next weekend.

For those of you who have placed orders last week, your packages were mailed on Saturday and you should be getting them early next week (US residents only). The international shipments take from 6 to 10 business days to arrive.

Cheerio everyone!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Figure Comparisons

Comparison picture of HaT (left), Perry Plastic Dragoon, and Fife & Drum British Guard Officer (photo courtesy of Richard Ansell)

Several people have been asking to see pictures of how our Fife & Drum Miniatures compare with other AWI ranges, so I have posted the picture, above, that compares a HaT, a Perry and a Fife & Drum figure. As you can see, the height of the figures is comparable, but there is a difference in the "heft" or thickness of the torsos. Since the Fife & Drum figure is sculpted to a scale, i.e. 1/56, its realistic proportions sort of fool the eye into thinking that the Perry figure is bulkier than it really is.  The Perry figures are wonderful sculpts in their own right and I have used them in my own armies, prior to starting this new venture.

In the following pictures, below, I have shown some comparisons of Eureka AWI, Perry Hessians, and Minden SYW Prussian (also sculpted by Richard Ansell,  so the size is comparable to the Fife & Drum figures). The Minden figure is a "stand in" for the Fife & Drum figures since they are both the same size. I added a penny coin as a shim to give the Minden figure about 2mm of extra height, figuring that a couple more millimeters of height sort of offsets the "heft" or chunkier look of the Perry and Eureka, in relative comparison.

Comparison of Eureka (left), Perry (center) and Minden (right)

Comparison of Hinchcliffe (left), RSM (center) and Minden (right)

The picture above compares the Ansell sculpt with those of some older Hinchcliffe and RSM AWI figures. The Hinchcliffe and RSM figures were sculpted by Steve Hezzlewood in the mid 1980s. I have always liked these figures because they achieved that sense of "realism" that I seek in my miniatures.

Minden, Perry, Eureka and Front Rank (left to right)

Finally, I have added a Front Rank figure into the lineup of figures so that you can make that comparison as well. You can see that while there are some differences in the "heft" of the various figures, they are all relatively equal in height.  Since Perry, Eureka and Front Rank are some of the most popular AWI figure ranges on the market, and rightly so, the above picture should give you an indication of how well the different ranges would fit together. In my mind, they all work, but you probably would not want to mix them into the same unit.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

We Are Operational Now

I have packed several orders this evening and sent out the Paypal notifications, so it appears that we are all set up to receive and ship orders as of today. The first ever shipment is going to Australia, interestingly enough. International orders can use a Priority Mail Small Box that can hold up to 4 pounds of goods, which is a lot of miniatures for a flat rate postage cost (considering that 24 to 36 figures only weigh about 11 ounces). So if you want to amortize the flat rate shipping on international orders, it pays to order larger quantities.

As mentioned earlier, we now have the American Militia and the British Light Infantry in stock.

The British Guards figures are at the caster's and hopefully we should start receiving figures within a couple of weeks. So keep checking in on this site for any updates. I 'm really looking forward to seeing how The Guards look first hand and plan to paint up a unit for myself once the castings are in hand.


Der Alte Fritz

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Inventory Has Arrived!

AWI Militia figures (left to right) front row: A6 - kneeling; A5 - standing firing; A4 standing firing w./tricorn; A7 - cocking musket; Back Row: A8 - advancing; A2 standing at ready; A3 - advancing; and A1 - officer

I received a box full of the British Light Infantry and the American Militia figures, so after I sort them I will be ready to start selling them via this blog.

Prices are $1.80 per figure plus applicable postage.

See the listing of figures at the bottom of this page and send an e-mail to me at:

fife_drum_minis (at) blogspot (dot) com

I can accept payment via Paypal

I will be working on basing the Militia samples this week and update the picture so that you can see them "in situ", rather than standing on cardboard squares used for priming the figures.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Welcome to the Fife & Drum Miniatures Blog

Fife & Drum Miniatures is a new range of figures devoted to the American War of Independence ("AWI"), or the American Revolution, as we call it here in the United States. The figures are designed by Richard Ansell (the creative force behind Minden Miniatures - Seven Years War; and Alban Miniatures - Napoleonic Wars).  The figures are in 1/56 scale, which means that everything about the figure, from the body proportions, the muskets, and all of the equipment, are sculpted to this exact scale. As a result, the Ansell sculpts have a very real and lifelike appearance to them that is unmatched by anything else in the wargame hobby.

I am pleased to announce that the first figures in this range are now in production and we should begin to have them in stock by April 20, 2011. We offer eight American Militia poses and eight British Light Infantry poses. See the Stock Numbers for the individual figures in the list below. We also have the "greens" for eight British Brigade of Guards and hope to put these figures into production shortly.

Our next figure releases will be Continental Infantry in tricorn hats and we should start seeing examples of the "greens" by the end of April, 2011. Over the course of 2011, we plan on adding British line infantry in campaign uniforms, circa 1777, British grenadiers, and artillery crew for both armies, along with an assortment of cannon models and limber sets.

How to Order These Figures

Fife & Drum Miniatures will be sold through this blog site, using Paypal for payment of purchases. Send me an e-mail at: fife_drum_minis (at)yahoo(dot)com to place your orders.

Keep watching this blog for more news on the Fife & Drum Miniatures range.

Update: please note the new e-mail address for ordering Fife & Drum Miniatures

Prices: $1.80 per figure, sold as single figures + applicable postage.