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.

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.