Between project tasks I've been slowly assembling some of my 1/32 Black Hat metal French Infantry of the Line figures. They are a nice change of pace from the intense concentration I've been doing with my sculpting project.
Any way - Vive la différence!
I do really like the Black Hat '54mm' range - though they are of the larger end of the 54mm spectrum (what I call 1/32 to help differentiate them). They wouldn't be compatible with vintage Britains toy soldiers, for example.
One other thing about the Black Hat range is that it is rather limited. They have a selection of these marching infantrymen and officers, but aside from their artillery team figures they so not have a great variety in poses and supporting characters. So, if you want to build an army based on the Black Hat figures you would have to be prepared to do a fair amount of conversion in order to be able to portray the many types of troops you need.
The paperback reference book is by a company called G.I. and is in the vein of Osprey's reference publications. Called 'Fix Bayonets: U.S.Infantry from the American Civil War to the Surrender of Japan' it's an illustrated history of American uniforms which encompasses the time period that most interests me - 1890-1910 (though the book, in total, covers a period from 1865-1946).
I have never really been bitten by the American Civil War bug and American military history as a whole is a bit of a yawn to me, BUT the one era I do find of interest is my target era when America looked more externally and dallied with what can be described as a 'colonial' state of mind. From the Spanish-American War to the Boxer Rebellion the United States seemed to fall in-line with the other great powers and this was also true of their uniforms.
Although the US Army retained a distinctively American style to their dress, but at least in their 1881-1900 dress uniforms they assimilated a distinctly European influence which perhaps suggested a dalliance with the idea of competing on a global stage before they once again returned to their inward looking politics prior to the First World War.
|Circa 1899 - this lovely colour plate from the G.I. book shows a good|
selection of US rank and officer dress and campaign uniforms.
Source: G.I. Books - see links below.
Of course the above idea is only my own opinion, but from the point of view of an exponent of Funny Little Wars it seems to me that this short window of time would be the ideal time on which to base a Army Red/White/Blue.
The book itself does not have the series of specially illustrated colour plates that the Osprey reference books have but rather has a small selection of period colour lithographs and photographs at the beginning of the book. The rest of the publication is a chronographic record of the uniforms of the US Army by means of original monochrome photography.
|Officers of the 17th US Infantry c. 1884 - note the almost Teutonic look|
of the officer bottom left!
Source: G.I. Books - see links below.
Commentary, such as there is, is restricted to the short captions which accompany the photographs. I was left with a feeling that I wanted to know more and so, ironically, might look into whether Osprey do a similar reference book!
The G.I. publication is more of a complimentary item if you are researching the subject and the period, and would - I think - be a very useful companion volume to something like an Osprey 'Men at Arms' book.
Still, for just £5 (second hand from Barbican Books) it is a very entertaining - and educational - booklet. I was unaware of just what the United States was 'up to' during my favoured 1890-1910 period of time. The collection of photographs are excellent and I might even be tempted to seek out the relevant G.I. cavalry volume which covers the same period.
> Black Hat Miniatures (UK) - 54mm toy soldiers range
> Greenhill Books (for G.I. Books in UK)
> Stackpole Books (for G.I. Books in USA)
> Barbican Bookshop York - a lovely little treasure trove of second-hand books.