I have been interested in the French & Indian War since I first saw The Last of the Mohicans, and have been gaming it on and off since Muskets & Tomahawks was released. I was therefore glad to discover that AW Miniatures have two blisters of Indians in their French & Indian War range, one of bowmen and one of musket-armed braves firing. These both cost £8 and contain six figures each. However, they also have a “war party” pack which contains 20 models for £25 and promises extra poses, as well as a 200 point force for Muskets & Tomahawks which costs £30 for the 26 models required.
The models average just over 27mm foot-to-eye, and overall are several millimetres shorter than my North Star Native American warriors. However, they are done in a relatively chunky style, so if they were in separate units with slightly taller bases they should not look out of place on the same table. They are also slightly shorter and chunkier than my Perry and Wargames Factory AWI plastics, more in line with my various Perry-sculpted metals. The casting is generally quite clean, but the Bowmen had a flange of flash on the moulding line, especially in between limbs. The metal is of good quality though, and the detail is clear wherever it is sculpted.
The “Bowmen” pack contains six figures from three different sculpts. I prefer a good deal of variation in pose when it comes to irregular troops, particularly in skirmish games. Unfortunately then, the three sculpts in this pack are variations on a theme – namely a man laying an arrow across his bow with one of three different heads. They could easily be ranked up in the army of some ancient king. All of them are bare chested with breech-clouts, leggings, moccasins and an armband on their right arm. Two of the heads have scalplocks and the third a pompadour. One man faces sternly forward, one is shouting, and the last is yelling to one side.
The “Firing” pack draws its six figures from four sculpts, all armed with long flintlock rifles – three standing and three kneeling. Like the archers, they wear leggings, moccasins and breech-clouts. They also carry powder horns, traditional bullet bags and either knives or tomahawks at their belts. I much preferred this pack, as the sculpts were more detailed than in the other, more realistically posed, and slightly more varied too. Though the poses of all the standing and all the kneeling models were the same, there were two head variants for both, which made the group feel much more animated.
It is always nice to see more sculpts for irregular troops enter the market – after all, the more the better. If bought in bulk, these models would be cheap reinforcements for your North American wars. Even better, AW Miniatures have quite a lot of other packs for the French & Indian Wars, so if you check out their webstore you might find yourself buying more than you bargained for! Even if you find the variety offered in the blisters I have reviewed underwhelming, the AW website shows many more sculpts in the unit packs.