With the recent releases of Land of the Free, Black Powder’s Rebellion supplement and the continuing success of Muskets & Tomahawks, AWI has seen a real resurgence recently. Front Rank has quite a large selection of 40mm AWI figures covering the British, Hessians and Continentals, and they sent two of each in for review. 40mm seems to be growing in popularity, not just for skirmish games, but for big-battle gamers who are no longer satisfied with smaller models. These ones average 38mm foot to eye and are sold both individually for £2.40 and in larger unit packs for a small discount. The sculpting throughout is natural in both pose and proportion, and the casting crisp and clean. There are very few mouldlines and very little flash.
The British models are a line soldier biting a cartridge and a battalion drummer. The musketeer has a cockade and a regimental crest on his knapsack. He wears stockings and gaiters rather than the overalls that became popular later on in the war, and his coat is the long type exemplified by the ’68 warrant – not the short-tailed version used by soldiers who had been campaigning for some time. His bayonet is already socketed, so clearly the enemy is close! The drummer is very similar in generalities, but has shoulder-wings and a peaked fur mitre to identify him too.
The Hessians include an officer with a spontoon and a German grenadier. The officer’s coat is without turnbacks, and he holds his weapon in one hand with a tricorne in the other. Both men have gaiters that rise above the knee, and have coiffeured rolls and pigtails. The grenadier actually comes with three heads on a separate sprue, all of them mitred with short hair at the back – because his queue is a third piece. In fact, his knapsack is also separate, meaning that he has a total of four parts, twice as many as most of the models. He is in a marching pose, bayonet already attached to his musket, and with a second curved blade in a scabbard at his side.
Finally, the Americans were a Continental soldier advancing with bayonet and a buckskinned militiaman marching – again with fixed bayonet. These gentlemen are provided without heads and with a large hole in their torsos where the neck should be, as well as sprues of variant heads that can be inserted as desired. Most of these are cockaded tricornes with different expressions, but two broad-brimmed hats are also included. One of them has a folded brim and a large feather. The Continental soldier is uniformed very similarly to his British counterpart, as was true throughout the war.
All the models are lovingly sculpted in great detail, from the expressions on their faces to the trim on the buckskin. If I weren’t committed to 15mm and already over-extended by re-doing this period in 28mm, I would be tempted by these very nice miniatures, particularly given the breadth of Front Rank’s range. The only real downside I can see to these 40mm models is that the necessary terrain would be frankly enormous! If you’re only just starting in the AWI however, you could do much worse than start with these.