Monday, February 16, 2009

Lewis and Clark progress

I've made some progress this weekend on the Lewis and Clark project. First up are soldiers from the Spanish Louisiana Regiment. These are your basic Spanish infantry in Europe and in North America. Their uniforms had not changed appreciably from the Seven Years War. These are soldiers Lewis would have encountered in St. Louis during his winter at Camp DuBois when he made his way into town. The Spanish passed authority over to the French and then the Americans March 9-10, 1804. While it is unclear whether line fusiliers would have taken part in a pursuit of the Corps of Discovery, I decided to include them. They look nice and regular infantry steadies the militia and Indians. I'm really pleased with how they turned out--perhaps my best painted figures since the early 90's.

The miniatures are from the Spanish range by London War Room. TLWR has an entire range of 18th century Spanish figures that are impressive. All my Spaniards will come from this range. Unfortunately, it seems that The London War Room will soon be gone, which is quite sad. They were always a pleasure to work with.

The next couple of figures are of my scratch-built keelboat. The work on this was done entirely by Mark Waddington, my good friend, and expert model builder. I included articles and a whole series of pictures of the keelboat in December. I will be adding a couple more vessels to Captain Lewis's flotilla in the not too distant future. The keelboat was accompanied by a pair of large dugout canoes called pirogues. I am not going to go the scratchbuilt route with these. I'm going to use two of the longboats from Merrimack Shipyards by Old Glory. These look nice, and will serve the purpose after mounting them with a mast and small swivel cannon.

Last, I've included a picture of my Lewis and Clark figures on top of the sterncastle of the keelboat. Yes indeed, these are real live Lewis and Clark figures that are purpose-built. The figures are based on a Michael Haynes painting of Lewis and Clark on the trail attired in how they might have appeared in their undress uniforms. It is certain that the two officers had many extra sets of clothing, including extra dress coats and cocked hats that they gave away on the trail, exchanging them for food, a canoe, and horses. When the expedition was over, Lewis presented the government with a bill for $135 for a dirk, a pistol and many items of officers uniform exchanged with the Indians on the trail.

The figures are from Old Glory, and there is a great story that goes with it. In 2005 Bruce Meyer our NHMGS treasurer was back at Cold Wars, as he is each year, and he invited Russ Dunaway out to be our guest at Enfilade. When Russ agreed it was quite a coup. We knew he'd tell the world about our little convention. Russ, in his generosity, also wanted to do something special for us, and he asked if there was a figure he model for us with a Northwest theme. Being quickest on the draw, I suggested Lewis and Clark, and so it was agreed. I possess the only known stash of these babies, where they live in my garage. They were gifts we gave to those who pre-registered, hosted games, or volunteered in some other way.

Lewis is in green and Clark is in blue. They were such an interesting team. Lewis was the visionary, the organizer, the naturalist. He was a bit of a dreamer, and a bit short-tempered with those who didn't share his view. Lewis was almost certainly mentally-ill, self evident through his suicide in 1809. However, we can see his mood change in the voyage home when he becomes more combative with the Indians who hover about the expedition on the upper Columbia, stealing tools, even stealing Lewis's Newfoundland dog Seaman. (That's what I really need is a Seaman miniature!!!) William Clark is the younger brother of George Rogers Clark and was Lewis's commanding officer in the army. He is more laid back, a man of judgment and a good balance to his partner's occasional rashness. His talent is on the river as a boatman, and he is the surveyor of the expedition. The maps he made of the upper Missouri and out to the Pacific are known for their incredible accuracy.

1 comment:

Rassilon said...

Awesome stuff Kevin!