Military Subjects:  War of 1812


 

The War of 1812 Magazine

Issue 7: September 2007

Reviews: Books, Film, Collectables and Ephemera

Royal Newfoundland Regiment of Fencible Infantry Figurine

By John R. Grodzinski, FINS

In anticipation of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, a Canadian miniature soldier maker has teamed with a Canadian sculptor and an artist to produce a unique series of hand painted collectable figurines commemorating units and individuals that fought in that conflict.

Based upon drawings made by military artist Michael Dunn, “Scott J. Dummitt Presents, a retail outlet for military action figures and producer of hand painted miniature soldiers has just released the first figure in the “1812” series, depicting a soldier of one of the most famous units raised in British North America, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment of Fencible Infantry.

The Royal Newfoundland Regiment was originally raised in 1795 to protect the British Atlantic colonies during Britain ’s war with France and was disbanded in 1802, according to the Treaty of Amiens that momentarily ended the conflict. In 1803, the regiment was reformed on the same footing as a regiment of the line, for service in North America. Two years later, the 683-man unit was ordered to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where it served at Fort Anne and the Halifax defences before moving to Quebec in September 1807. With the approaching war, the regiment was then instructed to send five companies to serve as seamen and marines with the naval squadrons on the Great Lakes and it continued in this role until the arrival of Royal Marines in the spring of 1814.

Members of the regiment served with Commodore Robert Barclay’s Lake Erie squadron at Put-in-Bay in October 1813. The Newfoundlanders played an important role in the struggle for naval supremacy on Lake Huron during 1814 and helped in the capture of the American schooners Tigress and Scorpion.

Along with their naval service, the Newfoundlanders also augmented garrisons throughout Upper Canada and participated in many actions and battles, including Detroit, Frenchtown, Fort Meigs, York, Fort George, Sackets Harbor, Fort Stephenson and Mackinac (August 1814). Beginning in June 1814, the regiment was moved by detachments to Newfoundland where it was disbanded on 24 June 1816.[1]

The figures in this series are 75 mm tall, sculpted by John Folkard and hand painted in flat enamels by Scott Dummitt. The pose is based on the soldier depicted in the original drawing by Michael Dunn. As shown in the accompanying image, the basic set comes in a box with a card showing the original artwork by Michael Dunn on one side and a history of the unit on the other.

This is a wonderful initiative by a relatively new producer of military miniatures. The drawings are good, while the figures are nicely sculpted and nicely painted.

The figure is available in one of two sets. The Signature Series edition includes the boxed figure, an 8 ½” x 11” signed print, a collector card and reproduction uniform button and is available for $99.00 Canadian or $95.50 US, whereas the basic set, shown in the image, comes with the boxed figure and collector card, priced at $55.00 Canadian or $52.90 US. Unpainted castings are also available for collectors who wish to paint their own.

This is a very welcome series that should be of great interest to War of 1812 enthusiasts and collectors of miniature soldiers.

Future figures in this series include: a sergeant from the 17th U.S. Infantry, a Mohawk Warrior, sergeant of the Royal Artillery, an officer of the 41st Foot, a soldier of the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles, a sailor from the American brig Niagara, a soldier from the 8th (King’s) Foot and finally a soldier from the 104th Foot, originally raised in 1803 as the New Brunswick Regiment of Fencible Infantry and taken into the line in 1810. A second series will be run if the response to the first is favourable.

For more information, visit Scott J. Dummitt Presents

[1] Summary from Summer, Jack L. and René Chartrand. Military Uniforms in Canada : 1665 – 1970. Ottawa: National Museums of Man, 1981, p. 59 and J. Mackay Hitsman. The Incredible War of 1812: A Military History. Toronto: Robin Brass Studio, 1999, p. 292, 306.

 



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