Military Subjects:  War of 1812


The War of 1812 Magazine

Issue 16: September 2011


Reviews: Books, Film, Collectables and Ephemera


The War of 1812 in Miniature: A Review of Figures depicting American, British and Canadian Soldiers of the War of 1812: Part I

By John Grodzinski

Many people enjoy the hobby of collecting miniature soldiers. Until recently, figures depicting soldiers and Natives from the War of 1812 have been few and far between. From its base in Hong Kong, John Jenkins Designs now offers a fine variety of 54mm figures most of which depict soldiers, guns and equipment from the Battle of Chippawa, an intense action that took place on 5 July 1814.

This is part one of a two part photo review of the figures making up this collection. Part II will appear in the next issue of the War of 1812 Magazine.

A detachment from Major Jacob Hindman's battalion of the U.S. Artillery mans an 8-pdr gun. Note the gunner "thumbing" the vent, prior to the charge being rammed down the muzzle. If this was not done, the motion of ramming might cause the smouldering fragments of the previous cartridge to flare up, creating a premature discharge, usually with unhappy results for the gunner ramming. These figures are from Jenkins sets, USChart 01, 02 and 03.


A detachment from Captain James Machlachlan's company of Royal Artillery mans a light 6-dpr gun in 1814. The gun commander is sighting the weapon by giving hand signals to the gunner with the handspike who is physically moving the piece. These figures are from Jenkins sets, BChart 01, 02 and BChGun 01.


British gunners man a brass 24-pdr. gun. It was rare for a gun of this heavy calibre to be used as a field piece but, in North America, the Royal Artillery had to be satisfied with obsolescent types and this particular type dated back to the reign of George II. These figures are from Jenkins sets BChart 01 and 02 and BchGun 02.

Jenkins also makes personality figurines, known as "Club figures," particularly if the subject shares his name. Here we have Lieutenant William Jenkins Worth, Winfield Scott's ADC in 1814. This figure is based on a Company of Military Historians' plate, which in turn is based on a description contained in a memoir by Worth of his time in the War of 1812. Note the "charivarees" or riding trousers that button up the outside seam, a dramatic garment favoured by young officers. This figure is Jenkins Club 2011B.

Another "club: figure, this is Captain John Jenkins of the Glengarry Light Infantry as he might have appeared during the February 1813 attack on Ogdensburg in which he was badly wounded. The officers of the Glengarry Fencibles dressed in a fashion almost identical to that of British rifle officers. JJClub 2010.

A soldier of Winfield Scott’s brigade wearing the grey jacket which that brigade would make immortal in the summer of 1814. Jenkins’s figures are exquisitely painted and such detailed touches such as the grass and dirt stains on the knees of this man’s white pants are typical.

Some more men from Scott’s brigade.

A junior officer bears the Regimental Colour of the 11th Infantry of Scott’s brigade while another officer advises him to be cautious. In the background is an infantry drummer in reversed colours, wearing red rather blue. During the War of 1812 an American privateer captured the annual clothing of the 104th Regiment of Foot, which had buff facings. It was purchased by the U.S. government and issued to the drummers of the regular infantry.

Jenkins traces his inspiration to create War of 1812 figures to the books written by Canadian historian, Donald E. Graves, whose works are shown here with approximately half of the figures in the Jenkins War of 1812 collection.



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