Airfix 1:76 scale “British Grenadiers 1776”, not! These figures are wearing centre company coats without the typical grenadier wings, an 11 inch fusilier bearskin cap, instead of the 12 inch grenadier cap, and they are missing the grenadier hanger issued to elites, since these are center company soldiers, of course. In addition, there is an ensign, when British flank companies did not carry flags, and a mounted staff officer, presumably the second-in-command of the regiment, who rode behind the line, while the commanding officer and the subaltern officers of the center and flank companies fought dismounted. Clearly, Airfix released British Fusiliers in 1971, but the company has been hawking them as “British Grenadiers 1776” since.
Mistakes are made, and can be corrected, but Airfix marketing seems to have taken its understanding of honesty one step further by rebranding these 1:76 scale figures as “1:72 Model Miniatures”.
38 Figures in 9 Poses – 21.5 mm equal 163 cm Height
- Mounted Staff Officer of Fusiliers (2)
- Ensign of Fusiliers (1)
- British Drummer (1)
- British Fusilier with Fusil and fixed Bayonet, marching (6)
- British Fusilier with Fusil and fixed Bayonet, advancing (6)
- British Fusilier with Fusil, standing, firing (6)
- British Fusilier with Fusil, kneeling, firing (6)
- British Fusilier with Fusil, ramming Charge (6)
- British Fusilier with Fusil and fixed Bayonet, kneeling (6)
Excellent choice of subject, these British Fusiliers look very attractive in their bearskin caps. Fusiliers of the 23rd (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot apparently were the only British infantrymen wearing bearskin caps in the American Revolutionary War, since flank company grenadiers of the infantry regiments preferred to wear hats on campaign. However, even the Royal Welsh Fusiliers are reported to have been “disappointed”1 by their cap maker, and having to rely on other headdress in the course of the war, adorned with the Prince of Wales‘s ostrich feathers.
Good wargaming poses. The unusually low number of poses in this Airfix figure set is fortunate for wargamers, who prefer to deploy their troops in marching or firing formations. Unfortunately, the standing and kneeling firing fusiliers are missing the bayonets on their fusils, even though British infantry routinely fought, and fired with bayonets fixed. We fix this mistake in our tutorial “Soldering missing Bayonets on British Fusiliers”.
The fusil measures 18.5 mm overall, it falls short of the 19.5 mm Pattern 1756 Light Infantry Fusil in this scale. One possible remedy might involve adding a longer bayonet than usual, so that an overall length of 28 mm for the Long Land Pattern Musket, or the 26.5 mm of the fusil are reached.
Excess staff officers may be converted to cavalrymen or mounted officers of other regiments. The conversion only requires a head-swap, replacing the bearskin cap with a tricorn, light dragoon cap or Tarleton helmet. The spare fusilier caps may be used to convert other 18th century infantry figures to British fusiliers.
The ensign, a subaltern officer, is missing his epaulettes, gorget and sash. The belt of the cartridge pouch needs to be removed, of course, since standard-bearers did not carry cartridge pouches. The long and narrow flag cannot be salvaged at all. It is best to remove this item completely, equip the ensign with a staff of 0.6 mm piano wire and glue paper King’s Colours or Company Colours to it. See our tutorial British Fusilier Ensign Upgrade for details.
The drummer is wearing crossbelts with nothing attached to them. We correct this and other mistakes in our tutorial “British Fusilier Drummer Upgrade” by removing the belt worn over the left shoulder, and adding a hanger to the one across the right shoulder. The drum will be suspended from a belt made of self-adhesive label paper, worn around the neck, and the missing wings are recreated with Milliput.
Every fusilier is wearing his cartridge pouch out of reach, attached to the center rear of an imaginary waistbelt. This cartridge pouch needs to be replaced by a larger pouch attached to the bandolier across the left shoulder. The strap across the right shoulder needs to have a haversack attached to it. Our tutorial “British Fusiliers Upgrade” explains, how this is done.
Heavy mould lines and excess plastic between arms and fusils require more clean-up than usual. In addition, there are short shots and weld lines on fusils of the standing firing and advancing fusiliers, where two flow fronts met, but did not bond.
- 7th (Royal Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot, 1773–1783
- 21st (Royal North British Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot, 1776–1777 (without fusilier caps!)
- 23rd (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot, 1773–1783
- British Light Dragoons, 1775–1783
- British Centre Company Soldiers in Tricorne
- Continental Infantrymen in Tricorne
Airfix 1:76 scale British Fusiliers need to have cartridge pouches and haversacks attached to their empty crossbelts, but these nice figures are well worth the effort.
1. Franklin, Carl: British Army Uniforms from 1751 to 1783 (Barnsley 2012), p. 183 ↩