British Legion Cavalry
American Revolutionary War, 1778–1783

Conversions in 1:76 Scale

British Legion Cavalry, Tarleton Light Dragoons, 1:76 Airfix Figure Conversions

The British Legion wore Tarleton helmets. Some sources, and paintings show them in coatees. A mounted British Napoleonic Horse Artillery officer may be used as the basis for this conversion, removing the frogging from the figure's chest, trimming away the collar, and the sash. The horse is taken from George Washington, the mounted officer figure in Washington's Army (Airfix).

The work should be done with a new scalpel blade, to ensure clean cuts. To avoid injury, place the figure on a cutting board, and always cut away from your body. The frogging on the officer's chest can be sliced off easily, leaving only the central row of buttons. The sash needs to be lifted off carefully, and the area beneath it sculpted into the shape of the coatee. Finally, the collar should be reduced to resemble the smaller style worn in the late 18th century. Nicks in the surface of the remodelled area can be smoothed over with a layer of PVA white glue painted onto the figure.

Parts Required

  • Horse Artillery Officer, Airfix 01746
  • Washington's Horse, Airfix 01739

American Provincial Troops

Loyalist cavalry frequently adopted the clothing style of Banastre Tarleton's British Legion:

British Legion Cavalry, 5th American Regiment, 1778-1783

  • Green jacket
  • Black cuffs, and collar, trimmed with white lace (gold for officers).
  • Brass buttons.
  • Buckskin (tan) breeches.
  • Black leather belts and pouches are shown in the famous painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
  • Black Tarleton helmet, with green turban, and green plume on the left side.
  • Shabraque colours are not known with certainty. Green shabraques like those of the Queen's Rangers Hussars are likely, but other colours may have been used on campaign.
  • Brown pistol holsters with black fur covers.

Queen's Rangers Hussars, 1st American Regiment, 1778-1783

  • Green jacket
  • Green cuffs, and collar.
  • Pewter buttons.
  • Green breeches worn over short boots.
  • Black leather belts and pouches.
  • Tall black cylindrical hussar shako with green bag, and silver crescent badge.
  • Green shabraque with silver crescent badge in all corners.
  • Brown pistol holsters with black fur covers.

Queen's Rangers Dragoons, 1st American Regiment, 1780-1783

  • Green jacket
  • Black cuffs, and collar, trimmed with white lace (gold for officers).
  • Brass buttons.
  • Buckskin breeches.
  • Black leather belts and pouches.
  • Black Tarleton helmet, with green turban, and green over white? plume on the left side.
  • Green shabraque with silver crescent badge in all corners.
  • Brown pistol holsters with black fur covers.

Four companies of dragoons were raised in Philadelphia in 1777, and they were usually attached to the Queen's Rangers, the British Legion, or the King's American Dragoons raised in 1782. The last three of these companies were ordered to change to green coats, while they were serving with the Queen's Rangers, although Captain Stanford of the Bucks County Dragoons seems to have retained his red coat.

  • West Jersey Cavalry, Lt. Col. John van Dyke
  • Bucks County Dragoons, Captain Thomas Stanford
  • Philadelphia Light Dragoons, Captain Richard Hoveden
  • James's Troops of Provincial Dragoons, Captain Jacob James

Other Provincial and German Cavalry

  • King's Orange Rangers were raised as mounted rifles in 1776. The unit was dressed in green coats faced in orange, white smallclothes, tricorns, and gaiters. By 1781, they had changed to red coats faced with yellow.
  • Brunswick Dragoon Regiment Prinz Ludwig arrived in Quebec in 1776, without horses. The unit was destroyed in a raid against Bennington, Vermont, trying to capture mounts. The dragoons wore light blue Prussian style uniforms with yellow facing. Drummers sported reversed colours, yellows coats with light blue facings, and light blue/yellow lace.
  • Hesse-Cassel Mounted Jägers wore green coats with crimson lapels, cuffs, collars and turnbacks, green waistcoats, leather breeches, and black riding boots. Mounted Jägers were typically employed as couriers and scouts.
  • American Legion, raised by Benedict Arnold after his defection in 1780.
  • South Carolina Royalists were converted to dragoons in 1781.

American Provincial cavalry played an important role in the Revolutionary War, participating in raids, and in many of the battles against the Continental Army. To avoid confusion with rebel cavalry, Loyalist troopers adopted the Tarleton helmet, which became the regulation headdress of British Light Cavalry, and Horse Artillery after the war.

Bibliography

Anthony De Lyall & K. Schultheis

Frequently Asked Questions

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American Revolutionary War Miniatures