British Light Infantry of the American Revolutionary War, 1771–1783

Miniatures Conversions in 1:72 Scale

British Light Infantry of the American Revolutionary War, 1771–1783

A very interesting conversion from an historical point of view, it mirrors the way British light infantry uniforms were originally created during the French and Indian Wars. Existing line infantry uniforms were cut down for light infantry use. The style was re-adopted in 1771 when light infantry again became an important part of the British Army establishment in North America.

British infantry battalions each had a light infantry company with men trained to act as skirmishers. On campaign, the standard operating procedure was to strip the light companies from their parent regiments, and brigade them together, forming a converged light infantry unit. At the beginning of the American War of Independence, the light infantry wore a variety of cap styles, short jackets with wings on the shoulders, breeches and stockings, and calf length "half spatterdashers" or half gaiters. Cuffs and lapels were the same colour as the parent regiment, but light infantry had red waistcoats as a further mark of distinction.

Parts Required

  • British Infantry, Accurate Figures 7200, also distributed as Revell 02603

The Cut of the Cloth

The Revell figure used for this conversion is the one with legs apart and the coat tails falling between. This stance facilitates the removal of the coat tails in order to arrive at the shortened light infantry coat. Using a sharp blade, cut a 1 mm deep line across the rear of the coat, just above the tail flaps. This cut defines the bottom of the new coat. Position the blade below the coat tails and slice upwards, carfully removing the coat tails until you meet the cut line. You should leave the top part of the turnbacks in place. Finally, the legs need to be trimmed into shape a little to complete the coat conversion.

The Light Infantry Cap

The peculiar cap of the light infantry is made by converting the figure’s tricorn hat. First slice off the left and right corners of the tricorn. The remaining front corner becomes the front flap (or plate) of the cap. Trim off the back brim of the tricorn to form the rounded crown of the cap. Paint over the cap crown with PVA glue to cover nicks and give a rounder, smoother finish.

This type of light infantry cap was popular on both sides of conflict, and the conversion may be used to create the light infantry company of the 2nd Canadian (Congress’ Own) Regiment and many other American units.

Anthony De Lyall

American Revolutionary War Miniatures