Sunday, 23 December 2012

Seasons greetings.

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all who read my blog. A final couple of pics for 2012, the completed horse base referred to below. I'm sticking to just five basic colours for my horses now, enough to add variety to the units. I'll record these here for future reference, these have evolved out of a lot of trial and error with 6mm horseflesh, which requires some slightly exaggerated highlights especially on the hind quarters and the neck and raised muscles.
  • Citadel Calthan Brown - highlighted with Calthan + white.
  • Cote D Arms 'chestnut' highlighted with Foundry 'Tan'. ( + a small touch of white can be used sparingly)
  • Cote D Arms 'Buff' perfect for roans! A touch of tan will warm it up slightly and a touch of white can be added to highlight.
  • Blacks, highlighted with Foundry Charcoal black.
  • Greys - 33b Arctic grey highlighted with pure white.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

More new stuff.

Not done too badly this week, 1 unit of commanded muskets, 1 unit of pike & shot, 2 more artillery stands and 3 command stands for Parliament. I also managed another building hex of 2 small cottages. I have another base of horse undercoated for painting today hopefully. This will give me 10 units of horse so far. Just waiting more my new supply of static grass to arrive now, caught up in the xmas post rush no doubt.

As time for battle gets closer I've been giving some thought to what scale I want to fight my battles in. One thing I like about Commands & Colours is how the troop blocks can represent anything from a single battalion to a full brigade according to scenario for Napoleonics. I have decided that for for my intended games using the C&C/ECW adaptions I'll be working on the basis of a base of foot representing a typical mid war 'local' regiment of between 200 to 300 men, possibly smaller, while my horse bases will each represent a troop of roughly 50 - 60 riders. I have little or no interest in fighting the big set piece battles of the war, I have always enjoyed reading those lively accounts of small actions that took place up and down the country throughout the war.

I'll be adding more buildings, 2 units of mounted dragoons to match the 2 dismounted bases already painted, and more foot over the Christmas period.

I have been thinking about our use of the 'stand of pikes' rule for this period. Tony has understandably proposed that we lift the 'square' rule from C&C as it works so elegantly well for Napoleonics. Over the years I have played many ponderous representations of units forming square during battle, but C&CN handles it extremely well. However, it is obvious that Napoleonic soldiers were far better drilled and trained than civil war recruits and would practice the square formation regularly as part of training. I'm not sure that a 200 man unit of civil war recruits would have been able to react in quite the same way, the stand of pikes being more a huddle of men (and often more of a 'circle' indeed) with muskets crouching under the outstretched pikes for protection. If anybody has any thoughts or evidence relating to the practical use of the stand of pikes formation I'd love to hear from you please. I will just add  in my Sealed Knot days we often used to form stand of pikes against horse and I could never help thinking that determined troopers could have simply ridden right through us rather than conveniently halting to hack at the pike points! This was not a formation to be compared with the rigid square formation presenting ranks of bristling bayonets of the Napoleonic period. Test games will show us how well the rule translates to the civil war period.

Monday, 10 December 2012

First ECW buildings.

I have almost completed the first of my ECW buildings - a fine church from Baccus complete with churchyard. Really enjoyed doing this - I can see a few minor corrections I need to sort out - and overall I'm pleased with the result. I'll follow this with a few cottages and a water mill which should create a touch of period feel to the table. What I will need to do is to produce some small 'marker' bases which can be placed on the hex when occupied, for both foot and horse. I now have more figures to enable me to produce several more pike/musket units and more horse.

Tony has now revised the ECW/ C&C rules following a thorough play test and these can be downloaded from his blog here  (links at top right of the  blog)  I hope to recommence my own play testing shortly.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

More horse and photos!

Just to prove that I am not completely neglecting this blog and project here are the latest two bases of horse, as yet unlabelled, one still awaiting basing texture etc.

I tried a few photos (well lots, as I enjoy doing it), under improved lighting. Camera is just basic, but I like to play with lighting. These are lit with a tiny but powerful 70watt Ceramic Metal Halides lamp, the bulb is not much larger than a thumb, but it gives out amazing light, looks quite 'blue' to me but I'm told it's full spectrum. The bulb clips into a small compact holder and is powered via a miniature ballast, wonderful pice of kit for photographing tiny toy soldiers!

This is the collection so far. If you visit my Napoleonic blog (right) you can see I have been busy with terrain work. THis week I'm ordering some ECW buildings as well as more figures. Thanks for sticking with me, there will be some battles in the not too distant future now.

Thursday, 25 October 2012


Here are a few images from the early stages of the test game I played through a couple of weeks ago using the C&C/ECW variant rules. I must admit I have not yet had time to write a follow up piece describing how the game went and my thoughts on the rules, but I hope to get that sorted shortly. These pics show how my hex grid and terrain are used. I couldn't help feeling that I'd prefer a more natural flowing terrain board for this period, I'm not quite sure why that should be though. Certainly I'm giving a lot of thought at the moment as to which direction to go regarding terrain.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

4 days painting progress.

Not bad going so far, 4 bases completed and just the Dragoons to finish off, the nags in fact. I decided to base the 'Lobsters' 3 deep. I tried not to make them as 'showy' as the previous cuirassiers representing the Troop of Gentlemen Pensioners, but still gave them a very light drybrush to pick out the armour. I doubt I'll be painting any more of these now. I managed to paint a tiny anchor on the green cornet to represent Sir Arthur Hesilrige's own troop. Hesilrige himself wore 3/4 armour in the field as we know from the account given by Richard Atkins who engaged him in close combat and discharged his pistol almost touching the heavy cuirassier headpiece, but failed to penetrate it.

The portrait below shows Haselrige in 1640 (unknown artist) and depicts him in high quality heavy armour, possibly that later worn in action during the Civil War?

Right then, need to finish those Dragoons now and get them based up. Then I'll get the table laid up for the test game, possibly over the weekend. Next week I have a couple of commission jobs to paint, but I'm sure I'll still get to add another base or two for myself. Note: those white edges to the foot flags will be painted in, such things tend to irritate me and must be corrected!

Monday, 8 October 2012

The big push!

I have set myself a painting target this week of 4 bases of figures for the ECW project, and I'm actually going to try for 5! Started yesterday (Sunday) with Hampdens Regt (32 figures), now based and ready for texturing, Charles Gerards blue-coats (32) this morning (Monday), now based and drying. Next is a base of Royalist horse of 18 figures (Tuesday), then 18 Cuirassiers (Haselrigs), planned for Wednesday. Then if I can, I'll finish the week with a base of dismounted dragoons!

To paint and glue down a base of 32 Foot takes a round 1.5 hours, which is pretty good going, and that's working fast but accurately. Flags are quickly copied and re-sized for printing from this site:
Free Flags!  The base labels are printed from my template and glued along the back edge.

If I hit my target this week this should give me enough bases for the planned test game, of which more shortly.

Right then time to crack on.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The command cards have arrived!

Postman brought me a wonderful present this morning, a full set of Command and Chance cards for the C&C/ECW variant rules, nicely designed, printed and even laminated by Tony. I'm really pleased with them and can't wait to use them in a game. As you can see I have also completed  a second artillery base.

So, the plan for the coming week is this:

Paint and base 2 more Infantry bases and 1 more horse base. This will then give me then 10 bases per side with which to run a test game on the rules. I'll probably layout the terrain over next weekend then do a move by move description of the run through with photos for the blog. It will be a simple affair, probably a fight to control a bridge or such like. Main aim will be to thoroughly test the way the new rules work. I'd like to produce a Commands and Colours style playsheet for the ECW variant, similar to this one, which is the official Napoleonic Spanish Expansion playsheet. I find it so well designed its possible to play the whole game straight off the sheet after a few games.

Again a big Thank You to Tony, who not only introduced me to Commands and Colours in the first place, but has given me so much help and encouragement as I've got to grips with the rules. Cheers my friend.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Newcastle's Regt and progress so far.

I have now completed another base of foot, this time Newcastle's Regt. the famous 'Lambs'. I must admit to having a special admiration for this unit not only for their remarkably courageous stand at Marston Moor, but also because I recall a couple of tremendously hard pike pushes with them during my Sealed Knot days. I had the misfortune to encounter them during my very first SK weekend as a raw pikeman in the London Trained Bands ('Blew'), and the conflicting chants of "London and Liberty" and "For Newcastle" gave the push a real edge of competitiveness. Suffice to say I ended the weekend very badly bruised, my steel helmet bearing a large dent and barely able to swallow for a couple of days! I understand the Knot have since toned things down somewhat, with many units now adopting the 'point of pike' method, but I have to say there was nothing like a good old 'push' to get the adrenalin pumping!

The count now stands at:

5 horse bases
7 Foot bases.
1 Dragoon (dismounted) base
1 commanded muskets base
1 artillery base
3 command bases.

I'm starting another artillery base to be followed by another foot unit then more horse. I reckon I'm close to having a game now, just a skirmish to see how the C&C ECW rules play. I'm looking forward to it.

I have now moved my painting gear upstairs into my little wargame room where the natural light is better. My Command & Colours board is just 4 x 3 and stands against the wall when not in use. Its nice to have a dedicated space to paint and to game. Its not a large room, being 9 x 7 - our spare 4th bedroom in fact - but with a simple white coat of paint and some 'blue' lighting it really is a comfortable place to work.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Commanded musketeers.

Here is the first base of commanded musketeers, being a body of shot drawn off from the main formation for special duties. I want to focus on the smaller more 'local' actions in my games, of which there were of course many during the Civil War. I envisage these being used to defend churchyards, line walls, maybe a Forlorn Hope. This is a 3 'block' Trained unit.

More artillery and pike/shot bases to follow.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Gentlemen Pensioners.

Had a productive couple of days and managed to paint another Foot Regiment - Hutchinson's Greycoats - and also this little stand representing the Kings Gentlemen Pensioners, a troop sized base of Cuirassiers which is also a sort of fighting command base! Now having researched this little unit I realise that there is no conclusive evidence either way as to if they fought in 3/4 armour or as conventional 'horse'. My feeling has always been that given the fact that this ancient body was formed from the sons of some of the wealthiest families in the land they would have had access to the best quality armour available, and if so, then they would surely have worn it in battle? On the other hand these guys would also have been Gentlemen of high fashion so it is possible they adorned themselves in more impressive clothing and wanted to show off a bit! But my unit wears 3/4 armour, nice and shiny, highly polished. I have plans to convert those swords into the more correct pole axes by adding a tiny cross piece from card. The flag is also currently incorrect and will be replaced. They are shown here with the Royal Standard, but the actual flag probably carried at Edgehill should look like the illustration below. The troop are drawn up 3 deep, that's possibly the King himself at their side as a messenger races up, holding onto his hat. As usual beautiful little figures from Baccus.

The correct Pensioners flag as drawn in 1639 - surely that carried at Edgehill?
Other news!
Having had a read through the Polemos ECW preview on the Baccus site I have changed my mind about the way I base my horse units. I'm going to use the 2 deep bases for Royalist horse (with the above exception) and a 3 deep basing for Parliamentarian horse. 18 figures per base still. For some time Tony and I have been troubled by the terminology of our horse units, and I dislike having 'trot' or 'gallop' on the rear of my bases! So I'm going to 'borrow' the more correct terminology of 'Dutch tactics' and 'Swedish tactics' from Polemos and amend accordingly. I should add that I plan to order a set of the Polemos rules anyway now, they actually look mighty good and my bases should work for both sets of rules.

Next up is a unit of 'musket heavy' foot, actually a base of 'commanded musketeers' in order to mix things up a bit for my forthcoming playtest. I'll have some fun with this unit too in the painting and basing style as it could represent musketeers drawn off from more than a single unit.

Over on my Napoleonic blog I added pictures of some additional fields I made up, these are really for this ECW project, I want to create a more 'Kentish' landscape for my future imaginary campaign. New buidlings from Time Cast will follow in due course.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Dragoons & a map question.

Here is the first of my Dragoon bases. As you can probably see it was a bit of a squeeze fitting the 32 figures and horses onto my standard 60 x60mm base! After much trimming up of bases and fiddling about I settled on this configuration. A mounted base of Dragoons will be painted to represent the unit when mounted.

The role of dragoons in the Civil War is often misunderstood I feel and even within the re enactment societies  I have seen 'impressions' that don't seem quite right in that what they often represent appears to be an odd mix of chaps wearing a bit of armour including fancy helmets, without riding boots etc. My feeling is that the average dragoon was nothing more than a mounted infantryman, and as such would have worn boots, but aside from that he would look like any other musket armed  foot soldier.

The description given by Sir James Turner (1683) gives a good idea of how dragoons were regarded and the role they played.

"Dragoons are Musketeers mounted on Horses, appointed to march with the Cavalry, in regard there are not only many occasions, wherein Foot can assist the Horse, but that seldom there is any occasion of service against an Enemy, but wherein it is both fit and necessary to join some Foot with the Horse, Dragoons then go not only before to guard Passes (as some imagine) but to fight in open field; for if an Enemy recounter with a Cavalry in a champaign or on open Heath, the Dragoons are obliged to alight, and mix themselves with the squads of Horse, as they shall be commanded; and their continued Firing, before the Horse comes to the charge, will, no doubt, be very hurtful to the Enemy: if the encounter be in a close Country, they serve well to line Hedges, and posses Enclosures, they serve for defending Passes and Bridges, whether it be in the Advance, or Retreat of an Army, and for beating the Enemy from them:

Their service is on foot, and is no other than that of Musketeers; but because they are mounted on Horseback, and ride with the Horse, either in the Van, or behind in the Rear of an Army, they are reckon'd as a part of the Cavalry, and are subordinate to the General, Lt-General, or Maj-General of the Horse, and not to those of the foot. And being that sometimes they are forced to retire from a powerful and prevailing Enemy, they ought to be taught to give Fire on Horseback, that in an open field they may keep an Enemy at a distance till they get the advantage of a closer Country, a Straight, a Pass, a Bridge, a Hedge, or a Ditch, and then they are bound to alight, and defend that advantage, that thereby (though perhaps with the loss of the Dragoons themselves) the Cavalry may be saved.

When they alight, they cast their Bridle Reins over the necks of their side-mens Horses, and leave them in that same order as they marched. Of ten Dragoons, nine fight, and the tenth man keeps the ten Horses."

Tony has now prepared full PDF's of the C&C rule adaptions and the 2 sets of command and chance cards and they are available for download. We would appreciate any feedback, comments and playtests etc. I hope to run through a small trial game myself within the next couple of weeks. Please contact Tony via his Prometheus in Aspic blog, link at right for links to downloads.

An example of some of the Command Cards available from the rules download.

Map question.
This map has hung upon the wall in our hall for the 8 years we have lived in this house. We live in Dymchurch within the area marked as 'Shepway' on the map. In the Middle Ages the Romney Marsh was one of the most heavily populated areas in the Country and the Romney Marsh Sheep is one of Britains oldest breeds. Looking at this map it struck me that this could be around the time of the Civil War? The blocks of troops shown look to be muskets with a central block of pikes and the ships also look to be of the period. I just wonder if anybody could more accurately date this map for me? The images are not great I know, and I will try to replace them with crisper images when I have time later. But any help would be appreciated, thank you.