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Showing posts from December, 2017

Fahnen und Standarten

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Postie has just dropped this book on my doorstep. Bought from Caliver Books, this German language tome has enough English titles and captions that even I can understand it.

Combining all published ECW flag reference books in one handy volume. Flags illustrated are referenced to their original source. They are represented in full colour: split into Parliamentarian, Royalist, Irish and Covenator sections, and are then ordered in trained band/militia, infantry and horse sections.

Flags are listed in alphabetical order, with a number of flags listed as 'unknown'. Where only remnants remain (ed) such as Prince Rupert's, then alternative interpretations are also shown. Also, where sources disagree on the layout of markers for 4th captain, say, both options are illustrated.

So far, I've only had a cursory look, nor have I tried to translate the introduction, but this looks very very good.


TimeCast Fields

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TimeCast have recently released a latex field set which looked the business, so to speak. Gamers using larger scale figures can easily use corrugated paper or those ridged doormats to make ploughed fields, those of us fielding 15mm armies, well the furrows would be just too big. (A fine bit of needlecord would probably do, but as this is not the 1970s I'm not quite sure where to get such cloth from, or even if it still exists.)

I ordered two of the field deal 3 packs. Giving four 9"× 6" fields, two 6"× 6" and two 6"× 4" fields. They arrived within a couple of days. An olivey green colour I gave them a good wash and dry. They were sprayed Humbrol dark earth and given a glaze of Windsor and Newton nutbrown ink, the edges were flocked before a good coat of Army Painter Matt varnish spray.




These would have been really quick to do, but unfortunately I killed my biggest brush trying to evenly apply the Humbrol basecoat. I don't know what it is but I co…

Thatch

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Having posted pictures of my attempts at painting thatch, which I thought were quite good, I realised how shoddy they actually were. Possibly the greatest benefit that this blog has given me is the sight of my own painting attempts super-enlarged in all their gory detail. I knew that my Peter Pig thatch was awful and needed redoing, but I had thought that my Hovels medieval range thatched buildings were 'okay'. Wrong!

So after much experimentation I came up with the following recipe for painting thatch. They look right for 15mm, maybe supersized on tablet or laptop screens might do them an injustice.

Basecoat: RailMatch 'worn tarmac' a mid to dark grey. Once applied it looks just wrong, and I understand why many people turn to the yellow and brown palettes.
Next up was a very heavy drybrush with Foundry Moss 29B. A green brown,  it toned the grey down considerably but seemed much brighter than I hoped for.

Final step was a glaze of Windsor and Newton nutbrown ink. My f…

Hovels: Medieval Range

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Whilst perusing fleabay I came across a 'lot' of ECW buildings for sale. All Hovels models, many from the English/rural range but also many that I didn't recognise. A quick look at the Hovels website and I found them in the medieval range. Sadly I missed out on winning the auction as I think the seller had absolutely nailed the colour of the thatch.

Some models in the range are much more suitable than others, here are the ones I chose. Not 100% happy with my thatched rooves, think they need a bit more grey...



Update: thatch has now been repainted. Keep an eye out for a future post on painting thatch. see here
Here's the updated buildings.


4M5

7M5

5M5

6M5

8M5

Peter Pig: Dark Ages Buildings

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Always on the look out for suitable buildings I found these from Peter Pig, a barn and a store house.

One advantage of seeing my own 'stuff' on a screen, and magnified, is that shows up all the imperfections. In this case just how awful the thatch is. Needless to say, they have been repainted. I will, however, leave these pics here as a bad example. Keep your eyes peeled for a post about painting thatch in the future... see here




The updated version

Hovels: English/Rural Range

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If you have read my earlier post about the Red Lion pub, you'll be aware of my thoughts about wargaming terrain. You'll also know my paint palette colours for my ECW buildings. Here's the rest of my buildings from this range from Hovels.

I seem to have got a little carried away with the 'generic houses' (1T5 and 2T5) - to give a little variety some have slate rooves, some tiled.



The church (4T5)...



 ...the blacksmith's forge (6T5), which looked much better once some flock was added...



...and the manor house (7T5).



My usual paint regime applied here: undercoat of Liquitex raw umber; windows Foundry Prussian blue; white panels badly painted white (so patches of undercoat show in parts/ and white is patchy); wood frames RailMatch weathered black; stone work RailMatch weathered stone painted on badly, again to givee an uneven coat; slate rooves Coat d'Arms slate grey; tiled rooves Coat d'Arms orange, then heavy dry brush of Coat d'Arms terracotta, very …

The Devil's Whore (2008)

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Putting aside the use of seventeenth century misogynistic language in the title this is a fictional account of one thinking woman's (how very dare she have her own thoughts and opinions - hence she earns the epithet 'whore') journey through the Civil War period.

An acclaimed writer, favourable reviews from the broadsheets, and with a pretty stellar cast (Peter Capaldi is brilliant as Charles I) this promised so much. Looks really good, has a good 'feel' to it; and of course it provides good inspiration for choosing general clothing colours, and being on in the background whilst painting.

But... can't quite nail down why I wasn't gripped by it.



Internet Forums

There are numerous internet forums catering for every flavour of war gaming, rulesets and miniatures. Some suffer from erratic moderation, allowing hate speech to profligate, many are covered in cobwebs with tumbleweed tumbling through the now vacant corridors, whilst others are less than welcoming.

I would like to plug The Wargames Website which is a friendly, evenly handed moderated site. In fact my germ of an idea for this blog started to grow thanks to the many helpful suggestions and tips from contributors to the site. Whilst it doesn't quite have the archive of other sites, it is not tainted by their less than savoury history.

Another site I visit regularly (as a lurker) is Rules For The Common Man which supports the Peter Pig rules, and often previews new PP figures. There is a thread suggesting new packs for their sculptor which has led to a few new packs in the ECW range.

Peter Pig: Buildings

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I am a great fan of Hovels's buildings, having both the La Haye Sainte and Hougoumont buildings. So it was inevitable that they would be my first port of call for some ECW buildings (more on that in a later post). Their range is quite limited, so when Peter Pig released these I snapped them up. They match size wise the Hovels buildings really nicely.

They come in two halves - the ground floor and upper floor/roof are separate. Chimneys are cast in white metal and require gluing in place. The two halves marry together well, although a little bit of green stuff was required to make any gaps/cracks between the two halves disappear.





Paint followed my usual pattern - an undercoat of Liquitex spray burnt umber. I then badly painted the white panels in (so some of the undercoat was visible); timber frame was painted with Rail Match weathered black, which is one of my go-to colours at the moment. Windows were Foundry Prussian blue. Roof Coat d'Arms slate grey, chimney stacks Rail Matc…

The Red Lion

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I am a firm believer in scenery being as important as figures in a wargaming sense. We spend hours lovingly painting our figures, only for all that hard work to be undone by a dreadful battlefield on which we play.


Which brings me to my first post about buildings. Here's a tavern from the Hovels English/rural 15mm range (3T5). I have taken the tavern sign from the Peter Pig ECW sprinkles pack and added it to the building. A simple enough job with a pin vice.

I am particularly pleased with the pub sign - a Google search found the sign (a real seventeenth century one), which I resized to fit and printed onto inkjet decal transfer paper. Printed using an HP deskjet, so nothing fancy. The decal paper is really simple to use as long as you follow the instructions! The instructions said the image needed sealing with three coats of varnish. Don't whatever you do use brush on varnish, as the first coat makes the image run. I used Army Painter spray on matt varnish which seems to have …

Is Cake Allowed?

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Whilst happy to celebrate my Parliamentarian heritage and leaning (my great × lots uncle became General Treasurer of Lancashire for Parliament in 1643), if Cromwell was against cake I may well have to become a turncoat and rally to the King's aide.

Brown Paper Parcels Tied Up With String

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...were one of Julie Andrews's favourite things. Here's one of mine. A blast from the past, some old Minifig's boxes. A couple of the fabled Hinchliffe blue boxes, and a more recent offering from Foundry*. Okay, completely superfluous and adds an extra cost to figures, but you've got to love a little box haven't you?



* don't worry, I haven't gone over to the 28mm side, I bought some paint from them.

Regiments of Foot

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Inspired by Streeter's representation of infantry blocks on his Naseby engraving, I set about planning my regiments of foot with the Peter Pig website.

I decided on wings of 8 musketeers, which handily is a pack; a pike block of 12 pikemen (1 1/2 packs); command strip of 4 (1/2 pack), and a couple of halberdiers (1/4 pack). So a regiment was 4 1/4 packs or 34 individuals.

Basing - rather than base for a particular ruleset (not important if I am providing both armies) led to the following idea. Base figures  on 15mm × 40mm. This would suit strips of 4 figures, with halberdiers based 1 per 15×40. A couple of blank bases would make everything neat and tidy for a  120mm × 60mm movement tray. This would also give the option of having the command strip at the front or at the back once the roughtie toughtie stuff starts.

Here's a couple of views of Colonel Charles Fairfax’s Regiment of Foot to illustrate my infantry organisation. Pretty pleased with how they have come out.




Currently…

National Army Museum

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The National Army Museum (Chelsea) reopened last summer after being closed for two years. I never visited prior to the revamp, so can't 'compare and contrast'.

Well presented, spacious, excellent café - although thanks to its location don't be at all surprised to inadvertently eavesdrop on conversations that come straight from the 'overheard in Waitrose' Twitter feed.

One of the first galleries covers the Civil Wars, the highlight being Sir John Gell's Regiment of Foot standard. Sir John Gell's was the Derbyshire regiment so a bit of local pride seeing it.


There are a few other items of interest, and portraits of Cromwell and Monck. An original Sturt engraving of the Streeter's Naseby plan is also on display.


Cavalry often wore an armoured left gauntlet (bridle hand) for protection. What is particularly interesting is the fish scale buff leather upper left arm protector - I don't know of any other example on display elsewhere
The other highlight …

Coat Colours

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The tricky question of 'what colour' should I paint my armies was my next conundrum. The fanciful Victorian imagery of the wars has pretty much been dispelled (Roundheads in striped sleeved shirts, Cavaliers in poncey big hats); in reality both sides were, very much of a muchness. There are some surviving uniforms, and documentary evidence of colours and flags, which give us a starting point.

Whilst I do strive for accuracy, at the end of the day my armies are a pastiche, they aim to give a 'feel' rather than pleasing the 'button counters' that populate the darker corners of the wargaming community. But, as there is so much that historians don't know about Civil War uniforms, a pastiche is probably the best that anyone can aspire to.

My unit choices are based upon coat colours (or civilian clothes in the case of the London trained bands) that are known with standards that are  known or we can have a very good stab at. These were my methods for choosing regi…

Casualty Markers

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Whilst attending the Derby World's at Donnington Park (2016) I was quite taken with the casualty marker dials from Warbases. A little later in the morning I saw the beautiful Donnington Miniatures ECW/TYW casualty figures. And so a plan was hatched.

Couple of days later I sat down to paint up the dead people. Comparing them to the Peter Pig figures they were massive. Why hadn't I waited and ordered some Peter Pig dead people? That's what you get for impulse buying!

So someone picked up a bargain on fleabay, and I ordered some Peter Pig casualties, which is what I should've done in the first place. Pack has three figures - a musketeer, a harquebusier and a generic type figure. Paint up easily, based on the dials with a bit of fancy stuff to jazz them up a bit.

This wasn't a case of just buying on impulse, I really didn't think things through and needed a second take on my casualty markers, and a third.

Battle of Nantwich: Holly Holy Day

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Those good people from the Sealed Knot will be commemorating the Battle of Nantwich on 27th January 2018. They parade through the town, pausing at the church, before popping over to Mill Island for a bit of a dust up. Well worth a visit if you haven't been before, there are usually some re-enactors showing off their camps outside the church, the museum puts short talks on (short enough and interesting enough for small people). Wrap up warm and wear your wellies!

Here's a couple of pictures from last year's event.



Plague Physicians

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Earlier this year Peter Pig released a pack of plague physicians. Here's my take on them, teamed up with a 'dead cart' from their Wars of the Roses range.





And here is a real plague mask on display at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin.






Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, Wien

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aka the Vienna Military Museum.

Visited Vienna in August 2016, which if you have never been I can heartily recommend the city. But take ear plugs, after a couple of days you really do get sick of hearing Strauss's 'Blue Danube'.

If visiting might I suggest looking at buying a Vienna Pass which allows entry into most of the major attractions and gives unlimited trips on the City Sight Seeing tour buses.

The military museum is one of the stops on one of the Sightseeing routes. Housed in a very impressive arsenal on the edge of the city, this really is one of the best military museums I have visited (certainly on a par with Les Invalides in my opinion). Impressive collections of WW1 Eastern Front, WW2, Napoleonic, Soviet armour and an excellent Thirty Years War Gallery. Here's one of my pictures of a cuirassier suit of armour to wet your appetite.


Cromwell (1970)

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I do like a good period film on in the background when painting (painting French line whilst Waterloo is on in the background is the only way to make it pleasurable). This is good fodder to 'set the scene' whilst you stick your tongue out when concentrating on fiddly detail.  Richard Harris and Alec Guiness play Oliver and Charles respectively. Just don't use it as painting inspiration, unless you want to perpetuate the myth of ironsides wearing rugby shirts.


Yes, it's all wrong. Why should anything like facts get in the way of a film script? If historical inaccuracies really offend you, then this film is not for you.

It's a film, it is entertainment. It does have the right 'feel' about it, plus it has massed battles with masses of real people not CGI.

By The Sword Divided

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About the time I was proudly carrying a Cadbury's Fingers tin full of 1/300th ECW figures backwards and forwards to the school wargaming club there was, on BBC 1 on Sunday nights "By The Sword Divided". Adding fuel to my ECW fire, the timing was perfect.

Fast forward 40 years and I saw the complete box set on Amazon. Bought it expecting a good trip down memory lane. If you fancy a similar trip, go elsewhere. It looks really dated. The first series hasn't aged well: wooden acting, flimsy sets, the best bit is the title sequence. And in case you watch it, and start wondering "that voice sounds familiar"... it's David Archer from Ambridge way.

The second series has faired a bit better. Clearly the budget for this series was quite a bit bigger. Better storyline and script too.

Which Figures?

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I see the ECW as the complete antithesis of Napoleonic gaming. I have thousands of Napoleonic figures, old school 15mm Naismith and Heritage, all in the same pose, neatly turned out in matching parade ground uniforms. That's how it should be, that is how I imagine lines of uniform troops shooting bravely at one another (maybe not in their Sunday best, the Funcken's have a lot to answer for with their Napoleonic uniforms books.)

The ECW, however, is a completely different kettle of fish. Random uniforms, a mix of reds in a single red coated regiment, different hats, their own trousers (as opposed to standard issue). So a wide range of figures, poses, tweaked to give a ‘group of individuals’ look that I wanted.

Pikes: pikes are a big issue. Have a look on fleabay, search ‘ECW infantry’ to see some beautifully painted miniatures (and some not so beautiful ones too) armed with what looks like over cooked spaghetti. Separate pikes, most definitely a must have. Vertical pikes too, a…