Showing posts from January, 2018

Museum of London

Located near the Barbican, visitors to London probably overlook this museum in favour of the larger national museums.

There is much to see in this museum which charts the history of London from prehistoric times  (when hippos bathed in the Thames), through to modern times when dinosaur sized fatbergs block the sewers. What is of interest to those interested in the Civil Wars is their small 'War, Plague and Fire' gallery.

On display is a small selection of arms and armour, plus Cromwell's death mask. Also displayed are general artefacts from the period, with a particular emphasis on the Great Fire.

Update: Museum of London has started the process of developing the Smithfield Market site as a new location for the museum; it is hoped that the new site will be operational in 2024.

Another update: a new exhibition 'Executions' opens on the 16th October 2020, the highlight exhibit will be the vest worn by Charles I at his execution. This exhibition is ticket only, for whi…

The Wallace Collection

If you find yourself at a loose end, with a couple of hours to spare when in town, this gem of a place really does deserve your attention.

Originally a private collection housed in a building that belonged to the family that collected the items, the house is located in Manchester Square, W1U 3BN. If you find Selfridge's, it's just behind there.

There are a number of formal rooms housing a considerable collection of paintings and porcelain. Highlights include Frans Hals' "Laughing Cavalier". For the wargamer or militaria buff there are a number of galleries which are stuffed from floor to ceiling with arms and armour, including one gallery solely devoted to Renaissance weaponry. These galleries are a pleasant change from museum exhibitions which have been redesigned to be 'interactive' and 'child-friendly'; I love the almost Victorian way in which exhibits are displayed. The other bonus is that if anyone ever accuses you of hoarding - here is the e…

Baggage Train

Thanks to Streeter it is 'the law' that every ECW army must have a baggage train. Well it is at Château Keepyourpowderdry at least.

Museum Miniatures make a comprehensive range of wagons and carts, so they were my first port of call. As with their limbers their drovers are nearer 20mm and tower over my Peter Pig figures, so they were discarded and replaced by Peter Pig dragoon horseholders. I also bought a pack of marching musketeers to randomly place next to my carts and wagons to give even more of an eye-candy, diorama appeal to them.

Completely unnecessary, but you have to admit they do add a little extra something to the battlefield (and on occasion a useful scenario goal).

I have duplicated baggage trains so each side has a hay cart, water wagon and two baggage wagons. I decided not to put visible identifiers on the figures, so whilst there is a Parliamentarian and a Royalist train, if needed I can have one mega train.
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Naseby Windmill

It's all that Streeter's fault: if you have read the other posts on this blog (well done, congratulations for still being here 😉) you'll know that Streeter's engraving of Naseby has held sway over my imagination for most of my life.

A major landmark on the engraving is the windmill, long since gone, the site it stood on is now where the memorial obelisk stands. So, as you can imagine I've unconsciously been looking out for a suitable 15mm representation. Well I think I've found one.

Can't remember how or why I found the site, but I do remember bookmarking it.
Ironclad Miniatures make a windmill for the Russian front which I think is fairly representative of the Naseby mill. Obviously I am only talking about the main body of the windmill, the base isn't quite right, a more accurate one shouldn't be too difficult to scratchbuild.

The windmill comes in four resin pieces, and a sprue of the sails, ladder etc. It is solid resin so is fairly weighty, so …

In Praise of Small Things

As my cutting mat can testify I am a bugger for knocking paint pots over. So anything that could help me not do this gets my vote.

Found this on fleabay, a paint pot holder. Clearly knocked up by some whizz with a 3D printer, it happily takes Foundry/P3/Cd'A pots and Games Workshop pots. Just need to remember to use it all the time!

Footnote: cutting mats clean up really well if you put them in a dishwasher on a hot wash, paint and glue just scrapes off easily.
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Every battlefield will have villagers, probably running away very quickly. My ECW villages are populated from a number of sources.

First off the offerings from Peter Pig; there's a trio of useful packs - scarecrows and  villagers, sprinkles, and clubmen

Matchlock Miniatures have an impressive range for the ECW, their figures have quite a bit more meat on them than the Peter Pig figures, and from time to time have sporadic availability. They have a really good selection of  'characters'. I have chosen their Witchfinder, ratcatcher and surgeon packs.

Every so often fleabay throws up a gem. Here's a little vignette of Matchlock's regimental agitator, musketeer with chicken, and musketeer with pipe. All I've done is rebase them. The unknown cart is particularly nice.

Freikorps 15 (yes still available) from TSS have a useful camp followers pack which match Peter Pig figures really well. Update: I have tried to add some generals to my armies and plumped for the Freikor…


My Napoleonic  armies date from a time when standard bearers had metal flags cast as part of the figure. Which to be very honest was a complete pain to paint. There are ways round this, but still a pain to a cack handed painter like myself.

Thankfully not an issue with the Peter Pig figures: oh joy of joys I can use commercially available flags!

Update: if you would like a crash course in understanding Civil War flags try this article written by one of the re-enactors from Newcastle's white-coats. Or you could try my own three part series on flags and colours which starts here with part one.

Of course if you are a talented artist you could always create your own, there are a number of books which list known flags, a number of rule books have flag sections e.g. Forlorn Hope, or there is the old Military Modelling articles hosted by the BCW Wiki (direct download link).

But which commercial flags to choose? For ECW 15mm two of the largest sources in the UK are Wargames Designs or Mave…

BBC Magazine: The Story of the Civil War

Whilst wandering around the supermarket I saw this in the magazine section. From the BBC History Magazine stable this £9.99 special is dedicated to the events of the civil wars. Sections on 'the path to war', 'living through conflict', and 'legacy and aftermath'. A good introduction to the background of the wars including the political ramifications of the Levellers and the Putney Debates. New to the era and want some background other than orders of battle, then this is for you.
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Dragoons are essential in your army if you are going to game any historical scenarios - they played a very important part at Marston Moor and Naseby.

When one thinks of dragoons in the British Civil Wars one immediately thinks of them lining hedgerows at Naseby. But after that, who were they and what did they do?

Gervase Markham, writing in 1634: “the last sort of which our Horse troopes are called Dragons, which are a kinde of footman on Horsebacke”. He then goes on to describe their weaponry “dragons are short peeces of 16 inches the Barrell, and full musquet bore”.

The horses (usually referred to as 'nags') supplied to dragoons are described as 'ordinary'. Required only for transport, dragoon mounts were more likely to be commandeered cart-horses than what we could call thoroughbreds. The New Model Army budget for a dragoon mount was half that of a cavalry mount.

They were in essence an early mobile infantry. Formed into groups of eleven men, ten would dismount to …


When I first started war gaming my battlefield was a cloth dyed dark green, others at school used upside down Subbuteo pitches. Handy, easily available, and most importantly  portable.

Fast forward the best part of 40 years and a Subbuteo pitch doesn't quite cut it, nor big enough. Visiting Salute, blogs, internet forums and reading glossy rule books shows bespoke terrain tables with detail that would not be amiss on a model railway layout. That would be fantastic to have that, but back in the real world that isn't  happening. For a start where would I put it? So the search for something smarter than a dyed green cloth with the storability of a Subbuteo pitch, but bigger and fancier.
Does such a product exist? After many blind avenues I came across the Mat-o-War. Looked just right for my needs, but a bit of a problem - not in production.

Eventually they were available, again, from Antenociti's Workshop, so I placed my order. I went for the biggest one available which is 3m…

Road, River and Rail

Any excuse to shoehorn the title of a Cocteau Twins song in...

As I don't have the luxury of a permanent, dedicated battlefield my battlefield components have to be storable and adaptable.

Roads and rivers are courtesy of Fat Frank, they've stood up to a number of years use and abuse with no sign of wear or tear. Recommended.

Fences are courtesy of Museum Miniatures and give the right feel.

I saw some hedges at Salute from S&A Scenics and picked up a couple of packs. Added a couple more since.

Gabions from Baueda via Magister Militum.

Cheval de frise, stocks and pillory all from Magister Militum

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Both my Parliamentarian and Royalist armies have identical artillery units. One heavy, one medium, and two light guns. All from the Peter Pig ECW range. Each gun is crewed by four gunners.

Gun crews were civilians, which goes against our twenty first century logic, but they were civilians nonetheless, most likely commanded by an experienced military man. They didn't have uniforms, wearing their civilian clothes instead.

Artillery pieces would need some form of protective coating from the weather: so what colour to paint them? Very few contemporary descriptions exist of artillery pieces: those that do tend to dwell on the logistics, and methods of moving the guns. One description, of the New Model Army guns, describes them as being "fair lead colour" which could mean red-lead or grey. We just don't know what colour gun carriages were. The Royal Armouries has a reproduction full size saker which has a red carriage. If it's good enough for the Royal Armouries, then …