Flags and Colours Part 3: Media

Part three of the KeepYourPowderDry guide to Civil War flags and colours looks at where we can see illustrated examples of Civil War flags, and also where we can get some for our armies.

But first a plea to editors, authors and publishers of future volumes concerning flags of the Civil Wars: please push the boat out with your production values - books of flags need colour illustrations!

First off we have to consider the three volume series English Civil War Flags and Colours from Partizan: Volume 1 covers the English Foot, Volume 2 Scots Colours, and Volume 3 the Bill Carmen collection. These volumes state the primary source material for the flag designs illustrated.

Volume 1 was written by Peachey and Prince who intended to write a second volume (they make several references to it in the text of Volume 1) but it never made its way into print. 

The latest reprint of Volume 1, earlier versions have a different cover

Volume 1 has an absolute wealth of information inside including coat colours, but is quite hard to read due to font and printing technique. Black and white illustrations, the book is quite dated in appearance. If a second edition with modern typesetting and colour illustrations was available it would be a surefire winner. £10.50. Despite it's shortcomings this still demands a place on the bookshelf.

There are quite a few additional Peachey and Prince 'flag' pages appearing in the Forlorn Hope scenario guides - some appear in their book, some are extras.

Volume 2 (£9.50) exists in a number of versions; it also sits in Stuart Reid's Scots Armies of the Seventeenth Century series, and has been revamped (with modern typesetting) for the "Scots Armies In The Great Rebellion 1638-1658" (which includes the whole Scots Armies series).

The original Volume 2 suffers in the same way that Volume 1 does - quite difficult to read, and really would benefit from colour illustrations. The "...Great Rebellion..." version is much easier to read, but sadly the publishers didn't upgrade the illustrations to full colour.

Volume 3 covers Parliamentarian and Royalist cavalry, London Trained Bands, and Royalist infantry. Fully illustrated in colour. This is an excellent source. Bit pricey sadly, £37.50.

Next we need to look at the German language book Fahnen und Standarten which has already graced this blog. I think this is currently the best book on Civil War flags and colours available as it consolidates all three English Civil War Flags and Colours volumes, and is illustrated in full colour. Please note you do not need to be a fluent German reader to make sense of this book. In comparison to other volumes, this is fairly reasonable (still pricey though) at £42.50

Finally, a newcomer English Civil War Flags: English and Scottish Foot Regiments by Steve Archibald is a very attractive volume. Fully illustrated in colour, reasonably priced at £12.50, the only shortcoming being the total absence of references. Hopefully the cavalry volume will follow shortly, and if it too is reasonably priced, will become the best option available. Update: it has just been published (November 2021), priced £15. For my review see here.

There is another book available which covers the subject:  Emblematic Flag Devices of the English Civil War 1642-1660 but, as it is priced £82.50 for some strange reason I don't own a copy.

All of these volumes are currently in stock at Caliver Books.

For those of you who would much rather spend your folding on figures and paint, the rather fabulous BCW Wiki has an old series of articles from Military Modelling available to download for free. 

Please be aware that there are some errors with a small number of flags in the articles - these errors have been replicated by a number of commercial flag producers. If you strive for accuracy the three volume Partizan series is probably your best bet (but read the notes, don't just rely on the pictures!)

For those of you who would like the original articles, here are the Military Modelling issues you need to search the web auction sites for:

Parliamentarian foot - June 1977
Royalist foot - September 1977
Parliamentarian horse - December 1977
Royalist horse - April 1978
Dragoons - August 1978
Scots - December 1978


We need to think about where to purchase flags for our armies; there are a number of wargame flag manufacturers, for me there are two stand out sources:

Maverick Models from whom I purchase my flags. Stuart has an ever expanding range, and will produce any design that you would like. Stuart offers fabric and paper flags, with or without a shadow effect; certainly at 15mm sizes I'd avoid the shadow effect, unless the flag is predominantly white. Here's my guide to using Maverick fabric flags.

My  'to do' pile

Wargames Designs have an extensive range, Steve is a passionate Civil war gamer too.

If you missed the previous flags and colours posts, here they are:

Part 1
Part 2

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  1. A great series of blog entries, and a very useful resource. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for your kind words. Glad it has been helpful.

  2. As said above, a great resource! Thank you. I am very tempted by the Fahnen und Standarten books. However, having just got in to TYW the whole set starts to look expensive! Mmm. Perhaps I will have to ration myself :-)

    1. Thank you. They are an excellent series of books. TYW? That's a lot of volumes potentially...

  3. Just sold my Volume 1 of the ECW Flags and Colours, English Foot just last week! Mine had a Green Flag, with English cross and 5 yellow streams coming from it on the cover. I also sold the Old Robin and Sir Thomas Fairfax booklets to.
    Although I am painting two new armies in 6mm for the ECW I though it past time for a clear out. Also, I hadn't used them for some time.
    I saw your comments on TMP also, but have not been a member for a few years. Too much reading and not enough painting or gaming!

    1. My Volume 1 has a monochrome version of the old cover as the first page for some strange reason. The Old Robin's Foot is excellent. Good luck with the 6mm armies - way too small for my painting skills!
      TMP is a bit of an odd place, but there are a few pockets that are free from the drama.


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