A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Thursday, 9 August 2012

ECW - Something Tangible at Last

It feels as though it's taken a long time, though in fact it is only 4 months since I bought my first ECW figures. Here are the first signs of something real happening - the first two units of foot.




My intention has been to make my units as generic as possible, for the most part, and to build up OOBs suitable for the fighting in Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales around 1644. Just to be difficult, one of the first two units is identifiable from its flag as Prince Rupert's Blewcotes, which is hardly generic, but the other - though nominally Alexander Rigby's Regt, will work nicely as a general-purpose Northern whitecoat unit. Rigby's were Parliamentarians, by the way. The blue regiment consists of Les Higgins figures, apart from the standard bearer, who is a modified Hinton Hunt chap. The whites are Hintons apart from the Higgins drummer. The close-up of the Les Higgins pikemen is intended to give an idea why I wanted to work in this scale, and why I am so fond of this maker.

Thus far, to show for my new period, I have one-and-a-half sets of rules (the figures are based for Victory without Quarter), a whole new lead mountain (with the familiar nagging ache which that brings), a resin mountain of Hovels' period buildings to be painted (15mm, naturally), and a pile of notebooks and rough jottings. I also have had a great amount of advice and help from a number of very generous people, and it is largely down to them that I now have two actual units.

As a rough aim, I hope to add about 2 units a month - I'm sure I won't keep to that, but that's the idea. I certainly have a pile of figures to be working on.

I'm very pleased to have these finished, but they can't do much fighting yet, and to a small extent I am wondering what the fuss was about. I have grown used to looking at pictures of 28mm ECW figures painted by Clarence Harrison and others, and my own little 20mm fellows are rather plain in comparison, but I am still happy to have decided to go with the 20s. It has taken a long time to decide on unit organisation, collect together appropriate mixtures of castings, research the thorny subject of size comparisons between makers and - especially - to try to build (from scratch) some idea of the history and the uniforms. More to follow.

A quick note on the subject of pikes. Of course, I have no experience of 20mm scale pikes, and I have had a lot of excellent help from John C and Pjotr and others on the subject. For a while I was searching all over South-East Scotland for a yard brush with brown PVC bristles, and I am still looking, but it appears that for some reason the public only buy brushes with red bristles. The idea of PVC pikes is appealing, but painting them is not. In the end I have used 20-gauge florist's wire, which is cheap [cue bagpipes], stiff enough to stay straight, unlikely to wound anyone, and just about thin enough to look OK. The stuff I am using is coated green, and thus required painting and varnishing, but I have some brown wire on order. I am learning. My pikes are 65mm long, which is about 15'6" in scale, which is on the short side, but they look OK, and - most importantly - anything longer will not fit in the designated box files!

Pikes are a slightly emotive subject. Some of my very early prejudices against Ancient and Medieval wargaming (apart from pontificating experts) had a lot to do with S-Range warriors with silly little legs and enormous helmets, armed with the proverbial telegraph poles. Yes, I know this was unreasonable, and people pay fortunes for these self-same figures now, but little things like this stick in the mind. I was very keen not to use over-thick pikes if it could be avoided.    

10 comments:

  1. Lovely figures Tony, so slender. They look great. Pikes look just right to me.

    Regards,
    Lee.

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    1. Thanks Lee - some of the SHQ and Tumbling Dice figures will be a bit less slender, but that's OK!

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  2. Very fine looking fellows.

    That's the same wire I use for spears and pikes. Didn't know it came in brown! I did make the mistake once of squeezing one end with pliers to flatten it a bot and then filing a sort of point. Now I feel guilty when I don't even though on the table I don't notice the difference.

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    1. Thank you, Ross. I have tried various commercially marketed metal lances and spears in the past, and regularly stick myself with them. On one occasion, one of my painters injured himself quite unpleasantly on them. So I decided the florist's wire should be blunt, but now you come to mention it...

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  3. Tony,

    what a fine start to a exciting new project.
    If I ever find myself across the Straits, you just must invite me for a game...I'll bring the chocolates.

    Pjotr

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    Replies
    1. Consider it a standing invitation - we are some distance beyond the Straits, but you and the choccies are always welcome.

      I never met a chocolate I didn't like.

      Tony

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  4. Great looking troops, the pikes look excellent!

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    1. Thanks, Ray - I was quite worried about them, but they are better than I expected.

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  5. The Les Higgins figures are wonderful and you've done a superb job with them. The Hinton's are of course excellent as well - where on earth did you find them? I don't have a single one!!!

    Ian

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    Replies
    1. There are a few Hintons around, I guess. I used to be an eccentric millionaire - now I am merely eccentric.

      Cheers - Tony

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