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

Sunday, 6 April 2014

ECW - New Team Pictures

The armies, posed facing each other - Parliament this side. The grey appearance of
this end of the Parliamentarian line indicates a good Covenanter presence (ready
for Marston Moor?), and the similarly drab far end of the Royalist line shows the
boys from Northumberland, to balance things up 
Since it was wet and cold yesterday, Nick and I replayed the previous day's unpleasantness at Auchinrivoch. Again, it was a vigorous, fast moving game, and we finished - again - in rather less than 2 hours. This time the Covenanters won, though they were a bit lucky with the dice (and they were me, which proves it must be true).

Nick took some of his customary close-ups of the action, and I'll put a couple at the end of this post, since I find them interesting and amusing. Last night, before I put everything away, I decided to dig out all the ECW troops and have some new group photos, at long last.

This is not everyone - even after some crafty flag-switching I still have highland clansmen and a couple of other specialised chaps who only have a role in Montrose's activities, so I've omitted those - they are all, in any case, visible in the pictures included in the previous post. These, then, are my armies for fighting the First Civil War in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire and North Wales.

It is just two years since I bought my first figures for this period, and it was late Summer of 2012 before I had sorted out my plans and got the first units painted, so I am well satisfied with progress and the way things are looking and shaping up. These armies are bigger than I ever really contemplated - tabletop size limitations suggest that there isn't a lot more to do. I'm still short of leaders - that's a nice job to tinker away at, and I'm pleased with my experiments in custom-building odd personality figures from Tumbling Dice parts, so that can carry on for the foreseeable future. I'm also short of some Scottish cavalry and there is one unpainted Royalist unit of horse still to be painted, plus a couple of almighty siege cannons which can serve both sides.

Once again, I am reminded that my soldiers are deliberately old school (small letters) and toy-like, which is how I likes em, precious, and these pictures are not really an attempt to impress anyone - merely a celebration of the fact that I never dreamed I would get this far so quickly.

Once again, my sincere thanks to Old John, Clive, Lee, Dave Young, Peter V, Dave Gillespie, Iain, Gary and everyone else who has provided inspiration, advice, piles of metal alloy and classy paintwork over the last two years, and my humble appreciation of the scholarship and sweat of the guys whose books have fired me up recently - notably Stuart Reid, John Barratt, Stephen Bull and (I admit it) Nigel Tranter.

Oh - yes - and my deepest respect and reverence to Lord John Byron and Sir William Brereton, whose hoof prints I sloshed around in at Chester in December, and all the many thousands of other poor, nameless sods who marched, starved and fought in the North of England theatre of the Civil War, and whose existence I only really came to appreciate in the last two years.

Here, then, is the current state of the army of Parliament, circa 1644:

And here are the King's men:

Here's a couple of exciting snaps from Auchinrivoch 2, to show that soldiering is not all glamour and parades…


  1. Staggering photos Tony, such large forces in such a short period of time! I really like the clean style of the basing etc and the more I look at that table the more I'm tempted to try that myself, the subtle shade of grey (?) really works well. First class collection.


    1. Thank you Lee - I've done rather better than I expected. The board is deliberately minimalist - I sometimes wish i had something a bit more satisfying visually! The subtle shade of grey (the surround?) is called Gooseberry Fool - no wisecracks please...

  2. Excellent.... I really, really, must get my mojo working again and start the ECW project I always wanted to do... I want a Cheriton project.... PS. "all the many thousands of other poor, nameless sods who marched, starved and fought in the North of England theatre of the Civil War, and whose existence I only really came to appreciate in the last two years"... well said.... remembering those guys about sums up why I wargame...

    1. The thing that got me intrigued in this period - apart from the cool little soldiers and the fact that Old John had the Les Higgins range back in production - was the fact that you can't move anywhere, hardly, in the British Isles without walking on ECW battlefields. It's everywhere, which is a surprise to anyone who has read the standard books and believes it took place in the south of England, with a couple of high-profile "away legs" at Marston and in the Midlands.

      The thing that astonished me most was that it is an important part of my own history and received traditions, it changed everything thereafter, and yet I learned nothing about it at school, and much of the folklore and handed-down tales about it are distorted and misleading.

      I thought I should look into it, and I believe that the guys involved deserve rather better than what is remembered of them. Cheriton - please do it, and keep us posted on how you're getting on! My approach was to start with the reading, then - if the project didn't get anywhere - at least I would have learned something worthwhile...

      Regards - Tony

  3. Oddly enough I have a Gooseberry Bush in my berry patch and once made a Rhubarb Fool so have some idea how those words go together.

    I quite like the consistent, uncluttered look of both table and figures as well as admiring the painted figures for their own sake. But it does look a bit like the table needs an expansion.

    1. Recipes for fools get us into strange areas like syllabubs and possets - and then there are mousses and messes. They're probably all bad for us, but something which is traditional somehow feels less bad for us than some plastic foam concoction whipped up by the supermarket at minimum cost with jazzy colouring.

      I have a cunning plan, now that my table is repainted and thus staying for a while, to produce a couple of extra sections which will insert into the middle to give extra length, but they will have to be scientifically designed to give an exact number of hexes, so that the pattern is not disrupted. I am working on this, but since a bigger table would require a house extension it is a low priority - in fact, I could run a bigger table if I commandeer the living room from time to time, or hire a marquee for the garden (long-term fantasy). The plain, uncluttered look is an accident of the way my armies grew up, but also now an essential element of the flock-free environment enforced by the use of the dining room.