ECW reading list

  • 'By the Sword Divided', John Adair, (Century Publishing)
  • 'Decisive Battles of the English Civil War', Malcolm Wanklyn, (Pen & Sword)
  • 'Sir Ralph Hopton's Narrative', ed C.E.H. Chadwyck Healey, (Somerset Record Society)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

‘I cannot contain myself when the King of England’s standard waves in the field upon so just an occasion.’ (Sir Bevil Grenville)

I was hoping that I would be able to add the pictures of a completed regiment, but figure turn around has caused a slight delay. I know it’s just one of those things but waiting for purchases to arrive is flipping annoying. I fail to understand how some companies turn the order around within two days, while others take over a week. Still all the bits are ready to be finished and based.

Anyway, gripe over, here’s a short bit about Sir Bevil Grenville;

Sir Bevil Grenville (1596 -1643). MP, first for Cornwall, then for Launceston, member of the committee set up to investigate ‘Ship Money’ in 1640, during the so called ‘long parliament’. Friend to Sir William Waller, he like Ralph Hopton, whom he served during his 1643 western campaign, seemed to have more in common with the Parliamentary cause, but, like many others, chose loyalty to the King as his primary duty. Was killed, some say needlessly, at the head of his regiment at Lansdown, after which it is said that his regiment refused to take further part in the war, and returned to Cornwall bearing his body to bury it in Kilkhampton Church.
He, along with three other Cornish royalists, was celebrated in a seventeenth century poem, “Gone the four wheels of Charles’ wain, Grenville, Godolphin, Slanning, Trevannion slain”.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

‘When cannons are roaring and bullets are flying’ (Re-enactment song)

Here are the latest shots of Grenville’s, yet to be based since they are awaiting a flag, I hope that the addition of the extra stand of pikes conveys a better feeling of a pike block than a single line of three figures.

I will use any manufacturers figures as long as they look right together, in the above unit there are Bicorne, Old Glory and Warlord, which all seem to sit happily alongside each other.
I like the Renegade range, they are splendidly detailed and paint superbly and they are compatible with Bicorne, but, they will not match with Warlord, standing a good head taller and thus not ‘looking’ right. And as the Warlord range is still growing and the plastics produce an amazing amount of accessories (battlefield debris?), as well as being easy to convert, I am going to go for the Bicorne/Warlord combination. With other manufacturers’ figures used occasionally or in ‘specials’. This ‘uniformity’ of size is silly I know, as in real life people vary in height and girth, often considerably, yet wargamers strive to produce a unit in which all figures are of a uniform size, and who am I to argue with an ‘illusion’ that has existed for years.

Next up will be the musketeers, two stands of six figures. However these, like the flags, are also eagerly awaited.

I have in the words of a TV favourite “A cunning plan”, one that like all great plans will potentially end in disaster. Yet, doomed or not, it seems reasonable to formulate a plan, however rough, to enable someone, like me, who has the attention span of a goldfish to stay on track.
As circumstances have deemed that I create both sides, possibly a foolish undertaking, it seems logical to follow a tit-for-tat system, a Royalist regiment followed by a Parliamentarian, then a Royalist and so on.
It is my ambition to complete a foot regiment in a month (24 figs), so one stand per week (stand = 6 figs). Simple and this plan of action extends to the horse thus, a regiment of horse consists of between 2 and 4 squadrons, a squadron of horse requires 2 stands of 3 figs (+ mounts), so it should be possible to complete a minimum of 2 squadrons per month (4 stands). Markers, supernumeraries and artillery will have to fit in somewhere, sounds simple, although just writing this has produced a cold sweat.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

‘When a hundred and ten slew five thousand men, with the help of lightning and thunder? (Sir John Denham)

Here are two pictures of my first command stand, Sir Bevil Grenville’s Cornishmen. Arguments over coat colours rage, whether they had uniforms is open to conjecture with many choosing to believe that soldiers, of either side, in the early stages of the war wore what they had, civilian clothing, with coloured ribbons denoting the allegiance. Be that as it may, I have chosen to depict the doughty Cornishmen in blue, this being the colour of the coats of the ECWS regiment that I began my re-enactment career with back in the early 1980s.

Still a ‘work in progress’, they have given me the chance to try different shading/highlighting techniques. I have tried the ‘dip’ method, or washing with the ‘Army Painter’ shader, the finish seems good, but I can’t get used to the solvent based system. The Cote d’Arms ‘Super Shader’ seems better, being acrylic, but is harder to apply and fussier. The best, so far, is Games Workshop’s wash, ‘Devlan Mud’ to be precise. However whichever chosen, the best method, it seems, is to ‘wash’ the figure then final-highlight before varnishing, the effect is, IMHO, stunning. But don’t take my word for it, take a look at David Imrie’s site (Saxon dog) amongst others.

I am going to base for Clarence Harrison’s ‘Victory Without Quarter’ (available from his website - Quindia), with slight variation. I find it difficult to come to terms with a stand of three or four pikemen representing a regiment, so, taking a leaf from Barry Hilton’s ‘Beneath the Lily Banners’ ruleset, I am going to include an extra stand of pike which have no bearing on the game other than to make a regiment look more ‘beefy’. This ‘extra’ stand will simply butt up to the central command stand, allowing a formation of nine pike to the rules three. More work? Yes, but worth it.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

'Before the flame of war broke out in the top of the chimneys, the smoke ascended in every country'. (Lucy Hutchinson)

The English Civil War, probably my favourite period of history, and one that I've had a long relationship with through re-enactment, wargaming, and study. Yet in over thirty years of figure painting, I've never completed an ECW project, started many, but no completion. Well I'm hoping that inspiration from various sources will sustain me in this endeavour.
My intention is to concentrate on smaller armies, probably those of Hopton and Waller and the west country in particular. No, big battles, no Edgehills, no Marston Moors etc, just small do-able events - hopefully.