Monday, 26 December 2016
Santa Claus Came A Calling
The Christmas tree corner of our lounge... Christmas morning. Each sack contains loads of presents, and actually buried under the sacks are heaps more presents hehe.
I am of course referring to The English Civil War.
NOoow..... let me set up the premise of this `tale` so that I might explain the extreme good irony of all this. Irony pushed along by the good offices of our dear friend Tarot, I should add, for getting the ball rolling: and to my club mate Dave, for asking if he could join Tar` and assist with the purchases.
Some time ago, I made a big gaming decision. After half a life time... no longer.. much longer in fact. More like most of a life time.... I decided I was pretty much done collecting any more `stuff` for my hobby (“yeah right” I hear you say Jez, haha).
I figured I had all the miniatures I would ever need, and I came to the firm decision that (bar Birthday and Christmas presents and the odd small thing) I would not collect any more miniatures... unless I absolutely needed to for a current project of something. This was a good decision and not one I have ever regretted since I made it.
BUT there was a price to pay for all this, and one huge great sadness. I really wanted to do English Civil War, big time. Yes, yes, yes, I had bits and pieces for it in 28mm: but nothing I could possibly ever field as anything more substantial than a skirmish game or two; and even then - small ones at that.
It sat with me as a hobby ache... a sorrow, which I felt poignantly. I would now never collect those all elusive ECW armies I had so very much longed to collect.. as I said... literally for half a lifetime and longer. Tudors and Stuarts is a subject I have always been extremely interested in with a bit of a driving passion... ever since my college days and, actually, long before that even: as my Dad had this amazing way of bringing history to life for me, and as I lived in England my entire growing up days, I was surrounded by castles and battle fields: and history literally felt like it jumped out of the fields and out of the stones at me. My Dad was remarkable at making it all seem interesting and vibrant: so that, as a child... as a boy... and then a young lad, I felt this social and military period of English history with a deep, deep passion.
The idea of table top campaigning in this genre fills me with wondrous rapture and intense excitement, just at the thought of it all. And this feeling has never really left me. Yet somehow (remarkable really... but then again, I can never collect everything I`m interested in, can I?) collecting any sizable forces for ECW always remained j-u-s-t out of reach for me. Either wrong practical timing, lack of funds, into another project at the time.... either that or a club I played in at the time didn’t have any real interest in the subject. One way or another, I never seemed to get a chance to DO it. And now it all looked like it was gone - forever out of my reach.
And so, seeing how much and just how enduringly I had secretly longed to pursue this project... but also knowing that once I make my mind up about something I am usually pretty unwavering, and would not change my mind... nor crumble or do a u-turn. And so it was, that the wonderful Tarot and my very good mate Dave, both sat and conspired together: and between them they determined to get me (as a mega present) a veritable TON of Warlord games English Civil War sets of miniatures... two whole units of Dragoons (both in their mounted and their dismounted state – plus even a few horse holders and bare mounts). A pile of extra heavy `lobster pot` Cuirassier: a boxed set of Ordinance (loads of cannon and crew) and some resin embankment gun gabions, extra barrels, cannon balls, buckets, sacks, and so forth Some amazingly cool personality figures... Earl of Essex, Oliver Cromwell, Charles 1, and Prince Rupert: and wow two entire Battalia box sets .... that`s two starter sets containing 2 complete pike and musket battalions of foot: 2 units of forlorn hope `firelock` infantry, all the cavalry squadrons needed to play a big game: Also some sharp shooters/snipers, and various ancillary staff, civilians, wagons, a baggage train, horses even a shepherd and some sheep.
To this you can add a veritable PILE of buildings, walls, fences, and trees.
So WOW, I`m kinda in total bliss and heaven over all of this. It also happens to have been my Birthday on December the 16th and so Dave and Tar` decided to make this a joint Birthday and Christmas present all rolled into one. This is a staggeringly wonderful present and I am utterly blown away at their kindless and generosity. I have no idea what I have done to deserve it, but I am exceedingly grateful and I am sure.. one of the happiest gamers alive, I think.
SO suddenly for the first time in my life, I find myself in a rather privileged position of actually realising a cool dream about to come true - 28mm ECW wargaming WOooohoooOO!!!!!
The perfect way to start your Pike& Shotte army or add additional units of the bravest Soldiers to your army.
The Battalia includes the following:
· 80 Pike& Shotte Infantry - allowing you to make 24 pike men 48 muskets with 2 sets of Command.
· 24 Cavalry
· 10 Firelocks
· Plastic bases
· Full colour Flags for both Parliament and Royalists
The role of the dragoon was still being defined in the wars of the 17th century. Dragoons later went on to become heavy shock cavalry who rarely got off their expensive horses. Our subjects fighting in the English Civil Wars and Thirty Years War are really mounted infantry, musketeers mounted on poorer quality horses. Their role was not glamorous, but was nonetheless vital to a 17th century general.
Before any pitched battle the Dragoons would have been worked hard, joining raids on enemy strongholds and supply lines. Capturing and holding bridges, fords or crossing points at major rivers were also important during preparations for the coming fight. Dragoons could also find themselves on outpost duty, using their firelock or matchlock muskets to keep the enemy at bay. They were also the perfect troop type to escort wagons, prisoners or guarding anything else thought valuable.
Come the glorious day of battle however, the Dragoon could come in to his own. Never as well paid or equipped as their comrades in arms in the cavalry, and most likely despised by the footsloggers, the Dragoon had a job to do nevertheless. Most commonly, it would be dangerous work, joining Forlorn Hope parties, guarding the flanks and rear of the army. They were sent forward to clear woods, ditches and hedges of enemy musketeers and opposing dragoons. Often the Dragoons would move forward smartly and then dismount to fight, forming regular musket blocks on the field and responding to drum calls as would any infantry of the time.
In the heat of battle their horses would be sent to the rear, along with one in four of the men. These troops would ensure the horses were sheltered from fire and prepared for swift mount up, whether to retreat or redeploy on the battlefield.
Firing from the saddle was attempted, indeed even trained for, but it is difficult to imagine this being of any real worth in the field. Hand-to-hand combat was not seen as a major role for a Dragoon, however Colonel Okey and his New Model Army regiment bucked this tradition. At Naseby, Okeys Dragoons famously charged, sword and carbine in hand, to help destroy a collapsing Royalist army.
Warlord's dragoons can be fielded for either Royalist or Parliament. You could add bonnets which would make them perfect for Covenanter armies too. They can also represent all sorts of mounted shot for Thirty Years War armies.
Our lads are modelled so that you can have the mounted and dismounted versions of the same Dragoon , wearing his unique hat and carrying the weapon of his choice!
Whether you are Covenanter, a monarch-loving Royalist or even a Crop-headed rebel your army needs dragoons!
· 12 plastic horses
· 12 metal riders
· 12 foot dragoons
· 1 leaflet describing the background of the Dragoons and containing ensigns
It was a rare thing for a general in the 17th Century to take to the field without an artillery train to intimidate and pulverise the enemy lines. These cannon and mortars were terrifying weapons, belching smoke and flames with a frightening roar that no simple country lad was likely to have heard before. The cannon’s range of a thousand yards or more, although inaccurate at such extreme distances, could deliver its solid iron cannon balls to smash through the tightly packed enemy ranks to devatasting effect.
A wily master gunner would position his guns where they could do the most damage whilst not risking them to the enemy – it being a great shame to lose ones guns in battle, not least because of the enormous cost incurred in manufacturing, transporting and crewing them.
This box has three mighty weapons - a Demi-culverin, a Mortar and a Saker cannon - carefully protected by well-built gabion and wicker work defences, with the gunpowder barrels safely stowed in pits. Served by stoic crews and supported by a Sentinel, Master Gunner and an Engineer, these will wreak havoc in your opponent’s battle lines!
Thundering across the field of battle, resplendent in their ornate plate armour and pistols held tightly in gauntleted hands the charge of a cuirassier regiment was something to behold!
With luck the regiment would stop and perform their speciality – the ‘caracole’ - a complicated, but well-executed tactic, whereby the first ranks fired their pistols in the very faces of their foe, then wheeled away to reload whilst the next rank came up to volley.
The alternative would see them smash home, pistolling men at close quarters, or wielding fearsome poleaxes to smash through armour or crush opponents.
The 17th century saw large regiments of these steel-clad cavalry fighting epic battles in Europe in the devastating Thirty Years War. In England, Parliament massed enough money to put Haselrig’s ‘Lobsters’ (as they were known from their bright hard shells) into the field to take on Prince Rupert's feared Cavaliers.
These Cuirassiers are totally prepared for battle - with horse pistols, swords and even war hammers. Sound the charge!
· 12 multi-part metal Cuirassiers (including command) armed with swords, pistols and war hammers
· 12 plastic horses
· Plastic bases
· Background guide
· Seven Full-colour flags for English Civil Wars and Thirty Years War
The Earl of Essex
Of course, to complete my Christmas Day present list.... well I won’t go into details. Suffice to say, Hils has bought me (and hand crafted by herself, secretly.. literally over a period of months) enough terrain to make my ECW games look staggering good.. aesthetically on the table: and on top of that, she bought me some incredible plastic terrain sets for my new `supers` campaign... easily enough to see me well and truly on my way to bringing Gotham to life on the table top, and on the blog (via my photos). These terrain sets I have never seen before and am in wonder at them. Some company I have never heard of before.. called Pegasus Hobbies. I am in awe at all this lovely new stuff. As for Hils handmade terrain scenics, what can I say... frankly, stunningly good barely does them justice.
This doesn’t even mention the stack of DVD series (such as Gotham series 2, Agent Carter, etc etc): a mound of new books: and a full size stand up hobby light set array.. which looks like a football stadium when lit up, it’s got so many `daylight` painting lights on it, you almost need sun glasses to shield your eyes... WONDERFUL for painting at night, and this will help my modelling during winter no end. There’s more, but I`ll stop there. This article is really about my English Civil War good fortune, and I will leave it there. Although THANK YOU to everyone else for the amazing and wonderful gifts I have received this year.
An early present for Hils... baby lovebirds: which are sort of part of the parrot family of winged beasties. Here they are on Christmas Eve (taken before most of the presents had been set under the tree). She has wanted these for years... so now she has three hand reared ones - a natural pair, and their buddy (brother) hehe.
Hils will KILL me for posting this shot (but I actually think its a lovely one). Hils... literally awake five minutes, no make up, scratch on her cheek from the day before in the garden, and slumped in bed... but look how they love her. I opened the cage (which we never keep closed - except at nights while they sleep) and all three baby birds flew straight to her. They took to her and bonded with her almost the first ten minutes they set eyes on her.
I still can’t believe my good fortune and am just happy I can share my delight and euphoric pleasure with you all here and now.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Article by Steve