Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Expanding the Horse and more Foot.

Having completed another 35 figure Foot Regiment - this time a white coat unit, just awaiting final basing colours - I decided to use some of the 'leftover' cavalry castings to increase the size of some of the horse units. I started with Ruperts and by adding an additional six troopers in pot helmets and back/breast plates I achieved a more mixed look to the unit that I am pleased with. The 16 figures in this unit represents 320 men under the WRG rules so is still somewhat short of the historical strength, but looks impressive. I followed this by combining two 8 figure units into a single 14 figure Parliamentarian Regt, losing a Warrior standard Bearer and an officer and repainting coats and saddle blankets where required. I have one more 8 figure unit left to expand using more of the castings I have left.

Prince Ruperts Regiment of Horse.

Whitecoats in the snow! Pike and Shot Regiment number seven.

Another wonderful 'Garrison' figure (left), commanding the pike block.

Next I'm working on more Dragoons, both foot and mounted. Another Foot Regiment is also in the pipeline.

Hinchliffe Summer Sale!
It's worth mentioning here that Ian Hinds is currently offering Hinchliffe figures at an amazing 75p each as part of his Summer Sale during August - he tells me this is his quiet time of year. I have taken advantage of this offer to top up with castings, both ECW and Ancients (Imperial Romans & Ancient Britons), the latter range having also been fully re moulded and are beautifully crisp and clean castings like the ECW range. More on these in due course. Thinking in terms of current 28mm figure prices I'd say 75p is a round half price on average? Certainly the Renegade figures I last bought were £1.50 each and I swear the Hinchliffes are more animated, and thinking about it 75p is not far off the price of a Warlord multi part plastic! Each to his own of course.

One thing to watch for when buying Hinchliffe mounted figures is that riders don't fit every horse code, not a big problem but you can always check with Ian Hinds before buying, he's a very friendly and approachable guy. An example are these three lovely horse castings I painted this week for 3 of the new Ruperts figures only find the troopers could not made to fit them! No problem just painted three more (checking first), I'm sure other codes will fit the painted horses. I could not help to compare these fine animated horses with a couple of plastic Warlord mounts I have upstairs, they are so 'stiff' and lifeless in my opinion, the Hinchliffes have a real sense of movement and are currently just 90p per horse (normal price £1.05p) in the Sale.


Blast! Should have checked first.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

At the sign of the White Horse....

I spent a bit of time this week painting and basing a few of the plastic Dapol buildings I bought some time back. I went with Dapol for the retro themed look and I'm really pleased how these have turned out. They are deliberately slightly under scale (OO) as I wanted to avoid huge model buildings for this project, these are of course intended for model railway layouts! They are very cheap at around a fiver each, and whilst there may be some warping and flashing of the 40 years old moulds, they do go together quite well.

Here are a few pics of the church (more a small chapel in this scale), two cottages and the country Inn. I have a couple  more kits and want to use another of the Inn kits to build a small walled Manor House. I based them simply to match the figures as you can see, the thin chap raising his hat outside the church is I'm informed an old Les Higgins figure, possibly from the 30mm range, he has such charm that I just had to use him.

I'm currently painting another Regiment of Foot, and then I'm thinking of adding some baggage wagons and a couple of Falcon light artillery pieces. The Horse are very much finished for now as you can see from the video below (if you have not already seen it on my other blog!).

Thursday, 27 July 2017

More artillery, Generals & basing.

I have reached the point of what I might term 'End of Phase 1' of this project, having just finished off more artillery and painted up a couple of command bases. I have this week also been focusing on trying to improve the look of my infantry bases and took the decision to edge the pike and musket bases as seen in the previous post. The result is as shown below, a little chunky but overall very practical for moving large units, I have to say that I'm still not 100% happy with the finish, they are quite bright, but I'm sticking with it and determined not to get into flocks and static grass for this project.

The new multi figure bases.

The artillery features two Sakers (Medium guns) and two huge Cannon Royale (heavy guns), lovely little models and as I was reminded by Roy recently, the guns were designed by Frank Hinchliffe himself. The crew are the classic Hinchliffe figures, as good today as I remember them all those years ago. Under WRG rules the main advantage of the bigger guns is range, artillery being not very effective at all. I have considered building the wonderful contraption used in the 'Battleground' Edgehill battle HERE (fast forward to 7:00 minutes to see it in use), with it's roll for bounce and roll for 'windage', it looks great fun but somewhat cumbersome to use. The eight figure unit 'Firelocks of the Artillery Train Guard' demonstrates the new style bases too.

As I like circular command bases I indulged myself in a couple, again resisting temptation to dress them up beyond a couple of cork 'rocks' that still require a final highlight. The flag is by Warlord, as supplied in their box sets, they have lovely deep colour saturation but crack like anything if you attempt to 'wave' them. I bit of patience with this one was rewarded, it is of course based upon the Royal Standard. The mounted Generals are of course Hinchliffe and the two foot figures are both old Garrison figures that I have acquired along the way.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Battle plans and more Dapol buildings.

With the total of painted figures now exceeding 400, it's clearly time to get some figures on the table for a first battle. From the start of this project it has been my intention to use the old WRG rules with which I played so many memorable games 30 odd years ago. I retain much of the rules to memory, and find no issue with the requirement for lots of morale or 'Reaction' tests as once you strip the many factors down to just those relevant to the ECW it's really not that bad. On many occasions a roll of the dice and quick look at the units situation will determine a fail or pass result after a few games. Royalist Horse are particularly difficult to handle, and that first sight of the enemy test can often see them take off in an 'uncontrolled advance'.

At the gallop, charge!

 Must give him a clean up!
I have been giving much thought to how I want to fight my battles, and have decided that I'm going to fight a fictitious loose campaign based on my local area in Kent. This part of the country did not see much action during the First Civil War, only later in 1647 did the war arrive down here on a small scale, with actions around the Medway, Maidstone and Leeds Castle being recorded. But my armies are early 1642 period, with heavy muskets on rests and armoured pikemen etc, so I'm going to use this old wall map of Kent that hangs in our hallway as a basis for a campaign. This fits the theme of the project, being very much influenced by the battle described in the Airfix ECW book.

Lots of ancient churches down here on the Romney Marsh, my village of Dymchurch (11th century) can be glimpsed on the coast at right, above Romney.

To this end I have been sorting out suitable terrain items and will be making them compatible with the WRG rules, where for example a 'Small Hamlet' may be taken a terrain choice and features just a couple of houses on a single base. Each base will be able to hold a regiment of foot or horse. IN addition there will be enclosed fields available, or a large church with walls etc, all very practical and simple. To date I have made 3 thatched cottages, a country Inn and a church, all in '00' scale and have a second Inn model that I plan to expand into a small manor House with walled grounds. The Dapol kits are cheap as chips, very easy to build - although the church was more challenging- and I put together the 3 cottages below in about 45 minutes yesterday whilst watching an episode of Midsomer Murders on the laptop.

I still have a couple more regiments of horse bought ready painted to rebase, this one is next and as you can see they are much cleaner than previous arrivals so will require nothing more than removing from the bases and onto my standard size horse bases, 25mm frontage rather than 20mm as they are far too squashed on the narrower base. I'll probably repaint  the sashes in Tawny Orange to represent a Parliamentarian regiment of 240 horse.

Next up for re basing, the officer (second from left in above image) is not a Hinchliffe model and I don't think he's a Minifig either, but he's a fine little figure anyway. Figure second from right will become the standard bearer.

Finally for now those Minifigs 'Clubmen' have been re based and retouched to form two bands of reluctant villagers with improvised weapons ready to defend their land. I left them very much as was, only painting in missing collars here and there and re varnishing them with my standard satin as they were TOO shiny. Flags were supplied as free extras when I ordered my flags from Wargame Designs and they make a nice addition to the units with their slogans. The officer figures are wonderful examples of the Minifigs ECW range so they just had to remain with the units. These are rated E class under the rules and will probably not hang about in a fight very long, but can add a touch of unpredictability when dicing to see which side they will support (if any!).

I'm still not happy with the look of the bases!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Movement bases, Ironsides and Clubmen.

I started this collection with the intention of using them to fight battles with, not just sit on the display shelves, but it has quickly become apparent that the WRG basing style was going to involve an awful lot of moving of figures based singly and in twos. After much racking of the old brainbox, and having determined NOT to rebase, I decided that the best solution would be to place each unit on a sabot, or more accurately a movement tray. This is the solution I came up with up and having done the first few pike and shot units I'm very happy with things. Each pike block of 12 figures is placed upon a single large base with the 3 command figures sitting behind them, a 10mm strip is left along the rear edge for a unit designation label. The musket sub units (under WRG rules) are each on single bases, this has made a massive difference to my ability to shift the things about. Each Horse regiment - I now have 15 such varying in number between 8 and 12 figures - will sit upon a single large base in two ranks. I will engage the wonderful Tony Barr of East Riding Miniatures to lazer cut all the required bases, although I have cut these first few by hand from a stack of 100mm x 100mm MDF squares bought ages ago from ERM. Overall I'm happy with the look and feel, they retain an Old School charm but with a practical basing system that will enable me to use micro casualty dice to record losses.

Latest Horse Regiment re based.

A quick note on the WRG rules casualty system - I'll be using the alternative casualty system found in the back of the rules rather than recording losses up to 20 before removing a figure. This is quite simple and requires no book keeping and carrying over.

Surely one of the most iconic of the Hinchliffe ECW range is the 'Roundhead' trooper charging? The latest unit of such up for restoration are shown below, 15 figures and they include a wonderful hand painted flag, a trumpeter conversion and a magnificent falling trooper, his horse down on it's front legs and the rider being thrown forward. All have had their original swords replaced with flattened pins, skillfully done, and arms bent into different positions. There is just a little chipped paint here and there to touch up and two swords to replace but otherwise they are in lovely condition. They have been given an initial clean with water and soft brush and will be re based as per usual.

Also in the pipeline will be another Regiment of Foot, this time with pikes forward. I might need to add a few more musketeer figures to complete this one, but it's another project I will enjoy.

I had been searching for a source of Clubmen and these lovely old Minifigs seemed to fit the bill perfectly. They will also get the once over and I'll add a few musket carrying figures to them, but they have a unique charm of their own and fit well with my Hinchliffes. Aim is for a 20 figure unit with mixed improvised weapons.

Finally, I keep finding the odd unknown little gem among the figures bought Painted from Ian Hinds, I have no idea what these are, but I absolutely love them! Any ideas on the skinny chap especially?