Thursday, 4 February 2016

ECW - The Lobsters have arrived - part 6

Part 5 can be found here

Following on from my last post I have been hitting the painting table with some serious attention. Sooner or later I am going to get bogged down with work and other interests but whilst I sill have the mojo I am going to push on.

Today I bring you my Currassiers - these are a Warlord Games product. When they arrived last Friday I was surprised to see that the riders themselves were metal but the horses plastic. Indeed the mounts are the same mounts for all their ECW cavalry.

Getting a good bond between plastic horse and rider was difficult so in the end I resorted to a small ball of greenstuff to aid the fixing. These were a joy to paint. I wanted a uniform feel to this unit so all the horses were painted black and I carried the same colours across the tack, saddle blankets and other gear.

The box itself contains 12 riders. One of which can be a standard bearer (I used the flag straight from the box - General Waller's Horse), and the other is a trumpeter. He must feel a little left out in his finery of cloth riding into battle with his armoured colleagues.

The armoured riders were all painted gun metal and following their dip I was patient enough not to matt varnish the armour. Their orange sashes denote that they are part of the Parliamentary cause.

The following was taken from Wikipedia

There are very few cases of Currassiers being used in the English Civil War bit the best documented is the unit raised by Sir Arthur Haselrig known as the London Lobsters.  The unit received its name because they wore extensive armour that covered most of their body (except for the lower legs) making them appear somewhat like lobsters.

Only two cuirassier regiments were raised during the English Civil War, the other being the Lifeguard of the Earl of Essex, however, individual cavalrymen within other regiments also served in complete armour. Full armour had largely been abandoned at this time, with cuirasses and helmets only worn by some cavalry, commanders and some pike units. The armour of a cuirassier was very expensive; in England, in 1629, a cuirassier's equipment cost four pounds and 10 shillings, whilst a harquebusier's (a lighter type of cavalry) was a mere one pound and six shillings.

Haselrig's regiment formed the heavy cavalry in the army of Sir William Waller. The "lobsters" distinguished themselves at Lansdown on July 5, 1643.

However, at the Battle of Roundway Down July 13, they met a Royalist cavalry charge at the halt and after a brief clash, retreated in disorder, the Parliamentarian army losing the battle. Though they were defeated the armour they wore apparently served them well; Haselrig was shot three times at Roundway Down, with the bullets apparently bouncing off his armour. After firing a pistol at Haselrig's helmeted head at close range without any effect Richard Atkyns described how he attacked him with his sword, but it too caused no visible damage; Haselrig was under attack from a number of people and only succumbed when Atkyns attacked his unarmoured horse. After the death of his horse Haselrig tried to surrender; but as he fumbled with his sword, which was tied to his wrist, he was rescued. He suffered only minor wounds from his ordeal.

At the Cheriton on March 29, 1644 the unit attacked a royalist regiment of infantry under Sir Henry Bard. Bard's unit had advanced towards the Parliamentary cavalry, but had moved too fast and were no longer in formation with the rest of the Royalist infantry. The Lobsters saw this and Haselrig led 300 of them against Bard's regiment. It was completely destroyed, with all infantry either killed or taken prisoner. Parliament eventually won the battle.

So that's 1/6 of the planned Cavalry painted...will start on some of the Ironsides next

Until next time

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

ECW - The Artillery painted - part 5

Hi Folks

part 4 can be found here

Mrs Shed went away for the weekend so I was free, once chores completed, to spend some serious time painting.

Managed to paint up 8 cannons and the gun crew. This will form the majority of my Artillery

The Cannons were sourced from Perry - 4 demi culverins (9lbs) and 2 minions (4lbs) (along with their crew) plus a further two falcons from Bicorne miniatures and a pack of their gun crew (8). We have agreed that Medium guns will be denoted with four crew and light guns with three. In total I spent around £78 on this little lot.

The Falcons (Light Guns)

The Minions

Front View

Prior to painting these I did some research on what colour the carriages should be and sadly there is very little documented evidence on the colour schemes but those more worthy than I all agree that they would have been painted/stained to protect the timber frames. In the end I chose to paint mine a mix of yellows, blues and reds. The iron work by common consent was painted black.

Likewise the crew (of which there are 30) have been painted in a variety of colours (civvies if you wish). Although the Bicorne gunners are slightly larger than the Perry's I have mixed them up to give some variety. Lets face it not everybody in real life is the same size.

The First Two Demi Culverins

The bases are plasti-card (6cm x 12cm) and have been augmented with a few barrels from my pirate terrain along with the various kit that came with the gun purchases. Once all the guns & crew were painted I mounted them on the base and then carefully added the ground mix. This was then painted a chocolate brown (tester pot) and dry-brushed with tan. The base was then topped off with a few scattered tufts. Finally I edged the bases black with a black permanent marker.

The Second Two Demi Culverins

I'll eventually invest in some larger guns and mortars but this will do for now. I am very pleased with the results but it also highlights how long this journey is going to take.

All Eight Guns

Until next time...

Friday, 29 January 2016

ECW - part 4 - The Plastics all assembled

Hi Folks

After some late evening stints I am delighted to report that all my plastic Warlord ECW troops are assembled, based and primed. This took literally hours but the cost savings versus the equivalent metal army has been well documented in my previous post.

The start of this ECW series can be found here

So I am finally ablre to lay out the core of the army with a few additions. There is some more stuff on the way (namely more guns, mounted dragoons and a few more commanders) but effectively wjhat you see in the photos is the core of my ECW army. The next time it will all get laid out (on movement trays) will be when it is painted.

Please note the forces are NOT laid out by battalia, regiment or unit. That comes next when I decide on the paint schemes.
The Plastic Army takes the Field

Sixty Cavalry...

The first two guns almost painted - Demi Culverins from Perry
The first commanders - back three Perry, front three Empress (another four mounted commanders on there way)

Lots of Pike & Shotte


On the subject of painting I have set myself the target of completing this lot by the end of June - that 5 months of solid painting.

For all my followers who are NOT interested in the ECW rest assured there is other stuff to come from the Shed...this weekend we kick off the Frostgrave campaign so reports on that early next week.


Part 5 can be found here

Monday, 25 January 2016

English Civil War part 3

Hi Folks

part 2 of this project can be found here

I have been cracking on with the ECW army build over the last couple of weeks assembling vast numbers of Warlord plastic figures and I am delighted to report that I am nearly there. Just the small matter of painting them ! I'll post pictures up of the fully based and primed army in the next few days.

Fortunately my good friend Mark has also decided to join this adventure and we have agreed to split the build. He is going to focus on the Royalists and I am going to do the Parliamentarians.

Up to now I have very much focused on the Infantry and Cavalry requirements of my army but of course I am going to need Artillery. At least a few guns !

Now I m trying to build this force on a budget so a bit of investigative analysis would be required on which company offered the best value.

Most offer guns with crew but the number of crew varies considerably. Using the 'Saker' cannon as the comparison and looking across multiple ranges I produced this small table.

Cost for Saker Gun
Is Crew Included
If so how many
Cost for Crew (no gun
How many Crew
TAG Miniatures

Based on these numbers there is an enormous variety of options. I should also point out that Renegade had a buy 4 packs get fifth free (se effectively a 20% discount applied if you bought the volume. For the purposes of this analysis I have left the real price in. 

Based on this table the Perry option looks like the best deal £9 for a gun plus four crew. A potential purchase of 4 cannon from Perry would be £36.
We are likely to start using Pike & Shotte as our initial rule set and they advise that the Parliamentary Army can have either 2 or 3 artillery pieces per battalia (depending upon time in war). With a maximum of three foot battalia on the table I am probably going to need 6-9 guns. 

Once I have completed the plastic horde and seen what is missing (eg Dragoons, Commanders etc) I'll make the decision as I am sure the costs will be somewhat different once postage is included.
Decisions, Decision....  

part 4 of this project can be found here

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

English Civil War part 2

Good Morning Folks

Part 1 of this project can be found here

Not too much to report at present, the weather is too cold to venture into the Shed (and it so desperately needs a clear out and tidy up) so I have been focussing on putting together my English Civil War army.

On Saturday I had the opportunity to assemble the first of the King and Country box sets mentioned in the previous post. The figures are relatively straight forward to assemble but they do take time.

Once glued I stuck all the infantry onto 25mm m4 washers and the cavalry onto 2.5 x 5cm plasticard bases. The washers were then given a quick coat of paint (I find pva glue adheres better to a primed base). All the bases were then given a sand and ballast treatment.

These were left overnight to dry and on sunday morning I sprayed them up all grey primer. With the weather so cold I had brought the spray paint in over night so this was room temperature as were the figures. The spraying itself was done outside but I allowed these to dry in the kitchen. Much to the annoyance of the family who complained I was trying to poison them with paint fumes !

So the Army starts to take shape...

I am still waiting on the rest of the box sets to arrive but a quick analysis of what has been bought shows that the cost of a Plastic Army is relatively good value.

In summary I have bought a total of 288 figures (of which 60 are cavalry) for the princely sum of £181 which works out at about 63p per figure. By comparison a metal army of equivalent size would cost double if not triple this sum.

For King & Country
For King & Country
Battalia Box Set
Cavalry Box Set
Total Figures
Warlord Games website
Cost (inc postage)
Total Cost /Figure

The plan is to assemble all of these boxes before the serious painting starts.

I still need to purchase some artillery support and then determine what other gaps exist in this force?

I reckon I can use some of the firelock infantry as dismounted dragoons so just need some unmanned horses - bound to be able to get cheap ones on the ebay site.

Until next time

part 3 of this project can be found here

Friday, 15 January 2016

ECW - The new Shed project

With the Frostgrave project nearly completed I have decided to kick off with my next project - 28mm English Civil War.

For many years I have been interested in this period and given that the Shed can now host most games from a number of genre's this is one that hasn't been tackled. I did consider doing this in 10mm but the fun I had putting together the crusades in 28mm swayed my opinion.

On top of that much of my terrain for my 1930's England VBCW project and Robin Hood Medieval projects can be used all over again (OK - the paved roads, railway lines and modern buildings will not feature).

Where to start. Well fortunately there are a load of companies out there producing ECW 28mm troops but the best value seems to be the Warlord games plastic range. Remembering that they do a starter box set I trotted off to their website and bought the King & Country box set. For the princely sum of £70 and three days later I received the hardback version of Pike & Shotte, 64 infantry men and 12 cavalry.

I think I jumped the gun because the following day I found the same box set for £45 on ebay. Realising that I would need plenty of troops to fields my parliamentary army I bought another box set along with a box of standard cavalry. Still waiting for this to arrive.

In total this will give me 36 regular cavalry and 128 infantry figures. Enough for me start with and keep me busy painting for the next few months. The extra book will be given to my gaming buddy Mark who has also started his ECW army.

I will need to add some Cannon, Dragoons and Command Figures but I don't think this is too bad for a starting position.

Stop Press: Last night I assembled the first 12 cavalry men, based these and gave them a quick coat of Halfords grey primer.

The next job is to assemble all the various figures (muskets, pikes etc) and also get them based and primed. Once that is done I'll begin the painting.

Until next time
part 2 can be found here

Thursday, 7 January 2016

This Old Dog does learn new tricks....Frostgrave Warbands

Hi Folks

In one of my previous posts I mentioned that I had mostly finished painting all of the figures I had purchased for Frostgrave, a very satisfying milestone.

Now I am not the greatest painter in the world - typically block paint and then dip. The Army painter dip (I use the strong tone) has been a godsend for painters like me as they tart up poorly painted figures in no time at all. However one of the many criticisms I do receive is that the figures look a little shiny. For years I have liked this look as it reminds me that they are toy soldiers.

However things change. Whilst rummaging around in my paint box I found a pot of matt varnish and I thought what the hell lets have a go on one of the figures. I selected the 'mule' from the last Frostgrave nickstarter. Once the varnish dried I was stunned with the final affect. It was great (at least in my eyes). The combination of the army painter shading and the matt varnish had me hooked.

Apologies for the quality of the photos but these were a bit rushed...

The Mule

There was only one thing for it all the Frostgrave figures would be given the same treatment. Fortunately I had taken some piccies of the un varnished figures for comparative purposes. I hope you agree they look significantly better.

Before Varnish
After Varnish

So here are the rest of the characters and some monsters


Constructs & Dog

Knights and Templars

Men at Arms

Missile Troops

Odds and Sods

More Wizards

Thugs and Thieves


Just love the tattoos on his back

Snow Trolls

The Lich and Wraith Knights (I wanted that spectral green look)

Spectral being

Armoured Skeletons

So I just need to finish off the cultists and I am done....