Sunday, October 25, 2015

Agincourt October 25th 1415


Agincourt according to another of my great influences: Look & Learn magazine


There are a number of battles which have always resonated with the Legatus and driven his figure and book collecting: Thermopylae, Waterloo, Gettysburg and, perhaps, above all, Agincourt.  I have collected and painted some Spartans but always resisted buying any Persians.  I have re-fought Waterloo and Gettysburg with hundreds of Airfix plastics.  But I have never tried to do anything about Agincourt.  In a way the reason is the same one that has stalled my Thermopylae projects due to lack of Persians: the sheer horror of having to paint hundreds of figures wearing complex livery.




My interest in Agincourt came from two things which happened one Christmas in 1972.  We often used to visit my Uncle Len (who sadly died, well into his eighties, this year) at Christmas.  Uncle Len had something we didn't have at this time:  a colour television.  He actually had two, which was even more unusual, as they cost about £400 then.  One was in his study and it was in there that I first watched Laurence Olivier's Henry V (1944) in colour.  A combination of the novelty of the colour TV picture, the quality of the film itself and William Walton's thrilling music (which Olivier hated) made a big impression.




Backing this up was the fact that that Christmas I had been given a copy of The War Game which featured recreations of historic battles using Peter Gilder's figures and terrain in a way I had never seen wargames depicted before - also in full colour (younger people forget that most media at the time was still in black and white).




Oh, how I wanted lots of shiny silver knights and archers.  So you would have thought that when Perry miniatures came out with their Agincourt to Orleans range in 2006 (nearly ten years ago!) I would have jumped right in (surely not?) and I nearly have, many, many times. Apart from the painting problems, though, Agincourt is one of those difficult battles to wargame effectively (like Thermopylae, the Alamo and Rorke's Drift) and I realise that, however hard I try to fight the urge, I am psychologically unable to pull myself away from seeing wargaming through the lens of historical recreation.  I cannot get my head around fictional actions (skirmishes, possibly) but not for major battles.  This, of course, can limit the use of any figures I might contemplate (like Sedgemoor, for example). 




I was sorely tested again by the Perry brothers new English army plastics (with French on the way) but I already have three boxes of Wars of the Roses figures I haven't painted yet and I have actually fought half a dozen Wars of the Roses wargames, with what is my biggest wargames force, and they have potentially far more use on the table.  The opening, today, of the Perries diorama in the Tower of London, which I am going to try and get to see on Wednesday, will be another temptation, although the £18.50 entrance to the Tower is nearly the cost of the Perry box of figures so I am sure that, despite today's anniversary, I can resist again!


16 comments:

  1. I'm hoping to get up to see the exhibition at the Tower in the next couple of weeks. I realised I've only been to the Tower once, on a school trip in 1978, and never in the nearly 30 years I've been living down south. I'm also hoping to get along to the Celts exhibition at the British Museum.

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  2. If you do make it to the Perry display, please share a few photos.

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    1. The room looks very dark and unlike most countries British museums and galleries are usually much less permissive when it comes to photography.

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  3. Great post - Agincourt certainly holds that certain heroic quality thanks to Shakespeare, Olivier and Branagh for me as well!

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  4. I can understand, the idea of having to paint so many snazzy heraldic designs is somewhat off putting...

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  5. I know exactly what you mean. Painting all that wonderful heraldry on 28's feels ne with horror and dread. I have though pondered on 15 or even 6mm for the period.

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  6. The painting certainly is a drawback, all that heraldry! £14.15 should have been the price!

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  7. We have done Agincourt in 10mm - great fun. Might have to rerun that again sometime.

    Will try and get up to the tower soon - how long is the exhibition open?

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  8. The Tower is worth the entry alone, never mind the additional benefit of the Agincourt exhibition as well.. I've just been though so am now faced with paying the entry just for the Agincourt exhibition, so am in two minds... I'm with you on the painting issue, the other problem I have in my own mind is that as much as I would like to do a War of the Roses project, the reality is that the warfare of the time seems (to me) to just have involved two lines of metal clad men hitting each other with large heavy/pointed weapons... tactics/strategy basically just a dice throw... battles basically won by numbers....

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    1. I think that might be why I like the wars of the Roses.I have enough problem learning rules (I can't, basically) so trying to employ any tactical thinking is well beyond my poor brain. That's why I don't fancy Saga. Too much thinking involved. I don't like to think in my time off. I have enough of that at work!

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    2. After Tower of London, it's moving to the Royal Armouries in Leeds so if you can hang on a few months, I think the admission is free.

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  9. Great to see that you got the right date! I wasn't able to find any time yesterday so had to do my commemoration today! LOL :>)

    Darrell.

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  10. Quite understandable that you haven't wanted to collect for Agincourt. However, you could still collect a small force for some of the lower level actions during the campaign.

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    1. Indeed, I'm such a minx I should change my name to Minnie! :)

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