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!