Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wars of the Roses

Nice example of a WoR banner

My last pictures from Loseley Park are of the Medieval Siege Society's skirmish. They were in War of the Roses period armour and equipment. I really felt for these chaps (and, again, quite a lot of ladies) as tramping around in full plate can't have been much fun!

Feeling hot, hot, hot!

They conducted an archery duel as part of their demonstration and Guy and I, who are both archers by inclination and practice (he has been having lessons recently and I did it for three years-competing in the Moscow Olympic trials), thought that this looked like the most fun type of re-enactment as you actually did for real what your original models had done. "The musketmen don't really fire bullets, the swordsmen don't really stab people but the archers really do shoot arrows (albeit rubber tipped ones!)" as Guy said!

My Wars of the Roses Army is one of the few that I have that I can actually field as a complete force. I think I have about 1750 WAB points worth.

My sole mounted Man at Arms

No army is ever finished, of course, and mine needs a unit of mounted men-at-arms. I have painted one and that wasn't too bad but I just haven't got around to painting the 11 others I reckon I need. They are very expensive in WAB and tend to be a one shot weapon. I have also found that mercenary crossbowmen deal with them pretty effectively. I have fought several battles and never felt the lack of them. Still... I would also like a few handgunners, maybe a bombard and some pavise men. OK and maybe another unit of billmen. And some more archers...

My force represents the Earl of Oxford's

The figures I have are probably my least favourite of all that I own. When the Club announced it was doing a WotR campaign a few of us needed to get armies from scratch. Mike (of Black Hat Miniatures) and I went halves on a very good Foundry deal whereas the rest of them went for Front Rank Miniatures.

My commander

I sort of regretted it. They are old Perry sculpts and nearer to 25mm than 28mm with some very big heads on some of them. They were dwarfed by the FRM figures on the field and the latter looked much nicer (despite them having bows that look like baguettes). Despite me not being happy with their proportions they did paint up quite easily and I had to get a lot painted quickly.

Men at Arms

Wars of the Roses is pretty popular at Guildford as so many of us have an army and you can do a characteristic three battle army on each side and involve six players. So I am increasingly tempted by the prospect of the Perry Miniatures plastics that are set to appear later this year. I saw the three ups at Salute and they look very very nice indeed. Perhaps they will do mounted men-at-arms and I can confine myself to those. But somehow I feel that it will all be a lot worse than that! Never mind they are some way off, it seems...

Nothing wrong with the proportions of these...

Monday, May 25, 2009

1st Foote Guardes

Pikemen (no armour, helmets or gloves by this period)

I actually managed to get some painting done today for the first time in a month. What with being in Canada for two weeks (and all the follow up) then having to deal with a domestic Swine Flu crisis (I spend two weeks avoiding anyone who speaks Spanish on my trip and someone on my daughter's school coach infects everyone!). This resulted in my daughter's subsequent homework/revision crisis so that she needed the internet a lot hence no access to my desk. Then the new bolier saga meant that huge amounts of stuff had to be temporarily shifted about. I feel shattered!

So, it was good to get out to Loseley Park yesterday for the Sealed Knot day and it has enthused me enough to actually pick up a paintbrush again. I got up early and did some work on four Renegade ECW Musketmen who have been on the work bench for a year. I just need to complete them to finish my second ECW Foot regiment and got well on the way today. I also did a bit on my Musketeer GNW Russians and have ordered some of the new pikemen.

Then it will be back to the Louis XIV figures from Mr Copplestone. From the same period (OK slightly later) were a Sealed Knot unit at Loseley yesterday; the 1st Foote Guards who represent a British force from the period of the Monmouth Rebellion and, therefore, the last pitched battle fought on English soil Sedgemoor (1685). I have always been interested in this battle as I used to have a girlfriend who lived in Somerset and I had to drive past the battlefield at Westonzoyland to get to her house. I have always been a fan of Pirate books and films and, of course, in Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood Dr Peter Blood is sent to the Caribbean sugar cane fields as a slave by the Bloody Assizes for tending to one of the rebel soldiers at Sedgemoor.

The grenadiers already have flintlocks and plug bayonets whilst the "hatmen" still have the old matchlocks.

These are the sort of figures I need for government troops for my pirate games so let's hope Copplestone come out with something like this as nice late 17th/early 18th century are in very short supply for this purpose (in fact I can't think of any).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Battle of Farnham Castle 1643

Parliament marches onto the field

Although I have been to one or two small (like an episode of Sharpe) Napoleonic re-enactments at the local Painshill Park I haven't been to a big one so when I saw a note about The Sealed Knot being at Loseley Park this weekend (on The Wars of Louis Quatorze site-see link on the right) I decided to take my little boy Guy along.


In the morning there was a skirmish between a small Royalist and Parliamentarian force. They used the oportunity to demonstrate (rather well I thought) the roles of the different troops and weapons. One of the things that struck me straight away was how many women were in the different units. Not just wandering around in the background in 17th century frocks (although there were plenty of those) but with muskets and even pikes.

I was delighted to see that one of the units there represented The Tower Hamlets trained band with their distinctive colour bearing their motto 'Jehova Providebit' (God Will Provide). This is one of the two units of Civil War infantry I have painted so far and although they only saw action at Cropredy Bridge they can be used to represent any of the London trained bands, such as the three regiments which were present with Sir William Waller's force at Farnham Castle.

A royalist force representing Lord Hopton's army then marched down the hill (the field used for the re-enactment was a very good choice, giving good visibility).

An American reader commented on the Louis XIV site that some American Civil War re-enactors had been banned from using gunpowder as it scared the "gentle-folk", or some such politically correct nonsense. No shortage of gunpowder today, however, and Guy's grandmother didn't seem at all phased ("I lived through the Blitz this is just fireworks!").

In the afternoon, after a drill demonstation by The First Foot Guards from the Monmouth rebellion period and an enjoyable large skirmish from the Medieval Seige Society (more of which tomorrow) we had the "big battle".

By this time we were enjoying our hottest day of the year and it reached 25 degrees, meaning a lot of hard work for those members of the forces that had to supply on-field water. It started with a Royalist force marching down the hill to approach what were supposed to be the walls of Farnham Castle, Wallers HQ in 1643.

Waller's forces march out of the castle to meet the Royalists

The view from "Farnham Castle" up the hill where the Royalist army assembles

It wasn't long before there were hundreds of re-enactors on the field. Well over a thousand, I believe. Battle commenced and went on for over an hour.

A good push of pike

The man with the tabard with a cross on is one of The Sealed Knot's trained medics.

There were over a dozen artillery pieces in action

All in all a very enjoyable day although I feel a bit over-cooked tonight and feel I might need some cool Chardonnay! Guy loved it and I had to forcibly restrain him from joining the Blew Regiment of Foot there and then.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Kings of the Sun

One of the things that I always do when I am in North America is look for DVDs I can't get at home. My DVD player is actually a Pioneer bought in the US which also plays Region 2 (and everywhere else) DVDs as well so buying Region 1 over here isn't a problem.

Actually filmed at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico

A film that I have been looking for for a long time but which only came out on DVD last year was the Yul Brynner epic Kings of the Sun (1963) which I fondly remember as one of the first films I say on colour TV. I just picked it up in HMV in Vancouver.

" White man speak with forked tongue. Good job we all speak English."

Brynner plays an Indian chief in conflict with invading Mayans led by King with a conscience Geroge Chakiris who thinks that all this human sacrifice stuff is just wrong.

It all gets complicated when they both chase after a hopelessly miscast Shirley Anne Field (it killed her Hollywood career stone dead) as a Mayan princess. In some other interesting casting we have Richard Basehart (from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea -which had one of the great TV series theme tunes ever) and Barry Morse (Space 1999 -which didn't (sorry Barry Gray, but it hasn't aged as well as Thunderbirds!)) as Mayan priests.

Excellent art from the poster!

I remember it having a couple of really good battle scenes and a better script and story than most epics of the time. Apparently it has been brilliantly remastered which should show off the genuine Mexican locations to perfection. Sadly my laptop isn't multi region so I will have to wait untill I get home before I can watch it (unless one of my other hotels has a DVD player)!

Now, who makes a 1/56 scale Mayan pyramid...?