Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Scots faction 'Shaken' markers

Last year (January of 2015 - blimey! Where's that time gone?!), I posted pictures and thoughts about the 'shaken' markers for my New Model Army faction. This time, it's the turn of the markers for my Scots Covenanters.

The Scots Covenanters faction 'shaken' markers

As per last time - these chaps are a mix again, of Perry Miniatures and Wargames Foundry figures. I've tried to paint them up in the coat colours that will match 'their' units, so the dragoon marker below is in a nice shade of Drab 12 from Foundry paints.

This is one of the Foundry figures, from Casualty pack ECW49. He was a nice figure to paint, and one that, in my view, is full of character - the older Foundry figures often get a bad press, because they're a bit long in the tooth now, but the Perry twins really gave these figures a sense of 'life' (ironically), and this particular sculpt has a real sense of a soldier on campaign. His doublet and breeches are ripped and torn, and his shirt and doublet hang off his shoulders. Painting the shirt underneath his clothing was a bit of a challenge, but I managed to get a very fine brush in the gaps, and it looks ok.

Next up is the figure I'm using for one of my musket companies, also from the Foundry pack.

The first musket 'shaken' marker

A different version can be found in last January's post. With this figure, I carved off the hat that was sculpted on, lying on the ground next to his head. I wanted a slight change to my NMA shaken marker, and also liked the idea of him looking a bit more 'Scots'. I suppose in hindsight, I could have used a flattened blob of Greenstuff to make a bonnet, but he's multi-use for any grey coated regiment, even English ones. He's got a coat of Slate Grey 32.

The next chap is from the Perry Miniatures casualty pack ECW12. I'm using him for my other musket company. He's a beautifully sculpted figure, with his bottles on his bandoleer strewn at all angles, and a shoe missing. It's little touches like that, that really set the Perry's apart in the poses that they choose for their figures. His doublet is painted with Granite 31 palette, though I've mixed the B and C shades together for the final highlight, as the transition to the pure C shade is a little too stark and too much of a contrast for my liking.

The second musket 'shaken' marker

Finally, here's the 'shaken' marker for my pike company. He's also from Perry Miniatures, and although it's not overly clear here, I've painted a dark red patch on his breeches to represent the fact that he's been shot in the leg. His coat is Slate Grey 32 as well.

I really like this chap as well - I've got plans for the same sculpt to be used inside a tent, at some point in the future - he looks like he could be rousing himself after a rough night, maybe under a threadbare blanket or cassock.  At this point though, he looks in quite a bad way, and sleep's the last thing on his mind! He'll probably be hirpling off the battlefield quite soon.

Yes.... 'hirpling'. From the word 'Hirple', which means to walk with a limp or a hobble. It's a word that's first recorded in the late 15th century, and probably comes from the Old Norse Herpast, or 'to suffer from cramp'.  Our group of friends in the re-enactment group I belong to often pretend to limp away, whenever we do events and we're close to the watching crowds. Over the last 20 years or so, we've developed a good line in 'hirpling' - staggering away, clutching our legs, or other pseudo-wounded limbs. If there was an Oscar for hirpling, we'd be nominated every year...... Hirple..... a word that actually rhymes with 'purple'! Add it to your vocabulary, and look intelligent ( or silly, depending on your point of view). As luck would have it, the irony is (given our subject and faction list) that 'hirple' is....an Old Scots dialect word. You couldn't make it up!

Next up - the Scots pike. See you soon!

'See 'em off, boys!'

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Covenanter Dragoons

When I drew up the composition for my Scots Covenanter 'faction' of my ECW Donnybrook project, I was fairly sure I wanted some dragoons in the mix. Not only would they provide another aspect to our games, with their flexibility of being able to operate both mounted or dismounted, but there's something quite iconic about Scottish dragoon regiments of the 17th century English Civil Wars.

This is in part, down to the actions and history of Hugh Fraser's regiment, the exploits of which are detailed briefly here, on the excellent Project Auldearn Blog (one of the inspirations for my own project). Fraser's regiment (or Frazer's - I've seen both spellings) was one of the more renowned regiments of dragoons of the era (there is evidence for a significant number), but by the autumn of 1645, following the Battle of Philiphaugh, it received permission to convert to a cavalry regiment, and became equipped with sturdier horses, and fought from the saddle rather than dismounting. Judging by the brief descriptions of other dragoon regiments that I've found, this seems to be a common path taken by many of these units. Fraser's regiment ended their days at the Battle of Winwick Pass, during the  Preston campaign of 1648.

'The Dragoons are coming!...'

During the Dunbar campaign, which acts as the backdrop for my project, the Scottish forces purportedly had dragoons in the form of Lord Kirkcudbright's Regiment. There's no real indication as to which brigade they were attached to, but judging by contemporary accounts, Lord 'Kilcowberry's' (sic) men possibly fought in an action at Haddington, on the night of 31st August 1650, when Cromwell decided to retreat from Musselburgh back towards Dunbar. The English rearguard was already in disarray as it approached Haddington, but 'the Lord by his providence put a cloud over the moon' and the Ironsides managed to break contact with the pursuing Scots. Later that night, around midnight, the Scottish attacked again, this time with a 'party of mounted musketeers', and it's these chaps who were supposedly Kirkcudbright's men. They were clearly made of stern stuff, as it took an hours worth of fighting, before they were finally seen off by Colonel Charles Fairfax's Foot.

There is scant record of their actions during the Battle of Dunbar - presumably they fought on foot as a block of troops - and then were caught up in the subsequent retreat and surrender towards the end of the battle.  Any survivors probably evolved into 'Moss troopers', a development of later actions in Scotland, where the regular Scottish army was supported by rough and ready bandits who harassed Cromwell's forces. They gradually developed into an organised force of 'light' cavalry  under such people as Captain Augustine Hoffman (an officer from Southern Germany!), who attacked the English at Linlithgow in April 1651 with a mixed party of Mossers and dragoons.

My own dragoons have been 'christened' as Lieutenant Gordon's company. I decided to class them as elite troops, not only out of sentimentality for the quality of Fraser's veterans, but also because it got around a rather practical problem that wargamers have with dragoons of this era - the fact that you need 'two lots' of the d%^ned things! To cut back on the numbers I needed to represent both their mounted and dismounted versions, it was an easy choice to make them high quality - in Donnybrook terms, therefore, I'd only need 3 figures of each type. I couldn't resist making a dismounted marker though, and also included my usual 'shaken' casualty marker for my unit.

The unit in full - dismounted troops, their mounted versions, dismounted marker,
Shaken marker, and activation card.

The figures all come from Perry Miniatures - SW4 Musketeers firing, and SW6 Musketeers advancing for the dismounted figures, and SW15 for the mounted versions. The casualty marker figure is from Wargames Foundry ECW49 Casualties pack.

Dismounted Dragoons - mind those powder barrels
I tried to replicate the figures in both dismounted and mounted form - this was reasonably successful, but was largely dictated by the style of the mounted versions. Hair colour, and colour of the uniforms and equipment was the main method of doing this, but for the sharp-eyed, there's a few subtle differences mainly with the facial hair!

The uniforms were painted in a mix of colours - with the doublets being Foundry's 12 Drab palette. This is a slightly 'washed out' brown, with a pale khaki hint to it, and I like the fact that it's a different tone to the usual mid-grey tone that's often used for Covenanter troops. It also makes my dragoons easier to spot on the table!

The dismounted marker is on based on a 60mm round base from Warbases, and features a figure from the Perry SW5 Musketeers loading pack, and a spare horse from another pack of dragoons. The fencing comes from Renedra.

Finally, a few pictures of our friends, in close up and in action. Next up will be the Scots casualty 'shaken' markers. See you soon!

Off we go again - more English to find and fight!...