Friday, May 25, 2012

Touch Not the Cat Bot a Glove! The Royalist Macphersons

I mentioned in an earlier post that my family is of Clan Macpherson. This is very proud clan with a rich tradition of active participation and success in the various conflicts of Scotland and England.

"In the civil war of Charles I.’s time the Macphersons played a gallant part on the side of the King. From the register of the provincial synod of Moray it appears that Dougal Macpherson acted as Captain of Ruthven Castle, and that Ewen Macpherson of Cluny had joined with Alastair Macdonald, the Marquess of Huntly, and the Great Marquess of Montrose in their daring military enterprise; that he had been present at the battles of Tibbermuir and Aberdeen, in which he had been in command of all the loyal forces of Badenoch.

It was during one of the headlong attacks of this campaign, when the little Royalist forces were about to engage a party of the Covenanting Horse, that an incident occurred which is related effectively by Sir Walter Scott. A gentlemen of Clan Macpherson was noticed to be crouching somewhat in the rear, and Macpherson of Nuid, taking the action to be one of cowardice, ran up to him and indignantly upbraided him with setting so bad an example. The clansman, however, answered, "I have only been fastening a spur to the heel of my brogue, for I mean in a few minutes to be mounted on one of these horses." And in a few minutes, sure enough, he had fulfilled his intention."

The first contingent that I intend to model and paint for my English Civil War army will be this royalist Badenoch levy mentioned in the quote above and led by Ewen Macpherson. There is not very much detailed information about them specifically that I have been able to locate - however, there are enough tidbits and hints that I should be able to manage while having a ton of fun. This image is titled "Macpherson" and is a plate illustrated by R. R. McIan, from James Logan's The Clans of the Scottish Highlands, published in 1845. It is a great example of what Ewen Macpherson of Cluny himself may have worn at times. Fabulous tartan, green jacket and blue bonnet. He is carrying a dirk, a traditional basket-sword and two pistols. That is bad-ass.

Creag Dhu!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Basing and Regiment Layout

As one is waiting for the ever-important models for a new project to arrive in the post, one has increasing amounts of time to sit and think of other esoteric project related details. Currently for me, this has taken shape with thoughts on basing and regiment layout.

Most recently, I have been playing skirmish style games in which all models are based as individuals. I like this for the flexibility and the importance it gives to each individual character, but I dislike it for movement of formations and playing grand-scale battles. So, with this new English Civil War project that I have undertaken, I have decided to base my army in a more large-scale group method. I am working with 28mm models and the sketch below shows how I am thinking of basing these and how I will organize them into basic regiments.

Individual square bases of 40mm that will contain four models. This regiment formation will give me a frontage of 320mm with two rows of muskets and four rows of pikemen with some room in the front and center for the command figures, ensigns and musicians. I don't want to base my army for any particular rule set (although I do have a copy of Pike & Shotte on the way) and I hope this will be a nice compromise that will allow me to play any number of different rule sets. The musket to pike ratio and exact numbers may change based on specific regiments (throw in some longbows, swords and axes for some of the Royalist northern clan levies for example).

Friday, May 18, 2012

More Books & Learning

As I am anxiously waiting for my first English Civil War models to arrive, I have plenty of time to read and research the topic. I have a university history degree, and so this is an important part of the wargaming hobby for me. I don't game simply for the sake of gaming, I endeavor to become learned and, while maybe not an expert, a person that can intelligently discuss the topic. Besides, the games themselves become richer and deeper if the historical context is appreciated and respected.

I recently received three books on the English Civil War from Osprey Publishing:
Scots Armies of the English Civil Wars
Soldiers of the English Civil War (1)
Pike and Shot Tactics, 1590-1660

While these are not serious history texts, they do give a very nice overview of the topics as well as providing the valuable and much needed illustrations of equipment, uniforms, heralds, flags and other topics important to a wargamer trying to paint armies in a way that (tries) to reflect historical accuracy. Plus, they are gorgeous books...

Moss Troopers, 1650-51

Strathbogie Regiment, Aberdeen, 1644

Irish Brigade, 1644-45

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Scots are Lost

Eureka Miniatures 17th century Scottish Laird model
I wrote in my last post that I had ordered my first batch of models from Eureka Minatures. Well, they would have been here by now if not for some shameful shannanigans and incompetence from my local postal service. It seems my northern lads have got themselves lost. Anyway, the customer service at Eureka is top-shelf and so it will all work out the eventually.

Here is what I have coming:
14x Scottish Musketeer
10x Scottish Musketeer (many with bow)
4x Scottish with traditional clan weapons
4x Scottish with swords
1x Scottish Laird
1x Scottish piper

It is probably obvious that my first regiment will be a Royalist Highlander levy that fought under the Marquis of Montrose. I do have a very specific contingent in mind for these troops, but that will have to wait for a post of its own...

Friday, May 11, 2012

A New Project: The English Civil War

My Punic Wars project has stalled.... while waiting for an order of spears that would have allowed me to assemble and base-coat the army, I found that I wasn't overly thrilled or motivated. I have three bags of metal Carthaginian miniatures from Gripping Beast on my workbench. They are all great sculpts of infantry and heavy cavalry and I'm sure that I will get back to them eventually.

But, my academic and gaming interests have turned elsewhere for the time being -- Scotland. My family heritage is strongly Scottish - family Archibald of the proud clan Macpherson. Discovering personal family history is a strong motivator for me, and so I turn my attention to the grand spectacle of the English Cvil War (which I have been wanting to do for some time) and specifically to the Scots.

As with any wargaming project that I undertake, I have begun with researching the topic. I am currently reading the following books:

Now, all work and no play makes for a dull war gamer... and so I have also ordered a good amount of 17th century Scottish miniatures from Eureka. Twenty-four muskets, twelve pikes, a fancy Laird, a piper, and various other models swinging traditional clan weapons. Lets hope they arrive soon!