Sunday 27 December 2009

Seasons Greetings

Had this great e-card from the Preobrazhensky Life Guards 1709 and thought you might also like it.

Thursday 24 December 2009

Happy Christmas To All!

May all of our
friends and readers
have a wonderful
Holiday Season and
New Year filled with
health, happiness,
prosperity and peace,
and continue to drop
by from time-to-time
to see where our
sometimes whimsical
tour bus decides to
stop next.


Merry Christmas

Hope you have a great seasonal break and
keep dropping by in the New Year.

Monday 21 December 2009

Capture of Oppenheim

Wenceslas Hollar is the artist.

A couple of pleasant figures from Wm Britain

These two figures out of their Redcoat range are pleasing. One a Coldstream Guard pikeman of 1670 and the other Francis Hawley c1685.

Sunday 20 December 2009

Memoirs of a Cavalier by Daniel Defoe

OR A Military Journal OF The WARS in Germany, AND The WARS in England; From the Year 1632, to the Year 1648. Written Threescore Years ago by an English Gentleman, who served first in the Army of Gustavus Adolphus, the glorious King of Sweden, till his Death; and after that, in the Royal Army of King Charles the First, from the Beginning of the Rebellion, to the End of that War.
Published in 1720 this novel - in full online - tells the tale of a 17th century soldier from the Thirty Years War on to the Civil War. Another version here
I am not sure what the source for this book is - I remember reading somewhere that it was based on interviews conducted by Defoe - does anyone know more about this book?

Chateau Trompette 3 D model

Virtual exploration of a Vauban fortress. More on the place here.

Friday 18 December 2009

Martin Hyde the Duke's Messenger

I think it's time we had something about the Monmouth Rebellion - this novel in full here by John Masefield is set during the Rebellion and might make a decent read.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Samurai reenactment

I know it's not really pike and shot but what the heck - it's interesting I think to look around the world - this festival in 2008 looks well done. Photos here

The Restoration Company

Some early music to soothe you through the cold days of winter. Info reads:
'The first part of a promotional video recorded by Restoration Company, a Dutch-based early-music ensemble specialised in historically informed performance of English music from 1650-1750 -- the era that encompasses Purcell, Handel and their contemporaries. The group's careful attention to the political, cultural, theatrical and literary context surrounding the music is one of its defining characteristics. Our video -- here split into three parts -- demonstrates the breadth and quality of Purcell's music, as well as the capabilities of each member of the group, and the resulting musical coherence. Visit our website for the texts of the pieces, some explanatory notes, and more general information on the group and its repertoire'.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Vauban fortifications

First part of a French tv programme on Vauban and his work. In 3 parts. Worth watching if you have an interest in fortifications and Vauban even if your French is basic (like mine).

Friday 11 December 2009


Interesting little film about the leader of the Norwegian group recreating the era of 1704 getting ready and firing the group's cannon.
Kong Frederik den IV's Tambourafdeling af 1704.

See them at a display in 2009 here.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Gustav II Adolph

Today is the birthday, according to the wikipedia anyway of the man known to history as Gustavus Adolphus. Here he is at the battle of Breitenfeld at the turning point of the battle.

My Two Favorite Commanders Meet Osprey and Del Prado

During my recent mental health hiatus, I did indulge in some "retail therapy" which some of you might find interesting. I'm sure many of our readers are already familiar with Del Prado's 1/32nd scale figures offered by subscription through various retail outlets or direct from Del Prado. For those that are not, these encompass various subjects throughout history, grouped into sub-categories by subject matter, and are reasonably priced with the quality falling somewhere between "toy soldier" and true "miniature as art". One of their subscription series is titled "Cavalry Through The Ages" and features individual subjects ranging from Ancient Assyria (850 BC) to a German 1st Cavalry trooper in Russia in 1941. There are currently 25 different figures available, with "open" numbers left for 5 more to bring the total subscription to 30. However, they indicate that it will eventually comprise 80 different figures! Some of these are accompanied by a brief pamphlet produced by Osprey (hence their inclusion in my title).

Figure number CBH-009 is the subject I purchased, "Marshall Turenne, Battle of the Dunes, 1658". Included with this figure (of reasonable quality, both sculpting and painting) is a pamphlet by Osprey entitled "Cavalry Through The Ages, Turenne and Condé". Much of the material contained in the pamphlet is derived from the Osprey on Louis XIV's Army by René Chartrand, however, there is some excellent artwork that is not from Mssr. Chartrand's book. There is a brief outline of both Gentlemen's lives and careers along with some very nice woodcuts and the two paintings I have shown here. I have identified the painting below of Turenne as Lariviere's "Batalille des Dunes, 1658" (I think the correct title), and the Del Prado painters almost got it right, choosing for whatever reason to paint his sash and plume as a light blue instead of the correct white, as in the painting and the proper French "field sign" of the period.

This painting below is described in the pamphlet as "The Great Condé at the Battle of Lens", but I have been unable to find a painting with that title in the various on-line collections that I'm aware of. Perhaps one of our readers can help? I am hopeful that one of the "missing" titles in the series will be taken up with a figure of Condé based on this painting. Just in case it's not, I am already thinking about what would be required to convert an Airfix 54mm Royalist (really Charles I) to represent this subject. I love the pose and attitude of the white horse!

I happened to find my figure through a retailer closing out some "out of box" samples at a very favorable price, but even at the regular subscription rate of $20 US per figure, these are fair value. Do watch the accuracy of the painting however, they also do a figure called "French Captain of Musketeers, 1670" which has the figure on the gray horse of the 1st Company, but with the black hat of the 2nd Company. Easy enough to correct, but annoying none the less! Still, all things considered, not a bad way to add a little extra color and inspiration to the gaming room, den or painting table. I have my figure of Turenne on a shelf above the area where I'm working on his 15mm counterpart. Until next time....


Tuesday 8 December 2009

Another Bila Hora 2009 film

Thought we might as well revisit this reenactment in the Czech republic. Maybe some of you might go down there next summer. I like this film - it puts you into the action with the pikemen on the left flank - you can almost smell the powder and experience the occasional bump on the head as someone's pike droops.

Sunday 6 December 2009

European Weapons and Warfare by Eduard Wagner

Thanks to a reader in Toronto I have some scans to show the delightful artwork from this vintage book that makes up a unique introduction to the period. I really like the style of artwork - really sells the visual style of the era. Obviously my eyes are tinted with the rosey glow of nostalgia but as someone who doesn't like a lot of reading in a book (I used to be a proof reader) this is right up my street.

Friday 4 December 2009

Jacobites in Derby

This weekend (6th/7th December) sees the return of an event to Derby - a weekend of reenactments and celebration around the visit to the city of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army by the Charles Edward Stuart society and their friends - the furthest south he got before deciding to go back to Scotland due to the lack of support from English Jacobites. It's not been ran for the last few years but it's back - this video shows the event in previous years. Article in local paper on the event and what's on and where.

Battle of Lund 1676

There's not many anniversaries of battles at this time of year for obvious reasons but the ones that do occur seem to always involve Sweden...Lutzen, Narva... and this one today from the Scanian War.

Thursday 3 December 2009

Spanish flintlock drill

Reconstruction of the loading sequence by some of the garrison at the Castillo de San Marcos near Fort Augustine in Florida.

A couple of images from the movie Alatriste

Has anyone seen this film? I have to admit from the clips I've seen it looks pretty good. These still images capture a certain something of the period and are tempting me but I'd like to hear from someone who has seen it.

Exciting News in Plastic!

From Plastic Soldier Review, there is exciting news from Mars today! While better-known to some plastic collectors and gamers for their "borrowing" of early Revell designs (a charitable term), Mars has recently begun sculpting and producing their own sets, some of which are very interesting. In recent months they have added new Imperialists, Swedes and Poles of the 17th century, some of which appear to be quite acceptable sculpts and very useful for filling out existing collections or starting new ones. Today they announced a venture into a new period, and one that is at the heart of this blog. Their newest announcement (no release date projected yet) is for Saxons of the late 17th, early 18th centuries, and the box art is presented above.

No individual figure quantities or details are available yet, but with a generous 56 figures, and several very useful poses offered, it is hoped that this set will find its way into several WSS or GNW collections. The uniform is very generic, except for the Grenadiers who are wearing the mitre cap, marking them as Germanic or British. There are several very useful command figures, musicians and sergeants, as well as what appears to be a pioneer with axe (which could easily prove useful in an artillery set). There are also three figures that will allow depiction of a three-rank deep firing line, depending on the quantities offered. All in all, this could prove to be a very useful set and offer a great deal of variety when mixed with existing StreletsR and Zvezda units.

As both this set and the Polish Haiduk offered earlier represent new periods for Mars, we can only hope that they will decide to add some cavalry to this venture, which remains our biggest shortcoming in this period. However, there was also a recent announcement and review of a set of "Hungarian" Hussars for the Catalan Wars period from GerMan that help address this shortfall. While there are some historical inaccuracies with the GerMan set, and their plastic is terrible (overly flexible and fragile), these are still very useful figures and could easily depict the earliest French Hussars. Keep your fingers crossed and light a candle, maybe we'll finally get some useful battle cavalry to supplement that offered by StreletsR and Zvezda's single set of Swedes. You can see PSR's full review of the Hussars here.

Until next time (hopefully without as long a delay!), enjoy the Holiday Season, ask Santa, Father Christmas, Peré Noel, or Kris Kringle for lots of new little toys, and be well my Friends.


My Absence and Apologies

To Our Readers;

First, my apologies for my lengthy absence from the blog. I have been in communication with Ralph and I believe he will concur that it was necessary, at least for my mental health. I do appreciate the personal e-mails that I received asking about me, and again apologize that I could not answer them in more detail at the time.

Ralph knows the full details of the actions that precipitated my absence, as my counselor recommended disclosing them to someone I considered a "close" friend. I will only speak in generalities here on the matter. Beginning in late August of this year, my Family has been exposed to an extremely traumatic series of events that I would not wish on anyone. This began when a Family member (by marriage I should note) betrayed the trust of the rest of the Family, and betrayed his responsibility as a Father by causing harm to another, defenseless and minor, member of the Family. This betrayal has had a "ripple" effect, resulting in criminal charges against the betrayer, my Daughter to be facing impending divorce, my Grandson and Granddaughter to now be without a Father, and my Wife and I to have to face our worst fears, deal with our own thoughts of retribution (biblical justice has entered my mind on more than one occasion), and try and keep the core Family unit together under the worst imaginable conditions. We are all undergoing counseling and hopefully will begin to see some return to normality in the near future. We did have a good Thanksgiving holiday under the circumstances, and hope to have a good Christmas, for the children if nothing else.

While I have kept up with goings-on here and on other blogs that I follow, and have attempted to publicise the blog in occasional postings on TMP and the OSW wargaming Yahoo Group, I simply wasn't ready to re-focus my efforts on painting, researching, writing and the other activities that are relevant to this blog. I think I am now ready to begin trying to function again, but I hope that you will bear with me, as we do still have pending legal matters that will probably occupy my thoughts and time facing us. Thank you again for your patience and certain individuals for your concerns. At least for now, I remain;

Sir William the Aged

Monday 30 November 2009

Der grimmig Tod mit seinem Pfeil

A song that aparently is from the 30 Years War but I've seen a lot older dates associated with this song. English lyrics:
the grim dead aims his arrow at your life
life dwindles away like smoke in the wind
no flesh can escape
your goods and chattels can't come with you
Nobody can foretell how long you will live
If dead knocks on your door, go have to unlock it
He takes with him the young and the old
even the king marches in his queue
Maybe today's your last day
virtue you shall ensue
and hope for many years to come
He who made made this song and sang it
often gazed at death
Now he lies in his deep grave
you're going to follow ... today or tomorrow
Instrumental version and German lyrics here

Friday 27 November 2009

Vivat Vasa

Images here of one of Poland's biggest 17th century events.

17th century Eastern European Reenactment in the USA

You might be surprised to know that there is quite a substantial and growing number of enthusiasts recreating the period as it manifests in the East with a special interest in Hussars on the East Coast of America. This site - Polish Hussar Supply Plus looks a great place to start with all manner of superb armour and equipment as well as this book which looks essential.

They also organise tours involving reenactment in Poland so plenty to get your teeth into if you have an interest in this sort of thing. Discussion group here.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Jamestown Militia

Well kitted out soldiers of 1607 presumably interpreters at Jamestown settlement.

Kalmar Nyckel

The Kalmar Nyckel (Key of Kalmar) was a Dutch built armed merchant ship noted for carrying Swedish settlers in 1638 to establish the colony of New Sweden. A re-creation of the ship was launched in 1997.
Wikipedia article
Website here

New World (2005)

As it's Thanksgiving over in the States today I thought I'd post this trailer for the movie set in and around Jamestown. If you haven't seen it it's worth keeping an eye out for. I suppose it serves as a reminder that recreating the early 17th century is also done in the Americas. Take a look at the Armory at Fort James in Historica Jamestown.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Battle of Honnecourt 1642

By Peter Snayers. Thanks to Stephane for identifying this. More here.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Wiesloch 1632

This image is worth looking at in detail as it's pretty impressive. Wiki on the battle.

Monday 23 November 2009

Storming of Basing House

Seeing the video of Winchester's drummers made me think of Basing House in Hampshire England, a place I've spent many happy hours reenacting and visiting. This is ironic in a way as it is a place of a tragedy, where the English Civil War took on some of the dark apocalyptic aspects of the Thirty Years War. Here when the House was stormed after a long and varied siege that reads a little like a Hollywood movie, looting and atrocities took place on a level rarely seen in the English Civil Wars. All manner of incidents took place from chemical warfare, plots to betray the garrison and relief columns tricking their way in under the guise of being Roundheads.
Read warden Alan Turton's piece on the siege for the full story.
Nowadays it is a ruin - having been levelled after the assault but it has become the place to visit for Civil War enthusiasts with lots of interesting stuff to see and enjoy from the museum to the tunnels. Apparently new changes are afoot at Basing and it is closed until the summer of 2010 but the project has a blog with all manner of interesting developments including the recent archaeological finds at the site such as a musket rest top and much more. Image from the excellent Basing House website showing the scale of the building that once was the finest house in England.
Watch an episode of Time Team when they visited the Ruins for a dig.


By Eric Flint. If you like science fiction and the Thirty Years War this book might be up your street. It's about a modern American town of apparent hillbilles thrown back in time to Thuringia in 1632. The book is available online - this is the prologue - it seems to be a really popular concept being a best-seller and creating many spin-offs.
Wiki on the novel with links to ebooks and a fansite

The Ultimate Y2K Glitch....

1632 In the year 1632 in northern Germany a reasonable person might conclude that things couldn't get much worse. There was no food. Disease was rampant. For over a decade religious war had ravaged the land and the people. Catholic and Protestant armies marched and countermarched across the northern plains, laying waste the cities and slaughtering everywhere. In many rural areas population plummeted toward zero. Only the aristocrats remained relatively unscathed; for the peasants, death was a mercy.

2000 Things are going OK in Grantville, West Virginia. The mines are working, the buck are plentiful (it's deer season) and everybody attending the wedding of Mike Stearn's sister (including the entire membership of the local chapter of the United Mine Workers of America, which Mike leads) is having a good time.


When the dust settles, Mike leads a small group of armed miners to find out what's going on. Out past the edge of town Grantville's asphalt road is cut, as with a sword. On the other side, a scene out of Hell; a man nailed to a farmhouse door, his wife and daughter Iying screaming in muck at the center of a ring of attentive men in steel vests. Faced with this, Mike and his friends don't have to ask who to shoot.

At that moment Freedom and Justice, American style, are introduced to the middle of The Thirty Years War.

Dutch pikeman

circa 1610-1630.

Saturday 21 November 2009

English Civil War drum calls

Performed by the Marquis of Winchester's regiment's drummers. Read an article by Howard Giles on ECW drumming.

Thw sword of the common soldier

This image which is supposed to be German c1630 leads me to this question; what was the common sword type for pikemen and musketeers in the TYW? I know that it probably depends on when and where but I thought I'd pose the question. In ECW terms people talk about a pikeman's 'tuck' - a word derived from Estoc - a thrusting weapon - although tuck may simply mean 'rapier' as the estoc was a two-handed weapon. Is this what is illustrated here? It's an interesting image that is worth a close look at. Maybe its earlier than the 1630 date...background stuff is interesting too.

Steel on Sand blog

This blog is dedicated to wargaming in small scale and gives a good review of Irregular's pike and shot figures here.

White Mountain 1620

Engraving of the battle near Prague (I think). You've probably all seen this before but its new to me. I really like these type of images - not sure how based on reality they are but they are pretty appealing and are typical of the period.
I've often wondered whether this look could be recreated in 3D on the tabletop as they kind of look like they're on a table...presumably you'd have to use 2mm blocks.

Thursday 19 November 2009

Sir Horace Vere's Regiment?

Funny the things you miss - I've seen the portrait of Sir Horace Vere on the wiki page many times and thought 'not very interesting' and completely missed this image at the bottom of the portrait. It seems logical that this depicts some of his forces which I believe were equipped by the King and through donations from local dignitaries.

Horace Vere, Baron Vere of Tilbury attributed to Michiel Jansz. van Miereveldt oil on panel, 1629


Wondering about these and when they went out of fashion in England and Germany. Sir Horace Vere's (died 1635) tomb has figures wearing them and the wiki on the item says they stayed in fashion in Holland for a long time.

Mars 17th century

If you collect 1/72 figures you might be pleased to see a couple of new sets - 17thc Polish Haiduks are reviewed at PSR and a new set Imperial Army is also on its way. Mars Website

Gustav II Adolfs Fotfänika i Göteborg

Here for a Swedish group recreating the TYW period. The 1600-era Links page also is useful.

Der nächtliche Überfall

Another image by Augsburg artist Hans Ulrich Franck.

Hans Ulrich Franck

Two Mercenaries in a Conquered Village, 1643 from Bridgeman Art.
This is a scene that resonates with the general view of the Thirty Years War - apparently the word 'plunder' came into the English language from that conflict.

Tilly's infantry

Does anyone know anything about uniformity in the Imperial force's infantry around that time? Does the new Osprey have any information on the subject...has anyone got a copy yet?

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Portuguese site of interest

This site dedicated the the mid-17thc wars in Portugal is interesting.


This is an interesting image I'd like to know more about - it's apparently part of a series and is by Hans Ulrich Franck.

Eduard Wagner - 'European weapons and warfare 1618-48'

This is a book from the old days that some of you might remember - loads of really well drawn images showing aspects of the Thirty Years War - haven't got a copy anymore but if any of you have a pic I can put up - it was a staple of that era - the 80s...what a lovely book it was. The English edition had a Wouwerman picture on the front and was published by Octopus.

In My Younger Days

It's a bit of a nostalgia trip for me - this Thirty Years War stuff - I hope it's not annoying anyone...the last time I was interested in the period was in the md 80s when I was in my twenties. I joined the ECWS I was so into it and here is me at my first event (in the helmet). With me is the man who recruited me Gordon Usher and his son Nick - they ran the 'Froome Garrison' and were great mates. Every wednesday evening we'd meet at Gordie's for either WRG or a game of 'Kingmaker' and weekends we'd all go to the local wargames conventions in his green VW van - all sliding around in the back clutching our bags of figures feeling nauseous. Good times.
Funnily enough I knew there was a Czech TYW scene even around then which was no easy thing before the internet and the Velvet Revolution - my parents had gone on an early package holiday to Bratislava and witnessed a combat display in the castle and duly took photographs as they knew I'd be interested. The group was called 'Historical Fencing' or so they told me.

Frederick V and his army marching to Heidelberg

Walter Butler

Thanks to Norbert again I have found out a little more about this Irishman who was present at the murder of Wallenstein. He was born in Roscrea and initially was in initially the Irish Legion - which is a unit I'd like to know more about and eventually was Colonel of a regiment of Dragoons. Wiki here.
There's some interesting stuff about Irish soldiers in the Spanish army of the period and elsewhere here.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Bethlen Gábor Hagyományőrség Altblau Regiment Tatai Patara BGHE

Well shot film showing some of Hungarian, Czech and Turkish reenactors in a spectacular setting. This film is impressive and is further evidence of the diversity of the period in Europe.

The Age of Bethlen Gabor

This Hungarian group look interesting - recreating the age of Turkish occupation in Hungary and the time of Gabriel Bethlen or Bethlen Gabor. There's plenty to read and watch on this well made website.

Terra Heroica 2009 Kamieniec Podolski

Gallery of images of this, the largest 17thc festival in Eastern Europe. Looks great.

Siege of Stettin

The City of Stettin under Siege by the Great Elector Frederick William in the Winter of 1677/78 (c. 1680) More images here

Musket and pike drill

Maniement du mousquet et maniement de la pique
"L'Art Militaire pour l'Infanterie [...]" de Johann Jacobi von Wallhausen (16..-17..), Leewarden, Claude Fontaine, 1630

General Sir Edward Cecil

Another British commander active in military actions in Europe was Edward Cecil.
Read Life and Times of General Sir Edward Cecil, Viscount Wimbledon, Colonel of ... By Charles Dalton (limited preview here)

Sir Charles Morgan - Welshman on the Elbe

I found this biography of the Welsh general who seemed to have done a lot of fighting on the continent. There's also another interesting account of George Monck at the siege of Breda here.

Mackay's Regiment

Were raised in 1626 to serve initially in the King of Denmark's army.
A narrative of the principal services of the Regiment, from its formation in 1626, to the battle of Nordlingen, in 1634 ; and of its subsequent incorporation with the Corps now
known as The Royal Scots or First Regiment of Foot of the British Army is online at page 128
There are some interesting titbits like the fact that there was an English regiment under a General Morgan in the Danish service. I found a reference to him in 1627 as a brave old officer of great experience, who, with four English regiments, was then encamped on the
banks of the Wasser. (source)

Cyrano de Bergerac

The Battle of Arras (1654 Turenne against the Conde and the Spaniards) is the backdrop to this scene from the famous film based on a play based on a real man. Apparently the real CdB did fight at Arras but in the 1640 battle rather than the 54 one. Shame it's a low definition clip but it's still good. Secours d'Arras wiki

French in the 30 Years War

I have been looking to see if there are any French groups recreating the 30 Years War but haven't found any. If anybody out there knows of any or is interested in starting one...there are some images of the Garde Francaises on Stephane's blog- to start with that might be a good unit.