Thursday 30 April 2009

Restoration cavalry officer

Lieutenant-Colonel Randolph Egerton MP (d.1681) of the Kings Troop of Horse Guards, c.1672
Original is in the National Army Museum by Jan Wyck.
Looks like he is wearing a long-sleeved buffcoat under his coat.

Philipe Behagle

Someone was asking about this Flemish weaver's work - it's a shame these photos from here are black and white. They are Sortie de la garnison de Gand, le 12 mars 1678, La garnison de Dôle sortant devant le roi et la cour en mai - juin 1674 and

Siège de Besançon, le 6 mai 1674
The two Gand pictures seem to give an impression of what the opposition was dressed in.

Wednesday 29 April 2009

armour for pikeman

I've never owned a set of my own armour and I quite fancy some...I like stockpiling weapons and equipment - you never know when the Duke of Monmouth might come back - this set looks good. From here

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Jacques Courtois (1621-76)

A soldier-artist who chronicled the times of Bill's pieces was this man, also called 'il Borgognone' - a specialist in battle paintings. Artcyclopedia index here
"A French General at Battle in the Low Countries, perhaps Louis II de Bourbon-Conde",

Monday 27 April 2009

The Battle of Saint Gotthard, Revisited

My goodness, I think we've all heard of the "Fog of War", but have you heard of the "Fog of Research"? In addition to my post here, I also posted on the PanMark Yahoo Group, dedicated to warfare in the eastern theater of operations, requesting any information that their members might have. Now I have heard from Dan Schorr, as requested, and from a PanMark member named Daniel Staberg of Sweden, both of whom pointed me to some excellent documents in German and Viennese period archives of the deployment and Order of Battle for Saint Gothard. In addition, Dan Schorr has now gotten back to me with yet another source, this one in French, on the regiments participating in the battle. The "fog" thickens Dear Readers! So, see what you started with your innocent question Theo? ;-)

In the interest of at least attempting to accurately post information here, I feel I must now amend my earlier post regarding French units present at the Battle of Saint Gotthard, 1664. Make of this what you will.

According to the excellent deployment map and Order of Battle from the Marburg Digital Archive pictured above (not attributed to a particular artist or archivist that I can find), we have four “named” French formations of infantry and two infantry detachments with the cavalry. Those “battalions” are labeled as “Frenchmen”, La Forti, Turenne and Piemont, and the detachments are labeled as Turenne and “de la Ferté”.

The problem is, “Frenchmen” could mean or be anyone under French command or in a French “uniform”. La Forti is not listed either in Susane’s “Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française” or in the database listing of the French Vexilollogie site for regiments of the Ancien Regimé. However, two regiments called La Ferté are listed in Susane, but according to that reference, one was deactivated in 1639 and never reactivated, and the other newly-activated in 1651. Turenne and Piémont were, of course, part of the “Vieux Corps” and are well documented in several sources.

According to Kurt Peball in “Die Schlacht bei St. Gotthard-Mogersdorf 1664. Heft 1.Militärhistorische Schriftenreihe” (Peball was an archivist at the Kriegsarchiv in Vienna); the four battle formations of French infantry were attributed as the following: Grancey-Espagny, Morvas-La Ferté, Fifica-Touraine and Chavigny-Piémont. Also, Peball has an excellent map of the army’s deployment for battle that is significantly different from the one in the Marburg Archive, along with a detailed Order of battle that names not only specific squadrons, but even specific companies that made up formations in some Allied “battalions”. Good stuff. Here is the Peball map and Order of Battle, courtesy of Dan Schorr.

Turning once again to Susane and the Vexilollogie database, Espagny was amalgamated with or became Guyenne in 1649, the original La Ferté ceased to exist in 1639 and the new La Ferté was activated in 1651, Morvas, Grancey, Fifica and Chavigny do not exist as “regiments”, and Turenne has now become Touraine, a completely different regiment, obviously. Only Piémont remains a constant.

And finally (also from Dan Schorr), Belhomme in “Histoire de l'Infanterie en France", states that the entire contingent present at Saint Gotthard was composed of 102 individual companies drawn from the following: de Piémont, d'Avergne, d'Espagny, de Lorraine, de Grance, de Turenne, de Guiche and de la Ferté.

So, again using our common resources, the mystery deepens. First off, does Belhomme refer to the official name of the regiment or to the field commander? While Susane doesn’t confirm all of the regimental names, he does refer specifically to individual officers named “Jacques d’Estampes, marachel de la Ferté” who commanded the Hepburn or Hebron Scottish regiment, a “marquis d’Espagny” who commanded the Espagny Regiment until its incorporation into the Guyenne Regiment in 1649, and both a regiment “Guiche” and a commander named “de la Guiche”. The regiment known as “Guiche” was not called by that name during the period of this battle, but a “Claude-Maximillian de la Guiche” commanded the Saint-Géran regiment during this time period.

And nowhere is there any reference to the Carignan-Salliéres regiment, or troops specifically from that regiment, taking part in the Battle of Saint Gotthard. That doesn’t mean they weren’t part of the “Turkish Expeditionary Force”, just that nobody mentions them at the battle itself. But, given Belhomme’s reference to 102 companies from various regiments being drafted, it’s still very possible that some of these troops made up the “1,000 to 1,100 men and 100 officers” that arrived in Canada supposedly “fresh from the wars with the Turks” according to the "History of New France" web site and database.

So, if I was a wargamer wanting to refight the Battle of Saint Gotthard in 1664 (which I am), and wanted to be reasonably accurate, what the heck would I do? Who knows? Who can say with any certainty? I would probably be fairly comfortable fielding Piémont and Turenne (2 to 1 sources claim that it’s Turenne and not Touraine), but what beyond that, especially since real “uniforms” as we know them hadn’t come into official use in 1664? Beyond that, I would probably field a lot of generic French with several standards; possibly Auvergne (instead of Avergne), Lorraine, Espagny and Guyenne (was Guiche). That or I would field at least one battalion with just Colonel’s colors.

Until we figure out how to get Professor Peabody and Sherman’s “WayBack Machine” to actually go back to August 1, 1664, who could say you were wrong?

My thanks to Dan Schorr for the Belhomme and Peball references and to Daniel Staberg in Sweden for the Marburg Digital Archive resource. By the way, if anyone wants the link to the Marburg Digital Archive, an excellent source of historical research, let me know and I'll send it to you, or you can just do a Google search for that name and get there.

Bill (confused in Texas)

Ottoman military music

Following on the theme from Bill this is an interesting piece. Don't know anything about Ottoman military music so will just put what is on the youtube caption: Turkish music has a large spectrum. But what influenced western composers like Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Jean-Baptiste Lully was army music of Ottoman Turks. This piece was one of them that used to be played by army band just before attack to encourage the soldiers.
More here

Sunday 26 April 2009

The Battle of Saint Gotthard, August 1, 1664

Bavarian oil painting by unknown artist of the Battle of St. Gotthard, painted in 1665

Reader Theo has asked about the short-lived French efforts in the campaign against the Turks led by Raimondo de Montecuccoli. While I don't know a great deal, and can't find a great deal either, here is what I do know.

German copper engraving of the battle executed in 1669 by unknown artist

Following the Turkish capture of Transylvania, the Austrian Emperor, fearing pagan Turks more than Protestants and France, negotiated a treaty with the League of the Rhine in January 1664, largely with France's urging and support behind the scenes. A combined German-French force of roughly 6,000 men joined the forces of the acclaimed Raimondo de Montecuccoli. The "French" were largely recruited from the Rhineland and were organized in 4 battalions and 6 squadrons, of which I can find confirmation of only 1 named battalion.

The famous colonial French regiment, Carignan-Sallières, formed by the merger of the former Carignan Regiment and the Sallières Regiment in 1659, and nominally "owned" by Philibert de Savoie, Prince de Carignan from 1662, apparently took part in the battle and then departed, possibly with reinforcements from other regiments, to Canada in 1665. They began arriving in Quebec in June of 1665 and eventually reached a strength of 1400 men under the command of Alexandre de Prouville, Sieur de Tracy, and are described in "The History of New France 1664-1666" as, "France's finest, fresh from their wars with the Turks". I can find no other reference, even in Susane, of other named French regiments serving in the campaign.

I did find a reference in Samuel Pepys' Diary of a certain Mssr. Louis Ratuit, Comte de Souches, who was a French "soldier of fortune" in command of a Rhineland contingent, but Susane does not confirm this. I also found a great "color" comment from "Heritage History" that upon the opening of hostilities, a young Turkish noble rode out and challenged a Christian to single combat. His challenge was answered by one Chevalier de Lorraine, who succeeded in killing the Turk.

One point that is made in several sources is that the "official" command of the Rhineland and German contingent was through a series of German princes, and that the actual field contingent was jointly commanded by Jean de Coligny-Saligny, Leopold-Wilhelm of Baden-Baden and Prince Johann Philipp of Mainz; although Coligny-Saligny is credited with command of the roughly 5,000 French present.

There is a reasonable Wiki article on the battle here:

And the only map that I have been able to find is from WikiMedia by an unknown Italian painter, shown in 3 panels, here:

Hope this offers some help Theo. It appears to be a fascinating little "side campaign" for the French and Rhineland troops. I hope that reader Dan Schorr see's this as he can possibly add more from some of his German and French sources.


Saturday 25 April 2009

Warlord Games ECW

Some new artillery up on the website including a saker and frame gun. Also a marksman figure is previewed.

Another encampment

Circa 1660. Are you getting tired of these pictures of encampments? Hope not. This one is by Aelbert Cuyp (1620-91) a Dutch Golden age painter. The sky looks like the sort of weather I always got when I went authentic camping... Aelbert Cuyp online

Military encampment 18th century

By Van Bredael Jan Frans, l'Ancien (1686-1750)
Flemish artist Bredael was a follower of Wouwerman so the subject of a military camp is likely inspired by his artistic mentor's example.

Friday 24 April 2009

Monmouth coffee house, Frome

As my contribution to the local photos theme, this building in Frome Somerset was the headquarters of the Duke of Monmouth when he was there on the way to Sedgemoor. The Rebels arrived early in the morning and covered in mud - the locals received them warmly but there were no arms since the intervention of the Wiltshire militia previously. It was here at a Council of War in the aftermath of the battle of Philips Norton that Monmouth considered abandoning his army and fleeing to a port - Lord Grey to his credit spoke against it. Monmouth had expected Loyalist troops to come over to his side and when they didn't at Philips Norton he considered the cause lost. Many of the Rebels heard of the pardon offered while in Frome and many of the army slipped away abandoning their horses. Discipline was breaking down among the Rebels with tales of robbery and murder accompanying their stay in Frome. Several key Rebels did leave the army at Frome but their disappearance was explained to the troops that they were going to get more arms. The option of heading east through Wiltshire was considered too risky and so a rumour of thousands of Somerset clubmen (a Civil war home defence movement) gathering on the levels meant that Monmouth and his dwindling forces trudged south to Shepton Mallet and Wells and their date with defeat on Sedgemoor.
The building has recently been restored and is now a coffee shop in Cork Street. For wargames purposes this brown stone is the sort of thing most buildings of that era in Somerset are made of.

Monmouth Rebels

It's been a while since we had any photos from my old Monmouth Rebellion Living History group the 1685 Society. These images were taken at Monmouth beach at Lyme where the Rebels landed on June 11th - we were regular visitors there portraying the landing for tv shows. Portrayed is Lord Grey (Dave Allen) and Colonel Venner (who was wounded in the stomach at Bridport) and Hucker who is wearing one of the 100 red faced purple coats Monmouth brought over. Hucker, a captain and a Taunton man was blamed for betraying the attack at Sedgemoor though this is unlikely.
Quite a few people are using the Glory of the Sun figures for the Rebellion and I can't see any reason why you shouldn't - be nice if the period got a revival. I might even start a new group to recreate the period...get in touch if you're interested.

Thursday 23 April 2009

Local knowledge photos?

Had a few interesting comments from someone in Groningen about the siege there and it made me think...what sites of interest to this period do you have on your doorstep? If you have any buildings, museum exhibits, or fortifications that are relevant to an understanding of this era and you can photograph them then I'm sure people will be interested. My local area is Monmouth Rebellion country but I am sure we can feature more places and objects than that. Send any photos, news items and so on to

Painted Copplestones

Some painted figures from the Copplestone castings are up on this forum - painted as Coldstream Guards from the era when they used to have reversed colour coats for the pikemen - also up are some useful links for researching the period - and they mention us!

Loading and firing a matchlock musket

This Royal Armouries film depicting the various processes involved in firing a matchlock is worth watching. It's English Civil War period but the technique would be the same for the late 17thc as well. Coincidentally the musketeer is Devereux Chris Scott author of the new Caliver books title 'Armies and Uniforms of the Monmouth Rebellion''s a small world.

Another Perelle

Prise d'une place forte. Scène d'artillerie
These artillery emplacements are very much a feature of siege warfare of the time and are depicted in many works of art.

New F&I range

If you are thinking about recreating the 1690 attack on Quebec by Phips or similar American campaigns you would be well advised to check out the 28mm Canadian Militiamen from new company The Galloping Major. These are the best Miliciens I've seen - equipped with the fusil de chasse - which was pretty much exactly the same in 1690 as in 1755 and dressed in summer attire they look the bee's knees. They're on the 'studio' page. Useful guide to painting Mohawks on the webpage too - all in all a great start.

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Adam Perelle (1638-1695)

The Perelle family are mainly known for their engravings of buildings and places of late 17th century Paris but this image of a siege is an interesting depiction of late 17th century warfare. Image search Adam Perelle

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Glory of the Sun

The Copplestone castings website has got the new Louis XIV era figures up for sale and perusal. There's a few previously not-seen-before pieces - 2 sets of drummers, pikeman in classical helmet...all looking very desirable of course. Apparently cavalry coming out in May.

Another sutler

It's not just images from the mid 17thc on this subject. Not sure what the text is all about but it's a great picture. It's from Nurnberg and is a woodcut from presumably the early 18thc...artist 'M.S.' from Anne SK Brown.

Monday 20 April 2009

The 2nd Battle of the Dunes, Dunkirk, June 14, 1658

OK, so here I go again, pre-dating our chosen period by a bit. But at least the repercussions of this one overlap into the reign of Louis Quatorze. History is rife with "what if" possibilities: What if Ney had defied Napoleon, would the 100 Days have happened? What if Patton had to face Bradley, the tactician versus the "Soldier's General"? And thanks to WRG and various TV shows, what if the Vikings had faced the Samurai, or Alexander's Macedonians had faced Ceasar's legions?

Well, this one really happened. Arguably the two greatest commander's of their age, and both French, Louis II de Boubon, Prince de Condé and Henri, Vicomte de Turenne, faced off in the 2nd battle of the Dunes near Dunkirk during the Franco Spanish Wars (1653 - 1659). Condé had become involved in the French version of the Civil war, the Fronde. He was specifically involved in the Fronde of the Princes, so called because among the nobles rebelling against Cardinal Mazarin's rule and the power of the throne were Gaston of Orleans (the king's uncle); the great Louis II, Prince de Condé and his brother Armand, Prince of Conti; Frédéric, the Duke of Bouillon, and his brother Henri, Viscomte of Turenne (Turenne reconciled with Mazarin and the Court in 1651).

Plus, the battle itself featured French against French and English against English. The Franco-English fleet and army met the Franco-Spanish army (which included 2 English Royalist battalions loyal to King Charles, York/Bristol and Newbourgh). Unfortunately for Condé, he was not in overall command of the Franco-Spanish-English Royalist forces, that fell to Don Juan de Austria (John the Younger).

The Franco-English army (6 English battalions present, Morgan, Lillington, Alsop, Cochrane, Gibbons/Salmo and Lockhart) on the other hand, was ably commanded by Condé's old rival, Henri, Vicomte de Turenne. The battle was an overwhelming victory for the Franco-English forces of Turenne, and even involved the English navy shelling both the Spanish fleet and the beaches.

For added color and flavor, we even have Swiss, Walloon and German regiments to go with the Spanish, French and English. Some sources say there were even two Irish battalions in the Spanish army. A real gamer's delight from a painting perspective!

Following the defeat of the Fronde, and a great deal of political intercession by friends, Condé threw himself on the mercy of the newly-ascended young Louis XIV and was accepted back into the King's good graces. He did comment later in life that his greatest error in the Battle of the Dunes was in not insisting on overall command, as he still felt he could have defeated Turenne.

For more information on the Fronde, go here:

For a really excellent article on the Battle, with situational maps, we once again rely on the good Dr. Pierre Picouet's site, here:

Like I said out the outset, a little early for Louis Quatorze, but a battle that definitely effected his future reign as king. And a great scenario for a convention game, especially with the naval element present!


Restoration coat pattern

Looking around on the web to see if there's a coat pattern for the 1670s/80s and found this one from Paul Meekins by Reconstructing history...looks good - of course depends on what you might think a Restoration coat looks like. For military there's not much to go on - this image from 1670 is pretty clear and is what my idea of what English troops of that time might have looked like.

Philips Wouwerman 1619-1668

Wiki here

As you can see from these two pictures, the great Dutch painter Wouwerman was no stranger to painting scenes of sutleries and encampments - he painted many of these scenes, cavalry camps as well as skirmishes. Artcyclopedia entry to see more of his work online.


This French military encampment from presumably the early 18th century is interesting and detailed.

Sunday 19 April 2009

Another sutlery image

Showing a wreath of greenery acting as a sign - one of those things you see a lot in pictures of these things.
Scène de campement : cavaliers, joueurs de dés, buveurs, nourrice
Bouttats Gasper (vers 1640-vers 1695), Wouwerman Philips (1619-1668) (d'après)


This is an anonymous image from the first quarter of the 18th century and it depicts what in English is called a pipe and tabor. From the Musee collection

Soundtrack to the English Civil War

While on the subject of the English Civil War an album that was around during my days as a Roundhead was the excellent 'For King and Parliament' by Tarleton's Jig (1986). It's a collection of 'Popular music from the English Civil Wars 1640-60' and is performed by an early music ensemble led by Jim Bisgood. Entertaining as well as educational it has a cross-section of relevant tunes ranging from military marches played on field drums to tavern songs or ballads that really capture the flavour of the era. I don't think it's available on cd yet but it is definitely a worthwhile purchase if you see the vinyl album anywhere.

The Countdown to "The Glory Of The Sun" Has Begun!

First a lovely little "teaser", a French officer in all of his sartorial splendor painted by "Captain Blood" and featured on the Steve Dean Forum. For more views of this delightful figure you can link through here:

A visit to Mark Copplestone's site reveals a new icon for "The Glory Of The Sun" (it still says "Under Construction" if you link through), a new link along the left side under "Products", and a change to the scrolling banner along the top announcing that these will be available for order tomorrow, April 20!

Of special interest to reader's of this blog is another new icon that appears on the feature page for the range that says, "For information about the armies and campaigns of the period click here". It will be interesting to see who Mark links through to or what information he might provide. All told, very exciting stuff!

Based on the painted samples above, I think we will be seeing many of these figures appear in "Musketeer" RPG games and as collector vignettes in addition to all of the lovely new armies. So start raiding the Piggy Banks and cashing the stimulus and tax checks (for US readers, who probably have none to cash). Good times are indeed ahead for the Lace wars crowd!


Another Van der Meulen

Bataille à l'entrée d'une forêt by Van der Meulen - I've enhanced some of the cavaliers to see some of the detail.

Saturday 18 April 2009

English Civil War Weetabix ad

Featuring the ECWS. As you may not have seen this - coming from somewhere else than the UK you probably wouldn't - a mid-90s commercial and as I mentioned it and as it's on youtube...

Brimmed monmouth caps

A type of hat that you don't see much being worn by reenactors or on figures is the brimmed monmouth cap. This one being worn by Devereux's musketeer Dave was originally mine - I flogged it to him when I left the ECWS - it was made by Kirstie Buckland in 1988 and was based on the one purchased by Peter the Great which is in the Hermitage. Peter bought it while working in the shipyards of the Netherlands in the 1690s I think. One pound in weight it is double thickness knitted and is a seriously itchy garment. There's an example of a brimmed Monmouth being dug up from an American Revolutionary war camp so they were still being worn by some New Englanders in the 1770s.
Knitted headgear has a strong history in the British Isles and their colonies as the woollen industry was of prime importance and the felt hat was slower to catch on than on the continent.
There is a reference to caps probably Monmouth in General Morgan's account of the battle of the Dunes.
Major-general Morgan, seeing the enemy plain in hattalia, said, before the head of the army, ' See! yonder are the gentlemen you have to trade withal.' Upon which the whole brigade of English gave a shout of rejoicing, that made a roaring echo betwixt the sea and the canal. Thereupon, the Marshal Turenne came up, with above an hundred noblemen, to know what was the matter and reason of that great shout. Major-general Morgan told him, ' It was an usual custom of the red-coats, when they saw the enemy, to rejoice.'
Marshal Turenne answered, ' They were men of brave resolution and courage.' After which, Marshal Turenne returning to the head of his army, we put on to our march again. At the second halt, the whole brigade of English gave a shout, and cast up their caps into the air, saying, '
They would have better hats before night.'
I see Kirstie Buckland has a website and is making a Peter the Great pictured and the colonial style one so there's no excuse now is there? She has a great collection of historic knitted caps that might inspire some interest from 17th and 18thc buffs. Recommended

Image of a sutlery

When we used to be in the ECWS my wife sometimes ran a sutlery, making stews and stuff in cauldrons etc over a fire which if we were lucky became quite a social focus and the area developed a tavern-like atmosphere - especially when she brought farmhouse cider along. Sutleries could be made using broken pikes as tent poles over which canvas was draped - sometimes supported by a tree. Wood smoke, barrels, tables, pipe smoking all contributed to the atmosphere. This drawing from the Anne SK Brown collection is supposed to be Dutch 1685 but looks more like the 1650s but anyway it's a great picture that fits my image of a 17th century sutlery. There are a number of pictures on this subject - I'll try and feature a few in the future.

The glow of someone else’s glory

History is often a complicated matter as these items about events 300 years ago prove.
Article in English about the elements being brought to play in the Ukraine about the monument to Poltava in its 300th anniversary year. Mazepa wikipedia entry
You can also watch a news item in English on youtube about the archaeological dig at Baturyn - scene of 'a 1708 tragedy'.

Friday 17 April 2009

English Civil War Society Slideshow

I am feeling a bit nostalgic about my years in the ECWS - well I was in my 20s, the kids were all young and I didn't mind the odd bruise...but it was and presumably still is an interesting and fun way to spend a summer weekend. This slideshow from Royalist regiment Winchester's is a great selection of photos that capture the period's charms in a human way.

Thursday 16 April 2009

English civil war reenactors forced to say 'bang'

The English Civil War society are in the news as they had to shout 'bang' at one of their recent reenactments due to council restrictions. Story here
Also in the news is the fact that Channel 4 are following up their ECW-set Devil's Whore tv series with a sequel set in the Restoration period.

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Yamasee War

According to wikipedia this war between settlers and natives started today in 1715. It was a bloody confrontation - though it is a period often neglected in American history and was a test of the local militia.
Image is of Cherokees in 1730 on a delegation visit to George II.

Monday 13 April 2009


While it really deals with a time frame before our period, one can't help but be inspired by this film clip. It is from the Polish movie made in 1974 "Potop", or "The Deluge" in english. It deals with the Winged Hussars in their battles with the Swedes and includes some excellent battle footage. Of particular interest to 17th century gamers is a very good depiction (starting at about the 4:45 minute mark) of both fire by countermarch and the classic "ready your pike for horse" drill, planted pikes, drawn sword and all.

This movie is part of a three part series based on the writing of Henryk Sienkiewicz, for which he won the Nobel Prize, and directed by Jerzy Hoffman. The other two movies in the trio are "Colonel Wolodyjowski" (1969) and "With Fire and Sword" (1999). The actual movie DVD's do feature english sub-titles and, yes, they are already on my birthday wish list.

When I finally finish my 15mm forces for the Flanders and Rhineland campaigns, I will be doing the extra figures for the Siege of Vienna. I just happen to know a friend with a 15mm Ottoman army (friends can be a good thing) that I think needs running over.

If this video doesn't put you in the mood for Winged Hussars, here are a couple more videos celebrating the Winged Hussars by user "Rogvist" that are pretty good too:

Husaria, Part II

Husaria, Part III


We Shall Remain

If you are in America and own a tv you might be interested in watching part one of a new series on the Native Americans view of history called 'We shall remain'. The blurb for this first episode After the Mayflower reads In 1621, the Wampanoag of New England negotiated a treaty with Pilgrim settlers. A half-century later, as a brutal war flared between the English and a confederation of Indians, this diplomatic gamble seemed to have been a grave miscalculation. So it's about King Philip's War - might be worth a look. Preview video here

Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve by Heimbach

Wiki here

Norwegian general fighting for the Danes against the Swedes in the Scanian War in an aspect that was known as Gyldenløve's War. Painting is by Wolfgang Heimbach - a deaf mute artist who was able to read and write in several languages (see self portrait doffing hat).

Saturday 11 April 2009

Happy Easter

Moses ter Borch


This portrait of the artist by his artist brother Gerard, in the military dress of an officer has some interesting features. The painting was a memorial one - Moses already having been killed in an engagement off the English coast. Being based on the watercolours of the sister (smaller image) this portrait was a family affair and is a touching time capsule. More at the Rijksmuseum here

Friday 10 April 2009

Battle picture 1695

Excellent work of art.
Title; Afbeeldinge vande veldtslag tusschen de legers van de koning van Pruissen, en de koninginne van Hongarien - and the caption says Mollwitz 1741 but the image is obviously older than that.
Luyken, Jan (1649-1712)
Date ?1695

Thursday 9 April 2009

15mm Figure Review - Part I - Overview

This is an interesting project for many reasons. It reintroduced me to some ranges I was already familiar with and made me look at them in a new, more critical light. It introduced me to some newer makers and ranges that I wasn’t familiar with and made me temper the “gee wiz” factor usually present when viewing a new product. It also introduced me to some new figures from manufacturers I was already familiar with, but didn’t know they did figures for this period.

As much as I intended to enter this project with an open, objective mindset, I admit that I did have some preconceptions about certain ranges. Some of those opinions were changed by this review and some were reinforced. However, even some of the opinions that were reinforced were modified when I looked at every figure in the “light of day” and beside their competitors. I will withhold my final opinions until I have examined every figure in the raw metal, cleaned up with an ink wash, and cleaned up and painted. I will then offer my evaluations in the “by maker” articles.

So, before we begin to examine the wares of each individual maker, let’s take a brief look at the whole. First of all, “scale creep” is very much evident here, as well as the classic “realistic” versus “heroic” sculpting styles. Pictured below are some sample figures in the same or similar pose from each maker with a slight twist. I have added a similar figure from Les Higgins exquisite vintage 20mm Marlburian range, circa 1970, for comparison in the musketeer and officer lineups. These were once called “the most elegant range of wargaming figures available” and thankfully have been returned to production, with new figures added, by John Cunningham and Harry Pearson. The comparison is very interesting to say the least! If a couple of today’s “15mm” ranges had been produced 39 years ago, they would have been called 20mm.

NOTE: All pictures used in this series of articles will use this same gridded background. Each square on the grid is 4mm X 4mm and the incremental reference marks are at 2mm intervals. While most figure reviews use measurements from sole to eye, or sole to top of head, I believe that, at least in 15mm, the overall height is much more important from a visual standpoint. However, with the grid marks, you can calculate “scales” for yourself.

A comparison of the available musketeers, with the Les Higgins figure for fun.

A comparison of the available drummers.

And now some officers, again with a “visitor” from Les Higgins Marlburian range.

Just to give you a "taste" for how the reviews might go, take a close look at the middle picture above of the drummers. Several of these are advertised specifically as "French Drummer", yet only the Editions Brokaw and the Donnington drummers have their drum in the correct position for a French drummer. The French drummers of this period held and played their instruments with the drum head almost vertical to the ground, not parallel as so many makers choose to sculpt it. Also notice the relative size of the various drums; obviously the poor fellow from Irregular lost his own drum and had to borrow the toy drum from his child's Christmas set! Am I picky? Yes. I'm not saying I wouldn't own or paint any of the figures above (I might say that later though), but I want to be completely critical and honest about them. Then you can decide what you want to buy and paint.

Our next part will begin to examine the individual makers and discuss their relative merits and shortcomings, if any, in detail. It will also include some shots of painted troops to show you what is possible with each range. If you have any questions about specific ranges or poses or whatever, just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.