Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Before and after cleaning..... ECW horse.

A quick post this one, by the weekend I hope to have all three ECW horse units acquired via eBay re- based retouched (only where necessary) and gleaming! This is a quick 'before and after' cleaning comparison of just one of the units, only water on a soft brush, but it's really bought out some nice detail and crisp brushwork. All three units were VERY dirty, they turn the brush quite black after a gentle scrub, but as you can see what emerges are fine bright figures and horses. By the weekend I hope to have all three units finished and on their new matching bases.

Clean figures on the right, as they arrived on the left!

Close up.

I don't know if these pics show the true difference, but it's quite staggering!

And the 'dirty' base after a good clean with brush and water, compare with above.

Ready for rebasing.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

eBay acquisition... more horse!

Today I took delivery of two parcels from Hinds Figures, one was my recent order and the other contained three fine units of Hinchliffe ECW cavalry bought via eBay but again from Ian Hind who has been buying and selling painted figures since 1993. I had intended to painted everything myself, but once I had seen these units I just had to have them, and having seen them in the flesh I'm delighted with my purchase. As you can see they are painted in a delightful 'vintage' style and I have no doubts that they are all vintage castings. They are clearly by different hands, but all seem to sit nicely together, they are all in need of a bit of TLC, a good clean is main thing they need and possibly a re-varnish in satin. As they are on slightly smaller 20mm frontage bases and the base styles differ I intend to gently soak them off and rebase them to match my other horse already painted.

They comprise three units of 12 horse, my favourite is the ECWC 1 cavalry in pot helmet at rest unit, as you can see they have a superbly hand painted flag. Unit number two comprised mostly the plumed hat at rest post, all in buff coats with some fine detailed touches and what appears to be a Warrior (?) standard bearer on a Hinchliffe horse, he being the only non Hinchliffe figure. UNit number three comprises 12 cavalry in back & breast plate with pistols and the pistol arms have been bent into numerous poses for variation.

Together with the 36 cavalry already painted by me (just finishing the horses for the last 8 figure unit) these chaps will bring me up to a total of 72 painted horse, a very good start which means I can focus on painting the foot regiments. I offer up these shots for contrast to when I have finished the required restoration work,  as I say, a good clean up first then rebasing, but I have no intention of touching the existing paint job, they have a charm of their own.

Lovely 'old school' detail.

These are the horses for my 8 figure blue themed unit, Hinchliffe horse are lovely animated castings.
I must confess there is one more 12 figure unit I am tempted by on eBay via Hinds Figures, I might just grab it as I do have a fair bit of stuff to sell back including loads of Warlord plastic ECW sprues which should cover the cost of all these painted figures. I paid £125.00 for the 3 units, 36 cavalry including postage and I consider them worth every penny.

Finally for now, 'Steve the Wargamer' has asked how Hinchliffe figures measure up for scale against 20mm Tumbling Dice ECW's. I don't have any of them around as the many units I painted were done on commission a couple of years back, however I hope this shot taken against a measure will give some idea Steve?

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Hampdens Greencoats.

This weeks output has been most of a Green coated Regiment of Foot. 20 musketeers in two 10 figure sub units, 8 pikemen, 2 standard bearers and a mounted general. I say' most' of the unit as I will add an additional 4 pikemen to form a third rank, plus an officer once my latest order arrives from Hinds Figures. On the subject of command figures I have decided to re jig things a bit and rather than integrating command (officer, standard bearer and drummer) into the units I will have a separate 3 figure command bases for each foot unit that can stand in front of the pike block and is essentially a non combatant base, that's how my units were formed originally and once the block came to 'push of pike' the command stand was simply removed to the rear. So once completed Hampdens will consist of an impressive 35 figures:

  • 12 pikemen in 3 ranks of 4.
  • 2 wings of 10 musketeers
  • 3 figure command base.
Essex's Regiment will get the same treatment, with 12 pikes and 16 muskets plus 3 command. Other units will have more or less figures, the largest will consist of 15 pikes (3 ranks of 5) and 24 muskets! It's worth bearing in mind here that under the WRG rules each sub unit fights individually rather than as a whole as in for example Forlorn Hope rules, and that the ration of 1 figure = 20 men makes for larger units which look good on the table and is as seen in the 'Edgehill' version of the Battleground series.

I bought a copy of Forlorn Hope rules this week from Caliver books, mainly for the wealth of background information it contains, and mentioned the blog to Dave Ryan whom I knew many years ago in Sealed Knot days when he was a member of Samuel Jones' Regiment and I was a pikeman in the 'Blew' Regiment of the London Trained Bands, and he said the Hinchliffe 'Ironsides' were one of his favourite ECW figures and I have to agree. I retain fond memories of those days, in my first battle I recall being lifted from the ground during a push of pike and barely able to breathe in the crush until Newcastles Regiment eventually won the push and we went down in a heap of armoured bodies. I was black and blue with bruises for days afterwards, all good fun!

I'm in the process of adding more blogs to my list here, and have just added the 'Glorious Little Soldiers' blog. Andy Copestake (he of 'Old Glory') is the owner of many units previously owned by Peter Gilder and a look through under the ECW label reveals many pictures of these wonderful old units.

Next up, while I await the arrival of my latest order, will be an 8 figure horse unit, just a couple of troops worth but it's the last of my current cavalry figures. I do have some 'commanded musketeers' to do, I'm using ECW33 for these plus an officer, they are carrying firelocks without rests of course and will add some variety.

This weeks output.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Musketeers, Dragoons and Cuirassiers.

It's been another productive weeks painting, I'm finding that I can paint these figures surprisingly quickly to a reasonable standard. The 16 musketeers of Essex's Regiment were completed first, followed by the 7 Dragoons and finally the 8 Cuirassiers that I had set aside to form the conjectural Kings Lifeguard of Horse.

First up The Earl of Essex's Regiment, comprising 12 'HI' pikes and two sub units each of 8 'LI' muskets. I used the classic poses for this unit and rather than having a separate command base integrated the command figures into the unit. I may replace the flags with better quality ones in due course.

The Dragoons were given a blue theme with buff coats, probably of a poorer quality than those supplied to the horse regiments. Hinchliffe only made the one dragoon pose, but it's an old favourite of mine and the officer adds a bit of variation. They are based on 30mm 'Open Order' bases.

Finally the Kings Lifeguard of Horse, being wealthy chaps I see no reason why they would not have taken advantage of their access to 3/4  armour, and being a rather 'showy' group of individuals some of the armour has been polished up by adding a few highlights of Liquid Silver. Some of the armour is bronzed for contrast. The command figure holding his helmet is actually a personalty figure, possibly Thomas Fairfax! Cuirassier officer ECWC 10 has been converted to a standard bearer by cutting away his pistol, bending the arm and filing the hand, while the rest are ECWC 9. I should mention the Lifeguard flag, kindly made for me by Tony (Foy) and a wonderful job it is too, it looks perfect fluttering above this A class unit. I could not squeeze them onto the 20mm frontage bases specified by the WRG rules, so went with standard 25mm frontages, no big deal really. I still need to add fuse wire reins at some point.

This coming week I hope to complete another Foot Regiment, John Hampdens Greencoats, these will consist of 12 HI Pikes and 2 sub units each of 10 LI Muskets for a total of 32 figures, slightly bigger than Essex's. I also have another splendid Personality figure to paint, this one's OPC (one piece casting) 36 I think, note the date on the base 1978.

I am also preparing a post on what it was that influenced my decision  to use Hinchliffe figures first time round, at a time when Minifigs were very much the rage, and where I used to obtain my figures.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Prince Rupert.

This is Hinchliffe ECW Personalty Figure (PF3) Prince Rupert and dog Boye. It's one I have long admired for the animation, Rupert is leaning back in his saddle looking over his shoulder as he inspires his troopers to charge. His horse is rearing up and Boye is at his side. Considering these were sculpted back in 1978 I think they have stood the test of time very well, I actually have the 28mm Warlord metal version unpainted (and unlikely to ever get painted!), but I much prefer the Hinchliffe version. Again I have kept the colours quite bold and bright, he wears a blue slashed doublet and polished back and breast plates with brass fittings.

The musket wings for Essex's Regiment of Foot are finished and awaiting base texturing so I'll feature the completed Regiment in the next post. Next I'm going to paint the 6 dragoon figures I have here (more are on order), and I have a painted officer ready to command them. The Dragoons are ECW 15 'Dragoons Firing' another old favourite of mine, the officer is ECW 10 'Officer in plumed hat'. I'll probably round the dragoons up to 10 figures once my next order arrives from Ian Hind. I have 8 cuirrassier figures that I want to paint up to represent The Kings Lifeguard of Horse after the dragoons and then I have another full Regiment of Foot sorted out which I intend to paint as John Hampdens Greencoats. 

Iain (Caveadsum1471), has very kindly offered to send me his copy of the WRG rules by George Gush as I can't find my copy anywhere. I'm grateful for the gesture and look forward to reading through it again. I have managed to track down a replacement copy of the old Osprey 'Naseby' book that featured Peter Gilders ECW collection via Paul Meekings Books for a very reasonable £10.00 and I'm sure it will provide even more inspiration.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Cavalry progress.

As mentioned in my last post I found myself with a fair bit of free time on my hands this last week as the family were spending a few days in Brighton and the house was quiet. I'm not one to normally set myself painting targets preferring to paint when I feel in the mood for it, but I decided that I wanted to give the project a kick start by getting a couple of regiments of horse finished before I plough into more foot figures. I selected the figures to comprise the units from the basic 'charging' poses together with a few of the pistol armed poses and with a bit of bending of weapon arms and twisting of heads managed to create two quite dynamic units. A word about the description of the formations of horse, I tend to think in terms of 'troops' as I recall most period accounts refer to the number of troops of Horse rather than Regiments. As in the WRG rules 1 figure represents 20 men I consider an average troop of horse to be 3 to 4 figures, so these two units represent around 200 men each.

Riders were painted separately which really speeded up the time spent painting the horses, I selected the basic tones and used a large fairly dry brush to put down a base coat, painting right over the straps etc. I then mixed a highlight colour for each of the base tones and went back working more carefully before painting in the harness etc with a dark black/brown, it really was a quick method, much faster and easier than my usual method. I will need to add reins to some of the horses, possibly from fuse wire or solder hammered flat and applied with superglue for that final 'Gilderesque' touch. Despite a heavy coat of satin varnish some of the paintwork was scratched whilst applying the riders, so I went back through them again and added a slightly lighter highlight to some whilst touching up the damage.

Bases were cut by hand from card, just as I did 30 years ago! THey were then textured with a mix of good old filler and water with PVA added and a couple of spoons of fine sand. Once fully dry they were painted with a thin coat of Vallejo Olive Green and then carefully dry brushed with yellow. I was keen to keep the overall appearance quite bright and clean looking and I would say I'm happy with things and will keep this theme running through the collection as it grows and develops. The pikemen got the same treatment and I painted a couple more to bring the block strength (including two standard bearers) up to 12 figures, the three ranks giving an impression of depth that looks about right. The officer and drummer will be incorporated into the musket blocks, just two figures deep, for this regiment there will be two wings of 8 figures each, but future Regiments will vary in size with possibly 15 pikes and 20 muskets or so, some will be smaller too. This is the 1642 period and my armies have not yet attained that ideal pike to musket ratio.

So the results of this weeks painting is two units of Royalist horse, both predominately red in theme. Note that on the few of charging figures in hats (ECWC 6), I should have painted doublets rather than buff coats, this was a mistake I must confess, only noticed afterwards, but I'll let them go and correct it for future figures, I really don't want to try to over paint these now!

I have the first 8 musketeers undercoated for the week ahead and might also paint the Prince Rupert and dog model that is already based as I used it to test the shades of green and yellow.