Saturday, 15 September 2018

Colkitto's Son

Alasdair, son of handsome Colla,
skilled hand at cleaving castles,
you put to flight the Lowland pale-face:
what kale they had taken came out again.
'The Day of Inverlochy' by Iain Lom McDonald


Alasdair MacDonald, or MacColla, was the archetypal Highland hero who in 1644 through 1645 led the Scots Royalist 'Irish Brigade' in the ‘year of miracles’.  His story would make one hell of a Hollywood blockbuster, and it was reading his biography by Stevenson that started my interest in collecting a Scots Royalist army.

Finding a suitable figure to represent MacColla in my wargame army was going to be a tall order!  Both Eureka Miniatures and Warlord sell figures aimed at representing MacColla, but neither of these figures really did it for me.  I was therefore left with having to convert something.  The MacColla figure had to be tall (his was alleged to be a giant of a man), and have a definite Scottish feel.  I also wanted to represent his claymore that, according to legend, included a sliding weight to add that extra bit of impact to any strike.  Although quite probably a fantasy this ‘vorpal’ blade would really set off the figure.  This final figure is made up of a Eureka figure, two separate Foundry figures, a TAG figure, and some Green Stuff.  I think the resulting figure looks suitably commanding, and should strike fear in the hearts of his Covenanter enemies.


To accompany MacColla I used two of Warlord’s brilliant highlander range.  These two represent MacColla's bodyguards: Dubhaltach MacPhee and Calum Mor MacInnes.  (Probable translation: Black-haired MacPhee and Big Calum MacInnes!)  I have one wielding his own deadly claymore (from the Warlord MacColla figure pack) and the other (converted from a normal Warlord highlander) carrying MacColla’s yellow colour, inspired by the wonderful Project Auldearn blog.

MacColla was the younger son of a clan chief, of a minor MacDonald sept.  Hi father was known colloquially as Colkitto, or Coll Ciotach in Gaelic.  Colkitto would be worth his own Hollywood movie, as he probably got his epitaph for being crafty!  Being a MacDonald aye this time meant that Colkitto and his family were arch rivals of Clan Campbell, and were always at odds with the Campbell chief, the Marquis of Argyle.  Colkitto, and his sons, feuding with Argyle and the Campbells led the them spending a lot of time imprisoned by the Campbells.  No surprise then that MacColla spent a lot of his early adult life with relations in Ulster, away from Argyle’s power base in the Southern Hebrides.  It is in Ulster that MacColla learnt his trade as a soldier.   As a large and imposing figure, he quickly gained a reputation as a fighter, and he seems to have also developed in to an inspirational leader and a canny tactician.

At the start of the conflict in Ulster MacColla was fighting in a mixed Protestant-Catholic force against the Catholic rebels in Ulster.  He had some notable successes in the smaller scale actions there and is sometimes credited as creating the infamous highland charge; a single, close range, volley of fire, followed immediately by a charge to contact. (Even if this tactic was introduced to the Scottish Highlands by MacColla, it is likely that it originated in, and was brought back from, the fighting in the Thirty Years War on the continent.)

When the Scottish Covenant government, led by non-other than Argyle, sent forces to support the Protestants in Ulster, old rivalries came to the fore and MacColla was forced to switch sides to the rebels to save his own skin.  He was warmly welcomed by the rebel forces, along with his followers.  When the leading Royalist in Ulster, the Duke or Ormond, raised a brigade of infantry to send to Scotland MacColla was the natural choice to lead them.

After landing in Scotland, despite his fighting credentials, MacColla wasn’t perceived by the Scottish highland chiefs to have sufficient authority to lead a war in the King’s name against the Covenant government.   Providence then brought MacColla and Montrose together.  Montrose, as the King’s Lord Lieutenant, brought the required legitimacy, and Montrose desperately needed MacColla’s men.  Over 1644 and 1645 Montrose and MacColla combined ran rings around the more numerous, and supposedly more professional, Covenant forces sent against them.   History remembers the noble Montrose as the sole leader and military genius behind the victories.  What part did MacColla have to play in the victories?  Well that makes a fine topic for wargamers’ discussion, preferably over a wee dram!


Until next time - Alba gu bràth!

Slapping On Some Paint

Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.  Salvador Dali


Warning!  This is not a "how to paint figures" tutorial.  Rather it discusses the trials and tribulations of turning the lead mountain in to table ready figures.

When I first started playing wargames as a child the biggest hurdle to overcome was being able to afford enough toy soldiers to sufficiently fill the table for a game.  Every figure purchased or gifted was eagerly painted, based, and on the table in double-quick time.  Now in adulthood, of course, it is different.  My shelves sag under the weight of the great unpainted horde.  I can afford to buy the little lead and plastic marvels far faster than I have the time to paint them.

To compound the lack of time, big battle games need a fair few figures.  My interpretation of Inverlochy has about 500 figures to cover both armies.  The lead mountain is intimidating.  I don't think I am alone here.  Looking at the games becoming popular at the moment there is definitely a move away from big battle games to 'skirmish' games, with reduced head-counts of figures required.    Given enough time I can paint to a table-top standard that I'm happy with, but I realise I am painfully slow compared to hobby friends.  As my Inverlochy project progressed it became clear that, if I was ever to realise my dream of re-fighting Inverlochy on the table top, then I was going to need help.  I was going to have to 'out-source' some of the painting to the professionals.

This was a big step for me as up to this point I had always painted everything in my wargames forces myself.  There is a very strong 'do-it-yourself' and 'do-it-for-cheap' dogma at the roots of wargaming, probably going all the way back to H. G. Wells original book 'Little Wars'.  The good side of this is that the hobby encourages us all to get better at many crafts and skills.  The flip side of this for me was a feeling that I had to do everything myself.  In the end it was a choice between getting things done in a reasonable amount of time, and holding on to the DIY ideal.  Getting things done won! Now, when I look at the progress made after getting help, it was easily worth the investment for me.  (What is more, getting past the first psychological hump of having two small forces table-ready, has encouraged me to go on building my mid 17th century collection.  I am probably more productive now than I have ever been.)

Through recommendations from friends, and also using friends who do a bit of figure painting on the side, I was able to secure the services of a couple of people to help paint my 'mountain' at a cost that seemed reasonable.  It needs some time and effort to find the right people, and also to agree the style and colour palettes I wanted to be used.  Also people aren't necessarily familiar with 17th century fashion.  But it was definitely worth it in the end.  A mountain of lead was eventually turned in to two table-top armies.

For painting guides I recommended two Ospreys:

  • Men-At-Arms Series 331 Scots Armies of the English Civil War
  • Warrior Series 21 Highland Clansman 1689-1746 (despite the date in the title it covers the ECW period very nicely)

I decided to keep the basing of figures 'in-house', so to speak.  I also added the pikes for the pikemen, and the Colours for ensigns or cornets (see a future post for more details on flags).  This has helped me maintain a single overall 'look' to the armies.   I have done some of the figure painting myself.  I do enjoy the painting/modelling part of the hobby, and so I kept favourite parts of the miniature armies to paint myself; mostly command groups, vignettes, and artillery.

Here's an example of one of the command groups I painted.  None other than Alasdair MacColla, the 'Devastator'! (More on him in a future post.)


When I started this project I was still a died-in-the-wool enamel painter.  White Spirit fumes were part and parcel of the job of painting for me.  I had a set of colours, built up over many, many years that I was happy with.  All of my gaming buddies switched to acrylics years ago, but switching was just too big an effort for me.    Despite that fact that many of the figures were not painted by me, this project has gotten me far more in to the paining and modelling scene.  Eventually I decided I would give these new fangled acrylics a try.  A starter box of 16 Vallejo colours got me going.   Twelve months after the initial experiment I can now say that I have fully made that switch.  I even use a wet palette!  I do really like how easy it is to squeeze out a few more drops of paint from a dropper bottle.  I'm still building up that repertoire of colours, but I don't think I will go back now (Humbrol Enamel Matt Black 33 is a great brush-on undercoat however!).  I don't think my figures look any better (yet) but it is easier / faster, and my white spirit habit is receding :-).

This picture also shows an example of my basing.   I used Warbases for all of the bases (https://warbases.co.uk).  Great company.  Super product and very helpful team.  I like the 2mm thick stuff they do.  My post on Building the armies (http://battleofinverlochy.blogspot.com/2018/08/building-miniature-armies.html) covers the details on frontages etc.  For the command bases I typically use circular bases, and use whatever size fits the vignette that I have tried to create.

The painted figures are varnished and then glued to the MDF bases.  Following this a mixture of PVA glue, filler (known as spackle in the USA), and acrylic paint is liberally applied to hide the figures' bases, and sharp sand sprinkled on to the still wet mixture.  When dry this is highlighted.  Once the highlight is dry (very important to let it dry!) then static grass and hobby bushes are added with the help of thinned PVA glue.  Finally the base edges are tidied with a dark brown marker pen (I found black a bit too contrasty).

For bases I can't find a better colour than Humbrol Matt 29 Dark earth.  I have used it in enamel and acrylic (and spray can).   I haven't found another paint to match it.  I highlight this with cream or beige.   I used Army Painter Steppe Grass for the static grass.  Quite a dark blend, but seemed to fit right for the Highlands of Scotland in a wet February.  The 'bushes' represent the dried out heather which goes brown in the winter.  Busch Brown (3 Colour) Foliage is the best I have found so far.  Amazon stock it in the UK.

A final word on varnishing.  I prefer a nice matt finish.  At the start of the project I was using Humbrol Matt Coat.  I have gone off this.  Perhaps I've had a bad batch but this doesn't seem as good to me as it once did.  MacColla above has already started to go a bit shiny.  I prefer to brush on my varnish, and I am now a convert to "Daler Rowney Varnish: Acrylic Matt Varnish".  Very matt, very good (also available from Amazon)!  You do need to give the bottle a blooming good shake though.

Until next time.




Monday, 3 September 2018

The Tyranny of Choice

“The onus of supply rests equally on the giver and the taker.” General George S. Patton



In this post I’ll go through the figure manufacturers that I’ve used.  I like variety in my wargames units and so I often find myself using multiple manufacturers.  I know that many people pick a single manufacturer's range and then stick with that.  However I like an irregular look to my units so normally end up with a mixture.  If I can build a unit without a single duplicate figure in it then I am a happy bunny!

The ‘English Civil War’ is now a well supported period by figure manufacturers and even the fringe parts of the conflict, like Montrose, are covered.  I never expected to use a single source for my Inverlochy battle, but I perhaps didn't expect to end up covering quite so many.  Perhaps this is the collector coming out in me.  Here are the manufacturers I’ve used, presented in the order I started buying figures from them.  I bought the first figures in the early 2000s; this has been a slow burn project!

Please note; what makes a nice war game figure very much comes down to personal choice.  The views below are just that.  I would suggest anyone gets a few samples of a range before jumping in and making a big order!

Foundry

Foundry’s ECW range, sculpted by the Perrys, was ground breaking when in came out in the late 80s (or was it the 90s?).  Historically accurate 17th century soldiers!  No more musketeers in lobster pots or left handed pikemen.  It is still a quite extensive range with lots of diorama fillers included as well. Most importantly for me it includes a good selection of Highlanders.  Indeed, until Warlord came along, The Foundry Highlanders were one of the only choices in 28mm.  The sculpting style perhaps looks a bit dated now, but I have a huge fondness for these characterful figures.  Any foray in to this period by me is going to include at least a sprinkling of Foundry.  Still one of the limited number of places to go for period dead horses and artillery limbers!
https://www.wargamesfoundry.com/collections/english-civil-war

Old Glory

Old Glory 25s are sold in big packs and I at first hoped that their ECW Highlander packs would bulk out my Foundry Highlanders.  Although they fit with Foundry size wise, their style doesn’t suit me.  I have only used 1 or 2 figures from the packs I bought. Not recommended.
https://www.oldgloryminiatures.com/products.asp?cat=202

Front Rank

“Do they have an ECW range?” I hear you cry.  Well, no, but they have a very nice ‘45 collection including Highlanders. Very minor conversions may be necessary but they fit size wise and include some nice wounded/dead figures.
https://www.frontrank.com/product-category/18th-century/jacobite-rebellion-1745/jacobite-army/

Perry Miniatures

I can’t say enough good things about their English and Scottish Civil War ranges. They are just lovely.  I understand that they set the size of the range to match their earlier Foundry work which perhaps makes them on the small side for today’s 28s.  My only regret is that they didn’t do more Highlanders.  I can’t consider a regular foot or cavalry regiment without including some of these.
https://www.perry-miniatures.com/index.php?cPath=23_40&osCsid=1noamuqhmlilhs87j3c17i5935

Eureka Miniatures

Just as I was starting to think about this period a discussion thread on the old WECW Yahoo Group started about this mysterious antipodean company who make figures on demand.  All you needed were enough advanced orders.  Walter Morrison, from the wonderful Project Auldearn blog, was the driving force behind getting a range of Irish and Stettin based Highlanders produced. I happily invested in the venture and a nice range of figures were produced. (See Project Auldearn for superbly painted examples.)  They fit well style wise with the Perry figures. I think they are a bit small though. Even compared to the already small Perry figures. I have used some of these, especially the Irish brigade figures (which are not so small) but few of the Highlanders.  If you are using mainly  Perry then I recommend the Irish Brigade figs. from Eureka. Otherwise I think you may find this range too diminutive.
http://www.eurekamin.com.au/index.php?cPath=87_126_731&sort=3a

Warlord Games

My whole project stalled for some time, partly due to a lack of being able to find enough figures that I liked enough.  Then came Warlord games, galloping to the rescue like John Wayne in a Western movie!  Luckily for us 17th century wargamers, John Stallard at Warlord is a huge ECW fan, with a special interest in the war in Scotland.  So, as well as plastic box sets for generic infantry and cavalry we also got superb metal ranges for the Irish Brigade and (be still my beating heart) Highlanders! Hoorah!  These ranges re-started this whole period for me.  They fit well with Perry and Foundry and so Warlord have become the biggest proportion of figures in my collection.   Needless to say, highly recommended.
https://store.warlordgames.com/collections/pike-shotte

Some highlights of the Warlord range.  Many of the Highlander and Irish are available as box sets and as individual figures! Yes, you read that correctly, individual wargames figures.  Not very common nowadays.  Perfect for getting your wild, irregular clan looking just right.  The plastic cavalry horses are great figures and size wise more accurate than most metal ranges.  I wanted to be able to show a difference in horse size between the large English Hunters and the smaller, wiry Highland nags.  So in my collection well mounted cavalry get Warlord plastic horses, and others (Scots, dragoons, etc) get Perry horses.  The plastic ECW sets are also great for conversions and Warlord do lots of nice metal extras such as Scots bonnets and lances.  Warlord also have a great range of civilians; who doesn’t need a Hedge Harlot for their camp followers?!

Redoubt Enterprises

Quite tall and so don’t fit well with my preferred Warlord/Perry/Foundry.  I have a few Redoubt civilians from their Three Musketeers range. Useful.
https://www.redoubtenterprises.com/product-category/musket-pike-shot/three-musketeers/musketeer-figures/

Bicorne Miniatures

A very complete range. On the big side so don’t fit well with my collection. I have included one or two as “the big lad” in the company.  They are a bit mixed. Some are gorgeous sculpts, some not so much.  If you are going for the bigger size of 28mms then this is the range for you.
https://www.bicorne.net/acatalog/English-Civil-War.html

The Assault Group (TAG)

TAG have a nice Scots range and also a Thirty Years War range.  They fit size wise with Warlord/Perry/Foundry.  Some of the sculpts don’t do it for me, but others are great.  I have just one or two of the command figures. They have some nice mounted officers, but I’m not keen on the horses.  Worth checking out. They have a well illustrated website.
https://theassaultgroup.co.uk/product-category/renaissance/scottish/

So that is it.  Probably not a complete run down of all mid 17th century 28mm figures, but I think there is probably something there for everyone.   Although I have enough figures table ready for Inverlochy, I am (of course!) still buying figures.   Packages from Warlord, Perry and Foundry still arrive at my house with alarming regularity, so I would say these are the top three, respectively.

There are some interesting new manufacturers from Eastern Europe appearing that have some tempting ranges.   I'll wait to get some in my mits before commenting further.  The pictures I have seen look astounding.  If you have any recommendations then please post in the comments.

Until next time!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Building The Miniature Armies

"Troops who march in an irregular and disorderly manner are always in great danger of being defeated."  De Re Military by Vegetius.


This blog entry covers my rationale for how I formed the units of miniature figures to represent the two armies.

When deciding how to represent units on the wargames table a number of things have to be taken in to account;  figure size/scale, figure ratio to actual unit strength, wargames rules, and most importantly what looks pleasing to the eye.

Figure size.  

When I first imagined wargaming Montrose's battles it was always going to be in God's own figure size, 25/28mm.  The real armies are small enough that this figure size is easily feasible in terms of cost and size of table, and nothing beats the look of a nicely painted 28mm figure.  There are also lots of manufacturers of figures and terrain in this scale.  We are living in a golden age for wargamers and we really are spoiled for choice.

A Pleasing Wargames Unit.  

My next step was to work out what size and shape of unit would like nice, to me, when placed on the table.  I emphasise "to me" as this really does boil down to personal taste; with this taste being based on our experience of playing games and the influence of the wargames eye-candy we come across at shows and in the wargames press.

It seems to be the 'norm' (down our way any how) to base 28mm infantry figures four to a square base, in two ranks, each of two figures.  Therefore, as a starting point, my infantry units are going to be made up of these four figure bases.  In this period of history regular infantry units were typically made up of one-third pikemen (pike) and two-thirds musket-men (shot).  The shot was typically split in to two 'wings' which were formed up on either side of the central block of pike.  On this basis a wargames unit of mid 17th century soldiers can be represented with six x four figure bases of shot and three x four figure bases of pike.  Three bases of shot formed up on either side of the pike shot then looks pleasing to my eye, and seems a very common approach taken by other wargamers in this period.  It looks something like this.

My chosen size and configuration for a regular unit of pike and shot, with a rabble of irregular highlanders in the background.
The observant will see that I have already departed from my starting point as I have 3 ranks of figures in the unit of pike.  This is based on the colour parties (the chaps carrying the unit's standard and those charged with protecting them) being formed with the pike rather than the shot, and also because I just think it looks nice to have slightly deeper pike blocks!

Historical note.  

At this time in the 17th century the infantry typically formed up six ranks deep, both pike and shot.  Even with a small battle like Inverlochy (less than 5000 men in total) it will be necessary to have a figure to real men ratio of something like one figure to ten or twenty real men.  This is so we can fit the battle on to a reasonably sized wargames table.  Therefore we have perhaps 36 figures representing 500 men.  So the figures take up an area approximate to the real men they represent I'm happy using two or three figure ranks deep to represent six real ranks as a necessary wargames abstraction.  

Highland Irregulars

This regular infantry formation suits the Irish brigade regiments in the Royalist army, and the lowland  regular infantry battalions in the Covenanter army.  However, one of the things that drew me to this battle was the fact that both sides also have lots of irregular highland infantry.   These would be fighting with, for the most part, what ever arms they possessed.  They would be drawn up behind their clan leader in loose formations and would not be fighting in regular ranks and files.    If I used my 'standard' two by two, four on a base method then these highlanders would look too regular.  My standard four figure base is 40mm by 40mm which doesn't leave enough room for 28mm figures to look like a disorderly rabble.  I was discussing this conundrum with another Friend of General Haig (our wargames club) who suggested making the bases deeper than normal.  I liked this idea and went step further and went for 60mm by 60mm bases on which I would fit six figures.  This allowed plenty of room for a nice rabble effect, and handily meant that I was sticking to 20mm frontage per figure so that I could match frontages where necessary.

Some rules put highlanders in deep formations.  This is probably right for the moment that a charge swept in to an enemy unit.  As the irregular unit charged forward some would run faster and the less quick, or less eager would fall in behind leading to a ragged column by the time of impact.  However, information form the 1745 period suggests that 4 ranks was the standard formation for highlanders to form up in.  Gentlemen in the front rank, and 'arrant scum' filling up behind.  Therefore the highlanders would be in wider formations to begin with.  Allowing the highlanders to form up in something akin to an assault column from the start also makes them very manoeuvrable, something that these ill-disciplined troops shouldn't benefit from.  I decided to make up my highlander units of four bases of six by six figures.  This would make them suitably unwieldy and allow them to be out manoeuvred by a skilful, regular opponent.

Camerons and MacLeans prepare to start a 'Highland Charge'.
The picture above shows two such highland units on the table-top, supported by a regiment of Macolla's regular Irish.

Argyle's Highland Regiment

In my blog entry for the Campbell army (https://battleofinverlochy.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/meet-campbells.html) I proposed this regiment being formed like a regular infantry unit but armed in a more traditional way.  I therefore set up the wargames unit with three bases of four lochaber axe men, three bases of four shot, and three bases of four bowmen.  I treat its as a regular unit but with different rules for the slightly different weapons.

Argyle's Highland Regiment, backed by the Campbell irregulars.

Ogilvy's Horse 

There was only one small unit of cavalry at Inverlochy; the independent troop of horse led by Sir Thomas Ogilvy.  This was a small unit of 50 men.  I chose to represent this with 8 cavalry figures.  Any less and it became a bit lost.  I used to base cavalry two figures to a 50mm by 50mm base.  Horse models seem to have become longer and so I have moved to 50mm wide by 60 mm deep now.  I form the unit 4 figures wide by two deep.

Ogilvy's Horse.
I hope this meander around how I have formed the wargame units to refight Inverlochy is useful.  Very much of this is just down to personal preference, so take or leave what you will.

Until next time!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Order of Battle - Covenant

"Through the land of my fathers the Campbells have come ,
The flames of their foray enveloped my home"
From The Day of Inverlochy, by Iain Lom, as published in The Heather and the Gale by Ronald Williams. 

The prime men of the Campbell clan await the Royalist attack.
In this post I will describe how I interpreted the army described in the Meet the Campbells post as a wargames force on the table.

Order Of Battle

Commander-in-Chief command base: Lieutenant Colonel Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck

Right Wing

Command base: Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Roughe
Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Roughe's provisional battalion : 18 figure pike unit, 2 x 12 figure shot units
Other Campbell Highlanders: 24 figure Highlander unit

Centre

Command base: Gillespie, son of Gillespie Og, Lord of the Bingingeadhs
Argyle's (Highland) Regiment: 12 figure Lochaber Axe unit, 12 figure Shot unit, and 12 figure Bow unit.
Campbell Highlanders: 4 x 24 figure Highlander units
Artillery: 2 x light (frame) guns

Left Wing

Command base: Lieutenant Colonel John Cockburn
Lieutenant Colonel John Cockburn's provisional battalion: 18 figure pike unit, 2 x 12 figure shot units
Other Campbell Highlanders: 24 figure Highlander unit

Reserve

Castle defenders: 1 x 8 figure unit of Commanded Shot

This comes out as a roughly 1:10 figure to actual men ratio for the battle.

Roster

How are the units classified for the battle?  Well, I have developed a handy A4 description of the army, or roster.  
Here is a link to a PDF Pike and Shotte roster for the Inverlochy Covenant army. 
N.B. The single unit of bowmen have been given a special rule to allow them to fire overhead.  This doesn't make a huge difference to the battle, but just seemed a fun touch.  All of the other special rules are as per the Warlord Games Pike and Shotte main rules.

Balancing The Two Armies

As I mentioned in the previous article on the Royalist Order of Battle () one of the main reason I like the Pike and Shotte rules from Warlord is that it is very easy to tweak the performance of units using the special rules.  This also adds a huge amount of flavour, or narrative, to games.  I have re-played Inverlochy many time now and I think the balance in the two forces as I've set them is about right.  It is a close game, which either side could win, but the Royalists are the favourites.   The right balance was tricky to achieve as the Royalists are outnumbered almost two to one.

The Royalists have to have a lot going for them.  They have excellent command, and they must make sure they take advantage of Montrose and Macolla's superior command factors.  The Irish brigade units have everything going for them and they need the advantages to stand any chance of recreating their historical performance, in my experience anyway.  The Royalist highlander are also extra hard hitting.

The Covenanters have ok command, but the Militia special rule for the Campbell highlanders should prevent them being too manoeuvrable.  The liberal sprinting of Freshly Raised units should also help make the Covenant army quite brittle as it was historically at Inverlochy.

As both armies are quite small I also adjust the Victory and Defeat conditions for both sides so that the whole army breaks when more than half of its units are broken or shaken, and ignore 'Battalia' break points.  This is an idea from the To Kill A King supplement for Pike and Shotte which I think works nicely.

Until next time! 

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Order Of Battle - Royalist

"We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us" Henry V by William Shakespeare

Battle of Inverlochy, from the Royalist lines.
In this post I will describe how I interpreted the army described in the All The King's Men post as a wargames force on the table.

Wargames Rules

The rules you use will often affect the precise make up your wargames units.  However, I expect this example order of battle could be used as a guide for many sets.  I currently use Warlord Games' Pike and Shotte rules.  I have been a fan of the original Black Powder system, also from Warlord, since it was released.  I was in the process of trying to convert Black Powder myself for the English Civil War when Warlord released Pike and Shotte.  The great strength for me is how easy it is to tailor the quality of troops; very important for Montrose's battles were the abilities and qualities of troops vary wildly.

Order Of Battle

Commander-in-Chief command base: Lieutenant General James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose.

Right Wing

Command base: Major Alasdair MacColla
Major Thomas Laghtman's Regiment: 18 figure pike unit, 2 x 12 figure shot units

Centre

Command base: Patrick Graham of Inchbrakie
The MacDonalds of Glencoe and the the men of Lochaber, including the Camerons: 24 figure Highlander unit
The Captain of Clanranald, MacDonalds of Glengarry and Keppoch, the MacLeans of Duart, Coll, Kinlochaline, Treshnish and Ardgour: 24 figure Highlander unit

Left Wing

Command base: Colonel Manus O'Cahan
Colonel Manus O'Cahan's Regiment: 18 figure pike unit, 2 x 12 figure shot units

Reserve

(assumed to be under Montrose's direct command)
Colonel James McDonnell's Regiment: 18 figure pike unit, 2 x 12 figure shot units
Sir Thomas Ogilvy's Troop of Horse: 8 figure cavalry unit

This comes out as a roughly 1:10 figure to actual men ratio for the battle.  

Roster

How are the units classified for the battle?  Well, I have developed a handy A4 description of the army, or roster.  
Here is a link to a PDF Pike and Shotte roster for the Inverlochy Royalist army. 

N.B. The 'Salvo' special rule used by the Irish regiments is from Warlord's "To Kill A King" Pike and Shotte supplement.

See you next time!




Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Starting Again

"Fallen race of Diarmed! disloyal, untrue,
No harp in the Highlands will sorrow for you;"
From The Day of Inverlochy, by Iain Lom, as published in The Heather and the Gale by Ronald Williams. 



Well, I thought I would have another go at this blogging lark.  My blogging may have fallen by the way-side, but my endeavours to re-create the Battle of Inverlochy in miniature have come to glorious fruition over the last three and a half years, as you can see from the picture above!

When I last blogged in February 2014 I had done a bundle of research, bought a fistful of figures, and commissioned a couple of figure painters to help with the daunting task of bringing the hundreds of lead (and plastic!) figures to life.  It took the rest of 2014 and much of 2015 to complete the figures, terrain boards, and the supporting cast of background 'fluff'.  So, the blog will now run through the story of how the wargame came together, how it played, and the short tour of shows where I demo'd the game during 2017.

In the next post I'll run through the wargame order of battle, and the figures that I chose to use to represent them.