Wargaming the English Civil War, American War of Independence and Sudanese campaigns in 28mm

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Models for sale and new book!

I mentioned before that I would be selling most of my collection. After much deliberation, I will be keeping some of it (such as my 15mm ECW project which I'm still really excited about) but a large portion of it will be listed on here hopefully by the end of Sunday. I'd prefer not to sell through eBay or such sites because they charge such high fees nowadays and would like to sell directly to the buyer.

In other news, I'm currently writing a series of historical books to go on Apple's iBook Store which will cover some of my favourite periods including Ancient Rome, Alexander the Great, the Crusades, War of the Roses, English Civil War, American Revolution and Colonial Britain (you'll likely see books on Britain and it's Colonial wars and the AWI coming first!).

If anyone wants to collaborate on any of these, please leave me a comment or if you have my email, drop me an email and we can discuss. Something I think would be great would be to use the brilliant illustrations of Secundus of iron mitten to perhaps make a fun historical book for kids to enjoy, but I'll obviously have to speak with him first! Secundus - if you're reading this - get in touch!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Selling and getting out

Hello all! Apologies for the lack of updates but the reality is, I haven't done anything in the hobby for over a year. I've not really had the time or space to keep getting men out to paint. I've had so much on this year with my last year at University and job hunting. Additionally, I simply can't afford to keep on with the hobby. I have hundreds if not thousands of pounds worth of hobby materials that I ideally need to sell to keep living.

If anyone is interested in helping me out, please get in touch. I have a variety of periods from ancients to moderns including a vast amount of American Revolution figures which need shifting. I also have a number of model buildings which would be for sale. Drop me a comment if you're interested.

I'll try and post more of a inventory list and price structure soon but it will be very reasonable.



Saturday, 25 June 2011

Exciting discovery!

As I mentioned in my previous post, it was whilst walking around inside the 'Rout Yard' or earth fort situated outside the walls of Bolingbroke Castle that I made a rather exciting discovery.

Littered with bits of pottery and broken glass, the floor of the 'Rout Yard' was a treasure trove for the amateur archaeologist. It was in the top layer of soil that I found the clay pipe pictured below.

I knew that clay pipes were common during the time of the English Civil War and, given the Rout Yard's history, I immediately thought that this particular pipe could have been used and discarded during the siege of the Castle. The pipe is quite detailed and as you can see, it features a raised image of a tankard of beer (clay pipes were often sold in drinking establishments such as pubs). However, after conducting some research, I can date the pipe at 1860 which is several hundred years after a the siege which is a shame. Still, it's the first time I've found such a thing and in such good condition. I regularly find small sections of the white piping that forms the tube leading up to the 'bowl' in my garden, but I've never found a more complete piece.

The picture above was taken by Dave Hitchborne (contact.dave.hitchborne@gmail.com) and shows the inside of the Rout Yard. It was after looking through an album of his photos of the Castle and its grounds that I found out that shortly before my visit to the Castle, the 'moat' had been dredged and the silt was deposited in the Rout Yard. This meant that all the bits of pottery, glass and the clay pipe I found had been resting at the bottom of the series of small ponds that surround the Castle for the last hundred and fifty years! It was very interesting to find this out and helped put the last piece in the jigsaw in the history of this little clay pipe (unfortunately not from the time of the Civil War though).

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Bolingbroke Castle visit

Bolingbroke Castle, located in Lincolnshire, was built in about 1220-30 by the then Earl of Lincoln, Ranulph de Blundevil, a powerful Norman baron. By the time of the Civil War in the mid-17th century, the castle was in decay but was rebuilt by the Royalists to make it sufficiently strong to pose a threat to the Parliamentarian forces in the county and was held until the Parliamentary victory in 1643 at the Battle of Winceby, three miles to the north. When the Parliamentary forces moved out, they deliberately ruined the castle to deny its use to the Royalist cause. Over the years, stone was robbed and used in local building projects, the site eventually becoming nothing more than a grassy mound until its excavation in the mid-20th century by English Heritage.

I took the following pictures of the site last year when I made the short trip from Lincoln to Bolingbroke one warm summer's day.

This is how the Castle would have looked at the height of its power in the 13th century, with a moat 90 feet wide coming right up to the walls.

This photo (taken from the same viewpoint as the illustration above) shows all that remains of the castle - the brick base of the once impressive walls. The mown causeway in front of you marks the line of the drawbridge.

This photo is taken looking slightly to the left of the previous picture (you can still see the information panel and causeway, leading up to the Castle entrance). It shows the marshy area which now surrounds the Castle where the moat would have been.

This photo, taken of an illustration on one of the information panels, shows what the Castle would have looked like when it was built in the 13th century. As you can see, it was quite impressive! It is, however, unlikely to have looked quite as impressive during the time of the Civil War as it was in a state of decay at this point.

This aerial photograph shows the Castle on the right, and the dark green ring around it is the marshy area which marks the extent of the moat. The earthwork on the left, known as the 'Rout Yard', is thought to be an earth fort built during the Civil War and played a part in the siege of the Castle in 1643. Recent academic study has however made claims that this was in fact used as a fish pond when the Castle was permanently occupied.

This photo shows the earthwork (in the centre of the photo) taken from the walls of the Castle and it was whilst walking around inside the earthwork that I made an exciting discovery...

A couple of updates today.

Just a quick heads up that I will be making a couple of updates to the site throughout this afternoon. I will upload a couple of pics of a trip I made to Bolingbroke Castle last year, the site of a siege and battle in the English Civil War. I'll then upload a more detailed account of the battle followed by a post containing pictures of a reenactment of the battle from the summer of 2009.

In addition, I'll post a few photos of an exciting find I made whilst walking the ground of the Castle!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Coming up this week

Here's what you can expect to see right here on this blog over the coming week:

1. Several historical articles about the type of weaponry and tactics during the English Civil War

2. My own research into the clothing worn by both sides during the conflict including a discussion on the development of armour and other forms of protection throughout the Civil War's duration and a clearing up of several common mistakes made when painting Civil War troops.

3. Modelling and painting tips

4. And by the weekend, expect to see some pictures of my first attempts at painting pikemen in 15mm!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Where have I been?!

The answer to that is, in the library. I'm in my last year at University over here in England and I finished my degree last week! But I've had an awful lot of work to do and so war gaming has taken a back seat. I now that I have a bit more free time, I can get back to my projects in the evenings rather than spending them in a building with no natural light!

So, what have I got planned for the coming months? Well, for starters, I will be putting on an ECW game in 28mm with Paul Darnell this coming Sunday at the Partizan show in Kelham Hall, near Newark. If you want to come and talk to me, I'll be at the Touching History table wearing an AWI militia t-shirt (which is a light blue colour) but you may find me loitering around Steve Jones' AWI game, trying to get him to let me have a go on the dice!

I've also ordered a few ECW figures in 15mm from Peter Pig as a test for what could be a big project. Since I've been working on my Ambush Alley moderns project, I've realised 15mm may be the way to go for speed painting large numbers of figures quickly and getting them on the gaming table (as I much prefer gaming to painting, but I do like my figures to look nice!). So I'll be test painting these figures (I bought a mixture of cavalry and infantry packs to get a good range) over the next few months and will post my results up here. As I will most likely be moving to a small, cramped flat somewhere in London in the near future, I wont have space for war gaming supplies and so a project which doesn't take up much room will be essential. I'm not sure what I'll do with my larger scale figures but it's likely that I will have to sell at least some of them. I have an awful lot of money tied up in them and they take up a lot of space (currently the bottom of my wardrobe and a small chest of drawers!). I've always wanted to write a set of rules for ECW either in 28mm or 15mm and so that's my other aim for the summer and I've been researching fighting techniques, tactics and weaponry over the last few days.

Summer Aims:

1. Write a set of rules for the English Civil War for use in 15mm war games.
2. Paint up a couple of regiments of infantry and cavalry
3. Make/paint a few bits of terrain
4. Play test!

I'd also like to finish off the Americans and their Humvees for my Ambush Alley games and I can see that getting done over the next few months in addition to the ECW troops.

I'd also like to thank those who have chosen to follow the blog whilst I've been away (there has been about 10 I think) despite there being no recent posts.

Friday, 17 December 2010


I've just textured the Marines' bases and thought I'd do a quick update. It took me about half an hour to texture all the bases with tile grout which I didn't think was too bad considering I'd never done it before! I think they're looking good so far and can't wait for them to dry so I can crack on with the painting. It takes around 24 hours for the grout to dry hard so I've got a bit of time to wait but once dry, I will make sure all parts of the model are painted black before dry brushing some grey onto the areas I want to be black/dark (guns, flak jackets, webbing, etc) before focussing on the flesh and camo.

This is the black tile grout I bought on the recommendation of David Imrie (Saxon Dog). He didn't recommend this specific brand, merely that it be black tile grout. I picked up this large tub from B&Q for around £10 which should last me a long time! I hope the fact it's 'waterproof' doesn't affect the glueing of sand and dry-brushing of the base later in the process.

This is the tool I used to apply the grout. It is part of the modelling tool kit sold by Wargames Foundry. I used the larger 'spoon' end to pick up a pea-sized amount of grout and then spread it on the base. I used the pointy end to add some texture or spread it around between the legs where necessary.

This is a close up of the 1st Squad Sergeant showing the basing and fantastic detail put into every Peter Pig model. Once the model is fully painted, patches of fine sand will be glued onto the base and then dry brushed with various colours. Once this is dry, static grass and silflor tufts will be applied to bring the base and the model to life.


As part of my Ambush Alley/modern project I want the main Western force to be the Americans (not sure which period/uniforms to go for yet). I have quite a large number of figures and more than enough to create an entire platoon. The figures below represent the 1st Squad of that platoon which is made up of Fire Team Alpha, Bravo and Charlie and a Sergeant (top). 1st Squad will be mounted in three Humvees which I'm currently waiting on Irishserb to deliver.

I've realised it's cheaper to mount the 15mm figures on real money as opposed to wood or metal washers so I've based these on English pennies and undercoated them in black (this needs a little bit of touching up in some areas). I also plan to use a black putty filler on the bases before I begin to paint the marines.

The keen eyed of you will notice that I've added another two figures and they are the two AT4 gunners at the front. As this Squad is large enough to game with when finished, I wanted a few heavy weapons to be able to be interchanged into various fire-teams based on the scenario.

Ambush Alley allows each player to only field a handful of troops for each game which makes it perfect for a non-prolific painter like myself! So, my primary aim is to finish these Americans and their mounts before finishing off the technicals and a rebel force to wage war against!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

New project - 15mm Moderns

Just thought I'd update you on a new project I'm working on. I picked up a few packs of Peter Pig 15mm moderns a couple of weeks ago and am going to have a crack at painting them up. I've never painted anything smaller than 28mm before so this could be interesting! However, if all goes well, it could open up a whole new world of wargamming and finally allow me to recreate larger engagements such as the American Civil War and Napoleonic conflicts on a scale large enough to do justice to the immense nature of the conflicts.

Here are a few Toyota 'technicals' which I plan to play around with and do a bit of conversion on.

Here's the current WIP of the cars in the 'shop' as the Americans would say! Glue drying and 'green stuff' setting are just some of the things that can be seen in this pic. I've converted the car on the right to have a different gunner on the back and have changed the angle of the MG to suit the figure. The car on the left will have a number of troops mounted in the back hitching a ride and firing as they go. It should be an exciting project and one which can include a lot of character and personality.

After these are completed, I'll work on a few of my Americans. Make sure to check back of the next few days to see the progress.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Field Marshall Montgomery meets a relative!

I was going through some boxes that have been stored under my bed and came across this photograph. It was given to me by my Great Grandmother or 'Granny' as she was affectionately known, some years ago (she's since sadly passed away). It shows her brother, Harry, with Field Marshall Montgomery, head of British operations during the Second World War. Harry is the chap who appears just above the nurse dressed all in white, posing for the sneaky photograph.

Here's the photograph previously mentioned. Harry, who I think would be my Great Great Uncle, served in the Medical Corps during the war but I know very little else about him. He was one of 6 or 7 brothers who were in service during the war but I can't remember anything my Granny told me about them.

The photograph was sent back to his father during the war and this photo shows what was written on the rear. In case you can't make out the handwriting, it reads:

Dear Pop,
Here you are - a
picture of Monty AND your
sour-faced son - all for yourself.
Best wishes

It's a fascinating piece of history and I'm proud to be in possession of it after all these years. My Granny gave it to me when she learnt of my boyhood fascination with all things WWII and I've kept it safe in a photo album ever since. It was damaged when I received it but I've managed to keep it in the same condition as when I got it and I hope to keep it for many years to come.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Yorktown T-Shirt

I thought I'd post a picture of the t-shirt I've just won in an online auction. As you can see, it has the word 'Yorktown' and a picture of a Continental infantry man on the front, most likely paying tribute to the combined American and French victory over the British in 1781 at the Siege of Yorktown.

I look forward to receiving it and it will take pride of place in my wardrobe. It will be used as my 'wargaming' tee. Atleast, for gaming in the Americas.

This picture shows a close up of the detail.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

LCpl Hugh Ross, Seaforth Highlanders

I've spent the last few months researching the soldier listed above who died on the 10th May 1915 during one of the many actions of the First World War. The reason I'm so interested in this soldier is because he is my Great Great Grandfather and at the time of his death he was aged 21 which is how old I'll be on the 10th May of next year (although this isn't my birthday).

My search began during a visit to the Imperial War Museum in London where I found his service record. This gave his full title - Lance Corporal Hugh Ross of the 4th Bn. Seaforth Highlanders and his number - 1810. It also gives his date of death as the 10th May 1915, aged 21 years. No other information is given as the free service offered by the Imperial War Museum is meant to merely act as a starting place for further research.

His date of birth is unknown to me but at a guess he was born around 1894. My next aim is to try and find his individual service record which should show where, when and with which unit he served during his time in the army. Unfortunately many of the records who his regiment were destroyed during WWII but if I'm lucky, the National Archives will still keep a copy of his record.

I received an email back from the Highlanders Museum up in Scotland who keep certain records including the War Diary of the 4th Bn and a general history of the Bn written at the time. According to the researcher, there is no mention of a LCpl Hugh Ross but there is a Sergeant Hugh Ross written about on the 9th May, a day of heavy casualties for the Bn. This entry was written about an action that happened at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle whose objective was to capture Aubers Ridge at which I'm sure the Hugh Ross I'm related to died in. Interestingly, the researcher at the Highlanders Museum states that the 4th Bn Seaforth Highlanders weren't serving on the line on the 10th May, the date of his death, so he suspects LCpl Ross may have died the following day of injuries sustained during the battle. He also suggests that LCpl Ross and Sergeant Ross might be the same person as many NCOs died during the battle and LCpl Ross could have been handed a short-lived promotion but this is a long shot and may be difficult to prove.

My next step will involve searching for Hugh Ross' service record from the National Archives and to continue my dialogue with the researcher from the Highlanders Museum to try and discover more about the action of the 4th Bn Seaforth Highlanders on the 9th and 10th May 1915. I will also try and confirm whether or not LCpl and Sergeant Hugh Ross are the same or different persons.

This is an ongoing project to discover more about members of my family who served their country during the First and Second World Wars and I will continually revisit this over the coming year. Please let me know if you found or would find something like this interesting and if you're new to the blog, sign up and 'follow' it or leave a comment!

Sunday, 17 October 2010


I thought I'd just give you an update on what's going on with me at the minute and apologise for the lack of recent updates!

Some of you may know that I'm still a young chap and am still at University. As this is my final year I have a lot of work and subsequently my hobbies will have to suffer - especially being separated from all your paints and figures by a 90 minute train journey! But don't worry, I've been keeping up with historical reading and so expect a few articles in the coming weeks on various subject matters including the American Revolution and the British intervention in the Sudan. They'll also be a few pictures of some terrain pieces I worked on before I went off to University and a few buildings made for me by Paul Darnell.

Thanks for your continued interest in my hobby and a big welcome to the three new followers who have taken the time to follow this blog over the weekend.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

South Staffordshire Regiment - uniform help needed

I'm currently painting up a few test figures for my Sudan project in the colours of the South Staffordshire regiment and wanted your opinion on their trousers.

Below are two images, both from the Perry Miniatures website which demonstrate the uniform worn by the South Staffordshire regiment during their time in the Sudan. As you can see, the trousers are two different shades of grey, a lighter and a darker, but I wondered which you preferred?

Currently, the figures I'm painting are wearing the lighter shade on the left but could just as easily be given darker trousers such as those on the right.

Please let me know your opinions by leaving a comment. Thanks!