Monday 5 October 2009

Duke of Exeter's Battle

Well it's taken me a while to get started, but I finally have Sir Robert Hollands contingent finished and Sir Lionel Welles contingent started.
Holland's Billmen (Back 2 Left), Dismounted Knights (Back 2 Right) and Archers (Front 2)

Holland's Billmen (Back 2 Left), Archers (Front 2) and Welles' Dismounted Knights (Back 2 Right).
It hasn't been as bad as I thought painting all these and I should have Sir Lionel Welles' contingent finished in the next couple of weeks. Then just Sir Richard Welles, Lord Grey and Sir William Beaummont's to do to finish my first battle.
Steve S

Tuesday 29 September 2009

The Earl of Suffolk's Contingent

I have now completed four out of five contingents for Edward's command at Towton. I had actually finished these last week but my wife unreasonably demanded my attention over the weekend so I could not get them photographed and blogged until today. The final contingent is being painted for me by Steve of steves blog, so I shall be turning my attention to Northumberland's command next. But first, here is the Earl of Suffolk's contingent.

Suffolk's Knights
(Click all pictures for larger images)

Suffolk's Billmen

Suffolk's Archers

Suffolk's Whole Contingent

Edward's Command (missing troops represented by blank bases)

Almost There

What happened to September? Following my return from France at the end of August life has interfered dramatically with my time. I've been away on business on average 2-3 days per week. However the second contingent is almost complete and should appear in their finished form this weekend. The 2 bases of archers have taken almost two weeks to complete which in terms of my painting schedule is a disaster.

However I'm hopefull that October will provide some light at the end of the tunnel and that the third contingent will be completed in a far quicker time slot.

Saturday 19 September 2009

Edmund Lord Grey of Ruthyn's Contingent

Poleaxed gives Sir Edmund Grey of Ruthin a contingent of levy archers and levy billmen. I chose to use the Baccus Longbowmen in Jack (WOR1) for the archers and Billmen in Jack (WOR3) for the billmen to differentiate the levy quality troops from the retinue quality troops. To further create the impression of irregular levies I used several different colours for the jacks rather than giving them livery jackets. I am unsure just how true this is to life, but it should give a reasonable impression on the table. The stands do not have flags yet, but they will do shortly. I just wanted to get pictures on the blog now and could not wait to get the flags sorted!

As usual, click the pictures for a larger version.

Levy Archers

Levy Billmen

The Whole Contingent

That's another 8 stands done and just leaves me 16 more stands to complete Edward's command, 112 stands to complete the Yorkist army and 240 stands to complete the whole order of battle. By my reckoning, that means I need to paint 3.5 stands per week up to the end of next year. Better get cracking then! No time to blog, I have figures to paint ...

Tuesday 1 September 2009

My First Lancastrians

I painted my first Lancastrians over the weekend. So that I could get to use my figures sooner rather than later, I added some figures I already owned to the painting pile to make up Basic Impetus armies, as recorded on The Ooh Shiny Complex. The Lancastrian Basic Impetus army has two stands of Welsh or Border foot. I found that I had just enough spearmen in the lead pile to make up those two stands. These guys will fight in Northumberland's command at Towton. Only four more stands of them for me to paint. I had better order some more spearmen so that I can get on with the job.

Sir John Heron of the Ford leads some of Northumberland's spears:
(click for a larger version)

Friday 28 August 2009

Lord Fitzwarin's contingent completed

I have just completed and varnished my second contingent for Edward IV's command at Towton. This consisted of retinues from Lord Hastings and Lord Fitzwarin. I have also made flags for all of my stands to date. These should suffice until we get the official ones through. Personally, I think that they do not look bad at all and I would like to thank David Rayner for providing me with the heraldic banners, which I have rescaled to suit my figures.

This means I have now painted 522 figures out of a planned personal total of 8334 figures (i.e. one full set of the order of battle) or 18 stands out of a total of 288. That means I only have 270 stands / 7812 figures left to paint and base. It'll be a breeze!

Lord Fitzwarin's retinue (click the photos for larger versions)

Lord Hastings' Retinue

Fitzwarin's Contingent

Progress So Far

Next up will be Lord Grey of Ruthin's levies; 4 stands each of levy archers and levy billmen. In a bid to maintain my own interest in the project and to use the figures as early on as possible, I am also putting together the additional elements I need to field a couple of Basic Impetus armies. I have completed a couple of stands of mounted knights, two stands of artillery and one of handgunners so far. Currently on the painting table are two stands of spearmen (also part of Northumberland's command in the Towton game), a stand of crossbowmen and a stand of pikemen. That should help keep things fresh.

On a side note, I realised that if I paint everything I need for my personal target then I shall be the proud owner of four 800 point Field of Glory armies too. I reckon that means that sometime around summer next year I shall be able to try FoG too, assuming I can ever manage to read the rules. Ah well, variety will help keep me moving on this project.

Monday 24 August 2009

Better Pics.

Didn't realise the pics looked so bad, so whilst my gorgeous lady is getting ready to go out snook some more which are better.

First Contingent

With just 14 hours to go before I wizz off to France for a bit of 'bunker busting' with some colleagues I managed to get the first contingent finished. Sorry for the oicture quality but I guess I've rushed as my good lady would like me to take her out for tea before I disappear and can't understand the urgency to post!

Even though the pics aren't the best it gives a good impression of what everything will look like. I've put banners and standards on to try and start and get an idea of what looks right on the figures. I quite like the Neville set up compared to Scrope, i.e. the small swallow tail with the archers, the badge banner with the bills and the large standard with the men at arms?

They will easily be replaced when the time comes but for now at least it gives an idea what it will look like. Any way first contingent done, 6 days in France and then start on the second with a fury!!.

Wednesday 12 August 2009

First bases

Well my first three bases are complete, 1 man at arms and two long bow the billmen will be finished tonight and that will give me half of the first contingent. I have had a go at making my own banners/standards for now and will replace with appropriate freezywater flags when they arrive, however they do not do badge banners and do not do all the livery banners hence my own attempt at Scropes.

I don't think they've come out so bad and I would hope to give all the archer bases the small badge standard and all men at arms/billmen (retinue) the livery banner. Not certain yet about Levy troops. Will be another week or so till I catchup with Ruarigh and have the first contingent complete. But we're off. In terms of the painting whilst I don't normaly use the army painter I have in this case. The figures have been brushed over with army painter and then sprayed with anti shine. I think it will strengthen them and creates a not bad effect. As usual figures are by Baccus and bases by ERM

Monday 10 August 2009

My First Contingent

I completed my first contingent over the weekend. Only four more to go and I shall have completed my first command. This contingent comprises ten stands, which means that I only have 278 stands to go to complete my personal target for the project. So, enough rambling, here are some pictures of the contingent, which consists of Edward IV's retinue and Sir Henry Bouchier's retinue. This contingent contains 294 figures and would probably be represented by a mere 40 figures in 15mm or larger scales.

The figures are all Baccus 6mm, based on mdf bases from East Riding Miniatures using the Baccus Basing System. We are awaiting the arrival of flags, so they have no banners or standards yet, but I look forward to remedying that when Freezywater/The Lance and Longbow Society send them through (it's a bit of a job sorting out all the flags we need for our refight).
Looking again at these pictures, I realise that I should have straightened a few of the bills. That is one problem with 6mm figures; pole weapons bend easily. Still, I reckon that even with these few figures, the sense of mass ought to come through.

The whole contingent arrayed for battle with the archers in the front:

The archers:

Dismounted knights:

The billmen:

Wednesday 5 August 2009

They're here!

Good kind posty delivered two boxes of goodies. The first phase is here and thanks go to Pete and Igor for pulling the stops out and turning the order round so quick. Lots and lots and lots of figures.
No pics but I'm off now to stick the first contingent on the painting sticks and then into the garage for an undercoat.
Tomorrow the start !!!!!

Monday 3 August 2009

Patiently Waiting

Without wishing this to sound like 'Wargamers Annonymous' - I'm Graham and I collect toy soldiers, I live in Redcar on the North East coast and am 52 years of age. I have more than enough figures to paint to see me through the next twenty years!!! So why get involved in this?
Together with other colleagues I've put on demonstration games at shows since the early 80's, always using 28mm and I still mainly game in that scale.

However last year after a visit to the Baccus open day I found myself collecting 6mm Franco-Prussians and starting to look at disposing my large lead mountain and replacing it with a smaller one! But I found the figures are great, paint well and en masse look damn impressive.

The WOTR is one of my favourite periods and I had disposed of my 28mm collection some years ago, however as we gamers do I was contemplating a return but undecided where to start, then came this years Baccus open day, a bit of pixie dust, some talk in the pub and Ruarigh's damn invititation to participate in the biggest battle on English soil. Too much!!! I succumbed so easily, the imagination of those 25,000 or is it 33,000 now little warrriors on good looking terrain just proved too much, so I signed up.

The first figures have been sold on ebay to fund this, the order has been placed and I wait patiently for the Post Man to arrive with my new army. Hopefully by Wednesday they will be here, by Thursday undercoated and by the weekend who knows.

Wargaming is wonderful hobby!!!!

Watch this space.

About Me

Hi, I'm Keith. I currently live in Nottingham where I am studying for a BA in archaeology. History and archaeology are my life, and I have had a long interest in the Wars of the Roses, so much so that five years ago I started write a book on the battles of Tewkesbury and Barnet which has seen me travelling all over the country collecting every scrap of information. Little did I know what I was getting myself into!

My passion for all things history has resulted in me working for a short time with the National Trust and now in the armoury at the Wallace Collection in London where I assist in the conservation of arms and armour and undertake my own research for yet another book!

As soon as I read about the Towton project I knew I had to get involved, so here I am. My interest in Towton was first sparked when the mass grave was discovered back in 1996, and since then the battle and the period have become a real passion. I couldn't begin to count the number of books, papers and other bits and pieces I have amassed relating to the Wars of the Roses, but all I do know is that I'm in danger of being buried alive.

Further interest developed when I found out I was a descendant of a number of individuals who fought in the wars, not least the Bourchiers who fought at Towton.

Anyway, enough for now. I will add more posts as I begin work on the figures. So off to do some research......

Saturday 1 August 2009

More About My Elephant's Ear

As promised, here are some pictures with a little explanatory text and rather too many statistics. First, my elephant's ear, Edward IV's command as it arrived yesterday from Baccus(Click pics for larger versions):

Everything was very well packed and all the figures were in bags marked with what they contained. Peter had acceded to my demands for a non-standard mix of ordinary troops and command strips (the minis come on strips of four figures) and had marked on the bags how many of each was in each bag.

With the shiny new figures in my grubby mitts, I set to and sorted out what I needed for Edward IV's command. There are a few figures left over because the commands do not conform exactly to the packs of 24 strips (96 figures each). These will be put towards the next command I produce.

As mentioned before, I also received a large bag full of pre-cut 60x30mm mdf bases from East Riding Miniatures. I immediately sorted out what I needed for Edward's command and laid them out on the table. You can see the pile of additional stands in the corner. I have enough for about 2/3 of the Yorkist army. This picture shows Edward's command as it would be deployed, but sans figures. How depressing to see so many empty stands! The 30x40mm stand in front of the battle will be Edward's command stand. I plan to make it a little diorama but am unsure just what to put on it yet.

Our basic core army will consist of six commands like this one and once painted will contain 8514 figures. This command alone will contain 1212 figures. However, me being me, I had to lay out our ultimate goal too. This picture shows Edward's battle at triple size (The rule in the front of the picture is 1' or 30cm long).

If we succeed in fielding the armies at triple size, as we hope to, then we shall field 25470 figures in the whole army and Edward's command will contain 7242 figures. After laying out the triple size army, I suddenly thought about expanding the game further. What if we could do the game at quadruple size? I did not have enough stands to lay out Edward's whole command at quadruple size, so I have done a rather simplistic and not very competent photoshop job on what I did have to give an idea of how it might look.

Each of the contingents in this command has a frontage of 24cm or 9.5". The whole command would have a frontage on the table of 1.2m or 4'. Now that's more like it! The whole army in this case would consist of 33948 figures, with Edward's battle containing 9654 figures. Oh yes, now that's what I call a game!

Right, enough blogging, I have figures to prepare and undercoat, while I also need to clear my painting table so that I can crack on with the Towton project. Wish me luck, I am going in!

Friday 31 July 2009

How do you eat an elephant?

Answer: One bite at a time.

Who am I?
This is my first diary entry of the project. As you will find, I am somewhat prolix and can write lots about virtually nothing. I am Ruarigh. I live near Hull in East Yorkshire and am an archaeologist by profession. I have worked in archaeology in various capacities for the past twenty years. I specialise in Anglo-Saxon and Viking Age archaeology, language, literature, history and culture and embrace a fully multi-disciplinary approach. Currently I am also studying for a part-time PhD in Viking Age warfare, which will see me becoming the world expert on berserkerology if I ever complete it, at least until the next person comes along and advances study of the subject beyond what I have done. My approach has been described as textual archaeology, but it has a strong cognitive element, or, as Neil Price puts it, it is the 'archaeology of the odd'. But that is probably more than you really wish to know about me.

What am I doing?
I received an elephant ear in the post today. The figures I need for Edward IV's command in our basic order of battle arrived from Baccus Miniatures. I ordered them only a day or so ago, so the turnaround has been really quick despite the fact that Pete was busily preparing to go to Claymore at the time. I also received the 2.5mm thick MDF bases that I ordered from Tony Barr at East Riding Miniatures. I ordered those on Thursday and they arrived on Friday. That's pretty good turnaround in anybody's book. I know Tony and like him, so I am pleased to be able to directly support him in this.

So, I have enough figures and bases to put together my first command of the army. The next step is to prep and undercoat the figures, then I need to get them painted. By my reckoning I need to paint one command every two months to meet the project goals.

I plan to build one set of the whole basic order of battle as my contribution to this project. Pete Berry at Baccus is offering a generous discount to the project team to help us achieve our goals. This has made buying the whole order of battle achievable for me.I just need to have a bit of a clear out and sell some stuff on eBay so that I can raise the money for it, because I am currently 'resting' between jobs thanks to my very kind former employers. Still, it gives me time to pursue my PhD in more detail and to get on with this project. Gotta look on the bright side.

Pictures to follow tomorrow.

Tuesday 28 July 2009


I blame Pete Berry. He sits there on my shoulder, whispering into my ear like a cartoon devil. This time it was a comment about the battle of Towton.

"I know you cannot afford to stage the game yourself, but why don't you project manage it?" He said to me. The man is made of pure evil. I tried to ignore his simple question. I tried to go to sleep and forget about it, but the possibilities kept rising up into my dreams. I dreamt of a game in which the Battle of Towton was refought using large armies that gave a proper impression of the numbers at the battle. It was too tempting. I posted an enquiry on the Baccus forum to see if there would be any interest. There was. Clearly Pete has been visiting various members of the forum at night and whispering evil plans into their ears too.

So, four of us have got together to put on a demo game of the Battle of Towton. Rhys is in London. Steve and I are in Hull. Graham is in Redcar. Apart from Steve and I, we have never met except online. Yet we are planning a wargamers' co-operative. Each of us will paint part of the army for this battle and we shall each bring our efforts to the table at shows in 2011. Why 2011? Well, it is the 550th anniversary of the largest and bloodiest battle in England.

On Palm Sunday 1461, around 70,000 men met in battle near Towton. The battle was fought in a raging snow storm between the House of Lancaster and the House of York and at the end of it an estimated 28,000 men lay dead. Who knows how many more died later of their wounds? It has been estimated that 2% of the population of England were involved in this battle and that the number of dead was around 1% of the English population at that time. That is rather a lot of people. Worse yet, no quarter was given. There was no call to "spare the commons". About half the dead appear to have been casualties during the battle. The rest seem to have died in the rout with most dying in Bloody Meadow.

Our goal is to model this battle at a suitable ratio of men per figure so that the sheer mass of the battle can be seen on the table. I would love to field all 70,000 figures, but I believe that number is beyond our reach at the moment. We are adopting a staged approach to producing figures for the game. Our first tranche of figures will be the 8,500 figures we need to do for the basic refight. With those under our belt, and if all has gone well, we plan to produce an additional 4,250 figures to expand the size of the armies, followed by the same again to double the initial army size. Depending upon time and support for the project, we hope to be able to add an additional 8,500 figures to the armies after that. With those added, we could field over 25,000 figures on the table at a figure:man ratio of 1:3. That ought to look moderately impressive.

We shall be using Baccus 6mm figures for the armies, all based on 60mm*30mm elements. The Lance and Longbow Society/Freezywater have promised to produce suitable 6mm flags for us; their range of material for this period is excellent and generally very well researched. For the refight we plan to use Poleaxed 2 as our main rules system, which are also available from the Lance and Longbow Society. We may instead use this opportunity to playtest to destruction the forthcoming Poleaxed 3 rules, which are a revision of Poleaxed 2, but such decisions will be based on the playtesting of the scenario.

Along the way and to keep our sense of progress up, we plan to put on some of the battles that were fought in 1460. These were much smaller affairs so we can use some of our newly painted figures more quickly to help keep us enthused.

There are only four of us involved in the project directly at the moment. If you feel that you would like to join in, please drop us a line. It would be useful to have an additional four team members to help with buying and painting the armies, and with running the game at shows. Even if you do not wish to take part in producing the game, I hope you will come and admire the game once it is done. There may be space for you to take command of a battle for a while too, to relive the events of that bloody Sunday, albeit in a safer environment.

We hope you enjoy watching our progress on this project and that it inspires you to try something of your own.