Reaching peak firelock
Firelocks were infantry armed with muskets with flint firing mechanism instead of the more common burning match. This made them much safer around combustible items like powder. This may have been offset by the fondness for clay pipes in the 17th-century though!
I used the Warlord Games plastic firelock figures because I had gathered quite a lot of them. By the time I finished I probably had more firelocks than Charles I and Cromwell combined! I also made some baggage for them to guard.
Assembling and painting the firelocks
The figures are simple castings and fit together easily. Not the the most exciting of figures but they do the job well. I used spare hats from other Warlord Games plastics for this period for variety. For a sergeant for each company I used pieces from the command sprue and a pikeman body. Again from the English Civil War plastics range.
I use plastic figures because they are cheap and I don’t feel obliged to spend ages painting them! So an undercoat of Humbrol dark brown matt enamel was followed by acrylics. I use Citadel base colours and Vallejo Heavy Colours because they cover well. A varnish with Humbrol matt enamel varnish and job done. I based them on Renedra plastic bases and used my own mix of basing gunk.
I painted a red and a blue uniformed unit to represent the Oxford Army of 1643. The idea being to use these for the western battles.
The third unit was painted grey with some orange tawny hat bands to depict a generic Parliamentarian regiment.
Baggage to guard
Firelock guards are recorded as protecting vital stores like powder. So I made an ammunition cart and a water cart. I used 4Ground MDF models assembled with PVA glue, undercoated with Wilko spray undercoat and finished with acrylics.
The MDF models were easy to assemble although some parts are fragile. Breakages are easily fixed with a spot of PVA though! The only shortcoming is detail is only on one side of the parts. For example, where the inside of a wheel is visible the surface is plain. This shouldn’t put you off I think because it’s only visible on close inspection.
The annual wargames show in Exeter
This year’s show lived up to expectations. Plenty of great looking games spread across history with quite a few non historical games. The Star Wars competition looked spectacular with all the space maps joined together. I was so impressed I forgot to take a photo!
A good variety of traders with plenty of stock meant temptation but I mostly managed to resist. And an impressive bring and buy where I got a couple of bargains.
Helms Deep besieged in Exeter
The Exmouth Imperial Wargames Club who run the show had a good looking siege of Helm’s Deep game. The fortress itself was very impressive with the stone beautifully painted. Talking of painting I was impressed to hear the elves had been painted for the game.
Napoleonics in America
Another game that caught my eye was Graham Cookson’s War of 1812 game. The smoke effect on the rocket team looked most convincing!
As usual the show was a great opportunity to catch up with people. I had my annual chat with Martin Goddard from Peter the Pig who seems to be making the Russian army of the Second World War on a 1:1 basis.
I look forward to next year’s show
The English Civil War in a box!
I last got to grips with the English Civil War on the tabletop in the late 1970s. Then it was WRG rules and the Airfix guide, both by George Gush. The figures were Minifigs and painted in the traditional 1970s rugby shirt style hoops on the sleeves. I sold the figures but kept my interest in the period.
Seeing the Warlord Games plastic figures I was tempted again. Seeing their starter pack of rules and figures at a bargain price I gave into temptation!
What do you get in the box?
Well, it’s a bumper box of blokes for sure! A good mix of foot and horse, all in plastic. The advantage of having them all at once is it allows mixing of hats and arms. The rule book is very nicely produced, clear to read, enjoyable battle accounts and has a nice common sense tone to it.
You don’t get the bases and flags that you get in the indiviual boxed sets. Having to buy or make bases does take away from this being the English Civil War in a box set. If flags and bases were included this would be a fantasitc starter set instead of just a really good one.
The one drawback of the infantry sprues is they only have just enough hats for all the figures. Swapping arms and mixing in hats from the firelock armed figures rings the changes. You also get a spare figure on the infantry sprue and I am using them for sergeants and extra drummers with spare bits from the command sprue.
The figures fit well in the main. I did find a bit of extra glue helped fill any gaps. I use liquid plastic glue on the figures and tube plastic glue for horses which tend to have bigger gaps.