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
An annual treat
I’ve enjoyed Legionary first as a trader and then a visitor since it started in Broadclyst in 1992. My minor claim to fame is coming up with the name for the show in a committee meeting in my mother’s garden many years ago. I was inspired by Exeter’s Roman heritage and I think I still have the Blue Peter style artwork I made for posters somewhere!
Now housed in The Livestock Centre at Matford near Exeter the show has a good venue with road and public transport access. Plenty of room as well which is always good.
Lots of games and activity this year. I liked the Rapid Fire World War Two game and enjoyed catching up with Will about the lack well proportioned French Indian War figures.
A War and Conquest Dark Ages game from Rob Broom looked fun with a last stand on a hill worthy of the bards.
My favourite game was a 1930s set game based on Exmouth. Appropriately the game was put on by Mick from the Exmouth Imperials Club. This used the Very British Civil War rules and setting.
When this game came out I was a bit dubious in case it was an excuse for the lunatic fringe to popularise Mosely’s blackshirts. Happily I was completely wrong and it reflects the full complexity if 1930s politics along with exercising the imagination.
As an aside my father threw eggs at the Blackshirts in London in his teens. He told me they were big blokes, could run fast and hit hard!
A show is always good for stocking up on figures and stuff! I got a couple of show special offers and a bargain pack of Spartan Officers who will become fashionable officers for Greek mercenaries in my 4th Century BC Persian army.
No show is complete without a random purchase. This year it was a baby mammoth. Maybe time for that prehistoric Hordes of the Things army?