A few years ago I picked up one of Warlord Games English Civil War starter battalion boxes. I've added a few extra bits and bobs to it since, but never got round to assembling or painting any of it. Part of the problem was that most English Civil War rules seem to require an awful lot of models to play, at least as many as one of my Warhammer armies, and I would need two to do anything with them. The other problem, was not being able to decide on a theme, or even a colour scheme for my army.
The first problem was solved when Osprey Publishing conveniently released "the Pikeman's Lament" a set of rules by Daniel Mersey and Michael Leck, developed from Lion Rampant and Dragon Rampant and designed to represent skirmishes between small companies of men. Having gotten hold of the rules, I realised pretty quickly that I could easily put together two companies of 24 points with the models I already owned.
The second problem resolved itself when I took a trip to Basing House at the end of September last year. Basing House would be one of the most impressive Tudor Houses in Britain if it wasn't completely in ruins. Once that Home of the Marquis of Winchester, it withstood a long siege during the Civil War before finally being stormed by the New Model Army under the command of Oliver Cromwell. The house wasn't actually destroyed by Cromwell, but it was left abandoned and much of it was scavenged to provide building material for the local village of Old Basing. The sight is worth a visit, featuring a small Museum and a visitor centre and there's an audio tour you can download from their website. The place is in walking distance of Basingstoke Railway Station, though you will have to trample through some muddy fields to get there.
Basing House has seen better days
Though the gardens still look nice
The sight also hosts an annual Civil War re-enactment day. Last September, historical re-enactors from the The Marquess of Winchester's regiment set up a living history camp, carried out some Pike and Musket drill and enacted a small skirmish between infantry and artillery. It was all pretty good fun and I got plenty of pictures.
The Regiment on display
It occurred to me at the time, that I had more than enough models to recreate all the people involved in the event and more. Also, a large house under siege could be a pretty interesting backdrop for more than a few skirmish games. I finally had my theme.
My first Pikeman's Lament unit is this group of shot, all armed with standard Flintloque muskets and wearing the regiment's red coats. Although I kept the red as a linking colour, I tried to vary the look of them as much as possible. This was before the era of true mass production or industrial dyes.
My second unit are Pikeman. Despite having plenty of plastic pike, most of these are actually from a box of Warlord metal armoured Pikeman. The reason for this is that the re-enactors mostly wore armour and Warlord's plastics mostly don't. The Winchesters justify their look on the basis that the Marquess was a rich man who could afford to equip his men well, but I suspect most of them just like being well kitted out. I decided to follow the re-enactors, though the command group are plastics from Warlord. The Batallion box even came with an appropriate flag that matched the regimental colours.
Two units down. With the Pikeman upgraded to Veteran, to represent their armour, that's 10 points so far. I still have another unit of Shot, a unit of Commanded Shot (skirmishers) and a Cannon to complete.
Incidentally, if you're interested in the Marquess of Winchester Regiment, they have a website at www.marquisofwinchesters.co.uk with plenty of good pictures and also feature fairly prominently in the first episode of the series Weekend Warriors, which was screened on the Yesterday Channel in the UK. The episode is available on demand here though you may have to register to watch it.