|Parliamentary Foot prepare to receive Royalist Horse. Taken from the Battle of Buckden|
I have been painting model soldiers for about six years or so. As a child I would buy the Airfix 1/72nd scale soldiers, about forty troops in a box for the princely sum of two shillings (10 pence).
Having a paper round that paid six shillings a week and believe me that was a fortune for a 13 year old back in the sixties, I would normally buy two boxes to compliment each other. One week it would be the Eighth Army plus the Afrika Corps, the next US Marines and Japanese Infantry, all battles being fought on my Mum's kitchen table.
At that time my paints consisted of Humbrol enamels, and only the basic six box set of red, yellow, black, white, blue and green. The painting was horrendous but I loved my little armies and they would march and fight their way across the table, negotiating book hills and Brillo Pad bushes. At my local library I was amazed to find a book all about war gaming with model soldiers, I cannot recall the author but it was probably Don Featherstone. I was totally surprised that adults actually played with model soldiers and the book had sets of rules for various periods of history. Needless to say, the book was borrowed and read voraciously a number of times, in fact I probably copied down most of the book in the three weeks it was on loan to me.
The battles on kitchen table now had a set of rules and dice from the Monopoly and Ludo sets were borrowed, come to think of it, I don't think they were ever returned. More boxes of Airfix swelled the ranks and many battles were fought, well, until tea time anyway. I left school at 15, yes we did then, no chance of staying on or going to university for me, get a job and start paying your way, was my Dad's message. I already had, and at the tender age of 15 I joined the Royal Navy, my beloved armies ended up being given away, after all I wouldn't need them anymore, would I?
Fast forward more years than I care to remember, I often thought back to those tiny little troops I had commanded and on the spur of the moment I bought the Airfix 'Battle of Waterloo' set. I thoroughly enjoyed painting them all up and then moved onto Greeks and Persians, Crusaders and Saracens, The Hundred Years war, Napoleonics and the American Civil War. I now discovered Italeri, ESCI and Zvezda among others. Now of course I had the funds to do this and also discovered acrylic paints. No more smelly white spirits stinking out the room. It was about two years ago I discovered 28mm! I saw the figures being produced by the Perry Brothers and Warlord Games and was immediately hooked.
I decided that I would only buy and paint troops from era's that I hadn't already covered in 1/72, which limited me somewhat, however I ordered a Roman Army starter set and a couple of boxes of Ancient Britons from Warlord. The sculpts were superb (all plastic) and hard plastic to boot, not the bendy plastic of the 1/72nd scale. I built and painted the models, not to a particularly high standard, I could blame failing eyesight and a less than steady hand but to be honest I am just a rubbish painter. I do enjoy painting them though and as I am the only one they have to please, then then they will do for me.
The English Civil War or more correctly the War of the Three Kingdoms or British Civil Wars, have always fascinated me. It was also an era I had not covered in 1/72nd scale. I duly ordered a Warlord Games Battalia Starter Set, it contained enough figures for two each of Foot and Horse regiments plus a small storming party. The figures are superb and I decided then that I would concentrate on that period and build up two armies, one for the King and the other for Parliament. I also decided I would war game once again, only this time it was on my kitchen table!
I now have 400+ troops with more being completed each month. I have even had a medium sized battle which was well received on my You Tube channel. Assuming this blog works and also that I can actually find it again, I will chart the story of my Civil War armies and include photos and thoughts along the way. If you are still awake after reading this and are interested in seeing more, please feel free to call back anytime.