Saturday, 10 October 2015

2mm ECW

A period I have been interested in, yet never taken the plunge, is the English Civil War. Mainly the same reasons as it took me 30 years to finally do WSS, I was never interested enough to do serious uniform research for larger scale figures. However, a chance purchase from Mr Gow of some 2mm pike blocks got me thinking. I already had a load of 2mm WSS foot and horse, and in this scale no-one could actually tell what uniforms the units are wearing, so coupled with a few more pike blocks.....

The resulting mayhem.

The elements I had were supplemented with a few/several/quite a few extra pike blocks from Irregular (and some more horse and guns, well you can never have too many can you?). Sorting out the proportions of various types was fairly easy as once more Neil Thomas had ridden to the rescue with an eminently approachable set of pike & shot rules, coupled with vast army lists. Just to be on the safe side I sorted out enough stuff to do not only the ECW, but also the Thirty Years War (also a long abiding interest) and the oft neglected Franco-Spanish War.

I based all the elements the same as my existing WSS figures, on 30x15mm bases with multiple strips of foot, horse or guns. Some elements (like Tercios and some very big pike blocks) I put on 30x30 to use as double size bases. As Neil Thomas's units have six bases (twelve for Tercios and TYW units), I also made up a load of magnetic movement trays in various denominations as the tiny elements are so fiddly to move otherwise.

For a scenario I chose Edgehill and took the terrain, OB and deployment from Richard Brook's excellent 'Battlefields of Britain'.

A some what blurry shot of Edgehill. The lower slopes are on the right, tributary of the river Dene at the top. Parliament on the left, the Kings Army on the right. Rupert is leading the Royalist horse forward at the very top, and at the bottom, Parlimentary horse have driven back their opposite numbers. The infantry centre is engaged in musketry.
Push of Pike in the centre. The Royalists have suffered brutally from the more effective Parliamentary musketry.
 The game was run at the Sheffield club, the overall battlefield was 80cm x 80cm (I reduced the suggested ground scale slightly as I use 30mm wide bases, not 40mm) and the armies broadly used the historical deployment although Parliament decided that their left flank was a lost cause against Rupert, so reinforced the horse on their right.

Deciding moment of the game, the weakened Parliamentary horse manages a spectacular saving throw!

The battle folowed the broadly historical course,much to my delight. The centre engaged in a dour slugging match, with parliament gaining the upper hand due to their superior equipment, however Rupert routed the Parlament left, and promptly left the battlefield to loot the baggage! This prompted half the Parliamentary centre to head for the hills, and suddenly things looked a bit brighter for the struggling Royalist pikemen. However over on the right, the parliamentary horse won a spectacular victory over their Royalist counterparts despite being completely outmatched, and in turn they overran the Royalist artillery and also headed for the baggage. The weakened Royalist centre broke, leaving both sides utterly exhausted and with an honourable draw.

I was really rather pleased with how it went. The toys were a bit fiddly, but the movement trays helped a great deal, and the rules (which looked a bit dubious at first) produced an exciting and fast moving game which was over by a thoroughly civilised 9pm. Neil Thomas triumphs again! I wish I had his rule writing skill. For the next outing I'd like to try the Thirty Years War, but although I studied it at school and University, my memory is hazy and I'll need to do a bit of reading. Which is lucky, as I've just bought 'Europes Tragedy' by Peter Wilson.



  1. Good to see. They have that look of massed pikes about them.

    If I recommend CV Wedgewood, I've always found her riveting.

  2. Thanks Conrad. Each base has 70 figures on, so the foot regiments have over 400 figures. Roughly 1:5 scale for this battle.

    I still have a copy of Wedgewood on my shelves, along with Geoffrey Parker et al.

  3. I'm just reading Europe's Tragedy on my Kindle. I'm exhausted and I haven't got as far as the fighting yet.

  4. Yes, it was a long and hugely complex conflict. I'll be interested to see what Wilsons take on it is.