Thursday, November 1, 2012

English Civil War: Royalist Infantry pt 1

   My English Civil War Armies are probably among the oldest remaining in my collection. I started them in 1974, during my second semester of college, using the brand new Minifigs range, which were top of the line at the time (and still are very nice figures, honestly). Unfortunately, they are probably also among the least used of all my figures. There are a a variety of reasons for that, but the chief one is never really finding a set of rules for this era that excited me. My original inspiration for these armies was the "Cavaliers and Roundheads" rules by future D&D coauthor Gary Gygax and  Jeff Perren, and then later Bill Protz's  "The Wargamers's Guide to the English Civil War", which is still available, now in a 2nd edition. The ECW has always seemed to me like a conflict that is best gamed from a campaign standpoint. Indeed, the ideas just recently hinted at in Sam Mustafa's upcoming "Longstreet" rules might adapt especially well for the ECW, or alternatively Bob Jones' forthcoming "Die Marching", especially if he does the Pike and Shot version of his "Die Fighting!"rules (tentatively entitled "Die for the King!"). Hmmm!  Some of the local guys are also gearing up Pike and shot armies as well. So, perhaps these troops will get "out of the closet" a bit more now.

   Anyway, these figures are painted in a style I no longer use, with an India Ink pen used to outline and separate the various colors, lines in the armor, etc. It works very well on these well detailed but fairly smooth figures, however. Indeed, my ECW Royalist army is the only one of mine to ever have been entered in a painting competition, and won the Minifigs prize at one of the old MFCA conventions in Chester, PA way back in the mid 1970's. The uniforms of these troops is beyond doubt far too "uniform" (and probably too ornate as well) for this era, but I was looking very much for a "toy soldier"sort of look with these armies.

First up is Colonel Henry Tiller's Greencoats. IRC, this was an Irish regiment that served the Royalist cause. Here is the regiment in March column, passing through a town in the English countryside. Buildings are from the Hovels line.

The red sashes were a common field sign for Royalist officers. Note also the red "12 Apostles", pre-mixed charges for the musketeers, worn slung around the neck.

Like most ECW foot regiments, the standards, often one per pike company, are simple but effective. The field was often but not always in the coat color, and the devices on the filed indicated which company the flag belonged to. The Colonels flag was often just one solid color,  with or without the red cross of St. George in the canton. The Lt. Colonel or Major's flag had the addition of a "pile wavy" coming from the corner of the canton, while the 1st Captain's company had one device on the field, the 2nd Captain's company two devices, and in this case the Third Captain's company has three devices. The device could just be a simple roundel, but was often taken from or inspired by the coat of arms of the Colonel.

This view shows the plumes decorating the hats of the Musketeer companies, and the helmets of the pikemen

This rear view shows some additional details of the figures, especially the plumes and armor.

The second Regiment for today is one of the Earl of Norwich's. Norwich raised a large contingent in support of King Charles II, all noted to be Whitecoats. As I painted these troops while in college in Connecticut, I took as many of the regiments as possible that were drawn from towns in Britain that have namesakes here in Connecticut. Two of my close friends in college were from Norwich, CT, self styled "The Rose of New England", so I HAD to have a Norwich regiment in my Royalist army. 

The ornate apple tree and rose device on the flag is in fact taken from the seal of Norwich (CT) Free Academy, which takes the place of a public High School in that town. On the High School version of the seal, the scroll has some kind of academic motto, but I have changed it to a more martial sounding one - "King, Duty and Honour!"

The four roundels on the other flag represent abstracted "apples" from the tree motif . Note the ornate edging on the baggy trousers of the Musketteers.

A rear view of this Norwich regiment, showing details of the equipment, as well as another view of the "Tree of Knowledge" motif.

More next time...   "Dieu et mon Droit!"



  1. English Civil War is not a period played in our club, but your figurines, beautiful, are a great temptation!

    1. Thanks, Phil. The Pike and shot era is an interesting change of pace!

  2. Glad to see these out of their boxes; perhaps a game using AoF? I can put togither 4 decent sized units of foot just from the OG and probably another couple from the minifigs from the same era as yours.

    Don't forget, Roger has a huge, mostly pike Scottish army which always needs an opponent.

    1. We will definitely have to do something, Joe - we have enough people with interest, just a matter of coordination and rules!

  3. Great to see these old Minifigs again - a range that deserves far more credit than they get! I also collected a Minifigs ECW army in the early 70s and had figures of this style and the earlier style (they rather annoyingly redesigned the range in the middle of the project). Sadly I no longer have the figures but have been told that they still reside in the attic of an old school friend!

    1. Yes, these are the "New" Minifigs that started coming out circa 1974, and were a notable improvement upon the earlier models. IMHO, the ECW range, along with the Assyrians and Egyptians, were probably the best they ever did.

  4. Replies
    1. Hey Larry!

      Good to hear from you; I'll drop you a line privately....