Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Story so far

Here's the covenanters in all their glory.  Project on hold until Royalists catch up!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Northern Levies

Although the Colonel of this regiment was Hugh, 7th Lord Lovat, the main driving force for the Covenant was Sir James Fraser of Brea, who was the Laird’s tutor and regiments Lieutenant Colonel.  In 1644, the clan could see that action was imminent and set to building defenses around it’s lands, aided no doubt, by the experience of Major Hugh Fraser, who had served with the Swedish Army.  The regiment formed with Argyll’s army that winter but did not travel south, missing Inverlochy, as it served as the primary garrison around Inverness.
The Frasers fought at Auldearn, were the regiment lost 87 married men (unmarried men were of no consequence as they had no wives to petition the laird!).  After the battle Clan Fraser retreated into their defenses, whilst Montrose (with the help of Seaforth) scoured their lands.  With Middleton’s arrival in the north in 1646, Fraser’s troops left their defenses and took their revenge on Mackenzies lands.  As the highlands returned to the rhythm of petty inter-clan warfare in 1646/47 eventually some of the Frasers gains were lost, most likely as the Mackenzies were pardoned and the heavy hand of government support (and jurisdiction) was lifted from the Fraser’s.

Given that this isn't the "deep" highlands, I've chosen to depict them without kilts, as they probably had more in common with the common population of Scotland rather than the "wild" clans.  However, given that they were probably levied rapidly, its unlikely they would have been given more than a bunnet, and so would be wearing their own clothes.  Thus I've pained them with some grey, but also a variety of natural tones.  The officers are a bit more snappily attired, reflecting their landed qualifications - continental fashions having reached even these parts!  The standard colour's (red and white) reflect those of  regular regiments raised locally to Nairn, the colonels standard includes the stag's head crest of the Fraser's.

Again the photo's are not the best, it was over 100 outside and the figures were almost to hot to handle!  will do a full army shoot in the autumn.  Next regiment on the list is the earl of Findlater's, but don't think it'll be done till late October.  Mind you I've now passed the half-way mark on my contribution!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Northern Levies - Complete

Been busy painting these guys over the last month - will do the bases in the next week and get some better photos plus a write up of the unit and the rationale behind the flags.

Not the best photos - flash or no flash that is the question....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Auldearn The Movie

360 from the summit of Garlic Hill.

Auldearn Battlefield

Auldearn has got to be one of the smallest battlefields I've ever been on.  This means that the butchers bill must have been pretty high where the action was (though a good lot of the covenanter casualties must have occurred during the rout.

Walking the terrain was good for although the hills are not that big the main three (Garlic, Castle and hill of the town) controlled not only what could be seen from any given point but also the nature of the drainage.

On either side of Garlic hill the ground is still marshy today (even with modern drainage).  This would have helped funnel the government troops along the axis of the hill, pushing MaColla and the Irish back towards the town.

However, the curve of the hill veers towards the present high street where most of the oldest houses of the village are situated. Here the land rises up again into both the town and towards the Castle hill.

From the summit of Garlic hill it is impossible to see anything other than the town and it's hills.  so the strength and position of the royalist army would have been hidden.  However, from the top of the Castle Hill, the royalist command would have been able to see most of the Covenanters and would have noticed how the regiments where stacked on top of each other, unable to bring their superior numbers to bear on the assault occurring in the village.

Garlic Hill from Castle Hill

The Doocoot on top of Castle Hill - this is a 18th century structure replacing the one which stood here during the battle

The view down the main road of Auldearn towards the front of the village - the fighting would have been down at the bottom end.

View towards Auldearn from the summit of Garlic Hill.  The Royalists would have been able to assemble their forces behind the village without the Hurry seeing how many where there and where they would be deployed. Main road into Auldearn is on the left.

Castle Hill with the doocoot on the summit.  The field below and to the other side of the road is still marshy.  The royalist cavalry swung round behind this emerging to the left to flank the government troops.

Public Information

Visited the battlefield during my holiday and the weather was even nice!  Was surprised to see signposts announcing the battlefield on the main road and even more surprised to see the two signs below.  The first was at the bus-stop, just outside the Covenanters Inn (where we stayed).  The second was on top of Eren's hill, the old motte of the medieval castle upon which a doocoot stood.  This had a bit more detail and some illustrations from Stuart Reids Osprey campaign book!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Northern Levies - work in progress

Last shot for a while as I'm away on me holidays - 16 figures still to do, plus all the hair, standards and tartans.

Image quality is pretty pish but you'll get the gist of it

Saturday, May 28, 2011

When the Levee Breaks...

Things moving on at a snails pace.  Quick work in progress of the Northern Levies - these guys need their hair done, and another 6 compatriots are waiting on the tartan.

Moved away from the hodden grey - makes them look more irregular - only having government issue head gear.

Looking forward to seeing them done (late July??).

Monday, May 9, 2011


Well it's the 366th anniversary of the battle today.  Northern levies are coming along, slight diversion with a Macbeth vignette, so nothing much to report.

However, here's a nice shot of the battlefield.  Hopefully I'll have some good shots once I 've visited in June (if the rain can stay off).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Drummond and Lawers Horse

Lawer’s Horse
Raised later than its associated foot regiment, it’s routmaster was Sir Mungo Campbell.  It joined its parent regiment on the march south with Callanders army in June 1644.  No record of its activities in England remain.
It was intended to be amalgamated with Hamilitons horse, but remained independent, serving in close association with the infantry through 1644 and 45.  At Auldearn they formed the right flank screening Cambells foote in their assault on the Village.  They were outnumbered and routed by Gordons charge. After serving through Auldearn and Alford, the troop was put on the same pay footing as Hamilton and Balcarres Horse in recognition of its experience.  However, by late summer it had been recruited up to full strength and amalgamated into Hamilton’s Horse.

Drummond’s Horse
Routmaster Henry Drummond raised his troop in April 1644 for service with the Army of the Solemn League and Covenant.  It served closely with Campbell of Lawer’s troop, both in England and once it returned to the northeast.  Both troops were brigaded together at Auldearn, presumably due to their small size.  They formed the right flank to the head of Hurrys advancing force, but sat on the flank of the Seaforths Highlanders.  When Aboyne's Horse attacked they attempted to wheel to counter but swung the wrong direction getting entangled with Seaforth, then fell back disordered into Lothian and the Lord Chancellors regiments. As with Lawer’s, the troop was amalgamated into Hamilton’s Horse later in the summer.

The flag is pure conjecture - there being no record of the original.  That being said I tried to use traditional motifs (cross-swords, thistles and covenant slogan) and chose a green back ground in contrast to the the red of the other unit (Halkett's).  I will probably do another standard specifically for Lawer's troop.

This will probably be the last post for a while as I'm working on the Northern levies just now and it's going at a snails pace.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Covenanter Cavalry 5: Flags and Stuff

March has been a busy month at work and the painting has been stopped as I've dug into motifs for the Covenanters standards.  Although at first pass their seems to be a lot of info on the Covenanters standards from those captured at Dunbar, Inverkeithing, Worcester and Preston - none of them really tie to the regiments at Auldearn.  So had to be a bit creative within the realms of historical accuracy.  That being said, I'll document the logic when the regiments are fully painted and written up.

In the meantime here's the first cav unit based up waiting for their colours.

The following image shows some work in progress on the rest of the standards - pretty daunting at first but a wee change from Little Big Mans.

Off to Rio so unit should be done in two weeks.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Covenanter Cavalry 4

Unit finished - only got the standard to paint and then the bases to do.  Once that is done I'll get some proper shots taken - but can't really knock the utility of the old IPhone!

Going to be a bit tricky getting the spacing right due to the officers sword.  Back row sits nicely though.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Covenanter Cavalry 3

Some more of the troopers.  Back row will be swords at the ready, front the command and charging types.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Covenanter Cavalry 2

Some work in progress on the cavalry.  Should be another half dozen along soon - hopefully have the whole unit done by the end of the month.  I'll do a write up of the regiment then - will have to be creative with the flag unfortunately - going to be harder painting on something a quarter the size of the infantry.

This will be an officer for one of the command vignettes. I really like the tone on this horse, doesn't really do it justice.  The plaid is the same as on the Lord Chancellors regiment.

Bit to much reflected flash. These are the real thing though - good front rank cavalry, especially the two with swords raised "gerrintaethem".  Black horses not to my cup of tea - the triad makes them too grey.  Think I might have the solution though, a black ink wash (see trooper on the lefts boots) darkens it all up again, whilst retaining some of the form.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Second Irish Regiment WIP

As my co-blogger in Houston has recently shared some WIP photos of his cavalry horses, I thought I would post some WIP photos of my second Irish Regiment for Auldearn. I have recently completed 24 Irish musketeers, which will form 2 shot sleeves of 12 each. I have also completed a couple of Scots government casualties that will be used to add some interest to the multi-figure bases. This regiment will be depicted in a desperate charge, the typical tactic the Irish used to bring their battles to a close. The figures are the excellent Eureka Irish, in charging poses, some clubbing with muskets. The casualties and Irish sergeant are Perry figures.

The unfinished bases are shown (above) arranged as per the final unit basing, with 2x12 man shot sleeves, plus the central pike block of 16, comprising 12 pikemen plus 4 command (Leader, Drummer and 2 Ensigns).

Close up of some of the Irish shot. The chap in the green smock with maroon trews (far left, middle distance), is painted as a tribute the the Sealed Knot re-enactors of "Laghtnan's Irish Regiment" who in earlier days wore this livery as a speculative uniform. Nowadays they wear the more accepted hodden grey of course.

Above, a couple of unfortunate Covenanters fall victim to the murderous irish mercenaries.

I have also included a shot of a new MacColla conversion. I have modified the Eureka MacColla figure with the addition of a beard, Scots blue bonnet, sporran and highland targe slung on back with shoulder strap. All were added with green stuff, with the targe coming from Bicorne. The green tartan trews and some highlights on the sporran are the only painting unfinished. The conversion and paint scheme is based on the depiction of MacColla by Angus McBride in the Osprey "Highland Clansmen" (Warrior 21), a beautiful painting in which he is shown desperately defending a cottage in the village of Auldearn during the heat of the battle. He can be seen below with the Perry sergeant, who will be joining the charging Irish.

I am presently working on Eureka charging pikemen (with half-pikes) and Perry Advancing command and hope to have the entire unit ready soon. I will post another WIP when the pike and command are complete.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Covenanter Cavalry 1

Been a while since anything has been posted and even longer since it was relevant to the blog. However, now back into the swing of things and looks as if I'll have a good run at it for a while with only a few distractions. The photo below is a "good-faith" work in progress shot of all the "cuddies" for the covenanter cavalry. It's been a bit of a trial to get variety in colour and learn to paint them ala Foundry but I think they came out okay. My biggest problem is painting horses in batches of 6, so I mixed them up with some dark age stuff to make sure I got plenty variety of colours. This resulted in 19 Covenanter horses, plus 9 arab, 6 dark age scot's and 7 norman nags too!

My cohort in India has picked up his paints too, so some more Irish are in the offing. Rumour has it he might be moving to a new location so we can only wait to see if Montrose and Baillie finally get to grips!!