Monday, 1 March 2010

ECW Firelocks - Warlord Games

The English Civil War (1642-1651) saw the gradual introduction of the firelock musket into British warfare. This style of weapon would remain in use for several hundred years. The firelock was a muzzle loading firearm where a flint replaced the burning wick on the matchlock. Although more expensive to manufacture it had several advantages. Firelock carrying soldiers were often employed to protect artillery positions as you wouldn't want anyone wondering around barrels of gunpowder with lit matches. It was useful in situations such as night time fighting where a glowing match could give away your position. It also had the advantage of not having to keep the match constantly lit during the inclement British weather.

With this set from Warlord Games 'Firelock Storming Party' (£12) you receive eighteen figures in total, consisting of two metal command figures and sixteen plastic figures. My major concern when I initially saw the contents was the fact that the plastics are all of the same moulded figure. On the individual spruces you have the option of two arm poses and two styles of headwear which will give you a degree of variation but not enough for my liking. You may notice that there are a few more than the original eighteen in total, this is because I decided to add a few, five to be precise; leaving me with an odd number (this occurred because I wasn’t paying attention and/or I can’t count!).

The command consists of two metal figures. These are modelled in nicely dramatic poses. The officer carries a partizan, a medieval polearm which became a symbol of authority (and is still carried by some Beefeaters at the Tower of London during parades). The drummer also gives the impression of movement and fighting spirit.

With two of the original figures below I decided to spice them up a little. One is leading from the front with a sword in hand; the other is armed with a pistol, but still carrying their firelocks in their left hand. This was achieved by means of cutting and carving the existing arms taken from the command sprue from WG's plastic infantry box set. The right arm/hands were completely removed and the stock was 'cleaned' up. The left hand, still holding the firelock, was then cut off at the wrist and then reattached to a spare arm.

One pikeman figure and four musketeer figures were modified to represent soldiers carrying firelocks. To do this I removed the cartridge cases from the bandoliers and the matchlock moulding from the musket. Belly boxes were then added using greenstuff.

Modified figure shown on the left, the other figures (Whitecoats) are made up straight from the box.
The figures were painted red so they can represent Parliamentarian or Royalist soldiers. Rupert's firelock troops are known to have to worn red uniforms.

Again, all the figures seen here are from Warlord Games' Pike and Shotte range. On the English Civil War front the next figures will be a set of Covenanters from Renegade Miniatures. I’ve been sidetracked again by another project (again) but I’ll post about that at a latter point.