Thursday, 28 May 2009

Sherrifmuir, 13th November 1715.

On the 13th November 1715, two armies clashed at Sherrifmuir on the Ochils slopes near Dunblane in Perthshire, Scotland. One was led by John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar, and bore the royal standard of James Stuart would be King of the British Isles. The other, the government and the new Hanoverian Kings army sent to stop a rebellion that aimed a restoration of the Stuart dynasty.

Mar, with his largely Scots Jacobite army, had swiftly taken control of Perth and most of the northern Highlands. After several skirmishes with Argyll's troops, he, Mar, was persuaded to lead his army south on the 10th, a movement that was reported to Argyll who swiftly moved his army to counter.

The scene was set, at Sherrifmuir the armies faced each other. Numbers were, depending on the source, some 8000 Jacobites versus Argylls 4000, giving Mar a two to one advantage.

Argyll, assembled his army uphill, with General Witham commanding his left. In response the Jacobite right and centre is said to have attacked this wing with such ferocity that the Hanoverian left fled, Witham himself rushing off to Stirling carrying tales of Argylls defeat. Unknown to him however, Argyll's right had smashed the Jacobite left forcing it back two miles. Nightfall put an end to the fighting leaving little change the lefts of both armies had been beaten while the right wings had proved victorious. However, in reality both armies had suffered for no gain, Argyll withdrew to Dunblane, while Mar retreated to Perth. From those positions, both sides proclaimed victory, but neither had actually won.

One has to wonder why Mar, still with a number advantage, did not continue the fight, many historians accuse him of losing interest. Whatever, Argyll won the propaganda war, with the Jacobites now proving so demoralised that even James Stuart's arrival in the December failed to arouse their spirits. The 1715 rebellion was over and he returned to France while his proud army disbanded.

(The map showing the OB, is from the 'Scot Wars' site.)

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Lord Derwentwater's Farewell

Searching for information on the 1715 Jacobite uprising I found a folk music site on the web. One of the songs there tells the story of Lord Derwentwater, a Jacobite rebel who was executed after the surrender of Preston. The story goes that he wanted to fight his way out but was convinced that surrender was best, just goes to show that sometimes your first instinct is best. Anyway the song is just one of many on what is a interesting and absorbing site.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Why the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion?

The short answer is, I don't know why I suddenly developed a passion for this brief and disastrous series of events that have become known as the '15'. I've no connection to Scotland, and I'm not religious, so why does it appeal? Perhaps it's some kind of bizarre 'underdog' thing, maybe its.... I just don't know.
The route to it was arduous, first it was James II and Sedgemoor; then it developed into the 'Glorious Revolution'; then the wars of the 'League of Augsburg'; Marlborough and the WSS; until finally Sherrifmuir. A lot of it, I think, can be laid at the door of my having seen the Reiver figure range at 'Vapnatak' at York 2009. Having gone with the sole intention of seeing how their 1690's range had developed, I found myself transfixed by their '1715 Jacobite' range. The rest, as they say, is history.

The 1715 rebellion was an ill fated disaster. Queen Anne dies without issue, the protestant government, determined to continue a protestant succession, gives the crown to the Hanoverian George, who not only speaks no English but comes with a ready made following of family and hangers on. John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar, considers himself ill served by the incoming monarch and changes his allegiance (hence his nickname, Bobbin John) and raises the Jacobite standard, declaring James Francis Edward Stuart (the Old Pretender) King of England, Scotland and Ireland in his absence. With an army believed to have numbered some 12000, he quickly took control of Perth and most of the northern Highlands.
On the 13th November 1715, he faced a Loyalist (sometimes called Hanoverian) army commanded by John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll, at Sherrifmuir near Dunblane. Although outnumbered Argyll was able to hold and by nightfall both armies had suffered severe casualties, and although Mar still held a number advantage his refusal to risk his entire force allowed Argyll to withdraw. The ensuing chaos allowed both sides to claim victory, while in reality neither side had won. James Stuart landed at Peterhead on the 23rd of December, but by then the cause was, for the most part, lost. The army was disheartened and proved unresponsive to any attempts to rouse their earlier spirits.
Argyll, on the other hand, was fully charged up, his army had been reinforced and advanced north as the Jacobites withdrew first to Montrose, where James Stuart took a ship back to France, then Ruthven where it eventualy dispersed. As usual in these afairs the final 'bill' was paid by the ordinary men and women who had followed the Stuart star, something that the Scots (for the Jacobites were mostly Scots) would be fated to continue doing.

This has been a very potted overview (for which I apologise), I will endeavour to add further detail as I find it.

And the next one is...

I've been a little off track, but only a little. These are some of the Reiver 'Hanoverian' British in Bavarian guise. I know they are doing Bavarian figures, but I just wanted to see if I could try some spare Hanoverian British instead. I don't know if I'm convinced, but what the hey.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

'Over the hills, and far away'

I saw this on the excellent 'Wars of Louis Quatorze' blog, and just had to put it here. It's not the rewritten version used in the 'Sharpe' series

Monday, 18 May 2009

Home again.

Been away for a weekend of ECW re-enacting, well in my case beer drinking and hanging about at the rear. However before I went I managed to finish Whiteman's (hooray, bases done) now is the time to start work on the next battalion Shannon's. However I might get further sidetracked by the SYW. I've had a quick flick through 'Die Kriegskunst', and I must say I'm very impressed, yet 'the proof of the pudding' or so they say.

Anyway here are some pictures of the finished Whiteman's, (hopefully) for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Hmm, bases!

Basing, I hate basing. It seems that no matter how carefully I apply filler, I always end up getting some on the figure. The bigger the base + more figures = higher difficulty level. No wonder many people seem to prefer basing singly, after all no small gaps between figures that seem to defy eyesight and small implements. I've tried many different ways of basing, and I'm still trying to find a simple technique, so if any one has one please tell me.

Rant over. Despite working with gritted teeth and a curse held under breath, the bases for Wightman's are almost finished. Just the relatively easy bits left, painting and adding greenery etc.

Still considering SYW seriously, seems I've become addicted to tricornes. Sent for SYW rules, 'Die Kriegkunst' (try saying that without sniggering like a schoolboy after several beers), once they arrive and I've had a chance to look them over I'll let you know what I think.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Pause for breath...

Well, it's pause time while I contemplate bases. However, pausing is dangerous, as my mind begins to wander to other periods, and the period that I find it wandering to is the Seven Years War. Very nice, very colourful, and extremely well supported both on the web and in source books. It seems you pick a Nation and information is easy to come by, in fact there are many excellent blogs (too many to link).

During one of my earlier 'pauses' I had a go at some Russians, inspired by the images on the Leuthen site. These figures are Foundry 25mm, they are excellent sculpts but horrendously expensive (are Foundry trying to price themselves out of the market?). So maybe the expense will dampen any enthusiasm, still I'm giving the period serious thought.

Friday, 8 May 2009


Finished Wightman's Battalion, well almost finished. Painting's done, next it's basing (oh lovely). In reply to a question from Steve, I use a miracle wash created from 'Klear', a floor polish sold at Morrison's, with a few drops of FW artist inks Antelope brown added (to taste). I put this wash on quite thick and once dry I mix a wash of 'Klear' with a spot of black and give the figure a second wash. The final result is very shiny so a Matt varnish is needed, however the wash is tough so a gloss varnish isn't (IMHO) necessary. The proportions of this mix is up to the individual, I make the brown wash quite dark and the black wash very thin.

Some people finish faces prior to adding a wash, personally I finish faces after the wash along with the other highlights. It seems to work.

Here are a few pics of the battalion ready for basing;

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Bit of background...

To begin with, I must say that as far as wargaming goes, sadly, my involvement over the years has been somewhat limited. However, it would be difficult to describe myself as a figure painter, as since my introduction to this hobby back in the mid 1970's, I have amassed a large collection of part finished units, shelves full of rulebooks and various source books etc. It would seem that my main problem lies in being easily attracted by pictures in magazines or, more recently, websites, the prettier the picture the greater the attraction. So overall, I seem to be suffering from, to coin a phrase, 'Butterflyism'.

In the beginning I was attracted to the English Civil War, a period that still pulls me back yet always seems to end with a similar disappointment. Sometimes its the rules, sometimes the figure, but mostly, I guess, me. Whatever it is it always seem to follow a similar pattern, I restart then quickly lose impetus. Unfortunately, this pattern seems to apply to most of my started wargames projects, I spend money, paint a few figures, slowly lose interest, then move on to the next period.

I tried to analyse the reasons for this and came across a post on the 'League of Augsburg' site. It was suggested that we might be overpainting our figures, and that as painting techniques allied with improvements in figure design developed, it becomes harder to sustain the levels of discipline needed to turn out masses of intricately painted figures. I though this could be it and resolved to simplify my technique, reduce the number of highlights etc. Sounds simple, but often the temptation to add just one more highlight proved difficult to resist, after all it had taken me years to develop my skills.

Then, again on the same website, I came across a discussion concerning the Army Painter dip system, and one post, in particular, caught my eye. Clarence Harrison was showing how he had used the aforesaid Army Painter dip on some Napoleonic figures. He had painted them in basic colours, given them a wash of the dip, then finished with highlights. Perhaps, I thought, this could be the answer, so using some old Reiver figures I had a go. Over a white undercoat I block painted the figure, shading only the flesh, then once dry I washed the figure with a 'Miracle Wash' solution, waited until dry then highlighted before finally Matt varnishing. Hey presto, it worked, suddenly instead of finishing a couple of figures a week I found I could complete a battalion. Okay, so maybe the finish isn't up to the quality of some of the top notch painters, but for me they work. Plus the upside is that suddenly I'm beginning to produce finished units rather than small groups, now all I have to find is a simpler method for bases.

Anyway, I will let the figures speak for themselves...

Okay so they're not WSS, but they were painted using the above technique!

Monday, 4 May 2009

So far...

More pictures. W.I.P, eventually this lot will be Wightman's at Sherrifmuir, but, again, I'm hoping they will double for one of Marlborough's battalions. They, like Forfar's, will be based for 'Beneath the Lilly Banners', rules that seem to get better with each reading.
I find the Reiver figures excellant. However, the poses are a bit limited, and they could do with a larger command selection. But, I think judicious use of other manufacturers will help with this.
I will be ordering some more figs soon, so I might include a kind of wish list with the order.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

More pictures, same battalion, different angles.

And so it begins!

Just where to begin? The main thrust of this blog is going to be 'The War of the Spanish Succession', but as I have the attention span of a goldfish, and tend to move from figure range to range, let alone rules, don't be suprised if it wanders about time a bit.

Anyway, here is my first effort Reiver Figures. Intended as Forfar's at the battle of Sheriffmuir 1715, they will, I hope, double for a British Battalion during the later stages of the WSS.