April 26, 2017

Wandering Around Ireland, Part II

A little after noon, Barry, Bob, and I rolled into Londonderry proper. We passed through the walls at Ferryquay Gate and climbed a set of stone steps to the top of the wall in a drizzling rain.


The walls of Londonderry were built in 1613-18 and the entire circuit remains intact today. Of course there have been repairs and the original gates were enlarged to allow for modern traffic to pass, but you can still walk the mile (1.5km) trail atop the battlements. For the most part, the inner town retains the original street layout as well, serving as a fantastic example of a renaissance town.



Something that struck us immediately as we traveled south away from Ferryquay Gate was how steep the slope of the wall was. How many times as model builders do we take the time to ensure all of our fortifications are level? I was also struck by the fact that the top of the wall, at least in this section, was wider that some of the roads we'd been on!

Immediately south of the Ferryquay Gate stands the Artillery Bastion, with two fantastic field guns poised the defend the city.




Each gun is original, though the carriages are reproductions. Each bares a plaque stamped with information on the gun, including who provided the weapon to the town. The first demi-culverin above was provided in 1642 by the Worshipful Company of Salters and weighs over 2700 pounds (and we wonder why our wargame toys can't just be repositioned at the whim of their commander).


At one corner of the bastion, and at other points around the walls, was a tiny turret watchtower. A small plaque proclaimed these were constructed because soldiers complained about having to stand watch in poor weather. Bob and I thought they would be a fantastic bit of detail to add if one were to, say for instance, be building a model of the walls of Derry...



A second bastion, the Church Bastion, stands at the corner of the wall where the fortifications turn west. Looming behind the Church Bastion is the breathtaking spire of St Columb's Cathedral.



The spire on top of the tower wouldn't have been there in 1689. Barry and I were actually going to walk by after examining the exterior (heathens!), but Bob suggested we talk a trip inside. What a great suggestion that turned out to be!




Two wonderful ladies at the entry greeted us in the role of typical tour guides. Upon finding out I was from America, she took us forward to view a 48-star United States flag stored under glass. It use to hang among the banners in the cathedral but had deteriorated to a point that it needed to be placed in storage. It had been presented by the US Navy in 1945 to commemorate the US Naval Base that was in Londonderry from 1942 to 1945. Somehow I managed to not get a picture of it.


One of the flags I did get a picture of was a reproduction of flags from our period according to the official literature...

Two flags captured from the French on the 6th of May 1689 at the Battle of Windmill Hill. The poles and embroidery are original. The fabric has been renewed on four occasions.

Now, Barry and I were ready for this. The research we did for the Uniform Guides of the Siege of Derry didn't suggest any French were present in Ireland at the time. Barry asked about the origin of the flag and when the lady seemed unsure, she said she would get 'Ian' who would know more about it.

Shortly thereafter, our 'New Mate Ian' arrived and learned that Barry seemed to know more about it than he did. He was delighted to find how much interest we had in the siege and how much we seemed to know about the period. He excitedly started taking us to bits of the cathedral that were roped off to view plaques about the flags. He explained, they weren't sure the flags were yellow and may have been white instead. One plaque commemorated the restoration of French flags, but he showed us an older one that referred to them as Jacobite flags. He hadn't noticed the discrepancy before as was puzzled as to why the origins of the flags seemed to change.

In any case, he was now having as much fun as we were. He led us back to a room full of display cases and proceeded to open them and hand out the priceless artifacts for closer examination!



At the top, Barry holds the sword of Rev. George Walker and below I have Captain Adam Murray's (more on that later). There was also George Walker's Bible, Captain Murray's pocket watch, snuff box, and a brace of buttons from his coat, cannon balls, more swords, old maps - again, I got so enthralled I didn't snap more pics. We also got to hold the actual locks and keys used to secure the gates against the Jacobite attack - something even King James didn't get to do (pic below is from the web... I think Barry got a shot of the actual objects)!


How many people who visit the museum of St Columb's Cathedral get the chance we had? How many who visit ANY museum? Barry and Ian exchanged contact info (We sent him our PDF uniform guides and he sent us stacks of archive photos). I left feeling the trip to Londonderry had already been worth it. Great idea, Bob!

Back on the wall, we made the rest of the circuit. We also visited the Apprentice Boys' Memorial Hall (where we saw ANOTHER sword of Captain Murray - well, he probably had two) and the Tower Museum. These were worth the time spent, though not as good as our trip to the cathedral. Photography wasn't allowed so I didn't bother trying to sneak any photos.


We made a trip down into the streets to a cafe for 'tea' (I had Pepsi) and then headed south to Enniskillen. That night we met Clibinarium (the talented sculptor of Warfare Miniatures) for dinner. Not only did we have a great meal, we got to see the new sculpts for the upcoming GNW Russian artillery crews!


Next time, the three grenadiers (wait for it) travel south toward Athlone and Aughrim!

April 19, 2017

Wandering Around Ireland, Part I

Now that the dust has settled and I'm back in some sort of routine, I've had time to sort through my pics and make some notes on my trip. Of course the first few days were spent in Dumphries at the the LoA Weekender. I'm going to leave the details of the games to Mr. Hilton as I was busy killing Jacobite horses (yes, I was playing on the Jacobite side) and like the commanders of the 17th century have very little idea of what was going on beyond my hill (though the Williamites might have won... Lord Galmoy survived despite my attaching him to every cavalry charge he was in range of). I will say I greatly enjoyed the weekend and it was fantastic to meet so many people I've only had contact with through the web.


There was a surreal moment Saturday night when the entertainment at the hotel turned out to be a Johhny Cash impersonator. I traveled 3500 miles to the Old Country and the locals packed the place to see a guy in a rhinestone studded jacket. He didn't even have bagpipes. Maybe I should have went out with Tam... ok, maybe not...


Late Sunday afternoon, we packed up the toys and Barry Hilton, Bob Talbot, and I made our way to the ferry bound for Larne, Ireland. On the way I learned that Bob can't hear sentences with the word 'truck' in them and 'ship-wit' doesn't only apply to 16th and 17th century sailing vessels. Light was failing as we slipped away from the brooding Scottish coast...


On Monday morning we set out for Londonderry, at points following the same route the Jacobites took as they marched on the town. A journey that took them weeks took us hours. Shortly after leaving Coleraine we were treated to a fantastic view of the Irish Sea before it narrows to become the Foyle River.


Barry climbed a hill to get a better shot and I trained my camera on him in case he fell down it (to make sure Bob and I could help him quickly, of course - no, that would NOT have ended up on YouTube... well, probably not).


Just before reaching Londonderry, we took a detour down to the Foyle River to see if we could find the area where the Jacobites placed the boom to block the river and cut off the town from naval support and supplies. Not only was Barry spot on (it's a bit like having Google in the car with you), we came out opposite Culmore Fort (at the base of the tower, just to the right).


A quick trip south, west across the first bridge we found, and back north and we were standing at the fort.


No gates, no barricades, no caretaker, not even a sign unless you count the 'Lough Foyle Yacht Club' one that now adorns the building. Not for the last time on this trip I was struck with wonder that such a historic building was simply sitting at the end of a common lane beside a residential district. In the US, they would have built a park around the place and you probably couldn't really get near it.




I took a stupid amount of photos of stonework with an eye to building a couple of castles for my table top collection. The place must once have had a wall and probably outbuildings because there was a fair size garrison stationed there in 1689 and they wouldn't have all fit in the tower.


Standing on the beach below the fort in the wind and the rain we had another stunning view of the Irish Sea, this time looking north along the route of the Foyle. Looking east, you can see how narrow the river is even at this point, Any ship braving this corridor would have been at point blank range for cannons along the shore.


As we turned south towards the town, we passed directly through the spot where the Pennyburn Mill would have been. Now it is the proud site of the Pennyburn Condominiums and a McDonalds.

In part II, we venture into Londonderry!

April 10, 2017

LoA Collection

I have posts on the way about my trek across the pond (organizing my notes and photos), but I'm working around the house today reorganizing my figure cabinet. I'd run out of space to display my LoA collection and several units have been cluttering my painting desk. Here is my entire collection so far...


Fourteen battalions of foot, fourteen squadrons of horse and dragoons (including two squadrons of ECW cavalry I use as rural militia), two detachments of dragoons on foot, a detachment of converged Dutch grenadiers, two battalion guns, two field guns, and eight commanders.

This project will never really be done, but for my initial goal of replaying the Boyne I am getting close! I still need to paint:

Williamites
2 battalions of foot

Jacobites
4 battalions of foot
3 squadrons of horse
2 squadrons of dragoons

After this, I'll just start smaller goals of adding a brigade at a time. I want to paint three more battalions of Danish foot to complete the entire contingent in Ireland, three or four units in civilian attire to use as Irish troops for either side, two or three battalions of French for 'what if' games (or the action at Duleek), and the Dutch Guard Dragoons (though Warfare Dragoons with fur caps are still on the horizon).

The ultimate goal is to amass enough troops for a multi-player LoA weekender in Virginia (the Boyne game would certainly be a candidate).

Anyway, back to work! I just saw all of the models laid out on the table as a photo opportunity...

March 27, 2017

Clare's Dragoons

A few weeks ago I finally got my hands on some of the new Warfare Mounted Dragoons and finished my first squadron, Clare's Dragoons...


I decided to mount these models on individual 25x50mm bases so I can use them for Donnybrook as well as Beneath the Lily Banners. That actually makes them 10mm narrower than my standard cavalry units. Since they are on smaller horses, that will be ok (and we don't quibble about small differences in base size), but I may make a movement tray with a 5mm lip just to make them easier to move around in BLB.

They go with the foot dragoons I painted a while ago...


The second squadron is halfway finished, but I doubt I'll get the chance to finish before I head for Scotland on Wednesday! Now I need some extra ponies to make a horse holder stands... maybe while I'm across the pond I can grab some...

March 25, 2017

The League of Augsburg Weekender

In a few short days, I will be boarding a plane bound for Scotland. I'm going in part to participate in a League of Augsburg weekender - a series of linked games that take place at a hotel over the course of several days (see one report here). This Spring's event features Donnybrook and Beneath the Lily Banners and continues a fictional campaign started last fall based around the premise that St Rhue was not slain at Aughrim and a Jacobite victory forced the Williamites from Ireland. In the Fall weekender, the games featured the Jacobite invasion of England and saw further victories, forcing William to return to Holland with his Dutch and Danes.


But apparently, that's not the end of it...

Williamite forces still hold central England and Northern Ireland. No one seems to know what's going on in Scotland. And what the devil is Kirke up to in Jamaica?

One of the aspects that made the weekend so much fun was that each player was supplied with a character for the event and a personalized briefing, including several personal goals that character might have. There was apparently much scheming and back stabbing that arose from this with no hand from the umpires. It was such a success that the players asked if they could continue the campaign at the next event...

Spring 2017.

To say I am excited about this would be an understatement. Besides the whole traveling to Scotland thing, I am traveling to Scotland FOR A WARGAME! Early on, Barry asked if I wanted to play or GM and after some consideration, I chose 'play'. When will I get the chance again to participate in a game of this size (we are expecting fifteen or sixteen players last I heard)? I'll help out with the rules and set up and the early games on Saturday are slated for Donnybrook so I'll definitely be running some of those too.


As a player, my character was revealed to be Piers Butler, Lord Galmoy (I painted him for Historicon last year). While I won't share my briefing, I will share part of something Barry Hilton posted on the LoA blog last year...

Piers Butler, Lord Galmoy, was a character who polarized opinion. He is vilified in Protestant histories of the conflict as a brutal, duplicitous and arrogant man will little time for the niceties of war.

He was feared and respected as a dashing if bloody cavalry commander and his regiment of Horse were hated by the enemy. In certain accounts aspects of his conduct have been highlighted including the hanging and beheading of prisoners after he went back on a prisoner exchange deal. How much myth and post war propaganda have been built around him is unclear. 



I won't be bringing any models (EDIT... I had just enough room to pack my Lord Galmoy mini so I WILL be taking mine) as I'm traveling light, but the one above is Barry's excellent and haughty version. I am well pleased with my character (I wish I could share my brief because it is priceless, but I don't want tip off the victims, err.. enemies - maybe in the post report of the weekender)... he's been promoted to Major General of Horse by King James for heroic service and controls all cavalry serving His Catholic Majesty in southern England! I am looking forward to leading some suicidal charges against the traitorous rebels.

Besides the games (wait, there's MORE?), we are planning a three day trip to Ireland to tour most of the important battlefields that form the center of my League of Augsburg gaming - Derry, Enniskillen, Athlone, Aughrim, the Boyne, and a few others. I've been to lots of battlefields as you can't cross the street in Virginia without tripping over a piece of ground that someone fought over, but getting the chance to stand on the bank of the Boyne should fuel my wargaming ambitions for the rest of the year!

There will also be the chance to meet a score of people I've only been able to interact with through blogs, forums, and Facebook. Speaking of the last, I don't use Facebook much (normally restricted to sharing posts by others and occasionally sharing photos of minis), but I'll be posting lots of stuff during the trip. You can follow me there, Clarence Harrison, and I may get time to do another blog post at some point.

Anyway, I'm off to pack and rehearse some inspirational speeches for the lads!

March 12, 2017

The Lifeguard of King James II, 1690

Here's the second squadron! I actually managed to finish them last week, but I had to go out of town for work and didn't get the chance to take photos.


This is one of my favorite regiments in the collection so far and forms the nucleus of my Jacobite horse. My original goal was two squadrons of Lifeguard, three squadrons of Tyrconnel's, two squadrons of Parker's, and one squadron of Sutherland's. I'm halfway there!


I'm going to take a break from painting horse, sort of, and paint two squadrons of Clare's mounted dragoons over the next two weeks...

March 1, 2017

The Lifeguard of King James II, 1690

The Warfare Miniatures USA store opened today, I've finally had a bit of time with all my preparations for this to get in a little time on brushwork for my own collection with the first troop of King James II's Lifeguard.


The Lifeguard troops were as large as squadrons (not sure why they didn't just call them squadrons). As usual with the Jacobites, we only have sketchy info on uniforms. These are based on the uniforms of the Lifeguard when King James II was the undisputed ruler of England. I was going to paint white lace on the cuffs, but on most of the models the gauntlets nearly cover these and the result was that the cuffs looked white! The models were drawn from multiple Warfare codes with a mix of Enthusiastic Horse and Cuirassiers.

I'll have the second troop by next weekend with a white flag and white trim on their saddle blankets to distinguish them. I am determined to actually finish my 1690 project this year (no, really). I still need to paint 4 battalions of foot, 4 squadrons of horse, and 4 squadrons of mounted dragoons to finish the initial goal for my Jacobite army. I need two battalions of Huguenot foot for my Williamites too. I can easily complete one unit per week when I want to so there's no reason I can't get these finished by the end of summer even with interruptions and wandering off through other periods...

As if saying it out loud will make it happen!

February 26, 2017

Lord of Change

My brother Dennis has been collecting armies for Tzeentch for as long as we've been playing Warhammer, both for 40k and Fantasy (and now Age of Sigmar). The new Lord of Change model was enough to make ME want to collect a Tzeentch army, but I have waaaay to much going on to start another new project. However, I did get the chance to paint the daemon when Dennis bought it. He paints well, but wanted this giant monster to be a real centerpiece for his collection and took me up on my offer to do it.

I'm pretty pleased with the results...




Now this gives me the excuse to paint my Nurgle Glotkin model, the only thing I have in my cupboards that might stand a chance against this monster!