Tuesday, 30 July 2013

On The Eve of The War- WIP 15mm Feudal Scots

A project I got started on some time ago, and have since got sidetracked away from (temporarily!). Started of as being the Army of Alexander III or John Balliol, purely as an excuse to do all the Scottish heraldry in one place, rather than having to try and figure out who was on what side at any given time, and to avoid the more cliched Army of Wallace/ Bannocknburn 1314 type Scots Common force.

However, the potential for forward stretch was too tempting, and I've started to plan alternative command bases with different commanders dependent on the period, making sure the knights that most commonly fought on one side or another are based together, etc, etc...

But, as is my wont, other periods called, and construction has stalled a bit, but here's some shots of where I'm up to so far...

Spearmen, lead by the Bishop of Glasgow, Robert Wishart. He's the bloke in armour, not the monk (who's probably being told by the good Bishop to go melt down more church roof lead for trebuchet counterweights...), since Wishart didn't take a sedentary approach to the struggle for Independence; there's a brillian whnging letter sent by one of the English Commanders to Edward I, complaining that Wishart was commanding the siege of Cupar attired "Like a man of war", and was also subsequently to be found using wood given to him by Edward for repairing church buildings damaged by his forces, instead for building siege engines. Good lad, that.
The banner was run up on the computer, using a drawing/photo-editting package, and printed off on a normal household printer onto cartridge paper. Whilst I don't mind painting my banners, enamels and paper aren't always the best of friends, and since I'm something of a late convert to pre-printed flags, I thought I may aswell put my training to work (I was a graphic designer in a former life), and make my own, especially since my chosen sibjects are rarely covered by manufactures. Gives something distinctive for the peasants to rally round anyway...

...and their Social Betters. The original raison d'etre for the army, the kinigits. I had visions of re-fighting the battle of Dunbar, but with the Scots Knights being told to hold the damn line, just to see what would happen. I'm going to end up with far more bases of knights than DBM calls for, but hey, where's the fun in that...?

From left to right, the earls of Atholl, Ross, Strathearn, Mar, and Buchan, and the John "The Red", Lord of Badenoch.
Despite what populist history loves to tell us, Scotland was not this small,impoverished nation incapable of fielding heavy cavalry, quite the opposite. One only has to look at the muster rolls of Edward I, that show Scots serving in English garrisons, all armed and equipped, by their own means, to the same standard as their English colleagues. Had they been unable to equip themselves to this standard, they would not have been accepted for service, certainly not in the capacity of "Armati", or man-at-arms, that they are shown as drawing pay as. Of course, Scotland could never match the numbers of mounted men-at-arms as England, for obvious reasons; but to say that Scotland's cavalry were all hunched spearmen riding ponies, lead by the odd nobleman who had risked all to defy the King of England, is just perpetuating the same tripe that's been fed to schoolkids since the 60's. I don't have the space to go into detail here, but if you're interested, I would recommend reading some of Chris Brown's works, notably "Scottish Knights of The Wars of Independence", for a breakdown on the research and reasoning behind this.

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