Friday, 22 June 2012

I've been thinking about the composition of Wars of the Roses armies in the rules sets I've read and the all important ratio between men-at-arms, billmen and archers. The bottom line is that we simply don't know the answer. The only real records we have of the composition of fifteenth-century English armies are those relating to royal forces. The important thing to note is that these don't correspond necessarily to the tactical role the soldier played or the weaponry he carried. Basically, by the middle of the fifteenth century the royal records (and we're talking about the records of the Exchequer for the muster and payment of soldiers) list four types of soldiers: mounted men-at-arms at 12d a day; mounted archers and men-at-arms on foot at 8d; and archers on foot at 6d. While it's fair to surmise that the man-at-arms at 12d was a fully armoured man, armed with a poleaxe, what do we make of the archer at 6d. I suspect that in most cases he wasn't an archer at all, but a foot soldier armed with a brown bill. By the 1475 the ratio of 'men-at-arms' to 'archers' was 1:8, but did this mean eight archers to every man-at-arms? Almost  certainly not. On a wargames and figures note, what do we make of this selection from the Perry Miniatures plastic boxed set? Who would be be paid a shilling, 8d or 6d a day?

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The rear rank of billmen and the few archers I've managed to paint. I actually purchased these figures and started painting them about ten years ago, but life got in the way. My painting style is still not  'wargamey' enough I fear; I've spent too long painting 1/35-scale figures. I'll have to work on it.

The blue and murray livery colours and the sun badge on the rear of the livery jacket represent men of the Yorkist household - or perhaps the servants and friends of Edward's household, recruited for the campaign and given livery before they marched north. I like the bulky appearance of the Front Rank figures - a real contrast to my plastic Perrys that will make up my Lancastrian force.

This is the first unit I have completed since getting back into figures. It's Edward IV at Towton, surrounded by his household knights and esquires with a rank of billmen, in Yorkist livery, to the rear. All the figures are from Front Rank.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


This blog is a little project to highlight my efforts to combine my history with my interest in modelling and wargaming. At the moment I'm building two Wars of the Roses armies: a Yorkist one with 28mm Front Rank figures and a Lancastrian with various Perry Miniatures. Will they ever meet on the field . ..