Saturday, 23 November 2013

Elizabethan Small Wars

I share the popular English fascination with the Elizabethan period, but it has so far escaped my attentions as a wargamer (except for the 1/2400 Spanish Armada and English ships languishing on my lead mountain). Currently averse to taking on any more large painting commitments, I was very taken with the scale of operations in Nicholas Wright's Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World's End.

Although open to change in figure scale and extendable to larger battles, the basic game uses a modest number of 15mm figures on a 2' x 2' table. The figures are mounted on 30mm square bases in numbers varying from 2 (skirmishing types) to 8 (pikemen). Armies consist of about 12-15 bases forming a battle. You can add additional battles and an extra foot in table width for each one.

 The idea of doing something Elizabethan has been gnawing on my mind for some time, beginning initially with 28mm figures. As relatively few figures are required, I had entertained using this scale which would show off the distinctive costumes of the period. More recently I caught sight of the Pendraken 10mm Elizabethans which, though diminutive, are very distinctive, and I was just about to order some...

Then, while doing some background research, I stumbled across the Khurasan 15mm Irish and English  ranges. They are beautiful figures exactly focused on my main point of interest (Tyrone's Rebellion) and quite comprehensive. In 15mm, it will also be possible to supplement them, if necessary, from the ranges of other manufacturers.

I will probably do a Royal English army, an Irish army and an English rebel army.

In recent times I've painted mostly 20thC figures and my approach has been white undercoat, washes and a stain. These more intricately coloured figures will require a different approach, but I still want to keep it simple. My current plan is:

(1)   white undercoat
(2)   dark brown wash to fill the shadows
(3)   block paint (one shade only) leaving shadows
(4)   finishing stain to lift flat colours

Figures predominantly in armour (e.g. mail-coated galloglasses) would have an initial black wash and that would effectively provide the armour finish. Horses will probably be white undercoated and then given a heavy wash in black-grey or brown to provide the main horse-flesh colour. Gun carriages would seem to have been red or natural wood.


  1. For more about Conflict at the Worlds End visit Nic's blog at

    1. And Vexillia is where to get the rules and much else besides:

  2. I look forward to following your progress!
    -Nic Wright

    1. Thanks, Nic. It's currently at the top of my list of good intentions!

  3. Very nice...I´d love These in 1/72nd.

  4. I shall be watching with interest your progress. Currently working on some rules to go with the 28mm figures I produce. The old Graven Imges Border Reivers and Irish.
    Can't convince you to change scales?

    1. A great range and good luck with it! Finding the right scale is always an issue. I would certainly do 28mm if I was basing the figures individually, but I felt that 15mm was better for Irregular Wars as I wanted to keep the battleground compact.