The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, Gang aft a-gley, And leave us nought but grief and pain, For promised joy.
– Robert Burns
Wherein a Plan Takes Shape…
Historical wargaming miniatures projects invariably start with a decision on the subject. Whether you’re deciding on what WWII U.S. Armored Division to portray or what Regiment of Napoleon’s Grande Armee you’re going to recreate in 28mm, a verdict must be rendered. This project is no exception, and there are a lot of potential directions to go. Do you focus on a rebellious baron, exhausted and angered by the tyranny of the nefarious King John? Or their French allies, crossing the Channel to take the fight to the English monarch? Or do you remain loyal to the Crown, and take King’s oath to put down the rebels? You could also start the war on one side and find yourself on the other by year’s end. You get the picture.
King Alexander II of Scotland
After some research, I decided that my allegiance would go to the King. But not to John or Philip II, but to Alexander II of Scotland! Alexander II (reigned 1214-1249) invaded the Kingdom of England in 1215 in support of the rebellion against King John. Alexander’s army reached as far south as Dover, though their participation in the Barons’ War ended with John’s death in 1216 and Alexander and his retinue returned to Scotland.
The army of Alexander II provides a historically appropriate and characterful force to use as a basis for a miniatures army. It has plenty of colorful heraldry in the form of the King and his elite noblemen, while it also has a myriad of opportunity to paint commoners, archers and spearmen.
Two Games, One Army
Walter Stewart, Third High Steward of Scotland
A quick note here – there is a Barons’ War Facebook Group that has proven absolutely invaluable as a resource and source of inspiration. Members of the community where very quick to help provide information and images and have made starting the research on Alexander’s army much easier. Andy Hobday and the Footsore crew are very active on the Group and I highly recommend joining.
The next step in the project involves planning the army within the parameters of the rules set you’re going to use. My opponents and I have discussed trying both The Barons’ War and Lion Rampant as potential rules sets, but for the sake of expediency and consistency, I’m going to focus on The Barons’ War. So, going forward, I’ll be referring to those rules in terms of army design and composition. So far, I’ve found them to be characterful and easy to understand (and I am not known as a “rules guy”). They reflect the period well and are designed to run with the number of models I’d like to paint (1,000-point games typically translate to around 40-50 figures). My opponents (whose armies I hope to also feature here at some point soon) and I have decided to start with 500-point retinues to begin with, then expand from there.
Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, Justiciar of Lothian
I’m working on a couple painting tutorials for the next update, focusing on two things: armor and shields. In the meantime, keep painting and, as always, thanks for reading.