Sunday, 25 August 2013

Flodden 500 preview

This year is the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden. When I was at University in the early 1980s I started to build a Henry VIII army using Dixon's 25mm Flodden range. My friend, Derek (who I've known since I was 8 years old) who has Scottish heritage decided to build a James IV army. We both agreed to refight the battle on its 500th anniversary. You can't say we don't plan things.

Well, its been a long time, but we've both made it this far and we have the armies and we're going to do it. Shedquarters is prepared and the big day will be 31st August for us. Okay, a week or so early, but SOMEONE sort of forget the exact date of the anniversary and so put in a prior engagement. I'm not saying who it was, but I forgive him.

Last week I went and got Derek's Scots so I could size the game for the table. As our wargaming has gone slightly different ways over the years I also took the opportunity to rebase the Scots on a DBx basis, as I did a few years ago with my English.

This last week I've hacked some of my polystyrene ridge lines about and put together a passable representation of Branxton Hill. I also ran a trial game with Phil to see if Armati is the best way of doing this battle, and if so what changes we might need to make.

The armies were originally scaled to 1:200 based on the orbats in Kightley's Flodden book published by Almark. Both of us have gone a little bit outside the normal brief. I expanded my collection to enable me to fight the 1513 campaign in France. Derek bought English as well. I added Imperialists & French to do the continental campaign. Both of us bought figures from other manufacturers because either (a) they looked nice or (b) they were cheap.

What this means is that if we combine our collections and use some modern scholarship (Niall Barr's "Flodden 1513") we can actually fight the battle on 1:100.

So on a slightly damp Sunday morning I've set it all up and taken a few pictures.

So here's a picture of the table set up. Scots are closest to the camera. To whet your appetite for the forthcoming blog of the battle, here are some pictures of the opposing forces. Firstly, the invading Scots:

Lord Home & Earl of Huntley (left wing)

The combined borderers/highlander division. These are all Derek's figures, except for the saffron coated highlanders in the second rank who are from my Elizabethan Irish.

Earl of Errol (left centre)

Nobles & lowland levy. Some of my Swiss have sneaked into the front rank to make up the numbers, but otherwise all Derek's figures.

James IV (right centre)

Nobles in the front rank, levy to the rear. A few elements of my Francis I French pike in the middle. I wish now I'd bought those Scottish pikemen when I had the chance.

Earls of Argyll & Lennox (right wing)

Highlanders all, except for some of the back ranks, who are more from my Irish again.

Now the brave English, defending their homeland against Scottish aggression.

Edmund Howard (right wing)

These are all of my figures, except for the standard bearer. He's one of Derek's. I have to admit he's done a better job on these that me, mostly, so I've gone with his.

The Admiral (centre)

Again, my figures with Derek's banners. Lord Dacre is just visible in the background.

Earl of Surrey (left wing)

Surrey's battle has a couple of Derek's standards, and a few of mine. They're bridging a couple of hills a bit precariously.

Lord Dacre (reserve)

All my own work. Lord Dacre was actually Lord Scrope until about an hour ago when I replaced the standard.

Edward Stanley (late arrival)

All my own figures. One of the banners wasn't actually at Flodden, but I like the look of it.

So, all ready for next Saturday.

Unless I choose to do some more work on the english ridge line.


  1. There's nothing like having a long-term project! :)

    Good luck with the game... hope it lives up to the anticipation! And in the spirit of all Home Internationals... Come on Scotland!!!

    1. In terms of it being a long term project we probably finished the painting and collecting 20 years ago....

      As for "come on Scotland" all I can say is I admire your persitance in backing a losing side. Especially when it's the one that was the unprovoked aggressor in this case.

  2. I'm Scottish! It's hardwired into me to back the losing side!! :)

    1. My brother keeps trying to convince me the family is Scottish. I keep telling him no, no, no.

      Sticking with that decision.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks. Of course you can't get most of them any more, - Dixons have resculpted them and made them "true 28mm" so nothing fits any more.

      I like the simplicity of the Englisdh in the white smocks, in a variety of poses, but mostly undemonstrative.

      I don't do this size metal anymore, - takes too long to paint and they're too heavy - so this will be quite a nostalgic battle for me.