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"ECW reading, rules, and uniforms" Topic

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4th Cuirassier12 Sep 2019 1:00 a.m. PST

Hi all

I'm looking for a pretext to buy some 54mm ECW figures from Call to Arms.


This era is new to me although I've fancied it ever since as a yoof we had to bulk out Airfix Napoleonics with Hinchliffe ECW cuirassiers to give the British some heavies.

There are three challenges.

1/ I don't know much about the era
2/ I don't know what rules folk use
3/ I don't know much about the uniforms.

Can anyone suggest any reading especially around 1 and 3? All I have read is Glenn Foard's Naseby which in fact I have abandoned because I thought it poorly written and structured. Is there a general primer on events, troops, tactics and uniforms?

Re 2, I gather there were occasional battles in which 50 blokes defended a stately home. Those sound like a blast and perfect for 54mm. Do rules for that scale of action exist?

Porthos12 Sep 2019 2:46 a.m. PST

A fun read is books by Brigadier Peter Young, a wargamer and ECW-re-enactor. For general history:

For dress (somewhat uniform ;-)) see Philip Haythorntwaite:

with also history.


KYPD3812 Sep 2019 3:38 a.m. PST

Avoid the Haythornthwaite at all costs! Quite a number of errors in it. If you do read it, take it with a very big pinch of salt. Young is rather dated in his interpretations, although those interested in the Civil Wars will be forever indebted to his enthusiasm.

Might I suggest -

"All the Kings Armies" by Stuart Reid as a general primer

The Royal Armouries "Arms and Armour of the English Civil Wars" by Keith Dowen. link Lots of up to date material on clothing and uniforms on-line, try starting at the BCW Project (also good for background).
link and link
Rules: small scale probably Pikeman's Lament, but also worth checking out the Siege supplement from Partizan Press if you fancy 50 blokes defending a hall (non-rule specific)

As you are in London, pop into the White Tower at the Tower of London as there is a fairly good representation of 'hardware' on display link and NAM link

advocate12 Sep 2019 3:59 a.m. PST

As for rules, "For King & Parliament" are basing-neutral as it is a grid-based game. They give a very good game, too, though for larger battles rather than skirmishes.

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2019 4:18 a.m. PST

For skirmishes Pikeman's Lament rules from Osprey may be what you are looking for.

4th Cuirassier12 Sep 2019 7:46 a.m. PST

@ Stosstruppen

Just looked at the preview of Pikeman's Lament – looks very interesting, thanks! – And would work with 54mm!

Mike O12 Sep 2019 9:21 a.m. PST

For a set of free rules "Very Civile Actions!" by the Perfect Captain is worth a look:

It's based on their innovative "Spanish Fury – Actions!" set which you also need and can download for free:

Both are designed for smaller actions rather than big battles.

There's also a campaign system called "Tinker Fox":

arthur181512 Sep 2019 9:47 a.m. PST

I suggest you visit the Baccus 6mm website, as it has very useful articles on uniforms and colours, even if you are using figures of a different scale.

You can also download a free set of ECW rules by John Armatys from the Wargames Development website, or an adaptation of Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames rules by Kapitan Kobold from his website for a simpler game.

Philip Haythornthwaite's book may contain some errors, but it's still, IMHO, a great one-volume place to start studying the ECW.

mollinary12 Sep 2019 11:24 a.m. PST

4th, by entire coincidence, a friend of mine, Dave Lycett, suggested putting on a 54mm ECW game at ‘The Other Partizan' in Newark last month, using his figures. We used the ‘For King and Parliament' rules mentioned by advocate (I co-wrote them) , and I produced a small scenario called the ‘Mysterious Affair at Styles' loosely based on an Agatha Christie novel. The figures looked great, each side had half a dozen battalia, of a dozen figures each, plus a couple of units of horse, each of four figures, and an artillery piece. Great fun! So good luck with your project.

Dukewilliam Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2019 5:54 p.m. PST

Pikeman's Lament fan here.

Here's an AAR:


davejl13 Sep 2019 1:55 a.m. PST

Hi 4th.,

As Mollinary said, I put on a 54mm game at Partizan with his brilliant help.

I use A Call To Arms figures. The rules used were, as Mollinary said, For King and Parliament, the basics of which are fairly easy to pick up, and are most enjoyable.

I also used Dirk Donvil's rules "About Cromwell" to help with basing and organisation (available from Caliver books).

The Peter Dennis Paper Soldiers books (available from Helion) about rthe ECW is also very useful regarding organisations and uniforms, and there are simple rules st the back, along with 2 or 3 Battle scenarios.

If you want to see photos of the Partizan game, log onto the 54mm gaming forum on link and that may help you with unit organisation, basing, etc.

There's also the To The Strongest forum (Big Red Bat) which has many ideas about ECW gaming and the For King and Parliament rules.

I've found the Osprey books about ECW uniforms, etc. Very useful – one on infantry and one on cavalry.

If you want A chat or more info let me have your email address.

Best Wishes Dave Lycett

4th Cuirassier14 Sep 2019 5:50 a.m. PST

Are there any other 54mm figure suppliers other than ACTA? There are a couple of 54mm Airfix kits but these would be a it steep pricewise to rely on.

I still have to figure out whether I want battalion-scale action reminiscent of my Napoleonic activity, or something else again. The catch with something else again is that if it doesn't feature stands of pike and shot maybe it's not ECW enough…dunno, must do some reading.

davejl14 Sep 2019 6:21 a.m. PST

Hi 4th,

Irregular miniatures do some figures, but are a bit pricey.
Conversion work seems to be the order of the day.

Replicants do some plastic 54mm figures – you can get them from Steve Weston toy soldiers.

The problem is that, apart from very expensive figures, there aren't many out there.

ACTA have the most and are the best bet for building up the main forces.

I'm going to get some Replicants for forlorn hope, and maybe convert some of them and ACTA figures to provide Dragoons.

Fortunately, both sides seem to have very similar cavalry figures, so I'm adding sashes to the mounted figures do I can paint either an orange or a red sash to signify which side they're on.

From the ACTA figures (and using Dirk Donvil's ideas from his rules) I'm using 4 shot, 4 pike and 4 command per unit (although Simon Miller wants me to use 4 pike, 8 shot and 4 command to represent to 2:1 ratio of shot:pike of later in the war).

Have a look on the forum for the photos and you'll see what the units look like and be able to judge for yourself if you think it looks right.

I'm also thinking of doing all pike and all shot battalia (smaller units with either 8 pike or 8 shot in the unit) and a smaller mixed battalia (4 shot and 4 pike) which will not have any command figures in them.

I also use a sabot (movement tray) to help move the troops around and I think this makes the unit look more impressive.

Best Wishes Dave

4th Cuirassier17 Sep 2019 1:55 p.m. PST

Hi Dave

My email is ɯoɔ˙ʞoolʇno@uɐɯpǝɹdᴉlᴉɥduɥoɾ if you can read upside down…!

Would be interested in any tips…

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 3:35 a.m. PST

LOL that Simon Miller fellow is a megalomaniac.

4th Cuirassier21 Sep 2019 1:46 p.m. PST


Elenderil25 Sep 2019 3:43 a.m. PST

The Osprey on Pike and shot tactics is a decent introduction to formations and organisation. It draws from the same authors book Cromwell's war machine.

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