In this short tutorial I show how I speedpainted a 15mm League of Augsburg army, to convince the Alexander or Napoleon wargame fan that, with a small investment in time and money you can bigbattle a very interesting period. 40-50 GBP and 24 hrs for a very colourful army in a colourful age.
For us Dutchmen LoA-wargaming should be mandatory: William the Third was William the Conqueror.
The beauty of King Billy
Late 17th century period seems to be underestimated. I see few blogs and battle reports. English wargamers either prefer ECW or WSS Marlborough, and in general Ancients and Napoleonics are popular. But the earlier League of Augsburg war(s) are just as good for tabletop wargaming. Why?
- the armies were colourful:
- the battlefields were all over Europe and even in North America (some historians call in the very first ‘World War’ for that reason.).
- with a relatively low number of miniatures/units you can fight all wars, because uniforms weren’t very standardized. That means that you can paint a redcoat unit that can pose as English in a battle against the Irish or as Garde Francaise in a battle against Dutch troops.
- Pikesssszzz! You can fight with pikes, just as the Macedonians.
- Charge, mon cuirassiers!!! You can charge with your cuirassiers, just like Napoleon.
For me as Dutchman the LoA is a wargamer’s dream- it’s the zenith of Dutch power. William the Third conquered the perfid Albion, so he was better than Napoleon. He then became the leader of an alliance against the imperialistic Louis XIV, as a Dutch Churchill. The Dutch Blue Guard was the best elite unit on the battlefield – Renaissance SAS. Hail to King Billy!
Which scale and figures?
The 28mm Warlord figures are too expensive, IMHO. One army (72 infantry, 24 cavalry, 2 artillery) is 125 euro/ 250 euro for two rather small armies.
The figures (reissued old Wargames Factory miniatures) are OK, but need to be assembled.
Good for Donnybrook skirmish, not for grand battles.
For big battles I’m happier with my 15mm figures. Irregular offers a cheap starter army deal (currently 32,50 pound per army- 65 for two). Their army packs have 100 figures, with artillery, infantry and cavalry, good for the bulk army.
Composition: in a 100-piece army (Irregular counts cavalry as 2 pieces), I have 4 regiments infantry (16 miniatures per unit) = 64 figures: 12 cavalry miniatures: a commander unit: a cannon. A double pack is good as starter army, but later I bought extra from Irregular and Lurkio. A smart starter combo is 3 armies, an extra cannon and 12 extra loose cavalry miniatures. Extra standard bearers are useful. For a 15mm army with the same numbers as a Warlord 28mm army you pay half the price. And no assembly needed.
Irregular scuipts are good. Poses somewhat limited. Essex 15mm is varied, but somewhat smaller, with relatively shorter legs. Lurkio has the same size, and looks bulkier, ‘heroic 15mm’.
I wargame, thus I Speedpaint
I like gaming more than painting, in particular painting big armies – that can even be a chore sometimes. So I looked for ways to cut corners. First, I dumped all ‘historical accuracy’ pretense. As said, all armies fought in the same colourful red, blue and grey uniforms. Barry Hilton who runs the League of Augsburg website published a useful painting guide, download it. A few examples:
Besides, if you consult contemporary sources about, for instance, the Dutch Williamite army (books/lists by `Gerpines’, `Tilroy’ and `Belaubre’): then you’ll discover that these are often in complete disagreement. Hilton:
“One will say a particular regiment had white coats with red facings whilst another will say red coats with blue facings for the same unit. Remember, these are supposed to be contemporary sources, they were all there and still can’t agree!”
Painting-wise, I sped up my painting process with the Army Painter dip. Here’s the step by step gallery, usual steps.
I clocked the time:. 128 infantry figures
- preparation, moldlines, priming in 4 different colours 150 minutes
- blockpainting: 540 minutes. LoA-miniatures have 4-5 different colours per figure and small details.
- skin, belts, details, gluieng pikes: 300 minutes
- Corrections. Maybe I was too fast, or was I upgrading my expectations after the first splash of paint, because I spent another 5 hrs = 300 minutes making corrections: re-highlighting, all hats a white stripe, finer details on standard bearers and officers etc.
Total: 150+540+300+300=1290 minutes/128= 10 minutes per figure.
Longer than expected but still quite fast. about 21 hours for 8 regiments. Ten minutes per figure is a standard time for armypainted miniatures. Faster is possible with some experience and less perfectionism.
speedpaint the Cavalry
Again: no real need for historical precision. Sure, ‘exact’ (so to say) colours can be found on the web. But on the wargames table you see red-blue and blue-red and grey units. So, being practical, I painted 1 unit red, 1 unit blue, 1 unit grey and 1 unit yellow. The only relevant historical detail is the hat colour of the Dutch Blue Guard: buff.
I clocked again.
4 9-figure units = 36 horses & 36 cavalerists.
- blockpainting: 360 minutes, approx.
- details, dip: 290 minutes
- post-highlighting, basing: 210 minutes
That’s 12 minutes per figure.
I painted them as individual figures, with more attention to detail and with a wash instead of a dip. 22 figurers, 180 minutes. 9 minutes per figure.
Final result after 47 hours
Including basing, flocking, magnetizing the project took 47 hours,
Final result. 47 hrs (about 12,5 minutes per figure). 24 hrs per army, if you plan the project and focus on speed and result, it’s six intense painting evenings for one army, twelve for two. Or one or two weekends and an couple of evenings. No, I will not win a prize, but I’m happy with what I have on table.
Some Helpful links
- League of Augsburg blog and general website
- Flags, from Flags of war, and warflag: the Not By Appointment blog has flags with shadow effects
- Blog Wars of Louis Quatorze
- Miniature comparison, Madaxeman
- In blog II of this series I compare Irregular, Essex and Lurkio infantry. Blog III is a Lurkio Cavalry showcase.
Rules for this period
Not sure yet which rules are ‘the best’. Depends. I played Pike & Shotte, and had mixed feelings, see my review. With some finetuning P&S might be suitable for a gentlemanly afternoon.
I like Maurice, a dice rolling wargame unorthodoxely supported by a set of cards that you draw and keep in your hand and lay on the table or discard if you want to power up defense, attack or movement. Feels like a mix between a wargame and a rummy game, something that you may or may not like. Always difficult tactical choices to make. Clear rules and a campaign game included. However not really a multiplayer game. Pijlie wrote a review. Free light version here.
The fun Donnybrook-mechanic with different dice per unit (D4, D6, D8 etc depending on quality) has been or will be transferred to the Beneath the Lily Banners ruleset. The ruleset has fans and the boog received good reviews.
Twilight of the Sun King is a Steven Thomas (blogger Steve Balagan’s) original that was updated to a second edition by the Pike & Shotte Society. I read a positive review.