A Nudge of Pike

A small push of pike … a nudge or shove of pike maybe?

My converted bundle of medieval knights turned Cornish rabble or Elizabethan ‘Muster’, watching the coast for Armada Spaniards, finally have some more well equipped back up in the form of the Trained Bands. 

Rough and Ready Cornish Boys … the West Country Muster, converted from cheap plastic knights

I have had these old Call to Arms English Civil War 54mm plastic pikemen figures knocking about unpainted at home for about 10 -15 years. They are still available online for example https://www.drumandflag.co.uk/collections/english-civil-war/products/a-call-to-arms-2-english-civil-war-pikemen-1-32-scale-royalist-parliament

High on the Cornish cliff tops, these pikemen run through their pike drill.

I wanted to give them a shiny toy soldier style gloss varnish look, with simple paint style a little like Britain’s Deetail, had they ever made ECW figures like the lovely old Herald plastic figures. I have painted pink cheek dots and traditional toy soldier faces but kept the rest of the detail minimal.

I chose dark and light blue coats and sashes or plumes as blue was a very common colour for the Elizabethan Muster and Trained Bands. My Spanish Fury and Conquistadors are in black and red. Fifty years later, dark blue would also work for dual use of these figures for English Civil War skirmishes.

The plastic pikes supplied by Call to Arms were good and long but far too wonky. Although good spears and pikes for smaller scales can be made from plastic yard brush hairs, I compromised a little on height and went for 100mm steel pikes for my 54mm figures. I can’t remember who in the UK that I ordered these pikes from before Christmas. The MDF tuppenny bases came from WarBases.

So these pikes are not the full 16 to 18 feet in scale, three times the size of my figures, but they are large enough for my purposes.

According to the Cromwell Museum:

“At the beginning of the war many pikemen were equipped with armour, usually a back and breastplate and often thigh plates or ‘tassets’. As it was quite cumbersome, this was rapidly abandoned, and for much of the war most pikemen would have little more than a helmet to protect them.

They were armed with a short sword for hand-to-hand fighting, and a pike, a spear 16 to 18 feet (4.7 – 5.5 metres) in length, made of ash with an iron spear head.

https://www.cromwellmuseum.org/cromwell/civil-war/soldiers

In a future figure post I shall feature the musketeers and command staff that go with these figures, just a few of these figure left on the painting table. Again they have dual use of Armada era late Elizabethan Muster / Trained Band and English Civil War skirmish.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on Pound Store Plastic Warriors, 18th January 2021

Author: 26soldiersoftin

Hello I'm Mark Mr MIN, Man of TIN. Based in S.W. Britain, I'm a lifelong collector of "tiny men" and old toy soldiers, whether tin, lead or childhood vintage 1960s and 1970s plastic figures. I randomly collect all scales and periods and "imagi-nations" as well as lead civilians, farm and zoo animals. I enjoy the paint possibilities of cheap poundstore plastic figures as much as the patina of vintage metal figures. Befuddled by the maths of complex boardgames and wargames, I prefer the small scale skirmish simplicity of very early Donald Featherstone rules. To relax, I usually play solo games, often using hex boards. Gaming takes second place to making or convert my own gaming figures from polymer clay (Fimo), home-cast metal figures of many scales or plastic paint conversions. I also collect and game with vintage Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, wishing like many others that I had bought more in the 1980s ...

13 thoughts on “A Nudge of Pike”

    1. Yes interesting that a lot of the heavy armour was abandoned in the ECW for buff coats – same happens with the Conquistadors in the hot sun and humidity of South America abandoned their European body armour for local leather and cloth armour.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Also I wonder if the fact that a lot of men had to be equipped reasonably rapidly meant that there just wasn’t the armour, and what there was might have been repurposed for horsemen?

        Like

      2. “The Bluecoats” booklet on Equipping the Elizabethan Army by David Evans gives insight into the reluctant and shoddy nature of the arms and uniform of the average Muster or levy soldier from the constant drain of the county levy system each year for the Irish or Continental Wars.
        It also possibly explains the wall displays of sixteenth and seventeenth Century armour and swords, polearms etc in many former Tudor stately homes and smaller gentry houses – the status display of their armoury that they were expected to maintain.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Useful news for a scenario, thanks Jim. Rusty armour and polearms etc.

        Bows would probably still be stored at home, given the queen’s expectations of time spent at the Butts. Muskets would probably be too scarce and precious to store so?
        There are reports at the time of the Armada of places like Pendennis and St. Mawes Castles having few ordnance and even less shot and powder.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I can remember the Dad’s Army episode where Mannering wanted a full court martial because they’d fired of about ten rounds at an aircraft that might have been German but they didn’t hit 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Somewhere between traditional shiny old hollowcast toy soldiers look (with ‘nice faces’ and pink cheek dots) and the simple colour palette of the old Britain’s Deetail factory finish, if they had ever done ECW instead of ACW figures. The beautiful Herald ECW plastic figures are just too expensive as a mass option.

      Liked by 1 person

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