Interesting how memory and relativity can fool us. I thought there were more Scots spearmen than there are, it seemed like a lot 15 years ago when I organized them into 2 Armati armies to take to my 1st Cold Wars. Turns out there are only a little over 200 spearmen plus archers, cavalry, wee folk and the like, say 300 all told. I guess its because I never got into big armies of big units that it seemed like more.
Overview: Highlanders and skirmishers in front, the War of Liberation spearmen, archers and cavalry in the middle, Flodden era in the rear.
Still, even leaving out the Flodden types there are enough enough for Bannockburn at 1:40 (depending on whose interpretation you use). All I would have to add is something like 300 English and that has long been the problem, I'm just not up for it. Hence the pondering of fictional, semi-historical and down right fantastical options.
After the other day's fantasy battle I was quite hepped up and started dividing the Scots into two or three fantasy armies and after all the Heritage figures that are taken from the illustrations in the old Almark Flodden book were marketed as fantasy troops and the 80 or so of them plus 60 Garrison spearmen and highlanders made up the core of the improved Valdurian army that won such great victories in 1976/77. However, once I got to sorting, it started feeling like a shame to lose the ability to do an historical as well as fantasy version of the army and I started having concerns about internal consistency and back stories. I also remembered that the giant bear was really too big - twice the size of an elephant and anyway I had promised him to the 40mm Prince Valiant guys as a giant bear/monster.
Once I finish touch ups, replacing missing spears etc and paint bases, I'll grab the real camera and take some close ups of the units.
I don't really want to fight Stirling Bridge, Falkirk and Bannockburn over and over, let along all those later disasters, and daring surprise escalades of castles, ambushes and cattle raids really cry out for individual figures and a different troop mix than pitched battles. A pseudo historical campaign seemed like a good idea but its a lot of work to do it right and there are still many constrictions.
Since I am not ready to convert the armies to outright fantasy, the obvious direction is the old fashioned fictional world using historical armies with fantasy elements over laid on it, even perhaps some non-human units at some point. At this point it behooves me to acknowledge that I already have an ancient one started, should I start a second, medieval one? Or should I be a bit more Howardian and just add them all together? Actually I'm not really keen on the Macedonian Successor part except that it is there, it was the vaguely Sassinds and Skythians that I wanted along with all the various Dark Age/Ancient Celtic/Germanic troops. Looking at the mix of clothing, armour, weapons and tactics that could be found on the fringes of late Medieval Europe, I think I can make it all fit.
The Five Kingdoms of Cliche.
- The Empire. Off to the south east, frontier forces with armoured lancers, unarmoured archers, conscripts, elephants and other foul creatures.
- The Barbarians. A horde of allied tribes in trousers from the Steppes and Forests to the East, probing for lands to settle, the Round Shields, the Long shields and ? Heavy and light cavalry supported by unarmoured spearmen and archers.
- The Hillmen from the wild Misty Isles and Highlands to the North West - spearmen and light infantry and.... other things.....
- The Kingdom of the Middle. Balanced army of knights, archers and billmen/speamen.
- The Merchant Princes: A fortified coastal outpost of an overseas Western Power with a smallish garrison of armoured pikemen supported by knights, handgunners, canon and maybe an airship etc., the latest in technology.