Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bogtrotters: Timeline Miniatures 16th c. Irish

O happy day! My order from Timeline Miniatures arrived posthaste on Tuesday. These figures were formerly Monolith Designs/Graven Images, but are now owned and produced by Timeline. I have in my hot little hands the bulk of an Irish army for The Pikeman's Lament. As astute readers of this blog may recall, I ordered these on impulse as I awaited the release of The Pikeman's Lament rules from Osprey.

The order was shipped with signature required, so I was glad to be working at home when the cat-scattering DING-DONG! of my doorbell sounded its arrival. It was a smallish package, but it weighed in at 0.942Kg (just over 2 pounds). Making sure not to drop it on my foot, I took it upstairs and opened the box.

I am not disappointed. The figures are classic Jim Bowen sculpts: hefty, exaggerated, but also streamlined and handsome with a sort of liquid quality to them. There's something about this style of sculpting that just hits the mark. I've seen a lot of finely detailed true-scale minis that left me flat. I think figures that work on the tabletop have the kind of exaggeration that the eye takes in and renders appropriate. They're more like caricatures or cartoons, but not in a grotesque or silly way; it's more the way that Wilma Flintstone comes off as sexy.

The figures are very well cast and come with no flash (not that I've detected).  Cleaning them is very easy, I only had to do a bit of cleanup on mold lines.

The figures are BIGbigger even than Renegade/Bicorne. On the Barrett Scale, they weigh in at a considerable 29H. That's a bit deceptive, because the Barret Scale rates only three grades of heft. These are more of an H+.  Compared to other 28mm ranges, they're immense.

L to R: The Assault Group, Renegade, Timeline/Monolith
For pure bulk, the chunky monks from the command pack give a MiniƩ ball a run for its money.

Brother Conall prays and Brother Donall blesses the Holy MiniƩ of Kilmuckie
I ordered one or more of every pack but two, I think.

Kern with pikes (pike upright)
These figures are all in a standard pose, but come with 12 head variants. The majority are bareheaded with four in helmets and three in hats. They all have the look of scruffy soap-dodgers recruited for a fight they can't win. One of them is a dead-ringer for Baldrick from Blackadder II.

I have a cunning pike, my lord
The pikes are held upright. I used North Star wire pikes, so players beware: impalement threatens. These figures will form a 12-figure unit of pikes. I'll probably get another unit of these guys to round out the retinue.

Timeline also offers Irish pike in a charge pike position as well. I have some ECW figures in this pose, which is quite nice and dramatic, but a bit awkward for gaming; you just can't get units in contact with 2 ½ to 3 inches of pike jutting out front.

Kern with javelins
These figures are posed casting a javelin. Like the pikemen, it's a standard pose, but with 12 head variants. Half are bare-headed, half have some sort of helmet or hat. The right hand is open and the figure comes with a cast metal javelin to put in it, but I'll use wire spears instead. They also have a separate target (to ward off English arquebus shot, no doubt). These will form 6-figure units. I have 12 now, but will get another 12 to have 4 units of kern. You can't have enough pestiferous javelin-tossing oiks in an Irish rebel force.

 Kern with arquebuses
There are multiple poses for these figures: standing shooting, crouching shooting, loading/ramming shot, and ready. There are also 12 head variants. The dress is mostly a traditional kern look gathered at the waist with loose flowing sleeves. They have the look of being the better sort of kern, the ones who can afford an arquebus and pants, although there are enough barefoot figures to make one think that the budget didn't stretch to shoes. I'll make a 12-figure unit of shot with these fellows.

Timeline also makes Irish arquebusiers in trews. I didn't buy a pack, but from the picture on Timeline's website, they're similar in dress to the kern pikemen. sporting a kind of jerkin and a mix of hats, helmets, and hair. If I add a second unit of shot, I'll go with these figures for it and possibly reconfigure the kern arquebusiers as two 6-figure commanded shot units.

Gallowglass (attacking)
These are the traditional mercs of Irish warlords, pretty much unchanged over the course of 200 years. There are six poses. All figures wield a nasty 2-handed axe; three figures also carry a large 2-handed sword on their back. The packs I got were in the attacking pose. There is another pack of gallowglass standing.

I'll use these figures to make a 12-figure unit of clansmen. This will also be the unit I'll attach my leader to. Since I don't have The Pikeman's Lament rules yet, I'm not sure what, if any, upgrades there are. I assume that clansmen are analogous to fierce foot in Lion Rampant, which give them no upgrades.

Irish command
This pack contains a well-harnessed Irish warlord with a piper, two monks, and two spear-armed kern in attendance. The warlord looks a formidable chap with an iron breastplate and morion. His right hand is separate. I used a bit of brass wire and a pin-vise to pin it on for added strength.

I love these figures! I first saw this range years ago when I was looking wistfully at the Monolith's Prehistoricalistic Europeanoids. I just didn't know what to do with them. Now that The Pikeman's Lament is almost here, I have the inspiration I need. I'll post further reviews and progress reports on this projects as I get some painted and based (using the 3-2-1 scheme).

After I complete the figures I bought, I'll order some more to complete the Irish army and then get some of the garrison troops from the same range to use as the English occupiers.

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