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Captain Eyestrain
1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New Model Army Musketeer :

The British Civil Wars were a ghastly business : recent studies have suggested that the number of people who died as a result of them were a higher proportion of the population than in any other war in our history , including the Great War .
The causes were very complex , involving a religious revolt in Scotland and an ethnic and religious revolt against colonisation in Ireland , but in England it was a struggle for power between a weak king who attempted to impose hated policies without consulting anyone , and the emerging middle classes , who demanded a say in Government ; the result was nine years of fighting , ending with an eleven-year Republic including England , Scotland and Ireland .
It was not a success , but although the Monarchy returned in 1660 , its powers were curtailed , and the constitutional settlement that eventually emerged in 1688 was the basis of our present Government arrangements.

The struggle started in earnest in 1642 , with both sides , the King and Parliament , frantically raising troops from their areas of influence . For the next three years the war was evenly balanced , until the Parliament , frustrated with their failure to achieve a decision despite their superior wealth and resources in manpower , reorganised their regional small armies into a new , single army.

This became known as The " New Model " Army , commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax , and it is really the start of the British Army as it exists today : some of its units have had a continuous existence from that time until the present .
This army received its baptism in the summer of 1645 at Naseby , where , after a wobbly start , it destroyed the King's infantry , going on to win the war over the next eighteen months in a series of seiges and battles.
Many of the captured Royalist Foot , offered good terms , joined its ranks.
It stayed in being , going on to conquer Ireland ( in a very confused state of sectarian war at the time ) and eventually Scotland, when the Scots , previously Parliament's allies , changed sides .
It never lost a battle .
By being the first standing army in England , it became a power in its own right , and the Horse at least were highly politicised . Its triumph led to the Trial and execution of the King in 1649, the supplanting of Parliament by Cromwell and his supporters and the constitutional experiments that followed : that is another , and very complex story .
Suffice it to say that without the New Model Army the idea of one man one vote might not have emerged for another two centuries .

The New Model was formed from three existing forces : The Earl of Essex's Army , Sir William Waller's Army , and the Army of the Eastern Association .
It had twelve Regiments of Foot , each of a nominal 1200 men , and from the outset efforts were made to clothe and equip it in a uniform manner, though it was probably about a year before they achieved this goal .
Its soldiers were not the first English troops to wear red , but this time all the Infantry were thus clad , with each regiment having its coat lined in one of a range of different colours, the beginning of the coloured facings so familiar from later centuries .
We are fortunate to have some surviving contracts describing the uniforms , and the figure is based closely on what we can surmise from these , and other documents.

It's remarkable that there is not a single surviving colour illustration of a British common soldier from this period: we have a few crude little woodcuts , some European paintings showing contemporary Continental troops ( mostly wealthy Dutch militia ) , and plenty of portraits of the officers , but none of the British private soldier .
A great deal of work by enthusiasts over recent years has come to a sort of consensus about what he may have looked like , but there are still some problems which we can probably never solve .


His uniform and equipment are largely as newly issued, and if not have been " acquired " in various ways .
The felt hat he" found" : most soldier were issued with knitted or cloth caps because they were cheaper.
He has a linen shirt over which he wears an old grey doublet ( in rags ) and his relatively new issue coat , of red broadcloth with a yellow lining : we believe Skippon's Regiment were faced in yellow.
The first contracts specify the length of these( 29 1/4 " ) , and that they were to be made from 1 yard of broadcloth, which is 60" wide. The only way that this can be done is to cut the coat in straight sections , without the usual flare or waist found in civilian garments.
There is no mention of buttons , which were a fashion necessity at the time , but facing coloured "tapestrings" were provided : some reconstructions have thus shown the coat closed by tape bows at the front . Since no other 17c. male garment was ever fastened by tapes , this is rather strange, and the tapes may have been intended instead as edge binding of some sort . We shall probably never know.
Other coat contracts mention buttons , and pictures of soldiers, however crude, always show them in profusion , so perhaps the soldiers were expected to improvise and add their own buttons . Tin ones like these were common .

The issue breeches were of grey cloth , lined with linen , with chamois leather pockets . Stockings were mostly grey .
[ grey at this time normally meant undyed wool of brown and white sheep mixed] . The shoes are issued , from the frantically busy shoemakers of Northampton , and are
" straights " , sized , but without distinction of left and right They got through three or four pairs in a year , but being barefoot was not unfamiliar .
The snapsack is of oiled and waxed leather , containing a spare shirt if he has one , several days bread and cheese , and any personal items like a wooden cup and plate etc..

The musket is a matchlock , fired by fitting the glowing match in the serpentine match-holder , opening the priming pan , and pulling the trigger , which lowers the end of the match into the pan. Otherwise its performance is exactly the same as the contemporary and later flintlocks , firing a .75" ball with reasonable accuracy to 80 yards , and with little chance of hitting anything smaller than the proverbial barn much beyond that ; but it would still kill at 300 yards .

Some older authors have been misled by the elaborate illustrated training manuals( actually very good ) into regarding it as a hopelessly slow and cumbersome weapon : this is sheer ignorance. The manuals tell you exactly what to do , stage by stage with an illustration for each . If taught using one , you can operate the gun with safety and speed.

I have personally watched one fired twice a minute with ease and accuracy, which is not quite as fast as a flintlock , but well enough .
The fact was that massed musketry was becoming the deciding factor in battle , and the proportion of muskets to pikes in the Foot increased as the War progressed, from two to one , to four to one or more .
Musketeers normally formed in battle array six deep : each rank fired and then fell off to either side , allowing the next rank to fire . Six ranks was the minimum needed to allow the first rank to be ready when their time came again .

This pic , showing a Danish company ( the Danes also traditionally wore red coats ) in 1660 gives an idea of what a company looked like in formation .They are shown in five ranks : I rather suspect the artist ran out of space to show six !

Musketeers were also often used as skirmishers , almost in the Napoleonic sense , especially where they could use natural features to protect themselves from Horse .
A body of well-trained musketeers can also break up a charge of Horse , as had beeen discovered in the Thirty Years War in Germany ; this tactic was used in many ECW battles.
The use of the musket rest disappeared during the war : the slightly lighter muskets then being produced didn't really need one , and they were a pain to carry , and complicated the loading process horribly if you were not to drop them
( see the manual above ).
The musket was still being loaded from the bandolier : twelve wooden chargers or " boxes " , containing about 5 drams each , and a spouted priming flask. The bullets and wads are carried in the bullet bag at the bottom , and there is a spare link of match .

Paper cartridges , which became standard later , were perfectly well known and used by some, but the supply of suitable paper was expensive and intermittent , and there was no system for making them en masse , so they were not used by the common musketeer.
The chief reason for the gradual abandonment of the matchlock later in the century was the consumption of match : 800 musketeers ( a Regiment ) burnt 800 feet per HOUR or more : that's 266 YARDS of the stuff , a considerable weight and cost . Getting hold of it was often a problem on campaign , and there are accounts of all the beds in a town being stripped of their cording to make it
[ Beds at the time had a lacing of rope to support the mattress ].
The flintlock , which had only existed for about ten years prior to the war , was used by several units by 1645, had the advantage of always being ready to fire without that expense, and was certainly easier to use : but the rate of misfires was much higher . The matchlock , if the firer knows what he is doing , always works , except in heavy rain .
The sword is copied from a Tower " pattern " sword believed to have been issued at the time : they were mostly made in Hounslow .
They were a status symbol as much as a weapon : at close quarters the butt of the musket was much preferred .

Making the figure :

The coat and doublet are made from brushed cotton :" Winceyette ", which I've dyed myself using Dylon hot dyes.
The breeches are from an old skirt .
Despite the " tapestrings " reference, I've given him buttons .
The hat is felt moulded over a block.
The shirt is real linen.
The shoes are leather , made over a Sculpey last.
The snapsack is thin sheepskin from Little Trimmings.
The stockings are tailored from a piece of grey tennis shirt which has a knitted weave.
All the various buckles and buttons are cast pewter .
The sword has a pewter hilt on a steel blade , in a wood and leather scabbard in a buff baldric.
The bandolier bottles are turned painted wood , blue with blue and white strings as specified in the contracts . I own an original bottle , and the blue paint is almost certainly
" verditer ", a cheap synthetic sky blue pigment. They are mounted on a buff leather belt ( deerskin in this case).
The musket itself is wood and steel : I found a length of 6mm pipe at a local workshop , and filed it down to make the barrel ( it's actually a slightly shorter " Bastard " musket with a 46" barrel : officially they had 48" barrels , but surving examples vary from 41-48 inches ). All the lock fittings were fashioned from little bits of steel , and the lock actually functions , sort of .

Couldn't resist the Photoshop !

This musket was very much a one-off , really to see if it could be done : I have prepared another version for future use , made more conventionally for casting in resin and pewter .

As you can imagine , this has been a long term project , and I've been working on parts of this figure for a couple of years. Having discovered the brushed cotton as a 1/6th substitute for woolen broadcloth has prompted finishing him.



465 Posts
Tony, admit it. Your stuff is actually 1/1 and you have photoshopped it to make us believe it is 1/6.

Outstanding as usual, with the history and attention to detail we have come to expect. You are the master.

607 Posts
Mr. Barton, your unique style and extreme attention to detail is just phenomenal!!! The history of the subject is very well put in a way that we all could understand and actually see it through your work and dedication. And as always, truly an OUTSTANDING piece of work Mr. Barton


Furious Genius
1,973 Posts
Wonderful work, Tony. Once again viewing one your figures is like visiting the period and meeting the gent in person. Thanks for the background information too.

Plastic Alchemist
1,111 Posts
Tony, your work is always high calibre, but this figure is just outstanding in every respect, and that includes presentation! I can't say enough good things about all the gear, clothing, and detailing on this guy, let alone the marvelous head and handsculpts. Sheer unadulterated brilliance!

4,457 Posts
That is flipping amazing - Everytime I see a Tony Barton figure it's better then the last. Tony, I am in awe of your crafting skills and artistry. I am only just getting my feet wet in sculpting new body parts... I am a long way from sewing my own clothes and casting my own parts and gear.

I also really like the dio you but together. It's the first time I've seen fake fur used as grass, it looks pretty damn good.
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