Saturday 1 December 2012

Sir Arthur Haselrigge's Regiment of Horse

Sir Arthur Haselrigge's Regiment of Horse - the famous 'Lobsters' (or should it be 'Liebsters' after the many awards of that name presented to many worthy blogs in the last couple of weeks!).

I painted these in 1991 if I recall correctly, but the basing has all been freshly done using MDF and my current basing methods.  They were originally based on bits of card and flocked but not any more.

The figures were made by Front Rank (as too was my previously posted regiment of Sir Samuel Luke's Regiment).  I still really like the actual figures of the troopers. A nice mix of closed helmets and lobster pots. It's just a shame about the saddle-cloths being cast on to the actual figure, again causing the figures to sit too high, like my previously posted regiment.  I remember being somewhat dismayed to find the standard bearer, commander and trumpeter to be standard Front Rank Cavalry officers and thus not wearing full cuirassier armour.  This was also my first attempt with modelling clay (some bizarre hairy stuff!) to sculpt on figures.  For a first attempt (and if you don't look at the command stand too closely), I might have nearly got away with making it look ok. The command stand is with the main photo of the whole regiment (so they are hidden!), not the pic below which is of troopers! :-)

Sir Arthur Haselrigge formed one of the few cuirassier regiment's used in the civil war.  By all accounts they gave solid service until their destruction at the Battle of Roundway Down, when they were forced to flee down the sheer drops of the hills (I might post photos of the battlefield walk made back in the summer sometime).  The regiment was re-formed afterwards but as a cavalry regiment equipped in the standard way.  I just tried to find an online account of the Royalist Cavalry officer Richard Atkyn's account of the battle and his personal combat with Sir Arthur, but alas, my 3am head has only succeeded in finding this bit of potted history from Wikipedia:

"Haselrig's regiment formed the heavy cavalry in the army of Sir William Waller. The "lobsters" distinguished themselves at Lansdown on July 5, 1643. However, at the Battle of Roundway Down, on July 13, they met a Royalist cavalry charge at the halt and after a brief clash, retreated in disorder, the Parliamentarian army losing the battle. Though they were defeated the armour they wore apparently served them well; Haselrig was shot three times at Roundway Down, with the bullets apparently bouncing off his armour. After firing a pistol at Haselrig's helmeted head at close range without any effect Richard Atkyns described how he attacked him with his sword, but it too caused no visible damage; Haselrig was under attack from a number of people and only succumbed when Atkyns attacked his unarmoured horse. After the death of his horse Haselrig tried to surrender; but as he fumbled with his sword, which was tied to his wrist, he was rescued. He suffered only minor wounds from his ordeal.[4]
This incident was related to Charles I and elicited one of his rare attempts at humour. The king said that if Haselrig had been as well supplied as he was fortified he could have withstood a siege."

Atkyn's account of the battle is dramatic and is a wonderful first hand account of a civil war cavalry battle. If you can find it then it's worth a read. You'll note that Haselrigge's name is never consistently spelt either (i'm not sure the man himself would have used the same spelling!). I used the Barry Denton spelling from his excellent book on Sir Arthur called 'Only in Heaven' (Sir Arthur's motto on his cavalry standard).

I had no idea until I read Barry Denton's book just how central a figure Sir Arthur was to many of the key political events of the Civil War and end of Commonwealth (where he was trapped between a 'rock and a hard place' sandwiched between the rival generals Monck and Lambert, whilst attempting to maintain Parliament as the key ruling power).  All fascinating and very fast moving stuff.

Anyway, painting cuirassiers can be bad for your pocket...I now really want to add a firing copy of one of those massive wheel-lock or dog-lock pistols to my black-powder gun collection! :-)


  1. Nice work - they look great as a unit. The basing really is top-notch too. Best, Dean

  2. Another fine looking unit. New basing really looks good.

  3. Great looking unit of Heavy Horse. Well done!

  4. Nice looking unit there and the history is icing on the cake. Great job!

  5. Very nice and impressive figures, a great work!

  6. Thank you everyone for your very kind and encouraging comments :-)

  7. Looking good; my own version of this regiment will be included the next post of my own (even more vintage) ECW figures. Your basing looks excellent; My figures go back to the day where even using flocking on the bases was uncommon, and I can never bring myself to spend the time necessary to do much more than that - I'd rather spend it painting another unit!