Friday, January 1, 2010

Wargaming the English Civil War in 1/72 Scale Part 2: Cavalry

Revell 30YW Swedes painted as Parliamentarian horse

Cavalry and Dragoons

There are fewer options for ECW horse in 1/72 than for infantry, but it is still quite possible to build up varied and accurate units of cavalry and dragoons. Here are the possibilities.

Revell Swedish Cavalry

Read the review here:

This is a beautiful set of cavalry for the 30YW that contains possibly the best horses ever made in this scale. The figures are quite suitable for the ECW (apart from some minor quibbles about swords), and include cuirassiers, harquebusiers and unarmoured horse suitable for dragoons. The Revell set of Swedish infantry also incidentally includes some kneeling figures armed with flintlocks who make great dismounted dragoons.

Dragoons (Revell figures)

You could easily just use this set to provide the cavalry for a Royalist or Parliamentarian army, but there is one problem – availability. In its wisdom Revell has not produced the set for years, although it seems to have just been re-released as a limited edition and is advertised on the Michigan Toy Soldier site. My advice is to grab some while you can. Another alternative, depending on your scruples and tolerance for carving off flash, is to buy the pirated copies of the set produced by Mars. They have released badly moulded and quite illegal copies split into two boxes – cuirassiers and dragoons.

If you can’t get hold of this set, there are some other possibilities.

Strelets Reitars of Charles XII

Read the review here:

These figures are for the Great Northern War. However, they can be converted into pretty reasonable ECW cavalry. They don’t mix well with Revell though, being the usual Strelets ‘chunky’ style. To convert them, cut off the heads of any figures wearing tricorne hats and replace them with heads from A Call To Arms. The Reitars aren’t wearing backplates, but this can easily be disguised with a good paint job. It would also probably be more realistic to carve off some or all of the holster covers on the horses, as they look a bit too ‘18th Century’. I quite like the effect of these figures, particularly for the New Model Army.


SHQ have some 20mm ECW cavalry in metal. They didn’t impress me as much as their infantry. Poses are few, and the horses are too small. Some of the riders can be used in a unit on different horses.

From left to right: Three Tumbling Dice riders, a TD 'heavy' horse, a SHQ horse, SHQ rider, ACTA pikeman

Tumbling Dice

Tumbling Dice riders compared to Mars copies of Revell figures

TD have a good range of cavalry and dragoons with separate heads. This allows for more variation in a unit, and also allows figures to be used as Covenanters. The main problem with TD figures is the lack of variety in the horse poses. They have two – one with pistol holsters and one without. If. Like me, you don’t want your cavalry to appear to me trotting in step, you will have to source your horses from elsewhere. I have mounted a few on Revell horses, and like their look.

TD (and one SHQ) riders on TD and Revell horses

Next time - the artillery.


  1. Two very very informative articles, and some nicely painted miniatures too.

    I agree about the Revell Swedish Cavalry horses, they really are some of the best horse poses every made in 1/72 plastic.

  2. what is the best size stands to use for DBA 1 72

  3. The DBA rulebook has two basing sizes - one for 15mm figures and one for 25mm. For 1/72 scale use the base sizes for 25mm. All elements have a frontage of 60mm. THe depth depends on the troop type. Eg any mounted troops are mounted on a base 40mm deep, spears 20mm, auxilia 30mm etc. You can find a complete table of base sizes in the Unofficial Guide to DBA available here:
    This guide is brilliant - much clearer than the actual rule book and has great summary sheets. Hope that helps.

  4. Interesting article and lovely painting. Looking forward to reading more posts


  5. You might wish to obtain some of the old Jack Scruby figures from Historifig in the US. They do a 1" range called "TYW" that actually includes a bit of everything from late Gendarmes with lobster and lance to Ottomans, with a healthy dose of generic TYW/ECW types mixed in.

    The sculpting standard will not be up to some of today's work, like ACTA, Revell and Zvezda, but these were sculpted (as all of Jack's "25mm" or 1" were) to mix with the available plastics of the day, and some were done by some notable sculptor's of the day. I have been able to mix some of the SYW figures with my plastics from ACTA, Italeri, Accurate and Zvezda. Just a thought.

    I don't hold out much hope for the new Mars sets, having seen the Polish Haijduks and the GNW Swedes. Their box art looks good, but those may be the greens painted up. The actual product reviewed on PSR is simply awful, and they don't understand wargaming at all. Even if you found the Poles somewhat useful, would you really want as many Rotamasters, Young Rotamasters' Boys and musicians and standard bearers as fighting men?Four of each figure or pose seem to be the order of the day, which really disappoints me with the GNW Saxons still to come out! Roughly 50% of the 56 figure set will be "non-combatants" when you factor 4 X each figure pose or type. Even if you bought multiple boxes to create realistic units, do you really need entire battalions of sappers, musicians, sergeants and ensigns?


  6. Have you tried any of Kennington's 1/72nd-20mm metal ECW/TYW figures? They certainly have the broadest range with virtually every armor and hat/helmet type represented.


  7. Thanks for the comments gentlemen. Sir William - I think the Kennington figures are now owned by SHQ, and are the ones I refer to here. But I may be wrong. Thanks for letting me know about Historifigs - I shall look into them. I have some Mars Scots on the way, but I'm not holding out too many hopes. Cheers!

  8. Alanus,

    Here are a couple of Vistula Legion Lancers from Scruby's range on Matt's "In The Grand Manner" blog, they finish up very nicely:

    They are slightly larger than Airfix, which he shows a comparison to, so should fit in well with Italeri, Accurate, possibly even Zvezda.


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