Monday, 5 February 2018

More Flemish Horse and The Lord of Bek's Commission, 1688

I thought I'd post some more of the Flemish Horse here on the Blog which I've been painting as part of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge VIII. This time, its the regiment of Horse of the Count of Bucquoy. They will be joining my Flemish, Spanish and German army from 1688, focused around the fictional town of Laarden in the Spanish Netherlands, but leaning on history for the uniform and flags of the units concerned.

The Lords, and later Counts, of Bucquoy were important holders of high office in the Hapsberg dominions of the Spanish Netherlands, including the hereditary title of the Master of the "Hunt of Artois". The third Count, Charles II Albert de Longueval (1607 – 1663), was also a holder of the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Order of Calatrava (both senior orders of Spanish nobility), and was a general of the Spanish Cavalry in the Low Countries in the later stages of the Thirty Years War. The regiment of Horse recruited by the third Count, then passed to his son, the 4th Count (being one of thirteen children of the third Count). So, there's noble pedigree a-plenty in the regiment, and the location of the Bucquoy lordship (now a commune in the Pas-de-Calais, but formerly part of the Hapsberg territories in Flanders), makes the unit a good fit for my fictional free-Flemish city of Laarden in 1688.

The figures in the regiment are all 25mm Wargames Foundry from their Marlburian range, including the horses. They’re painted with Vallejo paints and the bases are by Warbases (in 3mm laser cut MDF). The regimental officer, probably not the Count himself, has suffered an arm swap to make him look more inspiring, but that’s the only significant conversion from the original figures, although the feathers are all made from green-stuff. The standard being carried of from "Flags of War" - adding these lovely flags as saved quite a bit of time. I found it repaid the extra effort to paint the flag edges once the glue (I used Bostik) has dried.

The figures were fun to paint - with the red cuffs contrasting well with the buff/ off-white of their uniforms. I’ve chosen to equip them with pistols (as I did with the Flemish Horse regiment of de Vichet from January). From the performance of Flemish horse in the Franco-Dutch War (1672-1678) and he Nine Years War (1689-1698), I don’t anticipate that their tactical doctrine would have been the same as the hard charging French cavalry using a sword as their primary weapon. The Armies of the Spanish Netherlands struggled in recruiting high quality cavalry formations, relying mainly for battlefield cavalry on Lorraine and Burgundian horse regiments recruited from Hapsburg affiliated territories along the French border south of Luxembourg. Equipping the regiment of the Count of Bucquoy with pistols as their primary weapons, and allowing them to perform a caracole maneouvre, makes sense to me, restricting cold steel melee weapons to the French and more aggressive Lorrainer Horse.

I also added a heavy field gun, with figures by Dixon Miniatures and Wargames Foundry (which made the cannon as well). There's more artillery to come eventually (as the last of the units to be painted), my hope is to finish the cavalry first before finishing with the artillery trayne.

I've also added one of the 'themed round' submissions from the Challenge here as well. It is a far more 'alt-history' submission, so be warned...


From the journal of Don Fernando de Torrescusa, Marquess de Girona, Envoy of His Most Catholic Majesty, Carlos the Second, King of Spain, to the Flemish Free City of Laarden in 1688.

“One of the soldiers of the Lord of Bek’s contingent is a Polish drummer. He bears an unpronounceable name, and has a dark scowl on his face when I have seen him in the field or in the Grote Markt on parade. His hair is the colour of straw and is worn long, and his uniform has a distinctively Eastern cut, as I well remember from my time in Hungary. 

Despite his appearance, the Lord of Bek is resolute in asserting that the Polish Drummer is invaluable to his command, for his drumming on a large Polish drum is both fast and loud. The drummer is rumoured to have fought in the Baltic Wars, and I have heard that on the field of Honingfeld his resolution helped rally an Imperial brigade being hard pressed by their Swedish adversaries.  Such men are highly prized by Graf von Bek.  He is fast garnering a reputation for his horsemanship in the field, no doubt helped by the Croats he has brought with him to Flanders.  His Polish drummer is, no doubt, another useful addition to his strengthening company.  

How they will all fare against the Duc de Luxembourg's Gendarmes is, I fear, another question.”  


The commander, the Graf von Bek (perhaps the grandson of Ulrich von Bek of "The War Hound and the World's Pain" reknown), is a Dixon Miniatures Grand Alliance officer, on a Wargames Foundry ECW horse. I lengthened his coat to flow over his horse's withers, and added reins to his horse with some copper wire, befitting a skilled cavalier.  The Croat is from The Assault Group, without conversion. I added some late 17th century-style cuffs onto the drummer’s sleeves, and completely remade his Polish cap into a fur-bagged hat with feathers. The base is by Warbases, and the tufts from Silfor and WSS.

I was casting around this weekend for something to add to the figures which wasn't going to take a huge amount more time, but which would bring out the "Laarden theme" of the command base.

I hit upon the idea of the Lord of Bek’s commission for the recruitment of the Polish drummer, complete with the Graf’s personal seal. I've mentioned before on this blog about my fascination with recruiting contracts and legal agreements entered into by 17th Century soldiers and military enterprisers.  I also really enjoy using a (very small amount of) craft-y skill to try and create a background for our games.

Rather than scouring the archives of Brussels or Antwerp, I resorted to opening the Laarden document box (far easier, of course!) and creating the Lord of Bek's contract. Some fancy paper and sealing wax later, and I’d added an Imperial commission to my Laarden-themed documents and created some fluff for the player (un)fortunate enough to command the Lord of Bek on the tabletop.
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