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Mike Blake reviews the latest plastic figures for collectors
This time Len Cooksey really has come up with something special plastic resin 1:32 scale figures for the Marlburian Period! John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Prince of Mindelheim, KG, PC, 26 May 1650 16 June 1722 ), was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs. Rising from a lowly page at the court of the House of Stuart, he served James, Duke of York, through the 1670s and early 1680s, earning military and political advancement through his courage and diplomatic skill. Churchill's role in defeating the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685 helped secure James on the throne, yet just three years later he abandoned his Catholic patron for the Protestant Dutchman, William of Orange. Honoured for his services at William's coronation with the earldom of Marlborough, he served with further distinction in the early years of the Nine Years' War.
It was not until the accession of Queen Anne in 1702 that Marlborough reached the zenith of his powers and secured his fame and fortune. His leadership of the allied armies in the War of the Spanish Succession consolidated Britain's emergence as a front-rank power. Throughout ten consecutive campaigns Marlborough held together a discordant coalition through his sheer force of personality and raised the standing of British arms to a level not known since the Middle Ages.
The War of the Spanish Succession, 17011714, was fought between two European alliances. Several battles are considered 'classics', notably Blenheim (1704) and Ramillies (1706), which drove the French from Germany and the Netherlands, and Almansa (1707). Inconclusive fighting and skirmishing in Spain followed and then the action turned to France. After considerable manoeuvring with little in the way of results, the French were decisively defeated by Marlborough and Eugene at the Battle of Oudenarde (1708). This led to the Grand Alliance Pyrrhic victory at Malplaquet (1709) and a Two Crowns victory at the Battle of Villaviciosa (1710). Continued skirmishing, sieges, and battles, such as the decisive victory of Denain (1712), allowed the French to re-capture considerable ground. At the same time, a series of events led to the Allied cause faltering. The recall of the Duke of Marlborough for political reasons, combined with a new parliament pressing for peace, dramatically reduced the effectiveness of the British forces. The decade long war was concluded by the treaties of Utrecht (1713) and Rastatt (1714).
Sadly neglected by figure makers, the War is fertile ground for collectors and wargamers. The uniforms of the various armies were all virtually the same, differing only in colour and minor details but all conforming to the same basic pattern. This means that will a minimal number of figures all the armies can be covered. This is exactly what Ivanhoe have done with their new set of figures for the period.
With just two foot and one mounted body, and three heads (though it seems there are actually four) all the necessary types can be made. The infantry bodies are standing firing and standing at attention. The mounted body has a drawn sword and a carbine. The heads are tricorne, Grenadier mitre cap and Fusilier/Dragoon low fronted cap. By combining heads with bodies armies of foot, grenadiers, fusiliers, horse, horse grenadiers and dragoons can be made. For the latter the foot figures could be used for the dismounted versions, with the addition of a sheathed sword and sling, and boot tops.
Please note that Len has been good enough to send me the prototypes to photograph, as he sold out of all his castings at the last London Show! The actual production figures are much better than these of course, so please bear that in mind when looking at the photos as they really are splendid little fellows. The bad news is that Les has developed an allergy to resin, and has had to stay off casting for a while. Hopefully by the time this review appears he will have recovered we would all wish him a speedy recovery I am sure.
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