Saturday 27 March 2021

Bosworth 1485 - My kingdom for a horse

Historical Background

The struggle for power in medieval England culminated in the Wars of the Roses (1455 - 1485), the name derived from the badges of the two leading parties - the house of Lancaster (red rose) and the house of York (white rose). In the year 1485 Richard III. of the house of York was the king of England and had to deal with Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, of the house of Lancaster. The two armies met at Bosworth for the decisive battle. After a bitter fighting Richard lost his life and throne and Henry became the new regent, founding the house of Tudor (the badge being a white rose within a red rose), which ruled England for the next 118 years.

The moment depicted is the final stand by Richard III. with his last few men. The scene happened after a cavalry charge spearheaded by Richard failed and he and his men were partly driven into marshland. After losing his horse from exhaustion and wounds the famous quote by William Shakespeare "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" should have happened here. He wanted his horse not for fleeing but for reentering combat on horseback (so the legend says). The pursuing Lancastrian foot soldiers chased after the retreating Yorkist knights and killed them one after the other. Richard's standard bearer holds his banner high till the last moment, although he had lost both legs. Finally the king was overwhelmed and perished.

The diorama

The figures are from MiniArt (very flat) and the horse from Airfix. The positioning of the figures was quite difficult for not creating a strange looking effect owing to their flatness. The horse was a major conversion as it is orginally for a british hussar of Waterloo.

I was unable to find a satisfying description how English marshland in the 15th century really looked like, so several modern day pictures were the base for the recreation. As there are many different kinds of marshes, this is only one possible approach. 

The marshland was made of MIG texture dark mud, MIG acrylic water clear, Faller foliage and grass, Busch reed and some colour variations.

Photos (click to enlarge)

Video (Youtube)


Christopher Gravett - Bosworth 1485 (Osprey Campaign 66)
David Nicolle - European medieval tactics 2 (Osprey Elite 189)
Michael Hicks - The Wars of the Roses (Osprey Essential Histories 54)
Terence Wise - The Wars of the Roses (Osprey Men-at-Arms 145)
Terence Wise - Mediaval heraldry (Osprey Men-at-Arms 99)
Christopher Gravett - English medieval knight 1400-1500 (Osprey Warrior 35)
Clive Bartlett - English longbowman 1330-1515 (Osprey Warrior 11)
Gary Embleton - Medieval military costume (Europa Militaria Special 8)
Jens Hill, Jonas Freiberg - The medieval fighting man (Europa Militaria Special 18)
Liliane u. Fred Funcken - Historische Waffen und Rüstungen
M. Bennet, ... - Fighting techniques of the medieval world 500-1500