I sympathize with Charles Stuart at the moment, Civil War looms and the war chest is empty and no hope of new funds in the near future. Luckily, apart from raising new regiments from scratch, I also have some old veterans who have remained loyal and will answer the call.
These take the form of some Minifigs bough back in the mid-70's when the change over from S-Range to Staid & Stout ranges was happening and they were among the last Minifigs I ever bought, but they fought well for me, not as ECW Scots but first as Valdurian pikemen and archers and then as late Medieval Scots, tucked away amongst Heritage, Garrison and various other figures. After carefully extracting these, the total remaining came to 1 mounted General (probably Rupert though I would have expected me to have ordered Montrose), 4 Scots cavalry including 2 hairy barbarians with bare arms and huge poleaxes, 20 Pikemen in neat kilts and helmets, 10 archers in formal dress and 1 brawny swordsmen. I'm sure there used to be more of the latter as well as at least 1 with 2 handed claidhmore but there we are and after all its been about 35 years and at most there are 2 or 3 missing. I suspect the cavalry and swordsmen were samples not followed up on. I also found 2 unpainted officers, a piper and a drummer that I acquired much later, from somewhere or other.
Anyway, how to turn these into useful units? (without ordering more - the sensible solution) First the cavalry, 4 men is not an imposing unit. If I wasn't going to buy more, I needed to fall back on the old ways and convert something, after searching the various unpainted, broken and/or orphaned boxes, I found just the ticket. A handful of left over PB Range Pictish cavalry. Ok, so not the first thing that popped into your mind, but there they are, same style of horse and body so they will fit in once dressed, and dressed in simple long sleeved, knee length tunic, it would be a snap to add boots, bonnets, gauntlets and plaid, as well as replacing broken spears. As an added bonus, its been ages since I set out to do a major conversion and I hugely enjoyed the process. I should probably have stripped the paint off first, but as it is I was able to leave the original painted faces. Now to do 4 more.
The Picts had been a favoured unit of mine. They were raised one summer with one goal in mind, hunt down and destroy Simon's Elite, barbarian light cavalry unit known as the Goths. These fierce warriors who carried a huge dead (presumably) fly entombed in epoxy putty as a standard, never rolled less than +2 as I recall and had never been defeated. (These were in our pre-historic (literally) WRG 3rd edition days). I painted the Picts in as scruffy a fashion as I could manage, drilled them in wedge formation and sent them into battle where I was rewarded by seeing the Goths roll down and break. Sweet revenge! So you can see it would give me pleasure to find a new place for some of those veterans, long without a proper home, to serve again. (The rest are being refurbished as miscellaneous barbarian mercenaries for my Lydian army and will appear in due course in the4 Gathering of Hosts blog.)
Next I turned my attention to my pike and bow unit. I don't think the kilted pike quite matched even the then current picture of Coventer Scots pike but I see that more of Montrose's highanders are now thought to have fought as pike and shot units rather than wild eyed swordsmen so close enough for me. Pike and bow still doesn't sound right and after contemplating where to find suitable shot, I finally decided to re-arm some of the pikemen to make up a 1:1 pike/shot unit. The arquebus I made for my 40mm landsknechts was a little skinny and with a bit of trimming, makes a decent 25mm musket but I also tried turning a pike into a musket with putty. I like the borrowed musket best. A 24 man pike/shot regiment is a little small but acceptable in the circumstances. adding the officers and drummer to the shot wings, I only need to convert 8 pikemen to shot.
If I scrounge one other highlander, then I will also have a 12 man Highland bow unit.
Old toy soldiers never die.