By Rob Morgan
The cogs in the photographs are 1/3000th scale, made originally by Bill Lamming in the North of England. Fairly old models now, I bought them from Bill in the late 1970s. I later wrote a series of articles in Hobilar, the medieval wargames journal about them and their potential on the table top.
I decided that the sails of each fleet should be painted in, well, ‘house’ colours — of cities and states, using a 1979 guide from an article in Military Modelling. Not historically, totally accurate, but it looks just right in this scale. I refined this system a little by painting each cog’s ‘castles’ and fighting top a different colour. So, you could have ‘The White Cog of Pisa,’ the ‘Blue,’ and the ‘Red’ and so on. To denote flagships, I added touches of gold, or paper pennons from the mast head. Merchant ships I either left with plain buff or off-white sails, and scruffier hulls.
Bear in mind the models in the photos are now 40 years old, and if I was attempting a fleet these days, then stronger glues and thin plasticard might make pennons easier to fashion, and it would probably be possible to add a jack-staff at each stern and bow with added small pennons or banners. Using the masts and sails trimmed from one or two of the delightful 1/2400th medieval vessels of Tumbling Dice for lateen masts or foremasts would make later or slightly larger cogs. The Tumbling Dice pirate galley, ASC14, makes a splendid medieval galley to accompany the Lamming cogs to war, looking the right scale. Can I also take the opportunity of recommending a little background reading into cog encounters in the medieval period. It’s ‘The White Company’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, set in the 100YW. An early chapter deals with a sea-fight between a cog and galleys off Gascony. Valuable background.
But now, well, there’s a problem where the models are concerned. Indeed, I’m glad I bought a hundred of the little cogs when I did. They were selling at a mere eight pence each in 1979, and the value was incredible. They are about 10mm long on chunky sea bases, and 10mm to the mast top. Mine are based on rectangles of plasticard. Yes, en masse these little cogs always look superb.
Bill’s models are as attractive and useful now as they were back then, but it seems that they are no longer going to be available. When the Lamming business closed, the moulds were sold to East Riding Miniatures, and Tony Barr intended to re-issue them, he told me so several years ago (ERM did issue the Lamming Napoleonic warships, I believe), though not at 8p each cog, unfortunately, but at two for a pound. Sadly, they never appeared, and news I have is that ERM are no longer trading. Some other reader may have better information of course. It would be a great shame if the Lamming cogs vanished from the table top. Anyone know more?