Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Interim posting - vignettes.

I've returned to extending my AWI armies, as I needed a break from medievals (and the release of Sharp Practice 2 rules and another British Grenadier scenarios book have rekindled my enthusiasm).

However, unfinished figures linger on the painting table and so my addiction has been sated with a couple of vignettes. One is a papal group, never far from a king or high-ranking duke on campaign. These have been done on a sabot base, to maximise options for use - which I'm going to use variations of for all my vignettes now.

Second is a casualty figure, resting after or before the next days campaigning.

More Burgundians, or Swiss, will follow this summer.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Duke of Burgundy's Guard

Here’s my representation of the bodyguard for Charles the Bold.

I've not been able to discover for certain a date when the ducal guard was established. It may have been by duke Phillip, possibly as a consequence of the murder of his father John in 1419. There are records of robes and paletots being purchased for 24 men of the guard in 1433 and 1435. In 1465, in the dukedom of Charles, these were made of black and violet cloth, bearing a white St Andrew's cross and embroidered with flints and sparks (the scheme which I have followed).

Under Charles the Bold the guard were initially part of the ducal household, which comprised of around 300 persons, who had a wide range of posts and related duties, including chamberlains and equerries. The more senior of these roles were held by high ranking individuals from Burgundian territories and so they would also be expected to have a military role too. 

A distinct body of guards with a battlefield role, rather than merely providing protection for the duke, appears to have established by Charles, who continued to expand it's size over the duration of his dukedom. In May 1476 the household troops comprised of 4 mounted units of men at arms and companies of archers of the guard, specified as being English, totalling 400 men and under the command of Oliver de la Marche. To this core contingent, it appears that other troops were attached on a temporary basis – either for the duration of a campaign or for specific purposes. Later in 1476 another 400 archers were attached to the household guards; clearly there was a high degree of pragmatic flexibility in its organisation.

The household troops had their own banners. In 1474 the duke commissioned large standards with images of St George along with guidons and cornets for the different estates of the household, including the “archers of the bodyguards and for his guard”. For my unit I’ve included a flags captured in the wars with the Swiss and recorded as being used by the guards (A free Krigsspil download) and a St George guidon (Pete’s Flags).

The figures are all Perry Miniatures, a mix of metals and plastics. My involvement has been limited to assembly – where I used spare archer’s arms and arrow bags from the Light Cavalry box to add more dismounted archer figures, to the metal Perry set. All have had plumes added, to make them appear as lavishly kitted out as I’m sure the duke would have done.  The mounted captain is the figure offered with the Light cavalry deal. All the painting has been wonderfully executed by Rafa ‘Archiduke’ – including the details of the paletots bearing the ducal insignia.

I’ve used ‘sabot’ bases for the first time with this unit – to provide some flexibility on how I use these figures. The central base has these, along with the separate command stand, so I can swop the captains and flagbearers around a bit. I’m not usually taken with this style of basing for complete units, but I’m now planning to do a few more for vignettes and small groups of non-combatants, so they can be mixed up for different scenarios. The foot figures are mounted on coins, using outer rings cut from plastic by James of Oshiro Model Terrain 

Rafa's own close-ups are here to show the immense skill and fine detail of his paintwork.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Burgundan Coustillers - completed units.

I have finally completed another two mounted coustiller units, as the support rank for my Burgundian Ordonnance men at arms. One figure just needs the addition of a flag, which will hopefully be done in a couple of weeks time.

These seem to have taken me some time - I started work on assembling and converting the horses on my holidays in September - and they have sporadic work done on them in the intervening months, in between other paint jobs. I've now done 4 contingents of coustillers and based on current plans I have three more to do for the men at arms I have.

The figures represent mounted coustillers, who the Ordinances of Charles the Bold in 1471 decreed  "...was to arm himself with a good javelin, a medium length single-handed sword and a foot long double-edged dagger." Each was provided with a coat in the ducal colours (blue & white with red St Andrew's cross); which only some of mine are wearing others have alternative Burgundian devices. Flags are a mix of personal pennons (from unknown captains or noblemen, captured and recorded by the Swiss towns) and Burgundy coats of arms.

They use Perry Miniatures Light Cavalry, with some degree of enhancement done on many of them and some bits knicked from other WotR boxes - previous posts covered some of this conversion work. Its great to get to the finishing line and so move onto the next unit/figures - for me this is nearly always the point when the static grass is glued on and the figures and bases appear to be 'tied together' and the finish comes into focus.

Now....who's protecting the person of the duke?

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Steel Fist - Tudor Knights Kickstarter

I'd like to draw attention to a great Kickstarter from Steel Fist Miniatures, for Tudor / early 16th century foot knights. Oliver is the designer/owner of Steel Fist, and has a great reputation for finely sculpted and meticulously researched Japanese Samurai in 28mm. This range is steadily growing and I know from occasional emails with him that he's inspired by the challenge of accurately replicating the various armour worn by Samurai armies.

Now he's turning back to western armour again and has done 6 great foot knights, which can be pledged for in pairs. More information on the Kickstarter is here - in case you're interested - it's the first one I've supported and I know its a great way for figure designers to get figures to market which may not have the wide appeal of 'core ranges'.

Oliver designed the sets of plumes that i use on my medievals and he's a pleasure to deal with. So really hoping these figures get supported - those magnificent ostrich plumes look too good to not have a chance to paint!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Putty and Plumes

Four more Burgundian coustillers assembled and prep'd, ready for the painting process, to create two more bases (alongside two more figures who are underway).

My approach, to make these figures have the appearance of Burgundian Ordonnance, revolves largely around adding cast metal plumes and some straightforward putty work (...as straightforward is the only putty work I can do!). Interestingly the image of mounted spear-armed troops by the Master WA, interpreted as a contemporary illustration of Burgundians, shows no plumes, only scarves and pennons attached to helms - but we'll conveniently disregard that image for the purposes of this post! [EDIT - see Jim Hale's comments below!]

So here's whats been done to these fellas, all of whom are Perry Miniatures Light Cavalry plastics. First figure on the left uses the brigandine and plackart body. As I'm getting lazy towards painting all those rivets, I removed them with a scalpel and smoothed with sanding stick. The right arm is one holding a sword with half-length coat sleeves over armour, which was drilled out to take a long metal spear (as a flagbearer). A coat was then built up with Green Stuff, instead of the brig. The contemporary reference for this is below; it's an usual combination of what appears to be coat over armour, with plackart over the coat. The image shows two small rondels on the chest, which could have secured the coat to the armour beneath? I've left these off my figure.

Next to him, an assembly using the arms with short brigandine sleeves. Again I smoothed off the rivets (more evidence of my lethargy!) and covered these with putty as coat sleeves. A hood, tied at the front, was added - inspired by the mounted figures in the Housebook Master engravings, which have long been one of my favourite images for reference material. I reckon I can pick out several items of dress and weapons which Michael Perry included in this box set from these images.

The other pair are just assemblies done with the aim of creating some combinations which I'd not done before. I have an eccentric aspiration to have every coustiller as a different looking figure, but not if I'll achieve this! Putty turned-down boots added to one figure. The flagbearer on the right is the brig and plackart body (again), this time with the chest cut-off at the waist and replaced with full breast & backplates from a figure in the Perry Foot Knights box. The right arm is a mailed sleeved longbow arm, cut away and drilled out.

Paint stage will commence next week.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Burgundian Coustillers - two more bases.

The prepared flag bearers from the previous post are now painted, have had their pennons attached, are in situ supported by more Burgundian coustillers; the supporting second rank for my men at arms. More pictures off the painting table.

These pennons were kindly provided by Artem ('Imperial Forge'), who created some wonderfully detailed flag designs for Burgundian Ordonnance several years ago, but which sadly have yet to be available to purchase. They are based on images of the plunder acquired by the Swiss from the capture of Charles the Bold's baggage at the battles of Grandson and Morat. Whilst a few pieces of cloth are carefully conserved in museums, other images (including these) are based on drawings made in the 17th and 18th century, as the originals started to deteriorate.

Both of these are pennons of unknown Burgundian captains. The first contains the motto "Atendes"and the original was taken to Solothurn after either Grandson or Morat. The second depicts St George with the letters "E E"and images of large fish, possibly dolphins. It remains in the Museum in Appenzell, with a facsimile on show I believe.

The figures are all Perry plastics, using the Light Cavalry torso & legs, (with one exception of a man at arms with riding boots added) with a mixtures of arms from these and other sets. One figure still carries a small shield, which are occasionally shown (for example, the mounted soldiers in the 'Housebook Master' in the Rijksmuseum) at the end of the fifteenth century - although none appear to be carried in the mounted figures of the period by the Master WA.

Both pennons need a coat of matt varnish. These figures are on 60mm wide and 80mm deep bases, which I've used to have sufficient room to pose the figures so there's just enough space between them and to make them not appear too uniform and 'parade ground' trained. I have more in Coustillers in preparation, so am hoping to get more done soon, then I will tackle the basing.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Coustiller - flag bearers prep.

Just as a follow up to the last post, I mentioned that I was adding flags to steel poles rather than the moulded plastic ones, for fear of potential future damage when handling etc. Tonight I've prepared two more Burgundian coustillers who'll carry flags or pennons.

They both use sets of arms comes from the Perrys Light Cavalry box, with the spear and bow replaced and drilled out. Both have plume and pennon added respectively to make them look a little more appropriate for Burgundians of 1470s. Paint to be applied - which should create two more bases this week.

That is all....