Friday 22 December 2023

Mounted Longbowmen (I)

 Just managed a quick post, before the Festive break.

This is quick update on the Burgundian longbowmen, who are a work in progress. I decided that these should be wearing long riding boots, as they represent mounted English archers in the service of the duke and this is how they are shown in the contemporary illustration by the Master WA.

This means a bit of work on nearly every figure, with scalpel and file to remove the existing shoes and the addition of greenstuff to build up the long boots. Mainly the putty is needed to add the roll-over of the top of the boots, to add the gusset of leather which enables the boot to put on/off and the straps which hold down this gusset. It all takes me time on each figure, with my limited precision, as the putty needs to dry once you've done one of those steps on each model.

So this picture are of the most progressed figures to date. There will be 15 on 3 bases and most will be in shooting/loosening poses, as I want to depict a combined unit of longbowmen shooting over kneeling pikemen. This was a drill covered in the ducal Ordonnance of 1473:

In like manner (they are to exercise) the archer with their horses, to get them used to dismounting and drawing their bows. They must learn how to attach their horses together by their bridles and make them walk forward directly behind them, attaching the horses of the three archers by their bridles to the saddle-bow of the page to whose man-at-arms they belong, also to march briskly forwards and to fire without breaking rank. The pikemen must be made to advance in close formation in front of the said archers, kneel at a sign from them, holding their pikes lowered to the level of a horse’s back so that the archers can fire over the pikemen as if over a wall. Thus, if the pikemen see that the enemy are breaking rank, they will be near enough to charge them in good order according to their instructions.

Image by Gerry Embelton (Osprey publications)

Whether this formation was used in battle is unknown, but it'll be interesting to try it in a game. Figures are mainly Perry plastics, with some Steel Fist bodies used.

I'll press on with the rest and post them up.



Sunday 17 December 2023

Swiss - new 28mm figures for 2024

Well, a little unexpected revitalisation for the blog.

As you may know, I run Steel Fist Miniatures as a hobby-business. The sales so far have all been reinvested to create new figures and I've long had a hankering to expand the modest Late Medieval range. As the result of a combination of serendipity and planning on my part, I've finally reached the point where new figures are emerging. These are 'dollies' to compliment the excellent Perry plastics, so provide bodies to which arms and heads from the plastic spares box can be added.

Early in 2024, I will release the first Swiss figures. These are inspired by the Schilling Chronicle illustrations. These figures have been a long time coming - as I actually had the sculpts done early thisa year and have been tinkering with how I best turn digital imahes into metals, with a few false starts along the way. First releases are packs of  open-handed figures in advancing poses, to bulk out the middle and rear ranks of pike and halbard blocks. Heads are separate, to maximise options for different versions and the head sockets should accommodate nicely more Perry plastics, so the overall visual of a block of figures should be a lot of variety.

I'm hoping that the skilled sculptor will be able to find time to add a few handgunners, crossbowmen and command figures next year too.

So I'll be using these - along with other manufacturer's figures - to build up my Swiss pike units and restart my collection. I also have commenced a new Burgundian longbow unit, with some conversion work as usual and I'll share these in the next post.

Toodle pip,


Monday 8 November 2021

Blog Recommendation: Hand Built History

 I'd like to recommend a new blog that I'll be keenly following, Hand Built History

It's a blog by John Boadle, who for those who aren't aware of John, is a master terrain builder, great figure painter and thoroughly generous and engaging chap to boot. John's been making high quality models for many years and I'm fortunate enough to have few pieces made by him which are the pride of my collection, when he the spare time to make some for others. John's buildings are all handmade from polyboard, plastic card, balsa and hand-cast items - not a single computer 3D image in sight. He's recently recently been making artillery pieces for Michael Perry's Franco Prussian range.

In the blog John's promising to show a gradual build and so give us an insight into his techniques. A first post shows a Swiss fortified church that he did for me,  pictures of which are below.


Really looking forward to reading more on this.


Sunday 7 June 2020

Burgundian Conductuer's Pavilion - completed

Well its only 4 years - on and off - and it's done. A feature for the Burgundian siege camp, showing a high status temporary living quarters, vaguely based a mix of contemporary illustrations, with a little artistic licence.

To finish it off I've added guy ropes, flags, icons and wooden fence to protect the entrance.

But what's occurring round the back? It's a couple of soldiers using the cover of the pavilion for a sneaky game of dice!

I'll add a few figures to stand near the front - the Perrys make some men at arms in casual poses and I have a Citadel trumpeter from their old Dogs of War range who's had a headswop and looks OK as a an Italiante Burgundian. Also some other encampment ephemera perhaps.

Now, to move to to some fighting troops...

Stay safe everyone.

Saturday 30 May 2020

Burgundian Conductuer's Pavilion (III) - progress report

I only realised a few weeks ago that it's - shamefully - four years ago since I embarked on this model.  I had reached an impasse as I couldn't decide on how to represent the timber middle section - was it to be plain timber, painted timber or timber painted to represent stonework? So I kept trying to put off getting back to it and the dust layers grew.

Pavilion front
Two images that I found on online have finally enthused me to get this tent finished. The first is an image of a tent - potentially a little fantastical - but which has the cloth depicted as a stone castle and the second is a close up from a late fifteenth century Flemish portrait of the weave in a shirt.

So I added a simplified version of the shirt onto the canvas sides of the tent - an off-white over a canvas base. The wooden sides of the central section are done to represent that the prefabricated panels to reflect a stone castle style building.

So far, I've added pegs (cut from plasticard) and guy-ropes. The embroidered 'Je Lay Emprins' sections running around the top of the circular canvas sections are re-sized flag prints which I've cut these pieces from (currently temporarily held with Bluetac). Longer guy ropes will be placed in between these sections and the pegs for these have been attached to the base.

Embriodery on the panels

Pavilion rear

To complete the tent, I have flags and religious sculpts to decorate the tops of the tents and I think a wooden barrier would complete the entrance, to prevent anyone of too lowly status from entering.

I'm pleased to get this progressed and hope to show the finished item next week.
Previous posts are here and here.
Cheers for now...


Friday 17 April 2020

Burgundian Vignette for Battle of Morat

This piece has been published in Wargames Illustrated Bite-Size Digital publication number 1, so apologies if you get that sense that you may have read this already!

One of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy’s famous defeats was at the battle of Morat (Murten) on 22 June 1476. The duke had spent his enormous wealth on building a ‘modern’ army. He’d hired professional soldiers from across Europe, including Italians, Germans and English, and created a military structure based on Companies, with written instructions on arms, training, tactics and discipline. Yet he was comprehensively beaten by a confederation of Swiss cities and cantons at Morat for one single reason – most of his troops were waiting to be paid!

The Burgundians had been besieging the walled town of Morat and Charles expected a Bernese led Swiss force to attack for several days. For largely unexplained reasons, on the 22 June he decided that no attack was likely and so decreed that his Companies’ Captains should make arrangements to pay their troops. Unfortunately this was the moment when the Swiss suddenly attacked from nearby woods, in significant numbers, and overwhelmed those left on the defensive lines.

There is a plan afoot for The Bodkins (a loose affiliation comprising Dave Andrews, Matt Bickley, David Imrie & myself) to put on a demo game of Morat in the near future. I love adding small vignettes for games, especially to populate those areas of the table where the main gaming is not happening. They add interest and help create a flavour for the period or specific battle. For Morat the table layout needs to include the Burgundian siege lines and encampment and so adding a group waiting to be paid, seems an ideal piece.

The soldiers waiting in line were selected for their passive poses and most are Perry Miniatures metals from their Labourers and Italian Carroccio packs. Most figures have had some form of minor conversion, as I wanted to depict them not waiting in full battlefield kit. So the addition of sunhats, covered longbows and a crossbow seemed appropriate and these items were selected from different Perry plastic sets. A couple are conversing and another holds his coin bag tightly, whilst gazing at something which seems to be occurring in the distance, near the woods. At the end of the line is a crossbowman swigging from a pottery cup – a Foundry figure sculpted by Dave Andrews.

Moving to the Company’s clerk and his table set up for the payments. The seated clerk is made of three parts – his body is a cut-down Foundry medieval figure holding some parchment, his replacement head is from Perrys WotR Mounted Knights box and I extended his body that sits under the table with Knedatite putty. The soldier receiving his wages is another Foundry Swiss figure – spot on for this vignette. Another Perry metal clerk and guard from the Ducal Household look on and ensure all payments are made according to instructions. The furniture is 1/48 dolls house mdf Tudor pieces by , who make lots of useful bits and pieces.  On the table are coins I made, from fine slices of a plastic axe handle from another Perry plastic boxset.

So a little narrative group that will one day be something to spot within the Burgundian camp at the battle of Morat.

I'm also still progressing a number of figure conversions for a pike unit and will show pics as soon as I can.
Stay safe everyone.


Sunday 29 March 2020

Burgundian Coustiller - painted!

So I have a meagre offering for the blog - a painted figure!

For various reasons, my painting has been curtailed for some time, and what I have had has been spent on other projects. But with the COVID 19 curtailments, I'm working from home for the foreseeable future and so this will save me a couple of hours with no commuting time - so I'm hoping to use some this at the painting desk.

So here's the Burgundian Coustiller conversion, that I did showed build in my post, now with paint on. Just the usual range of colours applied and mounted on a circular mdf base. He's a nice one-off for campsites or perhaps as a messenger about to set out.

I'm working on a new Burgundian pike base - trying to compose one which reflects the practice outlined in the Ordinances of St Maximin de Treves 1473, where pikes formed an integrated unit with longbowmen. Much figure converting needed and so more on this when I've made sufficient progress from my state of splendid isolation.

Take care!