Sunday, 14 September 2014

Foot Knights - first batch painted

Here are the first six done; the fine detail of the hard plastic has made them quite easy to do.

I've used my usual method - a fairly well loaded layer of GW silver is applied, just leaving the deepest recesses and on areas of mail, to show the black undercoat. Then a covering of a 50:50 mix of GW washes of black and brown, letting it run into the detail and trying to get some gradual shading across larger plate surfaces. When dry, a drybrush of silver, trying to catch all the hard edges as a highlight. Other non-metallic areas are then blackened again - straps, cloth, scabbards, weapon shafts, etc and then painted.

One of the Burgundian men at arms has blue-finished harness and the figure wearing the coat depicts Claude de Vaudray, a chamberlain in the duke's household, who fought at the battle of Morat. A harness for the foot joust which is attributed to him, and dated about 1500, still exists in Vienna.

The next batch are in progress....

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Perry Miniatures Foot Knights - a review

If someone had tried to convince me – about 5 years ago – that there would now be four boxes of high quality hard plastic later fifteenth century 28mm wargame figures in the market, I would have bet my house against it. I have always assumed that medievals are one of the ‘second tier’ historical wargaming periods, whose interest and sales levels would never support the costs needed to produce plastic figures. But I am so pleased to be so wrong, and so to be able to start assembling the latest ‘Foot Knights 1450-1500’ box from Perry Miniatures!

The quality of these sculpts is, of course, extremely high and reflects the ability of the Perrys sculpting at the larger ‘3-up’ scale needed for producing plastic models – for me there is still a notable difference between freehand and computer generated plastic figures, although that gap maybe closer than it once was. All the helms, armour, belts, buckles and weapons are wonderfully modelled and Renedra have done well to minimise areas where details are inevitably softer, which is only restricted to areas around the bottom of some tassets and is not noticeable anyway after attaching the sword scabbards.

The Perrys have also reflected their wide knowledge of harness and weapons for this period – as re-enactors and through close study of extant armour pieces – and applied them to the figures. So there are six bodies wearing full sets of harness; one a with more  ‘german/gothic’ styling, and two wearing coats over Italian style armour (which makes the altter pair of bodies useful for not only the 1450-1500 period but, with selective choice of helms, for the decade of the 1440s too).

The body poses are excellent. Most are in advancing or attacking poses, with one of the coat-wearing bodies in a standing pose who therefore has more limited options for which arms can be attached to create a  good pose. With the attachment of the arms – most wielding two-handed polearms and hand-and-a half swords – a really active group of dismounted men at arms results. Most of the designs for the harness and of an Italian style I would say. Only one body has a slightly more fluted and angular style more akin to a 'german' style, which is the same for the arms too - again with one of the poleaxe pairs having a german style. So there are no really any limitations in mixing any of the bodies without coats being attached to any arm options. For even more variety of course, the command sprues from both the Bills & Bows and the Mercenaries boxes will give you another four bodies to use these arms and helms with.

The command sprue features a Richard III figure, currently very topical of course, with head options of a lovely rendering of Richard’s reconstructed face (and a useful headswop for other plastic models too) and a sallet topped with a royal crown (against useful for other English or European kings of the period). I particularly like the standard bearer, wearing a coat and who nice and generic - I plan to buy extra command sprues and use him widely with the addition of other arms – such as crossbows, handguns and halbards.

Personally the only slight disappointment is with the helms – mainly as this sprue includes four that are duplicated from the mounted men at arms box - with six new options on the main frame. Now if you’re building an English army of the period – and of course many people will – with most or all of the noblemen fighting on foot then you may not need to purchase the mounted figures sprue. Also I reckon that Michael has already designed over 35 different heads for the period to date – and there are only so many styles before the variations become too subtle to really notice. However there are very useful new heads and my favourites are a raised visored sallet of c 1490s (like those shown in the Beauchamp Pageant) and a deep rimmed kettlehat. More kettlehat variations will hopefully follow in the forthcoming Light Cavalry box - please Michael!

It’s worth noting the assembly process for these figures. Some plastic figures require relatively little assembly – perhaps just head, single arm and backpack – and there are those in the hobby who are put off plastics due to the need to cut, glue and assemble the figures. Clearly the prep time is longer than for most metals, but to my mind the trade-off is significant - it’s the wide range of poses and figure variants that a plastic set brings to your unit or army. In this box most of the two-handed weapons require attaching the right and left arms to the figures shoulders and also glueing a joint in the polearm or the wrist of one of the arms. Now in the Mercenaries box the option to add a polearm/halbard blade creates a weak joint, no matter how much plastic glue you use to weld it together. However it seems that either the Perrys and/or Renedra have considered this and have come up with a much better solution – the joint on weapon shafts is now an L shape, rather than a straight across cut, which significantly increases the surface area to apply glue on and creates a much stronger joint – huzzah!!

My assembled models shown here are still works in progress, sadly I’ve not have enough free time to get beyond initial assembly. They will form a contingent of dismounted Burgundian men at arms – representing a group of knights from Charles the Bold’s household, with some retainers, and displaying related coats of arms on their coats. Consequently I’ve added crosses of St Andrews to a few, as well as applying headswops from other boxes and metal plumes castings. I've also changed a poleaxe head on a shaft for extra variety. Some of the surfaces have had a wash of liquid green stuff, but this isn't really necessary at all, just a whim of mine.

I’ll also add in some selected metal flagbearers, which are showing on the PM workbench at the moment. Pics of the completed unit will be posted as soon as they’re done. Helmets from the Foot Knights set have also been attached to another mounted men at arms unit that at the undercoated stage too.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A Waiting Game

The release of the next Perry Miniatures box set is almost upon us - it seems a long wait since the Salute preview - and first images of the foot knights have been shared. I plan to use these new figures to create a contingent of Burgundian household knights fighting on foot, as well as some Swiss front rank pikemen. Aside from venturing into painted up more of my AWI, I've used the time to also start preparing another mounted men at arms unit, who'll have selected new helmets to add more variety - although a look at the sprue shows that not all of them are new sculpts, but some useful new styles never the less.

Most of the figures are in state of headless preperation. The knight holding the hammer has a large plume added (from a games workshop figure) and the figure on the right now wears a short cloak (which really has pushed the outer limits of my putty skills!).  

Many thanks to all who ordered castings of the hounds- I look for wars to spotting them on blogs one day. I still have some left if anyone else is interested. 

Roll on the pre-order date!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Release the hounds..!!

I've received the castings of my medieval 'aluants' - very crisp moulds from Griffin Moulds that really bring out the detailed sculpting skills of Steve May.

I've fast-tracked the painting of a set of four, to show them off (the man at arms was already done and waiting to be joined by his pack). I need to investigate a good colour pallet for the dogs, but a quick look at the medieval illustrations I have seems to show few markings; really having just a single colour coat. My favourite pose is the one sniffing for the scent of a deer or boar. The picture below shows the castings, with just a wash of GW Nuln Oil. You'll now spot these little chappies turn up in many future vignettes of mine no doubt!

I currently have some spare packs, which I'm able to offer to sell if anyone's interested. I guess the dogs could be used across the medieval and early modern period, and probably for the ancient period too?
I've costed them at roughly what they've cost me, as this is not a commercial venture, but equally its not cost-effective to just have handful cast up.

So, there are 4 dogs per set (as per the photo) and cost is £3.55 including postage to the UK, and £4.25 for postage to Europe. Payment can be made by PayPal please, made AS A GIFT, to my Paypal account which is
IMPORTANT - Please also add your delivery address to the Paypal payment (or send me a separate email), as I've discovered that Paypal don't always provide this when I get the funds notification!
Many thanks.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

vignettes (II)

A couple more vignettes completed; the first being a Burgundian messenger, dismounted from his horse and passing written instructions to an Italian mercenary captain.

Most of the preparation work went into getting the positioning for the messenger right. His arms are different ones selected from the bows and bills box, with the hand holding the letter cut from one of the crosssbowman's hands I think. The long riding boots were added from green stuff for the turnovers and the liquid green stuff to bulk out the rest of the legs. The man wearing the coat uses the plastic arms of the drummer from the Mercenaries box, with an altered hand and a bit of cutting away to hold his sword.

The halbardier, who's biding his time, is a metal artilleyman with a simple swop of ramrod for halbard. The herald is also out of the box, but on a HYW horse, as I wanted a passive pose.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Vignettes (I)

Ooops, I'd not intended for the hiatus on the blog to have been so long as it's been. I had got a little weary of medievals to be honest; my 'mo-jo' had dropped as some would term it. So I diverted into adding a couple of units to my AWI last month, which was a good decision as they provided the change of focus that I was needing. (I'm not planning to kick off a blog for my AWI, but they have been posted on Steve Dean Forum).

So whilst I await new figures from the Perrys - be they plastic or metal, HYW or later fifteenth century - whichever come first - I've delved into the lead pile and sorted out two vignettes (with a couple more in progress). It's always useful to have some of these bases to dot around the table and the Perrys recent book showing photos of their ranges, reminded me that most of my Burgundians are based as units and so a few more vignettes, or single figures, would not go amiss; plus they don't take too long to complete.

I also had wanted to try out some blue'd armour - having seen some of 'Captain Bloods' wonderful armour finishes some time back on LAF forum. So I added one to each of these bases. I did these using my usual method for plate armour - black undercoat, followed by 'heavy' drybrush of GW Runefang Steel, then a wash of black and brown mix. The blue tone was applied with a couple of washes, using GW Guillman Blue and a small amount of black wash added. Then a very light touch of silver drybrush again. The finish is probably lighter than actual armour was, but I always feel that small figures need to finished in brighter tones due to their size. Anyway, I'm happy with the finish (particularly on the dismounted man at arms) and plan to add a couple to my next unit of figures in full harness.

So, like my knightly miniature friends, it appears I'm 'back in the saddle'...and looking forward to starting a unit of dismounted Burgundian household knights, with the forthcoming Perry plastic box!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Bernese Halbardiers

Just a quick one - as I've finished a few halbardiers, who'll protect the sides of the Berne pike block, who've been lingering on the painting table for too long.

Three metals and two plastics - I'm concerned about the fragility of the polearm heads on the latter, you have to cut the moulded pike and attach a halbard head. The joint has been glued with plastic cement and a thin covering of liquid green stuff, but it snapped from only being knocked over on the painting table. I'll have to ensure they are not too vulnerable when based up.

Some head swops on two of the Perry metals and the odd one out is Citadel 'Dogs of War' figure (sculpted by the Perrys) who's had a Perry Swiss head added, new halbard and some metal greaves smoothed off - but will fit in OK as a different pose.