Monday, 29 January 2018

Flemish town buildings (I)

So we're back! A long enforced hiatus between postings, as I've been focussing my time on transferring the Steel Fist Miniatures business from Oliver - who's been absolutely fantastic in helping out and so it's all up and running. I'm not going to include anything about the hobby business on my blog, unless there's an overlap with my Burgundian Wars wargaming topic.

This thread is the start of a modest project to make some urban buildings to populate inside my castle walls. I've an aspiration to set up a game that uses all my castle walls and Neuss siege of 1474/5 by Charles of Burgundy is an obvious choice, so I'm compiling a list of requirements for this.

I'm not a great model maker and seem to have a natural inability to cut straight lines etc. So I've been looking for pre-made models to use where I can.  In my search for options, I've discovered the highly detailed resin models by Artitec of The Netherlands. They are HO scale and made with model railways in mind. They make a small number of low relief fronts of 16th century architecture, which I'm using to construct small rows of town houses. The benefit of HO scale is that the Hudson and Allen castle walls are 25mm and so not too high; therefore most 28mm models would risk looking too large by comparison. If I ignore the height of the doors, then these look fine re overall dimensions; most importantly the rooftops are not higher than the town walls.

First task is to try and knock 150 years off the models and make them more like medieval abodes. So I have added wooden shutters and doors with bass wood and glazing to the upper windows with fine metal mesh. I'm using Flemish late 15th century paintings for my references - there are amazingly detailed street scenes in the backgrounds of several religious subjects who are painted sitting inside Flemish rooms, plus this recent find below.

Seven Works of Mercy by Alkmaar, 1504 (Rijksmuseum)
Pictures show work in progress on the first block of three. The fronts are attached to a polyboard frame and I'll probably add backs too - walls and roofs will be covered by sheets of Wills flemish bricks and tiles. Others fronts will have some timber and render added to vary the overall look and to try not to locate them all as North European, as they're going to be used for a town on the Rhine! So far, so good....


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Steel Fist Miniatures

As some of you will know by now,  I'm the new owner of the Steel Fist Miniatures business.

I've known Oliver, the business founder and sculptor, for a few years as he's made and converted a few figures for me for my Burgundian & Swiss collection. I have admired his sculpting style since seeing his first figures and like many others in their craft, the quality of his work is continually improving in my opinion. Oliver also shares an interest in both the history and the armour, equipment & clothing of the periods he sculpts, so his figures look just right.

The good news is that Oliver will continue as main sculptor. We will expand all the existing ranges and have lots of ideas for new figures, as well as other areas that we can cover in due course. This is an exciting opportunity for me to get more closely involved in the hobby business and work closely with Oliver.  I will be getting to grips with the sales process as soon as I can, including getting a new website, hopefully next month.

Here's the announcement from Oliver, which sums up where we are at the moment.

I'm very pleased to announce that Simon Chick is the new owner of Steel Fist Miniatures.

Simon and I have worked together before. He has a great interest and sensitivity toward the historically accurate details that I like to put into the miniatures. Simon's medieval collections can be seen on his blog 

Customers will also be pleased to know that there are plans to expand all the current ranges that Steel Fist produces, with me continuing to act as sculptor. This means that the 28mm Samurai, Renaissance and Later Medieval ranges will all see new figures being added.

For the time being the business will run as usual, but we have exciting plans for the future which we will advise on in the next few weeks.I would also like to take opportunity to thank all the customers who have supported the business and my vision of producing highly detailed miniatures from the very beginning until now.

I'm sure that Simon will continue this vision with the new miniatures.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Swiss - castings for sale.

As previously posted, I have had some Swiss figures in full harness sculpted by Oliver of Steel Fist Miniatures for my own use. I now have some spare castings, if anyone is interested in buying them for their own use.

Assembled Swiss pack

I can offer two packs:
1. Swiss front ranks. This is a pack of 4 figures (2 different bodies), 4 pairs of different arms, 4 heads, 4 halbards, 4 baselard daggers and 4 swords.

Swiss front-rankers pack
You should be aware that these figures need assembly. The arms will fit on both body types, although there maybe a little work need to drill and fill any small gaps (with glue or putty). The heads can also be used on Perry Miniature plastics, and visa versa. The Swiss head with the large plumes maybe best drilled and pinned, as its a very large casting.

Price: £12 per pack, plus £1.20 UK post or £2.00 for Europe/World

2. Arms and weapons.  I can also offer the 4 pairs of arms and 8 weapons, as they'll fit OK to Perry Miniatures plastics, once you have drilled a hole to fix them before glueing. (One pair of arms creates a weapon being held at about 60 degrees, on a Perrys body.)

Arms and Weapons Pack
Price: £5 per pack, plus £1.00 UK post or £1.50 for Europe/World

The payment process:
Please send funds via Paypal, to
Make sure that I have your delivery address too - as Paypal do not always provide this to me!

If you want to pay by other means, or contact me, just drop a note to the same email address.

Arms attached to Perry Miniatures plastic bodies by drilling and superglue
NB: Whilst these are designed for use in my Swiss army, as they are sculpted in full harness they can easily be used as any well-armed soldiers for most Western European armies, circa 1460 to 1490. Giving them different choices of helmets or heads, can give them a 'regional flavour'.

Many thanks,

Post Script.
Stefan has some more examples of assembled figures and arms on Perry plastics on his blog. 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Berne Pike Block (III)

One step backwards and two steps forwards.

After some self-cogitation, I've taken onboard feedback from folk on last posting of the Swiss front rank bases (thanks Stuart!). I've also been looking at other's ancient and renaissance pike blocks and borrowed an idea from Curt of Analogue Hobbies for some interesting bases he'd had done at Warbases (thanks Curt!).

The result is another row of levelled pikemen added to the front rank bases. The aim is to create a more tightly packed group on each base, attacking shoulder-to-shoulder. Again these figures are a mix of Perry and my own castings; including a few Perry plastic bodies with my own open-handed metal arms attached, which seem to work quite nicely and create some new poses.

Now moving on to the supporting row, who'll have pikes held at a 45 degree angle, before I commit to any gluing and basing.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Berne Pike block (II)

A quick update on progress made. Three front rank bases of pike - of the nine planned - have been painted.

More heavily armoured figures are forming the front ranks, many in full harness, in my attempt to represent the images of the Schilling Berne chronicles.

Think I'm OK with the arrangement of poses, but will wait until the next supporting base are done, before I commit to using the superglue. I guess a few discarded weapons and arrows could fill the space in front of the pikes.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Berne pike block (I)

Now that my foray into the mid-fourteenth century has finished (for now), I've returned to progress the Berne pike block. This will be a big contingent, so there's plenty to do.

This was started some time ago with the rear ranks - worringly much longer ago than I'd remembered!  However I can now start to paint the front ranks, using a combination of Perry figures and the figures in full harness which Oliver at Steel Fist Miniatures designed for me.

The bases will be my usual 60mm frontage, with the front bases extended in length to reduce the potential damage to levelled pikes (always a thorny issue when wargaming pike blocks, from the Macedonians onwards, do you display all vertical pikes or not?). As the Swiss used pikes as an attacking body in these wars and the ensuing decades, my preference is to have the contingent range from levelled at the front to vertical at the back.

Here's the first one done, including a captain leading from the front (Perry metal standard bearer with one of my Swiss heads swopped and pinned on). The potential placement of the next two are also shown. I'll then work on the supporting ranks for these, where they'll be a slight reduction in the amount of plate armour. As with the rear rankers, I'm trying to run a colour scheme of predominantly red and black through, to reflect Berne's predominance in this block.

With these figures, I've also added some variations with Green Stuff, including a bend, half mail sleeves, gloves and tassets. I'll finalise poses and do the groundwork when I have a few more bases done.

Next ones are in progress...

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Urban Outfitters

A year back I saw close-up the medieval town walls that David Marshall of TM Terrain had made for Stuart for his early Tudor collection. I was particularly struck by the finely detailed carved Flemish Bond brickwork and immediately started to collate ideas in order to place an order. The result are these late medieval buildings made by David, which I received recently.

The building style is Flemish, with most of the visual ideas culled from studying closely the many background details of Flemish religous paintings from the later fifteenth century, although they'll not be out of place in any northern European setting. It represents an upper class dwelling, either urban or rural, protected by a tower and high brick walls. They comprise of 5 separate buildings and 3 gate/wall sections and are intended to be used in a number of combinations and layouts, to maximise usage (as well as allow for future additions).

David's done a fantastic job on the brick and stonework, using laser-cut designed windows for the tower and rear of the hall. David's a talented modelmaker and works very consientously on the construction, providing lots of update pictures and checking details, to ensure that all the pieces aligned etc. I added some metal cast Tudor style chimneys to the hall and a brass weather vane to the stables.

The photos show some of the layout options I can use. I now need to make some occupants; a mix of civilian types and some military muscle with weapons angled for use on the tower and walls. Will ensure that at least some of these buildings get an outing in my next game.