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!


Sunday, 8 December 2019

Burgundian Horseholders - completed.

Finally found some spare time to get the last householder base completed - a little rushed, but great to get the unit done and it's always a feeling of satisfaction when something you plan as a germ of an idea, comes out OK, despite it taking a few months from start to finish.

Here are some pictures of the three bases and with the unit of dismounted archers with riding boots that were started in the summer. They seems to work OK together. I'm working on another combined-arms unit for the Burgundian army in the new year.

I've also converted a coustiller urgently mounted his horse - either as a messenger or to portray the haste with which the Burgundians had to form up at the battles of Morat or Nancy against the fast-approaching Swiss. He's a plastic Perry Light Cavalry figure, chopped up a bit, with a metal Perry mount with saddle and stirrups added.
He's somewhere up the top of the pile on the painting desk.


Thursday, 24 October 2019

Wargames Illustrated - words and pictures

Just a short post, to say that I've an article to be published in the November 2019 issue of 'Wargames Illustrated' magazine (number 385).

It's about how I've assembled my army of Charles the Bold over the last few years, largely using the Perry Miniatures range of figures, along with the conversion and modifications that I've done, in an attempt to recreate the look of a Burgundian army based on the evidence that exists and that I've been able to access.

For those who've followed this blog for any length of time, there's probably very little that is new to you. Writing the article this summer however, has prompted me to revisit this collection - ahead of putting more time and focus on building my Swiss Confederation army - and so the recent bits and pieces that I've done (the mounted longbowmen and their horseholders), or which are now planned, have been a result of this.

Anyway, happy reading for those of you who do buy the magazine...

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Burgundian Horseholders (III)

The second horseholder base is complete.

I like the composition of this one and although getting the reins lined up in the page's hands took some time, but I'm happy with the finished base.

For the third base I need to ideally find a slightly different variation on a theme. Current preparation on the horses has removed the reins and added the saddles (stirrups to be added). The page I'm considering is a plastic Perry figure - his top half is from the Foot Knights command sprue, with his armoured legs removed and replaced with one from the Bills and Bows box. Head will probably be another soft hat, which seem most appropriate.

Toodle pip...


Saturday, 28 September 2019

Burgundian Horseholders (II)

The first base has been painted and finished.

The trickiest task was attaching the reins to the spare horses, once I had glues all the models down to my usual 60mm square base. I drilled small holes to accept the wire and I think I've finally got most of them in and glued. I'm happy that the idea has translated OK into the first base.

I've now started work on the second one. The horses are Perry Agincourt and Wars of the Roses, with the page being a Steel Fist Miniatures model, with replacement head. Reins and stirrups were to be added, when I took the picture.

Will post when this one's painted up.
Cheerio for now.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Burgundian horseholders (I)

So to complement my dismounted Burgundian longbowmen,  I've started on the first of three bases of horseholders.

According to the Ordinances of Charles the Bold, it was the role of pages to manage the horses when longbowmen dismounted to shoot. Pages appear to have been the only non-combatants within the composition of the Burgundian lance.

For the first base I've decided to have a page sitting on his own mount, tending horses. You can probably see the Perry castings I've used here and the extras that I've added with green stuff putty. The page is from the plastic Light Cavalry box set, mounted on a metal horse. The other horses are from Perry Wars of the Roses and Agincourt ranges; I have to select those in passive poses of which there aren't too many. Reins have been removed from the horses and saddles added with putty. The trickiest work was the stirrups - these are bent from thin wire, which has had a thin layer of putty added, trimmed to length when dry and then glued on.

Think the overall composition works OK, as I want to do these on my usual 60mm square bases so they align behind the longbowmen. Painting is next, but I'm not looking forward to attaching the replacement reins to those horses!

More anon,