Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Swiss pikes (and a bear) for Partizan show.

I have been occupied for last few weeks with trying to get as many Swiss figures completed as I can for the demo game at Partizan this Sunday (6th September) at Kelham Hall. This means painting some additional command bases using Perry figures, and adding and basing up older Swiss figures that I never got around to completing until there was a need. These are the largely the Wargames Foundry models.

I have completed a Swiss pike bloc – so I now have two of similar size - these use most of the Perry pikes that I painted last year, as a rear row which just needed basing up to match the existing ones. The command figures represent the cantons of Zurich, Zug & Glarus, and Basle & Appenzel (who appear to have provided the bulk of the Swiss nachhut at the battle of Morat). All flags are by Pete’s Flags – these are ones printed on cloth. Some of the command figures have had minor conversions – some 
added plumes, a beard for the captain and a headswop or two.

I have also completed the bear of Berne – a recent Perry Miniatures vignette. Bears are recorded to have been kept in Berne from around 1513 and the bear pits still exist as a tourist site (although the bears can now access terraced enclosures along the river side). There is evidence that selected bears were taken on campaign by the army, as a symbol of the city’s power and wealth. One of Schilling’s illustrations of the Burgundian wars shows a bear attacking one of Charles’ troops at the battle of Morat, whether this is literal or another image of Bernese dominance is unclear. 

I’ve painted this one as per the bear on the cantonal flag, although most European bears of the time seem to have been brown (and probably slightly smaller than this model). I’m not sure if the accompanying soldier with the two-handed sword is there to fight Burgundians, or stick it into the bear should it not understand who it’s supposed to be attacking!

There are a few more Swiss halbardiers being based at the moment. With the figures provided by Dave Andrews and David Imrie, I hoping that the game should be both fun to play and visually appealing. I will post some pictures here next week – but if you do get to the show, please say hi.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Swiss preparation for Partizan II show.

For the forthcoming game at Partizan II show in Newark on 6th September (the last one to be held at Kelham Hall I understand) I'm finishing off some Swiss units, most of which I've had for time but which need final basing and some extras added, so they're OK for the tabletop.

First up is another pike bloc. This will consist of some re-based Foundry figures - with a mix of painters (including Jim Bowen, Dave Imrie and myself). These had been done on 50mm frontage, but now I've moved to 60mm. I'm going to mix in some Perry Swiss, which I completed some months ago, as an added rear ranks. I've quickly painted about ten new Foundry figures for these pikes shown.

The unit also needs command stands with canton flags. These will be Perry figures, using a combination of the new Perry Swiss command pack and some conversions - show here - with some basic greenstuff added (...including a beard Alan!!).

I'm also basing up some painted Foundry Swiss shot and halbards.

The demo game will be a fictional encounter between Swiss and Burgundians and the figures will be contributed by Dave Andrews, David Imrie and myself.  The info sheet is shown here - please come along and say hello, if you can get to the show..

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Burgundians - first engagements.

So after a few years spent collecting, painting and basing my Burgundian army, in its current nearly-completed state, it had its first engagement on a wargames table last weekend.

Whilst it would have been prudent to ‘blood’ a new army in a modest affair, my Ordonnance army was invited to join forces with that of Dave Andrews (of Great War Miniatures), on the wargames table of Alan and Michael Perry. Dave’s army, which uses the Foundry late mediaeval range, has been featured in several wargames publications over the years and had waited even longer than mine to be used in action.

The scenario was a hypothetical one – based on a Lancastrian English chevauchee into the Lowlands, where a Burgundian army quickly set about bringing them to battle. It was a large game featuring over 1,000 figures, a 14 foot long table and 8 players. It created a wonderful sight and a close game. I led the Burgundian right wing, of men at arms and supporting missile troops, which did its job of attacking the English wing of bills and bows, who were defending a low hill. The mounted advance was somewhat slower than planned/hoped for and they made particular heavy weather of getting up a modest hill to finally charge in to combat, with the expected result of pushing back the English. Elsewhere it was a mixed bag from the ‘home team’ and after 5 hours of play, an English victory was declared. So at least both Burgundian armies played to their historical form…and lost!

A fuller account and better pictures of the game are on the Perrys Facebook site, which can be accessed 
via their website; Perry Miniatures

And so with that defeat under my belt, the duke’s army is now booked for another engagement – at short notice, but of more traditional gaming proportions. This will be at Partizan wargames show in Newark (UK) on Sunday 6 September. 

This will be a Swiss-Burgundian affair, which we’re proposing to call “Berne Baby, Berne”, using figures from myself, David Imrie and Dave Andrews (…this time his growing Swiss army!). The actual scenario will get sorted on the day when all the players have an opportunity to discuss and agree. It should be fun. Please do say hello if you can get along – if you can’t then I will post some pictures here afterwards


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Burgundian Coustillers - second contingent.

Second contingent of Coustillers for my Burgundian Ordonnance army are complete – without any 
basing nightmares I’m pleased to report!

These are Perrys from the Late Medieval Light Cavalry plastics box, with the exception of one metal flagbearer. Several have head options selected from other plastic sets, one figures from the Men at Arms (with riding boots added) and a couple have plume castings added too. The torso and legs option in the 
Light Cavalry box I've sculpted longer riding boots, rather than the shoes which he has.

Composition reflects my plans for all these bases of three riders, with the central one bearing a flag or pennon, with others armed with light lances or spears. All of these will be interchangeable to form a three-base unit, except where I add company-specific captain’s flags (which I’m yet to do). One of the pictures shows them ‘in situ’; supporting the men at arms as a second rank, which should give them added punch against the Swiss!

So, two units down and four to go. I’m enjoying assembling the figures and working my way through the huge range of permutations, plus looking for other arm options and easy conversions that can extend the variety of poses etc. The task that really is onerous is painting all the horse flesh.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Burgundian Coustillers - first contingent

Completion of the first contingent of Burgundian Coustillers has taken a little longer than planned – when it shouldn’t have. Although I’ve started assembling and painting riders and horses from the Perry Light cavalry boxes from Salute, I decided to take a short cut to get the first group done, eager as I am to have a completed unit of mounted troops (as these will form the supporting row for the men at arms). So most of these figures are not my paintwork; the left and right hand bases are models I was able to purchase from Stefan, whose fantastic painting and modelling skills are on show on Xututec blogThey are a mix of Perry plastic and metals, with a lovely finish on the plate armour. 

The figure bearing the Burgundian arms in the centre is a Perry herald, with head and hand swap, who was completed some time and finally found a place with this unit. The metals fit quite well on plastic horses, as long as you cut away the back part of the saddle on the horse.

The delay was entirely down to my loss of concentration when basing. Having prised Stefan’s figures from the bases he’d attached them to, I then glued them to my bases. After some deliberation, I’d decided to mount them on the same size bases as the men at arms, which is an 80mm depth and 60mm frontage. Figures were attached and filler, stones and sand glued, ready for painting – when I realised that I’d attached them using the long side as the front! At this point I lost some traction, as I was so annoyed with myself I couldn’t immediately face the prospect of removing them again and repeating the base work.

All sorted now however and hopefully a second contingent will be along very soon; most figures are all 
done apart from marrying riders to their mounts (…and the basing up!)


The inclusion of some crossbowmen among the rear rank, reflects the composition of mounted troops in the contemporary illustrations attributed to the Master WA from the last quarter of the fifteenth century. I’ve referenced these engravings before and they are almost the only images of late mediaeval soldiers in formation that I'm aware of. A front rank of spear armed cavalry are supported by two rows of crossbowmen. Whilst they may have fought as a mixed arms unit, with the crossbows supporting, on the wargames table (when this army finally makes an appearance) I plan to treat them as spear/lance 
armed cavalrymen. However I’ll probably include some more crossbows in another Coustiller group.

More along soon, I hope.