Tuesday 28 December 2010

Betwixt days

This is just a quick post betwixt Christmas and the New Year. I thought that this period must have a name, but it appears not. So I thought that the 28th of December would have a medieval Saint's day that I could use for the title of this blog entry, but suprisingly it's one of the few that doesn't. So lets just say it's a betwixt day - one to look forward and back on (a little Janus-like).

So, looking back - a good Christmas Day for family and friends. Personally I was delighted to unwrap some books that were on my Santa list. These included the catalogue from the 'Splendour of Burgundy' exhibition of 2009-10, which despite being in three cities over many months , I'd (regretably) failed to get to. The catalogue is excellent and indeed more than just a list of the items nicely reproduced in colour, as it includes some short essays on the Burgundian politics, court and art, as well as many items that I've not seen before.

Second up, the Calais Garrison, which seems (until now) to be a suprisingly neglected topic, but I think this book will fix that. Was lucky enough to make use of a 40% off one-day deal at the publishers when getting this one, as academic books are almost priced by the page and so out of reach for a casual purchase.

Finally, a visual treat and very useful reference for north european dress and armour in the last quarter of fifteenth century, the Beauchamp Pageant.

Looking forward, I now have opened the first boxes of Perry 'Mercenaries' and they do not disappoint; the castings on the crossbows, handguns, new heads and especially the two new captain figures are truly fantastic.
New heads are now being added to longbowmen from the previous box, to add variety. These are now my WIP on the painting table. Planned for the short term are Burgundian Ordonance longbows and handgunners. Also a group of dismounted men at arms; I keep picking up the sprues each time to consider different options that could be obtained with a swift cut of the scalpel, filler and glue - am sure others will find better ideas that I will.

Here's to a peaceful, healthy and prosperous 2011 to everyone.

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Two fingers (and some more)...

I'm about to re-start my Burgundians and in anticipation of the release of the new Perry 'Mercenaries' plastic box, which will provide the bulk of the Ordonnance troops, I've been starting to prepare some more longbowmen.

It maybe that the Perrys are planning to design some metal longbowmen (I'm certainly hoping so) which may include one or two giving the 'two fingered' gesture, but I thought I'd have a go myself anyway. Now it may just be a historical urban-myth that the origin of this abusive gesture came from English & Welsh bowmen, demonstarting that they still retained their bow-pulling fingers. However, whatever the actual origination is, there appears to be a Schilling Chronicle illustration showing it occuring at a siege - pictured above - and that's good enough excuse for me.

So I've turned the clock back to my younger years of chopping up Airfix and Historex plastics and done a simple repositioning of arms, with a bit of filling with ProCreate putty, to produce some English bowmen in Burgundian service. Another bowmen's arm has simply been drilled to hold the company flag. I've also changed an artillery gunner into a bowman and re-employ another gunner as a handgunner, when I see the actual 'Mercenary' sprues. The chronicle picture also shows distinctive large arrow bags used and so perhaps I'll have a bash with the putty to make some of these too?

The longer I sit looking at these figures the more conversion options and seem to arise.

Swiss banners

Just wanted to share a really excellent flag sheet, that i've just purchased on ebay. They are good quality prints on a cloth-type A4 paper and are print-outs of handpainted orginals, which cover many of the key cantons for the Swiss Confederacy for the Burgundian (and Swabian) wars. This is the picture from the ebay item.

The seller on ebay is sasha_4sale. He also has several sheets for the early 16th century, including Spanish, French and Venetians if I remember correctly and appears to be extending the range. Sheets can be purchased sized for 15mm figures too. This one cost me £12.50 inc postage for 10 flags - seems a good deal to me and I'd recommend having a look on e-bay.

Thursday 14 October 2010

'Medieval Warfare' magazine.

Just been made aware of this, which maybe of interest to some of you.

It's from the publishers of the high quality 'Ancient Warfare' , so the omens look good for original research and top-notch illustrations. Initial publication date is April 2011. I'll keep tracking progress - theres a newsletter you can suubscribe to.

Also, that lovely cover illustration looks like a representation of Burgundian Ordonnance men at arms fighting in the snow covered fields at Nancy in 1477 to me?

Friday 8 October 2010

'Dulle Griet'

The latest Perry metal WotR pack, painted as the Burgundian bombard 'Dulle Griet', or 'Mad Meg' in English. This enormous bombard was commissioned by Phillip the Good around 1450, his arms are displayed on the original, and remained part of Charles the Bold's substantial artillery train, although it's not known if it took part in the sieges of Neuss or Morat. The barrel was made up of 32 long iron staves, bound by 43 iron hoops, and it blasted out 64cm diameter stone shot. Dulle Griet is still viewable today in the centre of Ghent.

As previously blogged when in WIP, I've used the mantlet seperately and put three crew on 'sabot' bases, to increase it's utilisation with other armies. I've swopped in a plastic WotR gunner. The equipment pieces are from a variety of sources, inc Front Rank, Bicorne and Architects of War. I hope that it doesn't look too crowded, but as the gun would have been in-situ for several weeks or even months, then I'm imagining that all sorts of items built up around it over time. The wooden pallisade to protect the besiegers from any foraying attacks are Kingmaker Minis spare protective sides from their Hussite wagons with bass wood framework attached.

I'm pleased with the tone for the freshly-sut wood, on the pallisade and the bombard's bracings; my thanks to Phil Hendry for his suggestions which I've taken up - Foundry Canvas shade (8A), drybrushed with a lighter 8B and then brushed on with dip (Army Painter strong), before a final Dullcote matt varnish

The HYW version can be seen here http://harness-and-array.blogspot.com/

So there you have it - a co-ordinated synergised double-blog, surely a notable first for wargamers? (!!)

I'm now settling on the composition of my Burgundian army, designed for Impetus but which will be based with sufficent flexibility to be usable with other rules. I'll post up the draft army list sometime.

Friday 24 September 2010

WIP - Bombard

Whilst I should be concentrating all my efforts and limited time to my HYW project, I keep reopening the box lid of the last Perry WotR metal pack, the bombard, and thinking about how I can use it. Spurred on by Phil Hendry's lovely rendition too, http://web.me.com/philhendry/Phil_Wargaming_Website/my_blog/bombard.html I've decided on how I'll base it up to make it usable for both my Burgundian Ordonnance (at Morat for example) and with my HYW.

The pic shows current state of play, having cleaned off all the flash etc. I've decided on the mantlet being based seperately, so it can be an optional piece. I've added some wooden pallisade to both sides to fill any gaps, so that it can be aligned with other parts of planned wooden siege lines.

The gun crew will have 3 'sabot' bases, to allow me to switch key personnel for folk in earlier fifteenth century garb (shown here to one side), all based on 5 pence coins. For the Burgundian version I've replaced the guy holding his hand to his ear provided in the pack (who looks most useful as an injured figure who's taken a blow to the head, to me) for a Perry plastic shouting instructions.

I've also left out one of the wooden bracings, partly to reduce the overall length and to save it to do the same job with another bombard casting I have. There'll also be other sige equipment - bucket, barrel, boxes, ramrod, spare cut wood, swords, etc - placed on the finished base.

Tuesday 7 September 2010


Well, 'to burgundianise' is not a proper verb of course, but I feel that it maybe a regularly appearing one on this blog.

Although I should be finishing off my HYW armies (and am indeed making some progress, as you can see over at my other blog) I couldn't resist having a small dabble at the recent Perry WotR metal men at arms. It feels a little sacreligious to tamper with these excellent castings and I know that this task will be much easier when the next Perry plastic box is released, which will have similiar style head options to reflect the european origins of these troops, but hey ho...

So I've made some minor alterations to attempt to make them more Burgundian in appearance - basically by simply adding pennons, plumes and scarves to helmets and St Andrews crosses on a brigandine and breastplate. The pennons and crosses are just cut from thin foil (an old tomato puree paste which just happens to be red one side) and the plumes are metal castings drilled and pinned. The scarves follow an Italian habit, which I felt is appropriate as many of the Ordonnance were raised from Italian mercenaries by Charles the Bold, although contemporary illustrations should it to be widespread - possibly as a recognition sign as mush as for fashionable appeal.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Northampton (9) - Pictures

Some pics of the static display from the Battlefield Trust 550th anniversary conference of 10 July at Northampton Museum. The layout aims to show the dispositions of the Lancastrian and Yorkist armies at about 2pm, when following lengthy negotiations, the earl of Warwick decided to attack the royal encampment.
I hope the display added something to the day; judging by the comments and conversations that were going on from the delegates, it would appear so. Unfortuneatly the tables provided weren't entriely level, so the pictures have emphasised the joints in the terrain tiles. The conference speakers outlined the potential sites for the engagement; from the established one of the camp being positioned on a bend of the Nene to the more recent revisionist view on a west-east axis along a stream - which my tabletop display tried to show, with the abbey on the Lancastrian right.
The conference certainly raised levels of knowledge for the attendees. Speakers gave some high-quality, well researched presentations, covering the political context, military conventions and some re-enactors equipment to handle during the lunch break. We finished with a tempting insight from Glenn Foarde (who led the recent Bosworth site discoveries)into how a site investigation for Northampton could be conducted - the main stumbling block being funding ineviatably - hopefully an opportunity that the Trust will be able to pursue.
My thanks go to Michael Perry for very generously lending me the bulk of his WotR plastics collection for use on the day and so assisting the Trust. It was also good to briefly catch up with some gamers, who follow these ramblings on my collections and some local gamers who I'd not met before.

Thursday 8 July 2010

Northampton (8) - The Queen and the Archbishop...

Have you heard the one about the Queen and the Archbishop?

This is the last vignette completed for the game, which will be located on the edge of the table, but which is a notable landmark for locals today and for attempts to accurately locate the site of the medieval battlefield. According to the accounts of Francesco Coppini, the papal legate who was an eyewitness at the battle, he and the archbishop of Canterbury watched the battle from the Queen Eleanor Cross, which is located next to the road south from Northampton to Towcester near Hardingstone village, he is said to have been able to see the puddles of water lying inside the Lancatrian encampment. The position of the cross helps confirm the approach route of the Yorkists and their likley position on the field of battle.

The cross was commissioned from Oshiro Terrain and James has created a really excellent piece, which is simplified and stylised from the original and also reduced in overall height to not be too overpowering. I may add a small cross on the top as the original appears to have had one, but that's now missing. This is a unique item for the game and will really set everything in context. Check out his other very skillful work and resin pieces here: http://www.oshiromodelterrain.co.uk/ More info on the Cross is found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_cross

The archbishop is a Perry figure; Henry VI with a simple head-swop from a Mark Copplestone-designed medieval bishop figure I've had for years, sitting alongside his clerical assistant. These have been painted rather than dipped.

That's it folks - all done for the conference.

After that I think 'normal service will be resumed' with my Burgundians here and some more HYW ready to be based up over on the other blog (much neglected recently).

Friday 2 July 2010

Northampton (7) - De la Pre abbey

I've completed the models that will represent the abbey, which was very near to the accepted location of the battlefield - in whichever verison of site interpretations you may have a personal preference for.
De la Pre abbey (now Delapre, giving it's name to a southern part of the town) was a convent that had been on the site since being founded in 1145 by the Cluniac order. Queen Eleanor's body rested here in 1290 on it's jouney back to London and so near to the site a Queen Eleanor cross was erected, that still stands.
The plan was to represent the building, but not to have it imposing on the table, adjacent to the Lancastrian camp. The building is one of the new Grand Manner later medieval buildings, which are really excellent, especially the townhouses. This is the church building, which as it (oddly) has no tower looks sufficiently religious and substantial, but not obviously a parish church. It's been quickly painting and dry-brushed, with some foliage added climbing the walls to make it look more established.
The gatehouse is also GM building and the walls are from Empress (from Spanish Civil war range)and the orchard is by Realistic Modelling Services. Hopefully the whole thing holds together fairly convincingly, as the medieval buildings are now long gone and those on the site appear to be a mix of Georgian and Victorian? Unfortuneatly I'd not realised it was a convent until last week and so the monks that I've got ready to use won't be seen walking the grounds, and any nuns will be well and truly locked inside, out of sight, for their own security!
Picture taken from my dry-run set-up...

Friday 25 June 2010

Northampton (6) - Shrewsbury

The last of the command bases I'm doing for the game - hurray!! John Talbot, second earl of Shrewsbury leader of the Lancastrian main 'battle'. He had been in the king's government, holding the posts of Lord Chancellor of Ireland and Treasurer to the king and was killed in the fighting on 10 July 1460.
The model for the earl is another quick conversion of a Perry metal - this time the 'duke of York' - who 'sacrificed' his head for a swop on the earl of March base and so has had a plastic one reattached, with a little Procreate putty to fill the gap to his mail collar. The rest of the figures are pretty much out of the box and dipped again. Although I do prefer figures that have been completely handpainted to dipped, I'm tempted to carry on with part-dipping for other medievals I'll be doing after this project; probably restricted just to jacks/padded coats and as shading on faces/hands, where the dip catches the fine sculpting lines and can be highlighted up and then matted down with varnish - we'll see.
Now am moving on to the scenic items I need to visually locate the battle in the right place - all purchased and now in need of undercoat and paint - these will be part of the De La Pre Abbey, a wall and gatehouse for the abbey & an orchard and the Lancastrian field defences.

Monday 21 June 2010

Northampton (5) - Buckingham

Thomas Stafford, first duke of Buckingham was a loyal servant to the Lancastrian government of Henry VI. He had been prominent in the French wars of Henry VI's reign, defending the English possessions in Normandy. He had fought for the King at the first battle of St Albans in 1455; trying to mediate before the battle and being wounded as the Yorkist lords broke through the town defences (possibly whilst he was still arming). At Northampton he probably commanded the main battle and was killed in the fighting that ensued once Warwick had been allowed into the royal encampment following Ruthin's treachery.

Buckingham's figure is a slightly altered Perry metal commander - Henry Tudor - with a plastic sallet added and then metal plumes added to that. I have tried to give him a dark burnished harness with gold edging, to befit his status as the Lancastrian leader. The standard bearer on foot is an old Citadel Alcatini 'dogs of War' figure with a plastic helm added - these are useful figures as they're broadly based on late fifteenth centry armour, except for the helms, which can now be easily swopped for plastic Perry spares! You can usually pick them, as I did, on flea-bay.

Livery colours for Buckingham were black and red and his livery badges seem to have included a flaming wheel, white swan and stafford knot and so I have included elements of all of these in the command base, either on flags, standards or livery coats, just for good measure. Flags by Freezywater.

Now to make the short trip west - to complete Shrewsbury...

Saturday 5 June 2010

Northampton (4) - March

Edward, earl of March leading his household into the fray.

One of the highlights of the Perry's Salute Tewkesbury game were figures that Dave Andrews had done - one being Edward IV, using mainly the plastic men at arms sprue figures with conversions to form a vignette that tells a story and where all the figure seem to interact. As imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and with my lesser abilities for figure conversion, I've used it as a template for this command stand (I really hope you don't mind Dave?) and plan to do a similiar one for one of my Burgundian commands at a future date, perhaps including some of the forthcoming metal command figures.

The figure holding his sallet aloft has had the head from one of the metals added (York, I think) and the rest is achieved with a repositioning of arms, pinned and then any unsightly gaps filled with green stuff.

Figures all dipped and faces have been retouched with highlights. Edward's horse handpainted. Pics snapped outside rather than the indoor 'studio' set. Flags are from the Perry box.

All the Yorkist leaders are now done... on to Buckingham..

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Northampton - promo

As requested, (or if it's not been requested then an indulgent moment of self-promotion!) some info on the Battlefield Trust's 550th Anniversary of Northampton event on 10th July, in case anyone has an interest to come along. Some good speakers lined up and a worthy organisation to support.

I'm told that there's plenty of time after a circa 4pm finish to get home, in case England are in the third place play-off of the World Cup (unlikely, I appreciate)!

Also on the Sunday 11th, I believe some guided walks of the battlefield are being arranged by Mike Ingram, starting off from Delapre Abbey - I can find out more info if you're in need of combining physical exercise with some healthy mental stimulation.

Saturday 29 May 2010

Northampton (3) - Grey of Ruthin

The first Lancastrian leader and I've taken the liberty of a bit of a shortcut.

For the Salute game I'd managed to get a small unit done for Grey (who by 1471 was earl of Kent and an established Yorkist courtier), see the 9 April blog entry, so I've re-used those men-at-arms with Grey's standard and added the mounted figures on a separate 50mm square base.

Lord Grey of Ruthin's treachoury against Henry VI seems to be the main reason that the battle lasted no more than 30 minutes, as he and his retainers lay down their arms, in a pre-arranged agreement with Warwick according to 'An English Chronicle' (although other accounts say that fighting lasted 3 hours before Grey switched sides).

I've used the Perry's Wenlock figure as Grey, contemplating at what point to turncoat his affinity, whilst his page (bearing his livery badge of a black staff) holds his armet.

Had a bit of a struggle with the matt varnish on these. For some reason the acrylic varnish I've used upto now dried too satin, and then a coat of Humbrol matt varnish (which i think I've had knocking around too long) came out even glossier, and so had to resort to the trusty Matt Cote for the cloths on the mounted figures...hey ho.

Northampton (2) - Fauconberg

The next Yorkist command stand, William Neville lord Fauconberg, who commanded the right battle. He was nephew of the earl of Warwick and had a colourful political and military career during the wars of the roses. After the battle he was rewarded with the post of lieutenant of Calais, a notorious Neville stronghold and after fighting at Towton he became earl of Kent in 1462. It was Fauconberg who oppossed Ruthin at Northampton and whose troops appear to have been the first to break into the Lancastrian defended encampment follwing Ruthin's change of alliegence.

The figures are Perrys - metal mounted characters and plastic billmen - the latter straight from the box with the exception of the billmen urging men forward on the right side. All done with dip. I've not added the Fauconberg livery badge of the fishhook (as the rest of the contingent won't have it either as they've been pressed into service as Nevilles due to their generic blue and white livery coats). Flag is LBMS.
Off to procure the abbey buildings from Grand Manner at Partizan show tomorrow.

Friday 21 May 2010

Northampton (1) - Warwick

Ok this blog is back in business. I had an enforced lay-off following Salute, due to a minor eye op, but all OK now; just needing to do short bursts of painting activity, rather than long sessions working close-up.

Next target is the game to support the Battlefield Trust event in July for the battle of Northampton. I’m focussing first on bases for the main leaders – six 100 x 50mm size – and some bespoke terrain items that are required; the abbey and walling, Eleanor Cross and the Lancastrian field defences and encampment.

First up, Richard Neville earl of Warwick. No mini-biog really required for the so-called ‘kingmaker’. At Northampton he appears to have led the Yorkist vanward battle (on the left of the line). Although the leaders would have undoubtedly fought on foot at the battle, the Perry personality figures are too appealling to ignore and so my plan is to have each leader and flagbearer mounted, acompanied by retainers/household on foot – it’ll also make it easier to show the main protaganists on the table.

All figures have been dipped for speed, except for Warwick’s horse, as I don’t find that dip works on large areas of white, it just comes out looking dirty. Flag is LBMS and the spare flagpole will have Warwick’s standard added (when i purchase one from Freezywater). The man-at-arms on Warwick’s left is the Perry Salute 'freebie' figure, with crown removed from his raised hand; a lovely figure and I’m looking forward to the other forthcoming command packs.

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Salute contingent (IV) - tents etc

The last bits and bobs for the Salute Tewkesbury game, finished just in the nick of time.
Tents and related hangers-on will be lurking at the back somewhere, probably behind the Lancastrian army as they appear to have been encamped nearer the battlefield. The tents are from Steve Barber Models, with guide-ropes added from florist wire, on 'Warbases' circular mdf bases which Martin delivered in very short time (thanks!). The latin religous motto was spotted at recent trip to Warwick Castle on a re-enactor's tent and adapted here in a simpler form. The smaller ridge tent is from Valdermar Miniatures, from Denmark (I think), makers of some very interesting metal and resin medieval figures in 1/72nd scale. So although this is effectively 20mm, it seems to work OK for these figures as a more modest tent; some personal possessions (bedrolls, chest, etc) will be added inside one day.
The figures are Foundry, with exception of the Mark Copplestone-designed man at arms (a 'Wargames Illustrated' subs giveaway of a couple of years ago) and baggage items are a mix, inc Foundry and Front Rank.
Flagbearer is another Perry plastic converted bowman, holding LBMS English royal arms.

Pics taken with new camera, with flash and artificial light, can you tell any difference yet?

Next stop, ExCel....

Friday 16 April 2010

Salute contingent (III) - Edward IV

The last contingent for the ‘Salute’ game - bills and bows for Edward IV. The murrey colour has been mixed (equal parts of mid red and mid blue, with some GW Elf Flesh added), dipped and then highlighted again with more flesh added to lighten. As there’s no actual evidence for what colour murrey was, so think I’m on firm ground here... but feel free to comment! Edward’s ‘rose in splendour’ badge was then painted on some livery coats. Figures are all Perry plastics – I'm still trying to find some combinations of poses that don’t repeat any I’ve done before. The flags are from the Perry’s Towton sheet that comes with the boxed plastics.

Now just trying to finish off a couple of tents and related encampment bits for the game...

Sunday 11 April 2010

Salute contingent (II) - Earl of Devon

Second complete unit; this time full strength (ie 2 50mm square bases of men at arms and 4 of bows) and depicting the earl of Devon, who commanded the Lancastrian left wing. For more info on the earl, see an earlier blog.
Perry plastics using more dip and highlight approach, this time with acrylic matt varnish. Not too bad when viewed en masse and at a discrete distance. Flags from Freezywater sheet.
I had planned to add waterslide decals and had some made up, but regretably the detail at this size becomes very indistinct and the decals are too brittle to apply without some element of damage (or they are with my clumsy fingers anyway), so had to revert to some rapidly handpainted white boar livery badges.

Next up, last Salute contingent for Edward IV.