Thursday 10 February 2011


Just a quick post, to show the really lovely Burgundian pavise transfers from Little Big Men Studios, which I recieved this week and who's products I'm always really impressed with. I was aware that Stephen Hales was working on these , to use with the plastic pavises in the Perry 'Mercenaries' box. He's produced four versions with the same St Andrews cross, steel and sparks emblem of Charles the Bold. One from each sheet are pictured here. Swiss versions are to follow I understand.

The quality of the transfers is excellent and each one is slightly different in terms of the distress and dirt on them. They need careful cutting with a scalpel or scissors. The transfer design for the smooth pavise has a cut-out to align it with the proud metal spike at the base; the only marginal issue is that it really needs to be about2mm larger to cover the plastic pavise - consequently some careful painting is needed to match in the edges. Perhaps this will be remedied with the next sheets? The transfer for the pavise with the proud spine fits much better, once carefully eased over and firmy pressed down.

I will now be arming my crossbowmen with them, as I need an excuse to show them off. Some medieval books state that pavise use was on the wain by the 1470s, which maybe the case. However the Schilling Bern Chronicle illustrations show them in use by the Burgundians, in both seige and battle scenes.

Also pictured is a recent conversion, using plastic torso and arms from the Mercenaries box, attached to the metal legs of the kneeling gunner from one of the Perry WotR artillery sets. I needed someone to be using the pavises as intended; sheltering whilst spanning his crossbow. Some putty has been used to add a bag and lengthen the scarf at the back of the sallet. Hope this remains an 'original' and that Michael doesn't bring out some metal crossbowmen!

Last post on here I anticipate for a few weeks, as HYW stuff needs attention for the Salute Verneuil game - so keep a watch on 'Harness and Array' blog....

Thursday 3 February 2011

Basing basics

A few people have asked how I do my basing, so here's a pictorial demonstration.

It's the same way that I've approach it, on a number of armies of different periods (the exception being Biblicals) for at least the last 25 years. It's a process I've just got accustomed to using and there are really no 'dark arts' that are going to be exposed in showing this step-thru. So, if you're happy with your own approach, you may want to stop reading right now! What I'm sure about is that are probably quicker and better methods out there, but this one works for me and as I need all my figures to blend with my terrain and 'hang together' as a coherent group, it'll be the technique I carry on with for now.

So first up the figures are attached to the base. This is always with Superglue gel. For this basing I've used plasticard, which I've cut to required size, as in this case. Recently I've switched to thin mdf pre-cuts. The main thing is that the material is warp-free and I've not experienced any issues with my basing method. The plasticard is scored lightly, with an nail file, to give the glue something to grip to. The figure bases are then blended and landscaped. Here I've used pre-mixed tile grout with about 10% PVA woodglue added for adhesion. I've also used Polyfilla mix or similiar. Where I know that painting the base will be difficult to access, for instance on more crowded base, I have added the paint that I use to shade the base to pre-colour the grout mix, as this helps at a later stage.

When dry, I add a mix of stones and gravel in the areas that'll not be grassed over. Firstly a few larger stones are glued with mix of 4 parts PVA and 1 part water, then a sprinkling of smaller ones and finally sand. This is Games Workshop sand, but from a tub I purchased a year or so ago. I purchased a new one only last week and they've changed supplier and the new mix is too much fine in my opinion; it sinks into the glue and loses definition, which means highlighting it later is ineffective. So I've got some Hornby model railway fine gravel to try out instead.

Again, when fully dried and fixed, it's all painted in a base colour. This is GW 'Graveyard Earth', which I've recently switched to, only on the basis that I can get it locally. For years I'd used Humbrol 'Dark Earth' in either enamel or acrylic - the former being a little more hard wearing. Both are a very similiar colour, which when the base is finished you'd be hard pushed to tell apart.

Now a fun stage - drybrushing the base - when it seems to 'come alive' a bit more. I build up three layers of highlights, using Pelikan Plaka 'Yellow Brown' and any acrylic white; initially in a 80:20 ratio, then a 50:50 one and finally, just trying to pick out the larger and more prominent stones in a 20:80 mix. The base is now ready for adding vegetation.

Static grass is glued where needed with a 50:50 mix of PVA and water. When dry I then drybrush it, to lighten the colour. I use Plaka 'Yellow Ochre', which is a tip I got from Kev Dallimore is one of his first published painting articles and which seems odd at the time, as it's quite a bright tone to add to the grass, but for me it works and gives a summer-tone to the bases (if it is a wintery feel you need, I'd probaly skip this step and leave the grass as is).

Final step, to add some foliage. These days the easiest and most effective are pre-made Silfor tufts (here the 6mm high ones) which come in differing shades - and the flowering plants are recommended too. I superglue these on. Gone are the previous solutions of sisal string coloured with green fabric dyes or cutting and glueing bunches of Woodland Scenic rushes. I also add small cut down pieces from a K&M tree for variety.

I'll post pictures of the finished base soon, as I have boxes and other artillery-related items to add on, as well as a small artillery command base to compliment it.