Tuesday 28 June 2011

Gruyeres - III

A few more pics of the day and here are some showing the artillery piece, the crafts being undertaken and some of the non-combatants. I now have lots of reference materials (from the 250+ pictures that I took) that should come in handy in the future when building up my models.

I'll put up a final posting with some images of the impressive castle and town walls.

Sunday 26 June 2011

Gruyeres - II

Both the town & castle and the Company of St George did not disappoint, as the weather did. The qulaity of the clothing, arms & armour, equipment and personal items that populated the castle were very impressive. Numerous boxes, lamps, weapons, tools, bedding, cloth, foodstuffs and pavises were distributed throughout the courtyard, the two open walkways and in the internal rooms to recreate a convincing scene that these folk had been inhabiting the place for many weeks or months, not merely from the day before. The only incongruous thing was a display of modern sculpture that was in the castle at the ssame time and which I tried to avoid interloping into my photographs where I could.
Medieval crafts were bieng undertaken; I recall seeing a wooden lathe for turning bowls, pin making, carpentry, sewing, leatherwork, bookbinding, distilliation (for medicines I think) and painting - both figurative and reconstructing Burgundian Ordonnance pennons on silk (which after a long conversation with the artist I then forgot to take any pics!).

So here are some pics of armour and personal items.

More to come...

Friday 24 June 2011

Company of St George at Gruyeres

The second leg of castle visits with my youngest daughter, took us from Alsace to Gruyeres in Switzerland.
I had wanted to see the small walled town and castle for many years and it was combined with a first opportunity to see it embellished by the precence of the Company of St George re-enactment group, who were situated in the castle and part of the town for the weekend.

Sadly, having made the trip, the weather intervened and it poured with heavy rain from Friday afternoon to Sunday moring, when we left. We managed to time the only real sunny spell with our decision to visit a nearby chocolate factory! Whilst the rain did restrict the Company from displaying cannon and handgun fire, as authentcially it would have done 550 years ago, it didn't stop other activities as much is located under cover within the castle walls.

I would estimate over 150 re-enactors were present in the castle, with some encamped in the walled churchyard. Other affiliated groups were there too and those we spoke to had travelled in from France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Czech Republic.

Here are some of the military related pictures showing the high standard of clothing, armour and weapons. I'll be posting more on personal items, the artillery pieces and non-combatants, as well as the medieval buildings.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Burgundian Artillery Command

This command vignette is to complement the artillery bases that I've done to date. It depicts an inspection of the artillery park by a senior Burgundian nobleman, carrying a directive from the duke himself, accompanied by a retainer and flagbearer.

The Burgundian artillery was substantial; duke Charles inherited a sizeable train, ranging from large bombards to more portable serpentines and crapaudeau field pieces, all of which were housed in strongholds or towns across the dukedom. The duke took a personal, active involvement in the development of his artillery and no doubt saw his wealth and prestige reflected in the commissioning of the latest military technology. He also put his artillery at the core of his bellicous plans. However, with the possible exception of Montlhery in 1465 when the Burgundians appear to have 'out gunned' the French opposition, his artillery failed to make any impacts in his battles and sieges. The amount of artillery at his disposal is quite staggering; over 4,500 different pieces have been identified that were owned by the Burgundian dukes in the fifteenth century.

The Master of Artillery depicted here is Gauvin de Bailleul. It appears that the duke employed several men with this title concurrently during his reign. I've yet to identify if any nobleman was appointed by the duke to control the artillery, in the way that conductors were for each of the Ordonnance Companies. It is possible that Charles retained direct control over this prestigous arm. De Bailleul is known from extant letters of March 1476 from the duke instructing him to assemble guns stored at Thornville. I've denoted his identity by applying his coat of arms to a wooden box and a powder sack.

The vignette are all Perry figs, with some minor conversion work, which I did a few months ago but have just managed to paint and base. The master of artillery is one of the WotR metal gunners with a plastic headswop and an open hand replacing the linstock. The burgundian nobleman is the Henry VI figure, with a chaperon built up from putty and my very best attempt at adding a hung fleece badge to his collar to denote his seniority as a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece. the others are out of the box metal and plastic, with the flag as a free download. The baggage items are mix of Foundry, Front Rank and TAG and pavise transfers are LBMS.

Finally, my apologies for those of you with your own blogs that I follow. Due to a PC glitch, which I hope will be sorted, I've been unable to add any comments recently - instead being caught up in an infinite google blog account validation loop! So I'll comment retrospectively when it's all sorted.

Saturday 4 June 2011

Burgundian crossbow conversions

The next contingent for my Burgundian Ordonnance will be crossbows, probably including some pavises so I can use the finely detailed LBMS transfers.

To add some variety of poses and to have a couple of figures in coats rather than all wearing livery jackets, I've made some relatively straightforward conversions. I've removed the arms of selected metal castings from the Perry WotR and EA ranges with a fine hacksaw and added the plastic crossbow arms. I've tried to judge before making the amputations if the plastic arms would fit well onto the bodies and also create a viable pose. This is a bit tricky, but one of the advantages of plastic is that there is a little 'give' and so any gaps can be fixed by drilling & pining the new arms and adding a little filler.

Here are six I've done to date, ready for undercoating. A couple of them are spare WotR artillerymen (one now with handgun) and others are fom the recent polearm packs. In the end the joints were all pretty good and required filling was minimal - I think the poses look OK too and that they'll be worth the extra time spent on them when they're painted up.