Monday 31 December 2012

Adrian von Bubenberg

This command base represents Adrian von Bubenberg (1434 - 1479) who was a Swiss Confederate leader at the battle of Morat, using another of Pete's excellent Swiss flags (from the commanders sheet). This is the last vignette for Swiss commanders that I'm going to do until we hopefully get some metals for the Perrys EA Range - perhaps something to look forward to in 2013? The figures have been sitting on my desk in a state of partial completeness for many months, since I started the other Swiss command vignettes, so it's good to get them done.

Von Bubenberg was a prominent political figure in Bern, where he was mayor on several occasions from 1468. He led negotiations with other Confederate cantons against the expansionist plans of Charles the Bold in the 1470s, being Bern's ambassador at the Burgundian court. He was in command of the town of Morat when it was besieged by the Burgundian army in June 1476. Bubenberg successfully led the defence of the town for 12 days, until the relieving force arrived and defeated the duke's army outside the walls of the town.

All the figures have had some minor conversion work done. Von Bubenberg is a plastic figure from the Perry Bills and Bows command sprue. His right arm is from the mounted Men at Arms box, with a two-handed sword added from a Games Workshop plastic spare. The illustrated Swiss chronicles of the period show several figures armed in this way - I'm not sure if they just represent leaders or reflect the prominence of two-handed soldiers in full harness in Swiss armies. Perhaps such troops fought on the edges and front ranks of pike blocs? The head is a Perry Swiss metal with a beard added with putty. The drummer is a Games Workshop/Citadel Empire figure (of 'slotta' base vintage). I originally painted up the figure, but then decided that his attire was too anachronistic - his plumed hat is really reflective of the start of the Italian Wars (see pic below) and he didn't compliment the vignette. So I luckily found another casting and did a head-swop with another Perry Swiss head casting and also removed the odd knee defence on the left leg.

The flagbearer is another GW/Citadel figure, from the 'Pikemen of Alcatani' set, which are very usable if elements of fantasy attire are removed, in this case another headswop, with a plastic one with a putty scarf added. The halbardier is a Perry metal from one of the many Wars of the Roses wagons sets; his hand holding horse reins converted to hold a halbard. He works nicely as a soldier of Morat in his civilian attire.

And just to complete the postings for this year, I've prepared the last two horses for my next men at arms unit. They're assembled straight from the box, but with some enhanced tack, just to create variety within the unit. One has simply had the studs removed and the scalloped edges cut to be a straight edge. The other is based loosely on Durer's drawing of a German Knight of 1489, with putty and sprue hanging straps added.

A Happy New Year to's to a great 2013.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Vote for your favourite piece...

As it's the festive season, and as I've just hit a century of posts, I thought I'd try and use the voting function on blogger. So I'd like to ask you to cast a vote for your favourite contingent or piece, from a selection of those that I've done so far for my Burgundian-Swiss collection.  All for a bit of yuletide fun.

The selection is based purely and simply on those that I got the most personal satisfaction from doing.  
They are (in no specific order).

A. Lord Chalons and retinue:

B. Berne Bear:

C. Burgundian Halbardiers:

D. Swiss Pike bloc:

E: Burgundian limbered artillery: 

F: Burgundian Men at Arms:

If the blogger vote system works, then there should be some voting buttons (with the unit descriptions) at the top right-hand side of the blog. Hopefully anyone can vote - not just those who also have a Google / Blogger account. 
I'll leave this running for a week or so and we'll see where we are and which is the "people's choice".

Thanks for voting!

Have a great Christmas holiday and New Year. Thank you for maintaining your interest in viewing and commenting so generously on the sporadic outputs of my hobby... more of the same planned for 2013.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Burgundian Men at Arms - WIP. Destriers

Just an interim posting of horseflesh, largely to prove that I'm making (slightly glacial) progress with the next Burgundian contingent of men at arms. Frankly I seem to have lost my way a bit with these - partly as I've had few periods of spare time to get into detailed paintings sessions, which is why I recently dipped (no pun intended) into some faster painted figures, just to feel that I was being productive. I also don't really like painting horses - for some reason the Perry plastic horses always seem to need more attention on them than I think I can probably get away with. However I'm happy with using Foundry's Deep Brown Leather triad on horses for the first time, despite the pots I got being a very thin consistency of paint ( many thanks Stuart!).

So the plan is for all of the unarmoured horses here to have riders done and for them to be based into the next Ordonnance company of men at arms. All of these have had some conversion work done on them - as seen in previous posts and inspired by /lifted from guys on the the Lead Adventurers Forum who are doing great things with the Perry plastics. Most of them are front and rear halves cut and rejoined to produce new positions - plenty of filling and smoothing of gaps. I've also removed the moulded tack that crosses the horses rump, as I find this fiddly to paint convincingly.

I've also painted the first barded horse with the Burgundian devices added, as fully gilded armour. This would have been very expensive work to have had done and so such horse armour will be reserved for the Burgundian duke and close relatives only. I'm unsure on these gold tones. I've used Vallejo Old Gold, washed with GW black and brown, then highlighted with GW Shining Gold - largely as these are the golds that I have to hand. The pictures are all a little dark, but I'm not sure this is the gilded finish I want - I should research a better mix of tones. I also need to smooth the joints of the putty much better than I have done when I attach the moulded cross and flints devices, although they looked OK at the time, painting shows up too many imperfections. It's all a process of trial and error.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Italians - fast painted skirmishers

I've completed and based a couple of later 15th century Italian skirmishers. These have been done using my 'speedy process' (see previous posting) and were completed a couple of weeks ago, but as I can only take photos in natural light at the weekends in the English winter they've been slightly delayed in their arrival here. I had to add a casualty figure as I'd already 'borrowed' the crossbow for the other figure in the pack and spares didn't fit well.
They have been based in the usual way, on 'Warbases' laser cut mdf, the only change being applying Vallejo Beige Brown as the earth colour, to lighten it slightly for a Tucsan setting. The overall frontage for the 3 bases is 120mm, for potential use with 'Impetus' rules. Closer fighting units will have either three or four figures on these same base sizes and mounted units two figures (on deeper bases).
They have been sprayed with a matt varnish and I'm pretty happy with them for what they are - a way of getting an army together in quicker time. I reckon my usual approach would result in about 2 figures completed in the time I did these twelve; so completing a small scale Italian city state force is potentially doable within a reasonable timeframe, i.e. before some future new figure releases distract me!

I'm going to use this painting method - using a mix of washes rather than Army Painter as I feel I get more control re applying the levels of shading - for more Italians as well as some more HYW on my other blog.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Italian diversion?

I had intended to incorporate the Perrys Italian figures from their EA Range into my Burgundian forces, as many are known to have been recruited to the Ordonnances. However I've recently been distracted - whilst waiting to finish my next men at arms unit - to see if I could create some figures through a speedier approach which are of a good enough standard to allow me to undertake a modest diversion into Condottiere forces for some of the Italian states. So here are the test figures.

I've tested Army Painter dip and acrylic Games Workshop washes over blocked colours, followed by selected highlighting of the main clothing items and the flesh. I've tried to create the great finish that Dave Imrie at Saxon Dog has achieved for his collection. The approach that I'm most satisfied with, and so will probably follow, is to use a mix of GW Devlan Mud and Ogryn Flesh (or whatever their new names are?) in roughly 30:70 proportions & mixed with a dash of flow improver - with AP Dark Tone dip reserved for the plate armour, where it works nicely on a base of GW silver.  The highlighting is mainly the same base colour painted after the wash has dried, with a spot of white added only if needed - I do need to discipline myself to do the minimum on these and remind myself that this is a  'quick and dirty' approach to get figures done swiftly.

If these plans go anywhere I'm planning to use preprinted flags - some nice ones for this period by Pete's Flags and Battle Flags. Hopefully someone will soon produce some shield transfers for these figures too. Conversion work will be kept to an absolute minimum, although I am intending to add the lovely helmet plumes that Mirilton produce from the 'Rout of San Romano' paintings to the Perry plastic men at arms for some extra Italianate period appeal.

The riders were pained with dip all-over after a base of silver for the harness and other main colours blocked in. A matt varnish was then painted over the non-armour areas after a little highlighting.  the mounts have washes, as per the foot figures, with a highlight back up afterwards. One of the keys to avoiding dirty looking figures with wash and dips is, I believe, to carefully select and test base colours. The usual guide is to use them much lighter than normally - perhaps the highlight shades only (as I did for these horses) and very light browns/buffs. I'm still testing for the best colours to use/avoid. The initial process of blocking in (over a white basecoat) is very uncomfortable for me, but the wash does key-in the figure and then whatever highlights are needed can be applied.

Thanks to all those on the Lead Adventurers Forum, who provided their feedback and encouraging words.

I'll drop some occasional updates on this blog and we'll see how it all shapes up....

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Man at Arms casualty - painted.

I’ve managed to put paint on the converted casualty man at arms – whilst assembling some more of his companions. I decided against adding an arrow or quarrel into the horse. 

Happy with the final result and am sure he’ll look fine when based up with the others.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Burgundian Bard

I've painted the converted casualty figure (see last post) but theres not enough natural light after work to photograph him. So in the meantime...

I’m planning to create at least two units featuring commanders for my Burgundian Ordonnance army – currently Duke Charles and Antony, the bastard of Burgundy (whose portrait by Roger van de Weyden graces this blog). I wanted to do something a little different with these mounted men at arms figures so they’re easily identifiable on the table; such as additional flags and banners, heralds and having them all on fully barded horses, to reflect their greater status and personal wealth.

To enhance the horse armour I wanted to embellish them with some Burgundian devices that were used extensively by Charles the Bold. I’d had this aspiration since first seeing the 3-up greens of the Perry mounted men at arms figures at Salute 2011 and thinking that there must be this way to enhance the separate horse armour – specifically the Italian style ones. Horse barding bearing Burgundian devices, such as St Andrews cross and steel with flints, are clearly shown in the Swiss illustrated chronicles of the wars – either embroidered onto fabric covering the horse armour, possibly painted directly onto the steel, or embossed into the barding by the armourer at the forge – the latter method exampled by the wonderful ‘Burgundian bard’ at the Tower Armouries (although it’s dated a little later around 1511).
The solution has been found and made for me by Oliver James of Steelfist Miniatures. Oliver has sculpted two wonderfully detailed crosses with steel & flints (taken from surviving Burgundian pavises and tapestries) from Procreate putty. From these he’s made silicon moulds that allow me to reproduce them by pushing in athin layer of putty. When it’s hardened these are then glued to the horse bard (once the moulded rivets etc are smoothed away) and then blended in with more putty.

I’m extremely pleased with the results – the detail on Oliver’s sculpting is truly phenomenal and exceeds my expectations. I have no idea how he manages to sculpt such intricate pieces, as he does on his recent Samurai commanders. So here is the ‘Burgundian bard’ horse for my bastard of Burgundy – using the metal Edward IV figure – as he’s nicely posed to lead his troops with a cry of “A St George!, A Burgoyne!”

I’ll post up the painted version of him when done. However this will be a little while, as the figure needs an accoutrement that Oliver is currently sculpting for casting in metal.

Thursday 27 September 2012

Men at Arms WIP - casualty

For the second base of the Burgundian men at arms I’m stretching my modelling capabilities to try and create a falling horse and rider, as the company will be charging the enemy.  The Perry plastics make this conversion attempt possible of course and it’s one of the joys of the ‘plastic revolution’ that I can regress to past days of admiring this type of model conversions (typically more advanced than mine and usually in a larger scale) in Military Modelling magazine and have a go myself. Others have already done great plastic conversions with this range – notably ‘Captain Blood’ and ‘Admiral Benbow’ on the Lead Adventurers Forum.

Firstly the horse – some hacksaw surgery involved here. After assembling the two body halves, both front legs were cut off and repositioned further under the horse as it’s falling to its knees after being hit by a crossbow bolt or handgun shot (so far I’ve resisted adding an arrow/bolt shaft into the horse’s chest, but I may yet do this). The repositioned legs were pinned, glued and the gaps filled with Procreate putty. The horse’s head and neck were realigned. The head was cut from the neck and then a largish wedge of neck cut away. Head and neck were then re-united with plastic cement. The attachment of the neck to the body was also repositioned and glued further forwards after the joining ‘lug’ was trimmed to fit, to get the head as low as possible. This left a gap at the joint near the saddle, which was filled and the mane extended over the new neck extension with more putty. The cast-on reins were removed with a scalpel and replaced with fuse wire. This created the wounded horse.

I initially wanted the rider to be dramatically falling in mid-air over the horse’s neck – having found pictures of race jockeys falling from their mounts. However it proved too difficult for me to achieve a convincing pose with the figures (and my capabilities), so I post-rationalised that a man in full harness was less likely to be shot through the air as a smaller modern day jockey! Therefore he’s still in the saddle – but pitching forwards with the velocity of the horse’s fall, arms out to try and protect himself from imminent impact with the ground.

I used the legs from a plastic man at arms, cut off at the waist. These were joined to the torso of a fully armed figure on the command sprue in the Perry Mins ‘Bills and Bows’ box. Some filling was required to cover the join of the armour plates. The rider’s left arm is also from the same command sprue as the body. The right arm was selected from the mounted men at arms box, with the angle adjusted slightly (pinned and filled under the armpit) and with fingers grafted from a spare plastic longbowman’s hand. I’ve chosen an open barbute, as the face has an open mouthed expression which should work nicely to reflect the shock of the impending fall – I’ve given it a wash of GW Green Stuff as I’ll probably paint it as a fabric-covered helmet.

I’m happy with the result - given the extra time that it’s taken to assemble. Not too many parts were wasted in the trial-and-error approach; it’s been great fun and given me encouragement to perhaps try some more ‘ambitious’ poses with the plastics.

Sunday 23 September 2012

Men at Arms - WIP

I've decided to post some work in progress of my next base of Burgundian Ordonnance men at arms - so this should hopefully result in more regular postings.
So here's a current state of play for the command base, the first of the three. I've decided to make these into a more active unit, advancing at the charge - as the Perry plastic horses assemble at the gallop or steady trot. It comprises of company captain wielding an axe (the metal Perry 'duke of Somerset' figure), a man at arms in Flemish style harness thrusting with his lance (Perry plastic figure) and a flagbearer - with flag to be added.

The flagbearer is a plastic figure who's had some conversion work done on him to create a different pose. The body has been cut from the Mercenaries box figure and added to legs from the man at arms wearing the coat, with some filling undertaken to hide the joint. Long riding boots were added with putty. The mail sleeves also come from the Mercenaries box; on his right arm I've removed the forearm at the elbow (which was holding a polearm) and replaced with one cut down from the mounted men at arms box, so I can add the flagstaff to the hand. The open barbute is from the  mounted man at arms box set, with scarf added with Procreate putty. There's a picture I took of the assembled version, before paintwork (sorry about the poor lighting).

Saturday 15 September 2012

Ordonnance Pike (II)

The second and final Ordonnance pike armed contingent for my army of Charles the Bold. Given my usual pace of painting, completing a 36 figure unit is a bit of a major undertaking; so most of the front two rankers have been painted for me by Rafa – who’s painting style and detailing is exquisite. I’ve hidden most of my more humble output in the rear ranks!

They are a mix of Perry plastics from the Mercenaries box and some metals from the WR and EA ranges. The captain is one of the newish Italians with a headswop and plastic buckler added; he fits in quite well.

The unit represents an Ordonnance unit raised by the duke from his Flemish territories, specifically Flanders. They are compliant with the ducal ordinance of Abbeville in 1471 which required pike armed soldiers to wear the ducal colours and cross of St Andrew, as well as carry a buckler. The flags are the Burgundian ducal arms, banner of Flanders and flag of the Guild of Silversmiths that originates in the Lowlands.

The Ordonnance foot are now gradually progressing towards a state of near completion. The only outstanding units to do – based on my initial army list which I’m still working to – are another handgun-armed skirmishers, a second halbard unit and ducal guardsmen. All of these I’ve started work on, in some form or another, although I'm unlikely to complete them until we hopefully get some Franco-Burgundian command figures for the Perry's EA range. I’ve plenty of mounted Ordonnance men at arms to do however and these are currently top of the painting pile.

Toodle pip....