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.