Thursday 30 May 2013

Burgundian skirmishers - WIP

The next planned unit for my Burgundians will be some bases of mixed handgunners and crossbowmen. I have completed the four units of ‘shot’ that were planned; two each of handgunners and crossbowmen. However I’ve since come up with some additional skirmishing  figures that I want to do – hence these extra bases, which I can mix in as required with my existing ones.

I’m aiming to complete these base by base. First off will be a handgunners – the main reason for doing this is I wanted to create some advancing whilst negotiating a fence. One figure will be vaulting the fence and I’ve converted him from Perry plastics, using parts from different boxes. He’s had some major surgery; utilising arms and hands from various sprues which have been cut, pinned and the resultant gaps filled. I’ve also slightly adjusted the angle of his body and one of his legs. His hand is glued and pinned to the dowel that’ll be the fence post and I’m happy that the final pose looks sufficiently convincing.

The firing figure is a straightforward assembly and the third figure on the base will probably be the crossbowman casualty – again comprised of cut down arms with different hands attached - I'll see what the painted up version looks like.

Another base will include a flagbearer as I’ve not done one to date with my Burgundian skirmishers. I now have a lovely 28mm version of the commonly reproduced Burgundian flag which attributed to a crossbow unit as it displays a crossbow image, originating from French Comte region, having been part of the Grandson booty taken to Solothurn.

So the next posting should be the first base of painted and based handgunners.

Friday 24 May 2013

Two small vignettes

I always love adding some vignettes to enhance an army and usually I'll end up spending far too long on them. However these two have been done relatively swiftly this week, in a couple of painting sessions. I think they are some of the nicest sculpts of the Perrys Late Medieval range so far - I'm sure they're more great figures to come.

First is a scene depicting Burgundian troops taking mass - perhaps before combat or just as part of their daily ritual - beside a wayside cross, accompanied by a priest. They wear Italian style dress and armour (from where Charles the Bold recruited many mercenaries to his Ordonnance companies). The shrine is compiled from a Noch model railway kit which contains several such useful items, which are HO scale but seem to fit in OK - in fact I cut down the height of the post for this one a little.

The other pair are from the Perry casualties set and is a wonderfully detailed one-piece sculpt; inspired I'm sure by a Graham Turner illustration in the Osprey 'Condottieri' book. I love the arming jacket shown where the man at arms armour plates have been removed or torn away from his injured left arm.

Not much more to say really... but fun to paint up.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Burgundian Men at Arms - another contingent.

These Burgundian men at arms have been lingering around in a semi-completed state for far too long, so I decided to finish them off.

Previous postings on the blog, some months back now, contain info re the casualty figure and the horse tack variations. There were five men at arms still to be done and I also decided to change the flagbearer for a metal Perrys scurror, instead of the plastic one I'd already finished (who'll be relegated to be a second rank coustiller).

Part of the reason they'd been left unfinished was that I wanted to add plumes to the majority of the men at arms that I still need to do. Charles the Bold's ordinances decreed that all men at arms should be attired with blue and white plumes on their sallets and on the horses head. Not all contemporary illustrations show them wearing plumes, but they add to the visual appeal and give them a degree of 'uniformity'. I have some old castings of plumes that I've been using up for several years now, but I commissioned Oliver at Steel Fist Miniatures to design some more for me, along with orb plume holders. I'm currently using a few that were cast for me and we're currently sorting out a production mould so that I'll have plenty of them to use. Where the horses are barded and wear a chamfron, I'll add plumes on too - perhaps replacing some of those on the Perry plastics for more variety. I think that the plumes do enhance these figures really well.

A flag for the Ordonnance Company will be added later; I've not decided which one to portray yet, but somehow medieval figures never look fully complete without their flags and pennons. These bases will also be supported by a rank of coustillers. As Michael Perry has announced that Perry Miniatures will be making a box of plastic 'light cavalry' (with a sample 3-Up green currently on their website following Salute show) these will be ideal figures to form the bulk of the coustillers. This means of course, a delay before I can get going on them - so more men at arms will have to be prioritised. I hope the wait for plastic 'light cavalry' won't be too protracted...

Monday 6 May 2013

Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy

The completed figure of Charles the Bold, the command figure for my Burgundian Ordonnance army.

He wears a fully gilded harness in the 'german' style and carries a baton bearing a fleur-de-lys - see the previous posting for the conversion work that Oliver of Steel Fist Miniatures has done on this figure. His horse bears the arms of Burgundy, which took some time to paint panel by panel.

I chose to paint the chain mail as steel, although examples of gilded mail do exist. This was partly based on The Last Judgement painting by Petrus Christus, which portrays gilded plate harness with steel mail, and as it creates some visual contrast. I'm happier with the tones for the gilded armour than those I'd previously been using - the base colour is Vallejo Air Colour Bright Brass. I've then washed over a thin mix of GW black and brown washes. The Bright Brass was then painted over as a highlight, with a final highlight - used sparingly to just pick out the highest points on the armour - of Vallejo Model Colour Gold.

I've added a mace to be carried from the saddle. Having initially thought that it would be slung from the wrist strap on the saddle,  but logically that would hit into the horse's flanks when moving at any speed. I then realised how few contemporary illustrations I could find on the web and in books of maces and axes being carried as the secondary weapon to a lance, prior to use, even when stretching my search to the early 16th century.  I found this one interesting one below (and another late 15th century Flemish painting I couldn't copy) which show a mace attached at it's head by a metal ring to the saddle. This appears to be a practical solution (even if rarely shown), so I've sought to replicate this. I'd be interested if anyone has any more info on this topic?

The figure of the duke will be part of a command base for a unit of mounted men at arms, representing household retainers. I've also completed a herald to accompany him. This is a Perry Minis Wars of the Roses range metal figure and horse. The only changes have been the addition of a feather on his hat and the tops of turned down riding boots, rather than the hose he's wearing.  I went for some contrasting (and simpler!) Burgundian devices on his tabard. 

A mounted standard bearer and a retainer on foot holding the duke's lance in readiness, are planned to complete this base.