Sunday 20 December 2015

Condottieri Sideshow (Scene 1, Act 1)

Apologies for lack of recent postings. The only real progress made on my Burgundians has been the preparation and painting of sufficient horses for the next two units of mounted coustillers. Although there’s been some modest tinkering of horse tack, etc, I decided that this doesn’t really constitute enough for a posting, at least until the riders are done (and I’m currently about half way through). It therefore goes without saying that my mid-year aspiration that I would ‘complete’ the planned 
Burgundian army has not come to pass.

So here are some images of a possibly unwanted diversion that’s taken up my recent spare time – and apologies to any LAF members as these images have been updated there. The idea of creating  modest armies to game some facet of the wars in Italy in the mid 15th century, have been intermittently  gnawing away since 2012 and some Italian skirmishers I painted. Probably like almost everyone in the hobby, other than the most disciplined, I’m too easily distracted by other figures and wars that I would like to recreate in some way and so dip in and out of them (and mine collections are not restricted to the 
medieval period, just for the record).

So I’ve grasped the nettle and converted some Perry Italian metals from swordsmen to spear and shield light infantry. Painting’s been done with washes and few highlights to help speed things up slightly. Shields done by hand in the current absence of any printed transfers, which I’d prefer to use Colour schemes have been taken from Italian battle scenes of the times – namely Florentine painted caskets in the Gallery of Ireland  and battle of San Romano. They depict Milanese, which I’ve decided to start with, having some of the excellent flag sheets by Pete’s Flags for campaigns in the 1440s, between Milan and a political alliance consisting of Florence, Venice and the Papacy, including the condottieri captains involved. Some units will need to be ‘state-agnostic’ to provide some flexibility when I finally get around to using these on a tabletop.

Next up has been adding some green stuff to create Italian styling to existing Perry plastics. My sculpting skills are limited,  but like everything improves with practice and I’m happy with the giornea (tabards)  I’ve added, as well as cloth coverings to the horse bard. The latter will be an elite unit of ‘broken lances’ from Milan. The metal plumes are Mirliton castings, drilled and pinned to armets. Painting on these won’t start until sometime in 2016. Working with ‘green stuff’ is a very gradual process I’ve learned, so I’ve now got a number of figure amends on the go, adding more when I can. However I’m pleased with my modest results, they’re at a level  which to my eyes makes them look sufficiently convincing and are enhancing the figures with an ‘Italianate’ look, and the sculpting tool is an enjoyable alternative to the paintbrush

Tuesday 13 October 2015

A little Tudor outing to BLAM.

At the weekend some of my figures had another outing from their cabinets; contributing to a game at BLAM (British Lead Adventurer Miniatures) forum's gaming weekend, in deepest Surbiton.
Its a really well organised long weekend, with five different  2-hour participation games put on each day (on 6 x 4 Tables) and a bigger bash on the Sunday.

Stuart Mulligan took along selected units of his Tudors and French, with my terrain and a limbered bombard vignette I made, to play a Last Apostle scenario, in which Tudor forces have to rescue their artillery piece after its marooned in a deep stream. This was based on actual events from Henry VIII's 1513 campaign in France.

All good fun - rules were Lion Rampant - which work well for a quick skirmish type game for later medievals, One game was drawn and the other a clear French win. It was great to meet new folk and catch up with 'older' ones too (they'll know what I mean!). Many thanks to Giles for his organisation of the event and welcoming for us occasional players.

All the photos, a report on BLAM and some interesting historical context and on Stuart's very fine blog, so please click over for a great read.

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Berne Baby Berne - game pics.

My Burgundian army had it's second day in the field, along with the Swiss that I've done to date, at Partizan show at Kelham Hall last Sunday. This was my contribution to an informal group we've called The Bodkins, who've been formed with the intention of putting on medieval demo games.

The decision to put on a Swiss- Burgundian game was a relatively late one and so myself, Dave Andrews and David Imrie spent a rather frantic few weeks painting extra figures and basing up older ones. Our concern that we'd not have enough to fill the 10 x 6 table was unfounded on the day - when following set-up we realised that ideally we really could have done with a longer table to allow the contingents some tactical elbow room.

The final set-up looked as we'd hoped it would do - visually appealing with three large pike blocs and supporting troops for the Swiss Confederation, whilst the Burgundians put their mounted troops on the wings, with shot and pikes in the centre. Terrain tiles and trees were by Keith Warren of Realistic Modelling Services and the fortified church is a hand crafted model by John Boadle. Thanks to all those who have passed kind and positive comments on the game.

We played the game using Impetus rules and after a few hours the Swiss appeared to be getting the upper hand. They had advanced in historical echelon formation, with the massive vorhut looking fairly impregnable, despite being shot at and attacked by mounted men at arms. On the other wing Darrell Hindley led a heroic charge of men at arms against other pikes, causing casualties but being repulsed.

We have discussed playing a full game out, perhaps based closely on Morat, but that will have to be next year. In the meantime the Bodkins are continuing to plan and prep for a different historical mediaeval game. Pictures here include some borrowed from Darrell and 'Wargames Illustrated'.

and finally...some Bodkins....

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Swiss pikes (and a bear) for Partizan show.

I have been occupied for last few weeks with trying to get as many Swiss figures completed as I can for the demo game at Partizan this Sunday (6th September) at Kelham Hall. This means painting some additional command bases using Perry figures, and adding and basing up older Swiss figures that I never got around to completing until there was a need. These are the largely the Wargames Foundry models.

I have completed a Swiss pike bloc – so I now have two of similar size - these use most of the Perry pikes that I painted last year, as a rear row which just needed basing up to match the existing ones. The command figures represent the cantons of Zurich, Zug & Glarus, and Basle & Appenzel (who appear to have provided the bulk of the Swiss nachhut at the battle of Morat). All flags are by Pete’s Flags – these are ones printed on cloth. Some of the command figures have had minor conversions – some 
added plumes, a beard for the captain and a headswop or two.

I have also completed the bear of Berne – a recent Perry Miniatures vignette. Bears are recorded to have been kept in Berne from around 1513 and the bear pits still exist as a tourist site (although the bears can now access terraced enclosures along the river side). There is evidence that selected bears were taken on campaign by the army, as a symbol of the city’s power and wealth. One of Schilling’s illustrations of the Burgundian wars shows a bear attacking one of Charles’ troops at the battle of Morat, whether this is literal or another image of Bernese dominance is unclear. 

I’ve painted this one as per the bear on the cantonal flag, although most European bears of the time seem to have been brown (and probably slightly smaller than this model). I’m not sure if the accompanying soldier with the two-handed sword is there to fight Burgundians, or stick it into the bear should it not understand who it’s supposed to be attacking!

There are a few more Swiss halbardiers being based at the moment. With the figures provided by Dave Andrews and David Imrie, I hoping that the game should be both fun to play and visually appealing. I will post some pictures here next week – but if you do get to the show, please say hi.

Sunday 23 August 2015

Swiss preparation for Partizan II show.

For the forthcoming game at Partizan II show in Newark on 6th September (the last one to be held at Kelham Hall I understand) I'm finishing off some Swiss units, most of which I've had for time but which need final basing and some extras added, so they're OK for the tabletop.

First up is another pike bloc. This will consist of some re-based Foundry figures - with a mix of painters (including Jim Bowen, Dave Imrie and myself). These had been done on 50mm frontage, but now I've moved to 60mm. I'm going to mix in some Perry Swiss, which I completed some months ago, as an added rear ranks. I've quickly painted about ten new Foundry figures for these pikes shown.

The unit also needs command stands with canton flags. These will be Perry figures, using a combination of the new Perry Swiss command pack and some conversions - show here - with some basic greenstuff added (...including a beard Alan!!).

I'm also basing up some painted Foundry Swiss shot and halbards.

The demo game will be a fictional encounter between Swiss and Burgundians and the figures will be contributed by Dave Andrews, David Imrie and myself.  The info sheet is shown here - please come along and say hello, if you can get to the show..

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Burgundians - first engagements.

So after a few years spent collecting, painting and basing my Burgundian army, in its current nearly-completed state, it had its first engagement on a wargames table last weekend.

Whilst it would have been prudent to ‘blood’ a new army in a modest affair, my Ordonnance army was invited to join forces with that of Dave Andrews (of Great War Miniatures), on the wargames table of Alan and Michael Perry. Dave’s army, which uses the Foundry late mediaeval range, has been featured in several wargames publications over the years and had waited even longer than mine to be used in action.

The scenario was a hypothetical one – based on a Lancastrian English chevauchee into the Lowlands, where a Burgundian army quickly set about bringing them to battle. It was a large game featuring over 1,000 figures, a 14 foot long table and 8 players. It created a wonderful sight and a close game. I led the Burgundian right wing, of men at arms and supporting missile troops, which did its job of attacking the English wing of bills and bows, who were defending a low hill. The mounted advance was somewhat slower than planned/hoped for and they made particular heavy weather of getting up a modest hill to finally charge in to combat, with the expected result of pushing back the English. Elsewhere it was a mixed bag from the ‘home team’ and after 5 hours of play, an English victory was declared. So at least both Burgundian armies played to their historical form…and lost!

A fuller account and better pictures of the game are on the Perrys Facebook site, which can be accessed 
via their website; Perry Miniatures

And so with that defeat under my belt, the duke’s army is now booked for another engagement – at short notice, but of more traditional gaming proportions. This will be at Partizan wargames show in Newark (UK) on Sunday 6 September. 

This will be a Swiss-Burgundian affair, which we’re proposing to call “Berne Baby, Berne”, using figures from myself, David Imrie and Dave Andrews (…this time his growing Swiss army!). The actual scenario will get sorted on the day when all the players have an opportunity to discuss and agree. It should be fun. Please do say hello if you can get along – if you can’t then I will post some pictures here afterwards