Thursday, 25 August 2016

Burgundian barding conversions - work in progress

The next unit I'm working is planned to be the last mounted men at arms for my Burgundians. I've saved the contingent of Antony, Bastard of Burgundy as the finale - partly as I wanted to keep back a visually strong unit, and I've felt that my conversion skills have not been up to the tasks in hand until now (thanks to some sculpting coaching session I was fortunate to have).

So this unit will be a high status one - representing the duke's half brother alongside other Burgundian nobles wearing their most expensive harness and horse bards. First steps have been to 'upgrade' and vary the barding, using some contemporary images as my guide. This posting is my current progress, mainly undertaken over the last couple of weeks whilst away on hols.

Searching for reference material for horse armour for this period has been an interesting exercise in itself. Starting with extant armour, there appears to only 3 remaining full bards form the second half of the fifteenth century - Wallace Collection c1480 (A21), Berlin c 1475 (W1052) and Vienna c 1450 - images below. Two of these are accurately represented in the Perry Miniatures Mounted Men at Arms plastic set.

Look beyond these bards however and there's a bit of a void, which I'd not expected to find. The items remaining in collections and museums, which can be accurately dated as reference pieces for a Burgundian army are very limited - mainly chamfrons, a few crinnets and odd pieces of plate.

This led me to look at contemporary images. Once again I was surprised by how few I have found to date. Most of the images and illustrations for the period 1450-1490 from battle scenes, saints, classical & Biblical tales, etc show no apparent armour on knightly mounts. Armour for the horse seems to be restricted to chamfrons and the occasional plate or mail crinnet. Its in the early 16th century when horse bard appears to be more in evidence in both museum armoury collections and contemporary imagery.  This leads me to conclude that it may have been the significant increase of gunpowder weapons f(hand held and wheeled) from c 1500 which created the need for men of high status to protect their mounts with plate (as its been argued that the increased power of crossbows from the mid 14th century hastened the development from mail to plate for knights on the battlefield).

So this leaves me with a relatively limited number of visual references to work from, some of which are here. There's a wonderful Italian bard from c 1470, some Flemish and Italian images and (thankfully for my purposes) plenty in the enigmatic scenes in the Berne Chronicles Schilling - showing exactly the troop types which I'm attempted to represent in 28mm.

So, here is the work done to date on the models. I've used the Perry plastic bards as my templates (mainly the Italian style one) and have removed with scalpel and smoothing sticks all the mouldings of the plates and rivets, before applying a thin layer of Green Stuff and shaping the details with variety of dental tools and clay shapers. I've also used moulds which Oliver at Steel Fist Miniatures kindly made for me some time ago and tried to smooth out a surrounding layer of putty. The challenges has been many; the main one being to create smooth edges when its necessary to build up the armour at different stages ands so hide the joins. Its a slow process doing one small area and letting that set off before moving to the next.

I'm fairly pleased with the results to date, which is giving me confidence to try to do more. But I am apprehensive that paintwork and washes will show up the limitations of my conversion work...we'll see. A bit more to do to get me to the required nine barded mounts, before I start on the riders.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Battle of the Spurs and a few new figures

Last Saturday brought the opportunity to put my Burgundians into the field again; this time masquerading as French, for a refight of Guinegate 1513 (better known as Battle of the Spurs, the only real engagement which involved Henry VIII). The hosts were Alan and Michael Perry and the English were Stuart Mulligan's astounding Tudor army. In addition to creating all the English contingents for the 1513 campaign - including many brilliant conversions - he's had terrain made for the walls of Therouanne (by Dave Marshall of TM Terrain, who also played on the English side).

A game report and pictures are on Perry Miniatures Facebook site. Whist I took some pictures, Michael's are far superior so I've grabbed a few to show here. You get an idea of the size of the forces assembled (including some from the Perry's own collection), about 800 - 1,000 figures on stunning terrain, 14 x 6 feet. I'm pleased to report that the army acquitted itself well, despite going incognito as French, with the men at arms who comprised the left wing finally getting the better of their English opponents and a narrow win for the French was the final result.

In preparation for the game, I managed to complete another group of Coustillers. All my Burgundian men at arms now have a supporting row. These are mix of Perry plastics and metals, with couple of conversions in there. The flags are from Pete's Flags - a new Burgundian sheet he's just done.

I've also made a vignette of hornblowers - based on contemporary images where I've noticed that such musicians are often portrayed together in groups (usually mounted), rather than singularly. I assume that the level of noise required on a battlefield required several chaps creating sounds at the same time. One is metal Perry and the other is plastic who has had some heavy surgery and Green Stuff to get the pose and puffed out cheeks etc. Those ubiquitous hounds have slipped in again too!

Hoping to start to prep the last Burgundian units next - men at arms for Bastard of Burgundy.
all the best, Simon.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Hounds - restock.

I have finally got my act together and received more casting of the hounds. They are nice, crisp castings by Griffin Moulds.

If anyone you're still interested, they are available for purchase and will be:
£4.75 for pack of 4, including UK postage
£6.50 for pack of 4, including EU postage.

I can take Paypal payments
If another means of payment is required, please feel free to get in contact with me via this email address.

All the best.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Blackpowder and silk

I've kept some progress on my Burgundians ticking over, as my focus of time is currently some scenic pieces for my AWI collection.

The wheeled artillery and crew - which Burgundian contemporaries may have referred to as a crappaudeau or veuglaire - is the last one I plan to add to the army. This means I will have six wheeled artillery which feels about right in relation to the overall size of the army.

The gun itself is an old model by an Australian company from many years ago, who are no longer in business. The small range they kicked off were great sculpts and there's loads of detail on this piece, down to the chain holding on the wooden wedge behind the breech. For the crew I wanted a slightly different activity to the other guns and so used a halbardier to be in the process of ramming home the ball and wad. The master gunner is trying to keep the linstock from blowing out - its a pose which the Parrys have done on some recent Napoleonic crew and which i wanted to try and do (I think my chopping of plastic bits just about works, although I considered started reassembling the figure several times when painting him). The other crew are metals with headswops, one being a simple conversion for an Italian style hat.

The other update are more flags - filling awaiting gaps in my Burgundian men at arms and coustillers. Pete's Flags  have added a first sheet of Burgundian flags, all of which are fantastically detailed as usual and all of which are flags which I don't believe have been produced before in 28mm by anyone.  I sent Pete some images from Berne Chronicles which show Burgundians at Morat and coupled with surviving evidence in Swiss collections, he's produced 3 generic flags which are useful with any body of troops. Hopefully they'll be more to come in the near future. Added a couple here to show how great they look (just need to tidy up the white edges).

All the best,

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Interim posting - vignettes.

I've returned to extending my AWI armies, as I needed a break from medievals (and the release of Sharp Practice 2 rules and another British Grenadier scenarios book have rekindled my enthusiasm).

However, unfinished figures linger on the painting table and so my addiction has been sated with a couple of vignettes. One is a papal group, never far from a king or high-ranking duke on campaign. These have been done on a sabot base, to maximise options for use - which I'm going to use variations of for all my vignettes now.

Second is a casualty figure, resting after or before the next days campaigning.

More Burgundians, or Swiss, will follow this summer.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Duke of Burgundy's Guard

Here’s my representation of the bodyguard for Charles the Bold.

I've not been able to discover for certain a date when the ducal guard was established. It may have been by duke Phillip, possibly as a consequence of the murder of his father John in 1419. There are records of robes and paletots being purchased for 24 men of the guard in 1433 and 1435. In 1465, in the dukedom of Charles, these were made of black and violet cloth, bearing a white St Andrew's cross and embroidered with flints and sparks (the scheme which I have followed).

Under Charles the Bold the guard were initially part of the ducal household, which comprised of around 300 persons, who had a wide range of posts and related duties, including chamberlains and equerries. The more senior of these roles were held by high ranking individuals from Burgundian territories and so they would also be expected to have a military role too. 

A distinct body of guards with a battlefield role, rather than merely providing protection for the duke, appears to have established by Charles, who continued to expand it's size over the duration of his dukedom. In May 1476 the household troops comprised of 4 mounted units of men at arms and companies of archers of the guard, specified as being English, totalling 400 men and under the command of Oliver de la Marche. To this core contingent, it appears that other troops were attached on a temporary basis – either for the duration of a campaign or for specific purposes. Later in 1476 another 400 archers were attached to the household guards; clearly there was a high degree of pragmatic flexibility in its organisation.

The household troops had their own banners. In 1474 the duke commissioned large standards with images of St George along with guidons and cornets for the different estates of the household, including the “archers of the bodyguards and for his guard”. For my unit I’ve included a flags captured in the wars with the Swiss and recorded as being used by the guards (A free Krigsspil download) and a St George guidon (Pete’s Flags).

The figures are all Perry Miniatures, a mix of metals and plastics. My involvement has been limited to assembly – where I used spare archer’s arms and arrow bags from the Light Cavalry box to add more dismounted archer figures, to the metal Perry set. All have had plumes added, to make them appear as lavishly kitted out as I’m sure the duke would have done.  The mounted captain is the figure offered with the Light cavalry deal. All the painting has been wonderfully executed by Rafa ‘Archiduke’ – including the details of the paletots bearing the ducal insignia.

I’ve used ‘sabot’ bases for the first time with this unit – to provide some flexibility on how I use these figures. The central base has these, along with the separate command stand, so I can swop the captains and flagbearers around a bit. I’m not usually taken with this style of basing for complete units, but I’m now planning to do a few more for vignettes and small groups of non-combatants, so they can be mixed up for different scenarios. The foot figures are mounted on coins, using outer rings cut from plastic by James of Oshiro Model Terrain 

Rafa's own close-ups are here to show the immense skill and fine detail of his paintwork.