Friday, 2 October 2015

Agincourt 600 - Royal Armouries Diorama

As most will now be aware from the coverage this week on some social media and wargames publications, as part of it’s Agincourt 2015 exhibition the Royal Armouries commissioned a large battlefield diorama from Dave Marshall and Perry Miniatures.

Here are some pictures of the diorama, taken in its almost-ready state a couple of months ago in Dave’s workshop. Although it’s about half the size of the original plan from the Armouries, it is an impressive and wonderfully made model, which we spent over an hour inspecting and gloating over.
I was aware of the commission's progress and kindly asked to make a very modest contribution (to the total of 4,400 figures) in painting a dozen of the French leaders - all of whom are portrayed wearing their coats of arms - their places marked on the table by their flags.

The final model creates an effective impression of the battlefield, the positioning and size of the two armies (with the French only marginally the larger force) and the moments just before the French nobility reach their English opponents in their attempt to kill or capture Henry V. The French cavalry are shown retiring after their unsuccessful attacks on the English wings of bowmen. The table will certainly assist visitors reimagine the battle, as [part of the overall exhibition. I believe some creative 
lighting may also be added to the final model to give an impression of an arrow storm?

I hope that Alan is able to put into production some of the extra figures done for the display – crossbowmen at ease, trumpeters and carts being unloaded with supplies of arrows. All would be really useful for the AO range. Also the additional flags designed by GMB would be great to purchase too.
Obviously the final model was determined by the RA committee – my only disappointment with the final scene is the complete lack of flags and pennons in the rear two French battles. It looks unrealistic, but I understand that the RA only wanted the French leader’s flags to be shown, nearly all of whom 
were in the leading battle, so that visitors can easily identify where they were on the battlefield.

There is an excellent article on the model’s development on the Royal Armouries blog, written by David Marshall. I’m planning a Tower visit for next month – including the Agincourt display which The Wallace Collection are putting on – and the permanent relocation of the model to Leeds next year will also be a good excuse to make a revisit there too. 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Agincourt at Salute pics (II) - Up Close and Personal.

Many thanks for the great comments from the last posting. The build-up for Salute can be long, as is the day itself, but the interest and memory quickly fades - so I thought I'd put up some additional photos sooner than later.

These are a mix of the players in 'hot action' and some close-ups of the figures in action. Most of these are not my pictures; Alan Daniels very kindly sent me several of his very atmospheric close-ups to use (as he did when I put on Cravant game 2 years back) and my daughter Catherine took some too. Both were at the table towards the end of the game, so they show the positions with the French about to rout the English.

Will McNally was our umpire on the day - he's a more regular gamer than I, with interest in several periods - his blog's here and well worth tagging. Will guided us smoothly through 'Hail Ceaser' and has kindly listed for me below the amends he made to reflect the battle and forces on the day:
Longbow and Crossbow ranges extended to 24" from 18".
Longbows were allowed to fire two ranks deep.
The muddy area effected movement via disorganisation: light troops (Crossbowmen) were disorganised on a d6 roll of 1; heavier infantry on 1 or 2 and cavalry (not used) on 1-3. Disorganisation mean the troops lost their next move.
The effects of the stakes was to remove any charge bonus from the attacker and additionally for the cavalry to disorganise them.
Most units were represented by four bases of figures, the only exceptions were the English cavalry as a small unit of two bases and two units of English Men at Arms with six bases who were treated as large units, giving them extra resilience.

That's probably it for now - a temporary hiatus will ensue but I will return to HYW of course - more wonderful Perry French plastics to come and I have some other items I want to add to the collection.

PS - there are some extra pictures of these figures in the new issue of 'Wargames Soldiers and Strategy' (no 78) - which is HYW themed.  I took these myself and Guy's scattered selected shots over several of the pages. Haven't read the articles yet, but they certainly look interesting. I like the magazine's mix of scenarios, notes on rules and painting/modelling tips.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Agincourt at Salute 2015 - pics (I)

I'm collating pictures of the Agincourt demo game and aiming to add other posts later this week. Here are some photos for those who were not at the show, or otherwise engaged with their own game or retail therapy.

Salute is a very big show and has its own logistics which reflect that - this means a long weekend for travel, set-up, the show and the homeward journey etc. But it was a rewarding one in many ways. Firstly some thanks are in order; to Dave Lanchester for the invitation from the Lance and Longbow Society to bring along my toys, then to those who played the game in a great spirit - Will (umpiring us through Hail Caesar), Clive, Nigel, Stuart and Barry.

We played out the battle, and although the French initially looked a little light on numbers (but probably close to the recent estimates of Prof Anne Curry, who has them at no more that 25% greater than the English) they achieved a clear victory. The French advanced sluggishly but weathered the arrow storm. The crossbowmen and mounted men at arms sent out first failed to break the English defensive positions and fell back as casualties grew. However the arrival of the French men at arms in some numbers, pushed back the English left wing and despite a protracted melee in the centre, when Henry's battle fought back, that too collapsed and the King and his household took flight, to seek out a boat to re-cross the channel! The English were undoubtedly not helped by some atrociously poor dice throwing by Stuart and I all day long - a factor which can have a big impact with these rules. Perhaps we should have tweaked them to upweight the impact of the longbows - Michael Perry reminded me at the end of the day that they do this when playing WotR games with Hail Ceaser - so next time...?

There was a steady and often quite busy volume of visitors to the table all day. We took all the opportunities to answer questions and provide responses on the battle, the state of play, rules, figures etc. It was also great to meet and chat with blog acquaintances, both new and familiar. Thanks to everyone who came to say hello. We tried to present the game as best we could - keeping the dice, coffee cups and ephemera off the table.

At the end of the afternoon, we were all surprised - but extremely chuffed - to be given three awards by the show organisers. The game won Best Historical Game, Best Presentation and was 2nd in the Challenger category. A great finish to a long but rewarding show!

More pics along soon.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

French Society - highs and lows

Have added a couple of command vignettes for the French high nobility and leaders at Agincourt. Firstly the Oriflamme, the sacred banner of the French from the Abbey of St Denis, last flown in battle at Agincourt. It was carried by Guillaume de Martel, who's lead by Charles duke of Orleans, the latter taken prisoner at Agincourt and finally released in 1440. Figures are Perrys and the banner is a Mirliton casting.

The other stand represents Jean Boucicault, the Marshall of France - who was captured on the day and died as a prisoner in England a few years later. Flag is by GMB Designs.

Whilst not on the 'critical path' (for anyone working in project management) for the extras I needed for Agincourt, I have been distracted from my priorities to get a few early 15th century peasants done. All done pretty swiftly - the application of washes, with a quick highlight, has become my go-to method in order to get figures to the table in the last few weeks.

These are from the newest metal codes for the Perry AO range, which surprisingly were released a few months back, after a gap of many years for this range. Perhaps we may see some more soon? They are great figures and so I thought they can be milling-around as locals guarding the Agincourt tower/castle? The left hand figures had a plastic bow added and the right-hand one is now a master of hounds (but sure about the colour of that coat! - was trying to achieve a light madder and so may repaint one day, as per the bowman's coat?).

Sunday, 19 April 2015

English Commanders

Blog posts are now coming thick and fast ...raining down like English clothyard arrows at Agincourt!

Here are two of the English leaders of the army for the Agincourt game. It appears most likely (he says relying on my reading of Anne Curry's Agincourt book) that the English army comprised three battles on the day.

For the game we'll have three commander vignettes - King Henry is already done, so here we have Lord Camoys and Sir Thomas Erpingham. The latter would not have been in command of the whole battle/wing, as although he was very experienced his status was not sufficiently high - but the Perry figure is a lovely one (with his coat of arms cast on) and GMB also do his banner! It seemed appropriate to have him protected by some bowmen. The knight in discourse with Camoys is the beautiful brushwork of Dave Imrie.

I have some French counterparts in progress too.