Wednesday 31 December 2008

Medieval Smithy

I recently purchased this lovely handmade model of a medivel smithy, from ebay. Its made of largely of balsa, with an open workshop area and attached dwelling under a thatched roof. The seller, from France, makes a number of medieval items which have great detail and look convincing.

I'll purchase an anvil and other items to detail the workshop area further. First completed building for a village - I have collected several Hudson and Allen resins that require painting and basing; more anon.

French Men at Arms

A contingent of mounted French men at arms, a total of six bases, each with two figures. The French almost exclusively, to my knowledge, fought on foot following the Agincourt defeat, so these figures may not see a lot of action, but they were too tempting to ignore. They will be joined by a second rank of mounted sergeants, who'll be carrying flags relating to each personalised knight. The French arms flag (unclear in the photo) is from the LBM flag sheet. I will do the corresponding figures' heraldry on the foot knights.
For French heraldry in the Jeanne d'Arc period see this excellent site

Orleans Militia contingent

I have completed my first contingent - Orleans urban militia; a pavise and spear unit, bearing the city arms and the flag of the Duke of Orleans.

The city retained loyalty to the French Duaphin during the first half of the fifteenth century, being beseiged by the English for many months in 1429, an ambitous undertaking that the English were rather under-prepared for, as it was the second largest city of France and well fortified and supplied during the siege. Famously the sige was lifted by the Jeanne d'Arc and the retreating English defeated at Patay.

The figures have been painted in a red and blue city colours, although not uniformily. Pavises are LBM transfers and flag is GMB. I've added a base of 'shot', on the assumption that rich city like Orleans would have had some numbers of handguns.

I have already broken my 'golden rule', as the figures are passive - rather than the planned advancing poses for the French. I will add another standing militia unit, possibly mixed with crossbows and handguns, and another two attacking milita contingents - have to use up all those lovely LBM pavise designs!

Next up, some Franch mounted men at arms.

Sunday 9 November 2008


The mainstay of my collection will be from the Perrys 'Agincourt to Orleans' range - indeed these are the inspiration for the diversion from other collections that are currently on the back-burner. These figures, like other Perrys, are fantastic - anatomically spot-on and historically accurate.

Although the range is one of the smaller ones, currently at 33 packs, it is a 'live project' for the Perrys and I understand from Alan that he'll shortly be adding peasants, artillery and soldiers with scaling ladders. Most of troop types for the period are covered. Perhaps with the exception of the longbowmen, most figures are universal in attire and arms and so can be painted up as French, English, Burgundian or Scottish.

In addition to the Perrys, other manufactures with figures that can be pressed into service are Kingmaker (now under new ownership with a commitment to extend the range), Front Rank and selectively from the older Citadel/games workshop Bretonnians (from the 1980s and whilst they are for the later fourteenth century I intend to use for the non-noble ranks, where dress would not have been so frequentkly replaced with latest designs, as with arms & armour). I'm hoping that when painted and based, these other figures will merge relatively seamlessly - we'll see.

To denote the main protagonists my intent is to take selective figures from the various packs. For the french figures will largely be in attacking/advancing positions, whilst the English will be static/defensive figures, reflecting the typical English tactic of adopting as stronger defensive position as possible.

On flags, whilst some will need to be painted by hand, to obtain the cost of arms that I need for the gentry and captains of contingents, the period is already supplied with the high quality Little Big Man Studios, who to date have banner sheets and pavise transfers and the peer-less GMB, who do Agincourt commanders' flags for both sides.

Now, must be time for some painting....

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Starting off

So I thought I'd have a go at joining the digital age and give the world the insight into my current wargaming project. I also hope that blogging will provide me with the motivation to maintain some momentum with my painting and collecting, perhaps driven by a feeling of guilt if I fail to post with some regularity. We shall see how this all pans out over the next weeks and months.

So what's the project? Well, to create two modest sized medieval wargame armies , covering the Hundred Years War - specifically the Agincourt to Orleans period of 1415 to 1430. The scale will be 28mm and the prime motivation for this, as I'm sure it is for many of us, is a range of model figures - the Perry Miniatures 'Agincourt to Orleans' range designed by Alan Perry. Another appeal are the beautiful flags and pavise transfers from Little Big Man and GMB. Also the medieval period is a favourite of mine, particularly the fifteenth century; having a Burgundian Ordonnance and a part-completed Swiss Confederation armies. They always have high visual appeal with the heraldry, but this comes with the challenge on time and painting skills to deliver convincing looking rampant lions, Fleur de Lys, etc.

I intend to narrow the armies historic context to the 1420s-30s period; the post-Henry V period, when the English, led by the dead King's brothers attempted to sustain the military and political momentum achieved by the Agincourt victory to extend English dominance in northern France against the weak French, exploiting an alliance with the Duke of Burgundy. This period includes the battles of Bauge, Cravant, Rouvray (the Herrings) and Patay, as well as numerous sieges of walled towns and castles, culminating at Orleans and French resurgence of morale following the rise of Jean of Arc. As I say, armies will be modest in size - partly reflecting the small size of the historic armies and because I need to be realistic on how much painting and modelling spare time I have (plus this is not the only wargaming project I have on the go - more on that anon perhaps).

So, there will be an Anglo-Burgundian army and a (larger) French army, with Scots allies.

My current plan is to create figures on bases that will be 'rules agnostic'. At this stage I have no preference on what rule I will one day use. As my prime interest is in the painting and collecting - rather than the gaming - I intend to base all figures on 50mm square bases, already purchased from Litko, and to work up relevant groups of figures, using badges, flags and heraldry to denote the various armies. I'd rather work up interesting bases of figures, that broadly reflect the type of fighting man, than be constrained by specific numbers of figures on specific base sizes.

As a taster to initiate the blog, here are some WIP pics.