Saturday 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Just a quick one, to wish all followers and occasional visitors to this and the other blog, a very wonderful and peaceful Christmas and New Year. Many thanks for all the comments made over the last twelve months, they really do provide great encouragement.

More models and related fifteenth century stuff will be coming in 2012.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Restoration - stage 3.

A little more progress made, despite commitments to Xmas preparations. All the wood has had another highlight; a very thin drybrush of GW Fortress Grey. The rest of the work has been focussed on the dawb rendering, which requires carefully painting as some of the angles are hard to reach on such a large model. The barns have been done with Foundry Buff Leather, highlighted with some white added. This looked a bit too 'fresh' and bright, so I've washed it with GW Ogyrn Flesh wash, which has toned it down to a degree that I'm happy with.
The farmhouse itself I wanted to be a little different and as medieval folk were keen on bright colours I've gone for a red-pink tone. The shade is GW Mechrite Red, again with about 25% white added for a drybrushed highlight, and then Ogryn Flesh washed over when fully dry.
The stonework has had another highlight to pick pout edges of the stones and corners - Plaka Yellow Brown and white added. I've also opened up gaps either side of the gateway to insert the hinges of the homemade gates I'll be adding. Next I plan to tackle the thatching.

Friday 16 December 2011

Restoration - stage 2.

For those of you with extremely long memories, I started work on this fortified farm almost a year ago (!). My recent foray into a building has prompted me to try and make some meaningful progress with this great Hudson and Allen casting.
The building has been black undercoated using Humbrol enamel. The stonework has had a basecoat of Pelikan Plaka Yellow Brown and black, mixed to about 50-50. Then the drybrushing has begun. This model is so well detailed and so finely cast that this is the best method for gradually bringing out all the immense detail. So first has been a neat Yellow Brown drybrush. When fully dry I've gone over with another layer of Yellow Brown mixed with light grey, again about 50-50 proportions. I plan two other lighter layers will be added to the stones to pick out the details. Plaka's Yellow Brown has been one of my 'go to' shades for stones for many years, as I love the warmth of the colour, a bit of a Cotswold stone finish I guess. Regretably, for reasons that aren't clear, it's recently been removed from their Plaka acrylics range by Pelikan and getting hold of a few pots in the UK in the late Summer, to put aside for projects like this was a bit of a challenge.
I want the woodwork to look old and to contrast with the stone - so I've gone with a grey - starting with Vallejo German Grey over the black undercoat. Over this I've highlighted up with Vallejo Grey Green. Again at least two more highlights will be added.
The black and grey on these photos has come up very blue which doesn't show how it looks to my eye - I'll ensure that the next pics are taken in daylight.

Saturday 10 December 2011

Medieval Chapel - completed

The finished model - constructed and painted - with a figure to show overall dimensions.
Overall I'm pleased with it; it'll serve the purpose I want of an additional model to place on the table and add some visual interest, that I can employ with my HYW and Burgundian-Swiss. The stonework is primarily Pelikan Plaka Yellow Brown, with black added for the initial undercoat and then grey and white added for the drybrushed highlights. Rendered walls are Vallejo Khaki, with white added for the highlighted layers. It'll get a quick spray of Coat d'Arms matt varnish to seal all the paintwork.

Friday 9 December 2011

Medieval Chapel - roof

The roof construction is basically a straightforward 'from the box' build. There are no changes needed and the model has a nice finely detailed wooden shingle roof, with a small prominent bell tower. The roof was painted Vallejo German Grey and then drybrushed with mid and lighter greys. The exposed wooden framework at both ends of the building have also been treated the same way whilst still attached to the sprue, which will be added once the walls have been painted.
Hoping to get this all done this weekend.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Medieval Chapel - stonework

I've now added the stonework to the bottom section of the walls, which cover up the extensions to the height. These are cut from some embossed plastic sheets that I had in the 'bits box', which were originally from a model railway water tower I think, but I can't recall the manufacturer. I tried to create an uneven finish to the line of foundation stones, which should contrast with the rendered upper sections of the walls. I made a mould for the door and took a casting from ProCreate putty; it sits a little bit too proud but I hope it'll blend in when painted. I filled in some of the missing stones at the corners by both cutting out individual stones and gluing on and by filling any remaining gaps with modelling putty. I also found an excuse to use Games Workshop's Liquid Green Stuff for the first time to smooth over cracks and it seems to work pretty well.
Next step will be to construct the roof.

Medieval Chapel build

The next few postings will relate my attempt to build a small medieval chapel, the type that would have been a typical site along roadsides before the Reformation and which I can use with any of my medieval armies. I'm taking a modest step out of my comfort zone of figure painting into converting a plastic kit.
The idea has been taken from one that John Boadle has already completed for his own collection and which looks absolutely great - mine will use the same approach - but won't match the quality of his. The framework is a Faller HO railway kit (which comes with numerous very useful shrines as you can see on the box lid).
First step is to raise the height to make it more compatible with 28mm figures. I've cut extra strips of plasticard and added to the foot of the walls. Those of you with keen eyesight will note how my inability to cut a straight section of plasticard attempts to recreate the odd angles seen in medieval structures(!!). I've blocked up the original doorway and window, as I'll add the larger door - one of John's castings that he very kindly given me to use on this model. The inside has been braced with some balsa struts as it has a degree of fragility as I'm not securing it to the original base that comes with the kit.
So far, so good. Next will be cladding the lower walls with stonework to disguise the lower walls.

Friday 25 November 2011

French Crecy knights

I've recently purchased a new PC and when searching through my files, I found these pics that I'd taken some years ago. I thought I'd stretch the time period for this blog and little and post them up. Afraid they are older pics and I think if you click on them they'll be Ok to view?
They are French knights, from the earlier part of the Hundreds Years War, from a army that I started and completed these knights and a crossbow unit, but then never finished. They are Games Workshop Bretonnian figures from the 1990s; possibly still available second-hand now, Perry brothers sculpts I believe and one of the earlier renditions of plastic horses - which look a bit bulky by today's standards but which created nice flat surfaces for applying heraldry.
All are handpainted- 'twas a time before Steve Hales brought us all relief through pre-printed shield transfers etc. I think I added the crown to the helm of the French king figure too - probably the most complex bit of sculpting work I've done with green stuff (not sure how!). Perhaps one day I'll return to do the foot figures...but not sure if the eye sight can manage it these days!!

Friday 18 November 2011

Wargames Illustrated Special

Just a quick post to say that WI magazine has published it's first 'special', entitled Great Wargames. This is essentially a glossy, full of pics of games that they've photographed over the last couple of years, probably since the current ownership.
There are two for the medieval period - the Verneuil 1424 game at this years Salute and Tewkesbury 1471 from last years show, which Michael Perry put on (and to which I modestly contributed some figures & encampment and played in the game).
Lots of eye candy here for other games, over a broad range of periods - WI were kind enough to send me a sample copy several weeks ago - good reference material and inspiration for future projects perhaps. Not sure if this is going to be available in WH Smiths or only by mail order?
I will gradually continue to add to this blog and my HYW armies, but work commitments and focus on my Burgundians (over on the other blog) are taking up my spare time at the moment.
Cheers for now.

Sunday 28 August 2011

Verneuil at Partizan II next week

Darrell Hindley, myself and others from the Lance & Longbow Society will be putting on the Verneuil 1424 game again, at the Partizan show in Newark, next Sunday 4th September. The Lance and longbow Society and the Society of Ancients have kindly collaborated to 'pool' their table space for the game. We should therefore be able to use all my terrain tiles and have a slightly wider table - "ooh feel the width!"

I have nearly finished some extra bits for the table, in addition to the casualties and vignettes already posted. Pictured here are a town market (a nice Total Battle Miniatures resin casting), some additional men at arms and heralds (painted by Jim Bowen and based by me) and a few individual figures plus baggage bits are at the varnish/basing stage, which will be in the English camp or the town. These have been a bit of a struggle for me to finish, as my focus is now firmly switching to my 1470s Burgundian Wars armies.

From my past experience the Partizan shows are always a very sociable affair; with participants and traders willing to take time out to chat and there are some nice looking games and collections on show. So if you're planning to be there please do come along and say 'hi', as it'll be great to put faces & names to avatars!

Hope to see you there.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Wargames Illustrated 286

Just a quick update to tell you that there is an article in the August Wargames Illustrated magazine on the battle of Verneuil. It runs to ten pages and includes lots of pictures of the Salute game, including some from this blog and close-ups of Darrell's fine casualty markers. Nigel Cook, one of the players at Salute, has written a historical setting for the battle and I've penned some words on how Darrell and I put on the game and how the re-fight went on the day.

Hope you enjoy reading it, if you're a consumer of WI mag.

Darrell and I are hoping to reprise the game at Partizan II in September and if so I'll try and get a few more figures done.

Thursday 23 June 2011

Haut Koenigsbourg - III

Last set of pics from the first leg of the castle trip weekend.

There is a small collection of arms and armour in one of the rooms, mostly from the sixteenth century. I have no knowledge if they have any connection with the castle or were purchased to decorate the rooms post the 1908 renovation. Most of them are racks of various styles of halbards and polearms, with a couple of incomplete half armour. There are some crossbows with windlasses on the wall and an interesting wooden saddle, which could be earlier sixteenth century, all of which are not open to close inspection due to where they currently are hung on the walls.

In the artillery tower is...erm..artillery. Some small iron cast barrels on wooden carriages that clearly are not their original ones and a large cannon from the late 18th century, I would estimate it as a 24 pounder (but I stand ready to be corrected as this is not my area of expertise).

Overall the castle lived upto expectations and I'd recommend a visit. Clearly the rebuild and restoration was done with the immense resources of the Kaiser and you cannot imagine such a feat being undertaken these days. It has been done sympathetically and for the time when it was done, used all the available information to make it as authentic as possible.

I should post the next castle visit here if anyone's interested, hopefully by tomorrow...

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Haut Koenigsbourg - II

Some images from inside the outer walls of the castle. It comprises of a series of buildings that were developed over time during the middle ages, built on from the original tower keep. The inner defences include several small drawbridges which seal off sections of the buildings and numerous loopholes and firing points for gunpowder weapons. Most of the walls have covered wooden parapets built on the inside.

The inner rooms that are open to walk around include a hall, bedrooms, chapel and kitchen. The romantic notions of the middle ages are reflected in the decor, including scenes of military actions and medieval figures bearing coats of arms of past noble families from the region in both carved form and in the stained glass. A prominent coat of arms is that of the Von Thierstein family, shown here over a doorway, whose ancestor Oswald fought for the Lorrainers at the battle of Nancy in 1477 against Charles the Bold. The carving of the knight is one of the few original decorative pieces that remain from the castle and was replaced in situ at the foot of the inner staircase.

A few more pics to come...

Monday 20 June 2011

Haut Koenigsbourg

I took a couple of days off work to create a long weekend and accompanied by my youngest daughter, visited two castles that were on my 'to see' list. First was Haut Koenigsbourg in Alsace, France.

This is an impressive castle by any measure. You get a brief view of it on the ascent and it perches on the peak of the Vosges mountains overlooking the flat plain across to the Rhine and the German border. It was founded in the twelfth century, but fell into disrepair and was abandoned after the Thirty Years War. In 1899 it was given to Kaiser Wilhelm II who invested heavily and rebuilt it, as a prestigous symbol of German power and nationalism, recreating a semi-mythical past of Haspburg dominance. All the work was completed in only 8 years from 1900, including impressive feats of engineering which included the construction of two bespoke electric-powered cranes on site, one inside the main tower. The current castle is therefore both substantial and complete, but at the same time a composite of other elements of castle design, both real and imaginary.

Germanic emblems and symbolism abound in the carvings, woodwork and paintings. Strangely you get a feeling for both actual medieval castle life and a period of romanticised nationalism on the eve of the Great War at the same time as you walk round and discover the castle. Here's a flavour of the castle's external walls. I'll post more pics of the internal views soon.