Thursday 5 October 2017

Steel Fist Miniatures

As some of you will know by now,  I'm the new owner of the Steel Fist Miniatures business.

I've known Oliver, the business founder and sculptor, for a few years as he's made and converted a few figures for me for my Burgundian & Swiss collection. I have admired his sculpting style since seeing his first figures and like many others in their craft, the quality of his work is continually improving in my opinion. Oliver also shares an interest in both the history and the armour, equipment & clothing of the periods he sculpts, so his figures look just right.

The good news is that Oliver will continue as main sculptor. We will expand all the existing ranges and have lots of ideas for new figures, as well as other areas that we can cover in due course. This is an exciting opportunity for me to get more closely involved in the hobby business and work closely with Oliver.  I will be getting to grips with the sales process as soon as I can, including getting a new website, hopefully next month.

Here's the announcement from Oliver, which sums up where we are at the moment.

I'm very pleased to announce that Simon Chick is the new owner of Steel Fist Miniatures.

Simon and I have worked together before. He has a great interest and sensitivity toward the historically accurate details that I like to put into the miniatures. Simon's medieval collections can be seen on his blog 

Customers will also be pleased to know that there are plans to expand all the current ranges that Steel Fist produces, with me continuing to act as sculptor. This means that the 28mm Samurai, Renaissance and Later Medieval ranges will all see new figures being added.

For the time being the business will run as usual, but we have exciting plans for the future which we will advise on in the next few weeks.I would also like to take opportunity to thank all the customers who have supported the business and my vision of producing highly detailed miniatures from the very beginning until now.

I'm sure that Simon will continue this vision with the new miniatures.

Monday 21 August 2017

Crecy at The Other Partizan.

So the game was played last Sunday. It was awarded Best Game, which was really pleasing for all of us who'd contributed to the game; Dave Andrews' English army and terrain (using his fantastic towelling method), Matt Bickley's unique conversions and detailed painting of the German nobility (including the blind King of Bohemia), and Dave Imrie's French nobility and crossbowmen (using many of his superb Claymore Castings).

We managed to get about 260 mounted knights on the table for the French - just slightly shy of the target - as sadly time ran out for other figures and vignettes that were either planned or prepared but not finished. As we'd not had a dry-run, it was a squeeze to get all the French on the table. Rather than reflect the staggered arrival of the French, we popped all them on the table from the start and played it from there. We will run the game again sometime, with a larger tabletop.

The crossbowmen' pavises stuck in the baggage wagons

We used Hail Caesar rules, with amends prepared for us by Jack Glanville - who heroically umpired and kept the momentum going, so we could play and chat.

Dave Andrews' brilliant Edward III command base

English right battle

English left battle
The brief narrative is that the mercenary crossbowmen followed their predecessors and retired after making some casualties on the English holding the Crecy-Wadicourt ridge. The German knights (led by Matt Bickley) on the left then attacked, but lost momentum on the pot-hole defences dug before the English line.

Initial set-up, ready to play.

The German knights advance

The crossbowmen retire and leave it to their social superiors!
On the French right the Prince of Navarre (David Imrie) led more charges by mounted knights, but again failed to make inroads and the French were attracting to loose contingents of knights, as they retired from heavy casualties. Finally the Germans broke through and forced the English 'battle' on it's right to fall back. Renewed French attacks on the centre with King Phillip (moi) and the right also won melees and pressure built on the English line. The English right and centre was eventually forced back and King Edward (Dave Andrews) was forced to concede and retire back to the Channel coast.

The German attack and breakthrough
Award and fellow Bodkins
An immensely enjoyable day - and rewarding for the other Bodkins who'd been building their collections with immense diligence and patience over several years - nice looking toys and great company from everyone round the table. Also great to catch up with those who came along for a chat.

I'll keep folk advised if and when we run it again - in the meantime look out for some proposed coverage in print and online in 'Wargames Illustrated' mag.

Just some pics from here on in.


Friday 18 August 2017

Post Mill - completed

So the last post before the Crecy demo game is a post mill - appropriately!

Painting all done. Loads of great detail on this Grand Manner casting, so dry-brushing and washes does it. I added furled sails, using rolled knapkins and fine string soaked in diluted glue and based on illustrations of working ones at the start of the last century. My aim to show them quarter-furled became too complicated in the time I had left.

According to several chroniclers, it was from a windmill behind the English position that Edward III prepared the positioning of the army for Crecy, and may have commanded the battle from there too.

Thanks for the comments on the knights - will post a report & pics of the game.


Wednesday 16 August 2017

French Knights for Crecy.

My contribution to The Bodkins Crecy demo game, at The Other Partizan next Sunday, is relatively modest compared to the other players. I have bulked out some very old mounted French knights which I did about 20 years ago with some additional bases.

These are mainly Foundry riders on Front Rank mounts, which with a little bit of judicious cutting and filing, seem to fit Ok despite the horses being big sculpts. The horses are nice active poses and so create the sense of movement of charging French nobility needed for the game - plus they also fit those that David Imrie and Matt Bickley have done.

So 12 bases of knights charging recklessly to their fate, and 4 bases of passive Front Rank figures awaiting in the vanguard . Much of the painting has been done at some speed to meet the deadline and I've made liberal use of LBMS transfers on 1st Corps shields, whilst avoiding heraldic beasts where I can. Conversions have been kept to a minimum too, apart from adding some plastic visors and headswops.

If you're going to the show, please do come along and say 'hi', it's always great to meet blog followers.
I will take photos and do a posting about the game.

...also I have some surplus Foundry caparisoned horses, if anyones interested...!!


Friday 11 August 2017

Pavise wagons for Crecy

So the Bodkins game at The Other Partizan show in Newark on 20 August, will be Crecy - the first land battle in the Hundred Years War of 1346.

Several other Bodkins have been working on this game for a couple of years; growing their collections of English and French for the mid fourteenth century. My contribution is relatively modest and I'll post more on these next week as I complete them - as well as pictures of the game itself.

First up are a couple of carts carrying the pavises of the crossbowmen from the Italian peninsular, who were employed by King Phillip VI of France via Genoan captains for the campaign, since the English invaded in July 1346 and besieged Harfluer. At the battle the French were confident of victory and ordered the crossbowmen to advance and screen the French noblemen, without the protection of their pavises which had not been unloaded from the baggage. Consequently the crossbowmen took heavy casualties from the opposing English longbows and started to retire, only to then be ridden down by the first wave of attacked mounted French knights!

The wagons are existing ones and I've simply added mix of Claymore Miniatures metal pavises, with LBMS transfers, and plastic Perry ones sandwiched in between the bundles to bulk them out. I decided (based on a lack of visual evidence) that the paves may have been strung together when moved on wagons. These will just be placed on the wagons for the game.
Seems to work OK...


Tuesday 18 July 2017

Post Mill - in progress

Little bit of a hiatus on the blog, finally remedied by start of construction of a medieval post mill.

This is for a forthcoming game - an iconic HYW battle featuring a windmill (possibly two according to some sources) - and which 'The Bodkins' will be playing at the next Partizan show on 20th August. More of this anon...including my modest contribution with some newly painted figures.

The mill is a Grand Manner resin model, to which I'm adding mdf sails from the Sarissa Precision kit (as the Grand Manner ones are cast as a solid piece with no detailing on the rear). I'm considering adding partly furled cloth sails, as just the bare wooden frames don't make a windmill do what windmills do! Now on to the painting stage.


Monday 24 April 2017

Iconic Tree?

Another posting about a new terrain piece; one planned to complement the recent model of the church.

I found a manuscript illustration of a religious image carved into a tree trunk. I thought this would make an unusual model for my medieval scenery. The contemporary illustration appears to show the image of a saint being blessed by a bishop, after being created by a carpenter. I've not seen any other images from the period however which show a tree with an integral religious image carved in.

After I'd started the process of recreating the tree and saint, I looked more closely again at the image and it's context.  I'm now more certain that this doesn't show an icon set in a tree. I think it's more likely to portray a narrative about the process by which carpenters created wooden icons - taking a commission, carving the image in the tree before cutting it down and then finishing the piece in a workshop (destined no doubt to be placed in a religious establishment or home of a high status individual). There may be good reasons for carving the image in a standing tree, but I would have thought that it was a more difficult process, as the wood would be wet and unseasoned to carve.

The model has been made by Debris of War - who I'm pleased to say are now making some of the trees previously made by Keith Warren of Realistic Modelling Services (who's enjoying his retirement). They sent me a trunk casting, which I drilled out a space to fit an icon that was a Green Stuff press moulding from a railway scenery model I have. Debris of War then completed the tree with paint and flock, to match others I have. I'm pleased with the result and I think it'll end up within a walled graveyard base to sit alongside the church, which seems appropriate.


Thursday 2 March 2017


This is a new addition to my collection of buildings, representing a North European village church from the fifteenth century, for use with either my HYW or later Burgundians. Thought I'd post it here as the blog's been overdue a posting.

The model is a Vollmer HO scale kit of a cathedral, but it scales up OK for a more modest sized church at 28mm (the doors are always the challenge when using smaller scale models and these look just about acceptable). It's got loads of well detailed gothic architecture and so looks just right for the fifteenth century and suitably european - whereas a lot of model railway churches look like they've been lifted across the channel from a parish in England.

The model is out of production (says 'made in West Germany' on the box, just to date it!) and I managed to purchase this one from a shop in Germany. The base part was missing when I got the kit and so thought I'd have to create one. However I contacted Vollmer and they kindly offered to press a new one in the factory and send it over to me free of charge within 2 weeks - very impressive customer service!

I've made the tower as a removable item - its tall (about 38 cms) and so is not easy to store and is also bound to get knocked when on the tabletop. As model railway kits are always a little fragile, I had to reinforce the open section at the top of the tower with metal pikes glued inside to add some rigidity and also drilled out the fancy decorations at the top of the tower and inserted a metal pin. I painted the clear plastic glazing a dark blue, after thinking long about doing some stained glass, to avoid peering inside which showed the construction. The only other change was to replace the roof sections with new sheets of tiles, as they had modern-looking skylights in them.

The priest is an old Foundry figure. I may add a separate walled graveyard at some point.

Here's some construction pics.