Saturday, 19 May 2018

Renaissance Rampant rule adaptations

The Lion Rampant adaptation that Oli and I use for our wargames will be published in the June issue of Wargames Illustrated, WI 368.

We still continue to make tweaks to these as we play, generally to the army listings but the principle remains along the format that I write about in the article.

The article is accompanied by some photographs of my collection along with some from the Perry's as well as Wargames Foundry. The images were taken from my blog and help the narrative, I would of course have liked more but I can't complain at 8 pages ! I'm pleased with the way it turned out and hope it offers some inspiration for you to amend the rules for your own games or indeed use ours.

My desk is looking somewhat chaotic against my usual focus as I have 5 projects on the go so it'll be as much of a surprise to me as to which will be completed first. Suffice it to say that there are some particularly cool conversions coming up.

This year marks 10 years since I started painting again and working on the armies of 1513, at times it feels a bit idiosyncratic but there's no sign of any let up and to do what I'd like to do (at my pace) there's easily another decade in it, lots more units, scenarios and excellent terrain and building projects, it almost feels like an illness at times !

Well on that note, cheerio for now.



Monday, 7 May 2018

Renaissance Rampant AAR Tudor Rebellion !

This weekend I hosted a series of 3 linked games with fellow Renaissance enthusiast Oli of the Camisado blog. Oli and I have complementary collections of Italian Wars figures for which we have spent the last year or so working to create an Italian Wars amalgamation of the Lion Rampant & Pikeman's Lament rules as a basis for our wargames. The main focus was to create some bespoke army lists for our early Tudor and French collections as well as some period additions which we feel bridge the gap between the rule sets. 

Our games often have a loosely historical theme and this weekend was no exception. To give you the best feel for the games we played we will present them in a shared post. Here I shall introduce the scenarios, historical background and a few photographs and over on Oli's blog you can read the after action reports and see the majority of the photographs.

As is somewhat evident I've long been fascinated by the Tudor period and particularly the exploits and intrigue during the early part of Henry VIII's reign. Though the Wars of the Roses had come to an end the Yorkist threat remained ever present and no more so than in 1514; a year after the invasion of France and victory at Flodden a very real adversary lay just across the Channel.

There now follows a short summary of the De la Pole family line. If you'd like to know more about this and other threats to the Tudor dynasty I thoroughly recommend a read of The Last White Rose by Desmond Seward.

With the death of his only son in 1484 Richard III elected his nephews John, Edmund, William and Richard de la Pole as legitimate heirs. Richard's death at Bosworth derailed this somewhat but for the the De la Pole's it was not the end. In 1487 John landed with an army of German and Irish mercenaries in an attempt to raise rebellion once more in England. He did not get the anticipated support and met his end at the Battle of Stoke Field.

Edmund fled to the low countries and initially gained protection from Maximilian I but political intrigue meant that he also met his end in England. Henry had him executed in 1513 as he left to invade France.

William was somewhat less keen to cause trouble but Henry VII had him imprisoned in the Tower in 1502 where he would remain in captivity for the next 37 until his death.

Richard had other ideas, he also fled to the continent but took shelter in the French court of Louis XII where following the death of Edmund he was championed by Louis as King of England. He did not shy from danger giving military service to Louis and later Francis I. He was present at the siege of Therouanne commanding a force of 6000 Landsknechts (I believe this was in the relief army rather than the besieged). This number rose to 12'000 in 1514 as Louis funded preparations for an invasion of England with Richard at its head. By June everything was in place with the Scots offering a route over the border, a repeat of 1487's rebellion seemed likely only this time a battle hardened commander would lead a professional force.

Unfortunately for Richard diplomacy ended his ambitions as Louis made peace with Henry. Richard continued to serve the French crown and his ambitions but was killed commanding a contingent of Landsknechts at the Battle of Pavia. Upon hearing news of this from an imperial messenger Henry is said to have cried 'All the enemies of England are gone - give him more wine !'

As host I put together the following 3 linked games to represent Richard's Invasion. As this was a mini campaign of sorts we also tried out using the boasts from the LR & PL rules as a means to gain additional points.

Part 1
July 1514, Richard De la Pole has landed at Leith and moved South at the head of a Rebel army. After gaining local support the first ward of the army makes its way over the border to advance inland when sight of the English is made.
Set up
The game is played with a large ridge running across the middle of the board, obscuring visibility for both sides. The Rebels deploy along the Western edge and must exit via the Eastern edge. The English must try their best to stop them.
Special Rules
·         Players roll to see who starts.
·         Counters are used for movement until a unit crests the hill at which point the army seen by the unit is revealed and the other army stays hidden until an enemy unit does the same.
·         All units activate on 6+ and move 7 inches until revealed.
·         Units behind the crest of the ridge cannot fire upon targets at the other side of the crest. 
Ending the mission
Play until only one side has units on the table.
Victory conditions
The Rebels gain 1 point for each unit they get off the table, the English gain 1 point for each Rebel unit they destroy.
Opposing Forces

The English, 36 points

1 Unit Shire Bow, 4 points
1 Unit Shire Bill, 5 points
1 Unit Retinue Bow, 6 points
1 Unit Retinue Bill, 6 points
1 Unit Foot Knights, 6 points
1 Unit of Demilancers, 5 points
Culverin, 4 points 

The Rebels, 36 points

2 Units of Landsknecht Pike, 8 points
1 Unit of Landsknecht Arquebusiers, 5 points
1 Unit Mounted Crossbowmen, 4 points
1 Unit of Rebel Foot Knights, 6 points
1 Unit of Rebel Shire Bow, 4 points
1 Unit of Rebel Men at Arms, 5 points
Culverin, 4 points

Here are some photographs from our game which featured a newly commissioned set of ridge boards from David Marshall of TM Terrain.
You can read the outcome over on Oli's blog, it was an entertaining game made especially more fraught by the initial obscured movement.

Part 2,
The White Rose is proving his worth and days are turning into anxious weeks as he consolidates his hold. Louis XII & The Duke of Albany both send promised reserves to bolster the invasion for a march on the Capital. The English fall back and make a stand at a vital river crossing.
Set up
As per Scenario E in Lion Rampant.
Special Rules
·         A non-battered unit counts as holding the objective when it begins the owner’s activation phase as the only unit placed on the objective.
Ending the mission
Play until one side has accumulated 5 Glory points.
Victory conditions
A player gains 1 point each time they begin an activation phase with one of their units occupying the objective at the start of their turn. 
Opposing Forces 

The English, 36 points

1 Unit Shire Bow, 4 points
1 Unit English Pike, 4 points
1 Unit Retinue Bow, 6 points
1 Unit Retinue Bill, 6 points
1 Unit Border Horse, 5 points
1 Unit of Demilancers, 5 points
2 Organ Guns, 6 points

The Rebels, 36 points

1 Unit of Landsknecht Pike, 4 points
1 Unit of Landsknecht Arquebusiers, 5 points
1 Unit of Scots Pike, 4 points
1 Unit of Kern & Horseboys 6 points
1 Unit of Gallowglass 4 points
1 Unit French Men at Arms, 5 points
1 Unit Ordonnance Archers, 4 points
Culverin, 4 points

Unfortunately I took less photographs during this game as my mind was focussing upon stemming the tide of Rebels making toward the bridge. The game was over very quickly.

This hill was also part of the recent terrain commission, I added some small brass tubes into it to accommodate twisted wire trees from The Model Tree Shop.

Part 3,

End Game. De la Pole has reached the outskirts of London, Henry takes the field to defend his right to the throne.

Set up

As per Scenario A in LR. The forces deploy along the N and S edges. The board is rolling countryside (possibly with walls at one end.)

Special Rules

None, it's a fight to the death.

Ending the mission

Play until death or a player concedes defeat.

Victory conditions

Players gain 1 point for each enemy unit destroyed or routed.

Opposing Forces

Each side is split into two retinues comprising 30 points worth of troops from the forces listed in the preceding 2 games plus 20 additional points of troops. (the English from the English listings and the Rebels from the English/French/Irish listings).
This was a long hard fought battle fought all day with a very close finish. Due to the size of the armies the two retinues a side worked well and aided the smooth ebb and flow. The large size of the game was easily accommodated by the rules and very much the more enjoyable for that though for ease we ignored the 3" rule. It was refreshing for the absence of long addition and tables that some of the Battle rulesets inevitably come down to. There was a great period feel and you could almost hear the sound of the guns (which I might have spent a bit too long photographing).

For our games Oli took the part of the Rebels and provided troops for them to serve alongside my Landsknechts in French service and Men at Arms. His recently completed Irish alongside Scots and Rebel infantry made for a visual feast and complemented by my Tudor collection the games were a convincing adaptation of the historical background.

As you can see the forces we used were larger than Lion Rampant was intended so these are very much mini battles but I don't see why the scenarios couldn't be adapted for more typical games.

Oli's report will be up in a week or so, a wait worthwhile to hear the result of the Yorkist cause.

We had a great time and even managed to get to the pub and drink responsibly.

All the best


New terrain commission

I was going to put all of this into one post but decided upon two as the best way forward. In this post I shall introduce some new terrain and in the next as part of a shared blog post with Oli of the Camisado blog you can see the terrain put to good use over a series of linked games which were played over the weekend.

Earlier in the Spring I collected some new terrain boards and scenic additions from David Marshall of TM Terrain. David has created all of my terrain in a series of commissions over the last 5 years. We have a standing yearly arrangement to add to the collection which works really well. Each new commission takes my collection to a new level and makes for some really astounding photographs as well as ideas for gaming scenarios. I cannot recommend him more highly.

I've been wanting to mention the new terrain for a while and a weekend of gaming has provided the perfect opportunity.

This year's commission was two-fold; some early sconce like siege defences and some more terrain boards.

The siege defences were to complement my existing city walls. They're a type of early sconce and seem to have existed in this form for a relatively short period in the early Renaissance. The idea being that they provide an outer perimeter defense in support of town walls. Their positioning was mutually supportive and allowed arquebusiers within each sconce to harry an attacking force from the relative safety of the protective earthwork. 

Each piece holds a 60x60mm square base of infantry though I think at some point I will create some bespoke bases of figures to inhabit them.

They are depicted in a few woodcuts as well as the Pavia tapestry image above;

They had their first outing back in March in a game with fellow Renaissance enthusiast Oli, here you can see how we used them in a scenario based around the siege of Pavia.

On to the boards. The main part of this years addition was a long ridge designed to accompany my existing boards. I've gamed with it a few times now and it really adds depth to the terrain and gaming, here's a glimpse from one of our games.

You can see more terrain and Renaissance loveliness in the upcoming post.

All the best


Sunday, 29 April 2018

Tudor Dollies move to Steel Fist Miniatures

The Tudor Dollies are now available direct from Steel Fist Miniatures;

I have long wanted to contribute to Steel Fist Miniatures as both Oliver and Simon have given me great support and encouragement over the years - not to mention figures too ! The figures were created from basic dollies sent to me by Oliver some time ago and this really gave great impetus and confidence to my sculpting and an insight into the commercial process. 

I've had fun selling them but they're much better set up for the admin and I've wanted to give something back for a while so I took the decision to transfer the moulds to Steel Fist by way of thanks for their support.

They're in good hands and I hope they continue to do well. Who knows, I may even do some more at some point.

The dollies were designed to fit with the Perry WOTR and Mercenaries plastic sets thus they come without arms or heads and require further assembly and sculpting if you want sleeves for the coats.

I detail how to sculpt the sleeves in this step by step guide.

All the best


Saturday, 10 March 2018

Casualty Markers

For a while I have had this project steadily gaining progress in between others and with some gaming looming this month I've made an effort to complete it. 

These four new casualty markers join the previous set for which you can read more about here

They're all mounted upon dial counters from Warbases which for my games of Lion Rampant are an excellent resource as none of my figures are individually based - they also make for neat little vignettes.

These all represent dead and injured cavalrymen and I've now almost got a casualty marker for each unit but certainly at 6 English and 6 French there's enough for a larger game of Lion Rampant.

First up is a downed Gendarme which I rather like the look of, he's unhorsed and winded pleading for ransom or perhaps just asking for a soldier to lift him up.

The body was created using various parts from the Perry Foot Knights set onto which I then sculpted a rich coat. The shoulders were then worked upon to raise them and a Steel Fist Miniatures head and plume was added at the end which really finishes the model off nicely and pins it in the early sixteenth century. 

Sadly this was the only figure that I took a pre-painted photograph of, doh !

I then painted the completed figure in neutral colours without field signs so that he could be a downed Gendarme or Kings Spear.

Next up, a little down the pecking line is a Man at Arms / Demilancer unhorsed by an arquebus ball to the ribs. He's taken off his helmet for comfort and expired from the wound.

This was a fairly straightforward conversion though I had to build up the ground under the head to get the right angle and to position the back properly. Each leg was cut off then filed, repositioned and set in place which also required me to sculpt new feet. Again, all parts were from the Foot Knights pack with the exception of the head which was from the Mounted Knights set.

On to the light cavalry here's a downed Border Horseman with a wound to the face. This was made using the light cavalry set and as above the legs had to be cut, filed and repositioned. I also had to build up the back of the legs and boots a bit. To complete the figure I added a nice targe (thanks Oli) and sculpted a hefty strap across the chest to hold it.

To close here's a Stradiot face down in the mud. This was perhaps the hardest piece to put together. I used a Perry Ansar figure as a dolly to which I sculpted the distinctive padded coat, hat and boots. It's a bit chunky but certainly has the right look about it.

That's all for now

All the best


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Face Tutorial

By popular demand here's a brief tutorial on how I approach painting faces. For the tutorial I have selected a converted figure using the head from the Perry Ansar set with added cloth cap and hair.

These heads have very expressive faces which I thought were perfect for this tutorial. Other than the washed shade colour I have not completed the rest of the figure so that the face stands out.

The image above is the finished result at a reasonable level of magnification and what follows are extreme close ups which I hope my painting stands up to !

I use Pro Arte Prolene Plus brushes and Wargames Foundry paints. I shall mention the colours and brush sizes as I go. If you use other paints the process I describe will hopefully still be of some use.

Step 1, black undercoat. I was an early convert to the black undercoat as it really suits my painting style, specifically the wash process.

Step 2, shade colour. Using a size 2 brush the whole figure is painted in the shade tone of the palette used, for the face this is Flesh Shade 5A.

Step 3, wash. Using a size 2 brush the face is washed with a mix of 1 part Scarlet Shade 38A, 1 part Bay Brown Shade 42A and half to 1 part water, you don't want it to be too liquid, a few practises will get it right; try it and if its too thick just brush the face with water whilst it's still wet, dab with a tissue then start again.

The wash in this example is fairly dark, in fact it's a bit darker than I usually go as I wanted to emphasise the tonal process. But the formula is the way I like to work as it really makes the face stand out on the finished model.

You'll soon establish a wash shade that you're happy with. Once I've washed the flesh I then add a little more Bay Brown Shade and Leather Wash Brown 47B and some water to the mix and wash the remainder of the figure.

Step 4, first highlight. Using a size 1 brush re-apply Flesh Shade 5A carefully, (the wash colour has effectively become the shade tone and the shade colour is now the mid-tone).

You want to achieve definition between each area, I paint in the following order; bulb of the nose, bridge of the nose, nostrils, upper lip left and right, chin left and right, top eye-lids, forehead above left eyelid then right, lower eyelid, crows feet, cheek bones, connecting line from just above the nostril down to the chin on each side, left and right jaw.

Step 5, second highlight. Using a size 1 or 0 brush apply Flesh 5B to the bulb, nostrils and bridge of the nose, upper eyelid, upper brow, cheek bones, upper lip, chin, jaw and aforementioned connecting bit.

Paint the lower lip in Madder Red Shade 60A. Be careful to leave the previous colour showing through, you are not simply painting over the last layer but highlighting it. Leaving some of the previous colour will add definition.

Step 6 third highlight. Using a size 0 or smaller apply Flesh 5C to the bulb and bridge of the nose, the upper brow, chin and jaw line.

Again remember that you are highlighting the previous colour and not overlaying it. Here's a side view so you can see how important the definition on the cheeks and jaw-line are in building the face.

Here's the completed face prior to the rest of the figure being complete. It has a lived-in and slightly dirty look to it, you can lessen this by varying the amount of water to the wash mix and indeed the composition of the colours in the wash. I've added a final touch of Flesh shade to the area beneath the cheek bone to bring it out a bit.

The shadow below the cheek bone is what pulls this all together and that's where the wash does its job. You may prefer this to be quite dark and heavy as in this example or vary it with lighter tones, it just needs to be darker than the Flesh shade colour. If it's too dark that's not necessarily an issue as you can re-touch it as I have here. You may also wish the wash to cover almost all of the cheek as in the preliminary stages here or much less, it depends on what the model and your preference presents.

Here are a few examples of finished figures where varieties of the above wash formula have been applied;

I hope that is useful and that I've explained it well, feel free to ask questions in the comments.

P.S. yes I am indeed working on yet another unit of archers !

All the best