I am pleased to unveil the first unit of Louis XII guard archers!
You can read about the development of this unit including initial sculpting and contemporary references in the preceding blog post.
Suffice to say in creating this unit I have very much embarked upon a journey of self taught intermediate sculpting. You can really see the development as the figures in this unit were worked upon.
I began with dismounted Perry MAA as dollies and sculpted skirts upon them, this involves first filing and/or cutting away the area from the waist to just above the knee so that an under-layer of green stuff can be added.
Once this had dried the skirt was then sculpted, front then back with drying in between, thereafter the arms were added and sculpted individually, ensuring the first was dry before work began on the second.
I am very satisfied with how these look though my practice does show an improvement in each successive sculpt;
1. First attempt, each fold in the skirt was defined, it looks like heavy cloth, quite satisfied though the shape feels a little puffed, also I was not fully satisfied with the right arm.
3. Third attempt, I was very satisfied with the skirt, in fact I'd say I nailed it; it appears as it should with nice defined heavy pleats yet still part of a single garment rather than appearing separate. Again, pleased with myself I pushed on and created a war coat / waffenrock (appropriate French word welcomed if you know it). The right sleeve isn't quite there where the sculpting meets the elbow but I'm being picky now.
Rear. The way this garment appears to sit looks natural, the confident not too bobbly pleats were much easier to paint.
4. As these archers were dismounted the horse required some attention in building up the saddle and adding some stirrups. I got quite a bit of inspiration from the following sixteenth century saddles, note the padding on the rear and for the rider's legs;
The Best advice I have had during this project was from Oliver of Steel fist Miniatures; get the shape right first before adding detail. it's a simple notion but I must admit that I initially paid attention to each fold rather than considering all of the front or back of the skirt as one, as in the last figure. This felt like a breath of fresh air and made this last attempt so much easier, and quicker. Other than that it's just a matter of practice and patience and plenty of reference material for how garments appear in different poses.
I'm very much eager to do many more skirts and waffenrocks in this manner, there's now a whole new area of potential which I feel could be achieved with these almost infinitely versatile Perry plastics.
I will certainly do at least two more bases of these, I have no idea whether Louis' guard archers were in the vicinity of Therouanne during 1513, at best some may have been with de Piennes or perhaps acted as some of the messengers who delivered news from the King to the garrison, who knows - I do like them though.