Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Marching Retinue Bowmen



I've been working on this unit for quite a while making steady progress in between other projects as each figure required a fair bit of conversion.

I must say that I'm really pleased with the results, I've definitely got the hang of sculpting coats and creating a sense of movement which I hope is apparent.  I've really enjoyed painting them too, the livery badges and other small details really make the figures stand out and as a group with their accompanying Pike they make for an impressive sight.




The figures began life as Perry WOTR marching bow and bill which I converted in the usual fashion. The 2 musicians required a bit more work by using plastic Ansar figures as dollies then working up with various bits.

You can read more about the accompanying unit of pike and some info on Brandon here.

Here are the figures prior to basing;



These were all converted from the Perry marching bow pack with the exception of the figure on the far right which was an open handed marching billman. The encased bow and arrow bag came from the Perry Light Horse plastic set.

All are in livery coats as laid down by Henry VIII for this campaign and each has Brandon's livery badge of a crowned lions head on the left sleeve. A surviving example of this badge can be seen on the terracotta fragment below from his residence at Suffolk Place, now in the V&A collection described as;

'This relief fragment in cream coloured terracotta formed part of a decorative frieze at Suffolk Place, Southwark, the palace of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, brother in law to Henry VIII. This and other reliefs were excavated on the site of the house in 1937.

Suffolk Place was a vast house built between 1518 and 1522 by Charles Brandon for his wife Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII. It is the earliest example of a Tudor courtyard house known to have carried this type of extensive terracotta decoration. This use of terracotta quickly became fashionable and appeared on other buildings commissioned by Henry VIII's courtiers, including Cardinal Wolsey's York Place (later Whitehall) and Hampton Court Palace. '

The relief is made of moulded clay that was dried and fired to create terracotta (literally 'cooked earth'), a material suitable for use as external decoration. Although building projects such as Suffolk Place were on a vast scale, by using a cheap raw material and a reproductive method of manufacture the buildings could be decorated economically and speedily.'




As the main command figures are in the accompanying Pike unit there are no banners or captains with these. I took a while to decide not to have an additional banner but I wanted the feel of them being part of a larger retinue. I did however decide to add 2 musicians and a billman as a guard.



Both of the musicians used figures from the Perry Ansar set as dollies. The drummer arms and drum are from the Warlord Landsknecht Pike plastic set which were fairly straightforward to add. The heads for both are also from the Ansar set with hair, bonnet and plumes added.

Here's the drummer prior to painting;



Drums of this type begin to make their appearance from Western Europe into the British Isles in the late 15c where they were described as swech 'swiss' drums. 

I thought I'd include one to add to the general din and as a nod to Brandon wanting the very latest in fashion for his retinue. 

In reading up on this I also found that James IV had a troop of Moorish drummers which could be fun to do, perhaps to accompany his herald arriving in the English camp. In English armies they become more commonplace into the mid 16c.


The piper was a challenging build. He was built in the same way as the drummer though I cut off the chest of the Ansar figure and added a chest from a Warlord figure to achieve the mail mantle. The Pipe was a scratch build using green stuff and brass wire.

I had to add the head first to dictate where the mouthpiece would be then sculpted the pipe from there. The hands took a while to get right using a number of variants which didn't quite work but I eventually found a great fit with the arms of a loading handgunner from the Perry mercenaries set, the fingers seemed to be in just about in the right place. Here's the figure prior to painting;



The idea for the piper came from this wonderful German account of Henry VIII's meeting with Maximilian on 14th August 1513:

"He had not many mounted men, but had his footguards or halberdiers with him, of whom about 300 all clad in one colour ran with him on foot. [From a tower the King showed the Emperor] what belonged to the town (the town of Therouanne and state of the siege).

Whilst both lords were on the tower the King had placed all his people who were in camp in lines everywhere three or four deep. He conducted the Emperor through to inspect this. They are really big strong men having a captain to every hundred, and their pennon on a long spear as our horsemen carry them. It is carried with both hands in front against the breast.

Some have English bows, some crossbows, certain of them maces with long handles and certain of them long spears; and almost all are clad in long white coats edged with green cloth and wear breast plates, and steel caps on their heads. For their field music they have a fluteplayer (schalm) and a bagpiper (sackpfeiffer) who play together and certain of them a trumpet."


Bagpipes were not peculiar to Scotland, within this period there are examples in English, Irish, French and particularly Breton as well as German and Swiss sources.


The figures are based in two stands of 5. All my archers are based in 5's to demonstrate that they generally operated in more compressed groups. This has the right look and works well for whatever games I use them in.


For my games of Renaissance Rampant I count the double base of 10 figures as 12 and roll 12 dice as standard with casualties recorded using a casualty marker like this;


Being of a slightly better standard with a noble magnate as their commander I will represent these as Retinue / Garrison bow as opposed to the standard Shire bow, here are the rosters that I use for comparison;

UNIT NAME
Retinue / Garrison Longbowmen
POINTS
6
Attack
7+
Attack Value
6+
Move
6+
Defence Value
5+
Shoot
5+
Shoot Value / Range
4+ / 18”
Courage
4+
Maximum movement
6”
Armour
2
Special Rules
Longbow*

*Ignore -1 at ranges of 12” or more

UNIT NAME
Shire Longbowmen
POINTS
4
Attack
7+
Attack Value
6+
Move
6+
Defence Value
5+
Shoot
6+
Shoot Value / Range
5+ / 18”
Courage
4+
Maximum movement
6”
Armour
2
Special Rules
Longbow*

I hope you enjoyed this post, it's definitely been one of my slower units to create, especially for a 10 figure net result given the time but it's certainly been fun for me. I'm sure they'll be slaughtered to a man on their first outing !

Bye for now

Stuart



16 comments:

  1. As always, Stuart, gorgeous work and fascinating costume research.

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  2. What Jonathon said, doubled! Lovely, lovely work and very inspirational.

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  3. Lovely bit of sculpting and of course the painting is superb, the piper is extra special!
    Best Iain

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  4. Beautiful Stuart as is to be expected. I always found Henry a vile character but he did know how to dress his army. The green livery looks wonderful. Well done.

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  5. These fellas look fantastic Stuart. Inspirational work as always.

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  6. These look great Stuart, I love all the marching poses together in the base coats. I know they have been a bit of a labour of love!

    Maybe in August we could give them a blooding in an Anglo Scots Border clash? My only worry is that I know hidden within on of those linen arrow sacks is the MG42 of Lion Rampant with 400 rounds of ammunition!

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    1. Haha I reckon our revised arquebusier profile will be an antidote

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  7. Great as usual, lovely work all around.

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  8. Everything in your blog is so inspiring... Congratulations and thanks for sharing!

    Regards from Spain,
    Caballero Andante.

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  9. Great stuff Stuart. I thought you'd gone quiet, and were cooking up something.

    Allan Davy

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  10. Great work Stuart, especially like the musicians

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  11. wow - great conversions and you are still improving each time with the putty work. Sublime painting of the lion's head badges - too minute for me to see to do I fear.

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  12. As always... beautifully done...

    But will they fight? :-)

    All the best. Aly

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