Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Painted Steelfist Dollies

I was very excited to receive a few packs of the latest Steelfist dollies which I collaborated in sculpting, it’s a real pleasure to see how well they’ve turned out.

These are available from Steelfist Miniatures;

Here’s Two packs assembled and painted in various examples of possibilities that can be achieved. Plus a couple of progress pictures so you can see which bits were added on and which were straight assemblies.


I’m now back to working on some more Scots pike, for which some of these dollies may well feature.

Bye for now


Thursday, 18 March 2021

Further buildings for the collection


This has been many months in the making, something I've quietly been doing in the background for a while. 

I thought i'd have a go at scratch-building a modular walled Manor House complex suitable for the continental side of my collection. 

I drew upon specifically French and Flemish influences to enable me to put together a backdrop broadly covering the area around the Calais Pale. The stomping ground of most English campaigns from 1490-1545 encompassing Northern France and the Low countries.

All aspects are modular and facilitate a bias for a Manor complex of either of the two styles or a combination of both.

Most of the components are also stand alone pieces in their own right and complement my growing collection of buildings.

Rather than photograph each component individually I have laid out a few set ups so you can hopefully appreciate each part and how they inter-relate. First up is the 'white' arrangement;

The buildings here are all with a heavy French influence with inspiration mainly coming from aspects of late medieval and early renaissance stone built Chateaus and town houses.

All components are made from plastic-card with DAS clay added and the bricks scored out thereafter. The roof tiles are railway modelling Wills sheets, the windows on the church and dormers are also railway modelling church accessories. The feature windows were custom built for me by Warbases and the door is from Antenocitis Workshop.

I then introduced some brick in the Flemish style along with some outbuildings to make for a larger site;

This was an exercise in dormer windows, so many mistakes until I finally got the trigonometry in order.

Here's a few partial set ups so you can get a different aspect on the pieces;

There's lots of scope for quite a bit of variety and it's something I can steadily add to. My immediate thought at this juncture is for another gatehouse and a walled formal garden. I also need to paint up some inhabitants !

These also complement my existing collection to make for interesting urban streets;

Walled complexes were also a feature within towns whether Manorial or Religious. Here's a set up to illustrate that (excuse the bedding !)

I think the styles complement each other quite well and certainly add plenty of visual impact. They'll be an excellent backdrop to some street fighting and siege games.

I hope you like them, back to some figures next I think.

All the best


Saturday, 30 January 2021

New Scenery and buildings for the collection.

Last year I commissioned some new additions to my collection and having received the final package yesterday I have taken some time to do some setups and generally have fun with the collection.

The scenery, boards and buildings were all created by David Marshall of TM Terrain.

This now completes a 10 year long commission to build these walls and immediate surrounding area to represent the 1513 siege of Therouanne and battle of the Spurs. By no means is it the end of my appetite for scenery and buildings, it'll be fun to see where I next go.

On to the terrain.

First up, a long overdue gatehouse for the walls of Therouanne. This is loosely based upon contemporary drawings of the now destroyed walls along with an amalgamation of various French gatehouses that have survived.

These close ups show off some of the detail along with the buildings of the town within.

Next, some pastoral scenes to show off a new watermill, farmhouse and manorial / abbey type building. All based upon French medieval buildings.

Back to war and the dirty business of siegeworks. Here are some photographs to display new gun positions and some more views of the gatehouse.

I'm really looking forward to featuring these new additions in a variety of games.

Currently on the workbench are some more Scots to add to my existing pike block, it's all going o.

All the best



Monday, 11 January 2021

Standing dollies conversions

I've been meaning to do these for a while now and as ever all I needed was a bit of inspiration. In this case that came in the form of having a lot of Perry Mercenaries sprues with handgun and crossbow arms going spare after building the recent Scots pike.

This combined with some standing artillery crew from Steelfist Miniatures that I had and the pliers and hacksaw were out.

I removed the arms from the figures and in 2 cases re-positioned the legs then used the remaining lump as a dolly. 

I took measurements from the Perry plastics and modelled these as closely as I could so that they could comfortably take the arms.

Here they are in their intended use, French missile foot on the home front or as mercenaries in Scots service. The arms i've chosen show that they can be assembled without further sculpting of sleeves - though you can of course do that and no doubt I shall be. 

They also work quite well as longbowmen, again with the right arm combinations they work well without further sleeve sculpting to represent men not in livery or with a bit more work you could have them in base coats as I have done with my existing tudor infantry.

I'm working on another 3 to add some further variation, these will have slashed chests and possibly slashed hose showing at the knee so that they could be used as Flemish, French or Landsknecht or better off English.

The next challenge will be making some arms so they can be used as standing bill/pike but one step at at a time.

I'll post up the remaining 3 when I do them and keep you updated re the casting and availability - it'll be a few months as i'll have to take my place in the queue.



Sunday, 13 December 2020

Scots Pike Complete !

I've put off creating a Scots army for quite a while as the numbers of pike simply put me off but with the circumstances of this year it really was a perfect opportunity to quietly push on with a large project. Every figure a small victory for the day in creating something and having progress, it really helped my mindset a lot especially when restrictions were particularly tight and the nights were drawing in. 

Special thanks to Michael Perry for donating the figures, it was a great boost and gave the momentum to achieve something.

With 2 boxes of plastic Mercenaries to convert the target was to create a block of 36 pikemen, in particular Scots Lowland pike raised from the borders and towns of the Kingdom suitable for the period 1513-1530. 

This covers the 1513 campaign of James IV followed by regency under the Duke of Albany.

In terms of appearance with the exception of the Highlands the Scots looked fairly similar to their English counterparts but unlike the English who were paid for their service the Scots employed a two tier system. 

The best equipped men were sourced from and equipped under a retinue system. They came from the households and clans of the leading nobility, these saw service along the border, in raids into Northern England and in the faction warfare that developed following the death of James IV.

The remaining bulk of a Scots field army were men raised under the levy system which in principle required every man aged 16-60 to serve the crown for 40 days in any one year during times of national emergency. They were required to muster with their own equipment and food for anything up to the full 40 days. Their appearance would be fairly rudimentary and with relatively little or no armour.

Sources for the arms and equipment are listed in the following;

  • Scottish Renaissance Armies 1513-1550, Jonathan Cooper, Osprey.
  • The Anglo Scots Wars, Gervase Philips.
  • The Heart and the Rose, the battle of Linlithgow Bridge 1526, Jonathan Cooper.
  • Flodden, the Anglo Scots war of 1513, Charles Kightly.

With that brief in mind here are some work in progress photographs which show some of the conversions with green stuff and assemblies.

Simple through to more detailed conversions working left to right; 
  1. A simple green stuff (GS) square added to the padded jack, this will be painted up as a livery badge.  
  2. This assembly was made from the foot knights set with a pike added. Prior to the arms I sculpted a base skirt on to the figure to bring him into the early 16c then worked on the pike arm.This involved very carefully shaving off the fingers on the gauntlet of the knight arm and the main body of the hand on the pike arm (leaving the knuckle and fingers) then gluing them together, a stanley blade is very useful for this. 
  3. The figure is from the Mercenaries command sprue, as with the knight I worked on the body first by adding a GS skirt then a German breastplate - along with the choice of armoured arms this then creates a full set of almain rivet.
  4. On this figure I was looking to represent a very rudimentary jack of plates with GS.

More examples of assembly conversions from the foot knights set along with another 16c breastplate and more ambitious almain rivet with tassets. 

The metal head with bellows visor is from a set of Steel Fist armoured landsknechts. The two bare heads with caps added are from the Perry Ansar set.

Fairly straightforward assembly conversions using the Perry Tudor heads, a targe from Dixon miniatures and a converted Tudor Dolly from Steel Fist Miniatures.

All of the above mixed together prior to painting, they're starting to look convincing.

A closer look at some of the figures in padded jacks. The muted palette really makes the faces pop. The figure on the right has a blackened old bascinet, this was created by adding a visor from the Agincourt knights sprue to a head with an open sallet from the Mercenaries set.

Painted up, the conversion work really pays off

 a few more

Another batch ready to go 

Hopefully you can now spot the conversion and assembly choices. The 3 central figures are a converted Footknight with plumes from Steel Fist added, he is flanked by two figures using the Steel Fist Tudor dollies. 

The figure to the left of the nobleman wears a coat with pike arms added straight from the box and a Perry Tudor head. The one on the right is a French Captain, same process only I added slashing to the sleeves with GS.

A group shot about halfway through the project.

All of the above shows the assembly, conversion and painting process that I have applied to the unit the goal being to create a pike block with an appearance as I consider the Scots may have looked like, the formula being roughly as follows;
  • The front rank in full armour to represent the nobility and gentlemen who can afford it.
  • Behind these in full and part sets of almain rivet, breastplates and brigandines to represent men taken from the households of the nobles and lords under the retinue system.
  • The rear ranks feature men in little to no armour pressed into service under the levy system.
Here you can see that in practice;

From the front, the imposing armoured spearpoint of the unit is clear to see.

From the side you can really appreciate the composition of the unit. They're now ready to be based.

An early decision was to build this unit as a basis to add more which is why I opted for the 2 simple banners. I did not want to commit to specific commanders or liveries, these will come later and I can add single bases with flags of particular nobles as I see fit and be able to create large or small pike blocks for relatively little effort.

The choice of nobles will be key as quite a few were killed at Flodden so I will go for those who survived and played a part in Anglo Scots clashes of the period such as the Kerrs and Homes.

The two flags I went for were the Saltire of Scotland and The Lamb of God. The former was an obvious choice and simply needed to be done. Thereafter it was a case of finding something both generic and interesting. From the sources mentioned at the start religious iconography is a prominent feature for Scots banners, those most frequently mentioned are the Virgin, St. Margaret and the Lamb of God. 

Troops from Perth marched under the Holy Lamb which features in the arms of the town granted in 1378. I really liked the palette and imagery on this so I used it as a basis for the flag.

I also used a new toy to create this banner, a £20 A4 LED lightbox, a great piece of kit. It was simply a matter of copying the lamb from this illustration and flipping it for the mirror image. Compared to hours on Photoshop it's a great addition to the arsenal if you want to create your own banners. 

The next task was to create a casualty marker, here's a chap who fell foul of an English billhook. It was created from a Steel Fist Tudor dolly, Perry Ansar legs and arms from the Mercenaries and Light Cavalry set.

As I had everything set up for photography I thought i'd have a bit of fun creating the moments prior to a clash of arms from both the English and Scots perspective.

I hope you enjoyed this, I already have some more pikemen waiting to be painted so I guess this was just the first instalment.

Bye for now and all the best