Sunday, 17 March 2019

Sir Edward Poynings

My bias to the Tudor army continues with the addition of Sir Edward Poynings and other nobles.

This was somewhat influenced by a forthcoming game with Oli which will feature action during the 1511 siege of Venlo. He took a retinue of 500 men to France in the 1513 campaign so he also fits neatly into my army.

Poynings was something of a career soldier, born in 1459 he declared for the Lancastrian cause and was implicated in an attempted rebellion under Edward IV. He fled to Brittany to join Henry VII and returned with him where he would fight at Bosworth in 1485.

In 1492 Henry VII sent soldiers under Poynings to aid Maximilian quell a rebellion as the said rebels were fitting out ships to prey on English commerce. Poynings cleared the sea of the privateers and then assisted Maximilian's forces lay siege to their stronghold at Sluys. Later that year he served in Henry's little known and short lived invasion of France following which in 1493 Henry appointed him as Governor of Calais. His next military appointment was as Lord Deputy of Ireland where Henry sent him to repel Perkin Warbeck and his Irish supporters.

He was regularly employed in military commands and diplomatic missions by Henry VII and VIII. His most important diplomatic mission alongside Sir Richard Wingfield was the successful negotiation of the Holy League alliance in 1513. He died in 1521.

He certainly led a full life and there's a few ideas there for gaming various aspects of his military career.

As I mentioned the focus for this unit was the Venlo campaign. In 1511 Henry sent 1500 archers under Poynings' command to aid Margaret of Savoy against the Duke of Guelders. The English acquitted themselves well in this venture and a grateful Margaret issued the returning soldiers with coats of red, yellow, green and white combining the Tudor livery with her own - wouldn't that be cool to represent!

Over to the figures.

I considered creating a unit of archers with Poynings at their head but my army has no shortage of those so I chose to have him alongside other Tudor knights.

As with the rest of my collection I made a conscious effort to use figures in both up to date and earlier armour as this typical composition lingered on in England for much longer than in Europe with only the richest of nobles being able to afford the latest armour from the continent. This juxtaposition represents a snapshot of knights and their equipment in the development of the early Tudor army.

I wanted to see if Poynings was accompanied by any other nobles for the Venlo expedition but I couldn't find that much so I chose the aforementioned Sir Richard Wingfield which was a real challenge for the eyes;

However for further inspiration Oli found this reference in Hall's chronicle;

[Henry VIII] 'appointed Sir Edward Poynings, knight of the garter, a valiant captain and noble warrior to be the lieutenant and conducter of the said 1500 archers which accompanied with Sir Matthew Browne, Sir John Digby, Richard Wethrill and diverse tall gentlemen and yeomen well known and tried.'

I had Digby's heraldry so he was to be the second knight in a surcoat.

It was fun choosing the figures and getting the base just right, I'm really pleased with how the unit looks and works to the narrative.

Here are the figures in individual detail.

First up here's Poynings in the latest continental armour along with some hunting hounds. The figures are from Steel Fist Miniatures and were a joy to paint.

For the armour on all figures I used the armour palette from Wargames Foundry followed by a light wash of deep blue mid tone mixed with granite shade. When dry this was re-highlighted with the armour light tone which really sets it off with an almost polished finish.

Poynings is accompanied by two more nobles below; Sir John Digby on the left and Sir Richard Wingfield on the right. Both men were seasoned soldiers who also began their military careers on the battlefields of the Wars of the Roses.

Heraldic surcoats feature on tombs and church brasses into the 1540's, most feature the complex quartering of the Tudor age however finding that Digby's heraldry was almost plain in comparison was most welcome !

Both figures are from Perry Miniatures War of the Roses range.

To bring further colour to the unit I added two banner bearers; Poynings on the left and England / St George on the right. Both Perry Miniatures.

Banners are from Pete's Flags, they really are excellent works of art in their own right. You can get in touch via his blog and/or find his range on Ebay.

Last but not least is a trumpeter of the Royal Household. This is a conversion by sculpting a base coat over the body of a Warlord Landsknecht with the arms from the Perry WOTR set and an Ansar head. The coat was sculpted.

I painted this figure last year and this unit was a great opportunity to put it to use.

It's been fun putting this unit together with so much colour, armour and heraldry. I'm presently working on another building which will hopefully be done soon. It's been quite a creative few weeks for me.

Oli will no doubt be putting more information about the siege of Venlo on his blog after our game at the end of the month so keep an eye out for that, I'm certainly looking forward to it.

All the best


Sunday, 3 March 2019

Building Projects Part 1

For the past two months my creative efforts have been focused upon something more architectural. I've been meaning to start work upon  some buildings to complement my existing city walls but this need has always seemed to fall way down the list of things to do with the hobby. I had a few days to myself at the start of the year so I thought I'd make a start.

The city walls make a great backdrop for games and photography but I've always wanted to add at least one street on the other side to add dimension and interest

Throughout January I started work on the first building, a 4 storey timber town house. I used French medieval buildings as inspiration and a source point for the timber work. Here's some photographs at key points in the build from start to finish;

This is quite far in with respect to time spent, I got a bit absorbed in the task and forgot to take photographs ! I began by drawing out the frame for the building on plasticard which was then cut, pinned and glued together.

Then came the task of putting the timber on. The wood was bought from a hobby store (The Range I think), it comes in packs with about 20 30cm lengths. You'll also need a good hobby saw and a little mitre box. You need a clear idea of what you're doing with each side of the building as it all inter-relates, the mitred joints took a while to get right but it doesn't take long to get into the flow of things.Don't worry if some of the wood is not quite square or straight it adds to the finished effect.

The windows and doors were then glued into place (having being measured and lined out on the plasticard), these came from Antenocitis Workshop, they have a good range which I'm keen to explore further. 

The roof tiles are Wills rounded tiles which you can get from model rail suppliers, they're not particularly cheap but they paint up very nicely and look good.

The resin chimney is from a pack of 10 available from Grand Manner, there's some really nice medieval / renaissance examples in the pack.

We're now ready for the infill.

I use filler mixed with brown paint* for basing my figures, this way if it ever chips it doesn't show up white. I keep a mixed pot of 3/4 filler to 1/4 paint on the go which I used for the infill on the building. I found it provides a good base to paint on and you can better see where you've worked with it as opposed to the standard white of the filler. Using a palette knife I filled 2 sides, let dry then the other 2 before then applying further infill to any areas that needed it.

*For the paint colour I used a trick borrowed from Simon Chick; I painted a small square onto some card and took it to a DIY store to colour match. They save it to their system and you can then buy it ready mixed by the litre - your bases will always match !

On to the next stage.

Using a Stanley knife blade I carefully scraped the excess infill from the timbers, this process slowly revealed the timbers with the infill daub which is very satisfying !

Here's the building ready for some paint. I've also added a couple of dormer windows using off cuts from the tile sheets and a cut down window. It was at times frustrating to get the angles and measurements right for this.

The whole building was given an undercoat of System 3 acrylic yellow ochre and then the timbers and infill were painted. This was then washed with raw umber and highlighted before a final dry brush of a light buff (ochre and white) over everything. Here's the finished piece;

For the second building I wanted to try and create a brick and stone piece to represent a more well off household. I used a mix of Flemish and French sources as inspiration and a laser cut kit from Sarissa Precision as the skeleton. 

The kit has a lot more windows so I filled in most of them on the side and two from the rear as well as moving the doors. The windows in the kit don't have any backing so I used a sheet of diamond pattern material with card backing which was glued to the inside during assembly. The whole kit needs to be built as a surface for the DAS terracotta air drying clay. Here you can see the areas I've filled with card and the roof to which the tile sheets were glued straight on to later.

Here's the piece with its DAS clay coating. You need to paint a coat of PVA on to the area you're working on, roll the clay to about 1mm thickness and then place it over. I then smoothed it in with my fingers and did final finishing bits with sculpting tools. This needs to fully dry for at least 24 hours.

Now the 'fun' bit. Working upon a side at a time the brickwork was marked out in pencil first then scored with a scalpel, set square and steel ruler. It took an absolute age to do and required a lot of concentration but stay with it !

I left the sides of this building bare as they were to be rendered which i'll explain later.

As with the timber building the whole thing was then given an ochre base coat. The brick areas were painted in raw sienna, the windows a very dark blue and the stonework a mix of white and ochre before a liberal raw umber wash.

Now the scary bit. The brickwork is then completely painted over in a light buff colour then wiped off with kitchen tissue, the paint stays in the pointing, it's magic ! Here's the finished piece;

The shutters come with the kit

The sides are rendered as the building is intended to be next to and in-between other buildings in a street row. The bricks take so much time to do that this is a blessing !

As with the timber build a small dormer window and chimney feature.

I've rendered the bottom of the back as I intend to put some outbuildings against it.

This piece took a lot more planning and thought but I found this Terrain Tutor YouTube tutorial / interview with David Marshall to be of great use. The process for the modelling and painting of the brickwork is discussed during the last 10-15 minutes. 

I commissioned David to build the city walls for me so this came in very handy for a good match. David also gave me some advice with both of these buildings for which I'm very grateful. If you're minded to commission something really spectacular you can get in touch via TM Terrain.

Both pieces were designed to go together either level or slightly jagged to reveal the side windows. I intend to create a whole row of similar buildings. 

I've found this to be a great antidote to the painters block that I seem to be afflicted with from time to time as it's just an entirely different process requiring a different type of concentration and much bigger brushes.

I'm looking forward to the next additions but I feel a return to some miniature painting is required to get this year going. This has also highlighted the need to paint up some more figures on individual bases to populate the town.

Well that was fun wasn't it.

Bye for now


Sunday, 2 December 2018

Tudor culverin

Another little project come to fruition.

I've been slowly working on this as a break from the demilancers (see previous post) so I guess it's been a couple of months in production, albeit for 4 figures but you know me by now !

Aside from a couple of organ guns my Tudor army has been bereft of artillery support which is something I've been wanting to put right for a while. It comes into sharp contrast when I game with the collection then gets forgotten as soon as I get distracted by something else soon after !

With a game looming I thought I'd get this finished and ready for action.

For Henry's 1513 campaign the organisation of the ordnance for each ward was headed by a master of ordnance who supervised a team of master gunners responsible for larger siege pieces and lastly there were the individual gunners who assisted the master gunners and at times were in command of smaller pieces..

The masters of ordnance were English but the main source of master gunners, gunners and indeed artillery pieces at this time was the Low Countries.

In a document detailing the wages of the rearward two gunners were assigned to each piece and paid depending on the size of gun. The assumption is that this was a gunner and a trainee, the rest of the crew was made up of artificers, (engineers) labourers, pioneers and soldiers to guard the guns.

The gunner or 'cannoneer' was to;

'be skilfull in the height and weight of his powder and shotte' and was to 'diligentlie serche and trye that she be clene from honie combes righte boredd and … her toche hole clere'

In addition he was to be proficient in maintaining, aiming and firing the piece in the field, know how much powder should be used, how many times it could be fired each day* and how many horses or oxen were needed to pull. He would be able to make saltpetre, know the ballistic qualities of dry and moist powder and skilled in mathematics and geometry. He was therefore in every sense a highly skilled battlefield combatant. In fact in lieu of any significant encounters it could be said that Henry's artillery train did most of the work in subduing the enemy.

* For example, apostle (large field piece) 30 times a day, a curtow 40, culverin 36, bombard 5.

I have tried to use the unit as a snapshot of a typical gun and crew from this campaign. The culverin is newly cast in the Low countries and crewed by two Dutch gunners assisted by an English labourer and artificer. I've tried to represent the difference in roles, nationality and clothing whilst maintaining some cohesion in the base.

Here the piece has just been fired, the crew standing to the rear getting ready for the next shot, the enemy must be close as one of the assistants is holding a bag of grapeshot. The Dutch gunner is shouting possibly pleased with a hit whilst the rest of the crew prepare for the next shot. The assistant is opening the powder keg to get a measure of powder whilst the remainder of the English crew stand ready to reload.

On to the figures;

Aside from the gunner with the match all of the crew were converted to varying degrees.

Right to left the main gunner is from the Wargames Foundry Landsknecht range, I've had the figure possibly for 20 years and never got round to painting it so I was pleased to put it to good use. Fashion in the Low Countries at this time was essentially similar to the Landsknecht dress though somewhat more sombre and less flamboyant so I've avoided using stripes and an abundance of colours for the mercenary crewmen.

Each of the mercenaries have an English field sign, the main gunner on his hat and the assistant on his shoulder.

The assistant gunner was the most challenging and enjoyable to convert. I saw a kneeling figure on one of the frames in the Perry plastic Zulu set and knew as with other figures on that frame, that I could put it to good use. It took a while to get the folds right and to find some arms that look like they're opening something but I'm pretty happy with it. The head is from the WOTR set with a hat removed from a head in the Warlord Landsknecht box. The whole thing took a while to do with a few re-runs but I think it's as good as it's going to be.

The chap with the scoop is a metal Perry standing billman from the WOTR range with the addition of a base coat. 

Lastly, the final assistant is holding a case of grapeshot, the arms are from the Perry ACW plastic artillery set which with a couple of exceptions has some really useful arms. 

Hailshot in the early 16c (see below) was a bit more primitive to what would become canister shot in the ACW but the size of the item in the hand still looked reasonably convincing to use. At this time it could be pre-prepared in wooden or sack projectiles or in times of haste nails, rocks and shot put down the barrel and fired.

The Gun is from the excellent TAG range of renaissance ordnance, this piece appears to be based upon this 1518 woodcut;

This looks to be a mercenary gunner next to Hungarian or Albanian soldiers, a similar scene can be found in a painting of the 1514 battle of Orsha where the mercenary stands out from the local labourers and soldiers - note also the very similar cannon;

I'm not sure what will be next, I've cleared the backlog on my desk so we'll have to see. I've got a game coming up so hopefully I'll get the chance to take some in game photographs of the gun in action.

All the best