Sunday, 13 June 2021

Scots Pike part II

The second batch of Scots Pike is complete, it's been a real marathon but a worthy prize I think you'll agree.

As with the first batch my thinking was to use banners not affiliated to particular nobles nor depict any livery badges of specific retinues so that the figures could have a greater range and not be tied.

I have also adopted the format of heavy armour in the front ranks through to mid then no armour. Almost all figures have some sort of conversion, they've been 10 months in the making.

You can view more on the development of the first batch here

Here follows some photographs of the unit prior to basing with accompanying narrative. First up is the whole group forming up under instruction of their commanders, heavily armoured in the front ranks leading through to no armour in the rear.

Men in the front ranks in full to mid armour of modern and older styles.

The levies, men from the Lowlands and towns wearing their own coats with livery badges, Two men  wear livery coats. The figures are all conversions, some use Steelfist Miniatures Tudor dollies and others have a coat sculpted on to the Perry plastics.

Men in quilted jacks. All created from the Perry Miniatures Mercenaries set with minimal conversion apart from the figure in breastplate with cap over his steel bonnet.

A couple of close ups

Now on to the command.

I was in two minds as to whether to include the gentleman with the two handed sword as initially I could find lots of information regarding the Scots fondness for a 'tua handit sword' with plenty of examples both in the Lowlands and the Highlands but no specific mention of their use at Flodden or indeed in a pike block. I chose to go for it then a few weeks later found exactly what I was looking for in 'The Two Handed Sword, History, design and use' by Neil Melville, extract as follows [abridged];

The Scottish chronicler Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie described an incident in the battle of Flodden involving the Earl of Huntly's highlanders;

'The Earl of Huntlieis hieland men wicht thair bowis and tua handit swordis wrocht sa manfullie that they defait the Inglischemen'

John Muirhead, one of James IV's bodyguards being the subject of a ballad, one verse relates how;

'Afore the king in order stude / The stout laird of Muirhead / Wi' that sam twa-hand muckle sword / The Bartram fell'd stark deid.'

An English two handed sword, known as the 'Fingask' sword has been on the market twice, reputed in family tradition to have been wielded at the battle of Flodden.

Highland, Lowland and English references. I am most happy with that.

As with the previous pike unit I have chosen to depict a Scots nobleman in the latest imported armour (converted Steelfist Miniatures) in discussion with a French Man at Arms who wears a fine damask coat over his armour (converted Perry Miniatures command from the Mercenaries box) Here's a close up of the coat;

The standard bearers carry banners dedicated to St Margaret

I chose these banners primarily on the basis of their mention in historical record. This extract from the Treasurer’s Accounts describes last minute arrangements to buy cloth to make banners and standards for the army, to buy gold thread to decorate the king’s armour with details of the cost to transport lighter weapons to Coldstream;

The document reads / translates as follows;

'August 1513

Item, for four ells of blue taffeta to make Saint Andrew’s and Saint Margaret’s banners, price of the ell 20s; Total £4

Item, for four ells of red taffeta to be the king’s banner, price of the ell 20s; Total £4

Item, for 14 ounces of sewing silk to be fringes to the banners and standards, price of the ounce 5s; Total £3 10s

Item, 3 ells of taffeta to be the king’s standard, price of the ell 20s, Total £3

Item, to a woman that made the fringes for the banner and standards, 40s

Item, for 4 sheep skins to be cases to keep the banner and standards in, price 14s

Item for the making of them in haste 4s

Item, for 10 hanks of gold given to the captain of the castle’s wife for the king’s coat armour, price of the hank 5s; Total 50s

Item, to a man to wait for the standards to bring them with him in haste that night that the king’s grace will depart from Edinburgh 10s

Item, the 19 day of August, for a set of harnesses to the King’s grace bought from Sir David Guthrie for the which he has my obligation of £40

Item, to the constable of the castle of Edinburgh at our departing to England, the last day we were in the castle, to furnish us all with the necessary, to good account £16

Item, the 29 day of August, the king’s grace sent me home for canon wheels, gun stones and oxen.
Item, to 6 horses with gun stones, each man and horse 14s; Total £4 4s

Item, to 20 men and horse to carry 20 dozen of spears to Coldstream, each man and horse 6s; Total £6'

(Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, Vol IV, 1507-1513, p. 521-522

Unfortunately I could not find any further description of the banner which is likely to have either been heraldic or iconographic as they are each blue, so I opted to depict both.

There is an interpretation of the iconographic banner in a number of modern books but it doesn't appear to be based on a historic source.

The Iconographic banner I painted uses an image of St Margaret from a fifteenth century depiction in a prayer book and the heraldic banner takes reference from a sixteenth century depiction of St Margaret and is based in shape upon similar heraldic church banners.

Of particular note is that the heraldry is practically identical to that of Edward the Confessor whose banner was carried by English Armies at Agincourt and emulating his forbears by Henry VIII in his French campaign of 1513.

When photographed together with the first batch they make for quite a sight.

Seeing them together, I just want to paint more ! I think a third batch with Flodden specific flags could really set them off. We shall have to wait and see.

I hope this has made for an interesting read, I've had a lot of fun creating these and I think it shows.

Next up I think the Celtic theme shall continue but with something of an Irish theme. 

If you'd like to see work on the unit as it is put together this blog now has a Facebook group where you can find progress updates on units as I build them, interesting discussion and sharing of collections, video tutorials and lots more.

All the best and take care


Sunday, 23 May 2021

Alexander Home, Third Lord Home 1485-1516

The first Scots Noble for the Army is Alexander Home, Third Lord Home. 

Here follows a brief biography of this rather interesting member of Scots nobility, hopefully it'll encourage you to read up on further details as his political and military career was one of intrigue and mixed fortunes.

Alexander de Home, became the 3rd Lord Home in 1506 upon the death of his father. A year later he also succeeded his father as Lord Chamberlain of Scotland. 

Record of his military career begin in August 1513 where he led a sizeable force of around 3000 borderers in a reiving foray into England in what would later become known as 'the ill raid'

Lord Home crossed the border and laid waste to the country but on their return, laden with booty and driving a herd of cattle his Borderers fell into an ambush on Millfield Plain laid by Sir William Bulmer.

According to the English chronicler, Holinshead, the Scots were “surprised and defeated with great slaughter,” with five or six hundred being “slain upon the spot.” Holinshead also records that four hundred were taken prisoner, among them Sir George Home, Lord Alexander’s brother and his Standard was also taken which suggests Home was in the thick of the fight. 

In contrast, George Buchanan, historian, poet and tutor to the young James V, estimated the number of prisoners at around two hundred. Buchanan also wrote that it was only Home’s rear columns that succumbed to the ambush, and that the rest of his force made it safely back to Scotland with its plunder.

A month later on the 9th September he reached what would be the peak of his achievements and favour at the Battle of Flodden. His borderers fought on foot as pikemen alongside Lord Huntly's men in the vanguard of the army, perhaps 10'000 strong. This was the lead of the echelon to come down the hill into the English lines, breaking through with momentum and seizing Edmund Howards banner. Howard narrowly escaped at the arrival of Dacre's border horse. Home's exhausted men took to plunder and would play no further part in the battle.

It is said that when Home received a summons to bring his men to the centre Home responded with;

 'He does well that does for himself; we have fought our vanguard already and beaten the same, let the rest do their part.'

The truth of this and the belief that Home and Dacre had an understanding would not leave him.

In the day following the battle his men attempted unsuccessfully to recapture the Scots artillery from Branxton Hill, at that same time Admiral Howard was surveying the field, it was thought his life were in danger and the Scots were seeking to avenge their King. English artillery opened up on the group and they left the field. 

Lord Home was thus one of the few members of Scots nobility to return, the rumours of treachery for the failure of coming to the aid of his King were soon abound, he 'behaved himselfe not as a capteine, but as a traitor or enimie to his countrie'.

In retrospect there can be little doubt that he had acted wisely, it was only the coming of nightfall that enabled him to gather his men and leave the field in good order. Had he wheeled into the English flank with his depleted forces it is likely they would have met the same fate. His men were needed to defend their homes from further English raiding.

After the calamity of Flodden Field, Queen Margaret assumed regency over the 17 month old James V, she sought an unpopular marriage with Archibald Douglas to solidify her position and Home was appointed as one of her councillors at court. The anticipated English raids came in 1513 and 1514, most notably Dacre's 'great raid' that November.

Douglas' enemies at court were soon circling and in 1515 John Stewart, the Duke of Albany and heir presumptive was invited over from France as protector to the throne. 

John Stewart, Duke of Albany

Home and Albany didn't get on from the start, Home was a man of short stature, upon their meeting Albany is reputed to have said minuit praesentia famam meaning 'the appearance doesn't live up to report.'

Albany quickly gained custody of the infant King and drove Margaret, Douglas and Home from court.  

Home appealed to the English Lord Dacre for assistance. His actions were to protect the Scots Royal House from what he saw as hostile machinations of Albany but he took a step too far by siding with the English and no doubt helping to lead English invasions over the border didn't aid his position further.

Albany captured his seat at Hume castle and offered a pardon if he would meet him at Dunbar whereupon he was summarily arrested and thrown into prison. He escaped to cause more havoc, attacking Dunbar castle and captured the Chief Herald at Coldstream. Albany offered a further pardon and requested his presence at Holyrood. He was again arrested, charged with treason over the death of James IV at Flodden and executed in 1516.

With this brief but varied military career I saw a naturally interesting character and wanted to represent him as there are plenty of things worthy of skirmish and set piece games to re-enact.

I chose figures in armour as foot knights in an advancing pose to represent him. This way they can be used as a separate unit of foot knights or as a command group embedded in a pike block as you can see here;

The figures are a mix of Perry Miniatures and Steel Fist Miniatures with a few minor bits of conversion work. Here's a few individual pictures of some of the figures prior to basing.

The Standard Bearer is a half-armoured retainer or minor gentleman in the Green and White livery of Lord Home. The figure was made using a Steel Fist advancing Tudor dolly with armoured arms from Perry and head and plumes from Steel Fist. The banner is hand painted.

Next up is the figure to represent Lord Home. All parts are from Steel Fist Miniatures. The body was taken from a Landsknecht commander and I added an armet and plumes. I sculpted the bottom of his slashed breeches showing through at the knees.

Next up is a retainer in livery and three quarter armour, this uses a Steel Fist Miniatures armoured landsknecht body with a head from their light cavalry range. There's definitely further scope in their ranges if you use them as a bits box !

I hope that was an enjoyable read, it's a great command group and i'm looking forward to seeing their first outing on the table.

I'm not sure what the next completed unit will be but stay tuned to find out. If you'd like to see the figure by figure progress of my painting desk head over to the Facebook group here. Since setting this up i've found the regular enthusiasm and encouragement a great enabler to keep the output going.

Bye for now


Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Facebook Group page


 Regarde mes Amis! Ces’t une page de Facebook!

We bring good tidings, honest !

Hello there. 

I’ve been experimenting recently with ways to both promote my tiny dark corner of the hobby and find inspiration and encouragement for my continuing efforts.

As you’re probably aware of by now my output is relatively slow and unfortunately the blog posts are few. I’ve thought about how best to redress this balance and be a bit more proactive so I have set up a Facebook group to accompany the blog. 

You can reach it via this link;

Or alternatively search ‘Army Royal’ under groups and you’ll find it.

Don’t worry though, the blog shall remain. I will post completed units here and retain it as an archive of my work for both you and I. however for continued encouragement i’m going to post figure by figure updates on the Facebook group so you can see what I’m up to on a day by day basis.

So that’s ongoing units, bits I’m attempting to sculpt (including failures), the odd commission and anything else on a meta level.

I’d also like to use it as a source of inspiration for early Tudor warfare more generally as I’m very much aware it’s a niche interest. So feel free to post your Tudor efforts on there too as I find it inspiring and encouraging.

All the best 


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