Monday, 14 September 2020

Scots Borderers and English infantry

The first completed Scots unit for the collection; a border nobleman and his retinue. I had a lot of fun creating these and really got enthused for many more.

The inspiration was reading that border horsemen of both sides often fought dismounted as circumstances dictated, for example James IV had all of the borderers dismount and fight with a pike at Flodden and both sides used them dismounted in less mobile sieges and raids.

So these are a unit of well armed and medium armoured men with various polearms. I also considered having a couple with their bows slung as well but decided to stick to without for now.

All of the figures were converted from the Perry Wars of the Roses range and the standard bearer is from Steel Fist miniatures.

The conversions range from a simple head swap in the case of the standard bearer to bits of kit-bashing from the various plastics, it was fairly straightforward. The only sculpting was adding a beard to the commander in the cloak and cloth caps to two of the figures. here they are individually prior to basing;

The slightly muted palette works well with the jacks and brigandine, it seems to really make the colours pop and it was good to explore the various ranges of earthy shades that I don't often use. The faces also stand out a bit more. 

I like the way that the addition of a beard and gauntlet to the Henry VI figure makes him appear much more warlike. On that figure in particular it was a good lesson in painting black, building the highlights neatly then a final one with a mixed blue grey really brings that fur lined coat out.

The scattering of field signs on the chests and caps of the figures work well and stand out against the muted colours.

Overall, I'm very pleased with how these have turned out, they have a definite Scots look to them.

The targes are from Dixon Miniatures Flodden range.

I hope you like the photograph, the first use of a new toy, a photography light box tent. There are various ones out there but it's much better than my much used but slightly unreliable tin foil lined beer crate.

Another rather bland but very important footnote for these is painting the base of each figure in the colour that I use for basing. it makes a huge difference and i'm slightly annoyed it's taken me this long to figure out !. 

I also recently completed a unit of non-liveried bill, a further experiment in a muted palette;

These were a mix of figures assembled straight out of the box along with some in sculpted coats, I talk more about this process in this earlier post for their accompanying archers;

What I really like about these un-liveried troops is that with the addition of a unit of command they make for a convincing instant border retinue for either side;



Mixed with liveried troops of the Stanleys

For the second picture I based up some foot knights that have been neglected for a while, you can read the background about them and see some close up individual images in this post;

Here's some more images of the stand, the outdated armour works really well for men at arms on the border in the early sixteenth century;

The desk is now pretty much cleared for me to crack on with the Scots Pike, they're coming along nicely so far.

Bye for now


Friday, 4 September 2020

Work in Progress; Scots Pike


Well it was only a matter of time wasn't it.

I have taken great inspiration from the border themed wargames myself and Oli have had this year and finally took the plunge.

These games led me to dig out what resources I have on the Scots to get an idea of what their appearance would be for the period 1495-1525. This covers the latter half of James the IV's reign through to Albany's protectorate. 

The main sources were;

  1. Scottish Renaissance Armies 1513-1550 (Osprey)
  2. Border Reiver 1513-1603 (Osprey)
  3. Flodden 1513 (Osprey)
  4. The Heart and the Rose, The battle of Linlithgow Bridge 1526
  5. The Anglo Scots Wars 1513-1550, Gervase Phillips
  6. Flodden, Charles Kightly
  7. Flodden, Niall Barr
  8. James IV, Norman Macdougal

I found the top five to be of particular use for descriptions, illustrations and photographs.

I welcome any further recommendations.

The increased time at home gave me a rare chance to get reading and suitably inspired me further to get kitbashing with some reasonable confidence of what I was trying to achieve.

My plan is to create a 36 man block of pike comprising four 60x60mm bases each of 9 figures and without banners. This will create the look of a tightly packed block of pikemen and should be suitably impressive when the square is done.

I will then create further bases of command groups with the relevant banners and liveries.

This way I'll have a flexible body of figures that can suitably accompany any retinue. It'll be the building block to work from.

The figures represent an arc of men from the Lowlands starting at those poorly equipped via professional soldiers through to lesser gentry. Most are composite from a few sets with a bit of sculpting.

The real time consuming sculpting to represent men in retinues (i.e. base coats and more up to date kit) will be left to when I come to the command groups and already have this block of men done.

Hopefully that makes sense !

With the above in mind the figures are split between armoured and lightly armoured as well as varying quality of equipment and clothing;

The figures are primarily made from the Perry Mercenaries and Foot knight sets along with bits from the Mahdist Ansar set (2 of the heads). The figure in the coat was converted from a Steel Fist Tudor coat dolly and there's also a Landsknecht helmet with bellows visor from Steel Fist. The small lead shields are from Dixon Miniatures.

There's still more combinations and sculpting that I hope to achieve but I thought I would share the exciting new direction the collection is going by way of this latest progress. 

I hope you like them. 

Here's the links if you'd like to read more on those recent games as well as some from the last few years with a Scots theme;

Siege of Wark 1523

Assault on Ferniehurst 1523

Suffolk's Invasion 1514

Tudor rebellion 1514

James IV's 1513 campaign

I presently have a few projects nearing completion which i'll hopefully get the chance to share in the coming weeks.

Please do get in touch with any recommendations for books, websites and indeed any resources that you think could be worthwhile for this new avenue.

All the best


Sunday, 26 April 2020

Early Tudor Longbowmen

Under the current circumstances I find myself with some additional time so I thought I'd embark on a long overdue project for my early Tudor Army.

Oli Green and I wargame the period using adapted rules and army listings from Lion Rampant for which we have split longbowmen into two categories; 

Garrison Longbowmen
Attack Value
Defence Value
Shoot Value / Range
5+ / 18”
Maximum movement
Special Rules
*Ignore -1 at 12” or more

Shire Longbowmen
Attack Value
Defence Value
Shoot Value / Range
5+ / 18”
Maximum movement
Special Rules

These troop types often feature side by side in most of our games but up until now my collection only featured men in livery coats with no obvious difference which can occasionally cause confusion.

In the early sixteenth century Tudor armies were built around a core of infantry armed with bow and bill. Their organisation in principle did not differ that much from the late fifteenth century in that they were either paid professional soldiers or men from county militias liable for military service. 

Garrison Longbowmen 

Shire Longbowmen

The former category represents men who could be found in the garrisons of the Calais pale as well as at Berwick and some of the border fortresses. The latter represents those raised on a short term basis in time of conflict and/or for local defence. 

The rules were lifted with a minor alteration from Lion Rampant. In early testing we found that expert archers shooting on a 4+ did not represent what archers were becoming in the period so we decided to reflect their better experience and ability by removing the -1 consideration at long range.

My main focus when creating the unit was to make the figures visibly different and slightly less equipped in appearance. I did this by representing most without armour and all without livery. I also made the decision not to have them with a banner or commander to make them a bit more versatile. In this way they could be used as English, Rebels, Lowland Scots and potentially French or Breton troops

Most were converted by sculpting coats on to Perry WOTR figures as per this example from a previous unit;

An easier conversion can be achieved by using the Tudor Dollies from Steel Fist Miniatures with Perry arms to which you can add sculpted sleeves but you can also saw off and swap the legs which achieves futher variety.

Tudor dollies with Perry arms and heads, the two on the right have leg swaps 

Converted Perry figures

Brigandines and padded Jacks were still in use in this period and with suitable heads these Perry WOTR figures make for convincing early Tudors.

Perry figures with Tudor heads (the one in the middle is a Swiss head with cap added)

The completed unit

From a visual perspective they also make for quite a convincing larger body when intermingled with figures in livery. Here's a couple of mock ups somewhere in the borders;

a mixed host of archers

Lord Stanley's retinue

I also painted a casualty marker for the unit using a Perry Zulu as a dolly to sculpt upon;

I painted the figures in muted colours to reflect typical common clothing at the time;
  • Coats and jackets were principally tawny, black, grey and 'sheep colour'. 
  • Hose was predominantly undyed or to a lesser extent tawny or scarlet.
  • Caps are most often depicted as black. 
I found Tawny to be a bit of a challenge, it's a brownish orange but it took a couple of attempts to get it to look right.

For more information on this subject I thoroughly recommend The King's Servants book by The Tudor Tailor, it's a good source for an understanding of how Tudor men were dressed at the start of the 16c

I've really enjoyed putting this unit together, it's most definitely been a welcome distraction. I particularly enjoyed reading about typical clothing and interpreting that through working with a muted palette.

While the mood takes me it seems a natural progression to do some Shire bill in a similar fashion. I think I'd quite like to do a similarly attired command to go with them as well. The relative versatility of the unit and doing these border set ups also has me rather tempted to do one with a Scots banner, we'll just have to see.

I hope you like them

Bye for now and take care


Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Dixmude 1489 part 2, John Pearson

Of the few accounts of the battle I found the following really evocative;

'And also it is not to be forgoten, but to by had in ramenbrance, the goode courage of an Englyshe yoman called John Person, whiche was somtymes a baker off Coventre; which John Person, after that a gowne had borne away his foote by the small of the legge yet that notwithstonding, what setting and what kneling, shot affter many of his arows. And when the Frenshe men fledde and his felowes ware in the chase, he cried to one off his fellowes and saide: "Have thow thise vj arawes that I have lefte and folow thow the chase, for I may not", the whiche John Person died within few dayes aftir, on whose saulle Gode have mercy.'

From this I saw two potential conversions; the first part of an archer firing while kneeling or the second of him passing his arrows. I opted for the latter but I think I could still do both. Either way this makes for a great casualty or battered marker.

In terms of clothing the base coat in this cut and livery was a feature of Henry VIII's early reign but I want this to easily blend with the rest of my collection so that's the artistic license I'm taking 😃.

The figure was converted from parts from the Perry Miniatures Ansar, Bow and Bill and Mercenaries sets with dagger and pouch from the Warlord Landsknecht set. Here's the initial kit-bash and sculpting in progress;

Here's another converted casualty marker;

This writhing casualty used a Perry Miniatures Zulu body as a dolly. I opted to leave it free of weapons so it works for both bow or bill.

Prior to painting;

All the best


Dixmude 1489 part 1, foot knights

The day job, home, family etc has been quite hectic and i'll be honest I've just been exhausted in my downtime. It's been frustrating at times as I've been finding that when I'm away from the painting table I have a real urge to paint but can't and when I have time I often just don't feel it at all. Burnout.

However, the last couple of weeks I've put a bit of discipline into things and made a real effort to break the impasse. I've got various projects on the go which in itself can be a bit depressing as they sit there for months not being painted so I decided I'd add one more ! I wanted a quick result to kickstart things and opted for some foot knights as I considered I could get a good production line going and have fun assembling them.

The initial inspiration for these was the idea of creating a small early Tudor force for the battle of Dixmude 1489. There's a good article about it here. Henry VII sent a force of 1000 archers under command of among others Giles, Lord Daubeney, Captain of the Calais Garrison. 

I've got plenty of archers so for my part I just need to create some foot knights for the personalities and hopefully a few vignettes.

Daubeney was first up and needed some armoured colleagues. You can read more about Daubeney
here, he's got an interesting military career including putting down the Cornish Rebels at Blackheath which could be fun to represent.

These were all just Perry Miniatures foot knights assembled straight from the box, there's a lot of inspiration online for good assembly combinations and these were some of my favourites;

The armour is suitable easily up to around 1515 and beyond for many of the poorer nobles. There are a wealth of effigies depicting Tudor noblemen in older armour and heraldic surcoats.

The standard bearer is metal from a pack of Perry WOTR standard bearers, banner is from Pete's flags.

The painting process for these were as follows;
  • black undercoat
  • paint the armour in Foundry Metal mid-shade
  • wash with 1:2 mix of Games Workshop Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade
  • light drybrush of Foundry metal shade
  • Neatly highlight with Foundry metal mid-shade
  • light wash of a 1:1 mix of Foundry British Blue Grey shade and Granite shade with water 
  • Highlight with Foundry Spearpoint metal highlight 
They really 'pop' at the last 2 stages, the blue defines it and makes the metal appear brilliant. All other areas were then painted in the usual way. I had them on a production line and finished them over the course of a week, working in the evenings.

I've another base of foot knights to do so I have practiced enormous self control in not basing these figures yet. This way I can have a play around with which combinations work best.

Bye for now, there's another update straight after this.


Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Antoine de Crequy

Antoine de Crequy, Seigneur de Pontdormy.

In comparison to my Tudor army I've found it rather difficult to find many details of the French commanders so I've naturally shied away from them. Doing so for almost 10 years is not really an excuse though so here's a much delayed addition to the collection.

Antoine de Crequy was the commander of Therouanne when it was besieged in 1513. The noble family was established in Picardy along with other notables also involved in the campaign, principally Bournonville, Sercus & Heilly (to whom I've found equally scant information)

Antoine had the nickname ‘le Hardi’ (the bold) and died in 1523 at the siege of Hesdin apparently killed by friendly fire. He also commanded artillery at Ravenna and served at the Battle of Marignano and siege of Parma in 1523. He was known as one of the most illustrious captains of his day.

‘Nul s’y Frotte’ (none will touch them), is the motto of the Crequy family. The family had a castle at Fressin in the Pas de Calais which interestingly for this blog was almost destroyed by the English in 1522.

The Crequy coat of arms is a red wild cherry tree on a golden field. Jean de Crequy was one of the first knights in the order of the Golden Fleece.

If you have any further information on Antoine or indeed any of the French commanders during this period please get in touch.

On to the figures.

I've had this base in mind for a long time and wanted it to be a nod to Antoine being commander of Therouanne. I wanted to have him surveying the defences or speaking to his commanders so a slightly more informal setting was required.

I took a lot of inspiration from this scene from a tapestry depicting the events of the 1513 siege of Dijon. Here the commander of the town Louis de Tremoille speaks with the Swiss besiegers. Louis in the centre Note is flanked by other nobles and 2 guards wearing coats in his livery and bearing large badges of his wheel motif.

So I mixed the two ideas together to create a base of him speaking to one of the captains defending the town. He's flanked by a Landsknecht and 2 guards in his livery with one carrying his personal banner. To his left is another noble considering the news the captain is relaying.

For Antoine and the other noble I used two figures from Steel Fist, these are from a great set of 16c dismounted knights and really give a period feel to the base.

The captain wears older armour, this was a metal figure from the Perry Miniatures WOTR range with a headswap from the European Mercenaries plastic box.

For the guards in livery I sculpted skirts on to 2 Landsknechts from Wargames Foundry, I also added some hair to the figure with the halberd. I'm really pleased with how they look, i'll certainly do this conversion again as it's a great way to re-purpose the figures.

Note the small raisers on the bases, these are 28mm figures but they're somewhat shorter than the SF knights so I evened things out a bit so that the disparity isn't too great. 

I'm very pleased to be back painting again, an almost 4 month hiatus has not been welcome !

Have a great Christmas all.

All the best


Sunday, 29 September 2019

A few photographs of the collection

Landsknechts in French service

Just a quick hello, here are a selection of photographs of my collection from a recent game that I played in hosted by Michael Perry and friends. As ever it was a great weekend with good company, you can view the battle report on their Facebook page via this link

The games are large set pieces involving the collections of the participants. Michael is an excellent photographer and the blending work around the bases that he does with the images really makes a difference, they're works of art and really show off the painting.

Landsknecht skirmishing line 

Aided by some French allies

Landsknechts in French service begin their advance

Into the Tudor lines

Border Horse


Sir Edward Poynings

A confused scene, Tudor infantry hurry out of the way as heavy cavalry thunder in.

I've got 3 projects underway at present but unfortunately they're forlornly languishing on the painting desk. The work / life balance and family commitments have taken their toll of late. Hopefully the creative mojo will return soon.

All the best