Friday, 26 February 2016

WIP French Artillery Crew

Hello, Bonjour, I'm back !

After a rather serious bout of painter's block I'm pleased to say that things are looking up, family and work commitments, interior decorating and beer - mainly beer have all been an easy alternative to the painting desk, I do dislike it when these periods occur but occur they do.

Work on the Gendarmes is on hold for the moment, they're intricate and have required a lot of time and attention so this project has been something of an ongoing distraction piece to dip in and out of.

This group will form the nucleus of crew for 2 light artillery pieces. I'd had both of these packs for quite some time and wondered how I could use them, then with some confidence with sculpting I revisited the idea to re-assess their potential. I must say they certainly proved to be fairly easy conversions; head swaps and cap or arm embellishments have brought these nicely into the 1500's, here's some further exploration of their development;

Left to right;

Gunner 1; here I used green stuff to build up the existing arms to heavy puffed and slashed sleeves, these were done arm by arm in two stages. The top of the arm was sculpted down to about the elbow, dried overnight then carried on to the wrist - I found out the hard way that it was difficult to sculpt in one piece without obscuring the detail in my handling, doing it in two stages also enabled me to get a greater natural hang of the cloth, hopefully this is apparent on the painted example below. The back was filed around the neck then a thin GS seam was added at the top to give that typical early renaissance low square neck on the jacket - you can see this particularly on the rear photograph below.

Gunner 2; the head was swapped with that from a Wargames Foundry pikeman (also a Perry sculpt) and as above the jacket was remodelled at the neck. Following this I then sculpted voluminous sleeves in turn, these were done in one go per sleeve, they were a bit tricky to get the drop right but a few attempts gave this end result. Here I found that if the putty is drying out a bit and it's still not satisfactory it's easier to let it dry and peel it off rather than trying to do it whilst it's still tacky.

Gunner 3; another head swap with the addition of a 'Bishop's Mantle' chain mail neck and shoulder protection. Of the three whilst I'm happy with the work on this figure I'm not sure if the earlier jacket confuses the end result. I considered trying to make it longer but concluded it would be rather difficult to do owing to the pose. I'm going to paint it in a drab colour to give the impression of the gunner using an old coat, hopefully he'll turn out OK.

Here are the first painted examples and another figure to join the group, the Master Gunner.

Again, a head swap was the first amendment, this required sculpting a shirt neck as the fit was quite tight, incidentally for all head swaps they were pinned and glued for strength. Following this I then sculpted some slashed breeches just showing above the knee as well as the addition of some quite hefty sideburns.

I'm quite pleased with the results so far, particularly on the loader, the arms and re-sculpted jacket have worked really well.

I hope you like them.

Thanks for looking



  1. Bravo - great sculpting and they all look utterly convincing as crew from early 16th century. Those slashed sleeves look spot on - very complex - and not sure how you've done them.
    As usual, well worth all the time and effort.

    1. Cheers Simon, I feel a tutorial on the horizon !

    2. Oh yes! And any thoughts on doing straps (we need to revisit those with our 'mentors'!)

  2. These are superb Stuart, your work with the green stuff is starting to seem effortless! I particularly like the Bishops Mantle.
    Funnily enough I am working on some of these figures at the moment, what artillery pieces are you going to use - breech loaders I am guessing from the crew?

    1. I am indeed, i know the English used them at Flodden, there's a lot on the Mary Rose - fast rate of fire perhaps? And importantly for this army, they were used in the defence of Dijon in 1513. Henry commissioned at least 24 new guns of varying sizes for his 1513 campaign so I think I'll probably represent them as brand new bronze casts

  3. Very nice work Stuart, you have a lot more patience and skill than I tackling the puffy sleeves and chainmail

  4. As inspirational as ever Stuart on both the conversion work and the painting- both superb!


  5. Lovely work moving these chaps into the 16th century. They all look good, I especially like the master gunner and as you said lots of breach loaders on the Mary Rose so a technology that hung around for a while there is a nice illustration , I guess you know it, in I think renaissance artillery of an artillery park in the 1520s with an old style hooped cast iron gun in amongst all the more up to date cast bronze.
    Great work.
    Best Iain

  6. Great work with the green stuff and they've painted up a treat