Here’s a few things I’ve been up to over the last couple of weeks.
First up is a tower.
Actually, I did this earlier in the year. It’s made from two tubs of healthy snacks – cheeselets (the wider, shorter, tube) and a Pringle tube (smokey bacon flavour – lovely!). The stairway is made from balsa that was skinned with miliput and then scribed to make it look like stonework. Then a few barrels and sacks were added to make it looked lived in.
Next up are some wall bits. I bought these at Cavalier from Debris of War. I already had some walls, bought many moons ago, so I had to paint these to fit with what I already had. Either that or re-paint the whole lot. I’m not a big fan of stark grey stone. It looks artificial and most stone is actually a brown colour of one sort another. Certainly the stone someone builds a wall out of, anyway. Back when I did the first walls grey is all I knew. So these had to be done like that as well.
Another purchase at Cavalier (this time from Scotia/Grendel) was a dragon. I ummed and ahhed for quite a while about what colour to paint it – I prefer to steer clear of bright red or green fantasy dragons. My preference is for a more believable colour (given it’s a dragon). I already have a brown dragon so I couldn’t do that again. Instead, I decided to go with green but a more drab variety like you see in nature. Once done, though, it looked too green, so I decided to add some patternation to the scales – some brown stripes. I’m not entirely happy with the result, to be honest. I think it may get a re-paint at some point.
And yet another purchase at Cavalier, and another from Debris of War – a ruined…thing. Church? Building? Something.
The tiles were a print out of a medieval tile texture I found on the internet. This ruin is going with other ruin bits that can be put together to form a ruined church or abbey complex.
Last up is a scratch build. I’ve tentatively called it a ‘Templar Hostel’ because that’s what it was made for. I don’t know what they would have really looked like, so it’s quite speculative. It was built for this year’s Open Day (presuming that still goes ahead).
I decided to update my medievals. Actually, down-date might be a better way to think of it.
When I started collecting medievals I decided to go with early 14th century. If I’m honest, I really wanted to do 13th century (think Baron’s War of Simon de Montfort), because that’s where my interests lay. But there were few miniatures available for that and the ones there were I didn’t really like.
So I chose early 14th century (think Crecy and Poitiers). However, I recently made the choice to go with my heart rather than mind.
I’ve taken out the later figures that wouldn’t look right in the 13th century and they’ve gone into the ‘fantasy human army’ box. And I replaced them with figures more suited to the 13th century.
I asked around the club if anyone had some of the Fireforge plastics to have a look at. Andy did. And he kindly let me have a sprue to have a play with. I thought the details were good and the style of armour, clothing and equipment is right for the period.
Problem is, every time I see how people have put them together (and this is a general fault I find with plastics) they always have that crouching need-a-sh*t pose, head at 90° to body, and arms doing a double fist-pump. They just look like child’s toys.
Since they were plastic I decided I’d give them a bit of a chop. I thought I may cut the legs off and re-pose them. In the end I didn’t. In fact, in the end the surgery was quite minor. Generally, I replaced the weapons with better-proportioned spares from the spares box. One or two arms I cut at elbow and wrist. I also cut some hands off at the wrist to have them at different angles (due to the casting process I find that the arms on plastics tend to be ‘flat’, and it looks more pronounced once the arm is stuck to the body).
I think the key to the Fireforge figures (and, again, plastics in general) is to think about the pose rather than just stick them together. Maybe even stand in front of a mirror and pose yourself to see how they should go together (make sure you don’t get seen by the family or they’ll think you’re and even bigger bell end). It means you will have to do a bit of cutting here and there to make the pose fluid and as if that the limbs and head belong on the body. But plastic is easy to cut and easy to glue, so it’s really not that difficult.
In the end, I was rather happy with what I came up with. It made me re-think my opinion on them. Just minor surgery, and thinking about the pose, makes a great deal of difference.
Now I have what I wanted in the first place – 13th century medieval.
With both of our Wars of the Roses armies completed Stephen and I assembled on an unremarkable field somewhere in England for our first clash. Stephen took the role of the Lancastrians and recruited Andy to act as a lesser lord of the realm in control of his right flank. I’d gone for the Yorkists and ended up with the flags of the Earl of Salisbury and his son Sir Thomas Neville. In similar fashion I recruited Tony to the role of Thomas Neville also taking command of the right flank.
The Lancastrian army formed up in a neat row extending across the battlefield with their archers on the flanks and their billmen and men at arms in the centre. The Lancastrians had no cavalry or artillery, however they had more archers and had brought some mercenary pikemen.
Across the field the Yorkists took a different approach forming up with their archers and artillery out front with the billmen and men at arms close behind. The Yorkists also had mounted men at arms as well as some light cavalry units positioned out on the flanks.
The first move of the battle saw Andy move his archers to a commanding position on the only high ground available.
This move prompted me to move my cavalry out past the archers flank screened by a nearby wood. My intention was not to attack the flank but to try and get Andy to weaken his archers on the hill by dispatching them to deal with the now threatened flank.
Meanwhile on the Yorkist right Tony had found himself squashed between my artillery unit and some woods. This would cause a number of problems for Tony during the battle as he was unable to line up his units to best effect.
Seeing the difficulty the Yorkist right flank was in Steve moved his archers in range to pour missiles into the floundering Yorkists.
Apart from Steve’s flaking move and Andy moving his archers onto the hill, the Lancastrians refused to give battle. Seeing the danger on the flank and with the Cavalry feint having drawn some of Andy’s archers away, I push the artillery forward and began firing on the Lancastrian Billmen. The attack did not cause any damage but it had the desired effect, soon the Lancastrian billmen would be on the advance.
Seeing the Lancastrian billmen on the advance I pushed my archers forward and engaged the archers on the hill. The dice definitely favoured the Yorkists destroying a unit of archers outright but taking some damage in return.
As I prepared to receive the advancing billmen, Tony had managed to engage Steve’s archers on the Yorkist right flank. Unfortunately the Lancastrian archers stood their ground against attacks from the Yorkist billmen.
My archers managed to get a volley off against the Lancastrian’s before the two battle lines crashed together. Unable to move the archers had to join the melee and soon succumbed to the billmen, but I had billmen in reserve ready to fill the gap.
The clash was pretty even with both sides taking hits. Out on the Yorkist right flank Tony’s archers had taken a beating but he was still determined to get his billmen into the fight. In the centre Steve still had his men-at-arms directly in front of my artillery and so had no choice than to advance into the oncoming fire.
Although the Men-at-Arms had taken some damage they quickly overwhelmed the artillery leaving them to rampage behind the Yorkist line. Tony still had his cavalry in reserve but didn’t get the activation dice required to charge in and so the Men-at-Arms got the chance to destroy them in a subsequent charge. However Tony was more successful with his Mounted Men-at-Arms.
Charging in against the Lancastrian archers Tony was successful in gaining some momentum on the right flank. But the Yorkists would then throw away a strong position with a number of cavalry blunders. First came my charge with my light cavalry against the archers I had drawn out on Andy’s flank. The charge saw the cavalry wiped out with no damage to the defending archers. Tony then charged his Mounted Men-at-Arms against the Lancastrian pikemen and suffered the same fate!
With the main battle in the centre going the Yorkists way and following the cavalry blunders, I turned my Mounted Men-at-Arms around and galloped back to the centre. The battle was nearing an end with both armies at breaking point.
With the help of my cavalry the Lancastrian centre was destroyed, and with Andy’s remaining units too far away on the Lancastrian right flank, it was up to Tony on the Yorkist right flank to carry the day. The Lancastrian’s still had some strong infantry units but Steve had failed to get the activations he needed to get them into the fight. Needing just a point before breaking completely the battle came down to the long drawn out melee between Steve’s archers and Tony’s billmen.
But the dice finally favoured Tony and the archers were utterly destroyed, handing victory to the Yorkists by the narrow margin of 29-32!
This turned out to be a really good battle. Three of the players had only played 3 or 4 games of Sword and Spear before and for Tony this was his first ever play of the rules.
From the Yorkist point of view, the good parts were managing to draw out some of the Lancastrian forces with a cavalry feint, and a lucky result in winning the archery duel in the centre. Having the artillery also turned out to be a good move as it forced the Lancastrians to advance when they had planned to sit tight. The bad points for the Yorkists though were the poor deployment between the artillery and the woods allowing the Lancastrians to out flank the right hand side, and the poorly executed cavalry charges late in the battle.
From the Lancastrians point of view, the good parts were exploiting the poor enemy deployment and out flanking with archers. But the bad points were reacting to the feint and being unlucky with the activation dice later in the battle preventing them from getting more of their infantry committed against the poorly deployed Yorkists.
The war will no doubt continue with the Lancastrians out for revenge!
At the start of my posts about doing a Wars of the Roses 15mm army I mentioned this was actually the first time in 35 years of Wargaming, that I have put together a complete historical army. Yes I’ve painted a force of 40 odd Dark Age warriors for Saga, but this was the first full army. While collecting and painting up this army I have been watching and listening to various Wars of the Roses documentaries and reading a number of books about the period.
It’s easy to see the appeal of doing historical gaming but I know when to stop over accuracy and just get on with a good game.
For the game to come we will have two players per side, so I have the larger part of my army under the Earl of Sailsbury with a slightly smaller force under his son Sir Thomas Neville.
On to the game, we are going to be using Sword and Spear. So stay tuned for the battle report that will hopefully be reporting a victory for the Yorkist cause.
Finally got the last of my Wars of the Roses units completed. This time it was the archers. As with the other units I did buy a number of different brands but ended up just going with Essex miniatures and Peter Pig for the unit commanders. Like the other units I wanted to avoid the uniform two rows of miniatures on a base and so for the fist units of archers (the Retinue archers), I created a clear front line with a archers milling around on the second row.
I wanted a mix of archer types and did a couple of militia archer units again using Essex miniatures.
When painting the militia archers I realised that all but one of the miniatures was in a shooting stance, I could not therefore have a second line, but I wanted the militia archers to look undisciplined, so put them in irregular lines on the base to look more like a mob.
With the archers done so was I, but my would be opponent for the planned Wars of the Roses game mentioned having some artillery. Entering in to the arms race I also put a unit of guns together.
I do have plans to do some other Wars of the Roses units like spearmen, some Welsh and other mercenaries. But this will do for the first battle.
I finally got my Wars of the Roses Cavalry painted. Unlike the infantry I decided to stick to one manufacturer. When I started the project I got some old cavalry figures from a fellow club member and picked up some samples. What I found was a big difference in the scale of the cavalry. With mass infantry you can get away with differences in sizes, not everyone is the same size and so it doesn’t matter as much. But it was so obvious mixing different manufacturers for 6 mounted miniatures on a base.
I like the slightly chunky style of the Peter Pig miniatures and so was happy to go with them for my cavalry. I do like a bit of cavalry and so wanted to maximise my armies compliment. In Sword and Spear the army can only have two units of knights and so I also did a couple of units of Northern Boarder Horse. I’m really looking forward to getting these into battle.
Now all I have left to do is finish the archers and my Wars of the Roses army is complete. Unless I want more than two command units … hmmm
I was supposed to be working on my Cavalry and Archers for my Wars of the Roses army, but while attending SELWG last October I remembered I needed a camp for my army. You have to remember I don’t normally dabble in the types of wargame requiring a camp for the army. But the intention is to use the Sword and Spear rules and so I needed a camp.
At the show some resin pieces from Baueda caught my eye. Normally I would probably have scratchbuilt the camp but I really like the scenery pieces and they were not that expensive. I went for a cooking set and a tent that would fit the period. To that I added a spare infantryman and a horse.
The base is MDF and I spread bathroom sealant mixed with brown paint on it to create the muddy road and to cover up the figure bases. After painting the figures I flocked the base and added a few tufts of grass and the odd rock. Painting the camp made a nice change as it was like a mini diorama and a good distraction from line after line of the rank and file.
I’ve finally made progress on my 15mm Wars of the Roses army. This is the first time since getting into Miniature Wargaming some 30 plus years ago that I have put together an historical army.
As I mentioned in my previous post showing the Men at Arms I did not want this army to look like a set number of figures stuck on a base. I wanted an irregular rabble look to the units.
For my armies main infantry I looked at suitable 15mm miniatures from Lancashire Games, Irregular Miniatures, Museum Miniatures, Tin Soldier, Magister Militarium, Donnington, Miniature Figurines, Essex and Peter Pig.
For the life of me I cannot remember all of the companies I finally settled on, I know for a fact I bought Peter Pig, Lancashire Games and Essex. But there are other manufacturers figures in the units.
I’m really pleased with how they came out and think I got the rabble aspect quite well.
Another bonus was cleaning up the figures and thinking I’d only done enough for 4 bases of 16 figures per base. But when it came to undercoating them I found I had enough for 6 bases, result!
At MHWC’s Broadside show in June I was glad (and surprised!) to see that Scotia/Grendel would be there.
What I bought off them was a resin ruined chapel, which would make a great piece of terrain for medieval games.
I cleaned up the pieces, cut some ply for the base, and glued the pieces together on the day after buying it. It then sat on the shelf for a few weeks. But last Sunday I finally got around to slapping some paint on it.
Before painting I thought I’d make a bit more of it. The first thing to do was create a tiled floor. I made the tiles out of thick plasticard. I chamfered the edges roughly and then scratched and gouged the surface to make them look worn and damaged. I then needed some more rubble. I made this from a mixture of sand and dried plaster broken up into bits. Though you can buy some rubble scatter mixes.
Once this was all dry I gave it a spray of dark khaki. This was then washed with my favourite all-purpose brown wash: GW’s Agrax Earhshade. I decided I wanted it to look like it was made from sandstone, so it was drybrushed with a khaki-heavy mix of khaki and grey.
An important thing to realise about medieval churches is that they were very colourful places. It was only with the advent of the Reformation and Protestantism that church wall paintings were considered idolatrous and were chiseled off or painted over. So I scoured the internet for pictures of surviving painted medieval church walls and then printed them off.
These were then glued to the walls. To make them look like they belong there and look a bit damaged and eroded by time and weather I splotched (that’s the best way I can describe it) the edges of the pictures to make it look like they belong on the walls and blend in.
Some staining and damp was added with a very dry brush using dark green and brown.
The model was then based with some mixed ballast and static grass.
The result is a ruined chapel worth fighting over!