Sunday, 24 December 2017

Two French Coustillers and an Archer 1513- Conversions

So far this is my most ambitious attempt at conversions.  Using Green Stuff, I’m going to turn three Essex 16th Century Irish Cavalry men into two French Coustillers and an Ordinance Archer.

First, I need to add boots, these are thigh length and turned down below the knee. Easy enough, a strip of Green Stuff below each knee and smooth it down and level it off.
Second, he needs a hat to mostly cover the distinctive Irish helmet.  An even strip of Green Stuff around the brim of the helmet, gently flatten it and, using the edge of the sculpting tool indent at regular intervals.

Next, we need to cover most of the mail shirt so it will only show at the square yoke collar of the livery coat and below its sleeves.  The hem of the livery coat needs to extend to the knee.  Use the Green Stuff sparingly, gently pat it out to cover, this takes a bit of time and care.  I thought I'd also do an officer for my French Archers.  That meant adding quiver and cased bow and making him a mace.

Once done, using the edge of the sculpting tool square off the collar and level off the skirt and sleeves of the livery coat.

Now set aside and let it dry over-night.

I want to add a bit of pleating to the skirt and sleeves livery coat.  Roll out, between figure and thumb, a thin, needle like strip of Green Stuff and set aside.  Using the edge of the sculpting tool cut off a piece of appropriate length and place vertically on the skirt of the livery coat, gently smooth it out at the edges until your pleat is clearly visible.  Repeat as you see fit and then do the same with the sleeves.  

Job done, set aside and let it dry over-night. Then apply an undercoat, paint the base colours and when dry, wash with undiluted Nut Brown ink.

I’ve chosen to put one of the converted Coustillers on a Caliver horse and here he is painted alongside the Archer who sits an Essex horse.

Another view.  Leave overnight and then highlight.

I'm glad I took the plunge on attempting converting figures as it has opened up all sorts of gaming possibilities for me. Its good to learn something new too.  

All good.  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

French Gendarmes 1513

I wanted a couple of units of Gendarmes for my 1513 French after much cyber poking about I went for Essex.  Some Essex figures leave me cold but not their Gendarmes which I consider are all you could ask.  They are dear nowadays but for these particular figures I didn’t mind at all.  

Anyhow I bought two packs so I have eight figures.  That could be just one unit of six figures for Lion Rampant but there are other options.  A 'Lance' of Gendarmes consisted of supporting Archers and Coustillers as well as the top boys. So, I could field four Gendarmes with an Archer and a Coustiller as a unit. Or even a one third of each line up which would provide three units.  That would be a fun if not neccesarily battle winning line up.  I'd need some Stradiots to balance that out- the Mirliton ones appeal most to me.

I decided to try a more ambitious paint job with damask barding which required a bit of fore thought before dipping the brush.  I have also located some French banners which I think lift things too.  

I’ve gone for two main colours red and blue with the white cross of St Dennis as a unifying theme along with Valois colours red white and yellow.

Here are the first two in red and a Banner man for the archers.  The latter is a Black Hat figure conversion on a Minifigs horse.

Here are two Gendarmes in blue.  

Last but not least here are some Border Horse looking suitably grim and light fingered.  I think they would benefit from the addition of either a St George's or a St Andrew's cross painted on their Jacks-but, I want to use them for both English and Scots retinues so plain they remain.  

I will get around to producing a distinctive Heid Man for both sides. The lad with the crossbow is from the 15mm Co, one pose only sadly. 

The figures are mostly QRF with Milliput shields added.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Pale of Calais

I was thinking about the composition of garrison of the Pale of Calais and this is what I came up with.  Of course additional types could be sent or hired when needs must.

QRF demi lancers as sold.  Rather nice figures I think.

An after and before of a Minifigs Drummer and  a Bill Man. As you can see they got the Royal Livery big woolly coat.

Ditto of a QRF Bill Man. Let's see the whole unit.

Now some QRF archers as sold.

I recently picked up some Roundway English for a great price who will shortly join the garrison.  

I've a real sense of the cusp of a new era with these lads, rightly so I suppose.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

From Start to Finish- Conversions

My first French unit for 1513.  The conversion was done with Green Stuff and you can pretty much follow the process in these two pics.

Before, the basic unaltered figure is on the right.  My two variants to the left.


Here’s my first French Adventurier standing next to the original from the 15mm Co.

I am enjoying this.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Direct Pic Uploading

I’ve just found that I can upload pics directly from my PC to my blog.  The damn thing has been franticly upgrading itself for a couple of days so this must be a new benefit of the process.  

So, that’s great, but it bodes ill for the third-party hosting sites.  I wonder if this is why photobucket attempted the great shakedown?

Also, while we are on the subject, let me say a good word for Mike at the Wargames Website, link opposite, who provides us with the same facility.  This is the future.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Flodden in 15mm

A comment from Ray of Don’t Throw a 1 made me realise my Flodden pics had been disappeared by the wretched photobook.  Still, it’s an ill wind as they say and I still have most of the photos. So, let’s take the opportunity to have a look at the armies again. Nearly all of the figures are from QRF.

The English

These Demi Lancers are Essex and if anyone knows the code please let me know.

LKM Borderers.

More QRF.

The large banner is from Stuart at Army Royal.

The Scots

Some Minifigs, Essex, 15mm Co and Roundway in the Highland mix.

You may be thinking, as I do, that those lovely flags work a treat.  If so, you can down load them free from Ray at which is grand altogether.  

Thursday, 7 December 2017


The season of guesting and feasting is nearly upon us and I doubt I’ll be getting that much blogging done, certainly not as much as I’d like.

With that in mind let me suggest two books for those interested in the Sikh Wars and the Tudor War in Ireland respectively.

Here’s an extract from a review I’m working on of Amarpal Singh Sidhu’s The Second Anglo- Sikh War.

“This is a great book in both size and content. The research and writing are superb. Those who have read Sidhu’s First Anglo-Sikh War can be assured the high quality is maintained in this volume.

It is tempting for the reader to turn immediately to the better- known actions of the war.  To do so would be a mistake-because Sidhu’s careful scene setting and meticulous descriptions of the main actors and their motives add great depth to the readers understanding of why things turned out as they did. 

The rise of the Sikh kingdom and Ranjit Singh’s centrality to its pre-eminence left a conflicting legacy. The mass of Sikhs remained confident and proud of their achievement. Their Government on the other hand in the main felt no allegiance at all to the Sikh state. Many were not Sikhs and had ascended to position by virtue of usefulness in one form or another to Ranjit.  With Ranjit gone only graft, profitable treachery and surviving the wrath of a nation, they had betrayed motivated them.

Yet beyond the Court the Sikh State had depth and resilience.  This was the core of the British dilemma.  The Sikh Government had helped orchestrate its own army’s defeat but the Sikhs themselves, well aware of the fact, did not consider themselves to be beaten.”

Simply an essential book for anyone interested in the Sikh Wars.

Turning to points West, for anyone interested in the Tudor wars in Ireland James O’Neill’s The Nine Years War 1593-1603 is a must. As conflicts go The Nine Years War warrants more attention and yet this is the first serious treatment of the entire war published to date.

Ten years in the making James O’Neill’s book will, I believe, rapidly become the definitive text for anyone wanting to understand the greatest war ever fought by the Tudor State. 

It was a war of two halves with the Irish decisively winning the first half and the English slowly but relentlessly turning the tide to clinch the final victory in the second.  

As you might hope great attention is focused on arms, tactics, strategy and logistics. Contrary to much received opinion in military terms it was the Irish who proved to the innovative modernisers and the English who were handicapped by clinging over-long to traditional and out dated practices.

At the end of the conflict England was bankrupted, its economy shattered by the ceaseless demands of the war. Many leading English Captains, martial reputations in tatters, were among the slain - along with thousands of ordinary soldiers.  

For Ireland, the war which had begun so promisingly ended in total ruin. A civilization that had seen off Vikings, Normans and a succession of English medieval potentates was utterly defeated. 

Friends in the book trade tell me this one is flying off the shelves so, if it’s of interest, I’d say buy it now or find yourself paying an awful lot more later. 

I'll review both of these books in depth at some point meantime if your interests lie in either period-don't hesitate. 

Monday, 4 December 2017

Outpost Wargaming Services 15mm Samurai

I like these figures and think they are great value.   They are based for Lion Rampant, the Samurai version naturally enough.

There used to be lots of pics of them on this blog, they disappeared (photobucket) but folk still looked for them.  That must been vexing for the reader and so now I’ve put them back. I think you'll be able to tell who's who and what's what so that's that.

More Carlists and conversions next.  Oh, and a couple of book recommendations for Christmas.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Something Tangible-Conversions

This is my first unit for 1513.  Those with an eye for heraldry will notice that it is Algernon Percy with his men.  As you can see they are a well- equipped bunch with lots of armour.  The Percy flags are from an uncredited source on the internet, possibly from an old book on heraldry.  I think they are splendid, the colours are just right for Algernon’s livery.  Note how well the crescents stand out-a favourite Percy device.

Most of the company are conversions wearing Tudor Livery colours but I wanted the Percy influence to shine through and I think it does.

Almost all of the conversions were accomplished with Milliput.  The upside is you can file edges to a crisp finish or file in the creases and folds you want.  The down side is that it’s slow progress. With some of them I finished the work off with Green Stuff a very different medium indeed.  You cannot file it so get the amount right first time.  Since I'd used Milliput I thought I'd say a bit about the process despite my recent embrace of Green Stuff. 

I did it like this should you be minded to have a go .

Tear off two same-ish size amounts of both colours.

Roll them into two separate balls and set aside.

Tear off a similar amount from each ball and roll them together – thoroughly!

This ball is now a working medium.  Let it stand for 10 minutes-it makes it easier to work.

Now look at what you want to do and tear off the amount needed to do the job. I found little sausage shapes worked well.  Press it onto the figure and with soft controlled motions shape it as required.  Clay or wax modelling tools are great for this.  Once you are happy set it aside.  I found it handy to work on about 6 figures at once.

Do not try and do the whole figure in one go as you’ll dislodge your earlier work. Let it dry overnight and begin again the next day.

Should you want to add belts or straps roll out a thin sausage of Milliput and place it on the figure.  Then gently pat it to flatten against the figure.  If you want a buckle or horse brasses roll a small ball, press in place, flatten and using a point indent it.

Once you have finished and let everything dry throughout you can gently file edges and add folds etc.

That's it. You’ll need to undercoat the dry Milliput before painting your converted figure.