Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The King’s Spears

The King’s Spears were Henry VIII’s immediate military circle of relatives, pals, favourites and aristos on the make.  An elite unit then, well equipped and capable in the field. I'd consider them a match for the French Gendarmes but of course there's only one unit of them.

These ones are converted Roundway 15mm English Knights.  The Roundway figures are very nice but were not quite flashy enough for this bunch.  I added plumes for man and beast, skirts and roundels all in Henry’s colours.  I’m pleased with how they came out and cannot wait for the command figures, also from Roundway, to arrive to complete the unit.  I added Milliput sabots, perhaps 2mm deep, before basing to raise their height to that of Essex 15mm French Gendarmes.  You can see some patches of gold on the armour of these chaps-it's sunlight streaming in through the window as I took the pics.

Here’s the conversion process in reverse should you fancy having a go at something similar.

The last of the big woolly coats gang are also done, archers this time and as you can see they are commanded by one of the King’s Spears who has dismounted for the job.  

We can only assume they have been given an important task.

Note the added bucklers, these boys will fight it out if they have to.  That said there is some evidence that the French considered the shooting abilities of the English archers had much declined from their lethal days of yore.  That's something to think about.

Friday, 5 January 2018

I’m Not Doing Maori-Here They Are

I decided not to do the Maori Wars.  I am interested, but the lack of suitable and readily available 15mm figures  put me off.  Also, while I’ve read a bit including some excellent blogs like this one 


I realise I don’t know enough yet.  The appeal of the Pa and the Haka still lingers though. Not least because I've met some interesting Maori folk in my time.

I have just bought a DVD of the acclaimed Anglo-Maori War film UTU!  I missed it first time around in the 80s but never lost interest. I'ts a German release and seems to be a first for region 2. It’s a good film by anyone’s standards. Naturally it made me think once again about my decision.

As it happens I have about half a dozen African figures from Irregular and they are currently without a project to call their own.  They all have guns and some sort of skirt or loin cloth. Of course I’m still in the grip of conversion mania – people are scared to enter the house in case they are immediately modified with Green Stuff.

Well, you can guess the rest, so here’s the before.

The finished figures will appear shortly once I've added feathers and Meres and such like and painted them.  Tattoos in 15mm, that will be interesting.

Now this does not necessarily mean I will be turning out Regulars and Rangers and Militia and more Maori for TMWWBK.  No, not at the moment-but you could say it is a significant step. 

The Maori were fond of the shot gun a trait they shared with the Xhosa who also liked a scrap in close country.  Shot guns aren’t much use at a distance but at close range they’re a hellish weapon. Tactically then the Imperials should endeavour to optimise their long and medium range fire power while the Maori should favour opening up at point blank.  

In terms of TMWWBK I think the Maori could be either Veteran Irregular Infantry with Field Craft at 6 points or Tribal Infantry but hitting when firing on a 5 rather than just a 6. That would be the shot gun effect and I’d cost such a unit at 4 points rather than 3.  So, around 5 units then. 

Such a unit would absolutely murderous in close combat so the trick would be to stop them getting too close.  If that means a major emphasis on scouting and occasionally firing blind into the Fern so be it.  Period flavour you might say.

Now speaking of the Mersey-Leck school of tabletop fun you may know that we can expect a new Osprey Rule Book from them in 2019.  It will be called Rebels and Patriots and naturally enough it's aimed at war in the Americas.  Here's a link to Michael's blog.


I've no doubt it will be very good but what excites me is that it's intended to cover everything from the French and Indian War through to the ACW-including the Mexican War.  Five minutes considering the Mexican Army and the 1812 British and you quickly realise we are going to have the official view on Nap' Rampant stats.

There's Ridgeway to consider too.  I'd decided not to do Ridgeway or Maori or the Cape Wars.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

1513 in 2018

Happy New Year to one and all.

Here are the new boys for 1513 in 2018.

Some Kern for Henry’s expedition. I will field these as Bidowers in Lion Rampant terms which is how Henry used them in France. If I add another unit, and I might, they could be combined into a unit of Fierce Foot in an Irish Retinue.  The figures are from QRF’s Tudor range and I rate them highly as 15mm Irish go.  They have been modified with new or replacement shields and in one case a spear.

Next, we have some work in progress using some Roundway15mm English Knights as the basis for Henry’s elite King’s Spears.  As you can see I had a go at plumes, not as tricky as I had thought.  You can see the before and mid-way below along with one ready for high lighting. I think they are coming along OK.  One unit only of these and as you might guess they are the English equivalent of the Gendarmes.

I’m also part way through my second unit of Royal Archers you can see some 15mm Co conversions here.  For some reason I felt a burning desire for some English archers in kettle helmet, God knows why, its what we do I suppose.  Anyhow here they are replete with added quivers and new coats. I added a couple of bucklers too. The rest of the unit, like the command figures, will be QRF.

Now to France with two units of Adventuriers comprised of Essex, 15mm Co and QRF figures.

A fair few of them are conversions.

Last, but certainly not least, here are some of my Stradiots in French Service.  These fellows are from Mirliton and I think they are pretty good. Maybe the best Stradiot figures available.

So, there we are, everything is coming along nicely and I’m just about ready to put a game on.  All of which leads me to share an idle thought, is there any mileage in importing the Mounted Infantry category and rules from *The Men Who Would Be Kings into Lion Rampant to represent mounted infantry archers?

* Or the Dragoon one from The Pike Man's Lament.  Mind you mustn't over tinker.

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.