Saturday 2 January 2021

2020 Good year, bad year

 I thought I'd put together a few photos from the past year, some of it has already appeared here, most not, its mainly just pictures of figures I've painted in the past 12 months and I've used this opportunity to try and have a bit of a count up of what I've managed to paint in 2020. On that front, it has been a terrific year, but, as we all know, by pretty much all other metrics, it has not been good at all. 

So... The final tally is quite large, I think it probably surpasses my previous best year when I was going full bore on the Austrians, although these have been a bit different, not just churning out unit after unit - I've really enjoyed this years painting

Swiss:  443 foot, 43 cavalry and generals- 3 camp scenes - call it 550 pieces

Landsknechts: 222 foot, 4 Command bases, 1 cannon-  245 pieces 

Gendarmes and knights - 96 - 192 pieces

Mounted crossbows, stradiots, Jinetes 72 figures - 144 pieces

Italian foot - 72 pike, 25 swordsmen 32 arquebusiers, 1 cannon -134 pieces

Thats 1265 late15th early 16th century types

 there were 180 pieces of WW2 German and US Paras.

So Painting wise that is 1445 28mm bits which is pretty good going- However.....On top of that, I think I've based about another 3,000 28mm figures, 100 odd movement trays, 300 (!) flags,  plus about 200 1/35th figures, built a bunch of 1/35th terrain, I'm also about halfway through doing 20 AWI assault boats! 

I've been busy! 

Swiss take on landsknechts

Swiss crossbows- Perry plastics

Swiss or Burgundian Heroes for To The Strongest! Steel Fist and Foundry figures

The Swiss in all their glory

Dog loving Landsknecht commander- Steel Fist and Foundry again 

About half (!) The Gendarmes I painted this year

Oldies but Goldies, Connoisseur Miniatures heroes/generals

This venerable Redoubt Miniatures figure was also kindly given to me by Mark Freeth, a new plume spiffed him up a bit 

Perry Italian mounted crossbowmen, some plastic riders, some metal all on plastic horses

Perry Plastics painted as German Knights, Steel Fist plumes added

A terrific little Hinchcliffe organ gun - must be over 40 years old! with a Perry crew

Yet more mounted crossbows- This time Perry and Casting Room Miniatures

A bit of a change- Warlord Falschirmjager Pak 40 I did as part of a larger commission 

camp scene, Perry figures, Magista Militum tents

Some Smashing Perry Stradiots, I later added another 6 TAG figures which mixed in nicely

Fabulous 40 year old Connoisseur sculpts given a new lease of life with some Perry heads

Swiss halberds, Steel Fist, Perry, Foundry and Connoisseur figures

Perry figures for the camp scene

Perry Plastics with added Steel Fist plumes become Italian Knights

The fourth Landsknecht pike block - number 5 is going to be the first unit for 2021 

Casting Room Miniatures Jinetes-with a couple of Perry plastics to make up the numbers 

Steel Fist commanders- with an Artizan miniatures advisor

 Steel Fist miniatures Gendarmes- set of by Pete's Flags banners

Casting Room miniatures and Perry swordsmen

Italian mercenaries Perry and Connoisseur miniatures, with a lot of Italian and Tudor head-swaps 

Perry and TAG figures make up these Florentine militia pike

Friday 9 October 2020

Swiss Army Complete


A couple of Steel Fist heroes, backed up by Perry German knights supported by Connoisseur coustilliers  

Although I finished the Swiss pike way back in March, putting the finishing touches to the army seems to have taken ages.

Granted there have been other projects taking over, such as the Landsknechts, Gendarmes, a couple of WW2 commissions, not to mention a strange diversion into 1/35th WW2 plus a ton of basing for a regular client. All in all, its been a very busy year.  

The pike line
So I'm thrilled to have finished this army. I've added a lot of little touches, which all add up in terms of time and the overall numbers. Extra stuff over the 6 pike blocks include 2 x 36 man units of halberdiers, crossbowmen, hand-gunners, German Knights, coustilliers to support them, mounted crossbowmen, a host of generals and individual hero figures for To The Strongest, plus 3 little camp scenes with associated tents, labourers, priests etc

Halberds and horse hang about the rear
I have really enjoyed painting and creating this army, its been a lot of fun, and I'm a bit sad to have finished it. In fact, I'd happily do it all over again, so if anyone wants to offer me a considerable wad of cash for this army I'll do another one! 
Camp scene, manure and prayers
The figures for this army were probably about 25% Perry plastic, backed up with similar quantities of Perry metals and Wargames Foundry figures, the rest being made up by Steel Fist and Connoisseur Miniatures. I used a lot of the Plastic mercenary set, which was mixed up with the Bill/Bow box, plus some Foot MAA, and both the WOTR cavalry boxes. All of those involved mixing up all the different heads and adding in quite a lot of the excellent metal Swiss heads from Perry and the amazing heads from Steel Fist, I also had a careful look at the SF landsknecht figures and used a few of the plainer models as Swiss once I'd changed the heads. Likewise the Connoisseur figures, once they had new Perry heads they scrubbed up very nicely, particularly the coustlliers. Steel Fist also do some lovely separate metal plumes which came in very handy.  
Uri command and heroes
The flags came from Pete's Flags on e-bay with the balance from Flags of War, both of whom I can't recommend highly enough. They really set an army like this off (I think I counted over 50 flags!).  Wire pikes came from Northstar and tufts from all sorts of suppliers
Steel Fist miniatures lead the halberdiers
The camp bits were fun to do. I made them up because I thought they would look nice, and because they are a requirement for To The Strongest! rules. The tents are resin models from Magista Militum, and most of the figures are from the various Perry metal camp follower sets set off with a couple of MDF kit wagons I had.

Perry foot captains
Anyway, there's a Swiss army.
 I've had a couple of games with it, and I was even going to enter a tournament with it for the first time in my life, but I'm pretty sure Covid is going to put paid to that I'm afraid. Not to worry, it will get plenty of use.

Perry crossbows with Foundry handgunners

Saturday 23 May 2020

Here come the Landsknechts

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So, the late medieval/early Italian wars project now boasts about 300 Burgundian infantry, many of whom can double up as ropey Italians, about 80 Burgundian knights and coustillier, again, many of whom can fill many roles, about 70 later Gendarmes, 30 mounted crossbows, and 300 Swiss pike, with about 50 Swiss skirmishers.

Time for some meat and potatoes....The next thing I wanted were landsknechts, lots of landsknechts.
I bought a bunch of Wargames Foundry figures that would fit the bill, but really the whole point of doing Landsknechts was to be able to use the jewel in the crown of the Steel Fist range, which is incredible., off the top of my head they do about 60 different figures....all with different separate heads....the combinations are enormous.

So far I’ve only managed 2 x 48 man blocks plus about 20 arquebussier, but it’s coming along. The original goal is for 6 blocks....but I might well do more

Friday 3 April 2020

Gendarmes: a bit of a comparison.

Heavy French and Italian cavalry 
When I finished the Swiss pike, my original intention was to launch straight into a pile of 200 landsknechts to give them some more opponents, however, I also had quite a large lead pile of cavalry to do, first off was a couple of units of Swiss and Italian mounted crossbows (that don’t feature in this post) and having done them I decided to try some of the many Gendarmes and early 16th century knights that were also sitting in the box. I had figures from 3 different manufacturers which I had accumulated over the past 6 months, a dozen of the SteelFist Gendarmes, 6 charging and 6 with upright lances, 6 late 15th century knights from SteelFist, 8 Gendarmes and 8 archer types from Eureka, and finally 24 Foundry Gendarmes (only 12 of those finished so far).
So, having painted all of the above in this last few weeks I thought I’d give you a brief comparison.
Steel Fist Gendarmes
So first, the Steel Fist figures.  I can find very little to say about this companies figures apart from unstinting praise, beautiful sculpts, great and enormously varied poses, high quality casting and metal, they are excellent figures. They produce 2 different sets of Gendarmes, one charging, one with lance upright. All the figures and horses are different, with separate heads and weapon arms,  and sheathed swords. plumes are also separate,  so the permutations are enormous. If you wanted to get super adventurous you could swap in some of their Landsknecht heads or maybe Perry ones. The horses are all individual barded mounts, if you want to find it, there is amazing detail on them.
 My only very small  issue  with these figures is that you might need to drill out the odd neck to get a better fit with whichever head you choose to place on whatever body.  These are outstanding figures.The best way to buy them is as a set of 6, this way they come in at £5 a figure. Not cheap, but generally you get what you pay for in this life. 
Steel Fist again, remarkable figures- side-show Bob leading the charge.
Now the bad news. Currently the Gendarmes are out of stock and unavailable due to the current emergency. I will be getting another dozen as soon as life returns to normal. I urge you all to do the same (but not until I have my order in).
Earlier Italian Knights from Steel Fist
Somewhere along the way I bought 8 earlier knights on unarmoured horses.  these tie in well with the Perry plastic set, I replaced one of the heads with a Perry one. Not as flamboyant as their later brethren, but similar in style and quality, separate heads and lance arms.
All of the Steel Fist figures look BIG. Nothing wrong with that, and they are the same size as Perry medievals.

Eureka Miniatures Gendarmes, with heavy cavalry support

Next up are the Eureka miniatures. Lovely figures, well cast, great, crisp detail, separate lance arms, alternative sword/hammer/mace arms and weapons, these are really well thought out figures, separate plumes, lovely Barded horses- you can create a lot of variation with these figures, price for these is £28.25 for a set of 8 which is very good value. I will be getting another 8 of the Gendarmes. They also produce Archer/coustillier types which are nice, although without the massive variations of the Gendarmes. Good figures. My only comment would be that are a little bit small,not a lot, but a little,  certainly when compared to Perry and SteelFist. In their own units alongside each other they look absolutely fine, but I would be reluctant to mix them in the same units with the other manufacturers.
Eureka again, very varied and clever designs

Foundry Gendarmes
 Finally we have Wargames Foundry. Wargames Foundry are... well, Wargames Foundry. Consistent, high quality sculpts to good standard. They are sort of benchmark figures. Separate cast lances and sword scabbards, the latter of which fit really neatly into a lug on the figure. Cast on heads. The figures are fine, albeit a tad dull. All in a sitting lance upright pose, little animation, and I guess if you have read this blog you know I like a bit of animation.
There are basically 3 or 4 head variations on 2 body types. Then the horses......I’ve never been a huge fan of Foundry horses, to much shaggy pit pony for my liking. I bought 7 different mounted packs of the Gendarmes....and there is only 1 barded horse type and 4 unarmoured horse. However, I can live with that, what was a bit of a shock was the casting quality. It was bloody awful. Massive lumps of flash, mould lines, the works. 24 figures and horses took me about 4 hours to clean up and assemble, which is a bit poor, and after all, Foundry are charging premium prices for 30 year old sculpts. I bought them on a deal which was great, but if I had paid full list price for them I would have been disappointed. Compared to the more modern figures their age is showing, but, they paint up as fine as they always have.
Another view of Wargames Foundry

Foundry head on

All of these figures were a joy to paint, and I’m really pleased with them, I set them off with a bunch of Pete’s Flags, which, let’s be honest, always make average painted figures like mine look brilliant.
Flags, faces and bases....that’s all you need.

All banners from Pete’s Flags.