Monday, 30 September 2013

The penultimate English foot unit

Now, those who have been keeping count (!!??!!??) may well be of the opinion that I have done just three English foot units, because that is all that have featured on the blog so far (I think).

But, no!!! I am just as tardy with a camera as I am with basing and varnishing, so some have not yet featured - Gloucester's archers, Hereford's archers, etc.

Anyway, for this penultimate depiction of English manliness, I decided I wanted some meat. No more Northern city militia, grass-chewing Norfolk men or Welshmen with bendy sticks. This unit was going to be a bunch of "ornery critters" (if you'll pardon the "Dead Man's Hand" speak, but "Unforgiven" was on TV last night).

So, hopefully for your delight, I present the, ahem......Royal Spearmen (Feudal Heavy Infantry in "Hail Caesar" terms - see their Plantagenet English list).

The figures are the Fireforge Teutonic infantry box I bemoaned the value of a short while back, not because of the quality, but mainly the cost (I paid £20 for 24 plastic figures - my choice, I know) and shortage of weapon options. Some are converted, because of said dearth of weapon options (spears to be precise). The flags are the usual calico on brass wire affairs. I was a little stuck by which heraldry to give them, but settled on a single lion passant guardant - very similar to my Gascon crossbows, but no blue claws and tongue this time out.

Head on clash with a schiltron anyone???


The bad boys in full flow. When I say "Bad boys", I obviously mean before I have rolled any combat dice.....

As you may note, I distressed the shields and have been liberal with dirt around lower limbs and clothing, just to "up the ante" on the "Bad Boys" theme.

One of the good points of the Teutonic Infantry box is the different parts it contains compared with the usual Foot Sergeants I used before, hence leader figure with two-hander.

How nice of Edward and Henry to look to the camera rather than at the enemy......

8x3 as per Hail Caesar spear unit basing "requirements". The rules do allow flex on this, however, but I like this layout.

A clear view of both flags and a view those Scots will not get - the backs of the English! (Ever the optimist, I know....) The nearer standard bearer is one of the conversions mentioned above. To mount his shield on his back, I needed to make a suitable strap. I did so by bending a sword from the kit into shape around his body, spliced with another for length. This was dead easy to do as the plastic is soft yet strong enough to take the punishment. The result is that I get a unique figure for minimal effort!

Pembroke's archers

With just two months to go until my first planned outing with this project, at the Wargamer Show in Birmingham on 1st December, I am almost there......

  • The last of my planned English units is awaiting a standard, but all the figures are now painted.
  • My Scots need four command elements, some highlanders and Islesmen.
  • I need to varnish all bar about seven units.
  • I need to terrain all the bases except Lord Clifford.
  • I need to make a few token buildings.
  • I need to paint some casualty figures as disordered markers.
  • I have some civilians and other vignette types to paint to dot around the table.
  • I fancy some standing stones or a ruined Pictish broch/ dun for flavour.

Whilst I use the next eight weeks or so to cover off the above, I will leave you with a few shots of Pembroke's archers, a unit I finished a while back. All are 1st Corps from their Feudal range. And these are actually varnished!!!


Valiant Welshmen fighting for their true king. None of that Plaid Cymru rabble here!!!

Close up, hopefully showing the quality of the original 1st Corps castings. The guys at 1st Corps are always helpful at shows, so give them some cash for their wares next time you see their trade stand! They have some great ranges.

And the other end of the unit. I have mixed figures from different packs of archers (heavy/ medium/ light armour, plus command).

A clear view of the banner. I used Pembroke's "burelly azure and argent" as a base, with the red "arcry orle of martlets" becoming three red tails. Plausible, I hope.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Edward gets a flag

The last of my planned English command elements for my Bannockburn-era project is finally here and, wait for it, is varnished too!!!

I painted the three figures a while back, but have been hanging fire on the Royal Standard (i.e. chickening out of....)

Anyway, here they all are, awaiting some terrain to finish them off.

I am actually a little disappointed in the overall thing. In hindsight, I should probably have done some more heraldry on the ancillary figures rather than just give them red caparisons. Perhaps a depiction of some of Edward's other holdings. I could not find out who carried his banner, so that would have been good too had I been successful in that minor quest.

Hey ho.


The three amigos. All three are 1st Corps (pack MEC1 I think), with a wire standard pole. The round base is 75mm diameter from Magnetic Displays and the staging just cut up plastic bases I would not otherwise use.

The usual calico standard. I used gold paint in various shades/ mixes to try to give a high-end finish to the banner. This is the King, after all.

Saturday, 7 September 2013


What, you may ask, is someone who is building a "Bannockburn-era" set up doing someone who was killed 17 years earlier at Stirling Bridge, namely Hugh de Cressingham???

I shall explain.

I had a few figures from this era in my bits box that I bought long ago. Several have appeared in this project already, such as Ross, Stewart, a few Scots spearmen in my first schiltron painted last January, etc, but I had a couple left. One of them had a bird's head and neck on his helm. Thinking back to a copy of Military Modelling from probably 25 years ago, I had in mind an article by Charles Wesencraft wherein he built a diorama for the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. His view on Cressingham's heraldry struck me immediately - three black swans with red beaks on a white ground. I looked no further than this vague memory and promptly painted up said figure as Hugh de Cressingham, together with a suitable entourage.

After all, it is a "Bannockburn-era" project, not Bannockburn itself.

The other figures are Fireforge Foot Sergeants, the banner of calico as before, varnishing and basing to follow en masse as usual.

My final bits box figure is another knight, this time with a boar's head on his helm. As I have no recollections, vague or otherwise, that leap to the fore to identify a likely candidate, I guess I will have to research this one!


Sir Hugh de Cressingham, no doubt before the bridge collapsed and stranded him on the Scottish side of the river that fateful day in 1297.

Cressingham's retinue.

A clear view of the banner.

Grim, determined, English men ready to take the fight to those breechless, barbarous Scots....

And a close up of the banner.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Review - Fireforge Teutonic Infantry

I buy a fair few figures each year and have bought several sets of Fireforge figures for my Bannockburn-era project, but felt a bit let down by this one.

  1. The price - I paid £20 for 24 plastic figures. This was my choice, but I could have got 24 metal ones from Curtey's, for example, for just £4 more and would not have had to put them together. As I said, my choice, one I made purely for speed, as the shop had these in and not any others!
  2. The options - the castings are good, the 24 figures mostly in good poses, but I wanted spearmen to augment my English and there were not enough spears to equip even 20 figures allowing for two standards and two leader figures with hand weapons. I do not mind the odd conversion, but I HAD to convert 8 figures to hold spears, by using open hands intended for crossbowmen and sourcing parts from elsewhere, e.g. other kits I already have and my bits box.
  3. The sprue attachments - I expect to have to trim off mould lines and small lugs where I cut the pieces loose, but I do not like having to potentially damage the parts to get the pieces off the sprues because of the way they are attached.
  • they are readily available
  • they mix well with the other kits in the series (and you need more than one box for an army anyway!)
  • the plastic is easily worked
  • you get bases in the set which are meant for "Deus Vult" but equally useable elsewhere
  • the set does give you a number of options to equip your figures, just arguably not enough of any single option for my tastes.
Good figures if you want the work. 5 out of 10 on the value for money, 7.5 out of 10 for the figure quality.


The last of the schiltrons (for now)

Hello again.

I have now finished all six of the planned Scottish spear units I envisaged for my Scots army for the Bannockburn-era game set to see the light at this year's Wargamer show. Using the various "dodges" I outlined in the previous post, I managed 120 figures in about seven or eight weeks, including time for a foreign holiday, which is seriously good going for me. That just left the flags, the last six of which you can see here. I have also now based the figures into units, which I will photograph and post soon, but the onerous tasks of varnishing and base texturing await......

I finished Stewart/ Sutherland ages ago, made from a varied selection of Fireforge conversions and Essex Miniatures. I also posted the flags for Moray/ Atholl and Ross/ Caithness last time out. As you may have guessed, each schiltron gets two flags. Each is also 24 figures strong in 3 ranks, as required in the "Hail Caesar" rules I intend to use. All standard bearers in schiltrons 2 to 5 are Old Glory figures, sometimes with the odd shield change from the bits box.


Angus, who will pair up with.....


Lennox, who will gamely accompany.....

Buchan. This is NOT a fore-runner of a well-known Anglo-Dutch oil company. Those are wheat sheaves, not shells.....

Fife, who will fight alongside.....