Sunday, January 24, 2016

Entry #9 to the AHPC - Heidi & Hildegarde von Biguns and the Death Bell of Breugel-Bosch

I'm having a lot of fun with this Painting Challenge, ricocheting between different projects and enjoying working on a wide variety of figures. This time I return back to the Renaissance, or a perhaps a slightly skewed vision of the Renaissance.

This set of 28mm models is from Lead Adventure Miniatures. I'm a huge fan of most of their ranges and I really love the aesthetic of their Renaissance models. While they are certainly grounded within a historical context, these figures have a rather odd, very mannered, twist to them.  I've been so taken with them that I've collected a whole series of related miniatures that I hope to form into a distinct collection - but more on that later.

As soon as I saw this set advertised online I knew had to get it as it's just so whimsically dorky.  Depicted here is a 'crew' of a highly improvised artillery piece, a great town bell, 'The Death Bell'. We see that the bell is just about to be fired in the defense of their town of 'Breugel-Bosch'.

The leader is a rather formidable woman, dressed for the occasion in helmet, partial Landsknecht regalia and sword. She wields an improvised rammer made of an old broom stick and scullery brush. This is Hildegarde. She is overseeing her sister, Heidi, in the firing of the Death Bell. Heidi, as we can plainly see, is a little more of a reluctant soul than her brash sibling. Both sisters are trying very hard to ignore the sage advise of their cousin Henri, who lost both his legs as a gunner serving in the Italian Wars. He is seen here on his hand cart, bringing up more ammunition for the ladies.

While working on these castings I came to the conclusion that they deserved a little more pimping out. The stock bell came with a cavernous opening, but with nothing to put in it. I thought that this wouldn't do. It was just crying out for some deadly missile to be nestled inside, ready to be blasted out at their enemies. At first, I made a big cannonball with some greenstuff and popped that in to see how it looked. It was okay, but it still seemed rather, meh, a bit boring. 

Then I came upon the idea that these citizens would want to pack this thing with whatever they could find in town that could be considered lethal. I immediately thought of a blacksmith's anvil and laughed aloud. I rummaged around and, surprise, surprise, found one as part of a Napoleonic forge set from Westfalia Miniatures (sorry Kawe!). From there it was just a matter of trimming down the anvil and adding some other bits, such as a sword, spear, and a few polearms (donations from the town's armoury). Done! Now the gun has a load of improvised scattershot to wreak havoc amongst their foes!

I really liked the pillow as a recoil brake and made sure to give it a nice needlework pattern. I imagine that it's been donated to the cause by one of the town's worthy ladies - a noble sacrifice from her sitting room. 

For the groundwork I wanted to try something a little different. I really liked Sidney's cobblestone base which is featured in his latest theme entry. I didn't have anything like that handy, so I made a rather impressionistic version of a cobblestone road by gluing oblong shapes cut from an index card. Once dried I simply painted, drybrushed them up to look like flagstones, and then added some grass between the 'stones' (clipped-up tufts work well for this).

I've kept to an autumn theme again so that this 'HEAVY artillery unit' can fit in with my other Renaissance stuff.

So, there you have it. The Death Bell of Breugel-Bosch, crewed by Heidi & Hildegarde von Biguns (and helped by their cousin Henri).

Thanks for visiting folks and have a great week!