Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Renaissance Duel Prize for IainW - The Knight of Gabbiano

Last year Iain and I had a Renaissance Duel to which he soundly trounced me. (What was I thinking? Well, obviously not much as I did the exact same thing this year...) As a prize I offered to paint him an Italian Wars figure. He graciously offered to send me one of his old skool knights that he was in the midst of stripping for repaint and I said I'd be happy to do one up for him. 

Well, it turned out I lied.

In my minds eye I thought Iain would send a gendarme all decked out in full plate and barding - lots of steel, so a fairly straightforward job, right? Nope. What I received instead was a fully caparisoned knight that would require hand painted heraldry emblazoned all over the horse barding. Iain, I silently cursed you when I opened that parcel. ;)

Nonetheless, I based up the b*gger and he sat on the paint desk staring at me this past year. In fact I petulantly ignored him until this week, when guilt finally took over and I set him in front of me so I could figure out what to do with him. Well, there was no way I was going to cop out and do a solid-colour job - he needed proper heraldry to get slaughtered in, so I put my thinking cap on. After a few hours of looking at various designs on the web I decided to take a break and get a drink. On my way to the kitchen I passed our wine rack and there he was, prancing on his charger, proud as a bishop on a bottle of Chianti.

Now I was off and running.

The one nice thing about this casting is that the detail is fairly soft and smooth, which made painting the pattern that much easier. Once I got my eye in, the pattern began to unfold quite easily and a few hours later the bulk of him was done.

The lance is white metal so did my best to straighten it. I'm usually not a bit fan of metal lances, but I do like the big flaring vamplate on this one.

After all my bellyaching I'm happy with how he turned out and am now quite sad to see him go. I'll have to give that pattern a go with one of my Steel Fist gendarmes in the future... 

There you go Iain, the Knight of Gabbiano. I hope you like him. As a request, I ask that you have a glass of Chianti to toast him into your collection. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Entry #16 to AHPC VIII: Zweihänder Flammenschwert Casualty Stand

It's been a rather hectic time lately, but I have managed to nudge a few figures to completion - so, another casualty stand to add to my Italian Wars collection - the last one was cavalry based, so this time I've gone with an infantry theme. 

Here we have a heavily armoured landsknecht with his zweihänder flammenschwert (quite literally 'two-handed flaming sword') demanding blood or surrender from a fallen enemy.

The poor bloke on the ground is a model from Redoubt Enterprise's oft forgotten Renaissance range, while the fellow wrecking his day with the compensator sword was sourced from Oliver over at Steel Fist Miniatures. 

Thanks for popping in folks!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Entry #15 to AHPC VIII: Wulfen

This lupine fellow as he reminds me of a time when I thought the scariest monster by far was the werewolf. 

I was born and raised in northern Saskatchewan, which is pretty much as rustic and remote as it can get here in North America. My hometown was the last bit of civilization before you headed off into the Laurentian Plateau and the sub arctic beyond - literally on the edge of nowhere. One autumn, when I was 9 or 10 and staying out at my grandparents farm, a pack of timberwolves came hunting into our area. During the week we could see them at night in the farmyard, and I have to say, they were pretty magnificent creatures - scary as hell, but magnificent all the same. Anyway for those few days that they were around, my grandfather, shotgun in hand, would meet me at the end of the road where the school bus let me off and then walk me back to the farm. As a young boy you can imagine how that impressed me.

Later, when I was a teenager, the movies 'American Werewolf in London', 'Wolfen' and 'The Howling' were all released in 1981 and while they scared the absolute bejeezus out of us, my friends and I absolutely LOVED them.  We would often stay up late at night and tell our own scary stories of werewolves and work ourselves up into a terrified frenzy. It was great fun.

My favourite of the '81 werewolf movies
Anyway, when I first saw this figure I knew I had to have it as it reminded me so much of those carefree teenage days where primary concerns were avoiding being ridiculed by girls, the next scheduled D&D game and scaring yourself witless watching monster movies.  

It's a Forge World resin model, which I believe was released for a special GW event back in 2012. PaulS entered a wonderful rendition of this figure as part of the 'Myth' theme round during Challenge V, and after expressing extreme covetous of the model he kindly sourced me with another that he had acquired (thanks so much again Paul!).

I shaved off most of the silly GW Chaos iconography and painted him as a black timberwolf. The gore effect on the poor Reiselaufer, who's being toted around as lunch-on-the-hoof, is a triad recipe from a Citadel ink set that I've had since 1987 - back in the heady days when GW used containers that actually sealed...

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Entry #14 to AHPC VIII: 'Gloria Invicta' Renaissance Cavalry Casualty

Just a single figure from me today. This time it's an another casualty stand for my Italian Wars collection, a stricken horse and its dead rider - a set that I've sourced from Gamezone Miniatures. 

Gamezone has obviously marketed itself as an alternative source of figures for Warhammer Fantasy Battle fans. While most of the castings are indeed fantasy oriented, there are many of the 'Empire' themed figures which will stand-in very nicely for the Renaissance period, particularly for Spanish soldiers of Charles V's reign.

This set is called 'Gloria Invicta' and is probably amongst the best sculpted 28mm models that I've had the pleasure to work with. The sense of movement, the skill with which both figures' anatomy has been rendered and the overall feeling of pathos conveyed by the pair is amazing.

Out of the pack the rider is bare handed, which is absolutely fine, but I decided to drill-out one of his hands and give him a shivered lance modelled from a piece of plastic rod. I like to think that this small addition helps to make the scene a little more dynamic - giving the impression that they have just staggered away from a ferocious melee.

As a little experiment I applied several thin coats of Formula P3 Armour Wash mixed with blue ink on his armour plate to give the impression of the blued armour which was frequently seen during this period.

I've mounted the figure on one of the D-shaped bases that I've come up with for this project. The flat side fits snug against my transparent unit platters, helping to identify which unit it belongs to.

Thanks for dropping in folks - keep warm and have a good day!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Entry #13 to AHPC VIII: 'The Butcher' from Kingdom Death

Staying true to course, meaning really no course at all, I have several irons in the fire with not much to show for it. Nonetheless, I did manage to finish this chap last week while preparing for a game.  

This fellow is called 'The Butcher', one of the baddies from 'Kingdom Death'. As you can imagine he's not someone you'd want to ask for a choice cut at the local grocery. In the game there are basically two types of nasties: Prey monsters, ones that the players actively hunt (the White Lion, Screaming Antelope, etc.), and Nemesis monsters, which are those who show up at the players' settlement wanting to experiment with their form of 'population management'.

The Butcher, as can be expected, is a complete close-combat goon. He likes to use his two huge cleavers and heavy armour to get in close in order to dish-out the damage - lots of bleeding crits and general gory mayhem. Last week we had the pleasure of facing off with this guy and managed to overcome him, just. Seeking vengeance, he'll be revisiting our settlement again in a few years as a Level 2 version. Being a sucker for punishment, I'm actually quite looking forward to it.

Similar to my other KD figures, I've painted The Butcher largely in greyscale, with only the lanterns on his breastplate and cloak to provide any real colour. To be frank, I'm not really crazy on how he turned out, but I'm not much for hand-wringing on these things, so here he is, warts and all.

Have a great day folks!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Entry #12 to AHPC VIII: 1870s era Prussians in Demi Ronde

This week I decided to tap into my inner child and try my hand with some classic toy soldiers.

These 40mm beauties were sculpted, cast and cleaned (!) by my good friend John Bertolini. I always tease John, telling him that he's a Renaissance Man. Mr. Bertolini is a master timber-frame carpenter, enjoys the simplicity of manual labour, but also shares a  passion for food (his wife is a culinary writer), travel and history. He also has a great love of classic toy soldiers, especially those from late 19th and early 20th century Germany and Austria.  John participated in a past Challenge and you can see some of his wonderful work here.

As Greg has been entranced with all things Franco-Prussian lately so I decided to ask John if he could provide me with some suitable figures so I could riff on Greg's excellent work.

In toy soldier speak these figures are sculpted in the demi ronde style, meaning that they share elements of both classic two-dimensional figures and modern 'fully round', or three dimensional designs. I really find the style charming and always find myself smiling when I was working on them. When I was building-up the units I discovered that I needed some standard bearers and drummers. John, being his usual accommodating self, simply got out the greenstuff and balsa and made me a few on the fly - wonderful!  

A French drummer.

French standard bearer.
As to painting, I tried to go with the classic toy soldier style. So while there were areas where I couldn't resist to applying a modest highlight, I endeavoured to honour the figures and kept things fairly clean and minimalist. 

Same with the bases. No groundwork here, just a mottled effect with green paint to keep it nice, simple and toy soldier-like. The banner is from Warflag, with a bit of paint touchup.

The wonderful thing about working on these figures is how nicely they come together once they're all ranked up. I also love the sheer physical heft of them - with all this lead the bases have a substantial weight that just feels so wonderful in your hand. I don't know what it is, but the 'solidness' of the based elements really taps into my lizard brain - something that you can't find an equivalent with plastic figures.

As previously mentioned, John also provided me with a French battalion which I might take a whack at later. To be honest, what I'd really like to do is 1759 Plains of Abraham in this style as I think that it could be quite spectacular. John? Can you whip something up for me? C'mon, pretty please!

Thanks for dropping in folks. Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Entry #11 to AHPC: 'An Alpine Duet' - Italian Wars Swiss Alphorn

It was a bit of a scramble for me this week, but I've come up with a vignette that I've been wanting to do since I began my Italian Wars project a few years ago: a Swiss alphorn player calling out to his reisläufer camarades. 

A very unique instrument, the alphorn has its roots extending back to antiquity, with theories believing that it originated with the lituus war horn from the Etruscan period.  Early medieval alpine myths frequently refer to the horn being used as a signalling device between mountain villages, while the first documented reference of the word 'alphorn' is in a 1527 account book of a Cistercian abby, where an alphorn player was paid two Batzen for his playing (or perhaps to stop).

So with this in mind, I've extrapolated that if the alphorn was a fairly common instrument amongst the Swiss from at least the early medieval period, one could conjecture that they would have used them in their military campaigns, for signalling purposes and, like the highland pipes, to raise the morale of their fighting men.

As there are no alphorn figures in the market (a shocking oversight, I know) I made my own by bisecting the torso of a Perry Swiss musician, removed his existing instrument, and reposed him (aided with a liberal amount of wire and green stuff) to accept his 10 foot alphorn.  

The alphorn itself was made from a length of plastic rod with greenstuff wrapped around it and then sanded to shape.

For a bit of fun, I've accompanied the alphornist in a somewhat mismatched duet with a Landsknecht flautist, while a few onlookers are taking in the concert, enjoying a refreshment. 

Take it away!

Song: 'Heart of Cairo' (2013)

Artist: Eliana Burki

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Entry #10 to AHPC VIII: Female French Partisans: Simone Segouin and Nancy Wake

A few years ago I painted up some female partisans and thought these two figures from Stoessis Heroes would provide nice additions to the collection.

Simone Segouin, aka Nicole Minet, was just 14 when Germany invaded France. Nonetheless, young as she was, she joined a local partisan unit in 1944, the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans, a communist-led force which became the largest and most effective French partisan organization during the war. 

Simone participated in the liberation of Chartres and then joined the resistance fighters traveling to free Paris. There are several pictures of her participating in the street fighting in Paris, to which she became a bit of a cause celebre.  Simone was awarded the Croix de Guerre and was commissioned a second lieutenant. In 2016, at age 91, Simone was presented the 'Soldiering On Award', which recognizes outstanding achievements, acts of personal sacrifice or comradeship demonstrated internationally, by individuals, groups or associations, which have supported the British Armed Forces Community.

Simone Segouin, at age 91, receiving the Soldiering On Award

Nancy Wake is perhaps one of the most famous partisans who served in occupied France during the Second World War. Not French herself, Wake was in fact a New Zealander, raised in Australia, who became an agent of Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE) after running her own operations in Marseilles earlier in the war.

Nancy Wake - 'The White Mouse' of Auvergne
By 1943 the Gestapo considered Wake (whom they called 'The White Mouse') to be their most wanted person and had a 5-million franc bounty on her head. She ran a Maquis unit in the Auvergne, which she helped raise to an amazing 7,500 persons under arms. 

One of the many fake identity papers used by Nancy Wake, aka 'The White Mouse' while she operated as a resistance leader.

From April 1944 to the final liberation of France her force tied down approximately 22,000 SS personnel, inflicting over 1,400 casualties while only taking around 100 themselves. For her service Wake was awarded: the Croix de Guerre, Officer de la Legion d'Honneur, the Medal of Freedom (USA), the George Medal (UK), the RSA Badge in Gold (NZ) and the Companion of the Order of Australia. She died in the UK in 2011, aged 98. At her request, her ashes were spread in the same area of France where she had fought with the resistance. Another very grand lady.

Ms. Wake later in life.
Such amazing women. 

In honour of both of these brave women, Stoessi's Heroes has produced 28mm models of Segouin and Wake. These are lovely castings, very finely featured and full of character. 

I found a colour picture of Simone taken when she was fighting during the liberation of Paris and I've made my best efforts reflect what she wore at that time. 


Thanks for visiting folks and have a great week!