Monday, 14 May 2012

Burgundian Ordonnance - 13th Company

My first mounted completed unit of mounted men at arms, the first of several which will form the offensive backbone of Charles the Bold's army, representing the 13th company of the Ordonnance.  This unit uses the most recent Perry plastic box, with a couple of metal scurrors from the WR range.

The 13th company had several captains during Charles' dukedom. Around 1475 following the siege of Neuss, Thanaseor de Capoue was appointed. This was a time when an increasing number of italian condottiere were being sought and recruited by the duke in a deliberate policy to increase the professionalism of his forces, so superseding many of those originally appointed from his Burgundian territories. Capoue is denoted in the central stand, wearing a coat with his personal coat of arms. The guidon for the 13th Company appears to have portrayed the image of St John, so I've used one of the excellent downloads from the Krigsspil website. The sharp-eyed amongst you will notice this is a different guidon to the previous post, as I realised that I'd attached the wrong one!

I decided to represent these 'chef de chambres', as contemporary documents refer to them as, on unbarded horses. I also plan to do this with the remainder of the contingents. There is no hard evidence for this approach. The 1471 ducal ordinances stated that such men at arms must provide a horse with a combat saddle and chamfron. Near contemporary illustrations are also inconclusive; the 'Master WA' drawings show a group of men at arms or coustillers all on unbarded horses. Diebold Schilling's chronicle of c1480 shows most of the Burgundian men at arms at the battle of Morat on plate-armoured mounts bearing various Charles' devices, such as crosses and flints (which may just be an artist representation to denote them, rather than reflective of actual men at arms). The reality was that such armour was expensive and so unlikely to be very widespread, even with the deep pockets of the Burgundian dukes.  So I'll save the barding for units with the main commanders, to denote them more easily on the battlefield.

The coustiller used is carrying a heavy lance, which again is a bit of licence on my part. The 1471 ordinances required them to carry a 'good javelin'. The assumption is that coustillers formed a second rank to the men at arms and if so, then I believe it's reasonable to assume that some may have used a lance, rather than a spear, to add to the impetus of a charge.

I've also added to some of the figures another element of the Burgundian Ordonnance troops - the red saltire emblem that denoted them in the field. As laid out in 1471, they were provided with crosses made of cloth to attach their harness. I've cut these from thin foil  and superglued on - but in future I'll try pre-cut plastic strip to try and achieve thinner crosses.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Horse tack variations

Just an quick interim post, as I slowly continue to paint my first Ordonnance Men at Arms contingent.

I wanted to create a little variety with the horses's tack, as most of this unit will be unarmoured mounts and the consequence of interchangable horse halves in the Perry mounted men at arms box is that the tack is all the same (very similar to the horses illustrated in the 'Beauchamp Pageant'). One of the benefits of plastic is that such changes are relatively easy to attempt. I have therefore scraped away with a sharp scalpel the existing retaining straps on the horses rump and smoothed down the other tack on the flanks. I then cut to shape some replacement tack out of thin foil (from puree tubes that I've saved), loosely based on some medieval illustrations. These have then had a covering of GW Green Stuff brushed on in order to give them a bit of texture before undercoating and painting.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Burgundian Men at Arms - first base.

I've completed the first base of Burgundian Ordonnance men at arms. I was eager to get some of these done, as the figures are so good. This is the central base (on 60mm width by 80mm depth) of a three-based unit that'll comprise my Ordonnance mounted men at arms; so nine figures in total for each contingent. The central base will have the company guidon and any conductuer/captain figure, with the wings having men at arms plus any supporting coustillers - so effectively all the bases will be interchangeable.  I'll provide some historical context for this Ordonnance  Company when it's completed.

A note on painting the plate armour.  As previously posted the extra fine details on the figures encouraged me to try a different approach. On these figures I've undercoated on black (as usual), then given the armour a thin covering of the new Games Workshop 'Runefang Steel'. This is quite a bright colour and needs toning down, so I when dry I generously washed with a 50:50 mix of GW black wash and Ogryn Flesh wash, letting it pick out and settle in all the joints of the plates. When completely dry, a very light dry brush on the high points of the armour with Vallejo Silver. I did try the GW new dry-brush, but they are a rubbery consistency which I don't like using (and the colours not bright enough to act as the final highlight). I'm happy with the result and I'll use it on the rest of the men at arms - it's quick and easy (the horses now take the longest to paint) and gives me finish that I wanted to represent  polished plate harness.

Being too hasty in my enthusiasm to assemble - and not heeding my own advice of my last post! - I realised when it was too late that I'd attached the wrong lance arm to the man in the italian armour. Hey ho... hopefully when I've done several contingents of these, he'll be too hard to find...

Riders are already assembled (correctly!) and undercoated for the remainder of this Company. Will post them all soon.