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By smacdowall, Jun 22 2020 03:15PM

I have now finished painting the Black Prince’s contingent for Crécy.

Here is young Prince Edward of Woodstock with his men at arms. Front rank: the Black Prince (centre), Godfrey de Harcourt (to his right), the Earl of Stafford (to his left).

And the rear view: Sir Reynold Cobham (right) Sir Richard FitzSimons (standard bearer, centre) and a man at arms in the Prince’s livery.

To fight alongside the men at arms are some spearmen, led by Sir John Chandos (white shield with red pile), and Sir Bartholomew de Burghersh (red shield with yellow lion).

This is the full contingent arrayed for battle with archers in front. The miniatures are a mix of Perry, Front Rank, Essex and Wargames Foundry.

I have greatly enjoyed painting them and pleased with the way I have managed to blend the miniatures from different manufacturers. It has required a bit of surgery here and there with head, hand and bow swaps but I think it is worth it.

Next up with be a unit of Cheshire and Flintshire archers. Then I need to think about painting up some more French knights.

By smacdowall, Jun 11 2020 08:50PM

At Crécy the Black Prince was only 16 years old. He commanded the vanguard, surrounded by more experienced knights. Having painted his archers I am now painting the Prince and his immediate retinue.

First step, as ever. is a Black ink wash over the white undercoat on the metal bits. I like Coat d’Arms black or armour ink wash as they are more like a stain than a wash and this is what I am looking for in the fist step.

Then I dry brush a very dark metal over the black, picking out the highlights and starting to give the armour a metallic look. Should I wish blackened armour (as for the Black Prince’s figure) I stop here. For the others there will be further coats.

I do a similar dark base for brass or bronze which will later be highlighted with an antique gold.

Here you can see the Black Prince with a blackened bronze base on his helmet visor and the dark metal on the rest of the armour which could be left to represent cast iron or blackened iron.

A second dry brush using a brighter shade (such as Games Workshop Bolt Gun) lifts and brightens the armour.

Then comes a silver dry brush which really brings out the detail and gives the armour a polished shine.

Brass/gold highlights come next along with silver painted on protruding bits of armour to enhance the polished look. I have left the Black Prince with black armour while most of the others have polished iron.

Here they are after painting the rest. The standard I designed on my computer, printed off and over painted.

Now they are ready for basing. From left to right (viewer’s perspective) they are: Ralph, Earl of Stafford, Sir Richard Fitzsimons, Edward of Woodstock (the Black Prince), Sir Reynold Cobham, a man at arms in the prince’s livery, and Viscount Geoffroy de Harcourt.

Here they are on their base. I stick magnetic sheets to the underside of the card base and place them on a steel ruler as the gkue is drying to prevent the bases from warping.

By smacdowall, May 30 2020 04:50PM

I am in the final stages of finishing off the Black Prince’s archers. It may be wishful thinking but as the painting progresses, the marked differences between the proportions of the Front Rank and Perry figures seem to dissipate. The eye does have a natural tendency to correct faults.

The figures are now more or less finished apart from my magic ingredient. This is a very thin Raw Umber wash over everything.

Liquitex’s Raw Umber is the best for this, thinned so much that it is little more than dirty coloured water.

The Raw Umber wash transforms the figures. It provides definition by settling into the groves to outline detail; it tones down the colours adding a pleasing and realistic patina; and it helps to blend the colours.

It used to be that I avoided applying the raw umber wash over the colour blue (as it gave a greenish tinge) or over armour. For ancient or medieval figures, however, the greenish tinge to blue is probably quite realistic.

The raw umber wash over armour gives a slight rusty tinge which can be seen in the above photo. For most men in the era before stainless steel a bit of rust would be the norm on campaign, unless they had armies of servants to polish theri armour.

I base the figures 5 to a 60 x 40 cm base. I use card with adhesive magnetic bases on the underside. This helps for transport and storage as well as adding a little weight. I then varnish the figures brushing on Liquitex Matte varnish which not only protects but also enhances the colours.

I paint the bases green and then cover with a water based natural colour wood filler. After adding a few bits of gravel and green foliage to set in the wood filler I let it all dry. In doing so I place the magnetic bases on a steel ruler to prevent warping as the filler dries.

After leaving overnight to properly dry, I apply a wash of Raw Umber over the base, this gives the base an appropriately earthy look.

Some medium green flocking comes next, applied with white glue.

Then some tufts of lighter coloured static grass to brighten and lift the colours.

Here then is the finished unit.

Next up: the Black Prince’s knights.

By smacdowall, May 29 2020 03:57PM

When I paint a unit I try to do just that — paint the unit as an entity rather than several individual figures. I find the key to getting the right look is to keep to a relatively small number of colours and use those colours that complement each other.

Black will be the predominant colour as the Black Prince’s livery. I am not entirely certain that black was Edward of Woodstock’s livery colour but decided to go with it anyway, even though the Black Prince did not get that sobriquet until the 16th century. I like the look, so my little men (or some of them) will wear black.

Natural linen for the aketons matches nicely with the black and I use various shades of green and red as the other main complementary colours.

Black is quite a tricky colour to get right. I start with a very dark grey (with some tan mixed in) thinned down and painted over the white undercoat to create highlights and shadows. I then touch up the highlights with a medium grey followed by a very thin pure black wash over the whole thing to deepen the shadows. Then I added a white feather as the prince’s livery badge.

I created the unit banner on my computer then sized and printed it. The design of the three white feathers on black is from the Prince of Wales’ ’shield of peace’. Legend has it that he adopted the badge along with the motto 'Ich dien' from the King of Bohemia whose bravery so impressed him at Crécy. The veracity of this is far from certain.

I then cut the flag out and overpaint it. This may seem like an unnecessary chore but I find a printed flag looks like… well, a printed flag. Overpainting makes it look more natural and vibrant. I paint the bit between the two halves the colour of the flag pole. In this case I have experimented with a few bars to represent the cloth that would have been wrapped around the pole — not something I have done before.

I attach the flag to the pole with white glue. I know banners tended to be stiff in this period (held at the top as well at the side). But without having a horizontal pole at the top I don’t think it looks right. Therefore I do give it a bit of flow but not as much as I would normally. I create the folds by gently wrapping the flag around a cocktail stick or paint brush handle when the glue is still wet. When it dries the falg will remain in place.

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