Legio Wargames

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By smacdowall, Sep 14 2020 05:42PM

My Hundred Years War project is nearing completion. I am still working on some French dismounted men-at-arms that could serve in the engagements after Crécy when the French learned to dismount when faced by massed archers.


In the meantime here are some photos of the mounted English knights I painted back in 1983, when my patience and ability to paint fine heraldic detail was better than it is today — even if my overall painting style may have improved a little. All the miniatures are Essex 25/28 mil


Here we have King Edward III’s knights. From right to left (their perspective): Sir Thomas Felton; Bartholomew Lord Burghersh (King’s Chamberlain); Sir John Erpingham (holding the royal banner); Michael Lord Poynings; Thomas Lord Berkley; and Sir Thomas Wingfield. Of these Burghersh and Poynigs were in the King’s battle at Crécy. Sir John Erpingham was the father of Sir Thomas who commanded the archers at Agincourt. Sir John certainly fought in France under Edward III but there is absolutely no evidence that he carried the royal banner at Crécy.


A rear view of the king’s knights.


The second unit contains knights from the mainward (R-L their perspective): Sir William de Hardreshalle; Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel; Sir John Delves; William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton; Sir William Fitzwarin; and Sir John Chandos.


And here they are again from another perspective.


Last but certainly not least we have:



Edward of Woodstock, aka the Black Prince — his standard carried by Sir Richard Fitzsimon. The Prince is wearing rather old fashioned kit for a 16 year old in 1346 — perhaps hand-me-downs from Daddy!


And finally Edward III, King of England (and France?) with his herald and his hawk.


All of these fine gentlemen started me off on a 37 year long Crécy project. Although nearly 40 years old, none have yet seen combat on the wargames table for the simple reason that the English rarely fought mounted.


Maybe one day they will see action.


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.






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