Legio Wargames

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By smacdowall, Jul 5 2020 09:37AM

In their famous green and white livery, these archers round out the Black Prince's contingent. The figures are a mix of Perry, Front Rank and Crusader miniatures. Some of the larger Front Rank bows and hands have been swapped for the better proportioned Perry.

I have a few more English to paint (the Earls of Oxford and Warwick's contingents) but will pause for a bit as I now need to concentrate on painting up a few more French knights.

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, 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.

By smacdowall, May 28 2020 04:02PM

I am painting the Black Prince’s archers in my usual way: white undercoat, then armour, then the rest from the inside (skin) to the outside. The reason I start with armour is that I do it by dry brushing several layers over a dark base. Inevitably the rest of the model gets streaked with various metal colours which would make a complete mess of any other painting. I find that painting everything else from the inside out (starting with skin and ending with belts and shoes) is the best way of avoiding inadvertently smearing something I have already painted (although it still does happen)

Faces and hands are done with a pale base flesh, followed with a flesh wash (I like Games Workshop’s). The wash brings out the detail and deepens the tone. I also apply flesh wash over some of the armour. This gives it a light slightly rusty patina which any non-blackened iron would acquire pretty quickly in the era before stainless steel.

Then I touch up eyes (with dark brown), mouths (with red-brown) and highlights (with pale flesh and a bit of red for the cheeks).

As I paint the flesh I am painfully aware of just how large the heads and hands of the Front Rank figures are (right of photo from viewer’s perspective). The Front Rank figure at front right has a Perry left hand holding his bow, the oversized right hand is the original. Yet when I look at them from a distance they seem OK. The eye and brain have an uncanny ability to compensate and correct flaws. I’m hoping that the painting will blend the differently proportioned figures together.

I will post photos of the remaining stages over the next few days.

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