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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, Sep 5 2020 02:17PM

It was more than 20 years ago when I painted my first English knights and archers with the intention of one day seeing them in action against the French in a re-fight of Crécy (1346). It has taken me until now to amass enough miniatures to give it a go.

Crécy is a difficult battle to replicate on the wargames table as with historical hindsight no one would charge mounted knights uphill against massed longbowmen backed up by dismounted men at arms and spearmen.

Therefore, rather than a conventional game, I decided to have two players on the French side with the English being umpire controlled. The two French players, representing the Comte d’Alençon and the Johan von Luxembourg, would vie with each other for reputation and prestige. The victory points encouraged them to behave as chivalric 14th century knights rather than 21st century wargamers.

The game was played remotely via Zoom. I umpired and moved the miniatures while the two French players rolled the dice for their actions. They were awarded prestige points for chivalrous and heroic actions such as charging enemy men at arms or capturing valuable prisoners. Actions against archers or spearmen were considered beneath them and not worthy of note.

I deployed the troops historically with as close a recreation of the Crécy battlefield as I could on an 8’ x 6’ table (played lengthwise).

The English deployed in 3 battles — the Black Prince on the right, Northumberland on the left and King Edward in reserve at the rear.

The French would be attacking from line of march behind a screen of Genoese crossbowmen. Alençon was forward and angling right, Luxembourg slightly behind and angling left. King Philip Valois and the militia (both umpire controlled) took up the rear.

As mentioned in the previous post, I decided to adapt Andy Callan’s excellent Never Mind the Billhooks rules from the Wars of the Roses to the Hundred Years War, further adapting them to suite my element based armies. I made up suitable HYW cards and order tokens, used casualties as daunted markers, arrows on counters to keep track of archer shots, and small pebbles to recored 'casualties' on my element -based units.

The game played out much like the historical battle. Both Alençon and Luxembourg surged forward, anxious to gain glory in combat with enemy men of rank.

The English archers and cannon made short work of the Genoese crossbowmen and shot apart the lead units of French knights. When the French first managed to charge home across the hidden pits in front of the enemy positions, the English archers held their ground rather than falling back behind the supporting men at arms (determined by a die roll).

This deprived the French of honourable combat against worthy opponents. Instead they had to contend with exchanging blows with mere peasants and the Ignominy of then being forced to retire when the peasants held their ground.

The French charged again and again.

Finally Luxembourg managed to drive back the Black Prince’s archers and engage the Prince and his dismounted knights in honourable combat. Even though he was driven back, Luxembourg could claim greater glory than Alençon.

By this time most of the French knights were retiring and although King Philip had yet to engage there was little point in yet another charge. The game had come to a natural end with Luxembourg in ascendancy and Alençon licking his wounds.

Despite suffering enormous casualties (while very few English died) moral victory certainly went to the French. Not only did the English knights cower behind peasants but they also used smoky, filfy cannons which spoke of witchcraft!

Although there is still work to do in adapting Never Mind the Billhooks for my element based armies they worked well for the Hundred Years War, giving us a fun remote game that came to completion in 3 hours.

By smacdowall, Aug 2 2020 05:34PM

Decades ago, when my eyes were better and my hands steadier, I painted Edward III King of England and herald (Essex miniatures). I am still rather proud of the job I managed on the surcoats, caparisons and trumpet banner.

Knowing just how many fleur-de-lys I would have to paint, I have been putting off painting Edward’s opponent — Philip VI Valois, King of France. In many ways my painting style has improved over the years, but not the ability or patience to execute repetitive finely detailed designs.

I toyed with the idea of transfers. Battle Flag has a transfer set for King Philip’s shield, surcoat and barding to fit a First Corps miniature. I decided to try it out but I did not get on well with it. To my eye the transfers just don’t look right. They are far too pristine and look like the machine created designs that they are.

So it was back to hand painting using the transfers as a guide.

I am rather pleased with the result.

I took my time, painting only as many fleurs-de-lys as I could handle in a single siting. In this way I took several days to paint the horse caparison, doing one side first and then the other. The tedium of the job was not helped by the fact that it is almost impossible to paint a yellow design directly on blue and have it look good. Therefore I first painted all the fleurs-de-lys in white then came back the following day to overpaint them in yellow. Painting just for an hour or two each day, doing only a few designs at a time, took all the tedium out of the job.

Accompanying the king are (from right to left, their perspective): Bernard seigneur de Moreuil (Front Rank), Louis de Montmorency sieur de Laval (Perry),

Miles VIII sieur de Noyers carrying the Oriflamme (Perry),

King Philip VI (First Corps), his herald (Crusader)

and Guillaume de Martel (Front Rank) whose descendant and namesake also fought at Agincourt.

Keen medievalists will note that the Perry figures are a bit ahead of their time when it comes to fashion. This is because they are designed for the Agincourt period when plate armour had become more complete.

I decided some time ago not to worry too much about this as they are such lovely miniatures. I find that one or two in early 1400’s armour does not jar too much, especially if I stick to models with surcoats.

The figure I have painted up as Louis de Montmorency was designed by the Perrys to represent the comte de Fauquembergues at Agincourt and rather annoyingly has his coat of arms cast in relief on the surcoat.

Fortunately Montmorency had the same design of a cross with scallops, just in different colours with the addition of four eagles in the quadrants.

By smacdowall, Jul 23 2020 04:29PM

Enough of archers and men on foot. It is time to deploy the flower of European chivalry — proud French knights well harnessed and properly mounted!

Nothing beats the colour of early Hundred Years War knights with shields and surcoats, and some mounted on caparisoned horses. The problem is that all the intricate heraldic designs need to be painted and they can be a bit intimidating.

I have now completed the contingents of Jean, Comte d’Hainault and Louis de Nevers, Comte de Flandres. In front are Hainault’s men. Those identifiable by their heraldic devices are, from right to left (their perspective): Robert II d’Harcourt, the Comte d’Hainault, Thierry II de Senzielles (carrying the count’s banner), Jean V Comte d’Harcourt. Godfrey de Harcourt, brother to Robert and Jean, fought on the English side with the Black Prince. See Ready to take on the French.

I rather dreaded painting d’Hainault’s coat of arms with its four lions. I can manage a lion pretty well but repeating the same image many times over on the shield, banner and horse caparison was a bit daunting. I took my time, not attempting to do them all at once. As you can see in the close-up the lions are not absolutely perfect but I learned a long time ago that the eye corrects mistakes and they look just fine when viewed at the distance you would normally see them on the wargames table.

This is the contingent of Louis de Nevers, Comte de Flandres. Again more lions but not quite as many! From right to left we have Robert le Moreau, Seigneur de Fiennes, a squire with the cross of St Denis on his shield, Jean IV Seigneur de Ghistelles with the banner, the Comte de Flandres, his son Louis II de Male, and Anseau de Joinville , Comte de Vaudémont.

The miniatures are from a mix of 28mm manufacturers. The Comte de Vaudémont in the foreground is from Crusader Miniatures. The squire behind him is Front Rank. Louis le Male to his right is from Perry Miniatures.

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