Friday, November 20, 2015

A Falchion and Rondel Dagger Added

A few more items added to the kit - a falchion from Windlass Steel Crafts and a triangular bladed rondel dagger.
Again, nothing to do with painting or gaming, but just a record of sorts of what I've been up to. I actually picked up the sword off of Amazon with free shipping. It got here within a week.
I suppose you can blame my oldest boy for turning me on to Microsoft Paint.NET.
Cheers for now. Not sure when I will pick up a brush again, but best wishes to all of you from the Magic Kingdom.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Post, A Post! Churburg #13 Breastplate

Unfortunately nothing to do with painting or gaming, but wanted to post this as a record of what I've been currently up to. And again, sincerest apologies for not visiting the fine blogs as often as in the past. Anyway, I picked up a piece for my Late-14th C. transitional armor-in-the-works. This is another ebay purchase which was made by the talented (and likely underpaid) metal workers in far off India. It is based upon the breastplate displayed in Churburg Castle in Italy. The original was made in the latter part of the 14th Century, presumably by Milanese craftsmen. This reproduction piece is made out of 16 gauge steel with brass embellishments, as well as a lance rest and "v"ribbed  sword stop.
Side view showing the globular shape of the front plate popular during the period - as well as showing the lance rest down.
Besides the main front plate, there are four plates per side which are held together with leather and riveting. The plates fold up well and the whole piece can fit into a very compact size for storage.
The only drawback with this breastplate is that the attaching straps, two cross straps over the shoulder and one at the waist, need assistance to secure. My wife gives me a tight window of opportunity to assist in this as well as take photos. Actually she even tailored the gambeson's sleeves and also the padded aventail for me. I can look convincingly hopeless, whereby she gives in.
Well, again apologies for the lack of hobby-related posts, as well as visits to your wonderful blogs. Hopefully I can posts future updates as more pieces are accumulated.
From Churburg Castle west (i.e. Puyallup, WA), Warmest Regards!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Apologies, and a Padded Gambeson

First off, sincerest apologies to my fellow bloggers as I've not visited as many of your sites as I had wished. Somewhat busier than normal at work, and also returning to an earlier passion - Late Medieval armor. Seems the timing for this is fortuitous as there is so much relatively inexpensive reproduction stuff being made in India and elsewhere. I ended up getting a padded gambeson that is very similar to the one once owned by Charles VI of France, and still in existence. Here it is below with the other stuff recently acquired - the belt is actually on loan from my wife.
"We just have to step on his toes and he'll stop."
The gambeson is made in India, and was actually shipped from there and arrived in a only a couple of weeks.
"Yeah, he's up."
I should get some better foot protection, but I just got home from work and opened the box and couldn't wait to try it on. I know I'm getting on my wife's nerves asking her to take pictures of me too.
"Leave the DVD player, it's not worth it!"
Hope to get back to painting soon - but this 1:1 stuff is a bit fun. ;) Cheers!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia, Calabria and Sicily

Another Black Tree Design 2d Crusades figure from their command pack. He is depicted as Robert Guiscard, his shield bearing the arms of De Hautville. He was one of twelve sons sired by the Norman lord, Tancred de Hautville during the 11th Century. Most of these sons left Normandy to seek wealth and glory in Italy. Robert was the most successful of these.
The Greek (Byzantine) princess and historian, Anna Comena, described Robert thus:

"This Robert was Norman by birth, of obscure origins, with an overbearing character and a thoroughly villainous mind; he was a brave fighter, very cunning in his assaults on the wealth and power of great men; in achieving his aims absolutely inexorable, diverting criticism by incontrovertible argument. He was a man of immense stature, surpassing even the biggest men; he had a ruddy complexion, fair hair, broad shoulders, eyes that all but shot out sparks of fire. In a well-built man one looks for breadth here and slimness there; in him all was admirably well-proportioned and elegant... Homer remarked of Achilles that when he shouted his hearers had the impression of a multitude in uproar, but Robert’s bellow, so they say, put tens of thousands to flight."
He defeated the Byzantine Emperor Alexios Komnemos at Battle of Dyrrhachium in 1081. In this battle, Normans fought against their kindred serving in the Varangian Guard of the Byzantines. The Byzantines suffered heavy losses, including most the Varangian Guard.
Robert died of fever while on campaign in 1085. His eldest son Bohemond I of Antioch would be a leader of the First Crusade. Robert had several other sons, of whom Roger Borsa was named his heir. Roger ruled Southern Italy until his death in 1111.
How to paint a Dappled Horse - hopefully the following can be of some use - please feel free to contact me (via comments here or otherwise), for any questions:

1) Start with a white undercoat (I used cheap Walmart spray paint).

2) Add washes of thinned down black. In this case I used craft store black mixed with PVA (Elmer's Glue). The PVA slows the drying and allows the color to settle into recesses. This process not only helps for definition and black lining horse furniture, it also "grays" down the horse flesh for the white spots.

3) Use a fairly small/fine tip brush - I use an old 00-Series brush - for the dappling. Add groups of 3 to 5 white dots in a somewhat geometric pattern, staying away from the head, lower legs and underbelly. Try to arrange the groups so they appear separate from other groups. The dots themselves are irregular in size, as well as not too strongly white - I sometimes add a little water to the brush when applying the dots. This gives some dots a bit of transparency - which adds to the irregularity.

4) This last step is optional, but you can also soften the pattern with a very light dry brushing of white. This can blend in areas that may appear too dark in contrast.

5) The rest of the horse, like lower legs, mane and tail are painted like regular colored horses. That is, black can be used for the lower parts of the legs and white markings at the hooves. Tails and manes for dappled horses can be any color - from white to black.

It's a lot simpler then it sounds, I can assure you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Bastard Has Arrived

The Bastard sword, aka Hand and a Half Sword, that is. This was another ebay score - $24.50 with free shipping. It only took a week to get here. Here are the specs from the listing:
Mirror Polish Stainless Steel
Overall Length: 42 Inches
Blade Length: 33.5 Inches
Blade Width: 1.75 Inches
Includes: Genuine Leather Sheath, Belt Loop

I beat the other bidder by only .50 cents - I bet the guy was bummed. I waited until about a minute was left and put in a bid of up to $30.00. Apparently the other bidder only bid the listed starting bid of $24.00. Anyway, it's a sort of tactic I've used to good effect on ebay in the past.
Note the extended grip for use with the other hand. I saw a video showing the secondary hand should only hold the pommel area, and not with a tight two-handed grip. This makes for more articulated movement.
The sword is fairly light and well balanced. The edge is semi-sharp; that is, not razor sharp, and only from the middle of the blade to the tip. As I intend to use it as a practice/training sword, I don't want it sharp anyway. I may file the edge down a bit to make it blunt - that is if some hedge trimming doesn't dull it first.
Anyway, it's a fine addition for the price of about two or three decent lunches. To compensate I ate off the dollar menu most of last week.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

John de Courcy, King of Ulster

Here is a Black Tree Design 2nd Crusades figure painted up as the Anglo-Norman Warlord John de Courcy. He was quite a reputable warrior who conquered much of Ireland in the latter part of the 12th Century.  The De Courcy arms are three red (gules) eagles on a white (argent) field. His helmet is the Phrygian Cap style popular at the time, after the 1st and 2nd Crusades.
De Courcy's actions in Ireland were not sanctioned by King Henry II, who declared De Courcy a traitor. Later, Henry's successor, King John ordered Hugh de Lacy to arrest him. De Courcy was famed for his martial prowess and his capture by Sir Hugh was as much by guile as feat of arms.
Here is an excerpt from the Book of Howth of the capture:
"Sir Hugh de Lacy was commanded to do what he might to apprehend and take Sir John de Courcy, and so devised and conferred with certain of Sir John's own men, how this might be done; and they said it were not possible to take him, since he lived ever in his armour, unless it were a Good Friday and they told that his custom was that on that day he would wear no shield, harness nor weapon, but would be in the church, kneeling at his prayers, after he had gone about the church five times bare-footed. And so they came at him upon the sudden, and he had no shift to make but with the cross pole, and defended him until it was broken and slew thirteen of them before he was taken.
His armor is not much different from those worn at the Battle of Hastings about a hundred years earlier. The wearing of surcoats still not common, and the shield still fairly large. Mail was more fully worn over most of the limbs.
De Courcy was imprisoned after his capture, and later released upon his oath of going on pilgrimage in the Holy Land.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Hounskull Visor and Camail Padding Work

The padding added under the camail; only the area where the padding meets the mail opening at the chin was stitched. The cuffs of the leather gloves have been folded inside the gauntlet cuff - it adds to the padding of that area.
Thanks to Paul F. Walker, who's marvelous site on Medieval armor, Armour Illustrations, I lately stumbled upon in my quest to keep my visor in the raised position when not needing to be down, I was able to do just that. Paul, as some of you may already have known is a subject matter expert on Medieval armor. He not only lectures on the subject, but has also written a book on it called History of Armour 1100-1700. He's a fine illustrator too. Anyway, Paul kindly answered my post on his blog asking about the visor issue. He immediately responded with what turned out to be a deceptively simple process. He advised me to remove the pins holding the visor, and replace them with nuts and bolts tightened enough to allow the visor to remain and still able to be pushed down. Luckily I already had a Dremel and a metal cutting attachment. This worked perfectly and only needed a little help of a Phillips headed screw driver and hammer to pop out.
WIP shot with the white arrow inside the bascinet showing where the flattened end of the pin was sheared off; the black arrow points to the remainder of the pin popped out of the bascinet.
I may enlarge the holes of the visor and hinges and replace the smaller bolts with larger diameter ones, as the smaller ones have trouble holding up the weight of the visor, but here it is held precariously up.
That's my mom's satin Las Vegas windbreaker she got a while back as a prize; it's a stand-in for a padded gambeson.
The camail fits really good now with the padded liner added - the padding sits snugly at the chin and the mail spreads out over the shoulders cleanly.
I'm waiting on a hand-and-a-half bastard sword I won off ebay for $24.50USD free shipping. It's made
 in China and would likely break in combat, but it'll be good for swinging around the backyard. I'll probably grind off the sharpened edge to make it safer too; after I cut some branches off trees.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Final Round of Black Tree Design HYW Foot Knights

Okay, so here are the last six Black Tree Design foot knights that I've had sitting around for a while. They are painted up from left to right (front row): Owain Glyndwyr, Laurence Hastings - Earl of Pembroke, Sir Miles Stapleton; left to right (rear row): Sir Richard Fitzsimon, Sir John Beauchamp, and Sir Roger de Clifford.
Sir Richard carries the Cross of St. George; Sir John the Royal Standard of Edward III; and Sir Roger the banner of the Black Prince. The last two were downloaded from the Danish Figure Games Association site, and the St. George Cross was hand painted. They are based on Gale Force 9 magnetic 25mm rounds.
As I've mentioned before, I find this range from BTD to be particularly nice. Very nicely detailed, and historically accurate, IMO.

Sir Richard Fitzsimon, KG - Battle of Crecy

Here's the last Black Tree Design foot knight from their Early-HYW command pack - painted up as Sir Richard Fitzsimon. Sir Richard is credited with protecting the young Prince of Wales at Crecy when under attack by the Duke of Alencon's forces.
This is the narrative by Froissart: Sir Richard Fitzsimon, the Black Prince’s standard bearer was beside the Prince when he fell and threw the standard down to cover him and then stood on it to both protect him and prevent the standard from being carried off. Sir Richard Fitzsimon then slew the French knight who had knocked over the Black Prince, then killed the Count of Flanders. The Frenchmen eagerly pushed forward to seize a valuable prisoner and the Englishmen were struck down in turn until Fitzsimon was the only one left standing.
He bears the Cross of St. George. Sir Richard was another founding member of the Order of the Garter - no surprise considering his prowess at Crecy.
His arms are three red (gules) shields (escutcheons) on a white (argent) field. Quite simple, yet probably visually stunning on the battlefield.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sir John Beauchamp, KG

Here is another Black Tree Design HYW knight from their command pack. He is painted up as Sir John Beauchamp, who was the younger brother of Thomas, Earl of Warwick. Sir John was Edward III's Royal Standard bearer at Crecy. He was also present at the Battle of Sluys, and the Siege of Calais. Sir John was one of the founding members of the Knights Garter.
The lovely standard was another free download from the excellent Danish Figure Games Association site; the flags themselves created by one Rune Kramer - quite a talented and resourceful bloke.
His shield bears the Beauchamp coat of arms with a black (sable) star in the center field to indicate his status as a younger brother of the family head.
One more figure remains from the command pack, and he is planned to bear the St. George's Cross flag.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sir Laurence Hastings, Earl of Pembroke

Getting back to brushwork - here is another Black Tree Design HYW foot knight. He is painted up as Sir Laurence Hastings who served under Edward III in Flanders and Scotland. He also participated in the Duke of Lancaster's campaign in Aquitaine and Gascony in 1345. He was at the Siege of Calais in 1346. He died in 1348 at the age of 29.
His coat of arms are those of Hastings and Valence quartered. The arms of Hastings being a woman's sleeve and that of Valence being bars argent (white) and azure (blue) with red (gules) martlets. Quite a catchy set of arms.
His armor is typical of the early 14th century consisting of plate limb armor supplementing mail. He wears an open faced bascinet with mail aventail.
Black Tree Design makes some of best figures for the period - Crecy to Poitiers - in my opinion.
The figures are on the larger side of 28mm, which makes a nice foil for heraldry.

FedEx and USPS Painting Interruptions

As I am off on Fridays, I was fortunate to be at home when the door bell rang not once, but twice this morning - first from FedEx and not long afterwards from the USPS. The first package was a padded hood, and the other Hourglass Gauntlets. Both were picked up off of ebay a couple of weeks ago. I was about to start on the three remaining Black Tree Design HYW foot knights, but had to try out both armor items.

Here is the padded aventail sitting under the mail which fits perfectly once I did some modifications to it. I still need to sew the front upper portion onto the chin opening of the mail. The padded coif was cut off and then the caped portion was reversed as the mail hangs lower at the front, and the padded hood was shorter at the front. Anyway, the image below shows how it now fits.
Here's the coif cut away from the cape portion. Straps were also cut off as they weren't needed. The padded coif can now be used with a Sugarloaf helm I also have.
And here are the hourglass gauntlets. There are also made in India and retailed from a supplier in Georgia. I tried them on and the fingers and thumb are well articulated for movement. The leather gloves are attached to the gauntlets. They feel great and make a nice metal thud when punched together.
They are made similar to the ones the Black Prince had, with the inside of the cuff open. I was able to press down on them to make the width a little smaller.
I don't know where I'm going with all of this, but so far all of these reproduction pieces have exceeded my expectations of quality and fit - not to mention the relatively inexpensive costs. Who knows, the Feds may start imposing some higher import taxes someday, so better get them now.