Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sir James Audley, KG

Here's the first of the BTD foot knights - painted up as Sir James Audley. He fought at Sluys, Crecy, and most famously at Poitiers. According the Froissart's narrative of the Battle of Poitiers, Sir James was granted permission to fight in the forefront of the battle line. There he was gravely wounded and saved by his loyal squires. After the battle, the Black Prince called Sir James the bravest knight that day and awarded him a pension for life. As the story goes, Sir James bequethed the Prince's gift to his squires. Upon hearing of this and verifying it with Sir James, the Black Prince awarded him an even greater pension.
Sir James went on to become Governor of Aquitaine and Seneschal of Poitou. He died in France in 1369 and was buried at Poitiers.
The BTD foot knights were picked up when they discounted at 50%. I'm glad I got them as they are very nicely detailed and sculpted. I ordered a mixture of their Early and Late-HYW figures. They come in 4 figure packs with individual poses and variations in armor.
This is one from the Late-HYW set of two-handed weapons. The thigh defenses are actually sculpted as plate, but I painted them up as studded cuisses which were common during the Crecy and Poitiers period.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Other Hugh Despenser

I can't take credit for the post title, but it is appropriate for the last mounted MAA for a Lion Rampant HYW English retinue. The source for the title is a lovely article on the subject by Susan Higgenbotham. The figure is another Front Rank model whose right arm originally held a couched lance. I cut away the lance and replaced it with the hand and sword from a plastic GW Empire swordsman.
The linked article above by Miss Higgenbotham details Sir Hugh's short, but eventful life. Suffice to say he served with honor and distinction, unlike his forebears.
Here are the three Front Rank figures. L-R below: Duke of Lancaster, Sir Hugh and the Captal de Buch.
They are a good match in both sculpting style and size with the BTD figures earlier painted.
The Litko horde tray originally held 10 models, but I used a saw to cut it down for the 6 used in Lion Rampant. As the tray was a discount item, and I didn't plan on using it for 10 models, it worked out nicely.
 Two units of 6 foot MAA each are next.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sir Jean III de Grailly, Captal de Buch, KG

Another one of the Front Rank figures - painted up as Jean de Grailly, the Captal de Buch. Another famous knight during the Hundred Years War, and loyal companion of the Black Prince. Sir Jean commanded the sole English cavalry action during the Battle of Poitiers.
Besides fighting his French brethren, he also crusaded in Prussia and participated in the Spanish civil wars.
As with the previous Front Rank figure, this horse is also elevated a bit on a thin sheet of plasticard. This give the impression of the horse being the same height as the taller BTD ones. Otherwise, the Front Rank figures, both horse and rider, are very similar in sculpting style and size.
In 1372, Sir Jean was captured during a siege by the Welsh knight in French service, Llewelyn ap Gryffud. Having refused the condition of his ransom to never raise arms against France, he was kept in captivity until his death in 1376.
 Thus passed a knight that Froissart claimed was an ideal of chivalry.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster

This is a Front Rank figure painted up as the Duke of Lancaster. He was a descendant of the famous Edmund Crouchback, whose arms the Duke inherited. Henry was a loyal commander of Edward III and was the victor at the Battle of Auberoche in 1345. Earlier in his martial career he had campaigned in Scotland and also took part in the Battle of Sluys. He was also a founding member of the Order of the Garter. He died in 1360, possibly a victim of the plague.
A spare Mirliton helm is used for the groundwork - as I placed the horse a bit further back on the base than I thought.
The horse itself sits atop a thin piece of plasticard as the Front Rank horses are a tad shorter than the BTD ones which will be in the same mounted MAA unit.
I always wanted to paint up the Duke after seeing the Verlinden 120mm model of him. The sculptor has done a great job in recreating the studded thigh armor - common during the period.
The Duke had two daughters - one married the Duke of Bavaria and the other John of Gaunt.

Multiplayer Lion Rampant Game

Longtime NHMGS member (and former president) Kevin Smyth hosted a great HYW Chevauchée scenario today at the Game Matrix. There were 7 players - four French retinues (one made up solely of several Serf units) trying to hold off three English retinues attempting to burn villages (which they mostly did) and storming a rundown castle (which they didn't). All of the terrain and figures are Kevin's. With a keen interest in the period, this is only a fraction of his extensive collection. Kevin has been on the hunt for rules for this period for many years. Admittedly, Lion Rampant may not fit larger battles like Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt, but for raids and smaller engagements the rules work quite well. ERRATA: per Kevin's blog post - the actual outcome for the scenario/game was the Serfs winning on Victory Points, followed the French - and the English last - although by appearances, the English burned almost all of the structures less the castle to the ground. They would've accumulated more points if they had looted the villages before putting them to the torch.
The dilapidated castle in the center of the table, held by various French troops types, including Serfs.
The French retinue on the left flank - which was run by yours truly. There was a unit of Serfs run by my buddy Scott A. which was already inside the village in the distance. The English retinue that moved up into the village  burned down the buildings, but could not wipe out the Serfs.
English retinue in the center of the battle moving up through a village towards the castle in the back.ground The French right had their mounted MAA destroy the only English unit in the game - a mounted MAA unit. I managed to get the only French unit destroyed - a unit of mounted Serjeants rashly attacking English foot Serjeants.The photo below has the Serfs fleeing through fields.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sir Thomas Holland, KG

Here's the last of the BTD Early-HYW mounted command figures - painted up as Sir Thomas Holland. He served under Edward III in campaigns in Flanders, Bayonne, and Brittany. He also fought at Crecy in the Prince of Wale's vanguard division.
Sir Thomas' arms are: Azure, florettee, and a lion rampant, guardant argent. The flail is another spare Old Glory weapon - with a brass rod used as the staff.
Sir Thomas died while serving in Brittany in 1360. He was a founding member of the Order of the Garter.
Here are some images of the three BTD knights from their Early-HYW mounted command pack. They'll be joined by some BTD foot knights as well as three Front Rank mounted knights.
Although the mounted figures themselves are a good match for other makes, the BTD horses are quite a bit larger than most others. Hopefully they won't be too noticeably larger than the Front Rank ones.
These figures will be part of a Lion Rampant English HYW retinue.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Oliver Ingham - Seneschal of Gascony

Here is another Black Tree Designs figure from their Early-HYW mounted command pack. He's painted up as Oliver Ingham, a prominent military commander who served in Scotland during the reign of Edward II. He remained loyal to Edward II during that regent's civil wars. Imprisoned for his loyalty, he was later released and served under Edmund of Woodstock and later Edward III. He participated in the brief and disastrous (for the English) War of Saint-Sardos in 1324. Appointed Seneschal of Gascony twice, he still held that office when the Hundred Years War began in 1337. He died in 1344 in Norfolk, England.
The Ingham family name has its roots in ancient Anglo-Saxon culture, and associated with Norfolk well before the Norman Conquest. Indeed, Sir Oliver's arms are based upon those of Roger Bigod who also hailed from Norfolk.
The helmet is an early form of a visored bascinet. The axehead is an Old Glory spare part - brass rod is used for the shaft. Didn't want to use a lance as he'll be used Lion Rampant skirmishes.
Most of the illustrations of Sir Oliver show his limb armor as black. I'm still not convinced as to this and ended up painting it as a dark metal.
Although he died before Crecy and the other famous actions during the Hundred Years War, he'll be part of a Lion Rampant retinue with other English notables from that war.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Flower of Knighthood - Sir John Chandos

This is one of the Black Tree Design figures that was on sale last month. I had actually added a set of Early-HYW figures as an afterthought as I had mainly wanted some Norman and Crusades figures for SAGA. As some of my order was initially out of stock it took over a month to get my order, and in the meantime my current interest had shifted to Lion Rampant. Here is one of the HYW figures painted up as the famous knight, Sir John Chandos.
This cool looking rearing horse caught my attention, and compelled me to add him to the order. All of the BTD figures are very nicely sculpted with good details. They are on the larger side of 28mm, and would probably fit well with Front Rank HYW figures.
Chandos' arms being fairly simple, this figure was painted up without much problems. In fact, I started on him this morning and just finished him.
The other two mounted figures will also be painted up as famous English knights from the period.
Sir John met his end in a gruesome and painful way after a minor skirmish action. Froissart detailed it in his chronicles.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

1/1200th Tessarakonteres (from a 1/900th Deceres)

Finally managed to pick up a brush today - after several weeks of painting inactivity. This will be used in an Actium game as Cleopatra's command ship. It's a Valiant Ramming Speed 1/900th scale Deceres converted to be a 1/1200th scale Tessarakonteres; One of the largest of ships from Hellenistic times.
As the rest of the ships for this game are 1/1200th scale, this ship will be suitably large and identifiable as Cleopatra's. Here it is next to a Langton Quinquereme.

A view from the stern.
It is based upon this image of a Tessarakonteres.
The towers midship and fore were made from Green Stuff; the tent in the rear is made from spare plastic sprue. The three other ships will be painted up next as command ships belonging to Antony. They are a Langton Deceres and Octeres, as well well as another Ramming Speed Deceres.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lion Rampant - First Game

Several of us met at the Game Matrix in Tacoma today for some Lion Rampant games. It was the first time for most of us, but we all seemed to enjoy the rules even though we may have not gotten everything exactly right. For one thing, in the game I played we initially had not correctly done the Courage tests. We didn't count the casualties cumulatively when figuring out the tests - that is, we only subtracted casualties caused in each turn when working out the Courage test result. At first this seemed very harsh and made for units to be destroyed quite quickly, but it does seem correct for the overall flavor of fast-paced game.

My buddy Adrian and I used the Bloodbath scenario as it is the most straight forward. I only got off a few pictures as I was referring to the rule book throughout the game to ensure we were on track.
My Early-HRE foot serjeants receiving an attack by English MAA. The foot serjeants are good at defense - although in this case they'd have been even better off in Schiltron, but they had just moved out off the woods in their previous turn.
The same unit of HRE foot serjeants in the previous turn  in cover from English archers.
The HRE crossbowmen only got to take out a few of the English before they failed their Courage test after receiving casualties from English bow fire.
One of two HRE mounted MAA units - with the Archbishop of Cologne as the retinue leader. Both mounted MAA units failed multiple movement activations early in the game. After eventually passing their movement activation this unit put the English right to flight.
The mounted MAA unit on the HRE right eventually passed movement activation to move up and attack an English foot MAA unit. They did very well in their attack and practically destroyed the English foot MAA unit. However, due to consecutive bad Courage tests, enough HRE units left the table to give the English an edge for victory.
Pat's Byzantinnes facing Old Bob's French
Wes' knights taking fire from Scott's bidowers.
For the most part I have no trouble with the rules as they are. Some of the players did have issues with the 3" between units rule though. I believe they are in the spirit of the rules being kept to small unit actions. It appears that no more than two units (one per side) can be in a close combat at any given time. Although there is the possibility of a unit being attacked by two different units in a given turn - separately of course. I like the size of units and the assignment of hits to casualty per type of unit. I'm looking forward to playing out the other scenarios - as well as adding more terrain. We did use the minimum suggested - one piece per quarter. Overall I like these rules and I think they should appeal to a lot of the community for various reasons - not the least of which is the price of the rules (clearly written and nicely illustrated at that), as well as the relatively modest amount of figures required. Unless of course you want to run 4 units of Serfs!