Saturday, December 26, 2015

Last 1:1 Medieval Armor Post for 2015 - Promise

The armor is on a display stand, tucked away in a corner of the living room. The haubergeon fits over a shirt since the arming jacket is too thick for it. This is actually the "look" I was shooting for. It's based on examples from the late-14th C. - particularly from the Churburg collection in Italy. For the record, I sprayed the aluminum mail haubergeon with a can of Testors Graphite Metallic - sort of a gunmetal color, to darken it.
This is Version 3 of the armor stand. The width was shortened by about an inch, and the sides of the T-section at the shoulders cut off. The earlier tubing for the arms aren't used, and the arm harnesses are tied directly to the tube at the neck, as well as the gauntlets. That is, the arm harnesses and gauntlets hang down freely - but some of the weight rests on the hips.
A stabilizing tube was added the rear using a couple of T-connectors. The tube base was weighted down  by pouring sand into them - a tip from fellow blogger Simon Q.  As it is displayed in the corner of the living room, only the front will be seen and no side-viewing.
This has been rather cathartic and I may now start painting and gaming again in the new year. All the cool kids around here are talking about Dragon Rampant, which could be a reason to dust off the Empire troops. However, the Napoleonic troops may be in need for some Black Powder'ng first.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wishing You All A Very Merry Christmas!

The arming jacket arrived today - the leg and arm harnesses much more comfortably now. Only thing is the mail haubergeon doesn't fit over it. It was a tight fit to begin with, and the arming jacket is padded. I'll just use the mail for the display stand. The jacket is pretty impressively constructed - it has tying points with brass tips.
I may add another leather tab on each leg harness as there's plenty of ties. There's currently only one tie-off point on the front center of the legs. One on the outside would help distribute the weight better.
Several more gratuitous shots while my wife was still willing to take them. I kept interrupting her in the kitchen while she was preparing a Christmas Eve meal. Besides taking the pictures, I needed her to tie off the arm harness and the back straps for the breastplate.
Breaking a bit of sweat while getting in the armor, my wife laughed at the thought of me wearing it in the summer.
The kit is pretty much done now. The only things I could add are sabatons, a haubergeon that fits over the arming jacket, and maybe some padded chausses.
So much for now - Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sir Walter von Pipemann - aka Pipe-Man Version 2

Using some 45 degree angled connectors, redid the torso to accept the breastplate. The shoulders and stance still look a bit wide, but need to ensure stability.
A note on using PVC cement - it dries almost instantly. That is, make sure you have whatever you're cementing in the right position from the start. I ended up having to cut a connection apart and using tubing fitting inside to correct the positioning.
Pipemann in all his glory. For the record, I used 1 1/4 inch tubing because the cost., but 1 1/2 or 2 inch would be a lot more sturdy - and expensive. I spent about $40 USD for the entire build. I may get a weighted base and secure the ensemble onto it.
The tubing can take the weight, but the only thing is the possibility of it tipping over. It's not top heavy, but I don't trust leaving it next to a glass cabinet - which is where I wanted to put it in the corner of the living room.
Yeah, gonna have to reduce the width of the shoulders.
Although the aluminum mail haubergeon is useless for any type of fighting, its light weight is nice for the display. I will likely spray paint it a darker silver - like gun metal.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Pipe-Man Ver. 1

The uprights are too wide apart to fit the breastplate; and I got over-zealous and cemented the top pieces so have to pick up a few more T-sections and a short length of tubing. I'll also shorten the legs a bit too.
I'm waiting on an arming jacket which will block the see-through mail. The arms a bit too wide too - I'll see what other kind of fittings are available.
The gauntlets also need to be rigged on the ends of the "arms."

Sunday, December 20, 2015

PVC Tubing Armor Display Stand - WIP

Tried my hand at building a display stand for the armor using PVC tubing from the local hardware store. Found a tutorial online and it really is pretty simple. Here's the lower half - holding the leg harness pretty securely.
The bottom of the greaves fit nicely onto the tubes at the base.
Tightening the straps behind the knee cops hold the whole harness up on the tubing.
Enough for now, as this was a spur of the moment project. The top half and arms will follow.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Armor Update - Plate Arm and Leg Harness

In a momentary lapse of judgement a couple of months ago - the last week of October to be precise - I stumbled upon a site offering free shipping on all of their product. So, rationalizing the cost of what I "needed" as costing less than six months worth of speeding tickets I should've gotten, I pressed the order button. Lo and behold, the stuff arrived today - it only took them about 30 days to make the pieces using measurements provided. It was hammered out by craftsmen in the Ukraine and arrived to the US late last month. It hung around US Customs for about two weeks, likely due to the holidays and possible bias towards our Crimean brothers. Here's the box after opening it.
The pieces were packed in those "sand bags"-  leg and arm harnesses for each side in each bag. Very cleverly packed within each other and bubble wrapped. Here are the pieces laid out.
Even though I got home from work late in the evening, I knew I just "had" to try the pieces on to ensure the fit. I was able to put everything on by myself - not like my wife was in any mood to help me anyway. As I was straining to buckle each strap, I was thinking "this has to one of the stupidest things I've done." Well, at least recently.
Once everything was on, it was clearly evident the next thing needed will be an arming jacket to tie up the harnesses from wanting to drop down. Wearing more padding will also help fixing the armor in place. Sabatons would also be nice - until then house slippers will have to work.
This armor is made for full contact combat and definitely feels like it would handle more hits than the wearer inside of it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

14th C. Transitional Armor Update

Ah, another non-gaming/painting post, but a post nonetheless. Just had to try on the haubergeon made out of aluminum that arrived in the mail today. Amazingly fast shipping from India using DHL delivery service; four days from ordering it off of ebay. It was only $48 USD including shipping, so had to get it. I know, I know, I could've picked up box of Victrix Hoplites for around the same price...forgive me. Anyway, it's under 10 pounds - haven't weighed it, but it's supposed be about a third lighter than steel. Can't see wearing that weight since I don't plan on getting bashed around in combat. It is a bit bright, although anodized; I'll see how I can darken it - either by spray painting it or possibly chemically treating it.
The aventail is steel and you can see the difference in color. Incidentally, I shortened the aventail by several rows, as it hung down too low for my tastes. I also lowered the bascinet visor by drilling new holes and filling the old holes with solder. Nothing major, but now the eye slits line up perfectly.
The frogging for the sword scabbard is another ebay cheapy - $8.00 USD, but works very nicely.
Black leather dye was used on the dagger sheath to match the rest of the harness. The dagger was shortened by about an inch using a hack saw and file; the sheath was shortened as well. Leather thongs from JoAnn's was used to suspend the sheath using a method seen in period illustrations; basically looped over the belt. I stitched the thong to the sheath, I also stitched the aventail liner to the inside of the helmet - even my wife says I'm getting good at sewing. Well so much for now - I am  hoping to add leg and arm plate armor in the near future. Might try making mail sabatons with the left over rings from the aventail shortening. Happy Holidays to all!

UPDATE - after soaking the mail overnight in a bucket of bleach, it was then sprayed with Pam cooking spray. It now looks a bit darker and more realistic.

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.