Sunday 29 July 2012

Austrians - ready to varnish

I just took a number of photos of the knights before varnishing. In the foreground you can see a simple chart I used to paint the decorative lances. The same colour combination I used to paint leather parts, such as saddles, scabbards, and harnesses. The chart served as a guide line as some did not look well with certain horse colours.

This command served well to test out some theories with regard to painting plate armour. The last command will certainly profit from all this experience and will take less time to paint.

After the Austrians, I have Hungarians and Wallachians to paint, these too are from Legio Heroica.



Friday 27 July 2012

Medieval Austrians nearly done

These past four days we have experienced some opressive heat, by Dutch standards, so painting the medieval Austrians has proved sporadic. My production style has been reduced to working on one plinth of figures a day. Still, the results are an accumulation of many tiny steps.

All the foot figures are complete and are the six Coustilliers. This totals, 2 x 3Cv, 1 x Art., 2 x Ps, 2 x 4Pk, 1 x 4Cb and General with staff.

I chose yellow as a theme colour. This is less appearent as darker secondary colours can still dominate the figure. I chose reds and green for this. Some helmets are also painted which will help unify this command.

All that remain to paint are 12 knights, have of which ride armoured horse. These six will have decorative lances, no spirals but strips. It is still too hot.

Actually the heat has proved a blessing. Working with smaller number of figures during a session has promted me to look for a way to mix and/or thin colours quickly without it drying prematurely. A plastic lid served doubled a pallet. I cannot believe all these 50 plus years I have done without one.


Tuesday 17 July 2012

Late Swiss ready to varnish

The finishing touches to the Late Swiss are done, highlighting and white crosses, so now the figures are ready for varnishing. The crosses, which are not easily seen in the photo are positioned on an upper leg, shoulder or on the back of the figure. In some cases I painted a slightly larger cross with dark grey which gave the white cross better definition. Double work, but the effect is improved greatly.

Flags should be easy to paint, a black bull on yellow background for Uri and a small white cross on a red field for Schwyz. I am currently drawing the flags for the Bavarians and Austrians so I will add the Swiss flags to the sheet already started. I will add small pennons for some halberd and the artillery element as well.

Later this  week, I will clean and undercoat the remaining two commands of Austrians; 40 cavalry and the remaining pike, crossbow, Handgunners and artillery.


Sunday 15 July 2012

Late Swiss (modified following DBM ­­­­­­­­­­­­­options)

This list differs from the DBA 2.2 version, in that it lacks knights and more pike.  Reading the DBM footnotes, the halberdiers were still used in significant numbers through the early 15th century. At Arbedo, they outnumbered the pike. This list is what I would envision a corps of Swiss mercenaries employed as “allies” to an Imperial Austrian force at the opening of my campaign.

IV/79 Late Swiss 1400 – 1522 AD:

1 x General (Bd)
3 x Halberdiers Bd)
6 x Pikemen (Pk)
1 x Handgunners (Ps) or crossbow (LH)
1 x Handgunners (Ps) or artillery

Searching through TMP Medieval threads, there has been a wealth of links and photos covering the Swiss. From a client, I have also received further information for flags and coat of arms for the various cantons. In short, I could say I have too much information, so where does one begin.  

I would certainly divide the command into three groups and model each group after a particular canton. However, as these “hirelings” would be far from home, I would have half the number of figures in cantonal colour and the remainder in earth tones of brown, green and grey. The white cross would certainly be displayed on their clothing

Strange enough, I had not planned to paint Swiss, but originally wanted the pike and blade figures to represent militia from the cities and noble household guard. The more information I collected for this period a story line developed which have numbers of allies available to the major participants of my story.

The Duchy of Bavaria is now a union of four regions; Landshut, Ingolstadt, Straubing and Munich. Austria is supported by Steiremark, K√§rnten, and Tirol. Bordering the Austrian lands to the east is the Kingdom of Hungary and in the south I may add a Communal Italian state. The Bishopric of Trento appeals to me as little is known, which invites the creative mind to speculate.  

Next step is to add clothing colour.

Sunday 8 July 2012

DBA 3.0 test - Swiss and Austrians

1400 AD, Canton Schwyz

It was not until early June that the Hapsburg forces were able to cross the Alps and move on the rebellious farmers of canton Schwyz. Outside the hamlet of Meindorf, the Austrians assembled in a formation of two lines, but due to the constricting nature of the valley, the knights would give the honour of first clash to their foot troops.

 The Swiss in response to the Austrian invasion could only secure the representation of cantons Uri and Schwyz with nearly equal number of halberd and pikes. The small unit of mounted crossbow were no match for the Austrian knights, but dutifully positioned themselves to the right of the battle line.

Good fortune had brought the Swiss to a valley floor offering a clear field 400 – 500 paces wide. The general consensus was to move the pike blocks supported by halberd as quickly as possible forward, while the artillery and light horse were held back. Skirmishers would secure the steep slopes to the left to protect the pike blocks.

Following the general plan, the entire Swiss line moved forward. The Austrians in return move 100 paces forward to open fire with crossbows. This proved to be ineffectual, however, the artillery, blessed by St. Barbara obliterated the Swiss cannon. 

Artillery leaders, Gustav and Helmut can be seen congratulating themselves on a job well done.

Un-phased by the early loss, the Swiss move as a wall forward. Skirmishers on both sides were now active along the slopes. The Austrians feeling emboldened by their early success moved their knights to attack the weakened right flank of the Swiss, while the main battle line fired their crossbows one last time. To their chagrin, missile fire proved wanting. The knights, with their blood up, charged and died a glorious death. 

Score even 1 – 1.

With a cry of “Sempach forever”, the pike pushed forward. Schwyz were matched against the only pike column in the Austrian battle line, while Uri confidently moved on the evil crossbows. Each Swiss attack pushed their opponents back while Swiss blade in support on the far left, were flexing their muscle as they were matched against Austrian knights. Lo and behold an even score. 

The Swiss skirmishers besting their opposition brought the tally up  to 3 – 1.

Fortuna dealt the Austrians a low pip score which left them scrambling to hold the tide at bay. The Swiss smelling victory close at hand, moved both flanks into battle. From the left flank, the Swiss were pushing the Austrians back on their camp. The final blow came when the artillery fell to the combined onslaught of blade and light horse; 4 – 1 and game.

Some observations.
The Swiss are no push over. Blade and pike will pursue recoiling enemy foot, so this army is nearly auto-pilot against most opponents of this period.

Blade, if their flanks are secure, should not fear knights even if classed as “fast”.

If the game were played with three commands per side, I am not so sure the result would have been the same. The extra space would offer maneuver capabilities for the knights. 

Certainly something to think about.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Saxons - nearing the final stage

All that I lack are the shield patterns and the Saxons will be ready for varnishing. Sketches for the shields were already done, so there will be no extra time needed. By tomorrow evening these should be completed and then will come the Danes.

My only experience with Metal Magic figures were Lithuanian cavalry. These were quite animated which left plenty of room for detail. The foot figures with cloak gave very little spacing between arm, shield and weapon. In contrast, the Alain Toulier figures had expressive poses which produced ample area to paint. Both sets of figures are true 15’s.   

When these two commission projects are done, then I will return to the late medieval period and paint the opponents for my Bavarians, the Imperial Austrians.