A 28mm English force based around the English army who fought at Formigny in 1450

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Gough's Command

Apologies for the lack of updates over the last month or so. I've been a rather busy boy as I've been applying to do a masters up in Liverpool. After a long interview process and weeks of anxiously waiting I'm pleased to say I've been accepted and will be starting in September! As a result I can finally focus on painting again instead of revision. After painting Gough himself up I decided to get on with the rest of his retinue. In a similar way to Kyriell's command I thought I'd use the two main colours of his heraldry as a base (blue and yellow in this case).

Before moving onto the full base itself I thought I'd focus upon one of the models in there I'm particularly pleased with; the 'swordsman'. I've always wanted to do a model armed with a sword and buckler ever since I saw this painting by Graham Turner of the battle of Ferrybridge with the chap near the fence in it.

I was originally planning on doing a musician model but as I started cutting bits here and there I started to form a different idea. He's been made by chopping and changing a few hands here and there and then adding a buckler on from the mercenaries box.

 I'm pretty pleased with the end result - he came out quite nicely, if I do say so myself! The rest of the retinue are composed of kitbashes from the plastic sets with a metal Richard duke of Gloucester thrown in for good measure.

Quite happy with this base overall, it looks as though Gough and his men are advancing into the French army. I'm fairly pleased with the banner as well, which I put together and painted myself:

So, what next? The answer is I'm not really sure.. Maybe some billmen or archers, we'll see. In any case watch this space!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Matthew Gough

A slight update for the project here – unfortunately over the last few weeks I’ve been quite busy with uni interviews etc. And haven’t found too much time to paint. However I have managed to paint up a model to represent Matthew Gough, one of the other English (well.. Welsh) commanders at Formigny.

By 1450 Gough was a weathered veteran of the French wars, having taken part in the battles of Cravant and Verneuil and having been commander of various castles and towns that were captured in the English expansion. He was taken prisoner in 1432 at St. Denis leading to a massive outcry from the bards of Wales, for whom he was a much celebrated figure in their songs, the well known bard Guto'r Glyn writing:

‘Bu ar glêr bryder a braw/ Ban ddaliwyd, beunydd wylaw’

'anxious and alarmed, the bards wept daily when he was captured'  

Luckily for them, and him, funds were raised soon after and he was ransomed. At Formigny Gough led a small force from Bayeux which reinforced Kyriell’s army and, after the defeat, he succeeded in fleeing back to the city. However soon after that Gough returned to England and was killed during Jack Cade’s rebellion where he fell defending London Bridge against the advancing rebels.

I used another one of the metal command figures to represent him. I found a fair few interpretations of his heraldry, so I just went with the one I liked the look of the most – I’m fairly pleased with how his surcoat came out. I will try and get onto his retinue next – sadly one of them has met an ignominious end already, having been munched by our 5 month old golden retriever puppy, who somehow got hold of him – so I will have to seek a replacement. What’s left of him may make a nice casualty model though..

I’ve also done a bit of painting on some other character models from the Lancastrian set, which you can see below.

I’ve given up on getting accurate livery colours for retainers, so instead I’m going to take an educated guess – I don’t think anyone will be able to prove me wrong as it seems the evidence has simply not survived the passage of time!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Some Conversions..

Over the last few days I’ve been having a bit of a mess around with the Perry plastics to see what sort of conversions I can come up with, and have been pretty pleased with the results. Using parts from the other plastic sets it’s possible to come up with some quite dynamic and interesting poses.

I want to incorporate a few casualty models into my ranks. Before the battle commenced the English forces are recorded as standing their ground while the French bombarded them with cannon fire, which the sources imply was quite effective as it caused a group of archers to sally forth, without orders, to capture them and stop the carnage they were creating. I didn’t really want to make guys being blown to bits by cannon balls so I instead thought it might be an idea to make some being hit by arrows/bolts, as there were quite a few crossbowmen and francs-archers present on the French side and it isn’t a great stretch to imagine them adding to the gunfire. I cut the models off their bases and then repositioned them, using various different arms and hand combinations to create a dynamic effect. I’m quite happy with the result.

These guys were made by drilling out hands and using metal halberds/bills to create different poses. This frees up the other hand so it can be used for something else, like signalling or carrying something.


These others were basically just put together by utilising a combination of parts from different sets (cavalry helmets, mercenary arms etc.) with a little bit of green stuff to alter poses slightly or fill gaps.

Next up I’m planning on working on Matthew Gough’s command base, one of the other principal commanders of the battle. I’m still searching for livery colours, but have had little luck. At this rate I think I will probably just have to make my mind up to decide on livery colours for each of the commanders using what I have available (for example using Kyriell’s red and yellow from his heraldry as the colours for his detachment). I think it’s likely the information simply hasn’t been recorded as none of the commanders at Formigny seem to have been particularly well known characters, even though they had quite substantial service records by the time of Formigny.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Kyriell's Command

So, it’s been a long while since I’ve actually posted much of my work online, as I’ve mainly been doing commissions over the last few months. However I’ve recently been inspired to commence a new project: an English army centred around the 1450 Battle of Formigny. This was one of the final battles of the Hundred Years War and a particularly important one as it signified the collapse of English rule in Normandy.

However it was a resounding English defeat, so  you might ask why choose this battle to theme an army around? Well I have a couple of reasons...

Last summer I visited Normandy with my family and we stayed in a little place (the name of which escapes me, it’s so small in fact I can’t even find it on Google maps) which was just down the road from Formigny. I’d heard of the battle a few times but knew very little about it, and after visiting the field (and massive monument the French have erected there) I was quite intrigued to learn a bit more about it.

After I got back I did some research on the subject and felt quite inspired to put an army together. I must admit I was slightly influenced in this because of the Perry Wars of the Roses plastics, which would fit perfectly with a late HYW army. As well as this I’ve built up a pretty substantial ‘bitz box’ of Perry plastic bits over the last few years, from the various boxed sets. As a result I’m hoping to incorporate a large amount of mix and match/conversions into this force, making it something rather unique compared to the standard ‘straight out of the box’ look. I must admit I’ve been particularly inspired in this by the sterling conversion work of Captain Blood – if you haven’t seen this I’d definitely recommend taking a look!

Sir Thomas Kyriell was the English Commander at Formigny, so I thought he would be a good place to start with the army. He was a veteran of the Hundred Years War by this point and was taken prisoner by the French after the battle. He had the misfortune to be captured again in 1461 at the Second Battle of St. Albans, where he lost his head on the orders of Edward Prince of Wales. I had real trouble finding anything on his heraldry online and my only real breakthrough came after I started searching in French (It seems the French have written a lot on Formigny, presumably as they won it!).  

I wanted to theme his command base around one of the central events of the battle; the appearance of the Breton forces of Arthur de Richemont on the English flank. Accounts of the battle seem to imply that at first the English were unsure if these were English reinforcements or enemies, so I wanted to try and capture this moment of uncertainty in the miniatures. I used one of the Lancastrian Command Figures for Kyriell himself; he looks very calm and collected and I thought this would fit quite well with my assessment of the man. The other models are all plastic but most have undergone some degree of conversion – whether that be a head from another set being used, or alternatively Kyriell’s standard bearer who is supposed to look like he’s holding his visor open to get a better view. It was a fine line to walk between ‘having a look’ and ‘having a migraine’ but I’m quite pleased with the end result.

The next models I’ll be doing are some billmen and archers, which leads me onto a bit of an appeal for information:

What I’m really in need of is some information on the sort of livery colours Kyriell’s retainers would have worn. Can any of the livery/heraldry experts out there offer any guidance to me? As there is literally nothing online in either English or French on this. If anyone has any information on livery colours for the other commanders as well (Matthew Gough, Henry Norberry, John Vere etc.) I would also be very grateful! I’m planning on doing a mixture of livery jackets and white jackets with a St. George’s Cross