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

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