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

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


  1. Very nice figures.
    The Osprey book on Fall of English France 1449-53, is pretty good one, if you've not already got it.
    Freezywater flag sheets will also cover this period as future ref re heraldry.
    Cheers Simon.

    1. Cheers Simon! Yeah I have the Osprey book, it is very useful for understanding the battle. Ah, thanks for the tip - I'll take a look at the Freezywater flags, sadly their livery guide doesn't seem to cover the chaps at Formigny.


  2. Hi Hrothgar, that's a great start, good luck with the project.
    I've had a look in 'Heraldic badges of England and Wales' which mentions Kyriells badge as ' a distaff with spindle' There is no mention of the others and no livery colours given. I suspect that being knight bannerets they wouldn't have there own liveries (not being of high enough social status, even though commanders) The use of liveries in the 15thC was subject to strict rules (often broken) that were reiterated by the various monarch throughout the century) the English national livery could be your best bet! hope this helps, Dave A

    1. Hi Dave,
      Thanks very much! Oh awesome - thanks for taking a look for me, the badge is interesting. You're probably right tbh - I guess it's fairly likely they didn't have their own liveries. I may try and come up with something though, as there's only so much white I can stand painting ;) haha.
      Thanks for your help