Saturday, August 21, 2010

London Archers (1): Modelling

Having embarked on the Rebel Left Ward of the London levy, I realised that my foot unit of 70 spearmen and combined archers are going to take me some time to assemble - let alone paint. I shifted to the archers as they were assembled in a day which is what I want to talk about in this post. When I say assembled, this is not just a term for the new hard plastic figures coming out. Every unit requires some degree of modelling and I had flagged in my previous archer post that I wanted to pay my next unit of entirely new figures a bit more attention to detail. These men represent what I have determined are the archers of London, as part of the London levy under the direct command of Nicholas de Segrave. As I am going to be wargaming Lewes using Warhammer Ancient Battles, in WAB terms this large infantry unit will be a mixed body with 12 archers forming part of it in addition to the 70 spearmen.

 As they are of London, I am anticipating that the soldiery of the kingdom's greatest city and major port had access to superior arms and equipment compared to their rural counterparts. Similarly, the levy or London militia if you will are backed by guilds and aldermen, the city itself having privileges at law and the proven capacity to resist under arms even the king. Consequently I am having their archers armed with gambeson and most carrying a stout buckler for added protection which I had left over from the javelin foot figures from my Curtey's Miniatures purchase.

For this unit I have had all of their bows strung which some of you might do, have considered doing before or will have dismissed as showy madness. Some thoughts need to be applied if you are going to do this. Firsts you need to consider the bend in the bow. All of my figure are Wargames Foundry archers and they are cast with the master hand in near to fully drawn back. This leaves me with two choices: having the bow under full tension preparatory to shooting or having just loosed. I have modelled two figures in the former pose and the rest having shot. So, knowing what I want to string, how to go about it. I experimented with one figure using 8 amp fuse wire which, whilst satisfactory nevertheless convinced me to opt for 100% rayon sewing thread.

In order to string a 28mm bow, first you need to file a nock at both ends of the bow. Tying the thread at one end with a double granny knot, I then fix the other end at the very end of the bow, passing it over a shallow groove cut with a scalpel and then wrapped several times about the aforementioned filed notch. I then fix both ends with a drop of Selleys Supa glue. For the archers at full draw, I passed the thread through drilled holes just behind the two fingers holding the string. Of course, being at full draw required an arrow which I created using reed straw from a yard broom, shaved thin with and arrow head from Green Stuff. I also used Green Stuff for a buckler strap on my non-firing figure. There are five different poses in my figure selection so I did little manipulation to alter the poses. I then lightly filed the non master forearms of eight of my archers and affixed the bucklers using Selleys Araldite.

They are now ready for undercoating and I'll start painting them before I have finished assembling the rest of the London host which at 80 figures (including the archers) is as many figures as I have painted for the whole army thus far.

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