Monday, November 14, 2016

Rebel Army: Centre Ward Archers

I have no idea what's come over me, but it's a good thing. I'm on a roll with my Lewes Project - I think it happens the same time each year. Having just finished John Fitzjohn's foot unit, an order for archer arrived just in time and I've turned them around quick-smart
They are from the Crusader Miniatures range of archers for early 100 years war - specifically MEH002 and MCF028 packs and for me these particular sculpts fit in just perfectly for my period, giving me yet more variety.
For this unit I adopted a new technique of layering for the faces and hands using Vallejo paints shading up and down with about six applications for the skin tones. I am more than happy with the results and can only get better at it over time. I've been happy with my previous techniques of washing but the use of Flesh Wash doesn't seem to have come up as well under the macro lens. For the rest of the figures the song remains the same using wash method and good old Humbrol matte enamels.
Normally I tend to string my bows with my partners hair (mine isn't long enough) but these models just didn't lend themselves to that particular process. I also decided after much deliberating to go for 5 millimeter MDF bases as I am using now for all my 28 millimeter figures. I will be going back over all my units now and double base them with 3 millimeter MDF to boost them up: tedious but it's preferable to handling the units by the figures.
As usual, all figures have the rebel white cross somewhere about their person. I just love the range of hoods available for these yeomen. I have included a series of three progressive shots next to show how I build up my static grass blends. The first is the initial application of a mid-green blend I used to match with the Sap Green you can see mixed with a little Raw Sienna on the base edges.
Underneath is clearly shown my pre-mixed putty basing, painted Raw Sienna.
Then I add a lighter dry blend.
In the remaining gaps I fixed two blends of a rich, bright green and a dark, dry blend. As my terrain boards are heavily grassed so too must be my bases.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Lances and Grapers

For my next unit of mounted knights I've changed things a little from previous practice. After re-watching a favourite documentary on the lance I noted the move toward a heavier lance by the time of Lewes and the introduction of the 'graper'. So I decided that I too would follow suite. It was one of those experiments where everything I did just worked. I upped the gauge of my steel wire I make my lances from 1.25mm to 1.57mm - the former being in-shot without the graper. It takes bit more beating when I hammer the ends on my anvil to make the points. When beaten flat they flange or fan out at the ends which I then snip with cutters to make the points. I opt for a broader diamond with my spears but made them much sleeker for a lance. Once filed it was then onto the graper.
 The graper needs to feature more toward the butt end of the lance shaft and was introduced to stop the lance from sliding rearward under the couched arm after impact. It enabled the whole body to take the impact of the contact and drove the lance with greater force inflicting more damage. Of either steel, wood or leather, my miniature versions are of tube aluminium and plastic card. The tubular aluminium is easily cut with a scalpel and the thin plastic card created with an office paper hole punch which was the drilled out to slide over the wire.
The tubular aluminium was a perfect fit; not bad for an out-and-out guess. A couple of drops of Selley's Quick-Fix Supa Glue Gel and I'm done. Perhaps ironic but the next unit of ten knights only has one figure charging his lance ... typical.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

First Base Test

I decided to complete the basing for my latest unit of Fitzjohn's foot in an experiment to try as best I can to match my basing with the battlefield. I broke from personal practice and edged my MDF bases in Jo Sonja's Sap Green, being the same base coat for spraying my synthetic fur terrain. As it turned out, I had to mix it with some Folk Art Raw Sienna to tone down the brightness which is pretty well what happens when the diluted spray-gunned Sap Green hit the camel coloured fur in the first place.
I apply my own blended static grass by dotting the bases and building up an uneven textured field of tufts. I started by matching with the terrain - by eye-balling it. I haven't bothered to measure proportions - I'll keep matching by eye. I applied the second series of static grass dots in the gaps left from the first round and then the last series in the few gaps left. Due to the covering on my terrain boards, I didn't bother with including stones or showing much of my exposed base textures. The second series of static grass dots were an older faded green mix I had made for my summer grass (Quebec Project) and I think I overdid it a little. The last application was a rich, verdant and darker green.
These days I have moved to 5 millimeter thick MDF bases but as I've been working on this project for so long, for consistency's sake I have returned to 3 millimeter - not too sure about that wisdom actually. Anyway, my aim is that my army blends into the terrain. I've seen fabulous armies in demo games on wonderful terrain but it's aesthetically confronting (to me) when the bases clash. I'm keen to avoid that.