Showing posts with label Swiss. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Swiss. Show all posts

16 May 2020

Blue Moon Swiss Pikemen

At Cold Wars I picked up a pack of Blue Moon 18mm Swiss Pikemen (15WS-105: Swiss Pikeman Advancing), partly because I was one pike block short* for my 15mm ADLG Swiss army, partly because I really like the small handful of Blue Moon figures I already own (namely their Three Musketeers set) and also as I just wanted to spend some money with traders in what was a very quiet, "even of lockdown" trader hall.

Those figures and now finally finished, and out of the pack of 30 figures I managed to conjure up two 12-man pike blocks (on 40x40 ADLG bases) as well as half a dozen halberdiers.  

The figures all came without pikes or weapons, so I also took the opportunity to try something I'd stumbled across online where a blogger gave instructions how to make plastic spears with actual tips - a much more sophisticated approach than the 'brass rod with the end painted silver" approach I'd been using beforehand. I've sadly failed to remember where I saw this idea, but I've dug out another site with exactly the same technique.


The figures were really clean and well cast out of the packet, and I duly followed instructions and created plastic pikes and halberds for them all with 0.8mm plastic rod, squeezed at the end and cut to shape. The pikes do have proper points, whilst the halberds are relatively unsophisticated long blades on the end of a pole. 

One downside I discovered however was that with the pikes being soft-ish plastic it was impossible to force the pikes through the partly-open lower hands of the men (which you can do with brass rod). As drilling out a load of hands which are cast close to the mens bodies wasn't something I really wanted to do, these pikemen ended up all holding their pikes at the butt-end in their left hands.  


I went with a black undercoat, drybrushed white using a tip from Dave on the Madaxeman Podcast a couple of weeks ago. I had throught this technique was about getting extra depth for the colours when using semi-transparent paints, but he pointed out that a white drybrush also really helps pick out the contours of the figure and guides your painting of them, which an all-black undercoat can make quite difficult to follow. 


Here they are almost done. As usual I used a very narrow colour palette, with white and red being the first two colours onto the figures. 

I've been struggling with getting good consistency and coverage from my go-to red, Army Painter Pure Red, and so recently changed to Vallejo Scarlet and Vallejo Dark Vermillion, both of which seem much better so far. The blue is a Vallejo Game Colour Electric Blue, and the yellow is Army Painter, but always on a full white undercoat. 
 

Unlike most of my other medieval figures the Swiss I have are generally not ink-washed, as their bright colours seems to work better if they are not muted - Swiss are stand-out troops anyway so why not make them "ping" a bit more? Paul Frith's 28mm Perry Swiss army also provided some inspiration for this approach when I played it last year at a competition - although it's not nearly as aggressively black-lined as these ones are.
 

I have however blacklined them - not a technique I usually do as it's a PITA, and not really compatible with ink-washing but here it seemed necessary to highlight the different blocks of colour. 
 

To give them a little more detail I added some white-on-red crosses onto some of their backs, sleeves and trousers. These I didn't blackline - there is a limit to my steadiness of hand!


The Blue Moon figures are very clean designs, but despite being marketed as 15mm by Old Glory UK I'm much more inclined to regard them as being the "15mm/18mm" scale as they are described by Blue Moon in the USA

Stood next to some Mirliton Swiss pikemen here the difference in stature and height is obvious, with the Blue Moon men being a full head taller than the Mirliton ones - although ensuring that the pikes are the same height on both blocks of men does go a long way to obscuring the difference in stature on the tabletop. 

Facing off against the Mirliton men I think my money is on the Blue Moon soldiers to win this particular push-of-pike! 


Here the QRF pikemen join the line on the left, with Blue Moon in the middle and Mirliton on the right of the photo. QRF are also "true 15mm" and are tiny next to the Blue Moon guys - the following photo where the Blue Moon figures are unpainted shows how the addition of equal-height pikes does tone down the difference in stature though. 


 
Overall I do really, really like these figures, but they are big, and stylistically very different to other ranges so it would be pretty much impossible to mix them in the same unit with any other manufacturer. Side by side in different units is just about OK at tabletop ranges though. 

This one packet of unarmoured pikemen also doesn't quite have enough variety of poses for my taste  (there are too many flat beret hats, which when painted in a range of colours can make the unit look a little like a packet of M&M's when viewed from above!) so I'd buy a mix of armoured and unarmoured men next time and mix them together were I to do this experiment again.

The jury is very much out however on whether the plastic pike-making experiment is one I'll continue with, as I've already snapped a couple of pikes with just normal handling. They do glue back on very easily (the plastic doesn't melt with Superglue thankfully) but I suspect the problem may be that the 0.8mm plastic rod I used (from Plastruct) is either just too thin, or too brittle to really work as it should. Creating the points is easy, and very effective so I may try that part of the technique again with 1mm rod, or even go thicker for spears for some 28mm figures. 

Casting around online the more permanent solution seems to be to buy a cheap sweeping brush head, and cut off the bristles - but that's currently harder to do with online shopping as Amazon doesn't tend to say how thick the individual bristles are on the brushes they are selling!


And finally, here they are with their Gnome of Zurich leader hurling his stinky cheese at the enemy! 


* This is of course a lie. I don't "need" any more pike blocks, I have got 9 already, and a load of other medieval ones who could be pressed into Swiss service if needed. But as long as I don't tell myself I'm sure I won't realise.

4 Aug 2019

28mm Landsnechts & Swiss - in GW Contrast Paints!

You know those painting projects that seem never to die? They just drag on and on, staring at you and each time you start trying to move them along the sheer quantity of painting ends up crushing your will to continue?

Well, for me that was a big winged-Keil of Landsnechts in 28mm, bought for FoGR in a series of bring and buy used-figure bags - and then supplemented by a pack of Old Glory arquebusiers.


I had even made a couple of half-hearted attempts to sell them as a part-painted project - but then suddenly realised that they were the perfect project to try the new GW contrast paints (as even a so-so painted unit is better than a unit that never gets painted or put on table, right?

See the full effect in this photo-article..



30 Jun 2019

A fistful of 15mm Swiss

With a one-day Late medieval themed competition looming, it seemed a good time to upgrade my handful of Mirliton Swiss pikemen into a L'Art de la Guerre Swiss army capable of taking to the table.

With the Mirliton ranges no no longer being available in the UK, I decided to try a different manufacturer to round out the 5 pike blocks I owned already. After a bit of browsing I settled on the perhaps unlikely choice of QRF/Freikorps, on the basis that they looked to be a similar heft and body shape to the Mirliton figures, and also as they too had open hands for separate weapons.

The QRF figures are a smidge more frail, and are less "frilly sleeved" than the "a bit frilly" Mirliton figures, but with a good selection of flags downloaded from Alex Flags, compatible basing and similar paint schemes they look pretty decent at tabletop distances to me.



These are 40x40 bases with 12 figures in 3 ranks - an  ADLG Kiel


I chose to blackline these figures - not a style I usually adopt, but with the blocks of adjacent colour on the Swiss and my reluctance to ink-wash a set of figures with so much white on them it helps to make the limited palette of contrasting colours pop a little more 


It can of course end up looking like Mondrian was their official uniform designer.


The bases are painted in a Homebase testor pot - nice and cheap !


The Mondrian effect is very visible from the back


As I've probably posted before, making sure to paint the edges of the flags to remove that unsightly white paper line along their edges is really important and makes a huge difference to the overall look and feel. If you don't do this your eye is automatically drawn to the (white) edges of the flags, breaking the illusion of the figures.


Here are some of the QRF/Freikorps guys next to the Mirliton figures (LKM on the right)


I also based up some halberdier units - these are pretty flimsy and I can see some casualties in the halberd-blade department as soon as they take to the table in battle conditions


Another view of the two types - Mirliton on the left, QRF on the right.


 Halberdiers again.  Not that great close up, but these are painted for tabletop distance viewing.

 Mirliton in the foreground, QRF from Berne behind them

30 Apr 2019

Roll Call lists on the ADLG Wiki

The lists from the top five placed players in the 2019 15mm Roll Call period have now been added to the ADLG Wiki, along with my 25mm Medieval list, the lists of my 5 opponents over the weekend and a couple more.

15mm Lists:

  1. Mike Bennett Sui & Tang Chinese
  2. Hubert Bretagne Mérovingian Franks
  3. Paul Johnston Christian Nubian
  4. Peter Webb Christian Nubian
  5. Clive McLeod Maurikian Byzantine

25mm lists 

31 Oct 2018

The TYW in the Kings Country

After a long hiatus, the 28mm mostly Warlord Games plastic and metal figures have crawled blinking into the light again for a 3-game 1-day competition held in glorious rural Oxfordshire, on the edges of the King's Civil War Capital.


The TYW Germans - chosen because they have the nicest flags, as well as some little gunnes - take on the Swedes, the New Model Army and the French in three large format, widescreen big battle reports under FoG:R rules.


Be amazed how efficiently they progress through good planning and superior technology, and puzzle as to how Wallenstein and Tilly both end up on the same side in the same army as I deploy simply the nicest figures I can find and try and pretend there is a plan behind it.


There are three reports, complete with the full gamut of Germanic expressions of amazement and horror, lots of photos, ridiculous captions and a full set of post-game analyses from Renaissance Hannibal himself.

Get back to the 16th Century today with these 3 FoGR reports!

16 Oct 2016

Derby 2016 - The Kalmar Union in FoGR Action

A frantic effort not to retain a trophy that needs engraving comes to a cattle shed near an airport next to a busy motorway near a town with a great ring road!


It's almost as glamorous as Charleroi, but it's in England and it's Derby again!

The Mighty Kalmar Union are pretty medieval, but despite the clue being in the name, they are from Scandinavia, not Greece. Either way, will the army be pitted like olives or enjoy a smorgasbord of success in these 4 FoGR reports against a range of in-theme opponents.




29 Feb 2016

Save the Wales! Battle reports from Godendag 2016

All the way from Godendag 2016 comes 4 brand new L'Art de la Guerre in-depth reports, with the usual photos, the slightly less usual battle maps and the unfortunately verbose many thousands of words.

This is the first ever ADLG Doubles competition in history, and sees a combined Condotta and French heavy metal army go toe to toe against a range of proper medieval opponents.


Will it be a wonderful fusion of French & Italian cooking? ...or will it leave a bad taste in your mouth..?  Read on to find out more....!

29 Sep 2013

Roll Call 2013

Yes, it may have been almost 3 months ago, but sometimes even for me the real world gets in the way of writing up match reports!



See how the Earlier Danish army did in 4 themed battles, as lots more Gendarmes than have ever been seen before take to the field, complete with some supporting Reiters !  (Apologies if the lists aren't in the Wiki - I may well have lost them in the last 3 months)

14 Sep 2010

Final Oxford FoG:R Report

See what happens when Sir Henry Hannibal meets Swiss Tony !


"Playing FoG:Renaissance is like making love to a beautiful woman...."

18 Mar 2009

New Medieval Figures from Donnington

I've just gotten my hands on some of the new Medieval figures from Donnington (due to be released at Salute 2009) - and very nice they are too.

100YW Men at Arms Swiss CrossbowsSwiss Spear Pike Halberdier



.

Having chatted to Damian at last weeks Doubles in Oxford, it seems these figures have been designed by a totally new sculptor for Donnington, so are a big step forwards from some of their other ranges. The figures themselves are compatible in size and bulk with the popular medieval ranges from Essex & Corvus Belli, but have more innovation and animation in poses than the Essex ranges. They even stand up very favourably when set against figures from my personal favourites, Mirliton and could be mixed IMO with any of these three manufacturers with no problems at all. The first 3 ranges on offer are 100YW, Swiss and Low Countries - so plenty of Men at Arms and halberdiers all round, as well as some longbowmen who will give the well-regarded 100YW Corvus Belli range a stiff challenge in the popularity stakes - especially as Donnington have nicked an idea from Peter Pig and slipped in a longbowman giving the Frenchies the finger!


Mounted Man at Arms100YW Longbowman
Swiss Generals





Donnington intend to sell these new figures under a slightly different brand to the rest of their ranges (maybe "New Donnington" - which I suppose is better than renaming the old lot "Classic Donnington"!), and at a higher unit price. They still intend to offer the option to buy figures individually, but probably will offer unit-sized packs as well. There is a good variety in each range with at least 4 variations for most types of troops, and if they continue to allow you to mix and match their horses (of which there are 12 on offer in the 100YW range) when you buy the variety you can achieve could be very impressive.



Men at Arms100YW Men at Arms




The figures generally come with open hands, or at least hands that need to be drilled to accommodate spears or pikes, although some of the halberdiers come with cast-in weapons. Donnington intend to offer a range of weapons with the figures, maximising variety within each unit. The clever innovation with the range is visible in the above photos of the horse-less Men at Arms - the guys have been cast with a "Vamplate" (no, I didn't know what it was either) on their hands, which creates the hand guard part of a proper lance when its drilled through to take a metal wire spear - very cute!

Overall these look to be a really good range, and continue the recent trend of ever-improving 15mm figures with more "human" proportions, lots of variety and some genuine thought going into the poses to create more interesting units. There are plenty more pictures of these in the 15mm Photo Gallery (search for "New Donnington" in the "manufacturer" field) - and I'll be adding more as I get to take some photos of them. Details of procing etc haven't been released yet, but if you contact Donnington or go along to see them at Salute I'm sure you will be able to get hold of some soon!

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