Friday, 26 February 2016

From Curt - 28mm 16th Century Gendarmes (105 points)


Even though it may seem that I've been drifting aimlessly between a random series of genres and periods I've actually managed to maintain a relatively steady progress with my Italian Wars project. A lot of this has to do with my 'Renaissance Men' duel with Peter (Thanks for the impetus Pete!) but also it's simply that I'm having a great time researching, collecting and painting the figures. However, I've found that my usual slow speed has been reduced to a veritable crawl due to the complexity of the clothing, colours and armour (ie. Landsknechts, I hate those overdressed f*cks!). I know I could keep it simple and just grind the units out, but it seems counter-intuitive to the pomp and splendour of the period, and so I've been plodding away, taking my sweet time with them.

Anyway, enough of my blather, let's get to the goods. Here's the latest unit to roll off my hobby desk - a unit of heavy cavalry, which can be flagged either as Gendarmes of Louis XII of France or heavy cavalry of the Papal army under Cesare Borgia.

I started these fellows during the first week of the Challenge and have been puttering away on them ever since. So while they were fun to work on, I'm quite happy to see them finally done and parked in the display cabinet.

Papal Gendarmes of Cesare Borgia.
These are 28mm metal figures Eureka Miniatures. They're very good models, providing an excellent example of the bewildering variety of martial fashions and armour designs witnessed during that time. The figures come with a wide assortment of optional weapons, horses and diverse helmet plumage, so you can mix and match to your heart's content. 

I armed this unit with the classic heavy cavalry lance as it seems so iconic to the period. The stock lance is nicely modeled, but since they've been cast in soft white metal, they're very prone to bending and are difficult to keep straight. 

Which will it be: The spaghetti or rotini lance?
So, with this in mind I clipped off the lance shafts, drilled-out the grips and replaced the lot with sharpened steel rods. It was a bit of a hassle, but I think it will pay off in the end (and it allows me to petulantly poke my opponents if things don't go my way during a game). I was planning to paint the lances in the classic 'barber-pole' fashion, but discovered when reading about these units that the painted lances were usually reserved for parades and tournaments, whereas the 'war lances' were kept as raw, unfinished wood. This appealed to my sensibilities, as in my mind's eye I think that when one saw these guys arrayed with plain wood lances it would send a message that they weren't there to pick up ladies' hankerchiefs - they were there to get things sorted. 

French Gendarmes of Louis XII of France.
It's easy to think of Gendarmes as being a uniquely French formation, but in reality most of the nations involved in the Italian Wars had heavy cavalry arrayed very much the same. As such, I wanted to be able to 're-flag' the unit depending on the scenario. I unashamedly stole James Roach's brilliant idea of sleeving the flags so they can be easily swapped in and out. Basically this involves cutting a plastic or brass tube with which to wrap the flag around. Glue a finial on top to complete the ruse de guerre The flagstaff itself is left bare at the top so the sleeved banners can simply be socketed on as required.

Sleeved flags. Borgia/Papal at top and Louis XII, bottom.
The banners are from Pete's Flags' excellent Italian Wars range.


As many gendarmes were of noble birth I thought it would be fun to pimp the bases with a pack of hunting hounds to add a bit more pomp and reinforce the sense movement to the unit. I sourced the wolfhounds from Gripping Beast (I did a bit of reading on the subject of sporting dogs and indeed, there were French wolfhounds bred during the period).

'Italian's back on the menu, lads. Go get 'em.'
The groundwork is the same autumnal theme that I've been using for my other Italian Wars units. Admittedly it's a bit over the top, but hey, it's Renaissance Italy! It should be a riot of colour. This all being said, I'm going through tufts and shrubs like crazy, so a resupply will be needed very soon... 

'Okay, who forgot to pack Leo's fancy-schmancy repeating crossbows?'
These nine cavalrymen and their hounds should put me back into the race with Peter. If only for a day. :)

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend everyone!

Dude! Another genuine treat for the senses with this submission my friend. Whatever frustrations you may have felt in the midst of grinding your way through this unit (and we've all been there) I hope you feel genuinely charged to have them complete, as they really look the business! These are real beauties, and as I have observed previously, your continued excellence on the ground work, and accents like the hounds (awesome!) is really something else. I also salute your efforts on the lance conversions - the bendy metal is just lame when it comes to these situations.  Your solution makes my head hurt, but looks bloody marvelous. And I love the "loyalty swap out" on the banners. Well done!
Eureka sculpts you say? So, let's see...these are 28mm medieval figures, so I'm assuming you found them listed in the 15mm WW2 section of their web site? Sorry, just had to get a dig in there...I do SO love Eureka products (they are top-notch - if you are reading this, go purchase some immediately), but their Byzantine web site makes me insane...
As tyrannical minion for Friday, I do indeed count these as nine mounted 28mm figures, but I shall count the hounds as a 10th rider, and toss in extra points for the lance conversion work/torture and a couple of "holy sh!t, this looks really f*cking great" points to for a total of 105 points on this submission.
Having said all of this, I'm counting on Peter to come along with a technical correction about some part of the armour, just to wind you up.  Come on Peter, don't let me down...  

47 comments:

  1. Beautiful work once again Curt, and the dogs add that little extra touch to the group :)

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    1. Thanks Tamsin! I love sneaking dogs into my stuff as I have a real soft spot for the little rascals.

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  2. The Heavies are impressive, Curt! I love the riot of color and the hounds really impart the momentum of them well! The banner is genius too. Bloody Marvelous all around!

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  3. Lovely work all around painting these guys in 10mm is bad I bow to your determination to pain an army of them in the 25mm scale. Great work

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    1. Yeah, I'd actually love to do this in 10mm but Peter kicked it off in 28 so I followed suit so we could get stuff on the table faster. Nonetheless, it is nice to spend time on all the crazy armour and uniforms in the larger scale.

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  4. Hot damn, but those are good! Really top shelf stuff, Curt, and too much basing is barely enough!

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  5. You've outdone yourself with this one. To quote you I say "holy sh!t, this looks really f*cking great"

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    1. Haha, thanks very much Anne, I'm delighted you like them. Personally, I'm sort of sick of looking at them but I'm sure I will appreciate them being done later.

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  6. Greg, thanks very much for the kind words (and the bonus points!). Peter and I really look forward to putting on a game for you with these guys in the future.

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  7. Awesome is the key-word here! Everything from the painting, the basing and the doggies is absolutely spot on, great stuff Curt!

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  8. Just spectacular. The effort in painting these has certainly been worth the wait. Far too complicated for my production line

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    1. Thanks Martin but I must say I am very envious (and admiring) of your work. I'm too much the plodder.

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  9. Excellent work from start to finish

    Ian

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  10. Cracking job Curt. The lances just had to be done ...now if only you had soldered them...

    The interchangeable flag is a grand idea....and the whole unit just the biz

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    1. Haha, I was thinking of you and your soldering iron when I was writing this up. Yes, super-glue is okay but I think I would prefer a better join with this work. I must get one of those infernal things and learn to use it.

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  11. Amazing paintjob Curt! That interchangeable flag idea is really quite brilliant!

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    1. Thanks Samuli. I take no credit for the flags 'sabots' - that was James all the way.

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  12. top quality painting. It is impressive and I am impressed!

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    1. Thank you Clint! I'm delighted to have impressed! :)

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  13. Pomp and splendour turned up to 11! Fantastic stuff, the riot of colour
    On the basing really complements them and the hunting a dogs are a great idea. I know what you mean about being sick of looking at figures after a while, but these were well worth the time.

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    1. Ah, thank you Jamie, you're very kind. Nonetheless, I am happy to see the backs of these chaps so I can get on to something else.

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  14. Stunning work there Curt! Italian Wars is a lovely period, but a challenging one and you are sure making an excellent go of it!

    Christopher

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    1. Thank you Christopher! Yes, I agree, the period demands a bit of understanding, but it's so rich with drama and fantastic characters making it a delight to work on.

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  15. well done Curt ! you done jewels!
    the use of the brilliant idea of James banners is top!

    I think that using your lances to try acupunture on your game partner is a little bit rude!;-)

    All the best.

    GillesW

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    1. Thanks Gilles, it's all about being rude with great style. As a Frenchman you must sympathize with this sentiment. ;P

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    1. Thank you Francis, very kind of you.

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  17. They look amazing and what you have done with the lances is just brilliant!

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    1. Thanks very much Mark! I figured the lanced needed to get done or they would drive me crazy in the long run.

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  18. Astonishing work and the idea of sleeving the flags with a tube is brilliant and much more efficient than painting multiple flag holders for different flag!

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    1. Cheers Miles! Yes, James hit it out of the park with that idea, for sure.

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  19. Oooh wow. These are gorgeous Curt. This force will be a riot of colour and nice touches. More more more please!

    I keep looking at Italian wars-y stuff but it's a baffling period.

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    1. Thanks very much Phil. Yes, I found it daunting at first but once I got a few general histories behind me I felt much more at home. Michael Mallett's work is particularly good and I can't recommend him enough.

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  20. Absolutely stunning Curt and I like the flag idea as well.

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    1. Thanks John. I'm happy with how the flags turned out and will be using Mr. Roach's idea with future 'multi-use' units.

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  21. Great stuff Curt, these looked amazing up close and in person last night and amazing on the blog.

    I loved the flag swap when I saw it on the same blog, and you've achieved the effort much better than I could aspire to.

    And no Greg, no my only grumpiness on these lads is with the inadequacy of my own efforts in comparison. Besides which I'll keep any rivet counting comments to myself from now on!

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    1. Very kind of you Peter, thank you. I look forward to our next game where they can die gloriously in an ill-conceived charge.

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  22. So very nice Curt, Love the Eureka Gendarmes and you can make 1200? different ones too. Ouch. Playing Ipetus with these would be a true pleasure.

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    1. Thanks Chris. I don't think I could bring myself to look at another for at least a few months! I hope to try To The Strongest with the collection once it gets large enough.

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  23. Quite spectacular. Love the swappable colours as well!

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  24. Awesome Curt! You're really treating us to one amazing entry after the other. Your Italian wars stuff is no exception. A shame you had to go to such great length to get the lances straight but in the end all your efforts definitely have paid off.

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    1. Thanks Nick, they were a lot of fun to do but I'm a fairly slow painter so I was happy to finally see the back of them. Next up is Landsknechts, which will test my patience to the utmost! :)

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