Thursday, 12 March 2015

From PeterD - 28mm Italian Wars Pike and Shot (63 points)

I have had these figures mostly set to go for a while but kept missing my Thursday posting date due to the intrusion of real life.  Any way I have 12 28mm pike and shot figures for my Italian Wars project.  These are 12 pikemen to complete my unit of French pike and 4 Italian arquebusiers to finish a unit of Italian shot.  They are again Perry plastics using (mostly) the European Mercenaries set, but with the odd body parts from the plastic Foot Knight set.

Here are the 12 new figures on their ownsome.  This project is still a learning experience for me as I experiment with mixing and matching body parts, with the period and weaponry and with painting for the period.  While I still have things to learn, I am happy with the results.

Here is the finished unit of 12 Italian Arquebusiers, 8 of which have been posted before and the 4 new ones.

And here is the finished unit of 16 French pikes, 8 old, 8 new, nothing borrowed but all in blue.  The foot Knights provided front rankers on one of the new stands.  I tried to get a halberd for one but it turned out the arms I chose needed the Lucerne hammer instead (or the Bec du Corbin if you are a 1970s Tunnels and Trolls veteran like myself).  Regardless it’s still a long stick with nasty sharp bits on the end!  I do wish the thing was less fiddly as I noted the business end needs regluing already.

And all with the experimentation theme, this brings me to the flags.  There are the “pay some else” flagmen and DIY flagmen, and I definitely fall into the latter category – being too cheap and too impatient to order off for stuff that I figure I can knock up at home.  These flags are fabric and their creation involved the input of my better half, who is a quilter and sewer and far more fabric savvy than I.   I also had to borrow her quilting tools, albeit under supervision to make sure I didn't muck anything up.  Plus she was intrigued by the Challenge and wanted to see how to make a go of it.  In the end we're pretty happy with the results. The basic sequence was as follows.
  1. Get PDFs of the flags you want in the correct scale.  The two French flags are from the Perry plastic kit inserts and thus already scaled, so I scanned the sheet into a PDF.  The Italian flag I found on the web and resized based on eyeball judgement as to what looked right.  Of course you need to make sure that you have both the obverse and reverse sides with a common fold line where the flagpole goes.
  2.     I set up two letter-sized sheets of flags and then printed them on an Avery printable fabric product that says it could be used iron on transfers or as appliqued.
  3.     My first attempt was ironing the flags onto plain white cloth, linen in my case based on what scraps I was able to beg from the quilt stash.  This worked great but gave a thick and rigid flag that couldn’t be shaped into anything other than a flat board shape.  I gained a new respect for the qualities of the Greek linthothorax!
  4.      Second attempt was trying to iron the transfers to them selves, folding at the fold line and going at it with the iron.  This was an epic fail!  Fail number one was that the damn thing wouldn’t glue to itself.  Fail two was that we could not think of a way of putting a metal or plastic pole in place without potentially ruining my wife’s good iron.  Even I am smart enough not to try and bodge it through.
  5.  So third try saw me take the printed fabric flag, fold it over a pole and glue if down with craft glue.   The approach needs further fiddling but I like the results as it gives flags with a fabric feel that can be moulded and shaped realistically.  I do need to go back and fix the joins, especially on the blue Fleur de Lys flag for the pikes. 
 I am not sure the photos do the flags justice so will try and get better pics on my own blog in good time.  The end flags have good colours, don't have the glossy sheen of the Perry inserts and can be folded and curled.  Best of all up close they are a real fabric grain and weave - my wife was really impressed with that.  Also they feel like cloth!

From Curt:

Great work Peter! I particularly like the marching fellows. They have a distinct campaign-weary look about them. I'm very much looking forward to trying out some of these after the Challenge and getting them on the table with your lads.

Your unit flags look good and I find your approach very creative, but I'm not sure if I'm completely sold. After reading all your steps describing their construction it seemed like a lot of work to me. Also, I'm not a big fan of fabric flags as I find the texture of the cloth weave to be noticeably out of scale with the figures.  As always, horses for courses.  I'll continue to be an unimaginative, lazy (and profligate) git and get my flags from commercial vendors.

Again, very nice units Peter.


  1. Thanks Curt. I think that I have found all the dead ends on the flags, so the next one should be a lot less stress and learning opportunities.

  2. More wonderful additions to your force.

  3. This is building up nicely, great additions


  4. I like the flags, always good to try new ideas. Keep it up

  5. That's a great idea. I need to make some flags and will look for that product.

  6. I used an Avery product that I found in with the labels and such at my local Staples. Printing is a breeze, but you need a full page worth to make it worthwhile. Gluing and shaping is fiddly but should go much quicker next time - I'll let you know n a day or two. Cheers, PD