Thursday, 7 May 2015

Modified WoTR Foot Men-at-Arms WIP, Perry Miniatures - Part 1 of 10

After visiting Leicester during the week of King Richard III's reburial I decided to focus my attention, for the time being, on my long neglected Wars of the Roses (WoTR) collection. I didn't quite realise that this project had been gathering dust for so long (over five years in fact) so it seemed an appropriate time to reduce this particular pile of boxed plastic. 

Michael Perry has done a pretty remarkable job of creating several sets of plastic miniatures that are both compatible and therefore very versatile. With the various weapon and helmets combinations you can produce dozens of figures and not have two alike. However saying that, I'm an awkward bugger in that I like to have truly individual figures and these plastic sets enable me to have just that. With a few modifications you can create for yourself a distinctive group of miniatures that are unique, something not really practical, although not impossible, with metal figures.

With the following mini-series I'm going to attempt to detail some the modifications and alterations I've made to produce a number of Foot Men-at-Arms units that feature of the increasingly popular Lion Rampant rules. Although not specificity written for the WoTR the rules are flexible enough to cover the period. The author, Dan Mersey, has even written extra rules and unit stats (to include handgonnes for example) that deal directly with any issues you may find if you are tempted to play the period.

In the rules a unit of Foot Men-at-Arms consists of six figures so I have attempted to create two units that are unique. Some of the resulting minis have very basic alterations whilst others required a bit more time and effort to achieve. All the figures detailed in this and the upcoming posts are taken from the Perry Miniatures plastic box sets namely:

Wars of the Roses Infantry 1455 - 1487
Mounted Men at Arms 1450 - 1500
Mercenaries European Infantry 1450 - 1500

The figure detailed here is probably the most complex of the ones I've made for this mini-series as both arms have been chopped about and altered. You have to remember that the armour has to match both the left and right arms, which is also pointed out on the instruction leaflet. Although this may sound obvious it is easy to overlook this simple detail when you find a seemingly suitable looking arm and forget to check to see that the armour matches the other arm.
Red lines and circles indicate modified areas
I had the idea (or thought I had) of making this figure more distinctive after I had made a few pieces of battlefield debris including discarded helmets and weapons which will decorate the bases of my mounted knights, the helmets being hollowed out using drill bits and a scalpel. I had also previously spotted a bare head (helmet-less) and thought I could make a knight holding his sallet, giving the impression that he was having a bit of a breather. It's surprising to note just how many important knights and nobles received head injuries in battle during the medieval period, Lord Clifford 'the Butcher' being just one notable example and of course the future King Henry V received a arrow in the face at the Battle of Shrewsbury 1403.
Red lines and circles indicate modified areas
In order to achieve this look I took a right arm piece and removed the polearm. The right arm was then cut into three pieces so that I could align the arm properly, using Blu-Tac to hold the pieces in place to test out the best position. As the right arm is elevated slightly, to allow space for the helmet, this created a nasty gap under the armpit which had to filled with greenstuff. I used the same material to produce the fingers of the right hand which had been cut away with the weapon.
Red lines and circles indicate modified areas
The figure was now without a weapon so to rectify this I took a standard right arm, straight from the sprue, which was originally holding a poleaxe but this time I cut away the hand leaving just the staff. This was then glued to a suitable plain left arm piece. As the poleaxe crossed in front of the body I cut through the left forearm and rotated the left hand outwards.

I thought I was being clever making all these modifications to this figure until I found a metal Perry figure tucked away at the bottom of a storage box. As you can see it's almost exactly the same as my effort. Thinking about it, I had obviously bought this figure a while ago, mentally registered the nice design and then put it to one side, eventually forgetting that I had even bought it. When I made up my version I was unintentionally copying the original almost exactly.
Spot the difference.
With added besagues
After finding the Perry figure I noticed it had besagues (circular plates designed to protect the armpits). Seeing as my version was practically identical I decided to replicate that as well (in for a penny, in for a pound). This was achieved using small blobs of greenstuff and making the indentations with a metal scribe.

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