Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Creating Miniature Knights
Okay, I never pretended I was an expert in the Hundred Years War. I own a few books on the subject and I basically caught that "gamer fever" we all become contaminated with for no rhyme or reason. I even convinced my buddy Jason to start painting an army. It's contagious. Unfortunately, he chose Burgundians. Treacherous swine!
So the first thing that comes up when you buy all of this unpainted lead is: How do I paint the figures? Initially, I used quite a few resources on the internet and the gentlemen on TMP were a great help when I asked them annoying questions about the color of lances and whether sword belts were metal or leather.
I realized I was going to need some reference I could consult to explain to my thick head the different heraldry of the knights and the development of armor, etc. This basic knowledge would help me avoid the experience of running a game at a convention where some jag-off wearing a skin-tight "Leibstandarte AH European Tour" T-shirt would walk up with a smirk and tell me, "The French men-at-arms didn't wear helmets at Agincourt." And then I would go to jail.
"Creating Miniature Knights" by Peter Greenhill and Mario Venturi is an excellent hardcover coffee table book. The text is in Italian and English. It has nice maps of Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt. It contains illustrations of shield heraldry for about 150 different shields that were carried (or not carried) at the battles. It is made for hobbyists (specifically larger scale miniatures), and offers some great explanations of what the heraldric designs on the shields meant, summaries of the battles, developments in the hardware over the century, and other details. These explanations are short enough that it informs me without boring me. It also includes some great photos of dioramas painted to represent scenes from the battles. I really think the book is a must-have for anyone getting into the period.
And the best part...wait for it...I found it for $10 on Amazon!!! Even the wife couldn't argue with that deal. I used her own logic on her. "Honey, it normally lists for $50, and it's only $10. So we're making $40 when we buy it." Awesome lady.