Thursday, 3 April 2014

Mediaeval Steel

I now challenge you to get this out of your head;

Now that’s the background music sorted, on with the toys. Since I’m now back on the15mm Mediaeval swing, thought I’d take some better pictures of the Feudal Scots I’d previously posted here, in addition to new work in progress.

As previously noted, the plan behind this project is the Feudal host of Alexander III, with a bit of forward stretch to Bannockburn. Maybe.  At some point. Essentially it was an excuse to paint the heraldry of the combined nobility of Scotland in 15mm. Not one of my brighter ideas, I grant you. With this in mind, some heavy horse were the first pieces to be painted. Normal DBM rules call for a maximum of 5 bases of these guys, at three figures a pop. I’ve got 12 to do, as conventional DBM games, featuring “what everyone knows” as the composition of Scottish mediaeval armies do not figure in my plans.

The Community  of the Realm
The first couple of bases finished feature some of the pre-eminent Earls and Lords of the Kingdom. From left to right-
John de Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl; Uilleam II, Earl of Ross; Maol Iosa III, Earl of Strathearn; Domhnall I, Earl of Mar; John Comyn, Earl of Buchan; John II “The Black” Comyn, Lord of Badenoch.

Atholl, Ross, Strathearn 

Mar, Buchan, Badenoch

Work in Progress, Gilbert de la Haye, Constable of Scotland.
He’ll feature on a base with two of the other Great Officers of Scotland; Walter Stewart, the High Steward, and William Keith, the Earl Marschall.

The Commonality of the Realm
The inevitable pike blocks. In this case, lead by Robert Wishart, the indefatigable Bishop of Glasgow. Wishart can be seen in the front rank, resplendent in his red and white heraldry, attired “like a man of war”, and in possession of his trusty flanged mace; as a churchman, Wishart was forbidden to use an edge against another man, however this did not it would seem, prohibit  him from spattering out their brains with a blunt object…

When finished, the schiltron will be 4 rank deep, with the well equipped, semi-professional soldiers in the front rank, with the better off burgesses and farmers behind them, backed up by the more poorly equipped subtenants, cottars and other “arrant scum”.

Wishart and Co.
“Never mind your leaky roof, Abbot, The Cause needs more lead for a trebuchet counterweight…”

Front ranks

Second rank

I’m currently working on another base of second rank men, and making a start on the Earl Marschall. However, doinf nothing but heavy horse and pike has sent me a little strange, so to counteract this, I’ve ordered some archers from Essex Miniatures, enough to do 8 bases of three, under the command of Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll.

Other more esoteric units to follow will be ribaulds (also on order), hobilars, Highlanders and Islesmen. I’ll intersperse the painting of these with more pike and heavy horse, in a desperate bid to preserve my sanity, or at least until I get another attack of the Ooh Shinies, and whale off to do more 20mm Cold War, or 28mm French & Indian War, or Hundred Years War, or…



  1. Fantastic stuff Iain. The pics are great too, I need some tips on that front I think. We need to figure out a way to get all these various 15mm Mediaevals on the table.

    1. Cheers Dave! Hopefully soon I'll have enough to at least contribute a wing of an army, and we can run some sort of Crusades type game using you and John's forces...

  2. Remarkable works, remarkable blog Iain

    1. Thanks Klingula, glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Lovely, lovely painting. The envy is written all over my face as I write. Your 15s are better than my 28s....a little distressing really.
    Couple of thoughts if you don't mind a bit of input from the academic side of things....For Bannockburn/Myton/Dupplin/ fact most battles - you really just need men-at-arms, well-equipped spearmen and archers. the unarmoured lowly peasant-type was seldom called out save for internal squabbles and not often for that even. Cottars could be fairly well-to do and if they were worth more than £10 per annum (a fairly tidy sum) would be expected to have good kit - armoured gloves, jack, helmet of sorts. There should be no difference between Highland/Lowland or English troops in the 13/14/15th Century; it's more a matter of proportions. Where the men-at-arms fight dismounted they would much more likely be scattered through the ranks and files as 'junior leaders' rather than forming a front rank. The 'clergy without swords' thing is a Victorian invention and best ignored.

    1. Thanks for that! Yup, I agree wholeheatedly with what you're saying there, and that's the image of the army I'm hoping to achieve. Even those I'm putting in the rear ranks will be fairly well turned out, just not quite up to the same standard as those in the front rank. Good to see someone else "singing from the same hymnsheet"! Likewise with the numbers of mounted knights/ men-at-arms I'll be doing, I was very much inspired by the likes of those battles, and even the likes of Dunbar, and what might have happened if the nobs had stayed where they were and hadn't just charged in at the first (mistaken) opportunity!

      Here's my thread over on Lead Adventure, with a bit better explanation on what I was trying to achieve, and my disdain for the usual cliched "Scots Common" army...

      As for the good Bishop and his mace, yup, I believe it all started with a picture of bishop Odo wielding one, and grew from there, but it was too good an image to resist, especially when Essex provided a figure that just oozed the character...! :D

  4. I get to sing from the same sheet 'cos medieval Scotland is what I 'do'....written several books, taught it to undergraduates and specialist classes blah blah blah.
    Drop me an email - and Iet's see if I can['t find you some material that most folk won't have.