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Author Topic: Curis' Normans and Medievals (Unreleased Citadel General, added 27th Sep)  (Read 6116 times)

Offline Phil Portway

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Great thread to "watch". Lovely crisp painting on the figures & the buildings have a lived in look about them, wonderful stuff!
 :-* :-* :-* :-* :-*
If it isn't enjoyable, it isn't gaming!

Offline Breazer

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These are some really nice minis and the story behind them is awesome to read. Really makes them come alive.

Offline Curis

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Cheers Mark!  Cheers Phil! 

Breazer – I love having these figures as a starting point for digging up some history.  There’s a load of research rabbit holes to disappear down with each new one.

If you’re into Czech action cinema you might already know Jan Žižka as the titular hero of the upcoming Jan Žižka film from director Petr Jákl – the man famous for films such as Pterodactyl and Born Into Shit.  If you’re not, lemme walk you through this trio of classic 1988 Citadel Miniatures.

Left to right: Taborite Infantryman, Jan Žižka and Teutonic Knight.

Who are these miniatures?  Welcome to my history lesson.  A wise man once said, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”  And I don’t want you, dear reader, to be doomed to fighting in a series of 15th century Eastern European wars.

Teutonic Knight (1412)

The Teutonic Knight was, for many years, the Holy Grail for Blandford Warrior collectors.  Wargames Foundry had quietly reissued the other eleven Blandford Warriors across a couple of blister packs, making Teutonic Knight the rarest.  Luckily they brought him back in to production at Bring Out Your Lead 2017, so we johnny-come-latelies can be completists.

A literal white knight.

Teutonic knight attacked by Lithuanian horse-archers at the Battle of Tannenberg, 1410.

At the start of the 15th century the Teutonic Grand Order had turned its crusading ire on the Baltic peoples, and invaded Greater Poland.  Against these Catholic invaders the Kingdom of Poland allied with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and crushed them at the Battle of Tannenburg in 1410.  A certain man was (probably) at that battle, and (maybe) got his left eye stabbed out of his face by the knights.  This man was …

Jan Žižka

The cover star of the Medieval Warlords book.  The Medieval Warlord.  Angus McBride paints two colour pictures of him while medieval warlord Gaiseric, with his own whole chapter, gets none!  Jan Žižka is sculpted as he would have appeared in 1423, after he lost his right eye to an arrow while besieging the castle of Rábí, and holding the famous fist-shaped mace he used in battle despite being totally blind.

“No one’s ever really disabled so long as he has courage.” – Chip Chase

Jan Žižka enters Prague with his Orebite Warriors, 1421.

Jan Žižka was one of the greatest military leaders of all time.  He was never defeated in battle.  He invented the war wagon – the earliest form of tank warfare.  He stood against the power of the Catholic Church and served as an inspiration for the Reformation a century later.  After he died he asked to be flayed and have his skin used as a drum so he could continue to lead his followers into battle.  What more can a man achieve in his life?  (Fighting a Pterodactlyl?)
Dirty advertisement. Ninjabread continues below.

Who did Jan Žižka lead into battle?  It was people like…

Taborite Infantryman

The Pope as the antichrist, attended by a large number of whores.  The Pope celebrating mass, served by the devil, while an entourage of demons stand around the altar.  These vivid religiously-charged images were served up by the Taborites, unhappy with the corruption of the medieval Catholic church, and wanting to spread their ideas to the illiterate peasant masses.  For battle they decorated their shields similarly, like this tiny peasant behind earthworks squaring up to the Catholic knight – presumably evoking a David-and-Goliath narrative with the peasant’s sling and relative size of the combatants.

The shield design is based on the design of a surviving pavise at the National Museum of Prague.

Taborite war wagons await the attack of Sigismund’s Hungarian horsemen, outside Kutna Hora, 1421, Eastern Bohemia.

The Taborites were named after their fortified city in Bohemia, which was in turn named after the Mount Tabor of Biblical fame.  They were a radical sub-faction of the larger anti-Catholic movement, the medieval equivalent of anarcho-communists who wanted to share everything they had – to the point where they even practised free love.  Jan Žižka led them into battle numerous times against the Emperor Sigismund, but eventually found their theology (and perhaps their free love) too radical, and he parted ways to found the less hardline Oberite faction.

Pictured left to right:  Alan Horseman, Biscuit Dude, Taborite Infantryman, Jan Žižka, Teutonic Knight, Sir John Chandos and Bertrand du Guesclin.  Not pictured: Sir-Not-Appearing-In-This-Blog.

That’s seven of the twelve Blandford Warriors painted.  I almost included Vlad Dracula with this lot, as he was a member of the Ordo Draconis that Emperor Sigismund founded to stamp on people like Jan Žižka.   At times like this I love history; it’s like the Marvel Cinematic Universe – a shared reality with potential for crossover events.

Coming soon to Ninjabread – Big Trouble in Little Tang Dynasty.

More of my miniatures at: http://www.ninjabread.co.uk
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 01:25:08 PM by Curis »

Offline tin shed gamer

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Re: Curis' Normans and Medievals (Hussite Wars added 18th May)
« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2018, 01:53:32 PM »
That's not an easy paint .through four right angles,Especially keeping the lines even. Even more so when your copying an existing shield design.

Offline Breazer

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Re: Curis' Normans and Medievals (Hussite Wars added 18th May)
« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2018, 11:35:44 AM »
This log is just great to read through. well done!

Offline OSHIROmodels

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Re: Curis' Normans and Medievals (Hussite Wars added 18th May)
« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2018, 12:37:15 PM »
Excellent figures and such a steady hand  8)

Offline Captain Harlock

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Re: Curis' Normans and Medievals (Hussite Wars added 18th May)
« Reply #36 on: June 02, 2018, 02:48:42 PM »
Generally I dont like the classic 28mm stumpy proportions look. But these ones here are so well painted and full of character! Really great and I love the theme too.  Those peasant revolts and early social movements always struck a chord in me.

Offline Knight-Captain Tyr

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Re: Curis' Normans and Medievals (Hussite Wars added 18th May)
« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2018, 10:54:15 AM »
This whole thread is amazing. Living in Prague myself I am really keen on your representation of Jan Zizka. Your freehand on the pavise and the general painting is incredible.
" ... the seventh wave of Thrall stumbled and climbed over the slippery, piled dead and Mazzarin saw The Watcher with them and at last knew the number of his days."

-Thrall Flavor Text, Myth: The Fallen Lords

Offline Curis

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Re: Curis' Normans and Medievals (Hussite Wars added 18th May)
« Reply #38 on: June 20, 2018, 12:15:36 PM »
Thanks tin shed gamer!  Luckily I can pass off any wonkiness as a representation of the Hussite peasant's cack-handedness rather than a lack of patience.

Cheers Breazer.

Captain Harlock – I love the stumpiness of old minaitures.  There's such a high percentage of face on the sculpts, and the exaggeration is more pleasing to look at.  I like the super-deformed look.

I wanna visit Prague to see the Jaz Zizka statue one day, Tyr.


If you're into your medieval history you WILL NOT have heard of these models.  That's cos they're not medieval at all.  Welcome to my next two classic Citadel Miniatures from the range based on the 1987 Medieval Warlords book.

An Lushan and Imperial Guardsman on the lower reaches of the Yellow River.

So, I have beef with An Lushan being classified as "Medieval" as it's a specifically European term for a historical period, and China ain't Europe.  Calling An Lushan a Medieval Warlord is like calling Richard the Lionheart an Imperial Chinese Warlord.  I imagine the publishers had a shortlist of even less suitable titles for the book.

"Okay, sod it, we'll go with Medieval Warlords."

With the historian's pedantry out of the way, who are these two Medie... classic Citadel Miniatures?

An Lushan

An Lushan was possibly Mongol.  Possibly Turkish.  Possibly Liverpudlian (going off the model's uncanny resemblence to Ringo Starr).  What we can definitely say is he wasn't Han Chinese as he was allowed to rise to power as a regional military governor in 8th century China when policy was to keep these powerful posts away from the capital's politicians to prevent rebellion.

"In the town where I was born, lived a man who sailed to sea."

However, in 755, An Lushan's previously amazing relationship with Tang Dynasty soured.  He marched on the heartland cities and declared himself emperor of his own brand new dynasty.  This was the An Lushan Rebellion, which was one of the bloodiest wars of all time – the Tang Empire was bigger than even the Roman Empire at its height, and the scale of slaughter as cities were toppled and populations massacred reached perhaps into the tens of millions.  Fascinatingly, the rebellion seems to have been sparked not by lofty political ideals, or a popular dissatisfaction with the ruling elite, but by a concern (or possibly paranoia) that the Tang Dynasty's Chief Minister was personally out to get An Lushan.

An Lushan pursues a Khitan Mongol beyond the Great Wall on the north-east Chinese border, 735.

The Tang Emperor fled as the rebels stormed city after city.  But as An Lushan's paranoia increased and his health worsened, he became a vulnerability and was assassinated by his own son (a surprisingly common fate in Imperial China).  The Tang Dynasty was severely weakened by the uprising, and it marked the beginning of the end for China's golden age of civilisation.

But who had opposed An Lushan?  It was…

Imperial Guardsmen

By the time of the An Lushan Rebellion, the Tang military was split between militia on the Empire's frontiers (which made up the bulk of An Lushan's forces), and the Imperial Guard who were permanently garrisoned at the capital city and the Imperial palaces.  However, as with Ancient Rome's Praetorian Guard, an elite fighting force concentrated at the seat of Imperial power could lead to violent coups.

Yang Guifei – the Emperor's consort – and the Imperial Guard prepare to leave Ch'ang-an before the army of An Lushan, 756.

The Imperial Guard certainly proved wilful during Emperor Xuanzong's time – as they escorted Yang Guifei (the Emperor's favourite consort) away from the rebels' pillaging of the capital city they blamed her personally for their military misfortunes and demanded her immediate death.  Needing to keep his elite guard on side, the Emperor consented and Yang Guifei was strangled.

Imperial Guard circa 736.

I've freehanded floral patterns onto the Imperial Guard's decorated leather armour to match the Angus McBride colour plates from the book.  I enjoyed painting the stubble – all you've got to do for the five o'clock shadow look is shade and highlight the skin as normal then glaze the manly areas with a warm mid-grey (for example Skavenblight Dinge).

Blandford Warriors Assemble!

So that's nine of the twelve Blandford Warriors painted.  I'm enjoying the tour around history and the opportunity to dabble with different periods without having to collect dozens upon dozens of figures for gaming.

Left to right: Jan Žižka, Bucellarius of Majorian, Betrand du Guesclin, Taborite Infantryman, An Lushan, Sir John Chandos, Imperial Guardsmen, Teutonic Knight and Alan Horseman.

I'm looking forward to working on the final trio of Blandford Warriors to complete this historical wargaming project!

More of my miniatures at: www.ninjabread.co.uk/
More of my historicals at http://www.ninjabread.co.uk/category/blog/historicals/

Offline Curis

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Aetius, Owen & Dracula – Blandford Warriors Episodes 10, 11 & 12
« Reply #39 on: August 23, 2018, 12:18:58 PM »
It’s the end of the line for the Blandford Warriors!  All twelve in this limited series of classic 1988 Citadel Miniatures are now painted and standing alongside each other in the cabinet, jostling for position of most dramatic medieval warlord.

Left to right: Flavius Aetius, Owen of Wales and Vlad Dracula.

The final triumverate are spread across a thousand years of European history.  Let’s take a look at them each in turn.

Flavius Aetius

Chances are you’ve not heard of Aetius, but you’ll have heard of his most famous opponent – Attila the Hun.  Aetius and Attila clashed at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in AD451 – one of the greatest bloodsheds as the Western Roman Empire crumbled under the weight of barbarian invaders.  Aetius was supreme commander of all military forces in the west, and crushed the Huns, stopping their advance into Gaul, and ultimately breaking Atilla’s tribal empire – earning him a place in history as the last of the great Romans.

Flavius Aetius and his supporting Blandford Warriors – Alan Horseman and Bucellarius of Majorian – leading the defence of the Empire.

I really enjoyed painting Aetius, and mounted him a small rocky outcrop so he cuts a commanding presence over my Late Imperial Roman.  The mini is at least 20 years older than his rank-and-file counterparts, so he needs the height along the more modern, bigger figures.

The Warlord Aetius and a Burgundian retainer attacked by a Hun at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, northwest France, AD451.

Aetius has the unique honour of being the titular star of both a wargame AND an opera by Handel.  The wargame is Aetius and Arthur (which must be 50% about him if you go off just the title).  The opera is Ezio (that’s Italian for “Aetius”), and sees our general returning home from defeating Attila, trying to disentangle himself and his future wife from a plot to assassinate the Emperor.  This is the only Citadel miniature I know of which has an opera about it, until my own work, Marneus Calgaro Maestro di Ultramarines, debuts this winter.

Owen of Wales

This miniature is Owen of Wales (“Owain Lawgoch” if you’re Welsh), who was a mercenary captain in the Hundred Years War (c. 1330 – 1378).  He hated the English so much he sided with their arch-nemesis, France, hoping his military service would ultimately help him claim the Prince of Wales title.  He was killed by a sheep (well, an English spy named “Johnny Lamb”).

Bertrand du Guesclin and Owen of Wales fighting together, united in their hatred of the English.

I had a load of fun painting all twelve of the lions rampant on his heraldry.  They are the arms of the royal house of Gwynedd – which Owen would have worn to cement his image as the rightful Prince of Wales.

“Oh I just can’t wait to be ki… prince!”

Now, let’s all take a moment to reflect on the name of the Swiss municipality in the caption below.

Owen of Wales is pursued by halberdiers from Berne at Buttisholz, Switzerland, 1375.

Now, there is a later Owen of Wales, (c. 1359 – c. 1415).  A contemporary chronicler claimed this Owen of Wales (“Owain Glyndŵr” if you’re Welsh) adopted the name as he was inspired by the earlier medieval warlord.  This is the Owen that instigated a rebellion against the English and got as far as establishing a proper Welsh parliament.  Nowadays the Welsh celebrate him as a symbol of nationalism with their statues, their ship names, their music awards and their Manic Street Preacher songs.  (Seriously, the Manics did the song 1404 all about this lad.)

Owain Glyndŵr and his Welsh followers are attacked by the English garrison at Caernarfon Castle, AD1401.

This later Owen pops ups in another Angus McBride illustration from Celtic Warriors that’s 83% more liontacular on account of that horse’s barding.  That looks like an fun challenge to paint.

Vlad Dracula

Vlad Dracula, rose to power as Prince of Wallachia by impaling all the leading nobility on stakes in a single night and replacing them with a new totally-loyal nobility raised from the peasantry.  He held on to power with the same impailment tactic – political enemies, suspected traitors, even whole armies of Turks found themselves with sharpened wooden stakes through their torsos.   His brutality and violent excesses saw him dubbed “Vlad the Impaler” within his lifetime, and his legend has grown since his death to the point of him being the most iconic vampire in the modern popular imagination.

A veteran Taborite Infantryman and Vlad Dracula fighting together on the Hungarian border

Vlad was a member of the Ordo Draconis, which was founded by the King of Hungary to stamp out the enemies of Christianity (including the likes of fellow Blandford Warrior Jan Žižka).  Though ostensibly Christian, Dracula never quite grasped the essence of the religion – attempting to demonstrate his faith to the King of Hungary with a gift of two bags of Turkish heads, ears and noses.  See how well that gift goes down with your vicar.

Dracula supervises the execution of prisoners after a raid on a German settlement in southern Transylvania, 1460.

The heraldry of the Ordo Draconis, in the Angus McBride plate above, is a dragon swooping down on some sort of serpentine monster.  Ordo Draconis is where Dracula’s father – Vlad II Dracul – got his name from, and “Dracula” is the diminuitive form – “little dragon”.

Dracula, looking every inch the cock of the town, though at 5’ 2” it’s not many inches.

Vlad eventually died on the battlefield in AD1476, fighting the Ottoman Turks.  They cut his head off and sent it to their Sultan, who impaled it on a spike.  However, Vlad had converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism during his lifetime – something considered so heretical that Wallachian folklore claimed that on death, any such heretic would transform into… a vampire.

Project Complete

I enjoy grouping the figures from different chapters of Medieval Warlords together (like the Taborite Infantryman and Dracula) to make the figures cross over.  I can even draw a connection through a thousand years of time between Aetius (representing the earliest medieval warlord), and Dracula (the latest):  Aetius defeated Attila the Hun, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula character was a member of the Hungarian tribal group that claimed direct descent from those Huns.

Left to right: Alan Horseman, Sir John Chandos, Bucellarius of Majorian, Jan Žižka, An Lushan, Flavius Aetius, Imperial Guardsman, Vlad Dracula, Bertrand du Guesclin, Owen of Wales, Teutonic Knight and Taborite Infantryman.

That’s each and every Blandford Warrior painted.  The set is complete.  Project over.  Now I can give my historical wargaming energy to something else.  Reinforcements for my Normans?  Siege of Oxford?  Early Imperial Romans?  Late Imperial Romans?  I’m giddy with excitement, all I can say with certainty is that’s the end of my Blandford Warriors.

Or is it … ?

Stay tuned to Ninjabread for more minis.  If you fancy your own set of Blandford Warriors they’re available from the excellent Wargames Foundry.

More of my miniatures at: www.ninjabread.co.uk/
More of my historicals at http://www.ninjabread.co.uk/category/blog/historicals/

Offline Bloggard

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the quality of painting - and humour - is almost overwhelming in this thread  :-*

a little reassuring in terms of painter-envy, to see from your site that not only are you a PRO pro painter, but also an artist ... still, all the same, amazing free-hand on these tiny models.

Offline aircav

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It’s been a fantastic thread & brilliant seeing these old Miniatures painted so excellently  8) 8) 8)

Offline Andym

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That’s some great paint work on some classic figures! :-*

Offline OSHIROmodels

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Most excellent  8)

Offline Jeff965

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A brilliant thread, loved it :-*


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