Friday, May 25, 2012

Fridericus Redivivus: 1st Knights

And so it begins. Right into it, let's start with a core unit of every self-respecting Medieval army: the knights.

These are somewhat iconic for the Middle Ages and for the 13th century in particular. In this phase knights become the fully armoured shock cavalry we all love. But they also become a social model, their appearance a subject of arts, their way of life encoded in literature. Promoting themselves that way knights start to climb upwards from unfree servants to a class of (at least) minor noblemen. And we may consider most people's enthusiasm for the knightly image down to the present day a sign of its impact as a role model.

In Konradin's time there was a lot of transition, and, of course, things didn't change simultaneously or in the very same way all over Europe. Konradin's army may have mirrored these differences and 'asynchronies' almost perfectly because it was drawn together from a mix-up of sources. That is represented by this first – and rather fanciful – battle group. The knights are sporting a mixture of armament styles, e.g. some already in the all-enclosing great helm, while others still wearing the precursory open or face mask helmet.

Rather conjectural than based on fact is the heraldry as well. Some motifs are taken from the Codex Manesse. From the same source comes the depiction of Walther von Klingen, a famous ministrel of his time, but an unlikely supporter of Konradin's cause. I painted him up more as kind of a reminiscence to my first Impetus base, which featured one of Walther's later descendants.

Another reason being that I had started painting some test figures, before I finally decided on a certain theme. Among the possible theatres of war were the Bohemian campaigns of Rudolf I (which I might still use the army for, once it's finished), and the leader of the present battle group is another remainder of this consideration. Actually, I wanted to portray Meinhard II, count of Tyrol and Gorizia, who not only supported king Rudolf. Coincidentally, if unsurprisingly he also had taken a major part in his stepson's endeavour (Meinhard married Konradin's untimely widowed mother). However, the count defected from Konradin's cause, due to issues unknown in detail, just as they had crossed the Alps in triumph. Quite a few German nobles along with their retinues joined the count's early withdrawal. Anyway, Meinhard wasn't present when Konradin encountered military opposition - and the same goes for his brother Albert I, whose coat of arms I erroneously used here. Well, since the whole campaign isn't that well documented, a bit of artistic license seems okay. ;-)

Finally, famous first words on the miniatures. I have painted 15mm figures before, but these Legio Heroica ones are rather nice. Cleanly cast, excellent detail. The only downside here is the lack of crests. Even if it's debatable that knights used such devices in battle (I for one firmly believe they did!), it would've been nice to have some just for variation. Lances are a bit prone to bending, but since they were provided I used them. The banners are computer-generated designs, printed and painted over by hand. For the basing I wanted something a bit arid (like South Italy in summer, that is), and the MiniNatur tufts work well enough for my taste to give the impression of unmown grassy areas. Paintingwise I probably got a bit crazy here to see what's possible in this scale, but honestly I can't promise to put the same effort into the next figures!

PS: Please tell me if you want to know more about something in particular, be it in regard of painting, miniatures or history. The format of this project is rather free-flowing yet, and I would like to include your suggestions as far as possible.

PPS: I also added a dedicated project page, where I will compile all according entries. It's under construction yet, but keep an eye on it.

Miniatures by Legio Heroica.


sebastosfig said...

well, they are absolutely beautiful.
well done

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Outstanding work you have done!! Absolutely superb detailing. If maintain that standard throughout the army you'll still be working on it next year!

Hendrid said...

Great looking knights. Very tasty.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Very nice! Love the great helms... I had no idea that they might have been coloured or painted at the time but can see why - they look very effective..

Paul´s Bods said...

How the heck did you do the zig zag pattern so neatly in 15mm!!!!!!? They look lovely!

Ray Rousell said...

Beautiful painting!! And lovely use of colour!

Dalauppror said...

Stunning paint work as allway Tilman.

A very interesting project I will defenetly followit with greate interes.

I have actually just started a small project in the same era, 13th century, but in 28mm...and no blogging about it yeat...have to finish some test minis first...

Your project will be perfect inspiration:)

By the way do you have some more pictures of your shields...

Best regards Michael

Michel said...

Wonderful Work Tilman...!
Please keep it up...!

Derbo said...

Very nice miniatures!

I'm always interested in what colours were used. Especially your yellow and green tones.

Looking forward to seeing more!

Sire Godefroy said...

Thanks a lot, chaps! Always appreciate your comments.

Paul, the zig zag needs a steady hand indeed. It's easy, however, if you use the surrounding colour for corrections. So I sharpened the edges of the red pattern with white.

Dalauppror, sorry, there are no dedicated pics, since there's nothing special about the shields. I just copied the designs from illustrations found on the web. Again, a steady hand helps greatly. ;-)

Derbo, I've just applied two colours from the triads I normally use (Foundry or equivalent tones from Vallejo), mostly just shadow and highlight. In some cases I added a "mid-tone" with washes. Yellow was done with Foundry's Ochre 4, for bright green I used Foundry's Bottle Green 41 highlighted with Vallejo Game Colour Goblin Green or alternatively the highlight from Foundry's Phlegm Green 28. Hope that helps.


Dalauppror said...

Your to modest about your shields Tilman. I thought they look realy good specially considering they are 15mm

Best regards Michael

Monty said...

Spectacular! I love these! And I also really like the back story as it's yet another period in history that I know little to nothing about.


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