Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Black Prince At Crecy, 1346

In 1346 a Battle was fought between English (or rather the Avigen decendants of King Richard the Lionhart), Welsh & there allies of the holy roman empire on one side and French, Majorcan & Genoese forces on the other side at Crecy. The outcome was a flawless victory for the English. This is attributed to the use of the longbow but that is just a part of the story. The English also had the high ground in the battle, the French made countless mistakes. One of the larger ones is sending the Genoese crossbow men straight into batlle after a six day march without there pavaises (large shields) making the tired men easy targets for enemy archers. An other factor helping the English was the bad weather making the battlefield a mudpool slowing the enemy advance. More on the battle, tactics and outcome can be read here at the wikipedia page about the battle.
The battle was also the baptism of fire for Edward of Woodstock,Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Aquitaine. He is more populairy known as 'The Black Prince' and was aged 16 at the time. This was the first battle he fought in and his change to prove himself as a commander and warrior for his father, King Edward the III. The tradition was that a prince had to wear a black cuiras (armour protecting your torso) and a lot of decorations. What the, almost extravagent, decorations are for is not known by me but perhaps it's function is luring the enemy making sure the prince doesn't miss out on 'the riches of battle'. During the battle he indeed came under attack by the enemy but prevailed proving precisely what his father wanted to see and the tradition requierd. Andrea Miniatures from Spain makes a diorama set in 1/32 (or 54mm) with white metal figures depicing 'The Black Prince' in battle fighting two enemy foot soldiers. The set (kit SM-S01) comes in a flat box packing about 40 parts well protected by foam. Next to the figures the set also includes a resin diorama base and accessoires for the base.
The box art shows a completed example of the box contents.

I started by cleaning up the figures, this can be done in the same way you make a plastic model since white metal is very soft. Be carefull not the bent parts! If you do, carefully bend them back into shape. One of the hardest things to bend straight is the halbei (the axe like weapon with the large stick). The easiest way to bend this thing straight is by trying to 'strech' it. As said white metal is soft and can be bended many times but there is a limit of course. The metal parts need to be glued with cyano acrylate or 'super glue'. The horse is casted in two halves and a separated neck and head. This needs some filling to get the best results, I used Revell's 'Plasto' filler for this. It is filler for plastic models but works remarkebly well on metal too. As final part of the building process I glued the figures to the base, the holes on the base need to be drilled out a bit. (the resin emmited a gasoline smell when I did this, WTF?) The pinns on the feed of the figues can be cutted of to make them a bit shorter, EXCEPT THOSE OF THE HORSE! These a are strengthened by a very hard steel wire in the core, I wasted a high quality skanda wirecutter trying this. for this reason the legs of the horse cannot be bend either. One of the pinns didn't fitted in the hole of the base so I just drilled an other one and putted filler in the seems between the pinn and hole.

After the construction the figures are ready to paint. I started on the underside of the horse and his cloth, the french warrior with axe was next followd by the soldier with halbeir and the black prince himself. After this was finished I painted the base and accesoirres to do something else then very preciese figure painting. I also added static grass to the base. I finished painting the outside of the horses cloth. There are little seems on the cloth helping you to make straigth boundries between the red and black parts. The French lile's (the yellow banana/sword/missles) and Avingen lions where pained next. After this the figures where glued to the base and photo's where made ending this 12 week project.

The photo's of the whole scene (click on the picture for a larger example as usuall):

The warrior:

The soldier:
The prince:

This is not a set for beginners, also if you like to build models but painting is not your thing this is also a set you don't want to make. Recommended for all modellers wanting to build action full diorama from an other era. €110,00 is a lot of money but the set is not expensive considering it's completeness and quality. Casting white metal is simply (a lot) more expensive then casting plastic that is why these figures cost more then there plastic equivalents. Note that the quality is a lot better though.

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