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Arming the Knights

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

Painting 15th Century men at arms could be incredibly simple since most were encased from head to foot in armour. A black wash over silver and you are 90% done. I, however, like to complicate matters. This is because I love the look of the armour of this time and want my figures to display it proudly on the game table.

I have found that a base coat of metallic blue really works well both for polished and black armour. I apply this over the white undercoat. I have not done this for all the figures, one I gave a base coat of silver and two were left white. This will give slightly differing looks to the finished armour as one would expect amongst a group of self-equipped men at arms. Several figures will have brass accoutrements and I dab a bit of gold in these places. A touch of metallic blue on blade edges will give a brighter hue to the sharpened blades.

Next I give a thorough coat of black ink all over the armour and metal. I am not overly careful doing this as it is quicker and easier to slop it on and touch up later. The metal is now quite dark with bits of blue, silver or grey showing through on the highlights (depending on the base coat). I have not done this with the helmet of the man in the centre as his helmet will be painted.

Now I start to build up the highlights by dry-brushing increasingly lighter metallic shades from bolt gun metal through to bright silver. For this I use a small flat-headed brush.

I could have left it at this point but instead I use a fine brush to apply silver (and gold) highlights in a few places. Painted helmets were quite common and the man on left of photo has a blue one. I gave a dry brush of silver over the blue to give the impression of paint that had been scratched or worn off. I will later make this look a little rusty by adding a dab of Games Workshop Flesh shade.

Finally I apply a thin black wash over all the metal. This settles into the grooves to bring out the detail even more. Coat d’Arms Black Super Shade has the additional benefit of providing a slightly oily sheen which gives a great effect. Black armour was probably the norm in the 15th C and into the 16th, so I have deliberately kept the armour fairly dark with some black and others more polished.

Armour done, I touch up with white all those bits that need to be painted with other colours.

The banner along with blue and yellow livery colours proclaim these men as the retinue of Sir John de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk — a prominent Yorkist. The figures are all Perry 28 mil Wars of the Roses, both metal and plastic.

His son (also Sir John de la Pole) was the Earl of Lincoln and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He commanded the Yorkists and was killed in the last battle of the Wars of the Roses — Stoke Field (1487). I hope to refight Stoke Field before too long and these men will then command the Yorkist army.

I have a step by step illustrated armour painting guide on my website. This includes more detail on the techniques I use for chain mail as well as blackened armour.

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Ernie Fosker
Ernie Fosker
Aug 17, 2023

Absolutely no obsessive geekiness there,Simon, none whatsoever 🙄 They look superb!


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