Sunday, 20 March 2022

Bosworth 1485 - Bloody you are

Historical Background

The struggle for power in medieval England culminated in the Wars of the Roses (1455 - 1485), the name derived from the badges of the two leading parties - the house of Lancaster (red rose) and the house of York (white rose). In the year 1485 Richard III. of the house of York was the king of England and had to deal with Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, of the house of Lancaster. The two armies met at Bosworth for the decisive battle. After a bitter fighting Richard lost his life and throne and Henry became the new regent, founding the house of Tudor (the badge being a white rose within a red rose), which ruled England for the next 118 years.

The moment depicted is the clash of the main battle lines at Richard's right flank. The Yorkists under the command of the Duke of Norfolk holding the high ground and the Lancastrians under the Earl of Oxford had to advance uphill. After an exchange of long distance weapons (bows, crossbows, handguns, cannons), the battle lines made contact. It was a brutal combat without mercy in which Oxford got slowly the upper hand. This incident induced Richard to his final charge on the other side of the battle field.

The diorama

The figures are from MiniArt, some of them very flat and therefore difficult to convert. So the positioning of the figures was essential for not creating a strange looking effect owing to their flatness. Conversion on this flat figures is very difficult and I avoided it whenever possible - simple headswaps and changing of the weapons was mostly sufficient. 

On the Yorkists side you can see John Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, with his banner and his trumpeter and in the background the flag of  Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey - on the other side I made two flags of John de Vere, the Earl of Oxford. All flags are made of paper and are handpainted.

The groundwork was made of MIG texture dark mud, some colour variations and Faller grass.

The subtitle of the diorama is the first line of another quote of Shakespeare's play "Richard III.", the second part will be featured in one of my next works.

Photos (click to enlarge)

Video (Youtube)


Christopher Gravett - Bosworth 1485 (Osprey Campaign 66)
David Nicolle - European medieval tactics 2 (Osprey Elite 189)
Michael Hicks - The Wars of the Roses (Ospray Essential Histories 54)
Terence Wise - The Wars of the Roses (Osprey Men-at-Arms 145)
Terence Wise - Mediaval heraldry (Osprey Men-at-Arms 99)
Christopher Gravett - English medieval knight 1400-1500 (Osprey Warrior 35)
Clive Bartlett - English longbowman 1330-1515 (Osprey Warrior 11)
Gary Embleton - Medieval military costume (Europa Militaria Special 8)
Jens Hill, Jonas Freiberg - The medieval fighting man (Europa Militaria Special 18)
Liliane u. Fred Funcken - Historische Waffen und Rüstungen
M. Bennet, ... - Fighting techniques of the medieval world 500-1500

Sunday, 5 December 2021

Raphia 217 BC - A terrifying colossus

Historical background
After the death of Alexander the great his empire disintegrates in several parts, when each of his former commanders tried to take his share. Long years of war between them followed, known as the diadochi wars. After the end of this conflict two of this successor states (the Seleucid empire and Ptolemaic Egypt) started a new series of wars - the Syrian wars (6 wars, lasting with interruptions from 274 to 168 BC). In the 4th war the battle of Raphia (modern day Rafah, near Gaza in Israel) took place and it was one of the largest of the whole conflict – especially famous for its use of war elephants on both sides (a rarity). The Seleucids used Indian elephants and the Egyptians smaller African forest elephants. The battle started with an attack by the elephants by both sides, but the Egyptian elephants on the left flank panicked before contact and were put to flight with the Seleucids persuing them, on the right flank the Egyptian elephants refused to move at all and only excessive cavalry attacks saved them from being overrun. The decision had to happen in the center by the phalanxes, where the Egyptians had the better end. This victory ensured Ptolemaic dominance over Syria, but not for long.
The moment depicted is the attack of the Seleucid elephants supported by some light infantry on the Egyptian right flank. Egyptian cavalry tries to stop their advance, but have extreme difficulties with penetrating the heavy armour of the beasts.
The diorama
The figures are from Zvezda and this elephant also deserves a seperate praise - perfect work! I added a little detail in creating a convincing throat (only slightly visible), some small gaps between the parts had to be covered with putty. The colouring of the elephant was the same problem as in the Zama diorama, but owing to the armour not as much skin had to be done.
The elephant is according to Zvezda a forest elephant, but for the species it is too large. As the animal is covered with a lot of armour, it is exceptable for an Indian elephant. The mahout in front of the tower controls the movement of the elephant and the fighting crew tries to shield the flanks of the beast. Additional light infantry also has this job. The main function was the sheer might and weight of the elephant to disrupt the enemy lines, but it isn't possible to steer the animal directly into a wall of soldiers with spears to their front - the elephant simply stops or even worse he got afraid and turned and crashed blindly through his own soldiers. A scared elephant is hard to stop and the mahout carried a hammer and a chisel blade for this moment - to ram it down through the forehead of the animal as a final solution.

Photos (click to enlarge)

Video (Youtube)


Nicholas Sekunda - Macedonian armies after Alexander 323 - 168 BC (Osprey Men-at-Arms 477)
Nic Fields - Tarentine horseman of Magna Graecia (Osprey Warrior 130)
Konstantin Nossov - War elephants (Osprey New Vanguard 150)
Simon Angum, … - Fighting techniques of the ancient world 3000 BC - 500 AD