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Agincourt, some mudstains and composition.

Discussion in 'Post Your Own Articles & SBS' started by Uruk-Hai, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. Uruk-Hai PlanetFigure Supporter

    During this period of turbulence, virus and changes with tons of people staying at home, I thought it was time for me to do an article for you guys.
    Hopefully something to read and get inspired from, who knows, some of you might even be tempted to try to do vignette!
    We all have favourite periods, characters and scenarios in history, and one that will always have a very special place in history for me, is the dramatic battle of Agincourt, immortalized by Shakespeare.The very name of Agincourt will forever be synonymous with bravery, cruelty and a struggle against the odds...
    Having dome several 54mm scenes of this battle I thought it was about time to do a vignette in 120mm. The beauty of the larger scale is that it will add a larger impact, being almost like a small statue. And this is the way I approach doing a 120mm vignette, to get into the spirit of a classic piece of sculpting, very much like the Baroque masters would create their scenes.
    To do a larger scale vignette might seem to be a lot more work, but it is worth it. Believe me. Some stages in the sculpting might be easier, some more difficult than doing the more normal 54mm. The importance is to approach it as a scene of 3 figures rather than 3 individual figures that happen to be on the same base.
    Make the figures interact with each other, they should appear to be almost a single piece of sculpting.
    As you may have guessed doing the armour of the knights where a nightmare, not difficult but very time consuming...
    For some of the parts I cheated and used some Verlinden parts from their Agincourt series of 120mm figures.
    The scene with the French knight, showing the mortally wounded Dauphin, was very much inspired by the classical sculpting you might see in a church, and I approached the vignette to be like an altar piece, full of drama and emotion.
    To make sure the composition was as tight as possible, and as dramatic as possible, the French knight holding the wounded Dauphin was sculpted as a single piece.
    If the French scene was full of sadness, frustration and despair, the scene with the English was to be the opposite.
    Here we see king Henry V advancing, leading his men in the thick of the fighting. I choose to show Henry without his helmet to better show off this famous warrior king, as it makes it easier to relate to the character when you can see his face, features and expression.
    Once again, most of the armour was scratchbuilt. One piece was sculpted and when cured, sanded smooth, and then on to the next part...
    All sculpting was done using Magic Sculp. A lot of sanding and carving had to be made to make sure that the armour was not only smooth, but with sharp and straight edges where necessary. .
    The painting was done with acrylics from Scale 75, Andrea, Vallejo and Reaper. For the mud I used tube acrylics, which made it easier to build up the texture.
    Probably the most challenging part was the painting of the all the armour, from iron to steel, from brass to gold.
    I used Vallejo Air for most of the metal parts, as this paint is very fluid and contains very little pigment (this paint is actually made for Airbrushing and there are very, very fine pigmented). The trick is to build up the metal colours using several tones and shades to create an interesting tone, never use just one metal colour.
    I used several washes and filters from blues, purple, browns and greens to add interest. I also added several dents and scratches in the armour by carefully painting highlights and shading.
    Weathering is indeed a very part when doing a Agincourt scene, and if you know about the conditions and weather during this late october battle, you really need to add some mud splash or two!
    All the mud on the figures, as well as the blood, was very carefully built up during many painting sessions. And like the painting of the armour, the more different tones and shades you use, the more interesting it will look.
    And don´t forget to use colours when composing scenes, with the French knight we have the Dauphin with the yellow to make him stand out, the same with king Henry with his royal heraldry of England. Also note that these two "lead actors" , these two focal points are without their helmets and that the knights behind them are having darker and more muted colours. All very carefully planned.
    And planning the composition, the drama and the use of colours is indeed the key to creating a good scene. From a pristine vignette on a parade ground to the bloody and mudstained field of Agincourt.
    So start that next vignette, plan it well and compose it well. And have fun!
    Stay safe, healthy and keep well.

    23b8f66c5dac0ff42fc331d8e5e173aa (1).jpg 2f4428e97540ab04b59247fb4f86875b (1).jpg 2f4428e97540ab04b59247fb4f86875b.jpg 006.jpg

    chailey, NeilW, Borek and 6 others like this.
  2. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Mike

    BIG THANKS for doing this thread a good addition for members

    Great results as well

    Happy benchtime

    Stay safe

  3. oldtrousers PlanetFigure Supporter

    Thank you for the article, Mr. Blank!

  4. custer760 Well-Known Member

    Excellent artwork from a true Master and great guy.
  5. Borek A Fixture

    Wonderful. Sculpture, painting, composition, all at the highest possible level. Perfect work, as well as an exemplary portrayal of the meaning and emotional side of the Battle of Agincourt - on the one hand, the unrestrained victorious attack of the King of England and his warriors over the fallen body of Guillaume de Martell (perhaps chosen as a symbol of the French disaster in this battle - he was the bearer of Orifflame, the war standard of the French kings that marked fierce fighting, no prisoners, fighting until death). On the other hand, a vignette depicting the tragedy of the French army - the dying Guichard Dauphin (Master of Royal Household), supported by a comrade (I think it is Robert du Bar, count of Marle). It's a really powerful scene full of hopelessness and despair, as you write.

    The composition of both vignettes is really a huge asset of these scenes. Dioramas and vignettes are really the most about composition, and I totally agree that putting together a few pieces that were created separately may not be a bad idea, but never (perhaps with random exceptions) can they give the impression of a planed and also created scene from the ground up.

    There are different approaches to the composition of such scenes, and of course vary according to the number of figures. However, always the most important thing is a certain interaction of characters. It does not necessarily mean that each figure reacts to another, but the scene must have an inner sense, the movement of the characters must respect logic, and last but not least, a story must be told. Micro story, yes, but it is important. Larger dioramas may require more smaller stories, but some capture of the moment in time should make sense, describe the situation, create emotions. And these two vignettes fulfill this aspect absolutely and perfectly. It's a college of composition work in our hobby.

    Definitely a beautiful work in all aspects, a demonstration of master art in all its forms. Congratulations and dump my hat.

    Cheers Borek :)

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