Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Flagging this up!

One thing that you soon realise about the Great Italian Wars, is the fact that most of the armies used the same troop types. Gendarmes and Lance Spezatte (much the same thing) could be found in every army, as could Stradiots, Landsknechts and other pikemen, etc. The only way that a unit can be readily recognised is by the flag it carries.

Now I like painting, but I can see no reason to duplicate command stands when only the flags are different. To get around this I decided that all of my standard bearers would have removable flags, flags that were all, within the categories of cavalry and infantry, interchangeable, so that in minutes French could become Venetians, Venetians could become Papal troops, etc.

My figures are all 28s so my “flagpoles” were, like my pikes, 0.047 gauge piano wire. I make my own flags, usually with Microsoft Paint, in a double sided format; that is the two sides printed as a mirror image of each other, side by side with a gap between for wrapping around the pole then I:
  • Cut them out and wrap and glue them around 3/32 gauge aluminium tubing with PVA.
  • When dry I “paint” them with a coat of PVA to seal everything inside a translucent coating. Being flexible PVA is important for the next stage.
  • When the PVA coating is dry I heat the flag up on a radiator or the top of my angle lamp and bend it, around pens or brush handles, to get the “flag flying” feel. When the flag cools (in seconds) the shape is rigid.
  • Next I cut the top off a spare lead spear (I always replace them with wire for figures) and sick it in the top of the tube to finish it off.
  • Then I paint the flag in enamels.

This is a great idea for any armies pre-uniform. I intend to do the same with my ECW and Wars of the Roses collections – one day!

Written by James Roach.

1 comment:

  1. That's a cracking idea!
    I'll have to give it a go for our 15mm's. Nice site!

    All the Best