May 12, 2012

THE Jacobite

King James II sits atop his mount nonplussed as he gazes at toward the Boyne, ignoring the frantic aide shouting of the arrival of the messenger from Tyrconnel - 'The Enemy has forced the river, the Right Wing is defeated.' The demonstrations near Oldbridge was NOT a feint and the King sees his campaign coming to a disastrous end...

This shot features more great models from the Warfare Miniatures range (as well as the first of my flags for the Jacobite collection available soon). King James II is one of two (the other being St Ruhe) from the first personality pack offered by Warfare. The aide is the artillery officer figure available in WLOA17 and WLOA18 and the standard bearer is from WLOA13, Mixed Codes Advancing. The flag is again by Quindia Studios and will be available among the first of the Jacobite flag range.

Besides simply showing these photos I thought I'd take the time to make this post useful to people by talking a little about vignettes. Of course the practical reason for this stand is make the army commander easily identifiable on the table top, even to observers who have no idea of the history of the period or the people involved. My brigade commanders will all be one or two models mounted on smaller round bases which makes it obvious who the big man is.

First and foremost a vignette should have a focal point. Obviously in this piece it's James II. Even with so much going on your eye is (hopefully) drawn to the mounted officer. I placed all of the other elements on the extreme edge of the base to leave space around the focal point and considered the positioning from several angles. I used Elmer's Tac Tabs to temporarily adhere the models to the stand and make adjustments before gluing the permanently.

Artistically when I design a vignette I try to have a narrative in mind rather than just sticking a collection of models on the same base. Clibinarium has done a fantastic job of sculpting a model who is more than just a fancy on horseback. The original concept for the model (I have the sculptor's brief and the conversations back and forth) was to capture that James II sees the crown slipping away. He looks to be feeling his age, but still sits stately in the saddle. He is watching the fighting going badly from afar with a look that says 'its still up for grabs but I'm dead worried'. I purposely placed James II on the base so he appears to be ignoring those around him. Picking a horse that appears to notice the chaos heightens the aloof nature of his master.

Related to the narrative is a sense of place or establishment of a location. This goes beyond simple terrain. If I were building a German vignette for the Battle of Stalingrad, urban ruins are a starting point, but to firmly place the scene in the proper city I might add Soviet propaganda posters, discarded Russian equipment, or road signs. For my command vignette I chose the latter to firmly place the King gazing toward Oldbridge. He clearly has not yet started his retreat toward Donore. The road sign firmly places James II at the Battle of Boyne.

Finally consider details. Neither of the foot models have been converted in any way, but I did modify their stances with thin shivs cut from balsa wood. The standard bearer model was advancing and clearing leaning forward. Had I simply glued the model to the base he would look like he was charging the horse! By changing the angle the model now appears to be standing with his weight on his back leg with front resting on short rise in the ground. The pointing fellow likewise needed to to set differently because my original placement made him look like he was shouting at the King's stirrup...

Hopefully my ramblings have been useful, but I'll be happy to answer any questions. A vignette like this forms a wonderful centerpiece for any army and is a fun departure from painting hordes of rank and file! More painted Warfare Miniatures are on the way with a second battalion of the Dutch Blue Guards, a commander for my Danish brigade, and the beginnings of my artillery trayne...


  1. An excellent command stand!!!! Nice one Clarence, any idea when the flags are going to be launched?

    1. The first eight Williamite sheets will be released very, very soon. I finished proofing them this week (printed them all to make sure the contrasts worked properly). Barry is in the process of acquiring a new printer - we intend to print on demand and he'll supply the UK and Europe while I handle the US, Canada, and probably Australia and we'll sort out other countries as needed...

      However - YOU don't need 'em! You are as prolific at producing flags as am I!

    2. LOL! I'll still buy yours though!!!

  2. A fantastic looking command stand. Those Warfare figures look really nice

  3. A great sculpt, and you've definitely done it justice with your painting and basing. Bravo!

  4. Whoah. That is a fine looking command stand. Great idea on the road sign! Best, Dean

  5. Nicely done, a very nice work!