Saturday, 18 April 2015

Italian War 1499 -1504 Spanish and French Armies

Over the Easter break I had time to take some photos of the first half of my collection that I have rebased set up on my battlefield. These are the figures that I feel are really more suitable for the very early conflicts of the Italian Wars, the initial French invasion of 1494 and then the campaigns fought over Naples by Spain and France in the first years of the 16th century. I really love this era as not only does it have some fascinating characters like Cesare Borgia and Gonzalo de Cordoba taking the field but I like the transitional look of the armies. The iconic slashed and puffed Landsknecht look had not quite arrived but you can see the fashions moving towards it.
The first set of photos depicts a Spanish force, under the command of Pedro Navarro (if you can spot his heraldic flag among the pikes). It's a mix of Spanish Infantry, Jinetes and Men At Arms and Italian infantry, Condottieri, mounted Crossbowmen and Arquebusiers. If you have followed this blog I am sure you will know I like doing these big set ups. I was keen to see how the new bases would improve the overall look and am really pleased with the result. Everything is also much easier to move around and pack up now as well.

Spanish Army of the Second Italian War

Spanish guns with the Infantry behind

Italian Colonna Infantry in Spanish service

Italian Condotierri and mounted Arquebusiers

The Spanish Army

Artillery on a hill above the Italian Infantry

The Baggage train in the Villa behind the Spanish position

The second set of photos is of the figures depicting a French army for the Second Italian War. There are French Infantry and a few early Gendarmes, Swiss Pike, Stradiots and Italian Infantry and Condottieri. You may notice the Italians are carrying the red Fleur de Lys of Florence. Florence had allied with Louis XII of France as the French needed to cross Florentine territory to reach Naples by land and Florence wanted French help in its war with Pisa so for at least some of this period they were allied. With regards to the Swiss I doubt whether the Cantonal Flags the figures have would have been carried if they were in mercenary Service with the French but their banners certainly help to identify them as these elite troops.

French Army for the Second Italian War 1499-1504

French Infantry alongside the Swiss Mercenaries

French Crossbowmen in front of the French and Swiss Pike

Italian Arquebusiers skirmish in front of the French and Swiss infantry

French Infantry

Italian Florentine Allies in French Service

The French Army

I could not resist adding a photo of inside the walled town, with the French baggage train moving through it. I think this style of architecture really helps to set the scene and provides a great backdrop for the armies.
The final photo is of the Italian Archers that I have rebased. I was unsure whether to base them in closer order with 4 figures to a 45mm by 45mm base or in Skirmish order with 4 figures on a 45mm by 90mm base. In the end I opted for Skirmish order but with 5 figures to some of the bases rather than 4 and I am pleased with the result. They are great figures, mostly by The Assault Group but with some Perry Miniatures also mixed in.

Italian Walled Town

Italian Archers

Monday, 30 March 2015

Marching Arquebusiers

In between the mass of glue, flock and brown paint that has become my rebasing project I have managed to get a few figures painted up. Above are eight Wargames Foundry Landsknechts. They are sold as pikemen or halberdiers but I have made them into arquebusiers with the simple addition of firearms from The Assault Group. The pouches, match and powder horns are from the old Citadel Empire Handgunner set which had figures with plastic bodies but metal arms holding handguns. The also included these pouches for the handgunners. They can still be tracked down on Ebay and are really useful for this kind of thing.
Arquebusiers are always depicted with the tools of their trade in contemporary illustrations. I felt just adding the handguns would not look right. The straps for the pouches are simply pieces of thread glued in place and painted. Some wear the pouches over their shoulders with others hanging them round their necks ready to use. You will notice a couple of the figures hold the arquebuses by the barrel, one even hanging his pouch and match from the butt. This was a little homage to one of the plates in the Osprey "Swiss at War" book where Swiss handgunners are shown going into action, some of them holding the guns by the barrel over their shoulders. I am not sure whether this is based on a contemporary illustration but I thought it was a nice addition.
I have painted these up as I am currently rebasing my marching Landsknecht pikemen and only had eight marching arquebusiers to accompany them. As they were all in the same pose I decided adding another eight would give more variation and give me four bases of shot, with four Landsknechts on each, to march alongside the dense ranks of pikemen.

Wargames Foundry Landsknechts. The  handguns are from The Assault Group and powder horns and pouches are old Citadel pieces

Marching Landsknecht Arquebusiers

Sunday, 15 March 2015

More Rebasing - Light Horse and Skirmishers

Another update on the endless rebasing that I am currently undertaking. I have completed three groups of Light Horse. The Spanish Jinetes, Stradiots in more Western European armour and clothing and some Mounted Arquebusiers. The larger Skirmish Bases really bring them to life. Following on from these I have rebased three groups of figures from The Assault Group. The Spanish Crossbowmen and then Italian Crossbowmen and Arquebusiers. These are all pretty useful units being quite generic early 16th century figures so could serve for Italian, French or Spanish Infantry at a push. If I was to paint them now I would definitely have added a few more striped hose. The first crossbow unit are some of the first figures I painted for this collection.
Not all the figures are skirmishers, I have also completed some Italian Sword and Buckler infantry, a mixture of Perry and TAG figures. I haven't mixed the two styles on the bases as the Perry Figures are definitely more "medieval" rather than early 1500s and I wanted the option to possibly use them in a 15th century Condottieri army in the future. The final miniatures are 24 Crossbowmen, Perry Plastics with some Old Citadel metal crossbow arms and head swaps to bring them more into the 1500s. Again If I painted these now I would do more striped hose and maybe add a few beards with Greenstuff. I have recently picked up another 16 of these metal crossbow arm sets on ebay so I will probably add to these at some point in the future. I think they work well with the Perry Plastic figures.
I still have a long way to go with the rebasing but I'm making pretty good progress. I now have a clearer idea of what is left and how I'm going to tackle it to make it more manageable. The Landsknechts will be broken down into batches - marching pike, standing pike, attacking pike, advancing pike. I will do some of the shot like the skirmishers shown above and some in closer orders like the Spanish shot I posted before. I'm actually looking forward to tackling the massed Landsknecht pike and shot!


Mounted Arquebusiers


Italian Crossbowmen

Italian Arquebusiers

Milanese Infantry

Milanese Infantry

French Crossbowmen

But it hasn't all been rebasing. Last Friday I visited the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. It's been on my to visit list for ages and was not a disappointment. The amount of finds they have on display is really impressive. All sorts of things from kitchen utensils up to the huge bronze guns she carried and even one of the crows nests and the darts they hurled from these precarious positions. It was interesting to see how lots of old (by mid 16th century standards) breachloading hooped and barreled artillery pieces, were being used alongside state of the art bronze guns that were cast in one piece. Some of the bronze guns are really spectacular.
I was surprised at how much of the boat itself is preserved, it looks like about a third of the vessel, basically everything that sunk in the mud as she hit the seabed on her side. You can have a go at drawing a warbow (even half the pull of the ones found on board is not easy!) and pick up original bits of the rope and hand carved artillery shot. For anyone interested in renaissance warfare, or Tudor life in general, I would recommend a visit. It was pretty dark in the museum due to preservation, and flash photography is forbidden, but I did get a few (quite terrible!) snaps that give an idea of what is on show.

Linstocks from the Mary Rose

Cannon from the Mary Rose

Pewterware from the Mary Rose
Hailshot from the Mary Rose

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Spanish Infantry

Next up in my rebasing project come the Spanish Infantry. I painted most of these before I started this blog, although some figures were added to the collection later. They are mainly a mix of Wargames Foundry Conquistadors and The Assault Groups Neopolitan Spanish and Conquistadors. The pike are based six to a 45mm by 45mm base while the shot and sword and buckler armed Rodeleros are four to the same sized bases. A lot of The Assault Group figures are based on the image shown below illustrating the Conquest of Oran by Cardinal Franciso Jimenez de Cisneros in 1509. There are a few TAG Spanish miniatures that are near exact copies of some soldiers illustrated here. It seems these figures are for around 1495-1520 but I would be happy to use them up to around 1530. If the flags are changed and the Rodeleros are removed they can also work as French or Italian infantry so this is a versatile set.

Conquest of Oran 1509, Juan de Borgona c.1514

Spanish Arquebusiers with Rodeleros behind

Spanish Pike

Spanish Arquebusiers and Rodeleros

Spanish Infantry formation

Completing the Spanish Infantry means I have rebased everything I currently have out of storage. I have taken a brief (and needed!) break from rebasing and painted a few more Landsknechts in preparation for when I turn my attentions to rebasing the hordes I have already painted. Firstly there are a few Captains and Dopplesoldners I had not got round to painting but I'm keen to fit in amongst my other Landsknechts. Secondly I painted another set of Foundry Landsknechts marching in their Waffenrocks. They are beautiful figures and a real joy to paint. The addition of these will mean I have 8 bases of Landsknecht pike marching with their pikes and halberds over their shoulders.

Doppelsöldners and Captain

Old Glory Landsknecht Captains

Wargames Foundry marching Landsknechts

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Rebasing Continues....

Following my initial attempt at some new bases with my lighter guns here are the heavier pieces crewed by Landsknechts. Most of these miniatures were painted before I started this blog although some of the Old Citadel figures in among the crew were done more recently as were all various bits of gun paraphernalia on the bases. As with the first guns I am really pleased with how they turned out.The figures lend themselves beautifully to the little vignettes you can make on each base. I am not sure anyone will every top the Landsknecht Figures the Perrys did for Wargames Foundry. I thought about putting Gabions on the bases but decided against this as I would rather be able to add them to the front of the bases but then remove them if I want. I already have some old resin Gabions I bought off ebay but I may do some specific bases that can be added to the front of these in the future.

Landsknecht Gun Battery

"Have a care!"

Aside from the four heavier guns I have also based up a lighter piece by The Assault Group. It's a beautiful miniature, with great attention to detail. The crewman with the linstock is by Old Glory while the other two are by Citadel, sculpted by the Perrys in the early 90s I think. I have to admit I am not so keen on a lot of the Old Glory artillery crew models, I think I will sell most of mine, but a few of them have real character. I especially like this guys large hat!

Smaller Landsknecht field piece

Regarding the guns the last piece I based up is to go with the other 5 guns I showed in my last post. It's an organ gun, by Old Glory I think, with generic early Sixteenth century crew. It's a pretty useful model as the crew could represent Spanish, Italians or French.

Ribauldequin or Organ Gun

I have also rebased a big infantry block, the Reisläufer. I spent ages trying to decide what size bases to use but in the end I went with the system James Roach uses on his blog,, as I think it looks very effective and I like the idea of my pike blocks being in very close order. I wanted the banners to be on command bases surrounded by Halberdiers, Officers, Drummers and Pipers. The photo from above shows these two bases in the centre of the block. These two command bases were quite hard work as I wanted to show these figures off without them being completely covered by the flags. As some of the command figures are in dynamic poses it made putting them all in very close order a complete nightmare!
I still have 24 figures for the very front of the block to rebase. The pikemen were a pain to get off the old bases without all sorts of pike breakages and entanglements. I am not looking forward to redoing my 250 or so Landsknecht pike!

The Swiss with Skirmishing Arquebusiers to the front

The Reisläufer

The Reisläufer from above to give an idea of how they are based up

Below are my first rebased Cavalry, the Men at Arms for the very early 1500s. A mixture of Wargames Foundry and Assault Group figures with all the horses by The Assault Group. This is one of my favourite units in my collection and they were pretty easy to rebase.

Milanese Men at Arms

Milanese Men at Arms

Finally a unit of mounted crossbowmen, Perry Miniatures with a few head swaps. The method of putting horse in looser formation on deeper bases really works well and also allows for a bit more modelling scope on the actual base. Unlike the close order Cavalry and Infantry they are not so crammed on. I am looking forward to putting my Stradiots and Jinetes on these style bases.

Next up I have my Spanish infantry to rebase. I reckon the whole collection could take months, especially as a lot of it is currently stored away, but I am keen to persevere as I really think it enhances the figures no end.

Mounted Crossbowmen

Mounted Crossbowmen