Monday, 1 September 2014

Ruvo 1503

 Following on from my post showing the Italian style fortifications I have been working on here they are representing part of an Italian walled town at the start of the 1500s. I am particularly keen on collecting the forces that took part in the War for Naples, 1499-1504, as I love the mix of late medieval and early renaissance clothing and armour from this era. I thought it would be interesting to set these up to represent the assault Gonzalo de Cordoba led on the town of Ruvo during this war in February 1503.
I would love to know more about this battle as it sounds fascinating but information seems rather scarce. Outnumbered by the French, under Louis d'Armagnac Duke of Nemours, in southern Italy, Gonzalo de Cordoba had retreated into Barletta while he awaited reinforcements. As his supplies dwindled Gonzalo took advantage of Nemours punitive action against the town of Castallaneta whose people had attempted to surrender the town to the Spanish, being incensed by the conduct of the French garrison imposed on them.
Learning of Nemours absence Gonzalo marched by night from Barletta to Ruvo. After a short cannonade he breached the walls of the town and two columns, one under himself and one under Diego Garcia de Paredes, assaulted the town. The French, under Jacques de La Palice put up stiff resistance, defending houses and streets, but they were eventually forced to surrender.
Around 800 of the French were taken prisoner, as well as La Palice and 150 of his knights. The Spanish also captured a large quantity of supplies, essential for them maintaining their foothold in Italy. Reinforced these troops would later march out of Barletta in April and defeat the French at Cerignola, where Nemours was killed.
The photos below show a Spanish storm party of rodeleros, arquebusiers and dismounted men at arms assaulting one of the breaches in Ruvo. I don't know what type of troops La Palice had under his command in the town but there were obviously gendarmes if he and 150 of his knights were captured. To represent this there are gendarmes who have had time to mount counterattacking on one side and some dismounted ones under La Palice leading an assault down the other street. The rest of the French defence is made of French and Italian crossbowmen with a few arquebusiers and small artillery pieces.
I think the resin pieces make quite a convincing little town, well a corner of one! I could probably do with a few more town buildings but I imagine everyone thinks that when they try and do these kind of set ups. I like the breached wall section, its a very handy piece. At some point I would like to do a really big siege scene with the heavy artillery behind gabions and earthworks on one side and a fortified town on the other. I have my Tudor Archers to continue working on for now.

The Spanish pour through the breach

The Spanish assault

Spanish Rodeleros and Arquebusiers lead the assault

French Gendarmes and Crossbowmen attempt to stop the attack

Fighting on the Ramparts

The Spanish Pikemen support the storm party 
French defenders on the walls

The Gendarnes charge the attackers down the streets

The French defenders rally using wagons as barricades

The Spanish attackers

French crossbowmen in a lofty tower

Another tower defended by the French

Jacques de La Palice attempts to rally his forces

The Spanish storm in against the hastily made French barricade

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Imperialist Pike

After what seems an eternity, in fact 3 months, I have finally finished The Assault Group Pikemen I started work on in May. They are fantastic figures, my favourite out of the Tudor range the Assault Group have done. They are also the most versatile as they are not in the mid Tudor Uniforms like the Billmen and Arquebusiers I have already completed. For this reason I have not painted the red cross of St George on them but have left them as generic pike. At a pinch these figures could be used from around 1535 up to the 1570s, and could represent Italian, English, Spanish or French troops. With an eye to what The Assault Group have on the way in terms of the French mid 16th Century stuff these could be the start of a collection that will represent the later Hapsburg Valois wars, the fighting in Northern France and Italy that Blaise de Monluc was so involved in. I could also see them being great for the Siege of Malta in 1565 or the Venetians defending Cyprus in 1571. It's an era that, apart from Redoubt Enterprises a long time ago, no one has really done figures for in 28mm so its great to see these.
For some reason I have this idea that as the 16th century wore on the colours become more muted and the troops less flamboyant. As Landsknechts were still very much on the scene I am not really sure where I got this from but I do know that black was the fashionable colour of the European nobility at this time. As a result of this you will notice these chaps are a bit more toned down in colour than the other 1540s figures I have done. I feel this will help them to fit more easily into the 1560s and 1570s. This also lets their harnesses stand out more and TAG have done a fantastic job on the armour. The arm straps, ties on the pauldrons and buckles are all clearly sculpted as is the detailing of the armour itself. The ridges and lines on some of the harnesses are brilliantly done. I would love to see the sculptor who did these do some full Maximilian suits for the earlier 16th century. I have included a picture below of 4 of the pikemen to show closely how detailed the sculpting on the armour is.
The pictures below show the Pike as Imperialists under a simple Hapsburg Saltire and then as Tudor troops with an English flag. You will also notice that an old Redoubt Enterprises figure has snuck into the TAG ranks as the Ensign. The range he is from is pretty old now and a bit hit and miss to be honest but there are a few gems in it and this figure is one of them. He is quite large but fits in well as the Imperial ensign brandishing a pistol which at this time was still a very new weapon. I have removed the St Georges Cross from the Tudor drummer and added on old wargames foundry buckler to one of the Tudor officers to create a more generic command group which is shown below, although the ensign in the English uniform is obviously specifically English.
I now have the English Archers to complete, I have only done one so far, with another 31 plus command to do. I am keen to see what the whole group, Archers, Pike, Arquesbusiers and Billmen, look like as a whole when completed though. I am hoping the mix of some in Tudor Uniform Coats and others in their own versions of these or just in their armour will create a more realistic look than all of them being in the white and red uniforms.

Imperial Pike, mid 16th century

Tudor Pikemen, 1540s

Redoubt Enterprises Ensign

Detail of the pikemens harnesses

Tudor Command Figures, 1540s, by The Assault Group

Monday, 14 July 2014

An Italian Castle

I blame impulse buying at Salute 2014 for this post. I have had quite a few pieces from Magister Militum's Battleground scenery range in my collection for ages, they regulary make appearances in my posts in the background. When I was looking around Salute this year some more of their towers immediately caught my eye and I fell for the dreaded impulse buy! It also meant I had to carry some very heavy blocks of resin home on the tube.
Once I had these this slowly led me onto the net and I picked up a really tall tower from them and a couple more of their Italian style walls so I had enough to make a complete castle. The Battleground stuff is quite old now, perhaps a bit rough and ready, but I like it. I think it gives a really good feel for the period when combined with the figures. The walls and towers are made of that kind of resin that needs to be washed in detergent and then have a few coats of paint as it resists the paint sticking, it's definitely better to use big art style bottles of acrylic and mix up the colours rather than to try and use regular miniatures paints on them. I don't think the models are bad value either, the really tall tower in the first picture below is £30 and it is really tall! It could easily be used as a stand alone fortification for the Border Reivers or Tudor wars in Ireland.
Once I had picked up these pieces I had a look online for other suitable stuff and picked up the Spanish Villa and Tower from Grand Manner as they had a sale on. Their stuff is beautifully made and detailed, there is interior detail in both the buildings I bought. It is expensive though. I don't think I would have bought from them unless they had had the sale on.
Below is the resulting castle made from these new pieces along with my older stuff, some buildings from Hovels and a couple of towers, the ones with the hoardings on top, from Ebay. I am really pleased with the result, although I am aware it probably would have been better to have the castle walls in a different colour from the buildings inside and that I should have differentiated between the brickwork and plaster. The towers do look like giant blocks of cheese when on their own but I like the effect of it all together. The castle is made of quite a mish mash of manufacturers so painting all the buildings and walls the same colour brings it together but also keeps that feeling that bits have been built at different stages which is common in most medieval fortifications.
So below are some pictures of a relatively peaceful scene. The garrison of a Venetian castle prepare to escort some wagons to their destination. A final sack is loaded onto the wagon as they ready to set off under the eyes of the garrison commander and castles priest. The first couple of photos show the tall tower from Magister Militum.

The Tall Tower with the Venetian Flag on the top

Another view of the Tall Tower from above.

Mounted Arquebusiers prepare to accompany the wagons.

The photo below gives a clear picture of the tower from Grand Manners Spanish Napoleonic range. I am very impressed with this piece, there is a bell tower extension that goes with it that I am tempted to pick up in the future so I haven't glued the roof onto it yet. To the left of this is a pentagonal tower from Magister Militum, its a great piece, especially if you want to angle the walls from it rather than having them continue straight or turn at a right angle. Its also a very heavy piece of resin and would be lethal if thrown from any real castle walls itself!

The Pentagonal Tower and Italian style tower behind.

Loading the wagon with the Italian Tower to the left.

The final pictures of the castle courtyard show the Grand Manner Spanish Villa from a few angles, again it's a very detailed piece with internal details and lift off rooves. Although its shown here as part of the castle it makes an great stand alone item of scenery. I have also taken some photos of the pieces being used to show part of an Italian town in a slighty more battle ready scene which I will post up soon.

Courtyard of the castle with a good view of the villa from Grand Manner.

Another Courtyard shot from above.

The villa from Grand Manner being used as the internal buildings of the castle.

The Italian Tower and Pentaganol Tower from above.

Vines being tended to outside the castle walls.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Papal Men-at-Arms and the Liebster Award

A rather strange title to this post I have to admit, but I wanted to do a response to the Liebster Award I have very kindly been nominated for by Hendrid over at ALBAtwo Warblog and Jonas M at A Conflict of Interests . I was also nominated a few years back by Stuart at Army Royal, but didn't realise at the time I was meant to nominate fellow bloggers for the award! There seem to be a variety of rules concerning the Liebster, often working around the number 11, but I am going to follow Jonas's example and just follow the bits I like.

Before I get to that though, this being a blog focusing on the 16th Century I never like to post anything without some sort of 1500s relevance so here are a few pictures of all my early gendarmes or Men-at-Arms combined. The group is a combination of the old Wargames Foundry Figures I have recently been working on, riding horses by The Assault Group, combined with the Spanish and Italian Cavalry from The Assault Groups Neopolitan range. One Eureka Miniatures standard bearer has also snuck into the ranks. The banners, as always, are from Pete's great renaissance range of cloth flags, apart from one which is from Freezywater. They are for troops in the service of the Warrior Pope, Julius II, who ruled from 1503 to 1513. I think the different manufacturers work really well together and also capture that feeling of professional condottieri. They are not overly flamboyant and some are in older styles of harness which seem to still have been in use in the early 1500s. In fact the Gothic suits in evidence here were the height of fashion in 1490-1495 anyway.

Papal Cavalry of Pope Julius II

Papal Men-at-Arms

Papal Men-at-Arms under banners of Pope Julius II

With regard to the Liebster Award I gather the etiquette is to nominate blogs with under 200 followers. I am going to go with 5 nominations.  Pete's flags have helped make my collection, and even shaped the way it has developed. My armies can now march under beautifully hand painted designs I could only previously have dreamed of and his research is painstaking as well. A fantastic blog! Chris is a superb miniature painter and he has the same love of the late medieval/early renaissance period as me. It was also Chris who I nicked the idea of swapping the Old Glory Swiss heads with Perry ones from for my Reisläufer. Miguel's blog has been around for years now and his renaissance armies are spectacular. The conversion work on the stuff he is doing for the Fall of Granada is beautiful and I cannot wait to see his completed 28mm renaissance galley. I have found Jim's articles on Duchess Marie's War fascinated, something I always wanted to know about but could find very little info on. Well written and very informative. I have to admit I love the Oldhammer or 80s Warhammer blogs. This was the stuff that obsessed me as a geeky teenager and Lee's collection of old warhammer figures is just astounding, I never knew so many Slann could exist in one collection!

Hendrid has asked 11 questions which I will have a go at answering:

1. What got you into wargaming?
Unfortunately I am not sure I was ever really free of the bug. As a kid I would set up airfix figures and play games with them. I remember my dad taking me to the local model shop where I would buy a box of airfix or Italeri 1/72 figures. In fact I still love this site today: . Then along came Heroquest, followed by Blood Bowl, then Warhammer, then 40K. The GW bug finally lifted when I was around 16 but the miniature painting and collecting could never be stopped!
2. What's your favourite wargaming period/genre? 
Historical - 15th and 16th century Europe, if this blog doesn't give that away!
3. What's the last book you've read and finished?
The Soldier in Later Medieval England, Adrian R. Bell, Anne Curry, Andy King, and David Simpkin, it's fascinating.
4. Who is your favourite miniature sculptor?
With the Citadel heritage, the amazing historical stuff they have done and the fact they are also 15th century reenanctors it has to be the Perrys.
5. If you were sentenced to death by firing squad, who would you want staked out next to you and why?
Definitely Magneto.
6. What has been you most unforgettable wargaming moment?
A game of Rogue Trader many years ago when my friend spent his entire points on an orbital barrage that his 2 figures on the table then failed to successfully call up.
7. Who would you like to write your epitaph and why?
8. What's your most proud of model and why?
Probably this one, Richard III's standard bearer by Front Rank, Sir Percival Thirlwall. He was killed with Richard, allegedly still holding the standard with both his legs gone! I painted him and the flag when I was about 21 and was so proud of it. I sold it on ebay a year ago.

Sir Percival Thirlwall

9. If you could have your own flag what would be on it?
No idea, but perhaps a Wars of the Roses style standard like the one above with beer bottles and pizzas as the livery badges.
10. Why is a Raven like a writing Desk?
I haven't the slightest idea.
11. If you were a character from Lord of the Rings, who would you be and why?
My diminutive stature and rather large feet has often lead to me being called Bilbo, Frodo or simply Hobbit on too many occasions so I think I will draw a veil over this one, haha.

A big thank you for my nominations. I hope to have my Mid-Sixteenth Century pikemen ready in a few weeks for my next post.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Tudor Billmen and "Whifflers"

Here are the next group of figures for my Tudor Infantry Company, the billmen. After days of sunshine the weather has now gone grey and overcast so my apologies that the pictures are a bit dark. Following on from my last post I am painting this company in white coats with a red border and St Georges crosses on the back and front. I have gone for a slightly less flamboyant look with these figures compared to the arquebusiers and I prefer it. With the bright uniform coats I think that if the hose and jackets are also painted in gaudy colours it can all become a bit too much.
Painting up the billmen meant I got to go back through my old bits and pieces boxes and find a great variety of nasty looking polearms for them to wield. They carry an assortment of bills, halberds and glaives with a couple of figures carrying the "holy water sprinkler", basically a morning star on the end of a pole. It always seems to crop up in descriptions of Henry VIII's armies in the 1540s so I felt I couldn't do this group without at least a couple! These various polearms were a mainstay of English armies in this period even when most of the continental forces had long moved to the mass adoption of the pike. The bill would remain in English armies into the Elizabethan era, although in ever decreasing numbers amongst the more professional English soldiery fighting in the Netherlands.

Tudor Billmen with a nasty assortment of Polearms

Tudor Billmen

I decided to make a few changes to the command group shown below. The pose of the second figure from the left was crying out for a two handed sword so I have painted him up as a "Whiffler". In my previous post I discussed a few great books for this period and will refer to a couple of them again here. In his "Armies of the Sixteenth Century", Heath has the following to say about this rank of English solider, I will quote it at length as I love this kind of detail:
"In mid-century England the 'whiffler' was generally the junior officer of an infantry company (though occasionally cavalry whifflers are also met with). The word first appears in 1539, when, at the muster of the London militia, 400 are recorded, of whom 120 each were assigned to the three infantry wards, their job being to maintain order in the procession. This is a capacity in which they are also found in 1544 and 1548, so that they were already performing some of the duties of the sergeants who eventually replaced them. In the St Quentin campaign of 1557 the small retinue of the Captain-General of the Footmen included six whifflers, listed immediately after the Sergeant-Major whose assistants they may have therefore become by that time".
With regard to their appearance and equipment he goes on to state: "The whifflers of 1539 were described as 'proper light persons apparelled in white silk or buff jerkins, without harness, with white hose and white shoes, every man having a slaugh sword or a javelin to keep the people in array, with chains about their necks and feathers in their caps'. The reference to their arms - javelin and 'slaugh sword' - is particularly  significant since the very name 'whiffler' derives from an Old English word, wifel, meaning a javelin, long-handled axe or long sword. Contemporary pictures of whifflers always show them with two-handed swords (called 'slaughter-swords' by the English from the German Schlachtschwerter or 'battle-sword'), marching at the head of their companies with the musicians and ensign. The very last notice of the rare use of slaughter-swords amongst the English, dating to 1590, is an observation that they used 'a few slath swords for the guard of their ensigns'. This may also provide a clue to the final role of the whifflers".
So here is one of the Whifflers with his slaugh or slath sword over his shoulder. A great figure by the Assault Group. He is wearing harness unlike those mentioned in the quote above. Although those in the London procession were unarmoured the illustration of a Whiffler that accompanies the above text is of a man dressed very similarly to this figure, however he is wearing a cap and not a helmet. I also decided to change the standard bearer or ensign from the command group and depict another Whiffler. In the "Anglo-Scots Wars", Phillips states that "Early in the century the immense two-handed 'slaghe sword' was a favourite of the whiffler, who performed the function of an NCO, 'to keep the people in array'. By the middle of the century the whifflers, in tune with continental practice, seem to have abandoned the two handed-sword in favour of the one -handed sword and buckler combination". It seems the two-handed sword was not that common, but was seen even into the Elizabethan period, so I am only going to have one figure carrying one. What, however, became more common, was the sword and buckler or 'target' that the large buckler is commonly called in the later 1500s.
As part of his argument that the Tudor armies were  'modernising' in the 1540s Phillips describes an English force, 308 men strong. It was operating from an English Garrison in Scotland, Broughty Craig, in February 1548 and under the leadership of an Italian mercenary captain called Tiberio. I will probably return to talk about this force in a future post as I am kind of basing my smaller English company on it. What is interesting about this group of 308 with reference to the Whifflers is that it included 20 of them, all armed with swords and targets. They were used as skirmishers on the wings of the main formation, fighting in conjunction with the archers. Interestingly this is a very different role in combat from that described by Heath where those with two-handed swords seem to be protecting the colours rather than on the wings skirmishing. It seems they could fulfill a variety of roles but were definitely some kind of prototype junior officer or NCO.
So the ensign from this command group, figure on the right, is shown here with a metal target from Redoubt Enterprises. The Captain in the green cloak also carries a Partisan like pole arm from Reboubt, with a studded haft. Its actually from their pack of Ottoman Turkish polearms but I felt it had a very Tudor feel to it and fits in well as the kind of fancy weapon the Captain may carry. If I was being 100% accurate I really should  have painted St Georges crosses on the 2 Whifflers harnesses but I like the fact these figures could be used for other armies in the 16th century so have not done this. In fact as they are not uniformed I think the 2 Whifflers could probably be used to represent soldiers from around 1535 all the way up to the 1570s at a push. The Drummer and Captain are more specifically for the middle of the century. They next part of the Infantry Company on the painting desk at the moment can also be used for quite a large time scale and for a variety of armies, the pike.

The Command

English Whiffler c.1540

English Whiffler with sword and target

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Tudor Arquebusiers

In this post I am moving away from the early 1500s, where this blog has been focused so far, and having a jump of a couple of decades into the 1540s. This is the first batch of figures I have completed from The Assault Groups excellent Mid-Tudor range. I backed the Kickstarter they launched to fund this range which sadly didn't succeed. Luckily these figures had already been sculpted and they have produced them anyway. They are fantastic miniatures with a real wealth of detail. Pete has also done some excellent sets of Tudor flags, most which are appropriate for these figures, though some are more specifically Elizabethan which was a further reason to persuade me to have a go at painting some up.
This is an army I have tried before, using figures from Redoubt Enterprises. I didn't really get that far and they have now been sold on ebay. Henry VIII's reign is a strange one to collect armies for as the army changes quite significantly, not so much in its composition but certainly in its look. In the early part of his reign, for the campaigns of 1511, 1513 and 1522-3, the armies look much like those of the Wars of the Roses, even carrying the swallow tailed standards familiar to anyone interested in that period. A spectacular example of one of these armies can be seen on Stuart's blog: where he has painstakingly researched and beautifully painted the army that took part in the Battle of the Spurs in 1513 and besieged Therouanne and Tournai.
The figures that The Assault Group have produced are for a couple of decades after this, by which time the look of the armies had changed, although in terms of composition they were still predominantly made up of billmen and archers. The fashions had changed and Henry had made a move to have his troops dressed in an early form of uniform. We have a good idea of what these troops looked like from copies of the murals from Cowdray House. The originals were destroyed in a fire but this was not before accurate copies of them had been made which are shown below:

Copy of the Cowdray House Mural showing the departure of Henry VIIIs Middle Ward from Calais in 1544

Copy of the Cowdray House Mural showing Henry VIIIs army suffering the effects of a storm in camp at Marquise on 25 July 1544. 

Copy of the Cowdray House Mural showing the siege of Boulogne in 1544

The incredible detail of these pictures clearly shows the uniforms worn by these men and the different troop types in the English army. In the particular campaign depicted in the above three pictures, the army was still divided into the traditional medieval three "battles", of Vanguard, Battle (the middle division) and Rearguard or Rearward. The Vanguard were dressed in coats of blue guarded or trimmed with red while the Battle and Rearguard were in coats of red guarded yellow. Depending on which campaign you want to use these troops  for there is actually quite a wide variety of colours for the uniform coats that you can choose from and not deviate from what was actually worn, or at least what we think was worn.
In his excellent Armies of the Sixteenth Century: , Ian Heath has the following to say about the uniforms in the Mid-Tudor period: 'more usually only the coats were uniform, all other items of apparel varying from individual to individual: surviving details of the colours used in the Cowdray pictures, for instance, tell us that men wore assorted hosen, some white, red or yellow, others with white left leg and red right, or black left leg and yellow right. Other uniform colours are note by Blaise de Monluc, a participant in the French attack on Boulogne shortly after its fall, who reported the English soldiers (he calls them pioneers, therefore doubtless militiamen) were seen wearing coats of red and white, black and yellow, and green and white. Devonshire soldiers in Boulogne's garrison in 1545 had white coats guarded in green, yellow and red and white coats guarded in green are recorded being worn on other occasions too'. Heath goes on to list some other examples of the colours used for these coats such as red worn by the army that took part in Somersets Scottish expedition in 1547, and would have fought at Pinkie Cleugh. Yellow worn by the infantry gathered to fight the Norfolk rebels in 1549 and white worn by rebels and royalists in Wyatts rebellion.
Boulogne in 1544 is probably the best known campaign for the which these figures could be used, when Henry decided to spend the money he had raised from getting his hands on the Catholic churches property in England following his break with the Papacy in Rome. He raised an enormous army and invaded France, allied to Charles V of Spain. There are quite a few options though for using these troops in other Tudor Campaigns.
In order for Henry VIII to be able to invade France in 1544 he first had to ensure his northern border with Scotland was secure, not wanting a repeat of earlier in his reign when the Scots had invaded in 1513. The Scots were defeated at Solway Moss in 1542, more of a rout rather than an actual battle, and James V of Scotland died shortly after this. This led to the Rough Wooing, an attempt to gain the Scottish throne by marrying the infant Mary Queen of Scots to the infant Prince Edward, who would later become Edward VI. Under Henry VIII the goal seems to still have primarily been victory in France with keeping the Scots quiet a more secondary aim. However following Henry's death real control of the country fell to the kings uncle Edward Seymour, Protector Somerset. Already a veteran of war in Scotland and France, Seymour's real interest lay in the conquest of Scotland, an aim he hoped to achieve by establishing a series of garrisons to impose English control. The English initially won a victory at Pinkie Cleugh in 1547 but were eventually pushed out of Scotland, and Boulogne. The French took advantage of England's war on two fronts and sent troops to aid the Scots in defeating the increasingly beleaguered garrisons established in Scotland.
This was an intense and prolonged period of conflict for the English, far greater than the early campaigns of Henry VIII's reign and these figures are spot on for representing what the English soldiery would have looked like in these wars. An excellent of overview of the campaigns in the 1540s as well as English and Scottish tactics and armies is provided by Gervase Phillips book on the Anglo-Scots wars, . I cannot recommend this book enough if you are interested in collecting armies for this period. It was in fact an article in Miniature Wargames Magazine by Gervase Phillips on the Rough Wooing that began my interest in this period. It led to my first attempt to build a late Henrician army out of Redoubt figures. His book follows the campaigns in Scotland closely but also covers some of the English activity in France. The Scottish campaigns are followed in such detail that skirmishes involving a handful of men are discussed as well as much larger encounters. Phillips details the fate of the English garrisons and the arrival of the French, along with the wide variety of mercenaries that both sides employed. Another good book on this period is Marcus Merrimans "The Rough Wooings", this focuses more on the politics than the military aspect from what I can remember although it does have some good sketches of the English fortifications.
Although being specifically for the 1540s these figures could also be used as government forces against the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536 as well as more suitably for troops facing Kett's Rebellion and The Prayer Book Rebellion, both in 1549. I also think they would be useful as English troops in the Irish Pale facing Silken Thomas's Rebellion in 1534-35, when the 10th Earl of Kildare led the FitzGeralds in an uprising against the English crown. The FitzGeralds unsuccessfully besieged Dublin and were later besieged themselves in Maynooth. This would be a good excuse to get these figures out and fighting some Kern and Gallowglass, although I doubt the English would have fielded many arquebusiers like those shown here in that specific campaign. I am tempted to paint up a small Irish force, another project that I have already done before but I am keen to have a go at again, to face these guys. I picked up a few figures for this possible Gaelic war party at Salute last weekend but I am still not sure if I will go in that direction with the collection. I think for the later Elizabethan campaigns in Ireland these figures would be too early.
The troops on board the Mary Rose when she sank in 1545 are likely to have been dressed in a very similar fashion to these figures, if not just like them, as she sank during the war with France which started in 1544. The latest campaigns I would be happy using these figures for would be as English in the Hapsburg armies of the 1550s, when Mary I was married to Philip II of Spain and for the fall of Calais in 1558. Personally I think the fashions change too significantly for them to be used much beyond the 1550s but from this ramble I hope I have shown that there are a variety of campaigns they can be used for as well as some very different opponents they can face.
This leads me to what I am going to do with them. So far I have bought about a company of figures, around 100. This consists of the traditional Bill and Bowmen, with more modern Pike and Shot also being represented. I am going to paint them up in white coats with a red lining as white seems to be one of the most common colours, English soldiers often being known simply as "white coats" in this period. My thinking at the moment is that I want them to be able to represent English soldiers that fought in Ireland in the 1530s and also France and Scotland in the 1540s and as white seems one of the most common of the uniform colours I have stuck with this.
Initially I was going to paint these arquebusiers in more drab hose and doublets. On looking back through Phillips "Anglo-Scots Wars" and looking at the Osprey on Henry VIII's army it seems clear that the arquebusiers were very often foreign troops, typically Spanish or Italian. Phillips gives an example of how in Scotland these foreign troops could fight within "English" infantry companies composed of more traditional Bows and Bills. With this in mind I have opted to paint them in quite colourful clothing and have even given a couple some plumes of feathers. The Assault Group figures have the St Georges Cross sculpted on the front of the figures. Looking back at the Cowdray House images it is clear that a lot of the English troops wore the St Georges Cross on the back of their coats as well. As a result, on the figures in the uniform coat I have painted the cross on the back as well, as shown below. What are described as "Militia Arquebusiers" by The Assault Group are actually in more fashionable clothing than the uniformed troops. I have decided to paint them still in white, but in coats of their own styling so while they are in white with red linings the cut and style of the coats are very different and they don't all have the red cross on the back. Indeed many of the figures in the Cowdray images don't have a cross on the back of their uniforms and the Osprey book on Henry VIII's Army has a good example of a foreign arquebusier in his own version of an English Uniform. There are 28 figures as shown below:

Tudor Arquebusiers 1540s

Tudor Arquebusiers

From behind showing the St Georges Cross on most of their coats

As I mentioned earlier the detail on these miniatures is spectacular. I particularly love the command group, with the nobleman in his Tudor coat and Petty Captain with a boar spear and doublet lined with mail. They are spot on for the 1540s. Even the shoes on the figures have designs cut into them, as was the contemporary fashion. The shoes on the figures in the last 2 photos show this quite clearly. The next part of the company is going to be dressed in a slightly more sober fashion, it's the Billmen.

Tudor Command Group 1540s

Tudor Arquebusier in uniformed coat

Tudor Arquebusiers in their own styles of coat