Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The Wagon Train

After many months of laboriously painting wagons and carts here they all are on the march. Taking inspiration from the many contemporary woodcuts and illustrations that depict this theme, a few of which are shown below, the wagon train crosses the table headed by a dozen men at arms. There are two blocks of Landsknechts, four carts, two oxen pulled wagons, a four horse wagon and finally twelve mounted arquebusiers at the end of the column. The wagons and carts are all by Perry Miniatures, the rest are a mix of old Wargames Foundry, TAG, Old Glory and Pro Gloria miniatures. The Pro Gloria civilian packs really help make the scene. I have filled some of the Perry carts with individual baggage pieces from Front Rank. These were part of my Wars of the Roses baggage train for a collection that has now nearly all been sold off on Ebay.
With the increase in the size of armies in the late 15th/early 16th century and the increasing professionalisation of large bodies of infantry such baggage trains winding their way through war torn areas of Europe became a more and more common sight. They were also a sight villagers and townsfolk would dread! As the non combatants and various hangers on could often outnumber the fighting forces themselves and could be the size of large towns it is no wonder they attracted the attention of contemporary artists. For anyone interested in how these "towns on the move" functioned I would recommend "Women, Armies and Warfare in Early Modern Europe", It gives a fascinating insight into the often overlooked role of women in these armies and the communities and mini economies that developed within the camps. Circumstances could often mean that campaigns in this era rapidly degenerated into a strategy that revolved around simply keeping these soldiers and their followers fed rather than seeking any grander result.

Hans Burgkmair Triumph of the Emperor Maximilian I

Hans Burgkmair Triumph of the Emperor Maximilian I

Triumph of the Emperor Maximilian I

Imperial Men at Arms lead the Wagon Train

The Wagon Train stretches out behind the Men at Arms

Landsknechts march under the banner of Bamberg

Landsknechts on the march

Worried villagers look on nervously!

The column passes a small farm

Camp followers

Women and children accompany the Wagons

A Landsknecht officer and his dogs

Camp followers

The rear column of Landsknecht pike has come to a halt

Landsknecht officers discuss the hold up

The entire column
The halted Landsknechts

As I mentioned above, I think the Pro Gloria Miniatures sets of towns people and villagers are great for these kind of set ups. Below is a great example of the attention to detail that they have shown to contemporary images. The sutler selling shoes is a very close copy of Hans Burgkmair's depicition of such an individual following the troops in one of Maximillians' baggage trains.

A sutler tries to sell his wares to a Landsknecht

Hans Burgkmairs depiction of a sutler on the march

Some adjustments to the load are made as the train comes to a halt

Camp followers refill their drinking vessels as the train temporarily halts

A troop of mounted arquebusiers protect the rear of the column

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Neapolitan Men at Arms

Neapolitan Men at Arms

I really enjoyed painting the Spanish Gendarmes I worked on previously, , so I decided to pick up a few more packs of Wargames Foundry Men at Arms and put them on TAG Horses. Unlike the previous figures most of these were not ones that had been lying in a draw for about 15 years so it was a rather more expensive project! I decided to mount these figures on horses with slightly more decorative trappings than the first lot. This includes the horse that TAG make for Henry VIII, shown in the first picture below. While I am pleased with the figures I think I preferred the more simple group that I painted before. They are shown here with Petes Flags for the Kingdom of Naples, representing the Men at Arms and Knights that defended, or perhaps failed to defend might be more accurate, Naples against the French Invasion in 1494. Seeing as over half of them in are in gothic armour its probably not a very accurate depiction but I wanted to use these great flags.
I have done a few head swaps and removed the plumes on some of the miniatures, the results of which I think are ok but not perfect. One the of the figures I still had from many years ago was wearing a late 15th century style tabard. I turned my hand to the dreaded greenstuff and made an attempt to change the tabard into the longer style of skirted coat that was worn in the 16th century. It was not a pleasant experience, I still find that stuff a nightmare to use, but I think the result is passable, especially once the figure is painted as shown below.

Wargames Foundry Men at Arms on TAG Tudor Horse

An attempt with the greenstuff!

I think these are extremely useful figures as while they are in essentially late 15th century harnesses, some of the gothic ones especially, at the start of the 16th century it seems Men at Arms were still armed in these styles. I am unsure as to exactly when they started looking like the plumed and skirted Gendarmes that appear in woodcuts and paintings of the Italian wars but I thought I would add a few contemporary sketches and pictures that show that in the first decade of the 16th century at least they were still being depicted in styles more akin to the late 15th century.
In Paul Dolnsteins wonderful sketches from the very start of the 1500s he depicts his Landsknecht comrades facing Men at Arms that would not look far out of place 20 years earlier. Similary the painting by Juan de Borgona of the Conquest of Oran from c.1514 depicts the Spanish Gendarmes supporting their Jinetes in fairly simple unadorned harnesses. Finally the detail from the Schweizerkrieg of c.1500, illustrating the Swabian war between the Hapsburgs and the Swiss Confederacy, shows mounted men who are already in the skirted coats that become familiar in the 1510s and 1520s but are still wearing Sallets and plate that would not have looked out of place decades earlier.
I think when these figures are mixed with the Foundry and TAG Men at Arms that I have already painted they will be excellent for representing Gendarmes for the very early Italian wars or perhaps the less heavily armed mounted archers that supported them.

Paul Dolnstein - Knecht und Ritter

Paul Dolnsteins sketch of Men at Arms attacking Landsknechts

Detail showing Men at Arms from the Conquest of Oran 1509, Juan de Borgona c.1514

Detail showing Men at Arms from the Schweizerkrieg c.1500

While I am on the subject of Men at Arms I thought I would briefly mention my current reading, The Soldier in Later Medieval England: . While I appreciate this book is not cheap, I am about two thirds of the way through and I have found it excellent so far. The database of English and foreign soldiers who fought for the English Crown from 1369 to 1453 has been evaluated and examined and the first findings and trends discovered are discussed. The level of detail and the information they were able to find is remarkable and I have found it fascinating. It is full of tables based on this information, so for example 92% of the English Peerage during this period engaged in military service with 37.5% of them being between 16 and 20 when they first served. 10.6% were under 16 when they first served. With regard to the Archers I was surprised to learn that in very small retinues they were often related to the Men at Arms leading the retinues, that some archers were the younger sons of gentry families and that there was a fair bit of movement between the rank of Archer and Men at Arms especially in some of the longer serving garrisons in the 1400s. Hopefully the price will come down but for anyone interested in the Hundred Years War I would highly recommend this book.

Neapolitan Men at Arms c.1500

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Another Ox-drawn Wagon

So here is another Perry Miniatures Wagon, this time an empty one. I have some bits and pieces by Front Rank that I may put in it but, like the carts I posted a week or so ago, it's staying empty for now. Again I have used a chain to join the front yoke to the wagon and I am pleased with the result. I think that's enough carts and wagons for now. When I get a chance I will get some pictures of the entire baggage train. Two Ox-drawn wagons, one four horse wagon and four one horse carts should make a hell of a train, especially with the addition of the TAG and Pro Gloria civilians I have painted up.

Perry Miniatures Ox-drawn Wagon

Ox-drawn Wagon

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Two Carts

The baggage train keeps growing with two more of the excellent Perry Miniatures carts completed, one with wicker sides and the other a simple wooden framed cart. I have some bits and pieces that I may put inside them but for now I will not glue anything in and leave them empty. The only change made to these miniatures was a head swap for one of the drivers. The hat he was wearing was a little too medieval so I gave him a Tudor style cap.
I am nearly finished with all these carts and wagons but I liked the Ox-drawn Wagon so much that I am currently painting up an empty one.

Perry Miniatures one horse carts

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Ox-drawn Wagon

Perry Miniatures Ox Wagon

This is the fourth Perry Miniatures Wagon I have now completed and I think it is probably my favourite. A fantastic kit that really captures the feel of the hordes of followers and carts that would follow armies in the renaissance. Fitting the yokes and the chain was quite tricky and I feel maybe the chain looks a little modern, it's my addition it does not come with the kit. It was nowhere near as tricky to assemble as the horse drawn wagon however . I have two more of the smaller Perry Wagons to complete which will leave me with a sizable baggage train. I like this kit so much though that I am tempted to get another one but put something different inside, the Perry Twins sell the cart and oxen separately so you can do this.

Ox-drawn Wagon

Camp followers sitting on top of the Wagon

Ox-drawn Wagon

Perry Miniatures Ox Wagon

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Venetian Army

The Venetian Army

Anyone who has followed this blog for a while will know I am keen on setting up the various armies that can be made out of the collection. I have had a go at the Venetians before,  but have added loads more figures to the collection since. I have also added some of the excellent flags from Pete for the Venetians at Agnadello in 1509.
So to start the new year here is the Venetian army of 1509. The army that, as Machiavelli put it, lost in one day what it had taken Venice eight hundred years to conquer. I hope it has the right Italian feel to it with a mix of Perry Italians and Stradiots, TAG Italians and a few Spanish as well as some old Wargames Foundry and Citadel figures. All of the flags are by Pete from his Agnadello and Venetians flagsheets, The two Orsini Cousins that led the army are represented, Bartolomeo D'Alviano and Niccolo di Pitigliano. I also included a couple of banners for the Malatesta as Pandolfo IV Malatesta fought as a Condottieri for the Venetians at Agnadello. I wanted this army to represent the transition from Medieval to Renaissance and think this is captured fairly well.
Now I need to decide where 2014 will take the collecting, I am becoming more and more tempted to have a go at some Elizabethans but have a few more things for the early 1500s to complete first.
Happy New Year!

Stradiots riding out in front

Venetian Cavalry

Stradiots in front of  the Cavalry under Bartolomeo D'Alviano

Venetian Infantry

Venetian horse under Niccolo Di Pitigliano

Mounted Arquebusiers with the baggage behind

Another picture of the baggage train

Venetian Crossbowmen and Archers

Balkan Archers

The Venetian Archers and Artillery

Venetian Infantry

Venetian Army, the 2 flags in the foreground are for the Malatesta


Venetian Infantry

Venetian Infantry with Stradiots skirmishing in front