Sunday, 10 May 2015

Rebased Landsknechts

This was the rebasing task I was dreading the most - rebasing and reorganising the Landsknechts. I had images of wire pikes breaking and going everywhere as I pulled figures off their old bases and the size of the task alone put me off. The Landsknecht part of my Italian Wars collection is essentially an army in itself. There were a few breakages and I did manage to drop something at my painting desk and lean down to pick it up only to get a forehead full of 45 degree pikes (I'm glad they aren't sharp) but thankfully they are now all rebased. For a while I have thought about doing a blog post where I compare and talk about the different Landsknecht sculpts available in 25-28mm and this post also gives me the chance to do this. I have included links to the different manufacturers in case anyone wanting to collect landsknechts in this scale happens across this post.
The first couple of photos are all of Wargames Foundry Landsknechts,, sculpted by the Perrys (there is one pack not sculpted by them but these figures are tucked at the back of the Artizan block shown below). For me these are still the best available in terms of pose, variety and historical accuracy. I would date them from around 1510-1515 through to about 1525-1530, so they are perfect for many of the big Italian Wars clashes - Marignano, La Biccoca, Pavia. The marching arquebusiers at the front include some minor conversions I showed in an earlier post: . The Landsknecht guns and crew that the Foundry do are beautiful,, some of my favourite Italian wars miniatures, and are shown in an earlier post: .

Marching Landsknechts - Wargames Foundry

The next group are the standing Landsknechts, a mix of Pro Gloria Miniatures and Wargames Foundry figures. These Pro Gloria figures were some of the first they produced (they are now sold by Warlord Games: They fit perfectly with the Foundry figures both in terms of scale and date. In fact it can be hard to tell which is Foundry and which is Pro Gloria when the are all based up together. Unfortunately the Pro Gloria Arquebusiers (shown below) are not quite as good sculpts, which is a shame. Warlord have released some new figures for this range and have more on the way but they don't seem to be quite as accurate as these original pikemen and command figures. At Salute this year I picked up their "Landsknecht Looters" set. This is a beautifully sculpted set but anachronism does seem to have crept in a little - the figure holding a torch in this set is wearing Plunderhose (or maybe it's Pluderhose) the large baggy hose which didn't appear until the 1550s. This doesn't really sit well with the rest of the figures who are in clothing more suited to the 1520s-1530s. It depends how fussy you are about your Landsknechts and it is one of the problems of this troop type. They were around from the 1490s through to the end of the 16th century, during which they had many distinctive fashions. I am still waiting for a manufacturer to decide to do some early Landsknechts for 1495-1505, in the style of Paul Dolnsteins sketches, but I doubt we will see any soon!

Standing Landsknechts - Pro Gloria Miniatures and Wargames Foundry

Standing Landsknechts - Wargames Foundry and ProGloria Miniatures (now sold by Warlord Games)

Next up is a unit made again of Pro Gloria and Foundry figures. One of the advantages of rebasing everything was being able to mix the figures. When I originally painted the Foundry Landsknechts the Pro Gloria ones didn't even exist so it has been good to have a bit of a reorganisation and put them on bases together. If you look at the left hand of the front rank you will see the Pro Gloria Frundsberg figure has snuck in there, he was too nice to leave out!

Attacking Landsknechts - Wargames Foundry and Pro Gloria Miniatures

Attacking Landsknechts - Foundry and Progloria Miniatures

In total I have 7 bases of Foundry Landsknechts in the attacking pose below. I know it's not a popular pose with wargamers as the horizontal pikes are a bit of a nightmare to try and game with but they do look the part. A while ago I converted some of these figures to more closely represent Reisläufer, , and these are shown in contrast to the Landsknechts in the second photo. The Reisläufer will form the front rank of my Swiss block, the rest of which has already been rebased.

Landsknecht front rank - Wargames Foundry Miniatures

Reisläufer front rank - Converted Wargames Foundry figures

To follow are my Old Glory Landsknechts - 12 bases of 6 figures each, or . These are certainly figures where a touch of anachronism has crept in. I think they are meant to represent the same period as the Foundry Landsknechts, the 1510s to 1520s, but there are some very baggy hose which would be more suited to a few decades later and some fur hats and helmet styles that would also seem more appropriate later. That being said I think they capture the rakish feel of Landsknechts brilliantly and I love the big sun hats some of them wear as well as the hats that seem to be entirely made of feathers! For me they work fine to bolster the centre of my Landsknecht blocks but they are not as nice as the Foundry figures and the Pro Gloria Pikemen. They are less pricey than the other figures but require the hands to be drilled out to take the pikes which is a fair bit of extra work when you consider they come in bags of 30 miniatures.

Old Glory Landsknechts

Old Glory Landsknechts

The below Pike block is made predominantly of Artizan Landsknechts,, although there is also one base of Foundry Landsknechts, that weren't sculpted by the Perrys,, a few Assault Group figures,, and a few Old Glory figures tucked in there as well. The arquebusiers on the side are Pro Gloria and Old Glory. Again suitable for the 1510s-1520s the Artizan figures are quite large sculpts and the clothing doesn't seem as convincingly sculpted as it does on the Foundry and Pro Gloria figures. I'm really not keen on their Landsknecht arquebusiers and I think the 16 I painted will be destined for Ebay at some point. In contrast the command set I bought from Artizan, shown below, is really nice, the officer with his hat off is a miniature full of character.

Artizan Landsknechts with Shot by Pro Gloria and Old Glory

A block of predominantly Artizan Landsknechts with arquebusiers by Old Glory and Pro Gloria.

Following on from the Landsknecht pike are 8 bases of skirmishing Landsknecht Arquebusiers. They are a mix of Foundry, Pro Gloria and Old Glory miniatures - I think the different sculpts work well when mixed together. With my Landsknecht shot I wanted some in closer order, like the marching ones in the first photos, and some in looser skirmish order to go in front of the pike blocks. I chose the figures I liked the most to go on the skirmish bases, and also included a few halberdiers in suitable poses to accompany them. The remainder of the shot have made 6 bases of closer order arquebusiers, that can be seen in the above 2 photos on either side of the Artizan pike block. I'm not as keen on these bases but they look ok when next to the pikes.

Skirmishing Landsknecht Arquebusiers - Wargames Foundry, Pro Gloria and Old Glory Miniatures

Skirmishing Landsknecht Shot - Wargames Foundry, Pro Gloria and Old Glory Miniatures

The Pro Gloria light guns are shown below.  From contemporary illustrations and also from what I have seen in museums it seems these kind of proto-muskets where quite common in the first decades of the 16th century. I think that this was the first set Pro Gloria ever produced, a Landsknecht carrying a pig being the only miniature they had done prior to the Light Gun. I was unsure how to base these, and even considered round bases, but in the end I opted for the 90mm by 45mm base longways as it meant I could fit them in a block with the Arquebusiers if needed. To each base I added an Old Glory figure as well which I think helps to fill the base up more and adds a bit more dynamism to the bases as otherwise the crew poses are all the same. In fact had I painted these miniatures now I would have definitley done a few head swaps.

Landsknecht Light Guns

Landsknecht Light Guns - Pro Gloria and Old Glory Miniatures

The final 7 photos are of my Command bases, 5 for the infantry and then 2 round bases of mounted Landsknechts who can ride outside the blocks and look important! I am really pleased with how these all turned out, my only regret is that on the infantry bases some really nice fifers and drummers are obscured by the standards and commanders. Because of this, and because of the posing, some of these bases only have 5 figures rather than the standard 6 I have been putting on the close order pike bases. Under each photo I have listed the different manufacturers used on the base, I think these command sets in particular illustrate how the different manufacturers work well together, especially the Foundry and Pro Gloria figures. With the infantry there a 3 standing bases for the command, one that could be marching or attacking and one dynamic base that is very much leading the attack.
Getting the Landsknechts finished means that I am much closer to finishing rebasing everything, I have quite a lot more cavalry to do and a few other bits and pieces but I am well over half way - which is a relief!

Artizan and Old Glory Landsknecht Command

Landsknecht Command Group - Wargames Foundry

Landsknecht Command - The front figure is Foundry the rest are Pro Gloria

Landsknecht Command Attacking - Pro Gloria and Wargames Foundry

Landsknecht Command Marching - Wargames Foundry

Landsknecht Feldhauptmann - Wargames Foundry

Mounted Landsknecht Officers - Wargames Foundry

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