Saturday, 5 May 2012


Aventurier Command
This is a band of troops I have been working on for ages. The figures are from the old GW Marksmen of Mirigliano Dogs of War set, which always sounds to me like a warhammer version of Marignano. They are great figures, I think they are by the Perrys, and in my opinion suitable to represent the French adventurers that accompanied the armies to Italy. Of course they could also be used as Spanish or Italians with a simple flag change. In fact on close inspection it looks like the commander is wearing a gold pendant bearing the Lion of St Mark, the Venetian badge. It was not an easy set to collect involving a lot of scouring ebay and collecting the figures often individually. I was lucky to get some of them in bigger lots though. I think I managed to pick up at least one of every variant they made for this set.

The Aventuriers are one of those groups that as far as I know there are no contemporary pictures of, which is odd when there are so many contemporary illustrations and woodcuts of Landsknechts and Gendarmes. They were obviously the guys who got all the attention. I feel the rag tag armour and head gear of these crossbowmen looks right though. I converted a few, you may recognise some Perry Tudor and Medieval heads amonst the figures. I put hats on the figures with shaven heads as I do not think this was done in the 1500s, although the Landsknechts were starting to have short cropped hair. I would like to get some Pike and Polearm armed Aventuriers as well at some point but for now my Spanish pike will have to fill this gap.





I particularly like the fact that many of the figures are carrying loot, bedding and the evenings dinner! Below are some photos illustrating the laden troops. While some may find this a bit to "Fantasy", the one figure with a rope on his back reminds me of old RPG figures, I think it adds some character. Some carry spare pairs of shoes and boots, bedding and loot. Some of the figures are carrying dead rabbits or birds and one has an axe on his back. Nice touches, perhaps they are more suitable for figures on the march than in battle, but either way a nice addition to the collection.

Aventuriers with loot

Aventurier with loot and supper!

An axe for firewood and some bedding

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche

Gendarmes under the standard of Le Chevalier Bayard
 This post marks exactly a year since I started this blog and I thought I would mark it with some pictures of my Gendarmes in the company of the legendary Bayard. I recently read "The story of the chevalier Bayard, from the French of the Loyal servant M. de Berville, and others (1869)". While it is rather dated and I am not entirely sure of all of its accuracy it is based on historical sources and I found it a fantastic read. Anyone who has read a bit on the Italian wars may recognise the parts about Bayard crawling through a ditch at night at Marignano to get back to the French lines, where French Gendarmes refuse to enter the breach of a Venetian town because the Imperial Gendarmes also refuse and Bayards duel against a Spanish Knight in the war in Naples. Ravenna, Fornovo, The Battle of the Spurs and Marignano all feature.
There is lots of great stuff about ambushes and skirmishes with Stradiots and Landsknechts. Suprisingly there is quite a bit about dealings with spies. It seems intelligence gathering, espionage and counter espionage was just as important back then as it is today. The text is available for free here:

I would recommend giving it a read, if only for scenario ideas and to get a good feel of the type of combat they were involved in when pitched battles were not taking place.

The pictures below show the Gendarmes with a combination of my hand painted flags, the printed cloth flags and a Freezywater flag depicting the arms of Bayard. The standards are all interchangeable and I am really pleased with the result, I think the different styles work well together.

Bayards Gendarmes

Various French standards

French Gendarmes
 Below is another Freezywater Flag this time depicting Antonio de Leyva, a Spanish commander who fought under Gonzalo de Cordoba in the very early Italian Wars. He is most famous however for his defence of Pavia when besieged by Francis I and the sally that helped secure the Imperial victory in 1525. His standard is shown here with Spanish Gendarmes who are less heavily armoured than the French ones depicted above. Again I am really pleased with the way the standards work. There will be lots more experimentation to come with these!

Spanish Gendarmes under the Standard of Antonio de Leyva

Antonio de Leyvas Gendarmes