Saturday 24 September 2016

A Bombard

This is a piece I finished a while ago, but didn't deem dramatic enough for post number 100! It is the Perry Miniatures Wars of the Roses Bombard with a few tweaks to the crew to make it more suitable for the start of the 16th Century. I was having a look at contemporary images while I was working on this, and my mantlets and gabions. It was a surprise to discover that, alongside the more "modern" culverins and basilisks, bombards seem to have seen use well into the first two decades of the 1500s. I included some images to demonstrate this in a recent post Some more images follow to further highlight this.

The first is a great sketch of the Siege of Älvsborg by Paul Dolnstein, a favourite soldier artist of this blog, which quite clearly shows an older style bombard in use alongside other guns on carriages. Secondly Maximilians Zeugbuch of 1502 has a wealth of detail in terms of guns in the early 16th century. In a previous post I linked it in the comments but in case you haven't seen it here is the link again. Have a look as it really is a goldmine of images: What is interesting about a lot of the bombards in the Zeugbuch is that they seem rather more "up to date" than the Perry miniature, being cast in bronze and in a style more of 1500. They look to be whole cast guns rather than iron staves linked together by iron hoops. It would be great to see a manufacturer sculpt one of these pieces.

This is a Sketch from Paul Dolnsteins Diary in 1502 showing the siege of Älvsborg in Sweden. Note the old style bombard at the bottom of the sketch, just left of the centre. Apparently the text at the top right hand is a recipe for Pidgeon written by someone else!

Bombard from Maximilians Zeugbuch 1502.

Another Bombard from the Zeugbuch 1502.

Bombards from the Zeugbuch, these two look slightly older than the others shown above.

The final three contemporary images are from the Weisskunig, another favourite source of images for this blog, detailing siege guns in the mid 1510s. While in the first image the central guns look like older style bombards, what is interesting about the following two images is that the guns being used without carriages look as though they may well be simply culverins in use without carriages. This makes sense as in siege warfare where some of the guns could afford to be relatively static I can imagine these pieces being used without the need to have a carriage.What is also evident from the images shown here, and in my mantlets and gabions post, is that the bombards are always shown in use alongside guns on carriages. I am guessing the guns on carriages were included as much to defend the besiegers in a sally as to further damage the walls or earthworks that were under siege. They could quickly be moved to fire on attackers from the fortifications if need be.

Image from the Weisskuning, 1510s, showing bombards in use in the centre

Another image from the Weisskunig showing what looks to be a more contemporary barrel being used without a carriage in the top right.

Again more contemporary guns being used without carriages.

Some images of the bombard and its accompanying mantlet follow. It really is a beautiful kit but it is also quite clearly for the late 15th century. In order to bring it into the 1500s you will notice I have head swapped the gunner with the linstock and have switched one of the crew for an old Citadel Miniature who is more suitable for the early 16th century. One of the chaps hauling up the mantlet has also had a head swap. I didn't go too overboard on the crew though as I imagine that a lot of the men working on the bombard would simply be civilians pressed into service and not always the most "fashionable".

I have also added some bits and pieces from Front Rank. A wood axe leans on the blocks of wood behind the gun to prevent recoil. I got this idea from Simon who did a beautiful job on this miniature for his Burgundian and Hundred Years war collections I did toy with the idea of basing the crew on sabot bases like he has done as well and painting four Landsknechts as the alternative crew. Maybe one day I will do another gun as I can use the 15th century crew for other projects, they are really useful figures.

The mantlet is on a separate base, the same size as the other mantlets I painted up. They are all interchangeable and can be switched to other artillery pieces as I have based all my guns on an 80mm frontage. I have taken photos of some of the other guns as part of some siege works and will hopefully get these images up in my next post.

The bombard as part of some siege works.

The front of the bombard.

Image without the mantlet.

The bombard and mantlet.

The gun from behind showing the detail of the crew.


  1. Awesome post sir, absolutly fantastic!

  2. Always a pleasure to see your fine brushwork and research. You educate me with each post!

  3. Very nice layout and execution!

  4. Excellent as ever Ollie, interesting find on the carriage-less culverins. The contemporary bombards were often two piece casts that screwed together, of which there are a few surviving Ottoman examples. Der Weiss Konig is a gift that keeps on giving, do you have a copy?

  5. Thanks for all the kind comments guys. They are always appreciated.

    Stuart I used this version of the Weiss Konig, . I went through it once and copied loads of the images from it. I guess I should put a link to this in another post some time. Have a look, it has literally hundreds of fascinating images. Really interesting.

  6. Another really good post it makes sense, the continued use of kit that still worked and stave guns hung around for a while, Mary Rose etc. I think the crew work well with just the head swap, the only trouble now is that the Perry bombard is now in my period!
    Best Iain

  7. A terrific vignette Oli! Benefiting from your excellent research I think I may need one of these for my collection...