Saturday 1 April 2017

Early Landsknechts c.1500

So here is the finished pike block. This blog is no stranger to Landsknechts but these are the first early ones for the turn of the century c.1500. The block is made entirely of The Assault Groups fantastic new Landsknechts, save for one TAG Italian Command figure and one Steel Fist late 15th Century figure as well. There have also been a lot of head swaps, at least two dozen, with the plastic Perry Miniatures sets. I was keen to show as wide a variety of head gear as possible and wanted more helmeted figures so steel skulls and some painted and unpainted sallets have also been swapped in. This block is for the late 1490s through to around 1510 so these helmets would have been entirely appropriate. In fact when visiting museums with armour collections I've noticed many of the sallets date from the 1490s-1500.

There are 78 figures in total, including 8 skirmishing Arquebusiers. The Arquebusiers may be my favourite of these new TAG miniatures. I like the variety of ways in which they are carrying the powder flasks. The flags are of course from Petes excellent renaissance flag range: The figures were quite a challenge to paint. As I explained in my last post these early Landsknechts were particularly keen on striped clothing and replicating that with a paint brush took a lot of work but I am pleased with the result. When they are all en masse any errors on the individual stripes don't really show, and trust me there are a lot!

28mm Early Landsknechts by The Assault Group

TAG Early Landsknechts

The block from the side, note the "officers" keeping them in line with Polearms

Early Landsknechts

The block from the rear

 The final three photos show the two command bases, the details of which are missed when they are buried in the centre of the block, and a contemporary image of the Battle of Wenzenbach 1504. I couldn't see how to fit this image into the WIP post on these figures so wanted to include it here as it illustrates perfectly what I am trying to achieve with this unit. The Landsknechts can be seen to the left of the image as well as being involved in the combat in the centre. The officer with a halberd to the right of the front of the Landsknecht block can be seen in striped hose, what looks to be one of those odd fur hats and one leg left bare with only the breeches of the hose being worn. The block itself however does not look like the typical block of Landsknechts most miniature painters and wargamers are familiar with and this is what I wanted to show with this unit. Interestingly Wenzenbach was a battle where war wagons were still deployed, perhaps food for thought for a future project?

With regard to the command bases I normally put five rather than six figures on these as the extra space allows for more of the detail of the figures to be seen as well as adding to the "drama" of the bases a little. I wanted a Lansknecht Captain in full harness so have used one of the TAG figures from the Italian Command pack with a Perry sallet. The second base has a Captain carrying a halberd with a head swap from the Perry Light Cavalry to create a really "Gothic" look, especially when accompanied by a dismounted noble in his full Gothic harness, a Steel Fist miniature. This style of armour is rightly associated with the late 15th century but when looking at remaining Gothic harnesses they often date from right at the end of the century, late 1480s or the 1490s. A close look at images from c.1500 shows men-at-arms still in this style so I felt he would fit perfectly in this unit. Have a look at the men-at-arms to the far right of the Wenzenbach image as an example.

Hopefully over Easter I will be able to get some pictures of these chaps with some accompanying men-at-arms, crossbowmen and artillery. Next I am going to have a crack at some English Border horse for 1513 using the Perry plastic light cavalry. I have a few ideas of how these "Northern Staves" should look, let's see if I can put them into practice.

Contemporary image of The Battle of Wenzenbach 1504

Landsknecht Command with the Captain in a sallet and full harness

The second Landsknecht command base, a dismounted noble has joined them in a very late 15th century Gothic Harness. This figure is by Steel Fist Miniatures


  1. Stripes! The overall visual impact is stunning. Really quite works of art. I like the TAG figures too. Wonderful sculpts that you have rendered marvelously.

    Superb work, Oli!

  2. Wonderful looking unit. I've managed to sequester away a block or two but they will have to wait their turn.

    The stripes make a very strong impression.


  3. Stunning job, they look wonderful and so impressive...

  4. Superb mass Pike of these early Landsknechts Oli, worth the effort and time you put into them.

  5. Great looking pike block, stripes look great too 5 to a command stand is interesting, I also base my pikes 6 to a 45x45, I'll have to think about that, the steel fist figures mix nicely with the TAG.
    Best Iain

  6. Great looking unit, nice to see some one else obsessing over correct landsknechte costume! Wenzenbach and the Lanshut war is an interesting conflict, emerging pike formation tactics versus Bohemian mercenaries still using Hussite style tactics, finally putting an end to their domination as the go-to mercenary army in central Europe.