Tuesday, 18 April 2017


Having completed my block of early Landsknechts I was unable to resist getting a few more pictures of them over the Easter break. The brief Swabian or Swiss War which was fought by Maximilian I and the Swabian League against the Swiss Confederacy in 1499 has always been of interest to me as it pitched the Landsknechts and Reisläufer against each other and only furthered their already fierce professional emnity. The details of this conflict have always remained a bit of a mystery to me as there has been little written on it in English that I am aware of. Interestingly there is an episode of "Medieval Dead" which investigates the skulls found at Dornach and is worth a watch if you can track it down.

If you have read this blog before you will know I love to include some contemporary art if possible. I have included pictures of the Swabian War below as I think they capture some great details of how the cavalry and infantry of the Holy Roman Empire and Swiss Cantons looked at the turn on the century. I have been lucky enough to have seen the second image, the Schweizerkrieg, in the flesh, so to speak, in an exhibition in Vienna. The miniatures photographed below attempt to capture the style of the Habsburg troops of this conflict and show how Maximilians forces may have looked at the very start of the 16th Century. I have even tried to place buildings in the background that look suitably Germanic!

Battle of Dornach 1499,  note the Habsburg Men-at-Arms on the left

 Detail from the Schweizerkrieg c.1500 depicting Men-at-Arms

Landsknechts and Swiss as depicted in the Schweizerkrieg c.1500

Habsburg cavalry and infantry c.1499
German Mounted Crossbowmen and Men-at-Arms c.1499

Habsburg Cavalry c.1499, I was trying to make the buildings in the background look suitably Düreresque!

Early 16th Century Mounted Crossbowmen

Early 16th Century Men-at-Arms

More Imperial Men-at-Arms

Men-at-Arms c.1499

Landsknechts c.1499

Early Landsknechts

Landsknechts from the Swabian War


  1. Always stunning work from Oli!
    What is the source of all of your lovely cavalry?

    Oli, if you were traveling to Switzerland, what Renaissance sites would you not want to miss? Any favorite museums with uniform and armor displays?

    1. Thanks Jonathan.

      The cavalry are a real mix of figures. The group in the pic entitled Early 16th Century Men-at-Arms have the front rank made up of Wargames Foundry late medievals on Assault Group horses with a few Foundry Gendarmes in Maximilian style harness and a couple of mounted conquistadors by the Assault Group. All of the back rank are Eureka figures.

      The other group of Men-at-arms, pic entitled Men-at-arms c.1499 are a front rank of Wargames Foundry Gensdarmes, Assault Group Spanish Conquistadors and old Wargames Foundry Late medievals on Assault Group horses. The back rank are all plastic Perry men-at-arms converted into lighter spear armed cavalry.

      With regard to Switzerland I have not been fortunate to have made a visit yet. I do want to go at some point as I think the National Museum of Zurich holds lots of Burgundian items from their defeat in 1477, although I am not sure if all the captured banners and such are on display. I think the castle at Grandson also holds some of the Burgundian treasures.

    2. Thank you for the tip on Grandson, Oli!
      You have also given me plenty to consider for cavalry additions to my own collection.

  2. Superb, absolutly superb!

  3. Those are beautiful mounted crossbowmen, are they Eureka figures by any chance?

    1. Hi Robbie, yes the mounted crossbowmen are indeed Eureka French "archers" with some head swaps and pieces added from Plastic Perry sets.

  4. Wonderful figures, terrain and blog.

  5. Excellent stuff Oli, great mix of manufacturers figures too!
    I love the battle of Dornach contemporary art work. I watched the medieval dead program and was a real eye opener to the hatred between the two sides, enough for them to leave the bodies rotting where they fell!

    1. Cheers Chris

      Yes the Dornach program was interesting, that series can be a bit hit and miss but I enjoyed the Dornach one. What I found fascinating was the marks on the skulls that the experts believed could only be caused by "Flamberge" style swords, I doubted these were even used in 1499 so this could be interesting proof of them being around at the very end of the 1400s.

    2. Yes Oli, some of the wound marks sure looked like they were caused by that fearsome sword!

  6. Great looking early hapsburg force and I think you've succeeded in having a Dureresque background!
    Best Iain