Saturday, 20 October 2018

Landsknecht Arquebusiers, Mid 16th Century


Todays post shows the first part of my current project, a set of Landsknechts to cover the mid 16th Century. I know for a lot of wargamers a Landsknecht is a Landsknecht which is fine but, as you may have noticed from my previous posts on this topic, I do love to obsess over the finer details of how their fashions, arms and armour changed from around 1500 through to the end of the 16th Century. I have had my eye on The Assault Group "Royal Swiss" figures for a while now and already having some Mid 16th Century Tudors and more generic pike and shot I was keen to get them into my collection somehow. A unit of Swiss was not really what I wanted and it doesn't take much to turn them from Swiss into convincing mid century Landsknecht.

So far I have painted up the armoured part of the pike unit, the unarmoured ranks and command are yet to be done. The shot are complete and shown here. Beards or moustaches have been added to most of them, as Landsknecht images from the 1530s to 1550s tend to show them with impressive facial hair! They also all wear Katzbalgers, the characteristic German short sword, at jaunty angles as seen in the contemporary art work. The extra bits and pieces on the Warlord Games Plastic Landsknecht sprues were really useful for converting these. Any of the stitched on crosses that the figures had sculpted on them have been removed. I think the pike and command will have more elements that clearly demarcate them as being from the middle of the 1500s so will leave a full discussion of the images and armour for when the pike are completed. I have included a couple of period images just to give an example of the look I am aiming for.

Assault Group Miniatures "Royal Swiss" converted into Landsknechts.

Landsknecht Arquebusiers for the Mid 16th Century.

Landsknecht Shot c.1530-1550.

The Landsknecht Arquebusiers in the tapestry image below don't differ that much from those of the 1510s and 1520s and at a pinch this arquebusier unit would be fine for the mid 1520s right up until the mid 1550s when the "Pluderhosen" become pretty much universal for the Landsknecht. If you have a look at the picture of the armoured soldier from the Códice De Trajes and the armoured "work in progress" figures the style of infantry armour of the mid 1500s becomes clearer. While the Arquebusier miniatures fit into a wider time frame I feel the armoured troops are more specifically for the 1530s and 1540s. I have 40 figures yet to paint for the pike and command and need to do all the pikes for them. Hopefully this shouldn't take too long despite Landsknecht being very time consuming. So far these have been a joy to paint though.

Landsknecht Arquebusiers during the attack on Goleta in 1535, the tapestries depicting the Tunis Campaign were made in the 1540s.

Códice De Trajes, 1547 Habsburg Soldiers

WIP - The Landsknecht Mid Century Pike so far, note the addition of beards to a lot of the TAG figures.

WIP - The Armoured Mid 16th Century Landsknecht so far

While on the subject of Landsknecht, last month I posted some pictures of my Reenactment kit and wondered if any of you would like to see pictures of the Wargames Foundry event at Stoke in June. Rather than put up any pictures here I am going to post links to some really good photos on Facebook that show the event in detail. All of the albums can be viewed without actually joining Facebook, even if it tries to get you to log in you don't need to! They show recreations of what the English, Irish and German troops who took part in the battle in 1487 may have looked like. I am well aware that the German troops in 1487 certainly didn't look like those shown in the photos but at least there was some acknowledgement that these mercenaries took part and I reckon they have made an admirable effort to look like the earlier 16th Century Landsknecht. I guess not everyone can be obsessive about the clothing of German mercenaries over 500 years ago.The albums can be found here https://www.facebook.com/pg/gwp.reenactment/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1756661851079936 here https://www.facebook.com/pg/photosm/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1038639542978954 and here https://www.facebook.com/pg/photosm/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1037975319712043. If you do take the time to look at these you will see that we were filming a documentary about the battle which can be viewed here https://nottstv.com/programme/rediscovering-notts-the-forgotten-battlefield/ . I will warn you now though it's a pretty bad documentary but you may find it fun.

24 comments:

  1. These are excellent Oli but those pikemen are a thing to behold, they look fantastic!

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    1. Cheers Stuart - our refight of the Camisade of Boulogne will soon be a possibility...

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  2. Great post Oli, great attention to details on the Landsknechts.
    Thankyou for the links, i have saved alot of the photos for reference. Some of the re enactors look rather scary chaps!!!
    Also nice little historical documentary, really enjoyed it.
    In late ninties and early naughties i made a number of trips to stoke and Towton, the last few times i went alone to get more of a feel for the places, i thought red gutter at stoke had a very eerie feeling, like i was not the only one there, it sure makes you feel mortal when you think of how long ago it was and all the men that died at these places!

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    1. Thanks Chris, I am really pleased you enjoyed the reenactment links as well. I didn't even make it to the red gutter at Stoke, although I did do the battlefield walk in armour with the FitzGerald banner! I will definitely have a look at it if we do the show again.

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  3. Lovely units. Check out the Steel Fist castings they might also be suitable for you. Great painting, well done.

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    1. Thanks Robbie - I do intend to use a few Steel Fist figures for this. The Steel Fist figures are interesting in that they cover quite a broad period - some are suitable for 1500 while others are in armour and clothing that is from the 1530s. I think overall they are best suited for the 1520s really, depending on what heads you use as some of the helmets are quite "late".

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  4. Ooh aren't those lovely. Looking forward to seeing that armoured pike block in its finished state. And always great to get a lesson in 16th century fashions!

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    1. Thank you Peter - I have more contemporary images to post up when the unit is finally finished - quite a lot of work to go yet though

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    2. Looking forward to those Oli. I also like your reenactment photos. My army is Italian from the Fornovo period, I use a lot of Rennaissance masters for my sources. I would do the reenactment bit, but the world is a better place if I don't wear those pants!

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  5. A gorgeous and most interesting century...and these minis are fanatastic, excellent job!

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    1. Thanks Phil, its always fun painting Landsknechts

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  6. Outstanding work, Oli! Besides first rate brushwork, I always learn some history from your informative posts.

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    1. Cheers Jonathan - I will look at more mid century Landsknecht armour and clothing when I post up the finished unit

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  7. The figures look great, and the evolution of Landsknecht dress over time is interesting. I am content with my Generic Landsknechts, but having correct figures for the different eras is surely reasonable as well. I enjoyed the re-enactor photos, and I though the documentary was worthwhile, better than many! :-)

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    1. Thanks Peter - it is the details in the dress and the changes over time thar are all part of the hobby for me - I am more into the clothes and armour than the gaming aspect of the hobby - I guess that is the reenactor in me.

      I am really glad you enjoyed the pictures and documentary.

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  8. Lovely landsknechts! Mine are generic,I figure 1500 till 1525, maybe 1527 sack of Rome at a push,my Swiss which are old glory are supposed to be Italian wars but really they're late 15th century. It depends how strongly you feel I guess, it's always instructive to read your posts and I totally understand why you want to get it right. Great reenactment photos,I thought the Irish were particularly interesting ( he says going through the lead pile and seeing who could be press ganged into an early 16th century Irish/highlander force!) Oh and nice banner!
    Best Iain

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  9. Thank you Iain - I would put your Landsknecht in the 1510 to 1530s bracket, the 1490s to the start of the 1500s Landsknecht do look quite distinct from later: http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2017/03/wip-early-landsknechts.html . I would roughly bracket the styles into 4 groupings through the century. My goal is at some point to do a unit in Pluderhosen and then write a post with 4 blocks each showing the evolution of the armour and clothing, but that is a way off yet.

    I am really glad you enjoyed the reenactment photos, the Irish are from the group I am in, the FitzGerald Household. The banner is of the Earl of Kildare with his Livery Badge of monkeys and motto of "Crom Abu" or "Crom Aboo", it's written in various ways and I can't remember how it is spelt on the banner, it may be "Crom Mabo". I wear more English (well even continental sometimes) styles rather that the Gaelic attire.

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  10. Lovely work Oli. I'm always impressed with your attention to detail (the archivist in me). Love the beards and moustaches!

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    1. Thanks Curt - I still have a fair few beards and moustaches to sculpt on the rest of the unit - some great practice with the dreaded green stuff!

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  11. Hey Oli, I have a question about one of your older blog posts, where you mention:

    "The Scottish campaign was not the last service de Gamboa did for the English Crown. During August of 1549 he saw service in Norfolk when he accompanied Conrad Pennick's Landsknechts in the brutal suppression of Kett's rebellion. At the "Battle" of Dussindale around 3000 rebels were killed, hardly the most noble of actions for de Gamboa to serve in but of use to the English Government."

    Where did you find that information please??

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  12. Sorry, I don't mean info on dussindale, I mean info that Gamboa and pennick were in norfolk.

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    1. Hi Jason it is from "Tudor Mercenaries and Auxiliaries, 1485-1547. Gilbert John Millar" p176.

      If you are interested in the later campaigns of Henry VIII I would also recommend "The Anglo-Scots Wars, 1513-1550: A Military History Gervase Phillips" and "Henry VIII and Francis I: The Final Conflict, 1540–1547 David Potter".

      I should have the Landsknechts suitable for the 1540s finished soon as well.

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    2. That's great, thanks.

      Hmm, I would love to know what his source was for that. I've read a Spanish biography on Gamboa, and it says he's wasn't there, but Guervera, one of his captains, was.

      Im also now about to start a blue moon landsknecht force.

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    3. I have actually loaned the book out at the moment, but I will be able to check soon. Millar may well have it wrong.

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