Saturday 1 December 2012

Cardinal Matthäus Schiner

Cardinal Matthäus Schiner
At the moment I am working on a few bits and pieces while I am waiting for a new batch of figures. I have just painted up the Perry Miniatures Cardinal set. As I had the Freezywater Flag for the Bishopric of Sion I thought I would put the two together to show the particularly bellicose churchman who incited the Swiss into attacking the French at Marignano in 1515; His name seems to be spelt differently in places so I have gone with the wikipedia spelling, I remember reading it as Mathias Schiner. These figures could be used for all sorts of early 16th century scenarios, when the Papacy was directly involved in the Italian Wars.

For the Reisläufer Standard bearer I have taken the head off an old Foundry Landsknecht and replaced it with one of the Perry Swiss heads. I have added a beard with greenstuff to bring him more into the 1510s rather than the late 15th century. I have also replaced the Katzbalger with a plastic perry miniatures sword, again to make him more of a Reisläufer than a Landsknecht. I am really pleased with how this miniature turned out and may attempt more small conversions like this so I can add to the ranks of my Swiss Mercenaries.

The Cardinals flag is not that exciting so I have also taken a few shots of the standard bearer with some of Petes excellent cloth Swiss flags. I think these look much more the part than the Freezywater paper flag.

Cardinal Matthäus Schiner

Cardinal Matthäus Schiner on foot

Swiss standard bearer with the Confederations field sign

Swiss standard bearer with Schaffhausen Banner

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Mounted Crossbowmen

Mounted Crossbowmen

Todays post if of the lastest troops I have been working on, Mounted Crossbowmen from the beginning of the Sixteenth Century. They are all Perry Miniatures and a third have had head swaps as I wanted to bring them a little more in the 1500s with the Tudor caps and didn't want lots of the figures to be the same. I am really pleased with how they have turned out and I think they will fit in well with the collection so far. Its a shame the plastic horses they come on are way bigger than the Foundry, TAG and Eureka horses so they cannot be easliy mixed in, but on the other hand they are much cheaper because of it! I also like the fact that none of them are firing from horseback as I am not convinced this is how these troops were deployed. I have always imagined them acting like later dragoons and dismounting to engage and then mounting and riding off if they need to. That's not to say they may have fired when mounted when occasion demanded though.
I have shown the head swaps I did below,  as well as a picture from above to show some of the changes to the horses harness (is this the correct word?). I have already painted 12 of these plastic horses for my light cavalry and didn't want to paint another 12 just as they were so made some changes to a few of them with green stuff. I still have a long way to go with the green stuff but it is all good practice!

Mounted Crossbowmen

Head swap with a plastic perry head

Head swap with a plastic perry head

Head swap with a metal Tudor head

Head Swap with a metal Tudor head

Shot from above to show a few changes to the horses
 At the weekend I was lucky enough to travel to Vienna. I was extremely keen to go and see this : and it was well worth it. I tried to get a few photos but they were terrible as its pretty dark and busy in the exhibition. The Triumph of Maximilian is simply spectacular and the wealth of other sculptures, woodcuts, paintings, objects and armour they have is fantastic. Its not that large, being in four smallish rooms, but is well worth it if you are into this period, especially the northern style of art. I have never seen so many pictures of Landsknechts, Gendarmes and artillery! I also picked up the accompanying book: . This looks fantastic having essays on Maximilian I and detailed desciptions, and great photos, of most of the stuff in the exhibition. I look forward to slowly making my way through it, its an enormous tome!
I also saw the Armour Collection at the Hofburg which was again quite overwhelming, they have so many harnesses from the 15-16th century. I have shown a couple of things below. The Army Museum in the Arsenal focused more fo the 17th Century onwards but I found it interesting. One surprise find was while in the Art History Museum, which has some great Durer and Breughel paintings, I stumbled upon the entire set of Tapestries depiciting Charles Vs conquest of Tunis in 1535. There was no labelling on them at all so I am unsure of when they were made or how contemporary they are to the campaign but the detail on them is fantastic. They are in these enormous glass cases which made photographing them a nigthmare.
For this era Vienna has an enormous amount to see and I would highly recommend the Maximilian and Durer exhibition.
Out of focus of a section of the Triumph of Maximilian
One of Maximilians suits of Armour c.1485 and part of the Triumph of Maximilian behind

Harness from the 1520s in the Hofburg, Vienna

Pieces fof Tournament Armour designed to "explode" from the Hofburg, Vienna

Monday 22 October 2012

Papal Infantry

Italian Infantry
 In my last post I mentioned that I wanted to mix in the Perry Miniatures Italians with the Assault Group figures that I had already painted up. So here they are arrayed under the Papal banners of Julius II. There are also a few of my converted plastic Perry figures in there. Julius II,,  is remembered as one of the most war like Popes, he personally commanded the Papal troops at the siege of Mirandola in 1510! It is only appropriate then that these figures are shown under his standards. Four of the banners are from Petes excellent flags, and the other is a Freezywater flag, the one that just shows the della Rovere arms and not the papal tiara and keys.
I am really happy with how the two different manufacturers mix in together and they look great for the Italian Infantry of 1490 to 1510. My only regret is that I didn't paint more striped hose on the TAG figures. TAG have some more Italians in the pipeline and I am sure these will be added to the collection at some point.

I have a load of older miniatures  I need to start selling on ebay and will use this blog to advertise these when I list them. I will probably delete the posts for the sales once they are over as I want the blog to remain on topic. Does anyone know if it is ok to link your blog from ebay so you can show more photos of the figures when you put up a listing?

Infantry of Julius II

Italian Arquebusiers

Italian crossbowmen

Banner of the della Rovere family along with Papal flags showing the della Rovere arms

Papal Crossbowmen

Italian Scrapoli

Arquebusiers under della Rovere banner

Papal Infantry

Papal Infantry

Sunday 30 September 2012

Florentine Infantry

Florentine Infantry

Perry Miniatures Italian Infantry
 The last figures I have painted are from the excellent new Perrys European Armies, 1450-1500 range. As such they are for the very early part of the Italian Wars. I will probably mix them in with the TAG Italians I have already painted, some are pictured here to make them look a bit more suited for 1500-1510. There don't seem to be many pictures of Italian infantry from the Italian Wars but I have posted some interesting pictures below. Both are from frescoes in Italian Castles. The figures in the first are not soldiers but what is interesting is that although the fresco is from the 1520s they still look very similar to the Perry figures. Saying that the soldiers that are depicted in another fresco in the castle look like Landsknechts. The second picture is of garrison troops around 1500, you may recognise it from the Osprey book on Pavia. They look very much like the TAG Italians. I think when the two sets of figures are mixed in they will be great for the armies of the Venetians in the early Italian Wars, Cesare Borgia or Julius II. 
Fresco from Malpaga Castle c.1520-30

Fresco from Castello di Issogne c.1500
 I love the figures with the Swords and Shields shown below but I hated painting the shields! Some I had to redo about 4 times! I did not want them to be for a specific Italian faction, so they needed to be generic and I wanted to try and get them to look something like the designs on this site: . The problem is the designs on the site are way too difficult for me to paint so I went for simplified designs that are similar or have similar patterns. I am quite pleased with them but they took ages. I hate painting designs like this free hand.
Another pet hate of mine is painting striped hose. I try and avoid painting them when I can but these figures are just crying out for them so I gave it ago and I am pleased with the results although there is still a lot of room for improvement.The Florentine Banners are by Pete: . I made the standards interchangeable so the figures can be used as Papal Troops, Milanese, Florentines or Venetians, the flags just have to be changed. I am looking forward to see what the Perrys do next in this range.
Perry Miniatures Italian Light Infantry

Perry Miniatures Italian Light Infantry

Italian command with Florentine Banners

Italian Handgunners

Italian Crossbowmen

Sunday 2 September 2012

The War for Naples, 1499-1504

Spanish troops in Naples

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago I recently purchased some of the new Perry Condottieri figures. As these are really only suitable for the very early stages of the Italian Wars this got me thinking about how the figures in my collection are suitable for different parts of the wars. I also wanted to see what my Spanish army was looking like with the addition of the figures I have been working on over the past few months, since I set it all up over a year ago (the pictures from then can be seen here: ).   So when I had a chance this summer I set it all up and took some photos. This is set up is an army I feel would be most suitable as the Spanish forces of Ferdinand of Aragon who fought under Gonsalvo de Cordoba in southern Italy.
Spanish Army

Spanish Army

The below three pictures are of the Spanish cavalry, most of the figures are from the Assault Group. Their figures are perfect for the early Italian wars. The 3rd photo shows my conversions of the plastic Perry Men at Arms. I was keen to see how they fit in with the other figures as I feared they may look too medieval but I am pleased with the result.
The Spanish Cavalry

Spanish and Italian Horse

Spanish Light Horse

Colonna Crossbowmen

The above photo is of my converted Perry mercenaries with a few Assault Group figures as command. I used old citadel figures to convert them as shown here: . They are quite generic and as such are very useful for this period. I think the Perrys are set to release "Italian Heads" for the plastic infantry and I still have the pieces from the old citadel empire handgunners set left for conversions so I may well be working on another set of these at some point. In this photo they are under the flag of the Colonna family fighting as Italian mercenaries in the Spanish army.

Spanish Crossbowmen
The above photo is of another converted regiment, this time they are the old citadel Marksmen of Mirigliano that I bought off ebay although it looks like they are still available, but expensive, on the Games Workshop site. I am pretty sure they were sculpted by the Perries and I feel they fit in well as crossbowmen in the early Italian wars.
Spanish Rodeleros

Spanish Rodeleros
The above and below photos are of my Spanish infantry, mostly Assault Group and old Wargames Foundry figures.The blue and red banner is for Pedro Navarro,,_Count_of_Oliveto . An interesting character of the Italian wars with possibly a background in piracy, he was an excellent siege engineer. He fought first for the Spanish and later for the French so this flag could be seen flying in different armies at points. For the early war in Naples I am not sure if this was his standard as he was not made Count of Oliveto until after the battle of Garigliano in December 1503. The flag is a Freezywater one taken from the Lance and Longbow Society book on Marignano in 1515 (by which time Navarro was fighting for the French) and is based on conjecture.
Spanish Pike under the banner of Pedro Navarro

The below photos are of another set up. I was keen to see what opposing armies I could muster for the early war of 1499-1504. This is them, the Spanish sallying from an Italian town to defend against the French.
Swiss pike attack the Spanish

Clash between French and Spanish forces

Clash between French and Spanish forces

The French

The Spanish

Spanish pike defend against the Swiss Mercenaries

Spanish defend the town

The French attack

Perry Men at Arms as French Coustilliers

As I mentioned above I was keen to see how my converted Perry Men at Arms, , fitted in with the other figures. Here they are in support of some Foundry and Eureka miniatures Gendarmes. Ironically for the very early 1500s it is probably the Gendarmes which are a little anachronistic and the lighter supporting horse that are more accurate. Below is one of the well known sketches of Paul Dolstein c.1502, a landsknecht who campaigned in Northern Europe. Although a different theatre of war it still shows that some of the horsemen at this time looked quite "medieval" in terms of arms and armour. I initially thought that the Eureka Archer figures depicting the lighter troops who fought on horseback with the Gendarmes were a little later than 1499-1504. and as such I did not include them in this set up. I had a look at some of the primary sources that they are based on such as Dürer's sketch of a mounted horseman, shown in my post linked above, and the two wings of the Paumgartner Altarpiece, shown below. As both these sources are dated from the very beginning of the 16th century it seems they would definitely be suitable. I have included a photo of the Eureka figures so you can see simliarity with the Dürer pictures. It seems armies of this period would be a mix of more medieval looking armour along with renaissance styles of clothing and armour.
Paul Dolsteins drawing of a clash c.1502

Albrecht Dürer's Paumgartner altarpiece c.1500

Eureka "Archers" with Imperial Banners

French Gendarmes and Support

 The below photo, which annoyingly is a little out of focus, is of a troop of Italian Horsemen. All the figures are by the Assault Group, some are Italian Elemti and the rest are from their renaissance Spanish range. I really like these figures and find they give a really good feel for the period as they don't look like medieval knights and yet they have not quite reached the flamboyance of the Gendarmes.

Colonna Men at Arms

Gascon Crossbowmen and Italian Mercenaries
The above and below photos are of Assault Group and Perry Miniatures figures. When I want to create specifically Italian looking infantry I will mix in the miniatures from the new Perry Condottieri range with these. With the wide variety of head gear and clothing I really like these figures and find them suitable for about 1490 through to the 1510s.
Gacon Crossbowmen and Italian Mercenaries
   The final photos are of my Reisläufer. The figures are mainly by Artizan. I think they are more suitable for the ealier Italian wars than the Landsknechts Artizan make. The clothing of the Reisläufer Artizan figures is deliberately of a simpler style than their Landsknechts. The below contemporary picture of the Battle of Dornach in 1499 where the Swiss defeated the Swabian League is a good example of how these mercenaries would have looked at the turn of the century. The big hats and big plumes of feathers are already in evidence (have a look at the banner bearer in the top left hand corner for the feathered head dress). The picture is also worth noting for the armour the horsemen are wearing, they still look very much like medieval knights.

As you can probably tell from this post I have been taking a second look at how the styles changed in this period. I have been going through my book collection, J R Hales "Artists and Warfare in the Renaissance" is particulary good, and having a look on the internet. The problem is the more I look into it the more confusing things become. The styles change rapidly. Below is a picture of some landsknechts (and possibly a stradiot?) by Dürer c.1500. The figures look distinctively like landsknechts yet they also look distinctively different from the slightly later Landsknecht styles with the huge puffed sleaves and leather jerkins of the 1520s and 1530s. Another thing I have learnt is that a lot of artists lifted motifs and images directly from older works and incorporated them directly into their compositions. This would mean that although the picture may be from a later date some of the images in the picture may not be. Sometimes they kept the poses of the figures they lifted and updated the clothing but not always. Its pretty confusing! On the plus side however there is an abundance of pictures for the era which is great. They are great inspiration for collecting the armies.

Dornach c.1499

Albrecht Dürer's Landsknechts c.1500