Wednesday 2 April 2014

The Wagon Train

After many months of laboriously painting wagons and carts here they all are on the march. Taking inspiration from the many contemporary woodcuts and illustrations that depict this theme, a few of which are shown below, the wagon train crosses the table headed by a dozen men at arms. There are two blocks of Landsknechts, four carts, two oxen pulled wagons, a four horse wagon and finally twelve mounted arquebusiers at the end of the column. The wagons and carts are all by Perry Miniatures, the rest are a mix of old Wargames Foundry, TAG, Old Glory and Pro Gloria miniatures. The Pro Gloria civilian packs really help make the scene. I have filled some of the Perry carts with individual baggage pieces from Front Rank. These were part of my Wars of the Roses baggage train for a collection that has now nearly all been sold off on Ebay.
With the increase in the size of armies in the late 15th/early 16th century and the increasing professionalisation of large bodies of infantry such baggage trains winding their way through war torn areas of Europe became a more and more common sight. They were also a sight villagers and townsfolk would dread! As the non combatants and various hangers on could often outnumber the fighting forces themselves and could be the size of large towns it is no wonder they attracted the attention of contemporary artists. For anyone interested in how these "towns on the move" functioned I would recommend "Women, Armies and Warfare in Early Modern Europe", It gives a fascinating insight into the often overlooked role of women in these armies and the communities and mini economies that developed within the camps. Circumstances could often mean that campaigns in this era rapidly degenerated into a strategy that revolved around simply keeping these soldiers and their followers fed rather than seeking any grander result.

Hans Burgkmair Triumph of the Emperor Maximilian I

Hans Burgkmair Triumph of the Emperor Maximilian I

Triumph of the Emperor Maximilian I

Imperial Men at Arms lead the Wagon Train

The Wagon Train stretches out behind the Men at Arms

Landsknechts march under the banner of Bamberg

Landsknechts on the march

Worried villagers look on nervously!

The column passes a small farm

Camp followers

Women and children accompany the Wagons

A Landsknecht officer and his dogs

Camp followers

The rear column of Landsknecht pike has come to a halt

Landsknecht officers discuss the hold up

The entire column
The halted Landsknechts

As I mentioned above, I think the Pro Gloria Miniatures sets of towns people and villagers are great for these kind of set ups. Below is a great example of the attention to detail that they have shown to contemporary images. The sutler selling shoes is a very close copy of Hans Burgkmair's depicition of such an individual following the troops in one of Maximillians' baggage trains.

A sutler tries to sell his wares to a Landsknecht

Hans Burgkmairs depiction of a sutler on the march

Some adjustments to the load are made as the train comes to a halt

Camp followers refill their drinking vessels as the train temporarily halts

A troop of mounted arquebusiers protect the rear of the column


  1. Wow! What a stunning collection. Great stuff!

  2. Excellent post! I love how all the elements of your army come together in an interesting way! the peasants and followers add so much character to group as a whole and make it seem like a lot more than just a tabletop army. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Good to see a large selection of photos of your marvelous collection of miniatures. I like the units road marching in columns and supply wagons moving along at their pace as well... an excellent display of miniature diorama by you.. Awesome!!


  4. A truly wonderful display of a Renaissance army on the march, from the pike columns to the baggage and camp followers, a thoroughly enjoyable sight to see.
    Thanks for the post

  5. What a superb idea! Very nicely executed.

  6. Great wagons and a wonderful post, Oli!

  7. Excellent post and minis!

  8. Amazing collection! Love the sutler - can imagine the shoe selling business as quite lively with all these men on the march.

  9. Fantastic stuff! Everything a baggage train should look like.

    Probably a bit difficult to deploy into column ;>)


  10. Worth all the hard work, definitely look great Oli. Nice!

  11. Very impresive pictures of a stunning collection !

  12. Just simply amazing, this has really got me thinking and keen to try my own. You're an inspiration !