Tuesday 19 April 2016

Hook Guns, Hail Shot or Hand Cannons?

The pictures below are of another small project I have worked on in recent months. I already had some of these Grenadier figures, they call them Giant Handgunners, and posted them on this blog a few years back: http://camisado1500s.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/italian-crossbowmen-and-hail-shot.html. I spotted some more packets of these figures at a stall at the SELWG show last year and here they are, based up and added to the original sets. 

There have been quite a few head swaps and a couple of TAG figures accompany them on two of the bases. The figures are intended to be for fantasy but I think they fit rather well into the early 1500s when gunpowder weapons were far from standardised and all sorts of different types were in use at the same time. This style of weapon would probably have been quite dated by the 16th century, more suited to the 15th century, although saying that they do remind me a bit of the Hail Shot pieces that were retrieved from the Mary Rose which sank in 1545. As you can tell from the title I am not really sure what to call these guns. Let me know if you think there are a little too early or too fantasy in style.

With the head swaps and addition on the TAG figures I have tried to make them suitable for the 1490s into the 1510s. I doubt they would really have taken to the field in some kind of unit as shown in the first three photos. That is if they took to the field at all, they look like they would be far more suited to firing from defended positions which is of course how the Spanish preferred to deploy their shot armed troops in the early stages of the Italian Wars. I have shown them integrated with other Arquebusiers which I think works really well and also within a Spanish Infantry formation as a whole. In the last few photos the pikemen are flanked by shot armed troops who are supported by sword and buckler armed Rodeleros. I think the new bases work well with the other figures, the fact there are only two of them on a base doesn't seem to harm the overall look when mixed with the more densely based miniatures which I am glad about.

A small block of Spanish pike supports the gunners 

Spanish Arquebusiers
Spanish Arquebusiers for the early Italian Wars

Spanish Arquebusiers as part of a larger Spanish Infantry formation
Spanish Pike, Rodeleros and Arquebusiers
Spanish infantry for the early Italian Wars


  1. Great looking Spanish foot. I love the hand gunners, although these seem more like pre 1450 weapons. Even if that were so, old equipment was often re-used, especially when pressed for time and money... and who wasn't?

  2. Nifty hand cannons! I bet operating these pieces in battle would be quite unwieldy. Your large Spanish battalia is Impressive (yes, with a capital "I")! Love the densely packed formations, varied uniforms, and colorful banners.

    Inspiring stuff!

  3. Great looking troops, very nicely done...

  4. A fine looking Spanish array, I do like the small range from Grenadier, although they are a bit pricey.

  5. Great looking handguners, it's a period of variety and experimentation and these give you that range, I'm not sure how good they would be in the field but behind prepared positions you'd guess they would do a job. You've managed to make them non fantasy as well nice!
    Best Iain

  6. Sod the hook guns, look at that massive colunella!

    Only joking, they look convincing to me and have that suitability for defended positions. Could look good with mantles or pavises perhaps or behind gabions / town walls.

  7. Great stuff, i love the grenadier figures , nice head swaps too!

  8. Cheers for the comments guys.

    Gonsalvo - I agree the guns do tend to look more suited to the early 15th century, although saying that the Mary Rose had breach loaders that would not have been out of place in the early battles of the Wars of the Roses on her when she sank in 1545 (I've just realised I put 1544 on the blog) alongside the more "modern" bronze guns - so these guns or styles of guns did have long shelf lives sometimes.

    Stuart - mantles and gabions are on the way. I already have the Gabions I am just trying to work out how to base them so I can use them infront of my artillery bases.