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

Saturday 1 April 2017

Early Landsknechts c.1500

So here is the finished pike block. This blog is no stranger to Landsknechts but these are the first early ones for the turn of the century c.1500. The block is made entirely of The Assault Groups fantastic new Landsknechts, http://www.theassaultgroup-shop.co.uk/imperialist save for one TAG Italian Command figure and one Steel Fist late 15th Century figure as well. There have also been a lot of head swaps, at least two dozen, with the plastic Perry Miniatures sets. I was keen to show as wide a variety of head gear as possible and wanted more helmeted figures so steel skulls and some painted and unpainted sallets have also been swapped in. This block is for the late 1490s through to around 1510 so these helmets would have been entirely appropriate. In fact when visiting museums with armour collections I've noticed many of the sallets date from the 1490s-1500.

There are 78 figures in total, including 8 skirmishing Arquebusiers. The Arquebusiers may be my favourite of these new TAG miniatures. I like the variety of ways in which they are carrying the powder flasks. The flags are of course from Petes excellent renaissance flag range: http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/petes_flags/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=. The figures were quite a challenge to paint. As I explained in my last post these early Landsknechts were particularly keen on striped clothing and replicating that with a paint brush took a lot of work but I am pleased with the result. When they are all en masse any errors on the individual stripes don't really show, and trust me there are a lot!

28mm Early Landsknechts by The Assault Group

TAG Early Landsknechts

The block from the side, note the "officers" keeping them in line with Polearms

Early Landsknechts

The block from the rear

 The final three photos show the two command bases, the details of which are missed when they are buried in the centre of the block, and a contemporary image of the Battle of Wenzenbach 1504. I couldn't see how to fit this image into the WIP post on these figures so wanted to include it here as it illustrates perfectly what I am trying to achieve with this unit. The Landsknechts can be seen to the left of the image as well as being involved in the combat in the centre. The officer with a halberd to the right of the front of the Landsknecht block can be seen in striped hose, what looks to be one of those odd fur hats and one leg left bare with only the breeches of the hose being worn. The block itself however does not look like the typical block of Landsknechts most miniature painters and wargamers are familiar with and this is what I wanted to show with this unit. Interestingly Wenzenbach was a battle where war wagons were still deployed, perhaps food for thought for a future project?

With regard to the command bases I normally put five rather than six figures on these as the extra space allows for more of the detail of the figures to be seen as well as adding to the "drama" of the bases a little. I wanted a Lansknecht Captain in full harness so have used one of the TAG figures from the Italian Command pack with a Perry sallet. The second base has a Captain carrying a halberd with a head swap from the Perry Light Cavalry to create a really "Gothic" look, especially when accompanied by a dismounted noble in his full Gothic harness, a Steel Fist miniature. This style of armour is rightly associated with the late 15th century but when looking at remaining Gothic harnesses they often date from right at the end of the century, late 1480s or the 1490s. A close look at images from c.1500 shows men-at-arms still in this style so I felt he would fit perfectly in this unit. Have a look at the men-at-arms to the far right of the Wenzenbach image as an example.

Hopefully over Easter I will be able to get some pictures of these chaps with some accompanying men-at-arms, crossbowmen and artillery. Next I am going to have a crack at some English Border horse for 1513 using the Perry plastic light cavalry. I have a few ideas of how these "Northern Staves" should look, let's see if I can put them into practice.

Contemporary image of The Battle of Wenzenbach 1504

Landsknecht Command with the Captain in a sallet and full harness

The second Landsknecht command base, a dismounted noble has joined them in a very late 15th century Gothic Harness. This figure is by Steel Fist Miniatures