Monday, 18 February 2019

Mercenary light lancers

My Condottieri band grows apace! 

The latest recruits are also mounted lancers, but less lavishly equipped than the gendarmes. These are the lighter riders that each lance (i.e a gendarme and his small retinue) contained. Variously known as sergeants, chevau-légers, coutiliers, "archers" (betraying their originals as mounted bowmen) and other names, these riders were less heavily equipped than the gendarmes (also known as Elmeti and  occasionally as Armigeri Veri in Italy) and were, in part, the originals of the later Reiters, Demi-lances and Argoulets of the 16th century.

Once again, red and white are the unifying colours of these troops, although I was keen to have a couple of the riders looking different, with the red.white component being minimal. Although not as heavily armoured as the gendarmes, these troops do have main shirts and/or breastplates under their livery tunics and wear items of armour on their arms and legs.

I am rather pleased with how they have turned out. I was a bit worried while I was painting them, but once I'd given them a bit of a dry-brushing and inked them, they began to come together nicely.

Next, there will be mounted crossbowmen, and then I will resist painting any more mounted troops for as long as possible, because I really do not like painting horses at all. Having said that, though, I really do want to paint up a fully-armoured mounted leader with a standard bearer at some point.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Bad Squiddo female Soviet soldiers

First, a confession. I've had these figures for ages, I started painting them at least a year ago and then left them, mainly because other things took over, but also because I didn't really have any urgent reason to finish them off.

However, after paining up a dozen Renaissance gendarmes, I wanted a change before getting stuck into more Renaissance mounted figures, so, I dug them out and finished them off.

First, there is a Rifle section, with a Degtyaryov DP-27 LMG team, six soldiers with Moison-Nagant rifles, two with PPSh-41 SMGs, an officer and a Commissar wearing a blue skirt), both equipped with pistols.

I deliberately chose to paint the figures in a mixture of uniforms. From what I have read, there was a fair amount of variation in the uniforms of the Red army, due to the use of different factories, different dyes and different fabrics, so it seemed to me that it was worth reflecting those variations in my Soviet women soldiers.

My next section is a scout unit, wearing camouflage.

There is another Degtyaryov DP-27 LMG team, a sniper and spotter team, a radio operator and map reader, and the section leader, equipped with a PPSh-41 SMG.

So, they are finally finished. I am still wondering what I will use them for, but perhaps they could be deployed to fight the Fascist menace in a game of VBCW, supporting my Women's Militia?

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Condottieri gendarmes on unarmoured horses

Following on from the heaviest gendarmes  riding armoured horses, here are six more Perry Plastic gendarmes mounted on unarmoured horses.

Although you always see a lot of gendarmes with armoured horses, I suspect that, in reality horse armour was kept to a minimum when actually engaged in combat, with the full horse barding probably seeing more service in parades than on battlefields.

The flag with these guys looks like it is plain red from the angle it is in the photo, but it is actually a white cross on a red ground, keeping the red/white theme of the overall band.

Anyway, I now have a couple of powerful cavalry units ready for Lion Rampant, and my next part of the project revolves around the Perry Plastic 1450-1500 Light Cavalry box. It is my plan to make up six of these as mounted crossbowmen and the other six as light lancers, mounted sergeants in Lion Rampant parlance.

Once those are done, it will be over to the foot soldiers.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

A few support options for CoC

I actually finished these off a while ago, just after New Year, in fact, but forgot to put a post on here. These are all Peter Pig 15mm figures, of which I am very fond. The tiny sculpts have lots of animation and whatever passes for personality inside a small metal soldier.

There is a mixed bag here, both British and German support options. First off a British rifle section, consisting of a three man Bren team, a sis man rifle team and a Junior Leader.

Next the equivalent for the Germans, a standard Heer section, with the same kind of structure.

Next, a couple of PIAT teams with a Senior Leader. Not sure now much use these will be, or if I'll ever need two of them at the same time, but the figures were, ahem, just lying around, so here they are.

Next, a tripod-mounted MG42 team and a Senior Leader for the Germans. I've already painted up one of these teams, but I had a second one, so here it is. The SL will be a useful cheap support option for the Germans, whose basic platoons lack leaders.

And finally, to quote newsreaders everywhere, here are two Vickers teams for the British, providing some much-needed additional firepower.

There are still quite a few other support options that I might need at some point, so this will rumble on in the background for some time, I think.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

More Condottieri

After my first efforts on the project; I started work on the Perry plastic Mounted Men-at-Arms, because every self-respecting Condottieri band needs some armoured men mounted on big horses. There are 12 figures in the Perry box, and I've made them all up; six on unarmoured horses, and the remainder on barded ones. So far, I have completed the latter group, but the rest will be finished soon.

These heavily armoured riders were given a range of names across Renaissance Europe; Elmeti, Gens d'Armes, Gendarmes and so on. Their role was a continuation of that of the mediaeval mounted knight, forming the armoured fist that could decide a battle at the charge. Until the rise of gunpowder weapons and pike-armed infantry, the gendarme was the most powerful tool available to generals across western Europe. The concept of the gendarmes d'ordonnance company originated in France, but throughout the 15th century became commonly used throughout Europe. The companies were made up of lances, i.e. a group of mounted troops and retainers, led by a noble (the actual gendarme) and supported by lighter-equipped troops, a second, slightly lighter lancer, one or two mounted missile troops (equipped with crossbows or bows), a page and one or two servants, usually totalling six or seven men in total.

Over time, the lance concept changed as warfare changed, until the plate-armoured lancer began to be replaced during the 16th century by mounted troops in lighter armour, more reliant on firearms, but the heavy lancer lasted almost until the start of the Thirty Years' War in western Europe, and even longer in the East, where the Polish Winged Hussar continued to serve right until the end of the 17th century.

Anyway, my six gendarmes have been painted with red and white as the common theme, and the banner being carried is a common device in Renaissance Italy. In this case I see it as the banner of Bologna, the idea being that these mercenary gendarmes were recruited in the city. The red and white also ties into the Papal theme of the overall band.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

My latest big project - A Condottieri band in Papal service

I have long had a desire to do something with the lovely Perry plastic late mediaeval/renaissance box sets. I mentioned this at Christmas and now I have actually embarked upon the project.

My plan is to create a condottieri band which I can use for Lion Rampant games, but which can also be used for other sets of rules. I know that creating a force for the latter part of the 15th century stretches the Lion Rampant period right to the end of the 15th century and into the early part of the 16th, but I think that it will be fine. I've decided on a force in Papal service because that means that I can use a fairly unified colour scheme, predominantly red and white, but which will also allow me the flexibility to use other colours too. We should remember that there were no real uniforms in this period, certainly not among mercenaries, but that there were specific combinations of colours associated with retinues belonging to city states, powerful nobles and others.

I have plans for a number of troop types; pikemen, troops with polearms, crossbowmen, arquebusiers (which I will probably deploy as bidowers), armoured men-at-arms (both mounted and on foot), lighter cavalry, mounted crossbows etc. 

Looking at the number of sprues I have, I will admit that this looks like a pretty daunting task, but one has to make a start and here is where I am so far.

I like to start off with a leader or character, because that gives me a nice thing to do before I plunge into the rank and file. So, here is a commander on foot with his standard bearer, a herald (using the English king body and a head and trumpet from the Light Cavalry box and six heavily-armoured men-at arms on foot with polearms and a two-handed longsword. I know that Lion Rampant doesn't really need leaders looking like this, but I intend to ignore the standard bearer and treat the base as a single figure. The Herald was just a nice extra to paint up. I'm sure that he'll get used somewhere along the line.

I will paint more of these armoured foot later on, but I am currently working on some mounted troops, which should be finished by the end of the week.

Of course, these guys will also be ideal for Dragon Rampant too, and also probably Sword and Spear, so this is a win-win project. I am also thinking about how I might use Pikeman's Lament and Lion Rampant concepts together to take this force into the Italian Wars.

Saga Sunday; Shieldmaidens v Saxons

Well, Vikings v Saxons really, but using my Bad Squiddo Shieldmaidens as the Vikings.

Owen and I played a few games at the club on Sunday afternoon. He hadn't played Saga 2 before, but it didn't stop him using his battleboard to the full, with his army being made up entirely of Warriors, grouped into four 12-man units, giving them access to some annoyingly useful abilities.

I started off with an army containing Thrall archers, as well as the usual Hirdmen and Bondi units, switching things around to give me an actual Shieldmaiden unit (led by a Valkyrie) after the first game. This is a useful addition, with eight attacks, plus a War Banner which allows the unit to remove a point of fatigue for free.

We ended up playing three games, all of them incredibly bloody encounters. We pretty much fought ourselves to a standstill in the first, I lost the second and Owen lost the third one, losing his Warlord in the process.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and here are some pictures of the action;