I have a set of twelve 28mm infantry from the Italian Wars period. These are made up of figures from the Perry brothers’ Plastic boxed set of European Mercenaries 1450-1500 with additional metal heads from the Italian and Tudor head sets.
I did up test sets of 2 half sized units so that I could get comfortable with the parts and making up the figures, and let’s face it limit the damage of the inevitable F*ck ups. There are another 8 pike men to be primed, so it will be a unit of 16. There will be 12 arquebusiers, and I have 2 more completed and 6 about ½ way done. There is a standard bearer in the pike block, but his flag will wait until the unit is done.
These were very nice figures to put together, with tons of options available. So far the only mess up on my part was putting the drummers arms on one of the torsos from the command stand. I realized too late that this was the standard bearer’s torso so I now have a very well armoured drummer! Obviously his mother loved him and made sure that he would be well looked after.
The arquebusiers have been painted up as Italians using 2 plastic heads, 2 metal Italian heads (the barbutas with cheek plates and the roll of fabric) and two Tudor heads (in soft caps). I really like the “shot” arms, as there’s a nice mix of firing, prepping and loading poses. They will likely end up as Venetians, as Venice was involved in the thick of things all through Wars. Also they were the only Italian State left independent when the Wars wound up.
The pikes are painted as generic Europeans, but I’ll likely field these as French. All of the bits come from the Mercenaries box except for the metal Tudor cap on the well-protected drummer. The pike arms all come in marching position, which is a mixed blessing as some lowered pikes would be nice. However, there are quite a variety of poses and arm choices and the overall effect is of a unit marching together but not quite in step. Painting these up I could detect some real personalities – the chap in the quilted jacket and kettle hat looks grimly determined and one of the back rankers has a distinct hangdog slouch. Meanwhile the chap in front of the sad sack looks way too happy and I picture him singing about the 98,000thbottle of beer on the wall (this may partly explain the looks of his erst while comrades).
I’ve kept with the theme colours idea, using scarlet as the theme for the shot and blue for the pike. While there weren’t uniforms as such, liveried units weren’t unknown and Michael Mallet’s book on the Condoterri states that mercenary unit were often paid in part with bolts of fabric. That gives me enough license for the unit colours as I picture the cloth bolts being farmed out between various seamstresses and camp followers to create a variety of tops in a common colour.
I had a lot of fun researching and painting these figures. There’s a lot of resource material available either on line or in your local public library. Just get images related to
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Renaissance Italian artists. The colours in the art of the period really pop and I want to get the same effect on table. The Perry figures are a little early that the classic Italian Wars period so don’t have the full blown over the top Landsknecht slashing and Plunderhosen. But I tried to mimic some slashing effects in paint – some of the quilted arms can be painted up as slashed sleeves in particular.
Curt and I have been bashing about what to do with the Italian Wars and I’ve been hemming and hawing between “Pike and Shotte” and “Lion Rampant”. In the end I decided to base them for P&S in blocks of four since I expect to have enough figures to do larger battles than LR can handle. AARs in the blogosphere also indicate that LR works fine with multi-unit bases. P&S uses 4 foot on a 40mm square base, and I’ve used the 45 by 40mm bases by Renedra that the Perry’s supply, but turned them 90 degrees so they have a 40mm frontage.