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"Representing Renaissance troops circa 1500?" Topic

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Field Marshal27 Dec 2010 1:10 a.m. PST

I am currently building DBR armies for a Pike and Plunder campaign.
Noiw to me this was a real transition period and here is what I have decided to use fro the various troop types.
What I would like is for those more knowledgeable to have a look and agree or disagree

Gendarmes Ln(S)- I am using the Eureka ones plus the odd Foundry barded horse rider from their Renaissance range

Landsknecht- Foundry and Artizan plus some old GW empire handgunners for Landsknecht arquebusier.

Other Pike (Spanish, Italian, French etc), Crossbows and Handgunners- I plan on using the new Perry plastics with a few modifications like swiss style turbans arounf the helmets

Mounted Crossbow- Perry metal Scurrers with crossbows instead of their lances.

Stradiots- Undecided

Other Men at arms types- Lance Ordinary- I plan on using a mix of stuff including the foundry renaissance knights with unbarded horses plus some Perry WoTR knights with a few headswaps

The Swiss I am having trouble with- do use the Perry Plastics or Landsknecht models for this period?

French "archers" cavalry I am also unsure what to use.

So any suggestions or comments on my choices? I am happy to hear all opinions. Its a diffiucxlt time as most of the ranges are suioted for the Burgundians wars a decade or more earlier or the Pavia campaign 20 years later. troops in 1494-1506


Personal logo Cardinal Hawkwood Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2010 2:56 a.m. PST

I AM NOT going to state the obvious..

Hospitaller Inactive Member27 Dec 2010 5:37 a.m. PST

Have a you had a look at the T.A.G site?
Their very good.

Condottiere27 Dec 2010 6:54 a.m. PST

Eureka now makes archers (lesser armored gendarmes on unarmored horses). TAG is also about to release Italian lancers that might fit in as mounted archers. Aside from that, any late Medieval armored dudes on unbarded horses will do just fine.

Perry plastics too early for Swiss of the early 16th century. There are no current manufacturers of proper Swiss for the period. Some simply use LAndsknechts, but hey are not quite right. Although, if you don't mind the wrong slashings ("X" instead of "+") and some incorrect weapons and headgear, then Landsknechts will do in a pinch. They are not, although, quite as flamboyant as their German brethren, at least that's my impression from period art.

Eureka are coming out with early 16th century Swiss through the 100 club. I would expect them to be released with the next year. You might want to sign up and encourage them to produce them faster! wink

TAG are also coming out with Stadiots soon. Check out hte TAG sight, they already have many offerings already and have numerous in the pipeline:


Condottiere27 Dec 2010 6:56 a.m. PST

Eureka also does proper Italian pike and other infantry:


Perry really are not quite right as Italians.

Pentaro Inactive Member27 Dec 2010 7:46 a.m. PST

TAG lancers and Eureka archers are really nice. How do they look together?

Condottiere27 Dec 2010 8:21 a.m. PST

The TAG lancers have not yet been released, so I cannot comment on how the look together or how they compare size-wise. However, Eureka archers are very nice. Excellent in fact.

Oldenbarnevelt Inactive Member27 Dec 2010 11:52 a.m. PST

Swiss are in the pipeline. When they arrive you can pick them up then. I'll second John's suggestion of going with Eureka barded gendarmes and archers (lance-armed gendarmes without barding). The archers are simply gorgeous.

You don't list any heavy guns. I recommend Foundry. Also some organ guns look nice. You'll have to look around for these. Several manufacturers make them. You also don't have any double-pay men. Artizan has some great looking landsknecht two-handed swords men and halberdiers. For sword and buckler men try Eureka Conquistadors, Foundry, and TAG.

Phillius Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2010 2:46 p.m. PST

You might want to look at Old Glory for your Stradiot and Archers. The OG Stradiot are some of the ugliest figures they produce in the flesh, but painted up, they are really nice.
However, I will be adding some of the TAG ones when they come out.

The archers are available in the OG Italian Wars range, but only if you go to that range via their Shipyard site. Weird I know, but that's how I got mine, and although not yet painted, they are perfect for that early period.

Field Marshal28 Dec 2010 12:22 a.m. PST

Thank you for the feedback gentlemen. What I am confused about is the transition from Late Burgundian wars costume and Pavia in 1525.
Say Fornovo, what would they have looked like then? The Swiss, Italians etc?

Daniel S28 Dec 2010 1:01 a.m. PST

The problem with this period is that you have frequent changes in style that are fairly major for some types of troops. For examples Landsknechts & Swiss have a diffrent apperance in 1494, 1500,1515 and 1525. Other troops changed as well though not at the extreme rate the Swiss and Landsknecht's did.
Even before before 1500 you see a fair bit of change in clothing and quipment, selling the Perry figs as covering 1450-1500 is a bit like selling Zulu war Redcoats as good for everything from the Crimean War to the 2nd Boer war. In the same way most landsknecht figures are based on the period of Pavia and afterwards (1520's & 1530's), using them in 1500 is like using 1939 troops for 1914…

For Fornovo we are lucky enough to have decent eyewitness artwork

Field Marshal28 Dec 2010 2:31 a.m. PST

Daniel your knowledge in this period is wonderful and I enjoy your contributions. Are the Perry's okay for some troops at Fornovo?
I am happy to put the Perry boxes away and use them for Burgundian wars but it would be good if I could at least use the crossbowmen or the handgunners etc.
Swiss I am happy to use Landsknecht at this stage becasue i want to get the project up and running sooner rather than wait for the other releases. Should they be painted in less garish colours then the Landsknecht?
@John N Holly- when will the Stradiots from TAG be released?

Condottiere28 Dec 2010 5:17 a.m. PST

Daniel, of course, points out a major problem with representing various troop types in the Renaissance. The best we can hope for is to select the figures that are the closest to the timeframe. This makes gaming the era simultaneously frustrating and, perhaps, requiring more creativity than most other periods.

@Field Marshal: I do not know when the latest TAG dressings and lancers are due for release, but you might want to e-mail TAG and pose this question.

lkmjbc328 Dec 2010 10:07 a.m. PST

I disagree somewhat with this discussion. The more I read of this period… the more I think we need not care. The Italian Wars certainly experienced change in the clothing and armor…. but the more art I see of the period… the more I come to the conclusion that things were really mixed.

Late medieval costumes were worn along side the most extravagantly dressed mercenaries. When you wore out your clothes… you got new ones either off the dead, from your army (maybe) or from the Italians…(where you were fighting). No doubt many troops went home and returned to their "native garb"…. no doubt bringing some Italian fashion back with them.

The art of the time focused on the most popular troop type (the Swiss, then the Landsknechts, then the Spanish). The artists used the popular image to represent all troops. Some more realistic art seems to survive however showing more regional variations.

Certainly the art from Charles V invasion of North Africa shows a very "Spanish" look…. while art representing Pavia shows everyone a Lansknecht!

Remember… most art from later in the century shows everyone in a Morion helmet… yet, battle descriptions from where Landsknechts fought speak of the large number of floppy hats littering the ground.

The long and short of this is…. don't worry.

TAG is excellent… I am buying some Italians and Spanish…

Old Glory Spanish are great from "The Great Captain" period and probably all the way to Pavia….though they have no command pack (grr!)…. TAG Spanish are a little later.

The OG Italians are also good. I mixed them with some Mirliton figs….. half the units I made with shields… which are really only good for the earlier period… (Spearmen rather than pikemen).

I mix OG, Foundry, and Eureka Gendarmes…..All are great figs!

French Pike are a mix of Swiss figs and more late medieval figs in hose…..

Hope this helps…

Joe Collins

olicana28 Dec 2010 12:06 p.m. PST

I use OG, Foundry, Front Rank, Essex and several others for bits and pieces. OG are great for massed pike, especially Swiss and Landsknecht. A few are pictured here:


I'll be replacing a lot of OG cavalry with TAG in the future – OG cavalry are not the best (but servicable).

Good luck with your project.


Daniel S28 Dec 2010 12:31 p.m. PST

Well the problem is that the art of the period can be both very helpfull and highly misleading. On top of that it is frequently mislabled as far as the subject and time period are concerned.
If you look at the mash of Renaissance artwork published in most English language works I can fully understand how one can come to think that "we need not care". Specialised studies which take the care to put the images in the right period, identify the subject correctly and put the image in the correct context give a very diffrent impression.

When you wore out your clothes… you got new ones either off the dead, from your army (maybe) or from the Italians…(where you were fighting).

You leave out oen of the most common sources of resupply as far as clothing was concerned. "Raw" cloth which was then made into clothes by wives and tailors in the baggage train. A 16thC tailor shop wasn't a modern day shop with racks of clothing waiting for customers. Rather the tailor woudl have most of his stock as rolls of cloth. Most of the clothing of the period was fitted to the wearer and thus made to order rather than of the rack.
The tight fit of much of clothing also prevented it from being reused as it was. Rather it would be cut apart and the cloth reused as raw material. That's why the eyewitness drawings of veterans like Urs Graf & Paul Dolnstein doesn't show Swiss & Landsknecht dressed in captured 'foreign' clothing but rather in their own distinctive style even when it's quite ragged.

Certainly the art from Charles V invasion of North Africa shows a very "Spanish" look…. while art representing Pavia shows everyone a Lansknecht!

Actually Vermeyen who made the famous Tunis artwork takes great care to show the diffrences in dress between the Spanish troops and the Landsknechts in the invasion force.
is good example of the later. Rather diffrent from the Spanish & Italian chaps

Given the huge number of Spanish troops in Karl V's army it is hardly surprising that a lot of artwork does show a "Spanish look".

Remember… most art from later in the century shows everyone in a Morion helmet… yet, battle descriptions from where Landsknechts fought speak of the large number of floppy hats littering the ground.

Only one not so small problem with that description, by the time morions were in use (i.e after 1550)landsknechts had mostly stopped wearing "floppy hats". Indeed the typical "morion artwork" (Hogenberg, Torotel, Perissini) is from 1570 and later, a period when the floppy hat had disappeared althogether…

Daniel S28 Dec 2010 1:14 p.m. PST

Field Marshal,
The Perry's will do fine for Fornovo as for example French and Swiss as they are closer in apperance than any of the later period figures. I was just having a bit of rant against manufacturers stretching the period for which their figures are supposedly suitable for. In this case the implication that troops in 1450 were identical to those in 1500.

Indeed the two Perry plastic kits may well be the easiest way to represent troops noone makes such as French Ordonnance Archers who in this period were actual archers who fought dismounted with longbow & sword protected by sallets and breastplates. (Archers don't become cavalry until at least 20-25 years after the start of the wars)

If you really want a "Fornovo" look to you army I would use late medieval figs like the Perry's together with select Burgundian wars figs for the Swiss. The Fornovo army was still very much late medieval in apperance with a touch of renaissance.

Italian troops are probably the hardest to get decent figs for as they used fairly specialised combinations such as lighly armoured infantry with shield and partizan.

Field Marshal28 Dec 2010 2:13 p.m. PST

Wonderful discussion thank you!
When did the Landsknecht start looking like the classic interpretation?
If the Perries are okay for Fornovo would there be some units like this into 1500?
I am wanting to do the Pike and Plunder campaign which starts post Fornovo 1495-1502 ish and ends with Maximilians death.
As an aside I love those TAG Spanish and after i finish my Papal States and French armies I am going on to do a Neapolitan Spanish mixing TAG and Eureka I think!

Daniel S28 Dec 2010 3:27 p.m. PST

Troops in the Swabian war 1499:
Compared to the earlier Fornovo image troops have now begun to take on a much clearer "renaissance" style. Still some of the Swiss figures are very medieval. The most advanced clothing in worn by the Landsknechts who already have a distinctive fashion with the hose cut above the knees and worn as "shorts". The Swiss by comparison wear full lenght hose.

Paul Dolnstein was a an engineer who served variously as a landsknecht, a cavlaryman and an officer in a series of wars in the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany 1491-1506. He left us a priceless illustrated diary of his experiences.
You can see how Dolnstein is connected with the style worn by the Landsknechts in the 1499 images but it has become more elaborate in the 3-4 years separation the images.
But the hose are still a single layer of cloth and the sleeves of the doublets are still fairly tight though the upper arms have begun to swell in size a bit.

The unfinish biography of Maximilian, "Der Weisskunig" shows the apperance of Landsknechts in his last years about 1517-1519.
It is now that we see the full panoply of the "classic" Landsknecht: slashed hose, doublet with huge sleeves into which patterns have been cut and slashed. Often the sleeves are shaped into "pouffs" to further enhance the apperance.
This style is fairly recent, it begins to appear after 1510 and it around 1515 we see it developed in full scale among both Swiss Reislaufers and German Landsknechts.

A later example of how quickly fashions could changed are these 3 images from 1545 to 1565
The marching landsknecht arquebusier is clearly related to the landsknechts at Tunis with some changes.

By 1555 the pluderhose have arrived and felt hats have begun to replace the "floppy hat" which has become much smaller and far less decorated than those worn 30-40 years earlier.

It's 1565 and the pluderhose have grown to full size, felted hats have replaced most of the floppy hats and the doublets have begun to change with the sleeves becoming narrow and unslashed.

This shows the basic problem with the Swiss and Landsknechts, you have a fashion change at least once every 10 years for a period of over 60 years. Indeed somethies you get a fashion changed every 5 years. Add to this armours changing styles and it is quite impossible for a wargames manufacturer to keep up with all the changes. (Unless he is independently wealthy and can make figures just for fun…)

Field Marshal28 Dec 2010 4:58 p.m. PST

Awesome stuff Daniel…thank you very much…..i think i am going to go with an eclectic mix for my Renaissance- covering most permutations for 1495-1520…..the later ones being all landslnecht type….thanks again


skinkmasterreturns29 Dec 2010 5:01 a.m. PST

Its all good.Most of the people I game with dont care about the difference between a Landsknecht and a Landshark.Btw,my cousin,who taught German for many years,insists that one should hock up a lung when pronouncing the sk in "Landsknecht".

lkmjbc329 Dec 2010 8:19 a.m. PST

Thanks for the pictures…. i think we agree…Dress varied. The art is interesting… but you must be careful… it is art… not an Osprey Uniform book.

I really think that the outcome is…."Don't worry about it"

A fresh unit of recruits in 1510 would probably look very medieval. Three years later… they would probably have the latest style….and be laughing at the hicks from Normandy coming over the Alps in the next fresh unit.

I prefer my Swiss to be 1500 period (OG), my Landsknechts to be 1520…. my French to be a mixture of medieval and Swiss… My Italians to be painfully Italian (I'll be buying some TAG Italians) and my Spanish to be very Spanish… (OG with command from Foundry Swashbucklers…with some conversion!).

I am comfortable with these players covering 1495 to 1530…

Though I have done Ceresole….

Joe Collins

olicana29 Dec 2010 10:06 a.m. PST

Ikmjbc, I have the same thoughts on the Italian Wars. I like my own figures to look like the classic images, pictured in one's mind eye, of the troops in question – but I only game 1495 – 1525 which makes it a little easier.

My Swiss, for example (OG and Foundry) are probably more suitable for 1470 – 1500, whilst my landsknechts (OG and Foundry) are probably in the 1515 – 1525 bracket. In reality, by 1515, the Swiss were probably dressed, by and large, the same as landsknechts; but, I can't field them as such because Swiss looking like landsknechts does not feel right.

Condottiere29 Dec 2010 11:31 a.m. PST

You mean that the Landsknechts were dressed like the Swiss in 1515. Afterall, the Swiss allegedly originated the slashed sleeve look; the "imposter" Landsknechts copied them! laugh

Pentaro Inactive Member29 Dec 2010 12:51 p.m. PST

This thread is priceless, thank you!

lkmjbc330 Dec 2010 7:40 a.m. PST

John said:
"You mean that the Landsknechts were dressed like the Swiss in 1515. Afterall, the Swiss allegedly originated the slashed sleeve look; the "imposter" Landsknechts copied them!"

and in the words of the great Nigel Tuffnel…"turned it up to eleven!"

Joe Collins

Condottiere30 Dec 2010 12:42 p.m. PST

Ahhhh, Spinal Tap.

Field Marshal30 Dec 2010 3:54 p.m. PST

Hehe…how do we get form Landsknecht to one of the greatest satire ever made? Who care? "Hello, Cleveland!"

Great thread and thank you for your enlightenment!

Puster Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2010 5:10 a.m. PST

In Augsburg 1503 Maximilian officially allowed the Landsknechts the freedom to choose their own clothing. At this time most civilian clothing was highly regulated in many areas of the empire, with adornments usually allowed only for nobility and the (wealthy) patrician class. It was a sign of status, and highly protected.

Fornovo and the Swabian wars (see the pics supplied by Dan above) show the Landsknechts in comparatively simple outfits, with still tight but slashed trousers and vests. From then on the outfit develops pretty fast, and in the battles of 1512 to 1515 the Landsknechts will be much closer to those of 1525, though not yet as garish.

I assume that the victories of Landknechts over the Swss at Marignano, Bicocca and later Pavia will have added a lot of cockery to the adornments.

Field Marshal, your list reads just like my table currently looks: Foundries, Artizans, TAG, GW, Eurekas all stand around waiting to be based :-)
I will provide some pictures soon.

Eureka and TAG cavalry look perfectly in combination. When just primed white, its hard to distinguis their horses from each other (Eureka French Archer and TAG conquistator cavalry). The Perry scurrers (which I also use with crossbows) are a but thicker, but look well, too. Apart from their pose (running, better casting) they look similar to the Foundries. I gave the lances of the scurrers to the TAG conquistators, to make some poor gensdarmes (or light lancers).

The Perry sets imho work fine for Italian or French units up to 1510, though the clothing style is not really Italian. I plan to use them for units where contemporary images are scare, like Romagnol pikes, or Italian arquebus, Italian and French crossbows and French archers, probably with minor modifications (greenstuffing puffy sleeves, cutting down the vest at the belt). I am awaiting the announced metal helmets, though.

Condottiere31 Dec 2010 7:36 a.m. PST

…though the clothing style is not really Italian.

And neither is much of the armor. TAG's Italians are sculpted specifically with Italian armor.

RockyRusso Inactive Member31 Dec 2010 1:37 p.m. PST


And if you enjoy PAINTING, then it makes no sense to buy the pre-gaudy landschknichts to paint, does it! While like John, I have been doing this sort of thing for over 30 years, I cannot remember anyone demanding that one not use figs because they are 1532 rather than properly 1520 for that battle!

With my multitude of tercios, the excuse was the cool figs, not the historical dates!


olicana01 Jan 2011 5:18 a.m. PST

"You mean that the Landsknechts were dressed like the Swiss in 1515. Afterall, the Swiss allegedly originated the slashed sleeve look; the "imposter" Landsknechts copied them!"

and in the words of the great Nigel Tuffnel…"turned it up to eleven!"

Yes, that's it. Though the Swiss may have started the slashed look (following their capture of cloth after a victory Vs the Burgundians), the landsknechts took it to the flambouyant extreme that we now associate with the period (the original 'Swiss look' was quite restrained and tight fitting). The Swiss, not to be outdone, went 'darkside' and copied the landsknechts.

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