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"Scots Common Army Pikemen– Did they have shields?" Topic

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1,175 hits since 14 Sep 2017
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Personal logo Battle Cry Bill Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2017 1:18 p.m. PST

We are working away on the Thistle & Rose figures and are now onto the Scots. We have 6 poses of Schiltron Pike figures both with and without shields (and an additional 3 poses kneeling.) In looking through the available art work from the Osprey's for Bannockburn, Otterburn, etc. and in looking at some other lines like the Claymore Casting Scot Pikemen dated 1388, it appears that from say 1290 on that the pikemen did not have shields. I have a lovely 54mm figure by Del Prato, which also does not have a shield.

I hate to make decisions based on my inspection of artwork vs. real history, but the only thing I can find in this early Scots research period is the requirements for the common army pikemen equipment and it does not include a shield.

Opinions, guesses and historical references welcome.

Bill Hupp
Thistle & Rose Miniatures

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Sep 2017 1:32 p.m. PST

I suppose it depends on what you call a 'shield'. A small buckler seems likely to have been common (though probably not universal) somewhat later. They seem to be carried by many unarmoured foot in armies across Europe so presumably came in useful. They were carried by 100YW archers too.

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2017 4:08 p.m. PST

The lack of mention of shield is also the case with the roughly contemporary English assize – while the required arms and other gear of various levels of wealth are given, no mention is made of a shield. It may be that they did not have one – including some who are required to have better armour than a harburgeon.

This either means that a shield wasn't carried or that at that time everyone who needed to carried a shield so it didn't need to be prescribed.

Any idea when you will be releasing stuff? I really have enough Hussites but would be tempted by more going by what is on the Facebook page.

uglyfatbloke14 Sep 2017 4:10 p.m. PST

On balance probably better to do without – as you say, shields do not figure in the relevant legislation – same applies to England in the same period. Stick with helemet, armoured gloves and a haubergeon and you won't go wrong. Also army lists for medieval Scots are generally not very sound anyway…heavy infantry, men-at-arms and archers are all you need. A good rule of thumb is nit to get any figures called 'medieval Scots'…they tend to be rooted in Braveheart and are therefore totally inappropriate. As far as we can tell from both record and narrative evidence Scottish archers, MAA and spearmen looked just like their counterparts in England. If you want to mail me – – I can send you some stuff you might find useful.

uglyfatbloke14 Sep 2017 4:13 p.m. PST

Also…the Claymore pikemen are just dandy for 1300-ish. The jacks may (or may not) have become a little shorter, but A) who really knows B) who really cares and C) can you tell the difference when you're looking down on them across a tale top?

Personal logo Battle Cry Bill Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2017 7:11 a.m. PST

The good news is that the T&R figures were scultped BEFORE Braveheart and anyway the sculptor was way too precise at recreating the right stuff from the sources to be influenced. Our Scots look like (and could be used) for other pikemen of the time.

Since this is a post retirement project, I'm afraid the history part of it has gotten in front of the production part. Shooting for the end of the year for full production of all the lines.

Pictures of the Scots figures should be up on the Facebook page in a week or two.

bloke, Thanks. I will send you an email.


Personal logo rampantlion Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2017 8:32 a.m. PST

I did most of mine without shields in 28mm, in 15mm it just depended upon the mfg, but I leave them off where I can. I occasionally but a "targe" on the back or hanging from the hip of a figure who is wielding a spear, but not in their hand.


uglyfatbloke15 Sep 2017 9:39 a.m. PST

Looking forward to seeing them Bill.

DeRuyter Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2017 10:16 a.m. PST

I painted a Scots army using T&R mini many years ago, also before Braveheart, and all the spearmen came with shields, so I painted them. If you look on them as spearmen rather than the later pikemen of the Flodden period, then the shields are not as far fetched.

Personal logo Battle Cry Bill Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2017 11:02 a.m. PST


When I asked Jamie, he said people preferred shields on them, but the original casts were without sheilds but came with detached shields. The earlier Pre-Feudal Scots may be better with shields. The question for me is when to switch over. It may not have been at the time of that the army list switches over.

Thanks for all the input.

I will likely do without shields for the Swiss Common Army and put the detached shields in so pepole have the option of none, some or all shields.

On to painting up an army for the website.


Great War Ace Inactive Member15 Sep 2017 11:43 a.m. PST

I'm going with small round shields throughout the period. Having round targs right through the renaissance is hardly an innovation. Shields continued to be used everywhere else. Why would they disappear in the British Isles? Just because they don't get assize mention is not a good enough reason to assume their disappearance. The above reasoning, that they were common as dirt, therefore not mentioned, is what I believe.

Personal logo Battle Cry Bill Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2017 12:12 p.m. PST

Small shields seem a reasonable choice too. Our shields are on the larger side, but we have smaller detached shields too.

Looks like the reeanctors for what it is worth, don't all have them and the ones that have them are only about one foot wide, so small in 15mm.

But shields do stop being used by Pike armed troops by some point around 1400. from what I understood (and see when I look at images for Swiss Pikemen on the internet.) And billmen didn't have them, although knights had guys to help them with equipment changes. So as usual, much easier to build an army for one specifc campaign than to cover 250 years.

What's a manufacturer to do? :-)


Major William Martin RM15 Sep 2017 1:55 p.m. PST

Many years ago, late 70's I believe, Yaquinto Publishing (Heritage's printing arm) put out a small Osprey-like book on Flodden with some really nice illustrations. Heritage Models then had an exclusive range sculpted based on the book and marketed as Heritage Medievals.

The sculptor (and the book's artist) did the rear rank pikeman with a small targe strapped to his forearm. Heritage did the front rank figures as heavily-armored (as nobles) and even offered pavises for them. I worked for Heritage at the time and did a fairly large Scottish army with the figures. They looked great, but I was never real sure about the authenticity.

MacDuff Inactive Member15 Sep 2017 3:59 p.m. PST

I have had the Almark version of the Flodden book since the mid 70s, haven't seen the Yaquinto version. I stumbled on the figures in 1976 sold by Heritage then as Fantasy figures for a very short time before the historical range was released as such. I instantly recognized the illustrations from that favoured book in the poses of the figures and cleared the shop out. Some of the pikes still march on my tabletop now and again.

Great War Ace Inactive Member16 Sep 2017 7:50 a.m. PST

I like(d) the Parthian shot borderer, mounted crossbowman particularly. But the demi-plate, pavise bearing pikemen were (are) very, very cool. I've never looked into the provenance, but it always seems odd to me when some object to specific details like the front rank pavises as made out of whole cloth. So until or unless the pavises are disproven, I am going with the Flodden pavises too.

"Billmen" had a targ and sword as backup. This would have been routine, if not ubiquitous.

Warspite118 Sep 2017 5:53 p.m. PST

I would strongly suggest the figures be made without shields but a range of small. medium and larger shields are sold separately which the purchaser can add 'to taste' – either on the left arm for use with the spear or slung across their back and kept out of the way until the spear is broken and the soldier has to fight with sword and shield/buckler.


uglyfatbloke21 Sep 2017 3:54 a.m. PST

Warspite for the win.

Warspite121 Sep 2017 10:12 a.m. PST

@ uglyfatbloke

Thank you!


Personal logo Battle Cry Bill Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 5:56 a.m. PST

Thanks to all for the input. And particular thanks to uglyfatblioke for his help on sources.

With 15mm it is uneconomical to sell seprate shields in anything less than packs of X (some large number that would biblically involve the number 7.) So we will include them for the Scots Common Army pack as seprate shields that can be added to taste. (On the Side please.). Pre-Fuedal Scots will have shields on.

Thistle & Rose Miniatures

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