Monday 27 January 2020

A new direction on an old road

Bern front ranks
In the early 1980s, I, like many others were enormously inspired by the pictures in the early editions of Miniature Wargames of Peter Gilder’s Italian Wars collection and the accompanying range of figures he did for Connoisseur. 
I bought and painted them- a couple of Swiss pike blocks, a few Gendarmes and handgunners etc. Not a lot but enough for a few games with my mates Spanish using the great George Gush rules. Anyway, I think they were sold in the late 80s but I’ve always had a fondness for the armies. 
So last year I thought I’d revisit the period, using the more modern and fabulous Perry metal and plastic ranges alongside some still really terrific Foundry figures (which date from the late 80s iirc).
I’ve even shoe-horned in a few of the better old Connoisseur figures for old times sake. 
On top of this there are some superb figures available from Steel Fist miniatures and good old Front Rank has a few offerings.
So far I’ve accumulated a decent little Burgundian army and I’ll feature those in some later postings but to start with I’ll show a few pictures of the first 2 Swiss blocks I’ve completed.

Uri and Bern
 The intention with these was to make some dynamic looking units. I get a bit bored with units of purely upright pike. Yes, I fully appreciate their practicality but I’m starting to reach an age where I’d sooner do stuff I really like and thinks looks good than feel constrained by practicality! Plus in the aforementioned ranges there are some great figures.
So, the nitty-gritty. I’ve gone for blocks of 48 - 6 wide, and 8 deep to give a beefy look. For the Swiss I’ll be doing 6 of these (although this might, might turn into 12!) to allow them to be used as 3 x96 figure units which should truly look the part.
They are based theoretically on 20mm x 20mm per figure in a minimum of 4s with some more larger multiples. I have ordered a few big movement trays but I’m not sure if I’ll use them, we’ll see. Obviously there is an overhang of 40mm at the front of the unit to accommodate the pikes, this also allows a bit of battlefield detritus and casualty figures to enhance the look. The bases are my tried and tested sand/glue oil paint style with lots of Army Painter tufts and bit of flock.
The figures are a real mix, and I’ve taken advantage of the Perry’s who do extra Swiss heads for their plastic ranges. Steel Fist also do a set of 4 amazing armoured front-rankers with beautiful separate heads, so these have been swapped in with the plastic stuff for more variation

Uri and Bern 
The flags are mostly from Pete’s Flags on e-bay and the lovely Flags of War range. I’m going with 4 flags per block so they really stand out.

So, that’s the bare bones of how I’m approaching this project, I’ll put in more details as I add to this blog when I can give you more Swiss, the already completed Burgundians, before moving on to the Italians and Landsknechts.

Other Swiss blocks planned will be “red/white combination (Zurich and Schwyz) and a blue/white and black and white pair (Fribourg and Lucerne).