Monday, February 4, 2019

Renaissance French Pike ('Mauvais Garcons') and Great Gun

The French, with a few notable exceptions, were not especially renown for fielding effective pike formations. Where the Swiss cantons and German landsknechts had the pike market pretty much sewn-up, the French expertise lay more in their heavy cavalry and artillery. From reading David Potter's 'Renaissance France at War' it was not uncommon for inexperienced pike French formations to acquire foreign mercenaries, who, being more seasoned in the profession of arms, helped steady the ranks. 

The French liked to muster their troops from particular provinces or townships, which gave each unit a bit of 'local colour'. For example, men from Picardy, led by the reported libertine Mssr. Monclou, were known as the mauvais garcons (literally translates as 'bad boys). A bit of a rude chap himself, Monclou was executed in 1523 for his 'depredations' during campaign (not especially surprising when your employer is the Pope, but there you have it).

Last year, my good pal Millsy was kind enough to paint up a schwack of Perry plastic pike for me so I could field another unit for my Italian Wars collection. After the hurly-burly of the summer, and being distracted by other projects this autumn (I'm looking at you 'Titanicus'), I finally managed to get this mob flagged, pimped-out, and based-up to roll with my other units.

My contribution to this mob is sole mounted German mercenary at its head. This is a Perry-sculpted figure from the Wargames Foundry range of Landsknechts. I love these figures as they are so wonderfully characterful and satisfyingly hefty. The Perry's did such a great job in sharply defining the puff-and-slash of the clothing, which makes them a real joy to paint.

It always seems to take me an age to get the figures placed in some kind of sensible arrangement, and since I like having my pike blocks bunched in quite tight, I found that I was a few figures shy to fill all the bases. Not a problem! I estimated the space I needed to absorb and then printed off a few gabions on the handy-dandy 3d printer. In the end I'm happy with the overall look of the unit, slightly broken up, weaving their way around a line of light fortifications.

Both of these units I've based in an autumnal theme to match with the rest of my Italian Wars stuff. (Thankfully I keep a 'hobby recipe book' as I have a bad habit of bouncing between periods and always, always forget how I did things - so it helps keep things straight in my noodle.)

Millsy also painted me a trio of gunners as gift last year. And so like the pike, I've been holding on to these until the Painting Challenge to get them matched up with an appropriate gun (this one from an old chestnut from Warhamer Fantasy). As I had a spare gabion left over from the pike unit, I popped it on the base for a bit of visual interest.

I want to thank Millsy very, very much for the brilliant figures - they're a wonderful addition to my Italian Wars collection. Thanks again mate!

Cheers for dropping by folks! I hope you all have a great week.