Sunday, 8 June 2014

Italian Wars French 1 – Reisläufers 1


Finally I have some new painted miniatures to show you. These are the first 4 bases of the first pike unit of Swiss mercenaries (Reisläufers) for my French army for the Great Italians Wars. To begin with, there will be two units of Swiss pikemen, each consisting of 6 bases – 3 standing and 3 advancing. The plan is to eventually bring them up to 9 bases each with an extra 3 bases of attacking pikemen in the front rows.


The miniatures are from Pro Gloria and very nice they are too. They required very little in the way of cleaning up, which is always a big plus in my book.

In a stroke of genius (ha!) I have decided to do the units as combined Reisläufer/Landsknechts units, which means they won't be 100% correct for either faction but I'd like to keep all my options open. In line with this, the flags, when I get to them, will be removable.

The Italian Wars project have changed a bit since I talked about it last time. Originally my plan was to make a couple of French units to fight against Dalauppror's splendid Imperial Landsknechts/German mercenaries. However, since our good friend Søren, of Black Powder Games, joined us as the Imperial player the plan changed – and the project grew. After some discussion we decided to move to a slightly later period instead of the early wars, as we were keen to paint up some lovely colourful landsknechts and gendarmes in full regalia. There's really nothing quite like the spectacle of two armies for the Italian Wars on the tabletop. So instead of Fornovo, our focus will now be on the period of the battle of Pavia, ie the 1520s.

This had the added bonus of us being able to use the army lists straight out of the Pike&Shotte rules, which would give us a rough guide to our forces – always a welcome thing when you start up a new period.

My plan is still to paint up a core starter-force to get some games going, and then add to it when I have the time and inspiration. By now, I probably hade enough miniatures in the lead mountain to at least double the number of units, but first things first. If it's one thing I have learned, it's that you should start small and then add to it, rather than try to paint too much from the start. I have the "boxes of shame" (ie half-finished projects) to prove it ...

The modest starter army will consist of:
2 units of Swiss pikemen, 6 bases each
2 units of gendarmes, 3 bases each
1 medium artillery, 1 base (I might do another base of artillery if I have the time)
2–3 command bases

As you can see there are a fair number of miniatures left to paint. It's always easier to get painting when you're working to a set deadline, so Sören and I have schedueled a first game in late August. Hopefully we'll both be ready by then!


Back to the Reisläufers then. These models actually proved a bit of a challenge to paint, for several reasons. The first was it always takes me a couple of miniatures in a new army and period to get a "feel" for them, add to this models from a new manufacturer that you also have to get a "feel" for, and it was a bit of trial and error before I got the colours and details right.


Second, I made the mistake of trying to paint too big a batch at the same time. I find 6–8 is about the sweet spot for me personally, but as I knew I had quite a few of these buggers to paint up I tried to push myself and do double this amount, This proved a bit too much, at least for the level of finish I went for here, and from now on I think 10–12 will be my absolute limit in terms of what I'm comfortable with (again depending on the level of finish) and I will do the rest of the pikemen in batches of 8 (or 2 bases).


Third, I was going for a very bright finish on these models, and therefore I wanted to avoid using my regular technique that's largely built on washes. In my experience, washes can dirty up the models and the end-result can feel a little grubby. This looks great on eg Dark Ages miniatures, but this time I wanted something different. Instead I tried the Foundry three-step method. Now, I'm normally using a lot of Foundry colours as I like the triad system although I don't use it as intended. Instead I add washes and mix the shades to get the results I'm after. This time I tried the system straight out of the bottle, so to speak, and wasn't very happy with the result. The main problem was a lack of contrast, especially in the darkest recesses. So I had to go back and add washes to get the contrast I wanted. I think the root of the problem might be that I'm using brown undercoat instead of black and this obviously makes it impossible to blackline the different areas and get a good definition. Well, whatever it was that caused the problem – no time saved was saved by using the three-step method so lesson learned.


Well, as I said, a bit of trial and error, and hopefully the rest of them will prove easier to finish.

Thanks for reading – have a great week everyone!

20 comments:

  1. It's truly a fantastic looking unit, Jonas! The color, the basing and animation in the unit is just perfect. Like you I also found the Foundry A-B-C system to "flat" in nuances. Mainly I think the B nuance often flattens the overall contrast rather than add to it. I normally run the A on top of black coating. Then washes. Then C or B for highlight. The only place I do the complete A-Wash-B-C is on the skin tone. By the way, those Foundry washes I bought when we raided their stand at Salute are nothing to wish for. Too thick. As if by telepathic communication, I also set about to paint landsknechts yesterday. Very inspiring to see your first bunch. The finished table will look amazing! Regards, Sören

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    1. Thanks Sören! Good point about the B shade flattening the contrast, and I agree. Your standard technique is exactly the one I used to get the result above – we really should get a painting session together to share our tips and tricks! :)

      Looking forward to seeing your Landsknehts. I'm sure they will look splendid!

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  2. Fantastic looking unit, love your work on the mix of colors, really impressive...

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Phil!

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  3. Very colourful.I like them!

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    1. Cheers Rodger, much appreciated!

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  4. Hurra! Excellent painting on great miniatures.
    I'm really happy that you decided to go for a few decades later i e Pavia instead of Fornovo. For me anyway the 1520s and 1530s are the way to go. Very good also to go with those bright colours. 16th c dyeing can give quite strong colours - and it looks fantastic on the table. :-) And don't be too worried about the clear reisläufer/landsknecht distinction advocated by some. Sure, Urs Graf and others often portray differences but those are mainly stereotypes and caricatures. So eventhough stereoyypes are what often comes across the best on a wargaming table I think your plan of keeping them "generic" is indeed genious. :-)
    Looking forward to see more!
    /Mattias

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    1. Thanks Mattias! It's of course especially nice to get such encouraging words from an expert like you!

      Thanks also for easing my mind about the Reisläufer/Landsknecht thing. I guess we wargamers tend to obsess over details that wasn't as clear-cut in reality as we like to believe ... :)

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  5. Stunning paint work Jonas, they have realy turned out extra ordinary !!!

    As you well know I might have wanted a bit more action on the bases, as they now feel a bit to lined up and a bit to disiplined... just to re-base...,and I´m an expert on that subject to ;)

    Looking forward to see your armies grow during the summer and also participate in the main gaming event i august, Please keep up a good painting pace during your vacation and bring us pictures of more lovely painted minis !

    Best regards Michael

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    1. Thank you so much Michael!

      About the basing ... yeah. I have now had two people, who I have the deepest respect for in this matter, you and olicana over at TMP, comment on the basing. Therefore I have decided to rebase these when I do the basing on the next batch. Thankfully it's just four bases and the start of the project, rather than having to do a full "allmoge rebasing" like yourself ... ;)

      You are of course welcome to the game in August! I think we even may need to borrow some of your German mercenaries.

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    2. :) Sorry Jonas I be glad to help you out to rebase them and also share my exellent knowledge about how to place the minis on the base so it looks "right" I have tried all sort of placement of the minis for my allmoge rebase and also my landsnecht...70 basea or so...bluetac them and looking at them from all angles before I glued them...a real obssesion:)

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    3. I will try out a couple of layouts on the bases and send you pictures for approval before I glue them on. :)

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  6. Awesome looking units Jonas! Italian Wars is difficult to paint, but very rewarding as it's spectacular to look at. I wish I had someone from my group interested in painting the Italian Wars, but sadly I'd have to do it all myself which is a bit daunting!

    Christopher

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    1. Thank you Christopher! I'm lucky in having a couple of fellow accomplices in this project – I don't think I would have managed to finish two armies on my own ...

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  7. Hello,
    Nice painting !!!
    Nikko

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    1. Cheers Nikko, that's very kind of you to say.

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  8. Superb painting on your Reisläufers, Jonas! Bright and beautiful!

    As I read your post, I saw some of my own thoughts and frustrations when I painted Samurai without washes. As you've said, the next ones will be easier. I have to try Black Powders suggestion. And Michael's as well. Jonas, you are blessed with much local talent to share tips and tricks with!

    I don't know how I missed this in my blog roll...arg!

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    1. Thanks Monty!

      You're right in that I'm blessed with having such talented people to game with. They're great guys to hang out with too! :)

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  9. Great work and blog you have here Jonas, I also ordered and received my 2 Landsknechts regimental packs of Pro Gloria Miniatures looking forward painting these up, but anyway my point is your blog is an inspiration to work on 28mm miniatures!

    cheers,

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    1. Thank you for your very kind words Phil! I'm looking forward to seeing your landsknechts!

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