Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Landsknecht Black Band

While the recent steady but slow stream of cavalry has dominated new recruitments for the 28mm Great Italian Wars project, high on the list for 2017 was to field another pike block.  Well, that goal has been met earlier than expected with the mustering of 42 pikemen and command spread across three Impetvs-sized bases.  For me, that is a big effort. 
Along with the three pike stands, one four-figure stand of doppelsoldners passed across the painting desk in tandem.  To complete the pike block, four arquebusier are at work on the painting desk outfitted in the same red/black costume.
I decided to give this pike block a black and red motif similar to illustrations found describing the Black Band.  With pikes held at a low attitude, these pikemen might pose a bit unwieldy on the gaming table.  A forty-five or sixty degree pike angle is better suited for the tabletop but the mass of pikes protruding from the block's front produces a good visual. 
Figures are all from Artizan and represent the first Artizan figures to enter into Italian Wars project.  Excellent sculpting, the style of which fits well with the other major represented manufacturers to the project.  Thus far, the project fields mostly Old Glory, Wargames Foundry, and TAG figures.
With 46 figures in this release, I am glad to have these figures finished and marked off the To Do List!  Completion of this pike block brings the total number of such blocks that can be fielded to five.  That is probably sufficient for now, don't you think?
While enough figures remain in The Lead Pile to complete a few more units including a few more cavalry, one stand of 'T' arquebusiers, and maybe enough for one or two more pike blocks, the project is large enough to hold its own in a large engagement.  

42 comments:

  1. Jonathan - a great looking unit that I have long wanted to do. But I've been held back by uncertainty over what to paint them. I've seen references to both dark clothing or that it only became dark once the leader died very late in the wars.

    Do you recall where you saw the references to their clothing?
    Thanks
    Richard

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    1. Without trying to sound like an expert, there were two Black Bands, the French one, painted beautifully above and the Bande Nere of Giovanni Medici who also fought for the French. I managed to get a book called the Black Bands of Giovanni by Maurizio Arfaioli from Amazon, which was very informative. This units standards were made for me by Pete of Pete's Flags.

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    2. Thank you, Richard! I drew inspiration from a number of illustrations and re-enactor photos. I pulled in a bit of artistic license too. I used the uniform in this link as major inspiration.
      https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/60/8f/ac/608fac0d23a96b9a70a0b95027c0538a.jpg.

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    3. Robbie, I appreciate you helping out! You are much more an expert than I and am grateful to have the distinction between the two Black Bands. I have Maurizio's work and it is a dandy!

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    4. Thanks Robbie and Jonathan. Never knew that there were two. I suspect that was the source of my confusion as I was considering the Medici flavor. I will have a look for that book and at the link.

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    5. Richard, Maurizio's book on the Black Bands of Giovanni can be downloaded from his website:
      http://www.maurizioarfaioli.net/project/the-black-bands-of-giovanni/

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  2. Perfect work Jonathan!Love the uniforms.

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  3. Pikes; the model's weapon of choice to see blood flow on the battlefield. Better than spears, as they can cause the gamer pain at a longer reach - Beware the pikes, gentlemen. For they are sharp!

    Its a great looking unit, really nicely done.

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    1. On the gaming table, pikes are indeed a hazard of play! I have been stuck more than once. Ouch!

      Glad you like the results of my efforts.

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  4. Excellent looking unit there. I've drawn blood on many occasion with my pikes too :)

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    1. Thank you, Rory! I wager anyone gaming pike and shot for any length of time have been plucked by a pike a time or two.

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  5. A splendid treat for your collection and no doubt their value to you will always be enhanced by the extra effort that had to go in to doing them.

    The pike angle is an interesting thing, as 90 degree upright pike can cause as much of a handling problem as those levelled forward. Regardless of practicalities, these do look like they mean business.

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    1. Splendid treat, for sure! I hesitated on tackling another large pike block but finally dove in and hoped for the best.

      The pikes do mean business! They ought to come with a disclaimer: "Handle with Care."

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  6. Splendid job for an amazing period. Doing the Italian Wars in 28mm and actually making good progress--now that's fortitude! I salute you!

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    1. Thanks, Ed! The Italian Wars project has made very good progress. Now, I await their Baptism of fire on the gaming table. With luck, 2017 will see their debut.

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  7. Most impressive and wonderful job Jonathan, great colors...and splendid photos!

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    1. Phil, you are always supportive and very kind!

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  8. Great looking unit shown off with some very nice photos - particularly the first head on photo.

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    1. Peter! Glad you enjoyed both figures and the photography. I like the "pike bearing down" look too.

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  9. Great to see another large pike block

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  10. Great looking bunch. I hadn't noticed they were Artizan when I saw them earlier. I have the Artizan swordsmen and casualty figures but not the pikes. They look really good. I went in on a 28mm Landsknecht kickstarter, so we will have to compare blocks after I get them done this summer. I think we have all the major companies represented between us.

    Are you planning on doing another block of these, or are you good with one?

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    1. Yes, Artizan Landsknechts, indeed! Good solid figures that fit well with other manufacturers. All will look good massed on the gaming table. Four more Artizan Dopplesoldners remain in The Lead Pile but two have broken blades. The blades are very fragile at the hilt. One day I may repair them and get them into a skirmisher stand.

      With this pike block of three stands, I can now field a total of five, three stand pike blocks. How many more are needed? Yes, that is a rhetorical question. I have enough Old Glory Italians to field a sixth pike block and enough Foundry Landsknecht pike to field at least a seventh. I plan to add a Black Band 'T' and 'S' of arquesbusiers to round out the BB.

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  11. Your first shot is perfection! Great painting Jonathan and you might need a fisherman's glove when you handle these lads in a game. ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Monty! A glove is a good idea as is not leaning too far over the table with these lads underneath.

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  12. Oh these are great, what a load of lovely pikes, I have gone for levelled pikes which is even more impractical but I like the look and that's all that matters! I found my artisan landsknechts towered over my old glory figures I'd be interested in your views.
    Best Iain

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    1. Thank you, Iain!

      Levelled pikes do seem unwieldy to me. I have an ECW regiment or two at "push of pike" stance and they are a royal pain to maneuver on the gaming table. While they looked cool, I have sworn off levelled pike after that experience.

      As for Artizan vs Old Glory size comparisons, I find differences are not that great in figure-to-figure match-ups. I pulled out samples this morning having read your post, and while sculpting style is peculiar to each, they might work within the same unit. On the table, the length of pike seems to mitigate figure differences. While I keep them in separate units, on the gaming table, no difference.

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    2. Hi Jonathan,
      I've got a comparison of an old glory block next to a small artizan on my blog, might be worth a look.
      Best Iain

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    3. Iain, thank you you for pointing me towards your new blog. Excellent work on those pike blocks! Has the Painting Challenge been a good motivator for you?

      Your photo does show a size disparity between Old Glory and Artizan. My own eyes must be failing me because when I compare the figures in hand, they look close enough even though the Artizan are stockier and a little taller. Perhaps I should do as you and put two blocks out onto the table for a comparison photo? Maybe then it will be obvious to me.

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  13. Looking great ! Five pike blocks is probably more than enough for one side, and you have lead for 2 more. Painting Pike block is a major accomplishment each time!
    I like the more warlike pike postures as well!

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    1. Glad you approve, Peter!

      "Probably more than enough" really ought to be on my epitaph!

      A pike block is a daunting undertaking.

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  14. Stunning work Jonathan. They will really grab some attention on the gaming table.

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    1. Rod, your kind comment greatly appreciated!

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  15. Oh yes! They really look the biz!

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