I've started preparing and planning a Swiss pike block. This will represent Bernese 'Gewalthaufen' pike, along with allied regions and towns of Solothurn, Fribourg, Thun and Schwyz. At present the plan is to create a 'double sized' unit using the same base sizes as for my Burgundians; this would produce a contingent with a 36cm frontage and depth. I like the idea of the square formation, which should be visually attractive, with flags and halbards in the centre.
These figures are my first ones to test out colours and style - I need to adopt a quicker-than-normal approach as this unit will be about 175 figures. I've decided to start with the rear ranks, where less painting detail should be required. Also as the only dedicated Perry Swiss figures available to date are the marching/walking figures. I've made a few minor modifications to these; a couple of headswops for plastic ones, adding a plume and bend, and helmets and a tankard hung from belts. I will add in plastic figures too, using the metal Swiss heads and do some head swops on the Swiss figures so that some have helmets (not every figure shown in the Berne Chronicles wears a turban!), but the rear ranks will overall be unarmoured. I'm optimistically hoping that the Perrys will produce some more Swiss figures by the time I need to move to the command bases and other ranks(!).
I've decided to paint them in small batches, largely of the same pose, using the same colour pallette. This will speed things up and I'll ensure that these figures don't get based next to each other, to avoid a uniform look. On which subject, I'm going to avoid the option of attiring my Swiss in cantonal colours. There is evidence that some Swiss Confederation towns issued clothing of specific colours; St Gallen sending it's troops to Grandson in red coats with Confederation white crosses attached. However, I'm pretty sure that this was not sufficiently widespread to create the types of 'uniforms' of later centuries. So I'm going to attempt to have red and black, representing Berne, more prevalent among coats and hose - hopefully to create an overall impression, with full cantonal colours being largely limited to captains, flagbearers and musicians.
Therefore, expect a few more 'work in progress' posts to be forthcoming for this pike bloc!