Monday, 3 April 2017

Swiss front rankers

I am about to start in earnest with my Swiss Confederation army, circa 1475. The bulk of the troop types will be pike or halberd armed. Using the Swiss Chronicle illustrations as a key guide, it appears that at least the front ranks of these units frequently wore full harness.

So when considering what figures to use, I realised that relevant figures wearing with full armour and holding polearms were a bit scarce. I tried adapting some Perry plastic foot knights - however after drilling out the hands to add pikes I was concerned that they were a bit brittle, with a risk of future damage. So the solution has been to commission a couple of figures, open-handed in advancing poses, to use as Swiss front rankers.

The figures has been designed by Oliver of Steel Fist Miniatures. Oliver is a first class figure sculptor in my opinion and improving all the time. He has a deep interest in armour (both Western European and Japanese) and an appetite to sculpt it with great accuracy. His style also compliments the Perry figures very well.  With lots of assistance from Oliver's experience of casting etc, the outcome are figures and arms which can either be used on their own or alongside Perry WotR plastic figures, by swopping arms and heads to maximise an array of poses.

Oliver completed the sculpting in a very short timeframe and I've been waiting for moulds to be made at Griffin. Here are pictures of the castings I received this week. I have ended up with two bodies in full harness, four pairs of open-handed arms and  four heads (these are pretty generic for any late fifteenth century well armed figures). I also have a halbard (again commonly seen in Chronicles) and a baselard short sword. The helmets aim to extend the styles of Swiss troops seen in the illustrations shown below. The pairs of arms should be useable on either body (with a tiny bit of filling).

My assumption is that these would have been the most wealthy and prominent from urban areas of the Confederation, whose social status put them at the front of the fighting. In fact, full harness is also shown by Swiss using handguns in images of sieges - perhaps the same individuals taking prominent roles here too?

One of each of the castings

These castings have had a wash of black on to show the details better. I have plans to personalise the figures a little more - by adding items from putty, such as mail sleeves, bends, hoods, plackart, tassets, etc. No two figures the same is my aim - must be on the verge of madness methinks!

Schilling Chronicle image -armour, halbard, turban and helm.

Another Chronicle image - kettle helm.

I'll get some painted up very soon.


  1. These are beautiful Simon - spot on for the late 15th century and so evocative of the Swiss chronciles, the will make the front ranks of your pike blocks truly spectacular.

    If any are available commercially I am definitely interested - they look like really well thought out casts with loads of possibilities!

  2. Well done, you (or Oliver) really should consider to offer them for sale - I would certainly buy some!

  3. Wow, I didn't realise how intricate and versatile your plans were. Really well thought out and looking forward to seeing your further embellishments. Definite food for thought

  4. These are very cool. I can see with a using these as Spanish heavy foot with a helmet changer or two.

  5. Well this is interesting!
    There are a few gaps in the Perry range here and there, and fully armoured polearm troops is one that I have been wishing they would get round to doing. Or someone else, i.e. Steel Fist...
    I am very, very VERY interested in getting hold of some. Do you think Oliver will be making them available commercially?

  6. Great sculpts. Did you get a set of arms for upright pike pose as well? The leveled pike looks great but is such a pain to store or play with.

  7. Thanks for the comments.
    I will have some spare castings to offer to buy - probably sometime later this year - once I've made some progress with mine.
    I'll put a posting on here when we come to that point.
    I'm going to have very deep bases to avoid any pike breakages.

  8. Very good solution you went with. Makes this a really special project im sure. I can't wait to see what you make of them.

  9. Oooo shiny! Great project. Can't wait to see what you do with this.

  10. Just came across this Simon. I'd be very interested in a set as well, if you have any left.