Conquistadores for Christmas!

Conquistadores for Christmas!

Earlier this year we did a poll for the best matched pair set of plastics and the winner was Conquistadores vs. Aztecs. We're very happy to show off the work that has gone into the Conquistador designs. Our goal is to make a set that works for the Conquest of Mexico as well as filling in your European armies of the early 16th century (or fantasy ones for that matter!) 

Let us know what you think of these in the comments below!

These wonderful sculpts are by the very talented Rob Macfarlane.

 

 

 

Note and Update: you can open the above pic in a new window for a closer view to see all the crossbows. Rob is hard at work adding pike and Montante, some additional shields (not those are only unique parts above - not what is on the final sprue) and here are some more heads that have been added in the meantime: 

Previous article Happy Christmas 2020!
Next article Congratulations and Results!

Comments

Henry - January 17, 2021

I do hope it’s not too late for WA to improve the historical accuracy of this set by modifying the renders with added mail shirts, additional cabasset variants, less of the slashed breeches etc., but I get the impression from the recent Facebook post that these figures will be released ‘as is’. If so, I think it would be a pity and a wasted opportunity – and a potential deterrent to purchase for historical gamers wanting to play the 1519-21 Conquest of Mexico (although in partial compensation, anyone wanting mid-16th century Spanish might feel gratified).

All the above points about clothing and armour apply equally to Spanish troops serving in Italy contemporaneously with the Conquest of Mexico.

Surely historically accurate conquistadors will work just as well as ‘Hollywood conquistadors’ for fantasy gaming; it’s fantasy, so anything goes, doesn’t it?

Henry - January 6, 2021

The conquest of Mexico occurred in the years from 1519 to 1521, placing it right in the middle of the period Axel is interested in, so the style of armour and costume of historically accurate conquistador figures make them perfectly usable for the contemporary wars in Italy etc. if gamers are prepared to look past the colonial preference for lighter types of armour than steel plate. The TAG Spanish are intended to cover both of these theatres.

The crossbow was the preferred missile weapon in the New World into the mid-16th century and, in some regions, as late as the late 16th century, probably because of problems with the gunpowder in use at the time caused by climatic factors.

It shouldn’t take much to make this set usable for Portuguese ‘conquistadors’. I doubt that their costume or armour were significantly different to Spanish styles in the period in question (if you have information to the contrary now is the time to post it), which only leaves armament, so with nothing more than the inclusion of boarding axes and bladed half-pikes (see my 1/1/20 post) along with the halberds already proposed the distinction then comes down to any flags or national costume or shield devices you might paint.

I think it’s probably a far more easily achievable objective for Wargames Atlantic to make this just a general Iberian conquistadors set than to try to cover every troop type for every campaign the Spanish were involved in in the early 16th century, but who knows…. they’re talented people, so maybe they can do it all in one boxed set!

Axel - January 4, 2021

>Great news. Conquistadores is a niche period in wargames.
Maybe. But you get far more conquistadores in metal then you get early 16th century Spaniards for the European and North African campaigns. TAG does those for around 1500, and WG for 1550+, but the era in between – where Spanish armies transformed from the Trastamara ordonnance into the Tercios is scarcely represented anywhere. Take a look at the Pavia or Tunis depictions to see how distinct and different they look from earlier and later eras. Can’t wait to build some companies for Ravenna, Pavia, Bicocca, the defense of Vienna 1529 beside the Landsknechts, or the Sack of Rome.

>No crossbows
Crossbows were more or less distinct on the European battlefields from around 1520, and very rare starting 1500 (apart from the French or light cav). No use for many of these – though as a conquistador sprue there should be some as they were more prominent in the Americas. Otherwise the arquebus was the distance weapon of choice.

>Portugese & Late Morions
I have no idea what will fit on the sprue, but I would really love to see a Spaniard sprue for the early 16th century with material for European usage first (pikes). Other countries or eras are welcome, but if you do not do a larger or two sprues, space is limited. I rather have more realistic head options for variations then just one for each and atypical as options.

Henry - January 3, 2021

The cabasset in the above image is fine in as far as it goes, but the conquistadors used a variety of styles of this particular helmet pattern, in some of which you can clearly see the evolution towards the morion (particularly in the shape of the helmet bowl). There were also some with fluted/rippled/corrugated brims. All these variants appear on the Foundry figures. Although a few patterns of helmet were worn, the other most common type was the sallet. The visored burgonet, with or without a comb was, like the morion, an evolutionary development (from the sallet) of the mid 16th century.

Mark A. Morin has posts on his blog (markamorin.com) about his conquistador gaming project that include close-up images of his Foundry figures. The mail shirts worn by many conquistadors under their cotton/leather/metal armour are very apparent.

Henry - January 2, 2021

I just had a look at the comments on the Facebook front page, and I have to say that I have no problem with as many unhistorical late 16th century morions as WA sees fit to supply being included in the set for those fantasy gamers who seem to be obsessed with this helmet design, as long as their inclusion doesn’t leave insufficient room on the sprue for enough historically accurate helmets and weapons to equip all the figures. This will, after all, be first and foremost a set of early 16th century conquistadors.

Nuno Pereira’s blog article is about late 16th century Portuguese African campaigns, with atypical costume and equipment requirements even for that historical period. I think we need to be realistic about what what one set of plastic figures can encompass, and trying to cover this subject would clearly be stretching things too far.

Henry - January 2, 2021

A couple of Old Glory’s offerings I missed in the previous post:

1. The later ‘Long Decline’ portion of the renaissance Turkish range includes a number of Arab types that could be usable.

2. The Portuguese also fought the Persians, and OG has a dedicated medieval Islamic Persian range.

Henry - January 2, 2021

Assuming WA’s Conquistador set does end up giving customers the option of creating Portuguese forces, for those wondering where to get affordable figures to represent their opponents in the Indian Ocean, in terms of plastic boxed sets there’s a few options currently available: Gripping Beast’s Arab sets are passable as they come in the box (no distinctly Dark Ages/early Medieval helmets should be used, though), and, with some mods (e.g. replacing the firearms with arquebuses/bows) the WA and Perry Afghans (representing actual Afghan mercenaries, Baluchis, or just generic Indian Muslims) could be used without too many historical accuracy quibbles (the advantage of middle-eastern figures is of course that their costume, and to a lesser extent, their weapons and armour, are relatively timeless). There might even be potential to use the Perry Mahdists for the Portuguese’ Ethiopian exploits, but this would probably entail substantial conversion work.

If you’re prepared to use metal figures there are numerous Indian, Arab, Turkish and East Indies options among Old Glory’s various budget medieval, renaissance, colonial, and American wars ranges; e.g. most of the figures in the Spanish American War range ‘Moros’ packs could be used as generic Malays.

There are too many more expensive possibilities for me to list in the ranges of other metal figure manufacturers if that’s where you’re prepared to go. I’ll leave that research to you :- ).

Henry - January 1, 2021

Here’s the description of early 16th century armament from my old DBR Army List Book 3, list No. 1, ‘Portuguese Colonial 1494-1700 AD’:

’Initially armed with crossbows or a mixture of swords, halberds, boarding axes and bladed half-pikes… ’.

The list allows half or more of the crossbowmen to be replaced with arquebusiers after 1520.

Henry - January 1, 2021

The Portuguese favoured pole-arms over swords, so as long as there are enough arms (in both senses) of this type Vasco da Gama’s rascals should be reproducible.

James Hall - December 31, 2020

Great news. Conquistadores is a niche period in wargames. Please keep in mind most Spanish military forces were fighting in Europe and the exploits of the Spanish led by El Gran Capitan in Italy in the early sixteenth century then of Spanish in the Pavia period! Are legendary. This is a brilliant period that plastics could open up to the wargaming public.

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields