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Painting Conquistadors

Painting Conquistadors

Andreas Heneborn has been painting and taking photos for the Conquistador/16th Century infantry set and we like what we see!


We previously mentioned that we ended up expanding this set from a full frame to a frame and a half to make sure we could fit all the weapon and head/helmet options we could. We think we've ended up with a much more versatile set with many more options for the 16th century and even a bit before. 

Because we expanded the set to a second tool we needed to fill up that remaining 1/2 and the parts for that other (secret for now) set is with the engineers for splits and layout. Once that's complete this will be off to tooling. 

Here are the two frames that will be in the set. You'll get 5 of each: 



Hopefully it won't be much longer until we can let you know it's in tooling. We'll be showing off the Aztec frame soon as well. 

See Andreas on Instagram @andreas.efternamn

Previous article Big Gerry Reviews Grognard Cavalry!


Victor Mower - August 14, 2021

Apparently I’m not the only who sees the continuity in Celtic military culture from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance. Peering closely at the photo of pack WOR21 Irish Cavalry in the Wars of the Roses section of the Old Glory website I thought the figures looked familiar, so I got out my SVS08 9th Century Pict/Scot Armoured Noble Cavalry, and lo and behold… ! Strictly speaking the Renaissance version should have a padded saddle, so I might have to improvise those with Green Stuff. Anyway, with ten cavalry in a pack I’ll have one unit of six mail armoured Irish cavalry for the 16th century, and the remaining four will give just about the right proportion of armoured riders for the 9th century when mixed with my cache of unarmoured Gripping Beast and Foundry Pictish cavalry.

As best as I can make out from the poor photo, the English Border Horse in the Old Glory ‘Wars of Religion’ range have some sort of plate shoulder armour, which means they’re not accurate representations of these mail-armoured horsemen, so it might be best to look elsewhere for your English light cavalry.

Victor Mower - August 10, 2021

If you’re seriously interested in this subject the following detailed 2008 online article from the Reconstructing History reenactors’ website, by Kass McGann, is essential reading; ‘An Leine Crioch – The Irish Leine in the 16th Century’.

The main conclusions are that the leine was actually calf or ankle-length, but was drawn up and gathered at the waist (and held in place by the belt) to make it knee-length, and that the sleeves on the male version only extended to the elbow so that they didn’t impede
a warrior’s use of his weapons.

Even so, you still have the issue of the sleeves, which could reach as low as the calf, constantly catching on vegetation – which would probably explain why the kern serving in France would be so keen to remove them. I therefore remain sceptical.

It would be interesting to learn what the sources were for the later kern in a much shorter and simpler style of shirt shown in plate E3 in the Heath Osprey book were. There’s no mention of this type of garment – which is more like those worn during the Dark Ages – in the article.

Victor Mower - August 10, 2021

Naturally you’ll also need the Perry quivers, too. :- )

I mentioned that these two sets allow you to create currently unavailable troop types, and if – as you should if you want to be historically accurate – you include Irishmen in your ‘English’ units, you’ll also be creating Irish pikemen and billmen; figures that no figure manufacturer makes and perhaps never will. I doubt that there were Irish longbowmen; the weapon was too specialised, and so archer units were probably the only ones in English armies that consisted entirely of Englishmen (and/or Welshmen!).

There are some metal post-Dark Ages Irish figures currently in production, but none specifically for the 16th century. Some Wars of the Roses ranges include them, and although new equipment (such as different patterns of helmet) was introduced, the old styles continued in use and possibly outnumbered the new for most of the century – so these figures can be used. You’ll need at least the ones that can’t be made from the WA sets I mentioned previously.

You could buy metal kern (the most common Irish troop type). The Perry WotR range includes six packs of beautifully sculpted figures depicted, like other manufacturers’ kern, in a leine with enormous, baggy shirt-sleeves, a costume I can’t help but be sceptical of. Such a shirt is hardly a practical fighting garment whatever a soldier’s combat role, but especially for skirmishers whose function consisted of flitting through forests throwing javelins, firing bows, or sometimes later, popping away with arquebuses – which describes the majority of kern (some used swords and targes or two-handed axes).

The existing sculpts seem to be largely based on a couple of the images of Irish troops contained in the Derricke and other woodcuts, or at least the Osprey plates that derive from them, but if Derricke can’t be trusted on the appearance of English troops why should we give any credence to his depiction of Irish warriors? It seems likely to me that his notions of what Irish soldiers looked like were probably obtained from witnesses who’d seen them out and about in their ‘Sunday best’; perhaps on ceremonial occasions.

On page 5 of the Heath book is a crude drawing that I think gives us a much more accurate picture of Irish troops on campaign… because that’s exactly what it is! Most of them have fully-exposed arms, and some have short sleeves, suggesting that either they very sensibly cut off those ridiculous baggy sleeves or that they wore a less cumbersome garment in the field. In fact, the figures in the drawing look like nothing-so-much-as warriors you’d expect to see in an ancient Greek or Roman military scene, rather than one dating from the Renaissance. The location is the 1544 siege of Boulogne, but I don’t think the climate of northern France is that much warmer than Ireland’s.

I mentioned that the shields used by the Irish were like those of 1745 Jacobite rebels: small, round, flat-faced, and studded in concentric circles. You could try and find a supply of them if you want total accuracy… or just attach the bucklers in the WA set so you can use your figures for the Dark Ages, too!

Victor Mower - August 9, 2021

I just wanted to add that obviously the plates in the Armada book and the Derricke woodcuts depict later, not mid, 16th century troops – but the principle remains the same.

Also, there are two medieval English troop types that survived into the mid-16th century in substantial numbers: billmen and longbowmen. For these you’ll need parts from the Perry Wars of the Roses set, which fortuitously just happens to provide enough extra sets of bow/bill arms for twelve figures, and with the recent popularity of ‘Never Mind the Billhooks’ you shouldn’t have to search beyond your local club scene to find them.

Victor Mower - August 9, 2021

Although, as has been pointed out previously, morions and the lack of chainmail are issues of historical accuracy for this set for its presumptive period setting (the Conquest of Mexico 1519-21), it works fine for the mid-16th century, and in case others might derive inspiration from what I have planned for it… :

For rules I’ll be using one of the in-between, 16th century variants of Lion Rampant/The Pikeman’s Lament that are out there (e.g. Pikeman Rampant), and some of these figures will become Portuguese for the Indian Ocean/East Indies theatre, with at least one unit with mixed assorted polearms, swords, and boarding axes (there’s bound to be something in my stash of spare weapons that looks the part for the axes). The rest will be multi-purpose. The crossbowmen can serve as either Portuguese or Spanish. Pikemen, arquebusiers, and swordsmen could also be either, or could triple as English in Ireland c1550 (give or take a decade or so), but…

What about the Irish, you ask? Well, it happens that WA already makes a set, and Irish armies changed little in appearance or armament from the Dark Ages until the late 16th century, but the big plus is that it now becomes possible to make figures that aren’t available anywhere in metal or plastic; e.g. Scots Redshanks mercenaries, by attaching two-handed sword wielding arms to an Irish body, and Irish arquebusiers (one unit of commanded shot is justifiable in this period, but not shot units; they didn’t appear in Irish armies until the 1590s). In fact, so-called English units contained a high proportion of Irishmen, who continued to wear their native costume.

On that last point, some bodies in the Irish set (mainly the ones wearing the innar jacket, which doesn’t seem to have been worn in this period) won’t be strictly accurate, but even they could be rendered usable by giving the figure a Green Stuff mantle (cloak) to hide the jacket. Some other costume details, such as the front of the leine (shirt), might need to be disguised with Green Stuff (depending on how fussy you are). Also, at least some of the English-Irish figures should have heads from the conquistadors set in morions or caps (probably best with the hair lengthened with Green Stuff, too) .

As it turns out I won’t have much use for many of the older helmet types that belong to the Mexican conquest period; all the morions and burgonets will get priority with the others used only where there’s a shortfall. It’s acceptable for some older equipment to appear on these figures as both the Portuguese and English were notoriously old-fashioned and out-dated in terms of costume and equipment, and the English in Ireland were also poorly clad and equipped (see below).

For guidance in planning this project I relied largely on the Osprey book ‘The Irish Wars
1485-1603’, by Ian Heath, but two other Osprey titles were useful:

‘Henry VIII’s Army’, by Paul Cornish

‘The Armada Campaign 1588’, by John Tincey

Two of the plates in the Armada book actually depict English troops in Ireland, and it also includes three of the twelve woodcuts from Derricke’s 1581 work ‘Image of Ireland’, all of which appear in the Heath book. Interestingly, you have to read the caption to one of the woodcuts in the Armada book to learn that it’s ’Derricke’s idealised picture of an army on the march. In fact Tudor troops in Ireland were usually poorly equipped and badly clothed. This point isn’t raised in the Heath book. Elsewhere in the book English troops are described as ‘scruffy’.

So there you have it: a project that allows you to mix two disparate WA sets putatively separated by about a millenium! You will need to resort to metal for a few other troop types for Ireland: cavalry for both sides, Irish galloglasses, and English artillery – but one unit of each should suffice.

Benjamin MacConnell - June 2, 2021

After the Ixalan bloc from Magic: The Gathering, I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of vampire conquistadors.

Paint these guys up pale, and I’ll have my own Legion of Dusk. Might be a solid Cities of Sigmar army for Age of Sigmar. Freeguild or Black Ark Corsairs. If Soulblight Gravelords had more vampire foot soldiers, they might have been good for that. Alas.

Bill P. - May 21, 2021

@ Y Whately they actually said late 19th century not 18th. Based on other things they’ve shown two 1/2 frames can share a mold but be for completely different sets. iirc skeletons and ramjager are on one mold and French and Rifles.

Y. Whateley - May 21, 2021

So, it sounds like the mystery items from the “Here There Be Secrets” half of the second sprue will be for an unannounced 18th-century sprue – I’m intrigued on how that will work.

The simplest answer is that the two halves of the sprue will be separated for completely different kits, so anything goes, but I’m also trying to picture what sorts of 18th-century kits would crossover well with Conquistadore so that they could share parts, and it’s a fun mental exercise :)

Either way, I can’t wait to see what this unannounced 18th-century kit will be – it’s an interesting historical period, as well as a fun era for pulp and weird adventure gaming (a popular enough weird science/steampunk subject, as well as one for taking bands of eccentric and half-baked adventurers to the darkest unexplored corners of the earth – and beyond – to plunder secrets that modern man was not meant to know), so you’ve certainly got my interest!

Han - May 21, 2021

like pikes, please be pikes

Captain Badnews - May 20, 2021

They said the “secret” is an unrelated 18th century Napoleonic set… they just had room, and wanted something that could fit on that part of the sprue.

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