Conquistador Cavalry Survey

  • speaking as a history teacher and history buff, Wheelocks seem most appropriate, since those were the preferred choice for cavalry, and were what made pistol armed cavalry viable. matchlocks required two hands to prep and fire, which made them hard to use while mounted, and impossible to prep ahead of time cdue to the use of a burning slowmatch and open topped powder charge in the lock.

  • To repeat what I said earler in the comments (but with edits) Frankly neither pistol shows up in the Early American conquest of the Aztecs since wheel lock pistols where not even really invented yet and the only culture that really used matchlock pistols in a bigish way that I have seen real hard evidence for was Samurai Japan also later on.

    Likewise the Conquistadors and other Western European explorers didn’t even really seem to use pistols as cavalry weapons even when it was an option since gunfire spooks horses and it seems the main reason to use guns while riding on a horse was dealing with the pike blocks back home in Europe.  Fact is the only mounted range weapon I have heard of that  the Conquistadors might have really used was crossbows.

    Also I am pretty sure this set wouldn’t really fill in realistically for historical reiters anyways regardless of which gun you choose (clothing and armor diffrences), at least in satisfactory manner and it really is more of a fantasy idea to have either of them in this set.

    So with that all out of the way if you have to add one or more pistols for the hammerheads holding out for a WFB revival, really go with the matchlocks. I say this since after thinking about it, there are several reasons to do a matchlock over a wheel lock pistol:

    It is the more fantasy "what if" gun of the two.

     It works stylistically with your ogres more than the wheel lock.

     Unlike a wheel lock it will not turn this cavalry set into a "why bother with real historical options when a not fully workable as proxy exists" talking point for Reiters, etc. historical wheel lock requests like the Conquistador infantry became for any future pikemen sets.

    It might work as a looted "Wokou Pirate gun" for the Castilian War fought in South East Asia during the latter half of the 16th century (very much a streach).

    So in the end I think it would be wisest to just pick the most fantasy option for it which is the matchlock pistol, save the wheel locks for the next set of renaissance Europeans you do, ones that actually had them.


  • Nobody is going to force you to assemble your miniatures in an anachronistic way. Consider pistols an optional accesory for conquerors on foot as well.

    "The very small flintlock muskets referred in the text are nothin more than pistols. In the 1520s, the first wheel guns allowed the cavalry to incorporate firearms, which until that time, activated by a lit fuse -matchlock- made their use impractical, if not impossible, on horseback in motion"

    If it depended on me, wheel (or both). On left and right arm, please.

  • @Eduard Garfella yeah.. i actually couldn't find any examples or mentions of matchlock pistols, for that era or any other. i'm sure they existed, but probably not as military items. the pistol concept just doesn't seeem to have been much of a thing until the wheellock.. and of course really proliferated with the flintlock. in both cases because you could prep them ahead of time and then holster them until needed. between the need to carry the lit slowmatch seperately and the open powder pan that had to be primed immediately before each shot, matchlocks just weren't really viable for any military use outside of the infantry longarms.

    i suspect if they existed, it was specialized dueling pistols type stuff, or custom 'follies' created for nobles who liked to play with guns on their private estates. even naval forces, which is where you'd expect smaller firearms to predominate, used what we would call rifle format matchlocks.. albeit just ones with shorter barrels (what we'd probably consider to be 'carbines' in modern parlance)

    nor could i find many accounts of mounted troops using the rifle format matchlocks. even there the wheellock predominated. (though a lot of the wheellock muskets tended to be fancy hunting pieces)

  • @Mithril2098 because there was no real use of matchlock pistols in western Europe as a cavalry weapon, and that’s the actual a darn good reason to do them in this case.

    The point of adding a pistol to the conquistadors isn't for historical realism in anyway, shape or form and never was (from what I can tell the conquistadors never actually used pistols as a cavalry weapon which makes sense*), it’s for the hammerheads who want Marinburg pistoleers as soon as possible for their WFB Empire shelf armies.

    With that in mind the real reasons to do a match lock instead of wheellock are the following:

    1. It artistically matchs up with the guns already being used by the conquistadors and ogres WA has out better than the wheellock.
    2. A matchlock pistol will not become an argument against making other slightly later renaissance sets that do have wheellocks like Reiters instead of say another Death Fields set, which is a possible outcome since the pikes in the main conquistador set have been used this way frequently against making more pike men.

    With the main reasons out of the way, I know matchlock pistols  existed in samurai Japan and while similar arguments about their practically that as a mounted weapon exist, given the samurai also practiced horse archery that also requires the full use of both hand while controlling the mount, I would say them becoming being more a status symbol isn't really an argument for wheellocks pistols over  matchlock pistols as cavalry weapons* so much as further proof that our European ancestors were incompetent cavalry tacticians and horsemen in general (the real reason we invented cars).

     Setting that aside they would have worked as on ship personal guns and while it is a stretch a Conquistador could have theoretically got one off  Japanese pirates that where  hanging out in the Philippians up to at least the time of the Castilian war. While that is admittedly a later conflict, so too are wheel locks time as cavalry weapons.

    The fact is there was no big use of wheellock pistols either really in western Europe till 1550's (well after the time of this set) that I have heard any legitimate resources for other than you guys collective and honestly  kinda of sus word for it and some even more sus wiki and web articles. Even if we hand wave that and take it the wheellock pistols where made before 1550's the ones mentioned where more expensive art pieces made for kings than weapons at that time. (Meaning it’s just as out of place in this box as a matchlock).


  • @Brian Van De Walker Did the technology exist to produce them at the time? Yeah

    Are there records of existence of pistols at the time? Yeah 

    Where the units of horse gunfighters throughout the history? Yeah

    And you can beliveme I hate gatling muskets, steam tanks and magic floats as much as you do.

    On the other hand, I already have quite a few pistoliers boxes in my home, because their bits are wonderful (even discarting the magic muskets).

    I just want it to be a good box because WA knows how to design sprues very well, and I want to mix it with them and with the perrys 15th century light riders. And with various infantry for various board games (lets see if they translate Rangers of the shadow deeps)

  • Has been traslated, actually*

  • @Eduard Garfella Actually I am cool with all that in fantasy sets and even like it there, heck I don't even consider myself a history player,  but I generally side with the button counters when it comes to history sets unless its a "been a done to death" subject (Zulu War infantry, Vikings, Hoplites, anything, etc.) this isn't one and sorry I don't trust just your word for it and suspect wiki artcles as a sources when everything else I have read over the years says 1550's and later for wheellocks cavalry pistols till flintlocks replaced them in the mid to late 1600's, frankly I doubt they even had the right breed of "won't freak out at gunfire" horses for noise gun firing reiter cavalry to exist till the 1550's (as far as I am concerned this is jumping the gun, pun intended).

    Also again and perhapes MORE IMPORTANTLY, this isn't going to be a good box for the wheellock pistol parts to shine anyway given how  packed it already is, why add one or 2 wheellocks here if it gets in the way of set that has 12 or more in diffrent poses and makes later, why rush this? They should just add the matchlock and openly say its a fantasy part (maybe even make a multi barreled gun), it will appease about half to 75% of the hammerheads and open the path to a proper set of reiters later on.

  • @Brian Van De Walker I refer to my previous arguments:

    - No one forces you to assemble them anachronistically.

    - The term war horse is applied to animals trained to withstand these types of situations (it may be that in the USA there have been no gunfighter riders...).

  • @Brian Van De Walker @Eduard Garfella 

    Just hopping in here on a few points.

    A) "Japanese Pirates". I'm assuming this is referring to the Wokou Pirates (13th-17th century). That group are currently belived to be a multinational group made up from Japanese, Korean and Chinese sailors rather than from any one nation in particular.

    B) Japanese usage of Matchlocks (specifically Mounted Pistoleers). Despite Japan's rapid adoption of matchlock firearms, they never really did the whole "Pistoleers" thing. Yes, Japanese Cavalry Matchlock Pistols do exist, but mostly as a sidearm instead of the primary weapon. That said, the sheer quantity of firearms in use meant that their warhorses were trained to deal with the noise.

    C) Pistoleers, Dragoons and Harquebusiers in general. The first dedicated "Pistol Cavalry" was the German Reiter in the 16th century armed with Wheellock or Snaplock pistols, tho the concept didn't really take off until after the invention of the Flintlock (notably the British Empire was responsible for introducing a number of countries to the concept of "Heavily armoured guy on a horse with 2 pistols and a Sabre" after the Roundheads decided it was a good idea to do that during the British Civil War.) Dragoons and Harquebusiers came later in the 17th century, armed with varying types of "lock" firearms (usually in Carbine form). 

    From what I can find, the last real "presence" of the Conquistadors on the world stage was roughly around 1554 where as the Reiter were founded somewhen around 1546. So while there is a small period of overlap, it's very unlikley that the conquistadors would've heard of and adopted this practice on a large scale (especially since they were on the other side of the world for most of their period of coexistence).


    Also, regarding this:

    (it may be that in the USA there have been no gunfighter riders...)

    America copied our (British) usage of Pistoleers during the American Revolution (as did the Native Americans) and continued the practice through the War of 1812, the American Frontier Wars and the Mexican-American War although in significantly smaller numbers.

    America then revived the concept during the American Civil War although by this point they had switched to Colt Pistols (and Lever-Action weapons too, but then those Cavalry would technically be Dragoons).

  • @Indy Techwisp Riders with guns, cowboys, bro. Its like the first thing you learn about the USA in the rest of the world.

  • @Eduard Garfella Cowboys, despite being a highly iconic group, are not a military Cavalry unit and therefore aren't really "Pistoleers" in the unit designation sense.

    Also most of the things I mentioned in that section come before the archetypal "Wild West" period (which continued up until WW1 pretty much).

  • @Indy Techwisp One of the arguments against the retaliers was that detonations frightened the horses.

  • @Eduard Garfella For what feels like the hundredth time, it’s not so much about assembling them anachronistically or not for me as I am likely going use these guys for fantasy myself.

    No its more about getting a decent number and variety of wheellock pistols so we are not stuck with just one gun on a cavalry sprue and every “You have a wheel lock in conquistador cavalry set, we wants more Death Fields” hammerhead or “eh, there’s enough wheellocks on the conquistador cavalry sprue, focus on other X history subject instead”  on FB and the forum trying justify not doing more varied wheel lock sets which just based on past experience is what can happen (it has for other things like this).

    My point is if wheellocks are going to be done they should be done right as a main part with at least one for each figure planned on sprue by WA themselves from conception, not as some one to a sprue “begged for by impatient hammerheads making WFB shelf armies ” after thought part which is likely only going to be one sad little arm as it in a set that shouldn’t even have guns and WILL NOT actually satisfy the people who have been wanting  real historical wheellock subjects  in decent numbers in multipart plastic for decades (regardless of what they plan to use it for).

    This cavalry set is just a bad set for doing wheellocks since it won’t show them off properly or do them anywhere near the numbers most folks actually want them in. We should hold out for reaiters or knights of Malta or something else that will do better justice for wheellocks, and I say this because if the one to two pistols  in the conquistador cavalry set are wheellocks, it more than likely that is all the wheellock pistols WA will do, at least for the next decade if not forever, there won’t be anymore.

    Do you understand NOW!

    @Indy Techwisp Yes I am aware Japan didn't adopt pistol cavalry, why would they when they had the tradition of horse archers which are better than pistoleers till maybe colt revolvers came into play and even then not much of an advantage as far as I can tell. I even thought I hinted at that with the whole "insulting our Europeans ancestors horsemanship" part I wrote😆.

    The Japanese did make matchlock pistols though and while its true piracy in Asia was multinational as far as who did it, Japan was a main arms supplier for them and a big base of operations for pirates.  The Philippines where another big operational base for piracy, often by the same japanese armed pirates (meaning them getting a hold of matchlock pistols for personal sidearm use is possible) and the Spanish did later in the 16th century conquer and deal with the pirates in the Philippines. (ie, I am thinking more on foot character kitbashs with that argument,  the pistol is an afterthought part added due to hammerheads asking for it).  

    Honestly though, the main argument for the matchlock is that 90% of the people asking for a pistol on this sprue are ask for WFB reasons and if a wheel lock is added here, it will likely be a poor showing compared to more focused set and because it’s a wheellock there probably won’t be any other wheellock sets  coming out of WA (at least not  for 16th century Western Europeans). A matchlock pistol, which is more of a fantasy gun in a set like this is less likely to cause polling issues and arguements against other wheellock pistol sets getting made down later on (best for this would be pistols not being added at all to this set, but the majority has spoken and inserted thier foot in their collective mouth on that front🙄).

    Finally to both of you,  no, with pistoleers, reiters, dragoons and even near firing line cavalry in any and every country that used them (not just Japan) had to either deafen the warhorses to ride them or breed new warhorses that wouldn't spook at gunfire, admittedly the old warhorse breeds likely had advantages over the more common breeds in this regards, but it was still an issue even with them🙄.

    Honestly,  from everything I have heard and read horses where hard to use in war and horse using armies had issues regardless of the era just in general, there was one ancient era battle that got canceled just because one side used only stallions and the other mares, and the horse were more focused on making love not war.😆

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