by: Engin Kayral [ ]
about the figure
Landsknecht means literally "servant/slave of the country." Recruited primarily from the poor in southern Germany-Bavaria, Swabia, Alsace, Flanders and Rhineland, they became known for their outlandish dress and effective fighting tactics.
During the high Renaissance in Europe (c.e.1500-1600) Landsknechts were the highest paid mercenary troops. Under the rule of Maximilian I of the Holy Roman Empire, a force of Imperial troops was created to rival the best trained fighting force of the time, the Swiss. These troops also fought in the Low-land Wars, against Italian city-states, and against Turkish incursions into the Empire.
Landsknechts units were based around a core of efficient pike men armed with pikes (pole weapons 14-18 feet long with 10 inch steel heads) and used the pike square formations developed by the Swiss. Pikemen were aided by specialized subunits armed with halberds (pole weapons 6-7 feet long), zwei-händer(double-hand) long swords and arquebuses (rifle-sized guns with matchlock firing mechanisms). The most feared of the Landsknecht would be called a Doppelsöldner, (Double soldier) and would receive twice the pay of a regular fighter. Additionally, Landsknecht companies had variety of heavy artillery. Using novel-often sneaky!-tactics, they soon earned the respect of their enemies. But developments in warfare, especially in firearms, ultimately made the Landsknechts (along with other infantry forces) obsolete. After the death of Charles V, these highly trained troops eventually went unpaid and many large regiments broke apart into smaller bands and free companies or disbanded all together. By the end of the century, they were consigned to the history books
The life of a Landsknecht was not easy-punishment for breaking rules was swift and violent, battles were bloody and fierce, and the living conditions were usually uncomfortable. The primary benefit was the pay: a Landsknecht earned more in a month than a farmer earned in a year. If he survived, he could retire wealthy.
Landsknecht who joined a Fähnlein (company) usually brought along a woman to care for them-a sister, wife, or daughter. These women were called Hure-literally, "whores" -but they were not prostitutes, just campfollowers.They cared for the men between battles, and even participated in battles, following behind the fighting, looting the dead and killing the almost-dead. Some even assisted the heavy artillery, stripping enemy houses of wood that was used later for earthworks.
Maximilian I gave the Landsknechts the right to wear whatever colors and types of clothing they wished. He granted them this dispensation because their lives tended to be so short and brutish. This lead to a force of very flamboyant troops was garishly dressed with slashing, multiple colors, spoils of battle, and huge gaudy feathered hats. Often spending many years away from their homeland and with very little room for storage these men found themselves wearing the fruits of the labor and spent vast amounts of sums on richly colored clothing.
Their clothing was characterized by its puff and slash decoration, created by cutting slashes in the outer garments and pulling puffs of the under garments through those slashes. Sleeves often ballooned out dramatically, as did pants. Often, their sleeves were mismatched, with one pattern of puffs and set of colors on one arm and a different puff pattern and set of colors on the other. Pants legs or socks sometimes were mismatched too. They wore large flat hats, the size of pizzas, often festooned with ostrich feathers. Some wore obscenely immense codpieces covering their genitals. Even their shoes were decorated with puff-and-slash. The overall effect could be quite eye-twisting.
The figure comes in 125 x 85 x 30 mm.standard Romeo Models light blue cardboard box. The front cover shows 2 photos of the painted figure– front view and back view .
Inside the box, there is an A4 paper sheet including historical info about Landsknechts and painting instructions of the figure. This document is represented in 2 languages; Italian and English. The historical search of this figure is made by Lorenzo Romeo.
Parts are well protected between two slabs of thick white polyfoam and figure base is placed under the polyfoam not to damage the figure parts.
The figure is sculpted by Benoit Cauchies and made up of 9 white metal parts. All parts are cast clean and crisp in very good details to make painting easier on such a colorful figure. There is no need for any clean up except the slightly visible vertical seamlines on the socks.
The main part is full body with legs. The figure is typically dressed as a landskencht of the beginning of XVI.century and all clothing details are very nice sculpted on the figure. He wears a double-breasted outer garment - Doublet over his inner garment white or off-white linen shirt - Hemdhe. High waisted and tight fitting pants named Hosen are usually to just below the knee and of two layers, with the top layer slashed to show the second. Crotch is covered with a colorful cod-piece to give him a manly look. He wears tight socks tied with cloth or rope garters under the knees and broad-flat bear claw style shoes. Broad sword is carried on the left side hanged on a thin leather or rope belt. Two mounds on shoulders to attach arms and a small hole on the left thigh for broadsword make assembly easier.
Other parts are ;
Head : It makes a good fit to the neck of the main part . Facial details, hair, beard and moustache are well defined.
Hat :He wears a Tellerbarret - platter hat, sometimes refered to a pizza. The hat is decorated in ostrich feathers. Details of the hat and feathers are well defined.
Left arm : Posed to put his hand on his pocket. The slashs of the outer garment-doublet are well defined and I think it makes painting easier.
Right arm : Posed to carry the sword on his right shoulder. Nice detailed slashs again.
Broad sword : This single-handed broad-short sword used by Landsknechts is called Katzbalger and typical with its S shaped quillons (hand guards). The tip of the sword can be square, round or pointed. The details of the scabbard is well definded and there is a gutter on the sword to assembly the quillon.
Long sword : The double-handed long sword is named as Bidenhänder and vary in different lenghts. The hilt of the sword is made to grap with 2 hands and quillons may be straight or S-shaped. Right hand is cast on the sword and makes a good fit to the hole on the right arm. Quillon is provided as a seperate part.
Hand guards : They make nice fit to the holes on sword. Please refer to boxart or photos on Romeo Models website to see which quillon belongs to short or long sword.
Figure base : A cobblestone street section is supplied as the figure base.
Osprey Publishing Warrior Series No.049 Landsknecht Soldier 1486-1560
Osprey Publishing Men-At-Arms Series No.058 The Landsknechts
A very unique subject sculpted in nice details with many colorful painting options. Clean casting and easy assembly as in all Romeo figures.