Thursday 20 August 2020

Danish (Union) and Swedish army


The Swedes

The allmoge form the core of the Swedish infantry. A few livery can be seen, but the majority wear earth coloured clothing to signify their militia/yeomanry status. This meant leather items needed a bit more red or orange to be noticed. Mounted elements are better dressed and even horse were given a darker colour wash then later highlighted. Garish colours were avoided as these are reserved for the Condotta.

Flag designs were taken from armorials of the noble houses, cities and municipalities. Another useful option is to find illustrations of the battles that took place between the Danes and Swedes. 

The Danes

In contrast to the Swedes, the Union have uniforms of a sort. The infantry was split into two groups and painted with a red-white theme for the Danes and green-yellow for German mercenaries. Both groups have a mix of spearmen, bill and crossbow or skirmishers. During the last two decades of the 15th century, the pike would replace the spear and Landsknecht figures have arrived and will be painted soon.

Flags are for the most part red and white in a variety of shapes and sizes, only the commander carries the ‘Dannebrog’ flag. No early photos were taken so it is not possible to compare the change, but the photo below during the test games, but the photo below shows the effect that banners and flags have for a collection. 

Sunday 16 August 2020

Scots Common and Tudor English


During the test phase of this project I was very surprised how well the Scots Common and Tudor English are evenly matched. Historically, this was not so, but such is the charm of DBA3.

Following the army lists, 24 elements were set aside for some alterations.  

The Scots

Ground colours were darkened so highlighting became noticeable; a vast improvement over the ‘splash and dash’ method used previously. Clothing colour for the pikemen was varied as were the Highland rabble and archers. In George Gush’s Renaissance Armies states the blue bonnet did not become fashion until the next century, yet I found many depictions of Highlanders at Flodden wearing them. These will be fashioned later with Milliput as there are figures in other armies that will need similar treatment.

James died among his pikemen, so he is depicted fighting on foot under the royal banner. In the six tests this did prove effective. The flags are a small sampling of brigades led by Lord Home and those led by the King. I do have a flag painted for the Highlanders of Lennox and Argyll but,  I am still unsure if the Highlanders carried any flags at all.  

Tudor English

The army, led by the Earl of Surrey were for the most part assembled from the northern regions with the exception of those that marched from London. Therefore few figures have the green and white Tudor livery, but sport an array of colour in a similar fashion as the Scots. The original painting lacked detail and this was added enhancing the figures by a mile. All weapons and armour were redone. One element required rebasing and these were the cavalry converted to a LH Borderer. 

Elements used in the test games. 

Same elements made over. 

Tuesday 4 August 2020

Further Test Games (1490 – 1515)

To explore conflicts outside the Italian peninsula I began with the Spanish invasion of Portugal. This will be followed by a number of nations bordering the Baltic Sea, such as Poland, Livonia, Lithuania, Muscovy. This should be interesting.

The Portuguese vs. the Spanish

Fast and furious can best describe the six matches. The Portuguese infantry are all classed as ‘fast’ (3Pk + 3Bd + Ps) which gave them an edge, whereas the Spanish were mindful of their pike block of four elements. Both sides ended their tests scoring three victories each.

Later Polish (IV/66) vs. Livonia (Teutonic Order IV/30)

Wooded landscape did not deter the Sword Brothers from trouncing the Polish in the opening game (4 – 2). The Polish countered enveloping both Livonian flanks earning a 4 – 0 victory. Livonia bounced back to winning game three, however, the best is yet to come. Bizarre can best describe game four as the Polish Hetman fell in turn two. Most of the Polish units were engaged leaving a column of Hungarian horse archers to fall on an exposed Livonian flank initiating a chain reaction to include the death of the Livonian Landmeister and the collapse of the entire army (5 – 2). The town militia (8Cb) were exchanged for war waggons in the last two games. The WWg earned their keep by supporting a third and fourth win for the Later Polish. In retrospect all were great games.

Muscovy (IV/44b) vs. Finland (Swedish list IV/54d)

The Swedes held an advantageous position between two woods leaving only half their army exposed. Muscovy failed to lure the Swedish out of their position and seeing their indecision the Swedes moved their archers forward to disrupt their formation. Taking advantage of the chaos, the Leidang closed on the Boyars to scatter the Muscovites (4 – 1). The Muscovites came close to winning game three with well-coordinated attacks by boyar and tartar horse archers, but this was not to be. The Muscovites lost all six test games mainly to cavalry lines falling in disarray by archers leaving surviving boyar to confront Leidang blade.

Tudor English (IV/83a) vs. Scots Common (IV/16)

Like Flodden Field both commanders dismounted, leaving the Border pickers the only mounted unit for these tests. Simulating Landsknecht pike tactics, the Scots handily won the opening test (5 – 1). However, a second win was not to be as the English blade fell on an open flank of a pike column to tip the scales in their favour (4 – 3). In the following test, the Scots held favourable terrain however, it also offered the English an opportunity to chip away at the pike blocks of the Scots earning a 5 – 1 victory. Game four was long and tenacious, both commanders locked in personal combat, however the deafening yells and shrill of Highland bagpipes signalled the defeat of the English left flank earning the Scots another victory (5 – 4). The next game is better described as a brawl than a battle, the Scots won a narrow victory (4 – 3) again through the effort of the Highland rabble. The final game was nearly a repeat of game four, long and tenacious struggles with both sides incurring even losses. An unlucky pike column sealed the fate of the Scots and England held the field with a 5 – 3 victory.


Of the three tests, the army of Ivan the Mis-understood was disappointing. Their composition is not unlike the early Byzantine which have proved successful in the past. Yet in contrast, the Swedes, well supported by their archers, were not averse to taking the battle to the Muscovites. The test games between the Scots and English were a nice surprise. All games were close with the artillery of both sides doing excellent work.  

After the completion of eight test matches of six games each there are not many more left to do. Between matches, I had time to rebase a few figures to make sword and buckler men, fast pikes and jinetes for the Spanish and Portuguese. After the final test matches, I can determine which armies I would focus on. This will mean some repainting to correct livery and of course adding flags.