Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Antagonists: Francis I and Charles V.

For decades, Francis I, King of France, and Charles V, The Holy Roman Emperor, competed for control and domination of Italy and various regions bordering their realms. Redoubt Enterprises produced two sets depicting these leaders as they appeared in the latter phases of these wars. Code RX25 contains Francis I and an attendant dressed in armor with tabard and holding a lance. Francis is mounted holds a mace as depicted in the painting to the right. Code RX26 is the Emperor Charles V. He, too, has an attendant that is dressed in a "Landsknecht" style dress with a large floppy hat and wearing a tabard. The Charles figure is mounted and seems to be based on the painting on the left.

I was pleasantly surprised by the detail and quality of the sculpts. Every aspect, from the seemingly correct anatomical proportions of all the figures, to the details of the armor, horse barding and trappings, to the facial features. These figures are nothing short of marvelous.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Gli Stradiotti (The Stradiots) (28mm)

Next among the cavalry are the stradiots, introduced into Italy by the Venetians probably sometime in the 1470s probably to counter Turkish raids into the Friuli region. The French Memoirist, Philip de Commines described them:

These Estradiots are of the same nature as the Genetaires; they are attired like Turks both on horse and on foot, except they wear no turbans on their heads. They are a rugged people, couched all the year round on their horses. They were all Greeks, coming from places possessed by the Venetians, some from Napoli di Romagna [Nauplion], others from Albania at Durrazzo, and their horses are good and are all from Turkey...

The Redoubt figure comes with detached arm so that it can be posed in a variety of positions. All figures are empty-handed, so that any of the many weapons that the Stradiots carried can be used. Only the Connoisseur figure comes with shield attached. I prefer them detached, but the Connoisseur figure is rather nice. My least favorite is the Old Glory figure, mostly because of the horse.