Thursday, 17 October 2019

For Sale- The Italian Wars 1494-1559- War, State and Society in Early Modern Europe

I've got a brand new copy of the essential book, The Great Italian Wars 1449-1559:War State and Society, Mallet and Shaw up for sale which I received as a present from a kind relative but it is a book I already own which is unfortunate.

I am selling it for £40 which I don't consider unreasonable as it's out of print and second hand copies are selling for that amount

Buyer pays for postage.

If you are interested please contact me by leaving a post her, PM me or via email at:

I hope to hear from you soon.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

The King, Henry V Netflix Movie Release Date Announced!

Not exactly Late Medieval but I think that it's safe to assume that there is a lot of interest among the readers of this blog for me to go ahead with this short post.....

The movie, The King, which is based on Shakespeare's Henry V with modern lingo is due for release according to The Radio Times on November 1st. I do not really know what to make of the reworking of Shakespeare's beautiful prose but that so I  have to reserve judgement on that point. Will this movie hit the spot? We shall indeed have to wait and see.

I'm not sure if this is a US release date or simultaneously a US and UK release date.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Settled on the Battle of Ravenna

For the last few weeks I've been humming and haring over which battle to to for, Fornovo or Ravenna for a demo game which,will be featured at Partizan and Salute 2020 (I need to organise the Salute game if possible!).

I've decided to settle on Ravenna. Why?

It is basically a more interesting battle. Any re-fight of Fornovo would involve the crossing of a limited number of fords accross a raging torrent of a river which would only serve to leave the vast majority of the number of miniatures on the tabletop out of the loop. The units simply would not all be able to engage even given the extended time available to play the game at a show. I thought about doing the battle with the River Taro at a low ebb but in the end I would have to be creative with the rules, which as many can attest to is something that I'm dreadful at doing- trust me! I'm not ruling out Fornovo for a future project. In fact it's going to happen, possibly after Ravenna when I've had more time to get my head around game mechanics and dealing with the river situation. At the end of the day Ravenna seemed to speak to me more as there was a lot more happening during that particular battle:

The most important of which is the artillery duel at the start of the battle. This was not your Late        Medieval shoot off a few rounds at one another then get stuck in affair; rather, it was a sustained          artillery bombardment by both sides inflicting significant casualties and effecting morale for both        parties.

Entrenched positions.

Massed Cavalry Charge- It just always looks fab!

Sustained Infantry Combat between the inception of two different approaches to the utilisation of infantry.

The use of the infamous Spanish "war" wagons. NThese were not at all like the Hussite War                Wagons but more like guns mounted on a cart which the infantry held and could push forward!!??      It is an enigma wrapped inside a mystery that I will delve into in more detailas things progress. It's      certainly very intriguing!! As for modelling the carts? It's going to be very interesting to say the          least! (once I've figured out what they are!!)

Heraldry. To be perfectly honest this was one of the main reasons why I was not keen on doing            Ravenna. There is a distinct lack of information in English on who bore what arms. This had the          potential of making the game look very bland. After all, what sort of Late Medieval/Early                    Renaissance wargame worth it's salt has not got a glut of standards and banners fluttering?                Thankfully I have been helped venomously by a couple of friends a few years ago (sorry, I have    forgotten who was who!! Gulp!) and more recently by Luca Gualandi and Alessandro Bazzocchi.

As a last thankyou I would like to express my gratitude to Charles Singleton, one of the editors for Helion and Company Books for sending me the draft for The Great Italian Wars 1: The Expedition of Charles VIII into Italy and the Battle of Fornovo which will be getting a full and thorough review just as soon as I am given the green light.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

The Great Italian Wars 1: The Expedition of Charles VIII into Italy and the Battle of Fornovo

A couple of months ago I was sent a proof copy of The Great Italian Wars 1: The Expedition of Charles VIII into Italy and the Battle of Fornovo which is due to be published soon by Helion and Company in a rather exciting series of books called From Retinue to Regiment which already include, Richard III and the Battle of Bosworth and Tanaka 1587. Japan's Greatest Unknown Samurai Battle and will soon include volumes examining The Army of the Swabian League. I'm sure there will be more to come in this series!

I'm going to review the book, I'm not sure when as I only have a proof copy but I'm about to contact the editor and see if he thinks it's OK to go ahead now or to wait.

I'll leave you with a picture featuring the front cover teaser which illustrates the quality of the plates within the book.

And a Venetian vignette I found on the net. Apologies to the painter as I cannot for the life of me find the list of links at present! :>(

The vignette will of course be very useful when it comes to painting up my smaller 28mm Venetian forces for the battle.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

A Quick Note on Painting Horses

Four horses that were finished about four years ago where the Battle of Fornovo project left off. They are from the Perry Miniatures Stradiot Command pack and lack their undercoated but unpainted human companions. Basically they are speed painted as there is going to be a lot of cavalry in both armies and it just is not practical for me to meticulously paint every horse or I would have no chance of getting the game ready for Partizan in April. I'm looking at a ratio of about 75% of the horses to be speed painted with the remaining 25% painted up to a high standard. The higher end stuff will be reserved for character models, vignettes and the most eye catching units on the tabletop. 

As an aside, I'm going to be layering the foot and horse riders as normal but with the premise that I will not add more then three layers as I'm prone to painting in a very subtle manner with up to seven or eight layers which I will again be reserving for character models, vignettes ans special units.

Apologies for the lighting in the pictures, I haven't got my photographic space set up yet.

Close ups:
I should have dusted them down first!

More Mounts on the Way:
There will be another three in this unit so I have just three more horses to clean up and undercoat in this unit. I plan on doing at least two units of traditional Stradiots and one, maybe two units of Westernised Stradiots. That's anything from 40- 46 horses! Thus the speed painting!!

Westernised Stradiot Horseflesh:
I still have to complete the harness on the mounts below. These plastic Late Medieval Perry mounts were painted very recently; I had actually forgotten that I had originally planned to speed paint most of the mounts!! As soon as the harness is painted I'm going to do four speed painted examples at some point and compare them next to one another to see how the Perry plastic horses hold up when speed painting. I'll explain all of this at another point as i plan on doing a Speed Painting Mounts article that some of you may find to be of use.

Barded Horses!

I should begin by saying that I love the barding and champrons on the plastic Late Medieval Perry Miniatures horses but I am certainly in need of variation in my units. I'm planning on using a number of Venexia Barded steeds and Crusader Miniatures Wars of the Roses range after some major surgery to the saddles as most of the miniatures i plan on using have the saddles sculpted onto the mini's and I think consistency to be quite important in terms of presentation.


Crusader, Wars of the Roses:

Kind Regards

Fornovo Essential Reading Part Two


Back again!

Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1
(Ian Heath)

The first book on the list is the ubiquitous Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1, Ian Heath. This famous book amongst wargamers, (possibly of a certain age? Lol) is chock full of line drawing illustrations, brief descriptions of battles and the arms and armours of the men who fought in them. It ought to be an indispensable part of anyone's book collection who is into Medieval Warfare, whether a wargamer or not. I think I have owned my copy for 25 years!  Unfortunately, Heath does not include a description of Fornovo in this book but it's worth it for all the other information appropriate to the 'period'

The Great Italian Wars 1594-1544
(Ray Lucas, Battery Press)

This book was written specifically with the wargamer in mind and contains OOB's for most of the major battles of The Great Italian Wars including Fornovo, Cerignola, Garigliano, Ravenna, Novara, Marignano, Bicocca, Pavia and Ceresole. It has quite succinct descriptions of how all the rivalry, strife etc went during the battles. It also contains some great line drawing maps that makes for the planning the terrain for any particular battle a lot easier. Again, like Ian Heath's book above, this should be ubiquitous if you're interested in this era of warfare.

The Art of War in Italy 1494 - 1529 
(F L Taylor)

This famous essential tome is simply a must. Taylor goes into some depth looking at strategy, how the infantry was utilised contrasting their use to that of the different cavalry types, both light such as Stradioti, Francs Archers and Mounted Crossbows, Firearms. There is also an comprehensive look at Artillery and it's battlefield use as well a a great chapter on all round tactics with all associate components of the armies. He looks at siegecraft and there is even a section dedicated to examining the military writers of the era. The book is mainly dedicated to The Battle of Ravenna but Taylor does explore the earlier conflicts as well in order to compare and contrast.

Kind Regards.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Fornovo Essential Reading Part One

So, with my enthusiasm rekindled I reached for a few, now rather dusty books from my bookshelf, not only to strengthen my feel for the battle via a vis the demo game but for building up a solid background to The Great Italian Wars in general. After all, it is a truism that wars cannot be understood in isolation. This is particularly pertinent regarding what we artificially call The Late Medieval/Early Renaissance period of history. It is simply not the case that one 'period' (man, I hate that term though I do seem to use it a lot!) ended suddenly and another altogether different segment of technological and military strategy began. As wargamers it is one of the ironies of our hobby that we are instinctively aware of this fluidity but at the same time we drive history into convenient brackets in order to make sense of it all. Not only that but we are very particular about doing the exact same thing in terms of  what we like to call "Troop types" etc. That being said, this is not a history lesson but rather an expression of my interest in this fascinating span of history.

Regarding the literature; I would be very interested in hearing about anything that I might have missed out so please feel free contact me if you think their is anything. glaring or otherwise, missing from the short list of books below.

So, without further ado, the books in no particular order:

The Artillery of the Dukes of Burgundy 1363-1477
(Robert Douglas Smith, Kelly DeVries)

I've just ordered this from Amazon. Although the scope of the book falls short of the sum of the actual date of the battle it is interesting in that both the French Kings Charles VI and Charles VII of France realising the importance of artillery in relinquishing the Plantagenet dynasty of their rich lands in France had started to gather together a substantial artillery train. Thus so the Dukes of Burgundy. This was a continual process and for my purposes the book should be very informative in what these military captains were trying to achieve with their firepower, that apart from the obvious advantage that may be gained. I'm hoping for a more nuanced study. The book seems like a good starting place for getting to grips with the types of artillery used at Fornovo and their actual battlefield use.

Fornovo 1495, Osprey Books
(David Nicolle)

With a view to putting on a demo game of Fornovo, it probably goes without saying that I have read this book and view it as essential reading, at least from the meagre offerings in English! For those that have not read the volume then it's fair to say that it follows the standard formula traditional for Osprey. It is a decent outline of the events leading to the battle and the battle itself.

The Italian Wars Volume 1: The Expedition of Charles VIII into Italy and the Battle of Fornovo (Retinue to Regiment), Helion Books
(Predonzani Massimo, Vincenzo Alberici, Irene Maccoloni)

A Full Review of this Book will Follow

Another book on order from the Retinue and Regiment Series. I cannot comment on how useful this may be for obvious reasons. It is Volume I in the series covering The Italian Wars and I'm hoping that Helion follow through and manage to study the other major conflicts of the time, especially the ones that appeal to me; Ravenna, Cerignola, Garigliano and Ravenna.

That's it for now due to time constraints but I'll be back tomorrow with more literature pertinent to the battle.

Kind Regards