Studio painter Andrés Amián Fernández was recently overheard in the studio office declaring how quickly each of his Landsknecht miniatures was completed. We demanded to know his techniques for achieving such splendid hobby results in so swift a time. Luckily he was only too happy to oblige. Over to the man himself for the rundown:

Andrés: My Landsknechts Army started quite by accident. When fellow Studio Painter Jamie was painting the first of the studio’s collection of Landsknecht pikemen blocks, I managed to scavenge some spare bits from the sprues – enough to cobble together a single infantryman. After I had finished painting it, I was very pleased with the result, and marvelled at how quickly I was able to do it. Surprisingly quick, you might say, for a vibrant Landsknecht. I took the plunge and delved into creating a collection.

Planning

I began planning, aiming to pick up around 60 figures for my initial collection – so reasoned that a sensible way to proceed would be to pick up one of each of the plastic Landsknecht boxed sets. That would give me two units of 12 pikemen, two units of twelve Landsknechts with Zweihänders, and a single 12-man crossbow/arquebusiers unit. Though primarily built as a skirmish Warband for Dragon Rampant, I could see this collection serving multiple purposes by way of the rules of Warlords of Erehwon, or as a stepping stone to the massed battle games of Pike & Shotte.

To inject a bit of extra character into my pikemen units, I decided that each should contain a standard-bearer, musician and officer, and have one infantryman wielding a Zweihänder in the front rank – I would only need to paint eight pikes per unit. The Landknechts with Zweihänders unit were built with a mix of halberds and large swords, along with an officer and standard bearer (you can never have too many standards on the table), but no musician for these fellows. The missile unit had an equal mix of crossbows and arquebusiers.

Painting the Miniatures

When it comes to painting, I tend to adhere to personal aesthetics rather than historical accuracy (when I can get away with it). The Landsknechts are an ideal compromise, given their historically garish clothing, I could go ‘rogue’ with the schemes – and they’d be equally suited to both historical and fantasy battlefields.

The potentially daunting aspect of tackling such a force is that each trooper could theoretically be wearing any colour of the spectrum, and more often than not more than one colour – which put batch-painting on the backburner. As I definitely wanted that variety in my army; I decided I would paint a single Landsknecht model a day wherever I could grab a few minutes in between other projects. On average, by purposefully limiting the number of bright colours on each figure – most got only two and not many more than that – I could finish a figure in around thirty minutes total. Fast forward three months, and my skirmish level warband was ready to play!

I cleaned all the parts of mould lines carefully, before drilling a hole in each small individual piece, so that I could insert a toothpick. I tend to do this in order to get a better grip and access to areas when priming and painting. To make my life even easier I primed the head, arms, body and swords separately using different coloured spray primers. Then I applied a wash to the recesses, matching the base colour, followed by a couple of highlights.

For the faces, I decided to save myself a bit of time by not painting any eyes – they look great without this detail, simply by the application of shading. After the Fur Brown base colour, I washed the skin parts with Strongtone Ink and then highlighted first with Barbarian Flesh followed by Elf Flesh.

For the leather, I used a mixture of browns and black.

Though perhaps the level I’ve gone to could be considered ahistorical I added even more variation by painting the shafts of the pikes in multiple colours, usually matching the palette of the figure carrying it.

The Standards

The flags were prepared as follows. First, I cut each flag with a hobby knife, before wrapping it around the standard pole along the middle line. Once I marked the centre I applied a layer of watered down PVA to the flags inside, and very quickly, but carefully, glued it in place. Whilst the flag was still soft and malleable, I folded it and shaped it to create a rippling movement effect. Once dry, the flag retained that shape.

Conversions

I did a few very simple conversions, to add further variety to my units. The most obvious was a bit of a kitbash with the different Landsknecht sprues. Each has slightly different bodies, but compatible arms, giving me 11 total to play with, not to mention the armoured variant found on the command sprue.

This heavy-armoured soldier has a lot of feathers added to his helmet. The feathers themselves are found on the sprues, they just needed a little cutting to fit the shape of the helmet.

The soldier carrying the flag on his shoulder was, again, very easy. I just took one spare halberd and cut the pole off the weapon. I then drilled an indent into the hand and inserted a rod of the same length as the standard. Once the standard had been attached I added the top piece, taking it from a spare standard on the command sprue.

Basing

I like round bases, especially in skirmish games, so I used 25mm MDF bases. With the addition of movement trays, they will be more than suitable for the massed battles of Pike & Shotte too.

Once the figures were glued in place, I spread a layer of PVA glue on each base before sprinkling it with sand. When dry I painted them first with Flat Earth before drybrushing them with WW2 German Beige. Then grass and tufts were applied.


Building a Pike & Shotte Landsknecht Force

Army Muster is a brand new set of bundles tailored to those all-important core units in our mass-battle historical wargames. Each Army Muster bundle contains three copies of one of our plastic boxed sets, plus a free complementary product that will support your new soldiers nicely on the tabletop – especially perfect for those who already have a starter set or a couple of regiments and want to enlarge their collection and fight glorious massed battles in Pike & Shotte.

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