Sergeants and Town Militia: My Pavisiers

In the Hundred Years War, at least during most parts of the Hundred Years War, the French depended on feudal levies to be called out when their regions were threatened or under attack.  Some of these were rich guys in armor and horseback (mounted men-at-arms) and their retainers (mounted sergeants.) But horses were expensive and not everyone could feed a horse let alone own one, so French nobility depended on foot troops too.  In Lion Rampant these dependable foot types are called sergeants.  They are generally foot spearmen, though they can be upgraded to a nastier version with pole arms.  Together with crossbowmen, these spearmen tended to be what was turned out to defend towns and cities, or to fill out the French king’s army when it took the field.

These French spearmen were often called pavisiers, due to their enormous shield, called a pavise.  These protected them from missile fire.  They also offered shelter to crossbowmen as they reloaded their cumbersome weapons in a sort of early combined arms arrangement.

I really like pavisiers.  They are a departure from the normal depiction of medieval warriors with their cute heater shields.  They also offer a larger canvas to paint heraldry.  Usually the shields show the coat of arms for the down or duchy from which they were raised and to whom they owed fealty.

Pavisiers 007

I’ve painted a couple of units the last few weeks.  The first is a unit of Perry pavisiers.  These are very nice figures.  If they have a problem, it is they represent troops from very late in the Hundred Years War, being from the Agincourt to Orleans range (1415-1430.) As a group they are pretty well armored for a batch of militia. Their shields carry the device for the city of Calais, which was an English bastion after 1347, but I liked the heraldic insignia, so don’t let it get out.

Very serviceable pavisiers offered by Old Glory with Perry pavises.  They are armed with the dangerous Northstar spears. They carry the colors of Boulogne.

Very serviceable pavisiers offered by Old Glory with Perry pavises. They are armed with the dangerous Northstar spears. They carry the colors of Boulogne.

The second group of spearmen are from Old Glory.  I actually used their shields for a different project, so had to replace them with Perry shields, which can be purchased separately. I used a pin vice to drill a hole in the back of the shield and glued the pin on the figure into the hole.  The pavises are perfect and are painted with the device from the channel port of Boulogne, a city that will figure prominently in one my of Enfilade scenarios.

The Lion Rampant rating of sergeant for these figures is, in my mind, problematic.  Sergeants may be necessary, but I think of them as the dismounted version of the mounted troop type.  They are reasonably well armored and trained and highly motivated.  I think of pavisiers as more the draftee type who would much rather be at home with the missus in front of the fire trying to figure out how to pay his hearth tax.  That being the case, consider adding this troop type I saw suggested on BoardGameGeek on the Lion Rampant forum.

Militia, 12 Models per unit, Cost 2 Points
Attack 7+, Attack value 6+
Move 5+, Defence Value 5+
Courage 4+, Maximum Movement 6”
Armour 2, Special Rules Schiltron

I’ve used this unit in a game, though it didn’t make much difference.  Give them something to defend and life is all good.

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The Fife and Drum Guards

I’ve kept very busy painting in September, and it’s been a very productive month.  I finished fourteen various colonial figures to go with the Butlers Rangers miniatures I painted last month.  I have some other irons in the fire, and I’m painting almost every night, enjoying every minute of it.

However, my big completed project for the month is the 28mm Guards unit from Fife and Drum miniatures.  You might recall I reviewed these figures after I received them last December.  I began painting them at the end of August and finished them earlier this week.

This is a special range of AWI figures, commissioned by Jim Purkey (the Alte Fritz for those who knew him on TMP.)  They were intended to represent the units taking part in the 1777 campaign, including Bennington, Saratoga, Brandywine, Germantown and a host of smaller actions that took place in the Year of the Hangman. We like to think of the Brits in their tricornes and lacy red coats, those were chucked by General Howe as he began his ambitious campaign to win the war.  We find these British in floppy fedoras, long, but largely lace-free coats and overalls rather than breeches.

The miniatures are quite nice.  They have just the right amount of detail and are relatively easy to paint.  They are British AWI figures after all. Loved the lace on the drummer and found the only challenging part was hunting down all the buttons. The muskets are quite long compared to other manufacturers, but also the remember the muskets, together with their bayonets seemed quite long in the movie, “The Crossing.” In my previous post I commented on the figure size and my opinion hasn’t changed.  By height I think they are fine, but they are slender by comparison to other ranges.  Even so, I really enjoyed painting them.  I bought them for a guards unit at Guilford Courthouse, and I’m sure I’ll use the Fife and Drum guys for the second unit.

In what’s been a very good painting month, I also finished six Perry “nervous militia” figures from their AWI range, as well as a package of civilian types.  I want to use them in a raid game featuring Butler’s Rangers and Indians vs frontier settlements.  I think I’ll cobble together my own rules for the game, based on Brother Against Brother and/or Sword and the Flame.  Something one pagey and simple.  The British will have to torch structures, keep casualties low and prevent their Indian allies from killing everything in sight.  The settlers will have to hold on until help arrives. May have to try out a pack of Perry plastic Continentals to make this work.

I’m presently trying to immerse myself in painting my SAGA Vikings before moving on to 40mm Three Musketeers figures.