I have been trying to build this unit for a long time, early Italian Wars Spearmen are hard to come by, the only ones I am aware of come from Mirliton which are not particularly easy to come by and of variable quality. So rather than just a show off post I thought it would be a good idea to cover the build rather than doing just being a show off post.
Whilst browsing the tinterwebnet for inspiration for Italian Spearmen I came across a unit of re-enactors based in Italy who recreate exactly the thing I was looking for, you may notice some familiarites with the picture above and my Miniatures. I have to say the group have been brilliant and contacted me directly as a result of a general shout out I did about them. They even sent me a high resolution picture of the shield designs (more on that soon). Give their site a visit, I hope myself to drop in on them during one of my regular Italian holidays (post Phobon Plague).
With that high res picture in hand I was able to produce some custom shield decals. A remarkably simple process that now I wish I had done years ago.
I used some Image software to reduce the image down to the required size and added an oval approximately the size of the shield as a cutting guide, replicating the image 24 times to give me enough decals for the unit plus some spare. I then bought some decal paper of ebay and using a reasonable HP ink jet printer I printed them out on the highest quality settings on the printer (along with the relevant paper setting).
After leaving the print to dry overnight I cut out the area of the paper I had used and then used a clear Lacquer spray (from Halfords in the UK) to coat to area with about 4 or 5 thin layers. After that had dried I had a series of decals just like you would get in a model, I fitted them to the shields as usual and then blended them in to the rest of the shield using acrylic paint.
I used the same image to make the flags.
In the end it has produced a pretty unique unit that I really like the look of. I want to do a few more of these as I plan to do a spot of Campaigning in the years leading upto the French invasion in 1494.
I don't expect much success with them on the battlefield so here's a view I expect to see the most of !