Tuesday, 1 October 2013

WIP The first of the Stradiotti

Currently on my workbench are some crossbowmen, a few landsknechts and some longbowmen, I've gone a bit freestyle lately and just painted whatever I've been in the mood for which has resulted in a lot of half finished units but hopefully that in turn should make for some varied blog posts.

Just to add to that mix, by way of a break from painting infantry I thought I'd have a go at a stradiot. 

I've had a few bags of the Perry stradiots for many months now and have quietly been trying to find out a bit more about them. I've always held the belief that these cavalrymen were not as somberly dressed as is often depicted. In a way, I perhaps held off painting them as I wasn't really that motivated to paint a unit of variations on a brown theme.

My approach has been to hopefully sensitively mix what depictions there are already out there to maintain a stradiot feel with some added colour inspired by traditional Balkan, Greek & Albanian clothing.

I have painted in my usual style of 3 layers of highlights from a black undercoat but I have added a number of washes to give the clothing a lived in look as well as making the shield look a bit weathered and well used.

In trying to find out more about the appearance of the stradiots I stumbled across this greek blogger who offers further comment.

This figure is very much a starting point really. I think as I do more of these they will evolve. The shield was a sticking point for a while as there are not many colour depictions of them . I suspect that they were generally not plain as is evidenced in the drawing below but it has been difficult to figure out what might work best.

Another image which is interesting is this depiction of Hungarian light cavalry at the Battle of Orsha 1514;

I might possibly lean toward this as a starting point for some shields if I cant find anything else.

I intend to have quite a few of these owing to their role in the Battle of the Spurs so there will be many more of both the traditional packs and some of the Westernised Stradiots which are also on offer. I'll also make an attempt at depicting their French captain, Seigneur de Fontrailles if I can find out a bit more about him.

As for banners, I think i'll probably opt for a simple cross of St Denis unless anyone can offer anything more 'stradiot'. Along with this I might add some red and yellow lance pennons - we'll see.

So, as with the last few posts on the beginnings of my French army this is very much a 'is this OK?' for my take on the stradiots so do please let me know what you think or offer any pointers as to what I can add or remove for the figures to come.



  1. Great figure beautifully painted!

  2. Lovely rendition Stuart - even if he appears to be carrying the old arms of Burgundy on his shield (!) - personally I'd go for a colourful approach (rather than drab browns etc) - as the medievals did love bright colours. We'd be fairly horrified today if we entered a medieval church/building for example - bright paint and patterns on every surface. Looks like the painting would be a good proxy guide.
    Grate sculpts and look forward to seeing more.

  3. Great post and wonderful paintjob!

  4. Stefan Stanulov24 March 2014 at 06:00

    Some other interesting facts:
    The winged shield can be first seen in the Mid- to late 14th century on the Balkan Peninsula, on some Bosnian Stecci and in the bulgarian Manasses Chronicle. It seems that the shield originated on the Balkan Peninsula, as the Ottomans called it "Rumeli Kalkan", meaning "Shield from the Rumelia" (Rumelia was the ottoman term for balkan)

    The Horsemen in Orsza were of Hungarian, Croat, Serb, Bulgarian, Bosnian and Vlach heritage :)

    1. Thanks Stefan, much appreciated, I'm still painting some Stradiots at the moment so I can work to reflect your observations.