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22Aug/180

Warlord Games – Pike & Shotte Landsknecht with Zweihänders

There is a third plastic kit for the Landsknechts available, or at least hybrid kit - the Landsknecht with Zweihänders. Along with the Pikemen and the Missile Troops, there are now plastic Doppelsöldner and soldiers with metal halberds around.

Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders

Same as in the Missile Troop review - I've covered the background of this range and the change from Pro Gloria to Warlord Games, along with the Indiegogo campaign in the Landsknecht Pikemen review, I won't bring that up again, but will give a brief introduction on the Landsknechts themselves.

Instigated by the Holy Roman Empire under Maximillian I, the Landsknechts were dominantly German mercenaries, but fought for other European rulers as well. They were involved in battles in the 15th and 16th century, in wars like the Italian Wars. The idea of the landsknecht was to have an armed service similar to the Swiss mercenary pikemen. As they were are mercenary force and the orders by Maximillian were to give the troops the freedom to wear what they wanted, it resulted in very colourful bright colours, with slashed sleeves and plumes. The fancier, the better.

As the troops were inspired by the Swiss pikemen, pikes were set as the main weaponry. Some of the Landsknecht received double the pay for being experienced veterans, those were called Doppelsöldner (double pay man). They often wielded different, more complex to carry weapons, like a halberd or Zweihänder ("two-hander", a two-handed long sword). Both of these weapon options are covered in this boxed set.

Unlike the other boxes of Pikemen and shooters, this one "only" covers 24 miniatures and is set at a price tag of 16 GBP and not 18 GBP. The box covers four sprues, two of the pikemen as a base for the halberds and two of the new Zweihänder Landsknechts, a sprue with square bases and a bag of bits with 12 halberd arms. There is no leaflet with flags or additional information in this kit, nor a command sprue.

Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders

The casting is properly done on both sprues, the older Pikemen sprue is known and is the base for the halberds, as the weapon arm is replaced by a metal bit. There are 6 different designs (matching each of the sleeves) in there, each two times included. The metal is soft and not brittle. The Zweihänder sprue could have been used better, for example moving the swords arms closer together and maybe reducing them to three or four per sprue and just add the halberds (or just the tips of the weapons) in the freed up space. That way it would have been a complete plastic kit and not a hybrid one. And again, no attacking poses, just marching for the polearms.

Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknecht Pikemen Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknecht Pikemen Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders
Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders

I am wondering if there is still a sprue in the back log or one was dropped, as the numbering on the sprues of the Landsknechts counts 15, 17 and 18 with #16 missing. Especially as the Pikemen sprue says "armoured pikemen", maybe there was #16 with unarmoured pikemen. The command sprue, that is unfortunately and inexplicably not included in this set, is #14.

Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders

Building begins with the 6 base bodies. These are the same bodies as from the Pikemen box. So we have 4 standing poses and 2 marching poses to start from.

Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders

The halberds bits are "only" covering the right weapon arm, the left arm is used from the pikemen sprue. As you can see, they are kept in the matching design of the sleeves. Unfortunately there are no attacking / advancing poses, just idling or resting on the shoulder. As for the Zweihänder, those are a bit more dynamic, there are resting poses and aware stances with the sword held up high next to the head. There are spare Zweihänder in the sprue, but I have no idea how to add those to the miniatures in an appropriate way.

Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders

With the metal halberds the miniatures get a bit unbalanced, so you have to be aware of this will building, as they tend to tip over. With the Zweihänders, don't glue them to narrow to the body or too high, as it will make it difficult to add the heads in the next step (some of the heads have beards that rest on the upper body and those will collide with the arms of the Zweihänder weapon option).

Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders

As with the heads, there are 9 different to choose from and you can mix in some from the missile troop sprue as well. As mentioned above, it might make sense to add the heads before adding the Zweihänder arms to the body.

Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders

Warlord Games is moving from the Renedra bases to their own range of bases. With the round bases, they have introduced a small lip that helps to keep the basing material on the base. With the square bases they have a new thicker design with studs on the underside, which makes the multibases easier to pick up and to move around. The miniatures were designed with Rank & File systems in mind, so you can arrange multiples of them on larger bases, for a regiment feeling.

Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknecht Pikemen

Each sprue covers a couple of smaller bits to add to the miniatures, like swords and daggers, pouches and feathers to make even more impressive head gear.

Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders

A comparison shot with a couple of other great sword wielding miniatures, #1 and #3 are the Landsknechts, #2 is a Freeguild Greatsword, #4 an old Warhammer Hero with sword and #5 a 6th Edition Empire Greatsword. In the second picture you see a Fireforge Games spearman and a Perry Miniatures WotR soldier with a polearm next to one of the Landsknechts with a halberd.

Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders

And the two small packs of soldiers from different angles.

Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders Warlord Games - Pike & Shotte Landsknechts with Zweihänders

Conclusion
It is nice to see, that the range is further developed and we receive new options for the Landsknechts. The box is at 16 GBP for 24 soldiers not expensive and I like what Michael Anderson has done with the Zweihänders. I would just be much happier if they were more dynamic. If you compare the poses to for example the Artizan metal Landsknechts / Doppelsöldner, they throw around their swords, as the unit is described in the books. They would wildly wield their long swords, slashing enemy formations and that is something that the miniatures do not really show.

As for the metal halberds. Yes, you could do something like that. But it feels a bit overhauled. Especially with the surplus space in the frame of the Zweihänder, there could easily be covered in there and even if they would just had added the tips to cut down the pikes and replace them with a different weapon tip design (Games Workshop did so with the spear man and halberds). The metal bits are heavier than the plastic body, so they tend to tip over and I would suggest pinning them, so the parts are properly glued together and won't come off during gaming.

That they didn't include the command sprue is understandable to some point for me with the missile troops, but with this kit not really. It is already around, the moulds are there and it would make this kit more round. Or at least a leaflet with another set of flags. Well, I hope that they have the command sprue in one of their sprue sales soon, as I'd like to add then to these units. This is not a bad kit, but it lacks a couple of specs to be a really good kit as well. It has potential, but didn't use all of it, and that makes me a bit sad. If you're going for a third sprue, having a recut, new sculpts and such why stop half-way? Then adding this weapon option as a bit upgrade feels a bit hasted, like a makeshift solution. Still casting is very convincing, pricing is fair. Giving this kit a B-/C+, but it could easily have reached an A.

You can find the rules for Landsknechts and the Italian Wars in the Pike & Shotte core rulebook. If you want to find out more on Landsknecht, there is this Osprey book on that topic.

Pike & Shotte is a brand of Warlord Games.

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

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