In the fifteenth century the Dukes of Burgundy had one of the finest and best organised armies in Europe. This set from MiniArt is the first to depict these men, who played an important part in many campaigns.
It should be said right from the start that there was no real Burgundian look to their forces. The major centres of armour production at the time were Germany and Northern Italy, and the styles created in these two centres were to be found in all of Europe's armies. There was considerable arms and armour production in Burgundy itself, but the style was much like that of other areas, so these figures would serve just as well for other lords.
There are various styles of costume in this set, with varying amounts of armour in a large number of styles. Of course this was perfectly normal, and such an array would have included some examples of very old-fashioned armour that had been handed down through the family. These figures are all costumed in an appropriate and authentic manner. Even the many different forms of helmet were all commonplace at the time. One figure carries a small targe (shield) in his left hand. This was an approved item for Burgundian soldiers, but rarely appears in contemporary illustrations so must have been unpopular.
Several weapons are on show, and all appear reasonable for this century. However there are no pikemen, which is to be regretted as pikemen played an important part in the Burgundian army. Two of the figures are using crossbows, which were popular in all armies except that of England. By 1426 many of these were made of steel, which had obvious advantages in terms of strength but became brittle in cold weather. Most Burgundian crossbowmen carried pavises (large shields) to shelter behind during the long reloading effort, but none have been included here. Crossbows are a complex mechanism and a good test of the skill of the sculptor, and these have been well done.
As a result of English influence the Burgundians made extensive use of the longbow, much more so than any other continental power. The effectiveness of this weapon had been amply demonstrated at battles such as Agincourt, and it is right for this set to make special mention of them. The archer poses are nicely done, with the man taking an arrow from a quiver on his back being very unusual.
So we have some very nice figures that are well researched and have plenty of detail. This detail is not quite as sharp as in the corresponding Italeri or Revell figures, but it is quite good enough. The only question mark we would raise is with the man blowing the horn. Armies of the period used trumpets, drums, fifes etc., and though the Swiss used such a horn we could find no evidence of Burgundians using anything similar. Otherwise, a very attractive set and a good start to another new range from the ever-growing number of manufacturers.