The Renaissance was a transitional period between the Middle Ages and the modern era, beginning with the Italian Wars towards the end of the 15th century and expanding through Europe into the 16th and 17th centuries. Timescales differ but for these figures we're viewing it as 1485 to 1651. Conflicts in this period include everything from the Battle of Flodden, through to the Thirty Years War, and wrapping up at the end of the English Civil War. Further east, the Polish were fighting the Ottoman Turk empire.
The Aztecs were a Mesoamerican culture in central Mexico from 1300 until 1521. For most of this period the various tribes fought among each other until the arrival of the Spanish in 1517, leading to a short period of conflict and ultimately the conquest of the indigenous population by the European colonists.
During the early 16th Century, England and Scotland were both military backwaters compared to many renaissance states. They were both embroiled in yet another series of wars, which led to a Scottish alliance with France. While Henry was diverted fighting around Flanders, James VI launched what would ultimately be the disasterous Flodden campaign. Out-manoeuvred by the English northern army and forced to fight on ill-suited terrain, this resulted in the death of James VI and the annihilation of the Scottish nobility and army in 1513.
The German Landsknechts were colorful mercenary soldiers, with a formidable reputation, who became an important military force throughout late 15th- and 16th-century Europe. Consisting predominantly of German mercenary pikemen and supporting foot soldiers, they achieved the reputation for being the universal mercenaries of early modern Europe.
When Elizabeth I came to the throne in 1558, the bill and longbow were still a dominant feature of English armies; Irish musters occasionally even make reference to small companies of mounted archers. By the time of the queen’s death in 1603, the traditional infantry had almost completely been superseded by bodies of pike and shot. Gentlemen and sons of gentlemen waiting for commissions might serve as demi-lancers or as gentlemen pike. While there is no evidence that the latter performed any better than the other pike armed levies, their resolve might be expected to be somewhat superior.
This is the army that includes one of history's most iconic cavalrymen - the Winged Hussars. Created by the King of Poland, Stephan Bathory, in the 1560's, these heavily armed and armoured warriors more often than not carried the field for the next century, culminating in the important European victory over the Ottoman Turks at the siege of Vienna in 1683. The Polish Commonwealth of the time extended far beyond its current borders and included Lithuania, modern Ukraine and parts of Russia; there was even a Polish Czar. Ably supported by artillery, pancerni cavalry and uniformed units of arquebus and axe armed hajduk infantry, the Polish army was definitely the one to beat in Renaissance Eastern Europe.
The Ottoman Empire was a major imperial power, controlling most of western Asia, south-eastern Europe and, indirectly, much of north Africa. Akinji were mounted irregulars who were skilled raiders and scouts, while Sipahis were feudal horsemen of Turkish origin who served in provincial armies in exchange of land grants. The latter were often absent from Ottoman armies in north Africa and Arabia where there were few ethnic Turks. Janissaries were elite infantry recruited from European children forcibly converted to Islam. Ghazis were fierce religious zealots while Azabs were locally sourced foot troops specifically recruited for each campaign.
The Thirty Years' War was a series of wars in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. It was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history, resulting in eight million casualties. Initially a war between various Protestant and Catholic states in the fragmented Holy Roman Empire, it gradually developed into a more general conflict involving most of the great powers becoming less about religion and more of a continuation of the France–Habsburg rivalry for European political dominance. While the figure range for this conflict is quite small, there are a lot of useful figures in the English Civil War range that are also suitable.
From 1642-1651 the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland were embroiled in a series of wars, resulting in the death of King Charles I and the formation of a commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. One of the most popular wargaming periods, this figure range covers all of the main troop types, plus personalities and civilians.
A collection of Flags and Banners for use with Pendraken's Renaissance Era Wargaming Miniatures.