Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Art of War

Leonardo da Vinci and his tank
15 mm

I stand alone
And gaze upon the battlefield
Is all that's left after the fight
And I'm searching a new way to defeat my enemy
I've seen enough of death and pain
- Sabaton, "The Art of War"

In 1482, Leonardo da Vinci, already an accomplished artist, came under the retainer and patronage of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan.  Ludovico desired to make his city-state renowned for the arts and skilled crafts, as well as adorning his own court with elegance and splendour.  War never being far from his doorstep, he was also greatly interested in Leonardo's claims of expertise in military engineering.

One of Leonardo's military concepts was his "tank", a mobile wooden fortress bristling with cannons which could wheel across the battlefield immune to arquebus and pike.  Like many of his concepts it was likely never built, but one could imagine Ludovico, mindful of his surrounding enemies, financing the creation of a prototype.

Decorated with the family crest of the Sforzas.

Tank or no tank, in 1499 Ludovico was forced from power a French invasion of Milan, and Leonardo fled to Venice.  He spent the rest of his legendary career serving patrons such as the Cesare Borgia and Pope Leo X, before dying in France in 1519.

 As mentioned in my previous post, these lovely miniatures are from


  1. Very nice artistry and presentation, Mr. M. If you hand painted the coat of arms, you have done a wonderful bit of modeling work.

  2. Spectacular! The parchment, the coat of arms, the final photo- great work, Allison!

  3. What a great subject for a miniature! And as Barks and Jay said, the execution is amazing -- especially getting a recognizable and detailed coat of arms on the textured body of the tank.
    Is there any particular game for which you're fielding this new deviltry?

    1. Thank for comments everyone :)

      Matthew S: No game in particular; I just paint. Glad you like it, the deep wood texture actually made the arms very challenging to paint, so honestly they're a bit blobbier than I'd have liked. But I figure the historical authenticity offsets that. The Sforza crest is pretty odd, your standard eagle is joined by this snake dragon thing eating a brown guy (!).


Thanks for commenting!