I also knew next to nothing about the French Wars of Religion.
On top of that Henri's a real character, although it is probably understating it a bit to say he was a "philanderer". He's one of the quotable historical figures as well "Paris is worth a Mass" and "A chicken in every pot". He was also quite short. I saw a suit of his armour once, - I don't think he was much over 5' 6". Perhaps he had to compensate for that. Of course, once you're on a horse not many people can tell
I can assure you that in 1987/8 £27:50 was never "only". Don't regret ever buying it tho'.
I had no preference for manufacturer (BTW - we're talking 25mm here). I knew I wanted some reiters/Millers and some arquebusiers. And some landsknechts, just for starters. The local wargaming shop, the "New Model Soldier Shop" (up the Penistone Road, IIRC) did Minifigs and other bits and pieces, so I picked up a load of landsneckts and some of their 30 Years War reiters. They formed the core of the "mercenary" parts of the army. The Minifig arquebusiers were rubbish and he didn't have many of them, so I had a gap there. Luckily I stumbled across a new company at the Sheffield Wargames Show (pre-Triples, I think) called Essex and immediately fell in love with their renaissance figures. They provided my French Huguenot foot (bear in mind that I'm only putting together one side at the moment).
I really went to town with the cavalry and French foot. Every figure was unique, - arms chopped, bodies twisted, equipment added with Miliput. They still look the business, although way too much work for me ever to do that type of thing again.
For rules I started off with Terry Wise's 30 Years War rules, which he published under his Athena imprint. I have them around here somewhere.
We did a big refight of the Battle of Arques with them in my final year, pulling in figures from everyone's renaissance collections to make it happen. I playtested the design on a table in my parents garage one vacation.
That army is with me still. It has expanded over time, and has figures from all sorts of ranges, - including Ral Partha, Citadel Historical and I think there's some GW bits in there too. Some figures I have no idea who the manufacturers were. I used to walk round shows and just buy half a dozen figures if they looked like they'd fit in. It expanded sideways as well, so I could do a Catholic League army, then I got contemporary Spanish and Elizabethan English (mostly Irregular).
I wrote my own very specific rules ("Henri IV and the League") which appeared in an edition of the Nugget. They had a sliding scale of melee outcomes based on the ratio of scores between the two sides, with no hard boundaries or step changes between the ratios, - thus 1.9:1 was better than 1.5:1 and only marginally worse than 2:1.
The melee rules worked fine, I think, but looking at them just now - a hard copy printed from an Amstrad PCW, marked "2nd edition 1991" - the firing rules have a pencil comment in my hand writing that says "This doesn't work very well".
Since 1991 I've used several sets of rules. I did a run of successful Matrix Games, using a variation of the "De Matricae Bellae " rules I wrote for the Society of Ancients. They've also fought their way through Armati and FoG-R, and in the dim and distant past George Gush's WRG rules and also Dave Millward's "Tercio" which were not a success.
As you might guess I can never see a time when I'd sell these fellows off or dump them on a Bring & Buy.
You see, that's a process that I hope to repeat whenever I start a new period. Doing something because I'm truly inspired, not because I think I should be. Those sorts of armies are Keepers.