Friday, 28 March 2014

New SYW infantry

The new Prince August 'Seven Years War' infantry

Please note that I have already posted a lot of the information below on Yahoo Groups such as 'Old School Wargaming', 'Lace Wars' and '40mm Wargaming and Collecting', but I thought it better to kick off by bringing it all together in this one area.

Background


During the period since I saw the 'Sittangbad' game at Partizan back in 2006 I have put together a large collection of 40mm semi-flats which are regularly used for gaming. (Currently mostly using the Maurice rules system.)

When PA previewed the new additions to the infantry in their Karoliner range back in July 2012, I emailed them and commented on the new moulds. The gist of the email was that I thought it good to see that the range was still being extended, but expressed my opinion that the figure poses were in general not suitable for wargaming purposes, and that they were missing out on a significant market. I also asked that they consider extending the Karoliner range to allow it to be used for other nations, suggesting that the following be added:

Artillery crews with turned back coats.
Grenz.
Grenadiers in bearskins.
Prussian fusiliers.
Russian grenadiers.
Hussars in busby.

It came as something of a surprise when in April 2013 PA's sculptor contacted me, to advise me that they were going to extend the semi-flat range with a view to adding more mainstream European armies, and asked if I would like to make suggestions on what to produce. As you can imagine I jumped at the chance. Over the last year or so I have had a lot of contact with their designer with a view to producing a range of moulds/figures in poses to fit into 'old school' units, the first of which are now on the market, with others to follow on a regular basis.

(Just in case anyone is wondering I have no financial interest in this range - other than a few free moulds. My main interest is in trying to guide PA towards a range of figures which are useful to us.)

Separate heads


In building up my current Karoliner armies I did a fair bit of head swapping (and I would probably have been happy if PA had just made a few more heads). From the start I was of the opinion that for this new range PA should go down the route of interchangeable heads, it may be a bit more casting and assembly work, but it means you get an awful lot more out of the moulds. (And a lot of us already do it the hard way!)

For example, the initial Prussian bodies can be made up as musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers.

Cast examples of a Prussian Musketeer and Grenadier with the rods in place.Cast examples of a Prussian Musketeer and Grenadier with their heads attached.


The next release is likely to be a single Austrian (German) infantry mould, this will contain two infantry bodies (advancing and march attack) with four heads (2 x fusilier, 1 x officer and 1 x grenadier*), used in combination with the Prussian command bodies these will allow the Austrian line infantry to be assembled.

So the first four moulds will allow all the figures needed for the following units to be cast:
 - Prussian musketeers
 - Prussian fusiliers
 - Prussian grenadiers
- Austrian fusiliers
- Austrian grenadiers*

If you are building an 'imagination' army the options will become very interesting.

*Update - due to the fact that the march attack figure needed the arm to be separate it was not possible to include the bearskin in the mould; these will be included in the Hungarian moulds.

Generic Detail


It was also decided to go for 'generic' bodies, so for example the different cuff styles on the Prussians will need to be painted on. The logic behind this is that we did not think the market was large enough for a mould for every cuff type (I certainly would not buy them all), and efforts would be better directed at covering a wider range of troop types with a reasonable level of detail than trying to get all the small detail covered. That said it is intended that where detail is provided it will be as correct as can be done (the semi-flats do impose some limitations).

Using this logic the Prussian officer, standard bearer, NCO, and drummers will also be used in the Austrian and Russian armies, but with different heads. As an example see the NCO below.


3102/1 - NCO as Prussian fusilier
3102/1 - NCO as Austrian fusilier

The poses


Historically PA have not seen wargamers as part of their target market, as a result of this many of their figure poses (for example the Rossbach range) are not of much use to us. With this range they are genuinely trying to make figures which are useful to wargamers, as well as catering for their usual casters.

The poses for the first releases were selected based on my suggestions, and in the absence of any better ideas I opted for what I use in my armies. The chosen poses are similar to the advancing infantry in the Irish Wild Geese range (I-903 & I-904), but with a change in the musket angle on the advancing figure to a higher port so that they are not sticking in the back of the man in front. To make the figures more unit friendly I have asked that the figures be sculptured such that they rank up on 20mm x 30mm bases.

Below are photos of a unit made up from the first 3 new moulds (3101, 3102 & 3103), as a fusilier unit. The same body can be fitted with different heads to represent not just fusiliers, but also guards, musketeers and grenadiers.







PA are also working on march attack figures, this is really THE pose for this period, so if they can get it right I think it will be a very useful addition to the range; below are the 'greens' of the Prussian and Austrian figures with tricorn.

Prussian as guard
Austrian as fusilier




















These should be out in the near future, however I understand it is proving difficult to fit this tall figure into the mould, so the figure may need to be broken down so that the musket (and arm) are separate. Below is a unit cast from the pre production moulds to show what they will look like (the bodies for the officer and drummer are from the Prussian moulds).


March attack Austrian Grenadiers (cast from pre-production moulds)

Prince August's plans for this range


The initial issue of three Prussian moulds is not a one off, and they currently have plans for the range to cover all troop types - details of the range are on their site:
http://shop.princeaugust.ie/seven-years-war/

Initially the plan is to cover the following three main protagonists; Prussia, Austria and Russia. Other armies may be covered later if the range proves successful.

Initially 'close order' infantry for these nations will be produced, followed by artillery, cavalry and then light troops, possibly in that order. I have seen photos of some of the preliminary 'greens' for Austrian (German & Hungarian) & Russian infantry, which should be released in the not too distant future. I will post photos once the sculpting is finalised.

Artillery, light troops etc.will be in more active poses as these do not need to rank up.

Feedback


I think the important to stress that PA are designing this range with the wargamers in mind, it is us that they are wanting to sell these moulds to - there is no point in them making moulds which nobody wants to buy.

One of the main aims of this site is to become a forum for discussions relating to the moulds in this new range, and have influence on future releases. I am in regular contact with PA's sculptor, and I know he will try and take on board any constructive comments you have on the range.

So please do two things:

  • Post comments on this site and so influence future releases.
  • Buy the moulds, both PA and myself have put a lot of effort into producing this range, and it is of benefit to everyone to make it a commercial success.

I promise future posts will be shorter, but I wanted to set provide as much backround to the range as possible.

20 comments:

  1. Am looking forward to the release of these new moulds , will you be adding a 'follow' button to this blogs so we can get updates , Cheers Tony

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. If you click on the design label at the top of the page and go to layout its one of the gadgets you can add - or at least it was when I set my blogs up - they have a habit of altering things to 'improve' them .

      Delete
  3. The new moulds (and others in the pipeline) are an exciting development - I have the Prussian ones on my pending purchases list

    -- Allan

    ReplyDelete
  4. Definitely buying these. I have two infantry molds, but these look much better for my purposes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Glad to see this new PA range emerging. They look extremely good here.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is great news of course. But I wonder why the semi-flat course was chosen over the 'full round'? I notice that all of the images are side views. My question would be - 'Just how much 'semi' and how much 'flat' are we looking at. Front and back view images would be helpful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark

      Don't you know it's rude to ask a semi-flat how flat it is?

      They are pretty similar to the existing Karoliner ranges, perhaps a little heavier - but not much.

      I have added another photo off the fusiliers from the front into the post.

      I will probably do the next post on the three initial Prussian releases.

      Steve

      Delete
  7. All the best with your new blog!
    Alan

    ReplyDelete
  8. Payday Monday so I'll be ordering then, thus reversing last year's decision not to add any new units to my armies.

    Why are so many modern marching figures bent forward, almost running rather than a stately drill book, stand up straight and keep your leg straight and march slowly pose? A popular pose with gamers though.

    Would you like to add a link to our Not Quite The Seven Years War blog? An ongoing Prince August wargame setting that was started by Rob Dean and Chris Palmer in the late 1990's? http://nqsyw.blogspot.ca/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you like the look of the figures.

      All of the the figures have pretty much the same set of legs to give them that old school look of marching in step. When the march attack figure was made that set of legs put him in that leaning forward pose. (And was influenced by the conversion on the 'Castles of Tin' blog).

      Please add a link on the nqsyw blog, this is my first attempt at running a blog, I will get things sorted eventually - perhaps?

      Delete
  9. My molds arrived last week and I had a chance to try them out. You receive two plastic cores, and instructions for using them, with each mold. These cores are easy to lose track of on a crowded work surface so have a definite place to put them when not in use. A painting and assembly instruction sheet is included. The paining instructions are for IR2 and IR33. The standard-bearer mold comes with black and white paper flags but no flagstaff. No boards come with these molds.

    The molds cast very well. The cores are just a smaller version of the type used in the 54mm Napoleonics so the method should be familiar to anyone who has done casting with those molds. The heads generally fit tightly. The fusilier cap gets the front plate and spike fully cast every pour. The officer's sword and the infantry bayonets also do well. The only part that I did not get good results for was the head of the NCO's halberd. I am going to have to revisit that and it may require a vent.

    They are generally very compatible with the existing lines. The tricornes are more fully shaped and therefore wider and more detailed then the Wild Geese tricornes.

    The assembly instructions are silent about obtaining a flagstaff and attaching it to the figure. There is a starter hole on top of each fist. I assume the intention is for the customer to drill through the fists to insert a wire. I have not tried it yet. The fists look very narrow and I am probably going to break a few before getting it right. No finial or cords are provided.

    The drummer’s sticks are positioned in a way that makes them easier to cast than the sticks on the Wild Geese drummers. The drum itself is actually a bit thinner than the ones on the older HE drummers.

    PA seems to have done very well with these molds. I certainly will be adding the Austrians when they come out. Steve, the planning put into the molds shows in the results. Congratulations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for useful feedback - keep it coming, this is the sort of thing we need to hear (especially when it's good).

      When it comes to drilling I found you need to aim such that it makes a slight groove in the figure's chest, otherwise you miss the holder at the bottom (I wasted quite a few)!

      I will check with PA about the flag poles.

      With regards the finial to the flag I will see if anything can be added in a later mould.

      What metal do you use, I found the moulds OK when using the Model Metal, but had to vent the upper heads when using my 'scrap'.

      Thanks again useful feedback - I have passed your comments on to the the sculptor.

      Delete
    2. I have been using a tin / bismuth metal for the 54mm molds since it give me lightweight, strong castings with crisp detail so I tried the new molds with that metal. The only drawback is that it is rigid and does not bend which is not a problem with the big figures. I had a mishap with the a couple of the 40mm infantry, dropping them on a counter. The rifles snapped off at the top hand. The rifle is the one thin part in the new molds. If this becomes a problem I might switch metal for that particular mold.

      My second try with the NCO mold went much better, producing perfect halberds. It does not look like I will vent any of these molds.

      Glad to hear that the Austrians will be arriving in the near future. After many years the Austrians to oppose the 54mm PA Prussians still have not put in an appearance.

      Delete
  10. Hi Steve great job convincing Prince august to do this I've been hoping for something like this for a long time. Any plans for some marching french without turnbacks? I really want to do fontenoy.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Currently the plan is to do the Prussians, Austrians and Russians and cover infantry, cavalry, light troops and artillery.

    If the range sells then it could be extended to cover the British and French.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Have all five SYW molds and happily casting away. Melted down a bunch of older figures and turned them back in SYW soldiers. Hopefully cavalry will be on the near horizon as that seems to be the big gap here. I've got plenty of infantry and three different cannon molds to use so having some horse would be great. I prefer one piece cavalry castings although a plug-in torso (like the heads) might make some sense to get the variety (like with or without cuirass). Thanks for getting this going. I haven't casted in years and now am really cranking it up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like them, and thanks for the feedback. If you have any pictures of finished figures it would be nice to see what everyone else is doing.

      The running order is probably:
      - 3 Hungarian infantry moulds, done & should be out very soon.
      - 2 Russian infantry in summer uniform moulds
      - Cuirassiers

      To be quite honest the layout for the cavalry is not sorted. We are trying to give plenty of flexibility in a small number of moulds, current thinking is possibly 3 part with horse, torso and head. As soon as the sculptor has some ideas I will post photos.

      Delete
  13. Hello this is a very interresting range ! Its very nice that PA target wargamers for the new range!! i hop it will succeed and i will do my best for it !

    Wich body mould would you use for brittish troops in "New France" during the SYW (battle of fort Carillon) ?

    best regards
    paco

    ReplyDelete
  14. Paco

    See response under French infantry, Prussian bodies and Russian heads are probably closest. PA are planning to make some - but it could be years away.

    Steve

    ReplyDelete