Friday 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Sorry, I did not get around to any festive photos.

I would just like to say thank you for all the help and support I have had over the last couple of years.

Have a Merry Christmas.


Friday 11 December 2015

Russian 'Hybrid' Cavalry - Painted

(Updated with extra photos 29/12/15)

I've finished the Russian 'hybrid' cavalry in the usual toy soldier style. I'm quite pleased with them, I think fitting the SYW infantry heads onto the Karoliner cavalry results in a fine set of figures.

Some of the details are not quite right, it depends how fussy you are - certainly an option for any 'imagination' armies.

My apologies for the photos, my wargames table and lights are not easily accessible, so just a lamp on the desk in front of the PC!


The Russian SYW heads are a great improvement on the original head, a bit larger and much more detailed.

Horse Grenadiers

No standard yet as I am waiting for it to arrive - only ordered it yesterday!

I think the grenadier head sits very well, and results in a splendid chap.

So if you have the Karoliner cavalry moulds and the new Russian infantry they are worth a play.

Presented with flags

(Added 29/12/15)

The cavalry have now been presented with their flags, and blooded on the battlefield.

The cuirassiers lead the cavalry

Followed by the horse grenadiers - what a large flag you have!

Cuirassiers decide charge Saxon grenadiers - not a good idea - they will learn!

Sunday 29 November 2015

Russian (Karoliner/SYW) Cavalry

Don't get too exited!

For the last couple of years, with the arrival of the new SYW range I have concentrated on the new infantry figures and held off painting any more cavalry waiting for the new moulds.

However, I could do with a few more units of cavalry for a game I am putting on over the Christmas break. The new SYW cavalry is some way off, so I decided to use old Karoliner castings that have been sitting in a box in the garage for the last few years.

The Karoliner cavalryman K-931 is a nice figure (possibly not quite as stylish as the old HE version, but much more suitable for fitting in with the new range), and I already have a few units of them in my Karoliner/French army.

Although a nice figure, with the small head and hat it will not really fit in with my new infantry units, so I decided to have a play and see what this figure looks like with the new heads.

The Karoliner range have their belts on the outside, so are only really suitable for Russians and some cuirassiers, so I decided to do a Russian - probably cuirassier! I used the Russian officer's head, as this has formal curls, and also a large cockade on the front.

The head cuts off very easily with a heavy duty knife, and leaves a wide enough area to drill to accept the peg on the head. The fit is bang on, and if you use some thick super glue there is no need for any filler.

I think the more detailed and head and larger hat (the heads are cast in Model Metal for more detail) really bring the figure alive. I was so impressed that I decided to try a horse grenadier with the Russian grenadier head, which I think is also a good fit!

And even the trumpeter (K-931) and standard bearer (K-933) are easy to swap heads.

I have a small unit (8 troopers) of each on the painting table, I will post some pictures when they are finished.

I hadn't really noticed before, but these figures, particularly the trumpeter must be wearing very tight corsets to get a waist like that!

I'm sure the new cavalry will be an improvement on the Karoliners when they come out, and are needed for all the nations with the sword belt under the coat. However if you want to get some more mileage out of those old Karoliner moulds, or like me have some castings hanging around, this is worth a try.

After all...........if you look at the first few posts on this blog; when I first contacted PA all I wanted was some new heads!

Thursday 5 November 2015

SYW range is going digital!

First Sculptures

Chris Tubb (the sculptor) has decided to move to digital sculpting, as you can imagine there is quite a learning curve involved. This has contributed to the slowing up of figure production, but should pay dividends in future.

Changing to digital sculpting part way through the range needs to be done carefully. In order to 'calibrate' the digital design, rather than go straight to the cavalry it was decided to produce some French infantry to get the proportions, and 'feel' right.

The approach he has taken is to manually sculpt an 80mm infantry torso to mimic the pose of the figures already done, and then 3D scan this to form the basis of the new digital sculpts. The first figure digitally sculpted is a French Infantryman advancing, he is shown below with an Austrian in a similar pose for comparison (I know the Austrian grenadier should have a sabre, but it is a similar pose).

The pose matches quite well. Looked at side by side there is quite a difference due to the clean nature of the digital sculpt, however I doubt that would be anything like as obvious in a painted casting.

The musket is probably a more realistic thickness, but i just wonder if it might benefit from thickening up a bit?

Chris is planning to 'print' the figure in the next few days, after which he will make me a mould and I will cast some up to see how they look in the tin.

If you have any comments PLEASE let me have them, and I will pass them on.

Release of French Infantry?

It was originally planned to release the cavalry next, however with the move to digital the plan was side tracked (to a great extent by me), in order to try and get the feel right.

With the French so well advanced, after some test casts have been done it might be worth finishing off a French infantry range and get them into production, I would suggest a couple of moulds as discussed back in August.

Mould 1

  • Rank and file (turn backs) advancing - as above
  • Rank and file march attack (turn backs)- arms changed on above
  • Tricorn - fusilier - as above
  • Tricorn - grenadier
  • Bearskin with bag - grenadier

Mould 2

  • Drummer (no turn backs)
  • Officer (no turn backs), there was a suggestion that he could double as standard bearer - anyone have any ideas on pose?
  • Tricorn - officer
  • Bonet de Police
  • Bearskin with no bag - Cuirassiers du Roi (if it will not fit in the cavalry mould)

Mould 3

Easy to add an 'early' version of mould 1 with no turn backs for WAS etc.


The change to digital is happening, and if not done right could spoil this range. Your comments are important and welcome, so please make them, they will be listened to.

Cartridge box and sword

Rahway commented on the depth of the cartridge box, I thought it looked shallow as well and discussed with Chris, who sent me an additional image from the rear, the depth is OK.

The images seem to have some quirks, for example the base above looks tapered, but I am assured it is not!

The image raises another point we have been discussing. Putting the sword outside the coat leaves a large gap between the sword and leg, details like this may be OK for commercial spin casting, but not for producing the home casting moulds, there are not many options to make it suitable for home casting:

  • Fill in the gap, less work but could be ugly
  • Make the sword septate and glue on

We think that a separate sword is the answer, as:

  • It will look better, even if a bit more work
  • Later in the war the fusiliers did not carry swords so not needed anyway
  • For grenadiers and early war it can be glued on
Has anyone noticed he has two bayonets, one on the musket and one in the scabbard?

Saturday 17 October 2015

Irish TV visit to Prince August factory

For any of you who are interested here is a link to an RTE visit to the Prince August factory.

RTE programme

There is not much relating to the SYW range, but there are a few glimpses of the moulds being made. The process requires the masters to be repeatedly pressed between the rubber blanks, which explains why the figures have to be very robust.

There is also a lot of coverage of the Waterloo display, this is very impressive, but staging it has been the main reason why the production of the new SYW moulds have been so slow!

Saturday 8 August 2015

The Russian infantry has arrived

Well, at long last PA have released the Russians!

Below are the assembly instructions which I downloaded from the PA website. Not very good quality I'm afraid as I had to download PDF and then scan to JPG, as you can't load PDFs into the blog............unless you know better?

The figures look good, and as you can see on moulds 3110, 3111 & 3112 we did get the pouch to add to the waist belt to make the grenadiers, so something came of the delay. (I had to make my own pouch from plasticard).

I've not actually seen these black moulds, so I would be interested to receive feedback on how they cast.

The SYW range has been out quite a while now, does anyone have any painted up units they would like me to load onto the blog?

As always, comments welcome.

Friday 31 July 2015

French Infantry - some more thoughts

(Updated 03/08/2015)

Since the post on French Infantry on 31 January there was a lot of discussion about the need for new French moulds (the Karoliners are pretty close), and if there is a need what to put in them. There are still comments coming into that post, which suggests that there is interest in moulds for French infantry, so I have discussed with PA the possibility of doing some after the initial releases of cavalry.

I have read through and responded to all the comments, and hopefully my suggestions below cover most of what has been said - please put me straight if I have got it wrong?

Having looked through all my reference books, and the quite a few hours on the internet, I came to the conclusion that this Historex sheet is a good starting point for discussion.

Mould 1 - Rank and File

The first two illustrations give a pretty good indication of what I think the figures should include to make them distinct from the the what is already available in the range:

  • Coat with turn backs.
  • Visible external waist belt and scabbards for the sword and bayonet.
  • The large haversack slung over the right shoulder
  • Hair in a short pony tail extending not far below the collar

I would suggest there should be a mould with the usual advancing and march attack poses, kitted out as these chaps. For heads there would be:

  1. Tricorn, hair loose, clean shaven, for fusiliers (looks same as Russian musketeer)
  2. Tricorn with moustache, for grenadiers (could also be used as late war Russian grenadier)
  3. Plain fronted bearskin for Grenadiers de France (could also be used as 'German' grenadiers in Austrian army if you don't like the side plaits in the Hungarian moulds).

For use in Canada, it might be useful to fit in a 'bonet de police' as worn by the chap in the middle of the illustration below, In the moulds there is usually space for two figures and four 'bits', so a fourth head will not fit in a mould containing a the march attack figure with a separate arm.

Mould 2 - Drummer and officer/standard bearer

Many illustrations show the French drummers without the coat turned back as the third figure along in the Historex print. With the loose coat tails and belts and scabbards outside the figure is significantly different. (However if you wanted to minimise mould purchases, and already have the Prussians, then drummers are also shown with turn backs, so their drummer is pretty close, but the belts are under the coat and the Prussian coat is open down the front)

The Prussian and Russian officers are close, but not quite right, the Prussian's sash is too prominent, and the gauntlets on the Russian are wrong. if a suitable pose can be found then provide an officer who can either carry the standard or a pole arm.

As for heads in a second mould, an officer's head with tricorn and side curls would be needed, this would also be fine for the drummer (or use one from the rank and file), there is then scope to put in something different, perhaps:
  1. Tricorn, side curls, for officer (& drummer)
  2. Bonnet de police, for Canada (as requested by Paco)
  3. IF it will not fit in the cavalry mould, a bearskin without hanging bag. An alternative interpretation of the Grenadiers de France, and more importantly it would convert the Austrian cuirassier to the Cuirassiers du Roi (as requested by Duc de Brouilly).
  4. Might be space for something else, depends what second figure is

After these four figures what else is really needed for the French?

  1. Alternative rank and file mould with the coat without turn backs (also for WAS etc)
  2. NCO - armed with a pole arm, and the same baggage as the rank and file, but no cartridge box, the coat tails could be left down for variety??

Current thinking is (updated 03/08/2015)........................

Get the Cuirassiers and Dragoons released, the range needs cavalry (and artillery, light troops and staff officers)!

If it can be done quickly without much delay to the artillery etc, then release a couple of French infantry moulds to get collectors of French armies up and running, these could contain:

Mould 1

  • Rank and file advancing
  • Rank and file march attack
  • Tricorn - fusilier
  • Tricorn - grenadier
  • Bearskin with bag - grenadier

Mould 2
  • Drummer
  • Officer (who could double as standard bearer)
  • Tricorn - officer
  • Bonet de Police
  • Bearskin with no bag - Cuirassiers du Roi (if it will not fit in the cavalry mould)

However PA have not yet decided whether or not to do some French early, as it will cause some delay to tthe artillery and light troops. However there is a case for releasing some French infantry after the 'Austrian' cuirassiers and 'Prussian' dragoons,

As usual, thoughts please?

Thursday 9 July 2015

Austrian Cavalry

Sorry for the quiet spell........... Chris has now restarted work on the Austrian cavalry.

Austrian Cuirassier

Attached is a photo of the almost finished 'green' of the trooper. There is a bit of work to do (reins, holster caps, lower the cartouche and round off the saddle cloth a bit), but quite close.

I selected the pose, as that is how I like to see my cuirassiers (hard looking) - I hope you like it. I think the resulting figure is very good, and am looking forward to painting up a unit (or two).

The intention is to cut the figure at the waist, where there will be a 'plug' joint, and the neck where there will be the same fixing as in the infantry. This should allow a fair amount of variation (it is not possible to completely split the horse and rider in semi flats).

We are not yet sure what will fit in the moulds, possibly just the horse in one, and three torsos, carbine, and heads in another. if only three torsos it is a bit of a shame, as I would like to see four, with an officer, standard bearer, trumpeter and trooper. If only three will fit I think that the musician could be left out and added, along with a dragoon drummer, a little later.

Austrian Dragoons & Musicians

Another mould with torsos can cover the officer, standard bearer and trooper for the dragoons, and a further mould for the musician torsos of both the dragoons and cuirassiers.

I think that there should be another walking horse to add a bit of variety - any thoughts on the dragoon pose?

Prussians and Russians

Once we have the first test castings we can see how much/little is needed to complete the dragoons and cuirassiers:

  • Prussian dragoons might just need new torsos & heads.
  • Prussian cuirassier might need new horses (shorter coat tails and sabretache) and heads
  • Russians might just need new horses (sword belts outside coat tails)

This can really only be decided once we get the first batch cast up.

As usual comments welcome, particularly just as we are setting of with the cavalry.

Thursday 18 June 2015

Battle of Mollwitz - the Lego Interpretation

A bit of fun

I suspect many of you will already have seen this, but if not it is worth spending a couple of minutes to watch it.


Thursday 28 May 2015

Update 28th May 2015

Russian Infantry

Unfortunately things have been held up by the Waterloo display over at the PA factory in Ireland, so the Russians have still not been released - hopefully soon.

Just to keep you interested below are a couple of photos of the figures which Richard Hattersley has painted up for the packaging and PA publicity - the figures do paint up well.

The grenadiers have the waist cartouches which will be in the moulds, so there has been some good come of the delay.


The sculptor has restarted work on them, I have seen the start of the first horse and it looks good, I should have some photos in the next week or so.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

A game, Salute and an update


Unfortunately there has not been much progress to report on the sculpting and production of the SYW range for the last month or so - hence very few posts.

I'm told that the reason for this is that Prince August are concentrating all of their efforts on upgrading their visitor centre, and their Waterloo game/project. This has delayed putting the Russian moulds into production and sculpting the cavalry - hopefully things will pick up again in the not too distant future.


If anyone is going down to Salute and wants to have a chat then I will be helping out on the Guilford Courthouse demonstration game on stand GA15.

If you want to see examples of the new range let me know and I will take a few down.

Field of Battle Game

Yesterday evening we had another game with the semi flats at my local wargaming club - they are not the lightest things to cart around!

This was a 'pick-up' game using the 'Field of Battle' (FoB) rules, which are a quicker and simpler version of the 'Piquet' system. The unit sizing and basing are identical to the last game we played using 'Maurice' a few weeks ago; and we tend to use both as takes our fancy.

The forces are based around Prussians and Austrians/Russians, with some friends thrown in as I don't have enough of the new figures finished yet. Both armies had two infantry brigades and a cavalry brigade.

We set up a random terrain and then drew maps for hidden deployment. The Austrians (my good self) massed the infantry in the centre and the cavalry on the left. Opposite this, the Prussians (Greg Chambers) had the infantry brigades widely spaced, with the musketeers and fusiliers in the centre and the grenadier brigade on the right hoping for a flanking move, the cavalry were on the left facing their Austrian counterparts.

After the first few impulses (FoB is card driven not a conventional move system), the Austrian infantry are advancing in the centre and the Prussian (mostly Saxons) grenadiers advancing around the flank in the far distance.

Later on in the game with the Austrians pushing forward in the centre and on their right, and the Prussian grenadiers advancing on the far flank.

Unfortunately for the Prussians; just as the grenadier brigade was about to attack into theAistrian flank, their commanding officer was shot (a 1 on a D12), which held up the advance. (The green markers indicate they are 'out of command' which restricts movement).

The command generated a new officer shortly afterwards (turning a 'Leadership' card), who showed his bravery by almost immediately getting shot as well, A third officer stepped up to the mark later on, but by then the chance had passed as the Austrians and Russians had redeployed to face them.

The Prussian infantry in the centre advanced to meet the Austrian Advance and a general firefight developed. (The smoke indicated that the unit has fired and cannot fire again until a reload card is drawn.) This firefight proved relatively inconclusive.

The really decisive moment occurred when the Austrian cavalry put in their attack on the right flank.........

 ,,,,,,,,were counter charged my the Prussians................

.....and decided to head back to Vienna.

The loss of this cavalry shattered the Austrian army's morale, and shortly afterwards the game ended.

Overall a very enjoyable game (even though I lost), and Field of Battle is well suited for this period, if you haven't tried them give them a go.

As usual comments welcome.

For Rahway................

The Russian grenadiers break through in the centre, in front of them are a battalion of Prussian garrison troops. Give them a soft target to build up their confidence!

Sunday 5 April 2015

A head count.

After a couple of posts with eye candy, time for something a little duller (but I've added in some photos of Richard's painting to spice up the links from other blogs links - these are painted for the front of the packaging).

The Russians will be out in the next month or so (they have been delayed to try and squeeze in a belly box for the grenadiers), so I thought it a good time to have a look at where we have got to with the provision of heads for the Prussians, Austrians and Russians.

For my own purposes, to see what is missing from the range, I use a spreadsheet showing what headgear and hair various troop types wore. The boxes in the sheet are shaded to show what is already in the moulds, and what else is planned.

The results so far......................

Prussian Infantry

The Prussian 'close order' infantry moulds are all released - the tricorn is quite steep on the front.

As you can see most things are already covered, with just the need to add some heads for the light troops. These are planned to be included in with the moulds for skirmishing troops as discussed in posts back in September.

Austrian & Hungarian Infantry

Again the close order moulds are all released, the tricorns are moulded on a shallow slope at the front to be very distinct from the Prussians.

Again the coverage for the close order troops is pretty much complete.

German Grenadiers

Currently the heads for the grenadiers all have to come out of the Hungarian moulds, and so have their hair in plaits - from what I have read that is probably correct. 

There are however quite a few illustrations around showing German grenadiers in side curls, so it is appreciated that this option might be wanted. Chris has already produced a head with side curls. It was done ready for the 'German' infantry issue (my grenadiers in the post last April have that head), however when it was decided to just produce a single mould for these it could not sensibly be fitted in - so we decided to rely on the Hungarian heads. Austrian horse grenadiers are generally shown in side curls, so we will try and fit one in with the dragoons.

German grenadier officers possibly had side curls and no moustache, however it really is not worth a separate head for this - just trim off the mustache, or don't paint it.

Grenz & Jager

As discussed in posts back in September, it is planned to cover these in future releases.

Russian Infantry

I have listed these as if released, they are sculpted, but are waiting for some finishing touches, however I have not seen the mould listing yet, so cannot say what goes where, The tricorns are at a slope intermediate between the Austrian and Prussian moulds, and could probably be used for some of the Austrian units.

Again the close order infantry is covered pretty well, and the it is planned to put the Pandours in with the grenz when these are released.

Russian Grenadiers

After 1759 Russian grenadiers were ordered to swap the helmet for a tricorn, although I cannot see why any self respecting gamer would want to do such a trade. As present the best match is to use a musketeer head and paint a mustache (I assume they had one?), but a suitable head will soon come along somewhere in the cavalry.

Future Plans

It is good to see that with the addition of the light troops the the headdress for all infantry in these three armies will be covered - that is after all what I originally wanted from this project.

If anyone sees anything missing from, or wrong in the tables, let me know and I will change them and try and get any missing heads included in future moulds. (Please remember that these are only Prussia, Austria and Russia.)

Eventually I would like to continue this exercise to cover infantry and cavalry of all nations, and also torsos, to produce a 'parts list' to assemble all troops in the SYW - but not yet, 

(I actually find a good way of planning is to skim through the Blandord 'Uniforms of the Seven Years War' book and see what can, or cannot, be made with the moulds so far.)

As always comments welcome.