Thursday 21 September 2023

Prince August Catalogue & Progress

Prince August have recently released their updated catalogue, with the 40mm SYW range being featured on the front cover.. The pdf can be downloaded from their website, but be warned it is a hefty 318MB.

For those of you collecting the SYW range there are a couple of useful pages showing the full range of figures in the moulds - I think after all these years PA are getting there - still a few gaps but full armies can now be collected - with a little help from the Karoliner and Rossbach ranges.

It can be seen that there is now a pretty extensive range, however in my opinion it contains a few scaling issues, which I deal with as follows:
  • I feel the Austrian cuirassiers are way too large, so I don't use them, instead I use converted Karoliner figures.
  • The dragoon heads are small, so again I avoid using them - they are easily replaced by 'officer' heads from the infantry, the Russian officer being one of the best (that is what is on catalogue front cover).
  • The French figures are just a bit on the large size (particularly the heads) - I think they look better when used with Russian heads which have similar hair and tricorne.
  • Similarly the artillery crews are a bit large, so again I use the appropriate infantry heads where possible.
All of the 'offending' figures were sculpted digitally, the French and gunners are probably just me being picky so not an issue and easily solved with a head swap, However the cuirassiers and some of the dragoon heads are unique, so could perhaps PA could be persuaded to reprint if enough people commented?

There are a few gaps in the range, which hopefully PA will address, the most obvious ones being:
  • British infantry - the highlander are sculpted (see above), and hopefully the 'hatmen' will follow in the not too distant future?
  • Prussian cuirassier (I have used converted Rossbach figures).
  • Gunners in coats (it was my idea to have the in shirtsleeves)
  • Russian cavalry (belts outside coat) - not sure if there would be market for these, Karoliners with head swaps do the job fine????

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Miniature Wargames - Issue 486

Just in case any of you are interested - I have an article (8 pages) in Miniature Wargames Issue 486.

It is a potted history of how I got into playing with the 40mm semi-flats and then working with Prince August on the SYW range; really just a summary of what has been written on this blog over the last 9 years. There are a few typos and wrongly labelled photos, but other than that I think MW have done a good job of showing the range to the wider wargaming readership.

Sunday 23 July 2023

Battle of Kolin - Commands and Colors

Last month I attended the annual Wild Geese War Games meeting, and put on a participation game using my 40mm semi-flats.

Austrian centre deployed on the ridge - Photo by Robbie Roddis

As often happens, when I am running games I got engrossed in the game, and forgot to take many photos; fortunately some of the other players took some, and also posted them on their own blogs, below are links where you will see more pictures:

In addition to my own photos I have pinched some from those blogs.

The Wild Geese weekend is generally 18th century based, and was held on the weekend of 17th & 18th June, 18th June was the date of one of the great battles in history, the Battle of Kolin in 1757 (there might have been another less interesting clash on that date some years later), so nice to play it on the anniversary. For the game I decided to use the Commands and Colors (it's American) board game system, something I often do for my 15mm Napoleonic games. Although the American War of Independence variant 'Tricorne' is available, and would be expected to be suitable for the SYW battles, I find those rules have the feel of large skirmishes rather than major confrontations; so I decided to use the Napoleonic set, with a few amendments I will discuss later. 

The Table

First of all I need to make both a thank you and apology to Martyn Cartledge who kindly let me use his terrain for the weekend, even though not attending himself:

  • A big thank you for letting me use his 12' x 6' hand made cloth marked out in 180mm (across flats) hexes, and matching MDF hills & woods. Clearly I could not have staged the game without the hex terrain to play on.
  • An apology for using the cloth the wrong way up, both sides are green and marked in hexes, however not realising that at the time I opened the cloth, I saw the hexes on green and laid it out. Only on packing away did I realise that the other side was a much better colour match for the hills - and the hexes were more neatly drawn, so the lack of fit visible on the photos would not have occurred. I later discovered I was playing on an early test run! 
One of the 40mm test games with the cloth the right way up -  a much nicer green!

The available playing area was 19 hexes wide and 11 deep, and the the terrain was stylised as the sketch below (sorry, no fancy graphics from me). At the top (2nd row down), across the width of the board is the Kaiserstrasse, along which the Prussians were marching, and towards the bottom (3rd to 6th rows up) the line of hills and woods over which the Austrians were deployed.

The Armies

With the board sketched out (it took a few test games using my 15mm armies to arrive at the one shown) it came to deciding on the armies - when playing C&C only one unit can occupy a hex, so this set the scale of the game.

The majority of the Prussian infantry was strung out in column of march along the Kaiserstrasse, with a few battalions of grenadiers (3?) marching in parallel, and cavalry in advance and behind; the game scale was therefore determined by the 18 hex length of the Kaiserstrasse. For playability I decided to allocate 4 hexes at the front to give Zieten's hussars space to manoeuvre, and two hexes at the rear for Penavaire's cuirassiers, leaving 12 hexes for the infantry.

According to Kronoskaff there were 33 Prussian battalions present, and after allowing for say 3 battalions off road that left 30 on the road, so each game 'regiment' would represent about 2.5 battalions, so in the game there were 13 infantry 'regiments'; 12 on the road and one off. According to Duffy there were 19,500 Prussian infantry present, so each regiment on the table represented about 1500 men. Based on the order of battle, the Prussian infantry was represented as follows:

  • 1 Regiment of Guards (Gd)
  • 6 Regiments of Musketeers (M)
  • 3 Regiments of Fusiliers (F)
  • 3 'Regiments' of Grenadiers (G) - I know they did not have regiments!

Using the same process for the information I had available I came up with opposing armies as follows:


  • 1 Regiment of Guards (Gd)
  • 3 'Regiments' of Grenadiers (G)
  • 6 Regiments of Musketeers (M)
  • 3 Regiments of Fusiliers (F)
  • 5 Regiments of Cuirassiers (C)
  • 3 Regiments of Dragoons (D)
  • 4 Regiments of Hussars (H)
  • 2 Batteries of Artillery (I ignored the masses of battalion guns)

Prussians marching along the Kaiserstrasse, they would have looked better in column of march but it takes time to deploy them  - photo by Aly Morrison


  • 1 'Regiment' of Grenadiers (G)
  • 18 Regiments of Fusiliers (-)
  • 2 Regiments of Grenz (Gz)
  • 4 Regiments of Cuirassiers (C)
  • 1 Regiment of Horse Grenadiers (HG)
  • 4 Regiments of Dragoons (D)
  • 5 Regiments of Hussars (H)
  • 4 Batteries of Artillery

Austrians lining the ridge, with reserves marching to meet the Prussian outflanking move - photo by Aly Morrison

The Rules

For the game we used Commands and Colors Napoleonics, including the 'Generals Marshals and Tacticians', and 'Epic' expansions; with a few changes to cover the SYW:
  • Infantry facing matters - at the end of movement the infantry unit must face one of the sides or points of the hex.
  • Infantry attacked frontally (not rear 2/3 hexes) by cavalry always melee first (including cavalry  breakthrough moves), and the cavalry can NEVER ignore flags.
  • Cuirassiers do not get additional resistance against musketry.
  • Artillery - no firing overhead or combined arms unless gun is supporting an adjacent infantry unit.

And specifically for this battle to represent the Prussian attempt to move around the Austrian right flank, and the Austrian response:
  • Epic March Move (3 stars on card), can be used in any sector to move troops which spend their entire move in the back two rows of the table - to allow lateral movement. 
  • Troops which spend their entire move on the road may increase their normal move an additional hex.
I also messed around with the stats on the units, essentially making the Prussian infantry and Cavalry much more effective when attacking - I have included the sheets below:

How did it Play?

I would suggest looking at the blogs I have listed to see how the game was received. We played the game 3 times, and set a target of 15 Victory Points (VPs). We finished all 3 games in about 3 hours, and the final tally was 2 wins to the Austrians, and one to the Prussians, all ending within a couple of VPs - the final game ended with Frederick being killed by a musket ball!

Cavalry engaged on Austrian right - photo by Aly Morrison

Monday 17 July 2023

British Highlanders - Update

Just to show I am still here - a quick update on the release of the Highlanders; according to Prince August these moulds will be released late-July/early-August.

There will be 3 moulds containing what has now become the 'standard' mix of 6 figures, that is:
  • Officer
  • Standard Bearer
  • NCO
  • Musician (bagpipes)
  • Rank and file at march attack and advancing.
Heads will be provided to make figures with either bonnet or bearskin, and the officer and NCO with the option to change weapons.

The illustrations below are not the latest designs, but give a good idea of what is on the way, there have been couple of changes since these were taken:
  • The officers now have a sash over the shoulder
  • The march attack figures left arm has been revised to reposition the hand to hold the musket at the base of the butt.

In view of comments about the kilt; I have added a couple more views showing the belted plaid - it is just not very visible on the images above.

Sunday 19 March 2023

British Highlanders

I understand that PA are planning to go ahead with the British, which will be a useful addition to armies in both the European and North American theatres. The intention is to start with the Highlanders, as these are something a little different.

Do we know if during the SYW, the highlanders operated in close order similar to the rest of the line infantry, or were they sometimes used in more open formations - I ask as it will influence what poses to produce? 

I am not sure if the plan is for 3 or 4 moulds, for now assuming only 3 then I would suggest the 6 figures should be:

  1. Officer
  2. Standard Bearer
  3. Musician
  4. Private advancing

Then another two chosen from:

  • NCO
  • Private at march attack
  • Private standing firing
  • Private kneeling firing
  • Private loading
  • Any other ideas?


According to Kronoskaf the highlanders had drummers and pipers - presumably for character a piper would be preferred?

Marching Pose

Is this the correct hand position for British to hold the musket when marching -  it is different to what has been used for the figures in the past?

I have to confess I am not too well read on the British, so more than ever, input from this group would be useful.

Monday 13 March 2023

Grenz - advancing.

Back in August (post 22/08/22) I cast some of the advancing Grenz figures - I have finally got around to painting up a unit.

The figures are individually based so they can be used either as a close order unit as shown or singularly as skirmishers.

The rank and file and drummer are from the new mould, and the officer and standard bearer from the Hungarian moulds, which are close enough - I gave the officer a musket as it looks better when skirmishing (I think it is from the Russian officer).

I also painted up a couple of spare figures to replace the standard bearer and drummer when used as skirmishers. One of these was an NCO using the Hungarian NCO, again with a musket; however the coat tails are way too long, so he will probably stay in the box.

On the 40mm semi-flats figures I generally stick with block painting and don't use any washes or highlighting. The exception to this is a localised wash of Winsor and Newton 'Peat Brown' ink on the hands and faces to bring out the detail, I do this after a first coat of spray gloss varnish so that it does not stain, then tidy up with flesh prior to a final brushed gloss coat of Tamiya clear gloss.

On these I also dry brushed the hats a little to bring out the texture. Initially I dry brushed white which looked way to harsh, so I went over it with a dry brush in black - so I suppose it is like doing it in grey. On the subject of heads, I struggled getting decent castings in my 'scrap metal', so these are mostly cast in model metal (the bodies are about 50/50).

Thursday 2 March 2023

Hussars - painted at last!

I have finally got around to casting and painting up a couple of units of hussars. I don't know how everyone else is getting on with these moulds, but I found that they needed a lot of venting before I could get decent castings - they seem to be working fine now.

As I have said in the past I tend to be pretty easy going when it comes to interpreting uniforms, opting for things I fancy rather than strict interpretations; and I used that approach with the hussars.

Prussian Hussar Regiment No.7 - von Malachowski

In assembling the unit I made one significant change; back in 2017 (see post 20/03/2017) Aly Morrison made some heads with a mirliton streamer extended, and I used these heads on my figures. It was not possible for PA to make a head with the streamer trailing due to the pressures exerted on the master figure during manufacturing process (I did ask).

In 1743 Frederick had ordered the hussars to return their standards, however I really like my units to carry flags, so I looked around for an excuse to include one (I think I would have given them one anyway). On February 23 1758 detachments of Ruesch Hussars and Malachowski hussars captured four standards of the French Polleresky Hussards at Stöcken-Drebber and also one from Royal-Cravate Cavalerie at Düffelward on June 2 1758. For these actions, Frederick granted two of the Pollaresky Hussars standards to Malachowski Hussars - so they carry a French standard.

I gave up on trying to paint the dog-tooth edging to the saddle cloth, that amount of detail in yellow on blue was too much like hard work!

Austrian Hussar Regiment No. 10 - Palatinal

Most of the Austrian hussars wore the fur kolback, however as for the Prussians I fancied using Aly Morrison's mirliton heads, so I delved into my reference material to see if I could justify it. Kronoskaff came up trumps, according to the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift, both regiment No. 8 - Dessewffy (H 34) and No. 10 Palatinal (H 36) possibly wore black mirlitons - good enough for me. 

The Austrian officers and trumpeters would probably have worn a frock coat and tricorn, however PA decided not to include that option so the unit will have to make do with the same hussar officer as the Prussians; I did however give the officer a tricorn pinched from the Hungarian infantry. 

Monday 6 February 2023

Suggestions for Future Moulds

This is a long post, so get yourself a drink before you start reading😊

There has recently been a fair bit of discussion on both the PA website and this blog about the wish list for future PA releases to their SYW range. I have tried to collate this below; if I have missed or misunderstood something let me know in the comments and I will update it.

Austrian, Prussian, Russian and French.

These ranges are almost complete, in my opinion PA should concentrate on filling the gaps in these before starting something else.

Austrian Cuirassiers

These were the first digital cavalry, and used slot in torsos, my idea, which I thought worked well, however PA have found it difficult to ensure a proper fit of torso into the horse, so the idea was abandoned. 

From the photo below it can be seen that the Austrian cuirassiers are way out of scale. In my opinion they need reprinting, they were sculpted digitally so it should be relatively simple to rescale them. 

Prussian Cuirassiers

The Prussian cuirassiers were quite distinct from the Austrians, the main differences being:

  • Prussian tricorns have steeper fronts.
  • The coat tails were significantly shorter.
  • Most wore a sabertache like the hussars.
  • Rounded saddle cloths.

The  tricorne is not a major issue as there are suitable heads elsewhere in the range, however the coat tails and sabertache are difficult to convert.

I have used converted figures from the Rossbach range, however they are a bit on the small side. This is a major omission from the range, all Prussian armies need cuirassiers, so I think they should be one of the top priorities,

Dragoon Heads

The heads in the dragoon moulds are very small so I have avoided using them, instead using the larger heads from the infantry moulds. These are digital and all sit in a single mould, so it should not be difficult to resize and reprint them.

Russian Cossacks

There has been a suggestion of some moulds for cossacks. A set of cossack moulds would be nice, however as far as I am aware they did not play a significant part in set piece battles, so at this stage I think they should drop well down the list. (There is a mould in the Rossbach range which might be useful.)

Artillery crew in coats

It would be nice to have two more moulds with artillery crew in coats to complement the current ones in shirtsleeves.

British and Hanoverian (British)

The British played an important part in both the European fighting, and also worldwide. If the range is to be complete, then PA need to properly cover the British. 

British Infantry

As discussed in an earlier post, the British infantry were quite distinctive, so would merit a range of four moulds to cover the hat men, fusiliers and grenadiers.

British Highlanders

These would make an interesting addition, and would probably merit another 4 moulds. When the time comes there needs to be a discussion on the most appropriate poses.

British Light Infantry

Again an interesting addition, particularly to also cover the various ranger units in North America.

British Cavalry

The 'heavy cavalry' can probably be covered by the existing dragoon moulds, but the 'light cavalry' with distinctive helmets (which are in the dragoon mould) and hussar style saddle cloths might merit a few moulds.

General Propose Figures

Infantry Standing & Firing

It has been suggested that figures are produced to cast units standing in line firing. As a gamer I try to avoid using troops in close order firing lines, as they simply do not work when put into columns, however I appreciate that some of you may want them.

The light infantry mould PA3129 'Austrian Jaeger Light Troops' was modelled with the intention of them doubling as figures for a close order firing line, the equipment is similar to the Prussian line infantry.

There is however a lack of standing command figures, so at some time it would be nice to add a couple of moulds to contain an officer, drummer, standard bearer and NCO in a standing position.

Limbers and Wagons

There is a limber and horses in the Karoliner range, these look quite different from the new SYW figures, however with replacement heads they fit in reasonably well.

Size wise they are a bit smaller, but not too bad, as they are usually some distance apart not a major problem. Although it would be nice to have some new ones, I think they would go well down the list.

With respect to a wagon, I did a bit of 3D printing - I found a file for a French Napoleonic wagon and rescaled it as close as I could to make an Austrian one. I appreciate not everyone has 3D printers, but if you have access to one it is a good option. 

Pioners etc.

A set of pioneers and labourers working with pick axes, shovels etc would be a nice addition. Perhaps 2 moulds with a selection of tools and poses.

How to Proceed?

Please note that all I can do is make suggestions to PA, I do not decide their production order and/or timetable. In my opinion, a sensible way forward would be as follows:

  1. Austrian (& Russian) cuirassiers - rescale and reprint these figures. It might be a case of changing them to castings with the combines horse and torso, with some variety of horses as in the dragoons. (3 moulds)
  2. Dragoon heads - rescale and reprint these heads. In addition to changing the mould in the dragoon set, offer this single mould as a replacement. (1 mould)
  3. Prussian cuirassiers - modify the Austrian cuirassiers to the Prussian uniform, and introduce some variation on horse positions. (3 moulds)
  4. British Line Infantry - 4 moulds as discussed in earlier post.
  5. 'British' Artillery - a couple of moulds with generic crew in coats to cover all nations. (2 moulds)
  6. British Highlanders (4 moulds?)
  7. British Light Infantry (2 moulds)
  8. British light cavalry (3 moulds)
  9. Standing infantry command group (2 moulds)
  10. Cossacks
  11. Pioneers

Thus far PA have produced 34 moulds in 10 years, so the above list of 24 moulds will keep everyone busy for a while!

If you have stayed with it this far, your thoughts would be appreciated?

Tuesday 31 January 2023

SYW Range - how is it progressing?

When PA started designing their SYW range (almost 10 years ago) I thought that a good indicator of how the range is progressing would be to see if it was possible to make figures illustrated in the Blandford book 'Uniforms of the Seven Years War 1756-63'. Although an old book, I often thumb through it for inspiration. 

I made a list of the illustrations in the book, and then tabulated how to make them using the PA moulds, with colour coding of progress (see the table below):

  • Green - a mould for that troop type has been produced.
  • Light Green - no specific mould, but it is possible to cast something pretty close by mixing available parts.
  • Orange - hopefully moulds for these will be produced in the future.
  • Light Blue - nothing in the SYW range, but a satisfactory figure can be made using older ranges.
  • Red - not likely to be produced.
Yes - an indication of someone with too much time on their hands, however it was a useful tool in deciding what parts, particularly heads, needed to be squeezed into the moulds.

I've just had a look at the mould list on the PA website, and think the SYW range now has 34 moulds and over 180 separate parts. Looking at the chart the majority things are now covered, the main troops gaps (based on this book) are Prussian cuirassiers and British.

As discussed in the previous post PA are planning to produce more moulds, so hopefully these gaps will be filled.

Saturday 28 January 2023

British and Hanoverians?

 SYW range - progress so far

After ?&%$ years on the project, with the release of the hussars, the central and eastern theatres are pretty much covered by the moulds released so far. There are however still a few more things I would like to see done to tidy things up:

  • Prussian Cuirassiers. This would need to be a 3 or 4 set collection. PA are unsure if these are different enough to sell - thoughts? (I have used Rossbach figures with SYW heads).
  • Austrian Cuirassiers. I find these too big to use (so I have 3 x 8 man units just sitting in a box - does anyone want to buy them?). I have now replaced them with Karoliners converted with SYW heads. I personally think that PA should reprint them (they are digital) at the correct scale.
  • Dragoon Heads. I find these too small and poorly detailed so do not use them. They are digital so I have asked PA if they can reprint them larger and with more pronounced detail.
  • Artillery in Coats. Currently the artillery are in shirt sleeves to cover all armies (my idea - sorry); it would be nice to have a couple of moulds to produce a generic crew in coats.
Your thoughts would be appreciated.

British and Hanoverian Figures (British)

It has always been known that the lack of British figures left a big hole in the SYW range for western Europe; however the decision was made to have a range which would allow full armies to be produced by adding cavalry, artillery, light troops and staff officers before producing yet more infantry. 
With the release of the hussars, there have been requests on the PA Facebook page for British, and PA seem to be listening (it is always worth asking). I recently had a chat with the sculptor, and it seems PA are thinking of going ahead with some British - so keep commenting on their Facebook page - they do read it!

I think the following might be worth considering:
  • British Infantry in their distinctive coats - perhaps 4 moulds (see below).
  • Highlanders - I will do a separate post to discuss - I think 3 or 4 moulds.
  • Artillery Crew - 2 moulds in coats to to fill gap above.
  • Cavalry - not sure yet???
I will just cover the British Infantry in this post.

Hat Men, Fusiliers and Grenadiers

The illustrations show the typical differences between the hat men and grenadiers at the time of Minden, although there are a lot of variations (for example the hat man's green trousers and stiffened gaiters are an oddity).
The typical differences are:

  • Obviously the tricorn and mitre caps.
  • The grenadier carries a sword, which the line infantry had mostly abandoned.
  • Grenadier coats had shoulder wings (well most did).
  • Grenadiers had the match holder on the shoulder belt.

Some hat men are shown with belly pouches, however most illustrations seem to show them without them.

I think it might be worth having two moulds for the private soldiers, each with an advancing and marching figure as follows:
  • Hat Men, with tricorn, without wings, sword, belly box or match box.
  • Grenadiers with mitre cap, wings, sword, belly box and match box.

For the fusiliers use a grenadier mitre on a hat man torso.

Infantry Stance.

On Kronoskaf there is a sketch and description of the stance of the British infantry, which I have copied below. I would suggest that the 'standard' poses used on the other figures in the range are adopted, modified to 

When shouldering arms, the soldier was to keep his weapon nearly vertical, carried on the left shoulder, barrel facing outward, lock “turned up” and below breast level, with the butt flat against the hip, the weapon pressed against the body with the ball of the thumb. The musket was to be held with the index and thumb ahead of the corner of the stock, with the middle finger on the corner, the other fingers on the bottom of the stock. Soldiers were to stand with shoulders held back, stomach slightly tucked in, chest pressed out, chin up, and the right arm hanging down with the palms facing back. Finally, all but the rightmost man in the line was to have his head cocked to the right. The rightmost man kept his head straight forward. While not stated in any manual, the tricorne was generally worn cocked to one side—typically to the left. This was to allow the weapon to be shouldered, without hitting the hat.

Command Figures

As with the other ranges I suggest an officer,, standard bearer, drummer and NCO. From the illustrations above these are distinctive enough to not allow use of other nations.

Suggested Moulds...............

Mould 1:

  • Officer with  shoulder sash and hand to take partisan, musket or sword.
  • 1 x spontoon for officer
  • Drummer with hanging sleeves
  • 1 x tricorne head
  • 1 x grenadier mitre head

Mould 2

  • Standard Bearer 
  • NCO and hand to take pole arm or musket.
  • NCO musket
  • 1 x tricorne head
  • 1 x mitre cap head

Mould 3 - Hat Men (tricorne) - without sword, belly box, or shoulder wings.

  • Marching torso  
  • Arm for marching
  • Advancing torso
  • 2 x tricorne head

Mould 4 - Grenadiers (mitre cap)  - with sword, shoulder wings, belly box and match box.

  • Marching torso  
  • Arm for marching
  • Advancing torso
  • 2 x mitre cap head

As always feedback would be welcome to help try and get this right.