Regaining the Mojo & Resurrecting The Seven Years War

I suppose like a lot of people at the moment, the current situation combined with a lack of wargaming opportunities has been killing my painting mojo.  I did initially have a good gallop at the Napoleonics, finally completing my French Imperial Guard Cavalry and Army of the Duchy of Warsaw, as well as some odds and sods and quite a lot of Russian Napoleonics, which I’ll post here later, as well as a side-order of Indian armour for Burma.  However, my painting (and blog-posting) has slowed considerably in recent months and I clearly needed a break from all those bright facing colours, buttons, lace, cross-belts and shakos…

But then a rare game of Napoleonics using Shako 2nd Edition and conversation with Phil Portway last month (just before going back into flippin’ lock-down) prompted me to delve into the crypts of Fawr Towers to dig out my old 15mm Seven Years War (SYW) collection.  I used to use my own conversion of Shako 1st Edition rules for the Seven Years War and for a couple of years ran an epic Europe-wide campaign in the Pre-Internet Age… But that was all 23 years ago… I’m suddenly itching to do SYW again…

Yes, that’s right…  What I needed to get my mojo back after painting all the bold colours, facings, buttons, lace, cross-belts and shakos of Napoleonics was the bold colours, facings, buttons, lace, cross-belts and tricorns of the Seven Years War… And playing wargames using a set of Napoleonic rules…

My own SYW collection consists mainly of a fairly sizeable Prussian army (35 infantry bns & 17 cavalry regts) which is big enough to refight most of the historical battles of the period, including the Battles of Lobositz and Kolin, which we ran as show demo-games (our Lobositz game appeared in Wargames Illustrated around 1997ish).  However, it could still do with a little bit of expansion for the Battle of Leuthen and some of the other big’uns such as Prague and Torgau.

My other armies are a small, half-completed Swedish army and a small contingent of Reichsarmee and Saxon cavalry.  I’m also very fortunate to have been left a very large Austrian army (66 infantry bns & 24 cavalry regts) by my friend Doug, who passed away some 15 years ago.

Doug’s Austrian infantry, freshly re-flagged

However Doug had only given flags to a very few of his Austrian units and all of those flags had faded, perished, broken or simply dropped off in the intervening decades.  So the army needed a complete re-flagging, including the replacement of all (mostly broken or about to break) cast-on poles with rather more resilient brass rod.  The flags are pre-printed infantry flags from Fighting 15s and cavalry flags from Wargames Designs.  These are mostly Lancashire Games figures, which to be fair, aren’t the best figures in the world, but were given a cracking paint-job (some 23-25 years ago) by our mate Gareth Beamish.  Quantity also has a quality all of its own…

Doug’s Austrian cavalry, in the process of being re-flagged.  Each regiment is based in line, on a single base.  This may seem unusual, but in the age of ‘linear’ warfare it works very well and really speeds up play.

So 44 infantry battalions and 30 cavalry regiments later…

Doug’s Austrian cavalry, freshly re-flagged and with all finials and fringes picked out with metallic paint.

As always, the Fighting 15s flags (used for the infantry) are exquisite, being very crisply laser-printed.  In fact, I think these are the best of his that I’ve used to date.  The Wargames Designs flags (used for the cavalry) however, are nowhere near as good.  They’re inkjet-printed and absolutely need varnishing in order to sharpen up the details.  However, they are about the only SYW Austrian cavalry standards on the market, are cheap and are no worse than pre-printed flags I was using 20 years ago, so I’m happy with them and the finished result above looks good.

With Doug’s Austrians re-flagged and a few of my Prussian and Reichsarmee units similarly repaired, I’ve started painting some new SYW units for the first time in this century!  I’ve started with the Würzburg ‘Red’ Regiment, which was an excellent Imperial auxiliary regiment raised by the Arbishop-Elector of Würzburg to serve with the Austrian army and which held Leuthen Church until being finally ejected by the Prussian Footguards, as shown above.

The figures used here are Old Glory 15s, which were still being sold by Old Glory themselves when I bought them, but which were then split off as a separate company in the late 1990s.   They are now sold in the UK by Timecast.  These are the Austrian ‘German’ Infantry, which I think are the best figures in the range, having stacks of ‘character’.

The flag is a speculative design for the regiment’s Leibfahne based on a historical description and published on the excellent Kronoskaf Seven Years War Project website, which is the ultimate ‘one-stop shop’ for all things Seven Years War (and which didn’t exist when I was last researching the topic).  I then printed it off on my own laser-printer.  The regiment’s second battalion (seen half-painted at the back of this photo) is also now painted.

Next in the painting queue are some more Old Glory 15s figures I bought around 25 years ago; namely the Württemberg and Bavarian Auxiliary Corps, who fought for Austria from 1757 onward and who had the misfortune of being the focus of Frederick’s attack at Leuthen.  These corps each have ten 12-figure infantry battalions, plus three grenadier battalions for the Württemberg Corps.  I actually painted four of the Bavarian battalions during the 90s, so that cuts down the ‘to-do’ list somewhat.

After that I plan to generally expand the Prussians and add a few more Hungarians to the Austrian army (Doug only had two Hungarian regiments), before moving on to getting a French army (may mate Andy is getting the Russians).  But there’s now a lot more choice of high-quality figures, with both Blue Moon (Old Glory’s 18mm replacement for their old 15mm range) and Eureka producing exquisite Seven Years War figures.  Despite dire warnings of them being ‘too big’ for my existing armies, I’ve ordered some Prussian Fusiliers, Prussian Grenadiers and Hungarian Fusiliers from Eureka and can’t wait to see what they’re like.

In terms of gaming, I plan to break the boys in gently with a small historic refight; probably the Battle of Mollwitz of 1741, which was Frederick the Great’s first victory and was actually fought during the War of Austrian Succession.  I’ve then got a small campaign based on the Prussian invasion of Bohemia in 1757 (which led to the Battles of Prague and Kolin) that I’ve been itching to try out and then, if there’s sufficient interest, I might run a ‘global’ Seven Years War campaign along similar lines to our very successful 1990s campaign.  At least this time we have e-mail and can save a fortune on postage! 

This entry was posted in 15mm Figures, Campaigns, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Regaining the Mojo & Resurrecting The Seven Years War

  1. Jason says:

    Great to see you restart that one Mark and reflag Dougs Austrians. Those were very memorable games in the 90’s. Wish I was still around with the French for this latest venture!

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Hi Jase,

      I thought that would pique your interest and some nostalgia! 🙂

      Yeah, we had some fantastic games. The historical refights (I distinctly remember doing Mollwitz, Chotusitz, Soor, Hohenfriedberg, Lobositz, Kolin, Hochkirch, Maxen, Paltzig, Zorndorf, Kunersdorf and Breslau – there were probably others) were just as good as the campaign games.

      Do you still have your French army, or did you sell it?

  2. James Fisher says:

    What a beautiful collection. How could you not get them onto the field (and add to their number)? Those Austrians are an excellent addition. Superb.
    Regards, James

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers James!

      I’ll get some better photos next time. Once this lockdown is over I’ll be sorting out a game asap. 🙂

  3. James Manto says:

    I have recently added some Eureka Prussians to my mostly Old Glory 15s army and they look fine.

    Your Austrian army is enviable. Looking forward to seeing more of this.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Great to hear! Still waiting for the Eureka figures to arrive, but I had a bit of November sun today, so managed to get outside and photograph some of my Prussians. I was also going to do the Reichsarmee and Swedes, but rain stopped play… Again… 🙁

      Strangely though, I can’t really think of Doug’s Austrians as ‘mine’.

  4. steven says:

    Impressive both the collection and the additions.

    A mate has painted up Seven Years War in India and we’ve had a couple of games. But generally this is an unknown period for me.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Steven!

      Yeah, the SYW in India is a mystery for me too! 🙂 Same goes for America. My main interest is Central Europe and my library is totally geared to that narrow part of the war (as well as the War of Austrian Succession), so I really should broaden my reading.

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