Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Seven Years War 28mm Austrians from Front Rank

For Maria Theresa!
So this is kind of a "WTF?" project - 28mm Austrians from the Seven Years War.  The Seven Years War? Yes - the Seven Years War. Why the Seven Years War? Why not? Is that an answer? No. But that's really all I have for an explanation.

Austrian SYW battalion in 28mm
My main horse & musket gaming interest is the Napoleonic period.  I have a collection of Napoleonics in 15mm and another group in 28mm.  I love the period, I love the various rules and I love the games.  Rolling out for the 28mm games in particular is a lot of fun. That huge battle in Regina is probably one of the coolest games I have ever been part of.

The frontage for each figure is 15mm

But the Seven Years War is really neat.  Linear fighting (none of those savage, peasant fuelled revolutionary columns), elite officers, polluted and incompetent officers, tricorne hats, crazy gloves, pimped up cuffs and collars, neck scarves, fancy hair, halberds...and poltroons.  Poltroons! And the Hungarians - bonkers! And lots of grenadiers with mitres. Mitres!  The period has a lot to offer. The Space Marine-like shooting abilities most rule sets attribute to the Prussians are pretty annoying but the whole spectacle looks amazing on the table.  Conscript Brian H. has a 15mm scale collection of Seven Years War figures that are, quite simply, jaw dropping to see, and when he brings them out for a game its an event for sure.  Although the damn Prussians will win...

BEFORE - painted originally as an 18-casting unit, just one flag

I cannot match Brian's skill with the brush, but I have dabbled with the Seven Years War before. Back in 2009 I painted up a few 6mm Adler castings.  For Christmas that year I received a pack of Front Rank Austrians from this period.  At the time I was reading up the "Might & Reason" rules by Sam Mustafa, so I started to paint them up for fun  in line with the basing for that game.

Another BEFORE photo - note the fade on the flag
But I didn't like how it looked.  "Might & Reason" calls for very small units in 28mm scale, about 12 castings per unit.  I didn't care for the look, and I didn't like the way the units were split into two halves - was hard to figure out where the standard bearers should be. A little thing, but it is the kind of thing that really irritates me.  "Might & Reason" is not rigid on its basing, however.  You can use any basing you like as long as it is consistent, so I painted these up originally as an 18-man unit, based on three six-casting bases with a 15mm-per-figure frontage.  This little orphan project sat on the shelf after that, and there are a couple of pictures in this post that show how it looked.  The flag was from GMB, and it was very fiddly - it reacted poorly to the glue and then faded under the dullcote varnish.

AFTER - increased to 22 castings, with a second standard bearer and mounted officer
Fast forward to 2011, and Curt gets me going on these bonkers grand-manner-style Napoleonic units with 40 castings.  As I finished more and more large Austrian units, I would look at my lone SYW unit from time to time, and it looked pretty small.  Fast forward again to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting challenge which started last December.  I dug out a lot of old stuff to paint - mostly Sudan, some WW2, but I also came across some extra musketeers that came with the 2009 gift.  I thought I would paint up the balance of the musketeers, the mounted officer, and re-base them using the system Curt had developed for the Napoleonics - still 15mm frontage per casting, but a deeper base to protect the figures.  It seemed like a nice way to get some extra points! I didn't get to them in time for the challenge, but I still got to them over the weekend...

Poltroon - awesome! Keep that line straight!
I did not wish to make this into a massive 40-casting unit, but I hiked it up to 22 castings with a mounted officer. I added a second standard bearer, and replaced the flags.  The unit was re-based. All in all it came together pretty well.

Mounted officer dressed to the nines.
Front Rank castings are certainly "well fed", but have lots of nice detail
The Front Rank castings are interesting.  They are beefy, beefy lads, hulking 28mm figures, and they barely fit into the 15mm frontage on the bases.  It's not that they are taller, they are thicker. They have nice detail, but some of the poses, particularly for the officers, are a little awkward. The fellow with the halberd on the command base is a good example - a neat pose, but he looks very awkward...the turn of his back just isn't quite right.  On the other hand I've seen a lot worse.  The Front Rank range is very, very comprehensive and there is a lot of lovely detail on the figures.  If 28mm SYW is your thing, I suggest Front Rank for sure.

A solitary unit...for now...
Overall I was happy with this little project and how it turned out. So will this herald a new "New Insane Project?"  You never know, but it is pretty unlikely.  Why? Well, for fun I took a "Might & Reason" scenario that Brian H. designed, the Battle of Lobositz.  Doing the Austrian infantry component alone would require another seven of these units...and then there is the cavalry, the guns...and then the Prussians!  All in it was something like 350 castings between both sides. Front Rank doesn't hose you, but it isn't cheap either - and there is other stuff I want to paint.  Even if I lowered my sights - say to just try a Black Powder game - it would still be a pile of lead, and time that I should probably invest in other projects (Napoleonic Austrians, or Sudan, or who know what else) instead.

So these lads will sit on the shelf and look nice for now.  We'll see if/when I come back to the Seven Years War, and in what scale...


James Brewerton said...

cant go wrong with SYW I will be moving on to the Austrians when I complete the French
Peace James
BTW your unit looks stunning hope I can do half as well

Ray Rousell said...

As James said you just can't go wrong with the 7YW, it was my first ever period and its still my favourite. Great looking figures though Greg, even if they are gonna sit up on the shelf, at least they look excellent!!

Simon Quinton said...

Wow these look superb great jon on them especially the white!

Greg B said...

Thanks guys.

I am keen to get into the Seven Years War period for sure, I just don't think it will be in 28mm.

But you never know...

DeanM said...

Beautiful work. I just started on some Foundry British Grenadiers from their SYW range. These Front Rank guys are superb. Best, Dean

Ian said...

SYW I really can't get excited about it, I've painted up plenty of 6mm for others but I just think Naps has so much more. Saying that, your figures look fantastic


Phil said...

Wonderful work with those Austrian troops!

18th Century Guy said...

Excellent work! You might look into Black Hussar Miniatures for more SYW Prussians. The price is around Front Rank's but the figures are very nice. They only have a few poses now but they are adding more and they will do other nations as well.

kendo said...

these are fantastic bit you might hate me what I sat next..finioal cords are gold, well gold shot through with black thread, you have you flags place reversed, the white color is always on the right of the coloured colour..and the mounted officers rode to the flank or the rear of the unit..

Greg B said...

Thanks guys. Conrad - no hate at all! I am very green with this period, so your info is really helpful. I will note all of that for my next unit - in whatever scale I try.

Curt said...

They are fresh on the field having been in garrison for a few years and have not worked out the placement of their colours. The officer, eager to see what is happening to their front, is in the midst of forcing his way through the ranks to have a better look. :)

They look f*cking fabulous, man! BTW I picked up the 'Last Argument of Kings' for BP and it's quite cool. J and M have it on sale here:

Just sayin'