Gidday from Oz! This is a copy of a post I sent John over 18/12 ago, before my joining the forum. As always, he replied soon after & in "mysterious" terms.
I now offer it to the wider audience for discussion (while donning my padded gambeson, mail & helmet to receive incoming ) I am modifying it & updating it slightly
I have been gradually putting together armies for the ECW from your great figures - the Battalia box was the best idea yet and the metal personalities are great! Also love the Covenanters & Royalist Scots/Irish.
There have been a lot of good publications lately especially by Charles S Grant & Phil Olley rediscovering the Big Battle and Old style wargames set in the 18th century - reprints of the original "The Wargame" and Peter Young's "Charge" followed by "The Wargame Companion". More recently, the "Raid on St Michel" and "The Annexation of Chiraz" have been mouth-watering additions to this genre, along with the "1st and 2nd Wargames Annuals ". Now there is the "Wargaming in History Vols 1,2 &4". There has also been the publication of "Black Powder" rules that cry out for large regiments of 28's and the LAOK supplement, as well as Partizan Press's "Der Kriegkunst" rules. The problem is that large metal battalions become prohibitively expensive for most of us (I love Minden & Front Rank), and I confess that although the old Spencer Smith figures have a naive charm, they really don't "cut it" for most of us who have become used to the more modern figures.
So could I put my "plea on bended knee" for a range of plastic mid-18th century figures so such an enterprise would be available to the wider market? I think it would sell very well, even to those who don't use big battalions. The Perry's & Victrix which you also market, will cover the Napoleonic era (though a box of Austrian Landwehr in greatcoats/oberrocks with round hats mixed with Korsehuts and some Grenze would be excellent). You are already doing excellent work in the ancient and modern periods. I also note that Hatt plastics are postulating a range of hard plastic 28mm SYW Prussians in the not too distant future - I personally would prefer that the "toy" market didn' steal the thunder in this period with its propensity for weird poses and figures closer to 25's than 28's.
I would like to see box sets of plastics about the size of the Victrix sets allowing for a big battalion with flags, drummers, officers & NCO's, with supplementary metal figures.
The uniforms could be generic or more specific, though I'm sure no-one would quibble with the width of the cuffs varying from 1740 to 1765!
There could be generic Austrians & Prussians & perhaps Brits & French. The boxes could be Infantry (march attack - really don't need a lot of poses), Hy/Med Cavalry (separately or with 50:50 split of types with & without cuirass) and a Hussar type (these wore virtually the same uniform in all nations - remember musicians & some officers in tricornes - a head swap would do). Perhaps also an artillery box and even civvies & transports & pontooneers. The boxes could contain mostly rankers, but could contain separate command sprues - officers, NCO's, musicians & ensigns- and head sprues for Inf box with tricorne, grenadier cap & fusileer cap options and busby/ mirliton options in hussar box. The use of separate head or hat sprues would allow the basic infantry sprue to be used in different configurations. The cav box would have tricorns as standard, but the modeller could use Inf grenadier heads from spares for elites. The other options would be plastic heads modelled to accept different hats being glued on or separate metal heads sold as an accessory eg for French free corps helmets, etc.
At this scale, the difference between Austrian, Prussian & French coats is minimal so only the head sprues need be swapped in sets. British coats were a bit different, so probably a separate set & I guess French could be if coats without turnbacks are considered. So in a few boxed sets, most of the mid 18h century could be covered. As old style wargames have big units, I would suggest 24 - 48 rankers (Grant has 48 fig units plus command figs) - then there could be Brigade & wing boxes similar to the Battalia box. Command sprues could have several bodies with varied arms - swords & flag staffs, an arm with spontoon for NCO & even an apron & axe to convert a ranker to a pioneer. 2 - 3 cavalry boxes would suit most major nations as would an artillery box. You could even consider a wagon/pontoon set with artificers, civilians, pioneers, sappers and some gabions for campaign games (obviously the basic wagon or artillery sprues would have much wider usage than the 18th century). The benefit of plastic is that it could allow the average purse to embrace the old (& fun) game type. As a reference Blandford books Mollo 'Uniforms of SYW 1756-63" would be a good starter & there are all those Ospreys.
I fervently hope you will be able to accommodate those of us with grandiose ideas & smaller purses to allow us to join C S Grant on the "Plains of Lower Germany" or the fields of the Vereinigte Freie Stadte & the Grand Duchy of Lorraine! Even those among us with slightly deeper purses could have even more magnificent armies!!
I will follow in another posting with a modified copy of a post I placed on another plastic manufacturers "wish list forum".
Still waiting for my copy of LAOK to cross the "wild seas", but looking forward to reading it.
Hello again! As mentioned in the above here is my other modified suggestion letter originally to "another plastic producer" re generic mid-18th century plastics.
"Gentlemen & Ladies, I'm afraid this will be rather long, but hope it generates plenty of discussion & will bring in members of other 18th century submissions, and finally produce lots of figures.
I feel that the SYW (& WAS & French-Indian War & even War of Polish Succession & Colonial wars in India) is a viable option for Warlord to consider. It certainly caters to those who like big units and has heavy, medium & light cavalry, wider use of artillery as well as light infantry to supplement the line & grenadiers. It is a period eminently suitable to Table-top teasers a la Charles Grant, etc.
It would need a number of sprues, but the potential is enormous, especially as the mid-18th Century is the chief period for those who like Imagi-nations and also Big Battalion style games where 48 - 60 fig units are not unknown - plastic would be ideal for these players. The variations in uniforms would be of little consequence to Imagi-nation players as they often make up their own uniforms anyway. I know of a number of players who would do this type of gaming if cheaper figures were available in plastic. Also, just look at the effect that cheaper but good hard plastic 28mm Napoleonics have had on that period - we are seeing a revival of 28mm Napoleonics and the advent of "Black Powder" & "Republic to Empire" rules to name but 2 sets that favour bigger units - and one can go back to Peter Gilder's "Grand Manner" rules, Grant, Featherstone, etc.
Now, to the "nitty-gritty".... Reviewing my uniform sources (Mollo, Pengel & Hurt & Ospreys, Partizan Press uniform reprints ) I could see the following sprues, that if done subtly, would allow conversion to a huge array of units & still satisfy all but the most pedantic modeller (who will likely use metal anyway). Details not needed during conversion can be readily removed by filing or carving, small extra detail added with modelling putty or sprue.
Infantry sprues - I think this can be simplified to 2 sets - what I will call the Prussian and Austrian sets, though a proper British set would be great. I would generally limit poses to the advance musket at the shoulder pose to simplify things, and perhaps have some "half figure" pieces for pose variations, sergeants,command figures, etc. Command figures, flag bearers and musicians could be in plastic or metal allowing for different unit configurations. Generally I feel lace can be painted on rather than moulded on. Buttons should be regularly spaced and if really necessary can be cut or added or painted on as desired. Coat & waistcoat pockets should be horizontal as a default - the pedants can modify these if desired, but this is the commonest pattern. All infantry of the period seem to have worn above knee gaiters. Accoutrements also appear pretty universal - there is a belt over left shoulder supporting a cartridge pouch on the right hip with a small epaulette on the left shoulder.Hanger sword and bayonet are suspended from the waist belt (a sprue extra could be small waist pouches for those units that had an extra belly pouch ammo supply). There could be a haversack & water bottle hanging over the right shoulder to the left hip, though this detail is probably not necessary. Drummers generally had a wide belt over the right shoulder and swallows nest type shoulder epaulettes. Officers had waist sashes & gorget plates & spontoons, while sergeants carried small halberds &/or canes. I will mention heads below, but perhaps sprues of alternative heads or separate metal heads would be another option especially for the less common grenadier types. However I feel that most should be able to be accommodated on the basic sprues as separate swords would only be needed for the split figure if provided. However the other option is glue on accoutrements as is mentioned in the Victrix Napoleonic Austrians release.
The "Austrian set" I would see as having a coat more generously cut, with medium-sized cuffs, coat turn-backs, lapels to the waist, with rounded upper ends over the collar bones allowing modification as desired. Perhaps a lie down collar as well, though not really necessary as this was uncommon in most units & could be painted on the few. The waist-coat would be somewhat longer to about upper leg-lower crutch level. Head variants should show a full tricorne of Austrian style, a fur fronted grenadier busby with hanging bag (perhaps 2 types 1 with a grenade & no front plate & 1 with a front plate ), a Russian mitre, and a British grenadier cloth mitre. This set would allow most French (perhaps a coat without turnbacks to allow for earlier & some later French), Austrian, British, Hanoverians, Russians & Franco-Austrian aligned Imperial Kreis contingents to be modelled with sufficient authenticity for most gamers.
Hungarians could be converted using sprue or modifying leg detail, though I suspect that most might buy a metal unit for these chaps. However, if Warlord is really generous, a Hungarian type body sprue could be made allowing Austrian and Russian Pandours, Freikorps v. Kleist, etc as well as the Hungarian Infantry - this sprue could have a variety of heads and would be useful for light unit conversions.
The "Prussian set" should have a more "closely tailored" coat with square-ended lapels, lie-down collar, smaller cuffs in the Brandenburg style. The waistcoat is shorter coming to upper pubic level only. Accoutrements as above & long-gaitered legs. The head selection should have the Prussian tricorne (with the front arm closer to the head - like the Brits of AWI or French Revolution tricornes), Prussian grenadier metal fronted embossed mitre, & the shorter Prussian fusilier mitre. Perhaps this is where the Russian Grenadier mitre might go if it does not fit on the "Austrian" sprue, but this would not be ideal as the Russian uniform favours the Austrian cut, at least in the earlier period. This set will model Prussians, Saxons, Hessians, Wurtembergers, Brunswickers & remaining Imperial Kreis regiments.
The cavalry really needs 3 different types, as well as a generic 18th century horse sprue though heavy & light horse sprues could be done to allow for some dragoons & hussars being on smaller mounts if this is really necessary (do Perry do larger horses for Cuirassiers & smaller for Hussars?). Separate saddle cloths could be done to allow shaping of the holster cloth or the rear of the saddle cloth to suit the variants - Cuirassiers vs dragoons vs hussars, but is probably unnecessary.
The first is for Cuirassiers. This could be used for all nations as the tricorne shape appears to not be such an issue. Elite company heads with grenadier caps could be borrowed from spares in the infantry sets. The horse furniture seems pretty standard as well. The main difference was the sabretache worn by Prussian units and this could be moulded as a separate glue on option. As far as I can determine the vast majority of cuirassiers only wore the front plate in action, even if they had back plates provided. Otherwise the armament would be a musketoon/long carbine slung to the right on a wider crossbelt and a cartridge pouch on a narrower cross belt to left - all with straight bladed sword generally slung from the waist belt. The cuffs are medium sized and gauntlets are shown in many cases though seldom covering the top of the cuff & any buttons there. These could be filed back at discretion. Coat tails have turnbacks. Top-boots to just above knee.
The second cavalry set is for the medium types - Horse, dragoons, dragoon guards, even light dragoons. The coats are a fullish cut, with medium sized cuffs (like the Austrian Infantry cuff), turned back lapels, There is a medium length waistcoat with a waist belt that suspends the straight-bladed sword under the coat. A wide cross-belt over left shoulder suspends a cartridge box & swivel for the carbine/musketoon ( mould separate item to allow different placements - perhaps some alternatives could have a tethering stake attached). The right shoulder should have an aigulette and the left an epaulette holding the crossbelt - again, these can be removed at discretion. Cavalry boots were to just above the knee same as the cuirassiers. Heads options should include tricorne, plain bearskin with bag and tassel and a French dragoon/English light dragoon helmet with turban & horsehair crest. Perhaps an English grenadier/fusileer mitre as well to allow the Scots Greys & Hanoverian horse grenadiers to be modelled. Musicians are drummers with swallows nest winged epaulettes - these could be separate items to glue on.
Again the French dragoons provide a quandary - they are the only types to wear gaiters still, and have their stocking bonnet. Still, a suitable head & judicious filing should do the job. However, they are probably one to do in metal.
The third cavalry set is Hussars. The uniform for these chaps was pretty much the same in all armies with the main difference being headgear. They had braided dolmans, barrel-sashes, breeches with short hussar boots & schwaraden (can be suggested by a line on the upper thighs & filed off if not appropriate) and fur-lined, braided pelisses. Weapons were carbine suspended from crossbelt with cartridge pouch on right and curved sabre attached to slings to belt (under the barrel sash) as was the sabretache (again if moulded as a separate item with slings, it can be shaped to suit before gluing). The pelisse could be moulded separately. The head variants need to be busby with bag, mirliton of Prussian type, & mirliton/busby of French type. An earlier Hungarian hussar head variant would allow Austrian grenz hussars & WAS & even WSS types to be modelled as well.
Now to artillery!! I think that with little quibbling split trailed guns would do for the entire century (indeed so do Front Rank). So could I suggest Gun sprue, limber & horse sprue & artillery crew sprues for mid-18th century. These could be sold as individual sprues or in boxes, so gamers could set themselves up as their rules dictate.
The Gun Sprue: sprue with several trails (2 small & 2 large) & Gun barrels (2 small 1 medium 1 large 1 howitzer) per sprue. I feel a smaller trail & barrel would do for the 3-4pdr battalion guns, medium sized barrel on smaller trail for 6-9pdr's and a large barrel and larger trail for 12 pdrs (medium barrel on large trail is a nice 6pdr variant for WAS guns). All the barrels could have a modicum of generic embossing. One Howitzer barrel would do - Russian specials will need to look at metal I think, as would the bigger 18-24pdrs used in some set piece large battles. Any spare space could be filled with rammers, linstocks, trail-spikes, ammo chests, etc though with wheels as well this may be difficult and these could be placed on the crew sprue.
Limber & horse sprue - basically 2 x 2 wheel limbers with ammo chest and 4 horses. The limber wheels are small compared with those of the guns. The limber could be in parts with an option of gluing a central limber pole or 2 shafts at the side to accommodate single horse galloper guns, fore to aft harnessing or side by side harnessing. A nice touch would be to include a small sheet of thin plastic card to make harness straps if this cannot be done on the sprue . This sprue could also be used in conjunction with any transport wagon type sprues WF may contemplate in the future covering many eras.
Crew sprues - these chaps are all much the same uniform across armies of their respective eras - open hands in several poses - perhaps split bodies and separate arms. WAS-SYW crew = lapelled coat, medium cuffs with lay down collar, turnbacks & gaiters, wide belt over left shoulder holding cartridge/tool pouch on right hip, picker tools in mid chest, hanger sword from waist belt under coat. Extra small pouches for belly pouches and powder horns should be extras to glue on. Generally, button hole lace if worn could be painted on (here is an argument for a separate British set). I would see these crew sprues as being the ones to have the gun tools, rammers etc and perhaps a telescope. Heads would be the fuller tricorne or bare heads - any specialised bombadiers hats could come from the infantry sprues spares. These sprues could also be the ones to fill the role of ancillary sprues for sappers, pioneers, pontooneers, etc so some axes, spades, picks & perhaps barge poles & oars
Thus I feel the basic infantry, cavalry and artillery troops for the mid-18th century can be relatively easily done with a small number of sprues. A generic cavalry horse sprue could be used in many eras.
I respectfully throw these thoughts before you, fellow gamers, and again apologies for the length necessitated by the detail. I have considered, & wished hard for, this for many years. It has taken the creative talents of Games Workshop with fantasy types, and Warlord, Victrix, Perry, WF and others to show the possibilities of plastic for historical gaming, to help me crystallise them. And no-one is doing mid 18th century in plastic..yet! A great opportunity for Warlord to corner this great, and I would think very popular, period for gaming!
However, I'd be very happy to start with British & French sets!!
The Jacobite rebellion would be appealing but I hope that is not what Warlord do in plastic.
I would rather see a box of plastic Prussian SYW infantry, march attach with lapels and collars and separate heads for musketeers, fusiliers and grenadiers. Also a matching set of Austrians with separate heads for Grenadiers and Musketeers. The Prussians and Austrians fought several campaigns against each other with numerous battles, the Jacobite rebellion was three main battles and a few skirmishes. The figures would also be useful for several of the smaller nations in the SYW and mid 18th century wars too and should be popular for the imagi-nations as well
Amen to that, Simon! March attack is the most useful pose & I would think makes the creation & casting simpler. These would be the most useful initial boxes.
I would also ask that the figures be on the biggish side of 28mm to be reasonably compatible with Front Rank, Eureka & Minden where one would go for more esoteric figures, characters, civvies, etc - unless Warlord intend to all this posting.php?mode=reply&f=14&t=3004#
I would welcome some plastic Jacobite uprising figures.
Though please don't restrict them to only being march/attack! (this is a big failing of the WF WSS figures)
A sprue similar to the ECW one with a mixture of marching and firing line would be most welcome. The Jacobite uprising not only lends itself to big battles, e.g. Prestonpans, but also smaller Skirmish actions like Clifton Moor, Littleferry and Highbridge, so a mixture of troop types would be great.
"Who died and made you xxxxxxx king of the zombies?"
I won't tire of sying it would call for a legion of ImagiNation players around. Middle (about) XVIIIth century is ImagiNation mainstream. It's that easy to make up a historical unit with a little touch to make it compatible with ImagiNation gaming... So everybody uses the same (almost) minis, painting them up in different colours and with (again, almost if any at all) little conversion...