Sunday, March 30, 2008

SYW Association Convention

Venture Miniatures 28mm Hanoverians

The 25th annual Seven Years War Association Convention was just concluded over the past weekend, March 28 and 29 2008 in South Bend, Indiana. Attendence seemed to be up rather dramatically, although I will have to get information on the final attendence from the convention organizers for the final tally.

The day started off on the wrong foot for me, as I had packed my car the night before and was all ready for an early start on the 120 mile journey from Hesse Seewald to South Bend. My car battery did not cooperate and so I did not depart until noon. Consequently, I had to cancel my BAR game on friday afternoon. Fortunately, there was sufficient interest in my endeavor to stage the game at 7PM that evening. I ran a scenario that was loosely based on the battle of Reichenberg in 1757. See the picture below for the opening set up of my game.

The Battle of Reichenberg - Austrians vs Prussians

There were 25 scheduled games spread over the two day convention with a dozen on Friday and thirteen on Saturday. Both days had three gaming sessions: morning, afternoon and evening. In general, the evening games tend to be skirmish style games that are a little more light hearted in nature. The lineup of game judges read like a Who's Who of the 18th century gaming establishment, including Tod Kershner and Dale Wood - authors of the Age of Reason rules, Bob Hagerty with his beautiful WSS figures, Chris Engle with one of his famour Matrix Games, Dean West running his Final Argument of Kings game and Bill Protz with his Batailles de l'Ancien Regime (BAR) rules. Just to name a few.

Dean West (center) discusses the finer points of strategy with Sam Tinaglia during Dean's Final Argument of Kings game in 15mm.

Battle of Kolin using Carnage & Glory computer assisted rules.

The picture above depicts Hulsen's assault on the Oak Wood during the Battle of Kolin, as hosted by Ed Harding, Phil Roberts and Rob Huml. The terrain is made using a canvas painter's drop cloth with the roads and streams painted on. Foam boards underneath the cloth provide the contours. The game uses a computer driven set of rules to determine what happens during the game. Talk about fog of war! This really gives it to you. A fine looking game.

A view of the fine terrain and figures from Jude Becker's Age of Reason wargame.

Jude Becker brought his French and Hanoverian 28mm armies and his spectacular looking terrain boards for several games during the convention. Jude has his own range of 28mm SYW Hanoverians that includes infantry, cavalry and artillery. These are spectacular looking figures and Jude indicates that the French will soon be added to the range. He brought some French masters for "show and tell" and I have a feeling that a few of them will be making an appearance in my armies one of these days. He calls his figure range, Venture Miniatures and I will be doing a more detailed review of the range within the next several days. Very impressive figures and terrain.

Jude Becker's duel vignette from the Foundry range.

A Lady apparently has the vapors over the high quality of terrain in Jude's game. Figure vignette from The Foundry.

Tod Kershner (center) brought back his popular "Iroquois Terror" game.

I was too wiped out from staying up until 4 AM to get up early enough to participate in Tod Kershner's "Iroquois Terror: Revenge of Red Jacket" game. This has been one of the convention's most popular games and Tod really does a fine job of creating a challenging and fun wargame scenario. Iroquois Terror had not appeared at the convention for quite a number of years, so I was glad to see that it had come out of hiatus.

Bill Lademan enjoys particating in the BAR game hosted by Bill Protz and Der Alte Fritz.

Bill Protz adjudicates the opening moves of the BAR game played on Saturday afternoon.

Bill and I hosted our grand BAR game on Saturday afternoon, featuring 16 battalions (960 figures) and 216 cavalry figures per side. The table was 6ft by 20ft with back tables on each side of the playing area. I will report on the details of the game later this week. The French were doing well on their right due to a vigorous cavalry attack, the center had a slight edge to the French, and the Prussians were launching a steadfast attack on the French left. For once, there was not a conclusive or decisive outcome to this battle as it could have gone either way had it been fought out to the bitter end.

30mm Scruby Prussian fusiliers purchased by Der Alte Fritz at the flea market (bring and buy).

As stated earlier, there were a dozen vendors and three flea market tables with all kinds of goods to entice prospective inhabers of SYW regiments. I found a 59-figure battalion of 30mm Scruby Prussians that I snapped up in a hurry. I don't need anymore Prussians, but these were nicely painted, priced to sell and too good of a deal to pass up. I also bought a copy of a recent autobiography on the Prince de Ligne, a copy of the John Mollo SYW uniform book and 120 Imperialist Enterprises 1806 Prussian cavalry. I also picked up some Vallejo Paints from The Last Square and some Front Rank SYW Austrian infantry from The Elite Group. I also took delivery of my tents, campground and command tents from Herb Gundt (pictures to be shown later). All in all, it was a great convention and I look forward to returning again next year.


  1. Alte Fritz,

    The photos look great and it sounds like everyone had a good time. I just bought a copy of BAR from Bill a couple of weeks ago and am painting my first unit organized for them--the regiment des Indes. I am a slow painter so it will take me a while. Your site is an inspiration.



  2. Jim,

    Thanks for the great convention report - nice balance between eye-candy and text!

    I'm really taken with Jude Beckers' Hanoverians - they really say "German Infantry" to me for some reason. If they are that good, what will the French be like???


    Greg Horne

  3. I have more pictures of the Venture Miniatures and a review of the range that I have written up. I will post this Monday evening or Tuesday morning. Ordering and contact information is also provided.

  4. I've always wanted to attend this convention . . . but have always lived too far away (and still do) . . . so I'm rebasing some figures this weekend . . . somehow I've got the feeling that you had the better end of the deal.

    I look forward to more reports and pictures.

    -- Jeff

  5. Excellent report and pictures! Makes me wish I were there. :-)

  6. Jim
    Thanks for info and pics - maybe one day I can attend......

  7. The Hanoverians are mouth watering - what lovely figures...

  8. Delightful pictures, and a fun event. I'll try and attend one of these times.

  9. A marvellous looking Kolin, by the by.

    Glorious scenery. I'm very impressed.