Tuesday 10 May 2022

The TYW - a Display Project

The Thirty Years War collection hasn't featured much on this blog for the past few years, but many readers may remember The Breitenfeld Blog which was devoted purely to the project.

The Thirty Years War is one of those periods that many wargamers seem to love, but very few actually 'do'. I may be mistaken in that (and I am sure there are many devotees of the war who are absorbed in the recreation of it on the tabletop), but it is my overall impression that it is not much played.

Anyway, here are a few taster photos of my own set up.

I should perhaps explain what I mean by "Display Project".

The rationale behind this collection right from the outset was that although it could be wargamed with, the emphasis was on the aesthetic. I wanted big units, lots of big flags, and lots of vignettes that added nothing to the gaming, but told the story and contributed to the narrative I was portraying.

It is interesting that most wargame shows include games that are described as "Demo Games" and "Participation Games" (in the UK at least). I believe there is a third category... The Display Wargame. Not so much a game, but a display of modelling, painting, and all the aspects of the hobby we know and love. Some might turn their noses up at such things, exclaiming that these are more like static dioramas. But, I believe they played an important part in the evolution of the modern hobby, and continue to do so. After all, it was such Display tables that adorned the pages of the magazines under Duncan Mac's stewardship in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, and which inspired so many. 

A "Demonstration Game" may have high aesthetics too, but it is primarily a demonstration of a full wargame, being played out as such.

A display collection is not a diorama, as it includes wargames units, based and organised as such. It looks like a snapshot of a wargame in progress... and it may even be played as such. But its "raison d'etre" is to display the art of a wargame... the figures, painting, modelling, terrain to produce a visual feast, first and foremost.

Anyway, given that this Thirty Years War project is primarily for Display, and given that it has only had one outing at a show (Falkirk), possibly 10 years ago, I think it's time it came to the fore again. My plan is to put it on at a show sometime over the next couple of years.


  1. Those figures look marvellous Phil. I’ll follow with interest.

  2. Well worthy of showing it off, some super figures and vignettes. really nice. I think you are right about the TYW not being done much, most of us concentrate on the ECW, but it is a conflict that certainly interests that's for sure.

  3. Your TYW collection is one of the very best painted and animated miniature armies on the planet. Not forgetting all the one-off sculpts. You are a very lucky person.

  4. It is indeed a supreme treat to see those various Display Projects in the display cases and the Wargames Room. Well worth the drive!