The Battle of Lissa–Austro-Hungarians

DSC01455Back on March 18th I noted that I had picked up two fleets from Houston’s Ships for the Battle of Lissa. I wrote then of the Italian fleet. The ships are in an approximate 1/1000th scale (don’t look too closely at scale lengths etc) but are quite nice models when completed.

Doug has been working on some Houston’s Ships as well – see Houston’s Ships Part 4 for his progress.

Anyway, at the time I noted that I would update Thomo’s Hole with the contents of the Austro-Hungarian pack. I intend to put that to rights now.

The Austro-Hungarian Fleet box contains the following vessels: Kaiser; Drache; Salamander; Kaiser Max; Prinz Eugen; Juan de Austria; Hapsburg; Erzherzog Ferdinand Max; Radetzky; Adria; Donau; Erzherzog Freidrich and Dandolo.

DSC01456As with the Italians I opened a packet to have a closer look, in this case a centre battery ship, the Kaiser. As with previous packs there is a hull, masts, ventilators, ships boats and davits in the pack. The moulding is a bit rough and ready as on the other models but again, I have the feeling this will clean up and paint up quite well to be used in my Austro-Hungarian fleet. Colours will likely be the Brunswick Green these vessels may have been painted in, on the grounds that they will make a good looking opponent for the Italians.

The rigging instructions are quite basic as well and I suspect that I will need to refer to Conway’s for this as well as further information on the vessels themselves. I think I have also found a good supply of rigging cotton but more on that later.

The Battle of Lissa–Italians


As if I did not have enough wargame plans for this year, friend Douglas’ foray into 1/1000th scale pre-dreadnought vessels has caused the usual wargamer’s “bright, shiney object” syndrome. Yep, purchased some more ships in yet another scale for yet another period.

In this case, Italians and Austrians of the Battle of Lissa fame. The manufacturer? Houston’s Ships. Houston’s Ships are not known for their extreme accuracy. In fact, some of the vessels, to scale, are longer than the original vessel, others are shorter.

First off, the Italian Fleet. The box I purchased contained models for the Formidable, Terrible, Carignano, Messina, Conte Verde, Re d’Italia, Re d’Portagallo, Regina Maria Pia, Castelfidardo, San MArino, Ancona, Palestro, Varese and Affondatore. Enough vessels to cover the Italian fleet.

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Opening one of the packs, in this case, the Formidable, we can see that there are two hulls and sufficient masts, whale boats and guns to complete two vessels of this case.

The instructions and rigging instructions are basic and I would recommend consulting something like Conways All the World’s Ships for additional information.

Whilst the castings are a bit rough around the edges, a little bit of filler and some clean-up and they should produce some nice models.

More on all this later. In the meantime, I am trying to decide whether to paint these vessels in an Italian Grey or make them vessels of an imagi-nation and paint them in a good Victorian Livery.


I got a new book the other day. It was one that I had on a wish list for a while now. It was a history of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 – The Austro-Prussian War – Austria’s War with Prussia and Italy in 1866 written by Geoffrey Wawro. Being the kind of wargamer I am, the first reason I liked the idea of wargaming that war was that it really was misnamed. The war actually involved Austria, Prussia and Italy, with the Prussians and the Italians taking on the Austrians with varying degrees of success.

I then got to thinking, Doug has been nagging at me to do some Franco-Prussian War figures so that we can play that with Polemos but i have been manfully resisting. Now, Italians and Austrians, there is an interesting pair, and he can use his Prussians.

I know he also bought some French for the FPW which made me think, “French v Italians? No. Ah, French and Italians v Austrians!”

I recalled that in 1859 there was a little war between those three protagonists and as I plan on gaming this in 6mm, the uniform detail should work for both 1859 and 1866 Italians and Austrians. I need to research the French Uniforms a little to decide whether the 6mm Franco-Prussian War French will work or whether I need to look at collecting some Crimean War French.

Voila, my next project to add to the growing pile of half and incomplete projects. Ah, wargames heaven.