Written and illustrated by Bruno Mugnai. I have to admit to being in awe of Bruno: not only is he a talented artist he is also a very good researcher and author. I was highly impressed by Volume 1 on the United Provinces and this one is equally as good.
The period under review saw the Imperial troops in constant warfare against most famously the Ottoman Empire but also Hungarian insurgents and the French. Also there were campaigns in Poland and Italy. No previous knowledge is required as the author takes the reader through the chronology and explains all the loyalties and alliances of this era very well.
The book is divided into parts. First chunk is an examination of whether the era was really one of limited warfare as is generally thought. Next section is entitled The Emperor's Army and covers the nature of and organisation (funding etc) of the Habsburg forces. Next up is a section on the Reichsarmee. This is followed by a section on the Imperial army on campaign. I particularly enjoyed reading about the manoeuvring of Turenne and Montecuccoli two giants of the age. Next is a section on uniforms, equipment and ensigns. This I found extremely useful, full of interesting details. I didn't think that such detailed information was possible but this charts the development of the uniforms admirably.
Finally I have to say the illustrations are very striking and numerous. Both period depictions and the original art created for this work (including flags) are extremely well executed and very useful.
I have been quite excited by the Strelets-r WSS figures but then I am slightly biased when it comes to 1/72 plastics. As a child I went to Britain's then I went to Airfix (the above picture of me in about 72 shows me with some). So to me it's old school. Sure I went to Minifigs, and Essex, Dixon's and so on War games foundry but I have always liked 1/72 plastics. They are simple to convert with head swaps and the anatomical proportions are quite pleasing. To conclude i don't look at 1/72 plastics as a cheap option but an aesthetic choice. Lovely slim bayonets.