Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Resurrected Armies Project Two: Rediscovered SYW Russians

This coming Sunday is the Seventh Sunday of Easter and after that is Pentecost Sunday, so I only have a few more weeks before my self-appointed deadline to talk about my Resurrected Armies project. To recap, the purpose of this project was to use the season of Easter to "resurrect" some long-neglected armies in my collection. I showcased my 20mm Soviet WW2 collection some weeks back, so today here are more Russians, from my 28mm Seven Years War collection. I started building this army around 1990 when my club at the time went through a Seven Years War craze, inspired by the (then newly published) Age of Reason rules set.

Here on parade is the mighty Russian Army of Emperor Mikhail The Good (none to his courtiers as "Mikhail The So So"). All the base sizes are as per WRG basing and troop type specifications. At one point there were some 20mm Revell Prussian infantry painted in Russian green, and some Esci Napoleonic Polish Lancers in paper caftans posing as Cossacks, as well as a box of Esci Crimean War British Hussars posing as, well, Russian Hussars. The plastic figures were all released from service in the Emperor's first Force Reduction Plan, following a report from the Nevsky Institute of Strategic Studies saying that they were icky.

The army's Commander in Chief, the gout-ridden General Ivan Blottski, a Front Rank figure. I have a blister of Foundry Russian officers currently deploying on my painting table to give him some subordinate commanders, and possibly some rivals for command if things go samovar-shaped.

My light infantry, the dangerous Serbian Pandours, of whom Blottski once quipped that "they would steal the family silver of the blessed Mother of God and then ask for her blessing in battle". These are Minifigs kindly gifted to me from the collection of an old gaming friend, Mark Chappel.

Here is the senior of my line infantry regiments. The command figures and the firing musketeers in the front are I think from Falcon Miniatures, but I wouldn't swear to it. The flags are hand painted and I'm still quite proud of them.

I placed several orders for Front Rank infantry to the Emperor's Headquarters of Chicago when it was in business. Here is my next unit of Russian line. Hopefully one notices a slight improvement in my painting skills over time. At this stage I was giving exaggerated red cheeks to my soldiers, giving them a slightly Nutcracker look.

Once I started doing some research, I realized that I had to paint the famed Apcheronski Regiment, which wore red gaiters in honour of their performance fighting the Prussians at Kunersdorf, when they were said to have stood and fought knee deep in their own blood. I am sure the reality was less impressive, but a splash of red on the gaming table is irresisitble. I recently discovered that GMB make Russian flags for this period, so there will soon be a service where the Apcheronskis are issued new colours.

Wanting more variety, I then added two regiments of the Observation Corps, which as far as I remember meant "under observation" for their new uniforms, including these rather stylish knee high boots, which I'm sure were proper bastards to march in.

One of my Observation Corps regiments intermixes Front Rank figures with these chaps, which some kind soul gifted me. Not sure who makes them ... possibly Falcon as well?

When we weren't using the Age of Reason rules, my crowd often got out the WRG rules for black powder, on the theory that was good in the 1970s was just as good in the 1990s. A rather quaint and charming notion in this era of trendy and expensive glossy rules. I always liked the morale modifier that gave Russians in line a -3 just for being Russians in line. That rule made all the Russians pretty tough on the defence, but for the offense one has to have some Grenadiers. Here's my unit of Front Rank grenadiers. Note the coats of pale green. I'm not sure what the thinking was there when I painted them that shade, I think I just wanted them to stand out from the dark green ofg the rest of my army and I thought the paler green gave them a tough weathered veteran look. At any rate, they're a pretty tough bunch, of whom General Blottski once said that they would storm the gates of hell or Berlin for a cannikin of vodka and a potato.

The only unit of cavalry currently in service is this unit of mystery manufacturer hussars, a gift from some kind friend and painted ... ummm, err, orange? Not sure what I was thinking there. They are colourful, and will soon be joined by a second unit of hussars, which are demanding to be finished and released from the painting table. I would dearly love some dragoons and cuirassers to fight the armoured Turks lurking out there.

This chap, another mystery manufacturer figure, illustrates my painting style ca. 1990, when I was just discovering drybrushing. I call him "Captain Kronsky" and he may one day serve in a game of Too Fat Lardies' Sharpe Practice, adapted to Russia's Ottoman frontier.

Finally, what Russian army would be complete without a shedload of artillery? The guns here, all painted glossy fireengine red because I thought it looked cool at the time, are either Minifigs or Front Rank, and the crew are either Minifigs Prussians painted in Russian colours or Front Rank figures.

In my thinking, to be a properly resurrected army, it isn't enough for the figures to be dug out of boxes and refurbished, but they have to fight in a tabletop action. My Russians recently took the field against their Turkish nemesis, in an attempt to master the demo rules for Sam Mustafa's Maurice, and the tale of that battle, and of my thoughts on Maurice, remains to be told.


  1. A formidable looking bunch. I look forward to the battle report.

  2. I remember those fellows! I remember fighting them with Don C's Swedes too!

    That church is uber-spiffy, where's it from?

    1. I'd forgotten that battle. Don C had a rather sweet little Swedish army as I recall.
      The church is a German kit by Faller and it still appears to be in production:
      There was a time when a lot of Faller and POLA kits could be found in North American stores. Today, not so much.

  3. Very nice. Keep those resurrected armies coming.

  4. Pshaw, 'icky' is only a matter of perception. I personally would love to see the paper caftan Lancer/Cossacks - they sound particularly heroic.

    Looking forward to reading your take on 'Maurice'.


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