Wednesday, June 16, 2021

DISMOUNTED COSSACKS: RUSSO TURKISH WAR ERA

Two units of Outpost Wargame Service Russo Turkish War Dismounted Cossacks Join the Force.

Having completed the cavalry, in this post, dear reader, we report on the first step in the next stage of the Russian Army project of the Russo Turkish War: the infantry.  To get going, I decided to do dismounted cossacks--being cavalry walking, they present a nice transition between cavalry and infantry. In Chocolate Box Wars (CBW) game terms, these units will stand in for the militia/conscript level troops of the Russian Army. Yes, dear reader, the CBW project may have stalled, but it is still among my intended things to get done--and in any case, these could also be used in my VnB 19th Century variant as well (in much the same role).  But enough of that. In this post, as usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX.

 
Unlike the mounted Don Cossacks, I decided to go with a blue cap rather than the all white  furashka.  I made this choice for several reasons: the headgear on these figures clearly has more structure than that of the mounted Copplestone Don Cossacks--in other words, this seems to actually be an early modern visored cap as opposed to a furashka, and as such, painting it all white would have made it look huge; the second reason was that (eventually) my Russian Guard infantry will be in white furashkas--this way I avoid players having to keep straight that this unit in white caps is Guard and that unit in white caps is dismounted cossacks (ie militia). The third reason is that the example paint job on the Outpost website shows this color headgear (and there are examples of colored visored headgear among the sources and re-enactors).  Enough of that. Here is a study of how I rendered these...
Once again, I went with the white as opposed to black strapping.  And speaking of strapping, I had originally thought that these would be fairly quick and simple figures to knock out. However, the strapping wound up being deceptively complicated to render. For the red piping, I first painted it white and then went over it in red in order to get it to stand out.  Having a small figure count allows one the luxury of doing a detail like this twice--whether doing it in a single step of red over blue would have rendered the same effect is something I just don't want to think about at this point.
 
It wasn't until I started taking pictures that I noticed that there isn't a repeat pose/figure in the unit.  This nicely adds to the impression of these as irregulars.  That plus the headgear is reminiscent of the blue feldmutz of the Napoleonic Prussian Landwehr, another signifier of status for gamers familiar with napoleonics (which is the case with many in my group).
 
The dismounted cossacks deployed for inspection at "gaming distance."
 
Next up and on the painting table, two independent rifle battalions...
 
Excelsior!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

COSSACKS: RUSSO TURKISH WAR ERA

  The addition of the Don and Caucasian Cossacks (left and right, respectively) complete the Russian Cavalry.

These two units round out the first stage of my Russian Army project which was begun back in  April: the cavalry contingent (pictured above) consisting of two divisions of Russian Cavalry plus the Guard Cossacks (the horse artillery is still to come).  In this post, as usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX...

DON COSSACK

Each Russian cavalry division contained one Hussar, Uhlan, Dragoon, and Cossack regiment. I decided to go with a Don Cossack regiment for one of the divisions.  For these, I used the Mollo Uniforms of the Imperial Russian Army as my guide. Note the all-white furashka cap in the example.  This distinctive Russian headgear is variously depicted as white with black visor and details (and sometimes a colored band), or as all white, as above (to include visor).
 
I again went out-of-period for figures and used the Bolshevik Cavalry I of the Copplestone Castings "Back of Beyond" Range.

I decided to go with the all-white furashka as being more distinctively "Russian" and representative of the era prior to when visored caps came into more general use.  I also stuck with white strapping (as per Mollo)--there are other sources that show it as black. Probably both are correct. As with the caps, I think the white is more distinctive and representative of the earlier end of this transitional era. 

CAUCASIAN COSSACK
I decided to go with a Caucasian Cossack regiment for the other cavalry division.  For this, I used the above image from the NYPL Vinkhuijzen collection as a model.  Having painted a brown coated army before (Hungarians), I gained an appreciation for the look of brown-clad units, and was drawn to the potential of the orange and brown combination of this unit.

I stuck with the Copplestone Casting "Back of Beyond" line and used the White Russian Caucasian Cossack figures once again (I had used these figures for the Guard Cossacks).
Many different versions of brown were brought to bear on these, along with the selective use of washes and highlighting, in order to keep the brown clad riders, the brown bits (like the rifles and slings, the horse furniture, etc), and the chestnut horses distinct from each other. I also resisted the urge to embellish with extra dashes of orange and instead stuck with the understated look of the source. 
 
I've now moved on to the Russian infantry, which will be a larger project, but one that doesn't involve horses (I'm so done with painting horses right now!).

Excelsior!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

RUSSIAN DRAGOONS, RUSSO TURKISH WAR ERA

The Newest Addition to the Russian Cavalry Establishment: Dragoons.

In this post, dear readers, we report once again on a step in the steady progress of our Russo Turkish War era project.  Following from the dandy hussars and uhlans of the last two posts, we move to the more workmanlike dragoons. 
Pyotr Balashov Painting of Russian Dragoons transferred to a porcelain plate.
Left, unknown Russian source showing a dragoon officer (seated) and right, a detail from another Balashov painting of Russian cavalry showing Russian Dragoons. If not elaborate, the kit certainly comes across as elegant.
Smart-looking 2nd Dragoon officer depicted in the New York Public Library Vinkhujjzen Collection.

As is the case with most of the Russian cavalry of the era, information is spotty. Once again, I relied on a combination of sources to put together the look of these units.  As with the others, there is no figure line that has these Russian dragoons.  So I repurposed figures from another line--happily, this did not require the physical modifications involved with the Uhlans and Hussars—only color schemes for the Russian dragoon uniform.  
These figures began life as Argentinian Cavalry from the Perry Miniatures War of the Triple Alliance line, which were a close match, to include a slung rifle that would be characteristic of Russian dragoons.  I did shave down the prominent pockets, but that's the only physical modification. 
 
Here are the results. The diffuse natural lighting caused the colors to appear more washed out than they appear to the eye, the green in particular. As usual, you may click pix for BIG  PIX in this post.
 
2nd Dragoons 
My first assignment in the US Army was with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, also known as the 2nd Dragoons. So of course I had to include a 2nd Dragoon unit in my establishment.  That plus the distinctive pink facings are quite dandy.
 
13th Dragoons
In my Russian Napoleonic army I have a dragoon unit sporting orange facings, so decided to reprise this orange on green combination in my post Napoleonic Russian dragoons. 
 
I originally went with a solid green kepi, but the absence of contrast or detail on the headgear made the figures look unfinished (at least to my eye). Happily, this is where having differing sources was a good thing.  I went with my preference from among them and added a band of facing color on the headgear.  Like the Dude’s rug in The Big Lebowski, it really brought the look together. I also opted for the added color of the medium blue cavalry trousers with stripe.
 
Next Up: Line Cossacks to Complete the Cavalry Contingent

 
Excelsior!



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