Outpost Wargame Service 28mm Romanian Dorobanti Militia
In this post, dear readers, we diverge (once more) into Romanians of the Russo-Turkish War. In order to snap out of a period of painting doldrums, I decided to indulge in something unique. So I mined these Romanian Dorobanti Militia out of my lead mountain. Ever since acquiring them, I had been anticipating seeing them done, so decided now is the time, regardless of whether or not they "fit" into any project or practical need (if one can use that term in connection with toy soldiers). I should also like to give a shout out to Badger Games, the US distributor for Outpost figures (and other lines): highly recommended. In this post, as always, you may clix pix for BIG PIX.
The Romanians refer to the Russo Turkish War as their War of Independence. The Romanian Army was fairly young at the time, having been organized in 1870. The infantry consisted of regulars and Dorobanti Territorial units, the latter actually making up the bulk of the force: each brigade had one regular regiment and two Dorobanti regiments (each of two battalions).
Although also referred to as "militia," I think the associations we wargamers have with that label may not hold. I think the more accurate translation would be in line with their "territorial" identifier, indicating forces common to militarized provinces or regions, like grenzers. The Romanian performance in the Russo Turkish War was respectable, and the Dorobanti seem to have acquitted themselves well, despite being equipped with the by-then outdated Dreyse needle gun.
Above: Romanians Storming the Grivitza Redoubt in the 3rd Battle of Plevna. It is interesting, and perhaps significant, to note that this depiction shows the Dorobanti doing the storming. It is clear that they fulfilled a "regular" role on the battlefield, whether or not one would deem them "irregulars." According to the excellent Balkan Military History Blog, the Romanian 3rd division suffered 2,600 casualties in taking this position, and the Romanian military contribution against Turkey was significant: 30,000 infantry, 4,500 cavalry, and 126 guns.
It's clear that the Dorobanti are popular among reenactors, and my non-expert guess is that they are a cultural icon of Romanian national identity (not unlike the Minutemen in the US).
Either late-in or shortly-after the Russo-Turkish War, they would be outfitted with the regular blue infantry tunics, and in later depictions leading up to WWI they take on a progressively more "regular" appearance.
Here is my study, of how I rendered these fellows:
My two newly completed units of Dorobanti: given the lines of their headgear, I found them reminiscent of Scottish Highlanders.
These were the kind of figures that just didn't seem to "come together." Until they were actually based, they seemed unfinished. I think it might have been the amount of white, and the fact that they don't present the usual demarcation between tunic, belt, trousers, and footgear/leggings that we are accustomed to seeing. To get some definition, I started with an overall covering of light gray, then used a wash of black and then followed up with brushing flat white to bring out the tunics and trousers. To give a bit more definition, I left the leggings light gray except for the bow, which I picked out in flat white to bring out some relief.
As usual, I did a few on individual stands as well.
No need for color photography: these colorful fellows provide all that is needed.