Saturday, March 14, 2020

ROMANIAN DOROBANTI: RUSSO TURKISH WAR

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War was respectable, and the Dorobanti seem to have acquitted themselves well, despite being equipped with the by-then outdated Dreyse needle gun.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.

Excelsior!

18 comments:

  1. These are really neat looking figures. Beautifully painted too!

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    1. Thanks, Jonathan. I have to admit that this is one case where stumbling across the Outpost figs, these in particular, seduced me into getting the Romanians.

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    1. Thanks, Phil: I'm happy with how they turned out.

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  3. Super looking and unusual unit,they look great!
    Best Iain

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    1. Sometimes, you find a novel unit/uniform like this and it's a one off (and putting them on the table may be a stretch). I was happy to find out that at least in the context of the era and the Romanian Army, you can include these striking fellows with confidence in almost any scenario.

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  4. Fine painting Ed and some wonderful old photos.

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    1. Thanks, Jack. I was struck by how closely the figures conformed to the pictures I had run across, so I thought I would share them.

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  5. Lovely looking toys Ed...
    Many years ago I had some of these in 15mm... they were quite striking even at that size...
    It’s an interesting period with some pretty uniforms... straight out of the Chocolate Box.

    All the best. Aly

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    1. Thanks, Aly. The Romanian Army, stylistically, is particularly Chocolate Box worthy given that it arose at the height of the era: largely French influenced punched up with dashes of Hungarian.

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  6. Nice work.
    Hey, during the Hungarian Revolution, the Hungarians fought ethnic Rumanians in western Hungary who did not want to be under the new Hungarian independent state. These troops were more irregular but I have read they wore a lot of white.
    So you could use them for your Hungarian Revolution project too. I know I made a few bases of them for my 18mm Hungarian Revolution collection.

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    1. Hi Mike: good point about Hung Rev connections. Lots of interesting options there, too, particularly on the "other front" away from the fighting with the Austrians. All the Grenzers, for instance, except for Szekely, were opposed to the Hungarians. Could make for some interesting force mixes!

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  7. Great job. I knew exactly what you meant by not ‘coming together’ while WIP. One f my joys of this hobby is when the figures case looking like a project and magically become little men. It’s usually for me when I paint faces. I’m sure you know what I mean. đŸ˜€

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    1. Hi Stew: good to know that I'm not the only one who gets these impressions.

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  8. Love your work, Ed! And RTW is one of my favourites - always happy to see it getting some airtime.

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    1. Thanks, Chris. Always good to see you drop bye. Following the new BBB blog, by the way: nice!

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  9. Wonderful figures from a very interesting conflict. Very cool to see the period photos and reenactors too.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Dean. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of information I found (the pictures especially) which enriched my understanding of these units (which I had not really even heard of prior to seeing them in the Outpost figure line). The only reference I had otherwise was the Osprey on the R-T War: limited.

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