Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!

SYW Russian Brigade (click to enlarge the view)

Well, sort of, they will be here eventually as part of the Minden Miniatures figure range, but Fritz doesn't like to wait so He has started building his own Russian army using various Minden French, Crann Tara Piedmont, and RSM Russian figures to cobble an army together.

By the way, Minden already has two different Russian artillery crews and four different cannon models in the range. We also have the Marshal Fermor personality figure. The Russian musketeers and grenadiers are next in the sculpting queue so hopefully we will see some greens by the end of the Summer.

Yesterday I decided that I wanted to start on a regiment of Russian Horse Grenadiers. RSM makes the mounted trooper, but no command figures. So I used some Minden Hanoverian Horse command figures and swapped heads with some RSM Russian horse grenadiers to create the following command figures:

Horse Grenadier Conversions: Hanoverian Horse Command figures with head swaps from the RSM Horse Grenadier figures.

Another view of the horse grenadier conversions. In addition to the head swaps, I also used some green putty to fill in the jacket open of the trumpeter and standard bearer since they wore "single breasted" buttons down the front of the coat, whereas the officers wore a normal looking military coat without lapels.

Pictured below are a couple of photos of my first painted Horse Grenadier sample, done last evening before going to bed. I made one mistake on the painting: the horse furniture should be a fawn yellow color so I will have to go back and repaint it. All horse grenadier regiments have the fawn yellow horse furniture, all dragoons have cornflower blue horse furniture, and all cuirassiers have red horse furniture. That makes it sort of easy to paint, doesn't it?

RSM Horse Grenadier Trooper with a Minden medium officer's horse.

Same as the first picture, but seen from the reverse side. The sword has to be glued on separately and is kind of a pain in the derriere to work with, so I only glued swords onto one trooper and left the other 8 troopers open handed. I also left off the carbine, which should be on the right side behind the hand holding the sword.

I also swapped out the smaller RSM horses for some of the Minden medium horses walking, and I think that the two make for a perfect match. I really like the way that the sample figure turned out - I always paint one figure of a unit complete before tackling the rest of the unit because I want to see how it will turn out and find out if there are any difficult bits to paint. The finished figure then provides me with a sort of painting template to use on the rest of the figures.

I'm looking forward to starting painting of the horse grenadier command figures to see how the conversion works looks when painted.

What is next?
I might be able to make a 12-figure squadron of Russian dragoons using the excess horse grenadier bodies and the tricorned Hanoverian officer heads, but that is a lot of work.

After completing 24 horse grenadiers, I might tackle some RSM Cossacks, which look very nice, but put them on Minden or Fife & Drum light horses rather than RSM horses. The Minden horses kind of bring a certain uniformity to the project, which I like. I was looking at some of my old Connoisseur Russian Cossacks and these are small and thin enough to use with the RSM and Minden figures too.

I have to paint several more Russian gun crews to man my howitzers. One interesting item that I gleaned from Christopher Duffy's lecture on the Russian army at this year's SYWA Convention, was that the Shuvulov Howitzers were used as battalion guns because they were so effective at close range. So I might have to use Secret Howitzers for all of my battalion guns.

Russian vs. Prussian Actions, Encounters and Kleine Krieg in the East
I have been perusing Kronoskaf frequently in order to build up some knowledge about the Russian theater of war during the SYW. I'm finding that there was actually quite a bit of action going on in between the big battles (Gross Jagersdorf, Zorndorf, Kay and Kunersdorf). I always wondered what was going on in Poland during the SYW. The answer: quite a lot of small actions, raids and battles that might have been, but were never fought.

For example, in 1761 the Prussians sent a large "raiding force" of 20,000 men under Zieten to close in on Posen and destroy the Russian supply magazines there. They got close, but had to retire back to Breslau so as not to get cut off by the main Russian army.  In 1758 I believe, there was an opportunity for the Prussians to defeat the Russian army in detail near Posen and if General Dohna had been a little bit more enterprising, he might have defeated three different Russian columns had he moved faster, but by the time he got his army moving, the Russians had consolidated their army to full size.

There is even an incident where the Prussians, under Platen, went into Poland on a cattle raid and had a cattle drive of 200-300 cattle plus an equal number of sheep! Wouldn't that make for a fun scenario, a Western Cowboy style cattle drive in 18th Century Poland-Pomerania.


Comments Are Greatfully Received (and requested, please)
Finally, I hope that I can encourage my readers to leave some comments after reading this blog entry. Here is a little secret: blog authors crave receiving and reading comments. This blog is so much better when it can be a little bit interactive. I know that a lot of readers choose to be "lurkers", i.e. people who like to read the blog, but maybe are too shy to engage in commenting. Don't be shy, leave a comment and let me know what you think.


Old Glory 1805 Russians - from a different era.

21 comments:

  1. I am one of those lurkers. The cattle drive sounds like a lot of fun! And the Russians would be where I started any sort of SYW collection. It is on my list - just a matter of time.

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    1. Hopefully the new Russian range will tip you over the edge and into SYW gaming. I want to try some new poses with this range in addition to the standard Minden March step. Now, where can I find European cattle?

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    2. Salut!

      That will also mean the 'old' Minden range gets also (sure in fuuuture) different poses to the existing (Prussians, Austrians,....)?

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    3. Yes, that is the long term plan.

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  2. Bravo for this project, Jim. I love that cornflower blue. I admire as well the fact that Minden, Crann Tara, Savoia and RSM can be used interchangeably, to such good effect. A sign obviously of a shared vision...

    Eager to see the Minden Russians, of course. All in good time. Jim

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    1. I think we are going to have a lot of fun with the new Russian range. They were quite a formidable opponent of Prussia that won all of the big battles.

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  3. Well done Jim - excellent post as always.

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  4. Nice work on the horse grenadiers

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    1. Thank you Allan. Today, I made some flags for the Kargopol Horse Grenadier regiment, using images available at Kronoskaf. First I make a copy of the flag. Second, make a copy of the copy. Third, move the two halves together to form a front-back flag, and Fourth, resize the flags to fit onto the flag staff.

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  5. As a blogger myself i know exactly what you mean, Jim. Well done with the conversions, I always love horse grenadiers but I won't be making a Russian army - too many French, Prussians, Hanoverians etc still to paint.
    Chris

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    1. That's one of the nice things about the SYW - you never run out of armies to paint.

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    2. You are absolutely right, the main reason i don't order the last months (those very great) Minden-figures was because i must first paint still some dozends of them.

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  6. Jim! First your Russian horse grenadier looks terrific! With each cavalry classification having standard horse furniture does make the task of painting research much more simple.

    Second, as for your "commenting" commentary, you are spot on. We do enjoy reader comments and I am not shy in commenting on your fine blog. Reader commenting is a two-way street, you know?

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  7. I found your blog really great. I like the Russian Grenadiers - above all the NCO !. If I am shy it's just because I am not an English speaker...

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    1. Thank you Iris. Your English seems good enough to me. :)

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  8. Good conversion work Jim, well done.

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    1. Thank you Robbie. It was a fun little project, but the thought of chopping off heads was a little scary too (i.e. it is hard work, but it is easier than one would think).

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    2. You are right to swap out the RSM horses,for they are way too out of scale. I have mounted RSM French cavalry onto Front Rank horses with good results.

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  9. I later discovered that the horse grenadier officers did not have turn backs, so in retrospect, the French Cavalrie officer might be a better choice for the conversion.

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