Monday, October 23, 2017

Russian Kargopol Horse Grenadiers

My SYW Russian Army, so far, at least.

My SYW Russian army project is back at the top of the painting queue again. I completed a second squadron of 12 horse grenadiers last week, which brings the regiment up to my standard two squadrons of 12 riders per regiment, or 24 figures in total.

Kargopol Horse Grenadiers

Russian Cavalry
You are probably asking yourself, "I didn't know that Minden Miniatures made Russian cavalry?" And you would be correct, we do not make them. However, the Minden Hanoverian Horse regiment figures look very similar in that they have no lapels on their coats. Their coats are unbuttoned, versus closed for the horse grenadiers and dragoons, but who is to really say that the Russian cavalry would not unbutton their coats on occaision?

The other noticeable difference is that the Russian cavalry did not have lace on their shabraques, so it is a simple matter of not painting any lace on the shabraques. You could also use some green stuff epoxy putty to fill in the pistol housing and shabraque to give everything a smoother appearance. I have converted some of these figures with putty as samples, but I am waiting for the masters to return from Griffin Moulds.

Minden Hanoverian command with head swaps and RSM horse grenadiers
mounted on Minden medium horses.
I used RSM Russian horse grenadiers for the rank and file reiters and placed them on Minden medium sized horses. This helps to create the illusion of consistency with my other Minden cavalry regiments in my Prussian and Austrian armies.

Russian cavalry horses were smaller than those of Prussia and Austria, which would put them at a distinct disadvantage on the battlefield. I did a head swap of RSM foot grenadier heads attached to the Minden Hanoverian Horse command figures.

Kargopol regimental flag - from Kronoskaf

The flags are down loaded from the Kronoskaf web site and adjusted to size in Word. The horse grenadier flags in Kronoskaf only have one side, so a little bit of copy, paste, moving and reducing of size is needed. You end up with the flag fringe in the middle of the flag, in the staff position, and no fringe on one of the ends of your flags, but the cavalry flags should be so small as to not be noticeable. At least that is so with me. I think that GMB Designs makes the correct flags, so buying your flags from them eliminates the need to improvise.

General Organizational Information for the Russian Cavalry
According to Kronoskaf, while the organization of Russian cavalry, in general, had 5 squadrons, only 2 or 3 actually fought on campaign, the other squadrons (primarily the 4th squadron) remaining at their bases in Russia. The 5th squadron was often not even raised and existed in name only.

Not every regiment actually fought in the SYW. The only dragoon regiments in the fight were the Tver, Tobolsk, Nizegorod and Arkhangel regiments. The horse grenadier regiments that fought in the SYW were Kargopol, Narva, St. Petersburg, Rizhsky and Ryazan.

There were five cuirassier regiments fighting in the SYW, but only 2 of the 5 were issued cuirasses (oh goody!) until late in the war. These regiments were largely converted from dragoon regiments prior to the SYW and thus had not received their official cuirassier gear. They even retained their old dragoon coats. The other two regiments, Prince Fedorovich and the "3rd" regiment, were dressed as cuirassiers with chamois colored coats and breeches and a black cuirasse front plate. We will probably use Prussian or Austrian cuirassiers for the Russians in my army.

Usually all three types of heavy cavalry only wore their summer uniforms on campaign, This consisted of a buff colored waistcoat with long sleeves. The dragoon and horse grenadier blue coats were saved for parade and cold weather use. One would think that they would break out the coats around October when the weather turned colder.

Russian horse grenadier uniform - formal and winter dress. - Kronoskaf

Russian horse grenadier summer uniforms - Kronoskaf

One nice thing about the Russian cavalry, at least from a painter's point of view, is that the uniforms and shabraques are, well, "uniform" or the same for each regiment.

In the Painting Queue
I have primed another 12 Russian Dragoons and plan on painting them this week. Since the dragoon regiments are smaller, I think that I will only paint one squadron of 12 figures for my dragoon regiment (I suppose that horse grenadier regiments should also be 12 figures). I use the term "squadron" rather loosely in my SYW army organizations. I simply divide my 24 figure regiments into two groups of 12 figures. At a 20:1 figure to man scale, this translates into 480 riders per regiment, which represents a campaign strength. I could go with 36 figures in three 12-figure squadrons, but then I start to have problems with spacing on my game table, so I keep cavalry regiments at 24 figures.

After painting 24 Russian dragoons I will turn to the Cossaks. Again I will use RSM Cossaks mounted on Minden light cavalry horses.


  1. Great information on the Russian cavalry arm.
    Nice brushwork too!

  2. Excellent - sounds like an eminently sensible way to add a new unit.