Saturday, January 6, 2018

Russian Musketeers on Parade

Russian Zorndorf Project - Galitzin's division between the Galgen Grund and the Zabern Grund.
Click all pictures to enlarge the view.

We are knee-deep in ice and snow here in Hesse Seewald, so what better way to pass the gloom of Winter than to ramp up our Russian Zorndorf project in full gear. My target date for completion is the end of March 2018 so that I can host the Zorndorf game at this year's Seven Years War Association convention in South Bend, Indiana.

This year is the 260th anniversary of the Battle of Zorndorf, fought on August 25, 1758. Realistically, the battle between the Russians and Prussians was fought to a draw, but Frederick claimed victory based on his possession of the field after the Russians marched off to their baggage train. This undoubtedly gave inspiration to Napoleon to "lie like a bulletin" when he would report the results of battle wins and losses.

But that is a story for another day...

Russian camp at Quartschen.

Zorndorf Project Objectives
My plan is to build 16 battalions of Russian infantry, 5 regiments (24 figures each) of cavalry, 4 field artillery pieces with crew and limber teams, and 2 to 4 light regimental guns. The army will be divided into three infantry brigades: Galitzin, Saltykov and the Observation Corps commanded by Browne; and one cavalry brigade commanded by Demiku.

The infantry will include approximately 4 battalions of Observation Corps Musketeers and maybe one battalion of OC Grenadiers if the later figures are available to me. There will be at least 2 regular grenadier battalions added to 8 to 10 battalions of Russian Musketeers.

The cavalry contingent will feature regiments of 24 figures which I arbitrarily divide into two "squadrons" of 12 riders. These are not actual squadrons, but I treat them as such in my wargame armies.

The artillery component will include a variety of smooth bore field guns of 6-pds and 12-pds plus Shuvulov howitzers and light 12-pound unicorn howitzers. The regimental guns will include the Shuvulov howitzers and some 3-pounders.

Zorndorf Progress in 2017
My Russian army started gathering steam and mass during the second half of 2017 as I added both cavalry and musketeer infantry to the ranks.  The new cavalry forces included:

12 x cuirassiers
24 x dragoons
24 x horse grenadiers
24 x hussars
24 x Cossacks

I also added one battalion of my new Minden Russian Musketeers in Summer waistcoat and commander stands representing Galitzin and Saltykov. This brought my infantry contingent up to 4 musketeer battalions and 1 grenadier battalion in 2017.

Zorndorf Progress in 2018
We are but a few days into the new year and I have already finished painting a second battalion of the new Minden Russian Musketeers in Summer waistcoats.

Narva Regiment with GMB Designs flags and Minden Russian Musketeers.

Narva Regiment with all platoons deployed in line.

A New Basing System for the Russians
You may have noticed that I have gone to a different basing system for my SYW army in order to move the figures closer together, shoulder to shoulder, if you will. The battalions now have 32 figures on four stands compared to the old system of 30 figures on five stands. The two end stands have 9 figures each, with the drummer deployed out on the flank. The two center stands have 8 figures each.

The new basing system depicting the drummers on the flanks.
Note that the central core of figures on both types of stands line up.

The Narva Regiment marching in column.
I like the look of the outlier drummers on each side of the regiment when it is deployed into a column.

Narva (front) and Moscow (rear) Russian regiments.

I will do another post this week that goes into more detail on the new basing system for the Russian infantry.

Work in Progress
Yesterday saw me cleaning and assembling enough figures to paint two 32-figure Russian Musketeer battalions and four artillery batteries (2 x 12-pdrs and 2 x Shuvulov Secret Howitzers) including limbers. I hope to have all of these painted and based by the end of this month (January 2018).

Russian musketeers (right) and artillery (left) are ready to be primed grey.

Close up of two 32-figure battalions of Russian Musketeers.

Close up view of Russian artillery: two 12-pdrs (left) and two Shuvulov Howitzers (right).
Minden Russian artillery crews come in loading or firing poses.

I expect to have the two musketeer battalions done by the end of this month (January 2018), which would give me one Russian infantry brigade all in red Summer waistcoats and one infantry brigade wearing their Fall and Winter uniform coats of green. That would give me 8 of the 14-16 battalions that I will need for the Zorndorf game at the SYWA convention in March.

We have some Russian Observation Corps musketeers and grenadiers under commission with one of our sculptors, but it might be a bit iffy to expect them to be ready in time for the convention in March. This is due to the lead time needed to not only sculpt the figures, but also to make master and production moulds, and then ship them to Fife & Drum Miniatures Central to get them bagged and ready to sell (or in my case, to get them painted). However, I expect to be able to get the OC figures ready and painted in time for either Historicon or a refight of the game in August 2018.

There are also more Russian musketeers and grenadiers both in Summer and Fall/Winter kit that are on the work bench, so there should be a significant expansion of the SYW Russian range in 2018.


  1. Tremendous. I do like the new basing system. I might pinch it.

    1. Please do, I would feel honored. 😀 I only wish that I could pry the figures off of the old battalions to rebase them.

    2. Now that sounds like a job for a rainy day! Or month!

    3. Jim, I had to rebase some WSS figures that I glued on with Araldite. I found that carefully dividing the base using some stout sidecutters, then gentle twisting motion with pliers on the timber generally released the figures. Occasionally there was some timber still glued on, and careful use of a scalpel removed that sufficiently to allow satisfactory rebasing. This method generally did not damage the figures. Cheers, Rohan.

  2. Outstanding looking models. Thanks for the inspirations.

  3. Nice Russians, like your basing scheme for the infantry

  4. These look superb, Jim. I keep trying to repeat the Mantra..."I do not need Russians!" but I hear echoes of "Shuvulov" and "Unicorn" and "Observation Corps"!! :-D Cheers, Rohan.

    1. If you have Prussians, then inevitably you will want or need Russians one of these days.

  5. "Need" and "want" often end in the same place, don't they, Jim? :-D I'm sure grenadiers will be the final straw!! Cheers, Rohan.