Cossacks! Right up there with Pirates and Vikings... sure to add more fun to any wargame!
Cossacks! For some reason I think the word should always be accompanied with an exclamation point. You don't say Cossacks, you YELL Cossacks! The only time it's not needed is when they've passed out. Otherwise it's drinking, fighting, burning, riding, raiding, partying, gambling, pillaging, singing, revolting, dancing, sailing, plundering, laughing, shouting Cossacks!
Well, last night I pulled out my Cossack miniatures from Wargames Foundry. You can find their mounted and dismounted figures here and here. I've always loved these figs, and the only problem with them has really been to decide what to do with them. Historically, these minis are good for the 16th Century until the 19th. They also make great Black Sea pirates, characterful Kislev handgunners for Warhammer, or even Vampire henchmen for Pulp and Gothic Horror games. But why choose? Just figure out how to base them so they can be used for everything!
I think in the end the primary role these guys will play is part of my Seven Year's War Russian Army. At least that's the shelf they'll sit on in my display cabinet. Right now I'm thinking most of my infantry units for SYW and Napoleonics will be on 40mm x 40mm bases with four figures to a base. Although the Nappys might end up a little wider with more figs to a base, they should still be 40mm deep.
The problem for my Cossacks is not only do they look a little cramped when compared to my "marching" figures, but I'd like to base them individually on 20mm metal washers so they can be used for all sorts of other fun stuff. On a 40mm base that doesn't leave a lot of room, much less any room to still make some sort of scenic bases for the unit.
As the pictures above show, I think it's just better to go with a 50mm base. The Cossacks are more of irregular unit anyway. More akin to militia or other special units like Frei Corps or Jaegers. I'll only ever have one "battalion" of these guys with five or six stands, so it should be a small matter. Especially when playing very flexible rules like Black Powder.
I still want to have some fun with the unit bases, and even have an extra sled gun to add for fun. My plan right now is to drill circles into my 50mm Litko bases where each fig will be placed with the bottom of the hole magnetized. The top of the individual base will be flush with the unit base much like Games Workshop's bases for War of the Ring. That's my idea anyway, but it might change a bit as I work out the details.
Whether I start painting other stuff for SYW or Naps, my initial project goal is to set up a small village raid skirmish scenario complete with terrain, mounted and dismounted Cossacks, musketeers, and hussars.
The mounted Cossacks pose much less of a problem. Since most cavalry are based two to a 50mm base, I'll just mount these guys on individual 25mm x 50mm bases. I'll probably do the same for my hussars and then make movement trays for them.
My color scheme is another thing I'm working on. I certainly don't want to paint these guys as colorful as the Wargames Foundry examples, nor do I think I want them too uniform looking like maybe painting most of them in blue coats for Don Cossacks. Although I'm open to suggestions on everything, right now I'm leaning toward more drab natural colors like the examples below with some reds, blues, etc. mixed in.
This should be a fun project, but I don't expect it will be a quick one. Instead of painting a uniformed line infantry unit, this will more like painting a whole bunch of individual 28mm minis. So I expect to work on these guys off and on between my IG Mordians unless the project momentum carries me away.
Finally, I don't know if Blucher or Gneisenau had any Cossack pals, but the old Prussian Field Marshal certainly shared a lot of their vices. I've been itching to do a Blucher command stand/vignette. This would either give me the Napoleonic Prussian "fix" I need so I can work on my SYW stuff or it will be the "catalyst" that will plunge me into placing a Prussian order with Perry and Calpe Miniatures.
I have a few questions I have to answer as I'm gathering more minis for this project. First off, should I even put Blucher and Gneisenau on the same command base or give the Chief of Staff his own? Hopefully someone with more 28mm Napoleonic wargaming experience than me will chime in with a good answer.
Right now I plan to keep them separate as "Marshal Vorwarts" doesn't seem like the type to hang out in the back with the staff weenies. On Blucher's base I do plan to to include an A.D.C. representing Graf Nostitz, but also with him being "out front" maybe it would be appropriate to include at least two other cavalry models as part of a bodyguard. My question on this is, what type of cavalry should I use? Hussars? Uhlans? Cuirassiers? Something else? Any idea on a particular unit that would make sense?
So right now I'm thinking Blucher's base with 4-5 mounted figs, and Gneisenau's with 4-5 mounted and foot. Or one big base with both of them on there with everyone else. Either way, a couple of fun projects brewing, and any input or thoughts are appreciated.